Monday: Hili dialogue

November 1, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to November!: it’s the first of November, 2021, and National Boiled Egg Day.

It’s also the beginning of these food months or weeks:

National Fun with Fondue Month
National Georgia Pecan Month
National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month
National Pepper Month
National Stuffing Month
National Raisin Bread Month
November 1-7: National Fig Week

On top of that, it’s World Vegan Day, National Calzone Day, National Deep Fried Clams Day, National Cinnamon Day, National Vinegar Day, National Author’s Day (but who is the one author they’re celebrating?), International Scented Candle Day, and National Brush Day, promoting good tooth-brushing habits in kids, especially after eating a lot of candy.

I haven’t had a calzone since I lived in Manhattan in the early Seventies, but I want one now. Back then it was always a choice between ordering two slices (see 1:50 here) or a calzone at the corner pizzeria.

There’s a Google Doodle today that’s an animated game (click on screenshot) featuring the late (1849-1896) We:wa (Whe’wa in Wikipedia), a Zuni artist Wikipedia describes this way:

 Zuni Native American from New Mexico, a notable fiber artist, weaver and potter. As the most famous lhamana on record, We’wha served as a cultural ambassador for Native Americans in general, and the Zuni in particular, serving as a contact point and educator for many European-American settlers, teachers, soldiers, missionaries, and anthropologists. In 1886, We’wha was part of the Zuni delegation to Washington D.C.; during that visit, We’wha met President Grover Cleveland.

As the Ihamana link shows, she was a trans female; a photo is below. She was also a leader of her community, but died at only 47 from heart failure.

News of the Day:

*Today the Supreme Court, in an originally unscheduled hearing, will begin listening to arguments for and against Texas’s odious and restrictive new anti-abortion law. You know—the one that doesn’t allow abortion after the fetal heart starts beating (ca. 6 weeks) and makes no exception for rape or incest. This is followed by the Court’s hearing on December 1 about the Mississippi abortion law, banning the procedure after 15 weeks. Both of these conflict with Roe v. Wade. The Washington Post lays out the conflict and the worries of the Left:

“The outcome of this case will define the future of our constitutional democracy,” said Sam Spital, director of litigation at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, which is supporting abortion providers and a Justice Department lawsuit against Texas.

“Absent the Supreme Court’s intervention, S.B. 8’s [the Texas law] model for openly defying precedent set by the highest court in our land will metastasize — and not just with respect to abortion rights,” he said. “Many of our constitutional rights will be in grave danger.”

In a brief filed last week, more than 120 current and former prosecutors and judges concur. “S.B. 8 is perhaps the most blatant attempt to subvert federal authority since the Jim Crow era,” it says.

And remember this:

Pleas by abortion providers to have the Supreme Court step in before the law could take effect Sept. 1 were turned away on a 5-to-4 vote — the most tangible evidence yet of how the court’s conservative majority has shifted.

I predict Roe v Wade is circling the drain.

*White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki has tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, even though she’s been vaccinated. So has Biden (and I think he’s had a booster), so I’m not that worried. Psaki’s case is mild, but she begged off going to Europe with Biden and is in self-quarantine.

*Speaking of Uncle Joe, his approval rating is in the dumpster. An NBC News poll showed that the percentage of Americans who approve of his performance is only 42%, while the percentage of those disapproving is 54%.  The slippage in the past few months is shown below. Further 71% of Americans, and 48% of all Democrats (!), think “the country is headed in the wrong direction.” I suspect that his ratings will rise when (or if?) the two spending bills pass.

*OK, Millennial. There’s a conflict in the workplace, but it’s described in this NYT piece by Emma Goldberg, “The 37-year-olds are afraid of the 23-year-olds who work for them.” I will not comment on the article lest I sound like a grumpy old man (even though that’s what I am). One word: entitlement.

*Dorian Abbot, the University of Chicago geoscience professor whose prestigious lecture at MIT was cancelled because of his videos and articles criticizing DEI initiatives, has written an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “The views that made me persona non grata at MIT.” I disagree with him on the lack of a need for affirmative action, but do agree with this:

I believe we are obliged to reduce bias where it exists, where we can. That includes honest reflection on whether we are treating everyone equally. But you cannot infer bias based only on the ratios of different groups after a selection. A multitude of factors, including interest and culture, influence these ratios. I disagree with the idea that there is a right ratio of groups to aim for. Instead, the goal should be fair selection processes that give every candidate an equal opportunity.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 745,535, an increase of 1,346 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,016,880, an increase of about 4,500 over yesterday’s total. Remember when 200,000 deaths from Covid in the U.S. was regarded as an unimaginably horrible possibility?

Stuff that happened on November 1 includes:

  • 365 – The Alemanni cross the Rhine and invade Gaul. Emperor Valentinian I moves to Paris to command the army and defend the Gallic cities.

Here come the barbarians!

Some day I must see this, but I’m afraid of Italy because I don’t know how to order in a restaurant there (true!):

  • 1520 – The Strait of Magellan, the passage immediately south of mainland South America connecting the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans, is first discovered and navigated by European explorer Ferdinand Magellan during the first recorded circumnavigation voyage.

Here’s Magellan’s route through the Strait. I’ll be going through the eastern part of this passage in just a few months! Twice!

Do not do it this way! The Globe theater was built in 1599, so I suppose they wanted to perform it for royals.

  • 1611 – Shakespeare’s play The Tempest is performed for the first time, at Whitehall Palace in London.
  • 1755 – In Portugal, Lisbon is totally devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami, killing between 60,000 and 90,000 people.

Remember that in Candide, Voltaire used this earthquake as an example that all was not for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

  • 1800 – John Adams becomes the first President of the United States to live in the Executive Mansion (later renamed the White House).

This is what the White House looked like then:

And now:

  • 1870 – In the United States, the Weather Bureau (later renamed the National Weather Service) makes its first official meteorological forecast.
  • 1894 – Buffalo Bill, 15 of his Indians, and Annie Oakley were filmed by Thomas Edison in his Black Maria Studio in West Orange, New Jersey.

Here’s some of that video; Annie shoots at targets and at coins tossed in the air:

  • 1896 – A picture showing the bare breasts of a woman appears in National Geographic magazine for the first time.

You can see the photo and the magazine’s cover here.

The Wikipedia link, however, says that “at least 93 people died.” Later it says that there’s a range, between 93 and 102. Somebody fix it!  The wreck occurred when a BMT subway train took a curve too fast, going 30 mph in a curve designed for only 6 mph, and derailed. Below is a photo of the inside of one of the cars. The 25 year old motorman left the scene of the wreck, and it was shown that he hadn’t applied the brakes. But nobody was ever convicted in this accident.

Atatürk did this as one of his many reforms.

  • 1938 – Seabiscuit defeats War Admiral in an upset victory during a match race deemed “the match of the century” in horse racing.

Here’s the great race, with Seabiscuit pulling out at the end to win by four lengths. You must read Laura Hillenbrand’s superb book, Seabiscuit: An American Legend, one of the great nonfiction page-turners of our time.

Seabiscuit was a small horse, shown here with trainer Tom Smith:


‘Tis true, and how can I not show that image:

This is so bogus: the Pope simply made up the claim that Mary was bodily taken up to heaven. Well, as Archie Bunker said. . . listen for yourself (what a great show this was!):

Look at this H-bomb!

  • 1963 – The Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, with the largest radio telescope ever constructed, officially opens.
  • 1968 – The Motion Picture Association of America’s film rating system is officially introduced, originating with the ratings G, M, R, and X.
  • 1993 – The Maastricht Treaty takes effect, formally establishing the European Union.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 846 – Louis the Stammerer, Frankish king (d. 879)
  • 1757 – Antonio Canova, Italian sculptor and educator (d. 1822)
  • 1880 – Alfred Wegener, German meteorologist and geophysicist (d. 1930)

Wegener, shown below on an expedition, was the first scientist to suggest that continental drift occurred. He was poo-pooed, but proven right in the 1950s and now by direct observation using GPS. Sadly, he died in 1930 and didn’t live to see his vindication:

  • 1886 – Hermann Broch, Austrian-American author and poet (d. 1951)
  • 1919 – Hermann Bondi, English-Austrian mathematician and cosmologist (d. 2005)
  • 1935 – Edward Said, Palestinian-American theorist, author, and academic (d. 2003)
  • 1944 – Kinky Friedman, American singer-songwriter and author
  • 1957 – Lyle Lovett, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer

Don’t forget that when Texas Traditions (Lee Miller’s shop where Pinker and I had our custom boots made) posted a picture on Instagram of an old pair of T. O. Stanley boots made and worn by the master himself, and later purchased by me from his factory boss, Lyle Lovett liked the photo! My fame:

And don’t forget that Lovett was married to Julia Roberts for two years.

  • 1972 – Toni Collette, Australian actress

Those who entered eternal darkness on November 1 include:

  • 1955 – Dale Carnegie, American author and educator (b. 1888)
  • 1972 – Robert MacArthur, Canadian-American ecologist and academic (b. 1930)
  • 1972 – Ezra Pound, American poet and critic (b. 1885)
  • 1972 – Robert MacArthur, Canadian-American ecologist and academic (b. 1930)

MacArthur was a famous ecologist who worked at Princeton University and was part of the “young Turks” of population biology that included Richard Levins and Dick Lewontin. Sadly, MacArthur died at only 42 of kidney cancer. A photo:

  • 1985 – Phil Silvers, American actor and comedian (b. 1911)
  • 1993 – Severo Ochoa, Spanish-American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1905)
  • 2006 – William Styron, American novelist and essayist (b. 1925)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili ponders her prey:

Hili: Can you eat a mouse and have it too?
A: No.
Hili: It’s a good thing that mice are a self renewable resource.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy można zjeść mysz i ją zachować?
Ja: Nie.
Hili: Dobrze, że myszy są zasobem samooodnawialnym.

Here’s a picture of Szaron by Paulina:

From Facebook:

From Not Another Cat Science Page:

From Pyers: technology evolves!

From Titania; the sad fact is that many wokies adhere to this dictum. Whenever you see free speech referred to as “freeze peach,” you can be sure there’s a censor lurking:

From Barry. Sound up!

Tweets from Matthew showing an insect whose males and females are very different. Here’s the Spanish translation of the second tweet: “Palaeococcus fuscipennis (pine mealybug), hemiptera of the Margarodidae family. The male has wings and flies, the female is apterous, almost blind, with short legs and remains motionless sucking sap from the pines. They are called scale insects. It is a pest of pines.”

Well, only the sign gives this away as Poland, I think. Oh, I just saw the nun. . . .

I missed it by a day:

Translation: The Bangkok Post simply has the best overall caricature of Brexit.

I may have posted this before, in which case I’m posting it again. (See more photos of these urchins here.)

Tough French felids. They probably smoke Gauloises:

34 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Hi Jerry, no need to worry about ordering food in Italy, especially in the cities. Someone on staff will speak English (or French).

    The image of “Moonrise, Hernandez, NM” is cropped. The original image by Adams has a much larger (taller) area of dark (dark!) sky. This is intentional (as all his compositions were: Very thought out and intentional).

    1. Yes, my wife and I spent two weeks in Italy about three years ago and had no trouble making ourselves understood, even in the smallest cafes.

      And yes, the Sistine Chapel is very beautiful, but the tour you take to see the chapel fills the room with a sea of people, wall to wall, shoulder to shoulder. Anyone with claustrophobia would likely have a real problem with that. I’m not sure if COVID has or will change that in any way.

      1. My wife and I went to Italy a few years ago in November. It was a good time to visit. Venice and the Vatican were the only place we had to deal with crowds. The Sistine Chapel was, as you say, packed with people. We did a quick look at the ceiling and left as there was no way to enjoy the experience. In Florence, we just walked right into the museums with very little time, if at all, waiting in line. It was rare to find someone that did not speak English. Also very rare were the Florentine steaks, which they will not serve otherwise.

      2. Although I knew a fair amount of Italian when I was in Italy, I found that the Italians are generally very friendly and hospitable to “furriners”, especially around food.

    2. Agreed, our experience in Italy some years ago was that we had no problems despite not knowing any Italian (beyond the obvious guesses).
      In fact, it seemed that the second language in Italy was English: monolingual signs were of course in Italian, bilingual signs were Italian and English, and it’s only when you got to the multilingual signs that you saw German and French.
      Strangely, when my wife and I got on a Lufthansa flight from Rome to Frankfurt for our return, I was greeted in German, she was greeted in English.

  2. Wegener was not the first scientist to propose continental drift; but like Darwin, he forcefully argued for his view and compiled the evidence for it in an influential monograph which went through several editions. Wegener was wrong about the mechanism and timing of continental drift. The notion of drift and the mechanism of mantle convection were established by observations of the sea floor in the 1950s and 60s. Wegener tragically died while on an expedition to Greenland; after having resupplied some colleagues with food on the ice cap, he died on the return journey.


  3. Abbot: “I disagree with the idea that there is a right ratio of groups to aim for.” I agree with his disagreement. 😉 This right ratio that he refers to is another name for quota, which I thought was debunked as a fair solution to racist hiring practices a long time ago. I guess like a bad penny it’s shown up again as a tenet of Kendian anti-racism.

  4. Jerry,
    I believe the top (illustration) view of the White House is the front, and the bottom (picture) view of the White House is the back. The front still has the square porch. See for example here.

    For anyone who is fascinated by pictures and details of atomic bomb blasts, I highly recommend the old coffee table book “100 Suns.” Spectacular shots of many of the US and USSR tests, along with information on date, location, estimated yield, etc.

      1. The yard is bigger in the back and slopes up towards the house, so it’s much easier for photographers to get a good shot from that angle. 🙂

  5. “1870 – In the United States, the Weather Bureau (later renamed the National Weather Service) makes its first official meteorological forecast.”

    I just passed my 30th anniversary as a USNWS Cooperative Observer on Oct. 1. There are over 11,000 of us nationwide.

    Whenever I hear right-wingers talk about “privatizing” the weather service, I don’t think they realize that most of us would not continue to volunteer for a profit-making entity. Why should we? The amount of data that would be lost would be enormous, crippling the weather service’s ability to forecast.

    The concept of contributing to a government service without remuneration is completely foreign to conservatives. EVERYTHING should be monetized.

    Maybe they should rethink that position, but they won’t.


      1. I love doing it. Because I don’t go anywhere (dairy + restaurant), I get my data in every day. I have learned a huge amount, too. The forecasters are nice about answering questions and they always give their information in a teachable way.

        I have also had a couple of instances of being able to contribute in a more extensive way. When we still lived at Horton, we were in a unique wind area, right at the base of South Mountain. I collected wind data for the forecaster who is now our lead forecaster at ABQ, and he got a published study out if it. And when we first moved here, there was a bad fire, and I was able to contribute wind data to the fire forecaster to pass on to the Forest Service fire people until they were able to get anemometers set up out here.

        A lot of fun and learning.

    1. A book by Michael Lewis, The Fifth Risk, written about 2018 but about the aftermath of the 2016 election covers many departments of government that paid dearly after Trump came in and he covered the Weather business in some detail. Very. interesting stuff.

    2. IIRC, simply pulls it’s data from, and then just misreports the chances of bad weather – increasing the chance if it’s very low (I.e. taking a 1% chance of rain and reporting it as 5%). This is because false negatives are highly unpopular with readers, whereas false positives less so. So they skew the actual results to minimize false positives.

      IOW where the government service is all about providing best accuracy to the public, the commercial service is all about getting the most clicks from the public…because accuracy and popularity are not the same thing.

  6. Re the White House (f/k/a The Executive Mansion): the 1800 drawing shows the North Portico; the current photograph, the South.

  7. … in Candide, Voltaire used this [the 1755 Lisbon] earthquake as an example that all was not for the best in the best of all possible worlds.

    Pace Pangloss.

  8. Positive discrimination was not put in place because people thought that selection panels were prejudiced.

    It was put into place to address structural disadvantage that can occur at any part of the system.

    You can make a selection panel rigourously fair, but you can’t make society fair overnight. That is the problem with Abbot’s thesis.

    When you have a selection process and overwhelmingly one group are selected, you can’t infer bias in the proximate selection process that has just happened but you can infer that bias has happened somewhere.

    Somewhere along the line merit has been stifled or discouraged or just not encouraged somehow.

    Positive discrimination is certainly a clumsy tool, but it may be the best solution for the moment.

    Clumsy utilitarian tools will certainly offend those with Kantian instincts (as Abbot seems to have) and I can appreciate that.

    But then again, if I find myself selected in a group and the rest of the group are mostly white males like myself, I am not so naive as to suppose my success was due *entirely* to my merits.

  9. The thing to remember with Biden’s job approval numbers is that they may not matter that much if he goes head-to-head with Trump in 2024. By then, the number of those that feel Trump could do a better job, or feel he should be in the White House at all, may be quite small. That’s my prediction/wish anyway.

    1. Trump’s approval rating in 10/17 was in the mid 30’s, so Biden is doing better than Trump at this point. And I think SCOTUS is one of the main reasons most of the country and 42% of Dems think the country is going in the wrong direction (at least that’s my reason for thinking the country is going in the wrong direction). Manchin and Sinema aren’t helping either.

  10. The mention of We’wha reminds me of one of my all time favorite books and films, Little Big Man.
    For those who have not seen it, Robert Little Star plays Little Horse. I can’t find a video clip, but there is this from the film script-

    “Little horse : Little Big Man! You have returned. Don’t you remember me? That hurts me deep in my heart.
    Jack Crabb : [voiceover] It was Little Horse; the boy who wouldn’t go on the raid against the Pawnee. He had become a “heemanee” for which there ain’t no English word. And he was a good one, too. The Human Beings thought a lot of him.
    Little Horse : You look tired Little Big Man. Would you like to come in my teepee and rest on soft furs? Come and live with me and I’ll be your wife!”

  11. “I’m afraid of Italy because I don’t know how to order in a restaurant there (true!)”

    I’m sure you’ll do fine. I have visited Italy three times, know only a few words of Italian, and haven’t had problems ordering. English is the universal language of tourists in Italy, so waiters in large cities usually know enough to communicate. This is often the case in small cities too. Italian is also an easy language to pronounce. Most guidebooks (Rick Steves, Lonely Planet, etc.) usually have very helpful sections on Italian food that can be used to decipher menus.

    As for the Sistine Chapel, it’s a must-see but the Vatican Museums are often hellishly crowded, thanks to tour groups. I was there in late September this year and got lucky—because of Covid and travel restrictions there were fewer tourists than usual. But I spent so much time taking in the incredible collections of Greco-Roman, Egyptian, and Etruscan art (along with the picture gallery that features Caravaggio and Raphael), that I could only spend 20 minutes in the Sistine Chapel before the museum closed.

    If you do visit, go during mid-week. Avoid weekends and Mondays (when most of the other museums in Rome are closed). I went on a Wednesday, when the Pope holds his weekly audience at St. Peter’s, so the crowds were over there during the first part of the day.

      1. Indeed! I would also add that in my experience the Italians are friendly and welcoming people and enjoy hearing their language spoken by foreigners, even badly.

  12. Are there any accounts that Magellan knew that he could get out the other end of the Strait, did he have to turn around at times, or was it just blind luck?

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