Sunday: Hili dialogue

A good morning! (sound up). Here’s a tweet Uncle Joe put out in September:

Yes, good morning on Ceiling Cat’s Day: Sunday, November 8, 2020: National Cappuccino Day (I’ve had mine; as this is cultural appropriation, it’s obligatory to be mindful of the oppression of Italians with your drink.) It’s also National Harvey Wallbanger Day (also a drink, invented less than a century ago, made with vodka, orange juice, and the herbal liqueur Galliano), World Urbanism Day, and International Tongue Twister Day.

Here’s a collection of international tongue twisters; I’ll give three. The Polish and Swedish ones were translated by Malgorzata.

French:  Un chasseur sachant chasser sait chasser sans son chien de chasse.

Google translate: “A hunter who knows how to hunt, knows how to hunt without his hunting dog.”

Polish: W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie, i Szczebrzeszyn z tego słynie. [from the poem “Chrząszcz” by Jan Brzechwa].

“In Szczebrzeszyn [it’s a name of a Polish town] a beetle sounds in the reeds and Szczebrzeszyn got famous because of it.”

Swedish: Sju skönsjungande sjuksköterskor skötte sjuttiosju sjösjuka sjömän på skeppet “Shanghai”.

“Seven beautifully singing nurses took care of seventy seven seasick sailors from the ship ‘Shanghai'”.

News of the Day:

You all know the Big News:

Nevada has been called for Biden (6 electoral votes). Georgia, North Carolina, and Arizona haven’t been called yet. NC will go Republican, and I predicted that GA and AZ will go for Biden, as they will. With more than 98% of the vote counted in Georgia, Biden leads by about 10,000 votes out of about 5 million tallied, and in Arizona, with 97% of the votes counted, Biden leads by 18,600 votes out of about two million.  I predict he will win both states, finishing with an electoral college total of 306. But even with losses in all those states, Biden’s win in Pennsylvania still takes him over the top.  North Carolina is ahead for Trump 50.0% by 48.6%; they don’t deserve their barbecue today.

I received congratulations from friends all over the world, and that felt good. So many countries were hoping for Biden’s win! This one came from a friend in Calcutta, showing the Telegraph of India; my friend wrote, “Bravo! You made it!” And that despite the conservative Modi government.

And the New York Times published this (click on screenshot):

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 237,567, a big increase of about 1,000 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,257,445, an increase of about 7,400 over yesterday’s report.

Stuff that happened on November 8 includes:

  • 1519 – Hernán Cortés enters Tenochtitlán and Aztec ruler Moctezuma welcomes him with a great celebration.
  • 1602 – The Bodleian Library at the University of Oxford is opened to the public.
  • 1895 – While experimenting with electricity, Wilhelm Röntgen discovers the X-ray.

For that Röntgen won the first Nobel Prize in Physics—in 1901.  Here’s what Wikipedia labels, “First medical X-ray by Wilhelm Röntgen of his wife Anna Bertha Ludwig’s hand.” I don’t know how “medical” it was: the swelling on her index finger may be a wedding ring. 

  • 1901 – Gospel riots: Bloody clashes take place in Athens following the translation of the Gospels into demotic Greek.
  • 1923 – Beer Hall Putsch: In Munich, Adolf Hitler leads the Nazis in an unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the German government.
  • 1932 – Franklin D. Roosevelt is elected as the 32nd President of the United States, defeating incumbent president Herbert Hoover.
  • 1937 – The Nazi exhibition Der ewige Jude (“The Eternal Jew”) opens in Munich.

Here’s an anti-Semitic poster from that exhibition, very similar to the posters created in some Middle Eastern countries today. “Der ewige Jude” is also the title of a viciously anti-Semitic film made by the Nazis in 1940, and you might want to watch it as a history lesson (I have); it’s here.

  • 1950 – Korean War: United States Air Force Lt. Russell J. Brown, while piloting an F-80 Shooting Star, shoots down two North Korean MiG-15s in the first jet aircraft-to-jet aircraft dogfight in history.
  • 1960 – John F. Kennedy is elected as the 35th President of the United States, defeating incumbent Vice President Richard Nixon, who would later be elected president in 1968 and 1972.
  • 1965 – The Murder (Abolition of Death Penalty) Act 1965 is given Royal Assent, formally abolishing the death penalty in the United Kingdom for almost all crimes.
  • 1988 – U.S. Vice President George H. W. Bush is elected as the 41st president.
  • 2016 – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi publicly announces the withdrawal of ₹500 and ₹1000 denomination banknotes.

Since I had a bunch of 500 and 1000 rupee notes left over from a trip, and planned to use them when I went back to India, my notes became worthless, as they had to be taken to a bank in India. I lose about $60. Thanks, Modi! (This was largely to eliminate counterfeit cash and stifle the “shadow economy”.)

  • 2016 – Donald Trump is elected the 45th President of the United States, defeating Hillary Clinton, the first woman ever to receive a major party’s nomination.

A dark day then, but a bright day today!

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1656 – Edmond Halley, English astronomer and mathematician (d. 1742)
  • 1908 – Martha Gellhorn, American journalist and author (d. 1998)

Gellhorn, a journalist was the third wife of Ernest Hemingway. Here they are in a photo labeled “Gellhorn and Ernest Hemingway with General Yu HanmouChongqing, China, 1941.” Like Hemingway, she committed suicide, but only when she was 90 and ill with cancer. 

  • 1931 – Morley Safer, Canadian-American journalist and author (d. 2016)
  • 1947 – Minnie Riperton, American singer-songwriter (d. 1979)

Riperton, a Chicago girl, died of ovarian cancer at the age of only 31. She performs her one #1 hit, “Lovin’ You” (1975) live below; it shows her famous ability to sing in the “whistle register”, the highest register of the human voice.

  • 1949 – Bonnie Raitt, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

And here’s my favorite song by Raitt, “Nick of Time,” performed live at the Montreaux Jazz Festival in 1991. She’s about my age—one of those people you can compare yourself to to judge your your rate of aging. (Sissy Spacek is another—only five days older than I.) Sadly, this song is about getting old.

Those who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on November 8 include:

  • 1308 – Duns Scotus, Scottish priest, philosopher, and academic (b. 1266)
  • 1674 – John Milton, English poet and philosopher (b. 1608)
  • 1887 – Doc Holliday, American dentist and poker player (b. 1851)
  • 1978 – Norman Rockwell, American painter and illustrator (b. 1894)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is interfering with Listy again:

A: Could I check something in my calendar?
Hili: Not now.
In Polish:
Ja: Czy mógłbym coś sprawdzić w kalendarzu?
Hili: Nie teraz.

An election cartoon from reader Roger Sorensen, who says, “I drew up a thought that’s been in the back of my mind all week.”

From a reader whose name was not supplied, a d*g book club.

Ginger K sent a news item:

Given the circumstances, all of today’s tweets will be related to the election. This first one was sent to me by several readers:

From Simon, an academic in-joke (papers submitted for publication should not be listed on c.v.s):

Also from Simon, the latest ad from the Lincoln Project, clearly prepared in advance:

Matthew, who’s very happy, sent the rest of the tweets. This first one is quite clever:

And in Paris, celebration in solidarity with the sane Americans (sound up):

Another clever one:

Steve and Rebecca celebrate in their place on Cape Cod:

This election has brought out the wags on Twitter:

John Banville is an Irish novelist:

And one extra: The covers of the German magazine Der Spiegel (“The Mirror”), on February 4, 2017, and today.


59 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Correction: If Biden wins GA and AZ he will have a total of 306. This is interesting because that is what Trump had when he won last time.

  2. my vote for best tongue twister; note the accent marks. each character is pronounce ‘shir’ (for beijingers), the accents mean rising, falling, flat, fall/rise tones. here are characters, pinyin (phonetic), and english.


    Shí shì shī shì Shī Shì, shì shī, shì shí shí shī.
    Shì shí shí shì shì shì shī.
    Shí shí, shì shí shī shì shì.
    Shì shí, shì Shī Shì shì shì.
    Shì shì shì shí shī, shì shǐ shì, shǐ shì shí shī shì shì.
    Shì shí shì shí shī shī, shì shí shì.
    Shí shì shī, Shì shǐ shì shì shí shì.
    Shí shì shì, Shì shǐ shì shí shì shí shī.
    Shí shí, shǐ shí shì shí shī shī, shí shí shí shī shī.
    Shì shì shì shì.

    In a stone den, a poet called Shi Shi, who was a lion addict, and had resolved to eat ten lions.
    He often went to the market to look for lions.
    At ten o’clock, ten lions had just arrived at the market.
    At that time, Shi had just arrived at the market.
    He saw those ten lions, and using his trusty arrows, caused the ten lions to die.
    He brought the corpses of the ten lions to the stone den.
    The stone den was damp. He asked his servants to wipe it.
    After the stone den was wiped, he tried to eat those ten lions.
    When he ate, he realized that these ten lions were in fact ten stone lion corpses.
    Try to explain this matter.

      1. This may not seem like a tongue-twister, but say it out loud, five times, fast:

        “World Cup Soccer.”

        Warning: NSFW

        Those Indian women are “rejoicing?” I’d hate to see them in a somber mood.

  3. Oh, tongue twisters. 🙂

    I offer three German “Zungenbrecher”.

    Zwischen zwei spitzen Steinen sitzen zwei zischende Schlangen.
    Between two pointed stones sit two hissing snakes.

    Zwischen zwei Zwetschenzweigen sitzen zwölf zwitschernde Schwalben.
    Twelve twittering swallows sit between two plum branches.

    Blaukraut bleibt Blaukraut und Brautkleid bleibt Brautkleid
    Red cabbage remains red cabbage and wedding dress remains wedding dress

        1. Yes, after all, when you cut it open it is generally purple, and blue when standing in the field or garden.c for pigments purple is a mixture of red and blue.
          When my daughter was a young girl, we made ‘indicator water’ with red (blue) cabbage. Messy but fun.

        2. Yes, this is correct.

          There are several designations für read cabbage which differ according to the German speaking region.

    1. Luckily my German teacher only demanded “Griechischer Geschichtsschreiber”, which, in fact, I found more difficult than my French teacher’s twister about her hunter able to hunt without his dog above.

    2. I recall from school German classes: Wir Wiener Wäscherinen würde weisse Wäsche waschen, wenn wir wusten wo warmes Wasser wäre.

      We Viennese washerwomen would wash whiter washing, if we knew where was warm water.

      Apologies if some of that is wrong, it’s been about 60 years.

  4. The ridiculous standing of the electoral system is proven out by the past two presidential elections. It makes no difference how many vote, it is how many vote where. Senatorial representation is even worse. Wyoming has the same power in congress as California and some call this democracy?

      1. To be even more clear, I did say the Senate representation was even worse. And it does dilute the entire congress in getting things done. Just in the past four years hundreds of bill were put forward and past by the house and then went to the Senate to die. So why is there so much difference between the two houses of congress? The lack of representation in one of them.

        1. Why? It is because the Senate represents landmass more than population distribution. Wyoming gets as much power as California.

              1. I have done some reading on the creation of the constitution back there in Philly and I don’t recall anything about land mass representation. Now, there was a majority of small states at this convention verses “big” states. The size here is about population and it was a very important part of the conversation and fight regarding representation. The small states wanted two Senators per state and the large wanted population representation just like the house. So the small states won and we have been paying for this absurdity ever since.

      1. I guess that’s a joke right? There are also two Carolina’s and both of them tried to succeed a long time ago. Didn’t work out too well. Maybe Alaska will split into and make Texas the third largest state.

          1. There are also two Carolina’s and both of them tried to succeed a long time ago. Didn’t work out too well.

            Yeah, I guessed as much. Leaving it like that could be taken the wrong way by Carolinians. At least NC seems to be quite successful when compared to other southern states. 😉

          1. You realize I assume, that a state cannot split any more than it can leave the union without permission from all the rest?

              1. Well, W. Virginia was given federal permission to split off (during the civil war) they did not just split. Maine was claimed by other states but was again permitted to become a state on it’s own. Getting federal permission is not the same as just doing something based on what the state wants to do. I thought we can of settled this with a war folks.

      2. Excellent idea. And to bring some proportionality, states with less than, say, 1/2% of the population get only 1 Senator. States with more than, say, 7 or 10% get three. Still far from representative, but slightly less skewed. That might however,be difficult to achieve.
        Maybe giving statehood to DC and Puerto rico will be easier.

        1. I kind of came up with an idea of one senator up to a population of 5 million. 2 senators if you reached 10 million. 3 at 15 million and so on. California would have about 8 senators.

  5. In the distant future, all Presidents are dead and God calls them. He asks George Bush: “Son, what do you believe?”. Bush: “I believe in the free market” to which God replies “you shall take a seat to my right. And you, son, what do you believe?” to Barak Obama “I believe in affordable health care.” to which God says “you shall take a seat to my left”. He then turns to Donald Trump, “ and you? what do you believe?” Trump says to God: “I believe you’re sitting in my chair!” — told by comic Jürgen von der Lippe

    1. Reminds us of Ivanka inadvertently stepping into the bathroom where Mr Trump is standing naked in his full (well, not so full it is rumoured) glory. “Oh my God” she exclaims, upon which The Don says: ‘well, my dear, here inside you may call me Daddy”.

    2. Heard that joke once before, but in that version there were two dogs who responded first and the punch line was delivered by a cat.

  6. I have a few more comments on the election.

    1. Here is the Republican line on why Americans should welcome Republican victory in the coming runoff elections in Georgia as articulated by the loathsome right-wing hack Hugh Hewitt in the Washington Post:

    “If Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler are returned by Peach State voters, Americans will have divided government and compromise. If left-wing Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock win, the nation will be saddled with the radical outcomes above (and no doubt many others), along with having Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as Senate majority leader.”

    Remember, if Democrats win both seats, they will control the Senate. Apparently, Hewitt thinks Americans are dumb to believe that if the Republicans win, there will be compromise, but if the Democrats win, they will pass radical measures. Hewitt is trying to argue that the ACA is somehow socialistic. Hewitt wants Americans to forget that when we had divided government, Mitch McConnell blocked everything Obama wanted passed. The Republican bullshit is Orwellin, but, who knows, it may work.

    2. There was no blue wave in the election. Republicans did rather well in the “down ballot” races. They did well in state races and picked up a few seats in the House. This indicates to me that Trump lost because he is so personally repugnant, not because of the issues he advocated, particularly the social ones. This indicates to me that the Republican Party is far from dead and that a less odious nominee in 2024 will have a good chance of winning.

    3. It is clear that most Republican politicians are echoing Trump’s ludicrous claim that the election was stolen. This means that they still fear the Republican base, which Trump tightly controls. The result is that they won’t cooperate with Democrats and makes Hugh Hewitt’s comments even more absurd.

    1. “It is clear that most Republican politicians are echoing Trump’s ludicrous claim that the election was stolen.”

      I feared for a long time that they’d pull off this coup, simply with bullying and power games. As it happened, at the moment Biden was declared winner and sensible leaders in Europe were falling over each other to congratulate him, the coup was being announced by Guiliani outside that landscaping company.

      Sometimes a bit of credibility is needed as well, in order to ‘dominate the narrative’.

    2. I both hope and think your outline is wrong as is Hewitt’s comments. Whether Georgia is about to flip both seats it is on it’s way to becoming a blue state. That is a fact for the future. The republicans will have to pretend Trump never happened or they will dye a slow death. That is my guess, either they make a lot of changes or they will slowly go down. The rest of the world for the most part is with me on this and world opinion matters. Having Netanyahu for your puppet in Israel will not do Israel any good either.

      1. It makes sense that in the future the Republican party will decidedly move away from the legacy of Trump. “Trump who?” they will say. I don’t know how soon that will be. Maybe that is the near future, but I don’t know.

        1. I would recommend watching what happens in the Trump media over the next year. If Fox starts going to something else that will kind of tell us. Have to remember, the republicans did not even have a political platform. Basically Trump was the platform. When you make it about one person, you are kind of screwed. Like Germany was screwed long ago.

    3. While Trumpism is definitely not going away, I have less fear that a competent Trump-like figure will win in 2024. Distrust of the media and ridiculous conspiracy theories will start to fade as an honest president and his administration dominate the air waves. It will be much harder to give these conspiracy theories and lies without Trump supporting them as if they were truth. Hard core Trumpers will still be doing it but regular, run-of-the-mill Republicans will be less inclined to listen to them.

  7. Minnie Riperton is the mother of Maya Rudolph who will be starring as Kamala Harris in coming years. I wonder if Rudolph does not want to see Harris become president. She will be typecast for a long time. I love the work that Riperton did with Rotary Connection. You can find most of it online. Here is Lady Jane:

    I have to disagree with PCC(e). Raitt’s best song is her cover of the late, great John Prine’s Angel from Montgomery.

  8. Martha Gellhorn in China with Hem! Check out Peter Moreira’s fine book about the China trip–especially Martha’s bathroom visit during the air raid–yikes!

  9. I .LOVE.LOVE. this most American deal and
    THE one o’my three kiddos. Not yesterday
    as of this video but of decades’ time ago.
    I still smashingly S M I L E viewing
    little ones soooo, so trying, trying, trying.

    í AND … … .finally.finally. GETTING THERE
    ¡ W I N N I N G the White HOME !


      1. I think so but Israeli politics is way too complicated for me to understand which side to be on. I just found it on-brand for Trump to try to leverage a foreign leader into saying things in his favor. It also shows that Netanyahu was smart enough to stay out of it.

  10. Trump has more than 2 months to further stain the Republican brand which may help Democrats. My hope is that he turns on some Republicans for not sufficiently supporting his crazy claims about the election. This could damp down turnout by his base for the 2022 Senate elections.

  11. Back to tongue twisters: few of them begin with vowels, but here is a German example:

    In Ulm und um Ulm und um Ulm herum.

    In Ulm (a city in southern Germany, birthplace of Einstein) and around Ulm and round about Ulm.

    German has quite a few tongue twisters because of all its words starting with s- or sch-.

    1. Well, I reply with another German one.

      Der Cottbuser Postkutscher putzt den Cottbuser Postkutschkasten.

      The Cottbus stagecoach driver cleans the Cottbus stagecoach box. 🙂

      Cottbus = city in south-eastern Brandenburg

  12. LOVE the Pinkers dancing – those (old!) kids can MOVE!

    And I had exactly the same experience with the Indian rupee and lost about $50. I didn’t even have time to send it to my favorite charity in Mumbai.

    Aside our minor losses it was a shitty maneuver by horror show Modi wiping out the savings of so many poor people there.

    I even wrote an article about it in my column.

    D.A., NYC

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