Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning on Thursday, April 30, 2020, which puts us about three or four days from D-Day (Duckling Day). Fingers crossed! It’s both and National Raisin Day and National Oatmeal Cookie Day. The latter often contain the formers, but I see the whole enterprise of making these unpalatable cookies as failed attempt to replicate chocolate-chip cookies.

It’s also Bugs Bunny Day (the sarcastic rabbit, then named “Happy Rabbit,” made his cartoon debut on this day in 1938), National Mr. Potato Head Day (this was the first toy ever advertised on television—on this day in 1952; did you ever have one? I did.), Hairstyle Appreciation Day (not this year!), International Jazz Day, a UNESCO holiday, Honesty Day, and, of course, Walpurgis Night. Finally, it’s Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday. Read about him below: he’s raised over $39 million for the NHS by using his walker to go back and forth in his yard.

Here’s an early cartoon in which Bugs Bunny, looking very different as Happy Rabbit, appears.  Notice that Elmer Fudd is already in full character. But Bugs (who appears 42 seconds in) is not yet neotenous, having a long, pointy face. You can see his evolution, which parallels that of Mickey Mouse, below the video:

The evolution of Bugs Bunny:

. . . and of Mickey Mouse. Notice how in both cases the head gets larger while the feet get larger. Steve Gould wrote about this with respect to Mickey, claiming that the character became more like a young animal, like a puppy or kitten (or human baby), to appeal to the public’s love of young-animal appearance:

Today’s Google Doodle is another lockdown game, one in which you can play the theramin. Click on the screenshot:

News of the Day: What do you think? Coronavirus deaths have reached 61,504 in the U.S. and about 228,000 worldwide. Several things happened yesterday, including a promising test of an antiviral drug. T

In Illinois, too, two Republican lawmakers have brought suit against Governor Pritzker, claiming that he does not have the authority to lock down the state (he does).  One suit, at least, was a personal suit, claiming that the lawmaker was personally injured. A judge has ruled in favor of the lawmaker, exempting him from the restrictions, but the state attorney general has appealed.

The New York Times has a news summary where you can click on these links.

Stuff that happened on April 30 includes:

  • 1492 – Spain gives Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.
  • 1789 – On the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City, George Washington takes the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States.
  • 1803 – Louisiana Purchase: The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.
  • 1897 – J. J. Thomson of the Cavendish Laboratory announces his discovery of the electron as a subatomic particle, over 1,800 times smaller than a proton (in the atomic nucleus), at a lecture at the Royal Institution in London.
  • 1905 – Albert Einstein completes his doctoral thesis at the University of Zurich.

Here’s Einstein’s doctoral thesis. I guess they were printed up professionally in those days:

Here are the two great stars, along with the owner of the theater, Sid Grauman:

  • 1938 – The animated cartoon short Porky’s Hare Hunt debuts in movie theaters, introducing Happy Rabbit, an early version of Bugs Bunny. [See above]
  • 1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide after being married for less than 40 hours. Soviet soldiers raise the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building.
  • 1966 – The Church of Satan is formed in The Black House, San Francisco.
  • 1973 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announces that White House Counsel John Dean has been fired and that other top aides, most notably H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, have resigned.
  • 1993 – CERN announces World Wide Web protocols will be free.
  • 2008 – Two skeletal remains found near Yekaterinburg, Russia are confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei and Anastasia, two of the children of the last Tsar of Russia, whose entire family was executed at Yekaterinburg by the Bolsheviks.

All of the remains have, I think, been retrieved. Here’s a photo I took of their tombs at the Fortress of Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg (August 2011), along with pictures of the executed family:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1651 – Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, French priest and saint (d. 1719)
  • 1777 – Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician and physicist (d. 1855)
  • 1877 – Alice B. Toklas, American memoirist (d. 1967)
  • 1916 – Claude Shannon, American mathematician and engineer (d. 2001)
  • 1920 – Tom Moore, British army officer and fundraiser. 

Moore is 100 today, and reader Jeremy reminded me of his birthday. His great action, of course, was raising tons of money for the NHS and its Covid-19 staff by walking around his yard on a walker. Jeremy gave this information:

The Wikipedia page is pretty up-to-date: here’s the link to the relevant section of the article.  Here is a link to the Just Giving page, where you can see the total raised in real time.  £1 is currently worth $1.24, so right now the total he has raised is about £31 million ($39 million). The RAF will be marking his birthday with a special flypast and the BBC’s report also has photos of the 125,000 birthday cards he has been sent.
This is one of the loveliest stories to come out of the pandemic. Moore, a World War II veteran, has raised an immense amount of money, and, touchingly, did it by hobbling back and forth in his garden. He aimed for 100 traverses, but reached that on April 16, and is still walking! You can donate at the page above.  After I read more about his story, I donated as well. How can you resist? What a great feeling he must have after having raised so much dosh!

Captain Tom Moore (source)

  • 1926 – Cloris Leachman, American actress and comedian
  • 1945 – Annie Dillard, American novelist, essayist, and poet
  • 1985 – Gal Gadot, Israeli actress and model

Those whose life petered out on April 30 include:

  • 1865 – Robert FitzRoy, English admiral, meteorologist, and politician, 2nd Governor of New Zealand (b. 1805)

FitzRoy, depressed and impecunious, committed suicide by slitting his throat with a razor. He was, of course, the captain of HMS Beagle during Darwin’s voyage. Curiously, FitzRoy’s predecessor also committed suicide while on the previous voyage of that ship.

Here, from The Met, is Manet’s “Cats” (etching on paper; 1838-1839):


  • 1900 – Casey Jones, American engineer (b. 1863)
  • 1936 – A. E. Housman, English poet and scholar (b. 1859)
  • 1983 – George Balanchine, Russian dancer and choreographer (b. 1904)
  • 2016 – Harry Kroto, English chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1939)

Meanwhile in Dobzyn, Hili has a case of confirmation bias:

Hili: Is this the ray of hope?
A: No, it’s the flash of the camera.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy to jest światło nadziei?
Ja: Nie, odbłysk flesza.
Here’s Szaron:

And nearby, Elzbieta shares her sandwich with Leon:

Leon: Give me a bite to eat!

In Polish: Daj coś przekąsić!

And Mietek is all grown up and wanting to hunt.

Mietek: What a pheasant!

In Polish: Ale bażant!!!

From Susan:

From Facebook:

From Jesus of the Day. Cats! You can’t live without them, and you can’t live without them. . .

From reader Barry. This is one honking big shark, and why is the woman swimming so close to it? Reader Barry notes that she got into trouble for doing this.

Good news from reader Simon: Trump lost his “virus bounce” and is back to an approval rating ten points lower than his disapproval rating.

A tweet from Heather Hastie:

Matthew’s tweets. He suggested I try this, and, shaggy as I am, I’m willing to think about it!

Battling harvestmen, grappling with their chelicerae:

An amazingly melodic duck:

This is by far the best boredom-dispeller to come from the lockdowns. It’s the Fine Arts Game!



  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    … which puts us about three or four days from D-Day (Duckling Day).

    Now you know how Ike felt waiting for a break in the weather in June ’44, boss.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    … along with the owner of the theater, Sid Grauman …

    Funny, you don’t look, er, Chinese. 🙂

  3. Jim batterson
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Harry kroto was a great friend to k-12 education, leading the preparation of and making freely available lessons on nanoscience and nanotechnology. I heard him speak at a workshop of middle and high school teachers in the small city of danville virginia u.s. in 2009. He was a great speaker…a subject matter expert speaking in words that were perfectly pitched for these middle and high school science teachers. An example of a very noble Nobel laureate!

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Now that the virus death toll has surpassed the deaths in the Vietnam conflict it is interesting to take a look at the virus there as well. While located right next to China, Vietnam has almost no deaths and few who have gotten the disease. Imagine that? How could it be? Testing

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

      And in the Vietnam war, it took many years for that many deaths to accumulate…this virus did it in less than 5 months.

      • W.Benson
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        Actually the virus killed more Americans in 1 month than the Vietnam War did in its entirety. 58,318 Americans died during the war. Since March 31, 58,650 deaths have been recorded in the US from the virus. With more than 2000 virus deaths happening daily, and assuming that deaths continue high, sadly the next Vietnam War should be even quicker.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide after being married for less than 40 hours. Soviet soldiers raise the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building.

    On second thought, maybe the honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls doesn’t sound so bad after all.

    Too soon?

  6. Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Captain Tom Moore has been promoted to honorary Colonel, and has just been given the ultimate accolade to a WWII hero: a fly-past by Spitfire & Hurricane.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink


    • Jim batterson
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

      Thank you very much for calling our attention to the fly-by video, colin. It was wonderful to hear the sounds of these two vintage aircraft on a low fly-over and to watch them maneuver a bit…so nimble…capt tom really seemed to get a kick out of it. I love it that the raf and the old rae (before they were sold down the river in the 90s) restores and keeps these beautiful examples of engineering design flying. I once saw a fully restored spitfire at bae warton i believe and a restored dakota at farnborough back in the 80’s. Extraordinary to see the pride continuing forty years later. Thank you u.k.

      • Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        I go to an annual vintage car rally at Prescott, near Cheltenham, each year, and the organiser usually manages to arrange a fly past by the Battle of Britain flight during the afternoon. Sometimes Spitfire or Hurricane, sometimes a Lancaster or Dakota. The sound is amazing – really raises the hairs on the back of one’s neck.

        • Jim batterson
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

          I started my nasa aer engineering career in the 70s at langley research center which shared langley air force base’s operational runway. Got to see vitage fly-by’s of b25 and p51 among others at several of their air shows, but i think these were privately owned and restored by “confederate air force” in paris, tx..not our us air force. Tnx again.

  7. Jonathan Wallace
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    “…shaggy as I am, I’m willing to think about it!”

    As long as you don’t go any further than just thinking about it!

    • darrelle
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Reminds me of the time my daughter caught her hair on fire.

  8. Simon Hayward
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I am marveling at the mental state of someone who swims free with a great white. Amazing fish and nice documentation, I’m just glad it didn’t start to feel a bit peckish while that was being filmed.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      I’ve encountered some good-sized sharks while skin-diving. But that bad boy? I’d be outta the water like a Polaris missile. You’re gonna need a bigger ocean.

      • sugould
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink


  9. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Watching a documentary with old videos of the Romanovs I learned that 13,000 “of his [Nicholas II’s] subjects” were trampled to death during his inauguration. I’m glad that this was spoken of. I mean I’m glad that of this was spoken.

  10. merilee
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 10:02 am | Permalink


  11. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if a vaccine for bats will help this problem.

    • merilee
      Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

      Imagining rounding up all the bats in bat caves for vaccine day🤓

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Bill Gates has argued and maybe funded research towards immunizing mosquitoes to the malaria parasite. However, I haven’t thought it through, if the case for bats makes sense.

        • merilee
          Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

          Wasn’t it something about somehow making mosquitos sterile?

            • merilee
              Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

              Very cool! I wonder if the non-malaria-carrying males still bite?

              • W.Benson
                Posted April 30, 2020 at 5:59 pm | Permalink

                Male mosquitoes do not bite people. This is just a fact and has no moral to it.

              • merilee
                Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

                That occurred to me right after I posted😬

              • ThyroidPlanet
                Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

                Mosquitoes with a proboscis bite. I’m not sure about how the genetic manipulation of these mosquitos could change this. What if the population adapts by males biting?

                Wikipedia says :

                “Typically, both male and female mosquitoes feed on nectar, aphid honeydew, and plant juices,[35] but in many species the mouthparts of the females are adapted for piercing the skin of animal hosts and sucking their blood as ectoparasites. ”

                What would be keeping male mouthparts from adapting over many generations?

              • W.Benson
                Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

                “What would be keeping male mouthparts from adapting over many generations?”
                Males don’t need blood meals to increase fitness. Larval reserves and adult plant feeding are enough to keep flying and to find a mate. Also, sucking blood takes time away from seeking mates — the more the better so far as fitness is concerned — and is dangerous. Life could end with a swat. Females, on the other hand, use the protein in blood to increase the number and nutrition of their eggs, which probably gives a considerable in boost to fitness (and despite the risk of being swatted).

              • ThyroidPlanet
                Posted April 30, 2020 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

                Makes sense, but I think there’s a lot to think through with this plan (but admittedly not here or now).

                the objective is to stop malaria – any kind of bite might transmit the parasite.

                Interesting though.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

            [ reads article]

            I’d say it’s Manipulation of sex traits, and “gene drive” makes all the offspring get the manipulated gene.

            It says maybe in 2026.

            So – this is not going to happen with bats. But the idea is to consider every part of the problem. I don’t know if inoculation of bats – or something else – would have some favorable outcome.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted April 30, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

        … that is, imagine the news headlines when “the” vaccine that is in development (there are actually a number) is revealed on the big day to be for bats – while all along, humans assumed it was for them.

  12. revelator60
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

    It might sound weird, but I prefer the earlier versions of Bugs and Mickey to the later ones. Yes, carton characters should look endearing, but there’s a point where they get too cutesy and cloying. Additionally, Bugs and Mickey were more rambunctious and naughty in their earlier cartoons. The more childlike they became, the less fun they were allowed to have. The Mickey Mouse of “Steamboat Bill Jr.” is an amusing scamp. 1950s Mickey Mouse is a boring suburbanite.

  13. Roger
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    Is it me or is Douglas Fairbanks sporting way more makeup than Mary Pickford.

  14. Doug
    Posted April 30, 2020 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    The last time I shopped at Home Depot, they did have that attitude. Now I get it–they were trained by cats.

  15. Posted April 30, 2020 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

    Forgive me if this was posted already, but I do love these quarantine tableaus. Some are simply stunning!

    • JezGrove
      Posted May 1, 2020 at 5:19 am | Permalink

      Oops – I meant to add that 1,519,343 people made donations.

      • JezGrove
        Posted May 1, 2020 at 5:26 am | Permalink

        And now I’ve posted it in the wrong place – should be below. Aaaargh!

  16. JezGrove
    Posted May 1, 2020 at 5:15 am | Permalink

    Captain Tom’s fundraising campaign stopped at midnight UK time on his 100th birthday. The total amount raised was £32,795,275 (about $40.67 million).

    • Posted May 1, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Looks like he now has a roomful of greeting cards too! The one from the Queen is pretty special.

  17. JezGrove
    Posted May 1, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Yup! Everyone can get a card from the queen when they turn 100, although it doesn’t happen automatically – it has to be requested in advance with proof of birth date etc. But Captain Tom’s was personalised and hand delivered (not by Liz though – she sent her Lord-Lieutenant in Bedfordshire, where Tom lives).

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