Saturday: Hili dialogue

September 25, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Cat Sabbath: Saturday, September 25, 2021. I’m back in Chicago and posting should be back to normal in a day or so. In the meantime, it’s National Quesadilla Day.

It’s also National Research Administrator Day, National Lobster Day, Fish Amnesty Day, International Rabbit Day, Museum Day, National Cooking Day, World Pharmacist Day, and National Wildlife Ecology Day.

Today’s Google Doodle honors the life and work of Christopher “Superman” Reeve (1952-2004).  He broke his neck in a horse-riding accident in 1995 and lived nine years paralyzed from the neck down and breathing with a ventilator, but also became a disability activist and embryonic stem-cell research while continuing his creative work. Click on the screenshot to go to link about his life:

News of the Day:

*The oldest evidence of Homo sapiens in America has been found in New Mexico: human footprints that date between 23,000 and 21,000 years ago. Up to now, the date that we teachers have felt confident in giving our students is arrival across the Bering Strait about 15,000 years ago, so this considerably extends the time humans have trod the Americas.

The dating was precise because there was sedimentary rock both directly above and below the footprints (only sedimentary rock can be dated). They used radiocarbon dating, which is quite accurate but can’t be used in rocks over 50,000 years old. “Based on their sizes, scientists think the tracks were made mainly by teenagers and younger children travelling back and forth – along with the occasional adult.” Scientists speculate further:

The scientists don’t know for sure what the teenagers were doing, but it is possible they were helping the adults with a type of hunting custom seen in later Native American cultures. This was known as the buffalo jump and involved driving animals over a shallow cliff edge.

The animals “all had to be processed in a short period of time,” explained Dr Sally Reynolds, co-author from Bournemouth University. “You’d have to start fires, you’d have to start rendering the fat.” The teenagers could have been helping out by collecting firewood, water or other essentials.

A photo of the prints, which are remarkably well preserved. We clearly didn’t evolve a change in toe number over 23 millennia!

Photo courtesy of Bournemouth University

*I got this email from reader Ken this morning:

The clownish pro-Trump “Cyber Ninjas” — the group that’s been conducting the election audit (aka the “fraudit”) of the Arizona presidential election results since last April — is scheduled to release their results at 4 pm Eastern today.
According to a leaked report, their results show that, of the over 2 million ballots cast in Maricopa County, AZ, in 2020,  Donald Trump actually received 261 votes fewer, and Joe Biden 99 votes more, than was initially reported.

The NYT has copies of the three-volume (!) draft report, and the tally above appears to be correct. Biden won with a slightly wider margin than reported. Maricopa County’s heavy vote for Biden is a major reason why he won the state. (Just remember that on election night I was the first to call Arizona, Georgia, and the overall winner, beating the news!) The official report was supposed to be released to the Arizona Senate yesterday at 4 pm Eastern time, but I can’t find a note of that release.

Maricopa county responded to the draft with a scathing series of tweets:

*I’m almost finished with Andrew Sullivan’s new book Out on a Limb: Selected Writing: 1989-2021, and will give a brief review soon (preview: well worth reading). One of the essays I didn’t like was a long screed on the importance of faith, coupled with the assertion that everyone, including atheists and scientists, has a form of “faith.” I’ve answered that claim before, but it recurs sporadically, as in the new Wall Street Journal. Read, if you wish, “Why atheists need faith” (subtitle “Science is becoming more mystical as we learn more about the universe”) by Michael Guillen, identified as “author of ‘Believing is Seeing: A Physicist Explains How Science Shattered His Atheism and Revealed the Necessity of Faith’”.

One brief quote from the above that testifies why science is spooky so scientists need faith: “Witness supernatural-like concepts such as virtual particles, imaginary time and quantum entanglement.” I will not deal further with this essay, as it’s not even wrong.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 687,247, an increase of 2,062 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,752,605, an increase of about 9,200 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 25 includes:

  • 1237 – England and Scotland sign the Treaty of York, establishing the location of their common border.
  • 1513 – Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa reaches what would become known as the Pacific Ocean.

Read “On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer” by Keats. He may have mistaken Cortez for Balboa, but it’s a great poem anyway.

Here’s that one-time newspaper, published in Boston.

Here’s the Senate revisions to the amendments that were passed by the House (p. 1 of 3):

  • 1926 – The international Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery is first signed.
  • 1957 – Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, is integrated by the use of United States Army troops.

Here are the “Little Rock Nine” being escorted to class on September 25, along with photo of Elizabeth Eckford as she tried (and failed) to enter class on September 4 (the National Guard blocked the door, but Eisenhower then federalized the state National Guard, who are the escorts in the top photo):

  • 1974 – Dr. Frank Jobe performs first ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery (better known as Tommy John surgery) on baseball player Tommy John.
  • 2018 – Bill Cosby is sentenced to three to ten years in prison for aggravated sexual assault.

As you know, he was set free for violations of his due process, although of course he was guilty. At least he’ll never sell pudding again.

Notables born on this day include:

Morgan, my academic great-grandfather, founded the discipline of Drosophila genetics and won the Nobel Prize for it. Here he is in the “Fly Room” at Columbia University. Professors always worked in coat and tie back then!


  • 1897 – William Faulkner, American novelist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1962)
  • 1903 – Mark Rothko, Latvian-American painter and educator (d. 1970)
  • 1930 – Shel Silverstein, American author, poet, illustrator, and songwriter (d. 1999)

Here’s Silverstein’s poem “Zombie Cat”:

  • 1932 – Glenn Gould, Canadian pianist and composer (d. 1982)
  • 1951 – Mark Hamill, American actor, singer, and producer
  • 1952 – bell hooks, American author and activist
  • 1952 – Christopher Reeve, American actor, producer, and activist (d. 2004)
  • 1965 – Scottie Pippen, American basketball player and sportscaster

Pippen of course played for the Chicago Bulls during our great years. Here are ten of his best plays:

Those whose lives were terminated on September 25 include:

  • 1849 – Johann Strauss I, Austrian composer (b. 1804)
  • 1933 – Ring Lardner, American journalist and author (b. 1885)

Lardner’s photo is below. As Wikipedia notes, “His contemporaries Ernest Hemingway, Virginia Woolf, and F. Scott Fitzgerald all professed strong admiration for his writing, and author John O’Hara directly attributed his understanding of dialogue to him.”

  • 1960 – Emily Post, American author and educator (b. 1873)

And here’s Post, who looks pretty much like what a writer on etiquette should look like:

  • 1971 – Hugo Black, American captain, jurist, and politician (b. 1886)
  • 2003 – George Plimpton, American writer and literary editor (b. 1927)
  • 2016 – Arnold Palmer, American golfer (b. 1929)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has become a penitente:

A; Why are you lying down on the concrete?
Hili: I’m mortifying myself for my ancestors’ sins.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu leżysz na betonie?
Hili: Umartwiam się za grzechy przodków.

A lovely photo of Baby Kulka, showing her tongue, from Paulina:

From Divy:

From the Emporium of Unique and Wondrous Things:

From Not Another Science Cat Page:

From Titania on RBG:

A tweet from Barry. Do you think the cat is really trying to save the baby?

From Ginger K. If you own exactly two moggies, you can participate in some citizen science sponsored by UC Davis and the University of British Columbia. And you get to watch ten cat videos! Click on the link in the tweet.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, one who survived:

Tweets from Matthew. He stole my duck joke so I retweeted his with my own duck joke:

And somebody responded to Matthew’s tweet:

Chicago’s streets in the loop run straight east-west, so the light shines down them on the equinox:

From BugGuide: “[Cryptocephalus] larvae are casebearers, living in and protected by a case constructed of their fecal matter and sometimes plant debris. The case is shorter than the larva that remains folded inside it.

Imagine scenarios for how this could have evolved (it’s an “extended phenotype” reflecting larval behavior).

Friday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

September 24, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings from Chicago (I’m back!) on Friday, September 24, 2021: National Cherries Jubilee Day! (Their exclamation mark.) Here’s Wikipedia’s definition and photo:

Cherries jubilee is a dessert dish made with cherries and liqueur (typically kirschwasser), which is subsequently flambéed, and commonly served as a sauce over vanilla ice cream.

It doesn’t say anything about cake

Sounds good to me, but I’ve never had it. It’s also German Butterbrot Day, Hug a Vegetarian Day, Kiss Day (again verboten this year), National Horchata Day (I love the stuff), Native American Day, Save the Koaka Day, and National Bluebird of Happiness Day, which always reminds me of this Gary Larson cartoon:

News of the Day:

Once again there’s a paucity of news that I know about. There’s a big blow-up about the treatment of Haitian refugees trying to get into the U.S., with the result that Daniel Foote, the senior American diplomat overseeing Haiti policy, has resigned in anger:

A senior American diplomat who oversees Haiti policy has resigned, two U.S. officials said, submitting a letter to the State Department that excoriated the Biden administration’s “inhumane, counterproductive decision” to send Haitian migrants back to a country that has been wracked this summer by a deadly earthquake and political turmoil.

*The Washington Post reports a sex abuse case at the University of Michigan that may be the largest one in U.S. history. Robert E. Anderson, a deceased doctor at the University has already been accused by more than 950 people (mostly men and boys) of molesting them, and not just at the University. He never faced any sanctions while he was alive.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 684,488, an increase of 2,036 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,743,487, an increase of about 9,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 24 includes:

  • 787 – Second Council of Nicaea: The council assembles at the church of Hagia Sophia.
  • 1789 – The United States Congress passes the Judiciary Act, creating the office of the Attorney General and federal judiciary system and ordering the composition of the Supreme Court.
  • 1890 – The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially renounces polygamy.

Yes, but of course many sects of Mormonism remain polygamous. Here’s a photo from

  • 1906 – U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims Devils Tower in Wyoming as the nation’s first National Monument.
  • 1929 – Jimmy Doolittle performs the first flight without a window, proving that full instrument flying from take off to landing is possible.

Here’s Doolittle in his “blind flight” plane. The site Pioneers of Flight says this:

Doolittle made the first “blind flight” on September 24, 1929. He took off in the Guggenheim Fund’s Consolidated NY-2, flew a set course, and landed while under a fabric hood and unable to see outside the airplane. He relied entirely on a directional gyro, artificial horizon, sensitive altimeter, and radio navigation.

  • 1950 – The eastern United States is covered by a thick haze from the Chinchaga fire in western Canada.
  • 1975 – Southwest Face expedition members become the first persons to reach the summit of Mount Everest by any of its faces, instead of using a ridge route.

Here’s the daunting Southwest Face and the route they took up it. Three UK climbers and a Sherpa made the summit:

  • 2015 – At least 1,100 people are killed and another 934 wounded after a stampede during the Hajj in Saudi Arabia.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1717 – Horace Walpole, English historian, author, and politician (d. 1797)
  • 1880 – Sarah Knauss, American super-centenarian, oldest verified American person ever (d. 1999)

She lived to be 119 years old, second only to the world’s oldest verified person, Jeanne Calment of France, who lived to be 122½ years (that age, however, is controversial! Here is Knauss at 98 or 99 years old:

Here’s the only photograph of Blind Lemon. He died of a heart attack at just 39:

And his version of “Black Snake Moan”:

Scott, Zelda, and their daughter Scottie in a Christmas photo from Paris. Scott couldn’t spell worth a damn (that’s what his editor was for), but he sure could write.

  • 1905 – Severo Ochoa, Spanish–American physician and biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1993)
  • 1923 – Fats Navarro, American trumpet player and composer (d. 1950)

Those who Went West on September 24 include:

  • 768 – Pepin the Short, Frankish king (b. 714)
  • 1541 – Paracelsus, German-Swiss physician, botanist, and chemist (b. 1493)
  • 1945 – Hans Geiger, German physicist and academic, co-invented the Geiger counter (b. 1882)

Geiger was a scary-looking dude:

  • 1991 – Dr. Seuss, American children’s book writer, poet, and illustrator (b. 1904)


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

Bishop, who made the summit as one of five successful climbers on the 1963 American expedition to Everest, had to overnight without shelter at high altitude and lost all his toes and the tip of one finger. He continued to climb, though, but was killed in an auto accident in 1994. Here he is with his frostbitten and soon-to-be-amputated toes after descending the mountain:

  • 2004 – Françoise Sagan, French author and screenwriter (b. 1935)
  • 2016 – Buckwheat Zydeco, American accordionist and bandleader (b. 1947)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has given up pondering the world and is now thinking about math:

A: Are you still in a Manichean mood?
Hili: No, I’m now plagued by Zeno’s paradoxes.
In Polish:
Ja: Nadal jesteś w nastrojach manichejskich?
Hili: Nie, teraz dręczą mnie paradoksy Zenona z Elei.

And in nearby Wloclawek, Mietek is overwhelmed, as school has started:

Mietek: And again I have plenty of subjects to grasp.

In Polish: I znów mam dużo tematów do ogarnięcia.

From Merilee. I, too, am a fan of the Oxford comma.

A heartwarmer from Bruce:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Simon: Titania knocked it out of the park with this tweet:

From Barry. I don’t know the species of bird, but the staff is teaching it to perch:

From Ginger K., showing that it takes only one anonymous complaint:

Tweet from the Auschwitz Memorial. This poor soul looks like he had a very rough ride in the cattle car. He lasted a week after arrival.

Tweets from Matthew, who told me, when I asked whether that outfit was painted on the bird, “No the bird is real. You can see it is safe – it is wearing a harness that is connected by a wire to the inside of the car so it can’t fly off. It has very strong talons!”

Matthew tweeted this photo of one of his cats, Ollie, adding a note, “Now he doesn’t look psychotic there, does he?” Ollie is indeed psychotic: he laid open my nose with a deft swipe of his claws and I bled like a stuck pig. Ollie just “presents well,” as the therapists say.

Matthew says about this one: “Nothing to wait for; just watch.” But do watch the whole thing. It’s funny when the goats jump down.

The eruption in the Canaries is relentless, and nothing can stop the lava. Google translation: “The lava tongue of the eruptive process of La Palma devastates everything in its path on its way to the sea.”

Wednesday: Hili dialogue

September 22, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings from Massachusetts on Wednesday: September 22, 2021: National Ice Cream Cone Day.

It’s my penultimate day in Cambridge. This R&R has gone by too quickly!  And please note that this is the last day of Summer. Fall begins at 3:21 p.m. today. Google celebrates the beginning of fall with a nice doodle; click on it to see falling leaves:

It’s also National White Chocolate Day, World Rhino Day, National Elephant Appreciation Day, National Hobbit Day, and the season-changing holidays:

And, according to Wikipedia, it’s the earliest date for the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere and the vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere:

News of the Day:

Once again I’m ignorant of the news; please use the comments, if you can, to fill us in on what’s important.

*Yesterday’s readers’ poll on the likelihood of Roe v. Wade being overturned before the end of Biden’s present term gave roughly equal predictions of overturning versus keeping:

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 678,557, an increase of 2,046 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,724,126, an increase of about 9,100 over yesterday’s total.

It was a thin day in history. Stuff that happened on September 22 includes:

  • 38 – Drusilla, Caligula’s sister who died in June, with whom the emperor is said to have an incestuous relationship, is deified.
  • 1642 – The first commencement exercises occur at Harvard College.
  • 1806 – Lewis and Clark return to St. Louis after exploring the Pacific Northwest of the United States.
  • 1973 – Argentine general election: Juan Perón returns to power in Argentina.

Juan Peron and Evita. He was elected as President three different times.

  • 2002 – The first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox (“Phoenix 0.1”) is released.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1515 – Anne of Cleves, Queen consort of England (d. 1557)[5]
  • 1791 – Michael Faraday, English physicist and chemist (d. 1867)
  • 1902 – John Houseman, Romanian-American actor and producer (d. 1988)

The performance I remember of Houseman: Professor Kingsfield in “The Paper Chase” (1973):

Left to right: Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst. All three, members of the “White Rose,” were guillotined in 1943 for distributing anti-Nazi materials.

  • 1956 – Debby Boone, American singer, actress, and author
  • 1958 – Andrea Bocelli, Italian singer-songwriter and producer

Yes, the video may seem schmalzy, but you have to admit that this performance of “Con te partirò (“Time to say goodbye”) with Bocelli and Sarah Brightman, a huge hit, is quite moving:

  • 1958 – Joan Jett, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actress

Those whose ticker stopped ticking on September 22 include:

  • 1539 – Guru Nanak, Sikh religious leader, founded Sikhism (b. 1469)
  • 1776 – Nathan Hale, American soldier (b. 1755)
  • 1961 – Marion Davies, American actress and comedian (b. 1897)
  • 1989 – Irving Berlin, Russian-born American composer and songwriter (b. 1888)
  • 1999 – George C. Scott, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1927)

Scott won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance in “Patton”, but this scene alone deserves an Academy Award:

  • 2001 – Isaac Stern, Polish-Ukrainian violinist and conductor (b. 1920)
  • 2007 – Marcel Marceau, French mime and actor (b. 1923)
  • 2010 – Eddie Fisher, American singer (b. 1928)
  • 2015 – Yogi Berra, American baseball player, coach, and manager (b. 1925)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is perturbed:

Hili: What a horrible mess in this wild nature.
A: Does it disturb you?
Hili: Yes, I can’t see what’s under these sticks.
In Polish:
Hili: Straszny bałagan w tej dzikiej przyrodzie.
Ja: Przeszkadza ci?
Hili: Tak, nie widzę co jest pod tymi patyczkami.

. . . and a photo of Szaron:

From Facebook:

From Facebook; Cohen was born on September 21, 1934, and died in 2016.

A tweet from Jesus of the Day with a poignant explanation:

The graves of a Catholic woman and her Protestant husband, who were not allowed to be buried together. On the Protestant part of this cemetery J.W.C van Gorcum, colonel of the Dutch Cavalry and militia commissioner in Limburg is buried. His wife, lady J.C.P.H van Aefferden is buried in the Catholic part. They were married in 1842, he was a protestant and didn’t belong to the nobility.

This caused quite a commotion in Roermond. After being married for 38 years the colonel died in 1880 and was buried on the protestant part of the cemetery against the wall. His wife died in 1888 and had decided not to be buried in the family tomb but on the other side of the wall, the closest she could get to her husband. Two clasped hands connect the graves across the wall.

A tweet from Titania. I’d forgotten that Trudeau did this (not just once, but three times) which for nearly everyone would result in immediate cancellation. Why has he gotten a pass?

From Barry. I may have shown this before, but it’s a black-crested titmouse picking fur off a sleeping fox for the bird’s nest:

From Simon. This is clearly a seagull rather than a duck, but the poor choice of nesting site still obtains:

From Ginger K. Why doesn’t the cat just ride in the cart?

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

A lovely video tweet (sound up) Matthew.: I didn’t think dog milk could nourish kittens, but I guess they’re old enough to be eating solid food, too. As Matthew says, the world would be better if it were like Dodo:

Two more tweets from Matthew:

Patricia Churchland, who like me thinks that panpsychism is both untestable and dumb, goes after a proponent of the theory that all matter is conscious:

More interspecies love. Sound up if you want music:

Tuesday: Hili dialogue

September 21, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings from Massachusetts on Tuesday: September 21, 2021: National Pecan Cookie Day.

It’s also the beginning of Sukkot, a weeklong commemoration of the fictional story of Jews wandering in the desert for 40 years*, National Chai Day, World Alzheimer’s Day, and International Day of Peace. 

*It was Alan King who said that all Jewish holidays can be summarized thus:

They tried to kill us,
We won;
Let’s eat!

News of the Day:

*I am again way behind in the news, and haven’t looked at a site or newspaper in days. I see from the NYT this morning, however, that two non-Texans have sued a doctor in Texas who said he performed an abortion that violates Texas’s new restrictive and clearly unconstitutional abortion law. I am quite worried that Roe v. Wade will be overturned by this conservative court. Let’s have a poll:

Will Roe v. Wade be overturned by the Supreme Court by the end of Biden's term

View Results

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Feel free to highlight other important news in the comments.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 676,191, an increase of 2,087 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,714,987, an increase of about 8,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 21 includes:

  • 1780 – American Revolutionary War: Benedict Arnold gives the British the plans to West Point.

Here’s one of his spying letters with the Wikipedia caption, “One of Arnold’s coded letters. Cipher lines by Arnold are interspersed with lines by his wife, Peggy.”  Arnold escaped capture for his espionage and moved to New Brunswick, Canada, where he traded with the West Indies until he died at 60. 

Here’s a 3-minute documentary of an activity that is best considered entertainment rather than sport:

  • 1942 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: On the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, Nazis send over 1,000 Jews of Pidhaitsi to Bełżec extermination camp.
  • 1942 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: In Dunaivtsi, Ukraine, Nazis murder 2,588 Jews.

Here is a famous but horrifying photo of the mass murder of Jews in the Ukraine. Wikipedia labels it

The Last Jew in Vinnitsa”, the 1942 photograph showing a Jewish man near the town of Vinnytsia about to be shot dead by a member of Einsatzgruppe D. Also present are members of the German Army and the German Labor Service.

  • 1972 – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos begins authoritarian rule by declaring martial law.
  • 1981 – Sandra Day O’Connor is unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.
  • 1996 – The Defense of Marriage Act is passed by the United States Congress.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1866 – H. G. Wells, English novelist, historian, and critic (d. 1946)

Wells in 1918:

A first edition of his The War of the Worlds (1898) will run you about $6000:

  • 1874 – Gustav Holst, English composer and educator (d. 1934)
  • 1912 – Chuck Jones, American animator, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2002)
  • 1934 – Leonard Cohen, Canadian singer-songwriter and poet (d. 2016)
  • 1947 – Stephen King, American author and screenwriter

I was surprised to learn that King is religious:

King chose to have faith after weighing the alternatives.
“I made a decision to believe in God because it’s better to believe than not to believe,” he said, noting that his belief became possible while in the throes of addiction. “So it was easy to say, ‘If I’ve got a power greater than myself okay, that’s fine, I can use that to make life livable and good.'”

  • 1950 – Bill Murray, American actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1957 – Ethan Coen, American director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1967 – Faith Hill, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress

Those whose existence was obliterated on September 21 include:

Here’s the old philosopher looking scary:

  • 1904 – Chief Joseph, American tribal leader (b. 1840).

Chief Joseph was a leader of the Nez Perce during the years it was pursued by the Army after a series of his warriors’ violent encounters with settler. He and his group fled to Canada, but were trapped and ultimately forced onto a reservation. Here he is in 1877, the year his band was captured.

A fantastic runner, Flo-Jo won three golds in the 1988 Olympics. You’ll see the performances in the video; that woman could RUN! Tragically, she died at only 38 after an epileptic fit.

Wikipedia also has a section on Flo-Jo’s “style”, which includes her signature nails:

Her nails also garnered attention for their length and designs. Her nails were four inches long with tiger stripes at the 1988 Olympic trials before switching to fuchsia. For the Olympic games themselves, she had six inch nails painted red, white, blue, and gold.  Although many sprinters avoided accessories which might slow them down, Griffith-Joyner kept her hair long and wore jewelry while competing. She designed many of her outfits herself and preferred looks which were not conventional.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is still wary of Kulka, though she doesn’t chase her or hiss at her.

Hili: Kulka is over there!
A: I didn’t notice that she had followed us.
In Polish:
Hili: Tam jest Kulka!
Ja: Nie zauważyłem, że przyszła za nami.

Here’s a lovely picture from the past of Hili when she was a kitten, cuddled up with her great late friend Darwin the Dog:

Two from Lenora:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Masih:

From Barry, a needy magpie seeks cuddles:

From Ginger K. Kitty loves its bath (sound on).

Tweets from Matthew. Look at the spread of the word “wolf”!

This is the new volcanic eruption on the Canary Islands:

The artist, centuries ago, had seen a leopard in Europe:

Enlarge the video to see the many marmalade hoverflies (Episyrphus balteatus):

And enlarge this video to see the spooky election fraud. Matthew explains:

The two tellers are standing shiftily in front of the ballot box, so the camera can’t see what is happening. A hand reaches over from behind the curtain on the right and repeatedly shoves ballots into the box…

Monday: Hili dialogue

September 20, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s the start of a new week in beautiful Cambridge: September 20, and the sun is already shining brightly at 7 a.m. local time. It’s 2021:National Rum Punch Day, coming hard on the heels of yesterday’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Aye, matey, it’s a good tipple!

It’s also National Pepperoni Pizza Day, National Fried Rice Day, and National String Cheese Day.

News of the Day:

*An FDA advisory panel has recommended that all people inoculated for Covid who are either over 65 or at risk for severe illness get a booster shot 6 months after their first round of shots.

The vote is not binding, and Peter Marks, the FDA official overseeing coronavirus vaccines, indicated that the final decision could be slightly different, encompassing people who are at higher risk of infection because of their professions, such as health-care workers and front-line employees, including teachers. The advisory committee members were polled on whether they would agree with making boosters available to people who were at risk of infection because of workplace exposure, and they all said yes.

A decision by the FDA on boosters is expected this coming week. One thing they will not recommend now is booster shots for all Americans who have gotten their vaccinations.

*Farah Stockman, a member of the NYT editorial board, has issued a warning about generic drugs, which I suspect most of us have taken some time or another: “How much can you trust that generic drug you’re taking?” Her main concerns are shortages of drugs as the price falls too low to make them profitable, and especially the quality of generics which, she claims, can vary widely:

Quality control issues like the ones found at Mylan are a leading cause of drug shortages, both at American plants and overseas. Sometimes the F.D.A. shuts down a plant after discovering violations, dramatically reducing a medicine’s supply. Other times, companies with quality control issues simply opt to stop making a drug rather than invest in expensive upgrades to their aging facilities. The current system simply doesn’t reward investments in quality. If a pill is just a pill, it doesn’t matter if it’s made in a state-of-the-art plant or a rusty one. . .

. . . The truth is, a pill is not just a pill. A pill that was made in a top-notch factory with a spotless track record is better than one that was made in a plant that barely passed inspection. A pill that was stored in a cool dark place is better than one left baking on an airport tarmac for weeks.

*If you’re a fan of the Beatles, do read Ian Leslie’s Substack piece, “64 reasons to celebrate Paul McCartney“, which is fascinating—and recommended by a reader. Here’s just one:

13. Let’s start with the singing. It is among the most exciting moments in twentieth century music: Lennon tears through the opening verse of A Hard Day’s Night, then McCartney steps forward in the middle (“When I’m hooome…”). One of the crazy things about the Lennon-McCartney partnership was that they both had all-time great rock voices. If Lennon’s specialism was raw emotion, McCartney’s was a range of expression which verges on superhuman. Few can match him as a rock n’ roll screamer – listen to Long Tall Sally or Oh Darling. But few can match him as a balladeer either – see MichelleHere, There and Everywhere, or Let It Be. On the White Album, he performs a controlled nervous breakdown for Helter Skelter – an absolute tour de force – and on I Will pours warm honey into our ears. On Lady Madonna he does Presley crossed with Fats Waller. In his singing, as in his lyrics, he inhabits characters. Across Abbey Roadhe employs a panoply of different vocal personalities; in You Never Give Me Your Money or Uncle Albert he does the same in one song. It’s hard to exaggerate how rare such versatility of expression is or how hard to pull off. It helps that he has exceptional technical command. Whatever he’s singing, he nearly always hits the middle of a note, with tremendous force in the upper range. He excels at thrilling leaps up at the end of a melody line, as on Got To Get You Into My Life (“I didn’t know what I would find there”) or Live and Let Die (“give the other fella hell”), and has a rare ability to glide through what classical singers call the passaggio – the transition between chest and head, which for most humans is a vocal speed-bump. Listen to Maybe I’m Amazed and marvel at that post-chorus glissando down from the heights.

* Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 673,929, an increase of 2,011 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,706,873, an increase of about 5,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 20 includes:

Here’s the giant bronze Buddha in Japan, which is 13.35 metres (43.8 ft) tall (including the base) and weighs approximately 103 tons.

And reader Stash Krod sent a photo of himself (in arms) and his dad in front of the Buddha, taken around 1954.

  • 1519 – Ferdinand Magellan sets sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.
  • 1857 – The Indian Rebellion of 1857 ends with the recapture of Delhi by troops loyal to the East India Company.

This is the subject of the fiction book I’m reading now, The Siege of Krishnapur by J.G. Farrell. It won the Booker Prize in 1973, and again I’m on one of my kicks to read ALL Booker Prize winners. There are many, but I find them more reliably good than the Pulitzer winners for fiction. 

  • 1893 – Charles Duryea and his brother road-test the first American-made gasoline-powered automobile.

Here are the Duryea brothers in their car in 1894. Notice that the steering wheel is a stick.

The Holocaust was particularly horrible in Ukraine, where locals teamed up with the Nazis to kill off the Jews. Here’s a photo from Wikipedia labeled “Jews digging their own graves. Storow, 4 July 1941.”

Notice that women and children are digging, too.

  • 1962 – James Meredith, an African American, is temporarily barred from entering the University of Mississippi.
  • 1973 – Billie Jean King beats Bobby Riggs in the Battle of the Sexes tennis match at the Houston Astrodome.
  • 1973 – Singer Jim Croce, songwriter and musician Maury Muehleisen and four others die when their light aircraft crashes on takeoff at Natchitoches Regional Airport in Louisiana.

Here’s Croche, accompanied by Muehleisen on guitar, singing one of my favorite songs, “Operator” (Croce’s composition) on the Midnight Special show. This was on June 15, 1973, only about three months before he died.

  • 2001 – In an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, U.S. President George W. Bush declares a “War on Terror“.

What he meant was a war on “terrorISM”.

Greta sometimes seems a bit overly intense, but that’s because she’s passionate about her cause, and we need young people to sound the alarm:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1878 – Upton Sinclair, American novelist, critic, and essayist (d. 1968)

Sinclair, photographed as a young man below, wrote the famous book The Jungle (1908), which, though fictional, was an accurate exposé of the horrible conditions of the meatpacking industry in Chicago. It’s said that sales of meat fell by half after his book came out. It’s well worth reading.

  • 1929 – Anne Meara, American actress and playwright (d. 2015)
  • 1934 – Sophia Loren, Italian actress
  • 1962 – Jim Al-Khalili, Iraqi-English physicist, author, and academic

Those who “passed” on September 20 include:

Tichborne wrote the ineffably sad poem “My prime of youth is but a frost of cares” (also called “Elegy”), enclosed in a letter to his wife the night before his gruesome execution for treason. He was 24, and here’s the moving last verse:

I sought my death and found it in my womb,
I looked for life and saw it was a shade,
I trod the earth and knew it was my tomb,
And now I die, and now I was but made;
My glass is full, and now my glass is run,
And now I live, and now my life is done.

  • 1863 – Jacob Grimm, German philologist and mythologist (b. 1785)

Here are both of the Brothers Grimm:

Wilhelm and Jacob Grimm, 1847; daguerreotype by Hermann Blow
  • 1957 – Jean Sibelius, Finnish violinist and composer (b. 1865)
  • 1973 – Jim Croce, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1943)

See above.

  • 1996 – Paul Erdős, Hungarian-Polish mathematician and academic (b. 1913)

Erdős, a great mathematician shown below, was also a peripatetic eccentric; read the Wikipedia section on his personality.

  • 2005 – Simon Wiesenthal, Austrian human rights activist, Holocaust survivor (b. 1908)
  • 2006 – Sven Nykvist, Swedish director, producer, and cinematographer (b. 1922)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, HIli has one of her two big concerns (the other, of course, is noms):

Hili: I’m fully conscious.
A: What of?
Hili: That it’s time for a nap.
In Polish:
Hili: Jestem w pełni świadoma.
Ja: Czego?
Hili: Że pora się przespać.

Little Kulka naps on the windowsill: a photo by Paulina:

From Meanwhile in Canada:

From a FB site I joined, Quackers about Ducks. They speak the TRUTH! But I don’t even have to call; I just show up.

From Jesus of the Day:

An apposite tweet from Simon. Sound up:

The UN could issue condemnations of the Taliban’s behavior; after all, they do it to Israel all the time.

A paired tweet from Barrie. Sound up, and listen for the neigh. The Western Capercallie, in the grouse family, lives in Europe and northern Asia, and males are twice the size of the females. The sexes barely resemble each other, and the fight in the first video below shows that sexual selection is intense.

From the Auschwitz Memorial. This man lived a bit more than a month after arrival:

From Ginger K., who thinks we should visit this bookstore. But unless it has a resident cat, it’s empty:

Two tweets from Matthew. Why are there cats in this ad?

This is a rare photo of a mantid in flight. The translation by Google is this: “Blog update (2021-09-18) Next-Shonan Musi Diary Flying mantis. Next time …↑”

Sunday: Hili dialogue

September 19, 2021 • 7:00 am

It’s Sunday in Cambridge, MA this September 19, 2021: National Butterscotch Pudding Day. It’s also International Talk Like a Pirate Day, National Wife Appreciation Day, and National Women’s Friendship Day.

The weather here has been lovely (tee shirt temperatures) with sun, some clouds, but only a little rain yesterday. Today’s predicted high in Cambridge is 74°F (23°C).

News of the Day:

Once again I’ve been oblivious to the news, and don’t even know how the Rally for Trump (surely made up of some “very fine people”) went yesterday. please fill me in below.

* Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 673,367, an increase of 2,012 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,701,438, 4,694,219, an increase of about 7,200 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 19 includes:

That budget was $639,000.

You can read the farewell address here. He never spoke it; it was in the form of a letter. At the end of his first term as President, Washington had James Madison prepare an earlier version, but then George decided to run for (and won) a second term. The later letter was a revision of the first with the help of Alexander Hamilton.

  • 1881 – U.S. President James A. Garfield dies of wounds suffered in a July 2 shooting. Vice President Chester A. Arthur becomes President upon Garfield’s death.

Here’s a depiction of the assassination, with Garfield shot twice in a railroad station depot by Charles Guiteau, who was convinced that Garfield would destroy the Republican Party. As you see, Garfield lived a considerable time after the shooting—79 days—and died of “sepsis” (infection). He could have been saved with antibiotics.

  • 1893 – In New Zealand, the Electoral Act of 1893 is consented to by the governor, giving all women in New Zealand the right to vote.

This made New Zealand the first self-governing nation in the world to allow women to vote. Here are some suffragettes in New Zealand, whose symbol was the white camellia:

Only a very brave man would voluntarily get himself arrested and sent to Auschwitz (his intake photo is below). Pilecki, a Polish military officer, escaped in April, 1943, after surviving 2.5 years, and he had gathered lots of information about the camp, but he buried his report and it wasn’t revealed till after Pilecki’s death. Ironically, he was executed by the Communists in 1947.

  • 1952 – The United States bars Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England.

Chaplin was born in London, made his name in Hollywood films, and when he was touring Europe, long since world famous, the U.S. barred his re-entry because he was a political dissident, an accused Communist (he wasn’t), and not a U.S. citizen. He returned to the U.S. only once thereafter, to receive an honorary Academy Award in 1972. Here’s a photo of the aged Chaplin getting that award from Jack Lemmon:

  • 1982 – Scott Fahlman posts the first documented emoticons 🙂 and 🙁 on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board system.
  • 1985 – Tipper Gore and other political wives form the Parents Music Resource Center as Frank Zappa and other musicians testify at U.S. Congressional hearings on obscenity in rock music.
  • 1991 – Ötzi the Iceman is discovered in the Alps on the border between Italy and Austria.

Ötzi, who died between 3400 and 3100 BC, is Europe’s oldest “natural mummy”. Extracted from the ice in 1991, it’s thought he was killed because he had an arrowhead embedded in his shoulder (he may have been a ritual sacrifice). He had ibex meat and grain in his stomach, suffered from whipworm, and was emblazoned with 61 tattoos! To see him you have to visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy.

Here’s a photo of Ötzi as found in the ice:

And his head and chest:

A reconstruction of him with his equipment (also found):

  • 1995 – The Washington Post and The New York Times publish the Unabomber manifesto.
  • 2011 – Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees surpasses Trevor Hoffman to become Major League Baseball’s all-time saves leader with 602.

Here’s Rivera setting the all time save record:

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s Rackham’s “Puss in Boots”. It’s hard to make out Puss.

  • 1911 – William Golding, British novelist, playwright, and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1993)
  • 1913 – Frances Farmer, American actress (d. 1970)
  • 1932 – Mike Royko, American journalist and author (d. 1997)
  • 1934 – Brian Epstein, English talent manager (d. 1967)
  • 1941 – Cass Elliot, American singer (d. 1974)
  • 1949 – Twiggy, English model, actress, and singer

Here name now is Dame Lesley Lawson (birth name Lesley Hornby), and she’s just about my age. In her glory days:

Those who became dead on September 19 include:

  • 1881 – James A. Garfield, American general, lawyer, and politician, and the 20th President of the United States (b. 1831)
  • 1942 – Condé Montrose Nast, American publisher, founded Condé Nast Publications (b. 1873)
  • 1965 – Lionel Terray, French mountaineer (b. 1921)

A great climber and a member of Herzog’s team that climbed Annapurna (Terray didn’t attain the summit), Terray died during a rock climb at age 44.

  • 1995 – Orville Redenbacher, American businessman, founded his own eponymous brand (b. 1907)
  • 2004 – Eddie Adams, American photographer and journalist (b. 1933)
  • 2004 – Skeeter Davis, American singer-songwriter (b. 1931)

Davis had one great and classic song, which she performs below live:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, it’s hunting season for Hili. She must be trying to lay on the fat for winter.

Hili: It’s a great ecosystem but something is lacking.
A: What?
Hili: Something fat.
In Polish:
Hili: Wspaniały ecosystem, ale czegoś tu brakuje.
Ja: Czego?
Hili: Czegoś tłustego.

And a picture of Kulka by Paulina:

From Facebook. For the backstory see here:

A FB post from Helen Pluckrose, one of the “Grievance Study” perpetrators:

From Jesus of the Day:

A tweet from Masih. Apparently girls in Afghanistan still aren’t allowed in school:

From Barry. This cat is either dumb or extraordinarily charitable, but it’s surely not hungry!

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a comfy bodega cat:

Not a bodega cat:

These are apparently the real Beatles:

This is a clever cat, and I’ve put a video of his machinations belowl

See for yourself! I’ve tried to embed a “Tik Tok”:


This happens at least once a day 😂 #foryou #foryoupage #lol #comedy #viral #cats #catsoftiktok

♬ Mission Impossible (Main Theme) – Favorite Movie Songs

A nether eructation from a crab:

Saturday: Hili dialogue

September 18, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s Caturday in beautiful Cambridge, Massachusetts: September 18, 2021: National Cheeseburger Day. No fries, cheeps! No Coke, Pepsi!

It’s also Eat An Apple Day, Rice Krispies Treats Day (I have to admit that I love ’em), International Red Panda Day, International Bamboo Day, International eBook Day (never read one, never will), National Dance Day, National Gymnastics Day, Locate An Old Friend Day (easier now with Google), National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day, and International First Love Day (Devon Powell, sixth grade, we were safety guards together and sometimes raised the American flag. This should make for some good stories of first loves in the comments. Remember yours? (Mine never went anywhere; you don’t date when you’re 11.)

News of the Day: Once again I haven’t kept up with the news, so here are a few tidbits. Feel free to put news of interest in the comments, which I do read.

*Today’s the big right-wing rally at the Capitol in Washington in support of the earlier thugs who invaded the building on January 6.  There are no credible threats (yet), but the police/military presence will be strong:

In what the Capitol Police chief called the “new normal” of security amid rising threats from domestic extremists, the administration will deploy 100 unarmed National Guard troops to downtown Washington on Saturday. The additional military presence comes after intelligence officers tracked online threats made against members of Congress and reported that some rally attendees supportive of former President Donald J. Trump “may seek to engage in violence.”

*A genetic analysis of 3000-year-old Central European skeletons of warriors from a battle shows that they didn’t have the genetic variant for lactase persistence, and so couldn’t digest milk. Since that variant was very common by 1000 A.D., it seems as if the gene spread rapidly (other estimates have given it a selective advantage of about 10% over the alternative, non-digesting gene). Remember, 2000 years was only about 100 human generations at that time. As Science notes (linking to the original paper in Current Biology),

“That means that within about 100 generations, the mutation had penetrated populations across Europe. “That’s the strongest selection found in the human genome,” [co-author Joachim] Burger says.

*John McWhorter’s new column in the NYT reports an example of cancellation at the University of Wisconsin-Madison at least as egregious as the removal of the Rock of Shame. Read it for yourself. It seems that one of his two weekly columns will be about linguistics and the other about race.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 672,811 an increase of 1,992 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,694,219, an increase of about 9,000 over yesterday’s total.

Today was a thin day in history. Stuff that happened on September 18 includes:

Here’s a painting of the event. What would George think about what’s going to happen there today?

And here’s part of the front page from 1851:

  • 1948 – Margaret Chase Smith of Maine becomes the first woman elected to the United States Senate without completing another senator’s term.

She served from 1949, the year I was born, until 1973, and was also the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress. A moderate Republican, she was also one of the first to oppose Joe McCarthy’s red-baiting tactics. A photo:

  • 1997 – The Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention is adopted.
  • 2001 – First mailing of anthrax letters from Trenton, New Jersey in the 2001 anthrax attacks.
  • 2014 – Scotland votes against independence from the United Kingdom, by 55% to 45%.

I think the next vote will have a different outcome, och aye?

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1709 – Samuel Johnson, English lexicographer and poet (d. 1784)
  • 1905 – Greta Garbo, Swedish-American actress (d. 1990)

Here’s Garbo’s most famous line, and she did wind up alone.  From Wikipedia:

She is closely associated with a line from Grand Hotel, one which the American Film Institute in 2005 voted the 30th-most memorable movie quote of all time, “I want to be alone; I just want to be alone.” The theme was a running gag that began during the period of her silent movies.

  • 1933 – Jimmie Rodgers, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1940 – Frankie Avalon, American singer and actor
  • 1954 – Steven Pinker, Canadian-American psychologist, linguist, and author

It’s Pinkah’s birthday, and he’s 67: the most unfairly despised intellectual in America! Here he is from February of last year wearing his custom cowboy boots made by Lee Miller of Austin—the same guy who made mine:

  • 1967 – Tara Fitzgerald, English actress
  • 1971 – Lance Armstrong, American cyclist
  • 1976 – Ronaldo, Brazilian footballer

One of the many greats who played from Brazil, Ronaldo shows his skills in this “best of” video:

Those who gave Charon his coin on September 18 include:

  • 1783 – Leonhard Euler, Swiss mathematician and physicist (b. 1707)

Remember, his last name is pronounced “OY-ler”, as in “Oy vey!”

  • 1961 – Dag Hammarskjöld, Swedish economist and diplomat, 2nd Secretary-General of the United Nations, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1905)
  • 1970 – Jimi Hendrix, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1942)

I must of course show a video of Hendrix, and here’s one of him performing perhaps his most famous song:

  • 1980 – Katherine Anne Porter, American short story writer, novelist, and essayist (b. 1890)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s kvetching about food again:

Hili: Life is cruel.
A: Why do you think so?
Hili: I do not see anything I could eat.
In Polish:
Hili: Życie jest okrutne?
Ja: Dlaczego tak sądzisz?
Hili: Nie widzę nikogo kogo mogłabym zjeść.

And a picture of Kulka by Paulina:

From Jean:

From Gregory: a Darth Vader tabby found on Facebook. He says, “May the Force be with mew.”

I can’t help but reproduce this excellent Gary Larson cartoon. I don’t have a phobia, because ducks are often watching me.

A tweet from the Auschwitz Memorial:

From Barry: Geese enjoying a man playing the harmonica (or maybe they think he’s making goose noises):

From Luana. It seems that Anya Taylor-Joy just won a Golden Globe Award and a SAG Award for best actress for her performance in The Queen’s GambitHere’s her ancestry from Wikipedia:

Her father is an Argentine of English and Scottish descent, son of a British father, Alfred Royal Taylor, and an Argentine-British mother, Violet Mary Forrest. Her mother was born in Zambia, to an English diplomat father, David Joy, and a Spanish mother, Montserrat Morancho Saumench, from Barcelona.  She is the youngest of six siblings, four from her father’s previous marriage.

Wilfred Reilly a person of color, is amused by Taylor-Joy being lumped in with other PoCs.  Be sure to look at her photo. One thing you know for sure, the PoC category has nothing to do with pigmentation. I always thought it had to do with oppression, but I doubt Taylor-Joy is oppressed.

Tweets from Matthew. Are the koi following the swan to get food? Is the bird dipping the food in the water to moisten it? (I doubt it’s feeding the fish!):

Another coronavirus in a wild bat similar to the one that started the pandemic in Wuhan. People on the thread are still pushing the lab-leak theory, which, though possible, seems improbable to me given the epidemiology of the spread

Look at this beautiful photo!

And a beautiful cup. Is that a leopard?

Finally, a beautiful spider:

Friday: Hili dialogue

September 17, 2021 • 6:30 am

Posting will likely be light this week as I’m on vacation. Hey, if Andrew Sullivan can stop posting when he’s vacationing in Provincetown, don’t I get some time off? Do bear with me. I will do my best.

Greetings from Cambridge, Massachusetts on Friday, September 17: National Apple Dumpling Day17/sept.  It’s also and Constitution Day, the day in 1787 when the document was signed in Philadelphia, and National Bakery Day, International Grenache Day, National POW/MIA Recognition Day, and National Monte Cristo Day (not the Count but a sandwich “fried and usually made with Swiss cheese and ham. Other types of cheese can be used, and sliced turkey or chicken are sometimes added as well. The sandwich is usually dipped in egg batter before being pan-fried or deep-fried until it is golden brown.”

Here’s a Monte Cristo sandwich; for some reason they sometimes put powdered sugar on top:

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the life and work of Japanese scientist Michiyo Tsujimura, whose research focused on the components of green tea. Born on this day in 1888, she became a research student at Riken, a research institute, and made her name by isolating the components of green tea. With her 1932 thesis, “On the Chemical Components of Green Tea”, she obtained her doctorate in agriculture from Tokyo Imperial University, becoming the first Japanese woman to get a doctorate in that field. She died in 1969. I’ve put a photo below the Doodle.

News of the Day:

I have almost no news today as I was traveling and schmoozing, and so haven’t read the papers. Readers are welcome to put the events of yesterday (or today) in the comments.

Over at the NYT, Ellen Pao, described as “a tech investor and chief executive of Project Include, a diversity, equity and inclusion nonprofit,” decries the prosecution of Elizabeth Holmes of ex-Theranos as an example of sexism.

. . . Ms. Holmes is also exceptional for the basic fact that she is a woman. Time and again, we see that the boys’ club that is the tech industry supports and protects its own — even when the costs are huge. And when the door cracks open ever so slightly to let a woman in, the same rules don’t apply. Indeed, as Ms. Holmes’s trial for fraud continues in San Jose, it’s clear that two things can be true. She should be held accountable for her actions as chief executive of Theranos. And it can be sexist to hold her accountable for alleged serious wrongdoing and not hold an array of men accountable for reports of wrongdoing or bad judgment.

Questionable, unethical, even dangerous behavior has run rampant in the male-dominated world of tech start-ups. Though never charged with crimes, WeWork’s Adam Neumann and Uber’s Travis Kalanick hyped their way into raising over $10 billion for their companies, claiming they would disrupt their stagnant, tired industries.

Perhaps Pao is right, though I don’t know the details of these two cases (she describe several others). The solution, of course, is for the law to go after all accused malefactors, regardless of their sex. The thing about Holmes, though, is that the law was almost forced to take action after John Carreyrou’s reports came out in the Wall Street Journal, followed by his damning book.

Taking a cue from George Church, scientists, according to The Onion, have created a new hybrid form of life. It ain’t a woolly mammoth, but on the screenshot to see what they made.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 670,231 an increase of 1,969 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,685,793, an increase of about 10,700 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 17 includes:

His observations, the first of protozoans, are described in Matthew’s first book, The Egg and Sperm Race. He also observed this, according to Wikipedia. But Wikipedia gives the data above as 1683, which is WRONG.

 He was also the first to document microscopic observations of muscle fibers, bacteria, spermatozoa, red blood cells, crystals in gouty tophi, and among the first to see blood flow in capillaries.

The spermatozoa was, I believe, from the scientist himself, collected from his wife, which caused somewhat of a scandal.

  • 1787 – The United States Constitution is signed in Philadelphia. [see above]
  • 1849 – American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escapes from slavery.

There’s been a delay, but Tubman is schedule to be on the U.S. $20 bill. Here’s a photo:

Unidentified photographer, A large albumen photograph of Harriet Tubman by Tabby Studios in Auburn, NY. Enlarged from an older print.
  • 1908 – The Wright Flyer flown by Orville Wright, with Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as passenger, crashes, killing Selfridge, who becomes the first airplane fatality.

Here’s the wreckage of the plane, which nose-dived into the ground from 150 feet up. Orville survived:

  • 1916 – World War I: Manfred von Richthofen (“The Red Baron”), a flying ace of the German Luftstreitkräfte, wins his first aerial combat near Cambrai, France.

The “ace of aces”, Richtofen is credited with 80 victories. Here’s the Red Baron:

  • 1939 – World War II: The Soviet invasion of Poland begins.
  • 1961 – The world’s first retractable roof stadium, the Civic Arena, opens in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
  • 1978 – The Camp David Accords are signed by Israel and Egypt.
  • 1983 – Vanessa Williams becomes the first black Miss America.

Sadly, she reigned only a year after Penthouse published nude photos of Williams before she was crowned. But she got her revenge, as now she’s a successful singer and actress:

  • 2011 – Occupy Wall Street movement begins in Zuccotti Park, New York City.
  • 2013 – Grand Theft Auto V earns more than half a billion dollars on its first day of release.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1859 – Billy the Kid, American gunman (d. 1881)
  • 1907 – Warren E. Burger, American lawyer and judge, 15th Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1995)
  • 1923 – Hank Williams, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1953)

Here’s Williams, the year before he died (at 29), singing “Cold cold heart“:

  • 1931 – Anne Bancroft, American actress (d. 2005)
  • 1935 – Ken Kesey, American novelist, essayist, and poet (d. 2001)
  • 1944 – Reinhold Messner, Italian mountaineer and explorer

Many,including me, regard Messner as the greatest Himalayan climber of all time. His greatest feat was a SOLO climb of Everest without oxygen (1980) but he has many other intrepid feats under his belt. Here’s a “selfie” of him on the summit from that 1980 climb; he must have used a self timer:

  • 1968 – Cheryl Strayed, American author

Those who checked out on September 17 include:

Scott was of course the plaintiff in the famous 1857 case where the Supreme Court declared, in a 7-2 vote, that African Americans could not be American citizens. Scott:

  • 1899 – Charles Alfred Pillsbury, American businessman, co-founded the Pillsbury Company (b. 1842)
  • 1993 – Willie Mosconi, American pool player and actor (b. 1913)

Mosconi clears the table. Remember, he’s always calculating where the cue ball will wind up for his next shot:

  • 1994 – Karl Popper, Austrian-English philosopher and academic (b. 1902)
  • 1996 – Spiro Agnew, American soldier and politician, 39th Vice President of the United States (b. 1918)
  • 2019 – Cokie Roberts, American journalist and bestselling author (b. 1943)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hil isn’t too successful on the hunt:

A: What did you find?
Hili: A little worm.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam znalazłaś?
Hili: Robaczka.
And here’s Paulina’s photo of the lovely young Kulka:

From Stash Krod:

From Jesus of the Day:

Also from JotD:

From Titania, and she’s right (look at all the photos). Britain has got to ratchet down this hate-crime prosecution:

From Barry. It sure looks as if this cat is imitating its staff’s hairbrushing. What do you think?

From Luana. I can’t verify where this picture came from, or where (if it’s genuine); but there are lots of copies on the Internet, with one saying it “came from a military sponsored preschool program.”

From Masih:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a bit of history; see above.

Tweets from Matthew. Look at these flying squid!

Animal empathy:

Here’s a cat who will be glad to become an empty nester:

Thursday: Hili dialogue

September 16, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings on Thursday, September 16. By the time you read this I’ll either be at the airport or in the air on my way to Boston. It’s National Peach Pie Day, and I hope you can have some. Posting will likely be lighter than usual for a week.

It’s also Mexican Independence Day(see below), which goes along with the fact that it’s Free Queso Day (but only at Moe’s Southwest Grill), and National Guacamole Day. Further, it’s National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, Mayflower Day (the day the ship left Plymouth in 1620), World Play-Doh Day (it was introduced on this day in 1955), Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, and International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (see below).

News of the Day:

It’s been 239 days since the Bidens moved into the White House and still, as far as I know, there is no First Cat. WHERE IS THE PROMISED CAT, JOE?

*The SpaceX launch, for which I gave a live feed last night, was a big success, with the booster successfully returning to Earth and all four astronauts happily in orbit for three days. It was, as they say, “nominal”.

*North Korea’s on a really aggressive path: on Wednesday it launched two ballistic missiles, after having launched two cruise missiles last week. According to the NYT, this violates “multiple United Nations Security Council resolutions that ban North Korea from conducting such tests.” Also, on the very same day, South Korea did its first ballistic missile launch from a submarine, joining the U.S., Russia, Britain, India, China, and France as countries capable of submarine launches. The U.S., of course, has nuclear-missile-launching subs around the Korean peninsula, but no nukes on the peninsula itself.

*Here’s a U.S. tentative response to China, who, the U.S. fears, might become yet more autocratic or even emboldened to take over Taiwan. In collaboration with the UK, the U.S. is helping Australia acquire nuclear submarines.

“The United States, Australia and the United Kingdom have long been faithful and capable partners and we’re even closer today,” the President said. “Today, we’re taking another historic step to deepen and formalize cooperation among all three of our nations, because we all recognize the imperative of ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific over the long term.”

I guess Aussie nuclear subs are some kind of deterrent, but how much more deterrence will we need? If China attacks and takes over Taiwan, will they fire those nukes?

*Another sign of global warming. Mount Shasta in California (height 14,179 feet or 4322 m) invariably has snow on the summit in the summer. Not this year. The glaciers on the north side have lost 50% of their usual mass just since 2000, and here’s a series of photos showing the amount of snow on the mountain (green splotch) in July or August:

Here’s a tweet of the sadly denuded mountain:

*In his newest column in the NYT, John McWhorter neglects race and returns to language. His topic today is about the best way to learn another language, and he has a definite answer, involving a program. (I don’t know how many languages he speaks, but it must be a lot.)

. . . I have spent my life compulsively teaching myself to get around in languages — I have the polyglot disease — and I know of a way to get farther than people usually get. There is no reason that Glossika shouldn’t be as well known as Duolingo and Babbel. It teaches you real language, and it gets you used to just hearing the language, rather than relying as much on text as sound. After all, there are no subtitles in real life.

The method is pretty simple. You get recordings of 5,000 sentences in the language of your choice. Glossika comes in more than 60 languages at this point: If you feel your life isn’t complete without immersing yourself in some Slovenian or Uzbek, Glossika is for you. But the important part here is that the sentences are real ones. The first time I used it, the first sentence was about being good at tennis. Think: In a foreign language you know, were you ever taught how to say “good at”? To speak a language is to know how to say things like that.

. . . After that, the next move is immersion with real people. After I did one set, a speaker told me, “You know a lot of words!” That hedged but sincere compliment was dead on; I spoke roughly like a bright 4-year-old, and Glossika did that.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 666,816 an increase of 1,943 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,675,036, an increase of about 10,700 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 16 includes:

This was a small merchant ship, with 102 Pilgrims crammed together during the 66-day trip (two died). And, during the first winter, half of the rest died. Here’s a drawing showing how everyone was crammed together:

“Grito de Dolores” means “Cry of Dolores”, and Dolores is a city in Central Mexico. On this day in 1810, “Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla rang his church bell and gave the call to arms that triggered the Mexican War of Independence.” Here’s the church from whose portico the call to arms was issued, Our Lady of Sorrows:

  • 1880 – The Cornell Daily Sun prints its first issue in Ithaca, New York. The Sun is the United States’ oldest, continuously-independent college daily.
  • 1908 – The General Motors Corporation is founded.
  • 1955 – The military coup to unseat President Juan Perón of Argentina is launched at midnight.

This was the end of his second term as President. He went into exile but returned and was re-elected in 1973. Here he is with his famous wife Eva (“Evita”):

  • 1959 – The first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, is introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City.

Here’s what I think is that commercial:

  • 1966 – The Metropolitan Opera House opens at Lincoln Center in New York City with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera Antony and Cleopatra.
  • 1976 – Armenian champion swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan saves 20 people from a trolleybus that had fallen into a Yerevan reservoir.

The word “hero” is flung around carelessly these days, but if anybody is a true hero, it’s Shavarsh Karapetyan. Here’s a 7-minute summary of his life and heroic act:

  • 1987 – The Montreal Protocol is signed to protect the ozone layer from depletion.
  • 1992 – The trial of the deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega ends in the United States with a 40-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering.

Noriega, still incarcerated, died of a brain hemorrhage in 2017. His mug shot:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1886 – Jean Arp, Alsatian sculptor and painter (d. 1966)
  • 1893 – Albert Szent-Györgyi, Hungarian-American physiologist and biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1986)

Szent-Györgyi isolated vitamin C and worked out the citric acid cycle (“Krebs cycle”), both of which contributed to his Nobel Prize in 1937. Here he is around 1948:

Remember this scene from “The Big Sleep”:

  • 1925 – Charlie Byrd, American singer and guitarist (d. 1999)
  • 1925 – B.B. King, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2015)

Here’s what is perhaps his most famous song, “The Thrill is Gone“, performed in 1993:

  • 1950 – Henry Louis Gates Jr., American historian, scholar, and journalist
  • 1971 – Amy Poehler, American actress, comedian, and producer

Those whose lives were quenched on September 16 include:

  • 1936 – Jean-Baptiste Charcot, French physician and explorer (b. 1867)
  • 1977 – Maria Callas, Greek operatic soprano (b. 1923)

Here’s La Callas singing my favorite operatic aria in Paris:

  • 1980 – Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist and philosopher (b. 1896)
  • 2009 – Mary Travers, American singer-songwriter (b. 1936)

Here’s a rare melange of great singers: Cass Elliot, Joni Mitchell, and Mary Travers, singing the Dylan song, “I shall be released.” The performance was in 1969 on Mama Cass’s television show.

  • 2016 – Edward Albee, American director and playwright (b. 1928)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is having her customary thoughts:

A: What are you musing about?
I wonder when the next meal will be.
In Polish:
Ja: Nad czym dumasz?
Hili: Zastanawiam się kiedy będzie następny posiłek.

And a photo of Kulka and Szaron on the windowsill, taken by Paulina:

From smipowell. This is my Teddy, Toasty!

From Facebook:

Also from Facebook:

From Simon, which shows you who is pro- and anti-vaccination:

From Barry. I think more religions should chart their beliefs like this, as it would show their craziness:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

From Luana. Polygenic scores are of course underestimates because, based on even medium-sized samples, they don’t account for low-frequency variants affecting a trait, so most correlations are probably underestimates as well.

From Dom: a nefarious parasite that makes ants bite grass before they die so the next host, sheep, eat the ants and get infected too. Then sheep poop out eggs that infect snails, who release eggs that are eaten by an ant, and the cycle starts again. One parasite and three hosts: an old but classic “zombie ant parasite” story.


Tweets from Matthew. He and I both love the Dodo videos with kittens. As Matthew noted, “Yes if the world were like the Dodo everything would be fine.”

These are wonderful sculptures; be sure to look at each photo:

Colorful mushrooms in New Zealand, including a blue one!

Wednesday: Hili dialogue

September 15, 2021 • 6:30 am

Greetings on Wednesday, September 15, my last day in Chicago for a week. It’s National Linguine Day (I prefer bucatini, but it doesn’t have its own Day.)

It’s also National Cheese Toast Day, National Double Cheeseburger Day, Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie Day, National Crème de Menthe Day, National Caregivers Day, National Felt Hat Day, World Afro Day, World Lymphoma Awareness Day, International Day of Democracy, and, in the U.S., the beginning of German American Heritage Month, celebrated until October 15, and the beginning of National Hispanic Heritage Month, celebrated until October 15. You can celebrate the last two at once by having a michelada made with Löwenbräu.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the life and work of Ildaura Murillo-Rohde, described by Wikipedia this way:

Ildaura Murillo-Rohde (September 6, 1920 – September 5, 2010) was a Panamanian-American nurse, academic and organizational administrator. .  . Murillo-Rohde founded the National Association of Hispanic Nurses in 1975. She was a World Health Organization consultant to the government of Guatemala and was named a Permanent UN Representative to UNICEF for the International Federation of Business and Professional Women. She was named a Living Legend of the American Academy of Nursing in 1994.

News of the Day:

*It looks as if Gavin Newsom handily won the recall election and remains Governor of California. But he’d better remember the issues that brought about the election in the first place. In an interview Monday evening with NBC News, he simply waved them away.

*Speaking of California, in an op-ed in the NYT, Jay Kang takes issue with schools abandoning standardized tests like the SAT, which the University of California did recently (and against the advice of a group of experts the U of C commissioned to study the problem). Kang argues that test elimination has little effect on increasing diversity but reduces transparency of admissions, and recommends as a substitute the community-college transfer route:

State schools that are committed to social justice should make the community college transfer program the first and final word when it comes to diversity, rather than celebrate tiny shifts in minority enrollment while driving down admission rates. Instead of adjusting scores and engaging in the careful engineering that ends with one student being declared more “holistic” than another, they should make the community-college-to-four-year-university-pathway as easy and as normalized as possible. Students would be able to take on less debt, orient themselves in their chosen fields of study and stay in their hometowns.

*Here’s an intriguing headline for an op-ed in the Washington Post: “How Amy Coney Barrett might know she’s a political hack,” written by columnist Jennifer Rubin. This is based on what Coney Barrett said in a talk in Louisville, where she happened to share the stage with Mitch “666” McConnell:

“My goal today is to convince you that this court is not composed of a bunch of partisan hacks,” Barrett said with a straight face. She continued, “Sometimes, I don’t like the results of my decisions. But it’s not my job to decide cases based on the outcome I want.”

If you’ll believe that, you’ll believe anything. Her voting to uphold Texas’s odious anti-abortion law surely was an outcome she wanted, for she’s a pious Catholic. And, after all, the Texas law violates the stare decisis of Roe v. Wade. Here’s why Rubin thinks that Coney Barrett secretly knows that she’s a lying hack:

So are Barrett and Breyer [who also claims that Justices are largely “neutral”] simply lying to us? I would suggest it is something more insidious: They have convinced themselves that their judicial “philosophy” is neutral, rather than a means to turn the court into an instrument of partisan power.

Let’s get real. Conservative justices have been tutored in Federalist Society buzzwords such as “judicial restraint” (except, for example, when rewriting the Voting Rights Act). They have latched onto a brand of jurisprudence in which the only “legitimate” method of interpretation is time-traveling to the 18th century, often neatly bypassing the post-Civil War amendments that federalized rights. That’s how the conservative justices manage to regard themselves as paragons of judicial virtue.

They cannot acknowledge that their reasoning constantly twists and turns, elevating certain rights (e.g., religious freedom, gun ownership) but diminishing others (e.g., those guaranteed by the 14th Amendment). They refuse to concede that their view of executive power expands like an accordion for Republican presidents and contracts for Democratic presidents.

It is precisely because justices lack the discipline and self-awareness to divorce their own judicial “philosophies” from the partisan ends their “side” wants that term limits become a necessity. Judges who no longer feel constrained by precedent and nearly always fulfill the policy edicts of the president who nominated them should not have lifetime tenure. When the highest court is now a forum for raw exercise of political power, a president’s picks should not be empowered to serve for decades.

But would Rubin write the same thing if those statements had been made by the liberal Justices, or if the Court weren’t so damn conservative?

*CNN tells us that Squaw Valley Alpine Meadow Ski Resort, overdue for a renaming, has finally been renamed: it’s now called Palisades Tahoe, which might confuse people with the ski resorts in Lake Tahoe, California. At any rate, I had no idea that “squaw” wasn’t a Native American word:

The word “squaw” was introduced by Lewis and Clark in 1805 and used by early fur traders and trappers, according to the University of Idaho. In today’s social context, Native Americans understand the term to be a slur.

In light of that, it certainly needed a new name. (h/t Simon)

*The trial of Elizabeth Holmes for wire fraud involving her billion-dollar startup company Theranos continues in California. The Wall Street Journal, which broke the case open, has a live feed of the trial, and yesterday two witnesses testified, separately, that the blood-testing device didn’t work, and Theranos knew it, and also that Holmes lied to investors with falsely optimistic estimates of the company’s profits.

*Science Alert reports unusual tool use in a parrot.  A kea (Nestor notabilis, a parrot I encountered in New Zealand) has been found using tools in an unusual way. Named Bruce, the kea was found badly injured in 2013 missing the top half of his beak. He’s been taken care of at the Willowbank Wildlife Reserve in Christchurch. Now, like all birds, keas must groom themselves, but that’s nearly impossible if you’re missing your top mandible. Resourceful Bruce, however, found that he could pick up properly-shaped pebbles, hold them in his half-bill, and use them to preen his feathers. He does this by holding the pebble underneath his tongue and then running his feathers between his lower mandible and the stone. How clever! (h/t Ginger K)

You’ll want to see a video of this, of course, and I found one:

*Woke fashion at the Met Gala, one of the glitziest affairs in NYC.  Here’s AOC with her dress, which is really gonna change some minds at the Met, where a ticket to the Gala costs $30,000.

(From CNN): Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez attends the 2021 Met Gala accompanied by Brother Vellies founder Aurora James, who designed her dress. Credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images

And Teen Vogue editor Versha Sharma with her pro-choice clutch (her article is here):

I agree with both of their messages, but there’s a time and place. . .

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 664,231 an increase of 1,888 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,664,368, an increase of about 10,000 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on September 15 includes:

de Rais, a French knight, specialized in sexual abuse and subsequent murder of children; his victims possibly numbered in the hundreds. He was hanged in 1440. Here’s an early rendition of his execution:

Sadly, the Beagle was eventually broken up, but some of its timber possibly remains as part of a dock and a farmhouse. Here’s what she looked like during her first three voyages:

Here’s one of those early tanks with the caption, “This Mark I ‘Male’ Tank broke down crossing a British trench on its way to attack Thiepval on 25 September 1916.” They didn’t do a very good job; several were destroyed by artillery fire while others broke down:

Below is the law depriving Jews of citizenship, followed by an earlier 1933 photo of members of the SA (the Nazi’s paramilitary wing) picketing in front of a Jewish store.

The signs read, “Germans! Defend yourselves! Do not buy from Jews!”

Nationalsozialistische Boykott-Posten vor dem Warenhaus Israel in Berlin.

Here are the four girls killed by a conspiracy of four Klansmen. One of the murderers was convicted in 1977, one died before trial, and the last two were finally convicted in 2001 and 2002. All were given life sentences.

(From Wikipedia): The four girls killed in the bombing (clockwise from top left): Addie Mae Collins, Cynthia Wesley, Carole Robertson, and Carol Denise McNair
  • 1981 – The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approves Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • 1981 – The John Bull becomes the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution operates it under its own power outside Washington, D.C.

The John Bull was first run on September 15, 1831 and was restored sufficiently to be operated on its 150th birthday (see video below). I want to know where the tracks were, and how they made the train fit modern track.

  • 2008 – Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s an actual photo of Cooper, taken by Matthew Brady the year before Cooper died:

  • 1857 – William Howard Taft, American lawyer, jurist, and politician, 27th President of the United States (d. 1930)
  • 1890 – Agatha Christie, English crime novelist, short story writer, and playwright (d. 1976)
  • 1894 – Jean Renoir, French actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1979)

I’m ashamed to admit that I’ve never seen a film by Renoir, but I promise to fill that gap.

  • 1903 – Roy Acuff, American singer-songwriter and fiddler (d. 1992)

Here’s Acuff singing the classic, “The Wabash Cannonball” (you can hear an earlier live version by Acuff here).

  • 1907 – Fay Wray, Canadian-American actress (d. 2004)

The Bride of Kong! (1933):

  • 1928 – Cannonball Adderley, American saxophonist and bandleader (d. 1975)
  • 1929 – Murray Gell-Mann, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019)
  • 1945 – Jessye Norman, American soprano (d. 2019)
  • 1946 – Oliver Stone, American director, screenwriter, and producer
  • 1984 – Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

Those who went belly up on September 15 include:

  • 1750 – Charles Theodore Pachelbel, German organist and composer (b. 1690)
  • 1938 – Thomas Wolfe, American novelist (b. 1900)

Wolfe, one of my favorite writers (a penchant my literary friends despise) died at ony 37 of tuberculosis that had spread to his brain. Here he is with his huge stacks of manuscripts:

  • 1945 – Anton Webern, Austrian composer and conductor (b. 1883)
  • 1980 – Bill Evans, American pianist and composer (b. 1929)
  • 1985 – Cootie Williams, American trumpet player (b. 1910)

Williams played for many years with Duke Ellington’s band. In fact, Ellington wrote the song below, “Concerto for Cootie” in his honor. It’s performed here by the “Blanton-Webster” version of the Ellington band (the best), with Williams on trumpet:

  • 2003 – Garner Ted Armstrong, American evangelist and author (b. 1930)
  • 2017 – Harry Dean Stanton, American actor (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is up in the trees again:

A: What do you see?
Hili: Distance.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam widzisz?
Hili: Dal.

And here’s a lovely photo of Kulka and Szaron sleeping together (as they do) taken by Paulina. Notice that Kulka is licking Szaron:

From Doc Bill:

From Not Another Science Cat page. A cat tank!

And from the same site. Look at that cat’s face!

Titania on AOC’s Met Gala dress (this was sent by Simon and Luana):

More from Simon:

From Barry, who says, “Such a lovely sound. And I do wonder what all the ‘stomping’ is all about. It’s almost surely a “dance” to attract potential mates.”  I suppose, though, that it could be for territorial defense.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a man who lived but five weeks in the camp:

Tweets from Matthew. Sound up on this one, too.

The decisive moment, and a graceful one:


I hope I’m around to see this: