Thursday: Hili dialogue

August 5, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Thursday, August 5, 2021: National Oyster Day. But August has no “r” in it, so you shouldn’t be eating oysters now. It’s also Green Peppers Day, Cycle to Work Day, Work Like a Dog Day (most d*gs don’t work!), National IPA Day (the trend to make this stuff, is, in the U.S., the worst thing that ever happened to beer), National Underwear Day, and and International Traffic Light Day, which is today because:

On August 5, 1914, what is considered to be the first electric traffic light was installed in Cleveland, Ohio, at the corner of East 105th Street and Euclid Avenue. It had four pairs of red and green lights, one for each side of the intersection, and a warning buzzer that indicated when the light was about to change. It had to be operated manually by someone in a nearby booth. It was based on a design by James Hoge. He had previously applied for a patent for a “Municipal Traffic Control System,” and his patent—#1,251,666—was approved in 1918. (See below.)

News of the Day:

The pandemic continues to rage in America, with 103,455 new infections reported by the CDC on August 3. Here’s the CDC’s daily trends of infection rates; you can clearly see all the waves.

The FDA is fast-tracking final approval for the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine, moving the tentative approval date to early September. That will make it easier for organizations to mandate vaccination for their employees, but I doubt that it would, as NBC News suggested last night, prompt people to get vaccinated. If they doubted the clear data that got the jab its emergency approval, why would they trust any new data that would support final approval?

But if you remain optimistic that the vaccine-resistant folks will come around, have a look at this new poll discussed by The Washington Post:

More unvaccinated adults in the United States view the coronavirus vaccine as a greater risk to their health than the disease caused by the virus itself, a poll found.

The Kaiser Family Foundation released a survey Wednesday that found there was a big split between unvaccinated and vaccinated adults in what they perceived as the bigger threat during the pandemic.

Just over half of unvaccinated adults (53 percent) said they believed getting vaccinated posed a bigger risk to their health than getting infected with the coronavirus. “In contrast, an overwhelming majority (88 percent) of vaccinated adults said that getting infected with COVID-19 is a bigger risk to their health than the vaccine,” the report found.

When I read things like this, even the realization that half of all Americans have below-average intelligence doesn’t console me.

In a primary Congressional election in Ohio, the “progressive” Democrat, Nina Turner, has been defeated by a more moderate Democrat, Shontel Brown. (Both are black women in a Democratic district.)  Maybe I’m overreacting, but doesn’t the last sentence of the paragraph below from the NYT news report (my emphasis) smack of bias? My guess is that the writer/editors wanted the progressive to win.

Shontel Brown campaigned for an open House seat in the Cleveland area declaring that she would be “a partner,” not an adversary, of President Biden and Speaker Nancy Pelosi. And now that she is almost guaranteed to join them in Washington after her victory on Tuesday in a contentious Democratic primary, Ms. Brown’s history suggests that party leaders will be adding a loyal political insider to their team.

But wait! There’s more! HuffPost adds this:

In her remarks, Turner blamed the influx of outside money on Brown’s behalf for her defeat.

“We didn’t lose this race ― evil money manipulated and maligned this election,” she said.

When asked to respond to Turner’s comments, Brown simply reiterated a line she used on the trail and repeated during her victory speech.

“Results over rhetoric won out today. Public service over lip service won out,” Brown said. “That’s the bottom line and I’m grateful for the people recognizing the difference.”

“People are tired of the negativity,” she added. “They want people who are focused on the issues.”

Brown’s senior consultant, Daniel Barash of the Washington firm SKDK, was more blunt about Turner’s comments, noting that much of the outside money that drew Turner’s ire came from pro-Israel groups.

“I think you should be more careful when you talk about Jews and money,” he said.

The Jews threw the election with their Evil Money!

Below: this is ineffably sad if true. According to the Washington Post, climate change is going to wipe out emperor penguins before long.   (h/t Paul). A quote:

If climate change continues at its current rate, more than 98 percent of emperor penguin colonies are expected to become quasi-extinct by the turn of the century, a group of global researchers wrote in the journal Global Change Biology on Tuesday. The scientists’ near-term predictions were equally grim: They estimated at least two-thirds of colonies would be quasi-extinct by 2050.

(Quasi-extinction refers to a population being doomed for extinction even if some members of the species remain alive.)

There’s nothing that can be done about this except putting a few of them in cold zoo exhibits to live out their lives.  You should see this movie if you get a chance:

In the NYT, Thomas Edsall has a guest essay called “Biden’s honeymoon is over, and he knows it,” but the headline is a bit of an exaggeration. Yes, Uncle Joe’s approval ratings on immigration and crime have waned, but, as the article says, these are only two areas:

The RealClearPolitics average of the eight most recent polls shows Biden’s favorability at plus 7.5 points (51.1 positive and 43.6 negative) and that the public generally approves of his handling of the Covid pandemic, of jobs, of the economy and of the environment.

If the economy stays fairly stable, the Covid crisis continues to wane with more vaccinations, and the infrastructure bill passes, I think the Democrats will be in decent shape for the midterm elections and Biden (or a good successor) will have a solid chance in 2024.

It’s well known in these parts that my favorite pint of British ale is Tim Taylor’s Landlord. (It was once CAMRA’s Beer of the Year). There are only a few Taylor pubs in England (just 18!), but my friend Andrew Berry found himself in Yorkshire at the one below, and then consumed a pint of Landlord in my honor. The proof (click photos to enlarge):

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 614,834, an increase of 410 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,271,371, an increase of about 10,700 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on August 5 includes:

  • 1583 – Sir Humphrey Gilbert establishes the first English colony in North America, at what is now St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • 1620 – The Mayflower departs from Southampton, England, carrying would-be settlers, on its first attempt to reach North America; it is forced to dock in Dartmouth when its companion ship, the Speedwell, springs a leak.
  • 1735 – Freedom of the pressNew York Weekly Journal writer John Peter Zenger is acquitted of seditious libel against the royal governor of New York, on the basis that what he had published was true.

Here’s a page from Zenger’s newspaper (1734):

Less than three weeks, actually. A reliably working cable wasn’t put in place until 1866. Here’s a piece of the first failed cable, which Wikipedia describes as:

. . . [consisting] of seven copper wires, each weighing 26 kg/km (107 pounds per nautical mile), covered with three coats of gutta-percha (as suggested by Jonathan Nash Hearder), weighing 64 kg/km (261 pounds per nautical mile), and wound with tarred hemp, over which a sheath of 18 strands, each of seven iron wires, was laid in a close helix. It weighed nearly 550 kg/km (1.1 tons per nautical mile), was relatively flexible and was able to withstand a pull of several tens of kilonewtons (several tons).

  • 1861 – The United States Army abolishes flogging.
  • 1884 – The cornerstone for the Statue of Liberty is laid on Bedloe’s Island (now Liberty Island) in New York Harbor.

Here’s the cornerstone.  Does it make me a jingoist to get choked up when I think of all the many immigrants who came to the U.S., passing that statue and hoping for the liberty she represents?

  • 1901 – Peter O’Connor sets the first IAAF recognised long jump world record of 24 ft 11.75 in (7.6137 m), a record that would stand for 20 years.
  • 1914 – In Cleveland, Ohio, the first electric traffic light is installed.

Here’s an early Cleveland traffic light but I’m not sure if it’s the first one. The signals were controlled by a cop in a booth nearby, which makes you wonder why they didn’t just put the cop in the middle of the intersection, but it did save wear and tear on a cop’s feet, and avoid his getting hit. But it didn’t save labor. See the second paragraph of this post.

  • 1926 – Harry Houdini performs his greatest feat, spending 91 minutes underwater in a sealed tank before escaping.

Read about how Houdini did it here (no trickery involved). Here’s a relevant tweet showing the pool and his sealed tank:

  • 1944 – World War II: At least 1,104 Japanese POWs in Australia attempt to escape from a camp at Cowra, New South Wales; 545 temporarily succeed but are later either killed, commit suicide, or are recaptured.
  • 1957 – American Bandstand, a show dedicated to the teenage “baby-boomers” by playing the songs and showing popular dances of the time, debuts on the ABC television network.
  • 1962 – ApartheidNelson Mandela is jailed. He would not be released until 1990.

Here’s Mandela’s cell on Robben Island, where he spent 18 of those years:

  • 1974 – Watergate scandal: President Richard Nixon, under orders of the US Supreme Court, releases the “Smoking Gun” tape, recorded on June 23, 1972, clearly revealing his actions in covering up and interfering investigations into the break-in. His political support vanishes completely.

Here are some segments from that tape:

  • 1981 – President Ronald Reagan fires 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers who ignored his order for them to return to work.
  • 2010 – The Copiapó mining accident occurs, trapping 33 Chilean miners approximately 2,300 ft (700 m) below the ground for 69 days.

Here’s a video of the first miner being brought up (they were all saved), stepping out of the rescue capsule; his name was Florencio Avalos. Can you imagine being down there for over two months?

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1850 – Guy de Maupassant, French short story writer, novelist, and poet (d. 1893)
  • 1889 – Conrad Aiken, American novelist, short story writer, critic, and poet (d. 1973)
  • 1906 – Wassily Leontief, German-American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1999)
  • 1930 – Neil Armstrong, American pilot, engineer, and astronaut (d. 2012)

Those who took up residence on their cloud on August 5 were very few; they include:

  • 1955 – Carmen Miranda, Portuguese-Brazilian actress and singer (b. 1909)
  • 2000 – Alec Guinness, English actor (b. 1914)

Can you name three famous movies that starred Guinness? (Only one can be about outer space.)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili reacts to yesterday’s post on this site:

Andrzej: What are you thinking about?
Hili: I’m rejecting far-left and far-right.

In Polish:

Ja: Nad czym się zastanawiasz?
Hili: Odrzucam skrajną lewicę i skrajną prawicę.
And a photo of Szaron resting:

From Ali Rizvi:

From Divy:


From Facebook:

From Simon; pay attention to the second tweet (the thread is about weird slugs). I’ve put a video below that one. (I wrote about this slug before.)

Two tweets from Ginger K. Look at that baby lion pretending to be fierce!

And another scheme to get jabs for the vaccine-resistant:

A Facebook post from Masih’s site “My Stealthy Freedom”. I can’t get over the bravery of Iranian women, who could be clapped into jail for years for talking and acting like this. This was posted two days ago, and the video has an English translation of the wors spoken. The translation of the title:

This is today in Orumiyeh-Iran . A brave woman fighting against #ForcedHijab and gender apartheid. Head of the revolutionary court in Iran announced: “Women who send Masih Alinejad videos risk 1 to 10 years of jail”
Regime is scared of this kind of women.

Tweets from Matthew, who’s on hols. First, on the naming of ducklings:

The world’s chillest orangutan:

Read the link. We’re infecting deer with coronavirus, which could also spread to other mammals and provide several new species as “animal reservoirs” for the virus:

51 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. What’s wrong with American IPAs?? Even the late, great Michael Jackson, the eternal Dean of British Beer Writers, thought that many of them were excellent, and more faithful to what the original 19th c. IPAs shipped off to the Raj from Burton-on-Trent were than the detuned versions from Greene King and other English brewers, even after the CAMRA/Real Ale revolution. Sure, there are plenty of mediocre examples, but there are also many very good ones, no?

    1. I’m pretty sure Jerry is not criticizing the quality of American IPAs, but rather how hugely disproportionate they are compared to any other style of beer. US craft beer makers have been overly gonzo about IPAs for years now. The typical craft beer section in a store or at a bar is often 50% IPAs, often much more.

      I love a good IPA. One of the best I’ve had in recent memory is DC Brau On The Wings of Armageddon. If you like IPAs and you ever come across it, unlikely unfortunately, get it.

      But given how utterly ubiquitous they have become, crowding out all the huge variety of other styles, I have become sick unto death of IPAs.

      1. Thanks for the recommendation, darrelle. US beer was for so long a long depressing list of what in the UK would have been regarded as ‘piss and wind’ beers (except bottom- rather than top-fermented) that probably the massive swing to highly hopped ale varieties was inevitable. But on the whole, it seems to me that there’s way more choice in beer styles now than there was a generation ago. I was especially glad to see the emergence of the New England style hazy ales, because while these aren’t as strongly hoppy (for the most part) as I like, they are, per CAMRA’s criteria, Real Ales—the haze is live yeast, still active till the moment it goes down your throat! That would have been an utter fantasy when I first started trying to find UK-style beers in the US and Canada many (many) decades ago…

        1. While not a huge fan I do enjoy an IPA on occasion. I have found the emergence of “New England” or “Hazy” IPAs to be frustrating – I enjoy the firm bitterness of a classic IPA. The New England style moves hop additions from early to late in the boil to favor hop flavor over hop bitterness. Unfortunately one must now carefully read a beer label prior to purchase in order to discern the what type of IPA one is buying. Some of the fruity hop flavors of the New England styles are just not that interesting to me.

          The other IPA issue is alcohol – most are a minimum of 6% ABV, and usually closer to 8%. So many English Ales such as Landlord have great flavors but only about 4% ABV. Which means I can have twice as much! Helpful in staying competitive in a darts match.

        2. “But on the whole, it seems to me that there’s way more choice in beer styles now than there was a generation ago.”

          Absolutely. I’m one of those people that likes a wide variety of things and goes looking for interesting new things to try. The explosion of craft brews in the US over the past 20 years is wonderful to me.

          I do like the New England style hazy ales too. Ever had a good, authentic, hazy Hefeweizen? Good stuff.

          1. I spent almost six months on sabbatical in Baden-Württenburg some years back, and you can rest assured that we sampled far more than our fair share of Hefeweizen—lovely, cold cloudy stuff in those endless tall glasses (except they come to an end much sooner than you hoped they would). Absolutely, whenever I’m in Germany, Hefeweizen is my comfort food 😀

      2. I generally detest IPAs for their flavor (I find them sour and bitter), but there are some that are pretty good. Perhaps with my age I am maybe more sensitive to these aspects of them, since I know a lot of young people who really like them.

        1. I’m not a big fan of sour beers either. Sours have become pretty popular and there are lots of sour / IPA hybrids. I avoid them.

          In truth many of the plethora of beers on offer from the myriad craft brewers in the US aren’t anything of note. Plenty are quite bad. But there are more excellent brews available than ever before.

          1. Are you referring to Lambics? I love a good lambic even the fruitless “gueuze”, though I don’t know if that’s what you consider a “sour beer”.

            1. Lambics and Goses are indeed examples of traditional sours. I don’t really care for Gose but I adore a good Belgian Lambic. What I was thinking of when I mentioned sours up above were the sours that have recently become such a fad among US craft brewers. They are typically just called a Sour and they tend to be way too sour and unbalanced for my taste.

      3. Most American IPAs that I’ve tasted are way over-hopped and extremely bitter.
        I consider this type of brewing nothing more than macho posturing.

    2. Two observations. Firstly, most of the beers in the photo in the linked page are not IPAs. Secondly, whilst the brewery doesn’t explicitly describe Landlord Ale as an IPA, it is very much in the same style.

  2. I’ve some sympathy with you with respect to IPA; there are far too many ‘craft’ breweries springing up that have no idea what they are doing. Wed that to a public in north America that isn’t accustomed to bitter beer and it’s actually hard to make something interesting that the public will drink. Hence the plethora of lagers, IPAs, porters and, gawd-help-us, fruit beers. Even though IPA was invented to simply survive the slow sailing trip to India and on arrival still be preferable to cholera, it can be pleasant enough if done right.

    1. I like it when there’s a good selection of lagers, IPAs, porters, ales, and yes even gawd-help-us-fruit beers. I agree with darrelle, the problem as I see it is the swamping of the market by IPAs.

      I do think you’re on to something about taste, but I think your reasoning applies more to IPAs than other styles. It is easy to hide incompetence and unoriginality by just hopping the sh1t out of a beer.

  3. The old-style “f” for modern day “s” in the New York Weekly Journal reminded me of actors in the RSC competing to find the most amusing example in the old Shakespeare folios. “Where the bee sucks, there suck I” from The Tempest was judged to be the winner…!

  4. Classic Alec Guinness movies:

    Bridge on the River Kwai
    Doctor Zhivago
    and…wait for it…Star Wars Episode IV

  5. Her are my 3 Alec Guinness films. Kind Hearts and Coronets, The Lavender Hill mob, The Ladykillers.

    1. Well done Frank Bath! Guinness was better in all those movies than in the blockbusters. Ladykillers was his best role.

  6. Can you name three famous movies that starred Guinness? (Only one can be about outer space.)

    Never mind about those Star War flicks, I don’t see how anyone who’s ever seen it can forget the opening scene of Bridge Over the River Kwai with Sir Alec leading those cheeky Brits marching into the Japanese POW camp whistling the Colonel Bogey March:

  7. I couldn’t agree more about the IPAs. The shelves are full of this stuff, and well known brands, especially foreign ones, are driven off.

  8. Last night I struggled to make it halfway through what is possibly the worst Alec Guiness film ever made: Cromwell (1970). Guiness played King Charles I. It won an Oscar — for Best Costume Design. 🙂

      1. I read that they abandoned the effort to film The Honourable Schoolboy because they didn’t have the money for it. Now that Alec Guinness is no longer with us, it will never be. Unless, of course, the Druze chaps are right. Then there would be a chance that Guinness comes back as Guinness the actor.

  9. I thought Alec Guinness was the best part of the forgettable Dudley Moore rom-com “Lovesick”, in which he played the imaginary or hallucinated Sigmund Freud that Moore’s psychiatrist character spoke to frequently. Not a great movie for either of them, but it had its funny moments, and they were both good in it.

  10. The Kaiser Family Foundation released a survey Wednesday that found there was a big split between unvaccinated and vaccinated adults in what they perceived as the bigger threat during the pandemic.

    Eh people will almost always defend the decision they made as the best one, even in the face of counterfactual evidence. This is similar to the psychological bias where people will tell you the wine they paid more for is better, even in blind tests where it’s the same wine. Investment of time, resources, or belief in a decision biases your opinion of it.

    It’s depressing that we have this bias. But a bit uplifting to think that this doesn’t mean nonvaccinated people are predicted to never get vaccinated. Instead what will happen is some number of unvaccinated “risk from vaccine is higher” people will go get the vaccine, and either before or after they do so flip their attitude to “risk from Covid higher” in order to bring their beliefs more in line with their actions. For most of us humans, whatever decision we just made, that was obviously the right one. 🙂

  11. This lass dropped her sunglasses in an orangutang enclosure

    For some reason this video makes me think of “What I desire/is man’s red fire/so I can be like you-ooh-ooh!”

  12. Re: the resistance to vaccination and the spoof post about the person ignoring traffic lights: In the darker side of my soul (the inside, that is), I can’t help but dream of a new variant of Covid that only infects adults who refuse to be vaccinated for specious, selfish reasons and is uniformly, quickly (and painlessly–I’ll be kind) fatal.

    1. If not fatal, it should at least render their reproductive organs useless. Amateur eugenics is a fun and interesting hobby.

  13. “When I read things like this, even the realization that half of all Americans have below-average intelligence doesn’t console me.”
    The final consolation is misanthropy (present company in this forum excepted, of course).😉 I believe it was Alan Watts who put it like this: “The mass of humanity is a field of weeds, which is redeemed by a few beautiful flowers here and there.”

  14. I completely agree with the take of most commenters here about IPAs. Don’t care for them, and some are undrinkable, but so what, if it wasn’t that they (and sours) are about all you can find in many venues.

    Case in point, two evenings ago I was in Chattanooga to attend a minor league baseball game. The local nine, the Lookouts, versus the visiting Rocket City Trash Pandas from Alabama. Guess “trash pandas” is southern slang for raccoons. I like a beer with my obligatory ballpark hot dog. And none of the vendors had anything on offer except IPAs, Summer Shandy, and Blue Moon. A sad situation for a porter/stout guy.

    Happily I had come to the park after spending some time at the Naked River Brewing Company’s fine establishment. Where I could get their excellent Chocolate Moon Pie Stout! Moon Pies, for those who don’t know, have been produced in Chattanooga for over 100 years, and are a southern Appalachian staple. Perfect for a coal miner’s dinner bucket.

      1. Mike, that sounds worthy of a taste. I really like some of the old time root beers. Perhaps that’s because we would dig Sassafras roots as kids and have Mom make tea for us. A spring tradition where I grew up, and still live. Thanks for the suggestion. And, yes, I finally tracked down a vendor with Pabst Blue Ribbon at the park, a better choice even from a can.

  15. I will stay out of the IPA debate. But, I am very concerned about the 2022 election no matter what Biden’s approval ratings are. Listen to today’s interview with Jane Mayer on NPR’s Fresh Air or read her article in the latest New Yorker. The far right is putting a lot of money into changes in state laws so as to allow republican legislatures to overturn election results. Along with voter suppression laws, this could destroy the popular vote. All the will need is one favorable Supreme Court ruling to uphold these changes.

  16. I do like the more traditional IPAs, but I’m afraid I can’t be doing with many of the new US versions, which to my taste are over-hopped, and with excessively sour hops to boot.

    I’ll stick to bitter. Landlord is jolly good, but not widely available on draught in the SE. I came across some Knowle Spring the other day, in a pub in Rochester, and it was OK. Haven’t come across Golden Best or Boltmaker anywhere round here.

    One reason to be cheerful is that, despite all the brewery takeovers and loss of pubs in the past few years, there are now more breweries in the UK than for decades. And one’s local microbreweries are often the best source of good ales. So, with all due respect to Tim Taylor, I’ll continue to go for Larkin’s, Long Man, Cellarhead, Westerham Ales and our other local products whenever I can. Cheers!

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