Monday: Hili dialogue

July 20, 2020 • 6:30 am

Grease the new day! It’s Monday, July 20, 2020: National Lollipop Day. And yes, I know you’re asking, “What was the largest lollipop ever made?” Well, it turns out to have been a chocolate-flavored pop made by the estimable See’s Candies of California:

On July 18, 2012, Burlingame, California based confectionary company See’s Candies broke the Guinness World Record for the World’s Largest Lollipop with their nearly 6-feet tall (without the stick), 7,003 pound chocolate pop. See’s brought the giant sucker to Justin Herman Plaza in San Francisco on Friday July 20 to celebrate National Lollipop Day and to receive their Guinness certificate.

A few photos for your delectation. But what on earth became of this behemoth confection?

It’s also National Fortune Cookie Day (cultural appropriation), International Chess Day (the day that FIDE was founded in 1924), Space Exploration Day, and Nap Day (I often take an afternoon nap since I’m not sleeping well during the pandemic).

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the life of Dylan Eryurt, a Turkish astronomer who was one of many people who, working for the U.S., helped  land Apollo 11 on the Moon on this day in 1969.

News of the Day: Well, in an interview with Fox News, “President” Trump refused to say whether he’ll accept the results of this November’s election.  A quote:

Trump replied that he doesn’t like to lose, then added: “It depends. I think mail-in voting is going to rig the election. I really do.” Trump’s comment echoed unfounded claims he has made in recent weeks that mail-in voting is susceptible to widespread fraud.

“Are you suggesting that you might not accept the results of the election?” Wallace asked.

Trump responded, “No. I have to see.”

Jebus. But it gets worse. Here are some other extracts, including the ludicrous claim that because one day coronavirus will disappear (??), Trump will have been proved “right.” There’s nothing he says in this excerpt that isn’t either stupid or a lie. No wonder his approval rating is 39%, and Biden’s over 50%. What’s amazing is that Fox news threw Trump such hardball questions.

The other day we discussed the merits and demerits of blind auditions for orchestras as a way to increase diversity. Today the New York Times turns its attention to the racism of opera.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 140,373, an increase of about 420 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 605,720, an increase of about 4000 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on July 20 includes:

  • 1738 – Canadian explorer Pierre Gaultier de Varennes et de La Vérendrye reaches the western shore of Lake Michigan.
  • 1848 – The first Women’s Rights Convention in Seneca Falls, New York, a two-day event, concludes.
  • 1903 – The Ford Motor Company ships its first automobile.

That first car was a Model A, and here’s what it looks like:

  • 1938 – The United States Department of Justice files suit in New York City against the motion picture industry charging violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act in regards to the studio system. The case would eventually result in a break-up of the industry in 1948.
  • 1941 – Soviet leader Joseph Stalin consolidates the Commissariats of Home Affairs and National Security to form the NKVD and names Lavrentiy Beria its chief.

Beria was a nasty piece of work, a torturer, a killer and a rapist, and he met his end, after being convicted of treason and other crimes, by being shot through the forehead on Khrushchev’s orders.

It’s amazing that Hitler survived; here’s the wreckage of the room after the failed assassination attempt. (Wikipedia caption: “Martin BormannHermann Göring, and Bruno Loerzer surveying the damaged conference room.”

  • 1960 – The Polaris missile is successfully launched from a submarine, the USS George Washington, for the first time.
  • 1969 – Apollo programApollo 11‘s crew successfully makes the first manned landing on the Moon in the Sea of Tranquility. Americans Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin become the first humans to walk on the Moon six and a half hours later.

If you’re about 57 or so, you’ll remember this televised moment. I remember it well; I was watching with friends in Arlington, Virginia on summer break from college:

  • 1989 – Burma’s ruling junta puts opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi under house arrest.
  • 1997 – The fully restored USS Constitution (a.k.a. Old Ironsides) celebrates its 200th birthday by setting sail for the first time in 116 years.
  • 2005 – The Civil Marriage Act legalizes same-sex marriage in Canada.
  • 2012 – James Holmes opened fire at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 and injuring 70 others.
  • 2015 – The United States and Cuba resume full diplomatic relations after five decades.
  • 2017 – O. J. Simpson is granted parole to be released from prison after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence after being convicted of armed robbery in Las Vegas.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1822 – Gregor Mendel, Austro-German monk, geneticist and botanist (d. 1884)
  • 1895 – László Moholy-Nagy, Hungarian painter, photographer, and sculptor (d. 1946)
  • 1919 – Edmund Hillary, New Zealand mountaineer and explorer (d. 2008)

Here’s the ice axe Hillary used when he and Tenzing summited Everest; I photographed it in 2017 in the Auckland Museum:

  • 1933 – Cormac McCarthy, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter
  • 1947 – Carlos Santana, Mexican-American singer-songwriter and guitarist

If this doesn’t wake you up, nothing will; it’s Santana’s performance of “Soul Sacrifice” from Woodstock.  He was reportedly high on mescaline at the time, and I’m always amazed that someone who’s tripping can still play guitar like this.

  • 1962 – Julie Bindel, English journalist, author, and academic
  • 1971 – Sandra Oh, Canadian actress

Those who sailed into the sunset on July 20 include:

  • 1866 – Bernhard Riemann, German mathematician and academic (b. 1826)
  • 1923 – Pancho Villa, Mexican general and politician, Governor of Chihuahua (b. 1878)
  • 1937 – Guglielmo Marconi, Italian physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1874)
  • 1973 – Bruce Lee, American actor and martial artist (b. 1940)
  • 2007 – Tammy Faye Messner, American Christian evangelist and talk show host (b. 1942)
  • 2011 – Lucian Freud, German-English painter and illustrator (b. 1922)

Freud is one of my favorite modern painters. Here’s his portrait of Queen Elizabeth II:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is hunting up in the trees, but using modern academic language:

Hili: It was there and it’s not there.
A: What?
Hili: A starling, and I don’t even know whether it was a male or a female.
A: Write: “gender unknown”.
In Polish:
Hili: Był i nie ma.
Ja: Kto?
Hili: Szpak, ale nawet nie wiem, czy to był samiec, czy samica.
Ja: Wpisz: gender nieznany.

And there’s a new female kitten, tentatively named Kulka, living with Malgorzata and Andrzej’s lodgers. She looks like a miniature Hili and is said to have bonded with Szaron already. She may not stay there permanently, but things look as if she might. (Hili doesn’t like her, but Szaron loves her.) Meet Kulka: (She was feral and had an eye infection, but she went to the vet and it’s clearing up.)

Here’s Kulka having a bit of cream on the kitchen windowsill:

A cartoon by Walt Handelsman sent by reader Charles:

From reader Paul via reddit: A duck standing on a flexible girl:

From Bad Cat Clothing:

From Simon. This is obviously a “tame” bear, but even so. . . .

A tweet from cesar. I swear, Hannah Nikole-Jones, head of the NYT’s 1619 Project, is looking more and more unhinged as time goes on:






Tweets from Matthew. I still haven’t seen the damn comet yet!

Now here’s a handsome reptile!

Speaking of bears. . .

Using cats like phones seems to be a “thing” on the Internet now, though I have no idea why.

The beautiful eye of a rescued Gannet:


41 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. I don’t often have good things to say about “historical” dramas on film, but I highly recommend the movie “Valkyrie” for its recounting of the July 20, 1944, bomb plot against Hitler. One of the most historically accurate movies I’ve seen, with some stellar performances.

    1. Given that he is running against a narcissistic sociopath who said he wouldn’t accept the results of the 2016 election if he lost, who willfully accepted and exploited the illegal assistance of a hostile foreign power in the 2016 election (then repeatedly lied to the American people about having done so), who attempted to extort another foreign power into illegally assisting him in the 2020 election, who has expressly refused to give any assurance he will accept the results of this year’s election — and who leads a numerically minority party that went on an orgy of voter suppression even before the ink was dry on the opinion in Shelby County v. Holder, the SCOTUS opinion that exempted certain red states from the pre-clearance provisions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 — I’d say Old Uncle Joe is wise to line up all the high-powered legal help he can muster.

  2. There’s a story about the bear on the Daily Mail website. Commenters who’ve never seen a bear are insisting “That’s a man in a suit!”

    1. That’s Daily Mail readers for you – not going to let their ignorance stop them from having an opinion! (I know… pot and kettle.)

  3. Beria was indeed a staggeringly awful person, thank the gods he never had as much power as Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot etc. If anybody deserved to be shot through the head while begging for mercy, it was him.

    I’ve always liked the fact that it was Zhukov himself who arrested Beria. The whole world owes Khrushchev and Zhukov a debt for making sure Beria didn’t succeed Stalin.

  4. “Moon landing”. For the younger readers: this was a big deal. there were certainly no desktop or laptop computers and no web available in 1969. Moreover, it was unusual to find a television set in the workplace..not unheard of but still unusual… i was working as an undergrad research assistant for a william and mary physics research group experiment at a cyclotron in newport news, va. The professor, several grad students, and i drove about 15 minutes from the cyclotron lab to my parents’ house to collectively hold our breath as we watched the play by play of the landing on tv that afternoon. By the time of the last appollo mission (17), we had a small black and white portable tv in one of the basement labs of the physics building to watch the blast off from the moon’s surface.

  5. The comet is very dim, so you need to be in a very dark location to visually observe it. Photos are generally longer exposures of seconds, the human eye only integrates light input over a few hundredths of a second.

  6. What’s amazing is that Fox news threw Trump such hardball questions.

    It’s Chris Wallace. He is unusual in that he works for Fox News and has a high degree of journalistic integrity. I saw a youtube video of him talking about that interview. Apparently, at the point where he called out Trump on his claim that Biden agreed to defund the police in his charter with Sanders, Trump literally walked out and got hold of a copy of the charter. Of course, he couldn’t find anything in it where Biden agreed to defund the police.

    I think the only amazing thing is that Chris Wallace still works for Fox News. I must have got some dirt on the Murdochs.

  7. Interesting to see that the Ford Model A had the steering wheel on the correct side. 😉

  8. Santana had a unique, easily identifiable sound, and the smell of weed was everywhere. I remember at the time, 1970, a Hispanic friend had a band which played good covers of these tunes. The amount of energy produced was terrific. Those were the daze.

    1. “Those were the daze” – very good, rickflick! Yes, Santana is one of those guitarists whose guitar tone and phrasing is so distinctive (BB King is another one) that you only need to hear a couple of notes to know who’s playing.

  9. I think Trump will lose, not accept the results of the election (making his parting gift even worse division and hatred across the country, so thanks for that you vile scum), but also step down because he really doesn’t want to be President anymore. It will be his way out while also allowing him to tell his base, “nuh-uh, I didn’t really lose. It was rigged! But I’m stepping down anyway so I can play golf an not have to read stuff because reading is hard and — I mean, in the interests of the nation. But also Joe Biden is garbage and I definitely didn’t lose and we were hacked by China and the Democrats made fake ballots and illegal immigrants voted and…” Expect gaping assholes like that guy from Project Veritas to release countless selectively edited videos to “prove” that the election was stolen.

    Regarding Hannah Nikole-Jones and her increasingly unhinged nature, I don’t think it’s “increasing” because she was already a crackpot. Among other things, she retweeted this insane conspiracy theory and made it sound as if it was a very important issue a few weeks ago.

    I’m just shocked that she apologized, but I guess she’s still trying to maintain the veneer of someone interested in the truth, lest her bogus 1619 Project not become required middle school curriculum.


    Regarding Szulka: a kitten was at our door when I awoke yesterday morning. It’s 100% a stray, as we’ve seen it walking around with its mother at times in the last few weeks, and even nursing one day, but it seems mama cat abandoned it. It sat at our deck door meowing for four hours before we finally opened the door to give it food and water, and it tried to come inside, putting its adorable little paws on my hand first! I kept it from coming in because (1) we don’t know what illnesses it might have and (2) we have another cat. It was having trouble breathing and seems to have both some kind of respiratory infection and an eye infection, but it hung around all day and all night, and hasn’t roamed more than ten feet from our deck door since it arrived yesterday morning. Despite its condition, its been eating well and grooming. Mama cat has not returned. It slept on one of the deck chairs overnight and is now waiting outside our door again, curled up against the screen.

    So, we’re bringing the little guy to the vet today for a checkup and to get healthy, and then we’re going to try and introduce it to our older cat. We just have to hope they’ll get along, because this kitten has absolutely chosen us and is so sweet I had to call Wilford Brimley because its giving me diabetes. It slept against our deck door throughout the day yesterday, occasionally getting up to meow, begging to be let in. Even when some people came over to swim and have dinner and we were blasting classic rock, it stuck around and made itself at home among us.

    Sometimes, a cat chooses you. How can I say no, especially when it’s a completely stray kitten who has decided to trust me with its little life?

    If anyone has any advice, please post it! Anything regarding acclimating stray kittens to a new home, helping my older cat (who has lived alone with us for ten years) get along with it, etc.

    1. You didn’t say if your older cat is a male or female. Often males will get along after period of time. One technique is to keep them separated in adjoining rooms and let them play
      “footsie” under the door. Or keep them separated in sight of one another during feeding times to reinforce good feelings.
      You’re right to get her to the vet asap. Good luck !

      1. Ah, thanks for pointing that out. The older cat is male, but he’s very standoffish. I’ve always said he’s kind of like what I imagine an autistic cat would be. He doesn’t like noises, being bothered, and he only wants to be pet for about 1/2 hour every day, some time between 8:00 and 10:00 PM, and only by one person in the house. He’ll let you pet him at other times, but only for a few seconds before he pulls his head away, so it’s not as if he attacks someone if they try to touch him; still, I’m worried that he’ll react to the kitten in the same way.

        The good news is that they’ve been nose to nose through the screen door twice and both reacted with curiosity and seeming friendliness. In fact, my older cat walked up to the kitten yesterday, separated by the glass door, and they both laid down on the floor next to each other for a minute or two. There hasn’t been any hissing or demonstration of confrontational behavior so far, but the kitten hasn’t actually entered the house yet, and I don’t know if my older cat will feel that his space is being invaded or taken over.

        I really hope they get along because, if not, I’ll have to find a foster home for this sweet kitten who chose us.

    2. Sorry! I didn’t mean to make almost everything bold like that. I guess I forgot to close the brackets after the “AND NOW, KITTY NEWS” title.

    3. Please keep us posted on how this plays out. Certainly do hope the older cat (that evidently runs your home 😊) will approve of stray kitten gaining residence.

      1. Will do! I’ll provide daily updates in these morning threads.

        Milo — it’s a male and that’s his name now — went to the vet today. He has a nasal infection, but his lungs are clear. He’s between eight and ten weeks old. He’s currently sequestered in the guest suite bathroom, where he’s sound asleep in the carrier (he hasn’t come out since returning from the vet). I went kitten shopping and spent only $160, which is exceedingly frugal for me when it comes to excitedly shopping for a kitten.

        My older cat is, so far, completely uninterested. He hasn’t gone to the door to sniff around, is laying around like he usually does, and seems like he’s barely even aware of Milo’s presence in the house. I don’t know what that means. Regardless, Milo will have to remain in quarantine for a few days until his nasal infection clears up.

        ^ ^
        ^ ^ ^ ^

        () ()



          1. So Milo’s got 3 sets of ears?😂
            The better to hear you – and then ignore you.
            Glad his lungs are fine.

  10. I recently watched “The Death of Stalin”, a dark satire about the political scramble after Stalin’s death.

    I have to thank Simon Russell Beale’s performance of Beria that led me to research more on this unpleasant bastard and his misdeeds. Just goes to show that “the dragon” can sometimes be more psychotic than “his master” in power couples.

    Also, Steve Buscemi playing Khrushchev was comical.

    1. That movie is absolutely phenomenal, but I wouldn’t expect anything less from the creator, writer and director of The Thick of It, In the Loop, and I am Alan Partridge, creator and writer of The Day Today, and creator and partial writer/director of Veep. It’s rare that someone creates, writes, and directs every episode in a series as long as The Thick of It. Iannucci is one of the most remarkable talents in showbiz.

      Making a comedy out of the horrors of Stalin, Beria, and the struggle for power that occurred after the former’s death is an undertaking few would dare. Here’s an absolutely fantastic video about its historical verisimilitude, which includes using a working-class accent for the role of Stalin:

    2. I was lucky enough to see Simon Russell Beale as Galveston in a touring RSC production of Marlowe’s Edward II in Newcastle in the very early ’90s. He was absolutely stupendous, and stole the show.

  11. The Stauffenberg assassination attempt is just one of at least 39 documented plots. The number mostly floating about is 42, taken from a 1981 book on that subject, but a few are unverifiable.

    The first one was an attempt to poison him with a letter. Hitler was warned somehow. The second was an aborted attempt to shoot him, which was called off because the conspirators feared it would make him a martyr.

    The second most famous one, after Stauffenberg’s, was a bomb that went off in 1938 in the Bürgerbräukeller. Hitler survived out of sheer luck. A fog prevented him from using the plane, and he had to leave earlier to get to a train. The assassin was caught later, because he used an expired border ticket to the Swiss and then his bag contained a map of the Bürgerbräukeller and a fuse.

    1. Georg Elser was the one who tried to assassinate Hitler in the Bürgerbräukeller with bomb.

      A fascinating story: Elser was a trained cabinetmaker. He did not belong to any opposition or resistance group, but planned the assassination all by himself without any support.

      Elser was imprisoned in a concentration camp for 6 years and only in the last days of the war in April 1945 he was shot on the orders of Ernst Kaltenbrunner.

  12. I find the discussions casting doubt on whether Trump will accept the election results to be highly disingenuous, considering that these exact same questions were raised at the last election (example here), and it turned out that the ones who didn’t accept the election results as valid and insisted that he wasn’t duly elected were all people on the Left! (See here for one such article on the topic.)

  13. “Santana’s performance of “Soul Sacrifice” from Woodstock. He was reportedly high on mescaline at the time, and I’m always amazed that someone who’s tripping can still play guitar like this.”

    To me he’s playing like someone on mescaline 😉

    But then I’ve always felt Santana was the single most overrated guitar God, by far.

    He’s got tone, but technically he plays like someone with advanced arthritis. Runs out of his bag of tricks after about one song. And then all that’s left are the damned faces.

    *ducks tomatoes*

    1. I’ll take your challenge: Eric Clapton is easily the most overrated guitar god. Why is he so great? So idolized? He had some good work with the Byrds and with Cream, which were good *ensembles* and the latter in the power trio format, one, count ’em ONE, iconic song with Derek and the Dominoes, an ok solo career in the 70s (“Cocaine” and what else?), then 20 years of nothing while he engaged in prolific drug use until he was dredged up as a dinosaur to perform Tears in Heaven on MTV Unplugged. Putting one of his guitars on the wall at the first Hard Rock Cafe, thereby launching an international brand, is one of his most noteworthy accomplishments; this is like being the first girl to appear in a Hooters calendar.

      1. I certainly agree that Tears in Heaven and most of what followed was nowhere as good as Layla and his Cream pieces.

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