Tuesday: Hili dialogue

April 7, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Tuesday, April 7, 2020, and we’re into another “work” week. I wonder how many people can work from home efficiently? From what I see on social media, not many—but that’s understandable. Another month of lockdown and everyone will be nuts, using their pets as props in tweets and videos.

It’s National Coffee Cake Day and National Beer Day, marking the day in 1933 that legislation allowing the sale of beer took effect in the U.S. The repeal of the Eighteenth Amendment, mandating Prohibition, took place the following December. As for the law that allowed beer sales, the Cullen–Harrison Act, Wikipedia says this:

Upon signing the legislation, Roosevelt made his famous remark, “I think this would be a good time for a beer.”  The law went into effect on April 7 of that year in states that had enacted their own law allowing such sales. The beer could contain up to 3.2% alcohol by weight (or 4.05% by volume) compared to the 0.5% limit of the Volstead Act, because 3.2% was considered too low to produce intoxication.

Here’s a group of happy people having their first legal beer on April 7, 1933 (notice that they’re all having beers; hard liquor came later).


It’s also International Beaver Day, celebrating the rodent, World Health Day, World Health Organization Day (different holidays), Metric System Day, National No Housework Day, and, for believers, Holy Tuesday.

Today’s Google Doodle is another in a two-week series thanking the “coronavirus helpers”. Clicking on it goes to links about the helpers. Today’s says this: “To all doctors, nurses, and medical workers, thank you.”

News of the Day: Dreadful: it’s almost more than I can do to watch the evening news each night. The death toll in the U.S. has passed 10,000, while Trump continues to advocate the use of hydroxychloroquine for coronavirus, a drug not tested for that disease. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, 55 and infected with coronovirus, has been moved to intensive care in London. And if you really want to get depressed, read this story about what’s happening to Italy’s social fabric.

In about an hour, at 6:45 a.m., I’m going to the grocery store. We’re told not to go for two weeks, but I am out of food and don’t want to starve. Wish me luck!

For some reason I find this video immensely cheering (h/t: Simon):

Stuff that happened on April 7 includes:

Note that Metz is now in France. That Hun could conquer! Here’s his empire, including “subject tribes”:

Based on Map 10 Empires and Barbarians. The Fall of Rome and the Birth of Europe. Peter Heather. Oxford University Press, 2010. Map template adapted from user Andrei Nicu

Cebu is in the Philippines, where Magellan was killed on 20 days later.

  • 1724 – Premiere performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion, BWV 245, at St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig.
  • 1827 – John Walker, an English chemist, sells the first friction match that he had invented the previous year.
  • 1829 – Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, commences translation of the Book of Mormon, with Oliver Cowdery as his scribe.
  • 1927 – The first long-distance public television broadcast (from Washington, D.C., to New York City, displaying the image of Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover).
  • 1933 – Prohibition in the United States is repealed for beer of no more than 3.2% alcohol by weight, eight months before the ratification of the XXI amendment. (Now celebrated as National Beer Day in the United States.)
  • 1943 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: In Terebovlia, Germans order 1,100 Jews to undress and march through the city to the nearby village of Plebanivka, where they are shot and buried in ditches.

The Wikipedia article says that there were 3,000 murders in that town between April and July, with only 50 or 60 Jews surviving.

  • 1948 – The World Health Organization is established by the United Nations.
  • 1949 – The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific opened on Broadway; it would run for 1,925 performances and win ten Tony Awards.
  • 1955 – Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amid indications of failing health.
  • 1969 – The Internet’s symbolic birth date: Publication of RFC 1.
  • 1994 – Rwandan genocide: Massacres of Tutsis begin in Kigali, Rwanda.
  • 1995 – First Chechen War: Russian paramilitary troops begin a massacre of civilians in Samashki, Chechnya.

Here are some musical highlights of the 1958 movie of “South Pacific”.  They don’t make ’em like this any more!

When I took Old English and Beowulf in college, I wrote a parody of one of the songs above, which started like this:

There is nothing like a Dane—
Nothing in the world;
Not a kinsman or a thane
That is anything like a Dane.

And have you heard this song-themed knock-knock joke?

Knock knock.
Who’s there?
Sam and Janet.
Sam and Janet who?
Sam and Janet Evening (line sung to tune of “Some Enchanted Evening”)

I’ll be here all year, folks!

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1770 – William Wordsworth, English poet (d. 1850)
  • 1897 – Walter Winchell, American journalist and radio host (d. 1972)
  • 1915 – Billie Holiday, American singer-songwriter and actress (d. 1959)
  • 1920 – Ravi Shankar, Indian-American sitar player and composer (d. 2012)
  • 1931 – Daniel Ellsberg, American activist and author
  • 1939 – Francis Ford Coppola, American director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1945 – Joël Robuchon, French chef and author (d. 2018)
  • 1960 – Hugh Dominic “Dom” Stiles, librarian and polymath (see post later today)
  • 1964 – Russell Crowe, New Zealand-Australian actor

Those who became corpses on April 7 include:

  • 1614 – El Greco, Greek-Spanish painter and sculptor (b. 1541)
  • 1891 – P. T. Barnum, American businessman and politician, co-founded The Barnum & Bailey Circus (b. 1810)
  • 1947 – Henry Ford, American engineer and businessman, founded the Ford Motor Company (b. 1863)
  • 1972 – Joe Gallo, American gangster (b. 1929)
  • 2012 – Mike Wallace, American television news journalist (b. 1918)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron is trying to eat Hili’s leftovers:

Hili: Don’t even think about it.
Szaron: I just wanted to clean it.
In Polish:

Hili: Nawet o tym nie myśl.
Szaron: Ja tylko chciałem pozmywać.

From Bad Cat Clothing, which calls this a “fun quarantine project”. Actually, I think it’s a bit mean.

From Jesus of the Day:

A sad and quarantined cat from the B. Kliban Appreciation Society:

From Luana. You’ll never see Slate publish anything like this now, with an extracted quote below. Such is the tenor of the Woke Era: some truths are too horrible to reveal

From reader Barry. This odious contraption is obviously a product of quarantine:

From reader Simon: a tweet with a funny caption (he says, “Well, it made me smile!”

A tweet from Heather Hastie via Ann German:


Tweets from Matthew. Siphonophores are colonial animals in the phylum Cnidaria and the order Hydrozoa; one of them is the Portuguese Man o’ War.  This one is fricking HUGE! As Matthew describes it, “Its a long long long tube that is spiraling around. Siphonophores are colony organisms so they do your head in if you think about them too much.”

Yes, this cat surfs! Sound up.

Can you spot the mouse? Click on the picture to enlarge.


37 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. 1972 – Joe Gallo, American gangster (b. 1929)

    A mortality immortalized in song by a Nobel laureate:

    1. I can’t say I think much of his lyrics when he gets more specific and less allusive/impressionistic. He’s not good at narrating – he’s much better at firing out a jumble of gnomic randomness.

      And the latest song of his, the one about JFK, etc., is lyrically excruciating, really cringeworthy, especially at the start.

      1. Oh, I think it’s true that most of Bob’s best songs qualify as allusive/obscurantist. But he’s written some pretty good narrative tunes, too — take “Hurricane” off the same album (also co-written with Jacques Levy), for example.

        Or take the Bob-doin’-Bruce-doin’-Bob tune he wrote as a Wilbury, “Tweeter and the Monkey Man”, as another.

        1. I like Hurricane musically, although it’s basically just All Along The Watchtower drawn out for a lot longer. But lyrically it just seems clumsy.

          I think there’s an Emperor’s New Clothes thing with Dylan’s lyrics. I know this is Not A Popular Opinion, to say the least, but every time someone tells me about his genius with words the part of my brain that prevents me from being invited back to parties pipes up and objects. I can’t help it.

          1. Hell, I’d never disinvite you, SST (even if I think you’re all wet). That kinda disagreement gives a party pizzazz. 🙂

            1. “all wet”

              I had to look that one up. I keep telling you, unless it was referenced in Seinfeldd or the Simpsons it’s gibberish to me – and you septics don’t half rabbit on.

              1. I’ve never heard it used in that way. I know gangsta-rappers used to use the phrase ‘wet you’ to mean ‘murder you so badly that your clothes become saturated with blood’.

                So that was my first thought obviously; that Ken was threatening me with a drive-by shooting. I was momentarily terrified, because I know he’s a big dog in the hood, but I googled the meaning and discovered he was just disagreeing with me about Dylan’s lyrical prowess.

      2. I once saw Dylan at the Houston rodeo many years ago. My first thought was “Gee, I didn’t know Dylan could speak Chinese !”

      3. I have to agree with you about “Joey” and “Murder Most Foul.” Dylan’s “Lenny Bruce” was also bland and said little about its subject. The problem might be that Dylan isn’t very good at writing songs of straight-up praise or admiration. He’s better at expressing mystery, ambivalence, outrage, or broken relationships. In other words, he’s better when he’s negative.

  2. I’d caution critics of Trump from talking about this 100,000-200,000 deaths figure, because if the figure turns out to be even very slightly lower then I guarantee you Trump will claim that as a miraculous victory.

    I can’t see it reaching 100k anyway – I think it’ll hopefully tail off well short of that, and Trump will beat his chest and tell America he was right all along to downplay it.

    1. He’ll claim it’s because he told everyone to take hydroxychloroquine, because Trump understands medicine better than do doctors.

      “Everyone tells me, ‘Sir, thank you for saving so many lives.’ Nobody’s ever seen anything like it.”

      1. Trump blew it – not the WHO, Fauci or the Jews


        1. Note that the manufacturer, Sanofi, is a French company. Availability in this country is very limited, and since tRump has a go-it-alone brand of foreign policy, importing the stuff won’t be easy.

          1. I’m sure tRump will feel able to make an exception for such an outstanding life-saving product!

            What, me, sarcastic?

    1. I find these ‘spot the ….’ fascinating. Not so much for the fun (although I have gleefully spotted the mouse) but because not knowing the priors (prior knowledge of its shape, colour, size, occlusion, orientation etc) disables all my brain’s smart searching routines and I have to do it the hard way.

      It makes me wonder how much we miss daily.

  3. Apropos the NY Times article about Italy, perhaps I’m taking a different message from it than PCC(E), but I read this paragraph towards the end of the article:

    “… such incidents [of theft] are rare. More striking — and representative of neighborhood life in Naples — has been a groundswell of community initiatives, to fill the void of absent state support. Some have set up a mutual aid help line so that volunteers can deliver food and assistance. And certain shops have begun encouraging customers to cover a shopping bill for someone unable to pay, in the Neapolitan tradition of the “caffè sospeso,” or suspended coffee.”

    and found a reason to be hopeful. Similar initiatives are springing up here in Britain as well — spontaneous community-based mutual aid to help the vulnerable, lonely and those without the means to feed themselves.

  4. Coincidentally, before I came and sat down at my desk, I was singing “There is Nothing Like a Dame.” South Pacific has been one of my favorites since I was a boy. The only other one that comes close is The Music Man.

    1. Though if I’m going to be extremely picky, Beowulf himself was a Geat, and thus a native of Sweden. But I’ll stop that now and go back to imagining Beowulf as a Broadway/West End musical….

  5. My dad used to sing that Sam and Janet Evening🎶, with or without the knock knock part preceding it.

  6. Issac Asimov died on yesterday’s date.

    Here’s a quote from him:

    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.

    I met him once and actually gave a lecture to him about my work

  7. Found the mouse. Fairly easy.

    The ‘Sam and Janet’ pun is pretty heinous. Here’s another, courtesy of yesterday’s Times:

    ‘If you insult Italian bakers they’ll beat the focaccia’.

  8. I do not work at home efficiently. I find it difficult to focus on the task at hand.

    Yesterday I had a long-ish video conference. It was a good meeting in general, but among the highlights was seeing my colleague’s cat wandering in and out of view.

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