Thursday: Hili dialogue

April 23, 2020 • 7:00 am

Good (?) morning on Thursday, April 23, 2020:  both National Cherry Cheesecake Day (the only acceptable cheesecake besides the best: plain) and National Picnic Day. It’s also German Beer Day, in honor of the Reinheitsgebot of 1516 (see below), Lover’s Day (but which lover is being honored?), World Book Day, UN English Language Day, Spanish Language Day, Love Your Thighs Day (?), and World Laboratory Day.

News of the Day: Need you ask? Deaths from coronavirus now stand at 47,974 in the U.S. and 183,424 throughout the world. Dr. RIck Bright, head of the federal HHS team in charge of producing a coronavirus vaccine, now says that he was fired for questioning the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine, a drug touted by Trump that has proven not only useless but dangerous in treating the viral infection. Trump is also doubting whether coronavirus will return in the fall, but Fauci says he’s wrong. In my view, it’s time to stop the daily televising of lying, preening, and self-promotion that Trump calls a “press briefing.” It’s a horrible and painful spectacle, and it’s not news. The small amount of information imparted in these shoddy spectacles can be reported in fifteen seconds on the regular news.

Oh, and Germany has canceled Oktoberfest because of the coronavirus, which shows you that our lockdown is going to last a lot longer than we think.

Stuff that happened on April 23 include:

  • 1516 – The Munich Reinheitsgebot (regarding the ingredients of beer) takes effect in all of Bavaria.

The law, still in effect (with a few exceptions for speciality beers) specifies that the only ingredients in beer shall be malted grains, hops, water and yeast. Here’s a German stamp from 1983 commemorating this fine law:


  • 1914 – First baseball game at Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park, in Chicago.
  • 1927 – Cardiff City defeat Arsenal in the FA Cup Final, the only time it has been won by a team not based in England.
  • 1945 – World War II: Adolf Hitler’s designated successor, Hermann Göring, sends him a telegram asking permission to take leadership of the Third Reich. Martin Bormann and Joseph Goebbels advise Hitler that the telegram is treasonous.
  • 1985 – Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.

A big failure:

  • 2005 – The first ever YouTube video, titled “Me at the zoo“, was published by user “jawed”.

And here’s that famous 18-second video:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1813 – Stephen A. Douglas, American educator and politician, 7th Illinois Secretary of State (d. 1861)
  • 1858 – Max Planck, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1947)
  • 1897 – Lester B. Pearson, Canadian historian and politician, 14th Prime Minister of Canada, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1972)
  • 1901 – E. B. Ford, English biologist and geneticist (d. 1988)
  • 1921 – Warren Spahn, American baseball player and coach (d. 2003)
  • 1928 – Shirley Temple, American actress, singer, dancer, and diplomat (d. 2014)
  • 1936 – Roy Orbison, American singer-songwriter (d. 1988)
  • 1954 – Michael Moore, American director, producer, and activist

Moore has a new movie out that I’ll highlight later today.

  • 1968 – Timothy McVeigh, American terrorist, Oklahoma City bombing co-perpetrator (d. 2001)
  • 1990 – Dev Patel, English actor

Those who went to the Great Beyond on April 23 include several artists:

  • 1016 – Æthelred the Unready, English son of Edgar the Peaceful (b. 968) [His name actually means “the well advised man who is poorly advised’.]
  • 1605 – Boris Godunov, Russian ruler (b. 1551)
  • 1616 – William Shakespeare, English playwright and poet (b. 1564)
  • 1850 – William Wordsworth, English poet and author (b. 1770)
  • 1915 – Rupert Brooke, English poet (b. 1887)
  • 1985 – Sam Ervin, American lawyer and politician (b. 1896)
  • 1992 – Satyajit Ray, Indian director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1921)
  • 1998 – James Earl Ray, American assassin of Martin Luther King, Jr. (b. 1928)
  • 2007 – Boris Yeltsin, Russian politician, 1st President of Russia (b. 1931)

Ray’s three-movie series, “The Apu Trilogy” is one of the greatest films of world cinema. Here’s a video describing how the film was restored after many of the negatives were destroyed in a fire in London (they also used copies of the print to make the digital version; see more here).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s getting ready for Spring hunting:

A: Are you sharpening your claws here?
Hili: Yes, I’m saving our furniture.
In Polish:
Ja: Tu ostrzysz pazurki?
Hili: Tak, oszczędzam nasze meble.

And a bonus picture of the handsome Szaron. I’m told that his only physical flaw is that his tail is too skinny. I’m not so sure.

From Bad Cat Clothing (talk about needy!):

The new flag of the Confederacy:

From Diane G: a cartoon from Drew Shaneman:


. . . posted by Stash Krod. Those with nose rings deserve it!


A koala rescue from The Dodo:

From Titania. I don’t think one can make a good case for “Jazz hands for carers”! How would they hear the approbation?

From Simon: J-L Cauvin, the best imitator of Trump, celebrates Earth Day—and, of course, Trump.  A very good satire.

From reader Barry, who likes the bit where the cat walks the human.

A tweet from Heather Hastie showing a Biden ad (not many of these on television these days: Biden’s campaign war chest is much smaller than Trump’s):

Two tweets from Matthew. Cats will be cats.

One of the lockdown protestors finally makes their philosophy explicit. Jebus.

90 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. There is no question that Trump’s daily two hour “news briefing” should no longer be televised. I don’t understand why MSNBC still does it. It is nothing more than free campaign advertising for him, a chance for him to add to his thousands of lies, and an opportunity for him to give “medical” advice. Anything of importance, particularly conveyed by the doctors, can be broadcast in 15 minutes or less.

    On the other hand, maybe these news briefings are hurting him. The Trump polling bump is now gone. About a month ago, the FiveThirtyEight aggregate of polls showed Trump closing the unfavorable-favorable gap to 4 points. It is now back to 8.9 points — pretty much where is was for years prior to the pandemic. I doubt that the gap will spread much more than a point or two since his cult is still with him.

    1. I’ve felt much the same way and stay away from the TV machine during the Orange Menace Show each evening. But I’m starting to think there is value in keeping the complete insanity visible for all to see. It would probably be in his interest to avoid these daily bursts of trumposity. Cultists won’t be watching MSNBC anyway so it has the value of not allowing the rest of us to forget how deeply awful he is.

      1. I agree. Fox typically edits Trump’s speeches, so he looks better than he is, but these daily programs do show the whole picture.

    2. COVID death has largely not reached the red states and rural areas yet. Sure, they all have some cases but hospitals aren’t yet overwhelmed and they probably don’t know people who have died. (I don’t either and I live in Los Angeles area.) I’m guessing it will and Trump’s “wall” will start to crumble, hugely.

      1. I don’t see that the spread of any communicable disease is going to be as severe in places less densely populated, no matter what the politics.
        I suspect part of the issue in the places severely affected is public transport and sidewalks, while people in much of the country drive themselves everywhere.

        1. Maybe but people in rural areas still go to school, church, restaurants, meet with friends, etc. I doubt they do those things much less than city folk or with greater distancing. Also, their hospitals are more easily overwhelmed. I think I saw that they have far fewer ICU rooms and ventilators per 1000 population than cities do. Some will undoubtedly ship their patients to nearby cities and some nurses and doctors will travel from cities on the down slope of the pandemic to the rural areas that need help. Clearly rural areas gain some advantage from not being on the vanguard of the pandemic. We shall see.

        2. Depends on what you mean by “severe”. The spread may be slower but it will surely be just as complete given time.

  2. The Reinheitsgebot is a fine thing; but they have one glaring error: They prohibit yeast (it’s not one of the allowable ingredients).

    Certainly I’m not the first to point this out; but they might want to adjust it based on microbiology …

      1. At the time there was little understanding of what yeast was. It wasn’t until the middle-late 19th century that people learned how to isolate and nurture specific strains of yeast.

    1. It has actually been legally changed to include yeast and a few other things. There has been lots of drama and law suits in modern times over it. I love tradition passed down for hundreds of years, but I think brewers should be free to get their freak on and us beer drinkers can sort the good from the bad.

    2. It is useful to understand that the Reinheitsgebot originated as a way for the government to control and tax the products used for beer. It wasn’t done for the purpose of guaranteeing quality.

      It is also ironic that the law has resulted in Germany, of all places, being left behind in the age of craft brewing.

    3. It is useful to understand that the Reinheitsgebot originated as a way for the government to control and tax the products used for beer. It wasn’t done for the purpose of guaranteeing quality.

      It is also ironic that the law has resulted in Germany, of all places, being left behind in the age of craft brewing.

    4. Grains have wild yeast on the berries, so yeast was not a necessary addition. Cultivating yeast would have been a later refinement. Making bread, similarly does not require the addition of yeast.

  3. My impression of the “sacrifice the weak” thing :

    The man is not serious, and knows it. It is a juvenile high school type of edgy thing to say to get on the nerves of uptight students or teachers. He is holding this statement as a way to boast how unconcerned he personally is, but also to attempt saying “come on, this is no big deal.”

    Of course that is not my position. But I can imagine a juvenile would take it. Unfortunately, this is an adult in the image.

      1. I’d say they are good cases to support free education – because they clearly haven’t matured past 6th grade, but are full adults.

    1. “The man is not serious, and knows it.”

      You know this how? You make the case that it is juvenile and then point out that the person is an adult. Occam’s razor would suggest that it is exactly what it appears to be, a complete lack of concern for a kind of person who he thinks he isn’t.

      1. I obviously do not know this, as I do not know the individual.

        From growing up, in perhaps junior high school,I can recall similar juvenile outbursts I’ve made, or others, and I know from that perspective I personally was not serious but more just making noise, perhaps. I like to think I’ve outgrown it.

        But my point is : this person needs to grow up. He’s juvenile. He can’t seriously be arguing to literally sacrifice people.

          1. Yes I know about Texas. Sure, perhaps the guy drank the Fantasyland kool aid. That’d be a different thing – one in which “sacrifice” takes a Fantasyland version.

            I’m pointing to a hopeful alternative explanation- one in which the guy might see the error of his ways, in which “sacrifice” means something like the ancient Aztec version that no longer applies that kids might say “ooo, gross!” at in school – not a modern Fantasyland one.

              1. Sure – I’m pointing to a least one other explanation of this problem. However, as you suggest, nobody is immune to Fantasyland.

              2. There are, of course, an infinite number of alternate explanations. I like the one where this fellow is actually an aspiring actor hoping for a role in a television show about political demonstrators who operate an underground railroad for Latin American immigrants by night. He attends these demonstrations to show how flexible he is as a thespian.

      2. Unless you know more about the person holding the sign, it is hard to draw firm conclusions about their motives. It could easily be someone trolling the protest.
        There was a time when such tactics were probably quite rare, that time has passed.

        I have done it myself.

        Even if it is not trolling, public protests attract basement-dwelling nutjobs. It is always a critical part of any protest movement to keep it from being hijacked by crazy people or extremists.

      1. And such individuals in power have everything to gain from a juvenile in an adult body as the sign guy.

  4. “…National Cherry Cheesecake Day (the only acceptable cheesecake besides the best: plain)”

    Um, excuse me here, but we have a LOT of customers who would disagree with you.

    We have a regular Chocolate Chip Cheesecake on our menu which I make with a chocolate cookie crust and chocolate chips in the filling, and we sell tons of it, both by the piece and whole cakes.

    I only do cherry cheesecake when I can get fresh cherries, and they are currently not in season, so this is kind of a weird time for a Cherry Cheesecake day.

    We also make plain cheesecake, but we don’t sell nearly as much of it. And, whenever I do plain cheesecake, I also make fruit sauce for people to top it with if they want it that way. The most popular fruit sauces are strawberry and blueberry.

    I suppose I could make cherry fruit sauce with canned or frozen cherries, but I can’t see it moving very well.

    So, that’s the Cheesecake News of the Day.


    1. Do you ever make praline cheescake with a gingersnap crust?

      More importantly, I don’t suppose there’s a way for you to ship me 20-30 lbs of goat butter? (Wishful thinking.) I had some for the first time last week and it was soooooooooooo good that if I were a theist I’d have thought I’d died and went to heaven.

      1. I’ve never done praline cheesecake, but it sounds good.

        I do pumpkin cheesecake seasonally, but since we don’t use canned pumpkin (repulsive stuff), that has to be in the fall only.

        The goat butter was probably so good because it was fresh. You would get the same amazing flavor from freshly made cow butter as well.

        I am amazed at how far we’ve gotten from real food. We make everything we can fresh from scratch, and people love our food because of that. They think we have some kind of magic formula for the stuff we make, but there is no magic at all. People who subsist on food made with partially hydrogenated margarine, high fructose corn syrup, and artificial flavors may think their food is OK, but when they get a taste of the real thing, their taste buds definitely know the difference.


        1. Pumpkin cheesecake made with fresh pumpkins sounds delicious. We have quite a few farmers markets in the area and they have sugar pumpkins, so I’ll make a pumpkin cheesecake in the fall.

          I’ll have to find some fresh cow butter to conduct a taste test.

          1. Even the canned pure pumpkin (not the awful pumpkin pie filling) works well in baking. Thanks for the reminder about pumpkin cheesecake! I used go use fresh pumpkins but they were often too watery. My favoritest pumpkin dish is pumpkin crème caramel, which I often make for Thanksgiving.

    2. I had an apricot cheesecake in Naples (Italy, not Florida), and it was the best cheesecake I ever tasted. But I would love to taste your cherry and chocolate chip cheesecakes too!

      1. If you’re ever in the area (assuming we’ll all get to travel again someday) stop in. We usually always have chocolate chip, but cherry is mid-summer only, and then only if I have enough cherries.

        We make trifle cake out of our homemade pound cake and fresh fruit in season, and that usually takes priority for the fruit because we sell so much of it. So I can only do cherry cheesecake if there are enough cherries to do both.


  5. Damn, I couldn’t get the embed to play, so had to track the video down on YouTube, but the story about the restoration of Satyajit Ray’s “Apu Trilogy” is one inspiring story.

    Vive le cinéma! Vive la différence! Vive la restauration!

    1. “Vive la restauration!”

      To a European this sounds terrible unless one is a reactionary.

      1. Sorry, simply meant it in terms of film restoration, not restoration of any monarchies or state churches (which I assumed, apparently mistakenly, would be implied only were the word spelled with a majuscule “R”).

        Rest assured, I am very much the anti-monarchist and disestablishmentarian. 🙂

        1. I actually imagined it was not meant politically but I could not resist making a stupid comment.

      2. Um, well one meaning is ‘providing food’. My son is a chef based in Paris, currently in forced isolation (on his own, poor chap), and would like nothing better than to get back to restauration, as soon as possible!

  6. Among the people who died on a 23 April I miss Miguel de Cervantes (1616, same date but not same day as Shakespeare).

  7. In Old English, King Æthelred’s name and appellation is Æðelræd Unræd. The element ræd in both his name and his moniker, is cognate with German i>rat, and means “advice” or “counsel”. Years ago, a quiz show claimed as a correct answer to why he was called “unready” was because he was 12 when he first took the throne. Those of us who have studied Old English groan inwardly every time we come across stuff like that.

    Unfortunately, “Æthelred the Ill-Advised” just doesn’t have the same ring to it. The nickname didn’t get attached to him until well after his death, but I’m quite sure that we can fiz on our own dear leader the title “Trump who won’t take advice”.

  8. “In my view, it’s time to stop the daily televising of lying, preening, and self-promotion that Trump calls a “press briefing.”
    Afraid we will have to get used to this gross clown show since it’s part of his campaign strategy.
    I wish Fauci would quit and speak out.

    1. Reckon Dr. Fauci figures it’s better to be inside the tent trying to do some good, even if it means he has to stand there and grit his teeth while watching Trump piss on the people outside.

      1. Yes. There has to be an adult present and for poor Dr Fauci, it falls to him. It is a sign of real integrity that he holds his nose and stays where he can, at a minimum, help prevent the worst. I hope that integrity is both real and durable.

        1. Dr. Fauci took the Hippocratic Oath to “Do no harm.” If he quit it would do immeasurable harm and he knows it because there’d be nothing to check Trump, et al., from going full-bore with their deadly pseudoscience.

  9. And, these sign-toting prancing primadonnas will fully well expect that if they get sick for any reason, there’ll be someone at a hospital to take care of them, just like always.

      1. That was terrific, thanks for the laughs. I already saw the Liar King one on WEIT, but I watched it again because it’s f’n great.

    1. WEIT already posted this, not long ago – I know because its updated lyrics have been pinballing around my head ever since. It’s an earworm.

  10. I agree with you on cheesecake. Speaking of which, there is a Japanese variety which you might like. It is sort of like New York cheesecake but quite a bit lighter. This cookbook has a recipe and describes it as a cross between a souffle and a regular cheesecake:

    Here in LA, we have several fast food chains that pretty much only sell individual Japanese-style cheesecakes. Perhaps you have some in Chicago.

      1. I have had a delicious green tea cheesecake at a local Japanese fusion restaurant, which sadly closed right before the pandemic.

      2. Ha. No. I was brought one for my birthday yesterday. It’s pretty good though somewhat insubstantial. It really is like NY cheesecake with lots of air shot through it — baked cheesecake foam, if you will. It is a less-sweet cheesecake, also like the NY variety.

          1. It wouldn’t work for me! I was more kidding about the Japanese penchant of putting sweet beans in every kind of dessert. I’ve never cared for the taste or texture.

            When in Japan we found that beautiful bakeries with gorgeous pastries on display were pretty common. But they don’t taste anything like an ignorant Westerner would expect! Bean paste and even whole beans in sauce rather then pastry creams or jellies. I didn’t find it awful, but not good.

            1. I like red bean paste in some Asian pastries but beans wouldn’t work in a Japanese cheesecake. It is very light so any fruit or beans would simply drop to the bottom. They could put them on top after baking, I suppose. Might work for berries but not beans.

              That said, I am a big fan of Cream Anmitsu which has a scoop of beans with ice cream, fruit, and jello. Admittedly it sound odd but it’s very good.


            2. My theory, which of course is mine, is that most of us prefer the sweets that we ate as children. I have very eclectic tastes in savory foods, but do not like Indian desserts at all. Not Chinese or Japanese that much either. Or Mexican (except for flan🥰).

              1. You are right, of course, but I do enjoy many of the dessert items from around the world. My mom made English style desserts which are generally not as sweet as American ones. I suspect this prepared me to like most mealy, pasty, semi-sweet stuff.

              2. I grew up with fairly sweet American-style desserts but find Indian desserts sickly sweet and Latin American dulce de leche the same.

              3. Seems plausible to me. I found the pastries in Germany to be much to my liking and I did the later part of my growing up there. The general level of sweetness is less than typical in US sweets but more sweet than Japan, which ain’t saying much. That “somewhere in the middle” level of sweetness is still my “sweet” spot. Most US stuff is too sweet for my taste.

              4. I like caramelish dark brown sugar or molasses sweet, not white sugar or corn syrup or condensed milk. I do like French palmiers/elephant ear pastries. All this talk of desserts is making me want to bake. Just saw a recipe for ginger rye flour cookies which I plan to try.

              5. We’ve been doing lots of baking lately! Cookies, cakes and breads. And other cooking too. Made the best Bolognese I’ve ever accomplished a couple of days ago.

    1. My Polish friend serves something like that. I prefer the creamier type, with sour cream on top, and no fruit therewith.

  11. Every day on Fox youtube comments I encounter Trump cultists telling me that their freedom is all that matters and that stopping the virus is not their problem.

    I don’t know how anyone with a conscience can still be a Republican.

    1. “Every day on Fox youtube comments”

      What are you doing there? Are you a masochist?

      Fox News is bad. YouTube comment sections are very bad. Put the two together and I’d imagine you have something of civilisation-ending awfulness.

      1. I go there because that’s where truth is needed most. I consider it my civic duty to call out their lies and if that doesn’t work to shame and insult them.

        1. Well I salute you. I don’t mind a bit of YT counter-trolling now and then either, but I’ve never waded into a Fox News comment section.

          1. I just cannot conceive of the concentrated toxic awfulness that must lurk there, steadily festering.

            A place I avoid like the pits of Hell for the sake of my blood pressure.


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