Monday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Monday, July 13, 2020: National French Fry Day. Its also Beans ‘n’ Franks Day (a good combination), National Beef Tallow Day (?), and Barbershop Music Appreciation Day. Here’s are a panoply of barbershop quartets for your delectation; a form of music that, I believe, is uniquely American. These are the finalists in the 2016 Barbershop Quartet International Contest.

News of the Day: The football team The Washington Redskins will retire its name today for obvious reasons. There have been years of controversy over the name, and no replacement name has been announced.

If you’re a humanities student whose college is offering mostly remote learning, this unconvincing article tells you how to make a virtue of necessity. If you’re a science student, fuhgeddaboutit.

Florida set a new Covid record on Sunday: 15,300 new cases were reported in that state, with six Dade County hospitals having their ICUs full. And yet masks still aren’t required, and the beaches and businesses remain open. Not to mention that Disney World is open. Here’s the graph of new cases over time, and it’s grim:

So much for Trump’s statement about the virus: “It dies very quickly in the sun.”

The Washington Post reports that the White House is beginning to push Anthony Fauci out the door, trying to discredit him based on earlier statements he made that, though based on the best science at the time, have proved to be wrong in light of later developments.

In recent days, the 79-year-old scientist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has found himself directly in the president’s crosshairs. During a Fox News interview Thursday with Sean Hannity, Trump said Fauci “is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.” And when Greta Van Susteren asked him last week about Fauci’s assessment that the country was not in a good place, Trump said flatly: “I disagree with him.”

Fauci no longer briefs Trump and is “never in the Oval [Office] anymore,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.

If you don’t think Trump is the greatest danger faced by our nation, this amounts to him trying to discredit a man whose mission is to save American lives. One might think, indeed, that Trump doesn’t really care if Americans die, so long as it doesn’t make him look bad.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 134,796, an increase of about 220 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 568,571, an increase of about 4,000 from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on July 13 include:

Here’s a very famous painting: “The Death of Marat” by Jacques-Louis David (1793):


This was a race riot, conducted mostly by the Irish attacking blacks, fearing that they would take their jobs. About 120 people were killed; ironically, nearly all of them were Irish.

Here’s Butterfield’s bombshell revelation. (You can see how nervous he is.) The rest was history:

  • 1977 – New York City: Amidst a period of financial and social turmoil experiences an electrical blackout lasting nearly 24 hours that leads to widespread fires and looting.
  • 1985 – The Live Aid benefit concert takes place in London and Philadelphia, as well as other venues such as Moscow and Sydney.
  • 1985 – Vice President George H. W. Bush becomes the Acting President for the day when President Ronald Reagan undergoes surgery to remove polyps from his colon.
  • 2016 – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron resigns, and is succeeded by Theresa May.

Notables born on this day include:

At the end of his life, Forrest decried white supremacy though insisting he’d never been a member of the Klan.

  • 1894 – Isaac Babel, Russian short story writer, journalist, and playwright (d. 1940)
  • 1903 – Kenneth Clark, English historian and author (d. 1983)
  • 1940 – Paul Prudhomme, American chef and author (d. 2015)
  • 1940 – Patrick Stewart, English actor, director, and producer

Note that Sir Patrick is 80 today.

  • 1942 – Harrison Ford, American actor and producer
  • 1942 – Roger McGuinn, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1946 – Cheech Marin, American actor and comedian

Those who made their final exit on July 13 include:

[See above.]

  • 1890 – John C. Frémont, American general and politician, 5th Territorial Governor of Arizona (b. 1813)
  • 1945 – Alla Nazimova, Russian-American actress, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1879)
  • 1951 – Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian-American composer and painter (b. 1874)
  • 1954 – Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter and educator (b. 1907)

Here’s what appears to be the only voice recording of Kahlo (a hero of mine), made in 1953 or 1954. Click on the screenshot to go to the audio:

  • 1960 – Joy Davidman, American-English poet and author (b. 1915)
  • 2006 – Red Buttons, American actor (b. 1919)

Real name: Aaron Chwatt, the son of Jewish immigrants

  • 2014 – Nadine Gordimer, South African novelist, short story writer, and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1923)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s cleaning herself in the workspace:

Hili: Hygiene is important.
A: But why do you have to do it on my desk?
In Polish:
Hili: Higiena jest ważna.
Ja: Ale dlaczego musisz to robić na moim biurku?

From Stash Krod:

From Laurie Ann:

From Nicole: “Tip of the day. If you are pouring concrete by a pond that has ducks, it’s not a good idea to let the whole crew go to lunch at the same time.”

I would definitely keep that driveway!

A tweet from reader Barry. This is like a tank having fun:

From Heather Hastie, who says, “This kid’s being brought up properly.” Indeed!

Tweets from Matthew. These two species, in different families, are evolutionarily diverged by about 150 million years, roughly the time separating humans from kangaroos. Yet the two fish can still hybridize and produce vigorous hybrids!

This amazing fact is true of any vacuum, but read the tweet’s thread to see why it works this way:

The lovely cats of Ephesus:


Please tell me what’s going on in Tewkesbury:

How chickens swim (hint: not as well as ducks (and look at that poor bat!):



34 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. The thing about that Butterfield testifying; if that was today, in the Trump administration, he wouldn’t be testifying at all.

    1. I believe that the public and televised testimony to the senate committee shown in the video was on monday july 16 three days after the committee staff had gotten the information from butterfield in friday afternoon, july 13 staff interview. There was some value to having this somewhat staged public testimony come asa result of fred thompson’s questioning, a republican staffer to republican senator howard baker…we call it optics today i think… i was teaching high school that year and was able to see that exciting summer testmony live. As i recall, Committee chair senator sam ervin gave a really good act of his surprise, though he had likely known about it since friday night or saturday. These guys do not normally ask questions to which they do not already know the answer.

  2. McDonald’s french fries used to be fried in beef tallow, which might (?) explain the coincidence of National French Fry and National Beef Tallow Days.

    1. I have an ongoing argument with a friend of mine about which act was the best act of Live Aid. He thinks it’s Elvis Costello’s spontaneous version of All You Need is Love.

      I don’t know what he’s thinking. It’s obviously Queen.

        1. Radio Gaga, the call-and-response, and the final song, which was acoustic, with the line “Is this the world we created?”

          I have seen these dozens of times and still get goosebumps just thinking about them.

  3. 1942 – Roger McGuinn, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

    Here’s Mr. McGuinn doin’ a tune with his old buddy Bob:

  4. The David painting of Marat murdered in his tub is well-known to a generation of college students as being the cover illustration on the Anchor edition of Toqueville’s The Old Régime and the French Revolution.

  5. The distinctive harmonic sound of barbershop quartets originates from the temperament- and specifically with, I think, the flat seventh note in the chords. I’ll have to check my sources to review but just want to put that technical trivia out there.

    1. It’s called the “harmonic 7th”. The seventh is 31 cents lower than from a piano. The harmonic seventh is from purposely getting the note to align- or match – what occurs naturally from resonance of a vibrating object, specifically the overtone that would be the seventh.

      That’s how barbershop quartets sound so perfect…. I guess also same thing goes for the other chord tones…

      1. I knew there had to be an explanation. My mother sang with Sweet Adelines long ago. Her group showed up on local TV once.

      2. Barbershop quartet singing is an underestimated high art form.
        Instead of as American as apple pie, which is not really American, I’d propose as American as a Barbershop Quartet. Their harmonies make up for the loss of alliteration.

  6. The trashing of Fauci is just one more example of why Trump has to go. I’ve lost the reference but it was reported that the White House feels that Fauci no longer supports the president. Like that was his job!

  7. Apropos Patrick Stewart’s 80th birthday today, the Guardian had a good piece last Thursday in which many of his fellow actors pay tribute and tell anecdotes.

    I was fortunate enough to see him in the 2007 production of Macbeth. In truth, Kate Fleetwood’s Lady Macbeth stole the show, and Patrick Stewart joined the audience in applauding her at the end.

  8. Humanities students definitely have an advantage over science students during remote learning. But, I’m reminded that Issac Newton spent a couple of years in isolation during the plague and came up with a handful of good ideas. August Kekule’s dreamed of a snake biting its tail and supposedly suggested the structure of the benzene ring. So, science can work when you sleep!

  9. The driveway, wet cement and duck prints would seem to be a staged thing. One would not let the crew go to lunch with the cement not finished like that at the end of the driveway.

        1. Yeah, that’s the one I saw. It was very good. It doesn’t seem to be on Canuck Netflix.

  10. They just had a segment on the local news about the redskins thing. It is kind of funny, because Native communities are anything but monolithic in their opinions. Anyhow, they asked the young Native activist who they always talk to about these things, who predictably said that everything about the name and image was offensive, and lamented that the team had never thought to get native input on the issue.
    If they had asked an older tribe member, they might have gotten a different response. The older person might even have known that a chairman of the Blackfoot tribe designed the logo.
    I am not a football fan, so none of this affects me in the least. I just find it interesting how they cover these sorts of stories.
    My sister is married to a member of one of the Pueblo tribes, and he is one of the most conservative people I have ever met.

    But once again, the local news people made a blanket statement about how “Natives feel” about an issue. A Native broadcaster would be pretty unlikely to ask one purple-haired kid from Berkeley about an issue, then pronounce that this reflects how Wasichus feel about it.

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