Monday: Hili dialogue

May 25, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s the beginning of another lost week: Monday, May 25, 2020. It’s also Memorial Day,  a day to remember and honor those who died serving in the American armed forces.

But it’s also a good day because it’s National Wine Day. To quote The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam in the great Fitzgerald translation, which repeatedly sings paeans to win:

The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life’s leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

This is the lovely version of that book I have, given to me by my Uncle Moe when I was very young. I note that it goes for only $66 at Primus Estate Books. I find it odd now that Uncle Moe, who owned a chain of car-accessory stores, would have given me this book when I was only 11, as it’s a celebration of nonbelief and hedonism, but Moe was a warm and life-loving Jewish raconteur.

It’s also Memorial Day (tomorrow will be a holiday in the U.S.), and, for you Douglas Adams fan, Towel Day:

Towel Day celebrates author Douglas Adams and his best-known work, the science-fiction series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The day was first held on May 25, 2001, two weeks after Adams passed away on May 11, at the age of 49 from a heart attack. On the day, fans are to carry a towel to show their appreciation for the author and his books.

Why towels? It in Chapter 3 of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:

“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”

This site lists today’s Towel Day events.

Today’s Google Doodle is an odd one: a monochrome gray version of the Google logo. When you click on it, you go to a list of articles about Memorial Day.

Mashable adds that the Doodle will change a bit later today:

All day long, Google’s logo on its homepage will be posted in gray. And starting at 3 p.m. locally, the official National Moment of Remembrance, the entire desktop version of the page will turn gray. Users will also be able to play “Taps,” the bugle call performed at Armed Forces memorials and funerals.

News of the Day: Depressing as usual. The New York Times now has online its “100,000 Deaths” cover, which involves a sample of 1,000 coronavirus victims with brief biographies.  The story behind that cover is here.

Brazil is being horribly ravaged by the pandemic, and yesterday “President Trump” banned travelers from Brazil, save U.S. citizens, from entering our country.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll is 98,035 from the U.S., and about 345,000 worldwide.

Stuff that happened on May 25 include:

  • 240 BC – First recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.
  • 1521 – The Diet of Worms ends when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, issues the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw.

I bet the delegates were really glad they could get back to eating normal food again!

  • 1878 – Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore opens at the Opera Comique in London.
  • 1895 – Playwright, poet, novelist and aesthete Oscar Wilde is convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons” and sentenced to serve two years in prison.
  • 1925 – Scopes TrialJohn T. Scopes is indicted for teaching Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution in Tennessee.

Here’s Scopes during the “monkey trial”. Note that he was not indicted for teaching “Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution,” but for teaching human evolution, which was the illegality. It wasn’t illegal to teach evolution of nonhuman organisms.

  • 1953 – The first public television station in the United States officially begins broadcasting as KUHT from the campus of the University of Houston.
  • 1961 – Apollo program: U.S. President John F. Kennedy announces before a special joint session of the Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the Moon” before the end of the decade.

Here’s a short video of Kennedy’s speech before Congress that day:

  • 1977 – Star Wars is released in theaters.
  • 1978 – The first bomb of a series of bombings orchestrated by the Unabomber detonates at Northwestern University resulting in minor injuries.
  • 2001 – Erik Weihenmayer becomes the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, in the Himalayas, with Dr. Sherman Bull.

Here’s Weihenmayer atop Everest. He’s also climbed the Seven Summits: the highest summit on each continent. He’s been blind since age 13:

And here’s Oprah’s farewell on this day in 2011:

  • 2012 – The SpaceX Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with the International Space Station.
  • 2018 – Ireland votes to repeal the Eight Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, prohibiting abortion in all but a few cases, choosing to replace it with the Thirty-Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1803 – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and philosopher (d. 1882). This is reader Laurie Sindoni’s favorite writer.
  • 1865 – Pieter Zeeman, Dutch physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1943)
  • 1887 – Padre Pio, Italian priest and saint (d. 1968)

Padre Pio is know for his stigmata: the appearance of crucifixion-like wounds in his hands. We don’t know how he did it, but I’d bet a lot that they were self-inflicted, as many have been found to be. Here’s the duplicitous padre and his wounds. (I think they’re in the wrong place for a crucifixion, as they would have put the nails through the wrists.)

  • 1889 – Igor Sikorsky, Russian-American aircraft designer, founded Sikorsky Aircraft (d. 1972)
  • 1969 – Anne Heche, American actress

Those who drew their last breath on May 25 include:

  • 1805 – William Paley, English priest and philosopher (b. 1743)
  • 1954 – Robert Capa, Hungarian photographer and journalist (b. 1913)
  • 2003 – Sloan Wilson, American author and poet (b. 1920)

Capa was best known for his war photos, and was killed when stepping on a landmine in Indochina. Here’s one of his photos of refugees from the Spanish Civil war heading for France:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, today we have a “Spot the Hili” photo:

A: This picture is good for nothing.
Hili: Why? Let them look for me.
In Polish:
Ja: To zdjęcie do niczego się nie nadaje.
Hili: Dlaczego? Niech mnie szukają.

Here’s a photo of the orphan duckling Sam, whom I had the great pleasure of taking care of for two days before he was given to a local wildlife center for rehabbing.

From Jesus of the Day: a children’s book:

Reader Paul says “This is a bit cruel, but it made me smile.” (The photo of Darwin, of course, is a fake.)

More religious insanity about the pandemic, this one posted by Phil Ferguson. I assume the photo is authentic. After all, an atheist couldn’t make something like this up:


Titania discusses the tweets of Clementine Ford, which we saw yesterday:

Two tweets from reader Barry, who adds that he was impressed with the first one because he’s “never seen such fierce competition for the Darwin award”. Sound up, please.

I’m not sure where this is, but if there’s a violation of every form of social distancing and mask wearing, it’s this one:

From Simon. Andrew Sullivan mocks the woke humanities. Be sure to read the whole quote in the original tweet.

Tweets from Matthew, who says that this is “a dog tweet you can get behind”. I often feel just like this hound, but I keep silent. . . .

Footy is back, but the geese may resist. Matthew explains this one: “CFA = City Football Academy, the area around the City ground in East Manchester where they train etc.” Look at those tiny velociraptors!

A beautiful morning scene from a location I don’t know. The ducklings emit their “I am lost” distress calls, but apparently find their parents. Sound up:

I may have posted this before, but who cares? A pot partly made by paw would be a valuable pot indeed!



49 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Manchester City can be glad they’ve only got geese. Berlin’s (lame) club, Hertha BSC, usually gets overrun by wild boar, without or without lockdown. A few years ago they built a new training ground and laid a nice new playing field. First time they turned up to training they found the boar had made a hole in the fence and torn the whole pitch to shreds. That roll-out lawn stuff tears up very nicely!

      1. Yes, the error was only in the list of events related to 25 May. Such lists are often error prone, as fewer editors seem to keep an eye on them than on regular Wikipedia articles.

  2. I saw Star Wars when it came out. My childish childhood assessment of the film was that:

    1) Star Trek was way better.
    2) Why couldn’t they get a prettier princess.
    3) Why so many pink things like pink lasers
    and pink planets.
    4) Storm troopers are really dumb.
    5) Why no more famous people other than Alec
    and the Darth Vader famous voice. Usually
    movies have more famous people.

      1. Apparently, Guinness had a hunch the film might do well. So he forwent his upfront fee and instead took a percentage of the gross. Needless to say, this ended up being quite lucrative for Guinness.


    1. I have a confession to make. I don’t like Star Wars or either of the two following films and never bothered with any others after them. I tell people that I don’t like Star Wars and they look at me like they suddenly realize I have three heads.

      I was 17 when it came out and I was excited to see it. I went to opening night and was thrilled and had high expectations because my friends did. I’m not a big fan of special effects but that opening scene was impressive (for the day).

      But it’s like eating fried food – fish and chips, that sort of thing. At first, especially if you’re hungry, it’s just so good. But after a few bites you start getting a little less enthusiastic. It suddenly seems, well, kinda gross. Pretty soon you put it down and go “ugh. That’s enough”.

      I tried with the Star Wars, I really did. I even went back and saw the first one again thinking I must have missed something. Terrible acting, idiotic script and that golden robot was THE most annoying film character of all time. I was sick of him in the first five minutes. But by the time those stupid little teddy bears came around, I said; “ugh. That’s enough”.

      Been meaning to get that off my chest. I’ll leave quietly while you all stare in disgust.

        1. That’s the long eared thing (what the hell was it?) in one of the later movies. It’s impossible to have missed the reference to it; I know it was highly disliked. But I wasn’t kidding when I said I haven’t seen any of the others in the series.

          Let me guess though – a cartoon character; lovable and goofy with a secret strength which redeems his ridiculous nature? I bet that’s close. A classic Lucas lead-your-audience-by-the-nose self-indulgent, boring and relentlessly maudlin character. It’s his stock in trade.

      1. I took my kids to Star Wars when They were quite young. Had no interest in seeing any of the follow-ups (or Star Trek…).

      2. I thought the first two Star Wars films were well-made and enjoyable sci-fi adventures, but hardly immortal masterpieces of cinema. What really irritates me is that the Star Wars franchise has undeservedly become a cornerstone of American pop culture. It occupies a ridiculously cultural space that is hardly merited. But I suppose in most cases mass popularity results from appealing to the lowest common denominator. There have been very few super-super-popular cultural phenomena that were also super-super-good. Chaplin and The Beatles are two rare examples.

        1. I agree with this, including thinking the first 2 movies were pretty good [not great] and the third one lousy–when I saw that blue elephant muppet in the third movie, I said “Really!? It looks like something somebody made in Arts & Crafts.” I never saw any of the original movies more than once, and never bothered with any of the others. I also thought the Indiana Jones movies were lame after the first one–and I dislike that one once Indy rides around on the outside of the submarine. Again, I only saw it once.

          I also made several attempts to read “The Lord of the Rings;” it was huuuge when I was in High School [the 1970s] and it sounded so cool. I could never get into it.

          As for Star Trek, I never cared for the first TV series, although I did enjoy the movies. I also liked “The Next Generation,” both the show and the movies. I’ve never seen any of the other TV series or movies.

          I’m a disgrace to nerds.

    2. Bizarrely, my first ever paid employment was dressing up as Darth Vader to promote the film coming to my local cinema. I originally applied to get the weird job where you tore a cinema ticket in half and added it to a long thread using a darning needle, but got talked into doing the promotional appearance too.

      Every week, the Darth Vader money appeared in my wages envelope as overtime at double my hourly rate. And every week for the first month or two I pointed out the error to the cinema manager. In the end, I gave up and just kept taking the cash. I didn’t quite make as much from the film as Alec Guinness, but at the time as a sixteen-year-old I felt I was doing OK!

      I also got to see Star Wars a stupid number of times, but never the beginning or the end because my ticket tearing and door opening duties clashed with those crucial parts of the film! It was years before I got to see the movie in one sitting, probably when it was broadcast on TV one Christmas.

  3. The crazy pool party was at Lake of the Ozarks about 100 miles west of St Louis. Given that probably a majority of those people could be from St. Louis where I live, I will remain hunkered down for a while longer even though Missouri has “opened” as of a week ago.

    1. Well, you know what they say in Missouri – Show Me. They were just there to do that…

        1. Yes, I would say except for the two urban areas of St. Louis and Kansas City it is a hopeless cause.

          1. That defines the whole split personality of the US. City vs Country. Over the past decades, people born rural were gradually sorted by the degree of willingness to move to urban areas to pursue education, careers, etc. Those that remained lean tRump.

    2. Ozark – just a few years ago, I wouldn’t have known what to do with that term. But through the Netflix series Ozark, I now have at least an idea of the area and the landscape. And I also have the slang of the language in my ears through the actors who embody the locals, interestingly the prosody increases towards the end. The series is brilliant and I watch it now for the second time.

  4. RE: 2012 SpaceX Dragon first commercial spacecraft to International SpaceStation – SpaceX launch of first CREWED commercial craft to ISS scheduled for 4:30pm EDT from Cape Kennedy this wednesday. Two veteran nasa astronauts are the crew. It appeared that Nasa had traded in their transport van for a tesla with license plate ISSBND for the astronaut transport to the rocket for the launch simulation this weekend. Musk is quite the marketeer, but it looks like nasa still oversees the flight readiness reviews. This is first human launch from u.s. since retirement of space shuttles and still very tricky business.

    1. I’m looking forward to it. First time with people on it, a real landmark for SpaceX and NASA. The weather may not hold; scrub date is Saturday. Discovery channel has Wed launch live.

      1. Yes. Late afternoon weather at the cape and downrange is a wild card at this time of year. I have not checked but spacex should carry the mission online also and they have had good commentary on recent past missions. Much better than the usual nasa pao or pio people had become.

  5. Reading the comments under the Ozarks tweet was a mistake. I find myself hoping people will die. Not healthy.

  6. Hilo I see you. You’re not very well hidden especially with your nose sticking out. Too bad I was looking for a puzzle.

    I don’t have a problem if adults want to sacrifice themselves for some diety or another but I do have a problem putting children in harms way. In fact I thought that was an enforcibe crime to do so in this country. I think it would be appropriate to call this to the public’s attention. I wonder how many gun toten parents we could call out. Would they have gained Covid 19 or the laws promulgated in their behalf.

    Star Wars vs Star Trek. Guess I’m a Trek person. The stories seem to have more substance.

  7. Padre Pio is know for his stigmata: the appearance of crucifixion-like wounds in his hands.

    When I was a young Catholic schoolboy, must’ve been around second grade (which would put it the same year JFK gave his moonshot speech), a priest who had been to Italy to visit Padre Pio came to my school to give a presentation about it. The entire school body attended, in the school’s basement, which doubled as an assembly hall. The priest went on and on about it for a whole afternoon; put on a slide show with close-ups of Pio’s wounds and everything.

    It creeped me the fuck out. I couldn’t sleep that night. I mean, I wanted to love the Lord as much as the next kid, the way the nuns and priests told us we were supposed to. But no way in hell did I want to go through that to prove it (the visiting priest and the rest of the clergy in attendance having explained to us that it was a sign of Padre Pio’s great faith that the Lord had “rewarded” with the stigmata).

    Haven’t thought about that experience in, I dunno, decades at least.

    1. This kind of biblical woo reminds me of that time when I was an undergraduate at Southern Connecticut State University when a Catholic guy came to visit campus with the “holy relic” which was one of the gloves that covered Padre Pio’s stigmatized hands. S

      I went to that meeting out of curiosity and stayed there for about ten minutes. Supposedly, you’d be blessed if you touched the relic. I got my turn with the relic, assuming that things would be stay the same as a null hypothesis if I touched it.

      Guess what happened?

      1. Well, WHAT?! You can’t just leave us in suspense!I

        For what it’s worth, the supposed hair from the beard of the prophet Mohammed in the Topkai Palace looked distinctly pubic to me – the religious devotees around me appeared not to notice.

        1. Nothing happened actually. I later managed to graduate and get a M.S. in Geosciences later on in Kansas.

          But hey, mysterious ways I suppose?

  8. Funniest thing about that howling/screaming dog is that I am pretty sure he was sound asleep and dreaming.

  9. Re. your Uncle Moe’s gifting of the Rubiyat, perhaps even stranger – I rec’d a copy of The Piltdown Forgery by my honorary Uncle Jess (Jackson), the grand old man of the English Dept @ W&M at age six.

    1. And I received Dr. Seuss’s Horton Hears a Who from Robert Oppenheimer when I was about 7. You could not make that incongruency up🤓

      1. “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds! Oh, and the bringer of children’s books.” Wow – that’s quite an impressive claim to fame, merilee!

        1. Very strange, I know. My dad was U.S. Consul in Martinique from ‘53-‘56 and the Oppenheimers were passing through and came for dinner. Not sure why they had Horton with them.

      2. Damn, girl, that ranks up there with Hall-of-Famer Harmon Killebrew autographing a science journal, in the shear-incongruity department. 🙂

  10. I have that exact same edition of Rubaiyat. My mother got it from the Book-of-the-Month club in 1947. She kept the invoice which was for $3.65.

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