Sunday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning on Sunday, July 12, 2020: National Pecan Pie Day. Protip: Pecan pie is one of the best pies around, but in its apogee the pecans go throughout the filling rather than forming only a thin layer atop a gelatinous Karo-syrup goo.

Here’s a good pecan pie:

Here’s a bad pecan pie. If you see this in a diner or restaurant, pass it up.

It’s also National Eat Your Jello-O Day (no thanks), Simplicity Day, (Henry David Thoreau, the great advocate of simplicity, was born on this day in 1817), Different Colored Eyes Day (do any readers here have heterochromia?), and Paper Bag Day (treat your cat!).

News of the Day:  Over at the Washington Post, Robert Mueller has a mealymouthed op-ed about Roger Stone, mentioning that Stone “remains a convicted felon, and rightly so,” but saying nary a word about Trump’s pardon. Why did Mueller bother to write this, except to defend himself?

I was surprised to read that many defeated American Southerners fled to Brazil after the Civil War, and there’s still a lively pro-Confederate culture there, with the Stars and Bars everywhere. Now the controversy over the flag has spread to that country.

Despite the resurgence of coronavirus in Florida, Disney World reopened yesterday, and, according to the New York Times, “thousands of giddy visitors” streamed in. Good God! Is there no end to the madness? Even at our duck pond, where the University put up signs advertising the new rule that all visitors must wear masks and socially distance. When I ask people politely to put masks on, many of them just laugh at me. I’d like to tell them: “It’s people like you who are keeping the pandemic going,” but I keep my silence.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 134,577, an increase of about 700 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 564,531—an increase of about 5,400 from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on July 12 includes:

  • 1543 – King Henry VIII of England marries his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr, at Hampton Court Palace.
  • 1776 – Captain James Cook begins his third voyage.

It was on this voyage that Cook was clubbed and speared to death in Hawaii. As Wikipedia reports:

The esteem which the islanders nevertheless held for Cook caused them to retain his body. Following their practice of the time, they prepared his body with funerary rituals usually reserved for the chiefs and highest elders of the society. The body was disembowelled, baked to facilitate removal of the flesh, and the bones were carefully cleaned for preservation as religious icons in a fashion somewhat reminiscent of the treatment of European saints in the Middle Ages. Some of Cook’s remains, thus preserved, were eventually returned to his crew for a formal burial at sea.

They baked him!

I have met one winner of this prized medal: Lou Millett, a friend of my father’s in the Army. Millett lead the last major bayonet charge of the Army during the Korean War.

As UCR reports:

The Stones played 16 songs that night, an impressive collection of cuts by Robert Johnson, Jimmy Reed, Elmore James, Fats Domino and a whole lot of Chuck Berry. They must have made a good impression, because shortly thereafter they were invited to hold down a residency at the competing Crawdaddy Club by Russian promoter Giorgio Gomelsky. Shortly after that, they found themselves back performing regularly at the Marquee before signing a deal with Decca and cutting their first record. The rest, as they say, is history.

  • 1963 – Pauline Reade, 16, disappears in Gorton, England, the first victim in the Moors murders.
  • 1975 – São Tomé and Príncipe declare independence from Portugal.

I’ve been to Sao Tomé several times, but not in a decade or so. Here are two pictures I took on our last field trip there (we were studying the altitudinal zonation of two sister species of Drosophila).  First, a view down to the sea from the peak of the volcanic island, altitude 2024 meters.

And some schoolkids in the capital, all in pink.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1849 – William Osler, Canadian physician and author (d. 1919)
  • 1884 – Louis B. Mayer, Russian-born American film producer, co-founded Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (d. 1957)
  • 1895 – Buckminster Fuller, American architect and engineer, designed the Montreal Biosphère (d. 1983)
  • 1904 – Pablo Neruda, Chilean poet and diplomat, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1973)
  • 1908 – Milton Berle, American comedian and actor (d. 2002)
  • 1917 – Andrew Wyeth, American artist (d. 2009)

Here’s an Andrew Wyeth painting, “Cat in a Window”:

  • 1934 – Van Cliburn, American pianist and composer (d. 2013)
  • 1937 – Bill Cosby, American actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1943 – Christine McVie, English singer-songwriter and keyboard player

Those who attained quietus on July 12 include:

Riperton, who died at only 31 of cancer, had a five-octave range, amply displayed in her most famous song, “Loving You”. Those high notes are for real!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, we have a two-part interaction between Hili and Szaron today. First, Hili takes the veranda shelf but Szaron sasses her:

Hili: I agree to co-habitation but this shelf is mine.
Szaron: I will jump on it anyhow when you go away.
In Polish:
Hili: Zgadzam się na kohabitację, ale ta półka jest moja.
Szaron: I tak tam wskoczę jak sobie pójdziesz.

But. . .

Szaron: She’s gone!

In Polish: Poszła sobie

And in nearby Wloclawek, Leon is famished (as usual):

Leon: The sun went down and I haven’t had dinner yet.
(Photo: Marta Wierzbicka)

(In Polish): Słońce zaszło,a ja jaszcze nie jadłem kolacji.

From Zach Weinersmith’s SMBC, an optical illusion (h/t Rick). Count the dots in the middle panel:

From Jesus of the Day:

A new MAAG hat sent by reader Charles, who added, “A reasonable hat, given inaction by Trump. The mutated, now dominant, strain of SARS-CoV-2 with a spike protein that seems to increase its R0 suggests 200,000 deaths by 11/2020 will be a lowball estimate.”

An overheated squirrel:

This is supposed to be bad?

Two tweets from Simon: First, a new lip syncher to go alongside Sarah Cooper. Meet Meggie Foster doing an incident at the last Democratic Socialists of America convention. (Note that she’s also reading Titania’s latest book.) The incident is real, and you can see it on video here (note the jazz hands).

Where was the line editor on this one?

From reader Barry, a physics lesson:

Tweets from Matthew. First: Cowlift!

It took me a minute to figure this one out:

This would have been better as a video:



  1. dogugotw
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Soooo, cooked Cook?

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Hamilton gets nearly the coverage that some other founders get. I suppose the current Broadway musical has increased the popularity although not much concerning the knowledge about him. Hamilton was far ahead of his time regarding the basics of government and financing required for survival in the new nation. Jefferson on the other hand, did not have a clue.

    • another fred
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Hamilton’s ideas are the kind that made the rapid growth and development of the US possible. IMO, as some (many?) economists argue, growth engenders instability – the more rapid the growth the greater the instability.

      The push to grow beyond the Appalachians had a bit to do with the urge to throw off the English “yoke”.

      Life is full of trade-offs, and there are few “blessings” that are unalloyed, but the future may not find Hamilton’s growth to be quite so much a blessing as a curse.

      • DrBrydon
        Posted July 12, 2020 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Liberty is unstable.

        • another fred
          Posted July 12, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          “Liberty is unstable.”

          Quite true and well said.

  3. another fred
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    If one uses whole pecans in a pie, the pecans float to the top before the mix begins to gel, and that’s why they are not mixed. Using pecan pieces (and more pecans by weight) forces some into the gel).

    Whole pecans make a more attractive looking pie, but also make it harder to cut into portions.

    Both of those pies have quite a bit of cornstarch in the gel (hence the flat edge), which, if heated a bit in the Karo before making the final mix makes the gel thicker and hold the pecans more.

    • another fred
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      …and quick cut and past editing makes it a whole lot easier to mis-use commas and parentheses.

    • Linda Calhoun
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink


      I don’t put cornstarch in my pecan pie. And, I use large pieces, but not whole halves for the filling.

      I haven’t found that the pieces float above the filling mix. I put half the pecans into the mix and then fill the shells. Then I take the remaining nuts and put them on top, and press them down into the rest of the filling.

      It works fine.


      • another fred
        Posted July 12, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Can you get a flat cut edge without cornstarch (or without putting the pie in a refrigerator)?

        What temperature and how long do you cook it?

        • another fred
          Posted July 12, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          And yes, pieces do not float to the top as readily, but almost all whole pecans will. Stirring the whole pecans into the mix and letting them float also puts a glaze on them, which some people like while others do not.

        • Linda Calhoun
          Posted July 12, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

          The recipe I have calls for 350°F for 1 hr., reduce heat to 325°F for twenty minutes.

          Convection bake at 325°F for one hour.

          We use a portion cutter to cut the pies, and it’s really sharp, so we get a pretty good edge. Even if a few of the pecans flake unevenly, I’d still rather have that than to put cornstarch into the mix.

          We refrigerate our pies because the health department says we have to.

          If you want the whole recipe, ask Jerry for my email, send me yours, and I’ll send it to you.


          • another fred
            Posted July 12, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

            Probably the combination of cooking time and refrigeration. I do not add the extra 20 minutes at 325. Will try that next time. Refrigeration will definitely help, but I don’t like cold pie.


            • Linda Calhoun
              Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:11 am | Permalink

              Ten or fifteen seconds in the microwave will warm a slice up nicely.

              We do this for a lot of stuff – blueberry muffins, crumb cake, brownies, etc. We always ask customers if they want their goodies warmed up.

              Doesn’t work for cheesecake, though. That has to be cold, especially for the recipe I use.


      • another fred
        Posted July 12, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Pieces do not rise as readily because of the effective “R” in the formula for Stoke’s Law.

        • Linda Calhoun
          Posted July 12, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          If you do it my way, with the pieces in the mix and the whole halves on top, you get the best of both worlds.


  4. Simon Hayward
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    The alphabetical alphabet has some regional variation. Many Irish and Australians would spell H with an H, and thus place it between G and I. (I did once read that this difference was considered diagnostic of Catholic vs Protestant heritage in Belfast and thus could determine whether a specific group would shoot you or not, but I don’t know if that’s true.)

  5. C.
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you could put up an extra sign next to the one by Botany Pond that tells people to wear masks. It could say something like:

    “Today’s US total Coronavirus cases are: ____, and today’s total deaths are:____. Will you be next?”

    As for the Brazilian Confederates, I had no idea either, nor did I have proof of any ancestors fighting in the Civil War until last week when I got some genealogy info from a great aunt. Now I know I had a direct ancestor who fought for the confederate army who got captured after his second battle, sent to Alton, Il prison camp, got smallpox, pledged allegiance to the Union, and became a “galvanized Yankee” who was briefly mentioned in Dee Brown’s book by the same name as being one of the two oldest in the group, not that I can share that information with many people or else risk being accused of being a racist by relation and thus owing reparations. Sins of the great, great, great grandfather and all that.

    • W.Benson
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

      Brazilian 5th-generation ‘Confederates’ (the Fraternidade Descendência Americana) are multiracial, probably more so than most 4th of July picnics. The link at the bottom is to an announcement for Sta. Barbara d’Oeste’s 2018 Confederate Festival held not far from here. The original settlement of Americans took place in 1868. Brazil’s emperor recruited volunteers and gave them farmland to introduce ‘modern’ cotton-growing technology into the country.
      Use google translate Portuguese->English to read. Be sure to enlarge the big group picture of participants dressed to imitate Confederate dress.

    Posted July 12, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    C’mon, Jerry, you know there’s no end to the madness, especially here in Florida. I used to work for Disney back in 1983, but I was fired after a year or so—the notoriously inquisitive Disney police discovered I was straight.

  7. jezgrove
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    The legendary recording engineer and producer Glyn Johns (he worked with the Stones, Beatles, Who, Eagles, Led Zepp, and very many more) tells an anecdote in his autobiography Music Man about the Rolling Stones playing a later date at the Marquee club in March 1971 for a TV special. Keith Richards arrived late, as usual, and 20 minutes later a policeman knocked on the door of the mobile recording truck where Johns was working. He wanted to know who had parked a car in the middle of Wardour Street and left the engine running, causing gridlock in Soho. It turned out to be Keith, who hadn’t been able to find a parking space and had forgotten to ask someone else to park the car for him before heading to the stage.

  8. DrBrydon
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    The President commuted Stone’s sentence, he did not pardon him.

  9. Mark
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Box Falls Out Of Moving Truck, Leaps Back In With Magic, I Guess

  10. merilee
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink


  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Robert Mueller’s WaPo op-ed is so much “mealymouthed” as it is written in Mueller’s typical, low-key, just-the-facts-ma’am style. The essential findings of the Special Counsel’s investigation are set out in this paragraph:

    We now have a detailed picture of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. The special counsel’s office identified two principal operations directed at our election: hacking and dumping Clinton campaign emails, and an online social media campaign to disparage the Democratic candidate. We also identified numerous links between the Russian government and Trump campaign personnel — Stone among them. We did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired with the Russian government in its activities. The investigation did, however, establish that the Russian government perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome. It also established that the campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts.

    Those facts are beyond dispute — all Trumpworld’s crazy, bullshit “Obamagate” posturing notwithstanding.

    Do I wish Mueller were more fiery and would call out AG William Barr and Trump’s myriad other sycophantic enablers by name in no uncertain terms? You damn betcha. But the guy ain’t built that way — he’s a true non-partisan, non-political public servant and proponent of a professional, independent Justice Department, one of the last of a shrinking breed that Trump and his Roy Cohn-like attorney general are trying to drive into extinction.

  12. David Harper
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Andrew Wyeth knew how to paint cats. At first glance, I took “Cat in a Window” for a photograph.

    • jezgrove
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes, an incredibly detailed painting.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 12, 2020 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      I feel sorry for Andrew Wyeth. The importance of his work has been controversial. Many critics seem to think his pictures are not very rich or deep and fall well below the great painters of the 20th century. Though not as bad as Rockwell, who is considered more of an illustrator. Even so, his is pictures are, as this one shows, very fun to look at.

  13. Posted July 12, 2020 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    The summer spike in covid cases in the South and South West got me wondering whether air conditioning plays a role. So I googled and, yep, there are health professionals thinking the same thing. Indoor venues blasting A/C might be a big covid spreader.

  14. uommibatto
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

    Did not read this before breakfast, and yet I somehow “knew” to make pecan pancakes this morning! Plus, I used my Jestine’s Kitchen coffee mug. I think Jestine’s may have been mentioned here before: they make some of the best pecan pie in Charleston!

    Larry Smith

  15. Frank
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

    Riperton was also the mom of famed comedian, singer, and SNL alum Maya Rudolph. Rudolph is no slouch in the vocal department either.

  16. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted July 12, 2020 at 6:35 pm | Permalink

    Even at our duck pond, where the University put up signs advertising the new rule that all visitors must wear masks and socially distance. When I ask people politely to put masks on, many of them just laugh at me. I’d like to tell them: “It’s people like you who are keeping the pandemic going,” but I keep my silence.

    They shouldn’t do that, but on the other hand re responses the science on mask wearing outside of healthcare is still fuzzy [ ].

    Seems to me mask bearing in US is a political issue (perhaps with virtue signaling)!?

    • darrelle
      Posted July 13, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      ” . . . the science on mask wearing outside of healthcare is still fuzzy.”

      While the degree of efficacy outside of healthcare is fuzzy, it doesn’t make sense to me to doubt that masks can be effective. Given that there is little to no doubt that masks are effective in the healthcare industry then to any extent that they are less effective in the general population the obvious reason is that too many people aren’t using them properly or not using them at all.

      Seems to me the answer is not to resignedly accept that tens or hundreds of thousands more people will die but instead to make a significant effort to educate and encourage people to use the masks properly. I don’t know if such an effort has been made in your home country but in the US it has not. Mostly the opposite in fact.

%d bloggers like this: