Friday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

May 15, 2020 • 6:30 am

I’m writing this at 3:30 am because, like many folks, my sleep has been severely disrupted during the pandemic, and I’m deeply dispirited. Let us hope, though, that my  ducks and their 17 ducklings are still with us on this Friday, May 15, 2020. (I just checked, and there are many, but it was too dark to count.) UPDATE: I just counted and they’re all there despite a ferocious thunderstorm yesterday and last night. O frabjous day!

It’s National Quiche Lorraine Day (cultural appropriation) and National Pick Strawberries Day.  And oy, are there a lot of holidays today! For instance, Endangered Species Day, International Day of Families, National Pizza Party Day (it’ll have to be virtual pizza), Straw Hat Day, and Relive Your Past By Listening to the First Music You Every Bought No Matter What It Was No Excuses Day (!?). I can’t in fact remember what was the first music I ever bought, but I suspect it was a Beatles album, when I was at the age when I could spend my own money on vinyl. Before that, my parents bought all of the few records I had, including gems like Rosemary Clooney’s “Teddy Bear’s Picnic”.

And a special holiday for me: International Conscientious Objectors Day.

News of the day: Bad to worse. In Pennsylvania, WIsconsin, and Michigan, protestors are still agitating about reopening the economies, with armed protestors gathering at the Michigan state capitol, forcing the legislature to adjourn. Amazingly, it’s legal to carry firearms inside the capitol building in Lansing. Reported coronavirus deaths in the U.S. now stand at 86,571, and about 302,000 throughout the world.

I had been pleased to hear earlier that India—which in view of its crowdedness, poverty, poor sanitation, and spotty medical care, looked like an easy target for the virus—seemed to have been spared of the worst. No more. The New York Times reports that the pandemic has struck the overcrowded city of Mumbai:

As the coronavirus gnaws its way across India, Mumbai has suffered the worst. This city of 20 million is now responsible for 20 percent of India’s coronavirus infections and nearly 25 percent of the deaths.

Hospitals are overflowing with the sick. Police officers are exhausted enforcing a stay-at-home curfew. Doctors say the biggest enemy is Mumbai’s density.

Particularly in the city’s vast slum districts, social distancing is impossible. People live eight to a room across miles and miles of informal settlements made of concrete blocks and topped with sheets of rusted iron. As the temperatures climb toward 100 degrees Fahrenheit, many can’t stand to be cooped up anymore and spill into the streets.

Stuff that happened on May 15 includes:

  • 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, stands trial in London on charges of treason, adultery and incest; she is condemned to death by a specially-selected jury.
  • 1718 – James Puckle, a London lawyer, patents the world’s first machine gun.

Here’s Puckle’s gun. Sadly, though it was meant to defend King George, the Country, its Lawes, the people and “The Protestant Cause” (was there a Catholic machine gun?), it never sold, and the business failed.

  • 1817 – Opening of the first private mental health hospital in the United States, the Asylum for the Relief of Persons Deprived of the Use of Their Reason (now Friends Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania).
  • 1869 – Women’s suffrage: In New York, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton form the National Woman Suffrage Association.
  • 1905 – Las Vegas is founded when 110 acres (0.45 km2), in what later would become downtown, are auctioned off.
  • 1928 – Walt Disney character Mickey Mouse premieres in his first cartoon, “Plane Crazy“.

Here’s the first Mickey cartoon. Notice the helpful carpenter duck 23 seconds in. Mickey, not yet neotenous, appears about 30 seconds in.

This is by far the longest hitting streak in major league baseball; the second place holder, Willie Keeler, hit in only 45 straight games, and that was in 1896-1897. Here’s a short documentary of the streak and its end.

  • 1963 – Project Mercury: The launch of the final Mercury mission, Mercury-Atlas 9 with astronaut Gordon Cooper on board. He becomes the first American to spend more than a day in space, and the last American to go into space alone.
  • 1969 – People’s Park: California Governor Ronald Reagan has an impromptu student park owned by the University of California at Berkeley fenced off from student anti-war protestors, sparking a riot.
  • 1972 – In Laurel, Maryland, Arthur Bremer shoots and paralyzes Alabama Governor George Wallace while he is campaigning to become president.
  • 1991 – Édith Cresson becomes France’s first female Prime Minister.
  • 2010 – Jessica Watson becomes the youngest person to sail, non-stop and unassisted around the world solo.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1817 – Debendranath Tagore, Indian philosopher and author (d. 1905)
  • 1859 – Pierre Curie, French physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1906)
  • 1890 – Katherine Anne Porter, American short story writer, novelist, and essayist (d. 1980)
  • 1891 – Mikhail Bulgakov, Russian novelist and playwright (d. 1940)
  • 1923 – Richard Avedon, American sailor and photographer (d. 2004)
  • 1930 – Jasper Johns, American painter and sculptor
  • 1936 – Ralph Steadman, English painter and illustrator
  • 1940 – Roger Ailes, American businessman (d. 2017)

Here’s a Ralph Steadman cat; in fact, he did a whole book of cats:

Those who bought the farm on May 15 include:

Here’s the only authenticated photo of Emily Dickinson, although see my post last year about another putative photo.

And from ArtNet, drawings of five cats by Hopper:

  • 2003 – June Carter Cash, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress (b. 1929)
  • 2007 – Jerry Falwell, American pastor, founded Liberty University (b. 1933)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili hasn’t quite gotten to the stage of being BFFs with Szaron. Malgorzata adds that Szaron is dissimulating:

Szaron is a liar. He came this morning and brazenly lied that Paulina [the upstairs lodger] let him go without breakfast and that he was dying of hunger. We knew for sure that he was lying but he was meowing so pitifully that he got another breakfast. A difficult cat.

Hili’s take:

A: Why do you have such a menacing expression on your face?
Hili: Szaron is coming.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu masz taką groźną minę?
Hili: Szaron tu idzie.

And nearby in his future home, Mietek looks ahead:

Mietek: I see a glowing future for myself.
In Polish: Widzę dla siebie świetlaną przyszłość.

A Pinterest video post with a VERY tolerant cat!

I lost the email that contained this “meme,” so if you sent it, identify yourself for a warm elbow bump in the comments:

From Funny Pics, an ornamented manhole cover. Great artwork!

Like a good woke Leftie, Titania defends Islam’s oppression of women. Indeed, she makes it a virtue:

Philosopher Maarten Boudry (who was my coauthor on a genuine philosophy paper—I have CRED) shows us his new tuxedo kitten Winston Purrchill, playing with one of his many toys:

A tweet from Heather Hastie.  Melanism (black color) is a dominant trait in jaguars, and this mother was obviously heterozygous, having one copy of the gene. She mated with a spotted (“normal”) jaguar, and so you’d expect half her babies to be black and half spotted in such matings.

Tweets from Matthew. The first are two dumb-ass statements from “President” Trump, but do you doubt that he said these things? I don’t:

My admiration for JT is well known, and here the Taylor Family Singers entertain us in one of the best “lockdown” pieces ever:

Interspecific parental care. Is this wren afflicted by such a strong parental instinct that it will feed a blue tit?

Bertrand Russell’s grandfather knew Napoleon!

This is amazing, so go see for yourself. Just go to the site and click on “see the picture”, and then zoom in using your cursor.

62 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

  1. It is 4:30 here. My sleep was disrupted by our dawg heaving. He got into the compost bucket yesterday and something disagreed with him and he tried to puke it up about 4. I let him out and immediately he chased a skunk and with the usual results came zooming back and started rubbing himself on all the furniture and I kicked him out again to face the mountain lions. He’s on his own least until daybreak.
    From an expedition to the desert collected some sage and made ‘smudge sticks’. I lit one and have tried to make the house a little less skunky.
    The joys of a companion dawg.

    1. This made me laugh. We too have a dog who sometimes cannot restrain the urge to eat things he shouldn’t with predictable results on his digestive system! Fortunately no skunks here so at least we don’t have that problem!

    2. Years ago we had a dog who managed to get herself well ‘skunked’, and I too when I tried to pull her away. Bathtub, tomato juice, and even spaghetti sauce were used liberally, and I am sure plenty shampoo went in as well. It did the trick as well as can be expected.

  2. I am the guilty party who sent you the photo of the woman and her daughter (I presume) wearing those “Jesus is bigger” T-shirts. I’ve no doubt all your readers now want one.

      1. None of it makes sense. COVID-19 is not a virus, it is the disease caused by SAR-CoV2 just as AIDS is the disease caused by HIV.

        1. COVID-19 is not a virus

          Nobody said it is.

          I said “the COVID19 virus” which means “the virus that causes the COVID19 disease” much like people often used to say “the AIDS virus” and not get taken to task by pedants*.

          *”pedant” is a compliment in my world.

  3. I can’t in fact remember what was the first music I ever bought …

    The first two albums I ever got were Chubby Checker’s The Twist and the Four Season’s Sherry. I was only six or seven at the time, but I had older cousins in the neighborhood. I’d hang out at their house and listen to the AM radio rock’n’roll stations they listened to. I got those albums as Xmas presents, along with a portable mono turntable.

    Once I started buying music with money of my own (from mowing lawns in the summer and shoveling driveways in the winter), I’d go to the record shop and buy the Beatles and Motown and the Beach Boys, 45s mostly, LPs when I could afford ’em.

    1. Similar story here regarding the Four Seasons. We used to visit the cool cousins for 2 or 3 weeks between every new station (military brat). They had motorcycles, a rail buggy, snow mobiles, a cabin on a lake with a boat (lots of skiing), pet raccoons, a pool. They had a cool house with a pool table / bar room in the basement with an old sliding glass top coke cooler (50s?) always filled with all the local made sodas. Cream, cherry, birch beer. And the Four Seasons seemed to always be playing. Their music is still very nostalgic for me to this day.

      But I think the 1st music I ever bought was a 45 of Chevy Van by Sammy Johns. The 1st album I bought was either Brick by Brick or Endless Flight by Leo Sayer.

  4. Having a president dumber than a box of rocks is unique. Testing one two three.

    The stormy weather is back in the middle.

  5. Mietek choose his family well, loving big brother, attentive staff, nice places to roam, perfect life!

  6. I’m not sure how good bacon custard pie would be without a fancy French name to it. The name does a lot for it. It’s… okay… (I guess?)

    1. It’s delicious (I am think of a well made, home cooked one – I have eaten a fair amount of cafeteria quiche in my time which if perfectly edible never really qualified for the adjective delicious!).

  7. I have no idea what the first music I bought was. The first cassette tape I bought was “Strange Days” by the Doors. I had just gotten a junky little battery powered player.

    “People Are Strange” became my teenage angst theme song.

  8. The first recording I purchased with my own money was a 45 of Paul Revere and the Raiders (Good Thing). The first album I purchased with my own money was Jimi Hendrix Rainbow Bridge.

  9. Jessica Watson was three days shy of her 17th birthday when she completed her solo sailing voyage. Later analysis showed that her route was slightly too short to count as an official global circumnavigation.

  10. Human history in a different perspective…

    I sometimes read romances or crime fiction set in the Regency Era. I was surprised to find out that if you wanted to travel from London to (say) Newcastle you had to ride your own horse or take a horsedrawn coach, and it would take the best part of a week, even if you hurried. There were no trains and no planes, and it was only 200 years ago.

    Similarly the first purpose-built jet airliner went into service after I was born. Transistors only went into production after I was born. “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid” was published after I was born, and the existence of tectonic plates was only generally accepted several years after I was born. Don’t start me on ‘computers’.

  11. The first record I bought with my own money, a 78, was ‘Sixteen Tons’ by Tennessee Ernie Ford back in the mid 50’s. I loved that song. Still do. The B side was ‘You Don’t Have To Be A Baby To Cry’ which became a big hit for The Caravelles a few years ago. To the amazement of my wife I was able to sing along word perfect.

    1. My first, about the same time, was “I Walk the Line” by Johnny Cash. I saved my allowance for weeks to buy it. A Sun record 45rpm. Wish I still had it. I liked the way he hummed when he changed keys.

      1. Yes I’m taken with that hum, it really is something for the ear.
        My first 45 was a treasured EP, the early Muddy Waters on a small label here in UK.

  12. All of my parent’s records were 33s, so they were not in the best shape. I remember one was a bit strange – Dark Town Poker Club, Phil Harris. My older sister bought some 45’s although I have no idea where she got the money. I remember buying the Woodstock album in the BX in Aviano, Italy. It was on sale for $3.75 in the damaged records section although it had no damage. I had no record player at the time.

  13. Here’s a particularly outrageous message, ostensibly from a certain incompetent in a certain house of a certain color :

    [begin excerpt]

    This email is FOR PATRIOTS ONLY.

    You’ve been identified as one of President Trump’s fiercest and most loyal defenders, and according to your donor file, you’d make an excellent addition to the Trump Army.

    When you become a member of the Trump Army today, we’ll give you access to get our never-before-seen, Limited Edition Camo Keep America Great Hat.

    The President wants YOU and every other member of our exclusive Trump Army to have something to identify yourselves with, and to let everyone know that YOU are the President’s first line of defense when it comes to fighting off the Liberal MOB.

    [end excerpt]


  14. The “human history in a different perspective” things that freak me out are those things that I think of as fairly distant history but which happened fewer years before my birth year than the time that has elapsed since I was born. Like the sinking of the Titanic, say.

    1. My (late) father knew Eliza Gladys “Millvina” Dean (2 February 1912 – 31 May 2009) the last survivor of the sinking of the RMS Titanic on 15 April 1912.

        1. When my father [born 1917] was a kid, there were a couple of Civil War veterans, including his grandmother’s brother, still living in town. They had been stationed in Washington DC during the War, and saw Lincoln. My father knew someone who saw Lincoln in person. They also saw Custer when he was a Civil War general.

          When I was born in 1960, slavery had been abolished less than a century. There were still former slaves living in the US when I was a boy.

    2. When my grandmother was young and living in Hartford CT, a neighbor was Mark Twain. She met him on many occasions and remembered him as a grouchy old man who didn’t like children.

    3. I sometimes marvel at the discrepancy in my sense of the lapse of time with respect to events that occurred not so long before I was born, and how as an adult I think about events that occurred at a comparable time from the present.

      When I was a child, events that occurred, say, l0 or 20 years before I was born or before I knew about them as a child seemed positively antediluvian; when now, something that happened say, 30 or even 40 or 50 years ago seems just like yesterday.

      My sense of the ages of people was similar. People in their 20s were unfathomably old, now they’re children.

      1. Very nicely put, that’s exactly the feeling I have. Though people in their 40s or 50s from years ago look ancient compared to those of a similar age today. But then, their lives were much harsher.

        1. I graduated High School in 1978–42 years ago. It doesn’t seem THAT long ago. But 42 years before that, it was 1936–World War II hadn’t happened yet. I recently realized that for my parents, the Depression and World War II must have seemed like recent memories in the 1970s. To me, they were ancient history.

          At my job, I work with college students. They are too young to remember 9/11.

  15. I know I’m being dreadfully unfair to him, but every time I read the name Szaron, I pronounce almost exactly like Sauron…which worked quite well for today’s Hili dialogue.

    1. According to Wiktionary the pronunciation is something like:

      The sh” from “shore”
      The “a” from “father” (but shorter)
      A trilled “r”
      The vowel sound from “walk” (but shorter)
      The “ny” sound from “canyon”.

      The stress is on the start of the name.

      1. And what sort of a tongue twister is mietek.

        The first record I remember is “Red Sails in the Sunset” I don’t remember who by. It was a big heavy (for me) 78. We had a wind up victrola. No electricity. We used a car battery to listen to the news on the radio and had to be careful not to listen too long as it would be run down.

  16. The first 45 I bought was Buddy Holley’s Peggy Sue and the first album (I think) was either a Ventures album or Dick Dale and the Deltones first album. That one had a 45 stuck on the front as a bonus.😀

    1. Yes, it’s quite arresting. Glancing quickly down the post, I stopped there, initially thinking it was a pre-Raphaelite painting.

  17. Thanks for the Puckle gun. “The Protestant Cause” sounds like it might be from an early version of The Onion. (Punch?) But it’s deadly serious, of course.

    1. According to Wikipedia, “Puckle demonstrated two configurations of the basic design: one, intended for use against Christian enemies, fired conventional round bullets, while the second, designed to be used against the Muslim Turks, fired square bullets. The square bullets were considered to be more damaging. They would, according to the patent, “convince the Turks of the benefits of Christian civilization”.”

      You can see the two different shapes in the design diagram PCC(E) posted above.

      1. That’s crazy. I love it — differently shaped bullets for Christians and Muslims.

        Love his name, too, Puckle.

  18. Think the wren feeding the baby blue tits is something? Take a gander at this mother cat nursing her ducklings along with her kittens

  19. Fooey. It’s worth watching. I’ll try another link. There are several videos of the cat and her babies. For those interested, if the link below doesn’t work, just Google “cat nurses ducklings.” I guess they got the nourishment they needed (surely supplemented) because at the end of the video there are some teen-aged ducklings waddling behind their mom.

      1. That is a seriously strange video clip! The ducklings think they’re mammals??! And the mother cat lets them get on with it?!

  20. I couldn’t sleep hardly at all last night because the weather has brought migraines and over all body pain. I actually go to see an orthopaedic surgeon to discuss my foot tendon issues and right now both my hands and feet are swollen and sore with this horrid weather.

    1. I meant to say Tuesday I got to the surgeon so I guess he thought I was an urgent enough case….

      1. You have my sympathy. It must be grueling to live with all those infirmities. I don’t know how you can endure all that. Hope the orthopaedic surgeon was able to do something about your tendon problem.

  21. Interspecific parental care. Is this wren afflicted by such a strong parental instinct that it will feed a blue tit?

    Meanwhile, the wren is looking down at all the people walking their dogs going “suckers”.

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