Sunday: Hili dialogue

October 17, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Sunday, October 17, 2021: National Pasta Day. Submitted for your approval: pasta carbonara:

It’s also Four Prunes Day (lore has it that if you have gut issues, 4-9 prunes per day will set you right), Black Poetry Day, Forgive an Ex Day, Pay Back a Friend Day, Wear Something Gaudy Day, and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

News of the Day:

*The vaccine reporting mandate for Chicago police started at midnight Friday, but, as the local ABC News reports, it might take the city days to sort out which cops have been vaccinated and which haven’t. And until that happens, nobody will be sent home on unpaid leave or fired. Given that this delay in counting was predictable, I’m not sure why there was so much teeth-gnashing in the past few days that we’d lose half our police officers yesterday. Still, the war continues between Mayor Lightfoot, who insists that the mandate be enforced, and the police unions, who hate the mandate.  The mayor has filed suit suit against the four police unions and vice versa. But there was a minor victory for the city:

[A Chicago] judge granted a temporary restraining order banning Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara, Jr. from making any further public statements urging his members not to comply with the vaccine reporting mandate. City attorneys said that amounted to “sedition and mutiny.”

*There was a strike in the offing between the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees and Hollywood studios that looks as if it was going to happen, shutting down all movie and t.v. productions (the workers are looking for better salaries and working conditions). We’d all have to be watching reruns, but as of this evening (Saturday) it looks as if the two sides may strike a deal. If not, an industry already hit hard by Covid will suffer an additional shock.

*Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg and his husband Chasten adopted young twins in August, and Secretary Pete has been on four weeks of paid paternal leave, which is legal and fine with me. The problem that his opponents have raised is of course there are huge cockups in the area Buttigieg controls: the funding bills and the supply-chain crisis. Further, there is no federal provision for paid paternal or maternal leave, but that’s one of things in Biden’s $3.5 trillion social safety-net bill. This has caused Republicans to lash out at Buttigieg (I can’t believe that his being gay has nothing to do with it). Here’s a CNN report on the dustup, which also involves criticism of Buttigieg by Fox’s Tucker Carlson:

*I wonder if the Taliban in Afghanistan, who said they weren’t going to stop ISIS (or IS, as it’s also known) from terrorist activities, might not want to rethink things. On Friday an ISIS suicide bomber killed 47 people and wounded many more in an attack on a Shiite mosque in the southern part of the country Shiites are a minority in Afghanistan, while ISIS is Sunni and the Taliban is neither (ego the Taliban and ISIS are also enemies). I wonder how that country can hold together with two warring Islamist and terrorist organizations coexisting.

*The Washington Post has an article about the “latest reckoning over language in the puzzle world”, dealing with how makers of word games deal with words that are offensive to some, like “lynching” or could be offensive to some, like “illegal”. Should a word that is a “good” word, but could be upsetting, not be used in, say, Scrabble? Read and reach your own conclusions.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 724,317, an increase of 1,570 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,910,629, an increase of about 4,100 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on October 17 includes:

Actually, according to Wikipedia this was the day that Kepler began to study the supernova, the first exploding star known to be observed by humans. The supernova itself was first observed (by Kepler among others) on October 9. Here’s a “X-ray, Optical & Infrared Composite of Kepler’s Supernova Remnant”:

Here’s the death warrant of Charles I, who was beheaded, along with the signatures and seals of 59 commissioners who signed it. Nine of them met their own horrible end.

  • 1771 – Premiere in Milan of the opera Ascanio in Alba, composed by Mozart at age 15.
  • 1781 – American Revolutionary War: British General Charles, Earl Cornwallis surrenders at the Siege of Yorktown.

And that brought an end to the fighting.

A 22-foot tall vat burst, and the pressure caused other vats to open, releasing the contents of other vats and flooding the surrounding area with what’s estimated to be between 580,000 and 1,470,000 liters of beer. A vat of the time is shown below (this accident caused breweries to stop using the big boys), and below that a drawing of the St. Giles Rookery, the slum area around the brewery where people drowned in beer.

  • 1907 – Marconi begins the first commercial transatlantic wireless service.
  • 1931 – Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion.

Here’s Capone’s FBI record from 1932. Note that in nearly all cases, the charges were dismissed. Curious, eh? But he got 11.5 years for the income tax charge.

  • 1933 – Albert Einstein flees Nazi Germany and moves to the United States.

The NYT article, showing Einstein carrying his violin:

  • 1956 – The first commercial nuclear power station is officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in Sellafield, England.
  • 1969 – The Caravaggio painting Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence is stolen from the Oratory of Saint Lawrence in Palermo.

I love Caravaggio, and this is a splendid painting. It’s still missing and nobody has any idea who took it or what happened to it.  This being Palermo, the involvement of the Mafia has been suggested.

  • 1979 – Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.


Hattori (below) was going to a Halloween party and simply approached the wrong house. The resident woman alerted her husband, who came out with a gun and shot Hattori in the chest. The shooter was acquitted. What would Hattori’s parents think of America after their loss?

  • 2018 – The recreational use of cannabis is legalized in Canada.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1903 – Nathanael West, American author and screenwriter (d. 1940)
  • 1915 – Arthur Miller, American playwright and screenwriter (d. 2005)
  • 1918 – Rita Hayworth, American actress, singer and dancer (d. 1987)

Hayworth was THE pin-up girl for GIs in World War II. But besides being an actress, she was a good singer and a great dancer. Both are on display in her dance below with Fred Astaire in the 1942 film “You Were Never Lovelier“.  Also see this fantastic clip, which I’ve shown before; it’s perhaps my favorite Astaire dancing duet.

  • 1933 – The Singing Nun, Belgian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and nun (d. 1985)

Her real name was Jeanne-Paule Marie “Jeannine” Deckers (below) and despite her 1963 musical hit, “Dominique“, she met an unhappy end. From Wikipedia:

Owing to confusion over the terms of the recording contract, she was reduced to poverty, and also experienced a crisis of faith, quitting the order, though still remaining a Catholic. She committed suicide with her lifelong partner, Annie Pécher.

  • 1938 – Evel Knievel, American motorcycle rider and stuntman (d. 2007)
  • 1942 – Gary Puckett, American pop singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1968 – Ziggy Marley, Jamaican singer-songwriter, guitarist, and voice actor
  • 1969 – Wyclef Jean, Haitian-American rapper, producer, and actor

This gives me an excuse to put up a great live performance: “Hips Don’t Lie,” with Wyclef Jean and Shakira (she’s credited with co-writing the song):

  • 1972 – Eminem, American rapper, producer, and actor

Those who reached their terminus on October 17 include:

  • 1586 – Philip Sidney, English courtier, poet, and general (b. 1554)
  • 1849 – Frédéric Chopin, Polish pianist and composer (b. 1810)
  • 1910 – Julia Ward Howe, American poet and songwriter (b. 1819)
  • 1958 – Paul Outerbridge, American photographer (b. 1896)

Outerbridge was a pioneer of color photography, and also photographed nudes that couldn’t be show during his lifetime, but here’s a black and white one that I like:

Mannequin, c. 1928 by Paul Outerbridge, Jr. © 2017 G. Ray Hawkins Gallery, Beverly Hills, CA
  • 1979 – S. J. Perelman, American humorist and screenwriter (b. 1904)
  • 1991 – Tennessee Ernie Ford, American singer and actor (b. 1919)
  • 2008 – Levi Stubbs, American singer (b. 1936)

And that gives me an excuse to put up one of Stubbs’s great performances: “Ask the Lonely“, performed with the Four Tops in Paris in 1967. It’s one of my favorite Four Tops songs, and if any one song could be said to represent “soul music”, it’s this rendition. Look at the sweat pouring off Stubbs! This is one of the greatest live performances of any soul song.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili still defies the approach of winter, and exits through the kitchen window.

Hili: It’s getting colder and colder.
A: You can stay at home.
Hili: I have my fur.
In Polish:
Hili: Robi się coraz chłodniej.
Ja: Możesz zostać w domu.
Hili: Mam futro.
And here are all three cats together outside:

From Stephen:

From Facebook:

From Cat Lovers Community:

A tweet from the UK Humanists, with Stephen Fry explaining what humanism is and how there is no single “meaning of life.” I like this!

Reader Barry says that “This is just a demo reel. There is no word about a forthcoming movie.” I’d like to see a biopic of Robin Williams, though the 2018 documentary, “Robin Willams: Come Inside My Mind” was wonderful.  I’ll put a trailer for the documentary below the tweet.

It’s a good impression of Williams but I’m not as impressed as Bob Cesca:

Here’s the trailer for the 2018 documentary (see it, by all means!):

From Simon. Every beginning science professor with a lab has heard this during their first year of employment:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, an event from October 16, 1943

Tweets from Dr. Cobb, who’s in Oslo for a few days. Look at this old British git keeping fit by riding tiny bicycles!

It better snow soon or this hare is toast!

This is a true story about a lunatic judge in Tennessee who regularly (and illegally) jails kids. There was a piece on it on NPR yesterday, and you can read about it here or in the thread on Twitter.

43 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Re Four Prunes Day: it’s true that prunes have a laxative effect, but everyone should know they are stimulant laxatives (not osmotic or bulk) and thus ought not to be taken regularly (!) for this purpose. Regular use of stimulant laxatives makes the gut lazy, requiring ever higher doses to achieve the same effect. Use fibre (wheat bran if you don’t want to eat it in vegetables or fruit) or osmotic softeners like docusate or PEG and you’ll have no worries.

    1. It reminded me of an old line:

      “Your Uncle Patrick drowned last week in a vat of whiskey. Some of his workmates tried to save him but he fought them off bravely.”

      1. The version I had was “Your Uncle Patrick drowned last week in a vat of beer. He would have died more quickly except that he had to get out 3 times for a pee!”

  2. The battle of Yorktown was very much a French involved affair with the French fleet, thousands of french soldiers and French money to assist Washington and the colonies in victory. Could they have done it without all the assistance from the French. No.

    1. Hence Lafayette Park across from the White House. In this context I also remember the Polish soldiers whose aid was indispensable to our winning the war: Pulaski, Kosciusko, et al.

      1. Yes, and is it not ironic that today, both the U.S. and Poland have decided it is good to politicize the judiciary and throw aside the rule of law and constitution. They are both in a race to the bottom.

      1. There were many militias in the South under Lafayette. French troops under Rochambeau marched down from Canada and were joined by Washington’s army from NY for the siege. But it was the French fleet’s driving off the Brits that sealed the victory. My GGGG granddad was there as a “dont-tread-on-me” militiamen from Culpepper.

  3. Correction: Kepler’s supernova wasn’t “the first exploding star known to be observed by humans.” It was the most recent supernova in the Milky Way observed by humans. (Others have been observed since, but outside our galaxy.) Many others were observed earlier than Kepler’s, the oldest recorded in 185 CE, although there must have been a great many observed in prehistory.

        1. Betelgeuse may have gone supernova some time during the last 642.5 years, but we wouldn’t know it yet, right?

  4. The juxtaposition of Al Capone and a picture of Einstein carrying a violin case made the think the Einstein has a tommy gun in there.

    I agree with Calvin Coolidge, who opined during the Boston police strike of 1919 that there is no right to strike against the public safety, but to call it “sedition and mutiny” is overwrought, and shows that there is no moderation in political discourse now.

    In other news the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers (203k strong) has told Union Pacific to stick their vaccine mandate up their caboose.

    1. I tell you, we are here on Earth to fart around, and don’t let anybody tell you different.
      — Kurt Vonnegut (@Kurt_Vonnegut) May 16, 2021

  5. Oh, and in other, other news, apparently the Separation of Church and State is out the window. As CNN reports:

    More than 300 Black churches across Virginia will hear from Vice President Kamala Harris between Sunday and election day in a video message that will air during morning services as part of an outreach effort aimed to boost McAuliffe. [My embolding.]

    1. I think the “other” party had pretty well shoved that one under the bus long ago. And how about that supreme court.

    2. If Kamala endorses McAuliffe from the pulpit during religious services, I should think those 300 churches would be in jeopardy of losing their tax-exempt status.

      Otherwise, this would constitute conduct plainly protected by the First Amendment.

  6. Look at this old British git

    That’s a bit harsh. Eccentric, yes, but a git? No.

    (For non native speakers of British English: “git” is a pejorative term having a similar connotation to applying the term “arsehole”)

    1. I’d always understood “git” be closer to “fool,” but will defer to your greater expertise. (Speaking of arseholes, that type of cycling probably isn’t the exercise of choice for someone suffering from piles. 🙂 )

    2. I always have thought that git was derived from a mispronunciation of ‘get’, which is a derogatory name for an illegitimate person, only slightly less offensive than ‘bastard’.

      1. That may be so but git has lost its connections to illegitimacy, unlike bastard. Do people in the UK call a child born out of wedlock a “git” or a “get” any more?

        1. Although “bastard” retains its original definition, it has taken on secondary meaning, too.

          I’ve been known to refer to certain public figures as “bastards” without intending to asperse their parentage.

          1. Good point. For “bastard” to be interpreted in its “child out of wedlock” sense, it must be accompanied by considerable context. The speaker must have knowledge of the subject’s parentage and/or it must matter to the conversation. Also, it must be clear that the subject’s general nastiness is not being called into question. Interesting how the mind works.

            1. I think the meaning has somewhat been softened, at least here in the UK, now that illegitimacy no longer carries the stigma it once did. Any of these can convey different meanings depending on the context. Thus, ‘evil old …’, derogatory, ‘cunning old…’, grudging respect or, ‘soft old…’, rough affection. There are other variations.

  7. A far-distant relative of mine was a victim of the London beer flood: three men dived in to rescue him but he fought them off bravely.

  8. “What would Hattori’s parents think of America after their loss?”

    I’m sure they think America is a lawless country, insane with gun nuts, and who could argue?

  9. But besides being an actress, she [Rita Hayworth] was a good singer and a great dancer.

    Rita Hayworth was an actress and a great dancer (Astaire called her the best he ever worked with), but her singing on screen was dubbed. (She asked her studio, Columbia, to train her as a singer, but Columbia president Harry Cohn — known around Hollywood was a real s.o.b. — put the kibosh on it.)

  10. In re: the word game kerfuffle: This seems to me a rather sinister, if not Orwellian example of woke culture/snowflake coddling. “Lynch” and “Illegal” as banned words because of the potential discomfort they may cause in game players are among the most egregious examples, the former because it’s banning seems an attempt to whitewash(!) history, the latter because there are a multitude of contexts in which “illegal” is purely innocuous– “He made an illegal U-turn” being just one. If “illegal” triggers your sense of outrage, you’ve got bigger problems than an inability to play online word puzzles.

  11. The Taliban is in fact Sunni. I have seen it described as “Deobandi”, which I have seen described as “an Islamic revivalist movement within Sunni (primarily Hanafi) Islam”.

Leave a Reply