Tuesday: Hili dialogue

‘Tis the cruelest day of the week: Tuesday, and September 15, 2020. It’s National Linguine Day:  make mine with clams and lots of garlic, olive oil, and parsley. It’s also National Cheese Toast Day, National Double Cheeseburger Day, National Crème de Menthe Day, Butterscotch Cinnamon Pie Day (WTF?), Greenpeace Day (see below), Google.com Day, and International Day of Democracy.  It’s also the beginning of both German American Heritage Month and National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) honors Felicitas Mendez, who, along with her husband, brought an end to the legal segregation of whites and Hispanics in California schools. The case was Mendez v. Westminster, decided in 1947, and made California the first state America to end school segregation.

Don’t forget to vote for Clarence the Cat at this link; you can vote once daily through Facebook. If Clarence wins, his vet bills will be paid off with the $5000 prize. There are about 2.5 days left, and you can vote once every 24 hours. Clarence is still in first place!


News of the Day:  High school parties in the northeast US are delaying the start of school in some areas, as students crowd together closely without masks. I saw this yesterday at a fraternity at my school, with a bunch of guys playing beer pong on the front porch, croweded together and without masks (and using the same pong ball). (A “defund the police” sign hung on the outside wall above the pong table.)

Two Los Angeles deputies who were ambushed and critically injured inside their patrol car will now be okay, it’s said, but the really disgusting part is the crowd that gathered outside the hospital, allegedly crying, “We hope they die”. More from ABC:

Video from outside St. Francis Medical Center shows authorities trying to clear the area. At one point, a few people were seen blocking the emergency exit and entrance to the hospital.

One witness said some of the demonstrators even tried to get inside the building.

“They were saying, ‘Death to the police.’ ‘Kill the police.’ And they were using all types of curse words and derogatory terms about the police, just provoking our police officers,” said Bishop Juan Carlos Mendez with Churches in Action. “(It’s) unacceptable behavior because the hospital should be a sanctuary. We should leave hospitals alone.”

Courtesy of reader Ken, we have the article below. Ken adds, “This may be the most unhinged thing I’ve heard yet. And it comes from the Trump administration’s assistant secretary of public affairs of (and official spokesman for) the Department of Health and Human Services (even though he, Michael Caputo, has zero experience in either public health or medicine).” Article is below; an excerpt:

The top communications official at the powerful cabinet department in charge of combating the coronavirus made outlandish and false claims on Sunday that career government scientists were engaging in “sedition” in their handling of the pandemic and that left-wing hit squads were preparing for armed insurrection after the election.

Michael Caputo, 58, the assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services, said without evidence that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was harboring a “resistance unit” determined to undermine President Trump.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 194,317, an increase of about 400 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 927,905, an increase of about 4,500 deaths from yesterday. And we’re fast approaching a million deaths worldwide. 

Stuff that happened on September 15 include:

This is a sordid tale; read it at the link if you wish. de Rais was eventually caught and hanged.

As Wikipedia says dryly, “The painting may no longer exist.” Here’s a painting by Francisco de Zurbarán (1626) that supposedly shows the miraculous artwork:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1789 – James Fenimore Cooper, American novelist, short story writer, and historian (d. 1851)[7]
  • 1857 – William Howard Taft, American lawyer, jurist, and politician, 27th President of the United States (d. 1930)
  • 1876 – Bruno Walter, German-American pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1962)
  • 1894 – Jean Renoir, French actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1979)
  • 1907 – Fay Wray, Canadian-American actress (d. 2004)

  • 1929 – Murray Gell-Mann, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019)
  • 1945 – Jessye Norman, American soprano

Here’s my favorite song by Jessye Norman, “Beim Schlafengehen” by Strauss. I want this playing as I slip away from life, and I want to go out during the big crescendo.

  • 1946 – Oliver Stone, American director, screenwriter, and producer

Those who went West on September 15 include:

Wolfe is one of my literary heroes, though he’s disdained by most literature critics as guilty of overwriting. Yes, he could turn on the purple ink, but some of his prose was among the best in American literature. On October 1 I’ll post my usual section of Wolfe’s “Hymn to October.” He died of tuberculosis at only 37. Here’s the big man:

  • 2003 – Garner Ted Armstrong, American evangelist and author (b. 1930)
  • 2006 – Oriana Fallaci, Italian journalist and author (b. 1929)
  • 2017 – Harry Dean Stanton, American actor (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is kvetching:

Hili: It’s the same every day.
A: What do you mean?
Hili: One has to decide whether to go here or there.
In Polish:
Hili: Każdego dnia to samo.
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: Trzeba się zdecydować, czy iść tu, czy tam.

Little Kulka has made it up to the high wicker shelf on the veranda.

Caption: Kulka is conquering more high shelves.

In Polish: Kulka podbija kolejne półki na wysokościach.

And here’s Matthew’s cat Pepper lolling about in the Indian Summer sun:

From Facebook. Surely you’ll guess the quote:

From Bruce. I get at least one of these calls per day (my car is twenty years old and clearly has no warranty, extended or otherwise):

From an excellent site (I recommend you subscribe), I am not a grammar cop. I am an English-language enthusiast. This burglar is gonna itch!

From reader gravelinspector. This isn’t from the real Sinead O’Connor (I call her “Skinhead O’Connor”), but it’s still funny: Trump as an Irishman.

From reader Barry. I may have posted this before, but it’s good to hear that somebody will look after this golden seal pup if the colony rejects it. Sound up.

From Richard. If you’re writing a novel, use this handy quality-assessment guide:

From cesar. The position of this duck is frightening, but I assume it could fly away if it went over:

From Simon. Look how fast that thing swims!

Tweets from Matthew. Nope, this first one is for real. These people seem completely oblivious to the fact that masks don’t just protect them, but protect other people from them. 

Matthew pronounces in animal behavior. I’m with him on this one: chickens are velociraptors in a feather suit:

Spot the spider! (The answer is in the thread.)



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Sinbad O’Connor

  2. eric
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    That is the question!

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Caputo is an old buddy of Roger Stone, another nut job that fits into the Trump nut jobs. Just what is needed over at CDC.

    I have the same spam calls about that insurance. My car is only 11 years old. If there is one thing I don’t need, it’s more insurance.

    • eric
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      I get those calls about once a week. As well as email requests from car dealers who say they want to buy a car I got rid of in 2011.

      On the Caputo thing, I wonder if he’s referring to the hydroxychloroquinone report when he claims CDC scientists are actively working against Trump/trying to withhold medical help until after the election. The report detailing how useless it is was written by the CDC, and it was very recently released after the administration held it up for months. If Caputo buys into Trump’s claim that this stuff works, then the recent release of that report may have been on his mind when he made his sedition/anti-Trump claims.

      He also appears to be suffering a lot of stress, describing his own mental health as “failed” at one point and reporting that on at least one or more occasions, people have driven by his house and yelled death threats at him. This is from a CBS news follow-up to the NYT where they called him to confirm his on-line statements (which he did).

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Roger Stone (for the meddling into whose criminal case attorney general William Barr is now under investigation by the inspector general of the US Department of Justice) has himself suggested that Donald Trump declare martial law should he lose the upcoming presidential election.

      All the best people.

      • eric
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        “And when Donald Trump refuses to stand down at the inauguration, the shooting will begin,” [Caputo] said. “The drills that you’ve seen are nothing.” He also added, “If you carry guns, buy ammunition, ladies and gentlemen, because it’s going to be hard to get.”

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted September 15, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          The only thing you can be sure of is that Caputo is completely nuts. The crazy people attract each other (Trump, Stone, Manafort). Crazy town is running this country. Trying to figure out the meaning of what one of the crazies is saying is a waste of time.

        • Posted September 16, 2020 at 4:24 am | Permalink

          Constitutionally, Donald Trump doesn’t have to stand down. If he loses the election, or if the election doesn’t happen or is voided or doesn’t produce a result, at noon on January 20th he automatically stops being president.

    • Posted September 15, 2020 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      I’ve seen Caputo plenty of times on CNN. He always comes off as a pro-Trump nutjob with barely suppressed anger. When this administration goes away, hopefully soon, it will take with it a significant number of truly evil people with it, Mr. Caputo included. On that day, I expect the sun to shine brightly, daisies to bloom, and puppies to frolic in the meadows.

  4. Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Yes, but name the knot! 🙂

    • John Dentinger
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      It’s a figure eight knot, but most of us sailors just call it an eight knot. It’s useful as a stopper knot at the end of a line, especially if tied with one or two extra turns.

      • Posted September 15, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Well played. This is the knot we climbers typically use (rewoven figure-8) to tie into the end of a rope.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 15, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

          The “bitter end” according to sailors’ etymology, though I imagine reaching the end of the rope without the knot could be “bitter” in a different sense for climbers.

      • Posted September 15, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink


        • John Dentinger
          Posted September 15, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

          It’s easy to tell a climber from a sailor.

  5. jezgrove
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    The news report about Michael Caputo’s claims are incredible. The world will be a safer place when the current administration goes.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    1789 – James Fenimore Cooper, American novelist, short story writer, and historian (d. 1851)

    The author accused of violating 18 of the 19 rules governing literary art in the domain of romantic fiction by Mark Twain, in one of the great literary takedowns of all time.

  7. Lee Beringsmith
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I agree chickens are velociraptors in feathers. Recently had a demonstration of their ferocity. Picked up a board near our chicken coop and a scared mouse ran away, through the wire and into the coop. A hen was on him in seconds and swallowed him whole.
    Her dinosaur ancestors would have been proud.

    • Loren Russell
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      Keep in mind that velociraptors
      probably were also in feather suits.. So chickens with clawed hands, teeth, and extra special killer claw.. But definitely chicken attitued..

  8. davidintoronto
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I think the woman with Kong may be Naomi Watts — not Fay Wray.

  9. Posted September 15, 2020 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Surely that is James Spader?! Not Caputo!

  10. rickflick
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    Jean Renoir was a fascinating guy. Of course he was the son of Pierre Renoir the impressionist painter. He made a number of good films sometimes acting in them. Here’s the trailer of one of his films, LA GRANDE ILLUSION (1937) which is considered one of the best of French cinema.


    My favorite of his is The Rules of the Game which did very badly when released, but has become a classic.

    WARNING: These films a full of dialogue (subtitles) and have no chase scenes. View at your own risk.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 15, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      I watched La Grande Illusion at the start of the pandemic. Afterward, I was searching for something related to it and chanced to come across a series of 30 lectures from a film class at MIT that’s available free online on YouTube.

      Now MIT isn’t the first school I think of when it comes film studies, the way one might think of NYU or Southern Cal, but I found the series fascinating, and the enthusiasm of the lecturer, David Thornburn, for his subject is contagious.

      If you’re interested, you can find the first lecture of the series here and the lecture on Renoir and Grande Illusion (No. 18 in the series) here.

      • rickflick
        Posted September 15, 2020 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        Thanks Ken. I have watched one of the series but then forgot about it. I’ll check it out again – starting with No. 18.

  11. Alex K.
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    1530 – Appearance of the miraculous portrait of Saint Dominic in Soriano in Soriano Calabro, Calabria, Italy; commemorated as a feast day by the Roman Catholic Church 1644–1912.

    Just imagine instead of the Holy Grail, God sent King Arthur and his knights to find his son’s (his’s) selfie pic from Palestine 33 CE.

  12. Doug
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Here’s a poem about the Birmingham Church bombing:

    https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/46562/ballad-of-birmingham .

  13. Joe Dickinson
    Posted September 15, 2020 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

    Re: Four Last songs. We encountered Strauss’ Four last songs via the movie, “The Year of Living Dangerously”, have loved it ever since.

  14. Paul Manson
    Posted September 16, 2020 at 4:27 am | Permalink

    In the news video of the anti-mask demo at 1:33 a woman is carrying a sign saying “My body, my choice”. How much do you think she really subscribes to that philosophy?

  15. Posted September 16, 2020 at 4:31 am | Permalink

    That anti-mask protest is one of the most startling things I’ve seen in a long time.

    D.A., NYC (where most of us are masked but we still have some idiots – “covidiots”).

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