Sunday: Hili dialogue

January 24, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s the Sabbath for  non-Jewish people and animals that aren’t felids: Sunday, January 24, 2021, and National Peanut Butter Day. It’s also National Eskimo Pie Patent Day (patented on this day in 1922; the name is being changed because people find it offensive; it’s now called “Edy’s Pie” though I prefer “Inuit Pie”), National Lobster Thermidor Day, Beer Can Appreciation Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day (how does one do that?), and in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, it’s Uttar Pradesh Day.

News of the Day:

Famous talk-show host Larry King died yesterday in Los Angeles; he was 87. His real name was Larry Zeiger, the son of Orthodox Jews, and he was married eight times to seven women. A photo of him with his kids and last wife, Shawn Southwick, is below.  He was a nonbeliever; a quote from Wikipedia:

After describing himself as a Jewish agnostic in 2005, King stated that he was fully atheist in 2015. In December 2011, King stated that he would like to be cryogenically preserved following his death. In 2017, he stated “I love being Jewish, am proud of my Jewishness, and I love Israel”

I guess he’s frozen now.

The Russians made a huge mistake by detaining dissident Alexsei Navalny when he returned to Russia—after they poisoned him!  That was too much for many Russians, and yesterday there were huge country-wide protests against the government, with demonstrators throwing snowballs at the cops and thousands of them arrested. To its credit, and probably Biden’s, the U.S. State Department protested the arrest of Navalny and the crackdown on protestors.

Is this the beginning of the end for Putin? I hypothesize that it is.

A photo (and caption) from the NYT:

Demonstrators clashing with the police on Saturday in Moscow. Credit: Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

The horrible stuff that Trump did, especially at the end of his tenure, just keeps on surfacing. The New York Times just reported that Trump had a plan to oust Attorney General Rosen, replacing him with a Justice Department loyalist who would force Georgia to overturn its election results. Only the pledge of JD officials to resign should this happen stayed Trump’s hand. This may be an important part of Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial, and it reminds me of Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre in 1973.

Faith versus Fact: According to the Guardian, a holy man in Sri Lanka had a revelation from Kali, the goddess of death, about how to make a syrup that would destroy the coronavirus. Hundreds of people and even some politicians besieged the man’s village to get the syrup. Now the holy man himself, along with several members of his family and one prominent politician, have tested positive for the virus. Protip: science trumps revelation. (h/t: Jez)

The Guardian has an article about how eight nonbelievers find meaning in life.  But they chose photos that make some of them look like loons! Was this deliberate? (h/t Matthew).

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 417,390, a large increase of about 3,200 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We may pass half a million deaths in less than a month. The world death toll stands at 2,131,726, a big increase of about 13,600 deaths over yesterday’s total, or abut 9.4 deaths per minute.

Stuff that happened on January 24 includes:

Here’s Sutter’s Mill in 1850, where flecks of gold were found in the effluent, setting of a huge stampede of men searching for riches:

  • 1857 – The University of Calcutta is formally founded as the first fully fledged university in South Asia.
  • 1908 – The first Boy Scout troop is organized in England by Robert Baden-Powell.

Here is Powell, President Taft, and British ambassador Bryce in 1912, reviewing the Boy Scouts of Washington D.C. Taft was our fattest President, tipping the scales at 325-350 pounds. He had a special bathtub made to accommodate his corpulence (the rumor that he got stuck in it is, however, untrue):

From Wikipedia: “Despite having hidden for twenty-eight years in a jungle cave, he had known since 1952 that World War II had ended. He feared coming out of hiding, explaining, “We Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive.” He wasn’t the last Japanese soldier to surrender, either: Teruo Nakamura gave up in December of 1974! Below the first picture is one of Nakamura.

Also from Wikipedia: “This newspaper photograph was described as Yokoi’s first haircut in 28 years.”

Nakamura after his surrender in 1974; he was given a necklace of flowers:

Notables born on this day include:

  • AD 76 – Hadrian, Roman emperor (d. 138)
  • 1670 – William Congreve, English playwright and poet (d. 1729)
  • 1712 – Frederick the Great, Prussian king (d. 1786)
  • 1862 – Edith Wharton, American novelist and short story writer (d. 1937)
  • 1917 – Ernest Borgnine, American actor (d. 2012)

Here’s the famous final scene in the movie “Marty” (1955), in which Borgnine plays an Italian butcher who rejects a girl because his friends don’t like her.  Eventually realizing that she’s a great girl and he cares for her, he calls her up for a date at the end. (The movie won a Best Picture Oscar.)

  • 1918 – Oral Roberts, American evangelist, founded Oral Roberts University and Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association (d. 2009)
  • 1928 – Desmond Morris, English zoologist, ethologist, and painter
  • 1941 – Neil Diamond, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1941 – Aaron Neville, American singer
  • 1943 – Sharon Tate, American model and actress (d. 1969)
  • 1947 – Warren Zevon, American singer-songwriter (d. 2003)
  • 1949 – John Belushi, American actor and screenwriter (d. 1982)

A classic from Belushi:

  • 1968 – Mary Lou Retton, American gymnast

Those who snuffed it on January 24 include:

  • AD 41 – Caligula, Roman emperor (b. 12)
  • 1895 – Lord Randolph Churchill, English lawyer and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer (b. 1849)
  • 1965 – Winston Churchill, English colonel and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1874)

Note that Winston died exactly 70 years after his father.

Here’s a video hagiography of Hubbard by the Church of Scientology:

  • 1989 – Ted Bundy, American serial killer (b. 1946)
  • 1993 – Thurgood Marshall, American lawyer and jurist, 32nd United States Solicitor General (b. 1908)
  • 2017 – Butch Trucks, American drummer (b. 1947)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Her Highness indulges in her regular habit: she jumps in the windowsill when she wants to come inside. Andrzej then goes to the door and calls her, but she doesn’t budge: she waits until he comes to the windowsill, picks her up, and carries her indoors!  Here’s the Queen waiting outside:

A: Why aren’t you coming when I call you?
Hili: Because I like it when you carry me inside.
In Polish:
Ja: Dlaczego nie przychodzisz jak cię wołam?
Hili: Bo lubię jak mnie wnosisz do domu na rękach.

And little Kulka is resting. Look at the lovely patterns on her tummy!

Caption: A picture of Kulka taken by Paulina

In Polish: Zdjęcie Kulki – zrobione przez Paulinę.

From Facebook. “If the mitten isn’t fitting, you must be acquitting.”


From Marianne Williamson, for crying out loud:


Another Bernie meme from reader Andrée:

From Julian. Don’t worry, it all comes right: if you count, you’ll see 7 ducklings at the beginning and seven at the end. Somebody should cover that grate or make the holes smaller.

From reader pyers: the famous British food writer Nigella Lawson deliberately made this dish on Inauguration Day:

From Simon: “Level two Bernie.”

Ying and yang cats from gravelinspector:

Tweets from Matthew. An obsessive, but that’s what we need on Twitter, so long as they’re not ideological obsessives:

Poor Matthew! Poor Brits!

This is a fantastic space picture, and it’s real!

A Tik Tok burrowing owl. Sound up, though I don’t know the song:

50 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Talk like a grizzled prospector day…. For those of us of a certain age, think Gabby Hayes; for those younger, maybe think Bernie.

      1. I was hoping that Mango would have Prospector as one of its languages since it teaches Pirate, but alas no. Maybe this commemoration will catch on, and Prospector will be one of its offerings in the near future.
        A quick and dirty Google search yielded this site, which gives a short history of the event and some words and phrases used by the grizzled.

  2. I’m terrible, it’s only the 20th year of the 21st century as the new century started on January 1st 2001. Just to rain on someone’s parade.

    1. That was my first thought too, but it’s actually correct the way it’s stated. The first year of the century was 2001, so the 21st year is 2021 – we’ve only COMPLETED 20 years, but we’re in the 21st year.

  3. Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day (how does one do that?)

    I reckon like Walter Huston at the end of Treasure of the Sierra Madre when he discovers his hard-earned sacks of gold empty during a dust storm:

  4. The Guardian has an article about how eight nonbelievers find meaning in life. But they chose photos that make some of them look like loons! Was this deliberate?

    Maybe some of the are loons. I don’t think believers have a monopoly on lunacy. I’m more annoyed about the headline

    ‘I only know one god – and that’s me’: non-believers on the meaning of life

    I’m sure the quote comes from only one of the atheists interviewed and was taken out of context, but the effect is to make all non believers seem incredibly arrogant.

    1. The headline really annoyed me, too (yes, it was said by one of the interviewees). They picked quite a few loons, presumably out of a misguided attempt to give the article interesting “colour” and to include atheists from a diverse range of backgrounds, but I found it spoiled the article for me.

        1. I didn’t say “looked”, although now you mention it the Church of Satan dude seems to be channelling Salvador Dalí.

          The chosen interviewees just struck me as outside the mainstream: one has a literal pulpit, another attends religious services at a synagogue, a third spent months preparing for a “humanist confirmation”, one more visits a shrine for “little daily life rituals”. I’m just not sure how representative these people are of most atheists?

  5. What a wonderful movie “Marty” is, but until I saw it in its full, uncut glory on TCM it never really resonated with me. For some unfathomable reason the scene where the young woman Clara returns home and tells her loving and concerned parents about meeting Marty and of her plans for the future is often cut from the film. This marvelous scene, a full 6:25 in length and shot in one long take by director Delbert Mann, gives her side of things and is the emotional core of the movie. Even TCM sometimes shows the abridged version.

  6. 1933 – The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, changing the beginning and end of terms for all elected federal offices.

    The amendment was prompted by the attempted assassination of president-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt by anarchist Italian immigrant Giuseppe Zangara in Miami’s Bayfront Park on February 15, 1933, during the long lame-duck period that then lasted until March 4th. Zangara fired five pistol shots. They missed their mark, but a stray bullet hit, and eventually killed, Chicago mayor Anton Cermak, who was among FDR’s entourage at the park.

    Cermak didn’t die of complications from the shooting for nearly three weeks, until March 6, 1933, two days after FDR’s inauguration. Zangara — who had a rough life and suffered from multiple physical and mental problems that probably rendered him incompetent to make legal decisions and might have supported an insanity defense (or, at the least, should have provided substantial evidence in mitigation of punishment) — immediately pled guilty to murder and was executed in the electric chair just two weeks later, on March 20, 1933. His final words were, “Go ahead, pusha da button!”

    Sounds like rough justice to me.

    1. I know about the Zangara attempt, but the basis for the 20th that I’ve always heard is the mess the long interregnum produced, with FDR arrogantly refusing Herbert Hoover’s vain attempts to enlist FDR in joint efforts to combat the Depression. (Then when FDR took over, he instituted many of the things that HH had been trying to get thru the Democratic congress). This brought home that the length of the interregnum, based on travel and communication from the late 1700s, was antiquated.

      1. I’ve read another side to that story. Hoover tried to manipulate FDR to working with him on his (Hoover’s) terms. Hoover admitted that if Roosevelt accepted his terms, he would have abandoned 90% of the New Deal. So I wonder what things FDR instituted that HH had been trying to get through the Democratic congress?

        1. The first thing that happened was panic over German desire to delay payment on WWI reparations, which had been deferred a year earlier. They wanted to do it again. When HH tried to do something bipartisan with FDR, he famously told the press, “It’s not my baby”. Note that that link is from the Nixon Fdn – I just used it because it was the most easily accessible/not under a paywall version that I found, but there are more out there.

          Then, many the early New Deal programs were ones that the Hoover admin had put together. Exactly which I never remember, but for that see (Columbia Prof) Raymond Moley’s “The First New Deal”. The significant thing about that ref is that Moley was FDR’s finance guy. In the first of only very few mtgs between FDR and HH, just four were present: HH, FDR, Moley and Secy Treas Ogden Mills. Hoover apparently went on almost uninterrupted for an hour. Moley has written that afterward he was convinced that nobody knew as much about the root of the Depression as Hoover. Moley stayed with FDR thru the first term, but then broke with him, sided with Hoover, and either founded or co-founded Newsweek magazine.

      2. Yeah, I think dissatisfaction with the lengthy lame-duck period had been brewing for some time, but the attempted assassination of FDR gave the 20th amendment ratification process a push in 1933.

  7. I think Mr Taft was the only president who later became a SC Justice. It is rumoured he liked that job much better than being president.
    I’m seriously mystified how ‘Bernie Mittens’ became such a hit. It is not that I don’t like it (in fact I think it is great fun) or disapprove or so, I’m just wondering why. Why would precisely that picture go viral and be inserted about anywhere? Pure chance, or is there something else?

    1. It’s a hit because he stood out amongst all the other attendees who were snazzily dressed. He and Mitch’s wife wore the most understated clothes. But Bernie’s body language, the brown parka and patterned woollen mittens also made him the meme-iest. Also the social mediasphere has a sense of humour. It would have been a bigger hoot had he worn brown Birkenstocks with socks.

  8. 1947 – Warren Zevon, American singer-songwriter (d. 2003)

    Ol’ Warren was someone who knew how to face mortality with equanimity. One of the last songs he wrote, after being diagnosed with terminal mesothelioma, was “My Ride Is Here.” And even before that, he penned this little ditty:

  9. “Is this the beginning of the end for Putin? I hypothesize that it is.”

    Lukasenka faced a much bigger upheaval and supressed it successfully. This is so far nothing, by and large Russians have not risen up. The number of people who actually acted is easily in the range that can be dealt with by the regime.
    Theoretically this could be the beginning of something bigger, but for now I do not see it.

          1. Well, technically, there’ve been but three presidents of the Russian Federation — Boris Yeltsin and Vladimir Putin (and Putin’s temporary stand-in, Dmitry Medvedev).

            But I assume you’re including leaders of the Soviet Union, As to them, two of the three members of the troika that assumed control after the death of Lenin (and one of the troika that took control after the death of Stalin) died of very unnatural causes. Plus, Khrushchev was forced out to pasture (as was Georgy Malenkov before him), and Gorbachev had to have his chestnuts pulled out of the fire by Yeltsin after the fall of the Soviet Union.

            Things haven’t been all tea & sympathy for Kremlin leaders into their dotage.

    1. I wouldn’t put it past Putin to revive the Gulag for protesters. He has never had any compunction about resorting to crimes against humanity to stay in power. His conduct in Chechnya, Ukraine, and Syria, along with assassinations of his critics, demonstrates this. Sometimes I wish I believed in hell, just for the satisfaction of knowing monsters like Putin and Assad would rot there.

      1. “His conduct in Chechnya . . . .”

        What is your assessment of how he handled the Chechen terrorist school children hostage situation?

    1. Merilee, have you been watching the latest PBS offering called Inside the Mind of Agatha Christie? It’s wonderful. I’ve learned a lot of quirky things about her that would help budding authors. It’s actually on now on.

        1. Yrwlcm! If you’ve missed any of it, it might be re-aired later. Just saw that there’s another one showing tonight called Agatha Christie’s England. Been watching the re-airing of All Creatures Great and Small too. I love shows like that! They are a salve to the spirit especially in these depressing times.

          1. Have watched the first episode of the new All Creatures, and really liked it. Got a kick out of the housekeeper, and loved how James mixed up the kitties!

            1. That was a hoot with the kitties. I like Callum Woodhouse in the role of Tristan, though his antics are as irritating as intended. You remember him from the Durrells of Corfu of course. And Dr. Farnon, actor-what’s- his-name, has appeared in many dramas. It’s amusing to see all these actors make the circuit of British dramas.

              1. No🙀 Who did ‘Tristan’ play in The Durrells (which I loved)??
                Oh, I was thinking of Siegfried. Not sure I’ve seen Tristan yet.

              2. You remember Leslie who loved to hunt for food? And got a local pregnant? Ooops…this might be a spoiler as you said that you are on the first episode. Sorry. I shall say no more!

    1. I don’t either. Only thing I can figure is he thought he could force Putin’s hand by so publicly returning, or else die doing it. I fear that B will be the outcome.

    2. Most Russians believe Navalny faked the poisoning. First it was tea at the airport; then it was nerve agent in his underpants. First the poison was the Russian “military-grade” novichok nerve agent; then it was some new poison never seen before. Whatever it was, there was not enough of it to contaminate anyone who treated him at the hospital. Getting poisoned is good business for Navalny: his favorability has more than doubled, from 9% to 20%, in the last year. Putin’s approval by Russian voters is around 69% and near 90% in Crimea.

  10. Regarding Ted Bundy – I have an anecdote to offer. I had a neighbor back when I lived in rural Eastern Washington, who we on the block affectionately called ‘White Lightening’. She was a middle aged woman with striking, long white hair. She’d walk the block daily, leaving offering of grapes, flowers and antique electronics on various porches. She described herself as a ‘seer’. One day, I took her to lunch and she told me the story of how she was picked up by Ted Bundy when she was a student at The Evergreen State College. Once in his car, she had a vision of violence. She kicked open the door, jumped out of the moving vehicle and survived. /fin

  11. – L.Ron Hubbard was so very, very bonkers. And we STILL don’t know whatever happened to Scientology CEO David Muskevege’s (sp?) wife. Just disappeared! But maybe I’m being a “suppressive person” and need my engrams waxed and my Dyanetics re-calibrated? hahaha
    I’m here all year folks – get your tickets at the door.

    – The Japanese notation on the black and white cats: “This is where the cats go in the morning after waking up, in the bathroom.”

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