Thursday: Hili dialogue

January 13, 2022 • 7:30 am

Welcome to Thursday, January 13, 2022:  National Peach Melba Day. Named after the Australian soprano Nellie Melba, it consists of peaches, raspberry sauce, and vanilla ice cream. The dessert sounds lovely, but I’ve never had it. Here’s the dessert followed by Nellie:




It’s also National Rubber Ducky Day, Korean-American Day, Public Radio Broadcasting Day. and Stephen Foster Memorial Day. (Hasn’t he been canceled yet? After all, he wrote “Hard Times Come Again No More“, “Camptown Races“, “Old Folks at Home” (“Swanee River”), and “Old Black Joe“.)

News of the Day:

*If you’re an American and have been to the grocery store lately (and who doesn’t go?), you’ll know that prices on food have shot up. But this of course is part of a general inflation in America, now reported at 7% for 2021—the highest in a decade:

Steep increases in the cost of housing, and used cars and trucks, powered the overall rise in prices. Economists have been especially worried about rising home and rent costs, which can get locked in through a long-term contract and may not improve after the pandemic abates or supply chains clear up.

. . .Overall, economists aren’t worried about inflation, on its own causing a recession, as the economy grew rapidly throughout 2021 and created some 6.4 million jobs. Rather, the concern is that the Federal Reserve would be forced to combat inflation with sudden and aggressive interest rate increases, and the rising cost of borrowing could choke off the economic recovery.

Indeed, rising inflation prompted the Fed to make its strongest move yet to tackle inflation, moving up the timeline for what could be as many as three interest rate increases starting as soon as March. More generally, officials within the Fed and Biden administration have said they expect high inflation will persist through much of 2022.
But Americans vote their pocketbook more than anything else, and if Uncle Joe doesn’t get his Build Back Better Bill passed, which seems more and more unlikely all the time, the Democrats may take a drubbing in November.

*The NYT has a longish article reporting that Penelope Cruz has once again teamed up with director Pedro Almodóvar; and this time the film is really good (or so they say).

What do you do when you feel a connection that’s both natural and supernatural all at once? If you’re Cruz and Almodóvar, you eventually give in to it and make seven movies together. Their latest, “Parallel Mothers,” is also one of their greatest, starring Cruz as a mother wrestling with a terrible secret. Her finely calibrated performance won the Volpi Cup at the Venice Film Festival and best actress honors from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics; it may also earn the 47-year-old Cruz, an Oscar winner for “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” her fourth Academy Award nomination.

Here’s the Rotten Tomato rating compendium so far, and below that is the trailer (click below to see the details and individual critic’s takes:

*As our demographic profile of readers suggests, there will be more than a few of you who remember Ronnie Spector, the lead singer of the Ronettes. Her last name, of course, comes from her marriage to Phil Spector, who produced the group and created for them his famous “Wall of Sound.” Spector died yesterday of cancer; she was 78. Big hair, big sound, and a lot of mascara, as well as good music, which largely preceded the golden years of Soul Music. To see them singing one of their biggest hits live, click below (Ronnie’s the lead singer, of course.)

They were married in 1968, and, given Phil Spector’s temper and behavior towards women, it was amazing that the marriage lasted four years (he recently died in jail after being convicted of murdering a woman). Here’s a chilling note from Ronnie’s Wikipedia bio:

Spector revealed in her 1990 memoir, Be My Baby, that after they married, Phil subjected her to years of psychological torment and sabotaged her career by forbidding her to perform. He surrounded their house with barbed wire and guard dogs, and confiscated her shoes to prevent her from leaving. On the rare occasions he allowed her out alone, she had to drive with a life-size dummy of Phil.  Spector stated that Phil installed a gold coffin with a glass top in the basement, promising that he would kill her and display her corpse if she ever left him.She began drinking and attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings to escape the house.

*Prince Andrew, aka “Randy Andy”, has lost a round in his fight to avoid being sued in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal, but don’t expect to see him in prison any time soon. (Has any royal in the last 150 years seen prison time?) In fact, his suit is a civil one: he’s being sued by Virginia Giuffre, who argued that the Prince had sex with her (arranged by Ghislaine Maxwell), when she was just 17.

A judge in New York refused to dismiss the civil suit in these very early rounds, but on technical grounds, ruling that Giuffre had not signed away her right to sue anybody else when she reached a $500,000 settlement with Epstein.

Since the judge’s ruling dealt only with a few preliminary issues, there is a lot more ground to cover before the case gets to trial.

Andrew’s lawyers could appeal the ruling. They will have opportunities to try to get the case dismissed on other grounds.

As the case develops, the two sides must exchange potential evidence — such as emails, text messages and telephone records — and submit to depositions at which lawyers can question potential trial witnesses.

Giuffre has been through many such depositions before in lawsuits against Maxwell and other people, but Andrew has never been questioned about the matter under oath — something he may want to avoid at all costs.

Once the exchange of evidence concludes, defense lawyers often make a new request to toss out the case judging by what they’ve learned. The judge then makes rulings that may help lawyers understand the risks of going to trial.

The outcome? Already preordained: rather than expose his doings to the light of day, R. A. will settle the case. The royals have deep pockets, and do you think the Queen would even allow Andrew to fight the accusations against her son?

 Here’s Andrew with Giuffre, with Maxwell standing handily nearby:

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 843,327, an increase of 1,827 deaths over yesterday’s figure.  Will we reach a million deaths? Remember when 200,000 deaths was an inconceivable figure? The reported world death toll is now 5,532,597, an increase of about 9,000 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on January 13 includes:

It’s a lovely flag, isn’t it?

No, Brydon wasn’t the “sole survivor”; the article reports “Out of more than 16,000 people from the column commanded by Elphinstone, only one European (Assistant Surgeon William Brydon) and a few Indian sepoys reached Jalalabad.” Don’t sepoys count? (These are Indians fighting for the British army.)

Here’s one of them, created from “agricultural plastic” due to a shortage of steel during the war. I don’t know if any were ever sold; this is probably a prototype:

Here’s a set of clips of live ejections: pilot’s making rapid egress from their failed planes. Today they use rocket-propulsion to get the pilot out and way away from the plane:

  • 1953 – An article appears in Pravda accusing some of the most prestigious and prominent doctors, mostly Jews, in the Soviet Union of taking part in a vast plot to poison members of the top Soviet political and military leadership.

Here’s a cartoon from the Soviet magazine Krokodil showing the Jewish plotter (note the schnoz) hiding under a doctor’s mask. The charges were all confected by Stalin to get rid of his opponents, which in this case he saw as mostly Jews:

The search of Coolidge’s vehicle was deemed illegal, but he was tried and found guilty anyway. He served 20 years.

  • 1966 – Robert C. Weaver becomes the first African American Cabinet member when he is appointed United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.
  • 1990 – Douglas Wilder becomes the first elected African American governor as he takes office as Governor of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia.

Wilder, still with us at 91.

Notables born on this day include:

Chase promoted the successful placing of “In God We Trust” in U.S. coins. Here’s his instructions (caption from Wikipedia):

Salmon P. Chase, Treasury Secretary, scribes “In God is our Trust,” scratches out “is our” and overwrites “We” to arrive at “In God We Trust” in a December 9, 1863, letter to James Pollock, Director of the Philadelphia Mint.

Imagine if you invited him for dinner: you’d be able to say, “We’re having Salmon for dinner.”

Soutine painted no cats that I could find, but here’s a portrait of a pastry cook:

Caption from the New Yorker: Soutine met Remi Zochetto, the subject of “Le Pâtissier de Cagnes,” in Céret, where he was a member of the local hotel kitchen staff.

Mr. “Anything goes” in the philosophy of science. He looks mean.

  • 1932 – Barry Bishop, American mountaineer, photographer, and scholar (d. 1994)

Here’s Bishop, one of the successful climbers who summited Mount Everest in the first American expedition in 1963.  He lost all his toes from frostbite on that one, which pretty much ended his climbing career, but he went on to get a Ph.D. in geography from The University of Chicago:

  • 1955 – Jay McInerney, American novelist and critic
  • 1961 – Wayne Coyne, American singer-songwriter and musician

I don’t know this guy, but he’s the lead singer of The Flaming Lips, a band I also don’t know. But. . . he’s a Coyne!

Have you seen a photo of Nate? Here he is:

Those who expired on January 13 include:

  • 1599 – Edmund Spenser, English poet, Chief Secretary for Ireland (b. 1552)
  • 1864 – Stephen Foster, American composer and songwriter (b. 1826) See above.
  • 1929 – Wyatt Earp, American police officer (b. 1848)
  • 1941 – James Joyce, Irish novelist, short story writer, and poet (b. 1882)

Here’s Joyce and his family, with Nora Barnacle second from left and his children to the right:

  • 1956 – Lyonel Feininger, German-American painter and illustrator (b. 1871)

I think I’m one of the few people around who really likes Feininger. Here’s a painting: “Markwippach, 1917”:

  • 1978 – Hubert Humphrey, American pharmacist, academic, and politician, 38th Vice President of the United States (b. 1911)
  • 2017 – Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon, English photographer and sometime member of the British royal family (b. 1930)

Armstrong-Jones of course had access to the royals and many other notables. Here’s his scandalous photo of his wife, Princess Margaret, in the bathtub wearing a tiara:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili’s being a curmudgeon, but at least allows Kulka to eat next to her. The picture is by Paulina.

Paulina: Meals together lead to friendship.
Hili: Not always.
In Polish:
Paulina: Wspólne posiłki prowadzą do przyjaźni.
Hili: Nie zawsze.

A meme from Bruce. How true!

From Stash Krod:

From Jesus of the Day:


This God is an atheist God!

From Simon. Did you know this?

From Anna, who is flummoxed by being on the same side as Pope Francis:

A tweet from Ginger K., showing a rather salacious anatomical comparison:

Tweets from Matthew. Now here’s an example of extremely polygeny: over 12,000 segregating sites associated with height variation in humans. And they account for nearly all the genetic variation we see in height. (“GWAS” are “genome-wide association studies”, described in my review of Kathryn Paige Harden’s new book.) Usually we get only a fraction of the total segregating variation, but this study had a huge number of subjects.

This adorable puppy has a long way to go. . .

Matthew was fascinated by the anterior position of this possum’s testicles. (I don’t know the species):

CUNK IS BACK! I can’t wait to see Philomena again! What is airplanes?

77 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Anatolians are NOT shepherds. They are livestock guard dogs. That puppy is bonding with his/her future charges.


      1. Didn’t think it was your fault.

        BTW, you always post your fellow Coynes. But, your mother is half your gene pool. Do you ever post possible relatives with HER maiden name?


        1. In the US our mothers’ maiden name is generally considered PII and shouldn’t be shared. Not because of any shame or other social stigma, but simply because a lot of companies an apps use it as a password security question. Which I guess could be a light example of an unintended systemic bias against women. 🙂

  2. “Here’s Andrew with Giuffre, with Maxwell standing handily nearby” – Randy Andy claims to have no recollection of meeting Giuffre (then Roberts) and his “supporters” claim you can tell the image is photoshopped because his fingers look too chubby. (I wish I was making this up! )

    1. D’oh – I meant supporters of Andy claim his fingers are too chubby in real life to look as slender as they do in the photo.

    2. Well, as of this afternoon, Andrew is a private citizen, apparently. Via the BBC: “The Duke of York will continue not to undertake any public duties and is defending this case as a private citizen.” His titles and roles have been “returned to the queen”

      I am curious where this will go

    3. Well, IANAL, but I fail to see the legal problem. The first ‘incident’ happened in London, which is in the UK, when Giuffre was 17. The age of consent in the UK is 16. The second ‘incident’ was in New York which had an age of consent of 14, changed to 17 (with parental consent) in 2017.
      I’m not saying he’s not a dispicable lecher or DOM (the moral angle), a different question, but why is it a legal problem?

      1. I agree. A 17-year-old woman is old enough to make her own sexual decisions and live with the consequences, especially if the events occurred in jurisdictions where the age of consent is less than her age. Anyone can be sued for anything, as our malpractice lawyers tell us, but there has to be some legal foundation. IME, this sometimes gets explored only at trial when the lawyers argue their case before a judge. Malpractice is usually about failing to meet the standard of care, so the legal terrain is well worn there, even if the Statement of Claim isn’t explicit about the basis for the claim. This case? No clue.

        The 14-year-olds in the Maxwell trial creeped me out but 17? Fair game as long as not drugged or coerced. And if no consent, why not a criminal trial?

        Now, if I had attracted that kind of attention to our family, my mother would have taken away my titles, too. And the honour of the Crown must supersede family loyalty, even if the Queen’s actions seem to assist Ms. Giuffre’s side of the he-said she-said.

        1. The complaint she filed alleges that she was recruited by Epstein at 16, and that Andrew forced her to have sex on at least three occasions, and that he was aware that she was a sex trafficking victim. Also that “Epstein, Maxwell and the defendant compelled her to engage in sexual acts by express or implied threat. In consequence, Plaintiff feared death or physical injury to herself or another, among other repercussions, if she disobeyed”

          That is what her lawyer alleges, which is not the same thing as saying it actually happened that way. On the other hand, Epstein was apparently guilty of trafficking young girls, some minors, into sexual slavery, and “forcing them to have sex with or be sexually abused by many people, including members of academia, including businessmen, and the category of royalty”. The implication, at least to a non-lawyer, would be that the prominent men involved would also share some measure of guilt.
          I guess they might claim that they did not know the status of the girls, but if the information released so far is anything like accurate, Epstein was known for jet setting around the world, always in the company of young girls. Some of the girls were 11 or 12 years old, according to the authorities in the USVI.
          I guess we will learn more as the case progresses, especially if more of the specifics of the Epstein and Maxwell cases are released.

          1. What other girls of other ages were up to and what the late Mr. Epstein was “apparently guilty of” is not relevant to Ms.Guiffre’s suit against Andrew Windsor. He either assaulted her or he didn’t. The age of consent in New York was 14 at the time and in the UK 16. Having unsavoury friends is not a crime. What the lawyers say in unsworn Statements of Claim can be pure invention, intended to intimidate the other side into paying a settlement.

            If the suit is settled before Examination for Discovery (Depositions I think they’re called in the U.S.), we will never hear another word about the case beyond court filings, unless some tabloid bribes her into violating the confidentiality agreement that will be written into the settlement agreement. (If that happens, it will tell you she didn’t get as much money as she was hoping for.) If it goes to trial, she will be mercilessly cross-examined by Andrew’s lawyers.

            Civil suits are about money. Period. It is helpful for the mental health of the public to not dwell on quaint concepts like right and wrong, or even of guilt and innocence in a case like this. If those were at issue, there would have been a criminal prosecution.

            1. From my point of view, the important issue is coercion or not.

              Are you sure about the age of consent? Was it ever 14 in New York? I think that what was recently raised from 14 to 17 was the age at which one could, with the consent of the parents, be married.

              1. I admit I didn’t verify the distinction between marriage and fornication in New York, never having had an offer to do either in the Empire State I do know the age for consent was 14 in Canada at the time and I may have made an incorrect elision reading “14” in connection with New York.

                It’s still about money.

  3. The Retreat from Kabul is a signal tale of incompetence. The article in Wikipedia is brief, but hits the low lights. I recommend the fuller treatment in Peter Hopkirk’s The Great Game (and the book generally). I was painfully reminded of the British experience by our own ineptitude in withdrawing from Afghanistan.

    With regard to Dr. Brydon (no relation), Jalalabad Day became the Regimental Day of the 13th Regiment of Foot (later Somerset Light Infantry), who were the garrison there, and the story of Dr. Brydon figured prominently. During World War I the Regiment went over the top on one occasion and suffered the expected casualties. One lone soldier tumbled back into their trenches, feeling, he said, “just like Doctor Brydon at Jalalabad.”

    1. I spent some time in Afghanistan a few decades ago. If any armchair strategist tells you it would not be messy, you know he doesn’t know what he’s talking about.
      Out of Afghanistan with minimal loss of life I consider no mean feat. From the armchair and with hindsight it should have been done much better, of course.

  4. I guess that’s an ad for Martin-Baker ejection seats. Better get one right away. I believe the F-4 was one of the earlier jets to have them. I think they were making a zero, zero seat. That is zero altitude and zero miles per hour. The F-100 that I worked on did not have that type.

    1. Martin-Baker has been supplying ejection seats since the mid 1940’s. Pretty much every British aircraft with an ejection seat had a Martin-Baker ejection seat – also a lot of American ones (NB Wikipedia says it was fitted in the F-100, but that is a lie: Martin-Baker’s own web site doesn’t claim the F-100).

      The video is definitely M-B marketing material. It’s from their own channel.

      1. Yes, I don’t know if it is a lie but it is wrong. I do not know the name or maker of the seat in the F-100. Possibly North American made their own. Lots of the systems on the planes in the Air Force were specialized. There were egress systems specialists that took care of the seats. All I had to know was not get in the seat if the safety pins were not in. Every conceivable way to get killed happened at one time or another and getting ejected out while working on the plane had been done.

        1. I can’t believe that a couple of topics where I have specialized knowledge have appeared in these pages recently.
          Anyway, the F-100 ejection seat was manufactured by Aircraft Mechanics, Inc, as a subcontractor for North American, although I have seen an F-100 seat with Weber badging.

          I have been lucky enough to take part in the restoration of some early ejection seats, and the technology is amazing. The ejection sequence is very complicated, and involves many precisely timed steps. However, the electric components on those seats are limited to the communications hookup and the seat height adjustment.
          All of the key functions are pyrotechnics, with the sequence and timing of events controlled by a series of tubes, which control and direct the charge from the actuators, sort of like fuses, but calibrated to microseconds. Even the harness tensioner is gas operated, and tightens up hard as one of the first events in the process. There are all sorts of things beyond just rocketing the seat out of the aircraft. A drogue chute is deployed to stabilize the seat in flight, a supplementary oxygen bottle is switched on, and towards the end of the sequence, the seat restraints are disconnected and kicker lines are tensioned to eject the pilot and his parachute from the seat, with his survival pack trailing behind at a safe distance. The parachute itself will activate at a set altitude, should the pilot be unable to activate it himself.

          I currently have two seats here. One is from an F-105, also made by Aircraft Mechanics, but for Republic. The other is from an F-4, and is a Martin Baker H-7. Really interesting equipment.

      2. Martin-Baker has to be the best company to work for: (almost) every time someone uses one of their products, a life is saved….or at least had a fighting chance that s/he wouldn’t have had otherwise. They periodically hold reunions of ejectees. One given after the Falklands war was attended by both British and Argentine pilots. (The Argentines flew their obsolete A-4 Skyhawks with great skill and courage against the Royal Navy, especially considering they were engaging at the very limits of their fuel range from the mainland.)

        In understanding medical error we use a lot of the human-factors research translated from aviation, particularly situational awareness. A relevant point here is that a pilot in a non-combat mishap may delay ejection too late if he thinks the airplane is still flyable. He may be further deterred by fear that ejection will inflict career-ending injuries, as it can, particularly vertebral crush fractures if the rocket motor in the seat gives too abrupt of an upward kick for that pilot’s individual tolerance. Trouble is that a jet in a spin or an aerodynamic stall (like a turn too tight and too slow) drops like an anvil. If you hesitate a second or two too long, while close to the ground where most mishaps occur, you land in the crash fireball even if your chute does have time to open….or the plane rolls over on its back and you get shot directly into the ground (or the ocean.). These are both true stories.

  5. No, the incompetence is getting into the war in the first place. Losing and getting out is not a planned event as the British retreat indicates.

      1. Love the IWM! That was the one sight in London that my son Jamie had to see. And we did. His other ask was The Tank Museum, in Dorset; and we saw that as well, also excellent, very impressive.

        Live demonstration of a Chieftain tank at The Tank Museum.

        We trailed behind a tank on our way into the museum. A thrill for Jamie (and his parents!).

        My wife’s were: Chatsworth House and Stonehenge, which also saw; but were well worth the visit. Loved Chatsworth House.

  6. Of course, you can’t smuggle a gorilla suit on board the ISS. It was sent as a birthday present from retired astronaut Mark Kelly to his twin brother Scott Kelly shortly before the end of his mission.

  7. … The Flaming Lips, a band I also don’t know.

    In the ’80s and ’90s, I was living in Coral Gables and used to listen to the University of Miami student-run radio station, WVUM (which was low-wattage and couldn’t be picked up if you wandered too far from campus), just to keep an ear out for what the younger crowd was listening to. (I first heard of a lot of great bands that way, including Phish and They Might Be Giants.) That was where I first heard The Flaming Lips. I picked up their CD Transmissions From a Satellite Heart, mainly ’cause I got a kick out of their single “She Don’t Use Jelly.”

  8. ‘Has any royal in the last 150 years seen prison time?’

    I guess the Russian royal family. They were certainly imprisoned if not in an actual prison before they were gunned down.

        1. According to The Grauniad

          The Princess Royal [i.e.the same Princess Anne] today [21 November 2002] became the first member of the royal family to be convicted of a criminal offence as she pleaded guilty to a charge under the dangerous dogs act.

          One of her dogs, a three-year-old English bull terrier called Dotty, bit two children as they walked in Windsor Great Park on April 1 this year. […] She was fined £500 for the attack and ordered to pay £250 in compensation and £148 in costs at a magistrates court in Slough.

          Princess Anne avoided the possible six months in prison at Her Mother’s Pleasure; the dog’s life was spared.

          Interestingly, in 1970 she was in a relationship with Andrew Parker Bowles who later married Camilla Shand; Camilla is now married to Anne’s brother Charles. Royalty is a small and quasi-incestuous world.

  9. With regard to Stalin’s end-of-career problems with Jewish medical men, we recall that Lev D. Bronstein (aka Leon Trotsky) was both Jewish and for a time Stalin’s major competitor. Many Jews became or joined with Marxists, not only because Jews were vilely persecuted by Russia’s pre-revolution aristocracy, but also because experience in business practices was a ticket to advancement in the Soviet bureaucracy.

  10. Re: Prince Andrew, don’t both parties have to agree to a settlement? I think Virginia Giuffre has indicated that she doesn’t want to. Perhaps Ken or someone else could confirm whether or she can insist on her day in court.

    1. She can certainly insist on a trial. She just has to worry she might lose and get nothing. So there is that.

    1. I think that’s a Canadian CF-188.* We paint a trompe d’oeil representation of a cockpit canopy on the underside to confuse enemy pilots as to which way the plane will “break” during dogfighting manoeuvres. Even from the ground it’s hard to tell if it’s upside down.
      Or at least we used to. Those old planes will never now go up against anything more challenging than a 1950s-era Russian Bear.

      *(If you thought the accent of the man on the PA sounded funny, that’s why.)

  11. I saw a news item a day or two ago saying Pope Francis was driven to a music shop, spent a few minutes chatting with the proprietor, and emerged clutching a CD he had purchased. Also quoted past statements of his musical tastes (E.g., Mozart is near to heaven), But it did not identify the CD he got!

  12. The search of Coolidge’s vehicle was deemed illegal, but he was tried and found guilty anyway. He served 20 years.

    It’s difficult to argue with that specific result, but in general I think the 4th Amendment is in pretty bad shape in the US today. Civil asset forfeiture is in some cases practically legally sanctioned theft. And no search seems to be illegal if a policeman testifies they ‘had a feeling’ or saw/smell/heard something. Maybe this is hyperbole but it feels like we’re at the point where no search is illegal if the government agent on the scene says it’s not illegal.

      1. I doubt this is a partisan problem. I expect it’s a result of our judges being predominantly drawn from prosecutors. Their background biases them towards seeing the upside of giving prosecutors and the government broader powers of search and seizure, not the downside.

        1. Yep. And as always, when the prosecuting/enforcing authority gains financially from arresting/accusing, corruption immediately becomes the norm, and the problem grows. People respond to incentives, weirdly enough.

          1. Lucky you. With the virus and all, I would try like heck to get out of that. I was on the jury of a murder trial several years ago. It lasted nearly a month.

  13. I was very sad to hear about the death of Ronnie Spector. I not only remember the Ronettes, I still love their music – she had such a unique voice. Back in the day they were big enough that the Rolling Stones were their support act when they toured the UK. She carried on making records until quite recently – “Last of the Rock Stars” in 2006, with guest artists including Keef from the Stones, and “English Heart” in 2016. The noted Ray Bradbury enthusiast Rachel Bloom is obviously also a fan – this is a somewhat dark Ronettes-inspired number from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

    Also, here’s a picture of Feyerabend looking less mean:

  14. No one, not even a Cunk, should be allowed to pose with a Spitfire like that, for profit. Those machines are sacred (written as an atheist) to the pilots who fought in the Battle of Britain. I really dislike the youngsters on the BBC who exploit history with no respect, or understanding for what it actually entailed for those who were there.

    1. You have a point there. Early in the 1940 Battle of Britain, Life Magazine sent a crew over to an English aerodrome do a photo story about a Fighter Command Squadron that had been engaging the Luftwaffe. They ran a photo of the squadron’s pilots posed among their aircraft, similar to hundreds of photos we recall from the War. By the time the story appeared in Life’s production schedule later that summer, half the men in the photo were dead. If it hadn’t been for radar, Ultra, and Churchill the racist, it might have been in vain.

      To be fair, many museums do have to do commercial fund-raising to survive, particularly if they operate flying specimens. Certificates of airworthiness, specialized “obsolete” skills, Merlin engine parts, the right custom-made tires, 140-octane gasoline are all scary expensive.

  15. I may have posted this before. The surname Barnacle according to libraryireland(dot)com is an anglicised version of the name Coyne. So Professor, you may be related somehow to Nora Barnacle as may I. My grandmother was a Coyne from County Galway.

  16. Looks like the Australian brush tail possum if anyone is interested. We call them roof rats but they are very cute even if they eat everything in the garden

    1. Protected in most of Oz, I believe, but considered a pest in NZ – a local bird protection society where I live hands out free traps. In his autobiography Paul Feyerabend talks about chipmunks on the roof at Auckland university, but I’ve always assumed he must have been talking about possums.

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