Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Welcome to Tuesday: the Cruelest Day, November 10, 2020. It’s been one week since they slice me like a lox, but all is well. It’s National Vanilla Cupcake Day, which couldn’t be more lame, as well as Sesame Street Day, Area Code Day, World Science Day for Peace and Development, and World Keratoconus Day. 

News of the Day: First, a sign of the times from reader Charles. And “everything” includes, of course, Trump.

It’s no surprise, of course, that Trump hasn’t conceded the election, and he may never do so. It’s a bit more surprising that a lot of Republicans, won’t, either.  Mitch “666” McConnell is also backing Trump’s refusal to concede. The NYT attributes the truculence to Republicans’ unwillingness to alienate Trump supporters given the two crucial Senate seats being contested in Georgia.

According to the BBC, militant Islamists beheaded more than 50 villagers in Mozambique, and then chopped up the bodies.

Amazingly in this political climate, a referendum requiring sex education in Washington state’s public school passed by a substantial margin, with over 60% of the state’s voters approving it. The Seattle Times‘s columnist Danny Westneat attributes this to the rapidly increasing secularism in the state:

In surveys of state voters released for the 2020 election, the group answering “none” to the question of “what is your religion?” easily forms the largest religious group in this state. The “Nones” made up 34% of the state electorate this year, according to the Votercast survey of 110,000 voters by AP and other news organizations in all 50 states (including about 2,400 here).

That’s far higher than evangelical and born-again Christians at 19%, or Catholics at 14%. It’s quite different here than nationally, where both Protestants and Catholics outnumber the Nones.

Also 45% of Washington voters answered “never” when asked how often they go to church.

The campaign to repeal the sex ed law was energized by churches and anti-abortion groups, and backed by the Washington State Catholic Conference.

Too bad, Catholics and evangelicals: your kids will learn the truth about sex, not that it will send them to hell. (I predict increased enrollment in religious schools.) h/t  Kleinknecht

And here’s The Big Question posed by David Pakman (h/t Woody):

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 238,776, an increase of about 740 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,270,573, a big increase of about 7,400 over yesterday’s report.

And yesterday the U.S. passed the total of ten million cases of coronavirus. 42 out of 50 states have an increasing infection rate.  But Uncle Joe is on the case, having appointed a crack pandemic team of 13 people. What with that and the news that a highly effective vaccine may be in the offing from Pfizer, things are looking up.

Stuff that happened on November 10 includes:

  • 1775 – The United States Marine Corps is founded at Tun Tavern in Philadelphia by Samuel Nicholas.
  • 1793 – A Goddess of Reason is proclaimed by the French Convention at the suggestion of Pierre Gaspard Chaumette.
  • 1865 – Major Henry Wirz, the superintendent of a prison camp in Andersonville, Georgia, is hanged, becoming one of only three American Civil War soldiers executed for war crimes.
  • 1871 – Henry Morton Stanley locates missing explorer and missionary, Dr David Livingstone in Ujiji, near Lake Tanganyika, famously greeting him with the words, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”.

Here’s Stanley a year later:

  • 1918 – The Western Union Cable Office in North Sydney, Nova Scotia, receives a top-secret coded message from Europe (that would be sent to Ottawa and Washington, D.C.) that said on November 11, 1918, all fighting would cease on land, sea and in the air.

Tomorrow is Armistice Day (11/11 and the hostilities ended at 11 a.m. Paris time)

  • 1951 – With the rollout of the North American Numbering Plan, direct-dial coast-to-coast telephone service begins in the United States.
  • 1969 – National Educational Television (the predecessor to the Public Broadcasting Service) in the United States debuts Sesame Street.
  • 1975 – The 729-foot-long freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald sinks during a storm on Lake Superior, killing all 29 crew on board.

That wreck, of course, was turned into an eponymous song by Gordon Lightfoot.in 1976, a #1 hit in Canada and #2 in the U.S. Here’s the ship and the song, with the song showing videos of the ship before and after it was wrecked:


  • 1975 – Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the United Nations General Assembly passes Resolution 3379, determining that Zionism is a form of racism
  • 1983 – Bill Gates introduces Windows 1.0.
  • 1989 – Germans begin to tear down the Berlin Wall.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1483 – Martin Luther, German monk and priest, leader of the Protestant Reformation (d. 1546)
  • 1880 – Jacob Epstein, American-English sculptor (d. 1959)
  • 1925 – Richard Burton, Welsh actor and singer (d. 1984)

Here’s a photo I took of Burton’s grave when I visited Céligny, Switzerland in 2007. It’s been adorned with a memento from an admirer. Burton drank and smoked himself to death at the age of 58: he was said to have smoked 3-5 packs of cigarettes per day and, at his peak, consumed 3-4 bottles of hard liquor per day.

  • 1949 – Ann Reinking, American actress, dancer, and choreographer
  • 1960 – Neil Gaiman, English author, illustrator, and screenwriter

Those who bought it on November 10 include:

Rimbaud died at 37; here he is at 17. Three years later, he stopped writing completely.

  • 1982 – Leonid Brezhnev, Ukrainian-Russian general and politician, 4th Head of State of the Soviet Union (b. 1906)
  • 2001 – Ken Kesey, American novelist, essayist, and poet (b. 1935)
  • 2007 – Norman Mailer, American novelist and essayist (b. 1923)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s trying to get Kulka in trouble:

A: Hili, where is my blue pen?
Hili: Kulka took it.
In Polish:
Ja: Hili, gdzie jest mój niebieski długopis?
Hili: Kulka go zabrała.

In nearby Wloclawek, Leon is jealous of Mietek’s first birthday:

Leon: What did Mietek get for his birthday?
In Polish: Co Mietek dostał na urodziny?

And here is little Kulka, who now looks exactly like Hili!

A meme from Nicole:

From Merilee:

Are New Yorker cartoons getting less funny? In the last few issues I’ve had precious few chuckles. Here’s one that I found totally lame!

Titania joins the American call for unity:

From cesar: Harvard Medical School’s Continuing Education site goes completely woke, unable to write the word “woman”. It’s now “pregnant and birthing people”.

Tweets from Matthew. I hope you know what this first one is about:

Two notables, one opinion:

Look at this gorgeous snail!

“Whaat? What is happening? Trace, we’ve called it!”

They gave them a home—where the buffalo roam. Lovely video of bison getting full freedom.

Notice how polite the donkeys are! Sound up, please.

46 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

  1. Why have Trump and Republicans accepted the results from House and Senate elections, but not Presidential? Everything was on the same ballots.

    Based on the lawsuits, they do this by claiming mail-in ballots and late-received ballots are illegal. This allows them to preserve their wins in the House and Senate (since AIUI those don’t typically depend on the mail-in ballots) while targeting those ballots most likely to give Biden the edge in the battleground states.

    1. The far right’s story is that it would have been too difficult to change the House and Senate votes, but apparently was child’s play to search out all the instances of 45’s name, and change the to Biden’s.

      1. But I continue to fret, especially when I have the stomach to check out Fox talking heads. Ken Starr and all of the other flaming assholes all the way up to Alito claim that the PA votes allowed to arrive late is a violation of the Constitution. Trump will stop at nothing to remain in the White House even in the face of losing the popular and the electoral votes. If the court system gives the election to Trump, I predict nationwide violence.

  2. That video of the animals inside the house reminds me of when I was a student, and lived in an apartment at a private school which had, among other animals, a small herd of goats.

    My housemate’s bedroom was on the other side of the wall from the art room. I awoke one morning to hear her yelling, got up to see what the commotion was, and discovered, as she had, that the goats had gotten into the art room. One had eaten, among other things, a carton of dry paint powder (non-toxic – it’s a school).

    We had pink milk for a week afterward.


  3. Couple more thoughts, then I’ll retire for the moment.


    HM Stanley looks so young!


    ethnic minority pregnant and birthing people suffer worse outcomes and experiences during and after pregnancy and childbirth.

    Y’know, they could’ve just said “ethnic minorities suffer…” The second part of the sentence clarifies the circumstances/subset. The first mention of pregnant etc. is both redundant and, as you say, obsequious.


    “Whaat? What is happening? Trace, we’ve called it!”

    Jerry, it appears both your links under this header lead to the same video. I’m not sure if that’s intentional or just a cut and paste error but I thought I’d point it out.

  4. I wonder how Alex from Oldham is at turfing elephants out from places where they’re not welcome – his services might be needed in Pennsylvania Avenue in January…!

  5. Every time I hear ‘Edmund Fitzgerald,’ I think of my father, who was childhood friends with one of the men who went down with the ship.

  6. There is a little marker at the spot where Livingstone greeted Stanley at Ujiji, Tanzania right next to Lake Tanganyika. There is also a very cheesey life-sized model of the event. Near by is another marker at the spot where Richard Burton (not THAT one) and John Speke first set eyes upon the lake.

  7. Oxymoron for the Day – Trump presidential library. It will be located on a golf course and have one book about golf titled, What’s the deal about golf.

    1. In Georgia Biden’s vote lead over Tr*mp increased overnight from less than 1000 to more that 12,000! Election officials are being especially careful to insure any recount will not result in embarrassment. The runoff elections for the two Georgia senate seats will be especially close. Republicans hold a slight lead in both. Jon Ossoff (D) trailed David P*rdue (R) by 1.8% in the general election. In the other contest, a special election, Republican candidates summed only 1% more votes Democrats. The latter runoff, also on Jan. 5, will pit Rafael Warnock (D) against Kelly L**ffler (R). If the Democrats win both, Biden will control the Senate.

    1. I got a finger-wagging from FB yesterday after posting a picture of Major which FB determined had been size-enhanced (not by me).🤣 Don’t they have more important things to deal with??
      Other than that, I am thrilled to have a dog, especially a GSD, in the WH🐾🐾

  8. While I know Biden won, and don’t believe the “stolen election” BS being put out by Trump and associates, the election is over when the vote counting is done, not when the media project a winner. I don’t think the keys to government, security briefings, etc. should be passed until that happens. Am I missing something here?

    1. Yes. You’re missing that anyone with half of their brain cells working and the ability to do basic math can see the meaningful result before the final count is complete. The meaningful result is required to move ahead with the transfer of power. The final result is required for recording history.

      1. That’s way too simplistic. So what’s the rule? How decisive does the count need to be before someone is declared the winner? How many major media outlets must project the same winner? Who is to judge which media outlets are “major”?

        Relying on the judgement of media outlets is only a little better than Trump’s declaration that it should be decided by whatever the count is at, say, midnight Eastern time on Election Day.

        Although I mostly still have faith in MSM, I don’t want actual workings of government to depend on their opinions.

        1. Where’s the rule? It is the same “rule” that we’ve followed since we began having elections. You count votes. When it becomes obvious that one person has one, you keep counting votes. But you also acknowledge that the final conclusion is known.

          We have an election. One side has a total of 900,000 votes and the other side has 100,000. There are 200 more votes to count. Do you seriously argue that we can’t call the election?

          1. So say you are the person within the federal government in charge of starting the transition process. When do you “pull the trigger”? What specific event triggers it? That’s a process with real consequences, including spending of money, national security, etc. Surely you don’t see that person pulling the trigger by watching their favorite news network and going with whatever they say? Get real. Government can’t work like that.

            1. Congress has to ‘pull the trigger’ on authorizing transition funding probably no later than September of the year before (i.e. for this one, September 2019).

              Someone’s going to be in charge of tracking that money, ensuring it’s available when needed, figuring out what it’s legal to spend it on, etc. That someone draws a salary. They cost money.

              So on the question of when the government decides to start spending money on transition, the answer is “about a year before the election is even held.”

              1. I think you are referring to a different pile of cash. This has been in the news for the last couple of days:


                Trump-appointed General Services Administration administrator, Emily W. Murphy, is responsible for approving the funds and letting the transition process proceed. People are calling on her to do so but, so far, we only have media outlets projecting Biden as the winner. I think it is yet another one of these conventions that Trump is abusing. The relevant law just says that it is to happen when the winner has been clearly determined, or something to that effect. Perhaps she is waiting for enough states to certify their results.

        2. How decisive does the count need to be before someone is declared the winner?

          If the uncertainty is smaller than the margin, and the state has no plans to do anything beyond just plain finishing the count, that’s pretty decisive.

          So, for example, GA has already said they’ll do a recount, so not decisive. PA has not signaled any such intent, and AFAIK the remaining uncounted ballots are smaller than the margin, so decisive.

          1. That kind of logic is certainly what I had in mind with my original comment. My main point is that we shouldn’t have official action triggered by some number of media outlets projecting the winner. If I remember the video correctly, a Fox News announcer claims with incredulity, “Doesn’t she know we’ve already called the election?”, as if that should matter to some state or federal process.

            1. It’s probably never going to be triggered by media outlets, but it may often correlate with their calls and look that way, because both the media and the government decision-makers are going to get the same information from the same sources (the state) at about the same time.

    2. On a slightly different tack: If Mr Biden suffers a deadly or debilitating stroke (let us hope not) before January 20, 2021, will Ms Harris be inaugurated? And if so, has she first to be inaugurated as VP?
      Or will Ms Pelosi be the 46th president?

      And what if that happened before the 15th of December, when the results are supposed to be certified?

  9. For no particular reason, I have seen multiple shows with Richard Burton recently.

    When he did Hamlet on Broadway in the 60s for two years, a film was made of the show with very poor black and white photography. It did poorly, and it was Burton’s wish that all prints be destroyed after the run in New York finished. But he kept one, and his widow in 1984 discovered she could do whatever she wanted with it, and she immediately put it on Home Video. IMO, worth watching even with the poor picture quality.

    In the 60s, Richard Burton did TWO movies in which he an Episcopal priest having an illicit affair, The Sandpipers and Night of the Iguana. (Counting Becket, that’s three movies in which he is a clergy of some sort!) The two characters are quite different, and the one in Sandpipers is far far more sympathetic and likable (as well as conveying a much stronger sense that he was probably a good and effective clergyman.)

    I have almost completed the 7 & 1/2 hour version of his final film “Wagner” (there is also a 10 hour version) in which Richard Burton plays Richard Wagner. I have always liked Wagner’s “Parzival” but now my enjoyment of it is pretty much ruined by my knowledge of the fact that by the time Wagner wrote it, he had been convinced by Houston Stewart Chamberlain (his son in law) that Jesus was not at all Jewish, but actually Aryan.
    (In the earlier version the Monty Python musical “Spamalot” (before the new version which removes all the Jewish jokes which are mostly flattering(!!) to Jews), King Arthur is told that to find the Holy Grail, he must put on a Broadway musical. When he asks how one does that there is a whole song and dance number (cut from the revised version) called “You’ve Got to have Jews” [to put on a Broadway musical]. This would indirectly imply that you need Jews to find the Holy Grail. But it would seem that for Wagner, you need to make sure there are no Jews for miles away around the Grail.
    For this reason, I now declare Monty Python’s “Spamalot” to be preferable to Wagner’s “Parzival”)

    1. I’ve never seen The Sandpiper, but I remember Pauline Kael’s capsule review of it.


      At the time it was released, Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who had been the world’s most highly publicized scandalous lovers during the making of CLEOPATRA only a couple of years before, had finally got married, and as the massive-headed Burton, looking more foreshortened than ever, eyed the portly Taylor in her Irene Sharaff poncho, and they delivered such lines as “I never knew what love was before” and “I’ve lost all my sense of sin,” the people in the theatres could not contain themselves. The movie will probably never be quite as hilarious again, but it’s a classic, no matter when you see it. Burton, an Episcopal clergyman, makes high-toned literary remarks to beatnik-atheist-artist Taylor, such as “I can’t dispel you from my thoughts,” and then, when he hates himself in the morning, she reassures him with “Don’t you realize that what happened between us is good?” At the last, the clergyman, redeemed by contact with the atheist’s spiritual values, casts off the temptations of wealth and worldly success and finds his simple faith again. If that isn’t enough, there’s Charles Bronson playing a sculptor (posing for him, Taylor demurely cups her breasts with her hands—though they seem inadequate to the task). Vincente Minnelli directed from a script by Dalton Trumbo and Michael Wilson. With Eva Marie Saint as the clergyman’s wife; she says bright things like “Thinking is a kind of prayer, isn’t it?”

      1. The film got strongly negative reviews across the board with currently a 9% rating on “Rotten Tomatoes”. However, it has gained a cult following over time. In her autobio, Taylor wrote “We never thought it would be an artistic masterpiece”

        I find it chiefly notable for being Burton’s second consecutive(!!) film playing an Anglican clergyman in a love affair (unless you count his brief cameo in “What’s New Pussycat” in between these two films), and his first film with Taylor after the two got married, and one of the early 60s film extolling a kind of Bohemian lifestyle.

        And as noted above, Burton is much more sympathetic than his previous clergyman role.

        The film is kitschy, but it has a certain charm. It is not the best work of director Vincente Minelli, nor of screenwriter Dalton Trumbo, but he can see the talent trying to make it work.

        1. Burton also plays a clergyman struggling with his faith (and giving an unintentionally funny performance) in “Exorcist II: The Heretic” (1977). The film has an awful reputation but was directed by the always-interesting John Boorman. To be honest, I prefer it to the overrated first film.

          1. martin Scorsese is one of the proud few who thinks Exorcist II is a better film that Exorcist I.
            II is a good movie, but a bad sequel, a quiet meditative film with utterly no suspense of any kind. The author of the novels prefers the first movie.

  10. I wrote two poems reflecting on Remembrance Day as the 11th of November is known in Australia

    Silence at 1100 hours
    Industrialised death ends
    Unseeing eyes, missed limbs
    Lungs scarred and drowned in mud
    Brains with dreams locked away
    Father, son, lover, husband, uncle
    Forever in faraway graves
    Never the same again
    War is not great
    And war never ends
    Incurable pathology
    A sucking hole in the chest
    Nothing romantic about that
    Faux patriotism and platitudes
    One minute and a bugle
    Indirect memories never our own
    Lives paid a price
    Death never buys peace


    Another day on the front
    No combat operations
    Four years of death
    Then 1100 struck

    Private Richard Williams,
    Committed suicide
    On a troopship bound for home
    Dead from invisible wounds

    Seventeen others died
    Not one KIA
    Wounded and diseased
    Discharged from life

    None chose to die
    One in five did
    No romance in their death
    What good comes of loss?

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