Sunday: Hili dialogue (and Leon and Mietek monologues)

October 31, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s the terminus of October: Sunday, October 31, 2021: National Caramel Apple Day (caution: beware of dental work!).  And it’s HALLOWEEN (see below).

It’s also National Carve a Pumpkin Day, Books for Treats Day (very bad idea!), Girl Scouts Founders Day, Knock Knock Jokes Day, National Increase Your Psychic Powers Day (oy!), and Trick or Treat for UNICEF Day

Here’s a knock-knock joke:

Knock! Knock!
Who’s there?
Owls say
Owls say who?
Yes, they do.

There’s a Google Doodle gif for Halloween (click on screenshot):

And here’s a list of Halloween and its related celebrations:

And here’s an excellent Halloween costume:

News of the Day:

*The Associated Press discusses how and why programs for the “gifted and talented” are being dismantled in secondary schools throughout America, all in the name of equity. The issue is that blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in such programs compared to “regular” programs, and this inequity is considered prima facie evidence for present-day racism if you adhere to a Kendian agenda. Her are two of the critics of gifted and talented programs:

The changes don’t go far enough for critics like Rita Green, the education chair of the Seattle Chapter of the NAACP. She has called for more work to build environments that nurture the intellectual development of all the district’s 50,000 schoolchildren.

“We want the program just abolished. Period. The Highly Capable Cohort program is fundamentally flawed, and it’s inherently racist,” Green said.

. . .One such constituent, Zakiyah Ansari, the New York City director for the Alliance for Quality Education, wants Adams to follow through with de Blasio’s pledge.

“We believe every child is a gifted child, every child is a talented child,” Ansari said. “We have to have people as angry about taking away one program that impacts a few people and be more upset about the Black and brown kids who haven’t had access to excellent education.”

*The New York Times reports that three professors from the University of Florida have been barred from testifying for the prosecution in a lawsuit trying to overturn the state’s new restrictive voting rights bill. This is clearly a violation of both academic freedom and the First Amendment, but the University makes a specious claim:

University officials told the three that because the school was a state institution, participating in a lawsuit against the state “is adverse to U.F.’s interests” and could not be permitted. In their filing, the lawyers sought to question Gov. Ron DeSantis, a Republican, on whether he was involved in the decision.

Mr. DeSantis has resisted questioning, arguing that all of his communications about the law are protected from disclosure because discussions about legislation are privileged.

The school has always let professors testify in court cases, even those involving criticism of the party in power in Florida, which is also “adverse to U.F.’s interests. I’m betting that DeSantis has pressured the University, saying that he’d withhold funds from the school if the professors testify. In the end, I think they will, for this is an open and shut issue. (h/t Bill)

*Also in the NYT, an op-ed by Tressie McMillam Cottom called “Why we should talk about what Kyrsten Sinema is wearing.” (That’s a clickbait title if ever there was one.) It turns out that the answer, for Cottom, is more a sociological one—though an interesting one—but has little to do with how we assess her politics, or of little use those who wish to change Sinema’s stand, which is obstructing Biden’s two funding bills.

*The dorm below would (and will be) be a dreadful place to live during college, especially because UCSB is one of the nicest campuses in the U.S. The Santa Barbara Independent reports this (h/t Matthew)

A consulting architect on [The University of Californa at Santa Barbara’s] Design Review Committee has quit his post in protest over the university’s proposed Munger Hall project, calling the massive, mostly-windowless dormitory plan “unsupportable from my perspective as an architect, a parent, and a human being.”

In his October 25 resignation letter to UCSB Campus Architect Julie Hendricks, Dennis McFadden ― a well-respected Southern California architect with 15 years on the committee ― goes scorched earth on the radical new building concept, which calls for an 11-story, 1.68-million-square-foot structure that would house up to 4,500 students, 94 percent of whom would not have windows in their small, single-occupancy bedrooms.

The idea was conceived by 97-year-old billionaire-investor turned amateur-architect Charles Munger, who donated $200 million toward the project with the condition that his blueprints be followed exactly. Munger maintains the small living quarters would coax residents out of their rooms and into larger common areas, where they could interact and collaborate.

Here’s the horrible dorm, and its floor plan below that. Crikey, would you want to live there for four years?

The dormitory’s nine identical residential floors would be organized into eight “houses” with eight “suites” (shown here) with eight bedrooms. | Credit: Courtesy

The architect who resigned said the dorm “would qualify as the eighth densest neighborhood on the planet, falling just short of Dhaka, Bangladesh. It would be able to house Princeton University’s entire undergraduate population, or all five Claremont Colleges. . . The project is essentially the student life portion of a mid-sized university campus in a box.”

The University is going to build it anyway!  Usually money is given to universities without such strict conditions. Jebus!

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 745,374, an increase of 1,344 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,012,328, an increase of about 5,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on October 31 includes:

It’s a Lutheran Church now, and Martin is buried inside. Here’s his tomb.

The famous doors seem to be gone, but in truth the claim that Luther posted his manifesto on them is questionable. But they built these ones below, described in Wikipedia as “‘Theses Doors’, commemorating Luther’s Ninety-five Theses were installed on Luther’s 375th birthday in 1858.”

  • 1907 – The Parliament of Finland approved the Prohibition Act, but the law was not implemented because it was not ratified by Tsar Nicholas II of Russia.
  • 1917 – World War I: Battle of Beersheba: The “last successful cavalry charge in history”.

Here’s a photo of the attack, which took place in what is now southern Israel. Reinforced by later troops, it ultimately led to the British capture of Jerusalem. Note that the first wave of attackers brandished only bayonets as they charged; the rifles are on their backs.

(From Wikipedia): The charge of the Australian Light Horse at Beersheba, 1917, painted by George Lambert in 1920, shows troopers with bayonets in their hands and .303 rifles slung across their backs.

Here’s where Marble Bar is (there are stromatolites nearby!), and then a view of that godforsaken town. (Read the NYT article on what it’s like to live there).

But it’s not the hottest town in Australia! That honor goes to Wyndham, Western Australia, located on the map below with a picture of that town, where “In 1946, Wyndham recorded 333 consecutive days of temperatures over 32 °C (90 °F).” The population is 780 sweating Aussies.

  • 1940 – World War II: The Battle of Britain ends: The United Kingdom prevents a possible German invasion.
  • 1941 – After 14 years of work, Mount Rushmore is completed.

Can you name all four figures sculpted on the mountain? This wouldn’t be done today, because at least three of them have had statues taken down or have been cancelled.

Here’s the designer, Gutzon Borglum, addressing a crowd before the sculpture in statu nascendi:

  • 1961 – In the Soviet Union, Joseph Stalin’s body is removed from the Lenin’s Mausoleum, also known as the Lenin Tomb.
  • 1984 – Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi is assassinated by two Sikh security guards. Riots break out in New Delhi and other cities and around 3,000 Sikhs are killed.

A photo from Wikipedia labeled: “Today, the spot where Indira Gandhi was assassinated is marked by a glass opening in the crystal pathway at the Indira Gandhi Memorial”:

  • 1999 – Yachtsman Jesse Martin returns to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigating the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.

He was the youngest person to accomplish this feat though not the first.  Here’s a short video of Martin:

  • 2011 – The global population of humans reaches seven billion. This day is now recognized by the United Nations as the Day of Seven Billion.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1638 – Meindert Hobbema, Dutch painter (d. 1709)
  • 1795 – John Keats, English poet (d. 1821)

Keats died at only 25 of tuberculosis. What great poetry we’d have had he lived longer.  Here’s a life mask from 1816 followed by a photo of Keats’s grave in Rome (note that his name isn’t on the tombstone).

  • 1835 – Adolf von Baeyer, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1917)
  • 1887 – Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese general and politician, 1st President of the Republic of China (Taiwan) (d. 1975)
  • 1912 – Dale Evans, American singer-songwriter and actress (d. 2001)
  • 1920 – Helmut Newton, German-Australian photographer (d. 2004)

Many of Newton’s photos are too erotic to be shown on this family-oriented site; here’s one of the tamer ones:

  • 1922 – Illinois Jacquet, American saxophonist and composer (d. 2004)
  • 1926 – Jimmy Savile, English radio and television host (d. 2011)
  • 1931 – Dan Rather, American journalist

Rather turns 90 today.

  • 1943 – Brian Piccolo, American football player (d. 1970)
  • 1967 – Vanilla Ice, American rapper, television personality, and real estate investor

Those who died on October 31 include:

Thomas Aquinas by Bartolomeo:

Utamaro: A Woman and a Cat (1793-1794)

I never really encountered the work of Schiele until I visited the Leopold Museum in Vienna, where I was mesmerized by his paintings. I now consider him one of the very greatest modern artists. Below is a photo I took of one of his paintings when I visited in October, 2012. This is “Self Portrait With Lowered Head” (1912).

Schiele died at only 28, another great loss to art. He succumbed of the Spanish flu in the fall of 1918, only three days after his wife died. And that’s about the time my paternal grandmother died in the same epidemic.

  • 1926 – Harry Houdini, American magician and stuntman (b. 1874)
  • 1984 – Indira Gandhi, Indian politician, Prime Minister of India (b. 1917)
  • 1988 – John Houseman, Romanian-born American actor, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1902)
  • 1993 – River Phoenix, American actor and singer (b. 1970)
  • 2006 – P. W. Botha, South African soldier and politician, State President of South Africa (b. 1916)
  • 2008 – Studs Terkel, American historian and author (b. 1912)
  • 2020 – Sean Connery, Scottish actor (b. 1930)

Connery in Scottish regalia, complete with family tartan and a sporran.

(From Wikipedia): Connery at a Tartan Day celebration in Washington, D.C. When knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2000 he wore a green-and-black hunting tartan kilt of his mother’s MacLean clan.[121]
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has her encounter with Kulka, but Kulka doesn’t back down.

Hili: Get away from here!
Kulka: And what are you going to do to me if I don’t?
In Polish:
Hili: Uciekaj stąd!
Kulka: A jak nie ucieknę to co mi zrobisz?

And, in nearby Wloclawek, both Leon and Mietek have monologues. Leon demands approbation, while Mietek orders his staff around.

Leon: And now start to admire my wisdom.

In Polish: Teraz zajmij się podziwianiem mojej mądrości!

Mietek, sitting on papers that Elzbieta is supposed to grade, prods her to get to work.

Mietek: Keep reading!

In Polish: Czytaj dalej!


Clever pumpkin carving all over Facebook:

A meme from Bruce:

Titania’s new piece speculates about how Gandhi would have dealt with trans people:

Masih continues her battle:

From the British Museum: Proof of love in the olden days. Nowadays this would be locked to the the Pont des Arts bridge over the Seine.

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. This first one feature innovative drumming by Ringo. Who knew? Do listen if you’re a Beatles fan.

Matthew says that this is a great figure. It is.

A needy dog begs for affection:

Can CRISPR do this?

32 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue (and Leon and Mietek monologues)

  1. I saw the story on that dormitory the other day – That is Warren Buffet’s old bud doing that thing. It is a good example of why billionaires should just pay taxes and not attempt to do stuff like buildings. What a fire trap. It is the opposite of homeless, A place where people will want to leave and get outside.

    1. If you click through to the article, there’s a plan of a whole floor. From a mathematical point of view, it’s actually rather clever and fractal in nature. Each “suite” (pictured above) consists of a central corridor with four(? – looks like five to me) bedrooms on each side. The next level is a “house” which is a corridor with four suites on each side and then the floor is a corridor with four houses on each side.

      I wouldn’t want to live there though. It looks like hell on campus.

      1. One person’s “clever and fractal” layout is another’s Higher Ed Metropolis, isn’t it? I can imagine they already calculated the suicide rate, so the lack of windows…

        And elsewhere I see that the gloriously happy 4500 have exactly two entrance/exit points — I suppose no problem since Santa Barbara isn’t in a seismic-risk zone.. Or is it?

      2. I am dismayed that anyone would consider this “clever.” A residence hall that appears to look like “hell on campus” for human beings to live in can’t be, by my definition, clever. Viewing this as an architect, this layout is not an innovative use of space. Any prison designer could do better. A design for humans that ignores our humanity is a failure. It is the least architects owe to the owners/ users of buildings and society at large.

        1. any prison designer — yes. This could be the set for “Prison Experiment II: The Guards Gagged”, or, maybe “Hotel California II”

        2. I am dismayed that you failed to understand my point that it is clever only as an abstract mathematical exercise not as a space for humans to live in. I’ll try to express myself more clearly in future. Just to be absolutely clear, I do not think this should ever be realised as a physical building but it does have a mathematical symmetry to it.

    2. Joint looks like an urban detention center — the kinda place where people who have been denied (or can’t afford) bail are held pending trial or plea.

      1. Yes it does. It recalled to my mind walking through the USS Texas. Not only were the living quarters of the enlisted men extremely crowded, woven hammocks were bolted into the corridors stacked 3 high to provide additional capacity during WW2. The corridors are so narrow, a man passing through would have brushed against the men sleeping unless he turned his shoulders sideways. Humans can certainly put up with a lot when we have to. At least no one was claiming the purpose was so sailors could be “coaxed into common spaces where they can mingle and collaborate.”

  2. “”‘Theses Doors’, commemorating Luther’s Ninety-five Theses were installed on Luther’s 375th birthday in 1858.””

    There’s a good number puzzler in there somewhere….

  3. Madness! “Every child is a gifted child…every child is a talented child”: maybe in a broadest sense in some respect, but certainly not in the traditional academic sense that is developed in university. As a simplest example, I was one of our host’s undergraduate classmates. He was clearly much more gifted and talented than I, as were a number of his classmates in the William and Mary Honors Program, and that innate talent continues today fifty years later. I had as much opportunity and privilege (whatever that really is) as any of them, coming from a solidly middle class, white, college educated family, but there were clear differences between us in ability it seemed. We went through a similar phase of every child is gifted and talented when I was teaching high school in the middle 70’s. I think it was easier to say that than get down to the real work of making sure that all children, regardless of their socio-economic station upon entering K-12, learned to read at grade level before third grade.

    1. Every child is a gifted and talented athlete and should have a spot on the varsity team. If they lose, it’s the coach’s fault.

    1. Thanks for that story. While I know well of Gordon Wood I had not heard of Holton. He seems very disjointed and maybe. a little crazy. I would recommend any book by Wood and also would recommend his latest little diddy – Power and Liberty. As long as I am here another new one by Joseph Ellis – The Cause.

      1. Woody Holton is the son of former VA governor, the recently late A. Linwood Holton, brotherof former VA first lady and former VA Sec of Ed Anne Holton, and brother in law of former VA governor and current Democratic VA senator Tim Kaine.

  4. “gifted and talented” seems to mr a use of language that Orwell criticized – what, precisely, explains what a “gifted and talented” student appears to do?

    Do they merely show up?

    Do they work extra hard?

  5. “We believe every child is a gifted child, every child is a talented child,”

    Reminds me of Lake Wobegon, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.”

    1. I just recently read the story on what happened to Garrison Keillor, not sure of the spelling. Very sad downfall but it happens to lots of these old guys.

  6. It was once tradition at Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, at least still in 1985, to physically nail a copy of one’s doctoral thesis to the door of the library. There was a spot on the massive oak front doors that was all chewed up from the nails. The thesis, IIRC, was held to the nail by a thin rope. It seems now that it’s all done electronically and I think the physical library is no longer there either (or else vastly reduced in size), but there’s a word in the current vocabulary that reflects the past tradition.

  7. 1999 – Yachtsman Jesse Martin returns to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigating the world, solo, non-stop and unassisted.

    Every four years there is a non-stop singlehanded round-the-world sailing race — the Vendée Globe. It is regarded as the most demanding race in the yachting world. Derek Lundy wrote an excellent book about the tragic 1996-1997 race, in which, of the 16 sailors and boats that started the race, 10 were unable to finish, and one was lost at sea, Godforsaken Sea.

  8. One of the ironic aspects of this residence hall is the sharp contrast between this prison-like design and the relatively luxurious student housing and student unions that have been built recently. Universities have been criticized for spending too much money on opulent facilities in order to attract students as consumers. Now we see a university, obviously beholden to this rich guy and backed into a corner due to procrastinating on housing solutions, constructing a building that would not have passed muster in 1970.

    The rich guy may have made some sketches, but an architect’s stamp is required for a building this large and complex. That means an architect figured out how to make this monstrosity meet all code requirements, including daylighting minimums and emergency egress. I don’t blame them for letting the rich guy take credit for their design. It is terrible that all the agencies involved have approved this. To add insult to injury, they are going for a LEED certification. So an environmental organization is going to put their stamp of green approval on something that shouldn’t be built at all. I am concerned that this will not go well once it is inhabited.

  9. Since it’s still Knock Knock Jokes Day:

    – Knock knock.
    – Who’s there?
    – Little old lady.
    – Little old lady who?
    – I didn’t know you could yodel!

  10. Mt. Rushmore was and is a Lakota Sioux sacred site, the “Seven Grandfathers”, located on Black Hills land ceded by treaty to the Sioux “in perpetuity” in 1868. Ulysses Grant tore up the treaty as an election ploy after gold was discovered in the 1870s. After Native Americans, the true owners, resisted invasion of prospectors, the Black Hills were basically confiscated by the U.S. government and later desecrated with the Mt. Rushmore monument.
    Rushmore designer Gutzon Borglum had previously created Confederate images for Stone Mountain, Georgia: Jefferson Davis and generals Robert E. Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson on horseback. Wikipedia says “At Stone Mountain he [Gutzon] developed sympathetic connections with the reorganized Ku Klux Klan, who were major financial backers of the monument.” Neither was the Mt. Rushmore carving a monument to the general moral greatness of the U.S. nor the four US presidents depicted. Rather, and ironically, it was intended to glorify US racist expansionism. The presidents were not “chosen to represent the nation’s birth, growth, development and preservation,” as claimed by Wikipedia sources. The banners in the above photo leave this in no doubt. They do not proclaim lofty ideals. What is memorialized are the territorial expansions realized by the men in stone: Washington winning America’s British Colonies; Jefferson negotiating the Louisiana purchase; Lincoln the buying of Alaska (‘Alaska’ is partially visible on the shed to the right); and T. Roosevelt for taking Panama from Colombia for the Panama Canal, and possibly Teddy’s earlier role in the annexation of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines.

  11. “1926 – Jimmy Savile, English radio and television host (d. 2011)”
    and to quote Wikipedia “predatory sex offender”

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