Sunday: Hili dialogue

September 26, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Sunday, September 26, 2021: National Key Lime Pie Day. (If you try it, be sure that Key limes were used rather than the big, regular Persian limes. They try to fool you with the name a lot of the time.)

It’s also National Dumpling Day, National Better Breakfast Day, Daughter’s Day, Lumberjack Day, World Deaf Day, World Rivers Day, and National Good Neighbor Day. 

News of the Day:

It’s now been 248 days since Biden took office, and still there is no cat in the White House, as he and Jill promised. Could this be playing into his slipping approval ratings?

*The controversy over booster shots continues as the CDC has recommended boosters for those over 65 and the immunocompromised. The shots are now “going into arms”, as they say. The NYT editorial Board objects to the inequity of the distribution, both to countries and Americans who hold certain jobs, while, in a separate editorial, two physicians also object to the notion of giving boosters now to some Americans:

But the C.D.C. also said two additional groups “may” get boosters “based on their individual benefits and risks”: people 18 to 49 with underlying medical conditions and people 18 to 64 who are at a high risk of coronavirus exposure at work.

The second set of recommendations is premature and too vague.

*And the Associated Press underlines how much money there is to be made by Pfizer and Moderna for producing boosters:

No one knows yet how many people will get the extra shots. But Morningstar analyst Karen Andersen expects boosters alone to bring in about $26 billion in global sales next year for Pfizer and BioNTech and around $14 billion for Moderna if they are endorsed for nearly all Americans.

The profit margin on boosters is estimated at around 20% because there are no R&D costs, so if both boosters are approved, the companies rake in $7-8 billion in profit alone. That’s on top of the regular vaccine profits, of course.

*Finally, if you want to know why some vaccines last a lifetime, like measles, while others wear off fairly quickly, the Wall Street Journal has an informative article. I like the part about vaccines that use replicating viruses.

*The Guardian gives a review of Heather Heying and Bret Weinstein’s new book, A Hunter-Gatherer’s Guide to the 21st Century: Evolution and the Challenges of Modern LifeIt’s an extremely critical take, critical to the point of nasty about nearly everything in the book.  A quote:

Not that the authors do much better when they engage with studies. They make alarming pronouncements based on flimsy data, such as when they say that water fluoridation is “neurotoxic” to children based on one reference to a “pilot study”. They lazily repeat false information from other pop-science books, such as the “fact” that all known species sleep (some, including certain amphibians, don’t!). The final chapter, in which they embrace the bonkers “degrowth” movement, contains what might be the single stupidest paragraph on economics ever written (claiming, bizarrely, that the invention of more efficient versions of products such as fridges would bring the economy to its knees).

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 687,876, an increase of 2,034 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,758,478, an increase of about 5,900 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 26 includes:

Here’s Drake’s route, which took nearly three years.

What a disaster! Here’s a visualization of the original about 400 B.C., with painted figures and how it looks now. (I used to play among its ruins when I was a lad in Greece; that’s not permitted now.)

  • 1789 – George Washington appoints Thomas Jefferson the first United States Secretary of State.
  • 1905 – Albert Einstein publishes the third of his Annus Mirabilis papers, introducing the special theory of relativity.

Here’s that third one, though they singled out his paper on the photoelectric effect when he got the Nobel Prize.

  • 1918 – World War I: The Meuse-Argonne Offensive began which would last until the total surrender of German forces.
  • 1933 – As gangster Machine Gun Kelly surrenders to the FBI, he shouts out, “Don’t shoot, G-Men!”, which becomes a nickname for FBI agents.

Here’s Kelly and his wife receiving life sentences for kidnapping in October of 1933. He died in prison of a heart attack on his 59th birthday:

  • 1953 – Rationing of sugar in the United Kingdom ends.

This was eight years after the end of the war! It was hard times in the UK.

  • 1960 – In Chicago, the first televised debate takes place between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.
  • 1969 – Abbey Road, the last recorded album by the Beatles, is released.
  • 1981 – Nolan Ryan sets a Major League record by throwing his fifth no-hitter.

Here’s the last out of Ryan’s record-setting fifth no-hitter.  Ryan got up to seven before he retired. Sandy Koufax is second with four.

  • 1984 – The United Kingdom and China agree to a transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong, to take place in 1997.
  • 2008 – Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy becomes first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.

Here’s a news video of Rossy’s remarkable flight, which took just ten minutes.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1774 – Johnny Appleseed, American gardener and environmentalist (d. 1845)
  • 1849 – Ivan Pavlov, Russian physiologist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1936)

Pavlov (not salivating):

  • 1874 – Lewis Hine, American photographer and activist (d. 1940)

Among his other work, Hine documented child labor in the U.S., which led to changes in the laws. Here’s one of his photos, “Child laborers in glasswork. Indiana, 1908″ (the picture’s labeled “Midnight at the glassworks”). 

  • 1888 – T. S. Eliot, English poet, playwright, critic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1965)
  • 1898 – George Gershwin, American pianist and composer (d. 1937)
  • 1914 – Jack LaLanne, American fitness expert (d. 2011)

For some reason I used to watch this show, though I didn’t do the exercises. I still know the words and tune to his “Goodbye Song” at the show’s end (below), sung when he was both young and old:

  • 1925 – Marty Robbins, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actor, and race car driver (d. 1982)

Here’s Robbins singing his most famous song (1965).  Robbins wrote the song in 1959.

  • 1946 – Andrea Dworkin, American activist and author (d. 2005)
  • 1948 – Olivia Newton-John, English-Australian singer-songwriter and actress
  • 1981 – Serena Williams, American tennis player

Those who died on September 26 include:

  • 1797 – James Hutton, Scottish geologist and physician (b. 1726)
  • 1827 – Ludwig van Beethoven, German pianist and composer (b. 1770)
  • 1892 – Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist, and journalist (b. 1819)
  • 1923 – Sarah Bernhardt, French actress and screenwriter (b. 1844)
  • 1969 – John Kennedy Toole, American novelist (b. 1937)

Toole (photo below) wrote one book, but it’s a doozie: A Confederacy of Dunces, which won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1981. (It’s good!) He committed suicide at age 31, and his book won the Prize eleven years after his death, published with the help of his mother and Walker Percy.

  • 1973 – Noël Coward, English playwright, actor, and composer (b. 1899)
  • 1996 – Edmund Muskie, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician, 58th United States Secretary of State (b. 1914)
  • 2011 – Geraldine Ferraro, American lawyer and politician (b. 1935)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili needs nourishment to save the world.

Hili: We have to repair the world.
A: What should we start with?
Hili: First we need to eat something.
In Polish:
Hili: Musimy naprawić świat.
Ja: Od czego zaczniemy?
Hili: Najpierw trzeba coś zjeść.

Szaron and Kulka on the windowsill, inside and out

From Divy. How Ceiling Cat makes rain:

From Jesus of the Day. You can thank me later. (Yes, it’s a real word.)


From Not Another Science Cat Page:

From Titania. Dear Ceiling Cat, this really was the cover of The Lancet, Britain’s premier medical journal)—not Scientific American. The problem with Titania’s aside, of course, is that not all transwomen have vaginas, and some transmen do.

Speaking of which, here’s a photo (second tweet) in which women are given the short shrift (h/t Luana):

A cute tweet from Barry who says ‘it’s cheaper than pest control.”

From Simon. The Lincoln Project (comprising never-Trumper Republicans) goes after the Republican governor of Texas:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a lovely heartwarmer (Ignore the jerks who abused Rhys):

More of Rhys:

Does God have an inordinate fondness for beetle larvae?

21 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. While learning about the advantages of a third shot and the profits for the drug companies we should not forget what is also going on in this unvaccinated country. If you can read the WP article on Utah, running out of space for the dead.

    1. One should very much hope that at some point in the near future, that there arises an appropriate amount of retribution against the evil Republican leaders of this “pandemic of the unvaccinated”. I now have several acquaintances who have lost family because of whats’ going on.

  2. Regarding the Jack LaLanne Show, Jerry wrote:

    For some reason I used to watch this show, though I didn’t do the exercises.

    It never occurred to me until you mentioned it, but I also used to watch the show, but not do the exercises. The exercises, IIRC, were kinda’ lame, like lifting books, etc. Either there was something fascinating about the show (Jack was certainly enthusiastic), or there was just nothing better to watch. After all, at the time, there were only three channels: NBC, CBS, and ABC. Well, for me, four. Growing up in Detroit, we also had the Canadian CBC, so I could keep abreast of curling. Yay.

    Edited to add: Remember the dog? The dog was cool.

  3. National Key Lime Pie Day. (If you try it, be sure that Key limes were used rather than the big, regular Persian limes. They try to fool you with the name a lot of the time.)

    Never trust a key lime pie that’s green; it should be yellow, as are the key limes themselves when ripe. If you can’t get hold of actual key limes, Nellie & Joe’s sells a serviceable juice that can be used in their stead.

  4. That reminds me, I never wanted to do this. I wanted to be a lumberjack, leaping from tree to tree as they float down the mighty rivers of British Columbia with my best girl by my side.
    The Larch!
    The Pine!
    The Giant Redwood tree!
    The Sequoia!
    The Little Whopping Rule Tree!
    We’d sing! Sing! Sing!

  5. 1960 – In Chicago, the first televised debate takes place between presidential candidates Richard M. Nixon and John F. Kennedy.

    That was the first time the nation en masse got a close-up look at Tricky Dick’s truthless, used-car-salesman persona. Even many staunch Republicans were taken aback by his shifty-eyed, sweating-upper-lip mien.

    Nixon’s earlier appearances on the national stage — such as the maudlin “Checker’s speech” he gave to keep Eisenhower from tossing him off the bottom half of the 1952 ticket — weren’t actually seen by most of his countrymen, given that most American families had yet to acquire a television set. Instead, people heard it on the radio, or read about in their local, hometown Republican newspapers.

  6. John Kennedy Toole actually wrote two novels – The Neon Bible (which I haven’t read) was written while he was a teenager. Apparently, it’s nothing like ACoD (which is one of my favorite novels).

    One of Pavlov’s dogs is on display at the Museum of Hygiene in St Petersburg (RU). I managed to sneak an out-of-focus picture of it while my wife distracted the very intimidating female museum docents. These ladies looked like they’d had a former career as guards in a gulag.

    1. I re-read Dunces</i. over the course of a long weekend about a month or two back. It was every bit as great as I remembered it from decades ago.

  7. … Hine documented child labor in the U.S., which led to changes in the laws.

    Or “creeping socialism” as rightwingers called child labor laws at the time. What business is it of the government to tell a man when he can send his kids into the factories and mines?

    It’s the same mindset as the anti-vaxxers today.

  8. I listened to Abbey Road this morning. I was born in ’66, so I came to The Beatles around grade 6 or so. I remember early 80’s doomsday talks with friends. We came to the conclusion that given appropriate notice, we’d want to be at ground zero during a nuclear attack, listening to side 2 of Abbey Road.

    Now we’re in our 50’s, and talking about Medical Assistance in Dying. If it comes to that, I still want side 2 of Abbey Road to be the last thing I hear. Time it right and “The End” will play just as they call T.O.D. “Her Majesty” can play as they turn off the monitors.


    1. My wife and I had a dear friend who elected to check out with Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD to those of us in Canada). He had metastatic renal cell carcinoma. He sent instructions to his friends that we were to have a rum and Coke at 2:00 PM that Sunday and play Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again”. At the appointed time we dutifully asked Siri to play the tune and drank a toast to our friend. Siri kept playing Willie Nelson songs afterwards, and the next one (I kid you not) was “I Did it My Way”.

    2. We came to the conclusion that given appropriate notice, we’d want to be at ground zero during a nuclear attack, listening to side 2 of Abbey Road.

      If I had but two wishes, the first would be to be listening to The Medley when the attack came; the second, that the bomb would detonate before Ringo’s drum solo. 🙂

  9. Tish Harrison Warren has an unexpectedly thought-provoking column in the NYT today on similarities between (not equivalence of) the “my body, my choice” slogan of the pro-choice movement and its cooption by the anti-vaccination movement.

    THW focuses on the idea that each movement opposes restraints on freedom, while its opponents emphasize a greater good that’s hard to achieve because it asks some people (pregnant women, unvaccinated individuals) to make a sacrifice toward a collective goal (fewer abortions, herd immunity).

    THW makes a completely unconvincing argument that religious communities are good vehicles for advocating this kind of collective approach toward a greater good.

    And she doesn’t address the vast difference between those two movements in the sacrifices being asked of some people (lifetime commitment to a child for those denied freedom of choice on abortion vs. a few days of flu-like symptoms for those denied freedom of choice on COVID vaccination). I wanted to point this out in the comments at the NYT, but as is so often the case comments were disabled for her column 🙁

    But I did like her suggestion that both movements should include honest accounts of what the movement is asking of its opponents: curtailment of some individual freedoms as part of progress toward a shared collective good. And that advocates of both movements should avoid demonizing their opponents as baby murderers or as anti-science idiots.

    For the record, I think any woman who wants an abortion should be able to get one free in her own home town, and I think everybody should get vaccinated early and often. It’s the demonization and name-calling that I think we could give up without much loss (as is evident at this web site where discussion without acrimony is a mainstay).

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