Wednesday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Today is the birthday of Barry White (September 12, 1944 – July 4, 2003) and Jesse Owens (September 12, 1913 – March 31, 1980).

Jesse Owens was a four-time Olympic gold medalist in the 1936 Games. His performance was credited as a single-handed defeat of Hitler’s Aryan Nation delusions of superiority. However, the truth may be somewhat more complicated than that. Owens is reported to have said “Some people say Hitler snubbed me. But I tell you, Hitler did not snub me. I am not knocking the President. Remember, I am not a politician, but remember that the [US] President did not send me a message of congratulations because, people said, he was too busy.” Whether Hitler was politer and had better manners than Franklin D. Roosevelt is a question for the historians. However, the time and place resulted in a set of chilling photographs.

Olympische Spiele 1936 in Berlin, Siegerehrung im Weitsprung: Mitte Owens (USA) 1., links: Tajima (Japan) 3., rechts Long (Deutschland) 2.,


Amazingly, he was also a pack-a-day cigarette smoker for 35 years and died of lung cancer.

Barry White, singer of songs of seduction and wooing, doesn’t really need any introduction.

Also in history on this day, Henry Hudson began his exploration of the Hudson River (1609);  Elizabeth Barrett eloped with Robert Browning (1846) a relationship that was apparently successful and happy (such things do exist) and that gave us this poem:

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.

In 1959 The Soviet Union launched  Lunik II at the moon. It became the first human-made object to land on the moon, and by “land” I mean hit, deliberately at 800km per hour.

In 1992  NASA launched Space Shuttle Endeavour on STS-47 which marked the 50th shuttle mission with Mae Carol Jemison, the first African-American woman in space.

In the wake of yesterday’s utterly bonkers and illiberal tweet by the South Yorkshire Police in the UK where they encourage people to report non-crime incidents that were “offensive or insulting”, they have decided to double down instead of calmly and rationally re-assessing their position.

British legal Twitter is all like

The Tweet that ought to break the internet or at very least irony meters everywhere; but may or may not go completely unnoticed. Or maybe someone hacked his Twitter account. Or he found Jesus or something.

The recent Nike ad scuffle has spawned a thousand tweets.

In the name of scientific research. Darrel Ray is a psychologist as well as an ex-fundamentalist preacher. He founded the Recovering from Religion organisation and wrote The God Virus.

This is not a special effects monster or even what the cat threw up on the stairs.

Sea slugs

From the section of the internet with wings:-


Duckling rescue!

Bird accents

Finally, what everyone is here for: cats and dietary advice.

A: What are you eating now?
Hili: I’m supplementing my diet with trace elements.
In Polish:
Ja: Co znowu zjadasz?
Hili: Uzupełniam dietę mikroelementami.

When you are a super-needy attention-seeker.

And my life ambition right now.


Hat-tip: Heather, Matthew.


  1. Posted September 12, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I found this post offensive and I have reported it to the South Yorkshire police. Fortunately they have infinite officers to pander to my every whim.

    • Dave
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

      Sorry, but unless you belong to one or more specific “communities”, they won’t be interested. I think it’s pretty obvious that only members of certain “communities” will be granted the luxury of having their complaints taken seriously. Nick Ferrari certainly doesn’t belong to any of them.

    • Posted September 12, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Maybe if they got these infinite officers on the job of slapping an infinite number of typewriters they might end up with a coherent policy on ‘Hate Crimes’?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I’m reporting myself.

      I hate –
      Slow drivers
      Reporters who use present participles instead of verbs ( ‘-ing’)
      ‘Reality’ television

      There are hundreds more things I’ve forgotten for the moment but that should be enough to be going on with. Understand, I haven’t yet done anything about them (I was nowhere near that guy who fell off his bike, honest!) so they’re actually non-hate-crimes as yet

      Maybe I should make a little list:

      Anyway, Yorkshire police, any time an incident comes off involving any of those things you need to investigate me. Oh, I hate being investigated, too, did I forget to mention that.

      This comment was officially a non-crime hate incident.

  2. Laurance
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    What a wonderful little bat!! But I thought she was a dog until I read the information. What sort of bat is she? I’d like to learn more.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      According to the tw*tter feed, a Fruit Bat (apt), and there is a related FB page here (which certainly features bats 🙂

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      It’s a fruit bat (aka Megabat, aka flying fox). I thought it was one of those mis-named species (in the same way that e.g., a hedgehog or a guinea pig are in no way related to pigs), but apparently fruit bats are indeed part of the order Chiroptera, i.e. bats. Though they differ in many ways from all other bats. Herbivorous, and don’t use echolocation.

      See here for more –


  3. George
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Honey and her brood may be visiting Jesse Owens. He is buried at Oak Woods Cemetery which is about 1.5 miles south of Botany Pond. Many small lakes and good duck habitat. Although I think it is more likely that they go to Jackson or Washington Parks which are closer.

    Owens’ funeral was at Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. It was the beginning of Spring Quarter – my last quarter as a UofC Student. It was huge event. I remember thinking that 66 was not that old. And those momentous events were not that long ago.

    Owens had visited UofC many times during his career as an athlete at Ohio State. Chicago was still a member of the Big Ten then. He ran indoors at the Field House – which still stands. He ran outdoors at Stagg Field – which was located across the street from PCC(e)’s office. Now Regenstein Library stands on the site. Probably best know as the place where Enrico Fermi produced the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction on December 2, 1942.

  4. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    ‘There is a story that Hitler snubbed 4 time gold medal winner Jesse Owens by leaving the Olympic Stadium when he was supposed to be congratulating medal winners, including Owens. Owens denied the claim that Hitler snubbed him during the games, “Hitler had a certain time to come to the stadium and a certain time to leave. It happened he had to leave before the victory ceremony after the 100 meters. But before he left, I was on my way to a broadcast and passed near his box. He waved at me and I waved back.” Hitler also later sent Owens an inscribed commemorative photograph of himself. Owens further went on to say, “Hitler didn’t snub me – it was FDR who snubbed me. The President didn’t even send me a telegram… When I came back to my native country, after all the stories about Hitler, I couldn’t ride in the front of the bus. I had to go to the back door. I couldn’t live where I wanted. I wasn’t invited to shake hands with Hitler but I wasn’t invited to the White House to shake hands with the President either.”’

    Re those photos of the 1936 games, not all of them may be as chilling as they look. *Some* of those salutes may be the Olympic salute, which has never been officially changed but is not much used any more for obvious reasons.

    It was also used for the Pledge of Allegiance in the USA, until 1942:

    You have to be so careful interpreting old photographs…


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Oooh, broken link –


      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted September 12, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        I have heard discussion of the snub for Jesse Owens and, as I remember it, Hitler was originally congratulating only German athletes and shaking their hands. When it was pointed out that he should extend the same courtesy to all athletes he simply stopped congratulating anyone.

        Owens was somewhat badly treated back in the States, only being allowed to enter the hotel that hosted a celebration for winners by the back door and being required to use a service elevator (this is also from a UK TV program so it may turn out to be false, though I personally remember a UK chat show interview with Sammy Davis Jr where he said that he had to go into Las Vegas hotels where he was appearing via the kitchens, so perhaps not).

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Jesse Owens won his fourth gold medal in at 1936 Games only because the American Olympic Committee, headed by Avery Brundage, insisted (against Owens’s own wishes) that Jesse and Ralph Metcalfe replace two Jewish sprinters, Marty Glickman and Sam Stoller, in the 4 X 100 relays, as a sop to Adolf Hitler. (The Führer’s master-race theories were offended by having a black man win gold in Berlin, but apparently not as badly as they’d have been had two Jews wound up on the medal stand.)

    Some here may recall that it was this same Avery Brundage — by then the head of the entire International Olympic Committee — who had a shit-fit when two US sprinters, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, raised their be-gloved fists while receiving their medals at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics.

    The memory of Avery Brundage can go piss up a rope, far as I’m concerned.

    • George
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      I know that Glickman tells that story but I do not think it is true. It is quite common for the best sprinters to be held put of heats and to only run the final – sometimes semifinal depending on how many heats there were. Owens and Metcalfe were the two best US sprinters. They finished 1-2 in the 100.

      The wikipedia article says that subbing in runners went “against established practice.” I am not sure what was established practice in 1936 but that is established practice today – and has been for some time. Actually, holding out your fastest runners and subbing them in was established practice. That assumes that you have enough quality sprinters to do this. The US generally does. It allowed Owens and Metcalfe to focus on the 100 and 200 – with all the heats. And then run the relay.

      Which is not to defend Avery Brundage. He was a racist, anti-semite and all around horrible person. There is no evidence that Brundage intervened in the decision by the coach. It is an assertion by Stoller and Glickman. The reality is that the relay team was much better with Owens and Metcalfe.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 12, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        Mebbe so, George. But the US would’ve won the 4 X 100 relays with Glickman & Stoller in the line-up. And it’s a hell of a coincidence they just happened to be the only two Jews on the ’36 Olympic team. Also, Marty Glickman (who went on to have a storied career as a sports broadcaster) was known as a straight-shooter, hardly the type of rabble-rouser inclined to make up such a story.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 12, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

          “But the US would’ve won the 4 X 100 relays with Glickman & Stoller in the line-up.”

          Well, maybe. Unless one of the other teams pulled something out of their hat.

          But if you come second nobody’s going to forgive you for saying “I thought our B team was good enough.” I would think that, as a coach, you use the best you’ve got in the final and since Owens and Metcalfe were available, it would be remiss not to use them.


        • George
          Posted September 12, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          Glickman and Stoller had no evidence for their claim. It was speculation on their part. Do you think that Hitler preferred two blacks over two Jews? U.S. track coach Lawson Robertson always has insisted that it was his decision. Dropping Glickman and Stoller and putting in Owens and Metcalfe gave the US a better team. No question about it. What if the change had not been made and the US lost? Coaches are a risk averse lot. Research has shown that football teams should not punt as much as they do (if at all). But coaches follow the conventional wisdom and avoid criticism and downside. I assume that is why Robertson made the decision.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Smith and Carlos should have taken a knee. History does not change, only the players. The amateur aspects were removed from the games after years of pretending contests with Russian professionals were somehow fair. So now it is just like all other sports – mostly about money.

  6. BJ
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    “Amazingly, he was also a pack-a-day cigarette smoker for 35 years and died of lung cancer.”

    So baffling. This was true of many other great athletes from times past. Many of history’s greatest ice hockey players were heavy smokers, and we’re not just talking about guys from the early days. Great players who smoked heavily still existed until the turn of the millennium, so the idea that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with today’s players might not be true. Of course, the guys mentioned in this article are some of the greatest to ever play the game, so it’s likely they simply would have been even better if they hadn’t smoked:
    But there’s always the question of genetics. Some guys can get away with more.

    “In 1959 The Soviet Union launched Lunik II at the moon. It became the first human-made object to land on the moon, and by ‘land’ I mean hit, deliberately at 800km per hour.”

    Not that you were necessarily suggesting this, but I always assumed that the USSR sent Lunik II hurtling into the moon at 800 km/h because they couldn’t develop a landing system. I don’t think they sat in a room and decided that a huge impact would be “totally awesome,” though that might be why I would have done it that way 🙂

    I enjoyed Ms. Arnett’s tweet about seagull Jesus, but she calls herself “lesbian Willie Nelson” in her profile. Sorry, Karen, but only Willie Nelson is like Willie Nelson.

    • George
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      The great French (rugby) fullback Serge Blanco was a heavy smoker. Supposedly, he would be stamping out his Gauloise as he stepped on the pitch. I believed he has stopped smoking – not sure if it was before or after he had a severe heart attack at age 50.

      • BJ
        Posted September 12, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

        Ah yes, Gauloises. I used to smoke those in college. I thought It wasn’t because I thought it was cool (I had already reached peak cool, so I couldn’t have possibly become cooler!). Gauloises tasted better than any other cigarette I ever tried. Thankfully, I no longer smoke.

        Strange name for a cigarette brand…

        • Posted September 12, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

          Strange name. Why?

          • BJ
            Posted September 13, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

            Doesn’t it mean “Gaul women”?

            • Posted September 13, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

              That’s one way to translate it I guess. It sounds a bit awkward in English because we don’t have a separate word for the male and female inhabitants of any country. Gaulois/gauloise is also an adjective. Cigarette is a feminine noun in French so ‘cigarettes gauloises’ also means gallic cigarettes. I’m not sure that ‘Camel’ is any less strange! In France there is another popular brand ‘Gitanes’ which means female Gypsies (or gypsy women if you prefer).

              A quick look at Wikipedia’s list of cigarette brands around the world reveals there are some pretty odd names out there. The ones that caught my eye included : ‘Fixation’ & ‘Fellas mild’ (Indonesia), ‘Golden Bat’ & ‘Hope’ (Japan) and ‘Lips’, ‘Maypole’ and ‘Scissors’ (India).

              Brand names do not always travel well and there is a rich vein of product names that have fallen foul of this. There is (was? – I don’t know if it still exists)a French brand of soda called ‘Pschitt’ for example. To French ears that was just an onomatopoeic expression of the noise of gas escaping when the bottle is opened, but to English speakers it conjures up quite a different idea! It is said that Rolls Royce was once on the point of introducing a new model under the name ‘Silver Mist’ but were warned in time that this might not play well in the German market where ‘mist’ means dung! Many more such examples exist.

              • BJ
                Posted September 13, 2018 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

                Great info! Thanks.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 12, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Thought you Left Bank sophistos went for Gitanes back in the day. 🙂

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      Jesse Owens was born in 1913 and smoked for 35 years. His tobacco habit didn’t begin until well after his running days ended.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink


      “…Lunik II […] hit, deliberately at 800km per hour”

      Grania misread the Luna 2 Wiki & took a distance measurement to be a speed. Wiki:

      “Luna 2 hit the Moon about 800 kilometers (500 mi) from the centre of the visible disk.”

      800km per hour is the cruising speed of a commercial jet airliner which is far, far too slow – just to get to Low Earth Orbit [LEO] one needs to reach 28,000 km/hr.

      The Lunar 2 was launched by a modified Soviet ICBM, the world’s first – the R-7 Semyorka. The upper stage of the ICBM [where the nuclear warheads would normally be] held Lunar 2 & both travelled to the moon as separated items on an amazing aimed shot where the direction was determined by the length of the rocket burn ie around the 11 minute mark after launch the rockets were shut down by a signal from Earth & then the two objects were on an unguided curved trajectory aimed for where the Moon would be 36 hours later.

      Lunar 2 hit the Moon at around 12,000 km/hr & the ICBM top stage around half an hour later.

      “Lunik II hurtling into the moon at 800 km/h because they couldn’t develop a landing system”

      “couldn’t” is the wrong wording – The Luna programme of robots were meant to expand capability on a per mission basis. The mission objectives were Impactor, Flyby, Lander, Orbiter, Sample return & eventually a moon rover. The first few Lunars were for guidance testing & a bit of space science & moon science – nobody then had a clue what the space environment was like. Amusingly Lunar 1 missed the moon & ended up in a sun orbit – achieving ‘Flyby’ of the moon by accident.

      • BJ
        Posted September 13, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        This was great! Thank you.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

      Not that baffling. He was a sprinter, during the odd 10 or 20 seconds of a sprint there is no oxygen debt hitting you. I bet a 100m sprinter could run that holding his (her) breath.

  7. Marta
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    Maybe I’ll just watch that bat eating the banana all day.

  8. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    Yes … the extremist party that started out neo-nazi did not increase as much in Sweden’s election that they did last time. For some reason (perhaps because their party leader is actively religious) they want to downgrade abortions, and that cost them.

    Morale: let the nutters partake, and they will punish themselves off the table.

    But a bad day can only get worse.

    1. “The Hurricane Florence forecast has gone from bad to worse … As of early Wednesday morning, Hurricane Florence had weakened slightly with sustained winds of 130mph, but this is of little consequence as the track forecast now shows a dangerous stalling out near the coast, or just onshore by late Thursday or Friday morning. This will exacerbate already extremely heightened concerns about inland flooding due to torrential rainfall from Florence.”

    [ ]

    2. Woodward’s book on Trump shows that we are dealing with Trump Lite.

    – His own lawyer, after a rehearsal for an interview in the Mueller investigation, claims to have said to him as he presented as “disabled” – appeared as a pathological liar.

    – Trump often cannot remember his own decisions the day after.

    – Trump’s “economical theories” goes against 99 % of economist’s, being formed several decades ago by making things up. (I.e. he does not know why he makes his suggestions.)

    – Trump is indeed managed instead of challenged/replaced. (Best case, since Pence is worse: an impeachment to mire him in his swamp.)

  9. yazikus
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Ribbon worms are super neat. We participated in citizen science event, a marine invertebrate biological survey recently, and found several.

  10. Posted September 12, 2018 at 11:19 am | Permalink

    Darrel Ray is a dangerous Svengali who, through his public speaking and podcasts, actively recruits young college students into the world of polyamory. Ray has told his impressionable audiences that they cannot fully throw off the chains of religion until they have “had a threesonme”, and are still trapped in religious indoctrination if they are not comfortable with their significant other sleeping around.

    Ray is closely associated with the polyamorist cabal within SSA, including its now disgraced former E.D., Augustus Brunsman, and Richard Carrier — the former who turned a blind eye to multiple claims of sexual harassment against the latter. One of Carrier’s accusers, Amy Skiba, had previously been privately ‘tutored’ by Ray.

    • yazikus
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I think I’m thankful that you didn’t describe any of Carrier’s noted proclivities in detail. That said, did Ray really say the bit about threesomes?

      • Posted September 12, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

        He most certainly did.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 12, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      À chacun son goût, n’est-ce pas?

      Or do you think he should be no-platformed?

      • Posted September 12, 2018 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        I think A/S orgs, especially ones that cater to youth, should be especially circumspect in selecting their speakers. Ray’s gospel, that swinging and group sex are requisite elements of atheism, is not shared by the vast majority of atheists, and reflects poorly on atheists as a whole.

        Further, the polyamorist claim, that the emotion of jealousy can be eradicated and replaced with a fabricated emotion, the so-called “compersion”, flies in the face of behavioral science & EP, and should not be promoted by any skeptics org.

        Given Ray’s aggressive proselytization of swinger lifestyle, and his practice of using A/S events for active recruitment, my suspicion is his latest “sex habits survey” is merely a ruse to lure fresh bodies into a fringe lifestyle that suffers massive turnover.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 12, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space was inspired by a recruitment speech given by Nichelle Nichols, the actress who played the black communications officer, Uhura, on the original Star Trek.

    Jemison eventually got her own cameo on Star Trek: The Next Generation in the episode “Second Chances”.

    The only YouTube video seems to be a news story about her appearance, with brief clips from the episode. This news story also discusses Stephen Hawkins appearance on a different NextGen episode from the same season.

  12. Posted September 14, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Ok, everyone, I was wrong – mythicism is looking the wrong way. There wasn’t no Jesus. Instead, there have been *too many*. I mean, we’ve got black Jesus, and Jesus Alou, and now Seagull Jesus …


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