Tuesday: Hili dialogue

September 28, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on the cruelest day of the week, Tuesday, September 28, 2021: National Strawberry Cream Pie Day.

It’s also National Drink Beer Day, World Rabies Day, Freedom from Hunger Day, and International Day for Universal Access to Information.

News of the Day:

Lots o’ news today.

*When Will They Ever Learn Department: The Washington Post reports that, according to the FBI, the U.S. murder rate in 2020 rose 29.4% over the preceding year. And more of the killing is done with guns:

The FBI data also shows how much killing in America is fueled by shootings. Guns accounted for 73 percent of homicides in 2019, but that increased to 76 percent of homicides in 2020. Houston saw a 55 percent increase in gun killings, which jumped from 221 in 2019 to 343 in 2020. Overall, the city saw more than 400 killings last year.

The good news is that overall crime is down, and what’s below is also touted as good news:

Overall, however, crime is still well below the historic highs reached in the early 1990s. And in many cities, including Washington, D.C., New York and Chicago, the number of killings is still far below the record-high tolls from nearly 30 years ago.

The reasons given by a criminology professor for the murder increase: “the pandemic and what he called a ‘police legitimacy crisis’ brought on by the videotaped killing last year of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis.” Last night the NBC News added two more factors: a larger number of people staying home and a rise in firearm sales, presumably to protect those people staying at home.

So far this year, murders in many places are already above the 2020 record, so stay tuned.

*Will the government shut down on September 30? That may be likely since Republicans in the Senate blocked a House-originated bill to raise the debt limit and avert a shutdown at least until December. (It would take 60 votes of approval in a Senate divided down the middle.)

*A three-judge federal court in New York City ruled unexpectedly early that the City can indeed enforce its vaccination mandate for school teachers and staff, which thus began at midnight last night. Now the opponents are finagling for a weekly testing option. I’m amused by the sentence I put in bold:

An attorney representing Department of Education employees says opponents of the mayor’s school mandate just want a weekly test option scribed into the rule for those who, for whatever reason, do not want to be inoculated against COVID.

“Quite many of them are not anti-vaccination. They’re anti-mandate,” attorney Louis Gelormino said of city education workers who oppose de Blasio’s shot requirement.

*Also in New York, singer-songwriter R. Kelly was found guilty of all nine charges leveled against him, charges of racketeering and sex trafficking. many involving underage girls and boys. On this conviction alone, Kelly faces 10 years to life, and given that he’s 54, he’ll not see freedom again. But it isn’t over yet; the NYT adds that “Mr. Kelly also faces charges in at least two other states, including federal child pornography and obstruction counts in Chicago.” He’ll be sentenced on the NY conviction on May 4.

*From NYT columnist Charles Blow, a piece called “The mendacity of Joe Biden.” Blow is a black writer, and deplores the administration’s handling of the Haitian immigrants:

The latest offense was the administration’s disastrous mishandling of the Haitian migrant crisis at the southern border.

Yes, there were the outrageous images of agents on horseback herding the migrants like cattle, and there was also the administration aggressively deporting the migrants back to Haiti.

When I see those Black bodies at the border, I am unable to separate them from myself, or my family, or my friends. They are us. There is a collective consciousness in blackness, born of the white supremacist erasure of our individuality.

. . . As a justification for many of the deportations, the Biden administration invoked Title 42, which allows deportations based on supposed health risks. The Associated Press pointed out, “The Trump administration invoked it in March 2020 to sweeping effect, prohibiting entry by virtually anyone from Mexico and Canada and essentially sealing the northern and southern borders.” Isn’t that ironic.

I wasn’t aware that many of the Haitians, as Blow reports, haven’t been in Haiti in years, but have presumably been in Mexico or Central America. But that doesn’t explain their attempted egress now, for they weren’t there during the recent weather and political troubles occurring in Haiti.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 690,558, an increase of 2,052 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,771,343, an increase of about 8,300 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 28 includes:

Here’s the platinum-iridium meter bar standard used in the U.S. until 1960, when the meter was redefined as “the distance traveled in a vacuum by light in 1/299,792,458 second”.

  • 1928 – Alexander Fleming notices a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.

Matthew found a tweet with a link to a BBC show, and a picture of Fleming.

  • 1941 – Ted Williams achieves a .406 batting average for the season, and becomes the last major league baseball player to bat .400 or better.

Williams went into the last day of the season with a .3996 average, which, if he sat out the game, could have been rounded up to .400 and give him that benchmark. But as he recounts in the video below, he didn’t even think of that. He went 3 for 4 in each of two games of a double-hitter, and wound up with the solid .406. (Remember, that’s over 4 hits for every ten times at bat—a fantastic average.)

  • 1995 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat sign the Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 551 BC – Confucius, Chinese teacher, editor, politician, and philosopher of the Spring and Autumn period of Chinese history. (d. 479 BC)
  • 1836 – Thomas Crapper, English plumber, invented the ballcock (d. 1910)

Remember, Crapper (photo below) didn’t invent the flush toilet—a longstanding joke, but close to the truth—yet he made several improvements in plumbing, including the floating ballcock for toilets which you’ve seen (#1 in diagram below). He had a royal warrant for toilets since he provided privies for Prince Albert and George V.

  • 1901 – Ed Sullivan, American television host (d. 1974)
  • 1909 – Al Capp, American author and illustrator (d. 1979)

Remember Capp’s invention of he schmoo, a bowling-pin-shaped animal that was delicious to eat and “eager to be eaten”?

Here’s one:

Three lovely actors were born on this day.  One is gone: Sylvia Kristel (“Emmanuelle”) died of throat and esophageal cancer at 60. She had been a heavy smoker since age 11. Bardot and Sorvino are with us, but I haven’t seen Sorvino in a film in a long time.  Sorvino won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her performance in Woody Allen’s “Mighty Aphrodite” (1995).

Those who went beneath the loam on September 28 include:

Melville in 1861:

  • 1895 – Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist (b. 1822)

Discovering the principles of vaccination, microbial fermentation, and pasteurization (he’s immortalized that way), as well as definitively disproving spontaneous generation, a scientist could hardly accomplish more in one lifetime. Here’s a studio portrait that’s been restored:

  • 1953 – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer and scholar (b. 1889)
  • 1964 – Harpo Marx, American comedian, actor, and singer (b. 1888)
  • 1970 – John Dos Passos, American novelist, poet, essayist, and playwright (b. 1896)
  • 1991 – Miles Davis, American trumpet player, composer, and bandleader (b. 1926)

Here’s one of my favorite Davis songs, “Boplicity“, from his “Birth of the Cool” album.

  • 2000 – Pierre Trudeau, Canadian journalist, lawyer, and politician, 15th Prime Minister of Canada (b. 1919)
  • 2016 – Shimon Peres, Polish-Israeli statesman and politician, 9th President of Israel (b. 1923)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili sees herself as an agent of natural selection:

Hili: I have to have a rest.
A: What were you doing?
Hili: I was teaching mice the art of survival.
In Polish:
Hili: Muszę odpocząć.
Ja: A co robiłaś?
Hili: Uczyłam myszy sztuki przetrwania.

From Anne-Marie:

From Divy:

A caracal from Facebook. Look at that ear-twitching!

Do send in one or two good tweets every once in a while. My contributions from readers (about 3 per day) have fallen to nearly zero.

I may have already posted this one from Titania; if so, here it is again:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. This first one qualifies for Tweet of the Month:

Two tweets showing the harpist Naomi SV entertaining herself and the deer. Ineffably sweet. Sound up on both, and watch till the end of both:

I guess it’s Heartwarmer Day. A teenager gets a surprise gift of a ginger kitten:

I am that kind of doctor, but I don’t know the answer:

Nuff said:

28 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Someone else who “went beneath the loam” on this day was Pope John Paul I in 1978. Wikipedia notes that he “died only 33 days after his papal election due to an apparent myocardial infarction, resulting in the first year of three popes since 1605”.

    1. I’m not sure if “Godfather III” spawned a conspiracy theory regarding his death for a plot line, or if it borrowed from an existing one, but it does make a compelling argument.

  2. In other news Gallup Polls reports a broad misunderstanding of the dangers of Covid among Americans, with the largest cohort, including 41% of Democrats, believing that there is an over 50% chance of hospitalization from Covid, while the real number is between 1% and 5%.

    1. From the article at the link you provided:

      “Democrats provide much higher and more accurate vaccine efficacy estimates than Republicans (88% vs. 50%), and unvaccinated Republicans have a median vaccine efficacy of 0%, compared with 73% for vaccinated Republicans. The results suggest that the low vaccine uptake among Republicans may be driven, at least in part, by an inaccurate understanding of the published data on vaccine effectiveness.”

      You sure flyspecked that poll to find an item on which Democrats had a greater misunderstanding than Republicans.

    2. Interesting article. My conclusion from reading it is that if mistaken Democrats were to act on their misunderstandings, the result would tend toward less infection and death, whereas Republican misunderstandings would lead to more sickness and death.

  3. The physicist in me needs to knit pick about the meter standard: the platinum alloy bar was replaced by a definition based on the wavelength of light emitted by a specific transition in krypton-86 atoms. One meter became a certain (large) multiple of that wavelength. It is in 1983 that the speed of light definition was adopted.

    1. The physicist in me needs to knit pick …

      The pedant in me needs to nitpick that it’s “nitpick” — as in picking the tiny eggs laid by lice.

      Sorry. 🙂

    1. I knew that would happen sooner or later. Our local station stopped carrying the Best of Car Talk shows a couple of years ago, so the only way I can hear it is to download podcasts. For several years, we lived in places where we could not hear the show and my memory ain’t what it used to be, so it is often like hearing it for the first time.

  4. Not that kind of doctor. I first heard a specimen of this joke in college:

    A man is at a cocktail party, and is mingling with the other guests. He meets another man, and introduces himself as Doctor So-and-So. The man immediately perks up, and says, “Hey, maybe you can help me. I’ve been having this pain…,” and begins to point to a spot. The Doctor interrupts him, and says, “I’m sorry, I’m not that kind of doctor.” The man apologizes, and the two move on to mingle with others.

    The flow of the party brings them back together. The man says, “You know, doc, I’ve got this tooth….” The Doctor stops him, and says, “I’m sorry. I wasn’t clear. I am a Doctor of Philosophy.” The man apologizes, and they again separate.

    Brought together again, the man asks, “Say, doc, why is there matter rather than not?”

  5. “Quite many of them are not anti-vaccination. They’re anti-mandate,” attorney Louis Gelormino said of city education workers who oppose de Blasio’s shot requirement.

    Are they cutting off their noses to spite their faces? There was no mandate for months. Months! The vaccine is free. It was voluntary. People didn’t do it, so the government needs to do what it can to stop this pandemic. People. You can’t please them no matter what you do.

    Unrelated: Mira Sorvino hit her “Last F*ckable Day” in 2007. Here’s a video by Amy Schumer to explain:


  6. Mira Sorvino was wonderful in “Mighty Aphrodite”. She’s worked constantly since then, as you can see from her IMDB entry: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000227/. Like her father, she seems to take on any role that’s offered her rather than wait for challenging roles like the Woody Allen movie. She was co-lead in “Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion” which had some funny moments. I saw her recently in a recurring role in “Condor” (EPIX).

  7. The Republicans show us once again that their own party is more important than their own country. It’s also ironic that only 3% of the new debt was attributed to the Biden administration and 97% of the new debt was attributed to the Trump administration. So they don’t want to pay for their own debt, and won’t take responsibility for it, either. America does not deserve the wretched GOP, yet millions still vote for them at the expense of their own interests. Very stupid people, modern-day Republicans.

  8. I too love ‘Boplicity’. It’s credited to one ‘Cleo Henry’, a pseudonym adopted by Miles and Gil Evans for publishing-rights reasons. It’s Miles’s mother’s name.

    1. Brahm’s beard s awesome, but Crapper and Pasteur were also bearded, as was Darwin in his later years. I think it started with Hadrianus who sported a beard to hide a scar, oh wait, wasn’t Socrates bearded?

  9. Indeed, there are doctors, and then there are doctors, as the following scenario illustrates.

    An actor performing on stage collapsed. A fellow cast member rapidly assessed the situation and addressed the audience saying “OMG. We think she has had a heart attack! Is there an aroma therapist in the house?”

    It could never happen in real life, though …

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