Friday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Friday, October 9, 2020: National Dessert Day but also National Moldy Cheese Day (this is not celebrating cheeses that have gone off, but deliberately moldy cheeses like Stilton and Roquefort). It’s also World Egg Day, International Beer and Pizza Day, Submarine-Hoagie-Hero-Grinder Day, celebrating the Great American Sandwich, found in no other country (save in Subway outlets or other venues of cultural appropriation), National Sneakers Day (I’m wearing my royal blue Adidas Gazelles), World Post Day, and World Day Against the Death Penalty.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) honors the 197th birthday of Mary Ann Shadd (1823-1893). As C|Net notes, Shadd was “an American-Canadian newspaper editor and publisher. . . Shadd Cary is credited as North America’s first Black female newspaper editor and publisher. She was also the second Black woman to earn a law degree in the US, and fought for abolition and women’s suffrage.

News of the day: It seems likely that there will be no more Trump/Biden debates since the “President” has refused to participate in the next debate, which was required to be virtual, with the candidates in separate locales. Trump says he’ll have a rally instead. We don’t know whether there will be a final debate, as that depends, among other things, on the President’s infection status. The White House refuses to say when the last time Trump tested negative for the coronavirus.

Ironically, Trump might have been helped medically by a procedure whose development he opposed. (h/t Matthew):

This was almost inevitable given today’s political climate. Six loons, members of a right-wing militia group called (LOL) the Wolverine Watchmen, were charged with plotting to kidnap Wisconsin governor Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, among other planned crimes. They couldn’t abide her supposed “violations of the Constitution”. If convicted, the Watchmen could face life in prison. (h/t Jez)

They are suspected of attempting to identify the homes of law enforcement officers to “target them, made threats of violence intended to instigate a civil war”. They also planned and trained for an operation to attack the Michigan capitol building and to kidnap government officials, including the governor, Nessel said.

Mike Pence’s fly now has its own Twitter account! One tweet from it:

The New York Times has a nice interview piece with Louis Glück, who won the Nobel Prize for Poetry yesterday.  She’s a bit laconic, but here she is on mortality:

What is the new collection about?

Falling apart. There’s a lot of mourning in the book. There’s also a lot of comedy in the book, and the poems are very surreal.

I’ve written about death since I could write. Literally when I was 10, I was writing about death. Yeah, well, I was a lively girl. Aging is more complicated. It isn’t simply the fact that you’re drawn closer to your death, it’s that faculties that you counted on — physical grace and strength and mental agility — these things are being compromised or threatened. It’s been very interesting to think about and write about.

In its 208 years of publication, the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine has never endorsed a political candidate. It just endorsed Joe Biden.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 212,678, an increase of about 1,000 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll remains at “1.0 million +”, with 6,239 deaths reported yesterday.

Stuff that happened on October 9 includes:

I saw this clock when I visited Prague years ago; it’s in the Old Town Hall, and is the oldest clock still operating. A video and a photo (learn more here):

  • 1446 – The hangul alphabet is published in Korea.

Koreans wrote in classical Chinese until that year.

Since 1604 we’ve seen no new supernovas appear in the Milky Way galaxy. Here’s a recent photo of the remnants:

(From Wikipedia): A false-color composite (CXO/HST/Spitzer Space Telescope) image of the supernova remnant nebula from SN 1604

  • 1701 – The Collegiate School of Connecticut (later renamed Yale University) is chartered in Old Saybrook.
  • 1874 – The Universal Postal Union is created by the Treaty of Bern.
  • 1919 – The Cincinnati Reds win the World Series, resulting in the Black Sox Scandal.

These eight members of the Chicago White Sox were accused of deliberately throwing the Series. They were acquitted in court, but banned from both baseball for life and from entry into the Hall of Fame:

  • 1967 – A day after his capture, Ernesto “Che” Guevara is executed for attempting to incite a revolution in Bolivia.

It’s worth reading a good biography of Guevara, as his short life was fascinating. Here’s his body after he was executed:

(from Wikipedia): The day after his execution on 10 October 1967, Guevara’s corpse was displayed to the news media in the laundry house of the Vallegrande hospital. (photo by Freddy Alborta) Face Side angle Shoes

  • 1981 – President François Mitterrand abolishes capital punishment in France.
  • 1986 – The Phantom of the Opera, eventually the second longest running musical in London, opens at Her Majesty’s Theatre.
  • 2006 – North Korea conducts its first nuclear test.
  • 2012 – Pakistani Taliban attempt to assassinate outspoken schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai.

Yousafzai, now 23, was the youngest of all Nobel Laureates in history, she won when she was just 17.  A photo:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1835 – Camille Saint-Saëns, French composer and conductor (d. 1921)
  • 1852 – Hermann Emil Fischer, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1919)
  • 1859 – Alfred Dreyfus, French colonel (d. 1935)=
  • 1879 – Max von Laue, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1960)
  • 1890 – Aimee Semple McPherson, Canadian-American evangelist, founded the International Church of the Foursquare Gospel (d. 1944)
  • 1907 – Horst Wessel, German SA officer (d. 1930)
  • 1940 – John Lennon, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 1980)

John Lennon would be 80 today had he not been gunned down. Here’s a sweet tweet from Paul McCartney (h/t Matthew):

  • 1948 – Jackson Browne, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1975 – Sean Lennon, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor

Sean Lennon was born on his dad’s birthday.  And yes, just like George Harrison’s son Dhani, Sean looks like his dad:

Those who rested in piece on October 9 include:

  • 1911 – Jack Daniel, American businessman, founded Jack Daniel’s (b. 1849)
  • 1967 – Che Guevara, Argentinian-Cuban physician, politician and guerrilla leader (b. 1928) [See above].
  • 1974 – Oskar Schindler, Czech-German businessman (b. 1908)
  • 1978 – Jacques Brel, Belgian singer-songwriter and actor (b. 1929)
  • 2004 – Jacques Derrida, Algerian-French philosopher and academic, who had become Death, the destroyer of academia (b. 1930)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili senses a juicy mouse:

Hili: Uncanny!
A: What?
Hili: It seems that something tasty is walking around.
In Polish:
Hili: Niesamowite!
Ja: Co?
Hili: Tam chyba idzie coś smacznego.

From Charles: the latest Freedom From Religion Foundation billboard erected in Denver:

From Jean:

. . . and another fly meme from Amy:

I found this one and I’m with Pinker 100% except that I’d say “always a travesty”:

Two tweets from Simon:

And this Lincoln Project ad came out the very day Trump left Walter Reed:

From Barry. The cat really wants that fly on Pence’s head!

Tweets from Matthew. I may do a post on this paper, but I’ll have to read it first:

One from Matthew himself. That’s Harry on the table, who bit the hell out of Ollie’s tail the other day. It’s useless to try keeping cats off of tables, at least in my experience:

If these flies really migrate that far, it would be an astounding feat. They’re known to migrate back and forth from Britain to mainland Europe, but northern Europe to Africa is a lot farther.

This guy does an amazing job with old film. Matthew adds: “The thread contains the original b&w film, and comments from the guy who makes these things, along with links to other old films he has treated this way.”


  1. Mark Jones
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Typo alert – you’ve changed Louise Gluck’s gender.

    • Mark Jones
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      See ‘Louis’.

  2. Hempenstein
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    I only very recently learned that the Irish emigrated to Argentina in large numbers and in the course of learning that also learned the Che Guevara’s father’s last name was Lynch(!)

  3. Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    If Trump comments about the Michigan militia thing and he manages to condemn it, we will know that he was urgently coached to do so.

    • Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Update: He takes credit for the arrests.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        Guessing tRump’s responses to events has become a game. 🤔

  4. Tom Czarny
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Gretchen Whitmer is Governor of Michigan

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Cats are not allowed on the table? Right…

    In Michigan it is perfectly legal for those gangs to suit up with their terrorist weapons and walk around the capital building. Many of the people in the legislature wear bullet proof vests. Just another day in the U.S.A.

    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    According to Wikipedia the oldest still operating clock is the one of the St. Andrew tower in Chioggia, Italy (Province of Venice). It was made in 1386.,funzionante%20pi%C3%B9%20antico%20del%20mondo.

  7. Silvia Planchett
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The country owes the Lincoln Project founders a debt of gratitude.

    • rickflick
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      They are marvelously creative and effective. I hope they are hired by the Democrats for future elections.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    1940 – John Lennon, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 1980)

    As I recall, John also wrote a novel, A Spaniard in Arms, during the early days of the Beatles and acted in the 1967 British black-comedy film How I Won the War, playing the role of a soldier. He also published a some volumes of his sketch art.

    • robb mcallister
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      John wrote a book of short works (stories/poems) titled A Spaniard in the Works (a play on the saying ‘a spanner in the works,’–US version: ‘a wrench in the works.’)

      Two other published collection, one during the 1960s and one posthumously, were released.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:03 am | Permalink

        A fookin’ Renaissance man, that scouser. Reckon my memory of those days is a bit hazy. But, then, as the saying goes, if you can remember the Sixties, you weren’t really there. 🙂

  9. daniaq
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Why is the un human rights council always a travesty?

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Amazing restoration of that snowball fight film. But you can tell those Lyonnais snowball fighters didn’t grow up playing America’s pastime from the way they throw. 🙂

    • Neil Wolfe
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      And what’s the deal with the guy riding his bike into the middle of the fight? He gets his ass handed to him, laughs, and just rides back the way he came like he had simply made a wrong turn. Definitely not American.

      • darrelle
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        Hmmm. Looks to me like it would fit right in here in the US, at least when I was growing up here. Looks like they were all having fun and almost certainly playing for the camera.

        • Neil Wolfe
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

          To me, the un-American part was the lack of gunfire.

          • darrelle
            Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

            Sadly, these days, you’ve got a point.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Probably has to do with Lyon not getting much snowfall. The novelty probably puts people in a good mood.

        Wouldn’t try that in Wisconsin or Minnesota in February — not that there are many people out riding bicycles there that time of year. 🙂

      • rickflick
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        I would have been the practice for early film makers to set up scenes like this. They were experimentalists and needed interesting material to show off their new technology. Thomas Edison created many tableaus with actors designed to look like natural events.

        • Neil Wolfe
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

          Yeah, it was probably staged that way. The fact that the cyclist didn’t even try to retrieve his hat suggests that he knew he’d be back shortly to get it from his friends. Still very cool to see so far into the past.

  11. Historian
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    The Michigan militia members may be loons, but they are hardly alone. Although egged on by Trump’s rhetoric, their “ideology” is the fruit of decades of right-wing propaganda, abetted by conservative radio, which preached how government was the enemy with its only goal to deny them their right to practice their warped view of freedom, particularly their right to carry weapons in public places. It appears (this would need to be verified) that the type of people most attracted to militias are those on the edge of economic survival that need to find groups to blame for their situation. So stoked by the right-wing, their targets are minorities, Jews, and liberals in general. They look to authoritarian figures as their messiah. Trump, the ultimate grafter, knows how to play them like a fiddle. If Trump tries to incite violence after the election, these militias will be his private army. Well-armed and organized, it would only take a few thousand zealots to create chaos, and they would provide Trump with the excuse to establish martial law and end democracy. If this should happen, then the American obsession with extremist concepts of freedom will be the root cause that ended freedom.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      The irony, if there is any, all these drug store militias get an additional mandatory two years in prison for possessing a weapon while committing a felony. Maybe they will get to sleep with their guns in prison? Also, while they claim to be some kind of patriots, the crime inditing them is terrorism.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Wannabe American Brownshirts.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      At least some of the charged coconspirators in the Whitmer kidnapping plot were among the armed militia members who occupied the Michigan state capitol last April (the event that prompted Trump to issue his “Liberate Michigan!” tweet:

      One of the primary financial benefactors of this right-wing groups is the family of Trump’s inept Education Secretary, Betsy DeVos.

  12. rickflick
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Stilton is too salty and Roquefort will stink up the whole house. Give me some nice marbled blue cheese any day. In blue cheese, the bacterium Brevibacterium linens is responsible for the smell of blue cheese, as well as foot odor and other human body odors. It’s got a lot going for it.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      When I lived in Stockholm I bought some port salut at the market in the center of town and then took the subway back to our apartment. I soon began to realize that I was stinking up the car, and apologized to the guy sitting across from me, that I had starkost (strong cheese). That was all I needed to say to launch us into a happy discussion of the merits of different such cheeses.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Cheese can bridge the cultural divide!

    • darrelle
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      Love me some blue cheese, Maytag, Roquefort, Gorgonzola, it’s all good.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        So, you are an ISCG. Indiscriminate Stinky Cheese Guy. 😜

        • darrelle
          Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

          That’s me! 🙂

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      With its golden color and sharpness my favorite is Shropshire Blue.

      Hard to beat a good creamy gorgonzola as well.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 9, 2020 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

        Your ravishing description is making my tongue perspire.

  13. rickflick
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Marmalade hoverflies – With birds, you can understand how they stay together during migration. But, these little guys are so small. How do they know their in the flock or out of it. Visual contact would be pretty hard to maintain. Odor? Unlikely. Sound? Do they buzz?

  14. darrelle
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    What a happy coincidence. My wife has become quite good at bread making this year, and one of my favorites is a walnut and Roquefort bread. The recipe is from Paul Hollywood, English baking celebrity.

    The bread bakes with a beautiful crust, the walnuts become nice and toasty and the Roquefort just pushes it over the top. It is best when still slightly warm from the oven, but also keeps very well for several days.

    I just happen to have brought the last piece from a recent bake for lunch today. Although this one was made with a very good, very sharp aged cheddar instead of Roquefort because apparently I’m the only one in the house that likes Roquefort!

  15. JohnE
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    Does Jerry’s photo of the remnants of Kepler’s Supernova remind anyone else of the Rolling Stones’ lips/tongue logo???

  16. boudiccadylis
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    As an owner of several cats I have experienced the response of eye closing and opening with them. I read about it several years ago and of course had to try it. Not all are willing to play but those that are are remarkably good.

    Yesterday I saw an article about gynandrogynous rose-breasted grosbeak found in Pennsylvania. Sorry I didn’t note the source I was being too exhilarated in having recently learned about the issue on this blog.

  17. kraeuterbutter
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    “Donald Trump’s Re-Election Chances Infected by COVID-19”

    An analysis by the German magazine “Der Spiegel”

    • desnes Diev
      Posted October 9, 2020 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      I will add:
      “U.S. Image Plummets Internationally as Most Say Country Has Handled Coronavirus Badly
      Ratings for Trump remain poor” (Pew research -

      These polls show that Trump has indeed made a lot for the “greatness” of America since 4 years. It reached new lows.

  18. grasshopper
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    World egg day – eggs are the same the whole oeuf ova.

  19. merilee
    Posted October 9, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink


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