Sunday: Hili dialogue

It’s Sunday, September 15, 2019, and National Linguine Day (I favor it with clam sauce, olive oil, garlic, and parsley). It’s also Batman Day, National Cheese Toast Day (rarebit!), National Double Cheeseburger Day, and, as a palliative, International Eat an Apple Day. Finally, it’s a UN holiday: International Day of Democracy.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of Ynes Mexia (1870-1938), a renowned botanist and plant collector who collected over 150,000 specimens in her lifetime. Clicking on the screenshot below will give you more information.

Stuff that happened on September 15 includes:

  • 1440 – Gilles de Rais, one of the earliest known serial killers, is taken into custody upon an accusation brought against him by Jean de Malestroit, Bishop of Nantes.

de Rais was a serial rapist and murderer of children, and an adept of the occult. He was ultimately tried and hanged for his crimes (the account at Wikipedia is horrendous.

  • 1812 – The French army under Napoleon reaches the Kremlin in Moscow.
  • 1835 – HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reaches the Galápagos Islands. The ship lands at Chatham or San Cristobal, the easternmost of the archipelago.
  • 1916 – World War I: Tanks are used for the first time in battle, at the Battle of the Somme.

The British were the first to develop tanks, and fielded 1000 to Germany’s 20 during World War I. Here’s the first model: the British Mark ` tank:

  • 1935 – The Nuremberg Laws deprive German Jews of citizenship.
  • 1940 – World War II: The climax of the Battle of Britain, when the Royal Air Force shoots down large numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft.
  • 1959 – Nikita Khrushchev becomes the first Soviet leader to visit the United States.
  • 1963 – Baptist Church bombing: Four children killed in the bombing of an African-American church in Birmingham, Alabama, United States.

The four victims (from Wikipedia): “Clockwise from top left: Addie Mae Collins (aged 14), Cynthia Wesley (aged 14), Carole Robertson (aged 14) and Denise McNair (aged 11). Three men were convicted of the bombing years later; two died in prison, and one remains alive. The bombing helped spur the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 

  • 1967 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to a sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin, writes a letter to Congress urging the enactment of gun control legislation.
  • 2008 – Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the largest bankruptcy filing in U.S. history.
  • 2017 – End of mission for Cassini–Huygens, a space probe built by a NASA, ESA and ASI collaboration, sent to study Saturn, its rings and its moons.

Here’s the last picture taken by the probe before plunging into the atmosphere and burning up:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1830 – Porfirio Díaz, Mexican general and politician, 29th President of Mexico (d. 1915)v
  • 1857 – William Howard Taft, American lawyer, jurist, and politician, 27th President of the United States (d. 1930)
  • 1876 – Bruno Walter, German-American pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1962)
  • 1918 – Nipsey Russell, American comedian and actor (d. 2005)
  • 1929 – Murray Gell-Mann, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019)

Those who snuffed it on September 15 include

Thomas Wolfe is one of my favorite writers, despite all my literary friends telling me his writing was puerile and overblown. Well, sometimes, but read “Child By Tiger”. Here’s the man, who died at 37 of tuberculosis of the brain:

Others who died on September 15 include

  • 1985 – Cootie Williams, American trumpet player (b. 1910)
  • 2003 – Garner Ted Armstrong, American evangelist and author (b. 1930)
  • 2004 – Johnny Ramone, American guitarist and songwriter (b. 1948)
  • 2017 – Harry Dean Stanton, American actor (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili feels the onset of Fall:

Hili: I think the summer is starting to end.
A: So it seems.
Hili: This is a huge injustice.
In Polish:
Hili: Chyba lato zaczyna się kończyć.
Ja: Na to wygląda.
Hili: To jest ogromna niesprawiedliwość.

Reader Kit found this brilliant set of instructions, and they were passed on by a black Leftist feminist. My thesis title: Imaging Bodies: Shaping the Queer Future. They all make sense!

Reader Beth posted this on Facebook. I don’t feel like this (at least today), but maybe someone will find it appropriate:

I’d go for the mime. . .

A tweet sent by Grania on April 9 (I’m running out of tweets she sent me):

Two tweets from Nilou. The first one is stunning:

A lot of men aren’t going to like this shirt, because when they see it they may “feel something”:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. This poor owl! But his eyes look like the stars. . .

An adventure cat takes a snooze:

Three tweets from Matthew. The second explains the first (I guess a manhole cover is “sensitive material”!)

A two minute lesson on how the Greeks knew the world was round, demonstrating Carl Sagan’s skill as a science communicator.

One of nature’s most spectacular displays of the male end of sexual selection:


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Imagine that, LBJ talking about gun control. In some ways, more democrat, more progressive than some of the viewers of this site. When he first came to congress he was a FDR man all the way. A guy from Texas?

  2. Posted September 15, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know it was “International Day of Democracy.” Considering the Brexit farrago, I wonder if we Brits are still allowed to celebrate democracy!

    • David Coxill
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      Sigh ,the referdumb result was not binding ,david -call me dave -cameron should spend the rest of his sad life locked up in the tower of London .

    • JezGrove
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      It’s probably a “Brexit Faragego”.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    That’s a great Sagan bit – today, the intersection of the lines of the obelisks would have been added with a computer – that is, the producers would require it.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Sagan’s graphics were very effective, if simple. I can imagine most people would have found the meaning whereas digitizing the demo would have been a distraction. The meaning could have been lost.

    • Posted September 16, 2019 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      That whole segment is wonderful, both in content and in style – I love the music.

  4. Posted September 15, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Here’s the first model: the British Mark ` tank

    Slight typo, it should be “the British Mark 1 tank”.

    Also, it’s hard to see in the photo, but if you look at the higher resolution version on Wikipedia, it looks like the man on top is wearing a German helmet.

    I suspect this is a tank that has been captured by the Germans.

    • David Coxill
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Perhaps he was wearing the helmet because it offered better protection that the British soup bowl .

      I think we fielded more than a thousand tanks during WW1.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      They did a good job of camouflage. Looks like a pile of junk from the garage.

      • Robert
        Posted September 15, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        Yes! My garage.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

      The WWI British Mark I tank, see the image below: The tanker is a British Royal Tank Regiment corporal, the German army NCO chevrons are much pointier.

      He is wearing standard [for a short time] WWI British tanker protective head gear made of riveted leather – he isn’t wearing the chain mail face protection** that came with the helmet. The photograph was taken at the then top secret Thetford, UK tank base probably in 1916. Compare the double image below – the bottom part is from an Imperial War Museum exhibit which has these notes:

      “issued to the first British tank crews in 1916 as a personal protection against head injury, the helmet was sometimes mistaken for German headgear when crews abandoned their vehicles in action (with often disastrous consequences for the wearers).

      Amongst tank crews headdress was often a matter of choice, therefore the standard Brodie pattern steel helmet was regularly worn as was the softer and more comfortable peaked service dress cap in place of the short-lived tank helmet”

      ** The chain mail face & eye protection was because of the huge amounts of shrapnel flying about – it was risky to peer out of a tank slit without the mask. Also the inside suffered from bits of metal flying about from bust rivets & metal popped off [forgotten the word] the interior tank walls by bullets striking the outside.


      • Michael Fisher
        Posted September 15, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        “Spalling” that’s the word that escaped me

        • David Coxill
          Posted September 15, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Yes i noticed the stripes ,to be honest didn’t check the large image on Wikipedia .are you sure about where the photo was taken ?
          In the book Ironclads Of Cambrai ,it says it was taken on the 15th of Sept 1916 .
          Notice the chicken wire on the top to stop the Hun from chucking hand grenades on to the top of the tank ,i call that dash unsporting on the art of the Boshe .

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted September 15, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

            The wood frame with wire netting stick grenade protection was fitted in England in all cases where it was used [abandoned a year later as a nuisance]. David Fletcher [who I assume you know of] says it’s a female tank in Solomon’s camouflage – possibly # 508, photo taken at Eveden, Suffolk in 1916. A few other sources say it is Thetford in Norfolk in 1916 also in 1916.

            However it IS painted in the original Soloman’s May 1916 camo & it isn’t modified camo – the colours horrified the bods at the front lines who didn’t approve & the camo was darkened & black outlines added at the front lines. I lean towards it being a UK photo taken at training camp because it is very posed & studied, completely unlike the tank photos in France before the first tank use in war.

            • David Coxill
              Posted September 15, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

              I bow to your greater knowledge of the subject ,David Fletcher ,used to be director of The Tank Museum .
              Talking of said museum ,on certain days they open up one of their WW1 tanks ,I think it is a Mk 4 ,and you can go inside .

  5. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I wonder why the Japanese manhole cover is semi-censored as ‘sensitive content’?

    I often get this Twitter warning accompanying completely harmless images. I’ve never understood what’s going on with it.

    I can only guess that they have some kind of image-parsing censorship algorithm that looks for shapes that look like genitals, and it saw the little insect on the manhole cover and interpreted it as the outline of a penis and testicles.

    If that is the case then they could do with informing said algorithm that penises don’t have six spindly legs, and testicles don’t have eyes.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      No, The user made it happen by checking a box in their settings. Here’s the relevant bit from Twitter sensitive media policy:

      “…you can’t include violent, hateful, or adult content within areas that are highly visible on Twitter, including in live video, profile or header images.

      If you share this content within Tweets, you need to mark your account as sensitive. Doing so places images and videos behind an interstitial (or warning message), that needs to be acknowledged before your media can be viewed. Using this feature means that people who don’t want to see sensitive media can avoid it, or make an informed decision before they choose to view it”



      No social media can police content well in real time. YouTube are screwing it up right now with an algorithm that seems to have gone total bananas, 2001 Space Odyssey in just the past month with the personalised recommended content [the strip on the right] overprotecting me from the nasty world.

      It has gone completely vanilla & also very short-sighted ‘deciding’ what I might next based on the last two or three vids I watched. Some YouTubers have found their stuff has plummeted down the ranks causing them to lose 10s of thousands of dollars of ad revenue a month. YouTube seems to be swivelling towards turning their monster into ‘family friendly’ – it will not work, same as Vegas going ‘family friendly’ a few years back backfired & cost them fortunes. Business people going to conventions in the convention capital of the USA don’t want ‘family friendly’ – hookers & Peruvian marching powder yes, Mickey & Minnie nope.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    More Japanese manhole covers below

    SOURCE OF PICS & interesting info re why this came about…


    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Click image to hugenate it for ezyier scopulating with the eyeballs.

      • Mark R.
        Posted September 15, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

        Those are terrific…I wish it was a “thing” where I live…they can beautify any street.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted September 15, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

          Yes they are magnificent. You could try a bit of guerilla manhole improvement. Do you have an industrial sized furnace knocking about the house somewhere? Failing that some hard paint.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted September 16, 2019 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        Never seen nything as pornographic and disgusting as those man hole covers. These Japanese are accomplished perverts! Good they are hidden!

  7. Hunt
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    I kind of take exception to Sagan’s explanation of earth curvature. A longer shadow at Alexandria than at Thebes is entirely consistent with a flat earth, just so long as the sun’s altitude is low. You have to assume the sun is at a great altitude for the argument to work, i.e. that the sun’s rays are perpendicular to the earth at both points. That produces the contradiction of differing shadow length.

    So the earth is flat, and we never went to the moon. LoL, I jest, I jest.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      That’s wrong unless you have a non-standard definition for “Sun’s altitude” [which means the angle of the sun relative to the Earth’s horizon]. Is it possible you are referring to Sol’s distance from Earth? I am not understanding your language I suppose, which may be my fault!

      At a given instant on a flat Earth the shadows of let’s say 100 randomly distributed, identically tall objects will produce 100 shadows all of equal length to each other. This is because the Sun’s altitude is the same everywhere on Flat Earth at any given moment & changes everywhere on Flat Earth in the same way at the same time.

      To get around this flaw in Flat Earth bollocks Flerfers ‘hypothesize’ [LOL] that shadows vary in length, depending on location, because Sol is very close to Earth – on the order of a couple thousands of kilometres [rather than 9 digit kilometres away] thus Sol’s rays aren’t effectively parallel like they are in the Ball Earther’s model.

      • Hunt
        Posted September 15, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

        Sorry, I meant the distance from earth to sun. your second paragraph describes what I’m saying exactly; for the argument to work, it must be assumed that the sun is so distant that different shadow lengths can’t be explained with simple geometry.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted September 16, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

          We can hence conclude that the Hellenists knew the sun was very, very (dare I say astronomically?) far from the Earth.
          How did they know that? I think they knew much more than we give them credit for, If I remember correctly, they predicted eclipses correctly too, which shows a wide understanding of movements within our solar system.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 16, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        To get around this flaw in Flat Earth bollocks Flerfers ‘hypothesize’ [LOL] that shadows vary in length, depending on location, because Sol is very close to Earth –

        Sol has to be very close to the disc – and thus very small – otherwise how could it possibly get between the elephant’s legs(*) on it’s night time journey to it’s next rising point?

        (*) Berilia, Tubul, Great T’Phon, and Jerakeen, at different seasons of the year.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 15, 2019 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      That would lead to a significant problem in illuminating the moon, viz. that the sun has to be way beyond the moon for us to see its phases.


      • Hunt
        Posted September 15, 2019 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

        We just assume the moon is even closer!

        • Posted September 16, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

          Both distances can be measured independently – and had been done, IIRC, by Archimedes and others.

  8. David Coxill
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Another name for plumbers crack is Dagenham cleavage .

  9. JezGrove
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    For what it’s worth, according to the link, Batman Day is next Saturday.

  10. merilee
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink


  11. Mobius
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Re: Sagan

    The Greeks had already figured out the world was round due to a number of things, including that the Moon was clearly spherical and the observation of ships passing over the horizon. Still, Aristophanes method of measuring the size of the Earth was very clever.

    I read once that one Greek attempted to measure the distance to the Sun. He came up with a figure of 5 million miles, an enormous distance by the standards of his day. Of course, this is off by a factor of almost 20. His method was correct, but his instruments were not accurate enough to measure the tiny angles correctly.

  12. Mark R.
    Posted September 15, 2019 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

    Here’s my thesis:

    “Building the woman: creating a new sexuality.”

    Gotta love it!

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