Monday: Hili dialogue

April 20, 2020 • 7:00 am

Good morning, and I hope it’s “good” for at least some of you on this Monday, April 20, 2020. It’s National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day, a cake I truly love (my mom used to make it) and haven’t had for years. It’s also National Cheddar Fries Day, Lima Bean Respect Day (I refuse to respect such malodorous and inedible legumes), UN Chinese Language Day, and National Look Alike Day. We had a good example in the Photos of Readers post yesterday. I used to resemble Cat Stevens when I was young and had long black hair, and was mistaken for him more than once. Who do you look like?

Today’s Google Doodle again takes up the pandemic, going to a site giving advice on how to protect yourself and others from the pandemic (click on screenshot, but we all know this advice). And it shows a number of stay-at-home things you can do—all of which we already know about, too. Is there anyone who doesn’t know to wash your hands frequently and how to do it?

News of the day: Depressing as usual. Deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. have passed 40,000: as of this writing they are 41,414. The world total is 165,257.  Here’s an article giving one man’s take on what it will take to re-open America, which includes reducing our social contacts by 65% and wearing masks in public—for months. I’m beginning to wonder if schools and colleges will re-open in the fall. 

Bad news from Canada, a country not known for mass gun murders. A “denturist” (is that a person who makes dentures), went on a 12-hour rampage in Nova Scotia, killing at least 16 people. He later died in police custody, though what happened there is unclear.  The killer, one Gabriel Wortman, had disguised himself to look like a policeman, and apparently also disguised his car.  My sympathies to the relatives and friends of the 16, and to Canadians who must be shocked at what seems to be the worst mass murder in Canadian history. (They say “modern” Canadian history, but was there a murder long ago that exceeded this death toll?)

And adventurer/photograph/writer Peter Beard died yesterday at 82.

Taking my recycling down to recycling-bin room this morning, I found evidence that my fellow residents have been hitting the booze pretty hard during the pandemic (I’ve never seen so many alcohol containers). Seriously, though: a gallon of Carlo Rossi cabernet?

Stuff that happened on April 20 includes:

  • 1534 – Jacques Cartier begins his first voyage to what is today the east coast of Canada, Newfoundland and Labrador.
  • 1535 – The sun dog phenomenon is observed over Stockholm, as later depicted in the famous painting Vädersolstavlan.

According to Wikipedia, this painting (named “the sun painting” in Swedish) is “the oldest depiction of Stockholm in colour, [and] is arguably also the oldest Swedish landscape painting and the oldest depiction of sun dogs.” The original painting has not survived, but below is a copy made by Jacob Elbfas in 1636:


  • 1657 – Freedom of religion is granted to the Jews of New Amsterdam (later New York City).
  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: The Siege of Boston begins, following the battles at Lexington and Concord.
  • 1828 – René Caillié becomes the second non-Muslim to enter (and the first to return from) Timbuktu, following Major Gordon Laing
  • 1861 – American Civil War: Robert E. Lee resigns his commission in the United States Army in order to command the forces of the state of Virginia.
  • 1862 – Louis Pasteur and Claude Bernard complete the experiment disproving the theory of spontaneous generation.
  • 1898 – U.S. President William McKinley signed a joint resolution to Congress for declaration of War against Spain, beginning the Spanish–American War.[
  • 1902 – Pierre and Marie Curie refine radium chloride.

Here are the Curies in their lab. Marie Curie was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize, and the only person to win the Nobel Prize in two different areas of science (can you name them?). She died of aplastic anemia, almost certainly caused by her protracted and unprotected exposure to radiation. (Pierre was run over by a horse cart and died from a crushed skull.) Wikipedia says this:

Because of their levels of radioactive contamination, her papers from the 1890s are considered too dangerous to handle. Even her cookbook is highly radioactive. Her papers are kept in lead-lined boxes, and those who wish to consult them must wear protective clothing. In her last year, she worked on a book, Radioactivity, which was published posthumously in 1935.

  • 1916 – The Chicago Cubs play their first game at Weeghman Park (currently Wrigley Field), defeating the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in 11 innings.
  • 1918 – Manfred von Richthofen, a.k.a. The Red Baron, shoots down his 79th and 80th victims, his final victories before his death the following day.
  • 1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: On his 56th birthday Adolf Hitler makes his last trip to the surface to award Iron Crosses to boy soldiers of the Hitler Youth.
  • 1968 – English politician Enoch Powell makes his controversial “Rivers of Blood” speech.
  • 1999 – Columbine High School massacre: Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 13 people and injured 24 others before committing suicide at Columbine High School in Columbine, Colorado.
  • 2008 – Danica Patrick wins the Indy Japan 300 becoming the first female driver in history to win an Indy car race..

Here’s Patrick’s victory:

  • 2010 – The Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explodes in the Gulf of Mexico, killing eleven workers and beginning an oil spill that would last six months.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1840 – Odilon Redon, French painter and illustrator (d. 1916)

From Fine Art America, here is a Redon painting, “Study Of Papillions, Cats, Flowers And Woman, 1910-1914”.

  • 1850 – Daniel Chester French, American sculptor, designed the Lincoln statue (d. 1931)
  • 1889 – Adolf Hitler, Austrian born German politician, Führer of Nazi Germany (d. 1945)
  • 1893 – Joan Miró, Spanish painter and sculptor (d. 1983)
  • 1913 – Willi Hennig, German biologist and entomologist (d. 1976)
  • 1920 – John Paul Stevens, American lawyer and jurist, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (d. 2019)

Those who began total necrosis on April 20 include:

  • 1769 – Chief Pontiac, American tribal leader (b. 1720)
  • 1912 – Bram Stoker, Anglo-Irish novelist and critic, created Count Dracula (b. 1847)
  • 1982 – Archibald MacLeish, American poet, playwright, and lawyer (b. 1892)
  • 1992 – Benny Hill, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter (b. 1924).

Hill was a weird bloke; Wikipedia notes this about him:

Hill never owned his own home in London, and instead preferred to rent a flat rather than buy one. He rented a double-room apartment in the London district Queen’s Gate for 26 years until around 1986 when he moved to Fairwater House in Teddington. While looking for somewhere to live, he stayed at 22 Westrow Gardens in Southampton. He also never owned a car, although he could drive.

Despite being a millionaire many times over, he continued with the frugal habits that he picked up from his parents, notably his father, such as buying cheap food at supermarkets, walking for miles rather than paying for a taxi unless someone picked up the tab for a limousine, and constantly patching and mending the same clothes even when the balance on his account at the Halifax Building Society reached seven figures.

Here’s Hill’s grave at Hollybrook Cemetery, Southampton:

Others who died include the two Columbine murderers and their 13 victims:

  • 1999 – Casualties of the Columbine High School massacre

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has (despite her pulchritude) climbed up onto the roof of the veranda:

A: What are you doing up there?
Hili: I’m checking to see what the world looks like.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Sprawdzam jak wygląda świat.

Here’s the benighted Republican governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis trying to put on a mask (h/t Woody)

A meme from Nicole:

I can’t remember where I found this one:

Or this one:

Today’s tweets all come from Dr. Cobb (nobody else sent me any!) But, as usual, they’re good.

First, quarantine sculpture. Though it’s pretty, the replies show why you should NOT do this:

This is an old American tradition to get fishin’ worms. I believe it’s called “worm grunting”. This article tells you why it works.

Cat topiary!

These beetles are impervious to the trap-jaw ants, whose snapping simply propels the ants backwards:

Matthew now has copies of the American edition of his next book. And with them is Ollie, the nefarious cat who bit through my nose:

Yep, that’s the Terminator’s donkey (Lulu) and miniature horse (Whiskey):

A chain catshark enters the world:


43 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Taking my recycling down to recycling-bin room this morning, I found evidence that my fellow residents have been hitting the booze pretty hard during the pandemic (I’ve never seen so many alcohol containers).

    Yes, and evidently domestic violence complaints/crimes are significantly up too. I’m guessing there’s a link.

    Everyone, please take good care of each other.

    1. Weird thing is that there are healthy consequences, too. People cooking at home more. Cleaner air being breathed.

    1. Hoo boy – I thought the video was more substantive regarding Curie. Oh well. It’s interesting at least.

      1. Veritasium does some interesting videos. I saw one of his recently on aerogel and hydrophobic materials that was pretty good.

      1. I didn’t know order counts – I guess first the radioactivity was examined (physics), then the source was purified (chemistry).

        Next year, the order has to be specified in order to count!

        ^^^get it? COUNT? and I write “order” twice… perhaps it’s just bad writing.

  2. Robert E. Lee is the classic example of making the same error millions of others have done back in the day and now. Choosing your state over the nation has been the downfall of many. Of course in Trump’s case he considers himself the state.

    1. But does is not depend on what break-throughs
      are discovered between now and then. Right now the anti-body treatment and testing seems to be very promising. I would not predict anything other than the economy is going to be bad for a long time.

      1. Scale scale scale. That is the main limitation. This damn thing got way ahead of us, unfortunately.
        There is a drug treatment (remdevisir) that “shows promise” in significantly shortening recovery times. But there is the requirement to run it thru human trials, and then there is the scaling up problem once again. Be a pessimist. Join me.

    1. I always liked the story about Freddie Mercury meeting the Pistols, who, predictably, started acting snarky and dickish about Queen. …So Freddie began dismissively referring to Sid Vicious as ‘Simon Ferocious’. Perfect passive-aggressive bitchiness.

    2. At about the same age (I think I was 17) people said I looked like Thomas Dolby. I think it was the glasses, and it coincided with his popular video “She Blinded Me with Science”.

    3. Speaking of Johnny Rotten and Your Honour, he once appeared before Judge Judy, and had a claim against him thrown out.
      It’s on google.

  3. Regarding Peter Beard, he didn’t actually DIE yesterday. His body was found in Camp Hero State Park, Long Island. He had been missing for approximately 3 weeks.

    It seems he wandered away from his home.
    He suffered from dementia and authorities had conducted an extensive search for him.

    He definitely lived a full and fascinating life. So he took one last walk, lost his way, and died in nature. It sure sounds like a good death to me. Beats ending up lying in bed, quarantined in a nursing home waiting for death to come which is what is happening to my 90-year-old mother right now.

  4. So we have the rare mass shooting that did not take place in our exceptional land. Canada has far less of this but it is still preventable with far better regulation. Mentally disturbed humans are everywhere, even Canada. Apparently this sicko was dress up like a RCMP and had the vehicle all made up to look the same. We will have to watch and see if Canada can take some steps with gun restriction that we will never make.

  5. While the Cubs may have played their first game in Weeghman Park in 1916, the first game at the ballpark was on April 23, 1914. Weeghman was built not for the Cuba but for the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. The Cubs only moved to the ballpark after the Fed League went belly up.

  6. Re. the right-wing demonstrators protesting against the COVID19 shutdown: I saw these surely soon-to-be-iconic images of Denver hospital-workers/nurses standing in front of the cars of Trumpites.

    I haven’t seen images this bad-ass in a long time:

    The nurses, silent, arms folded, sunglasses on, protecting access to their hospitals, while pro-death/stupidity agitators shriek at them from their cars and even get out and yell in their faces…

    Absurd that they have to put up with this on top of everything else, but I doff my cap to them.

    1. +1^100

      I’m not sure I’d be able to do what these healthcare workers are doing. I’d lose my temper and end up in jail.

      1. It’s part of their training – to deal with complete twats in a calm, cool manner. As you can see, they’re good at it.
        I hope those photos go massively viral.

      1. A much more likely scenario when tRump loses – He jumps right into a new reality TV show that gets fantastic ratings, but he’s sidelined as a political force.
        Oh. Forgot to add: he dies of a heart attack in before the end of the first season.

  7. A suggestion for all those protesters out there working for Trump and demanding the states open up. Have each of them sign a release that states – you can go ahead and do whatever you want. If you get Convid-19, however, you will get no treatment. It is all on you. See how many of these brave patriots sign up.

    1. Wouldn’t work.

      They’d sign it. Then, if they got Covid-19, they’d renege on that, demand treatment, deny that they’d ever signed anything, and threaten to sue. They’re Trump-lovers, remember. WWDD? (What would Donald do?)


  8. I didn’t know it was called “worm grunting”. We used to do it by stabbing a pitch fork in the lawn, plucking it so it sent out vibrations. Point of curiosity: here in SW Idaho, there are no native earthworms. They have appeared only after irrigation started in the 1880s.

        1. Now we wander into philosophy! Does a niche exist if there is no creature “in it”?

          There were no earthworms here after glaciers retreated until Europeans introduced them. Earthworms are not good, apparently, for forests although they are nice for gardeners.


          1. D’OH. Of course. The glaciers stripped the topsoil away and along with them any native earthworms. Thanks.

  9. Benny Hill’s oeuvre is dismissed as deeply non-PC these days. I cannot think of anything he did that would not have the woke reaching for their smelling-salts. But it also has to be said (or rather whispered) that he could also be *jolly funny*.

    As for lookalikes: I now look like my Dad did at my age (70). I’m not altogether happy about that. On the other hand, he did live to the age of 94. I’d settle for that.

  10. Regarding the Deepwater Horizon disaster, did BP ever compensate everyone (especially the fisherpeople) for the damage they did?

  11. I was at a car dealership a couple of years ago and another patron looked at me with awe and said “Are you the thumbs down guy?” referring to the heavy-set, bearded dude whose photo has become a meme. He couldn’t have looked more impressed if he had seen a movie star.

    A young woman where I worked posted the photo on her Twitter page and asked “Why does this remind me of my boss?” I texted her “Because everyone has a double!” I wasn’t offended (I thought it was funny), but I must have scared her; she took it right down.

  12. I am absolutely amazed at the worms! Didn’t know this could happen! I’m going to try it later to see if Australian worms respond the same!

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