Monday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

November 9, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Monday, November 9, 2020: National Greek Yogurt Day, another day of cultural appropriation. It’s also National Scrapple Day, celebrating an indigenous American foodstuff, created by the Amish. I happen to like the stuff: it’s the northern equivalent of grits.  Here it is (Wikipedia notes that it’s ” a mush of pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and wheat flour, often buckwheat flour, and spices. The mush is formed into a semi-solid congealed loaf, and slices of the scrapple are then pan-fried before serving.”   It’s better than it sounds!

Finally, it’s World Freedom Day, curiously, an American holiday, but one celebrating the opening of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989 (see below).

News of the Day

Well, Trump is still not conceding the election, and if you expect him to I think you’ll be disappointed. Indeed, he’s still ranting on Twitter about the “stolen election”. Only two states remain to be called: North Carolina, which will go for Trump, and Georgia, where Biden is leading by about 10,000 votes out of five million.

Look at this:

Man, Philly has become a lot more populous since the last time I looked! The thing is, even if Trump wins all of his legal challenges, he still won’t get enough votes to win the election. It’s time for him to call it quits and go play gold.

If you want a very short precis of Biden’s policies on stuff like the pandemic, the economy, taxes, and healthcare, the New Woke Times has a useful summary. 

A few Republicans are urging Trump to concede (ex-President W. even called Biden to congratulate him), but most are keeping mum or even urging Trump to keep up his futile fight.

Meanwhile, Uncle Joe and Kamala have prepared the executive transition website, which you can see here.

Alex Trebek, the beloved host of the quiz show Jeopardy, died yesterday at 80. He’d been terminally ill with pancreatic cancer for a while, but taped his show right up to the end.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 238,031, an increase of about 500 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,263,1111, an increase of about 5,700 over yesterday’s report.

Stuff that happened on November 9 includes:

  • 1620 – Pilgrims aboard the Mayflower sight land at Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
  • 1851 – Kentucky marshals abduct abolitionist minister Calvin Fairbank from Jeffersonville, Indiana, and take him to Kentucky to stand trial for helping a slave escape.

Fairbank served 19 years in prison for helping slaves escape via the Underground Railroad.

  • 1906 – Theodore Roosevelt is the first sitting President of the United States to make an official trip outside the country. He did so to inspect progress on the Panama Canal.
  • 1907 – The Cullinan Diamond is presented to King Edward VII on his birthday.

What a present! The original diamond, the largest ever found at that time, weighed 3,106 carats (nearly a pound and a half), and was cut into about 100 smaller stones. Nine of the largest were given to the British Royal family. The pictures below show the whole rough diamond, Dutch cutter Joseph Asscher cleaving it in one mighty blow, and some of the royal geegaws containing bits of the Cullinan:


  • 1913 – The Great Lakes Storm of 1913, the most destructive natural disaster ever to hit the lakes, reaches its greatest intensity after beginning two days earlier. The storm destroys 19 ships and kills more than 250 people.
  • 1918 – Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany abdicates after the German Revolution, and Germany is proclaimed a Republic.
  • 1923 – In Munich, police and government troops crush the Nazi Beer Hall Putsch.
  • 1938 – The Nazi German diplomat Ernst vom Rath dies from gunshot wounds by Herschel Grynszpan, an act which the Nazis used as an excuse to instigate the 1938 national pogrom, also known as Kristallnacht.
  • 1985 – Garry Kasparov, 22, of the Soviet Union becomes the youngest World Chess Champion by beating fellow Soviet Anatoly Karpov.
  • 1989 – Cold War: Fall of the Berlin WallEast Germany opens checkpoints in the Berlin Wall, allowing its citizens to travel to West Berlin.

The opening of the Wall on the evening of this day in 1989 was actually a mistake—a mis-announcement by an East German official. But it was too late: East Berliners poured through the wall to West Berlin. This short documentary tells the tale:

  • 1998 – Capital punishment in the United Kingdom, already abolished for murder, is completely abolished for all remaining capital offences.
  • 2004 – Firefox 1.0 is released.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1818 – Ivan Turgenev, Russian author and playwright (d. 1883)
  • 1914 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-American actress and inventor (d. 2000)
  • 1918 – Spiro Agnew, American soldier, lawyer, and politician, 39th Vice President of the United States (d. 1996)
  • 1922 – Dorothy Dandridge, American actress, singer, and dancer (d. 1965)

Dandridge was the first black woman nominated for a Best Actress Oscar, for her performance in Carmen Jones (1954). Here’s a clip from the movie; you might recognize her co-star Harry Belafonte. Dandridge had a rough life, and died, probably of suicide, at 42.

Frank was a great street photographer. Here’s one of his famous photos, “Streetcar, New Orleans, 1955,” showing a segregated trolley:


  • 1928 – Anne Sexton, American poet and academic (d. 1974)
  • 1934 – Carl Sagan, American astronomer, astrophysicist, and cosmologist (d. 1996)
  • 1936 – Mary Travers, American singer-songwriter (d. 2009)

Those who found eternal rest on November 9 include:

Here’s are photos I took ten years ago of Thomas’s house and his grave in Laugharne, Wales:

  • 1970 – Charles de Gaulle, French general and politician, 18th President of France (b. 1890)
  • 2003 – Art Carney, American actor and comedian (b. 1918)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili once again proves that she needs to always be right.

Hili: Admit that I was right.
A: What about?
Hili: About everything.
In Polish:
Hili: Przyznaj, że miałam rację.
Ja: W jakiej sprawie?
Hili: We wszystkich sprawach.

And in nearby Wloclawek, Mietek, a long way from kittenhood, recounts his odyssey. About a year ago he was a very sick stray kitten, not expected to live. Elzbieta and Andrzej the Second took him in, got him to the vet, and now look at the moggy!

Mietek:  And a year went by… or how I changed from the sick stray into a sybarite.
In Polish: I tak minął rok…czyli jak z chorego znajdka zamieniłem się w sybarytę.

From Jesus of the Day. Doesn’t anybody know what a Pez is any more?

Also from Jesus of the Day: God’s recipe for cats:

From Charles, a meme of futile hope:

Two “museum” cats: on from the Colosseum and an ancient Egyptian cat ring.

Interspecies love, one of Grania’s favorite themes:

From Barry: art imitates life:

From Peter. You probably heard about how Team Trump scheduled a press conference at the “Four Seasons”, thinking it was a hotel. It wasn’t.

Donald Trump’s increasingly desperate bid to hang on to the White House crossed into abject farce on Saturday, after his campaign staged a purportedly major press conference at a Philadelphia landscaping business situated between a crematorium and sex shop.

On Saturday morning, as Trump played golf and continued to baselessly accuse the Democrats of stealing the election for Joe Biden, the president announced, in a tweet that was subsequently deleted, a “big press conference” at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia.

Trump quickly altered his statement, revealing that the press conference venue was not a Four Seasons hotel, but Four Seasons Total Landscaping, a suburban business between a crematorium and an adult book store on the outer edges of the city.

The tweet:

Tweets from Matthew. Before we forget The Nightmare that Was Trump, have a gander at this: it was real!

Tenrecs, weird mammals that are endemic to Madagascar, are often very cute. And they occupy their own familY:

A beautiful video of a beautiful euglossine bee:

46 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

    1. Soon you will be able to sing (after Frank Zappa):

      Donald has just left the building –
      Those are his footprints, right there
      Donald has just left the building –
      To walk down the infernal stair
      He gave away falsities, lots in a pile;
      Had sex in his underpants,
      Yes, he had style!

  1. … Trump is still not conceding the election, and if you expect him to I think you’ll be disappointed. Indeed, he’s still ranting on Twitter about the “stolen election”.


    Seems the Donald is still firmly in stage one of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s five-stage model of grief. Once his spurious court challenges run out, we can look for him to go full-on “anger” (which seems to be his base state anyway).

    He may get to “bargaining” before January 20th, in an effort to secure a pardon and avoid post-presidency prosecution. But I doubt he’ll ever achieve “acceptance.”

    1. Got this election meme from my ex:

      ‘Why can’t Trump go to the White House any more?

      Because it’s ForBiden.’

    2. I don’t think Biden will pardon DT. He’ll let him find his way with his band of lawyers and just keep hands off. He’ll say, “I can’t properly comment on an ongoing investigation/prosecution”.

    3. As many pundits have commented, Trump is only doing this to keep his base locked in. He has no chance of overturning this election.

      He doesn’t care what violence ensues, though I find it encouraging that we haven’t seen much violence so far. Violence usually needs an explicit trigger and, so far, there has not been one. On the other hand, perhaps his supporters still don’t think he’s lost.

  2. Was surprised to see a large coverage of the death of Alex Trebek on the ABC news last night. They opened the news with this and later closed out the news with more. Very nice to see some improved priorities some where in the media.

    1. I did my last 2 years of high school in Sudbury, Canada. My older sister did her final year there.

      That year Alex Trebek was in the same class as she was.

  3. Re that clip from Veep:

    I watched a couple episodes of the show during its first run on HBO and thought it was pretty good. Around that time, I essentially gave up watching tv for s few years. Then, a few weeks after the pandemic hit, and we went into lockdown, I fired up my new Fire Stick and binge-watched the whole series.

    It has some of the best, most-irreverent writing and finest acting, led by Julia Louis-Dreyfus in the title role, ever to hit the small screen. And it’s flat-out, uproariously funny.

  4. I’m so sad that Alex Trebek has died. I used to watch Jeopardy! regularly back in the nineties and early aughts. He was such a gentleman. RIP Alex. 🙁

  5. Now I don’t know a damn thing about election law, but the Press’s and Social Media’s knee-jerk denial that there is even such a thing as ballot tampering or election fraud isn’t doing the public any favors. (Not for nothing did Tulsi Gabbard co-sponsor in September a bill to counter ballot harvesting.) Should one of the recounts cause one of the declared states to flip, or one of the legal challenges cause one of the undeclared states flip back to Republican, it’s going to be a shock to many, and further undermine confidence in the electoral process.

    1. There are minor election frauds every year. Typically localized, and typically involving less than 0.01% of the state’s ballots.

      The press isn’t denying fraud exists; they’re denying the biannual conservative claim that it’s massive. The press recognizes, correctly, that this is a dogwhistle signal from GOP leadership to their base that too many of “the wrong” people (i.e. 1st generation citizens, minorities, etc.) are voting, and so voting requirements need to be made for difficult so that less people do it.

    2. Are you aware of any instance in US history where the results of a single state have been reversed as a result of a recount or of the type of fraud allegations the Trump camp is advancing? And are you aware of any credible evidence of widespread — or even narrow-spread — fraud in this election? All Team Trump has put forward are unsubstantiated allegations and anecdotes that, upon further inquiry, have not been borne out. And even if the results were to be upset in a single state, it would not effect the results of the presidential election, since Biden is heading for a 306 to 232 landslide victory in the electoral college.

      The main question remaining is how much longer the pusillanimous congressional Republicans will continue to cower in abject fear of Donald Trump (as Trump’s idiot eldest son issues twitter threats to any of them the Trump camp fears may tergiversate). To date, to the best of my knowledge, only Mitt Romney and Lisa Murkowski have had the stones to acknowledge the inevitable and offer their congratulations to Biden and Harris.

      Among this nation’s noblest traditions are the peaceful transition of power to a new administration from the opposite party and the graceful, magnanimous concession speech by the candidate that winds up on the short end of a presidential election.

      Donald Trump made a big show of humping Old Glory on the stage of the CPAC shindig the past couple years, to the crowd’s delight, as some symbolic show of his love for this country. But not even his most ardent supports seem to believe that he’ll be able to summons the patriotism even to feign his way through these patriotic traditions.

    3. For example, California has a bigger population than Canada. If there were not in that state even a single example of some guy trying, and probably failing, to impersonate his recently deceased relative and vote twice, it would be statistically extraordinary.

      It would be laughable, the good Dr. B. trying to hump up a climate of suspicion that there is even the slightest chance of fraud sufficient to overturn any portion of this presidential election.

      If instead he/she thinks their remarks have any value in some other context, save them for it.

  6. I don’t think the iridescent bee/wasp in the video is a euglossine orchid bee. Euglossines have strongly swollen segments in the last pair of legs and long proboscides. I would guess a halactid. Maybe someone who actually knows something about bees (and wasps) could chime in.

  7. It turns out that the owner of the porn shop next to the Giuliani press conference used to be an architect and had interesting observations about Trump from his casino days:

    Working the desk was Zarif Jacob. A longtime resident of the area, Jacob told me he was once a commercial and residential architect. After retirement, he cycled through a variety of jobs. Now he was working the desk at Fantasy Island bookstore.

    …As an architect for 25 years, Jacob knew plenty of people in the area who’d dealt with Trump, who once ran casinos in Atlantic City. He was not a fan.

    “I never understood why people like him,” he said. “I know him very well. When I used to be an architect, he was building Taj Mahal [casino in Atlantic City]. He screwed a lot of people. A lot of people went bankrupt because he didn’t pay. All his casinos went bankrupt because of him. And he wouldn’t even admit it! He said, ‘Atlantic City went down because the people running it are stupid.’ And you are the genius?”

    1. She might be right about the Democrats’ poor organization at the local level and in the digital realm but she’s probably wrong about her pushback to Dem candidates claiming that fear of socialism and “defund the police” hurt them badly in the election. If Bernie Sanders had been the candidate rather than Biden, it would have been an absolute bloodbath for the Dems. AOC going public with all this is not going to endear her to the party. I suspect she’s overestimated her sway.

  8. If you are ever in the Cincinnati area, at least within a 10 mile radius of downtown, seek out some goetta. Similar to scrapple, but found nowhere else in the world. Cincy was once known as Porkopolis, as well as “the Queen City of the West”. All the traditional butcher shops in town make it, often with a slight change in spices.

  9. I once heard an amusing and very believable account of the initial cleaving of a famous diamond, possibly the Cullinan.
    The story was that the jeweller spent a very long time carefully inspecting the rock from every conceivable angle to locate all potential cleaving points and to decide where the first cleave was to be made in order to maximise the number of useable stones. His biggest fear was that he would miss seeing an internal fracture which might cause the diamond to shatter into hundreds or thousands of useless splinters when struck rather than splitting cleanly and so turning a priceless gem into virtually worthless chips.
    This fear was uppermost in his mind even as he placed the blade in the selected position, but he steeled himself, took a deep breath, gave himself an internal countdown – 3…2…1 – brought the mallet down sharply, saw the diamond split exactly as he’d planned and then he fainted clean away.

  10. Poor Neville Chamberlain.
    Spike Milligan used to refer to him as someone who did Prime Minister impressions.

    Donald Trump’s legacy will include him being known as someone who did President impressions.

    1. Trump’s is the worst ever impression of a president, and that includes Bill Pullman’s cliche-spouting President Whitmore from Independence Day. In fact, Alec Baldwin’s impression of the man currently impersonating the US president is more convincingly presidential than Trump himself. Then again, so is my dog.

  11. Jerry…
    Trump’s tweet
    “And what concerns me is that we had over a hundred million mail-in ballot in cites like Philladelphia…”
    Your comment
    “Man, Philly has become a lot more populous since the last time I looked!”
    – Trump wrote ‘in cit(i)es *like* Philly’, not ‘in philly’ !

    1. *Like* Philly or not, there isn’t a city in the US, or indeed the world, with a population anywhere near 100 million. According to the UN, the most populous city is Tokyo with about 37.5m and Delhi is in second place with 27.5m.

      1. My point is it does not read to me as implying Philly has 100m. It’s just using Philly as an example of an area among many that had mail-in ballots collectively totalling 100m !
        Here it is again…
        “And what concerns me is that we had over a hundred million mail-in ballot in cites like Philladelphia…”
        Now what do you see ?

        1. As of Wednesday 1:29 EST, Biden has a total of 77,083,679 votes. There may well be 100 million mail in ballots across the whole US – after all, there’s a global pandemic and the Dems were telling people to vote by mail. That doesn’t mean they aren’t perfectly legal votes, though. In the past, there have been plenty of news reports about problems with in-person voting – people being turned away, voting machine irregularities etc. The system isn’t perfect, but the research suggests that voting fraud by individual voters in the US is vanishingly small. (Purging eligible voters from the electoral roll as happened in Florida in 2000 in order to benefit the GOP is well documented, of course.)

          1. ? That’s irrelevant ! I’m just commenting on the interpretation of the wording ! And on that, you did not reply.
            Again, after me stating how it reads to me, how do you interpret it ?
            Trump “And what concerns me is that we had over a hundred million mail-in ballot in cites like Philladelphia…”
            Interpretation 1
            ‘There are several places with 100m+ ballots, Philly being one’
            Interpretation 2
            ‘In total 100m+ ballots, Philly contributing to that total’

  12. My point is it does not read to me as implying Philly has 100m. It’s just using Philly as an example of an area among many that had mail-in ballots collectively totalling 100m !
    Here it is again…
    “And what concerns me is that we had over a hundred million mail-in ballot in cites like Philladelphia…”
    Now what do you see ?

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