Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

May 16, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Saturday, May 16, 2020. It’s National Barbecue Day, celebrating a style of cooking found around the world but reaches its apogee in America, specifically at the City Market in Luling, Texas. It’s also National Mimosa Day (the drink, not the tree), National Coquilles St. Jacques Day (national? it’s a French dish!), and National Piercing Day.

News of the day: Still bad and will be for a while. Yesterday the House voted to send a $3 trillion relief package to state and local governments, but the Senate will not pass it.  The House also will be voting remotely for a while—the first time in history this has happened. Finally, the Chief Moron promised to have a coronavirus vaccine available at the end of the year. Good luck, Donald! Perhaps it’s possible, but most experts think otherwise. I hope so, but Trump has always proceeded on wishful thinking.

The official death toll from Covid-19 now stands at 88,237 in the U.S. (predicted to exceed 100,000 by June 1), and roughly 300,000 in the world.

On the brighter side, Sylvia Goldscholl of New Jersey survived the coronavirus. She also weathered the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic. Goldscholl, who lives in a nursing home, is 108—the oldest survivor of the cornavirus in America.

And, with the duckling ramp empty of turtles this morning, most of the ducks followed Honey up the ramp. A screenshot from PondCam with one climbing up. They are peripatetic little buggers!

Stuff that happened on May includes:

  • 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England.
  • 1770 – The 14-year-old Marie Antoinette marries 15-year-old Louis-Auguste, who later becomes king of France.
  • 1866 – The United States Congress establishes the nickel

Here’s that first nickel. Curiously, the Mint also struck “half dimes” with the same value, a coin that wasn’t abolished until 1873:

  • 1888 – Nikola Tesla delivers a lecture describing the equipment which will allow efficient generation and use of alternating currents to transmit electric power over long distances.
  • 1920 – In Rome, Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan of Arc.

It was a tough battle to make Joan a saint; as Wikipedia notes:

However, the path to sainthood did not go smoothly. On 20 August 1902, the papal consistory rejected adding Joan to the Calendar of saints, citing: she launched the assault on Paris on the birthday of Mary, mother of Jesus; her capture (“proof” her claim that she was sent by God was false); her attempts to escape from prison; her abjure after being threatened with death; and doubts of her purity. On 17 November 1903, the Sacred Congregation of Rites met to discuss Joan’s cause at the behest of Pope Pius X. A decree proclaiming Joan’s heroic virtue was issued on 6 January 1904 by Cardinal Serafino Cretoni, and Pius proclaimed her venerable on 8 January.The Decree of the Three Miracles was issued on 13 December 1908, and The Decree of Beatification was read five days later, which was issued formally by the Congregation of Rites on 24 January 1909.

Purity? Do you have to be a virgin to be a saint? Catholics, answer me here?

  • 1929 – In Hollywood, the first Academy Awards ceremony takes place.
  • 1951 – The first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights begin between Idlewild Airport (now John F Kennedy International Airport) in New York City and Heathrow Airport in London, operated by El Al Israel Airlines.
  • 1991 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom addresses a joint session of the United States Congress. She is the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.

Notables born on this day were few, and include:

  • 1905 – Henry Fonda, American actor (d. 1982)
  • 1919 – Liberace, American pianist and entertainer (d. 1987)
  • 1950 – Georg Bednorz, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate

Those who gave up the ghost on this day include:

  • 1830 – Joseph Fourier, French mathematician and physicist (b. 1768)
  • 1953 – Django Reinhardt, Belgian guitarist and composer (b. 1910)

Django is one of my jazz heroes. A Romani, he was badly injured in a fire as a youth, and could use only two fingers for effective jazz guitar: the index and middle fingers on his left hand. His pinky and ring finger were used to help make chords. You can see that in the video below. Despite that, he was the best and swingingest jazz guitarist in history, especially when paired with his pal, jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli.

Listen to that two-fingered player swing!

  • 1955 – James Agee, American novelist, screenwriter, and critic(b. 1909)
  • 1957 – Eliot Ness, American federal agent (b. 1903)

Eliot Ness was, of course, played on television in “The Untouchables” by the handsome Robert Stack. But he looked nothing like Stack; here’s the real Ness:

  • 1984 – Andy Kaufman, American actor, comedian, and screenwriter (b. 1949)
  • 1990 – Sammy Davis Jr., American singer, dancer, and actor (b. 1925)
  • 2019 – I. M. Pei, Chinese-American architect (b.1917) 

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows an unusual solicitude for mice.  I don’t think it’s a gesture of compassion, though.

Hili: I’m wondering.
A: What about?
Hili: Shouldn’t we put out bowls of water for the mice?
In Polish:
Hili: Zastanawiam się.
Ja: Nad czym?
Hili: Czy nie powinno się wystawiać myszom miseczek z wodą?
Nearby, Leon is sarcastic about the praise garnered by the latest picture of Mietek (see it in yesterday’s Hili):
Leon: Where did Mietek the celebrity disappear to?
In Polish: Gdzie się podział Mietek celebryta?

A bonus photo of all of Matthew’s cats. In order from left to right: Ollie, Pepper, and Harry. Ollie was the miscreant who laid my nose open with a deft swipe of his claw:

Two pandemic memes from Bruce Thiel:

From Jesus of the Day:

A scene from After Life that moved one viewer. I really must see this series!

From pyers, who says, “A goose has laid her eggs in the main booking hall of York Station  in the UK.  I suspect that the lockdown and the lack of passengers has helped a lot but ….”

Well, watch the video. That’s a golden goose; I only hope they find a way to transport it to suitable habitat.

From Simon. Jacinda Ardern has handled the pandemic in her country (New Zealand) perhaps better than any other national leader.

Tweets from Matthew. First, a palindrome:

You can’t get more atmospheric than this short video. What a graceful bird!

There are no words. This would be hilarious if the man didn’t run the country.

I’m told that if you draw a circle or square on the ground, a cat will enter it. Well, this supports that theory:

A heartwarmer (read the story at The Dodo). A stray mama cat and all her babies are rescued and adopted:




20 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

  1. I do not think the UK government has been a shining example but comparing it with New Zealand which has not got a city of 8+ million is not really sensible. The World Service had a vey good programme this week looking at why Germany seems to have escaped so lightly. One of many reasons is to do with the lack of massive cities. Germany has only Berlin at 3 million & the population is far more spread out. A doctor interviews said he suspected air pollution was a contributory factor & chlorine in water in relation to the immune system.

    1. Good points Dominic, although I think the idiot Prime Minister has handled the situation very badly. Outside of his love for Brexit he seems quite inept.

      A point made in an interview with a researcher and government adviser from the Charitie in Berlin was that Angela Merkel is a scientist and as such was easy to discuss the situation with and willing to accept ideas based on science alone, not political ideology. This has certainly helped Germany.

      1. There’s no doubt Johnson has made mistakes. With my 20/20 hindsight, I can see we should have locked down a week or even two weeks earlier. However, a week earlier, there were only a handful of cases in the UK and a couple of deaths. The lockdown is “guaranteed recession, lots of people losing their livelihoods”. It would take a very brave person to enforce one at a point when the risk seems very low.

        London is a city of about nine million people. That’s nearly two times the population of the whole of New Zealand packed into an area approximately 1/200th the size. An additional one to two million people travel in to London every morning and then travel out again every evening taking whatever viruses they have picked up with them.

        Furthermore, nearly 40 million tourists visit the UK each year. That’s equivalent to the entire population of New Zealand visiting Britain eight times every year.

        It’s invidious to compare the UK response with that of a country like New Zealand. The problem of controlling the virus is literally an order of magnitude worse.

    2. The video was simply comparing the responses of the two countries’ leaders. If Johnson had acted sooner and not gone swanning around shaking hands with Covid patients the situation in the UK would be better than it is.

      1. She is a sensible rational humanitarian, he is …an old Etonian!
        However you banned me from discussing C-word 19 with you! 🤓😱

    3. You play the hand you’re dealt and it may be that large cities represent a worse hand to play.

      But you can play any hand skillfully or stupidly. The UK, like the US, has played this game like a couple of morons.

    4. Yes, the video is unfairly correlating the differing strategies with the differing results. Would have been better to compare the strategies to common sense — New Zealand (or Germany) also doesn’t have a leader who shook hands with Corona patients and then bragged about it and then got sick.

      One might also note that it was made by Momentum, the group of loons whose fanatical devotion to the pathetic dope Corbyn pushed the UK into voting in the spectacularly incompetent Johnson just to avoid the catastrophe of a Corbyn government.

      Noteworthy that Momentum compared Johnson to Ahern, not to any statements of actions of Corbyn, who is clueless on all forms of admin, and doesn’t even understand or practice physical distancing.

    5. It’s dubious if we can ever compare the epidemic models of actual statistics, it seems every pandemic differ in so much detail.

      I would call those videos “populist”, which ironically was mentioned by one of the people in it. They are meaningless as for now, and all they can do is affect politics that should be very clear (keep social distancing, et cetera).

  2. It is good to know there are some intelligent people in the world. Most of them in New Zealand it seems. Over here the chief moron promises like Hoover, a chicken in every pot.

  3. It was a tough battle to make Joan [of Arc] a saint …

    Yeah, well, the Siege of Orléans was no walk in the park, either.

  4. Do you have to be a virgin to be a saint? Catholics, answer me here?

    Oh, hell no. Mary Magdalene was canonized, despite the RCC’s having pretty much portrayed her as a reformed hooker over the years.

    1. Mother Seton, America’s first saint was married with children, and St. Monica, St. Augustine’s mother, had several children. I’m sure there are more, though not many.

  5. Today is also the birthday of Robert Fripp, guitarist and leader of the band King Crimson for fifty-one years (he is the sole remaining founding member), born in 1946. It is also the birthday of Fripp’s wife, singer Toyah Willcox, birn in 1958.

  6. Re: the Trump video snippet.

    Yes Trump is a wreck, and that was typical of his absolute butchery of language and thinking.

    That said, it seemed clear to me what he meant, what he was so awkwardly trying to say: that the bravery of the medical staff on the front line, facing death and threats to their own life, is like that of soldiers marching in to enemy fire. And in that sense it’s a “beautiful thing to see,” clearly meaning their bravery and commitment, not “it’s beautiful to see doctor’s dying” as some people seem ready to interpret it.

    Still, even as a Canadian I have enough concern with our being joined-at-the-hip to a USA ruled by this guy and it’s literally impossible for me to contemplate another 4 years of Trump. I mean, it’s like my mind just goes blank or in to gray fog at the very idea of “Trump Wins!” for a second time.

  7. The numerical palindrome reminded me that I realized once upon a time that 987654321-123456789 = 864197532, a seemingly random arrangement of digits in which each number from 1-9 appears once, and only once. I thought this was curious.

    I tried this in other bases, and it seemed to hold for even-numbered ones like Base 8, but not odd-numbered ones like Base 9. I have no idea if this is true, and, even if it is, if it means anything at all.

    Larry Smith

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