Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s Saturday, September 9, 2017, and hard to believe that just a week from today I’ll be flying back to the U.S.  It’s still overcast here but not quite so cold. Since this area has had a three-year drought, people are grateful for the rain. It’s an odd food day: National “I Love Food” Day. I suppose most people adhere to that, but I have met some misguided souls who don’t see food as one of life’s main pleasures. (It’s also National Steak Au Poivre Day.) In Japan it’s Chrysanthemum Day, celebrating the day the Imperial Family had its first chrysanthemum show in 910 (that flower is the symbol of Japanese royalty).

On this day in 1543, Mary Stuart, who had acceded to the Scottish throne at the age of six days, was officially crowned Queen (she didn’t actually rule until she grew up; a group of regents held power until then). On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress named the federation of states the “United States.” On September 9, 1850, California became the 31st state in those United States. On this day in 1942, a Japanese “floatplane,” launched by a submarine, dropped two incendiary bombs on a forest in Oregon, intending (but failing) to cause a forest fire. It was the first time in history that the mainland U.S. had been bombed by a enemy nation. There was another futile attempt on Sept. 29. Here’s the pilot and his plane:

(Photo from Wikipedia): Nobuo Fujita standing by his Yokosuka E14Y “Glen” seaplane, Fujita survived the war, living until 1997.

On this day in 1947, the first real “computer bug” was found; as Wikipedia reports:  “First case of a computer bug being found: A moth lodges in a relay of a Harvard Mark II computer at Harvard University.” Now I already know that moths aren’t real “bugs” in the biological sense (bugs are in the order Hemiptera; moths in Lepidoptera), so no correction needed. Here’s the computer’s log, now at the Smithsonian, into which they taped the actual moth:

Exactly one year later, Kim Il-sung announced the establishment of the DPRK. On this day in 1956, Elvis Presley made his famous hip-gyrating appearance on the Ed Sullivan show, with the camera avoiding shots of Presley’s salacious leg movements. In 1969, Canada’s Official Languages Act took force, making French and English co-equal languages in the Canadian government. And two years ago today, Elizabeth II overtook her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria to become the longest-reigning British monarch, as well as the longest-reigning female head of state in world history.

Notables born on this day include Leo Tolstoy (1828), Leon Edel (1907), geneticist Warwick Kerr (1922), Otis Redding (1941, died in a plane crash in 1967) and Adam Sandler (1966). Those who died on this day include Jacques Lacan (1981), Paul Flory (1985) and Bill Monroe (1996).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s looking out for me:

A: I’m going to the store.
Hili: Buy something for Jerry’s cold.
(I’m feeling much better today)


In Polish:
Ja: Hili, idę do sklepu.
Hili: Kup coś na to przeziębienie Jerrego.

For lagniappe, I’ve stolen another specimen from Heather Hastie’s daily collection of tw**ts; although I don’t use Twi**er, I parasitize those who do. Be sure to watch to the end when the real cat shows up.


  1. Mike
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    The look on that

  2. Liz
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Good morning, Jerry. I hope your cold isn’t getting you too down. I’m going to NJ after Chicago next weekend (the 18th I’m flying out- Monday) – maybe we’ll bump into each other in Chicago on Sunday. I’m near the Millenium Knickerbocker. It would be fun. I don’t know. I’ll just be walking around alone as per usual.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    The congressional announcement changing the word from colonies to states was previously done in the declaration to note the removal of submission to England. The word United that preceded colonies or states was the more important word as this was not accomplished until 13 years later with the ratification of the Constitution. Prior to this date united was a very loose and often ignored term and sometimes remains so even today.

  4. Hempenstein
    Posted September 9, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Re. the floatplane, I have a memory of some bomb on a balloon, launched from Japan, that wound up killing a schoolgirl on a picnic with a church group, somewhere in Oregon or Washington late in the war. Can’t remember further details.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted September 9, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      An, here it is.

      • Posted September 9, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        That’s a weird little article. I hate to break it to the author, but no, Klamath Falls is not in eastern Oregon, and no, Japan did not invade Pearl Harbor!

        I once read a whole book about the Japanese balloon bomb campaign. The balloons had to reach the jet stream and drift all the way across the Pacific, so to maintain altitude day and night, they were equipped with ballast that was dropped when the temperature went down. The ballast consisted of sand bags — and it was the analysis of the sand (the rather narrow scientific discipline of forensic geology) that revealed the precise spot where the weapons were being built (there was only one beach in Japan that had sand consisting of the specific blend of minerals). So the facility was targeted for destruction by American bombers, and the balloon bomb menace was ended.

        • Hempenstein
          Posted September 9, 2017 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

          A most interesting followup, thx!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 9, 2017 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

      The Japanese weren’t the only people to try putting planes onto submarines for attack or reconnaissance purposes. The Germans certainly tried it at least once.
      All sorts of hazards with it. For the pilot … what if you’re flying and the sub has to sub? But there’s also, IIRC from a diving report, a “submarine aircraft carrier” where the plane took off, did it’s stuff, returned to the launch area, found the sub, landed, was picked out of the water and loaded into the hanger (and the pilot presumably back into the sub) … but the hanger doors were not properly sealed, so when the sub subbed … at a certain depth, much flooding, became top-heavy, inverted, unable to flush tanks. Lost with all hands and unexplained until the wreck was found in the 1990s (IIRC).
      I’m sure that recent submariners have some gut-turning tales of mishaps launching missiles. All classified.
      I@m now thinking of Me163s and the Kursk.

  5. Posted September 9, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    What I find quite interesting about the moth in the relay log book page is that people cite that as the origin of the term “computer bug’. In fact, the wording tells us that the term “bug” predates the particular log entry.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 9, 2017 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

      It pre-dates computers in fact. According to Wikipedia (‘Software bug’ – there’s a big section on etymology*) it was e.g. used by Edison in 1878 in connection with his inventions. I guess what he was describing was actually debugging.

      (*Yes etymology not entomology 😉


      • Gregory Kusnick
        Posted September 10, 2017 at 1:44 am | Permalink

        In fact the word “bug” predates the word “entomology”, which would seem to undercut Jerry’s claim that moths aren’t real bugs.

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