Monday: Hili dialogue

December 6, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Monday, December 6, 2021; it’s National Cook for Christmas Day but it’s way too early to do that. Note: posting may be light today as I have several errands to take care of around town.

It’s also National Gazpacho Day, National Microwave Oven Day, St. Nicholas Day, Walt Disney Day (it’s celebrated on the first Monday in December though he was born on December 5, 1901) and, in Canada, National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women.

Here’s Disney’s business envelope from 1921, when he was only twenty:

The Google Doodle for today (click on screenshot) is “an interactive pizza puzzle game, as C|Net describes how to play it (I haven’t). The occasion:

The Doodle celebrates this day in 2007 when the culinary art of Neapolitan “Pizzaiuolo” was inscribed on the UNESCO Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The southwestern Italian city of Naples is widely credited with inventing the pizza known today in the late 1700s.

News of the Day:

*It does seem that politicians tend to live a long time, don’t they? Or maybe we just remember the ones who do, like Jimmy Carter, who’s still hammering Habitats for Humanity at 97.  Yesterday another politician left us: Bob Dole died at 98. He passed away in his sleep, and the NBC Evening News last night revealed that he had been diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. I’m not sure whether he smoked, but if he hadn’t he might have lived to over 100!

Even though Dole was a Republican, and endorsed Trump for President in 2016, he was actually among the more bipartisan of Republicans: a dead breed. As the NYT says:

As the Republican leader, he helped broker compromises that shaped much of the nation’s domestic and foreign policies.

He was most proud of helping to rescue Social Security in 1983, of pushing the landmark Americans With Disabilities Act of 1990 and of mustering a majority of reluctant Republicans to support Mr. Clinton’s unpopular plan to send American troops to Bosnia in 1995. (Mr. Dole was not wild about the deployment either, but he long believed that a president, of either party, should be supported once he decided something as important as committing troops abroad.)

skilled legislative mechanic, Mr. Dole understood what every senator wanted and what each could live with, and he enjoyed the art of political bartering.

In that way he was like LBJ.

Dole was also severely wounded in the right arm during WWII, being shot just weeks before the war ended. He had seven operations, but the arm became unusable, so he couldn’t shake hands (an impediment for both a Vice-Presidential and Presidential candidate). He often held a pen in his hand to conceal the disability. But he made one very moving gesture:

In one of his last public appearances, in December 2018, he joined the line at the Capitol Rotunda where the body of former President George H.W. Bush, an erstwhile political rival and fellow veteran, lay in state. As an aide helped him up from his wheelchair, Mr. Dole, using his left hand because his right had been rendered useless by the war, saluted the flag-draped coffin of the last president to have served in World War II.

Have a look at the video and don’t tell me you’re not moved:

The Washington Post has three laudatory op-eds on Dole’s life, one by George Will, another by Tom Daschle (a Democrat), and a third by the Post’s entire editorial board. A quote from the last one:

Mr. Dole was a sometimes controversial figure occasionally given, especially early in his career, to irritated outbursts. None of that should obscure the substance and significance of his accomplishments. He led — as minority and majority leader — with a sense of the need to get things done. We didn’t always agree with him, but on big matters such as the vital civil rights bills of the 1960s and later on expanding food stamp coverage, he took strong and principled stands in favor. And he worked with members of both parties.

“The Senate does not reward extremes,” said a colleague, Bill Bradley of New Jersey, when Mr. Dole left that body in June 1996. Mr. Dole, he continued, “knew how to use power because he understood how to make things happen in the center of this institution. And that is ultimately built on a couple of personal facts. I mean, he always kept his word. He listened very carefully. He never held a grudge.”

*One of the “Satanic Seven” professors at the University of Auckland—all of whom have been demonized for signing a letter saying that Maori mythology should not be taught alongside and coequal with modern science—is himself a Maori.  As New Zealand’s Free Speech Union reports, Garth Cooper, a professor of biochemistry and medicine, signed the letter in part to help the Maori:

[Cooper] said that although he didn’t speak te reo — because his Maori grandmother “thought my brother and I should learn English” — he nevertheless knew “quite a lot” of words in the language. He went on to explain that the main reason he signed the Listener letter was because he was “concerned [that teaching] Māori kids about the colonising effects of science [would] lead to loss of opportunity”.

The article gives a ton of information about Cooper’s accomplishments and the ways he’s helped Maori (and non-Maori), but it was of no use. Along with the renowned philosopher of science  Robert Nola, who happens to be a friend), Cooper is one of the two members of New Zealand’s Royal Society who may get booted out for simply signing the letter. More on this tomorrow. (h/t: Nik)

*The Omicron variant of Covid-19 has now been found in at least 15 states, and surely there are more.  We are still waiting to see how severe an illness it causes, which will take about two weeks. CNBC tries to reassure us:

Still, the vast majority of cases in the U.S. are still caused by the delta variant. [JAC: note that they used “still” twice in the same sentence.]

“We have about 90 to 100,000 cases a day right now in the United States, and 99.9% of them are the delta variant,” Walensky [head of the CDC] said.

Is that so reassuring given that Omicron just got here?

*The New York Times has a two separated lists by A. O. Scott and Manohla Dargis of “the best movies of 2021“.  I haven’t seen any of them, but if you have, weigh in below.

*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 786,964, an increase of 1,178 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,273,301, an increase of about 6,800 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on December 6 includes:

  • 1492 – After exploring island of Cuba for gold, surmising it for Japan, Columbus lands on island similar to Castile, naming it Hispaniola.
  • 1534 – The city of Quito in Ecuador is founded by Spanish settlers led by Sebastián de Belalcázar.
  • 1884 – The Washington Monument in Washington, D.C., is completed.

Here it is halfway up:

The Washington Monument is under construction in 1899 in Washington, D.C. National Archives/Getty Images
  • 1897 – London becomes the world’s first city to host licensed taxicabs.
  • 1912 – The Nefertiti Bust is discovered.

Wikipedia has the skinny on this beautiful bust (pictured below); it’s in remarkable condition for being three thousand years old.

The work is believed to have been crafted in 1345 B.C.E. by Thutmose because it was found in his workshop in Amarna, Egypt. It is one of the most-copied works of ancient Egypt. Nefertiti has become one of the most famous women of the ancient world and an icon of feminine beauty.

A German archaeological team led by Ludwig Borchardt discovered the bust in 1912 in Thutmose’s workshop. It has been kept at various locations in Germany since its discovery, including the cellar of a bank, a salt-mine in Merkers-Kieselbach, the Dahlem museum, the Egyptian Museum in Charlottenburg and the Altes Museum. It is currently on display at the Neues Museum in Berlin, where it was originally displayed before World War II.

The Nefertiti bust has become a cultural symbol of Berlin as well as ancient Egypt. It has also been the subject of an intense argument between Egypt and Germany over Egyptian demands for its repatriation, which began in 1924, once the bust was first displayed to the public. Egyptian inspectors said their predecessors were mislead about the actual bust before they let it out of the country, and the Berlin museum refers to an official protocol, signed by the German excavator and the Egyptian Antiquities Service of the time, about “a painted plaster bust of a princess”.

Here’s a photo (Wikipedia caption) of the devastation of the city:

A view across the devastation of Halifax two days after the explosion, looking toward the Dartmouth side of the harbour. Imo is visible aground on the far side of the harbour.
  • 1922 – One year to the day after the signing of the Anglo-Irish Treaty, the Irish Free State comes into existence.
  • 1933 – U.S. federal judge John M. Woolsey rules that James Joyce‘s novel Ulysses is not obscene.

A copy of the first printing of the first edition, printed by bookseller Sylvia Beach, will run you about $79,000. It was published on Joyce’s 40th birthday.

Here’s a short video of the match:

The recipient was a 19-day-old infant with heart defects, who lived only six hours after the operation, which Kantrowitz considered a failure.

There was video of the melee that resulted in the death of Hunter. It’s not gory, as you can’t really see the stabbing, but you can see the melee:

  • 1998 – in Venezuela, Hugo Chávez is victorious in presidential elections.
  • 2006 – NASA reveals photographs taken by Mars Global Surveyor suggesting the presence of liquid water on Mars.

You can read about the evidence for Martian water here, though it isn’t clear that this wasn’t ancient water that has disappeared.

Notables born on this day include:

Eisenstadt’s portraits of Sophia Loren were famous; here’s one captioned “Actress Sophia Loren laughing while exchanging jokes during lunch break on a movie set.” (1966).

And here’s a photo of my father with Sophia Loren in Greece, ca. 1955. I’ve shown this before (he’s at the extreme right):

  • 1898 – Gunnar Myrdal, Swedish sociologist and economist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1987)
  • 1908 – Baby Face Nelson, American gangster (d. 1934)
  • 1920 – Dave Brubeck, American pianist and composer (d. 2012)
  • 1941 – Richard Speck, American murderer (d. 1991)

Speck killed eight student nurses in Chicago in 1966, but one survived by hiding under the bed. Convicted of multiple murders, speck died in prison of a heart attack in 1991. Here’s his mugshot (Wikipedia caption):

18 Jul 1966, Dallas, Texas, USA — The Dallas County Sheriff Department released two different mug shots of Richard B. Speck, 25,
  • 1948 – JoBeth Williams, American actress

Those who conked on December 6 include:

Here’s St. Nick in a full-length icon of Saint Nicholas by Jaroslav Čermák.  His Santa outfit isn’t shown, but the real St. Nicholas did have a reputation for giving gifts.

  • 1889 – Jefferson Davis, American general and politician, President of the Confederate States of America (b. 1808)
  • 1955 – Honus Wagner, American baseball player and manager (b. 1874)

Wagner, below (1910), is one of the greatest players of all time. Coyne family legend relates that my great grandmother caught him practicing throwing by hurling baseballs at the side of her outhouse. I have no idea whether this is true.  A note from Wikipedia: “In 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Wagner as one of the first five members. He received the second-highest vote total, behind Ty Cobb‘s 222 and tied with Babe Ruth at 215. Most baseball historians consider Wagner to be the greatest shortstop ever and one of the greatest players ever. Ty Cobb himself called Wagner “maybe the greatest star ever to take the diamond”.[2] Honus Wagner is also the featured player of one of the rarest and the most valuable baseball cards in existence.”

Here’s the card, worth over six million dollars!

  • 2002 – Philip Berrigan, American priest and activist (b. 1923)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows off her literary knowledge:

A: Why are you so sad?
Hili: I’m waiting for Godot.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu jesteś taka smutna?
Hili: Czekam na Godota.

And a picture of Kulka by Andrzej:

A multireligious greeting for the holidays from reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe: II don’t see atheism in there, but it’s not a religion. Can you spot His Noodliness?


Keiko posted this on Facebook. Cats will be cats. . .

From Bruce, a weather report (I hope this isn’t perceived as derogatory, but my dad used to tell me jokes at bedtime, and one was “Weather report in Mexico: chili today and hot tamale.”)

Where did Titania go? She hasn’t tweeted anything for weeks!

From God:

I’m a bit dubious about this one, but there’s enough consensus reporting to make it plausible.

Reader Barry says this:

What you see in the tweet below is a transcript from something he allegedly said in Birmingham in 1976 (Rolling Stone wrote about this but I can’t access the article). According to an accompanying podcast, the remarks were collated by some note takers at the time. So is this an exact quote? It is not. But it apparently coheres with what many people remembering hearing at the time.

Yes, he’s an antivaxer and seemingly a racist as well, but I can still enjoy his music. If you didn’t listen to the Clapton/J. J. Cale duet yesterday, do so now.

From Luana. What does it mean?

From Ken, who also explains the tweet he contributed:

From the far-right fringe of the Republican Party.

The metaphor by Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-Gilead) works only if a woman is being forced to have an abortion — which, if the US constitution provides no right to reproductive freedom, the states will be as just as free to mandate as they are free to prevent women from obtaining abortions. (Pace Cawthorn, last I checked, Americans are free to develop or not develop — delete or not delete — their own photographs as they alone see fit.):

A tweet from Ginger K.:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb.  First, a lovely Christmas carol that teaches grammar at the same time!

The first wasp is all decked out in racing colors, and the second is also lovely.

56 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. But you can spot The Noodly Deity

    I can’t. Please can I have a hint?

    Sadly, the Eric Clapton quote is probably genuine. I know he had a bit of a racist rant at a gig in Birmingham in the 70’s (I think the quote may be part of it), which triggered the forming of Rock Against Racism. Clapton claimed he was really drunk at the time and regrets saying it.

    1. “Clapton claimed he was really drunk at the time and regrets saying it.”

      Does “in vino veritas” apply to other alcoholic drinks as well?

      1. ” “Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober,” he had said, “and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline.” ”

        -Character Gowan McGland in Peter DeVries’ novel “Reuben, Reuben”, from 1964

        “Source” :

    2. I doubt that people when drunk say things which are completely foreign to them. In his defence, first, he does seem to regret it. Second, it was more anti-immigrant than racist. Even if one objects to both, the two are not the same. Third, he has always acknowledged debts to black musicians, has black musicians in his band, and so on. IIRC he also has a child by a black woman.

      On the other hand, his anti-covid-restrictions stuff is really loony.

        1. Coon is arguably a more unpalatable racial slur than the n-word”. According to Wikipedia, it derives:

          Possibly from Portuguese barracão or Spanish barracón, a large building constructed to hold merchandise, where slaves were kept for sale, anglicised to barracoon (1837). Popularized by the song “Zip Coon”, played at Minstrel shows in the 1830s.

          Either way, Clapton should have been ashamed of himself. The incident in Birmingham led to the formation of the Rock Against Racism movement.

    3. “But you can spot The Noodly Deity”

      I’m assuming it’s the Cthulhu-like creature atop the human figure. Not exactly how how I envisioned it, but then, being fictional like all deities, I suppose it can be depicted however one wants.

      Like most religions, it has an Internet presence that makes for more humorous reading than most. However, for some reason, it no longer has the full text of the official Pastafarian Gospel (they’re now selling it at Amazon marking them as greedy as other religions in my book):

      1. OK, I’m not blind after all . . . the email I received this morning has the cartoon WITHOUT the Holy Colander. The current version of the post has the colander plainly visible.

        It turns out the source material was updated to include the Holy Colander sometime after the post was composed and published.

        That’s why in the notification email the colander is missing. Once the source got updated, it now appears in the post. The originating site has both versions; with and sans colander.

        I’m still not sure what/who the nut held by the squirrel is. Ah . . . Scientology.

          1. Thanks…I would have never got that one. It was a great dominate element and I saw the face in the walnut but didn’t grok the who.

          1. I should have clicked on the graphic; it opens to a much larger version where the Holy Colander is more visible . . . although it probably should have been gold rather than silver. All manner of churches *love* gold.

          1. Fun factoid: the whole “spaghettifluenza hiznoodly appendage r’amen this r’amen that yada yada pastafarai goddam i am edgy af” died years ago, i.e., the minute it was born, like every other religion.

    4. Can anyone discern the face in the squirrel’s-nut? It’s a visual pun, I’m sure, but I can’t place him.

        1. OK, L. Ron Hubbard. Good one…his dead self and dumb philosophy is still going strong as far as I know. C’mon World!!!

  2. That would be an interesting topic: What musician, whom you used to enjoy, have you stopped listening to because of their politics? For me, it’s Cat Stevens, ever since he supported the fatwa against Rushdie.

    1. There are plenty of musicians whose opinions I don’t like but whose music I like — so I listen to their music. I was at a bar trying to play Eminem on the music machine when two guys came up to me and asked me if I knew that Eminem was racist and homophobic. I had no clue about Eminem’s views on either issue but cheerfully replied ‘Yes’ and went on to play the music.

    2. Consider the possibilities :

      Like music/lyrics | dislike music/lyrics
      Like politics
      Dislike politics

      … I think the sting arises if we start out *in love* with following the sound of a musician as the first step, serendipitously. Then, when the interviews get out, things go bad.

      Starting from something else – like the leading role in Gladiator – the result is … well … different.

    3. I believe he’s recanted. If so, can we listen to his music again? Perhaps most of us are past caring about his music. He had a few good songs but I could live a full life even if I never heard them again.

    4. Bertrand Contat, of Noire Désire, who murdered his girlfriend. That pretty much ruined my interest in an otherwise fantastic French band, but Clapton and Van Morrison are now hard to enjoy, Megadeth after Dave Mustain’s birther bullshit, and I’ll agree with you on Cat Stevens as well.

      1. I have no trouble separating the art from the artist; it’s tough enough keeping track of the vicissitudes of oftimes lengthy and complex careers, never mind bothering about shifting opinions, behavior, politics, and so on. Admired the music of Wagner for years (he’s better than he sounds) before learning he was a racist antisemite. Enjoyed the works of C S Lewis (his space trilogy is phenomenal, perhaps the most evocative portrait[s] of alien environments ever depicted thru language alone) whilst ignoring his painfully shallow Xian apologetics. One of my favorite chanteuses is a deeply unpleasant person, an abrasively obnoxious misanthrope, generally drunk and/or high, sarcastic, moody, bitter, verbally abusive; but boy howdy can she sing! Who knows but that your favorite musician is a spousebeater, dogkicker, catsmacker, shoplifter, closet fascist? The law of averages says some of them at least surely are. What if you never find out? What if you later find you were wrong? What if the saintliest person alive is tonedeaf and a lousy poet? It’s all too much to waste time worrying about.

        tldr; love the sin if you will, hate the sinner if you must.

          1. Sorry Leslie but I will never, ever tell visa: very particular instructions from this marvelous artist. Not to poke the hive or far less stir the pot, she is just a dear friend blessed with celestial pipes and cursed with a terrestrial predeliction for booze and drugs and all ’round gawdawful nastiness… in bed.

            She is not especially famous shofar shogood showhat as I know (picture if you will Amy Winehouse x The Dø x Patti Smith x Jessy Norman (sp?), more or less, is about all I can say presently).

            You can never ever judge an artist by their predilictions, proclivities, predispositions, preponderances, preconceptions, perhapses, padasanyas, personal pffft, pet cetera.

            1. Oh, sorry, Dickie. I failed to grasp that you knew her personally. Of course you are right not to betray a confidence or hold up a friend to public shaming.

    5. Or, indeed, which musician should you probably not listen to, even if you continue to enjoy their works? Wagner; Pfitzner; Orff? The Nazis loved Beethoven and Bruckner too; does that damage their reputations in any way? Or what about Stalin’s lickspittles such as Kabalevsky or Khrennikov?

      Should we distinguish between a scientist’s achievements and his or her less acceptable views? (Huxley? Galton? Watson?) Yes. Then why not do so for artists as well?

      1. Exactly. Phil Spector was a murderer, but I will continue listening to his productions, just as I will continue enjoying the art of Caravaggio, another murderer.

        1. Today I learned that one of the greatest painters ever may have been a murderer (I knew he was a brawling womanizing party animal). This information does nothing other than inform my understanding of his work, which is probably about as shallow as botany pond.

          Spector’s production is much overrated. Majority of his spattle fiddlins would be better off had he, beshrew me, never been born. Et crepito ad summitatem resurget!

  3. It is interesting how perceptions can change over time. During his time in the Senate, Dole was viewed by many (including myself) from the outside as an extremely partisan, Republican hatchet man. We were not aware that he worked with Democrats, many of whom he considered friends, to pass important legislation. Now, we deeply regret that there are no more Republicans like him (with a very few exceptions) in Congress. His death symbolizes what dangerous times we live in as the continuance of American democracy can no longer be taken for granted.

    1. What is true? God, yes, but Satan?

      As long as you don’t scream out your own name. 🙂

      Old joke: In Sunday school, a child drew a picture of someone ascending into heaven, feet first. When asked for an explanation, the child said “I once saw my mom with her feet in the air saying ‘Oh God, I’m coming!’”

      1. And if the child’s mother were speaking a different language, say Japanese, would it have been natural to say ‘Oh God’? I merely wanted to explore the language dependency. Satan was merely a vehicle — I use Satan all the time.

  4. “Is that so reassuring given that Omicron just got here?”

    It is perhaps reassuring to those who worry about Omicron before there’s much information about it. While it is believed that it is more transmissible than Delta, it is not yet known if it is more or less deadly. I suspect Walensky’s point is that, by the time people should worry about catching Omicron, we’ll know much more about it and might even have a vaccine for it, assuming current vaccines are less effective. I fault the news for letting her quote just hang there without clarifying it.

  5. I’ve seen Wallensky make the 99.9% Delta comment several times now, and my feeling is that what she means is less that we shouldn’t be concerned about Omicron, but that we should continue to deal with Delta via mask-wearing, vaccinations, etc.

    In other words, the new virus on the block is getting most of the attention right now, but Delta is far from being stopped.

  6. Re Dr. Garth Cooper’s recounting of his Maori grandmother’s view that he and his brother should learn English. That and the other attitudes she would have inculcated along with it — I’m hazarding a guess that parents weren’t in the picture— were likely instrumental in his success as a citizen and a scientist.

    So my question is, Can one’s own grandmother be guilty of cultural genocide?

    1. PCC(E) is out today, so I won’t get in trouble if I post a huge chunk from Wikipedia :

      “The historic meaning of the phrase God rest you merry is ‘may God grant you peace and happiness’; the Oxford English Dictionary records uses of this phrase from 1534 onwards. It appears in Shakespeare’s 1599 play As You Like It. However, merry is often misinterpreted as an adjective modifying gentlemen.[11][12] The transitive use of the verb rest in the sense “to keep, cause to continue, to remain” is typical of 16th- to 17th-century language. notes that the first line “often is mispunctuated” as “God rest you, merry gentlemen” because in contemporary language, rest has lost its use “with a predicate adjective following and qualifying the object” (Century Dictionary). This is the case already in the 1775 variant, and is also reflected by Dickens’s replacement of the verb rest by bless in A Christmas Carol.

      Some variants give the pronoun in the first line as ye instead of you,[13] in a pseudo-archaism.[14] In fact, ye would never have been correct, because ye is a subjective (nominative) pronoun only, never an objective (accusative) pronoun.”,_Gentlemen

      … it was written as far back as the 18th century!

    2. Your mention of earworms brings two things to mind:

      1. The new Peter Jackson movie about the Beatles, “Get Back”, is a serious source of earworms, at least for me. Still, I do recommend the film.

      2. An earworm (“Come On, Eileen” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners) is an important component of a great new TV show, “Wakefield”, on ABC. It’s an Australian show that follows the staff and patients of a mental health ward in the Blue Mountains, west of Sydney. Even though it’s on broadcast TV, it’s one of the best things on right now.

      1. Aargh! Now I’ve got “Come on Eileen” stuck in my head and visual flashbacks of Kevin Rowland in his dungarees….!

  7. During one of Senator Dole’s Presidential attempts, I remember reading about his grievous combat injury in Italy. He didn’t know exactly what happened but it was said at the time of his campaign that a small-calibre cannon shell may have actually exploded inside his chest. I’d be obligated to doubt that would be survivable but then he almost didn’t. His 2005 autobiography refers to shell splinters which would be more likely. His survival baffled the Army doctors. He was temporarily quadriplegic and spent the next 3 years in hospital convalescing from numerous complications and operations to put his spine back together, never regaining use of his right arm and hand, hence the famous pen. His left arm was impaired, too. Just wanted all to know what he fought back from.

    In the Wikipedia article about him, reference [12] is a 1997 piece by Lee Sandlin originally published in The Chicago Reader, “Losing the War” (losing in the sense of losing the historical memory.) I started to read it, and then couldn’t stop. It’s long. And hard.

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