Monday: Hili dialogue

Welcome to another damn work week: it’s Monday, November 16, 2020: National Fast Food Day, as well as National Button Day, Have a Party with Your Bear Day, and International Day for Tolerance.

News of the Day:

Yes, Franco is still dead, and Trump still hasn’t conceded the election to Biden, despite growing pressure from Republicans like John Bolton to do so. The final act of the Drama That is Trump is the is worst act. For instance, these tweets were emitted yesterday:

Biden’s cabinet appointments will need Senate confirmation, and, given the likelihood of a Republican Senate headed by Mitch “666” McConnell, this may be a tough go. Over at Slate, Jeff Hauser and David Segal suggest a “Plan B”: Biden can declare that the Senate is adjourned, and use the “Vacancies Act” to appoint his cabinet secretaries during the adjournment. It’s not optimal, but it’s a way of avoiding any obstructionism on the part of McConnell.

In Belgium, a racing pigeon named New Kim set a world record for pigeon auctions, bringing in $1.9 million after a bidding war between two wealthy Chinese:

During a frantic last half-hour Sunday at the end of a two-week auction, two Chinese bidders operating under the pseudonyms of Super Duper and Hitman drove up the price by $325,000, leaving the previous record that Belgian-bred Armando fetched last year well behind by $406,000. Super Duper got the 3-year-old hen.

It is proof again that an age-old hobby in Western Europe identified with working-class men now has a new, elitist foreign lease on life. Top breeders relying on generations of family experience can now sell their birds for prices unheard of merely a decade ago, and often China is their destination.

Pretty good for a bird with a lifespan of about ten years! Here’s New Kim:

Francisco Seco / Associated Press

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 246,079, an increase of about 600 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,325,404, an increase of about 6,200 over yesterday’s report.

Stuff that happened on November 16 includes:

Here’s Dosteyevsky about 1845, before he went to prison:

And what a sight! Here they are from the air; the width of the falls is about a mile.

  • 1904 – English engineer John Ambrose Fleming receives a patent for the thermionic valve (vacuum tube).
  • 1933 – The United States and the Soviet Union establish formal diplomatic relations.
  • 1938 – LSD is first synthesized by Albert Hofmann from ergotamine at the Sandoz Laboratories in Basel.

Hofmann lived to be 102. I met him at Harvard in the Seventies when he lectures on his discovery of LSD in Richard Schultes Economic Botany class (I came for the one-time leccture). Hofmann was staid and lectured (as did Schultes) in a white lab coat: not at all the guy I expected, which was a Kesey-esque figure. Here he is at 100:

  • 1940 – The Holocaust: In occupied Poland, the Nazis close off the Warsaw Ghetto from the outside world.
  • 1973 – U.S. President Richard Nixon signs the Trans-Alaska Pipeline Authorization Act into law, authorizing the construction of the Alaska Pipeline.
  • 1988 – In the first open election in more than a decade, voters in Pakistan elect populist candidate Benazir Bhutto to be Prime Minister of Pakistan.
  • 1990 – Pop group Milli Vanilli are stripped of their Grammy Award because the duo did not sing at all on the Girl You Know It’s True album. Session musicians had provided all the vocals.
  • 1992 – The Hoxne Hoard is discovered by metal detectorist Eric Lawes in Hoxne, Suffolk.

Here’s the discovered hoard of Roman coins and jewelry; it’s now worth about £3.6 million. Caption from Wikipedia:

Hoxne Hoard: Display case at the British Museum showing a reconstruction of the arrangement of the hoard treasure when excavated in 1992.

The last issue of the New Yorker (click on screenshot) has a good article (probably not free) about the world of British metal detectorists, a big find of Viking treasure, and how finders sometimes evade government regulations (they get half the market value of a find, and the landowner gets the other half, while the find goes to museums).

Notables born on this day were few, and include:

  • 1873 – W. C. Handy, American trumpet player and composer (d. 1958)
  • 1896 – Oswald Mosley, English fascist leader and politician (d. 1980)

Here’s Mosley giving a speech to his fellow fascist blackshirts in Manchester (where Matthew lives and teaches); he was imprisoned from 1940-1943:

Those who took their last breath on November 16 are also few; they include:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is bragging again:

Hili: Every cat has the scratching-post she deserves.
A: By a coincidence you’ve got the most beautiful one.
In Polish:
Hili: Każdy kot ma taki drapak na taki zasługuje.
Ja: Zbiegiem wielu okoliczności trafił ci się ten najpiękniejszy.

Here is Kulka’s sweet kitten face as she snoozes on Andrzej’s desk. Note her resemblance to Hili, though Hili has green eyes while Kulka’s are gold.

From Jesus of the Day:

From John: “The Owl and the Pussycat”:

From Bruce, who says, “Count the faces and animals in this one”:

Titania has a new article out about the Recently Woke Sainsburys (link in hir tweet):

From reader Ginger. I think I’m a mixture of 2 and 9:

Tweets from Matthew. Listen to the wonderful voice on that donkey!

This this Trump’s backhanded concession that Biden won?

And a nice reaction from Trump’s niece:

Here’s an excellent stay-at-home ad from the German government. It’s subtitled in English in the second tweet:

Matthew tweets about Ollie, the Devil Cat who clawed open my nose. I tried to tell him that the appendages are called “legs” or “forelegs”, but he insists that in his house they are “arms”.

What are these birds and what are they doing????


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Hofmann lived to be 102. I met him at Harvard in the Seventies when he lectures on his discovery of LSD.

    Did the topic of Leary and Alpert getting 86’d from Harvard a decade earlier come up?

    • Hempenstein
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      Also noted, he was a Hofmann, not Hoffman. Klaus Hofmann, the grand old man of peptide (hormone) synthetic chemistry was always emphatic that he was not one of THOSE.

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Eric Idle’s reply is doubly witty and satirical — at first, I thought “ouch!” as in how the Hobbit gang are sorta like bratty teenagers — then it sank in — The Second Breakfast Club — yes!

    • Mark R.
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      The Second Breakfast Club…wouldn’t that be brunch?

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        “Second” means the first breakfast has already been settled.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:53 pm | Permalink

        “Second” means the first has already been settled.

  3. kraeuterbutter
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Here’s an excellent stay-at-home ad from the German government.

    There are two more videos, but in German language only. Here is the official link:

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    … the Empress Pepper Pot …

    They dig her soup in Philly. 🙂

  5. Serendipitydawg
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    C4’s The Last Leg made the interesting point that Donny could resign and hand authority over to Pence, who would then issue a pardon for the various legal travails that await citizen Tr*mp (which are many if the beeb are correct). If this is accurate, and if DT took the option, would Pence actually do it, or take the opportunity for a stab in the back… I have no idea if this is feasible, the tv show is a comedy, despite its serious coverage of some issues 😁

    • Paul Topping
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      This idea has been floating around for some time. Trump has to decide whether he pardons himself or goes the Pence pardon route. I suppose he could do both. That would keep SCOTUS busy for a while.

    • Mark R.
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      Pence could pardon some of the charges, but he can’t pardon state charges, like the ones in NY state investigating his tax returns. So it’s a half-assed plan at best.

  6. Kelvin Britton
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    The shorebirds are Wilson’s Phalaropes; the spinning behaviour stirs up small invertebrates which are then eaten by the birds. This very time last year I was watching a flock of 800 of them behaving this way in Argentina. Btw, they show reverse sexual dimorphism, with the females more brightly plumaged, and abandoning the eggs to be incubated by a succession of males.

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The space shot went very smooth last night. Thanks for the reminder to watch. Sure bet that Trump had absolutely nothing to do with it. He probably thinks they are out there looking for missing votes.

    • jezgrove
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Or hiding them for the Dems…

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink


    • Paul Topping
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:19 am | Permalink

      They had some minor issue with fuel heaters but it was resolved. Docking with ISS is due to happen around 11 pm Eastern tonight.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Jesse Watters has to be the dumbest creature ever to get his own gig on a national television network. He’s not worthy to be the fill-in host for Wayne & Garth on Arora, IL public-access tv. (Christ, he doesn’t even know how to write his own last name in the possessive case.)

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I have seen a number of videos over the last year or so of people playing music for animals, mainly cows. It makes me wish I could play an instrument. We have lots of cows around us.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      Wolf Gang Amadeus Moo—tzart
      Ludwig van Beet-hoove-n
      Elephants Gerald

    • Paul Topping
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Just play a recording. The cows won’t care. 😉

    • grasshopper
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

      To reverse the scenario, I think that a cow playing a tuba to me would be a low blow.

  10. jezgrove
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I wonder how many times the owner of that homing pigeon has sold it to suckers who should have realised it would fly back to its original home ASAP?!

    • grasshopper
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 2:59 pm | Permalink


  11. Hempenstein
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Nice to learn of Chinese fat cats spending huge sums on renewable species vs. promoting the continued extirpation of critically endangered species.

  12. rickflick
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    DT is a petulant child. On a scale of cats I feel like #5.

    • Paul S
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I half hope drump does not concede and gets escorted out.

  13. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Mildly intrigued by JC’s reference to Mitch McConnell as “666” I googled this and discovered this was the size of the Federal deficit one year after 45 took office, and that there are 666 children whose parents cannot be located due to the border separation policy.

    The links are


    My own nickname for 45, “the clockwork orangatan”, never quite took off with the American public.

    • revelator60
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      The Scots devised some great nicknames for Trump the last time he was in the UK, including “Cheeto-faced Hellbeast” and “Apricot Shitgibbon.”

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

        I was in England for two weeks in the summer of 2018, and unexpectedly overlapped with 45’s visit to same. I even saw local papers in Oxford about locals planning to protest his visit at Blenheim Palace. I also got some sympathy from Brits saying “we’re so sorry you couldn’t get away from Donald Trump”.
        DUring this time I saw a video of actor David Tennant in his strong Scottish accent (which he suppressed for Doctor Who) saying “Donald Trump says he is going to come to Scotland because we like him there.
        No, we don’t. We phuquing don’t”

  14. W.Benson
    Posted November 16, 2020 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    Brazil had municipal elections yesterday for over 5500 mayors and city councils, with 147 million Brazilians voting. In contrast to the US, all races had been called by 8am this morning, with the exceptions of an area in the Amazon where voting was rescheduled because of a power outage and a town where the winning Green Party candidate passed away on the eve of voting. So far there not a single reported case of voter fraud. That’s how elections are done in Banana Republics.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 16, 2020 at 3:47 pm | Permalink

      Reckon Brazil doesn’t have Republican state legislatures that refuse to allow (and/or refuse to allocate the funds for) the counting of mail=in ballots before the day of the election.

      • W.Benson
        Posted November 16, 2020 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

        All voting in Brazil is in person: Almost 150 million votes on election Sunday practically without long lines. Also, no Republican legislatures involved: all voting rules and procedures are national and designed to maximize voter participation.

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