Monday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

December 28, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Monday, December 28, 2020, the Fourth Day of Coynezaa. I think it will be a good day because I not only saw TWO cottontail rabbits on my way to work (total: 8 rabbits’ feet), but also ate two Southern biscuits with butter and Tiptree “Little Scarlet” Strawberry Jam for breakfast. (That was James Bond’s favorite jam:

In From Russia With Love we read that James Bond’s favourite meal of the day is breakfast and that it always remains the same; after two large cups of coffee brewed in a Chemex coffee maker he eats a boiled egg followed by wholewheat toast with Jersey butter and a choice of Tiptree “Little Scarlet” strawberry jam, Cooper’s Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegian Heather Honey from Fortnum and Mason.

I have to say that this isn’t a very substantial breakfast to support all of Bond’s secret-agent activities.

Also, it’s National Boxed Chocolates Day. And if I don’t miss my guess, two pounds of my favorite commercial chocolates—from See’s Candies—will be arriving on the last day of Coynezaa. It’s also National Card Playing Day, Call a Friend Day, and Pledge of Allegiance Day, and adopted by Congress on this day in 1942 as an attestation of fealty. The words “under God” were added only in 1954, largely at the urging of President Eisenhower, who wanted to affirm that we weren’t a godless nation like the Soviet Union.

News of the Day:

First (h/t Matthew), this:

A pilot in southern Germany took to the sky just before Christmas to celebrate the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine. Using a Diamond DA-20 Katana the pilot drew a 70 kilometer long syringe 5,000 feet in the air.

And a provocative headline from the BBC (h/t Jez); click on the screenshot:

This has nothing to do with transsexuals; it’s about the Boy Scouts having decided to accept girls:

A recruitment drive by the Boy Scouts of America is proving “highly damaging” to the Girl Scouts, lawyers acting for the latter organisation say.

The “infringement” meant many parents mistakenly signed their daughters up for Boy Scouts, thinking it was Girl Scouts, lawyers said.

In response, the Boy Scouts accused the Girl Scouts of starting a “ground war”.

The Boy Scouts dropped the word “boy” from its recruitment programme, and opened up to female members, in 2018.

It said at the time that it was renaming the Boy Scouts programme Scouts BSA as it prepared to allow girls to join.

But the Girl Scouts said the change would erode their brand, calling the move “uniquely damaging” to them, filing an initial lawsuit in November 2018 against trademark infringement.

According to the Guardian, a rare white (leucistic) kiwi named Manukura has died in New Zealand after surgery to remove an unfertilized egg that she couldn’t pass. This species, the North Island Brown Kiwi, lays the biggest eggs relative to its body size of any bird in the world. Individuals can live up to 35 year in captivity, so her life was cut really short. (h/t: Julian)

Does anyone recognize this “French doctor” arriving in Gaza to help the beleaguered Palestinians? Israel had no record of a French doctor passing into Gaza, and you’ll see why.  If you watched “Grey’s Anatomy”, you’ll recognize her. Palestinian propaganda, which often uses fake photos, really messed this one up. It’s Izzy! The Center has 750,000 Facebook followers.

Surprisingly, Trump came to his senses yesterday and signed the pandemic relief bill, so the government won’t shut down tonight. Does he like to scare people or what? The House is going to convene today to try to override Trump’s veto of the big defense spending bill. If they succeed (a 2/3 majority vote is required), the Senate will vote on Tuesday.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 333,242, an increase of about 1,200 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,773,407, an increase of about 7,400 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on December 28 includes:

  • 1065 – Edward the Confessor’s Romanesque monastic church at Westminster Abbey is consecrated.
  • 1795 – Construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, begins in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto).

In fact, the longest street in the world is still, as this article notes, “up for grabs.”

  • 1832 – John C. Calhoun becomes the first Vice President of the United States to resign.
  • 1836 – Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico with the signing of the Santa María–Calatrava Treaty.
  • 1879 – Tay Bridge disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom collapses as a train passes over it, killing 75.

Actually, as Wikipedia notes itself, the 75 dead may be too high, though there were at least 59—everyone on board.

William McGonagall, the world’s best bad poet, wrote an ode to this disaster which you can read here. Here’s the last verse:

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness in the dusky moonlight,
While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,
Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your central girders would not have given way,
At least many sensible men do say,
Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,
At least many sensible men confesses,
For the stronger we our houses do build,
The less chance we have of being killed.
Here’s the bridge before it collapsed (wind facilitated it, and the bridge wasn’t designed taking wind into account):
  • 1895 – The Lumière brothers perform for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines.
  • 1895 – Wilhelm Röntgen publishes a paper detailing his discovery of a new type of radiation, which later will be known as x-rays

Here’s Röntgen’s first “medical X-ray”: of his wife’s hand:

  • 1918 – Constance Markievicz, while detained in Holloway prison, became the first woman to be elected MP to the British House of Commons.

A feminist and Irish revolutionary, Markievicz was jailed for participating in the 1916 Easter Rising. She was released in 1917 as part of a general amnesty. Here she is trying out a Colt Revolver (picture from Wikipedia:

  • 1958 – “Greatest Game Ever Played”: Baltimore Colts defeat the New York Giants in the first ever National Football League sudden death overtime game at New York’s Yankee Stadium.

Here’s a short video of the game’s highlights:

  • 1973 – The United States Endangered Species Act is signed into law by Pres. Richard Nixon.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1856 – Woodrow Wilson, American historian and politician, 28th President of the United States, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1924)
  • 1882 – Arthur Eddington, English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician (d. 1944)
  • 1903 – John von Neumann, Hungarian-American mathematician and physicist (d. 1957)
  • 1922 – Stan Lee, American publisher, producer, and actor (d. 2018)
  • 1944 – Kary Mullis, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019)
  • 1946 – Edgar Winter, American singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer
  • 1954 – Denzel Washington, American actor, director, and producer
  • 1978 – Chris Coyne, Australian footballer and manager

I don’t know from Chris Coyne, but perhaps he’s related to me.

  • 1979 – Noomi Rapace, Swedish actress

Those who became forever quiescent on December 28 include:

  • 1503 – Piero the Unfortunate, Italian ruler (b. 1471)
  • 1937 – Maurice Ravel, French pianist and composer (b. 1875)
  • 1983 – Dennis Wilson, American drummer, songwriter, and producer (b. 1944)
  • 1993 – William L. Shirer, American journalist and historian (b. 1904)
  • 2004 – Susan Sontag, American novelist, essayist, critic, and playwright (b. 1933)

I have to confess that I’ve never read anything by Sontag, and I’m not sure if that makes me culturally illiterate.

  • 2016 – Debbie Reynolds, American actress, singer and dancer (b. 1932)

As you remember, her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died one day before Reynolds. As Wikipedia noted:

The day after Fisher’s death, her mother Debbie Reynolds suffered a stroke at the home of son Todd, where the family was planning Fisher’s burial arrangements. She was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she died later that afternoon.  According to Todd Fisher, Reynolds had said, “I want to be with Carrie” immediately prior to suffering the stroke.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili once again expresses her hatred of sweet little Kulka:

Hili: You have a new task.
A: What is it?
Hili: To teach Kulka not to come into this room.
In Polish:
Hili: Masz nowe zadanie.
Ja: Jakie?
Hili: Musisz nauczyć Kulkę, żeby nie wchodziła do tego pokoju.

And in nearby Wloclawek, Mietek is disappointed, for he loves the fuss of Christmas:

Mietek: Is the holiday over yet?

In Polish: Już po świętach?

A cartoon sent by Jean; I can’t make out the artist.

From Amy T., a Sherman’s Lagoon cartoon on free will:

From Jesus of the Day, a kid after my own heart.

Yes, Bryn Mawr, too, a school loosely associated with the execrable and strike-prone Haverford College. Here’s a tweet from the demonized CHS, and I’ve put a picture below it from the linked article:

Shoot me now. From Bryn Mawr:

A tweet from reader Barry. The man who made a dining table for raccoons is a man to be admired. What a brunch! (Sound up.)

Tweets from Matthew, who is ANGRY: over 400 of his countrymen snuck out of a Swiss village rather than be quarantined.

Recipe for a gorilla tummyache. If you’re a Yank and don’t know what squash is, it’s basically a concentrated fruit drink syrup meant to be heavily diluted with water (see below). He got the squash by escaping into a staff room. What the staff were doing with five liters of blackcurrent squash remains a mystery.

Ten to one this guy claimed he sat on a candycane during the holidays and it went up his butt (that’s what they always say). You can see the list of stuff that doctors removed here; items in the rectum are particularly numerous.

A lovely astronomy photo. Either the Sun is too big or Mercury is too small:

And this is stunning, beating the previous record by a factor of 15! Somehow that seed retained some capacity to revive for all that time; one would have to say it was alive for 32,000 years.

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

  1. In From Russia With Love we read that James Bond’s favourite meal of the day is breakfast and that it always remains the same …

    In From Russia With Love we also learn that Bond would never order red wine to accompany grilled sole — indeed, no proper Englishman would, only a Russian spy trying to pass as a Brit:

  2. The football highlight will not play. You can go to You Tube and see it. Truly was a great game before the days of super bowl. Also a real sudden death overtime they do not use today. Imagine a quarterback calling his own plays.
    Johnny Unitas, Raymond Berry and Alan Ameche to name a few.

  3. Remember those little cast-metal Coke-bottle keychains? Bead chain thru the end of the bottle. An MD friend once told me he had a scope in a guy’s bladder, and one of those came rolling past.

    1. A friend of mine is an ER nurse. One night a fellow showed up at her hospital with a pencil stuck in his urethra. My friend’s hospital is located in Richmond, Virginia. The man had driven up from North Carolina because he was too embarrassed to go to a local ER, about a two hour drive.

      1. My ex-wife worked as an ER nurse, for a while in Key West, back in the Seventies, before we left so I could attend law school. The things fellas would show up there to have extracted from their nethers was an unceasing source of amazement.

        1. My ex worked as an ER MD for a while and came home with the story of a woman who had put a pizza cutter “up her” in order to chase away the devil. She didn’t insert it very far because when she removed her pants it fell to the floor. Hubby referred her to the psych ward.

        2. Jaunty comment as always, counsellor.

          My first degree was in psych and Middle East politics (the latter being a version the former “at scale” writ large)… and I’ve been reading about abnormal psych for decades, paraphilias included.

          And I always wonder about the personality type and motivations of people who are into the whole insertion “sport”. I mean… do they meet up? Have parties? (check the silverware before they leave…hahahhaa) Is there a facebook page for such hobbyists perchance?

          I used to not believe folks did this but then (not believing people would do anything at all) is always a trap as the human mind is infinitely weird.

          That was nice of your wife to help put you thought law school and nicer you didn’t “better deal” her when you graduated. I know plenty of lawyers and doctors who did!

          D.A., J.D.

    2. Acquiring such “don’t put that there” stories seems to be a rite of passage for trainee medics. One of my friends going through her internship recalled a teenage girl turning up with a belly button full of cotton wool wadding and what seemed to be insect body parts. A&E, so no follow-up, or story of “why?”
      Me, I’m tempted to find out who “Piero the Unfortunate, Italian ruler”. Died of inadequate PR Department, perhaps? Oh, he was a Medici – well that’s normally either bad news for the person, or bad news for the rest of the world. On this occasion, bad news for him. Oh well, he drowned – not a nice death, but there are worse ways to go.

      1. As someone who pulls these things out of others semi routinely, the candy cane is totally photoshopped. I’m not even sure the confection is radio opaque, unless this is a steel candy cane with swirls. The hardest thing to get out are the round objects like billiard balls, which required obstetrics forceps one time, not easy to come by in a veterans hospital. Funny it’s always the brown billiard ball that comes out…

  4. According to the BBC story about the quarantine breakers, some of them had the nerve to call the hotels after they got over the French border (and were thus out of reach of Swiss LEOs) and demand their money back, presumably for the part of the stay that they abandoned.

    I have to ask what on Earth were they thinking when they decided to go on holiday abroad in the current pandemic situation.

    1. I have to ask what on Earth were they thinking when they decided to go on holiday abroad in the current pandemic situation.

      I suspect a lot of them had pre-booked the holidays – bookings at this time of the year are probably both rare and expensive. But that still leaves the question of “Why?” I can vaguely understand using someone else’s country to trash with the summertime debris of ski works rather than trashing your own country, but I still don’t get the “Why?”
      I expect they’re on international “no-fly, no-ferry, no-border crossing” lists for the rest of their lives. There’s not a lot of point in having the lists otherwise.

  5. the pilot drew a 70 kilometer long syringe 5,000 feet in the air

    The pilot didn’t draw anything; a computer drew his flight path.

  6. Does he [Trmp] like to scare people or what? 
    Yes. Love him or fear him, as long a he’s the center of attention, it doesn’t matter.

  7. You can see the list of stuff that doctors removed here; items in the rectum are particularly numerous.

    An alternative reading is an indictment of the, ehemmm, “personal products” industry, that so many people are turning to “field expedient” alternatives.
    From the list :


    There is a market segment not dominated by iDevices? Or would that be the next product to … come … out of Cupertino? The “iI-ah-aiiee-oooh” device, available in telephone black or white white, a slick design with rounded edges and the thing to be seen with, pinned to your ear.
    When are major fashion companies and, for an example, Nike’s training shoe competitors, going to realise the business potential of the “intimate” market? Less “Air Jordan” and more … well I’ll leave that to Piero the Unfortunate’s Marketing Department.

  8. Turns out James Bond and I have something in common besides uncommonly good looks! We both use a Chemex coffee maker to prepare our morning beverage!

  9. “it’s National Boxed Chocolates Day”
    NPR had a story on how these special National Days are established. Back in the ’80s congress members passed these things for constituents – read lobbyists. It got out of hand. They were passing more “Day/Week/Year” legislation than real laws. Then they stopped and a handful of private citizens began keeping records and publishing them. They actually dream them up and hope to engage interest in some “day”. They feel challenged to come up with ideas that capture the imagination and place them into the calendar appropriately. Some catch on, others are dropped. Strange but true.

  10. Surprisingly, Trump came to his senses yesterday and signed the pandemic relief bill, so the government won’t shut down tonight.

    The Donald’s signing statement bears reading, as a tour de force of batshittery and credit-cribbing.

    1. Unbelievable. Except that we’ve been watching this idiocy so long that a coherent, presidential, statement from the Orange Menace is what really would be not believable.

  11. This is a genuine question on foreign objects in rectums for all the medics out there. I assume – given a brave doctor and a sedative – many of these items can be removed the same way they went in. But surely there’s no way to extract a baseball via the same route? Are there any clever techniques that doctors can leverage (in both senses of the word 😀) for these large items? Or is surgery usually necessary?

      1. Hahaha…. Exactly! I was gonna put that, but realised I might just be digging myself me a deeper hole! If you’ll pardon the pun!

    1. Obstetrics forceps sometimes work. There are string “baskets” that can corral some objects. One trick is to pass catheters that have been knotted together beyond the object and surround it to bring it down far enough to be able to grasp it with a tenaculum (a claw like forcep) and pull it out. Things like light bulbs or glass tumblers are very tricky because they defy grasping and are very fragile. One report described infusing plaster of Paris in and around the glass, letting it harden then extracting the object en Pierre. Surgery is usually for objects that have migrated beyond the pelvis or the patient is becoming dangerously ill. It can mean a temporary colostomy but is rare fortunately. Ive always thought a late night public service announcement might extol the virtues of securing these foreign bodies with a long, stout cord, securely affixed, for those with such adventurous proclivities.

      1. That’s really interesting thanks. Good to hear that surgery is rarely needed, and a colostomy rarer still. It does leave me with a question though: how does one get a lightbulb up there in the first place, given they’re so fragile?

        Either way, a stout cord seems very sensible as prevention definitely beats the cure in this instance! I’ll be sure to let my, erm…. friend know 😉

      2. PSA fades in with actors tying long twine to various naughty toys and Beyoncé singing in the background, “If you like it then you better put a string on it. If you like it…uh oh uh uh oh.”

  12. As I understand the article, the plants weren’t really grown from seed:

    “The researchers first attempted to germinate mature seeds recovered from the fruit. When these attempts failed, they turned to the fruit itself and were able to culture adult plants from placental tissue.”

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