Friday: Hili dialogue

October 22, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the end of the nominal work week: Friday, October 22, 2021. The big news that, barring a medical mishap, I should be getting the stitches in my hand removed at 9 a.m. I’ll report back with photos. Posting may be light today.  Today’s special food celebration is National Nut Day. Nuts are good for you!

Remember that there are three species of wombats, and all of them produce poop that comes out in cubes:

News of the Day:

*As expected, the House voted yesterday to hold Steve Bannon in contempt of Congress. There was a squabble as chowderheaded Republican congresspeople still tried to claim that the Presidential election was stolen:

The vote of 229 to 202, mostly along party lines, came after Mr. Bannon refused to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the riot, declining to provide the panel with documents and testimony. The action sent the matter to the Justice Department, which now must decide whether to prosecute Mr. Bannon and potentially set off a prolonged legal fight.

But what was clear on Thursday in the debate before the vote was that nine months after the deadliest attack on the Capitol in two centuries, most Republicans remained bent on whitewashing, ignoring or even validating the mob violence on Jan. 6 in Mr. Trump’s name, based on his lie of election fraud.

If Merrick Garland decides to prosecute Bannon, he’ll face a possible fine of $1,000 to $100,000 and jail time between a month and a year.

*The BBC reports that a 25-year-old man named Ali Harbi Ali, of Somalian descent, has been charged with the murder of Tory MP Sir David Amess, who was stabbed to death while meeting with his constituents. It appears to be religiously inspired terrorism:

Nick Price, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “We will submit to the court that this murder has a terrorist connection, namely that it had both religious and ideological motivations.”

*The 400 Mawozo gang, which kidnapped 16 American and one Canadian missionary in Haiti last week, is now threatening to kill them unless the random is paid. As the Associated Press reports,

The leader of the 400 Mawozo gang that police say is holding 17 members of a kidnapped missionary group is seen in a video released Thursday saying he will kill them if he doesn’t get what he’s demanding.

The video posted on social media shows Wilson Joseph dressed in a blue suit, carrying a blue hat and wearing a large cross around his neck.

“I swear by thunder that if I don’t get what I’m asking for, I will put a bullet in the heads of these Americans,” he said in the video.’

That group includes five children. Let’s hope the FBI (which is on the ground in Haiti) finds them before Wilson Joseph fulfills his pledge.

*The Gabby Petito/Brian Laundrie case is almost put to rest, as remains found in a nature reserve in Florida have been identified from dental records as those of Laundrie, a “person of interest” in Petito’s murder. Apparently Laundrie’s remains were badly decomposed because his body was in water, which may make it hard to determine if he killed himself or died in some other way. It also precluded the use of fingerprints to ID the body.

*The 95 year old regent of the UK, Queen Elizabeth II, spent Wednesday night in the hospital for reasons disclosed only as “preliminary medical checks.” The announcement came from Buckingham Palace after she canceled a Wednesday visit to Northern Ireland (she’s remarkably busy for someone of such an age!):

In a statement on Thursday night, Buckingham Palace said: “Following medical advice to rest for a few days, the Queen attended hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today, and remains in good spirits.”

*A U.S. government initiative to negotiate the prices of prescription drugs—one of the main contributors to the ridiculously expensive healthcare in the U.S.—has been in the works for several decades, embraced by, among others, Democratic Presidents, Nancy Pelosi, and even Donald Trump. But nothing’s happened, and the initiative appears to be on the skids again. The NYT reports that this initiative may be omitted from a House domestic-policy agenda by some of the usual suspects, and by that I mean Democrats:

Senior Democrats insist that they have not given up the push to grant Medicare broad powers to negotiate lower drug prices as part of a once-ambitious climate change and social safety net bill that is slowly shrinking in scope. They know that the loss of the provision, promoted by President Biden on the campaign trail and in the White House, could be a particularly embarrassing defeat for the package, since it has been central to Democratic congressional campaigns for nearly three decades.

“Senate Democrats understand that after all the pledges, you’ve got to deliver,” said Senator Ron Wyden of Oregon, the chairman of the Finance Committee.

. . . . But with at least three House Democrats opposing the toughest version of the measure, and at least one Senate Democrat, Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, against it, government negotiating power appears almost certain to be curtailed, if not jettisoned. The loss would be akin to Republicans’ failure under Mr. Trump to repeal the Affordable Care Act, after solemn pledges for eight years to dismantle the health law “root and branch.”
It’s just NEGOTIATION at this stage. Why would anyone oppose it?

*Jack the Cat has had a wee setback in the healing process. As his staff reports:

Jack has been bothering his wrist wounds, making them bleed, so back to the Cone of Shame. [Photo below, also showing the pins holding together the bones in his paw.]

Poor Jack!:

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 733,385, an increase of 1,509 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,947,528, an increase of about 7,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on October 22 includes:

Here’s part of the Creed emphasizing the dual nature of Jesus:

Following, then, the holy Fathers, we all unanimously teach that our Lord Jesus Christ is to us One and the same Son, the Self-same Perfect in Godhead, the Self-same Perfect in Manhood; truly God and truly Man; the Self-same of a rational soul and body; co-essential with the Father according to the Godhead, the Self-same co-essential with us according to the Manhood; blah blah blah. . . .

  • 1797 – André-Jacques Garnerin makes the first recorded parachute jump, from one thousand meters (3,200 feet) above Paris.

Garnerin connect the “parachute” (with a basket, see below) to a hot-air balloon, and then severed the rope connected his device to the balloon. His basket swung back and forth and he was a bit banged up, but landed in the Parc Monceau and survived!

(From Wikipedia): Schematic depiction of Garnerin’s first parachute used in the Parc Monceau descent of 22 October 1797. Illustration dates from the early nineteenth century.
  • 1879 – Using a filament of carbonized thread, Thomas Edison tests the first practical electric incandescent light bulb (it lasted 13.5 hours before burning out).
  • 1883 – The Metropolitan Opera House in New York City opens with a performance of Gounod’s Faust.

Here’s the original building at 1411 Broadway:

Here’s Philomena (remember her?) at Greenwich; she displays the meridian line at 1:28:

  • 1934 – In East Liverpool, Ohio, FBI agents shoot and kill notorious bank robber Pretty Boy Floyd.

Here’s Floyd in his coffin. His pocket watch was found to have ten notches, one for each person he killed:

  • 1962 – Cuban Missile Crisis: President Kennedy, after internal counsel from Dwight D. Eisenhower, announces that American reconnaissance planes have discovered Soviet nuclear weapons in Cuba, and that he has ordered a naval “quarantine” of the Communist nation.
  • 1964 – Jean-Paul Sartre is awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but turns down the honor.

Why? The Nobel organization itself tells us:

The 59-year-old author Jean-Paul Sartre declined the Nobel Prize in Literature, which he was awarded in October 1964. He said he always refused official distinctions and did not want to be “institutionalised”. M. Sartre was interviewed by journalists outside the Paris flat of his friend Simone de Beauvoir, authoress and playwright. He also told the press he rejected the Nobel Prize for fear that it would limit the impact of his writing. He also expressed regrets that circumstances had given his decision “the appearance of a scandal”.

Sartre was the first awardee to voluntarily reject the Literature Prize, though Boris Pasternak was ordered by the Soviet to refuse the Prize when he was the awardee in 1958.

You can see the video of that interview at the link above, though there’s no sound.

  • 1983 – Two correctional officers are killed by inmates at the United States Penitentiary in Marion, Illinois. The incident inspires the Supermax model of prisons.
  • 2013 – The Australian Capital Territory becomes the first Australian jurisdiction to legalize same-sex marriage with the Marriage Equality (Same Sex) Act 2013.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s Liszt, four months before his death, photographed by Nadar. He had some warts.

Douglas, known as “Bosie”, was famous for having a gay relationship with Oscar Wilde, which eventually led to Wilde’s downfall. Here they are in May, 1883 (Douglas is seated):

  • 1887 – John Reed, American journalist and poet (d. 1920)

Reed, a Communist activist, is one of only three Americans honored by being interred in the Kremlin (in a mass grave); the other two are C. E. Ruthenberg, the founder of Communist Party USA and Bill Haywood, a founding member and leader of the Industrial Workers of the World. He’s portrayed in the movie “Reds” by Warren Beatty.Here’s the grave marker, with Reed being the second name. He died of spotted typhus in Moscow.

  • 1903 – Curly Howard, American comedian and vaudevillian (d. 1952)

His birth name was Jerome Lester Horwitz, and here’s his grave in Los Angeles (he died of a stroke at only 48):

Annette was The Beautiful Mouseketeer, who made many of us kids feel the first stirrings of amour. Here she is at 14 on the Mickey Mouse Club:

Deepak is 75 today, but has told us that he will not die! He has real diamonds in his glasses:


Those who were vetted by St. Peter on October 22 include:

I’ve always thought that there’s something lacking in my taste in art because Cezanne’s work doesn’t move me at all as it does most cognoscenti. (I always thought his repute came more from his place as the premier Postimpressionist rather than from the quality of his work. So sue me!) The one below (“Bathers”) isn’t bad, but he’s no Van Gogh. . . .

See above.

  • 1973 – Pablo Casals, Catalan cellist and conductor (b. 1876)
  • 1986 – Albert Szent-Györgyi, Hungarian-American physiologist and biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1893)
  • 1995 – Kingsley Amis, English novelist, poet, critic (b. 1922)

Here’s a short 1958 interview of Amis, who, I confess, I’ve never read:

  • 2009 – Soupy Sales, American comedian and actor (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej and Malgorzata had all their windows replaced yesterday, so I was puzzled by today’s dialogue. Malgorzata responded:

The dialogue was written a day before replacement. Our (and your readers don’t know about our window replacement). And Andrzej is paraphrasing a very old joke from the time of our youth (it was an in-joke, for Poles over 70 only):

A young couple with their toddler son are camping at the lake. The boy gets terribly dirty. The husband says to his wife: “Do we wash him or make a new one?”

The dialogue:

Hili: I’m wondering.
A: What about?
Hili: Whether you are going to wash this window or rather replace it?

In Polish:
Hili: Zastanawiam się.
Ja: Nad czym?
Hili: Czy prędzej umyjesz to okno, czy raczej je wymienisz?

From Bruce, a grim prognosis (where’s the apostrophe in the caption?):

From Stash Krod, and this is a nefarious trick. It took me a minute to figure this out:

Speaking of tricks rather than treats, read Stephen sent this:

From Titania. Apparently one of the Netflix protestors who picketed the company grabbed a Chappelle supporter’s placard, broke it, handed the stick back to the protestor, and then beefed that the Chappelle supporter had a weapon. Well, that’s what I heard, but I can’t verify it. If you have a tweet with that video, please email it to me or put it in the comments

From Ken, who calls this “stranger than fiction”. Indeed! The world would be a boring place without loons like this:

From Simon, who saw this at 3 a.m. on Twitter when he couldn’t sleep. Early morning perusal of Twitter, he says, is apparently a bad idea. Kristol does have a good sense of humor, though.

Yep, another loon! Does Wiles mistake messenger RNA for a fertilized parasite egg? Oy!

Tweets from Matthew. Look at this adorable orphaned Tawny Frogmouth. It looks like a cotton ball with a gaping maw!

What an appreciative audience!

This innocuous planthopper is almost certainly mimicking a jumping spider. Have a look at salticids.

Even tiny kittens have wicked points (five of their six ends are pointed):

A rare sight (I think Matthew is feeling sentimental today):

40 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. Poor Jack – I hope our host does better with his stitches this morning.

    It sounds like Trevor Noah was on good form on The Daily Show taking on the subject of cops and the vaccine mandate:

    “I’ve gotta say, out of all the occupations, cops and firefighters are the last people who I’d expect to see this [vaccine hesitancy] from,” said Noah. “These are the same people who sign up to swarm hostage situations or run into burning buildings. But when it comes to the vaccine, suddenly they’re like, ‘I don’t know, seems like a health risk.’”

    What’s “most strange” about this resistance, Noah added, is that “for years, police departments have been telling us that nothing is more important than protecting the lives of cops on the street. It’s why cities have been increasing their budgets to buy military-grade armor. And it’s also why they can’t take 30 seconds to determine if somebody is really a threat before shooting them.

    “But there is literally nothing more dangerous to police officers right now than Covid-19,” he continued. The virus is the current leading cause of death for law enforcement, having killed five times more police than guns since the start of the pandemic. “So it turns out that if you do believe that blue lives matter,” he concluded, “one of the best ways to show your support is by getting the vaccine.”

  2. The trick to appreciating Cezanne is, never look at a Cezanne with a human body in it. His landscapes are splendid in colour and seem to contain a new geometry, his knowledge of human anatomy was nil. And as far as I know, he never painted a cat.

  3. How do you get the time out of a clock? Just off the news, Alec Baldwin has shot and killed a woman on a movie set with a prop gun.

    1. Wow. I come here first in the morning, so I hadn’t seen that. Given the number of times guns are discharged in movies, and occurrence like this is extremely rare.

  4. What can you share about this incident that affected your colleague? ‘Canceled’ University of Chicago geophysics professor Dorian Abbot

  5. The vote of 229 to 202, mostly along party lines, came after Mr. Bannon refused to comply with a subpoena from the House select committee investigating the riot, declining to provide the panel with documents and testimony.

    Just nine Republicans had the cojones to cross party lines to vote to hold Bannon in contempt. Trump grabbed the other 202 GOP congresscritters by their pussies, and they just let him.

    Bannon, who hadn’t worked in the White House since 2017 — three and a half years before the Jan. 6th insurrection — has asserted an “executive privilege” claim that does not rise to the level of risibility. What’s worse, he refused even to appear before the Jan. 6th committee to assert this bogus privilege in person, as any subpoenaed witness is required to do. Yet fewer than 5% of GOP representatives were willing to enforce congress’s own subpoena power — a power without which congress’s constitutional duty to conduct “oversight” is rendered nugatory. This, in a vote that occurred in the very building the attack on which the select committee is investigating.

    Say what one will about the third branch of government — the “least dangerous branch,” as Alexander Hamilton called the judiciary — unlike congress it at least zealously guards its own turf. This includes higher courts protecting the power and prerogatives of lower courts, even when the higher courts vehemently disagree with those lower courts (sometimes referred to as “the jurisdiction to determine jurisdiction” doctrine).

    I can think of no more salient example of this than when, in the 1960s, the Warren Court — the liberal Warren Court, a Court that was nothing if not sympathetic to the civil-rights movement — upheld the power of an Alabama state-court trial judge to employ its contempt power to enforce an injunction it had issued prohibiting a civil-rights demonstration. See Walker v. City of Birmingham. It was the violation of this injunction that landed the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., in the Birmingham City Jail (whence he penned his famous missive). SCOTUS upheld the power of a podunk, redneck judge to enforce his injunction even though the Court later found the city ordinance upon which the injunction had been based to be patently unconstitutional, see Shuttlesworth v. City of Birmingham — though, alas, too late for Dr. King (who had by then been felled by an assassin’s bullet).

    Had Steve Bannon defied the subpoena of a federal court, he’d be cooling his heels in a jail cell right now, serving time for civil contempt (just ask Kim Davis, the religious wingnut clerk-of-court in Kentucky who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples after SCOTUS’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.)

    Today’s GOP is a husk of its old self, having been devoured from within by a big, orange parasitoid wasp named Donald Trump. It has made of itself an enemy of the rule of law.

    1. He should have done like a bunch of witnesses did during the HUAC hearings into Hollywood Communism did, and just hide so that the subpoenas couldn’t be served.

      1. You mean the way he was hiding out on the Chinese billionaire’s yacht in the Atlantic Ocean when he got arrested on his federal warrant for ripping off Trump supporters with his build-the-wall scam? These were small-dollar, rank-and-file Trump supporters, and Bannon took them down for a cool $1 million plus to lavish upon himself — yet Donald Trump gave him a last-minute pardon for this crime. Could there be any bigger suckers than Trump supporters?

    2. The action of the Republicans remind me of the German Reichstag in the HItler era. The members would never defy the Fuhrer, thus imperiling their lives — literally. Today, the Republicans don’t want to risk their political lives, but the principle is the same and, as in Germany, they think little of sacrificing democracy. Of course, the Trump cult is pleased as punch.

      1. I think that photo of Oscar and Bosie must be from 1893 not 1883. Bosie was born in 1870 and met Oscar when he was 18.

        If you haven’t read any Amis, read Lucky Jim. It’s a snapshot of British university life in the 1950s. I enjoy a lot of his other novels but as others have pointed out, many of them are appallingly misogynistic.

    3. Thanks for you commentary here and on many posts over time. You bring a lot of reading pleasure, not only with your skillful treatment of legal matters, but on cultural matters as well. Do continue to enlighten and entertain WEIT. 🖖🏻

      1. Thanks, Rick (though, if my family were to read your comment, they’d say, “Please, don’t encourage him!”) 🙂

    4. And the wasp’s egg is currently pupating, if it hatches…?

      Sorry, I just wanted to extend your ingenious and somewhat horrifying metaphor.

      Plus what Rick said. 🙂

    5. A good thorough analysis by Ken Kukec.

      May I add that, in a country with decent rule of law and separation of powers, and with rigorous enforcement of these, someone like Bannon would rather likely and quickly end up in jail for a good period because of one of the following three:

      i) continuing to defy the subpoena; or

      ii) testifying with lies to the Congress; or

      iii) testifying with truths which are all that is needed to convict him of a seditious crime.

      Perhaps to most here, all I’ve written above is totally obvious.

  6. In other news: yesterday, the UK announced that the daily number of confirmed Covid-19 infections was 52,009 – that’s more than the daily case rates of the world’s #2 country (Russia) and the USA combined. The English government refuses to reintroduce measures like face coverings (health is a devolved issue and the situation is different in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland). And we’re about to host a massive international climate change conference with visitors from around the globe – what could possibly go wrong?

  7. I was going to post a link to the full Netflix video, which I watched several times, except that it has been taken down.
    But here is a repost, for now ( almost halfway down the page)

    There is also an interesting article on the media take on the protest. It is a right website, but you can see for yourself who is being truthful, but watching the whole thing.

  8. To best appreciate Cezanne, it helps to see him as laying the groundwork for Braque and Picasso’s cubism, which led to modern abstract art forms. In other words he was the first modernist. His paintings are compositionally complex and built upon a recognition of the surface of the painting rather than simple realist perspective. He challenged the impressionists and wanted a firmer foundation than illusory, atmospheric, space.

  9. Apparently one of the Netflix protestors who picketed the company grabbed a Chappelle supporter’s placard, broke it, handed the stick back to the protestor, and then beefed that the Chappelle supporter had a weapon. […] If you have a tweet with that video, please email it to me or put it in the comments

    Hi Jerry, there was a lot about this on Jesse Singal’s twitter feed. The video is here. The guy whose sign was taken from him is Vito Gesualdi . He has put out his own video about the incident here.

    1. Also worth noting (again, this from Jesse Singal’s Twitter feed) is that AP put out a photo of the incident with a flat-out lie of a caption.

      The AP caption stated that the counter-protestor (Vito Gesualdi) had yelled obscenities. The video (above) clearly shows this to be false. One of the protesters (the irritating lady with the tambourine) is, however, repeatedly calling Gesualdi a “motherf***er”). The AP caption also describes the protestors as “peaceful” (despite one of them destroying Gesualdi’s sign. After Jesse Singal’s intervention, the AP later changed their caption (though it is still misleading).

  10. Kingsley Amis is 99! I re-read some of his novels early in lockdown, and many of them have not worn very well. Lucky Jim is still pretty funny to me, but it’s nearly 70 years old (!), and I’m not sure what today’s readers would think of it. The Alteration (set in an alternative world where the Catholic Church still rules) is OK, and his two satires on old age (Ending Up and The Old Devils) are gleefully cynical; but too much of his stuff is too stuck in its time (and, of course, appallingly misogynistic and non-woke) to get much of a readership these days.

    I predict a small number of learned articles on his centenary next year, and a delighted rediscovery in another 50 years’ time.

    1. Agreed, I’m not sure that his novels have aged very well. I prefer his satirical stuff such as Decline and Fall and Scoop, but that probably says more about me than his later more serious works.

      1. Err…that would be Evelyn Waugh, not Amis.

        But yes; Waugh’s earlier stuff, before he decided he was a devout Catholic, such as Decline and Fall, and Vile Bodies, are much better than, say, Brideshead Revisited, which could have been good but is wrecked by its pervasive RC imagery.

        Still, the Sword of Honour trilogy is worth re-reading.

        1. Doh! Not sure how I made the jump from thinking about Lucky Jim to commenting on Evelyn Waugh! Stoopid even by my standards – apologies!

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