Saturday: Hili dialogue


More on the late esteemed justice below, and see the thread from yesterday evening.

Back to business. Arrrrrr, maties! It’s Caturday: September 19, 2020, and National Butterscotch Pudding Day. It’s also International Eat an Apple Day, International Red Panda Day, National Gymnastics Day, and (ayyyyye!) International Talk Like a Pirate Day. Kiss the black spot!

I get my old people’s flu shot today (Fluzone), and I saw six Eastern Cottontail rabbits (Sylvilagus floridanus) during my 12-minute walk to work today. That’s a record; the bunnies are proliferating this year with the reduction in people traffic.

Today marks the first whole day of Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, which started last evening and ends Sunday evening.  This is the holiday when the shofaror ram’s horn, gets sounded as per instructions in the Torah. Which reminds me of a non-family-friendly joke:

A Jewish girl tells her Catholic college roommate that she’s going home for Rosh Hashanah.
The Catholic girl asks the Jewish girl, “Is that the holiday when you light the 8 candles?”
“No,” the Jewish girl replies. “That’s Hanukah.”
The Catholic girl then asks the Jewish girl,  “Is that the holiday when you eat the unleavened bread?”
“No,” the Jewish girl replies, “That’s Passover. Rosh Hashanah is the holiday when we blow the shofar.”
The Catholic Girl replies. “That’s what I like about you Jews. . . you’re so good to your help. “

I’ll be here all year, folks!

News of the Day: Yes, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Indestructible Justice, finally succumbed yesterday at 87, taken by metastatic pancreatic cancer. It’s very sad; I’d gotten used to the idea that nothing could do her in. Now the Republicans, forgetting their March, 2016 argument (against Merrick Garland) that no Justice should be appointed in an election year, are about to demonstrate consummate hypocrisy. Farewell, RBG, you had a great run.

The second tweet (h/t Matthew) shows people reciting the Kaddish, a Jewish prayer for the dead, outside the Supreme Court last night. Ginsburg was a practicing Jew her whole life:

Now Mitch McConnell has vowed to go ahead with a vote to confirm whatever right-wing nominee Trump puts forward. Say hello to Justice Ted Cruz, and say goodbye to Roe v. Wade. All we can hope for is that some sensible Republicans say they won’t vote on any nominee until after the election. But that would be too much hope..

From WaPo:

Days before she died on Friday, Ginbsurg told her granddaughter that she felt strongly that her Supreme Court seat not be filled until after the presidential election, according to NPR.

“My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed,” she dictated in a statement to her granddaughter, Clara Spera.

It’s too much to expect that the Republicans would respect that wish, much less respect their own dictum that Justices should not be confirmed in an election year. The GOP is beneath contempt. At long last, they have left no sense of decency.

If you want to hear all the sordid details about Jerry Falwell, Jr., his wife Becki, and Pool Boy, the Washington Post has your read. I don’t know how many religious leaders have been brought down in my time by engaging in activities that they told their flock were immoral. There’s also a report that Becki performed a sex act on a Liberty University undergraduate in 2008.

And here are the 2020 nominees for the National Book Award, though I prefer reading Booker-Prize-winning novels. I haven’t read any of the American nominees.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 198,475, an increase of about 900 deaths over yesterday’s report. We’ll pass 200,000 in about three days. The world death toll now stands at 951,340, an increase of about 5,700 deaths from yesterday. And we’re approaching a million deaths worldwide., which might happen in about ten days.

Stuff that happened on September 19 include:

  • 1778 – The Continental Congress passes the first United States federal budget.
  • 1846 – Two French shepherd children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, experience a Marian apparition on a mountaintop near La Salette, France, now known as Our Lady of La Salette.
  • 1881 – U.S. President James A. Garfield dies of wounds suffered in a July 2 shooting. Vice President Chester A. Arthur becomes President upon Garfield’s death.
  • 1940 – World War II: Witold Pilecki is voluntarily captured and sent to Auschwitz concentration camp to gather and smuggle out information for the resistance movement.

What a brave man! Pilecki was a Polish officer who volunteered to infiltrate the camp and send messages to the outside. He eventually escaped but, sadly, was caught and killed by the Communist regime in Poland, charged with  illegal border crossing, use of forged documents, not enlisting with the military, carrying illegal arms, espionage for General Władysław Anders, espionage for “foreign imperialism” (government-in-exile), and planning to assassinate several officials of the Ministry of Public Security of Poland. (His real crime was not being a Communist.) He was killed with a shot to the back of the head in 1948.  Here’s his picture as an inmate in Auschwitz:

  • 1952 – The United States bars Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England.
  • 1982 – Scott Fahlman posts the first documented emoticons 🙂 and 😦 on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board system.

Here’s Fahlman’s original message, recovered in 2002:

19-Sep-82 11:44    Scott E  Fahlman             :-)
From: Scott E  Fahlman <Fahlman at Cmu-20c>

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways.  Actually, it is probably more economical to mark
things that are NOT jokes, given current trends.  For this, use

  • 1985 – Tipper Gore and other political wives form the Parents Music Resource Center as Frank Zappa and other musicians testify at U.S. Congressional hearings on obscenity in rock music.
  • 1991 – Ötzi the Iceman is discovered in the Alps on the border between Italy and Austria.

Ötzi lived betweem 3400 and 3100 BCE, was about 45, and apparently died from an arrowhead found embedded in his shoulder.  You can see him and his possessions at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, South Tyrol, Italy.

Here’s a photo of Ötzi and a reconstruction of his clothing worn when he died:

  • 1995 – The Washington Post and The New York Times publish the Unabomber’s manifesto.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s an Arthur Rackham kitty, with the Wikipedia caption, ” Arthur Rackham illustration of Tomasso the black cat and Loretta the parrot appeared in Eleanor Gates‘s 1907 children’s book Good Night.”  

Others born on September 19 include:

  • 1907 – Lewis F. Powell, Jr., American lawyer and jurist (d. 1998)
  • 1911 – William Golding, British novelist, playwright, and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1993)
  • 1941 – Cass Elliot, American singer (d. 1974)
  • 1949 – Twiggy, English model, actress, and singer

Those who cashed in their chips on September 19 include:

  • 1881 – James A. Garfield, American general, lawyer, and politician, and the 20th President of the United States (b. 1831)
  • 1942 – Condé Montrose Nast, American publisher, founded Condé Nast Publications (b. 1873)
  • 1965 – Lionel Terray, French mountaineer (b. 1921)

Here’s Terray, one of the great climbers of our time (he was on Herzog’s Annapurna expedition in 1950 but was not one of those who reached the top. He died while rock climbing:

  • 1973 – Gram Parsons, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1946)
  • 1990 – Hermes Pan, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1910)
  • 1995 – Orville Redenbacher, American businessman, founded his own eponymous brand (b. 1907)
  • 2004 – Eddie Adams, American photographer and journalist (b. 1933)
  • 2004 – Skeeter Davis, American singer-songwriter (b. 1931)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili hears the call of the wild. At cooler times like these she often stays up all night prowling or sleeps on the veranda:

Hili: The Nights are getting colder.
A: You can sleep in a warm bed.
Hili: I know but do I want to?
In Polish:
Hili: Noce są coraz chłodniejsze.
Ja: Możesz spać w ciepłym łóżku.
Hili: Wiem, ale czy ja tego chcę?

Little Kulka is exploring under the apple tree:

From Going to Hell in Every Religon.  Free the relish!

From Jesus of the Day. I have no idea whether this was a real Yahoo! answer:

From reader Charles:

From Andrea, an albino squirrel. (I had one living near my home in Maryland.) They are easy prey because of their bright color and poor eyesight, so I always worry about them.

From Barry. Look at this adorable baby gator! All it wants is some love.

From Simon, who says, “This should make anyone smile.” Well, as long as you’re not averse to being covered with d*gs!

Tweets from Matthew who, along with me, truly appreciates the diversity of fly heads:

This is bittersweet: a man who has dementia but retains his musical acumen:

Look at this mess of moths (is that the right word for a big group?):

The obligatory Trump mishigas.

Why are these ducks breeding in the fall? It isn’t right!


  1. Tokyo Steven
    Posted September 19, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    What beautiful music!

    • merilee
      Posted September 19, 2020 at 9:50 am | Permalink


  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 19, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    One thing we are fairly certain about our Supreme Court – It was kind of an afterthought at the Constitutional convention with a very brief description in Article III. The people who invented this branch of government would be very surprised at what it has become. But then we could say that about the other branches as well.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted September 19, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      I think they would be surprised because of the growth in activity in the Federal government, which has led to the incrasing importance of the United States Supreme Court.

    • Posted September 19, 2020 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      IMO, the Constitution is too damn hard to amend by the people. An unelected bench decides what the Constitution allows and doesn’t. And a non-representative Senate holds the keys for the door to the justice chambers.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 19, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

        I think you are correct. Might be a good idea to Amend Article V to make changes easier. Two thirds of both houses is too much. Should be just a majority. Then when ratified by 60 percent of the states it is done.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 19, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      The fact that their is a huge rift between the political parties would not be much of a surprise for the founders. They certainly hoped the split would not happen, but from Washington’s administration onward, the war of the parties has fired up over and over.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 19, 2020 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Most of the credit for what the courts have become goes to the third chief justice of the United States, probably the most influential jurist in all US history, John Marshall, the author of many touchstone opinions, most importantly Marbury v. Madison, in which he stated for the Court that, “It is emphatically the province and duty of the Judicial Department to say what the law is,” thereby establishing the jurisdiction of the courts to determine the constitutionality of the acts of the other two branches of government.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted September 19, 2020 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

        Maybe Ken, but we might also say the other branches, specifically congress has surrendered just about everything to the court. So all of those popular social issues become the courts as congress does nothing. This is true on such things as abortion and even healthcare.

  3. Hempenstein
    Posted September 19, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “The people I like the best are the people that are less successful because it makes you feel so powerful….”

    Yeah, as long as he doesn’t have to shake their hands. (“Maybe this COVID thing is a good thing. I don’t like shaking hands with people. I don’t have to shake hands with these disgusting people,”).

  4. DrBrydon
    Posted September 19, 2020 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Actually, after Trump released his list of potential Supreme Court nominees, Ted Cruz said he is not interested, and plans to remain in the Senate. Probably with an eye to 2024.

  5. Janet
    Posted September 19, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Regarding the flu shot, some recommendations suggest waiting until Oct/Nov to get the flu shot since vaccine-derived immunity can wane in a few months, and this year there will likely be a long flu season. Definitely get the Senior Dose if over 65, though.

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 19, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

      This is true, but I was told to get my flu shot early in case of shortages.

      • Janet
        Posted September 19, 2020 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

        I heard that the supply is plentiful this year and that pharmacies are over-stocked, which is why they are pushing you to Get Your Flu Shot NOW.

  6. Blue
    Posted September 19, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    in re ” how many religious leaders have been
    brought down in my time by engaging in
    activities that they told their flock
    were immoral. ” = That statement encapsulates
    the hypocrisy and the damages, from his
    various pulpits with their entitlements and
    privileges, done to all women ( of any color
    and of any or of no religion anywhere ) by
    ” the Reverend Doctor ” Martin Luther King, Jr.
    Er, by Mr Michael King. O’course, the
    ” brought down ” – part does not apply to him.


    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted September 19, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      If there’s even the slightest degree of truth to the abomination I think you’re referring to, you’re absolutely correct – no cancel culture there.

      • Blue
        Posted September 19, 2020 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

        I do not know, Ms Haniver, to which
        one abomination / to which one violence
        you are referring. There were so many.
        So many violences perpetrated against
        Us Women and Girls. As ( only a few
        of which were ) delineated within
        a statement I once upon a time made here:

        My point today which I clarify: There are
        very, very, very many, actually perhaps
        m o s t, men, my Daddy and my three
        adult children and My Person among them all,
        who live out their entire lifetimes never
        o n e time committing any of the violences
        that that man did. Either purposefully or
        because it is just not in my men’s thinkings
        / within their brains alongside their male privilenges
        and their male entitlements to ‘ve ever BEEN,
        with human beings who are Us female ones,
        as destructive, as violent, as DEhumanizing
        as was, d e t e r m i n e d l y, that man.
        And the very many other men ( of all colors ) who,
        surroundingly and quite likely thinking and
        acting just the same as he, protected him.


  7. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted September 19, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    The death of RBG is a great loss. Hopefully this will motivate people to wake up and dump Collins and other Reptile Senators and take back the Senate. Without the Senate we are screwed.

    • Posted September 19, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      Sadly, it looks as if it doesn’t matter with respect to RBG’s replacement: the Senate will be Republican until at least January.

      • Historian
        Posted September 19, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

        Unless there are at least four Republican defections, Trump and McConnell will indeed get their nominee confirmed. But, if Biden wins and the Democrats take back the Senate, the Democrats can expand the Court (the number of its members are determined by legislation), thus giving the Court a liberal majority for a generation. Some liberals have already called for this as the ultimate revenge against McConnell. Republicans have poisoned American democracy and the only way to save it is to show them no quarter in the political arena. I hope only that the Democratic leadership, particularly Biden and Chuck Schumer, realize this.

        • Posted September 19, 2020 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

          When FDR tried it, it didn’t work out too well for him. But Congress was less polarized than it is now, and rules of fair play mattered.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 19, 2020 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

          Susan Collins has announced she will not vote to confirm until a new president is elected (by which time she’s unlikely to be around anyway). Lisa Murkowski said she wouldn’t either, just yesterday, even before the announcement of RBG’s death was made.

          Here’s to you Mr. Romney — a lonely nation turns its eyes to you (and whatever other, fourth Republican senator you might be able drag along with you.)

          If four Republicans announce they’ll vote against, I doubt senate judiciary chair Lindsey Graham will embarrass himself by pulling a hypocritical, Janus-faced reversal and going forward with confirmation hearings.

          • merilee
            Posted September 19, 2020 at 4:24 pm | Permalink


            • Ken Kukec
              Posted September 19, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

              Lemme add that I suppose it’s also possible that that wily sonuvabitch Mitch McConnell has already counted his votes and assured himself there’re 50 to confirm, so’s released Susan Collins to do what she’s gotta do to try to save her own ass in her Maine election. 😦

              • Posted September 19, 2020 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

                I’m worried that you may be right. Moscow Mitch can count votes, if nothing else.

    • Posted September 19, 2020 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Senator Collins has come down on the right side of this question. She says the Senate should not vote on anyone before the election, and after the election the nominee should be determined by the presidential winner.

  8. rickflick
    Posted September 19, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    Swarms of moths should be heaven for bats.

    • grasshopper
      Posted September 19, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      The moth-ers of ingestion? I hope they stay away from the bug Zappa.

  9. Posted September 19, 2020 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    “…blow the shofar.”

    Vulgar. And funny. 😂

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 19, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      I’m a big believer in over-tipping limousine drivers — on the theory that what happens in the back of a limo stays in the limo — but there are certain lines even I definitely refuse to cross. 🙂

      • rickflick
        Posted September 19, 2020 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

        Equally vulgar and funny. 😆

  10. Posted September 19, 2020 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if the Dems could make the GOP a deal. You guys pass on nominating a new justice and we’ll not change the SCOTUS rules when we take over the presidency and both houses of Congress in November. Trump probably wouldn’t take the deal as he can’t imagine losing but that would be a strong statement by the Dems regardless. If he took the deal, the Dems would be in their rights to renege because of Merritt Garland.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 3:04 am | Permalink

      I think the Republicans feel they are winning now and that a new reactionary SC nomination will motivate their voters to come out. And then confirmation after the election, of course.
      The Democrats (and Independents) have very little they can do about it, (the 6-3 SC), but I hope that at least it will boost their voting numbers.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 19, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    1973 – Gram Parsons, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1946)

    One of the pioneers of country-rock music with The Byrds and The Flying Burrito Brothers. He died just a few weeks short of joining the “27 club” — the list of famous musicians who died at age 27, including most prominently Jimi and Janis and Jim, but also Brian Jones, and, later, Kurt Cobain and Amy Winehouse, and long before any of them, the godfather of the Delta blues, the man rumored to have sold his soul to the Devil at the crossroads at midnight, Robert Johnson.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted September 20, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Indeed, Gram was special. And, I believe he takes the credit for bringing Emmylou Harris to greater prominence, discovering her singing in a DC club, perhaps the Cellar Door.

  12. Posted September 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    “A mess of moths” is certainly right, it’s used to mean “a lot of” in the southeastern US.

  13. jezgrove
    Posted September 20, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    The piano improvisation, with its on-the-fly structure and changes in dynamics, is absolutely jaw-dropping!

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