Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s again the cruelest day: a Tuesday, with this one being October 6, 2020, National Noodle Day. It’s also Garlic Lovers Day, National Fruit at Work Day (I have a bag of clementines), National Badger Day, and German-American Day.

News of the day:  Ollie, one of three cats of Matthew’s, and the one who clawed my nose open when I visited Manchester Personchester, injured his tail yesterday, probably in a fight with Matthew’s newest cat, Harry. At first Matthew thought the tail was broken, but a visit to the vet revealed that it was a bad bite.  I suspect this is Ceiling Cat’s revenge on Ollie for having laid open my proboscis.

Desperate for attention, or for anybody to endorse Intelligent Design, David Klinghoffer of the Discovery Institute breathlessly reports that “Rapper MC Hammer Embraces Intelligent Design.” Well that’s certainly going to turn the tide in favor of gussied-up creationism. These Discovery Institute clowns are still at it, and still haven’t delivered on their promise, made several decades ago, that scientific acceptance of ID is right around the corner. Do these people ever realize that they’re fighting a futile fight: that ID can’t be taught in schools because it was declared “not science”? Or do they think that God will eventually change our minds?

Writing this on Monday evening, I’ve just watched Trump walk out of Walter Reed and head back to the White House. He dodged a bullet, but then emitted a really dumb tweet. I call this his “Don’t Fear the Reaper” tweet.

A September 25 poll by the Washington Post and ABC News found that most Americans don’t support the GOP and Trump’s rush to appoint Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court:

. . . 38 percent of Americans say the replacement for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died last week, should be nominated by Trump and confirmed by the current Senate, while 57 percent say it should be left to the winner of the presidential election and a Senate vote next year.

Partisans are deeply divided on the issue, though clear majorities of political independents (61 percent) and women (64 percent) say the next justice should be chosen by the winner of this fall’s election, including about half of each group who feel this way “strongly.”

A WaPo analysis by Amber Phillips points out the problems associated with the rush, with in-person hearings scheduled to begin October 12. Although she notes that there’s a chance that, because of ill Senators, the nomination might not get out of committee, I see that as unlikely. Rather, the bigger issue is whether live hearings will make more people sick. I doubt that as well, but perhaps, just perhaps, it will hurt the GOP by flouting the public’s will. Still, I’m not anticipating that Barrett won’t be confirmed.

Reader Peter sent me a link to a “an interesting website, a real-time listing of who, living and working at the White House, has been tested for Covid-19, when, and with what outcome.” Have a look at it here.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 210,028, an increase of about 400 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll remains at “1.0 million +”, with 6,870 deaths reported yesterday.

Stuff that happened on October 6 includes this:

  • 1600 – Euridice, the earliest surviving opera, receives its première performance, beginning the Baroque period.
  • 1683 – Immigrant families found Germantown, Pennsylvania in the first major immigration of German people to America.
  • 1927 – Opening of The Jazz Singer, the first prominent “talkie” movie.

Here’s a scene from the first talkie. A few YouTube notes first:

There was never any intention to have dialogue in the film, but during his first vocal performance, Jolson improvised the words: “Wait a minute, wait a minute, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet!” In actuality, The Jazz Singer contains a total of only two minutes of synchronized talking, most of it improvised, while the rest of the “dialogue” is presented through the typical standard “title cards” found in all silent movies of the era. But after Jolson uttered his now famous line, the rest was history.

and here’s the first song performed in a movie. The most famous song, “Mammy,” was done in blackface, and I’m surprised it’s still on YouTube. You can see that bit of movie history here.

  • 1979 – Pope John Paul II becomes the first pontiff to visit the White House.
  • 1981 – Egyptian President Anwar Sadat is murdered by Islamic extremists.
  • 2007 – Jason Lewis completes the first human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth.

It took Lewis 13 years and a month to travel around the world by bicycle, kayak, and pedal-powered boat. Here he is in the latter (Wikipedia caption: “Lewis pedalling his boat Moksha on the River Thames in London, shortly before completing the first human-powered circumnavigation of the Earth (2007)”:

  • 2010 – Instagram, a mainstream photo-sharing application, is founded.

That was a bad day, for it led to the hegemony of narcissists and “INFLUENCERS” on the Internet.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1820 – Jenny Lind, Swedish soprano and actress (d. 1887)

Here’s a daguerrotype of the Swedish Nightingale (retouched) taken when she was thirty:

  • 1887 – Le Corbusier, Swiss-French architect and painter, designed the Philips Pavilion and Saint-Pierre, Firminy (d. 1965)
  • 1900 – Willy Merkl, German mountaineer (d. 1934)

Merkl, a great climber, tackled Nanga Parbat in the Himalaya, but was unprepared. He died of cold and starvation on the mountain along with two other German climbers and six Sherpas.


Nanga Parbat:


  • 1914 – Thor Heyerdahl, Norwegian ethnographer and explorer (d. 2002)
  • 1917 – Fannie Lou Hamer, American activist and philanthropist (d. 1977)
  • 1946 – Millie Small, Jamaican singer-songwriter (d. 2020)
  • 1948 – Gerry Adams, Irish republican politician
  • 1965 – John McWhorter, American academic and linguist

Here’s six minutes of McWhorter talking about sundry topics on “The Big Question”. He also speculates on what effect Martin Luther King would have on today’s race debate. Note that at 3:45 he recommends a book that everyone should read, and you’ll be surprised. All I’ll say is that I disagree with the thesis of the book to the extent that there is no “chance” in nature save that produced by quantum-mechanical phenomena.  But his second-choice book, Caro’s The Power Broker, is an unreservedly fantastic read (as is Caro’s multivolume biography of Lyndon Johnson).

Those who existed no more on October 6 include:

  • 1536 – William Tyndale, English Protestant Bible translator (b. c. 1494)
  • 1892 – Alfred, Lord Tennyson, English poet (b. 1809)
  • 1979 – Elizabeth Bishop, American poet and short-story writer (b. 1911)
  • 1981 – Anwar Sadat, Egyptian colonel and politician, 3rd President of Egypt, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1918)
  • 1989 – Bette Davis, American actress (b. 1908)

I love Bette Davis, and, at the end of the movie “Now, Voyager” (1942) she says my name! Here:

  • 1997 – Johnny Vander Meer, American baseball player and manager (b. 1914)
  • 2012 – J. J. C. Smart, English-Australian philosopher and academic (b. 1920)
  • 2019 – Ginger Baker, English drummer (b. 1939)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is on patrol:

A: Where are you going?
Hili: I’m going to check the situation on the ground.
In Polish:
Ja: Gdzie się wybierasz?
Hili: Idę sprawdzić sytuację w terenie.

From Midnight Rose Emporium via Stash Krod:

From Jesus of the Day, an Off the Mark cartoon by Mark Parisi:

A meme from Nicole:

I tweeted! Re MC Hammer:

And I found this tweet:

From Simon, three Trumpy tweets. Remember when Trump threw paper towels at people in Puerto Rico after the hurricane?

Simon sent this chilling Lincoln Project video about Trump’s failure to tell people he was Covid-19 positive, many of whom got infected as well:

Tweets from the estimable Dr. Cobb, whose cat Ollie broke his tail yesterday (perhaps in a fight; Ollie is going to the vet tomorrow). The first one is from his pal Adam Rutherford, who recovered from a really bad bout with the virus. Look at those Trump tweets!

When I retweeted this, some people thought that Prof. Hutchinson was advancing that argument!

Who knew that the Loch Ness Monster was a mammal?

Finally, though National Teacher’s Day was yesterday, here’s a belated celebration: a lovely letter from Albert Camus to his former teacher after Camus won the Nobel Prize for Literature. It’s not really a “heartbreaker”, but touching.


  1. Posted October 6, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    How cool!!! What? All of it!!!!

  2. bill
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    ahem; ‘perpeoplechester’, sonny

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    “Manchester Personchester”

    Pretty sure this Chester guy did something awful as well. I mean, he must have at some point, right?

  4. Simon Hayward
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    It remains to be seen whether trump dodged a bullet. He certainly didn’t learn anything though. I’d give it more time before thinking he’s out of the woods. Tim O’Brien noted the sobering timeline below:

    Tim O’Brien
    A humbling Herman Cain/coronavirus timeline:

    6/24: Attends Trump rally, maskless
    7/2: Tests positive for Covid-19
    7/10: Says he’s improving
    7/15: Says his doctors seem happy
    7/27: Says he’s really getting better
    7/30: Dies

    • rickflick
      Posted October 6, 2020 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      I don’t think DT is capable of learning lessons. He simply picks up where he left off – scheming to further himself.

    • Posted October 6, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      I think this works out to Trump dying on election day. Karma?

      • Simon Hayward
        Posted October 6, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

        He’d probably still contest the results from his hot seat!

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Hili had the best line of the day. The perfect politician.

  6. Posted October 6, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Is the claim of the Lincoln project correct? Did Trump test positive for COVID19 on Wednesday morning but only announce itinerary the early hours of Friday after going to three fund raising events?

    I ask because I hadn’t hard anything about that from my main source of news, which is the BBC.

    • GBJames
      Posted October 6, 2020 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      That seems to be the case. The White House has been extremely opaque about it all and refuses to say when tRump last tested negative.

      • Posted October 6, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        Conspiracy theory: is it possible that he was positive before the debate but didn’t say anything because otherwise the debate would be cancelled. It would explain why he arrived too late to be tested.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 6, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          As did Trump’s stupid-rich children and their stupid-rich spouses, who then sat in the audience with their slack-jawed mugs maskless, in contravention of the protocols established by the debate’s cohost, the Cleveland Clinic, and agreed to beforehand by all participants.

          The ill-mannered yahoos even had the nerve to decline the masks graciously tendered them by the Cleveland Clinic physician monitoring the debate venue for compliance with the COVID protocols.

    • rickflick
      Posted October 6, 2020 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      Probably the time he first tested positive will come out more definitely. There are people in every room of the WH who wouldn’t mind leaking.

  7. Silvia Planchett
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    3 days max before he returns to Walter Reed.

  8. Posted October 6, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    I too have serious doubts on the Presidents’ recovery. There is simply not enough time to develop the necessary antibody response to purge the virus. I am thinking big cover-up, and like everything else Trump has run over the medical profession. Reality and Repercussions soon to follow.
    C-19 will not be denied.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 6, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      As was said by someone in the WP today, Why should we care about him when he does not give a you know what about us?

  9. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    So tRump actually tweeted that he had Covid19, and not the ‘Chinese virus’? He musta been off his game…


    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted October 6, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      You’re onto something there

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 6, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      Maybe he’s hammered on the steroid cocktails he’s been huffing.

      When it comes to getting high, I don’t think steroids are anyone’s drug-of-choice, but there’s a condition attributable to their heavy usage that’s known on the street as “‘Roid Rage,” which was, for a while at least, endemic among body-builder types.

      • Gingerbaker
        Posted October 6, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

        Different kind of steroid.

        • GBJames
          Posted October 6, 2020 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          Doctors I’ve seen interviewed about the matter say this particular steroid does have the side affect of making one feel invincible. A range of side effects include blood clots, headaches, blurred vision, aggression, agitation, anxiety, irritability depression, psychosis. It can cause delirium and mania.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 6, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          I understand that. But according to medical experts, the steroids Trump is taking have psychotropic side effects, too.

  10. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    It appears to me the Bette Davis clip (COUGH COUGH COUGH) shows a night sky that is from an exoplanet.

    Neil? Is that sky “legit” as we kids say?

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Opposite Ms. Davis in the clip from Now, Voyager, that’s Austrian-Brit actor Paul Henreid, best known to Yank audiences for his role as “Victor Laszlo” (the leader of the anti-Nazi Czech resistance and previously believed-to-be-deceased husband of Ingrid Bergman’s “Ilsa”) in Casablanca.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 6, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      Round up all the usual suspects.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 6, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        Yes, though Laszlo and Ilsa were safely in the skies aboard the last plane to Lisbon with their letters of transit in hand by the time Louie uttered that famous line.

  12. Posted October 6, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    What Trump’s tweet needs…is more cowbell.

  13. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    That black dog with the teeth…

    Oh, it’s a f**ken pine cone! Thank Dog for that. It was creeping me out.


  14. Posted October 6, 2020 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I agree with PCC(E), and did even way back when I first read Wonderful Life (though I enjoyed it). I thought the book was good at demonstrating the stochastic (in the sense of unpredictability) nature of natural selection and evolution, but I’m also convinced that if you rewound the tape of life – to use Gould’s metaphor – and ran it forward again, it would no more change than would the progress of a movie on a DVD (or Blu-ray or stream or digital download or whatever). The only possible onion in the ointment of my take on it is the true nature of quantum indeterminacy, which we don’t understand deeply enough to apply a verdict.

  15. boudiccadylis
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    If only someone gave Bette a hanky.

  16. john reynolds
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I can only give Trump 9/10 for his Il Duce, he forgot to put his left hand inside his jacket so a 1 point deduction.

    • Posted October 6, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      Mussolini is Il Duce. tRumpolini is Il Douche.

      • GBJames
        Posted October 6, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        At the moment I think it is “Ill Douche”.

  17. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Trump’s doctor, Sean Conley, may well be a swell osteopath and a decent fellow. But street-smart, he ain’t. Watching him wrestle with reporters’ questions at the hastily called, impromptu press-briefings at Walter Reed Medical Center over the past few days, one could practically pick up through the teevee screen the damp scent of his being wet-behind-the-ears and a green tint reminiscent of unripe bananas, owing to his plainly being unschooled in the ways of the world of politics and national media.

    What Conley should have told Trump from the get-go (as I should hope he’s come to realize by now himself) is something along the lines of the following:

    “Mr. President, I can abide by your right to privacy regarding medical information under the strict letter of the HIPPA statute by refusing to divulge any information concerning your medical condition to anyone not authorized by law (or by your written consent forms) to receive it, including the press. Or, sir, you can waive your right to secrecy under HIPPA and authorize me to disclose full and accurate information to the media and to give straightforward answers to their questions regarding your medical condition. But what I will NOT do is selectively disclose information you deem to be politically expedient, while withholding information you deem politically damaging but which is needed to prevent the information authorized for disclosure from leaving a misleading impression regarding your medical status. If THAT’s what you want done, then get someone from the White House comms shop down here so the medical team can brief them on your status, and they can then go out to the microphones (if such be your wish) to dissimulate to the press corps.”

    Instead, Trump played Conley for a dupe, having him reveal only such information as Trump wanted made known to the public, leaving him to dodge crucial questions that required answering to give an accurate picture of Trump’s health (such as when Trump last took a COVID-19 test that yielded negative results, such as the duration and extent of the fever Trump had reportedly been running, and such as the condition of Trump’s lungs per whatever chest scans were done, among other medical matters) — all of it information the American people are entitled to know regarding the health of their president (and that they are certainly entitled to know if an otherwise misleading impression were to be created by the information’s omission, in light of other information actually disclosed).

    Donald Trump is a master manipulator, and it appears he took advantage of Conley’s political and media naïveté to manipulate the good doctor into becoming a dissembling quasi-spokesperson for Trump’s reelection campaign — probably through Trump’s usual bag of manipulation tactics: a blend of flattery, cajolery, and inveiglement coupled with hectoring, intimidation, and threats.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 6, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      What you have there is, the guys in the white coats are from the wrong hospital.

    • Historian
      Posted October 6, 2020 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Conley may have thought that Trump would ruin his career if he didn’t follow Trump’s wishes. He may very well have been correct.

      • Posted October 6, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

        I think people like Conley are actively selected by Trump and/or his inner circle. They need to be Trump sycophants. That’s their primary job requirement.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 6, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        Indeed, he may have.

        It would also haunt the balance of Conley’s career were Trump to up-and-croak from COVID-19, Herman Cain-style, after being released from Walter Reed with such a serious condition after so a short stay (although I assume that Trump self-discharged “against medical advice,” and that Conley had the sense to paper the file and medical charts with that fact and with his contrary medical advice, so that it wouldn’t come back to bite him in the ass if Trump did).

        And you’ve hit upon the reason I say Conley lacks street-smarts. If he had them, and if he understood anything at all regarding Trump’s unscrupulous character, Conley’d have gotten in front of this issue, by establishing the ground rules (preferably in writing) regarding the disclosure of medical information as soon as Trump checked into Walter Reed, to forestall Trump’s leaning on him later to put out misleading information.

        Of course, I’m looking at this as one trained in the law rather than in medicine. Donald Trump presents the same cluster of noxious personality traits as do quite a few criminal defendants — personality traits that can cause all kinds of headaches and set all types of pitfalls for a criminal defense lawyer who fails to recognize early on who and what the lawyer is dealing with and to plan accordingly. For criminal defense lawyers, doing so early is a matter of self-preservation.

        • Posted October 6, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          What proof do we have that Conley actually treated Trump? He might have been in the room and part of the team but my guess is he was chosen specifically to be Trump’s mouthpiece on his treatment and progress. Trump knew that the designated guy had to be a doctor for “credibility” but he primarily had to be a Trump sycophant willing to say only what he was told to say and look happy doing it.

        • Posted October 6, 2020 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

          Speaking of criminal defendants, presuming that Trump will no longer be President come January, what are your prognostications re criminal charges?

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted October 6, 2020 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

            I think he’s better than even money to face state criminal charges from Cyrus Vance, Jr.’s Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and/or from Letitia James’s NY Attorney General’s office.

            The Donald’s failson #2, Eric, was questioned under oath yesterday by the NY AG’s office regarding a pending fraud investigation of Trump’s real estate business.

            Trump could also still face federal charges in the SDNY, though I expect he will try to pardon himself (and the rest of his reprobate family) on his way out the West Wing door after the election. That will create a constitutional test case of first impression, clogging up the courts for a few years as to any potential federal charges.

            Also, I think the national-security investigation of Trump et al. will heat up considerably once Democrats have control of both houses of congress and the Oval Office. That trail could eventually lead to criminal charges, too, once investigators start digging into the steaming pile of turds that is Trump’s relationship with various foreign dictators, Vladimir Putin foremost among them, and into his financial dealings at Deutsche Bank.

            Keep in mind that Trump will remain a grave danger to national security risk even after he leaves office, since there are no doubt bidders out there willing to part with big bucks in exchange for the crucial classified national-security info made available to a US president during the term in office. (The situation would be even more dire if Trump actually read his PDB, viz., the Presidential Daily Brief, but he lacks the wherewithal with the written word to accomplish that task, so there’s that small consolation regarding his post-presidency.)

            • Posted October 6, 2020 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

              Thanks so much.

            • rickflick
              Posted October 6, 2020 at 7:23 pm | Permalink

              I’d bet DT does not have much usable info. He’s simply not the type to absorb and remember technical details. A few high level concepts, yes. But, they are probably not all that secret.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted October 6, 2020 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

                Oh, I doubt Trump has retained much, if any, raw data. But he’s bound to have picked up a basic understanding of US capabilities and capacities and procedures and locations that would be of interest to hostile foreign powers and that could jeopardize US national security. After all, Trump’s the guy who will have received the nuclear codes everyday for four years.

                Hell, look at how Trump blurted out code-word classified intel that jeopardized an Israeli asset to the two Sergeys during their secret soirée in the Oval Office the day after Trump canned FBI Director Jim Comey.

              • rickflick
                Posted October 6, 2020 at 9:28 pm | Permalink

                If I was responsible for security briefings, I’d creatively edit everything he sees so he has little to divulge. You’d have to treat him as a foreign agent.

  18. Robie
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The WEIT tweet warned me that it “includes potentially sensitive content,” but I forged ahead and opened it anyway. Great book.

  19. jezgrove
    Posted October 6, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    The story of the guy who completed the first human-powered circumnavigation of the world is ridiculous. According to the Wikipedia article:

    “He is also the first person to cross North America on inline skates (1996), and the first to cross the Pacific Ocean by pedal power (2000). Together with Stevie Smith, Lewis completed the first crossing of the Atlantic Ocean from mainland Europe to North America by human power (1995). […] Skating near Pueblo, Colorado, Lewis was hit by a drunk driver and broke both of his legs. He spent 9 months in Colorado healing and resting. [ …] During his expedition, Lewis twice survived malaria, septicaemia, a bout of mild schizophrenia, and a crocodile attack near Australia in 2005.”

    But the kicker for me was, “Before carrying out his 13-year human-powered circumnavigation, Lewis had never crossed an ocean before. Nor had he roller bladed, kayaked, or ridden a bike for more than a few miles.”

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