Monday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

May 11, 2020 • 7:00 am

Good morning on Monday, May 11, 2020, and National “Eat What You Want” Day. Of course we always eat what we want, if you take this as a tautology, and, at any rate, why the scare quotes. Are the things we “want” supposed to be the healthy things only? It’s also Hostess Cupcake Day, a staple of my childhood lunchboxes (now, of course, kids get an apple), and National Twilight Zone Day, though it’s unclear why May 11 celebrates that old t.v. show.  I loved Hostess Cupcakes, Twinkies, and especially Hostess Sno Balls, that hemispherical concoction of shredded coconut, marshmallow frosting, chocolate cake, and cream filling. Truly a confection of genius! I doubt kids eat these any longer, as I suspect they’d be regarded by modern parents as Treats from Satan:

News of the Day: Not completely horrible.  The train system of India, which was halted during the pandemic (and if you know the Indian rail system, it’s unthikable), is starting up again. I’m surprised but delighted to find that the death toll in India from the virus is only 2,206. That’s certainly underreported, but the virus is not ravaging one my my favorite countries. The virus is, however, affecting the White House, as two reported infections have caused several officials to go into quarantine.

Meanwhile the  reported death toll from the virus as of this morning stands at 80,574 in the U.S. and 282,495 worldwide.

And, sadly, a death early this morning:

I’m not sure we have all the ducklings; some may not have survived the night. If anybody can get a good count today (there should be 18), please let me know. And if you see a great blue heron on the pond, please contact me immediately (they eat ducklings and one came twice yesterday, so I had to drive quickly to the pond to drive it away before the carnage started.) My work phone number is on this page

Stuff that happened on May 11 includes:

  • 868 – A copy of the Diamond Sutra is printed in China, making it the oldest known dated printed book.

This is apparently the very page from this oldest known book (printed on wood block), with the caption “Frontispiece, Diamond Sutra from Cave 17, Dunhuang, ink on paper. A page from the Diamond Sutra, printed in the 9th year of Xiantong Era of the Tang Dynasty, i.e. 868 CE. Currently located in the British Library, London.”

According to the British Library, it is “the earliest complete survival of a dated printed book”.

  • 1813 – William Lawson, Gregory Blaxland and William Wentworth discover a route across the Blue Mountains, opening up inland Australia to settlement
  • 1960 – Adolf Eichmann is captured by the Mossad in Argentina.
  • 1997 – Deep Blue, a chess-playing supercomputer, defeats Garry Kasparov in the last game of the rematch, becoming the first computer to beat a world-champion chess player in a classic match format.xx

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1888 – Irving Berlin, Belarusian-American pianist and composer (d. 1989)
  • 1894 – Martha Graham, American dancer and choreographer (d. 1991)
  • 1904 – Salvador Dalí, Spanish artist (d. 1989)

Here’s Dali with what looks like an ocelot (can you identify it?)

  • 1918 – Richard Feynman, American physicist and engineer, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1988)
  • 1924 – Antony Hewish, English astronomer and academic, Nobel Prize laureate

Notables who became ex-persons on May 11 were few, and include:

  • 1981 – Bob Marley, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1945)
  • 2006 – Floyd Patterson, American boxer and actor (b. 1935)

Marley died of melanoma at only 36; it was a great loss—to music as well.  Here he is singing “Get Up, Stand Up” in Munich at 1980, a year before he died.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, like the rest of us, is tired of bad news:

Hili: Sometimes I’ve had these horrible stories up to here.
A: Frankly, me too.
In Polish:
Hili: Czasem mam dość tych wszystkich strasznych opowieści.
Ja: Uczciwie mówiąc, ja też.

And nearby, Mietek’s staff Elzbieta is picking flowers, but Mietek rejects them as comestibles:


Mietek: I won’t eat this, I’ll find my own dinner.


In Polish:

Mietek:Nie będę tego jadł, sam sobie poszukam obiadu.

From Bruce Thiel. I swear, I get one of these calls every other day, but didn’t know that everyone else does until I got this meme. My car is 20 years old, and obviously has no warranty!

From Jesus of the Day.  My response: “God doesn’t exist and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

One of Bruce Thiel’s favorite pandemic memes:

Elon Musk and Grimes did indeed name their child X Æ A-12 Musk. You can get the explanation here, or in the tweet right below Titania’s.

From Elon Musk:

From Simon; be sure you put the sound on. Crikey, do you think Obama would move empty boxes “for the camera”?

Tweets from Matthew. Here’s a covid rant, but I can’t say I disagree with her. What do you think? She sure wears out the “f-word”!

What is wrong with this tweet? One error in the caption. Otherwise, a beautiful organism, Cyttaria darwinii.

Coyote vs. Roadrunner. Where’s the Acme rocket?

This leaf mantid is fricking AWESOME. Enlarge it to see the mimicry, veins and all:

A historic photograph that Matthew, with all his researches on the history of DNA and the genetic code, hadn’t seen before:

52 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

    1. Actually, he made two trips to Tierra del Fuego. In July 1832 he arrives to Montevideo Uruguay. In December 1832 he arrives to Tierra del Fuego. Soon after he returns to Montevideo. It’s not until February 1834 that he returns to Tierra del Fuego for his second trip.

      1. You can also make the case that the Beagle, after delaying departure from England several times due to weather, embarked twice within a couple weeks only to return due to weather and technical problems to finally sail for good on December 27th, 1831. So if one is extremely fastidious, one could also say it was his 3rd trip.

  1. “A-12 = precursor to SR-17 (our favorite aircraft). No weapons, no defenses, just speed. Great in battle, but non-violent.”

    I reasonably gather he meant SR-71 (Blackbird).

    1. I gathered from another article that it’s Grimes who erroneously said SR-17 and Elon corrected her. Elon also said that Æ is pronounced ‘ash’.

      That name is too weird. If they wanted to be quirky, they could’ve named the baby Melon.
      Or maybe just Elton, a chip off the old block. But it’s not my spawn.

      1. Why? Dad already knows how to handle “haters,” a the kid might think it was pretty cool. Not being an only child will help a lot.

        A kid to feel sorry for? Barron Trump.

      2. “I think I feel sorry for this kid.”

        So long as he doesn’t get launched into space in a small toy convertible.

  2. Most recent book on the Eichmann story I read was Hunting Eichmann, Neal Bascomb. As it is the 75th anniversary of WWII, I would recommend the trilogy by Nigel Hamilton. It is a good update on Roosevelt that most of us know little about.

    As a journalist in the NY Post stated: If Trump had been in charge of the Manhattan Project we would be speaking Japanese today. Reference to his handling of the covid-19 mess.

  3. A recent pandemic meme I liked was:

    Fencing is the perfect Covid-19 sport.
    You wear a mask.
    You wear gloves.
    If anyone tries to get closer to you than 6′, you stab them.

    1. Well the first set of boxes clearly weren’t empty and Kimmel acknowledges the fact. Then one of the people in video clearly says “those boxes are empty” referring to the ones still in the van and Pence suggested delivering them anyway just for the cameras. So the intent appeared to be there, unless he was joking.

            1. Ha. I was going to say that I put it in in case anybody tried to defend him as making a joke.

              But then I thought, it’s unlikely on this web site and lo and behold…

              … see below.

    2. Pence was clearly joking, Kimmel apologized (sort of), and the entire clip is available.

      Which is all good. I mean, Pence is next in line.

    3. If Kimmel was wrong, then good for him for admitting it and apologizing.

      Kimmel was certainly right about Pence himself being “an empty box.” Mike Pence may be the most abjectly simpering sycophant in all of American public life.

      And everyone knows, most especially Pence himself, that, his obsequious “loyalty” notwithstanding, Trump would drop Pence from the ticket in a hot second should he ever take a notion that it would improve his reelection chances. Loyalty to Trump is like Fifth Avenue in front of Trump Tower — strictly a one-way street.

      1. “If Kimmel was wrong, then good for him for admitting it and apologizing.”

        It’s better than not apologizing. Still, the correction is never shared as widely as the original erroneous report — especially when the original conforms with people’s prejudices. Here, for example, Professor Ceiling Cat is blissfully unaware of the correction.

  4. I was disappointed by the initial stories on Elon’s and Grimes’s baby because they didn’t answer two questions: 1) How do you pronounce the name, and 2) Why do they hate their baby? In the story I read on CNN, it quoted Grimes as saying, “I feel like I was woefully ill prepared [because] I [don’t know] if pregnancy is as visible or discussed as it should be.”

    1. “Victorians never see an invasive species without bringing it home!”

      In my Amuricun locale I occasionally read or hear of someone, apparently assiduously preoccupied with the provenance of the flora on their suburban domain, lament the presence of invasive species in their area/region. I have the subjective impression that these people perceive their home-grown flora “better” than that from overseas, not so much out of any particular concern for ecological imbalance.

      I wonder how many North American species have invaded other parts of the world. For starters:

  5. The woman doing the rant was a real estate agent who had just shown a house to a stranger. She isn’t really much better than the mask flouter.

    Also (and more egregiously), she’s filming a rant for her channel whilst also driving. People die in road accidents too. Sometimes they are killed by other drivers who are distracted and using their phones.

  6. Here’s a covid rant, but I can’t say I disagree with her. What do you think?

    The gal giving the “pep talk” video is 100% la pura de Miami. Back in the day, I knew a dozen just like her. Makes me homesick just to listen.

    She had me at hello the first “m@therf*cker!!!” 🙂

  7. “God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.” Translation: I’m thick-headed and there is nothing you can do about it. Ask me about more thick-headed things, your arguments are futile.

  8. I’m glad to know that you had Hostess sweets at meals as a child and turned out so well. As all of my best laid parenting plans go awry one after the other, I go into confirmation bias mode to reassure myself that parents have a wider margin of error than they think when it comes to the environment. Imagine my surprise when all the ‘nutrient dense’ (another new buzzword I have noticed – things are not nutritious, they are ‘nutrient dense’ now, ha ha) foods I planned were either projectile spit across the room or give my son eczema. Quinoa and liver pate not happening, apparently, but as he already seems to love carbs I have a feeling he’ll go for Hostess products when he’s older. I now have anecdotal evidence that this leads to being a biology professor, so it’s totally healthy!

  9. 11:10 am Chicago time. Not sure how may ducklings are on the pond. Quite a few on the duckling ramp/turtle tanning bed. One hen had two, the other eight or so. Hard to count, The two decided they wanted to be with the rest of the brood while those on the ramp are into catching rays. I think the important thing for the ducklings is not the mother but the brood.

    Jerry is out there with his super soaker. Not sure if the heron is out there. Jerry was moving quickly under the tree in the top right toward the channel. He better be careful or soon he may be worse off the Van Gogh in the ear department.

    Wingman is patrolling, the ducklings are doing their thing and the mothers are pretending they have some control over the brood.

    1. Entering battle with a weapon, you’ve got to expect to return as a casualty. Those scars will attest to heroism and self-sacrifice.

  10. 1) I’m surprised PCC(E) didn’t remark on the lack of apostrophe in “your cars warranty”; 2) Golf ball fungus reminded me of the recent picture of smallpox victim rather than golf balls; 3) Snowballs were my favorite Hostess treat, followed by the chocolate cupcake (forgotten the trade name).
    Thank you, George for duckie update.

  11. Notables who became ex-persons on May 11 were few, and also include: Douglas Adams 11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001

  12. Notables who became ex-persons on May 11 were few, and also include: Douglas Adams 11 March 1952 – 11 May 2001.

    1. Sorry about the duplication – from my end, the first iteration of this comment went off into limbo. Please delet the superfluous one.

  13. I was in an organic chemistry class taught by Melvin Calvin when his award was announced. He showed up to teach as usual and received a standing ovation even though there was no message on the board.

    1. Gee, it seems just about everyone has a story about coming into class and finding the prof has “won” the Nobel. Mine is coming into my thermodynamics class in the basement of the old Stanford tank and finding written on the chalkboard “Professor Hofstadter has won the Nobel prize in physics.” If IIRC, some polite applause, then class continued as usual. About the only other thing I remember from that class is his version of the three laws of thermodynamics: 1} You can’t win. 2) You always lose unless you are at absolute zero. 3) You can’t be at absolute zero.

  14. Professor: on checking Ocelot on Wikipedia (I hadn’t known anything of them, particularly that they’re an American cat), I found this: “Painter Salvador Dalí owned a pet ocelot named Babou that was seen with him at many places he visited, including a voyage aboard SS France. When one of the diners at a New York restaurant was alarmed by the ocelot, Dali told her that it was a common domestic cat that he had “painted over in an op art design”.

  15. It’s my understanding that, in Darwin’s day, locals called the fungus “yao yao” (I hope the spelling is correct) which translates as “Sweet Sweet”, that is “very sweet”. It was a rare sweet treat in an area without sweets.

  16. God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.

    I think there is. According to the Bible, if I worship another god, blaspheme, or do whatever those folks at Sodom and Gomorrah were doing, He will drown me or rain down fire and brimstone on me.

  17. Hello Jerry, I believe the tweet you posted “From Elon Musk” explaining the name of his and Grimes’ child is actually from Grimes’ twitter account.

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