Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Thursday, November 12, 2020: National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day. And indeed, it should be a federal crime to put fish on pizza—especially the malodorous anchovy.  It’s also National French Dip Day (the Chicago version is the Italian Beef), Chicken Soup for the Soul Day (meh, unless there’s matzoh balls), Happy Hour Day, and World Pneumonia Day.

News of the Day:

First, for a nice break, go to this NYT article to hear the choices of “most wonderful songs by sopranos” from 16 writers, artists, critics, and singers. Those choosing include Renée Fleming, who names a Strauss song sung by Leontyne Price. There are click-on recordings of each person’s choice.

On January 5, Georgia’s two Senate seats will be decided in runoff elections. This is a crucial one for the Democrats, as if they win both seats, the Senate will be in a 50:50 tie, giving VP-elect Kamala Harris the tiebreaking vote in the Senate. Since Democrats hold the House, this would give Biden enormous power to effect legislative change. If Republicans win just one of the two, it will be 51-49 in favor of the GOP, and since parties tend to vote as blocs now, we’d be in a legislative stalemate that would last at least two years. We need Stacey Abrams, who was criticial in winning Georgia for Biden/Harris, to work extra hard in the next six weeks!

In other news, Franco is still dead, and President-eject Donald Trump has still not conceded the election. Some of his top aides suspect that a concession will never be forthcoming:

“Do not expect him to concede,” one top aide said. More likely, the aide said, “he’ll say something like, ‘We can’t trust the results, but I’m not contesting them.’”

Another adviser said that after the legal battles and recounts, the closest the president is likely to get to a concession is, “he’ll acknowledge the results and that we’ll never know how accurate they are.”

“But we’re not there yet,” the adviser said.

Multiple sources, including CNN and PBS, report that the coronavirus is coming back in the U.S. in a big way. More than 140,000 new cases were reported yesterday, and that’s a record. As far as hospitalizations go, CNN says this:

The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer organization that compiles data on coronavirus cases, said the number as of Tuesday was 61,694. That’s 2,024 more people than were hospitalized on April 15, the previous record.

In the first ten days of November, more than a million people were infected, and, even though about 1,400 new deaths were reported deaths are reported this morning, Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts another 110,000 deaths in the U.S. in the next two months.

New restrictions have been imposed in many states, including New York, and in Illinois, one of the most compliant states, we’ve been told to stay home and avoid all nonessential trips.

And let’s not forget that although America’s lost the most people, the world total is nearly six times larger. Yesterday Britain passed 50,000 deaths from the virus: the first country in Europe to reach this toll.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 241,689, a big increase of about 1,400 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,290,986, a big increase of about 9,800 over yesterday’s report.

Stuff that happened on November 12 includes:

  • 1912 – The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

Here are the five men of Scott’s party who made it to the pole: a month after Amundsen’s team had beaten them there. None of these guys made it back.

From left: Lawrence Oates, Henry Bowers, Captain Scott, Edward Wilson and Edgar Evans. Photograph: Courtesy of Sotheby’s

Trotsky’s real name was Lev Davidovich Bronstein, and he was Jewish. Here’s a Wikipedia photo labeled: “Leon Trotsky speaks from the Armoured Train during the Russian Civil War in 1920.” He was clearly the model for Strelnikov in the movie “Dr. Zhivago.”

Here’s a picture of Trotsky’s desk, where he was murdered in 1940 by an agent of Stalin, who buried the adze of an ice axe in Trotsky’s skull. The desk and entire house are exactly as they were in 1940. (I took this photo in 2012).  You must visit it if you’re in Mexico City; the house is a walled compound, as Lev was clearly expecting Stalin to come after him. It’s only a few blocks from Frida Kahlo’s house (the two were said to be lovers), and you can’t do better than visit them both in one day:

  • 1936 – In California, the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.
  • 1948 – In Tokyo, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentences seven Japanese military and government officials, including General Hideki Tojo, to death for their roles in World War II.
  • 1954 – Ellis Island ceased operations.
  • 1958 – A team of rock climbers led by Warren Harding completes the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.

It took them 45 days to make the ascent going up and down and fixing ropes. Now it can be done in a day, and without ropes of any sort. Here’s the route on The Nose:

  • 1961 – Terry Jo Duperrault is the sole survivor of a series of brutal murders aboard the Ketch Bluebelle. 
  • 1969 – Vietnam War: Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the story of the My Lai Massacre.
  • 1970 – The Oregon Highway Division attempts to destroy a rotting beached Sperm whale with explosives, leading to the now infamous “exploding whale” incident.

Here’s the famous news report given at the link. What a disaster!

  • 1980 – The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.
  • 2003 – Shanghai Transrapid sets a new world speed record (501 kilometres per hour (311 mph)) for commercial railway systems, which remains the fastest for unmodified commercial rail vehicles.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1840 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator, created The Thinker (d. 1917)
  • 1866 – Sun Yat-sen, Chinese physician and politician, 1st President of the Republic of China (d. 1925)
  • 1929 – Grace Kelly, American actress, later Princess Grace of Monaco (d. 1982)
  • 1934 – Charles Manson, American cult leader (d. 2017)
  • 1944 – Booker T. Jones, American pianist, saxophonist, songwriter, and producer
  • 1945 – Neil Young, Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer

Young is 75 today. Here’s one of his best recorded concerts: his appearance on the BBC in 1971, when he was 25 or 26. That was half a century ago. This is a fantastic video.

  • 1970 – Tonya Harding, American figure skater
  • 1982 – Anne Hathaway, American actress

Those who kicked the bucket on November 12 include:

  • 1916 – Percival Lowell, American astronomer, mathematician, and author (b. 1855)
  • 1981 – William Holden, American actor (b. 1918)
  • 1993 – H. R. Haldeman, American diplomat, 4th White House Chief of Staff (b. 1926)
  • 1994 – Wilma Rudolph, American sprinter and educator (b. 1940)

Rudolph, who overcame polio as a child, won three gold medals in track and field at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Here’s some video. Sadly, she died at 54 from brain cancer:

  • 2018 – Stan Lee, American comic book writer, editor, and publisher (b. 1922)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili bemoans the lack of prey:

Hili: The more I look the more I don’t see any mice.
A: Maybe they are eating breakfast in their burrows?
In Polish:
Hili: Im bardziej patrzę, tym bardziej żadnej myszy nie widać.
Ja: Może śniadanie w norkach jedzą?

And here’s Kitten Kulka, with the caption, “Kulka is getting more similar to Hili.” But I noticed that Kulka has gold eyes, while Hili’s are green.

In Polish: Kulka robi się coraz bardziej podobna do Hili

From Facebook:

From Facebook:

From Donna:

Two loons from reader Ken. Remember the Tea-Party conservative Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Congresswoman from 2001-2007. Here she is channeling Paula White, asking Jesus to dispel all kinds of delusions, including Joe Biden as President. But she forgot to call for angels from Africa!

A tweet from Andrée. Sound up!

Here’s a Texas televangelist laughing in tongues at the idea that Joe Biden was elected President.

From Luana. The Woke are nosing around in the dictionaries again. . .

Tweets from Matthew.  It’s definitely worth following the “Crap Wildlife Photography” group on Facebook. There are dozens of wonderful animals shots like these:

It’s well worth watching this 3-minute cat video. Sound up.

I’ve always been fascinated by the developmental change in the patterns of tapirs. When they’re born, they look like watermelons:

The baby above is a Malayan tapir. When they grow up, they’re patterned like the one below. You can say that the baby pattern camouflages it, and that’s very likely, but why does it change? Is the adult pattern cryptic for a larger individual?  I have no idea.

Cat wins! Cat wins! But I can’t figure out why it didn’t become dinner.

80 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

      1. I didn’t know of any strict specification for an evidently broadly defined sauce, as marinara — from “Mariner’s sauce” — is :

        … at any rate, anchovies are — or, _can_ be if anyone feels like it —used in numerous Italian recipes, dissolved into the oil as a first step – Pastene produces it’s own canned anchovy. But a whole or chopped anchovy is, in my view, a bit much.

        1. Anchovies ROCK. When pizzerias don’t have them (sadly, increasingly the case), I open up a can of them from my pantry, microwave them good, and just litter the whole damned pizza with them.


          1. I love anchovies on pizza. What is an abomination is pineapple on pizza! So I ask my pizza-monger for Da Lot, but no pineapple, and replace said pineapple with extra anchovies. Yum

    1. And it’s key to a great Caesar salad too! I love anchovies. They make a good substitute for dried shrimps (or fish sauce) when making Asian dishes like a savory steamed egg and ground pork custard or fried rice. I love pizza with the concentrated tomato paste, mozzarella, anchovies, hot peppers and thinly sliced red onions.

      1. I’d like to share some flavor knowledge:

        Anchovy and tomato both deliver umami — the savory flavor experience. Three compounds are important : inosinate, glutamate, and guanylate. All have sodium forms.

        Anchovy has lots of inosinates.

        Tomato has glutamates.

        The third component would be guanylates — that might be in anchovy, or mushrooms. Meats definitely have it.

        The key is to add each together, for a gestalt-like effect – more than the sum of the parts.

          1. Interesting tip — might just have to pick some up — been using mushroom powders, they’re pretty good.

            BTW – nutritional yeast has killer glutamate punch – I have found some have a biology lab smell that is neutralized by vinegar — good for salad dressing and more — in combination with mushroom.

          2. “Mucho like! A few drops of truffle oil go a long way too.”

            I have in mind a Margherita pizza liberally augmented with scallops and artichokes.

              1. “Ooh, that sounds incredible! I have artichokes on hand but no scallops. Would shrimps do?”

                Yes, especially jumbo shrimp. I was also thinking shrimp, but I refrained from saying so, afraid that I had already monumentally committed culinary blasphemy. 😉

  1. “1958 – A team of rock climbers led by Warren Harding completes the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.
    It took them 45 days to make the ascent going up and down and fixing ropes. Now it can be done in a day, and without ropes of any sort.” – Indeed, at the weekend Emily Harrington became the fourth woman to climb El Capitán in less than a day (she used ropes for safety but no equipment for assistance).

    1. The first person to climb El Capitan without ropes (even for safety) was Alex Honnold in 2017. He and another climber (Harrington’s boyfriend, Adrian Ballinger) assisted Harrington on her record one day climb. The safety rope attached to them was all that prevented her from falling – and she did once during the climb and bloodied her head! But that didn’t stop her.

      I have great respect for climbers. Some people are afraid of snakes, some spiders. Me….heights.

  2. The cat and fox video is wonderful! Great to see animals at play like that. Particularly when human news is so annoying.

    We need Stacey Abrams, who was criticial in winning Georgia for Biden/Harris, to work extra hard in the next six weeks!

    Given the solid GOP performance at everything below President, I’m pretty skeptical anything’s going to give the Dems a realistic chance at 2. But it’s worth the try.

    If you buy into the reasoning that woke riots spurred more people to vote local GOP out of concern for law and order, then I’d say just as important as GA democratic get-out-the-vote drives is no more “defund the police” riots and looting.

    1. In the regular election (Ossoff vs. Perdue) and special election (Warnock vs. a mob of candidates), the Democratic vote for senator only trailed Republican by 1%-2%. Now, with Biden president-elect, the moral disqualification of Trump, and hard work by the Georgia Democratic Party (with a little help from their friends), there is a better-than-even chance Democrats can win both seats.

      1. It is somewhat probable that Perdue didn’t win outright because Shane Hazel, the Libertarian candidate, took 2.3% of the votes.

        Who do you think those Libertarians are going to vote for in the runoff?

        Now keep in mind that first margin was only 1.7%.

        I don’t think it’s impossible, but I do think you’re probably wrong in seeing the Dem as the favorite.

      1. It would be. But it won’t be blue enough. There’s still the filibuster, and a 50/50 split plus Harris’ deciding vote isn’t going get that junked. Even victory in the Georgia runoffs won’t stop MMcC from ompulsively stonewalling everything coming out of the new administration.

        We sure could use a moral victory, though, after this long….

      2. May I ask where you sent your support? I’m not sure who to send money to in GA. If my asking is inappropriate, please disregard. Thanks!

  3. Scamvangelical (performance artist?) Kenneth Copeland’s force-faked laughter is sad to see. He’s burned-out on laughing all the way to the bank. Money can’t buy him love, but it can get him some favorable lease agreements.

  4. I am glad I don’t live in Georgia. They are going to be inundated with ads and phone calls for the next seven-and-a-half weeks.

  5. How is that herd immunity working out America? 240,000 dead, all the hospitals are full and we are just getting started. And more than 70 million people voted for this.

    1. I know you’re not an idiot MAGA hatter but your first sentence sure sound like it. Just so it’s clear; herd immunity is a real thing and it is critically important factor to consider in any public health crisis. It’s what keeps many of our seniors alive during the flu season. It does not (yet) seem to be playing an important role in the current epidemic, but once (if) an effective vaccine becomes available (10 are in phase 3 trials right now), it will be.

      1. Please educate further. The Trump policy promoted by him and his spokes persons in the white house is just let herd immunity take care of this virus. Open up and let all take a chance. The experts tell us this will cause millions of dead to get there. I am not talking about the damn flue or any disease where there is a vaccine. I know as well as you or anyone about the attempt to get a vaccine but what does that have to do with Trump’s policy now.

        Right now we are headed toward 2000 deaths a day. How do we stack up against the rest of the world?

        1. How do we stack up against the world? It depends (entirely) on what part of the world you’re interested in and what metric you’d like to see us stacked up against.

      2. Come on EdwardM. Why would you say that to Randall? You’ve seen him here enough to know how unsympathetic to the MAGA crowd he is and therefore how insulting that would be to him.

        And surely you know that “screw all prevention measures and let god sort them out until we naturally reach herd immunity” is a thing among the MAGA crowd. Randall was expressing sarcasm of that MAGA idea.

        Or are you actually advocating that a reasonable response to the pandemic is to allow it to run its course unfettered by prevention measures? Let the weak die until there are enough survivors to confer herd immunity?

        1. “Why would you say that to Randall? ”

          This is what I said;

          “I know you’re not an idiot MAGA hatter but your first sentence sure sound like it.”

          Here’s his first sentence

          “How is that herd immunity working out America?”

          Perhaps I could have been clearer but you could have been more charitable in your reading.

          In answer to your question(s); of course not. I don’t know what about my comment could even have prompted you to ask it.

  6. Canadian here. I should probably look this up but how will the two Georgia senators be elected? Is the state simply divided in two geographically with the population in each half voting for its senator? Or something else? Is it the same system in all states?

    1. Everyone in Georgia votes in both elections. US Senator is a statewide office. One seat is for a regular six year term. Perdue is the incumbent and is running for reelection. That seat expires in Jan 2027.

      The other Senate race is a special election. Loeffler holds that seat. She was appointed in January to the seat after Isakson resigned for health reasons. She holds it until a special election is held. Whoever wins that election will serve the balance of Isakson’s original term until Jan 2023. That election will be held in Nov 2022.

      1. Hmmm I think you’re right and Perdue’s seat is up for reelection in 2026. Apologies to Paul, I think my post below gets that point wrong.

    2. Probably something like this:

      Senator (Class 2) – vote for one of the following:
      David Perdue (R)
      Jon Ossoff (D)

      Senator (Class 3) – vote for one of the following;
      Raphael Warnock (D)
      Kelly Loeffler (R)

      Note the ballot probably won’t include the class. I’m including it here to give more information (Class 2 Senators must stand for reelection in 2024, while Class 3 Senators must stand for reelection in 2022).

      1. Thanks. My sources (admittedly left-leaning) have portrayed both Perdue and Loeffler extremely negatively (as crooks basically). But I suppose that won’t necessarily stop them from being elected.

          1. Not so much of an uphill climb: The Democrats will be riding high on the Biden-Harris win and Trump’s disgraceful loser tantrums. In the separate earlier voting that brought Ossoff (who is Jewish) and Warnock (who is black) to the January runoff, in each total vote for Democratic candidates was just under 50% (i.e. 47.9% and 48.4%, respectively, without excluding votes for third party candidates).

            1. I think that this is quite misleading. Yes, Ossoff got 48%. But Perdue took 49.7%, damn near winning outright. And would have, “but for” the surprising 2.3% siphoned off by the LP candidate.

              Sadly, more libertarians these days lean GOP than Dem, so unless you believe the roughly 85% of Shane Hazel’s voters would have bucked the trend and voted for Ossoff…then you’re right–Ossoff isn’t looking at an “uphill climb.” He’s looking at the face of El Cap on an icy day.

              Warnock looks better poised to defeat Loeffler. Maybe. But I’m taking no chances. This libertarian will be donating to both of their campaigns, and to the Lincoln Project, as I did in the general election. I hope that actual Democrats can be trusted to do the same.

            2. I agree with Bruno.

              Additionally, I have been hearing about how the U.S. populace has finally gotten it and will vote more blue in the future now since Obama won in 2008. It’s just not true. There’s reasonable optimism, and then there’s just fooling ourselves. The public looks to be very happy with GOP Senators and Housemembers; they didn’t lose a single Congressional seat. The GOP did better in the non-Trump races than the Presidential. There was no blue wave. There’s probably not going to be a blue wave come Jan 5th.
              Hopefully with hard work, we can get a seat, and if things really go well, both. But I think claiming the Dems have a better than even chance of getting both is to fall into the same biased habit we’ve had for a decade now, of thinking ‘people just can’t vote for such odiousness. They just can’t.’ People can. They do. In large numbers. Every two years.

  7. I never thought “bigot” was about opinions. Wouldn’t Archie Bunker have been considered a bigot about race & religion?

    The groundhogs in the garden — I wonder how close his nearest neighbors are. Eventually some of that little family may hole up (*lol* had to say that) in a neighbor’s garden.

    1. Yes, IIRC the character Archie Bunker was supposed to be a bigot. The actor Carroll O’Connor, however, apparently was not.

      My dad trapped many a groundhog in his garden. We’d release them in some woods 10-15 miles away. Mom and I kept telling him he should paint a stripe on their backs, to see if it’s always new ones or the same ones that keep coming back, but he never did.

      I can still remember when my kid was 4 years old, we took him out to grandpa’s garden to see what grandpa was growing. “Look! He’s growing groundhogs!”

      1. When I lived at Cedar Breaks National Monument in the 1980s, we had a real problem with marmots, Marmota flaviventris living under my cabin. They are related to groundhogs, Marmota monax. They actually chewed through the interior walls and got into the building, resulting in an infestation of fleas. We tried to trap them without much luck until one of my maintenance seasonal employees came up with a trap that was open at both ends. Once we trapped them, we did spray paint their butts and released them 10 or so miles away. None ever came back.

    2. “I never thought “bigot” was about opinions. Wouldn’t Archie Bunker have been considered a bigot about race & religion?”

      How odd. Given your question, I am unable to grasp your confusion about how the word is used, but…..

      Yes, Archie Bunker had bigoted opinions about race & religion. It was a central part of the character.

  8. Michele Bachmann appears to be fixated on god’s iron rod. She should just buy a dildo. Rudy could probably get her a deal on one at Fantasy Island, the porn shop next to Four Seasons Landscaping.

    1. Relatedly, in the Nature Abhors a Vacuum Dept, with the demise of the MAGA merch market, a a new one is arisen! Four Seasons Landscaping is already sold out of Lawn and Order and Make America Rake Again shirts, thoughtfully printed on green to appeal to both sides.

      1. Speaking of MAGA merch, I must have clicked on the wrong pornsite at some time because I seem to be on a mailing list of rightwing whackjobs. I used to get bombarded with spam for concealed weapons, camping supplies and D*n**d Tr*mp memorial coins. But – since you mentioned it – I’ve just noticed that they seem to have faded away in the last few weeks. My Delete key is getting a much-needed rest.


    2. Michele Bachmann and Kenneth Copeland both look as deranged as each other. Obviously some ragged part of whatever serves them as a brain is still functioning since they can still talk (I guess that’s a charitable interpretation in the case of Copeland but I’m feeling magnanimous) but if they were cars, it would be time to gently tow them to the wreckers.

      I guess it’s a character defect of mine but they actually offend me with their gratuitous stupidity.


  9. The photo on The Nose is wrong, your picture is not showing the Nose route but the Dawn Wall free route first climbed in 2015 by Tommy Caldwell and Kevin Jorgenson. It’s currently the hardest free route on El Cap.

    The Nose is to the left of the Dawn wall. Source: I’ve climbed it several times.

  10. Unfortunately the link to “most wonderful songs by sopranos” doesn’t work, nor does a search of the NYTimes website. Can you give me the exact title of the article?


  11. If you look at this graph at the big, rich western countries, you see that only Germany stands out as doing a good job. The US is in the middle but seems to have “flattened the curve” while the other countries had low rates in the summer and higher rates now. I added Sweden to show they are currently doing much better despite the derision their approach received.

  12. The Neil Young BBC 4 video was great. Amusing to see him apologising for playing “new” material like “Heart of Gold”. His ability to effortlessly switch between different guitar tunings and piano makes it look easy, though there was a slight good-natured kerfuffle with his harmonicas.

  13. Here’s the latest propaganda being sent out by the … well … whatever the Trump campaign is going to turn into :

    [ begin excerpt ]
    [ Subject line 1: ] Update on the Vaccine
    [ Subject line 2: ] We’re making HUGE progress

    [email body, excerpted]:
    As I have long said, the success of a coronavirus vaccine would only be announced after the Election.

    Pfizer and the others probably didn’t have the courage to make this HISTORIC announcement before November 3rd, because they hoped it would keep me from WINNING BIG.

    The truth is, if Joe Biden were President, you wouldn’t have the vaccine for another four years, nor would the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have ever approved it so quickly.

    The bureaucracy would have destroyed millions of lives!
    [ redacted]
    [ signature ]:
    Donald J. Trump
    President of the United States

    [ end excerpt ]

    … the redacted parts of the email is otherwise like all others recently : requesting donations for the “Election Defense Fund”.

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