Sunday: Hili dialogue

February 21, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the Dog Sabbath: Sunday, February 21, 2021. It’s National Sticky Bun Day, referring to either the toothsome pastry or what happens when you sit on bubble gum. It’s also National Grain Free Day (a day not beloved by farmers), and, in ancient Rome, February 21 was Feralia, a holiday celebrating the spirits of the dead. It is very similar to the Mexican Day of the Dead; here’s a description from Wikipedia:

Roman citizens were instructed to bring offerings to the tombs of their dead ancestors which consisted of at least “an arrangement of wreaths, a sprinkling of grain and a bit of salt, bread soaked in wine and violets scattered about.” Additional offerings were permitted, however the dead were appeased with just the aforementioned.

News of the Day:

I am getting worried about the Mars rover “Perseverance.”  After all the brouhaha, all we get from NASA is radio silence: no photos! I hope the thing isn’t broken! Here are tweets (more on her site) by a well known planetary scientist and writer:

However, NASA did release this cool photo of Perseverance dangling from the skycrane before it was gently lowered to the surface and the skycrane flew away:

(From NASA): This high-resolution still image is part of a video taken by several cameras as NASA’s Perseverance rover touched down on Mars on Feb. 18, 2021. A camera aboard the descent stage captured this shot. (Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech)

A United flight from Denver to Honolulu suffered a bad engine fire yesterday, with pieces of that engine falling all around Boulder. The plane returned to Denver, landing safely with all 241 passengers and crew intact, and luckily nobody on the ground was injured by the engine parts. Here’s one passenger’s video of the mishap (h/t Matthew):

And heres some debris. Jebus H. Christ in a chicken basket!

And someone on the ground took a photo:

Several sources, including the Associated Press, report that Biden is signing on to studying the idea of “slavery reparations” for black Americans, as Congress is considering a bill. This is gonna be a tough one since who will be eligible if there are payments to individuals? And if you say that’s not the way it will come down, well read here:

A House panel heard testimony Wednesday on legislation that would create a commission to examine the history of slavery in the U.S. as well as the discriminatory government policies that affected former slaves and their descendants. The commission would recommend ways to educate the American public of its findings and suggest appropriate remedies, including financial payments from the government to compensate descendants of slaves for years of unpaid labor by their ancestors.

You can imagine the issues that will raise. Besides eligibility, if it’s money to humans, is it a one-time payment or does it go on forever?  And are payments of cash really going to alleviate unequal opportunities? There must be better ways to reduce inequality.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 497,403, an increase of about 1,900 deaths over yesterday’s figure We are likely to exceed half a million deaths within two days. The reported world death toll stands 2,473,463, an increase of about 8,100 deaths over yesterday’s total. The death rate continues to drop worldwide.

Stuff that happened on February 21 includes:

  • 1245 – Thomas, the first known Bishop of Finland, is granted resignation after confessing to torture and forgery.
  • 1804 – The first self-propelling steam locomotive makes its outing at the Pen-y-Darren Ironworks in Wales.
  • 1828 – Initial issue of the Cherokee Phoenix is the first periodical to use the Cherokee syllabary invented by Sequoyah.

As Wikpedia notes,

[Sequoya’s] achievement was one of the few times in recorded history that a member of a pre-literate people created an original, effective writing system.(Another example is Shong Lue Yang in Laos in the late 20th century).

Here’s a notice in Cherokee writing, published in the Cherokee Phoenix. Sequoyah was illiterate until he created the writing system, which has 86 characters, one for each syllable in the spoken language.

Since Elias Howe generally gets the credit for the invention of the machine, I can assume only that Greenough’s was not practical.

I tried finding the price of a first edition, and saw that in 1986—35 years ago—a tattered first edition, missing the cover, went for $39,600.  Here’s a first edition in German:

. . . and the only surviving page of the draft in Marx’s hand:

This is strange, and you Wikipedia editors should investigate it, for the picture of the first telephone directory given at the link says it was issued in November of 1878, and here it is:

Here it is ; photo by Matthew Brady around 1860:

It died in the same cage where Martha, the last known passenger pigeon, had died four years earlier. Here’s a mounted specimen of the Carolina parakeet from Chicago’s Field Museum:

  • 1925 – The New Yorker publishes its first issue.
  • 1947 – In New York City, Edwin Land demonstrates the first “instant camera”, the Polaroid Land Camera, to a meeting of the Optical Society of America.
  • 1952 – The British government, under Winston Churchill, abolishes identity cards in the UK to “set the people free”.
  • 1958 – The CND symbol, aka peace symbol, commissioned by the Direct Action Committee in protest against the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment, is designed and completed by Gerald Holtom.

You need to know this (from Wikipedia):

The symbol is a super-imposition of the semaphore signals for the letters “N” and “D”, taken to stand for “nuclear disarmament”,[2] while simultaneously acting as a reference to Goya‘s The Third of May 1808 (1814) (aka “Peasant Before the Firing Squad”)

The symbol and Goya’s great painting:

One of the most striking part of Spike Lee’s film on Malcolm was the scene when he was heading to the ballroom along with his family, the attendees, and the killers. In the background you can hear the best civil rights song ever, “Change Is Gonna Come,” by Sam Cook, and in one scene Malcolm appears to roll rather than walk down the sidewalk. It’s very moving.

  • 1975 – Watergate scandal: Former United States Attorney General John N. Mitchell and former White House aides H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman are sentenced to prison.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1621 – Rebecca Nurse, Massachusetts colonist, executed as a witch (d. 1692)
  • 1903 – Anaïs Nin, French-American essayist and memoirist (d. 1977)
  • 1907 – W. H. Auden, English-American poet, playwright, and composer (d. 1973)
  • 1924 – Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwean educator and politician, 2nd President of Zimbabwe (d. 2019)
  • 1933 – Nina Simone, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 2003)
  • 1955 – Kelsey Grammer, American actor, singer, and producer
  • 1962 – David Foster Wallace, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (d. 2008)

Those who became the Dearly Departed on February 21 include:

  • 1677 – Baruch Spinoza, Dutch philosopher and scholar (b. 1632)
  • 1941 – Frederick Banting, Canadian physician and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1891)

Banting and John Macleod won the Prize for Physiology and Medicine in 1923. A Laureate at 32, Banting remains the youngest person to ever win the prize. His colleague, Charles Best, should have shared the award, but Banting gave him half the money. Here are Banting and Best around 1934; Banting’s on the right.

  • 1945 – Eric Liddell, Scottish rugby player and runner (b. 1902)
  • 1965 – Malcolm X, American minister and activist (b. 1925; assassinated)
  • 1974 – Tim Horton, Canadian ice hockey player and businessman, co-founded Tim Hortons (b. 1930)

The man who made the donuts, killed in an alcohol-related car crash at 44. Two Canadians: Banting got the Nobel for curing diabetes, while Horton exacerbated it!

  • 1984 – Mikhail Sholokhov, Russian novelist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1905)
  • 2018 – Billy Graham, American evangelist (b. 1918)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili thinks that Andrzej’s computer mouse needs replacing by the real thing:

Hili: I must bring you a different mouse.
A: No, thank you.
In Polish:
Hili: Muszę ci przynieść inną mysz.
Ja: Nie, dziękuję.

And Paulina has four pictures of Kulka.

Caption: Kulka is gamboling in the snow. (In Polish: Kulka szaleje w Śniegu)

From Mark:

From Jean:

Matthew sent me this tweet, and I angrily responded. Is the government going to get even more religious under Biden? Trump, I think, was a secret atheist, but Joe is a pious Catholic.

From Jesus of the Day:

I tweeted, but the original tweet came from Matthew:

A tweet from Luana with the source in case you don’t believe it’s real:

From Barry; putting sound on is critical here:

Tweets from Matthew. This thread goes on for a while . . .

A few more:

Look at that face:

I feel sorry for members of this team:

28 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. I’m on the Mars rover science team. No problems. All is well. More images and data to come. Some are being held back for upcoming press conference.

      1. “Practice . . . how to answer mathematical problems without using words or numbers”?

        Is that even possible? Do you use counting stones? Lines and dots (or are those just a kind of numbers)? Maybe they have in mind an abacus? What about multiplication and division, to say nothing of trigonometry and calculus?

        More important, what’s the point? It’s like “Practice how to cross a room without using your legs and feet.” But we have legs and feet!

  2. Yikes. “Banting got the Nobel for curing diabetes, while Horton exacerbated it!” At this point, I have no choice but to point out that #7 was a truly great player, donuts or no donuts.

  3. … in one scene Malcolm appears to roll rather than walk down the sidewalk.

    That’s Spike Lee’s signature “double dolly” shot; it creates the effect of the character floating through the scene (by placing both the character and camera on separate dollies). While others have used it, Spike has put it in nearly every movie he’s made, starting with the closing scene of his second film, School Daze. Its use in Malcolm X is generally regarded as the shot’s apotheosis.

    The shot is an attention grabber, since it tends to disorient the audience. There’s a certain segment of cinephile that attends the premieres of Spike Lee movies just to cheer or boo that particular shot, depending on whether they think it works for the scene or is merely gratuitous. Here’s a montage of the shot’s myriad uses in Mr. Lee’s movies:

  4. The other day I heard Biden say “God willing” at the end of a statement he made about something or other. He may as well say “inshallah” and be done with it ffs. Ridiculous.

    1. Wine in ancient Roman times did not have much to do with today’s drink. It contained spices and I think honey. And, until not long ago, bread soaked in wine used to be a traditional peasants’ snack in parts of Italy. There are also soups made of old bread and wine (plus other ingredients). Today we tend to consider the wine as something almost luxurious and we forget that, in Latin Europe, it has been the poor people’s everyday drink for centuries.

  5. “I am getting worried about the Mars rover “Perseverance.” After all the brouhaha, all we get from NASA is radio silence: no photos!”

    During Friday’s press conference, they told us that the next dump of pictures would come with Monday’s press conference at 11 am Pacific. You can set a reminder using the YouTube link below. We must have patience (and perseverance)!

  6. I am always confused about the completion of the Washington Monument. At a time when the government was spending millions of dollars a day, and the trans-continental railroad was begun, we couldn’t find the money or the men to finish the monument?

    1. You are surprised when politics are involved? I have no knowledge with which to answer your question but, if I had to guess, it’s because the Washington Monument doesn’t fall in any Congressperson’s district.

  7. Prediction: If “reparations” are paid, we will then hear many saying it is an attempt to pay Black people for their silence on racial issues. IMHO, there’s no shortcut to curing racism. Nothing other than changing people’s minds will achieve that goal. Affirmative action, reparations, legislating equal outcomes, all have a dark side that is unavoidable.

  8. Is there any way we can see a copy of the “government agency” tweet that is a “blatant violation of the First Amendment”? The URL provided seems to be a dud.

  9. Slovakian team Tatran Cierny Balog have an actual railway running alongside their pitch.

    Talk about “the wrong side of the tracks.

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