Monday: Hili dialogue

November 29, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to the week that enters December, Monday, November 29, 2021: National Chocolate Day.

It’s also National Lemon Creme Pie Day (n.b. do not use “creme”, which may be a petroleum byproduct; use whipping cream and condensed milk as the recipes specify!), Throw Out Your Leftovers Day, Cyber Monday (the biggest online shopping day of the year), and the first day of Hanukkah, (sadly, it doesn’t coincide with this year’s Coynezaa holiday, which extends from December 25 through 30). In honor of the Jewish holiday, here’s Adam Sandler on SNL singing the Hanukkah song:

News of the Day:

*About the omicron variant. We still know jack about it aside from its DNA sequence. Companies are already devising vaccines and researchers are working on its virulence and its transmissibility. Travel restrictions on flights from several African countries begin tomorrow, and we do know that the Biden administration is consider yet more boosters as the best way to confront the mutant strain.

*The trial of Ghislaine Maxwell, the right-hand woman of Jeffrey Epstein, begin tomorrow in New York City. As NBC News reports, don’t expect a lot of skinny about men mentioned in connection with Epstein’s procurement of underaged girls for sex (these include Prince Andrew and, Bill Clinton).  The judge has narrowly limited the scope of the trial:

Instead, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan of the Southern District of New York has limited the scope of federal prosecutors by focusing the case against the British socialite-turned-suspect specifically on allegations that she helped Epstein recruit and abuse four underage girls mostly in the 1990s.

“This is going to be a narrow slice of what happened,” said civil attorney Dan Kaiser, who represents several alleged Epstein victims though none involved in this particular trial. “This is a ring that ensnared dozens and dozens and dozens of girls. And Maxwell was an integral player. You could say she was Epstein’s chief operating officer.”

The trial is expected to last 4-6 weeks, with four of Epstein’s victims scheduled to testify, not giving their names (I doubt that Maxwell will). She faces six criminal charges of “[enticing] minors to travel and engage in illegal sex acts, conspiracy to transport minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, and sex trafficking conspiracy.

In a 24-page second superseding indictment, prosecutors alleged that from 1994 to 2004, Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed” to Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by recruiting them, grooming them, and ultimately sexually abusing the victims herself.

Maxwell, 59, faces up to life in prison if she’s convicted, which I consider likely (the conviction, not the sentence.)

In a 24-page second superseding indictment, prosecutors alleged that from 1994 to 2004, Maxwell “assisted, facilitated, and contributed” to Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by recruiting them, grooming them, and ultimately sexually abusing the victims herself.

*A young man from Guatemala, apparently trying to get to the U.S., did a very dangerous thing: he stowed away in a plane’s wheel well on a flight from Guatemala to Miami. It’s cold and oxygen-poor up there, not to mention the danger of falling out or getting crushed. The flight was nearly three hours long as well! He was found, dazed but basically ok, in the plane’s landing gear compartment, and was treated with water and food. I doubt he’ll be allowed to stay in the U.S., but he’s lucky to be alive.

*More ludicrous Canadian anti-Semitism (it goes along with Wokeism). As the Jerusalem Post reports, the University of Toronto has banned kosher caterers who support Israel:

The University of Toronto’s Scarborough Campus Student Union (SCSU) passed a motion Wednesday where they pledged to only order from kosher caterers who “do not normalize Israeli apartheid,” according to the 86-page meeting agenda.
The vague litmus test to filter out supposed pro-Israel caterers is unclear, though some Jewish students and student groups now understandably fear they will not be able to keep kashrut rituals.
“Even for something as simple as ordering jelly donuts for Hanukkah, Jewish students at SCSU will now be forced to prove that kosher caterers do not support their Jewish homeland, which is basically impossible,” Gabriela Rosenblum, a Hasbara Fellow at the UofT (University of Toronto) Scarborough campus, said.

Meanwhile, Canada’s more sensible Canadian Union of Public Employees, the largest union in Canada, rejected a call to boycott Israel by a more than 2-to1 margin. As Malgorzata commented, “These two links show that from academia comes pestilence instead of enlightenment!”

For an even more horrific look at what the U.T-S students did, go here and look at another resolution, one far more horrific than the kosher food resolution. Look here and see how the UT-S student council passed a resolution denying Jewish students equal rights on campus. I don’t often use the Nazi analogy, but this is how Hitler began—disenfranching Jews. Here are two part of the resolutions that were struck out before it was passed

BE IT RESOLVED that SCSU re-affirm its commitment to ensuring that Jewish students  are unencumbered by discriminatory policies or actions by the union or its officers, as promised by the union’s equity statement, and the Ontario Human Rights Code, by recognizing the right of Jewish students, like all students, to organize & advertise events to express their political, cultural and/or religious views; and

. . 1.  Continue to recognize Jewish student groups, including Jewish student groups affiliated with outside organizations, consistent with the University of Toronto’s Policy on the Recognition of Campus Groups; and

*Remember Jussie Smollett’s bogus claim that he was assaulted by two white supremacists in Chicago, who threw bleach on him and put a noose around his neck while wearing MAGA hats?  (We later learned that Smollett had paid the assailants.) His story was clearly made up to get attention (and a higher salary on his t.v. show), but he got off easily: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx dropped the charges for unclear reasons. (Smollett forfeited his bond and did two days of community service.)

But the charges of filing a false police report were refiled, and, after three years of delays, his retrial begins today. It’s a felony, but if he’s convicted, which seems pretty likely given the weight of the evidence, he probably won’t serve jail time.

Mr. Smollett appears to have a hard case ahead of him, said Andrew Weisberg, a criminal defense attorney and former Cook County prosecutor, who isn’t involved in the case.

“He’s got to double-, triple-, quadruple-down on this story that sounded ridiculous from the beginning,” he said.

Chicago criminal defense attorney Darryl Goldberg, who also isn’t involved in the case, said he thinks the defense will try to offer “alternative explanations of the purported payments” to the Osundairo brothers.

There’s also a civil suit against him for the cost of the investigation, and that will start after the criminal case concludes. For a hilarious take on “Juicy Smollyé”, see Dave Chappelle’s bit on YouTube.

*FYI, Michael Shermer has started a Substack site appropriately called “Skeptic,” which you can find here. You can read some of it for free before deciding to subscribe ($50/year).

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 777,390, an increase of 761 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,219,772,  an increase of about 4,700 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on November 29 includes:

  • 1777 – San Jose, California, is founded as Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe by José Joaquín Moraga. It is the first civilian settlement, or pueblo, in Alta California.
  • 1877 – Thomas Edison demonstrates his phonograph for the first time.
  • 1899 – FC Barcelona is founded by Catalan, Spanish and Englishmen. It later develops into one of Spanish football’s most iconic and strongest teams.

Here’s FC Barcelona four years after it was founded:

He probably did fly over the South Pole, but his claim in 1926 to have been the first person to fly over the North Pole was almost certainly bogus: i.e., a lie.

Below is the plan, with the proposed Jewish state in green and the proposed Arab state in tan. The fragmented nature of each proposed country reflects the drawing of borders to encompass areas of mostly Jews or mostly Arabs.

This partition was accepted by the Jewish leadership but flatly rejected by the then-Palestinian leadership: the first of several times that the Palestinians “never missed a chance to miss a chance.” The land they would have gotten is much larger than the present-day Palestinian territories, including some of the most fertile land in the area, while the Jews got a huge chunk of bare desert in the South. Jerusalem was to be a “neutral” city.

  • 1961 – Project MercuryMercury-Atlas 5 Mission: Enos, a chimpanzee, is launched into space. The spacecraft orbits the Earth twice and splashes down off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Enos survived but died a year later of non-space-related dysentery. Here he is “being prepared for insertion into the Mercury-Atlas 5 capsule in 1961.”

It was #1 on the British chart for five weeks. Here’s Lennon describing its composition:

We wrote a lot of stuff together, one on one, eyeball to eyeball. Like in ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand,’ I remember when we got the chord that made the song. We were in Jane Asher’s house, downstairs in the cellar playing on the piano at the same time. And we had, ‘Oh you-u-u/ got that something…’ And Paul hits this chord and I turn to him and say, ‘That’s it!’ I said, ‘Do that again!’ In those days, we really used to absolutely write like that—both playing into each other’s noses.

The single with side B:

I used to play pong, but not until I was a postdoc and got an early Mac. Here’s a screen video of the original game:


Notables born on this day include:

  • 1627 – John Ray, English biologist and botanist (d. 1705)
  • 1799 – Amos Bronson Alcott, American philosopher and academic (d. 1888). Alcott (below) was an abolitionist and a women’s-rights advocate. He had four daughters, one of which was, of course, Louisa May, the author of Little Women.

Speaking of that, Louisa May (photo below) was born on her father’s 33rd birthday:

I photographed her grave, next to her kin, in 2014 in the Concord, Massachusetts cemetery. Here it is, bearing only her initials:

Berkeley specialized in big crowds of women dancing in intricate patterns, like the one below. Talks about synchronized swimming!

  • 1898 – C. S. Lewis, British novelist, poet, and critic (d. 1963)

Liar, lunatic, or lord?

Strayhorn was Duke Ellington’s brilliant co-composer and arranger. An openly gay man in an era that frowned on that, he died at 51 of esophageal cancer. Here’s my favorite song of his, “Lush Life” played and sung by Strayhorn (also hear Coltrane and Hartman’s version, much better but not the original.

  • 1920 – Joseph Shivers, American chemist and academic, developed spandex (d. 2014)
  • 1944 – Felix Cavaliere, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer

Cavaliere was the lead singer of The Young Rascals. Remember this one?

  • 1959 – Rahm Emanuel, American businessman and politician, 44th Mayor of Chicago

Those who dropped dead on November 29 include:

  • 1530 – Thomas Wolsey, English cardinal and politician, Lord Chancellor of the United Kingdom (b. 1470)
  • 1872 – Mary Somerville, Scottish-Italian astronomer, mathematician, and author (b. 1780)

And polymath. Wikipedia notes, “Mary Somerville (née Fairfax, formerly Greig; 26 December 1780 – 29 November 1872) was a Scottish scientist, writer, and polymath. She studied mathematics and astronomy, and in 1835 she was elected together with Caroline Herschel as the first female Honorary Members of the Royal Astronomical Society.”

Puccini wrote one of the most often heard arias in opera, from Gianni Schicchi. It’s my favorite opera, and here’s my favorite live version with Dame Kiri:

“Please daddy, please. . .”

I consider Wood, along with Ava Gardner, as the actresses of their generation which best combined stunning beauty and immense talent. Go see “Splendor in the Grass“(1961) with Wood and Warren Beatty (in his first role). Here’s the poignant final scene where, a long time after their torrid affair, they meet briefly to catch up (it reminds me of the last scene in “The Way We Were”).

  • 1986 – Cary Grant, English-American actor (b. 1904)
  • 1993 – J. R. D. Tata, French-Indian pilot and businessman, founded Tata Motors and Tata Global Beverages (b. 1904)
  • 2001 – George Harrison, English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and music producer (b. 1943).

A tweet from Paul on this day (h/t Matthew):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, birds are interested in apples and Hili is interested in birds:

Hili: Titmice pecked at these apples.
A: I can see that.
Hili: Unfortunately, they ate their fill and flew away.
In Polish:
Hili Sikorki podziobały te jabłka.
Ja: Widzę.
Hili: Niestety, najadły się i odfrunęły.

Kulka and Hili are eating close to each other—progress! Can you tell which is which? (Photo by Paulina)

And here’s Kulka advertising Andrzej’s book (photo also by Paulina).


From Pyers. Praise Happy Cat!

From Bruce:

A cat-shaming meme from Ginger K.:

Two from Luana. Not only has Cervantes been folded into the oppressed, but he’s been called a “Latinx”!

Read the article in Harvard Magazine. This is the wages of meritocracy. (I had a class in Science Center 109, but it was differential equations.)

From Sarah Haider of the Ex-Muslims of North America:

From the Auschwitz Memorial. For those who don’t get it (as I didn’t at first), Malgorzata explains:

To me it shows the terror of the person who is “different” (the woman with bare head) trying to hide in a terrified crowd which is, however, a bit safer than she is. This was the situation of Jews in Europe 80 years ago (hiding among people occupied by Germans) and this is the situation of women in today’s Afghanistan.


Tweets from Professor Cobb. An looney tweet and a reply:

I had no idea!

Oops. . .

I don’t know if this weevil species is sexually dimorphic, and I can’t be arsed to find out. But if females have shorter legs, then they’re used in males for fighting. Translation: “A rare insect in my home, a super-long front leg — a weevil. Even though it’s a weevil, why did you stretch your legs instead of your nose?”

45 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. An looney tweet and a reply

    I’m not sure what is looney about it (unless “looney” means something different in the USA). I fact checked it on Wikipedia

    – Stegosaurus ~ 155 – 150 mya

    – Tyranosaurus ~ 68 – 65 mya

    The tweet is more or less correct

  2. The question is — Will they be talking about cell phones in another 65 million years. Probably won’t be anyone to talk to.

  3. To have a critical mass of Harvard students that support the continued teaching of Math 55 all these years is incredible. I can imagine the course from the Crimson description, but cannot imagine myself even starting the first problem set. The really bright ARE different from the rest of us. Thanks for the reference. It helps bolster my confidence in the capabilities and drive of the next generations.

  4. [Felix] Cavaliere was the lead singer of The Young Rascals. Remember this one?

    I always dug The Rascals. “How Can I Be Sure?” is a good tune, but it’s pop-oriented, whereas the band’s métier was blue-eyed soul, as in its first hit record, “Good Lovin'”:

    1. Er… It’s mentioned, together with a tweet about the 20th anniversary of George’s death from Paul McCartney.

      1. I just double checked the email I received this morning and there’s no mention of George’s death and no tweet from Paul

  5. Hearing about the omicron variant in news reports has shocked me with the likelihood that I’ve been mispronouncing the name of that Greek letter all along. (Or else American broadcasters are picking up a British pronunciation or something?) They’re putting the stress (“accent”) on the first syllable, and using a reduced vowel in the second syllable: OH-mc-ron. I’m more familiar with stressing the middle syllable (while retaining a strong vowel at the beginning): oh-MY-cren. To my thinking there is a pairing / contrast of the two O letters, o-micro and o-mega, the small and large O letters – which should get reflected in the pronunciations of the names.

    1. Yup, stress is on the initial “O”. I was very slow in realising that the “micro” was to distinguish the letter from the “mega” O that concludes the Greek alphabet.

    2. I tend to pronounce both with the accent on the first syllable. That is also what I most often here. Come to think of it, I‘ve never heard “omicron” with the accent on the second syllable.

        1. I would have pronounced omicron as you suggest, with the accent on the second syllable, except I’m not sure I have ever had occasion to say it!

    3. Wikipedia endorses several versions of stress of syllables and pronunciation of the vowels in both letter names, so I don’t think any would be considered a mispronunciation. I suppose the authority would be how modern Greek children are taught to say their AlphaBetaGammas.

      Omicron and omega are different letters but if you want consistency, I would pronounce them both with the stress on the first syllable, just so they don’t sound like an Irish law firm.

      Leonard Cohen, in “Light as a Breeze” sings (well, sort of) “the alpha and the oh-MAY-guh” so the line will scan. He’s allowed.

  6. The airplane he stowed away in was a 737, I recognize the wheel well and MLG doors. There isn’t much spare room in there! Lucky to survive is no kidding! Just the hypoxia and cold temps could easily have done him in after he survived the MLG retraction.

  7. The young stowaway should be eligible to make an amnesty claim because he entered the United States directly from Guatemala and not through a Safe Third Country. He likely knows this, else why take such a risk to get to Miami?

  8. ” 1899 – FC Barcelona is founded by Catalan, Spanish and Englishmen”

    The foundation of FC Barcelona was initiated by the Swiss Hans Gamper, who gave the club the red and blue colours of FC Basel. Probably the only relevant contribution of Switzerland to the history of football.

    1. Thanks for that. I was familiar with the plot but I had never seen it performed before. I’m guessing the link was for donors and subscribers and so I’m going to make a small donation to the COC. I’d urge anyone who watches it — it is a fun production — to do the same. They are back on stage this spring, omicron willing.

  9. The University of Toronto’s SCSU resolution is clearly antisemitic. It is cleverly tailored to prevent students from practicing Judaism. The SCSU is fully aware that it is impossible to affirm with certainty whether a kosher vendor is adhering to the requirements or not. Consequently, the intent is clearly to punish University of Toronto students for being Jewish. It is not intended to punish Israel for its policies. It is blatantly antisemitic.

  10. I was surprised you didn’t comment on Cary Grant. He was, IMHO, one of the truly superb actors of his day. North by Northwest is among my favorite movies.

  11. Having read the linked material on the U of T Scarborough Campus affair, I am saddened and angry. (I’m going to refer to the Scarborough Campus Students Union as “the Student Council” so as not to be confused with the Jewish Students Union.) The resolution that our host refers to beginning with, “For an even more horrific [and it is] look . . .” was passed by the Jewish Students Union and sent up to the Student Council. It asked the Student Council to affirm, by adopting its resolution, that Jewish students and organizations had the right to exist on campus in the face of the anti-Israel language in its original resolution about kosher food suppliers. (This is all part of the Student Council’s attempt to boycott companies that support Israel — the so-called BDS movement.) The BDS resolution as passed seeks to suppress the expression of opinions that the BDS movement is anti-Semitic. The Jewish Students Union asked them to disavow that language and to affirm that the Students Council would respect University of Toronto policy on freedom to speak and assemble on campus..

    The struck-out portions were removed by the Students Council (not by the Jewish Students Union) and the Student Council passed it after they had unilaterally amended it to gut the concerns raised by the JSU.

    Very few students vote in Student Council elections Radicals easily take over these bodies by getting votes from a few similarly radicalized students. Their mission statements reek of anti-racism, decolonizaton, and anti-Israel sentiment. You would not be surprised to learn that the makeup of the executive does not look very diverse itself. Not cosmetically and not in terms of breadth of opinion and perspective.

    In deleting the sections of the JSU motion that would have bound the Student Council to comply with U of T policies, the Student Council may have themselves contravened University policy. I have asked the President of the U of T to consider that in the e-mail I just sent him.

  12. I knew about Busby Berkeley but not what he looked like, and so went to his Wikipedia page, where learned that after the ’30s he didn’t seem to do much until he came out of retirement in the late ’60s to, among other things, choreograph this commercial.

    All roads seem to lead to coronaviruses!

    1. I’ll disagree with you on the Covid conspiracies, but Busby’s style is instantly recognisable and has produced one or two parodies since his death, most notably in ‘The Big Lebowski’. And from his time is a symphony who’se opening themes have always put me in mind of Busby’s choreography.

  13. The activities of the student union are unconscionable… it’s one thing practice BDS and quite another to attempt to suppress the free speech of local vendors and students who frequent them.

    1. From President Gertler’s statement referenced above by JezGrove under #16, it seems the students on the Scarborough Campus Student Council might be in deep doo-doo with the University. The university collects mandatory fees from registered students to support the activities of these bozos. It is not pleased.

  14. “This is a ring that ensnared dozens and dozens and dozens of girls . . . .”

    I find “dozens and dozens and dozens” an irksome, hyperbolic locution. For whose benefit is it used? It makes me wonder if prosecutors take an elective in law school on how to unctuously deliver overwrought pronunciamentos to the media. Or do they pick up that sort of bloviation on the fly? Why can’t the prosecutor say “as many as . . . .”? (I wonder if they take their linguistic cue from the NY Times – and no doubt other MSM types – what with its predisposition to utter “years.”)

    Assuming that “dozens” can be as low as 13, and two or more dozen, and, since “dozens” is uttered three times, I gather that the number of girls involved is at least 39 and 72 or more, heading toward infinity. I guess a specific number will eventually finds its way into the trial transcript.

    1. Hmm, if we take just one “dozens” that might minimally be two, = 24, so dozens x 3 could be a veiled reference to 72, a number that I seem to recall comes up in the Koran with reference to Paradise.

  15. Jerry, if you had watched Chappelle in “The Closer” you would know the guy’s name is spelled “Juicy Smool-yay”.

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