Monday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Well, it’s Monday, November 2, 2020: the day before the Big Election. It’s also National Deviled Egg Day, Cookie Monster DayAll Souls’ Day, and International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists (a UN holiday).

Tomorrow morning I report to the hospital at 6 a.m. where, after a long period of waiting and another long period of prep, they’ll slice me up like a stack of lamb for gyros. I will prepare a Tuesday Hili dialogue in advance, but don’t expect much posting for a day or two—assuming that nothing goes, as the Brits say, “badly wrong.”

News of the Day:

Anthony Fauci, interviewed by the Washington Post, was both pessimistic about the pandemic and, remarkably, he implicitly supported Biden insofar as the virus is concerned:

“We’re in for a whole lot of hurt. It’s not a good situation,” Anthony S. Fauci, the country’s leading infectious-disease expert, said in a wide-ranging interview late Friday. “All the stars are aligned in the wrong place as you go into the fall and winter season, with people congregating at home indoors. You could not possibly be positioned more poorly.”

Fauci said Biden’s campaign “is taking it seriously from a public health perspective.” Trump, Fauci said, is “looking at it from a different perspective.” He said that perspective was “the economy and reopening the country.”

I think he’s counting on a Biden victory. But even if Biden wins, many think there will be chaos as the courts take up a Trump challenge and fractious Trump supporters take to the streets (many have guns!). I’m laying low. Does Trump have it in him, if he loses, to conceded the election gracefully? I don’t think so; it’s not in his nature. Stores are being boarded up, including Macy’s in New York City.

Some science news: read about how the octopus can taste with its arms using a novel sensory system.

More science news: Researchers in Australia have found a huge section of the Great Barrier reef that is huge and, importantly, healthy, teeming with fish. A lot of the reef has been killed by bleaching, but it’s not certain whether this healthy section will give any clues about how to save this dying and fantastic ecosystem. (h/t: Reese)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 230,937, an increase of about 440 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,206,112, an increase of about 4,900 over yesterday’s report. 

Stuff that happened on November 2 includes:

  • 1889 – North Dakota and South Dakota are admitted as the 39th and 40th U.S. states.
  • 1917 – The Balfour Declaration proclaims British support for the “establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people” with the clear understanding “that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities”.

Here’s the declaration, the first to mention a “national home for the Jewish people”. It lay on a straight-line path to Mandatory Palestine and then to Israel:

  • 1920 – In the United States, KDKA of Pittsburgh starts broadcasting as the first commercial radio station. The first broadcast is the result of the 1920 United States presidential election.
  • 1936 – The British Broadcasting Corporation initiates the BBC Television Service, the world’s first regular, “high-definition” (then defined as at least 200 lines) service. Renamed BBC1 in 1964, the channel still runs to this day.
  • 1947 – In California, designer Howard Hughes performs the maiden (and only) flight of the Hughes H-4 Hercules (also known as the “Spruce Goose”), the largest fixed-wing aircraft ever built.

Here’s a very short documentary on the Spruce Goose featuring Hughes. It flew for less than a minute and less than a mile, attaining an altitude of only 70 feet. The wingspan was nearly 321 feet (98 m), longer than a football field. You can see it at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.

  • 1959 – Quiz show scandals: Twenty-One game show contestant Charles Van Doren admits to a Congressional committee that he had been given questions and answers in advance.
  • 1960 – Penguin Books is found not guilty of obscenity in the trial R v Penguin Books Ltd, the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.
  • 1983 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan signs a bill creating Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
  • 1984 – Capital punishment: Velma Barfield becomes the first woman executed in the United States since 1962.
  • 2016 – The Chicago Cubs defeat the Cleveland Indians in the World Series, ending the longest Major League Baseball championship drought at 108 years.

Ah, I well remember that day, with the Series going down to game 7, 10 innings, and winning by a run with one man on base. The town went bonkers. Here’s the last out and some of the local celebrations:

This is a lovely video:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1734 – Daniel Boone, American hunter and explorer (d. 1820)
  • 1755 – Marie Antoinette, Austrian-French queen consort of Louis XVI of France (d. 1793)
  • 1815 – George Boole, English mathematician and philosopher (d. 1864)
  • 1908 – Bunny Berigan, American trumpet player (d. 1942)

Berigan died of 33 of alcoholism, the classic death (along with drugs) of jazz musicians. But here’s his best and most famous song, “I Can’t Get Started” (1937):

  • 1913 – Burt Lancaster, American actor (d. 1994)
  • 1942 – Shere Hite, German sexologist, author, and educator
  • 1961 – k.d. lang, Canadian singer-songwriter, producer, and actress

Those who fell asleep on November 2 include:

  • 1887 – Jenny Lind, Swedish operatic soprano (b. 1820)
  • 1950 – George Bernard Shaw, Irish author, playwright, and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1856)
  • 1961 – James Thurber, American humorist and cartoonist (b. 1894)
  • 1990 – Eliot Porter, American photographer, chemist, and academic (b. 1901)

Porter was renowned for his color photos of scenes from nature. Here’s one of his photos, “Aspens in early spring, New Mexico” (1953):

van Gogh was shot and stabbed to death by a Moroccan-Dutch terrorist; a note pinned to his chest with the murderer’s knife also threatened Ayaan Hirsi Ali, driving her into hiding.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the last of the apples are being picked, but Hili begs off helping:

Hili: I think I will leave you alone with apple picking.
A: Why?
Hili: I have a feeling that I’m starting to be hungry.
In Polish:
Hili: Chyba zostawię cię z tym zrywaniem jabłek samego.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Mam wrażenie, że zaczynam być głodna.

Here’s a picture of Matthew’s cat Ollie on his perch. He’s the one who clawed my nose open. Britain goes into another lockdown today.

Leon took a walk and found a mushroom!

Leon: See what a nice mushroom I found for you?

In Polish: Widzisz, jakiego ładnego grzybka ci znalazłem?

From Jesus of the Day. The poor dude—and I bet it was a dude—failed twice!

From Facebook:

A music meme from Bruce:

Part 29 and 30 of Titania’s continuing series. But I think Uncle Ben was a racist image.  It wasn’t the “Uncle” that made it racist.

From Eli: Some evidence that the new administration might be woker than we think:

From Barry, Pumpkin-loving animals:

Tweets from Matthew. Here’s a good heating system for cat lovers:

Yep, the Dead released this on November 1, 1970: half a century ago!!

Matthew says, “Never fails to impress,” and I agree 100%.

Foppish cows come home for the winter. How lovely!

Finally, a Halloween bon mot:


43 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

  1. [Puts on rabid anti-American hat]:
    Keep it up guys! Trump all the way! Who needs Al Qaeda when ya got the guy in charge of the state, doing his best to destroy the state? It’s about time y’all had another civil war anyway. You’ve got enough guns to start one.
    [Removes hat]

    Seriously, I was just reflecting, if someone had (with the aid of a time machine) sent a verbatim account of the last four years back to 2014, and the Onion had published it as a satire, would anyone have believed it could ever happen? They might have believed it of some banana republic, but would anyone have believed that your constitutional institutions could be so easily corrupted and circumvented by such a self-evidently pathological individual?

    Good luck with the vote (if President Trump doesn’t manage to have all Biden votes invalidated, I’m sure he’s got lawyers and plumbers working on it).


    1. Got caught by a T***p caravan yesterday. Things that surprised me, but should not have:

      -the number of weapons being displayed
      -the acquiescence of the uniformed police
      -the portion of vehicles that had the trump flag above the US flag, or the trump flag and a confederate flag, but no US flag.

      Not looking forward to this

      1. If democracy dies tomorrow, by a coup or other means, around half the nation will not care less. Petty concerns and grievances will crush abstractions. The myth of American exceptionalism and its core of truth will have a stake driven through its heart. Does one need to wonder how Hitler gained power?

        1. Trump has told confidants that, if at any time tomorrow night he is ahead in enough states to give him 270 electoral votes, he intends to declare victory and to go to court to keep the outstanding ballots from being counted.

          The last, best hope for American democracy may be for old Uncle Joe to score a first-round TKO tomorrow night by being declared the winner in Florida (or in North Carolina or in Ohio or in Georgia — or, a little later in the evening, in Arizona). A loss in any of those states would all but doom Trump’s narrow potential path to victory. If, despite the polls, Trump sweeps those states, we’re in for a long slog in Pennsylvania, with Trump trying to prevent mail-in ballots from being counted.

          1. Re: mail in ballots. The GOP in Texas is already going to the courts to invalidate some 150,000+ mail in ballots. Those rats will go to any means to subvert democracy.

  2. Titania is shriveling all the white folk left to white it up — I got some too :

    Insulated thermoses

    … I can feel the coloration bubbling out of my skin….

  3. ‘The town went boners’ AHEM, funny typo alert! ‘Bonkers’ was intended, I assume, but a ‘boner’, at least in Britain, means something rather naughtier…

    Also, a small correction: Britain isn’t going into lockdown today, England is. Wales was already in lockdown, while the Scottish Government is considering tougher restrictions in the coming days. So we probably all will be locked down soon, but today’s decision was just for England (devolved administrations are in charge of dealing with the other nations on many fronts, including most COVID measures).

    1. Small correction to your correction: England isn’t going into lockdown today. It starts on Thursday, 5 November, pending approval by Parliament on Wednesday.

    2. To be totally correct England isn’t going into lockdown until Thursday. Parliament starts debating it today. With a vote on Wednesday. Some tory MPs are threatening to vote against it but Labour will support it while pointing out that it should have happened weeks ago.

    3. Another slight correction: “boner” means something naughty on this side of the Atlantic (and, I assume, elsewhere throughout the Anglophone world), too. 🙂

      1. Even though no actual bone is involved in humans – unlike in canines who hence occasionally face the problem of “dog knotting”.

        1. “Get knotted” is a term used down-under, used to express displeasure to a person. Maybe the expression derives from dog knotting.

          “Dog knotting” should not be confused with “god notting”, which is an activity that atheists indulge in. 😉

      2. That’s correct. It became widely known as naughty in the US sometime after the 1950s, since this 1951 Batman comic still used the word in its original sense of “mistake”:

        This led to immortal lines of dialogue such as Commissioner Gordon’s plea, “Batman–we’ve got to stop the Joker! Those boner crimes are making us look bad! And I’m worried about the boner he’s readying for YOU!”

  4. Small technical problem: recently I’ve found that the Twitter pictures in these posts, which used to appear in the post, now only appear as links. I now have to click on the link which then takes me to Twitter in a new tab. Microsoft Win10 and Edge. I don’t have any other browser just now.

    It’s not a big deal, just an irritation. Started happening a few weeks ago, and I’m unaware of any change I’ve made to my computer that could cause this.

    Anyone else finding this?

    BTW, hope all goes well Jerry. Take care.

  5. I can’t get started. A great song spun on the old 78.

    Good you are getting in tomorrow before this virus shuts every hospital down.

  6. 1960 – Penguin Books is found not guilty of obscenity in the trial R v Penguin Books Ltd, the Lady Chatterley’s Lover case.

    This, despite counsel for the Crown’s having asked the 12 gentlemen in the jury box the very on-the-nose question during closing arguments whether the story of the sexual affair between Sir Clifford Chatterley’s wife and his gamekeeper, Mellors, was the type of book “you would wish your wife or your servants to read?” 🙂

  7. Comedian Rodney Dangerfield was hospitalized
    for heart valve replacement surgery.
    Asked how long he would remain in the hospital after the operation, he said: “If things go right, I’ll be there about a week, and if things don’t go right, I’ll be there about an hour and a half.”

    1. Sounds about right. (I had a valve repair rather than replacement).

      It was actually a very pleasant week, recuperating. I had a nice light airy room to myself, a pleasant carpeted corridor to walk down once a day, and I could just lie there and relax with none of my usual vague feeling of guilt that I should be doing something useful.

      Almost like a good vacation.


  8. Some evidence that the new administration might be woker than we think….

    Not surprised. Speaking of which, there is another interview with Glenn Loury in City Journal, where he observes:

    You can try to eliminate the achievement differences, but you can only do it by stifling and extirpating the behavioral patterns that produce the differences in the first place. And when you do that, you’re on a slippery slope to tyranny.

  9. Most coronaviruses cause the common cold which get worse in cold weather. Covid is an extremely contagious and deadly coronavirus/cold and we should have expected it to get worse in the fall and winter.

    Once a coronavirus becomes endemic, there is little (short of a vaccine) that we can do to stop it. European nations had tight lock downs but are still having major outbreaks now. Unless we implement a 6 month extremely, tight lock down, Covid is going to run rampant. Masks and social distancing can help to some degree but will not come close to eliminating it.

    I hope that once the election is over, we can acknowledge this and have intelligent discussions about trade offs. The poor and the young are being hurt the most by our current restrictions. The old would be hurt the most by relaxing them.

    The rich professionals are doing fine and seem to pretend that the current situation is okay when it is clearly not. Perhaps it is the least horrible choice but we need to weigh the pros and cons.

  10. “… they’ll slice me up like a stack of lamb for gyros.”

    Here’s to PCC(E)’s team of nurses, doctors, everyone, who all studied medicine for at least two or years, studied science, mathematics, problem solving, and above all, caring about people who need their help!

  11. Bunny Berigan makes for a shocking story. ow much alcohol do you have to drink, and how fast, to get cirrhosis and then to hemorrhage and bleed out at the age of 33? How many of those few years were spent unconscious or in a fog? How did he achieve as much as he did?

    Part of the debris of Prohibition.

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