Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Szaron monologue)

It’s Thursday, April 2, 2019, and we’re still here, thank Ceiling Cat. It’s now become hard for me to remember what day of the week it is without looking it up: every day seems like a weekend because the streets are so empty. Does anybody else have that problem?

It’s National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, and that’s just what I’m having for lunch today (I’m out of tuna). It’s also National Burrito Day, National Ferret Day, World Autism Awareness Day, and International Children’s Book Day.

News of the Day: We’re still approaching hell in our joint handbasket. Emergency medical supplies are running low most everywhere, and the economic report due today will show millions more jobless—no surprise given the lockdowns. And, horrible as it is, Americans fearing “civil unrest” during a pandemic bought nearly two million guns in March. Why are gun stores still open? Related to that, government pandemic expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has been given increased security protection after death threats from conspiracy theorists who think he’s trying to undermine Trump. Can you believe this country?

The only good news, and by “good” I mean “not horrible” is that the dilatory and increasingly infected state of Florida has finally ordered lockdowns.

Stuff that happened on April 2 includes:

  • 1513 – Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León first sights land in what is now the United States state of Florida.
  • 1800 – Ludwig van Beethoven leads the premiere of his First Symphony in Vienna.
  • 1902 – “Electric Theatre”, the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opens in Los Angeles.

Here’s a picture of that theater (get a load of the ads), as well as an ad for it in the April 5, 1902 Los Angeles Times. “Moral and refined. Pleasing to ladies, gentlemen, and children.”

  • 1912 – The ill-fated RMS Titanic begins sea trials.
  • 1917 – World War I: United States President Woodrow Wilson asks the U.S. Congress for a declaration of war on Germany.
  • 1956 – As the World Turns and The Edge of Night premiere on CBS. The two soaps become the first daytime dramas to debut in the 30-minute format.
  • 1972 – Actor Charlie Chaplin returns to the United States for the first time since being labeled a communist during the Red Scare in the early 1950s.
  • 1982 – Falklands WarArgentina invades the Falkland Islands.

The animosity towards Argentina still lingers there. Here’s a sign someone taped to their window in Stanley, the capital of the Falklands. I photographed it when we stopped there on our Antarctic cruise on November 24 of last year:


  • 1991 – Rita Johnston becomes the first female Premier of a Canadian province when she succeeds William Vander Zalm (who had resigned) as Premier of British Columbia.
  • 2014 – A spree shooting occurs at the Fort Hood army base in Texas, with four dead, including the gunman, and 16 others injured.
  • 2015 – Four men steal items worth up to £200 million from an underground safe deposit facility in London’s Hatton Garden area in what has been called the “largest burglary in English legal history.”

The perpetrators were all caught and jailed. But shouldn’t that be “largest burglary in English illegal history”?

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1725 – Giacomo Casanova, Italian explorer and author (d. 1798)
  • 1805 – Hans Christian Andersen, Danish novelist, short story writer, and poet (d. 1875)
  • 1840 – Émile Zola, French novelist, playwright, journalist (d. 1902)
  • 1891 – Max Ernst, German painter, sculptor, and poet (d. 1976)
  • 1928 – Serge Gainsbourg, French singer-songwriter, actor, and director (d. 1991)
  • 1942 – Leon Russell, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 2016)
  • 1947 – Emmylou Harris, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1947 – Camille Paglia, American author and critic
  • 1965 – Rodney King, American victim of police brutality (d. 2012)

Below is a famous (and salacious) written by Gainsbourg for Brigitte Bardot and recorded in 1967 by Gainsbourg with his paramour Jane Birkin.  It’s called “Je t’aime. . . moi non plus” (“I love you. . . me neither.”) The heavy breathing (the couple is clearly singing in flagrante delicto) starts at about 2:30, and the sexual nature of the song led to its being banned in several countries. As Wikipedia notes:

The lyrics are written as a dialogue between two lovers during sex. Phrases include:

“Je vais et je viens, entre tes reins” (“I go and I come, between your loins”)
“Tu es la vague, moi l’île nue” (“You are the wave, I the bare island”)
“L’amour physique est sans issue” (“Physical love is a dead end” [Gainsbourg sings ‘sensationnel’ in another version)

The song culminates in orgasm sounds by Birkin: mostly because of this, it was banned from radio in Spain, Sweden, Brazil, the UK, Italy,  and Portugal, banned before 11 pm in France, not played by many radio stations in the United States because it was deemed too risqué, and denounced by the Vatican and the L’Osservatore Romano; one report even claimed the Vatican excommunicated the record executive who released it in Italy. Birkin says Gainsbourg called the Pope “our greatest PR man”.

After that, I’m sure you’ll want to listen to it. It was a huge hit in Europe. The translation is here. (TRIGGER WARNING: Beast with two backs.) I wonder what the prominence of the Eiffel Tower means here 🙂

Those who “passed” on April 2 were few, and include these two:

  • 1872 – Samuel Morse, American painter and academic, invented the Morse code (b. 1791)
  • 1987 – Buddy Rich, American drummer, songwriter, and bandleader (b. 1917)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hilis is begging for noms, as usual. But how can one resist that cute face?

Hili: A strange phenomenon.
A: What phenomenon?
Hili: You are calmly writing something and I’m hungry.
In Polish:
Hili: Dziwne zjawisko.
Ja: Jakie?
Hili: Ty sobie coś piszesz, a ja jestem głodna.

While the lodgers are at work, Szaron spends the days downstairs with Andrzej and Malgorzata, often with Hili in the same room (the two cats are still wary, but aren’t fighting). When Paulina gets home, she takes Szaron upstairs for his dinner and the night. Here he is in his quarters upstairs (not a carrier but a real cat bed) with a word of advice for all:

Szaron: One has to take care about social distance.

In Polish: Należy dbać o społeczny dystans.

From Jesus of the Day, true words!

From Spencer Lucas on FB. I’d add to it to learn the difference between its and it’s, and how to avoid the grocer’s apostrophe (“Potatoe’s on sale”):


A polite pelican at the Emporium of Unique and Wondrous Things:

Titania really hates the self-important behavior of celebrities about the coronavirus:

A tweet found by Simon.

From Gethyn, another crazy behavior produced by the lockdown. But the squirrels must like it!

Jeremy found some tweets about a herd of wild goats taking over a locked-down Welsh town:


Tweets from Matthew. First, a corvid on covid. (Sound on if you want to hear its muttering.)

Ducks get deferred mortgage payments, too! (Sound on.)

What a civic-minded bear!

Another amazing case of mimicry. I retweeted it but got the first picture from Matthew:



  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Does anybody else have that problem [remembering the day of the week]?

    Count me in. Sometimes it’s like wandering into a performance of Waiting for Godot and trying to figure out if it’s Act I or Act II.

  2. Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Given that burglary is, by definition, illegal, we can probably drop the qualifier and assume the Hatton Garden job was the largest burglary in English history.

    • JezGrove
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      Jerry’s suggestion makes sense given how often the public is robbed blind entirely legally.

      • Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

        How often is that then?

        • JezGrove
          Posted April 2, 2020 at 8:46 am | Permalink

          Often enough for “daylight robbery” to exist as an English idiom.

          • JezGrove
            Posted April 2, 2020 at 8:53 am | Permalink

            One example:

          • Posted April 2, 2020 at 8:54 am | Permalink

            I don’t think it changes anything about what I wrote unless you can think of a legal burglary that was bigger than the Hatton Garden job and even then I would argue that “legal burglary” is an oxymoron. And so’ probably, would Jerry.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      Here’s a TV report with a bit of CCTV footage:

      Where was I in 2015. I don’t remember this.

  3. Jon Mummaw
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    ” …the dilatory and increasingly infected state of Florida has finally ordered lockdowns.”

    Not quite. Number one on DeSantis’ essential activities list: Attending religious services conducted in churches, synagogues and houses of worship.

    • eric
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      According to the Friendly Athiest, also included in the “essential” list for Floridians are hunting, fishing, swimming, and running.

      While I can see doing the hunting, fishing, and running alone and thus debatably allowable, IMO public and club swimming pools should be treated like gyms and closed. You aren’t going to be able to use the locker room without mingling.

      The good news is that stricter local ordinances still apply even if the state law is more lax. So, for example, Howard-Browne can still be charged for holding his church service in violation of the law because he violated a Tampa local ordinance in doing so.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I am convinced if this clown president had been in charge for the start of WWII we would have lost by the end of 1942. Lets see GM and Ford, do you want to make B-17s or would you rather make golf clubs for all my resorts? Maybe some gold plated toilets for the restrooms?

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    1972 – Actor Charlie Chaplin returns to the United States for the first time since being labeled a communist during the Red Scare in the early 1950s.

    I recall watching the Academy Awards that year and the ovation the Little Tramp got when he accepted an honorary Oscar. It went on and on and on — like Bobby Kennedy’s at the ’64 DNC.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    1725 – Giacomo Casanova, Italian explorer and author (d. 1798)

    Seems to me that cat Casanove was even better known for a lil’ somethin’ somethin’ else. 🙂

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    I wonder what the prominence of the Eiffel Tower means here 🙂

    Means the Washington Monument was unavailable because it was booked for a shoot in the San Fernando valley that day. 🙂

  8. DrBrydon
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Of all the coronavirus news, the stories that annoy me the most are the ones about celebrities. I don’t need their example, don’t want their advice, and haven’t got their money, so sod off, and, if you die, RIP.

  9. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    “Related to that, government pandemic expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has been given increased security protection after death threats from conspiracy theorists who think he’s trying to undermine Trump.”

    Rationality has always been dangerous in tRumpistan. These idiots who think social distancing is a plot against tRump will be the first in line to break healthcare systems. If we had a “god of love” he’d kick the crap out of them.

    • Historian
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Indeed, rationality has always been in short supply among Trump’s cult. Such attitudes have always existed in every society, such being human nature. In the United States, a significant portion of the population clings to the rantings of a messianic figure that promises them deliverance from the threat to what they hold most dear: cultural and economic dominance over the “other.” This is why that even if some day traditional religions such as Christianity and Islam should fade way, a golden age of rationality will not follow. Some other system of irrationality will take its place. I do not know if there is an evolutionary explanation for this, but from the historical perspective there are many examples where the abandonment of religion, at least by the state, heralded in eras of irrationality as manifested by the dominance of extremists. The French, Chinese, and Russian revolutions are illustrative of this. Probably most people need to accept delusions of one sort or another as a way of getting through the day.

  10. Desnes Diev
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    “Can you believe this country?”

    We must. It’s never a good idea to ovelook reality 😉

  11. rickflick
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    A friend of mine used to insist Samuel Morse, did not actually invente the the telegraph and the code, as is claimed. He essentially overheard the ideas being worked on by others and opportunistically rushed to patent it before them. He was a nasty piece of work and defended his right in court strenuously.

  12. Eddie Janssen
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    That is not mimicry, that is just a twig…

    • Bruce E Lyon
      Posted April 2, 2020 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Yep! The date—April 1—was a the clue.

      • JezGrove
        Posted April 2, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

        Doh! I should have twigged sooner.

  13. Mark R.
    Posted April 2, 2020 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    I was born today, so remember a lot of folks like Ernst, Andersen and Zola. But a couple dirt naps you missed: famous Hindu Guru Shivabaliyogi (might have got that wrong) and also Pope John II. Lockdown birthday really sucks…no nice dinner. Oh well, I’ve witnessed enough hell from this to know I’m a lucky one.

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