Monday: Hili dialogue

October 26, 2020 • 6:30 am

Welcome to another work week: it’s Monday, October 26, 2020: National Mincemeat Pie Day, celebrating a pie that was once a main course but now, sans meat, is a dessert. It’s Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day,  a worthy Southern dish, and one indigenous to America (it’s not a schnitzel). Here’s one photographed at Hoover’s in Austin:

It’s also National Pumpkin Day and National Mule Day, marking the day the first Spanish donkeys arrived in the U.S., brought by Christopher Columbus, and Intersex Awareness Day.

News of the Day:

In a rare Sunday session, the Senate voted, as we all knew, to advance the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court to a final vote. That vote will be today. Yesterday’s vote was 51-48, pretty much along party lines, but with two Republicans—Susan Collins and Murkowski—voting against the advancement. Murkowski, however, will support Barrett in the vote tomorrow.

And Mitch “Beelzebub” McConnell said this, all but saying that Trump is going to lose in a week, but gloating nonetheless about the Supreme Court:

“We made an important contribution to the future of this country,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday, praising Barrett as a “stellar nominee” in every respect. “A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”

The election is a week from tomorrow, and I suspect most of us have already voted. I’ve made about $400 worth of bets on Biden, and he hasn’t lost a beat since the debates. Here’s FiveThirtyEight‘s latest forecast and prediction of the electoral votes. Biden, of course, is in blue:

Do you feel better?

In response to Anthony Fauci’s suggestion that perhaps America needs a national mask mandate, and to new local mask regulations, yahoos throughout America are emitting howls of rage. On the evening news I saw a mask-burning ceremony, with the primates yelping as they torched masks, and you can read about this activity, most prominent in Florida, here.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 225,156, an increase of about 300 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,159,667, an increase of about 4,300 over yesterday’s report. 

Stuff that happened on October 26 includes:

  • 1825 – The Erie Canal opens, allowing direct passage from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.
  • 1863 – The Football Association is founded.
  • 1944 – World War II: The Battle of Leyte Gulf ends with an overwhelming American victory.
  • 1958 – Pan American Airways makes the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 from New York City to Paris.

The 707 was the first jet Boeing ever made. Here’s a flight on the last one used in passenger service, by Saha Air in Iran:

  • 1967 – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowns himself Emperor of Iran.
  • 1977 – Ali Maow Maalin, the last natural case of smallpox, develops a rash in Somalia. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider this date to be the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination.

Here’s a photo of perhaps the last human to ever get smallpox; the Wikipedia caption is “Ali Maow Maalin (1954–2013), the last person to be naturally infected with Variola minor smallpox in October 1977, photographed in 1977, while the smallpox scabbing was still evident.”

Maalin, who spent much of his later life volunteering to give polio vaccines to children, died in 2013 of malaria:

  • 1999 – Britain’s House of Lords votes to end the right of most hereditary peers to vote in Britain’s upper chamber of Parliament.
  • 2002 – Approximately 50 Chechen terrorists and 150 hostages die when Russian special forces troops storm a theater building in Moscow, which had been occupied by the terrorists during a musical performance three days before.

Here’s an AP video of that horrific attack:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1874 – Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, American philanthropist, founded the Museum of Modern Art (d. 1948)
  • 1902 – Beryl Markham, Kenyan horse trainer and author (d. 1986)

I recently reread Markham’s famous autobiography of her flying days in Africa, West with the Night. Well worth a read; here’s a photo of her and her plane:

  • 1906 – Primo Carnera, Italian boxer and actor (d. 1967)
  • 1916 – François Mitterrand, French lawyer and politician, 21st President of France (d. 1996)
  • 1951 – Julian Schnabel, American painter, director, and screenwriter

Those who perished on October 26 include:

  • 1764 – William Hogarth, English painter and engraver (b. 1697)
  • 1902 – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American activist (b. 1815)
  • 1952 – Hattie McDaniel, American actress and singer (b. 1895)

McDaniel, of course, was the first African-American to win an Oscar—for best supporting actress (she played “Mammy”) in the 1939 film Gone With the Wind. Here’s a video of McDaniel accepting her Oscar; the presenter was Fay Bainter, who also got an Oscar for Jezebel. Note her hopes that she “will always be a credit to [her] race.” Curiously, McDaniel’s Oscar statue, which would be worth a fortune now, has disappeared.

  • 1972 – Igor Sikorsky, Ukrainian-American engineer and academic, founded Sikorsky Aircraft (b. 1889)

Here’s a treat: photos of Matthew and I with our teddy bears, which we both still have. Matthew creatively named his bear “Teddy”:

Voila. You can see my mum replaced the leather patches on his paws, which fell apart, and also apparently embroidered a new nose and moth on him. He is still enucleated, but it doesn’t look too bad. He still smells of his stuffing, but that doesn’t bring back any Proustian memories sadly. I think the cloth the trousers are made out of came from a pair of my trousers I had when I was little.

My photo, taken just a few moments ago. I’m not yet caffeinated, and it shows. Anyway, meet Toasty, the bear I’ve had my entire life. My mother, too had to repeatedly fix him, including making him clothes and putting in new eyes. He’s sadly depilated now, and his overalls cover his shame.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is on Andrzej’s desk, trying to carry out her duties as editor of Listy:

A: Could you sleep somewhere else?
Hili: No, because you would keep saying that I’m neglecting my duties.
In Polish:
Ja: Czy możesz spać w innym miejscu?
Hili: Nie, bo znowu będziesz mówił, że lekceważę moje obowiązki.

Leon and Elzbieta have a selfie. The caption: “Saturday afternoon on the porch.”

In Polish: Sobotnie pogaduchy na przyzbie

And Paulina took four wonderful pictures of Kitten Kulka disporting herself:

From Bird and Moon, a great site and source of natural-history graphics by Rosemary Mosco. This goes for mallards, too!

Reader Charles sent a Mike Lukovich cartoon:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Paul via Carolyn Porco (sound up):

From Barry. Be sure to click on the embedded link (this one)!

From Luana, a Nobel Laureate reports that he’s been deplatformed, probably because he favors the unfavored “herd immunity” solution to the pandemic. Still, he wasn’t even going to talk about the virus in his scheduled lecture:

Tweets from Matthew, who must be feeling Pandemic Malaise:

The ballot is supposed to be SECRET!

A “bait ball” isn’t something created by humans, but a big, dense school of fish:

As I said when I retweeted this, it’s likely that in our lifetime we’ll see the last camp survivor pass away.

The anti-Trump conservative tweeted this yesterday:



60 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

    1. Not until this coming Sunday.

      The candy industry lobbied for the later time-change date so that it would be after Halloween, and kids could trick-or-treat in daylight instead of darkness.


    1. Watching Morning Joe today they showed a clip of Leslie opening the book of trumps accomplishments and flipping through some pages. They looked blank to me. It’s the only clip I’ve seen where you can see multiple pages.

  1. … Mitch “Beelzebub” McConnell said this, all but saying that Trump is going to lose in a week, but gloating nonetheless about the Supreme Court …

    I’m not ordinarily given to violent outbursts, but I wouldn’t want to be caught in the same room with Mitch McConnell right now, for fear I wouldn’t be able to keep my hands off his turtle throat — for fear of going full-McMurphy-on-Nurse-Ratched-after-Billy-Bibbit-slashes-his-throat-because-Ratched-threatens-to-tell-Billy’s-mother-she-caught-him-in-a-state-of-post-carnal-nakedness-with-McMurphy’s-hooker-friend on McConnell’s chelonian ass.

    1. His arrogance is extraordinary. This provides even more reason for expanding the court.

      At the History News Network site, historian James Robenalt argues that FDR was right in 1937 to propose packing the court. His mistake was not to be honest why he wanted to do it.

      Meanwhile, at Politico, lawyer Jonathan Fishbach makes the case for seriously considering reining in the Court’s power of judicial review. I don’t know if it is a good idea or not. What do you think?

      1. It’s an interesting argument by Mr. Fischbach. And there’s always been a minority, contrarian school among legal scholars and historians that’s been dubious about the way in which the nation’s third chief justice, John Marshall, created the doctrine of “judicial review,” essentially from whole cloth, 16 years after the US constitution was ratified, in Marbury v. Madison.

        But as it stands, it’s hard to think of a doctrine that represents more of a fixed star in our judicial constellation. It’s certainly not a power SCOTUS would willingly relinquish, and it would fight like hell to keep either of the political branches from snatching it away.

        As far as “packing” the Court, there’s nothing magical about the number nine; 13 justices would work as well, if not better, allowing SCOTUS to increase its rather meager recent workload, and providing a single justice to perform the duties of “circuit justice” for each of the 13 federal judicial circuits.

        1. Thanks for your views. I think you’re right — no matter the theoretical benefits of doing away with judicial review, it’s not going to happen.

        2. Aside from practical issues, I’ve always thought “13” a patriotic, conservative friendly number. Who could object?

        3. Poland, as described in another post here, has both a Supreme Court and a Constitutional Court. That is another way you could do it. But it seems obvious to me that you have to have some panel that decides what is and isn’t constitutional. Marshall just figured it better be the Supreme Court, because it needed to be something, and the constitution didn’t address it.

  2. The 707 aircraft still flies today in the form of the KC-135 Tanker or Refueler. It has the addition of a water injection afterburner for additional thrust. Actually the engines have been upgraded a couple of times over the many years. Still a very noisy airplane but not as bad as is use to be.

  3. On the evening news I saw a mask-burning ceremony, with the primates yelping as they torched masks, and you can read about this activity, most prominent in Florida …

    Really? In Florida? What were the odds it would happen there?

    On the socially distanced campaign trail in Miami this weekend Barry Obama got off a pretty good line saying of Donald Trump’s recent erratic behavior that “even ‘Florida Man’ wouldn’t do this stuff.”

    1. Sighing from south Florida, but not surprised. I’m the only person regularly wearing a mask where I work. I’m not afraid of getting Covid…honestly, it would be a relief, I think, especially if it were a particularly severe case. I just don’t think I have the right to expose others to unnecessary increased risk.

  4. Uncharitable thought: I wonder if all those MAGAs who are waiting to vote until election day are going to come down with the virus because they attended a Trump rally.

    It would be perfect timing for the “this is the way we’ve always done it” people to be too sick to get to the polls.


  5. So Matthew’s mum “also apparently embroidered a new nose and moth on him.” And the course of his career was set…!

  6. Ah… chicken fried steak. I had my first in the mid 1970’s at the cattleman’s cafe in blue ridge,tx when visiting a friend from grad school at his horse ranchette near whitewright norteast of dallas. It was excellent- smothered in a whitesauce with mashed potatoes and fried pie (apple for me please) for dessert. I think the street at that time was wide and unpaved and we parked our pickup with others in the middle of the street. I loved it and continue to order it to this day from the rare menus that offer it. Thanks for the fine memory.

      1. In the small towns like blue ridge in those days, there was no prime or choice cuts of beef. The chicken fried steak i had was a piece of standard/utility graded round or flank steak that had beaten mercilously with a tenderizing meat mallot before it was breaded and fried….a tenderizing technique i continue to use on appropriate cuts.

      2. I think I favor chicken fried chicken a bit too, but I do very much like a good chicken fried steak. I can make both pretty good, though I prefer to make the gravy a bit more refined than the traditional.

      3. It can be good but so often the batter attempts to hide a really inferior piece of beef. I suspect many restaurants are more attuned to its profit margin than its taste.

        1. But CFS made with great cuts of beef can be, for those of us who like it, and almost transcendent experience.
          My wife is kind enough to make it for me every month or so, and I have it for every meal for about three days.

    1. I love Chicken Fried Steak.

      As a Canadian, I seek it out when I’m in the south. My go-to is the Chicken Fried Steak – and everything else on the menu – at Page’s Okra Grill in South Carolina. Fantastic “home made” cakes there for desert too.

      It’s always a belly-busting meal.

  7. Biden wants to have an 18-month study on SCOTUS. This is a terribly bad idea, pack the court as soon a Democrats take the Senate! If you give Republicans 1 ½ years to attack senators some will be too afraid to vote for packing. Quick action will also allow time for outrage to die away before the next election. Democrats are too damn wimpy!

    1. I agree with you on court packing, but it is far from a sure thing even if Biden calls for it. Obviously, the Democrats must retake the Senate, which, if they do, will only be by a slim margin. Then they must abolish the filibuster, which may not happen because some moderate Democratic senators may oppose it. Finally, even if the filibuster is abolished, some moderate Democrats may oppose court packing. Thus, I understand Biden’s reluctance to endorse the proposal. When Biden takes office (if he does), he can expect the Republican minority in the Senate to oppose him with the same ferocity that it opposed Obama.

      However, at the Persuasion site, political analyst Norman Ornstein proposes several pieces of important legislation that Biden could very well have passed.

    2. I think the 180 days is a shot across the bow. (Assuming Biden wins and the Senate flips.) If SCOTUS starts hearing cases that will strip rights and ignore precedent, he’ll probably add more justices; if they act “normal” he won’t. That’s just a guess.

  8. “a Nobel Laureate reports …”

    This religion of uninviting famous speakers is so poisonous, I can’t even make a different point about this without producing even more confusion.

  9. The Mosco strip is very accurate. I lived in the eastern states where bluejays are common and a big ho-hum. Here in Idaho, the birders are all excited because bluejays have now trickled over the rocky mountains in small numbers.

  10. I note that Mr Biden’s comment predates the Covid-19 outbreak by several months: October 2019:
    “We are not prepared for a pandemic. Trump has rolled back progress President Obama and I made to strengthen global health security. We need leadership that builds public trust, focuses on real threats, and mobilizes the world to stop outbreaks before they reach our shores” sorry for pasting it again, but let that sink in. Who said Mr Biden would not make a good president?

    1. Yes, I noted that too. But NB: it refers to a hypothetical pandemic (“a pandemic”), not “this pandemic” or “COVID”. The Dolt’s rollback must have happened a year ago, but I’m not sure of that. If that did indeed just happen a year ago, that ought to be played up more.

  11. saying that Trump is going to lose in a week, […]
    Do you feel better?

    I’m still wondering how he is going to prevent an election, or discount enough inconvenient votes that he can claim a win. Quietly into that dark night, he will not go. Because then he’ll have to face his creditors. Including the ones with a novichok supply.
    Has anyone told him that you can’t detect novichok in tan-in-a-bottle?

  12. Biden is campaigning in Georgia. Harris is campaigning in Texas. This sounds like an echo of 2016 when Hillary’s hubris led her to campaign in Arizona instead of Michigan and Wisconsin.

    The midwest is what matter in the electoral college. It sound like Biden is trying to make history repeat itself. Perhaps he thinks he can sway the Georgia senate race but Harris in Texas is absurd.

    1. It’s not hubris, he’s spent way more time and money in the Midwest than Clinton did. Biden and Harris going to GA and TX shows that both states are in play, and yes, part of the strategy is in helping the Senate races in those states. And in GA, it’s Senate races- both seats are up for grabs and they’re neck and neck.

      Meanwhile, Trump is holding rallies in rural districts that he won handily in 2016.

      1. Also, Biden has extra money to spend. There is a limit to how much advertising those in battleground states can tolerate. At some point, more advertising might actually turn some people off.

      2. Who cares if the states are in play? The only number that matters is 270. He should be concentrating on the midwest and Florida. There is no bonus for no style points. As Lombardy said “Winning is the only thing.”

        If he wins Georgia and Texas, it means 400 or so instead of 350. If he loses Pennsylvania and Wisconsin and gets 269, the extra votes in Texas will be meaningless.

        1. If he doesn’t win the Senate, his Presidency won’t accomplish squat. That’s the strategy here, as you already mentioned.

          1. At the same time, do you really think these rallies and appearances by either candidate are actually going to do anything? How many undecided voters are out there at this point? Not enough to swing an election, that’s for sure.

  13. The polls have been remarkably consistent since before Biden even had the nomination.

    The two key states are Florida and Pennsylvania. Trump needs both, Biden needs one.

Leave a Reply