Thursday: Hili dialogue

May 14, 2020 • 6:45 am

Good morning on Thursday May 14, 2020, and National Buttermilk Biscuit Day. I tell you, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, that American indigenous food doesn’t get better than that. A plate of biscuits with country ham (preferably with red-eye gravy), preserves, along with fried eggs and grits, washed down with strong, dark coffee, is surely America’s greatest contribution to the breakfast genre. (And don’t diss grits, for if you do you haven’t eaten them properly.) LOOK AT THESE!

It’s International Dylan Thomas Day, celebrating one of my favorite poets. The date was chosen because the first reading of his great “play for voices”, Under MIlk Wood, took place on May 14, 1953, at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. It’s also Dance Like A Chicken Day, whatever that means. Actually, it started with ducks, as the link notes:

Dance Like a Chicken Day is dedicated to the “Chicken Dance” song and the dance that accompanies it. Werner Thomas, an accordion player from Davos, Switzerland, wrote the song in about 1955. He refined it over the next few years and added a dance to go with it. Originally titled “Der Ententanz,” meaning “The Duck Dance,” the accompanying dance was inspired by Swiss skiers that Thomas had seen while playing his accordion at resorts. He thought the skiers descending the slopes resembled ducks. He was reminded of the beaks of ducks, their flapping wings, and waddling feet, and brought together these elements when creating the dance.

Here’s the delightful “Ententanz” (“Duck Dance”):

So I declare it “Dance Like a Duck Day”.

News of the Day: Well, Trump, defying Anthony Fauci’s advice (and that of nearly every health expert), is urging the country to open up schools soon, and criticized Fauci’s testimony before the Senatre. Truly, Trump is worried about his own re-election, not the pandemic. In Wisconsin, the conservative state Supreme Court overturned the (Democratic) governor’s extension of the stay-at-home order, and there is no appeal of that court’s decision.

Obama tweeted an implicit criticism of Trump’s coronavirus policy (below), whereupon Mitch O’Connell, the Senate majority leader, pronounced that Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” and called Obama “classless” for criticizing the administration. That’s a laugh—as if Trump is the epitome of class!

And as for the saddest data, confirmed coronavirus deaths in the U.S. now stand at 84,763, while the worldwide toll is about 297,000.

Stuff that happened on May 14 includes:

  • 1607 – Jamestown, Virginia is settled as an English colony.
  • 1643 – Four-year-old Louis XIV becomes King of France upon the death of his father, Louis XIII.
  • 1796 – Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox inoculation.
  • 1800 – The 6th United States Congress recesses, and the process of moving the U.S. Government from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., begins the following day.
  • 1804 – William Clark and 42 men depart from Camp Dubois to join Meriwether Lewis at St. Charles, Missouri, marking the beginning of the Lewis and Clark Expedition‘s historic journey up the Missouri River.
  • 1870 – The first game of rugby in New Zealand is played in Nelson between Nelson College and the Nelson Rugby Football Club
  • 1878 – The last witchcraft trial held in the United States begins in Salem, Massachusetts, after Lucretia Brown, an adherent of Christian Science, accused Daniel Spofford of attempting to harm her through his mental powers.

The case was dismissed.

  • 1925 – Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway is published.
  • 1939 – Lina Medina becomes the youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five.
  • 1948 – Israel is declared to be an independent state and a provisional government is established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
  • 1961 – Civil rights movement: A white mob twice attacks a Freedom Riders bus near Anniston, Alabama, before fire-bombing the bus and attacking the civil rights protesters who flee the burning vehicle.[9]

Here’s the burning bus; the police offered almost no help. Fortunately, nobody inside the bus was hurt.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1727 – Thomas Gainsborough, English painter (d. 1788)
  • 1885 – Otto Klemperer, German composer and conductor (d. 1973)
  • 1897 – Sidney Bechet, American saxophonist, clarinet player, and composer (d. 1959)

Here’s Bechet playing “I’ve found a new baby” just the year before he died.

  • 1897 – Ed Ricketts, American biologist and ecologist (d. 1948)

Ricketts’, marine biologist and companion and muse of John Steinbeck, died at only 50 when his car was hit by a train. His lab still exists at 800 Cannery Row in Monterey, California, but sadly is closed. It really should be turned into a museum. Here’s a photo I took of it in September of 2018:


  • 1899 – Charlotte Auerbach, German-Jewish Scottish folklorist, geneticist, and zoologist. (d.1994)
  • 1944 – George Lucas, American director, producer, and screenwriter, founded Lucasfilm
  • 1952 – David Byrne, Scottish singer-songwriter, producer, and actor
  • 1969 – Cate Blanchett, Australian actress
  • 1984 – Mark Zuckerberg, American computer programmer and businessman, co-founded Facebook

Those who relinquished existence on May 14 include:

  • 1919 – Henry J. Heinz, American businessman, founded the H. J. Heinz Company (b. 1844)
  • 1940 – Emma Goldman, Lithuanian author and activist (b. 1869)
  • 1959 – Sidney Bechet, American saxophonist, clarinet player, and composer (b. 1897)

Bechet died on his birthday.

  • 1987 – Rita Hayworth, American actress and dancer (b. 1918)
  • 1993 – William Randolph Hearst, Jr., American journalist and publisher (b. 1908)
  • 1998 – Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor (b. 1915)
  • 2015 – B.B. King, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1925)
  • 2018 – Tom Wolfe, American author (b. 1931)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has taken to sleeping on Andrzej’s desk, which impedes the work of Listy:

A; Your new habit makes my work more difficult.
Hili: Nobody promised you an easy life.
In Polish:
Ja: Twój nowy obyczaj utrudnia mi pracę.
Hili: Nikt ci nie obiecywał łatwego życia.

A quarantine meme from Bruce Thiel:

Two from Jesus of the Day:


Last year I followed the fracas about structural racism in the “knitting community”, and found it unbelievably authoritarian. Now it’s hiking. Read the Sierra Club article in the first tweet, and then the Vox article in the second tweet below:

Two tweets from Simon. Are these women serious?

“PI” is the “Principal Investigator” on a grant: almost always the head of a laboratory:

A tweet from Heather Hastie. I can’t believe they can train a dog to do this!

Three tweets from Matthew. The first is a sleuth of bears, which is what you call a group of them:

Somebody made a good academic profile for a cat, Professor Pinto Bean Tran:

This leap of a bobcat in Florida is stunning. I couldn’t believe it made it!


42 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Well, Trump, defying Anthony Fauci’s advice (and that of nearly every health expert), is urging the country to open up schools soon

    I really hope that means in September. IMO it makes little sense to demand it earlier. We’re less than two weeks away from Memorial Day! The virus could be magically wiped off the face of the Earth tomorrow and it would still be pretty darn idiotic to try and re-open the school system before this summer break.

        1. It becomes harder to come up with aspersions sufficiently insulting for 45. I apologize to any orangs that may have felt offended.

          1. I kinda like “orange chaos monkey” myself. ‘Though that’s not fair on chaos monkeys, many of whom are fine people…

            Another one I liked was ORNG, pronounced “oranj”, stands for Orange Random Noise Generator.

  2. First, thank you for your entertaining and informative blog.

    > sigh <

    I live in Wisconsin, and representatives Robin Voss and Scott Fitzgerald, like 45 on a national scale, have condemned citizens of our state to death. Although, like Michigan, a majority of us agree with the 'safer at home' rules, the almighty dollar, not science, not peoples' welfare, is the mandate of these 'representatives.'

    They ignore precedent. They ignore common sense. They ignore the will of the majority.

    And, what's staggeringly inept and evil–THEY HAVE NO PLAN IN PLACE FOR GOING FORWARD. Their statement of reaction to the ruling basically says 'don't do anything that endangers your health.' Unfortunately, if 45 and his ilk have their way, people who are employed WON'T have an option–they will have to go back to work.

    1. Indeed. Here in Milwaukee we have City orders that remain in place. The rest of the state is screwed, of course, and one city can’t make that big a difference, surrounded by communities operating in a free-for-all.

      Right now Wisconsin has the best per-capita record in the Midwest in terms of case counts. Apparently Republicans just can’t stand being at the bottom of the catastrophe list.

      1. At least several other counties today have followed the lead of Brown County (containing Green Bay, for those who aren’t familiar with the state) and are reinstating the safer at home rules.

        I shutter to think where we’d be if former Governor Scott Walker was still in charge. Even my parents, who vote Republican more often than not, are EXTREMELY happy with Governor Ever’s leadership.

    2. One of the justices compared the WI stay at home order to the WW2 Japanese internment camps. What an idiot…seems your Supreme Court is a lost cause.

    1. Those few polls that show Biden way ahead nationally, but actually trailing in some battleground states worry me to no end. Nothing would be more harmful to our nation than a Trump electoral victory. GOTV must be priority number one.

  3. The right-wing attack on Dr. Fauci has begun and will get only more strident. There are at least two reasons for this. The first is that Trump considers it imperative that the economy be re-opened to enhance his election chances despite the likelihood that such action will result in many thousands more deaths and the pandemic may get out of control, such as Dr. Fauci warns about. The right-wing is exhorting Americans to potentially sacrifice themselves for the greater good in the hope that herd immunity will result. Somehow I have missed noticing the members of the right-wing punditry rushing out to sacrifice themselves. Another reason for the attack on Dr. Fauci is that it reflects the right-wing’s disdain for exerts and that gut feelings are a better guide for action than what the data shows. Trump’s stated reliance on his gut feelings is a message to his anti-elitist, anti-intellectual base that it should trust him in all matters despite what so-called experts may say.

    Trump’s strategy, frequently referred to as populism (although many historians consider the term a smear on the original Populists of the 1890s), is to combine his attempt to portray himself as a savior of the economy along with his anti-expert rhetoric as the best way for him to win the election. The next few months will tell if enough American voters beyond those in his cult will buy his argument and be willing to sacrifice perhaps hundreds of thousands for whatever short term benefits the opening of the economy may bring.

      1. I’ve encountered people who believe, under their masks,that all this “data” is politicking at best and out and out lying otherwise.
        I live in Lansing Michigan and the sight of assault weapons on the steps of the capitol is the must ugly and frightening experience for me. And this crowd wears no masks. May they all be examples.

    1. You mention the two main reasons that the right is going after Dr. Fauci (a foregone conclusion. A personal reason for Trump to go gunning for Fauci that is not inconsequential even though it’s personal is that the malignant narcissist that he is simply cannot abide anyone who gets more attention than he does, especially someone with integrity and natural modesty, who is genuinely respected for his expertise and grace under pressure. He just can’t stand it.

      Trump assumed that Fauci would be star struck and fall all over himself to praise and please Trump (as Dr. Birx has done) but when he realized that Fauci wouldn’t be a sycophant and use his scientific knowledge to prop up Trump’s abysmal ignorance and dangerous quack medical and conspiracy theories (which occurred early on in the series of press conferences that Trump co-opted and used as advertisements for himself), Trump began to set Fauci up for the fall.

  4. With the unemployment rate at 36 million and climbing the republicans are now on the Hover plan. How many dead by November?

  5. A couple of weeks ago I got up early one morning and made buttermilk biscuits with chorizo and manchego cheese. I tried the grated frozen butter method for making the dough for the first time. Works very well.

    1. Darrelle, I remember you asking a while back for any nice beans recipes. Here’s one similar to how I make Caribbean rice and beans. I like to use canned black beans instead of kidney beans. I also find that this dish comes out best with Uncle Ben’s Parboiled Converted Rice. Use the amount of Scotch Bonnet or Habanero pepper as it tolerable to your family. I like to add extra fresh thyme after the rice is cooked. You can also add a good dash of coconut rum to kick it up a notch!

      1. I’m with you on kidney beans. Never use them, not even in chili.

        Adding coconut rum sounds like a great idea, especially with Caribbean flavors. Maybe Hawaiian style coconut rice too?

        1. I don’t understand how people use a whole Scotch Bonnet or habanero! I love the heat but that makes it too fiery for children and delicate palates. One technique is to lay a whole pepper on the top of the rice as it cooks, making sure not to break it open. That way you get the flavour without the heat. The cooked pepper can then be served on the side for anyone who wants a little sliver or chunk of it. I save the seeds and some of the pepper flesh and pickle them with sliced onions etc. to add to fricassee fish. Make sure you still use coconut milk or even coconut cream for a richer taste. This rice is good for even just steamed or stir fried bok choy or fried chicken or whatever. I’ve never made Hawaiian coconut rice, at least not deliberately. :). Easy and good, is it?

  6. “Senatre” — a portmanteau of the upper chamber of congress and death-day anniversary boy Old Blue Eyes?

  7. You can bet the cut mask thing is going to catch on since it’s a great way to raise the “libturd” blood pressures.

  8. wingnut: cuts hole in mask.

    sane person: that’s the dumbest thing I ever saw.

    wingnut: triggered much?

    1. +1

      I like mine with a sprinkling of taco cheese and our green chile sauce on top.

      This is a breakfast I have at least once a week.


    2. A famous breakfast place near UF back in the ’80s, called Skeeter’s, used to make a custom gut-buster breakfast for me. Hash browns, topped with shredded cheddar, topped with corned beef hash, topped with fried eggs with runny yolks. Delicious, and as Skeeter’s was famous for, enough to feed at least 4 hungry college students.

  9. Two things.

    That is definitely a duck dance and not a chicken dance. Chickens don’t waddle AFAIK.

    Why wasn’t the publication cited in the cat VV “Catnip Oriented Felinism”? Oh, yeah. I forgot about auto-correct.

  10. Ed Ricketts wrote a great natural history/marine biology books “Between Pacific Tides.” It is, for me, still a must if I am exploring the tide pools in California. The book was updated by Jack Calvin, then again by Joel Hedgepeth, and I see that there is a newer edition updated by David Phillips as of 1992. Rickett’s was the model for the main character in Steinbeck’s novel “Cannery Row.” I totally agree that his lab should be a museum.

Leave a Reply