Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

It’s Caturday, September 14, 2019, and I trust all of us got past Friday the 13th without trouble. It’s National Cream-Filled Donut Day (make the “Creme”, because hardly any donuts use real cream), Eat a Hoagie Day, German Language Day, and, in the UK, National Quiet Day (but every day is quiet day there!)

In honor of German Language Day, here’s a German proverb I made up when I was learning German; it’s very profound. (I hope I can still write German):

“Ein Kind mit einer Brezel findet schnell Freunde.”

(A child with a pretzel quickly makes friends.)

Stuff that happened on September 14 include:

  • 1741 – George Frideric Handel completes his oratorio Messiah.
  • 1752 – The British Empire adopts the Gregorian calendar, skipping eleven days (the previous day was September 2).
  • 1812 – Napoleonic Wars: The French Grande Armée enters Moscow. The Fire of Moscow begins as soon as Russian troops leave the city.
  • 1901 – U.S. President William McKinley dies after an assassination attempt on September 6, and is succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.

McKinley was shot on September 6 by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz, but it took the President a week to die. Here’s the hospital room in Buffalo where he was operated on. There were no antibiotics in those days, which would have saved him, and so he died of gangrene.

  • 1944 – World War II: Maastricht becomes the first Dutch city to be liberated by allied forces.
  • 1969 – The US Selective Service selects September 14 as the First Draft Lottery date.

I was number 3, which began the long tale of my service as a conscientious objector and then my freedom after I took the government to court for drafting me and several thousand other guys in violation of the law.

Here’s one of the miracles for which she was canonized. (They’re always remissions of diseases that can have spontaneous remission.)

  • 1994 – The Major League Baseball season is canceled because of a strike.
  • 2007 – Financial crisis of 2007–2008: The Northern Rock bank experiences the first bank run in the United Kingdom in 150 years.

Matt Ridley was in charge!

  • 2015 – The first observation of gravitational waves was made, announced by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations on 11 February 2016.

Three Nobel Prizes were awarded for this achievement, and only two years afterwards. Nobody has gotten a Nobel Prize for the Human Genome Project or for the use of CRISPR in genetic engineering.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1804 – John Gould, English ornithologist and illustrator (d. 1881)

Gould played an important role in Darwin’s evolutionary thinking, for he identified the birds that Darwin had collected in the Galapagos, and about whose identity Darwin was confused, as a group of finches. (Darwin thought they were wrens and mockingbirds.) Here’s Gould:

John Gould. Studio photograph, 1860s.

Sanger founded the first birth control clinic in America, and founded the groups that became Planned Parenthood. She was, however, opposed to abortion (she favored contraception), and also was big on eugenics, saying that the unfit should be either sterilized or prevented from procreating. Her legacy was mixed, but overall on the positive side. Here she is:

  • 1930 – Allan Bloom, American philosopher and academic (d. 1992)
  • 1934 – Kate Millett, American author and activist (d. 2017)
  • 1983 – Amy Winehouse, English singer-songwriter (d. 2011)

Reader Simon and I share an admiration for Amy (well, at least her music). Here are two of her most famous songs, “Rehab” and “Back to Black”, performed live at the Isle of Wight in 2007. I don’t know who her backup singers/dancers are, but they’re terrific:

Those who expired on September 14 include:

  • 1638 – John Harvard, English-American minister and philanthropist (b. 1607)
  • 1715 – Dom Pérignon, French monk and priest (b. 1638)
  • 1836 – Aaron Burr, American colonel and politician, 3rd Vice President of the United States (b. 1756)
  • 1851 – James Fenimore Cooper, American novelist, short story writer, and historian (b. 1789)
  • 1901 – William McKinley, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 25th President of the United States (b. 1843)
  • 1927 – Isadora Duncan, American-Russian dancer and choreographer (b. 1877)
  • 1982 – Grace Kelly, American-Monacan actress; Princess of Monaco (b. 1929)
  • 2003 – Garrett Hardin, American ecologist and author (b. 1915)
  • 2009 – Patrick Swayze, American actor, singer, and dancer (b. 1952)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes a joke:

Hili: A mouse was running around here yesterday.
A: And?
Hili: It escaped into the burrow.
A: That’s good.
Hili: That depends on who it’s good for.
In Polish:
Hili: Wczoraj biegła tu mysz.
Ja: I co?
Hili: Uciekła do nory.
Ja: To dobrze.
Hili: Jak dla kogo.

And nearby, Leon, the Dark Tabby Leon has found himself a fine perch:

Leon: One should always aim high!

In Polish: Zawsze należy mierzyć wysoko!

Here’s are two panoramic photos of downtown Chicago taken yesterday on a Chicago Architecture Foundation cruise. Here’s a view from just out in the harbor. I highly recommend the Architecture Foundation cruise if you love nice buildings, for Chicago is the world’s epicenter for skyscrapers and massive buildings.

This was taken on the State Street bridge across the Chicago River:

My friend Moto (a retired vet) posted this on his Facebook page:

From Amazing Things, enjoy some Giant Sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum), one of the most stupendous biological sights on the planet. If you live in the U.S. (or elsewhere), you must see these. The biggest one known has a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 8.8 meters (nearly 29 feet)!

From Jesus of the Day. According to Sean Carroll’s new book, the cat is already both inside and outside.

Grania sent me this tweet on April 7. I may have posted it before, but so what?

From Gethyn, a great combination of the single- and double-slit experiments and Schrödinger’s cat:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, the world’s laziest d*g:

. . . via lawyer Ann German, with Ann’s response:

Four tweets from Matthew. Look at this beautiful octopus!

I’m not sure whether the cat likes this relationship, but it’s still sweet:

I’m not sure what the bottom of this poster means, but perhaps a reader can enlighten us:

Last but not least, I LOVE this firefighter:


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Spontaneous remission is very interesting- I know nothing about it. I must consider this when likelihood problems come up. There must be a table of likelihoods of remissions?

    Since there’s so many “St.” hospitals, they can probably have a running tally of spontaneous remissions and give the clergy a call to give out beatifications. Considering this access to inside information, it makes the practice especially despicable.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      My initial impression is there is a lot to learn in this area

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      From another source to yours I see this:

      “Medical literature is now filled with observations of biopsy-confirmed malignancies with computerized tomography (CT) scans or magnetic resonance images (MRIs) showing widespread disease that spontaneously regresses, which encompasses nearly every cancer type and histology.

      Examples include: acute myelocytic leukaemia, chronic lymphocytic leukaemia, Hodgkin lymphoma, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, breast cancer, non–small cell and small cell lung cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer, cervical cancer, hepatocellular cancer, colon cancer, Merkel cell carcinoma, sarcoma, melanoma, neuroblastoma, astrocytoma & renal cell carcinoma”

      It is difficult to collect reliable stats but the frequency of regressions/remissions is probably far higher than the % of recorded cases. The figures don’t include those who never knew they had cancer plus those who got well & didn’t report back to clinic/doctor, those who got well, but died of something else [chemo can leave one wide open to infections due to a weakened immune system].

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        Since cancer as we know it is defined from when it’s so bad the patient has to go to the doctor – or merely by reporting mundane symptoms to their doctor – I don’t see how patients could be out there who have undergone a spontaneous remission and didn’t realize it – an unexplained fever that went away, some unusual symptoms that, as doctors usually look for, went away in a couple weeks. These would be pieces of data if they were ever codified into a database in the first place.

        Or perhaps “remission” is not like that.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          Not correct. Cancer is multifarious in scale & type – nowt like the tropes that get the attention.

          Many cancers are discovered by accident while scanning for something else that’s unrelated. Not all cancers produce pain or other symptoms until well advanced – plenty of time for unknown remissions. It’s improving now, but plenty of men will go nowhere near a doctor if they have ‘discomfort’ or a painless lump in the testicles, penis, prostate etc that’s why there are male cancer awareness campaigns & orgs such as Orchid. Testicular cancer is a youngish male problem & they are easily embarrassed – no doctor visit & consequently no recorded remissions.

          Some male cancers are on the rise & perhaps that’s partly at least a greater willingness these day, in some locales, communities to report problems, lumps etc. More traditional, minority groups of males are not getting the message.

          The above is just a sample – there’s plenty of space for remissions to go undiscovered or unreported.

          Obvious really.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted September 14, 2019 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            I don’t understand- What isn’t correct?

            Cancer isn’t a self-diagnosed / DIY disease. Behind every cancer is a doctor from a clinic helping s patient.

            If I understand spontaneous remission correctly, it suggests that people might fight off a cancer and not know it – or think it was something else like a flu.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted September 14, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

              I’ve said all that I’m going to say otherwise I’ll be repeating myself needlessly. You are from a different planet to me if you really think that “behind every cancer is a doctor from a clinic helping a patient” – I’m gobsmacked by that statement. End of chat Thyroid – I don’t have time to waste on you.

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Amy Winehouse: The dancers/backing singers are Zalon Thompson [hat] & Ade Amotoyo [shaved head & falsetto]

    Here’s the full Amy crew at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London

    Amy Winehouse – vocals
    Nathan Alan – drums
    Robin Banerjee – guitar
    Xantone Blacq – keyboards
    Henry Collins – trumpet
    Dale Davis – bass
    Frank Walden – baritone saxophone
    James Hunt – alto saxophone & flute

    Ade Omotayo – backing vocals
    Zalon Thompson – backing vocals

    Zalon has an above average soul voice, plenty good enough for backing & excellent stage presence [He’s a 6/10 on the Otis Redding scale who is the undisputed master at a conservative 11]

    Here’s Zalon:

    • rickflick
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the rundown. Great band.

      I noticed in the OP video the horns get some sort of clear plastic, reflection filter or baffle. I’ve never noticed these before. I’m wondering what function they serve here on the open stage. Probably they block the direct sound path to Amy’s mic. to avoid overpowering the voice. You can see them all at 3:05.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted September 14, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Those are 1/8″ [or so] polycarbon reflector discs [or reflection filters] for bouncing sound up to the guy playing the brass so he can hear himself better when live & especially with other brass nearby.

        Also protects Amy etc as you say

        ALSO reduces feedback by deflecting speaker monitor sound [if used] away from the back of the mic. You’ll note a lot of the peculiar modern retro-style mics have a metal ‘net’ addon wrapped around the back for that purpose. Not necessary if you buy a good modern design that’s built with directionality in mind rather than fashion statement.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 14, 2019 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

          So he can hear himself better – makes sense. I don’t think they were wearing headphones.

    • Roger
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      She was similar to Elvis in that she was the butt of a lot of jokes later in her career. Then she died and the jokes stopped and she was the greatest ever.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    I avoided that lottery period altogether by going into the air force before the lottery existed. Reminder for those who don’t know, the draft only applied to the army and marines. So there were various ways to avoid it. Trump, as we know selected another.

  4. David Harper
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    “Nobody has gotten a Nobel Prize for the Human Genome Project”

    The International Human Genome Project was a huge multi-national collaboration involving thousands of scientists. It would have been impossible, and invidious, to single out individuals, and the Nobel prize rules limit the number of recipients to three.

    Whilst some of its key figures did receive Nobel prizes, they were for earlier work. John Sulston is a case in point. He was the first director of the Sanger Institute, which was a leading partner in the Human Genome Project, but his Nobel prize, awarded in 2002, was for work carried out when he was at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology.

    • Posted September 16, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      At least the Peace prize can be given to organizations, though, no?

  5. Michael Fisher
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Classy Ted Cruz eats a booger [called a bogey in the UK BTW] during the 11th GOP primary debate:

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Any image of Ted Cruz, especially on a Saturday morning, and most especially of booger-eating Ted Cruz, should come with ample trigger warnings.

      • merilee
        Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:01 pm | Permalink


    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      Bugs and boogers. Yum. What culinary sophistication the man has.

  6. Liz
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    I remember reading about the draft and fighting it on here for the first time. That is amazing. Thank you.

    • Liz
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      I think you helped protect my generation after 9/11. It was voluntary.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        Liz, don’t get me wrong. I think what Professor Coyne and others did during the Vietnam War was good and very brave. However, I also think the draft itself, separated from that horrible war could have been a good thing if it were fair and honest, which it never was. So instead of fixing the draft, the Vietnam war came along and showed it for all of it’s flaws. The draft itself probably did as much to get us out of this war as anything else. Since this time we no longer have anything to prevent us from entering conflicts and using our military for anything a particular president feels like doing. The only thing stopping it was a draft.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The TEA LEGEND translated. PCC[E] must have figured this out of course.

    Example: “AP [person’s initials] in ops likes their tea to look the colour D2 in the photo”


    I’m an F6

    • David Harper
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      But what’s the difference between a D3 and a C4, for example? It can’t be purely a colour scale, since that requires only one dimension.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted September 14, 2019 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        That was originally just a pic of coffee of various colours used in some sort of test [see pic at bottom]. Then someone ripped it into a jokey meme called “Which tea is fantastic for you?”

        Then someone on the staff at Warwick Arts Centre [only eight miles from me by pure chance] co-opted it for use in the staff kitchen as an Aide-mémoire so that the insufferable Derek in finance would shut up whinging about his works tea not being like how Mummy makes it back home.

        Derek spots train numbers on the weekends at Coventry Station or even New Street Station! That’s a big day out going all the way to Brum & mum always makes the perfect flask of tea for him to take with him along with his favourite strawberry jam sandwiches.

        Derek doesn’t have a girlfriend.


        • David Harper
          Posted September 14, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

          I clearly need to get out more. But at least I can make my own tea. Unlike Derek.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted September 14, 2019 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

            Derek’s Mum isn’t too well so she’s lining up her Derek [who’s 63 3/4] with the plain, widow woman with the squint, from the next village. Probably cousins anyway. She’s promised to get rid of her beard – the widow woman. Temporarily.

        • rickflick
          Posted September 14, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

          Derek spots train numbers? That’s a thing? I enjoyed my one and only visit to Great Britain. But, I can see I missed much of interest. I just might have to make a return trip. 🤪

          • merilee
            Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

            Rick, you need to see the movie Trainspotting, or read the book🤓

            • rickflick
              Posted September 14, 2019 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

              Ha! I looked at the trailer.

              • merilee
                Posted September 14, 2019 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

                It’s pretty grim, but very well done.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted September 15, 2019 at 1:58 am | Permalink

            MEET COLIN BLAND who is another Derek.

            There’s “rail buffs” who are interested in trains from a historical & engineering perspective – these I respect as each rail buff is unique. I had a deceased friend who collected train time tables [the physical objects], but only for the West Midlands area, show him a London train time table & his eyes glazed over.

            Then there’s “plane spotter” & “train spotter” both of which are fairly uniquely British, involving the collection of numbers or numbers/letters. [NOT the same thing as people who record planes in flight or listen to ATC]

            Train Spotters: generally only interested in trains in the British Isles [or a part of] – they don’t spot Greek trains if they ever go on holiday to Greece [which is unlikely anyway]. But plane spotters DO which makes sense of course, but other countries do not understand & thus plane spotters are regularly arrested for staking out airfields with binocs. There must be a dedicated British government dept just for them.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted September 15, 2019 at 3:39 am | Permalink

            Here’s some Swiss steam train buffs [not train spotters] – almost as loony as you ‘birders’ 🙂

            • rickflick
              Posted September 15, 2019 at 4:43 am | Permalink

              I can definitely see this kind of “spotting”. Birding is a bit similar, yes, I agree. I guess I can’t complain if others want to spend (waste?) there time like this. But the fellow with only 99 life problems is a bit odd. 😎

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted September 15, 2019 at 10:08 am | Permalink

              Nice locos. From the position and size of the outside cylinders, I’d say the leading loco is a 4-cylinder compound. Both locos have Walschaerts valve gear. From the size of the driving wheels, I’d guess the leading loco is an express passenger design and the second one is a freight loco.

              (That’s about as much as I can tell without Googling them).

              [/geek mode]

              I recognise that line – in 2017 I was coming down the side valley from the Susten Pass and I suddenly spotted a railway below; I stopped and sat for half an hour watching trains on the Wassen loops – where I was, was up the hillside above the Meienruss bridge, in the background of the video at 2:40. There are frequent expresses and enormously long freights passing all the time. When the Gotthard base tunnel is opened, there will be a lot less traffic, which may make it much easier for steam excursions to be timetabled.

              My main interest is Southern Railway steam (that’s the English Southern, with a bias towards the London & South Western, not the US Southern), but any trains anywhere interest me. I hope that’s apparent. 😉

              And I do resent the implication that I’m almost as loony as birders. ‘Almost’? Please.

              And I don’t have a girlfriend, my wife wouldn’t be impressed. 😉


              • Michael Fisher
                Posted September 15, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

                Yes I fully accept you are just as loony as birders. Thank you for the interesting info.

              • merilee
                Posted September 15, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

                By “locos” at first I thought you meant crazies🤓

  8. Roger
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    You can hear Amy’s influence all over youtube. I dunno if half of them even realize it. Mostly it’s them imitating each other I suppose.

  9. Blue
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    John and I are just back in to the City
    from Bethel and Woodstock and its peace and
    love and anti – war messaging … … when
    my first grade – through senior high school – Darling, Larry, informs me that he is … …
    #1 … … upon the government’s Selective
    Service draw.

    Larry made it through only to succumb
    2 – 1/2 years ago at a far, far too youthful
    age … … to esophageal cancer. Upon
    today, my Darling Larry, what would ‘ve been
    a still young, young birthing dsy for you,
    rest with that peace we all so prized
    at one time. What a time that was, my Love.


    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      I am so sorry.

  10. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    One of my favourite German expressions is Hummeln 🐝 im Hintern because it’s more dire than ants in the pants.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    McKinley was shot on September 6 by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz, but it took the President a week to die.

    Czolgosz himself was executed in the electric chair just 45 days later. Hardly seems sufficient time to prepare a defense, let alone to investigate and present mitigating evidence regarding punishment, much less to pursue an appeal or other post-conviction relief.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I don’t know who her [Amy Winehouse’s] backup singers/dancers are, but they’re terrific.

    They seem to have taken their sartorial and choreographic cues from Belushi and Aykroyd (who, of course, took their own such cues from the practitioners of what, a generation earlier, had been known as “race music”).

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      No. This is Britain, the influences in dress & the brass section is pure Two-Tone music which is [to quote Wiki] “traditional Jamaican ska with musical elements of punk rock and new wave music. Its name comes from 2 Tone Records, a label founded by Jerry Dammers of The Specials & references a desire to transcend and defuse racial tensions in Thatcher-era Britain”

      The hub was Coventry [up the road from me] & the bands were mainly mixed ‘races’ with a lot of brass & dancing about on stage to upbeat tunes.

      BOTH the Blues Bros. & the Two Tone scene were independently copying Peter Tosh from 1965 – the ‘Rude Boy” fashion from Jamaica.

      Here you go:

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 14, 2019 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the info and vid, and for the article and pics below, Michael.

        I’ve long been a big fan of Jimmy Cliff’s The Harder They Come picture (which played as the Saturday night midnight movie at Boston’s Brattle Theatre for like forever).

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted September 14, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          I thought you wrote Braille Theatre there – some sort of Japanese traditional art or the like

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 14, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            I’ve been accused of the occasional kabuki routine before. 🙂

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted September 15, 2019 at 3:37 am | Permalink

              Naughty 🙂

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted September 15, 2019 at 2:54 am | Permalink

            My diseased imagination has taken delirious flight at the thought of Braille Theatre.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted September 15, 2019 at 3:40 am | Permalink

              Me too

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Good piece with pictures on RUDE BOYS that I know you’ll enjoy – youz being a culture vulture.

    • GBJames
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      (Sorry for not encapsulating that link!)

    • Posted September 16, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      And here I was confused until I read the top of the sign – it looked so much like those signs that advertise the details of churches, etc.

  13. grasshopper
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Fifteen years or so ago, I was diagnosed with tonsil cancer. In one of those cute coincidences that life tosses up from time to tome, I happened to be reading a history of the development of immunology in the treatment of tumours, titled (to the best of my memory) “Fire In The Blood”. The book focused on the work of Dr. William Coley, who had observed the remission of cancer in a patient after that patient had endured a very high fever. Dr Coley then went on to deliberately infect some cancer patients with pus from other sick patients to induce fever, and had some successes.

    Another coincidence – after my diagnosis I had to tell a builder that I could no longer undertake project for him. He asked me lots of informed questions about how I had been diagnosed, and what my likely treatment was to be, which surprised me. Turns out the guy had a doctorate in Microbiology! He turned to the building trade because lab work was too boring.

    And I never got around to finishing the book. I got side-tracked, or something

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted September 14, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink


  14. merilee
    Posted September 14, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Had no knowledge of Matt Ridley’s other life.

  15. Posted September 16, 2019 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I remember reading about John Gould in the context of Darwin’s stuff. Is he a known relation of Steven Jay Gould?

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