Sunday: Hili dialogue

March 29, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s the beginning of a new week and almost the end of March, which has refused to go out like a lamb. On this Sunday, March 29, 2020, we can only hope that April will be better. It’s National Chiffon Cake Day, National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day (not a good year for this), National Vietnam War Veterans Day.  and Good Deeds Day. I know this sentiment has been repeated endlessly, but let me join the chorus: kudos and love to all the healthcare workers and first responders who are working during this pandemic, risking their lives to help others. One doesn’t often see such mass altruism (9-11 was another example), and it’s a testament to the better angels of our nature.

News of the day: Again, it’s all bad, almost enough to make me stop watching the evening news. Deaths in the U.S. from coronavirus have reached 2,000. As the pandemic spreads in India, thousands of migrants in New Delhi, now homeless and jobless after the government’s lockdown, are desperately trying to get to their hometowns in the countryside so they won’t starve.

Look at this photo from the NYT; the caption is “Credit: Yawar Nazir/Getty Images.” There’s no better way to spread the virus! (And many of these desperate people, trekking home on foot, were beaten back by the police at the city border.)

Here in the U.S., people are going stir-crazy, often using their cats for amusement. And, since everyone has huge supplies of bogroll, they can combine them (tweet sent by Matthew):

Stuff that happened on March 29 includes:

  • 845 – Paris is sacked by Viking raiders, probably under Ragnar Lodbrok, who collects a huge ransom in exchange for leaving.


  • 1806 – Construction is authorized of the Great National Pike, better known as the Cumberland Road, becoming the first United States federal highway.

Here’s the route of the original road:

  • 1857 – Sepoy Mangal Pandey of the 34th Regiment, Bengal Native Infantry mutinies against the East India Company’s rule in India and inspires the protracted Indian Rebellion of 1857, also known as the Sepoy Mutiny.
  • 1867 – Queen Victoria gives Royal Assent to the British North America Act which establishes Canada on July 1.
  • 1871 – Royal Albert Hall is opened by Queen Victoria.
  • 1886 – John Pemberton brews the first batch of Coca-Cola in a backyard in Atlanta.
  • 1936 – Adolf Hitler receives 99% of the votes in the 1936 German parliamentary election and referendum.
  • 1951 – Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are convicted of conspiracy to commit espionage
  • 1971 – My Lai Massacre: Lieutenant William Calley is convicted of premeditated murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Calley served only three years, part of that under house arrest. He sold jewelry for a while in Georgia, and is now retired.

  • 1973 – Vietnam War: The last United States combat soldiers leave South Vietnam.
  • 1999 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average closes above the 10,000 mark (10,006.78) for the first time, during the height of the dot-com bubble.
  • 2014 – The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales are performed.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1867 – Cy Young, American baseball player and manager (d. 1955)
  • 1916 – Eugene McCarthy, American poet and politician (d. 2005)
  • 1918 – Pearl Bailey, American actress and singer (d. 1990)
  • 1929 – Richard Lewontin, American biologist, geneticist, and academic, Ph.D. advisor of Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus)

Yes, Dick (aka “The Boss”) is 91 today. Here’s a photo of me paying the proper homage to Dick in October of 2017:

  • 1940 – Astrud Gilberto, Brazilian singer-songwriter
  • 1943 – Eric Idle, English actor and comedian
  • 1968 – Lucy Lawless, New Zealand actress

Those who decamped from life on March 29 include:

  • 1772 – Emanuel Swedenborg, Swedish astronomer, philosopher, and theologian (b. 1688)
  • 1912 – Robert Falcon Scott, English lieutenant and explorer (b. 1868)
  • 1912 – Edward Adrian Wilson, English physician and explorer (b. 1872)
  • 1957 – Joyce Cary, Anglo-Irish novelist (b. 1888)
  • 2016 – Patty Duke, American actress (b. 1946)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is up to mischief:

Małgorzata: Leave my notebook alone.
Hili: I’m just checking what this ribbon is for.
In Polish:
Małgorzata: Zostaw mój notes.
Hili: Ja tylko sprawdzam do czego jest ta tasiemka.

From Stephen Law: a children’s book:


A leggy bird from Jesus of the Day, with description and photo credits beneath:

Reader Charles Sawicki sent this, and I bet you got one, too (I got THREE). He was peeved for the same reason I was:

We just got this postcard today. Probably all Americans will get one.The orange asshole is using a disastrous pandemic for self-promotion. This pretends that ideas from experts originated with tRump. Using all the government resources he can to promote his reelection!

That’s true; I can’t imagine a postcard like this saying “President Obama’s Coronavirus Guidelines. . . ”  Yes, they’re good guidelines, but they are NOT Trump’s!

A good satirical tweet from The Queen. I have to say, it really irks me when people gloat when a public figure/politician they dislike is diagnosed with the virus. What kind of sphincter behaves like that?


From Simon. I may have posted this useful video before, but if I did there’s no harm in look at it again. Don’t forget those thumbs!

From Barry. What is it like to be a cow in love with a pig? (Or vice versa.)

And from Heather Hastie, a pig in love with a dog (and vice versa):

Tweets from Matthew. First an annoying cat:

And then an endearing duck (in this case, a molting mallard drake, so the “she” is a misgendering!). I wish Honey would knock on my office window, though.

It took me about 25 tries to succeed, but when I retweeted this I was excoriated because many people got it within 3 or 4 tries.

This is surely a joke, but it does look “official”!

29 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Happy Birthday to Prof. Lewontin!

    As PCC(E) would say, a la Neil Young : “long may you run”!

  2. The Stonehenge joke started long before Twitter – the original was in New Scientist if I remember correctly.

    Flint-chip technology, as the great Terry would call it.

  3. Got the chicken on my second go. Those people who took “3 or 4 tries” should be ashamed of bragging about it. SECOND GO!! WHOO

  4. “Yes, they’re good guidelines, but they are NOT Trump’s!”

    Are there no laws in the USA to prevent such abuse of political agenda?

  5. Esp since you thank the healthcare workers, this was in my FB stream this morning from the daughter of a friend is Stockholm whose funeral took me there last fall. She just recently started working in a hospital there. Auto translate version with a few of my fixes:


    A little update how I feel it to work on a GI dept reception that has become covid-19 department. There are many medical terms and I hope you who don’t know these anyway understand how tough we are.

    We are having a terrible time. I caught up with 4 days intro with gastro patients before we became covid-19 dept. First we were a lock department (we were March 10th). Suspected from the emergency room ended up with us and depending on whether they were pos or neg, they were sent on to the right care unit. 1 week later we only became a dept for covid-19 because infection at Huddinge Hospital [S of Stockholm] did not have places anymore. The situation is getting worse and worse.

    It’s more than chaos… We have 7-8 patients per team. Many have saturation monitoring, nhf, oxygen, NIV, telemetries (heart monitoring).

    No resources because there are so many sick and staffing do not want to be with us. Our 3 bosses are now sick too.

    Last days we have had 1-4 deaths / day and now even relatives are not allowed to enter dying patients.
    Patients who die in covid-19, choke to death. There is a lot of anxiety and worry at the end of life for them. Sure we can calm with meds but don’t have time to keep 100 % track of whether they need more or other meds to make it easier for them in the last hours.
    So now patients are allowed to choke to death in solitude and we don’t know when it will happen…

    The day before yesterday, one of the nurses (highly experienced and no diseases or meds) collapsed she was sent to the heart attack…

    We have overhead as a visor. Try to look through one of these and take blood tests with it…

    Not always the right mouth protection either and often you get to work with the wrong size of gloves…

    Latest is that they made home builds out of 30 cpap and turned them into NHF (Nasal high flow device that gives high flows of oxygen with pressure). Usually we have a maximum of 3 with NHF. They are not proven but they think they should work…

    There are often nutritional drinks instead of food for those who can’t eat themselves or risk swallowing wrong because we don’t have time to feed them. ADL, ie helping wash, brushing your teeth, hygiene, goose training etc is very priority because there is no time and opportunity.

    We have the opportunity to nurture 29 patients on dept.

    So I cry for every pass because I feel incomplete.

    So what is said on TV and radio is BULLSHIT and embellished, based on what I experience.

    It’s short. St Göran now has 5 dept for covid-19 only in addition to IVA. And what I understand, we are the hospital that has the most patients in this group throughout Stockholm region.

    Thank you to all of you who get in touch and send hugging ❣ It warms a lot but unfortunately I can’t have time to answer everyone but give an attattoo update like this instead.

    Take care of yourself out there and enjoy that we have summer time and spring now

  6. A typo I think: just before Titania’s tweet did you mean “when a public figure they *don’t* like…”?

  7. Regarding Stonehenge – do you realise this is a replica?
    The original was accidentally demolished in the 1970s:

  8. “All the animals have the desire to live free…”

    People are welcome to believe that if they want to, but they have probably been watching too many Disney movies.

    Mine would all be home at suppertime, or they would stay in if the weather was bad, or if there were predators about, or if they were hungry or thirsty. Try watching one of those “free” animals die of starvation or thirst, why don’t you.

    This nonsense reminds me of a neighbor of mine who refused to “confine” her dogs. Yeah, she just loves them so much; they just have to have their freedom!! Until one of them got hit and killed by a car.


    1. The last I saw it, the CDC sight has a banner stating there are the presidents guidelines within. If you choke hard reading that you might need a ventilator.

  9. Re:Trump’s Corona guidelines.

    There has been a report in Slate that he wants the stimulus checks that will go out to Americans to have his signature. Blatant politicking.
    Someone joked that most of his checks bounce.

  10. Hi Jerry, Happy Dick Lewontin Day.
    from one of his numerous academic great grandchildren (Joe Felesenstein and Michael Turelli).

  11. A certain American Nobel laureate released his first new song in 8 years two days ago. It seems to be a capsule history of the 20th century and a paean to the redemptive powers of music:

    1. I’m a longtime Dylan fan but I think “Murder Most Foul” was embarrassingly bad. Dylan’s in relatively good voice and the instrumental backing is pretty, but he doesn’t have anything interesting to say about the Kennedy assassination. He’s trafficking in baby boomer nostalgia (very out of character) and the old tropes about “loss of innocence” and shadowy conspiracies. Disappointingly conventional stuff. The song doesn’t even feel like the work of someone who lived through the 60s. It’s as if Dylan watched a few documentaries, half-wrote a song about what he watched, got bored and then namechecked the artists on his latest playlist.

        1. I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet but his voice has certainly gotten even more gravelly like Leonard Cohen’s.

        2. I haven’t listened to the whole thing yet but his voice has certainly gotten even more gravelly like Leonard Cohen’s.

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