Friday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

April 10, 2020 • 7:00 am

Welcome to Friday, April 10, 2020; it’s National Cinnamon Roll Day, and boy, could I use one! It’s also American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Day (it was founded on April 10, 1866), National Farm Animals Day, Global Work from Home Day (make that a month or two), Siblings Day, Golfer’s Day (who’s the one golfer being celebrated?) and, of course, Good Friday, when Jesus was supposedly crucified some time between A.D. 30 and 36.  April 10 is normally the 100th day of the year, but it’s the 101st in 2020 because it’s a leap year.

Today’s Google Doodle continues the two-week series praising coronovirus helpers. Today’s Doodle appears to celebrate those who grow our food (click on screenshot):

News of the Day: Do I need to say it’s still dreadful? As of this writing, the worldwide death toll from the pandemic is 96,791, and in the U.S. it’s 16,676.  Last night the news named Illinois as one of the growing pandemic “hot spots”.  The media and the Outrage Brigade continues to leverage the pandemic to bolster identity politics: every group is claiming the exacerbation or uncovering of oppression by the pandemic. See today’s New York Times for some choice examples.  (And yes, I do think Trump’s repeatedly calling coronavirus “the Chinese virus” is a deliberate example of bias and xenophobia.) But can’t people put their agenda aside just for a couple of months?

Today I will walk four miles through dicey parts of Chicago today to pick up my car at the garage (brakes got fixed), as, on medical advice, I dare not risk taking an Uber. Well, it’s exercise.

Matthew says he wrote “a cranky letter” to the Guardian; here it is. I love that old curmudgeon!

Stuff that happened on April 10 includes:

  • 1837 – Halley’s Comet makes its closest approach to Earth at a distance equal to 0.0342 AU (5.1 million kilometres/3.2 million miles).
  • 1710 – The Statute of Anne, the first law regulating copyright, comes into force in Great Britain.
  • 1815 – The Mount Tambora volcano begins a three-month-long eruption, lasting until July 15. The eruption ultimately kills 71,000 people and affects Earth’s climate for the next two years.
  • 1858 – After the original Big Ben, a 14.5 tonnes (32,000 lb) bell for the Palace of Westminster, had cracked during testing, it is recast into the current 13.76 tonnes (30,300 lb) bell by Whitechapel Bell Foundry.
  • 1865 – American Civil War: A day after his surrender to Union forces, Confederate General Robert E. Lee addresses his troops for the last time.
  • 1912 – RMS Titanic sets sail from Southampton, England on her maiden and only voyage.

Here’s a photo of its departure on April 10, 1912. Little did those aboard, or those watching the ship, know that its voyage would end at the bottom of the North Atlantic:

Zapata, a hero of the Mexican Revolution, is shown in the photo below. Yes, many did wear sombreros; Zapata is the one seated in the middle with the big hat. But look at the diversity of headgear! Wikipedia caption: “Zapata in his characteristic large sombrero and his staff in all manner of hats”

And here’s his corpse after he was killed 101 years ago today (also from Wikipedia):

  • 1925 – The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is first published in New York City, by Charles Scribner’s Sons.
  • 1963 – One hundred twenty-nine American sailors die when the submarine USS Thresher sinks at sea.
  • 1970 – Paul McCartney announces that he is leaving The Beatles for personal and professional reasons.

It’s a sad day for that, but I suppose the Beatles had reached their end.

  • 1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is signed in Northern Ireland.
  • 2019 – Scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope project announce the first ever image of a black hole, located in the centre of the M87 galaxy.

Here’s the famous picture: remember it? Caption: “Visible are the crescent-shaped emission ring and central shadow, which are gravitationally magnified views of the black hole’s photon ring and the photon capture zone of its event horizon. The crescent shape arises from the black hole’s rotation and relativistic beaming; the shadow is about 2.6 times the diameter of the event horizon.”

This media was produced by European Southern Observatory (ESO).

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1829 – William Booth, English minister, founded The Salvation Army (d. 1912)
  • 1847 – Joseph Pulitzer, Hungarian-American journalist, publisher, and politician, founded Pulitzer, Inc. (d. 1911)
  • 1917 – Robert Burns Woodward, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1979)
  • 1932 – Omar Sharif, Egyptian actor and screenwriter (d. 2015)

Two facts about Sharif: he was a world class contract bridge player who sometimes contributed to a bridge column in the Chicago Tribune. Also, he smoked 100 cigarettes a day! He did quit, but died of a heart attack 5 years ago. Oh, and do you remember that, besides playing Ali in Lawrence of Arabia, he was also the protagonist of Doctor Zhivago?  Here he reunites with his great love Lara, played by Julie Christie. I really should watch this movie again:


  • 1941 – Paul Theroux, American novelist, short story writer, and travel writer
  • 1952 – Steven Seagal, American actor, producer, and martial artist

Those who joined the Choir Invisible on April 10 include:

  • 1909 – Algernon Charles Swinburne, English poet, playwright, novelist, and critic (b. 1837)
  • 1919 – Emiliano Zapata, Mexican general (b. 1879)
  • 1931 – Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese-American poet, painter, and philosopher (b. 1883)
  • 1955 – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French priest, theologian, and philosopher (b. 1881)
  • 1966 – Evelyn Waugh, English soldier, novelist, journalist and critic (b. 1903)
  • 1975 – Walker Evans, American photographer (b. 1903)

Evans photographed people impoverished by the Depression and their circumstances, working for the government’s Farm Security Administration and Fortune Magazine. The photo below, one of his most famous, is from the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Menwith the writing by James Agee.  It’s a poor but proud family of sharecroppers in the South (caption underneath):

Bud Fields and His Family, Hale County, Alabama, photograph by Walker Evans, c. 1936–37; from the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941) by Evans and James Agee. Library of Congress, Washington, D.C.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a first world problem:

Hili: To choose priorities is the most important thing.
A: And what is your priority?
Hili: First, I will take a nap.
In Polish:
Hili: Najważniejszy jest wybór priorytetów.
Ja: A jaki jest twój priorytet?
Hili: Najpierw się prześpię.

And Leon and Mitek are both in the car heading for a walk. Mietek is still awed by the world:

Mietek: The world is kind of strange.

In Polish: Jakiś dziwny jest ten świat.

Two bogroll-related memes from Merilee:

Better than roses!

From reader John:

The latest from Titania. And yes, her characterization of the article is pretty accurate:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. The first is what cat staff do during quarantine. But look at that amazing standing jump!

This one is pure Trump:

Tweets from Matthew. He says this dystopian photo of London is genuine:

Anxiety-provoking rescue of mallard and offspring, but it apparently all turns out o.k. Sound up on this one.

Now this overabundance of offspring, the vast bulk of which will die right after birth, is a bit of a mystery. Do you have a solution?

A lovely “V” of migrating geese. Sound up, please:

And SPOT THE CAT!  I looked for a while and couldn’t find the damn cat, but many people claim that it’s easy.


45 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

  1. The black hole event was gripping- especially because I thought it sounded just ho-hum – a picture. Meh. The story of that picture is an adventure of epic proportions in a genuine sense of epic.

  2. You need brakes to drive a car? At least the price of gas is now down to giving it away. In 1965 gas was about .31 cents a gallon. That would be about $1.85 today. Gas was a buck fifty in Wichita yesterday. Reported $1.05 in Oklahoma City. Too bad there is no place to go.

  3. I did spot the cat pretty easily – but these things usually baffle me for ages so it was probably just the law of averages rather than anything I can take credit for.

  4. It’s probably just me, but the pairing of American Society for the Protection of Cruelty to Animals Day and National Farm Animals Day seems somewhat contradictory.

      1. Lose the election? Quite possibly, yes. But, however lopsided the results may be, he will NEVER concede he got beat fair & square.

        If he loses, he will scream “VOTER FRAUD!!” from the rooftops, and will likely bring a court case (and employ any other measures at his disposal) to challenge the election results. He will also likely refuse to participate in the transition process during the lame-duck session and decline to attend his successor’s inauguration (unlike every other incumbent US president to lose his re-election bid).

        I hope for the nation’s sake he will leave office, but expect it will be anything but a graceful exit. (And THAT, I think, is the best-case scenario.)

        1. My greatest fear is that if he loses, he will urge his supporters to take to the streets, tacitly encouraging violence. This would be the moment that the right-wing militias and all the others with arsenals have waited for. In other words, Trump would incite civil war. How would his Republican toadies react? Even if the police and military quash the violence (something not to be taken for granted), these incidents along with the virus and economic collapse would leave the country a smoldering ruin. Yet, his cult would still support him. Thus, the months between the election and the inauguration of the new president (presumably Biden) could be the most dangerous in the nation’s history since the secession crisis of 1860-1861. It could mean the definitive end of democracy in the United States.

          1. I can well imagine a scenario where we see “militia” violence. But an actual civil war seems remote. I don’t see secession movements forming in any serious way.

            1. I wasn’t implying that there would be a secession movement if Trump loses. I was stating that the threat to democracy through not abiding by election results would be as great as 1860-1861.

              I would call it civil war when there is widespread resort to violence as a means to protest the results of election. But, perhaps, you have a different definition of civil war.

              1. To be fair, you did compare it to the US Civil War. I think your warning is plausible but I really don’t think it likely. The militia movements may be crazy and dangerous, but the number who would take part in actual violence is vanishingly small. They would have no chance whatsoever against any branch of the military. But they could cause serious damage and great disruption and that has the real possibility of upending the country, which is your point.

              2. Also, if there is widespread violence, Trump could use this to declare martial law, which could be a means for him to attempt to grab dictatorial power.

              3. My definition of “civil war” would entail armies in combat with (at least) organized guerrilla troops. Not groups of rebellious nut jobs bombing buildings, holding out on ranches, and such.

              4. I can imaging tRump and his supporters declaring martial law. Whether the military forces would comply is unclear, I sure hope not.

          2. I also believe that this may take place. On the positive side, these idiots think that they can take on the National Guard and police. This would be a great opportunity to document their presence, put them down and make sure that the FBI puts a lot more effort into tracking and infiltrating right wing hate groups. In short, bad in the short run but good in the long run.

          3. Yeah, I think even in the best case scenario, the period between election day and inauguration day following a Trump loss will be the ugliest period of civil unrest in living US history — or at the very least since the national guard and cops fired upon innocent students at Kent State and Jackson State universities.

          4. I don’t see it. I think police and the military easily quash his supporters if it comes to that. But I think the vast majority are blowhards and it won’t come to that.

            Guy taking an AK into a pizza joint in order to stop global Jewish-Muslim-Liberal-Atheist domination? Sure, maybe some of those. And that will be horrible. Will these types of murders or attempted murders or acts of terrorism successfully disrupt federal, state, or local government in aggregate? Nope. Lone wolf type terrorists tend to overestimate their own impact, but the reality is the government is so much more bigger than them, there’s pretty much no “domino effect” they can do to bring it all down. Ultimately, people like the Unabomber or Charles Manson or events like the Oklahoma City Bombing just don’t do squat to shut down the regular functioning or transition of government. They’re horrible, yes. Will they stop a new President from taking office, or stop Congress from legislating, or cause a race war or civil war or some other broad, nation-disruptinng conflict to break out? No.

            Here’s something completely different to think about. Let’s say scenario 1 is Trump being a sore loser, going away to some golf course and not doing his job as President from Nov-Jan. Political gridlock ensues. Now let’s consider scenario 2: McConnell takes him aside, tells him how important it is for them to push through another hundred judicial appointments before January, and Trump doesn’t go off and play golf but rather stays a functioning President and signs off on as many life-time conservative judicial appointments as he can.

            Which scenario do you prefer?

        2. Agree, but this fool could contribute nothing to a transition if he cooperated. The important activity will be to remove as many of the the incompetent and deranged people he installed in government.

    1. Trump wouldn’t step foot on a public boat. He did have a Yacht, with his name on it for about $35 million. Sold it for $19 million, the art of the deal.

    2. You’ve probably already seen this Ken as it was published a while back, but just in case.

      Reagan’s Solicitor General Says ‘All Honorable People’ Have Left Trump’s Cabinet: ‘He is Capable of Doing Serious Damage’

      Yet another conservative icon, Charles Fried, sees Trump as a travesty. I wish Trump supporters would read articles like this very slowly and carefully.

      Some choice quotes.

      [Talking about executive powers granted by the constitution] “And as Justice Jackson said in the Steel Seizure Case, he is the commander in chief of the Army and Navy. But not of the nation, its industries and its people.

      This fantasy, which obsesses this president, completely misunderstands that.”

      [About Barr] “Barr knows all of this. And he’s supposed to be a very moral man, and so on and so forth. But to be the apologist for perhaps the most dishonest person to ever sit in the White House? I mean, dishonest in the sense that he lies the way other people breathe. You would think that the project of protecting presidential powers would provide a worthier subject than that, particularly for a supposedly honorable man. But the fact is, all the honorable people in the Cabinet have left. And what you have left is people who are willing to say anything, as Barr is. And you saw the way he treated the Mueller Report, which he misrepresented, because that is what his boss would have wanted.

      You lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas. His reputation is gone.”

      [On Fried joining the group Checks & Balances] “As the hymn goes:

      “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide,
      In the strife of Truth with Falsehood, for the good or evil side.”

      The man shames the office and the nation: he is a man of low character and repellent personality. I joined as soon as it came into being.”

      [On the argument that impeachment allegations were not adequately proven] “I don’t understand how much more proof you want. But, in any event, additional proof is available. It’s just that the president will not supply it. That is an additional grounds for impeachment. He has issued blanket orders not to cooperate in any respect by anyone. Now there are all kinds of valid privileges. And those could be invoked. But a blanket privilege because this is an “illegitimate process”? Well, he doesn’t get to say that. That blanket order is itself an impeachable abuse of power.”

  5. About that “Donald Trump, Titanic captain” tweet, I’d also add:

    I was talking about avoiding the iceberg before anyone else was!

    1. “The past was alterable. The past never had been altered. [Donald Trump] was at war with [coronavirus]. [Trump] had always been at war with [coronavirus].”

  6. Step 4 in Captain Trump’s Titanic excuse book should have been “the Obama administration built this boat and that’s why it broke when it hit the iceberg.”

      1. Sorry but Benghazi was an issue irrespective of Trump. As a U.S citizen I expect my country to send the cavalry when I get in trouble. That secretary Clinton did not share that mentality lost her a large number of votes.

  7. cat jumping over rolls – I like that the other cat does not even flinch when the jumper bounds toward her and passes a cat’s whisker away. Typical.

  8. If you want to read a chilling book about Dr. Zhivago by Pasternak, I highly recommend the book, “Lara”. It is written by Boris’s grandniece. It is filled with detail about the relationship with his lover, Olga.
    It’s a good history of what it was like for a writer living under Stalin. It tells about Olga’s time in the labor camps, of which Pasternak was spared.

  9. And yes, her characterization of the article is pretty accurate

    Actually, I think her characterisation of the article is inaccurate. The Independent article was whingeing about women who find our chancellor “surprisingly attractive”. The inference being “hey, he’s attractive even though he is non white” and that is apparently racist.

    The article is still problematic for several reasons but it is not saying that white women being attracted to Asian men is racist.

    1. But..but..ok, I’m confused.

      You wrote that the article was “..not saying that white women being attracted to Asian men is racist.” But just before that you said that it actually was saying that finding an Asian man attractive “is apparently racist”.

      Me no understand.

      1. But just before that you said that it actually was saying that finding an Asian man attractive “is apparently racist”.

        No I didn’t. What I wrote was:

        The inference being “hey, he’s attractive even though he is non white” and that is apparently racist.

        I’ve highlighted a bit I think you missed.

        A white woman said “he’s surprisingly attractive”. The article says “why would you be surprised at finding an Asian man attractive unless you previously believed all Asians are unattractive (which is racist)”.

    2. But..but..ok, I’m confused.

      You wrote that the article was “..not saying that white women being attracted to Asian men is racist.” But just before that you said that it actually was saying that finding an Asian man attractive “is apparently racist”.

      Me no understand.

  10. Omar Sharif was a world-class Bridge player. At one time, he was ranked in top 50 Bridge players in the World, I believe. He once famously said he would rather give up women than give up Bridge. Now, if I said that, people would shrug. But, Omar Sharif!

  11. PCC(E) notes the 65th anniversary of the extinction of that pre-eminent charlatan and pseud Teilhard de Chardin.

    The best and most devastating takedown of Teilhard was by the late Peter Medawar, in his review of ‘The Phenomenon of Man’: One great quote among many:

    ‘The author can be excused of dishonesty only on the grounds that before deceiving others he has taken great pains to deceive himself’.

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