Wednesday: Hili dialogue

November 25, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Wednesday, November 25, 2020: National Parfait Day. It’s National Jukebox Day (do they still exist?), What Do You Love About America Day (my answer: barbecue and our having voted Trump out of office), and International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

News of the Day:

Good news! Remember Rockefeller, the saw-whet owl that stowed away in the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree? According to National Geographic, he’s rehabilitated already and will be set free (click on screenshot):

A aerial surveying team in the remote Red Rock Country of Utah found a 10-12 foot metal monolith embedded in the ground (see below). “It’s probably art” is the consensus, but it may have been there for 80 years or so.  And I’m sure the loons will have their own theories involving extraterrestrials. Here’s a photo:

Utah Department of Public Safety

Some savvy Chinese in Beijing are staging “performance art” in an attempt to having their faces captured on the many CCTV cameras in the country. According to the BBC, there are more than 200 million surveillance cameras in China, and by 2021 there will be at least 560 million.  But it’s futile: Big Brother is watching. Below: a photo showing the crouching protestors, who also wear reflective vests (h/t: Jez).

The Washington Post reflects on Biden’s cabinet choices so far, and concludes that they’re astute. As they say:

Nearly all the senior people he has named so far worked in previous Democratic administrations. In some cases, they held positions just under Cabinet rank. His pick for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, was deputy secretary of state under President Barack Obama; and his choice for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines, was deputy director of the CIA, and so on.

. . . These are not people who have to spend time learning how the government and their departments work. And the contrast with the Trump administration is striking.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 259,832,  a big increase of about 2,200 from yesterday’s figure. Yesterday, 1.5 Americans died every minute from the virus. The world death toll is 1,416,840, a huge increase of about 13,100 over yesterday’s report, and the biggest daily increase I’ve seen yet. Yesterday, nine inhabitants of this planet died every minute. 

Stuff that happened on November 25 include:

  • 1491 – The siege of Granada, the last Moorish stronghold in Spain, ends with the Treaty of Granada.
  • 1915 – Albert Einstein presents the field equations of general relativity to the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
  • 1947 – Red Scare: The “Hollywood Ten” are blacklisted by Hollywood movie studios.

Here they are; since they didn’t commit a crime (but were cited for contempt of Congress), they weren’t jailed, but for most of them, their careers were over:

The Mousetrap ended its performance on March 16, of this year, ended due to COVID-19. Total performances, over 28,000.,

Here’s some moving black and white footage of Kennedy’s lying-in-state in the Capitol, the funeral cortege across the Potomac, and the burial at Arlington National Cemetery:

Here’s a video; how many of the performers do you recognize?

  • 1986 – Iran–Contra affair: U.S. Attorney General Edwin Meese announces that profits from covert weapons sales to Iran were illegally diverted to the anti-communist Contra rebels in Nicaragua.
  • 1992 – The Federal Assembly of Czechoslovakia votes to split the country into the Czech Republic and Slovakia, with effect from January 1, 1993.
  • 1999 – A 5-year-old Cuban boy, Elian Gonzalez, is rescued by fishermen while floating in an inner tube off the Florida coast.

Remember this photo when the boy was taken away from his relatives by federal agents and eventually sent back to his dad in Cuba (the photo, by Alan Diaz of the AP, won a Pulitzer Prize). Gonzalez is now 27, works as an engineer in a plastic-container factory, and has his own kid:

Federal agents seized Elián González, held in a closet by Donato Dalrymple, in Miami in April 2000. Dalrymple rescued the boy from the ocean after his mother drowned when they tried to escape Cuba

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1562 – Lope de Vega, Spanish playwright and poet (d. 1635)
  • 1835 – Andrew Carnegie, Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1919)
  • 1844 – Karl Benz, German engineer and businessman, founded Mercedes-Benz (d. 1929)
  • 1887 – Nikolai Vavilov, Russian botanist and geneticist (d. 1943)

As I’ve noted recently, Vavilov was a great geneticist and agronomist who was sent to the Gulag for the great crime of following science instead of the charlatan Lysenko. He died in the camps in 1943, and here’s his mug shot:

  • 1914 – Joe DiMaggio, American baseball player and coach (d. 1999)
  • 1941 – Percy Sledge, American singer (d. 2015)
  • 1960 – John F. Kennedy Jr., American lawyer, journalist, and publisher (d. 1999)

Those who kicked off on November 25 include:

  • 1920 – Gaston Chevrolet, French-American race car driver and businessman (b. 1892)
  • 1949 – Bill Robinson, American actor and dancer (b. 1878)
  • 1968 – Upton Sinclair, American novelist, critic, and essayist (b. 1878)
  • 1970 – Yukio Mishima, Japanese author, actor, and director (b. 1925)
  • 2005 – George Best, Northern Irish footballer (b. 1946)
  • 2016 – Fidel Castro, Communist leader of Cuba, and revolutionary (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is doing performance art!

Hili: The poor tree—there are no apples nor birds any longer.
A: But one can climb it.
Hili: That’s an art for art’s sake.
In Polish:
Hili: Biedne drzewo, nie ma już na nim ani jabłek, ani ptaków.
Ja: Ale można się na nim wspinać.
Hili: To sztuka dla sztuki.

And here’s kitten Kulka, with her yellow eyes (Hili’s are green) pawing at a tasty morsel (photo by Paulina R.)

From Facebook:

From Cole and Marmalade on Facebook, captioned, “Challenge accepted, humans!”

Another inadvertently salacious church sign sent by Stephen, who says, “Another catchy warning we’d all do well to heed.” (I always wonder if these signs are real.)

A tweet from Dr. Pinkah, supposedly an “alt-righter”:

13 Women against 13 Clerics: a tweet from my Iranian hero, Masih Alinejad. (Spoiler: the women win. Kudos to the brave women of Iran.)

Sound up:

Tweets from Matthew; you want the second one, the Me-Ow One Step from 1919. The YouTube video says this:

When you get to about half way through this early lateral Gennett Disc from March of 1919, you will hear a familiar melody. This was used as background music in early cartoon and films when ever a “Cat” related moment occurred . This song was composed by Mel B. Kaufman and played by the Gennett Orchestra.

Where’s the village?

I wish!

Without doubt, this is the world’s most beautiful duck, Aix galericulata. Sound up.

n.b.: This children’s book, by Bette Midler (yes, that one) will be out early next year.  Read about the Central Park Mandarin here: it has its own Wikipedia page, of course!

Matthew wouldn’t tell me what “TIL” stands for: he made me look it up. And you’ll have to as well. . . .

Sound up. Nobody knows why the woodcock moves like this. It’s interesting that the babies don’t. . . or do they? (Watch until the end; the action occurs in the last ten seconds.)


39 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. A aerial surveying team in the remote Red Rock Country of Utah found a 10-12 foot metal monolith embedded in the ground (see below)

    Except for the color, it bears a bit of resemblance to Mr. Kubrick’s:

      1. Same here, immediate reaction.
        Judging from the shadow it must be thinner, or rather less broad, though.
        I wonder whether it was inspired by ‘2001’ or vice versa, or not at all. I’m not betting on the latter.

    1. The proportions don’t look quite right. Purportedly, the ratios of the 2001 monolith are 1:4:9 (the squares of the first three integers).

      Also, from some photos, the Utah monolith appears to be triangular/prism-shaped.

      1. Yes, it appears to have a larger aspect ratio in height and a smaller one in width.

        Looks like a triangular prism to me from the video on CBS.

        1. The shadow does not indicate a triangular shape, but then it’s only a shadow. Another angle will obviously reveal .

      2. I also could not have been there for 80 years – Google earth photos show it was not there in 2015 but was by late 2016.

    2. Used to be, I would have gotten excited by the discovery of an artifact possibly from “an advanced civilization.” Now, I don’t even care. Where was it when we needed it?

      That’s what 2020 has done to me.

  2. “Donald Trump + Republican Party 2020”

    DT and all the loathsome enablers are a bunch of low life thugs. No they did not succeed in subverting the constitution yet, but there methods over the past 30 years have worn holes in our democracy. From Gerrymandering, to canceling the fairness of broadcast news.

    An urgent task for Biden and future administrations is to fix our elections so the next DT to come along won’t take us all down the tubes.

    1. It’s just another version of our democracy and free speech. Sometimes it comes back and bites you on the you know what. The founders thought they had a checks and balanced government but it turns out, not entirely.

      1. Or, as Sam Harris has noted, it’s amazing how much of our democracy is based in social norms, not law.

        And Trump has shit on all of that.

      2. And then we did not even refer to the stolen election of 2000, where the unconscionable political action of the SC awarded the election to Mr Bush Jr.

  3. TIL what TIL means… How very self-reference.

    … an attempt to having their faces captured on the many CCTV cameras in the country.

    Definitely missing the word “avoid” here 😀

      1. TIL: Today I Learned? But what’s the point of this and similar ones? Shorthand but mostly unnecessary.
        Re Woodcock: some shorebirds also
        teeter and tilt their rears. Who has some theories about this? I doubt we will ever know for sure until birds talk. It may have something to with their feeding habits, or protective behavior. I am curious as well. Joke: why do sandpipers stand on one leg? Because if they didn’t they would fall down.

  4. . . . These are not people who have to spend time learning how the government and their departments work. And the contrast with the Trump administration is striking.

    I expect that good news will be coming re. Environmental Protection Agency appointments, too. According to an old W&M GF who spent her career @ EPA, there is an Agency-In=Exile of sorts, comprised of former EPA people which she is a member of, called, I think, the Environmental Protection Alliance, but searching that doesn’t seem to pull up a group that matches. (It’s not the Environmntal Protection Organization — that seems to be a rightwing cabal.) She told me that there are some 400 in this group, which she is a member of along with former classmate Betsy Southerland who (you may recall) went public against Scott Pruitt et ux when she retired early in the Dolt’s admin and who they subsequently tried to smear as someone just trying to cash in on a fat retirement. She also told me that there are those still @ EPA who have delayed retirement just in order to be on hand for a transition to normalcy.

    1. This is good to hear.

      I used to work in the Federal Government. I am fully certain that what has kept it ticking over the last 3.8 years has been the large contingent of dedicated, career employees. Who have been, like you said, hunkered down awaiting the return normalcy/sanity.

      One thing that was hammered home to me in my training was: You may have no conflicts of interest and you may not have the appearance of any conflicts of interest.

      Trump has shit all over such norms.

    2. The gutting of the EPA by Mr Pruitt (plague be on him) appears hence to be not as difficult as feared.
      I think the restoration of the EPA should be one of the priorities of the new administration, and now with this “agency-in-exile” it appears very feasible.
      The best news since the defeat of Mr Trump.

  5. And in the Where Did You Go Joe DiMaggio Dept, one day in 1992 or so he was up in First Class on a US Air flight from Pittsburgh to Baltimore, and I was back in steerage on the first leg of a trip switching in Balto to Stockholm on IcelandAir. I couldn’t believe it.
    what to do? I couldn’t let the opportunity pass. Had to do something! Wrote a short note to the effect that I hoped he had enjoyed Pittsburgh and asked the stewardess if she would take a note to someone up front. “Oh, you mean Joe? You can take it up yourself.” So I did, and wound up having probably the only DiMaggio autograph on an IcelandAir ticket folder, now securely stashed.

  6. In the woods not far from my house is a section of radio tower about eight feet tall, I found it while taking a walk back in the early ’70’s. There are no transmission facilities w/i a few miles. Aliens? Illuminati? Prolly not but its still there.

  7. It should be interesting when Biden tries to get his cabinet confirmed in McConnell’s Senate. It will not be a good look for the GOP if he blocks these excellent nominations. Of course, we are still hopeful of winning those two seats in Georgia. I keep hearing about Georgia Trumpers not voting in the January 5th runoff in protest of the GOP’s weak backing of Trump’s attempted coup. If that was strong enough to give the Dems the Senate, wouldn’t that be absolutely delicious?

    1. Yes, that would be most delicious. I’m also thinking that since 70% of Trump’s cult thinks the election was stolen/fraudulent, they’ll stop voting. One can hope. 🙂

      1. Most delicious indeed, but not very probable.
        For one or other unfathomable reason the election votes tend to be 3-4% more Republican than the polls. And the polls say ‘toss-up’.
        Getting rid of the probable usurper, Mr Trump, was a great victory, but -as said before- regaining the Senate is just as important. In that sense (and we don’t even mention the legislators) the elections went badly.
        Those 2 Senators, Mr Ossof and Mr Warnock, are our only, and tiny, hope.

  8. Regarding the mysterious metal monolith in Utah, the consensus that it’s probably art could be understood in more than one way.

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