Friday: Hili dialogue

November 5, 2021 • 6:30 am

TGI and a big F!: We’ve reached the end of the week—welcome to Friday, November 5, 2021: National Doughnut Day. Make mine a maple-bacon doughnut like those sold at Voodoo Donut in Portland (arrow in pic below). It’s more a bar than a torus, but it’s good!:

It’s also Fountain Pen Day (I have several, including the fabled Mont Blanc Meisterstück, but they’re all broken, and who writes by hand now?), American Football Day, National Love Your Red Hair Day, and Bank Transfer Day, a protest against commercial banks.

News of the Day:

*We’re 288 days into the Biden administration, and the First Family has yet to keep its promise to put a cat in the White House. My approval rating of Uncle Joe has dropped sharply.

*Both the New York Times and the Washington Post (the latter in an op-ed) have reported on the case of several University of Florida professors who were barred from their University from testifying in court against Florida’s new voter-restriction laws. This is a genuine violation of academic freedom, and the University must and will back down, but would the case get so much coverage if the professors were, say, testifying in favor of Texas’s new abortion law? My hypothesis is that because this is a left-wing cause, the academic fracas is getting more attention in the mainstream liberal media.

*According to a Presidential mandate, all companies with 100 employees or more must obey the rule: get fully vaccinated by January 4, get tested for Covid weekly, or hit the road.  (Many workers have to pay for their own tests.) This covers 84 million workers (many of whom are already vaccinated), but expect a rash of lawsuits and a rain of pink slips come January. The gub’mint is also pondering extending this to smaller businesses.

*It was always on my bucket list to go to Churchill, Manitoba to see the polar bears on one of those “tall bus” tours. But that opportunity is waning, according to a NYT article called “3,000 miles from Glasgow, a town and its polar bears face the future.” Now global warming is reducing the sea ice, and with it the hunting opportunities for these magnificent animals (and let’s not forget all the non-charismatic animals, either). From the article:

One immediate impact of global warming is that the bears are spending more time around Churchill as the sea ice forms later in the year and melts earlier. On land, polar bears lose about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds) of their weight each day. As ice season shrinks, the bears face the double pain of fewer days of hunting and more days of fasting. Between 1980 and 2019, the weight of the average pregnant polar bear in the Churchill region declined by 15 percent, according to Nick Lunn, a Canadian government scientist. New births are in decline. The number of polar bears in western Hudson Bay fell by 30 percent from 1987 to 2016, and some experts think the population already is in terminal decline.

This is ineffably sad.

*A New Zealand family has found what is possibly the world’s largest (and ugliest) potato. They’ve given it a name, too: Doug. (That’s because they dug it up.)

. . . it’s quite possibly the largest potato on record. When the couple lugged it into their garage and put it on their old set of scales, it weighed in at a remarkable 7.9 kilograms (17.4 pounds). That’s equal to a couple of sacks of regular potatoes, or one small dog.

In the weeks since their unusual find on Aug. 30, the couple’s potato has become something of a celebrity around their small farm near Hamilton. They’ve named the potato Doug, after the way it was unearthed, and Colin even built a small cart to tow Doug around.

“We put a hat on him. We put him on Facebook, taking him for a walk, giving him some sunshine,” Colin said. “It’s all a bit of fun. It’s amazing what entertains people.”

A more official weigh-in at a local farming store put Doug at 7.8 kg. The Guinness World Records entry for the heaviest potato is a 2011 monster from Britain that weighed in at just under 5 kg. The couple say they’ve applied to Guinness to have Doug recognized and are waiting to hear back.

Here are two photos of Doug. It’s HUGE! (Photos by Donna and Colin Craig-Brown via AP):

*We have news and photos of poor injured Jack the Cat (saga here), who’s finally recovering pretty fully from his third-floor fall. Angell Memorial Hospital did a fantastic job, as did his staff when helping him recover. Notes from his staff:

Just got word from vet that Jack has healed beautifully, the pins/hardware are out and he will be back to 100% pre-injury normal within next 6-8 weeks. He should start weight-bearing on his wrist in next week or so. No need for any further follow up unless there is a problem. 🎉 👏 😁

Jack doing well, getting buprenorphine every eight hours to help ease the pain of pin removal. Some scabs remain, these will heal over soon and fall off. He must wear the cone for another few days to allow wound healing to continue uninterrupted. He’s looking a little haggard from pain meds and all the goop they used in his eyes to keep them lubricated while under anesthesia yesterday. He’s eating well, enjoying all the snuggles.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 751,197, an increase of 1,164 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,047,588, an increase of about 8,000 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on November 5 includes:

“Immediately before his execution on 31 January, Fawkes fell from the scaffold where he was to be hanged and broke his neck, thus avoiding the agony of being hanged, drawn and quartered.”

Here she is. Weirdly, Trump pardoned her for her voting crime!

  • 1912 – Woodrow Wilson is elected the 28th President of the United States, defeating incumbent William Howard Taft.
  • 1917 – Lenin calls for the October Revolution.

Here are Lenin (Trotsky nearby) at a speech fomenting the October Revolution:

A few photos of my encounter with Roosevelt, at the “Little White House”: his refuge in Warm Springs, Georgia (he helped found the Warm Springs Foundation for polio, and often soaked in the nearby hot pool):

Me in front of his house:

The bed in which he died (he was stricken with a hemorrhage while his mistress was there; they had to rush her out quickly before Eleanor came down from D.C):

Roosevelt’s leg braces (he was paralyzed from the waist down by polio):

The sad sign written by his cook:

  • 1968 – Richard Nixon is elected as 37th President of the United States.
  • 1995 – André Dallaire attempts to assassinate Prime Minister Jean Chrétien of Canada. He is thwarted when the Prime Minister’s wife locks the door.
  • 1996 – Bill Clinton is reelected President of the United States.
  • 2006 – Saddam Hussein, former president of Iraq, and his co-defendants Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti and Awad Hamed al-Bandar, are sentenced to death in the al-Dujail trial for their roles in the 1982 massacre of 148 Shi’a Muslims.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1855 – Eugene V. Debs, American union leader and politician (d. 1926)

Debs was the first socialist to run for President of the U.S.—four times, and the last time from prison. The caption of the cartoon below: “Clifford Berryman’s cartoon depiction of Debs’s 1920 presidential run from prison”:

Haldane was a colorful character and a brilliant geneticist as well as a classical scholar. He’s now being considered by Imperial College for cancellation although he was a radical (a Marxist, socialist, and humanist) who gave up his British citizen because of colonialism and went to live in India as a naturalized Indian. Cancellation, my tuchas! UPDATE: Over at Panda’s Thumb, Nick Matzke has a post explaining why attacks on Haldane for being illiberal are “nuts”.

Here’s a picture of him (left) with the famous statistician P. C. Mahalanobis.  Go here to read more about “JBS” (his nickname) and learn about a good biography.

  • 1911 – Roy Rogers, American singer, guitarist, and actor (d. 1998)
  • 1931 – Ike Turner, American singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer (d. 2007)
  • 1941 – Art Garfunkel, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

Art, who’s 80 today, singing “Bridge Over Troubled Water” at Simon and Garfunkel’s Central Park Concert on September 19, 1981 (it was free, too!):

Art is 80 today.

  • 1943 – Sam Shepard, American playwright and actor (d. 2017).

This I didn’t know, from Wikipedia:

Joni Mitchell wrote two songs about her affairs with Shepard during Bob Dylan’s Rolling Thunder Revue tour of 1975. In “Coyote” she recounts Shepard’s seduction of Mitchell at a period while he was both married and having an extramarital affair with the tour manager Christine O’Dell with the lines “He’s got a woman at home, another woman down the hall, but he seems to want me anyway.”  [A great rendition of “Coyote” is here.]

Shepard, a real talent in both acting and writing, died too young. Here he is playing Chuck Yeager in “The Right Stuff”:

  • 1947 – Peter Noone, English singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1960 – Tilda Swinton, English actress

Those who became defunct on November 5 include:

  • 1942 – George M. Cohan, American actor, singer, composer, author and theatre manager/owner (b. 1878)

Here’s the vaudeville act “The Four Cohans” in 1915. “My mother thanks you, my father thanks you . . . .”. George at left.

  • 1944 – Alexis Carrel, French surgeon and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1873)
  • 1955 – Maurice Utrillo, French painter (b. 1883)
  • 1956 – Art Tatum, American pianist and composer (b. 1909)

Tatum was as blind as a bat, but he didn’t need to see to be one of the best jazz pianists of all time. Here he is playing “Yesterdays”:

  • 1975 – Lionel Trilling, American critic, essayist, short story writer, and educator (b. 1905)
  • 2010 – Jill Clayburgh, American actress and singer (b. 1944)
  • 2013 – Charlie Trotter, American chef and author (b. 1959)

I ate twice at Trotter’s restaurant, both times reserving the kitchen table. The man was a tyrant back there, but boy, could he cook!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Kulka is trying to make friends with Hili but she’s out of luck.

Kulka: Hili, can you hear me?
Hili: No.

In Polish:

Kulka: Hili, słyszysz mnie?
Hili: Nie.

A sweet photo by Paulina of Kulka holding and licking Szaron’s paw:

A Kliban cartoon from Stash Krod:

Reader John sent a cartoon about panpsychism, the nutty theory that every bit of matter in the Universe has a kind of consciousness:

From Barry:

One for the d*g lovers from Ricky Gervais. These are scenes from his series “After Life”, and I’ve watched both seasons of it. This reminds me that Season #3 should be airing soon. I liked both seasons, though some people thought the second had gone downhill:

From Luana, who is a Hispanicx:

Tweets from Matthew. Do you know what the “pet” is? Answer at the bottom.

This seems to be true (check out the link). But there are horrible related examples in the thread:

A new one on me! The story of this car is here; it was apparently auctioned off for $1.76 million after it was restored and repainted.

Now you know what the surface of Venus looks like:

Cat and camel buddies. Be sure to look at all the photos:

I may have shown this before, but check out this caracal’s antennae:


Answer: The pet is a pseudoscorpion.

19 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

    1. Maybe some day we will have a Dec. 6 day. They could make a movie out of it. We certainly have plenty of video to make an all day movie.

  1. 1943 – Sam Shepard, American playwright and actor (d. 2017)

    In the Eighties, Shepard was hired by Esquire Magazine to interview Bob Dylan. He ended up submitting the results as a one-act play, entitled “True Dylan” (which I take to be a play on the title of Shepard’s then-recent play “True West,” the third in his so-called “Family Trilogy”). You can read it here.

  2. Tatum was as blind as a bat, but he didn’t need to see to be one of the best jazz pianists of all time.

    Tatum played with such speed and magnificent technique that people who heard him in a club without being able to see him thought they were listening to a piano duet. Tatum’s contemporary, the great stride piano player Fats Waller, was playing in a club one night when Tatum walked in. Waller announced to the crowd, “”Ladies and gentlemen, I play the piano, but God is in the house tonight.”

    “God Is in the House” was later used as the title for a posthumously released album of Tatum’s recordings.

  3. On After Life: I figured the show was definitely not for me based on its description, despite how much I adore Gervais. I absolutely love the show and can’t wait for the third season.

    I don’t know if there’s anything Gervais has ever done that I don’t love, besides The Office, and that’s just a matter of taste. I have trouble watching what I call “embarrassment comedy,” where all the comedy comes from a character being humiliated at every turn. I know a lot of the comedy in Extras comes from this, but his character in that is still pretty happy and it has so many downright hilarious scenes, making it very different from The Office.

    His final hosting of the Golden Globes will forever remain one of the bravest and most improbable hosting gigs ever. I still watch it from time to time, and I’m always still in disbelief every time as he gets away with making horribly blistering (rather than milquetoast) joke after joke at the expense of the people there and the industry as a whole, just saying, “I don’t care anymore” over and over. I still can’t believe they didn’t kick him out during the first or second commercial break. The dude’s a legend!

  4. Weirdly, Trump pardoned her for her voting crime!

    These sorts of requests are likely years in the making and more about working the civil service than who occupies the Presidency. I bet they waited to catch him on a good day before putting the paper in front of him, though.


    1. Well, for once I cannot fault him there: it was doing the right thing.
      Just like he occasionally didn’t lie, such as: “… it just seems the economy is doing better under the Democrats than the Republicans ” or, referring to his handling of the Covid pandemic: “we have done one hell of a job.!”. One hell of a job, indeed.

  5. I wish the Administration would define its goal with regard to Covid. Are they trying to eradicate Covid? Are they merely trying to slow the spread? They need to be clear, because if we’re not chasing the impossible goal of eradication, we need to look at the cost/benefit of the Administration strategy. Honestly, I consider it BS as long as the admin is doing nothing about Covid for illegal immigrants. Last week the Democrats in Congress actually killed a provision to require vaccination for illegal immigrants. I don’t know what the goal is, but it is interesting that while the Administration has stepped back from “defund the police”, the vaccine mandates have had the effect of cutting police forces across the country. At the very least, it looks like another case of one hand not knowing what the other is doing.

    1. As far as I know, no one has seriously suggested that COVID can be eradicated so “no” on that.

      The Biden administration has made it clear for a long time that it is not in favor of defunding the police.

      I suspect that most of the police under threat of vaccine mandates will get the jab. That’s been how these things have gone elsewhere. And if we lose some officers, they are likely the ones who are not interested in helping out their community and, therefore, need to find alternative employment.

    2. Last week the Democrats in Congress actually killed a provision to require vaccination for illegal immigrants.

      Do you have the H.R. or S.R. bill number for this proposed legislation? I’m having a hard time finding a roll call vote on this in last week’s congressional record.

      1. I wonder how much that changes things in practice. My wife works at one of the facilities taking care of unaccompanied child immigrants, and they all get vaccinated (COVID + others) before being sent on to family/guardians. Though I wonder if there’s a legal difference between what the state can make minors do vs. adults (i.e. does a mandatory vaccine violate bodily autonomy).

    3. Can you please give us a link to Democrats in Congress killing a provision to require illegal immigrants to get vaccinated?
      I tried to Google it, but could not find anything of the kind.

  6. I had just moved to NY in August 1981, and got to see the Simon and Garfunkel concert. Lovely memory, and thanks for posting.

    I’m also really looking forward to the next season of After Life.

  7. I’d like to watch After Life, but I don’t have Netflix. Maybe I can get it from the library…I don’t know how charitable Netflix is with their shows.

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