Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Wednesday, May 6, 2020: National Crêpe Suzette Day, a culturally appropriated dessert in which a crêpe is topped with a flamed syrup of butter, Grand Marnier, and sugar. It’s also International No Diet Day, National Beverage Day (be sure to have a beverage!), No Homework Day, Bike to School Day (superfluous this year)  and National Nurses Day, which has a special resonance this year.

Google continues reviving its Doodles as a way to pass the time during lockdown; here’s an old Halloween game (with a cat) from 2016. Click on screenshot to play:

News of the Day: Depressing, as it should be given the situation. While the coronavirus has apparently peaked in places like New York city, new “hot spots” are appearing in less urban areas, offsetting the decrease in deaths reported in other places. As the New York Times reports:

The country is still in the firm grip of a pandemic with little hope of release. For every indication of improvement in controlling the virus, new outbreaks have emerged elsewhere, leaving the nation stuck in a steady, unrelenting march of deaths and infections.

As states continue to lift restrictions meant to stop the virus, impatient Americans are freely returning to shopping, lingering in restaurants and gathering in parks. Regular new flare-ups and super-spreader events are expected to be close behind.

We’re in this for a long time. The reported death toll from coronavirus now stands at 72,023 in the U.S. and about 257,000 throughout the world.

Finally, Ruth Bader Ginsburg is back in the hospital, but it doesn’t look serious: she was treated nonsurgically for a “benign gallbladder condition.” Please hang on till the election, RBG! She’s a tough old bird.

Ducks: Honey’s will jump today and, with luck, make it to the pond. The pond drakes (3-4) keep attacking Dorothy whenever they see her, driving her away from her brood and off the pond. This is a serious situation that I don’t know how to resolve, but I’m at the end of my tether.  Today’s postings will be light.  I’m not even going to tweak this post.

Stuff that happened on May 6 includes:

  • 1527 – Spanish and German troops sack Rome; many scholars consider this the end of the Renaissance.
  • 1682 – Louis XIV of France moves his court to the Palace of Versailles.
  • 1757 – English poet Christopher Smart is admitted into St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics in London, beginning his six-year confinement to mental asylums.
  • 1877 – Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota surrenders to United States troops in Nebraska.
  • 1882 – The United States Congress passes the Chinese Exclusion Act.
  • 1889 – The Eiffel Tower is officially opened to the public at the Universal Exposition in Paris.
  • 1910 – George V becomes King of the United Kingdom upon the death of his father, Edward VII.
  • 1915 – Babe Ruth, then a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, hits his first major league home run.
  • 1937 – Hindenburg disaster: The German zeppelin Hindenburg catches fire and is destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people are killed.
  • 1940 – John Steinbeck is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath.
  • 1954 – Roger Bannister becomes the first person to run the mile in under four minutes.
  • 1994 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and French President François Mitterrand officiate at the opening of the Channel Tunnel.
  • 1998 – Kerry Wood strikes out 20 Houston Astros to tie the major league record held by Roger Clemens. He threw a one-hitter and did not walk a batter in his fifth career start.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1758 – Maximilien Robespierre, French lawyer and politician (d. 1794)
  • 1856 – Robert Peary, American admiral and explorer (d. 1920)
  • 1856 – Sigmund Freud, Austrian neurologist and psychoanalyst (d. 1939)
  • 1871 – Victor Grignard, French chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1935)
  • 1895 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor (d. 1926)
  • 1915 – Orson Welles, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1985)
  • 1915 – Theodore H. White, American historian, journalist, and author (d. 1986)
  • 1931 – Willie Mays, American baseball player and coach
  • 1953 – Tony Blair, British politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • 1961 – George Clooney, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 2019 – Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, British royal

Those who expired on May 6 include:

  • 1859 – Alexander von Humboldt, German geographer and explorer (b. 1769)
  • 1862 – Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet, and philosopher (b. 1817)
  • 1992 – Marlene Dietrich, German-American actress and singer (b. 1901)
  • 2014 – Farley Mowat, Canadian environmentalist and author (b. 1921)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron are slowly becoming friends—or at least tolerating each other:

Hili: You may sit down beside me.
Szaron: I’m still not sure about it.
In Polish:
Hili: Możesz usiąść koło mnie.
Szaron: Jeszcze nie jestem tego pewien.

And in nearby Wloclawek, Mietek is smiling at the camera. But who’s speaking? Malgorzata says, “There is a slight chance that it’s not Mietek saying these words but instead the photographer calling to Mitek to smile broadly. Would Mietek talk about himself in the plural? No idea.”

Caption: “We are smiling broadly.”

In Polish: Robimy szeroki uśmiech

Reader Kurt Helf sent a LOLcat meme featuring his daughter’s cat: “My daughter Hannah’s cat, Dexter, is the star. Are lolcats still a thing?”  Indeed they are, at least on this site!

From Divy, who found it in the e-letter from her local cat cafe:

And from Laurie Ann:

Titania reports an exciting new feature on Twitter: the chance to pre-wash your speech!

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. Mr. Lumpy the Badger gets some fancy noms, including pizza. Sounds like some people have been food-shaming his staff. (Look how he absconds with the pizza!)

Like a cat, a piglet “kneads” (I call it “making biscuits”) as it nurses, though the piglet kneads the ground instead of its mom.

Tweets from Matthew:

Why do you suppose this cat is an “asshole”? I didn’t understand until Matthew explained it to me. Can you guess?

This guy hosts a science podcast and this is clearly an ironic comment. But have a look at those books!

A wonderful view of the ISS from a telescope on the ground:

Matthew says that Hellen Pidd is a Guardian journalist. And apparently also the staff of an awesome moggy:

This is one beautiful animal. Look at it!!

 

16 Comments

  1. Posted May 6, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    About Dorothy and drakes – both yesterday and today I was observing via the webcamera, that one drake – I think it’s Wingman – was defending Dorothy, blocking the other drake/s with his own body. He was really helpful!

  2. Rick Bannister
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    My guess is that the asshole cat is sending mixed signals. The posture indicates a desire for a belly rub but the lashing tail means you will be attacked if you try.

    • Ken Phelps
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      Is that a feather beside the cat? Or a bit of down pulled from the couch?

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    As I mentioned awhile back, the drakes are doing the same here. I have no idea why they continue to harass the female with her young?

  4. JezGrove
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    What happened to the duckling ramp?

    • Peter N
      Posted May 6, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      In the comments on the YouTube feed Jerry explained that the drakes had chased Dorothy and the ducklings over to the canal (in the background on the video), and he had moved the ramp over there for their benefit.

      • JezGrove
        Posted May 7, 2020 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

        Thanks – maybe Facilities need to provide a spare duckling ramp? (Not a criticism, their efforts have been splendid!)

    • Posted May 6, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Somehow I missed that Dorothy’s ducklings have hatched. The situation sounds dire.

  5. Posted May 6, 2020 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Titania’s Tweet with a screen grab of a sentence containing the words “dipshit”, “elon” and “musk” in one sentence gives me the opportunity to offer proof.

    It is no lie that Musk has named his real human child X Æ A-12.

  6. rickflick
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I wouldn’t worry about Ruth Bader Ginsburg dying and leaving a seat on the court for tRump to fill. Mitch McConnell would not let a nominee through this late in tRump’s term. Less than a year to go! As Mitch always says, the next president should be the one to appoint a replacement. Merrick Garland is a clear president. And, as we know, Mitch is an honorable man.

  7. Posted May 6, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Mr. Lumpy and I are soul mates! I mean, Grab that pizza and run, bro!

  8. Hempenstein
    Posted May 6, 2020 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    Aha, Victor Grignard! Of methyl magnesium bromide et al, aka Grignard reagent fame! Where would Chemistry be without Grignard Reagents?

    It seems that he also devised a highly sensitive field test for mustard gas during WWI that involved sodium iodide, which meant that there were two Nobel laureates on opposite sides detecting and developing war gases. Not bad for a failed mathematician!


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