Monday: Hili dialogue

August 3, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Monday, August 3, 2020, which means that we’re back to work, which means in turn that we’re back at home. It’s National Watermelon Day (remember, a 100 g serving has only 30 calories), Grab Some Nuts Day (they are referring to edible nuts), and Clean Your Floors Day.

Today’s Google Doodle, a genre that has become dedicated to empowering the minoritized, celebrates the career of the Filipino-British diver Vicki Draves (1924-2010). Wikipedia gives some details:

Victoria Manalo Draves (December 31, 1924 – April 11, 2010) was an American competition diver who won gold medals in both platform and springboard diving in the 1948 Summer Olympics in London..  Draves became the first woman to be awarded gold medals for both the ten-meter platform and the three-meter springboard. Additionally, Draves became the first American woman to win two gold medals in diving, and the first Asian American to win Olympic gold medals.

In yesterday’s poll,  a solid majority of readers, as the screenshot below shows, had no problem with Trader Joe’s using proprietary brand names like “Trader Ming’s” and “Trader José’s” for its ethnic foods.  Here are the results from early this morning, with a 22-1 ratio of those in favor of keeping rather than ditching the names. Pushback against wokeness!

News of the Day: Kamala Harris appears to be the front-runner as Joe Biden’s choice for a Vice-Presidential candidate, which means that in four years she might be running for President. But now she’s facing accusations that she’s “too ambitious”. SERIOUSLY? Of course all candidates are ambitious, but only a woman would face such criticism.

Do readers think she’ll be Biden’s choice? Others are guessing Elizabeth Warren.

Seriously, they still plan to have a baseball season this year? Now, on top of the virus spreading through the Miami Marlins, it’s hit my own team, the St. Louis Cardinals, who have postponed a three-game series with the MIlwaukee Brewers. Other players are opting out of playing this year. If they can’t even keep baseball safe in empty stadiums and quarantined teams, what chance do colleges have when they reopen this fall with students present? My prediction, which is mine, is that many colleges may open, but will close when the virus takes hold. Further, many colleges may change their minds in the next month about having students come to campus. Remember this prediction!

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 155,333, an increase of about 400 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 689,585, an increase of about 4400 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on August 3 include:

  • 1492 – Christopher Columbus sets sail from Palos de la Frontera, Spain.
  • 1527 – The first known letter from North America is sent by John Rut while at St. John’s, Newfoundland.

It’s not clear how the letter got back to England.

  • 1778 – The theatre La Scala in Milan is inaugurated with the première of Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta.
  • 1811 – First ascent of Jungfrau, third highest summit in the Bernese Alps by brothers Johann Rudolf and Hieronymus Meyer.

Here’s the mountain. Now you can take a cog train nearly all the way to the top:

  • 1852 – Harvard University wins the first Boat Race between Yale University and Harvard. The race is also the first American intercollegiate athletic event.
  • 1914 – World War I: Germany declares war against France, while Romania declares its neutrality.
  • 1921 – Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis confirms the ban of the eight Chicago Black Sox, the day after they were acquitted by a Chicago court.
  • 1936 – Jesse Owens wins the 100 metre dash, defeating Ralph Metcalfe, at the Berlin Olympics.

Here’s a 4-minute video of a 10-second race, which includes the heat (actually, Owens’s winning time was 10.3 seconds). The current record is held by Usain Bolt, with a time of 9.58 seconds. There of course is a lower limit to the time, as humans are incapable of running the distance in one second.

Hitler was ticked off big time at Owens’s victory, as Der Führer intended the Berlin games to show off the prowess of Aryan athletes.

  • 1946 – Santa Claus Land, the world’s first themed amusement park, opens in Santa Claus, Indiana, United States.
  • 1948 – Whittaker Chambers accuses Alger Hiss of being a communist and a spy for the Soviet Union.
  • 1958 – The world’s first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus, becomes the first vessel to complete a submerged transit of the geographical North Pole.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1887 – Rupert Brooke, English poet (d. 1915)
  • 1900 – Ernie Pyle, American soldier and journalist (d. 1945)
  • 1900 – John T. Scopes, American educator (d. 1970)

Once again I’ll show my visit to Scopes’s grave in Paducah, Kentucky, as this photo really pisses off the Discovery Institute’s Michael Egnor, who claims that it shows me promoting genocide (the biology book from which Scopes taught for a short time he as a substitute biology teacher apparently had some “rancid eugenic hate” in it, though Scopes didn’t even teach that part):

Bennett is 94 today, and still going strong—and singing. Here’s a great duet he did with Lady Gaga in 2011, when he was 85.

  • 1941 – Martha Stewart, American businesswoman, publisher, and author, founded Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
  • 1977 – Tom Brady, American football player

Those who became quiescent on August 3 include:

  • 1924 – Joseph Conrad, Polish-born British novelist (b. 1857)
  • 1954 – Colette, French novelist and journalist (b. 1873)
  • 1964 – Flannery O’Connor, American short story writer and novelist (b. 1925)
  • 1966 – Lenny Bruce, American comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1925)
  • 2004 – Henri Cartier-Bresson, French photographer and painter (b. 1908)

Cartier-Bresson is my favorite “street photographer,” a man with a keen eye. Here’s one of my favorites, “Behind the Gare St-Lazare” (1932). He had one shot with his Leica; there were no ways to fire continuously in those days.

  • 2010 – Bobby Hebb, American singer-songwriter (b. 1938)

Here’s one of the best soul songs ever, Hebb’s greatest hit, and deservedly so. The song was written over a two-day period when JFK was assassinated and Hebb’s older brother was stabbed to death.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, it’s summer and Hili spends almost all day, and some nights, on the tiles.

Hili: I’m going back to wild nature.
A: For long?
Hili: I don’t know yet, I will see.
In Polish:
Hili: Wracam do dzikiej natury.
Ja: Na długo?
Hili: Jeszcze nie wiem, zobaczę.

From reader Reese:

From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe:

How about an ignorant, right-wing cartoon for a change? This was sent by reader Charles, who noted:

Something different from the ant-science far Right. Ben Garrison is a favorite of tRump, and drew the anti-Fauci faucet cartoon tRump tweeted.

I’ll put the Fauci cartoon below this anti-mask cartoon, in which every claim appears to be false:


Tweets from Matthew. This goes to show that old guys can still do some stuff:

A lovely mural in Norway:

You’ll never again dither over the meaning of “doff” and “don” (assuming you use the words):

Look at that sheepdog go!

Duckling pried from the egg. You really have to know what you’re doing to effect something like this. Little Squish here was returned to its mom the next day, and in good shape.

A horse-sized backscratcher, used on request only:

Amy Schwartz rescues a tiny baby bat. Have a look at the pics and videos in the whole thread.

33 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Repeatedly forming the word “watermelon” – especially when holding a phone – is a way to appear to be talking, with no words obviously lip-readable.

    Also – one of the “no opinion” votes is really a “no”, but due to technicality, was “no opinion”.

  2. in which every claim appears to be false

    I don’t think “if social distancing works, you don’t need a mask” is false. The UK managed to get its outbreak under control without mandatory mask wearing. In England, we only introduced mandatory mask wearing in shops on 24th July when infection levels were already pretty low.

    They also do “collect bacteria and virus particles”. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be any good.

    1. Of course, “humans need oxygen to live”, too (though I appreciate that the cartoon is making a different point in that regard).

    2. Even the WHO only decided on favour of masks quite late for various reasons. Personally I think wearing masks would have been more useful when it was more prevalent in the population rather than now. Now if no one is inspecting masks & masks are not standard, how can one be sure that they are effective? We cannot, especially if transmission is possible in very small aerosols rather than just larger droplets. Wearing it outside is pointless unless you have it unknowingly & then taking the mask off & on will possibly spread it.

      I wear it when I have to but reluctantly not enthusiastically. Why is it alright to not wear it in a restaurant or pub, but not alright to not wear while getting take away food from the same restaurant? I wear it in the vain hope that one day I will no longer have to wear it… Testing is so much more sensible as a ‘solution’….

  3. I’m old enough to remember having to dress up in our Sunday best in order to go to church. This meant donning a jacket, tie, and hat. We had to learn the various mannerly rules for donning and doffing the hat, including the hat tip, which survives to this day as the abbreviation H/T that you see in online posts to acknowledge the person who gave you notice of something that you’ve repeated. There used to be hat clips on the pews in church. Because of my childhood training in the courtesies surrounding the wearing of hats, I’m still a little irked when I see guys keeping their baseball caps on while eating in restaurants.

  4. But now [Kamala Harris is] facing accusations that she’s “too ambitious”.

    A politician being “too ambitious” is like a basketball player being too tall.

    Especially for a politician with his or her sights set on the presidency. The only person ever to make it to the chair behind the Resolute desk in the Oval Office without ambition — or at least without the requisite ambition to be president, or in his case, to be anything other than a US congressman from Grand Rapids, MI — was Gerald R. Ford, this nation’s only entirely accidental president (in that, at the time he ascended to the office, he’d never been a candidate for either the presidency or vice-presidency). But once Ford made it to the West Wing, he developed sufficient ambition to want to try to hang onto the presidency for a four-year term of his own.

    1. Better that she’s “too ambitious” rather than “too dumb to walk and chew gum at the same time” …

  5. I haven’t read any of the outrage against Kamala Harris as Biden’s VP pick but the problem I have with her is not that she’s ambitious and wants to be president someday. It’s that she’s ONLY ambitious. When she speaks about what she’d do for the country, it comes across to me as wholly calculated for political effect rather than a carefully thought out position on the issues reflecting a deeply held philosophy. She spends all her time jockeying for position relative to other politicians. Susan Rice is my pick.

        1. There’s an old saying — usually attributed to Finley Peter Dunne’s fictional “Mr. Dooley” (but likely having been coined by poker players) — that goes “trust your mother, but always cut the cards anyway.”

          The saying also appeared as a guiding principle on the masthead of Scanlan’s Monthly, a short-lived, ill-fated muckraking magazine published by Sidney Zion and Warren Hinckle III for something less than a year in the earlier 1970s. (The story of Scanlan’s brief rise and fall is an interesting bit of US journalistic history, and much more has been written about it than ever appeared in it. It’s worth checking out, should you ever have some spare time on your hands. Scanlan’s was where Hunter Thompson published his first piece of pure Gonzo, “The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved”.)

          The saying’s import is similar to the “trust, but verify” Russian proverb Reagan used to lay on Gorbachev during their nuclear-disarmament negotiations.

          1. Shoot. I thought I was being original.
            Scanlan’s seems to a case of a lack of balance or judgement. No one would print them because they were being to provocative. Perhaps if they’d throttled it back a bit, they’d still be around.

  6. Most people I know or have read about who dislike Harris do so not because she’s “ambitious,” but because she is constantly displaying a selfish political calculus – not the same thing! Also, in my state, her terms as AG were spotty, with some surprisingly hard line positions. This is ironic in light of her “gotcha” moment with Biden, which I thought was disingenuous and rubbed me the wrong way having seen her over the years. I hope Biden passes on her and goes with Warren, or Karen Bass. Bass is new to me but looks quite strong as someone who can help Biden get things done, and who displays exactly the opposite tendencies to Harris – i.e., those of a sincere civil servant wanting to do what’s best for the people.

    1. Yes, I agree on Harris’s attack on Biden. It is hard to see why he’d pick her. It is good he doesn’t hold grudges but there should be a limit.

      I don’t have much opinion on Bass but I read yesterday that she has no interest in becoming president. That might not be a good quality in a VP candidate as that’s probably the most important part of the job, especially with an old guy like Biden who might not want a second term.

  7. 1852 – Harvard University wins the first Boat Race between Yale University and Harvard. The race is also the first American intercollegiate athletic event.

    Harvard also beat Yale 29-29 in the famous final football game of the 1968 season (or so The Harvard Crimson claimed in a headline the following Monday, since the tie felt like a win for Harvard, given that Yale’s undefeated team went in heavily favored and held the lead the entire game until an odd concatenation of circumstance allowed Yale to tie the game in the waning seconds. There’s an excellent documentary regarding that game by the same name — “Harvard Beats Yale 29-29” — a doc one needn’t know (or care) anything about American football to appreciate and find edifying.

  8. … my own team, the St. Louis Cardinals …

    The Cards are your team because team allegiance is a heritable trait passed along patrilineally — I seem to recall your writing about your dad’s going to games to watch Stan “the Man” Musial play — rather than a matter of geographic determinism (by which rights your ballclub should be the White Sox or, possibly, that other team that plays on the North Side)?

    My sons are Indians’ fans (when it comes to a rooting interest in an American League team) — or at least they know they need to pretend to be anytime I’m around. 🙂 We root for the Marlins in the National League.

    1. Hello Ken
      Always such a wide range of comments.

      In the light of one of your comments on the “worm thread” – down here in Australia there is another, entirely hidden, meaning in the slang usages of “root”!!!

      Anwyays, back to Ancestry to find my “roots” . . .

  9. 1948 – Whittaker Chambers accuses Alger Hiss of being a communist and a spy for the Soviet Union.

    “On that road of the informer, it is always night. I cannot ever inform against anyone without feeling something die within me.” — Whittaker Chambers

  10. One of the most famous – but not true – stories about the 1936 Olympics is that Hitler was so miffed about Owens’ win that he snubbed him by refusing to shake his hand. The truth is that Hitler did not shake the hand of any winning athelete at the games.
    The biggest snub to Owens came from his own president, Roosevelt. Owens was not even invited to the celebratory event at the White House held for the returning US squad.

    My apologies if this has been mentioned here previously.

  11. I use “doff” and “don.” To the best of my recollection, I picked them up decades ago when I got certified as a SCUBA diver, since there was a “doff and don” exercise — the removal of one’s tanks and buoyancy compensator and then putting them back on again, with an intervening trip to the surface, IIRC — that had to be performed to qualify for certification.

    According to the etymological dictionary I just consulted, “doff” and “don” were considered “obsolete” back in 1755 when Dr. Johnson published his famous dictionary, but were revivified in the writings of Sir Walter Scott two-and-a-half centuries later.

  12. I wish people would have a realistic discussion about masks instead of each side making untrue statements. The reality is:
    1. During strenuous exercise, masks have a significant impact.* Pretending otherwise gives people a reason to distrust everything you say.
    2. For some people, masks have a significant health impact.
    3. For most activities and most people, masks have no health impact.
    4. Masks slow the spread of Covid inside.
    5. Masks have little effect outside unless you are close to each other.

    * –

    “Ventilation, cardiopulmonary exercise capacity and comfort are reduced by surgical masks and highly impaired by FFP2/N95 face masks in healthy individuals. These data are important for recommendations on wearing face masks at work or during physical exercise.”

  13. Jesse Owens died in 1980. His funeral was held at Rockefeller Chapel at the University of Chicago. I was in my last year of business school at UofC. The area of campus near Rockefeller was almost overwhelmed. Police all over the place directing traffic.

    He is buried at Oak Woods Cemetery on 67th Street, just south of campus. There is a large pond there. I think some of Honey’s offspring may go there (or to Washington or Jackson Park).

    On June 20th, 1936, on the gravel track of the old Stagg Field at the University of Chicago, Jesse Owens ran 100 yards in 9.55 seconds, first time anyone had run under 10 seconds. The site is directly across the street from PCC(e)’s office. Regenstein Library is there now.

    1. Jesse was a graduate of The Ohio State University and of Cleveland East Tech High (the same high school my dad graduated from in 1943 before heading off to The War).

      There’s a statue and memorial recounting the accomplishments of Jesse just outside Ohio State’s football stadium. I was up there to see a ballgame last November with my siblings and my cousins (most of whom are OSU alums). It was bitter cold that day, but I took a walk with my brother and his son (who was a history major) at halftime to see the statue and to pay our respects to the great Mr. Owens.

  14. I think that, whatever the reasons Harris lost her nomination for president, each of them is also a valid reason for her not to be picked for vice president.

    When, years ago, McCain lost the race, my colleagues commented how Palin as his vice-president candidate contributed to his loss. I agreed, and quoted him saying that she “inspired people”. A colleague remarked, “Oh yes, she inspired them to vote for Obama”.

  15. Ben Garrison’s pathetic attempts at humor raise a question: why is the right wing so bad at humor? At the moment I cannot think of any particularly good right-wing cartoonists, satirists or humorists. On the other hand, there are and have been good centrist or conservative humorists. Evelyn Waugh and Swift are two examples. But the modern right wing can’t claim anyone of that caliber. It can’t even compete on TV—remember Fox News’s failed attempt to create a right-wing Daily Show?

    But just as the far right fails, the far-left hasn’t given us many humorists either. I’m guessing that folks at either far end of the political spectrum ultimately lose their sense of humor, which depends on being able to distance yourself enough from something to find the humor in it. One advantage of being in the center is being able to see the humor on both sides.

    1. I always liked P.J. O’Rourke, a former National Lampoon editor who became a right-wing satirist. He is aware of the absurdity on both sides.

      Back in the 90s, on the radio show “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” he was asked “Why aren’t there more funny conservatives?” He answered “There are a LOT of funny conservatives . . .oh, you mean INTENTIONALLY funny. I was going to say Jerry Falwell.”

  16. Last week the owners of a well-known brand of Australian cheese, announced it intends to change the name of the cheese from COON, to … something else. COON is/was so called because it is manufactured by a process called Cooning, which was named after its inventor, an American named Edward Coon. The cheese has been manufactured in Australia since 1935. I find the name unoffensive, given its history. I daresay Edward Coon may have living relatives and descendants. I wonder if they are ashamed of their surnames.

    Back in the early ’60s I recall my first tram ride past “The Nigger Boy Licorice Company” whose name was proudly proclaimed in huge letters, along with the caricatured image of a black African boy, in Caulfield, Australia, and I wondered to myself “can they really put that on a building?” The name was changed soon after in response to changing public awareness, I think before the decade ended. I am not aware of any public campaign which caused the name change.

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