Monday: Hili dialogue

August 10, 2020 • 6:30 am

Oy, we’re back at the beginning of another damn week: to be precise, Monday, August 10, 2020. It’s National S’Mores Day. Whoever invented this concoction of two graham crackers enclosing a toasted marshmallow melting a few squares from a Hershey Bar was a genius. The photo below shows square marshmallows, and I’m not sure where they were obtained.

It’s also World Lion Day, International Biodiesel Day, Victory Day (formerly “V-J Day”, the day the Japanese surrendered in 1945 during WWII), and National Duran Duran Appreciation Day (WTF?) Here’s a lion tweet that Matthew sent, along with a link to a cool paper.

Here’s the very famous photo by Alfred Eisenstaedt taken on V-J Day in Times Square, New York City. There’s a long Wikipedia article about the photo and who the participants were (note: unresolved). What’s clear is that Americans were over the moon since nearly four years of war had finally ended, and people were kissing strangers.

News of the Day: Not much good is happening, but the “Trilobites” column in the NYT does describe a cool piece of science: mosses can grow in the desert beneath the right kind of quartz crystal:

To humans, a desert oasis may conjure an image of a blue pool encircled by a coronet of palm trees. But to certain mosses, an oasis takes the form of a pebble of milky quartz. The cloudy crystal dilutes the sun’s piercing ultraviolet rays and, in the dry desert heat, traps moisture beneath it, creating a microclimate perfect for a moss.

After a Saudi hit squad, presumably acting on orders from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, it’s now come out that there was another hit squad. This one was sent to Canada to murder another dissident, but Canadian authorities nipped it in the bud. The target has filed a lawsuit, and, as a piece in the Washington Post notes, “The new allegations, if proved, reinforce the conclusion that the kingdom is led by a crown prince who commands death squads and continues to evade accountability for murder.”

How is Katie Hill faring after she resigned from Congress after nude photographs of her surfaced as well as claims that she had an affair with not only a campaign staffer, but a legislative director? The New York Times has a story on her recent doings, and Hill’s had a hard time of it. She has a memoir coming out called She Will Rise. 

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 162,481, an increase of about 500 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 730,553, an increase of about 5200 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on August 10 include:

  • 1519 – Ferdinand Magellan’s five ships set sail from Seville to circumnavigate the globe. The Basque second-in-command Juan Sebastián Elcano will complete the expedition after Magellan’s death in the Philippines.
  • 1628 – The Swedish warship Vasa sinks in the Stockholm harbour after only about 20 minutes of her maiden voyage.

The Vasa was recovered in remarkably good shape in 1961, and now has its own museum in Stockholm. Here’s a photo:

  • 1675 – The foundation stone of the Royal Greenwich Observatory in London, England is laid.
  • 1776 – American Revolutionary War: Word of the United States Declaration of Independence reaches London.
  • 1793 – The Musée du Louvre is officially opened in Paris, France.
  • 1846 – The Smithsonian Institution is chartered by the United States Congress after James Smithson donates $500,000.
  • 1954 – At Massena, New York, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Saint Lawrence Seaway is held.
  • 1969 – A day after murdering Sharon Tate and four others, members of Charles Manson’s cult kill Leno and Rosemary LaBianca.
  • 1977 – In Yonkers, New York, 24-year-old postal employee David Berkowitz (“Son of Sam”) is arrested for a series of killings in the New York City area over the period of one year.
  • 1988 – Japanese American internment: U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs the Civil Liberties Act of 1988, providing $20,000 payments to Japanese Americans who were either interned in or relocated by the United States during World War II.

I still can’t believe that American citizens were interned during World War II, and it’s a shameful episode in American history. I visited the Manzanar internment camp in the Owens Valley, and if you’re in that area it’s well worth visiting the museum. Most of it is gone, but when it was active it looked like this:

A Japanese-American internment camp, called Manzanar, in California in July 1942. Credit: Hulton Archive/Getty Images (from the NYT)
  • 1995 – Oklahoma City bombing: Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols are indicted for the bombing. Michael Fortier pleads guilty in a plea-bargain for his testimony.
  • 2003 – European heat wave: The highest temperature ever recorded in the United Kingdom, 38.5 °C (101.3 °F) in Kent, England.

In Chicago that would be a hot summer’s day, but the Brits, not used to weather that hot, were sorely afflicted. And across Europe, where parts were even hotter, 70,000 people died.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1874 – Herbert Hoover, American engineer and politician, 31st President of the United States (d. 1964)
  • 1889 – Charles Darrow, American game designer, created Monopoly (d. 1967)
  • 1913 – Wolfgang Paul, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1993)
  • 1959 – Rosanna Arquette, American actress, director, and producer
  • 1963 – Andrew Sullivan, English-American journalist and author

Happy Birthday, Andrew!

This song, by Toto, may have been partly written for Rosanna Arquette, who was dating one of the band members at the time. (The group also did the well known song “Africa”.)

Those who boxed on August 10 include:

  • 1932 – Rin Tin Tin, American acting dog (b. 1918)
  • 1945 – Robert H. Goddard, American physicist and engineer (b. 1882)
  • 2008 – Isaac Hayes, American singer-songwriter, pianist, producer, and actor (b. 1942)

Remember this song that Hayes wrote?

  • 2019 – Jeffrey Epstein, American financier (b. 1953)

Has it been a year already since he supposedly hung himself in jail?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili prognosticates:

Hili: A second wave of pandemic is coming.
A: Where do you see it?
Hili: It’s not visible yet, but we are already hearing about it.
In Polish:
Hili: Idzie druga fala koronawirusa.
Ja: Gdzie ją widzisz?
Hili: Jeszcze jej nie widać, ale już o niej słychać.

And here’s Kulka inside the house, photographed by Andrzej from the outside. Elzbieta says that this looks like the soul of a cat exiting from a human:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Stash Krod (New Yorker cartoon by Pia Guerra).


From Jesus of the Day: I’d totally get exorcised for all the fried chicken I could eat!

Titania speaks!

A tweet from the long-lost Dom:

From reader Barry, a display of the striped cuckoo  (Tapera naevia) from Central and South America. Is this a mating ritual? (The species is sexually monomorphic, meaning males and females look alike.) Note that the head remains absolutely stationary.

Bruce Lyon says that this display may well be to startle insect prey items to make them visible for nomming .

Tweets from Matthew. First one: Snake 1, heron 0.

David Crosby replies to a miscreant who thinks “Blood on the Tracks” is better than “Blue”.

And here’s a lame reply, with an inappropriate apostrophe and faulty logic:

A true tweet from Matthew with a lovely linked video. I too never get tired of watching potter wasps. Imagine that complex behavior coded in a brain the size of two grains of sand.

If you don’t know about lynx feet by now, it’s time to learn:

45 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Faulty logic, and also overlooks the fact that CSNY did have a hit (or success at least) with one of Joni’s songs (Woodstock).

    (And Blood on the Tracks isn’t even Dylan’s best album. Highway 61, and the two before and after are better than anything Joni — or anyone else — ever recorded.)

    1. Joni Mitchell versus Bob Dylan. That’s an interesting one. I love Mitchell a whole hell of a lot and think she’s one of the best singer/songwriters ever, but…

      1. You’re right: don’t use Blood on the Tracks as a point of comparison. It’s a great album, but the fact that it’s not even among Dylan’s best says a lot about just how great he is.

      2. Comparing their singing is useless. Dylan’s voice wasn’t about perfect pitch or beautiful melodies. It’s apples and oranges, like comparing Leonard Cohen’s singing to Adele. Of course, Mitchell has one of the greatest voices we’ve ever heard, but it’s a matter of fitting a voice to the music, and they both did that in their own ways.

      3. Dylan is the better writer, based on the breadth of his work. Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again or [insert your favorite Dylan song here] alone elevates him above just about everyone. He could write any kind of song, from psychedelic, to autobiographical, to political, to just plain old having fun, and be the best at all of it. That’s not to say that Mitchell couldn’t, but she wasn’t as prolific in her brilliance and never made an album as good as Dylan’s top three, or even top five. Taken as wholes, Dylan’s oeuvre is the greater one, and if someone had to choose between taking all the albums from one artist or the other, it’s hard to imagine someone taking all of Mitchell’s and leaving Dylan’s on the table.

      4. Mitchell was the better guitarist. No question. But it doesn’t really matter.

      1. Very interesting comments and I mostly agree.

        But not on the guitarist part. (Being a semi-serious guitarist.)

        Joni Mitchell played mostly in open (and other song-specific) tunings. (Stephen Stills liked them too.) Rumored to be dozens. It makes playing (left hand) much easier. (Watch her play Big Yellow Taxi – aside from a pretty simple repeated fill, it’s all barred with the index finger.) Of course, she could really deliver a song. Of course. I love her work.

        Can you provide an example of exceptional guitar work by her? She had a good right hand, for sure, as one must to stand up there, alone, and sing/strum.

        I listen to Dylan picking and singing and I hear a lot more going on (from a guitarist standpoint).

        But, as you note: Apples and oranges. I love them both!

        1. I immediately think of Hollis Brown as a vocal & guitar performance that few could pull off with that much intensity, let alone write it.

          1. When I think of someone whose playing and singing at the same time is just incomprehensible to me, I think of Geddy Lee. I literally cannot understand how he can play such complex bass while singing, and even playing the synths with his feet for some songs.

            When I think of pickers who could really play while singing, I think of the many great bluegrass players in that area.

            1. I bow to your appreciation of Geddy Lee (and presumably of Rush).

              I never “got” Rush I guess. The music just didn’t hold together for me.

              It’s been quite a while; but what my memory tells me is: Heavy Metal, lots of fireworks. Probably just a difference in taste. (They certainly are/were good musicians.)

              I just read up on him: He has an interesting life story.

        2. Now that I think about it, you’re right regarding the guitar. It was just different types of playing for different music, just like the singing. Neither of them were exceptional players, so I guess it doesn’t really matter in the long run anyway. And you’re right, Dylan actually did quite a bit of picking, while Mitchell just played chords.

          I take back my statement. I didn’t give it the consideration I should have because it seems like such an insignificant part of their music and talent.

  2. Interning the Japanese Americans during WWII was the worst human rights violations in America until Trump. He sets a new level to shoot at.

      1. Since we are referring to national/presidential caused human rights violations I’m not sure what you mean? Treatment of prisoners maybe?

        1. Since we are referring to national/presidential caused human rights violations

          Well, we aren’t. You simply said “in America until Trump”. You said nothing about it having to be by the government. I was merely trying to say you have to exclude the period during which slavery was legal on US soil.

          While I’m thinking about it, the human rights violations that occurred in Guantanamo Bay were pretty bad too, although technically, I guess it is not in America.

    1. I live near Cambridge too, and I was about to post the same comment. I still remember that day vividly. Neither my office nor my house have air conditioning, so there was no respite from the heat.

    1. Fair comment, but I’m guessing that most homes and offices in Dallas have air conditioning. That’s just not a thing here in England, not in homes anyway, and barely in most workplaces either.

      1. Very true, I once lived in England and never saw an air conditioner anywhere. It was hard enough to get heat in winter. However, even I would be surprise at how many poor people in this country have no air conditioning and many who cannot afford to turn it on if available.

          1. Nice idea but you would have to put up a hell of a lot of solar panels to handle the air conditioning alone. Better get started. By the way, it is cloudy and raining today.

      2. I lived in Austin for several years with no air conditioner. People can get used to it. Does anyone think the South was empty before the invention of air conditioning?

        1. It was a whole lot more empty than these days (the whole “Sun Belt” phenomenon was built on AC).

          My mother (born and raised in Jackson, MS, pre-AC) said, “we just didn’t move in the middle of the day in summer.” (Except that “the help” had to move and do the work.)

          What I don’t understand is how people tolerated it before electricity (and electric fans!). They suffered. People can tolerate quite a lot of suffering if they don’t have a choice.

  3. Adding to the list of notables born on this day:

    1947 – Ian Anderson, flautist & vocalist of Jethro Tull

  4. I have to say that the media’s sudden interest in Saudi Arabia’s misdeeds only after a single journalist working for a Western outlet was killed by them really pisses me off. Depending on the source, between 125,000 to 200,000 Yemeni civilians have died since the Saudi-led coalition began its war in 2015. Five freaking years ago. Not to mention the hundreds of thousands who have been displaced, the conditions in Yemen deteriorating to the point that people are starving, dying, and have no place to live, the mass-deportation of Ethiopians by Saudi Arabia, and on and on. How many of us have heard much about this? How many of us have hear way more reporting on the single journalist killed than on the entire war?

    I can’t think of a better example than this of how the media drives what’s in the public consciousness, reports based on its own narrative desires, and cannot be trusted — on any side.

    1. The Saudi royals, and MbS in particular, are bad actors on the world stage in so many ways, many of them tragically under-reported. But the kidnapping, murder, and dismemberment of a WaPo journalist at a diplomatic mission on foreign soil — and an apparent similar malefaction attempted in Canada — is bound to draw the attention of journalists, especially those working for the same newspaper as the victim. I don’t think you can begrudge them that.

      1. ” But the kidnapping, murder, and dismemberment of a WaPo journalist at a diplomatic mission on foreign soil — and an apparent similar malefaction attempted in Canada — is bound to draw the attention of journalists…”

        I agree that it should get their attention, but one would hope that at least as much attention wold be drawn by the killing and displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians. And I’m sure US journalists wouldn’t have taken note of the kidnapping and murdering of, say, a Kuwaiti journalist in Iran by the Saudis. Finally, it’s not just WaPo that took notice, but all of the American outlets.

  5. This song, by Toto, may have been partly written for Rosanna Arquette, who was dating one of the band members at the time.

    Ms. Arquette also had a long-term relationship with Peter Gabriel, and is said to be the inspiration for his tune “In You Eyes.”

    First thing I recall seeing her in a staring role in was the early 1980s’ television movie made from Norman Mailer’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book The Executioner’s Song (with a teleplay adapted by Mailer himself), as the teenage girlfriend opposite Tommy Lee Jones’s portrayal of Utah murderer Gary Gilmore, the first offender executed in the US following the five-year moratorium on capital punishment imposed by SCOTUS in 1972 in Furman v. Georgia.

    1. Games aren’t “invented”; they’re designed. “Invented” only applies if a whole new mechanism of game-playing is involved, which rarely happens (says someone who worked as a game designer).

  6. Papua New Guinea missionaries:

    If you read Searching for Pek Pek, my ladyfriend’s brother-in-law Andrew Mack’s book on ecological research on cassowaries there (Pek Pek is cassowary shit), you also learn a) that PNG is overrun with missionaries, and b) that each sect has its own airstrip, and c) that they are supreme assholes, each keeping their airstrip for their own use. There was one instance when Andy’s group, deep in the jungle, needed medical advice and contacted one of them on shortwave, only to be told to get off since he wasn’t one of them.

    Highly recommend the book, tho.

  7. Miscreant here. I don’t know if it’s actually better than Blue, but I listen to Blood On the Tracks much more often. I love Joni, but Dylan’s messages were more universal. Also, he’s a much better musician and arranger than most give credit for. Both have played with some of the best.

  8. S’Mores represent some of favorite memories of my family. For a Father’s Day many years ago, my kids bought me a fire pit table. We have spent many, many evenings grilling and roasting marshmallows with the fire pit keeping us warm. On Saturday, we had a grilled pork butt with Malaysian seasoning followed by s’mores for dessert. This is last summer before my eldest moves out on his own. Sigh.

    One of the few good thing about coronavirus is more time with family. For several weeks this summer, Graham crackers were sold out in my local grocery stores this summer.

  9. The striped cuckoo was filmed by amateur ornithologist Ednilson Pereira at Paranaguá, Paraná, Brazil. It was reported last July by a well-respected national news and natural-history outlet (see link at bottom). Mr. Pereira, who is a police officer, observed the bird at roadside from his car door. Because of the bird’s proximity to the car and the fact it was vocalizing during the observations, there is some discussion whether the behavior may have some anti-predator or social function. Brazilian ornithologist Luciano Lima notes that a related bird, the Pheasant Cuckoo (Dromococcyx phasianellus), uses something conceptually similar to flush out insect prey (see linked video).

    Pheasant Cuckoo video:

    The original report, in Portuguese, and saci video appear at

  10. When I was a Girl Scout, we were taught that S’mores was invented by a Scout. It took less time to find the answer than to type the question. 😉

    No one knows for sure who invented the s’more. However, the first published recipe for “some mores” was in a 1927 publication called Tramping and Trailing with the Girl Scouts. Loretta Scott Crew, who made them for Girl Scouts by the campfire, is given credit for the recipe.

    My guess on the large square marshmallow is it was either a homemade marshmallow, or some made just for the shoot. BTW, homemade ones are easy to make, and quite good. And always oooey goooey.

  11. Katie Hill is a top notch chick and a decent person. I was disappointed when she stepped down. The only way to counter that kind of crap is to face it head on.

    Go over to Playboy or Penthouse/ Pornhub and make BETTER pictures of your sexuality.
    And fuck ’em.

    I really can’t abide puritanism and we have an ass-load of it here in America.
    D.A., J.D., NYC

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