Friday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

October 23, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning: it’s the end of another “work” week on Friday, October 23, 2020: National Boston Cream Pie Day. This isn’t really a pie, but a delicious cake filled with cream and frosted with chocolate which looks like this:

It is the Official Dessert of Massachusetts. It’s also National Canning Day, the Swallows Depart from San Juan Capistrano Day (see here), and National Mole Day (no, not the Mexican spice/sauce nor the animal, but the chemistry mole. “It takes place on October 23 each year, between 6:02 a.m. and 6:02 p.m., to commemorate Avogadro’s number, which is roughly equivalent to (6.022 x 1023).”

It’s also the date that, according to Bishop Ussher, God created the world (see below).

News of the Day:  If there was a winner of the debate last night, it appears to be moderator Kristen Welker of NBC, though Trump tried to tear her down even before the debate. I watched about 40 minutes of the debate before I got bored, and Welker did a very good job. Although Trump was on a leash, I wish Biden had called him on his palpably false statements. And Trump tried to tell us that the pandemic is abating?

As for who “won” the debate, well, there’s no objective answer, and the real “winning” will take place in two weeks. The New York Times has a survey of pundits about the “winner,” and it looks to be abvout 50:50, which means Biden came out on top, since Trump has a 10-point deficit to overcome in the polls. (See a similar survey at FiveThirtyEight.)

Here’s the latest polling results from FiveThirtyEight. Biden retains his ten-point lead, though the Senate is much more of a tossup:

Biden’s chance of winning has slowly increased:

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-0 to advance Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the full Senate. Why the unanimous vote? Because no Democrats registered as “present”  to vote. She will be confirmed by Monday. If you want to see what we’re in store for, at least with respect to reproductive rights, read Linda Greenhouse’s depressing op-ed column in the New York Times. Thanks, Mitch!

Trump posted a clip of the aborted “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl on Facebook. You can watch it at the link below! (I haven’t yet as of Thursday evening. ) As the NYT reports,

President Trump made good Thursday on a threat to post unfiltered footage from a “60 Minutes” interview he taped earlier this week with the anchor Lesley Stahl — an interview that Mr. Trump abruptly cut short, complaining that Ms. Stahl was “negative” and biased.

In posting the 38-minute clip on Facebook, Mr. Trump urged viewers to “look at the bias, hatred and rudeness on behalf of 60 Minutes and CBS.” But the footage shows Ms. Stahl, a “60 Minutes” correspondent since 1991, calmly and firmly asking the president about the coronavirus and other topics as Mr. Trump grows increasingly irritated.

According to Newsweek, an autism support organization, SafeMinds, donated $250,000 to fund a study that, they hoped, would show a link between vaccines and autism. Sadly for the zealots, but happy for us, the research results, just published in PNAS, showed no connection between thimerosal-containing vaccines and autism-like brain or behavioral changes in rhesus macaques. I find it sad that parents of autistic children are so invested in showing that the syndrome comes from vaccines, and can only guess that somehow they think it absolves them as a source of genetic or environmental factors causing autism. (h/t: Charles)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 222,023, a decrease  from yesterday’s figure of 222,157, which isn’t possible unless some people came back to life. There must be a reporting error here. The world death toll is 1,143,709, a big increase of about 6,500 over yesterday’s report.   

Stuff that happened on October 23 includes:

Ussher predicted that the creation began “at the entrance of night,” or around 6 p.m., but on October 22. Wikipedia, again, has the date wrong. We await Greg’s article, “What’s wrong with Wikipedia?”, now in the works for a decade, and attaining the status to Casaubon’s Key to All Mythologies. 

  • 1707 – The First Parliament of Great Britain convenes.
  • 1850 – The first National Women’s Rights Convention begins in Worcester, Massachusetts.
  • 1906 – Alberto Santos-Dumont flies an airplane in the first heavier-than-air flight in Europe.

Here’s the first flight of that rather cumbersome plane, the 14-bis flying in Paris. It went 60 meters.

  • 1973 – Watergate scandal: President Nixon agrees to turn over subpoenaed audio tapes of his Oval Office conversations.
  • 1991 – Signing of the Paris Peace Accords which ends the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.
  • 1995 – Yolanda Saldívar is found guilty of first-degree murder in the shooting death of popular Latin singer Selena.

Saldívar will be eligible for parole in 2025 after serving thirty years.

  • 2002 – Chechen terrorists seize the House of Culture theater in Moscow and take approximately 700 theater-goers hostage.

All 40 of the terrorists were killed, but so were about 200 hostages, many from a toxic gas (unidentified) pumped into the theater.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1491 (estimated) – Ignatius of Loyola, Catholic priest (d. 1556)
  • 1844 – Sarah Bernhardt, French actress (d. 1923)

Here’s the Divine Sarah at 20:

  • 1905 – Felix Bloch, Swiss physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1983)
  • 1925 – Johnny Carson, American comedian and talk show host (d. 2005)
  • 1940 – Pelé, Brazilian footballer and actor

Pele is eighty today; here are ten of his greatest goals:

  • 1959 – Weird Al” Yankovic, American singer-songwriter, comedian, and actor

Those who met their Just Reward on October 23 include:

  • 1872 – Théophile Gautier, French journalist, author, and poet (b. 1811)
  • 1939 – Zane Grey, American dentist and author (b. 1872)
  • 1950 – Al Jolson, Lithuanian-American actor and singer (b. 1886)
  • 1978 – Maybelle Carter, American singer and autoharp player (Carter Family) (b. 1909)
  • 1983 – Jessica Savitch, American journalist (b. 1947)
  • 2016 – Jack Chick, American cartoonist and publisher (b. 1924)

There are few pictures of Jack Chick, whose religious comics you’ve almost certainly seen. Below is a photo and one of his many anti-evolution strips:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sitting on the box in which Malgorzata keeps the important bills and documents, but something is missing. . .

Hili:  All the bills are in this box except the most important ones.
A:  Which are those?
Hili: The bills for cat treats.
In Polish:
Ja: O czym myślisz?
Hili: Że w tej skrzyni są wszystkie rachunki oprócz tych najważniejszych.
Ja: Których?
Hili: Za kocie przysmaki.
Below is a new Leon monologue (Malgorzata added, “Just don’t ask who Eryk is. I have no idea. It can be a friend of Elżbieta or a friend’s cat.)
Leon: Apparently Eryk asked about me so here I am. October is not the right season for walks.
In Polish: Podobno Eryk się o mnie pytał, no to jestem. Październik to nie jest odpowiednia pora na spacery.

Look! Two pictures of Kulka as a bipedal mammal! This is because, looking out the window, she saw a d*g for the very first time.

From The Cat House on the Kings:

From Stash Krod:

Via Diana MacPherson:

I didn’t understand Titania’s tweet until I saw the first reply:

From Luana via Peter Boghossian quoting writer Coleman Hughes.  On Letter, Hughes challenges Ibram X. Kendi to a conversation/debate. I’d like to see it!

From Simon, who says, “Plus ça change. . .”

From Barry. An adorable short video; I only wish there was sound as I can imagine the baby trying to make a noise:

Tweets from Matthew. Oy! I hope this shows scavenging rather than killing:


Great crypsis: Planthoppers mimicking thorns on a plant that doesn’t have thorns. This wouldn’t work as camoflage unless they aggregated or were social:

Matthew spotted 11 of the 12 (the answer is in the thread); I didn’t even try; I’m miserable at these things:


32 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

  1. Trump posted a clip of the aborted “60 Minutes” interview with Lesley Stahl on Facebook. You can watch it at the link below!

    I would urge people to wait and watch the CBS show instead (or, watch both and compare). I’ll admit this is a somewhat minor point, but Trump’s release is stealing ad revenue from the organization that performed the work. As every rental VCR and DVD says, “piracy is not a victimless crime”

    I find it sad that parents of autistic children are so invested in showing that the syndrome comes from vaccines, and can only guess that somehow they think it absolves them as a source of genetic or environmental factors causing autism.

    I’ll personally absolve them right now, without knowing the origin. Strong correlations are typically easy to find; the fact that people have been looking for the cause of autism for years and there’s no definitive ‘smoking gun’ yet probably means it’s not strongly tied to any single obvious behavior (think drug use or having children when very old) or bit of genetic code. So, while we don’t know what all the causes are yet, it’s probably reasonably fair to say the parents could not have had the information needed to lower their risk or otherwise make a more informed decision. Sometimes life rolls you craps. It stinks, but you shouldn’t beat yourself up about it.

      1. That has nothing to do with my point. With maybe a few exceptions, parents of autistic kids should not feel any guilt about their kid being autistic, because we don’t know enough about the risk factors to pin the autism on any conscious choice on their part.

  2. On the subject of mask wearing: Gavin Way from the Slow Mo Guys has made a video of him coughing, sneezing and saying “one two three four” in slow motion with lighting that captures the water droplets that emerge from his mouth and nose. If you are uncertain of the efficacy of masks, you definitely need to watch it. In particular, the clip of the water droplets that come out of his mouth when just talking is enlightening.

    There’s a bonus interview with a special guest star at the end that is worth listening to too.

    1. Anecdotes doesn’t tell us anything on the efficacy of mask wearing during pandemics. There is still scan data that says they are useful (though I would likely wear them in societies that refuse to practice social distancing).

      1. You’re from Sweden right? Not doing so good, and you’re not helping with comments like above. Over the months you’ve been trying to paint Sweden in a “doing good with Covid” light. The data I’ve seen doesn’t reinforce your national pride.

  3. it’s also … the Swallows Depart from San Juan Capistrano Day …

    We have the Ink Spots to remind us that they’ll be back again:

    1. Great old song. It occurs to me that the name “Inkspots” would never fly today. Let’s hope they are never “cancelled”.

    2. Great as the Ink Spots are, I think the best version of this song is by the Dominoes, with the great Clyde McPhatter singing lead:

  4. What happened to the first of those 538 graphs? Looks like the weighted mean lines are shifted upwards from the individual data points. I don’t think it’s a browser issue on my end.

    1. Alberto Santos-Dumont was also the first to fly an airplane in the presence of a public gathering. He was also the first to use wheels on his aircraft and take off unassisted by a catapult or by strong head winds. The Wrights kept their experiments secret, almost as if they were uninterested in being first in flight and were rather, so it seems, working to become rich with the patents.

      The first “real” airplane — one that you could hop into, crank up the motor, and fly to and from a neighboring city — was Santos-Dumont’s “Demoiselle” (dragonfly). It weighted 56 kg and first flew in November, 1907. There were no patents. Dumont, with the intent of popularizing aviation, published blueprints in a popular magazine so anyone who wanted to build one could.

      1. In Brazil Dumont is called “father of aviation” and treated as the real creator of the plane since his was the first recorded flight. The brazilian military dictatorship from the sixties to te eighties reinforced that notion. Anyway he was a very interesting character and I allways visit his house-turned-museum in Petropolis.

  5. I found 14 out of 12 mistakes in that picture, the 12 listed plus: no handle or lock on the shed door: the shadow of the cat walking away has its tail curved in a different way from the actual tail.
    Given that the picture quiz dates from 1964, I was pleasantly surprised that the most obvious error wasn’t ‘a girl is gardening’.

    1. I missed the missing door handle, clothes pegs, and can handle and put them down to the contrary smoke/wind directions, pillar box emptying near the top, shed having two smoke pipes (in unconventional positions) and the clothes line post looking like some sort of miniature line phone [remember them?] pole.

      The shadows I didn’t see much error in, and – maybe a sign of the times – I hesitated by the tail bows but let them go unlisted.

  6. Just so it’s clear, that PNAS paper (and Newsweek article) on the autism and thimerosl came out in 2015.

    I remember well the lulz we had at the knowledge that antivaxxers had paid for a portion of the study. Hasn’t slowed them one little bit though.

    1. Same crap goes down with people desperate to show a link between cancer and radio waves from cellphones. Study after study shows no link or a lot of (pardon the pun) noise in the data but yet they persist.

  7. For Pelé fans, check this out! Search for “pele” on Google, then scroll to the bottom of the search results. You will see “Goal” spelled with lots of o’s. Click on the little bouncing football to see the “G” do a bicycle kick goal.

    1. Always liked him. I didn’t really know much about him until, in high school, some friends nicknamed me Pelé. That inspired me to learn more about him.

  8. If the universe was created in 4004 BC, then it is 6024 years old. I turned 60 earlier this year, so I have lived for 1% of the entire history of the universe. I should get some kind of pension.

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