Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Thursday, May 28, 2020, and it’s National Brisket Day. What I wouldn’t give for a plate of Texas barbecued brisket, and I wonder if the esteemed pitmasters of that state have still been tending their fires during the pandemic, keeping a takeout business going purveying the world’s best barbecued meat. It’s also International Hamburger Day, cultural appropriation by furriners of an American comestible. It’s also Menstrual Hygiene Day, and The Slugs Return from Capistrano Day (read about it at the link)

The week so far has been good in Chicago, and I’m talking about the weather. It’s been partly cloudy and a bit muggy, but mostly sunny. That will changes today, with thunderstorms predicted. Good weather for ducks, as they say.

News of the day: Good and bad.  The University of Connecticut college student Peter Manfredonia, suspected of killing two, has been apprehended by the law after a six-day manhunt. China has further tightened its grip on Hong Kong by passing new security laws that will suppress dissent. The law takes effect in September, when the democratic Hong Kong as I knew it will be effectively gone.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll has finally passed the 100,000 mark, and though that’s an arbitrary landmark, it’s higher than most people expected. The U.S. toll is now 100,426, and the world toll is now 355,515.

Stuff that happened on May 28 includes:

  • 585 BC – A solar eclipse occurs, as predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales, while Alyattes is battling Cyaxares in the Battle of Halys, leading to a truce. This is one of the cardinal dates from which other dates can be calculated.
  • 1871 – The Paris Commune falls after two months.
  • 1892 – In San Francisco, John Muir organizes the Sierra Club.
  • 1934 – Near Callander, Ontario, Canada, the Dionne quintuplets are born to Oliva and Elzire Dionne; they will be the first quintuplets to survive infancy.

Here’s a newsreel from two years after the birth. Now, of course, with medical implantation, this is no huge deal, but back then it was sensational news around the world. And two of them are still alive:

Here are the three survivors,Yvonne, Cécile and Annette Dionne in 1999. As you can see, they were identical quintuplets.

  • 1936 – Alan Turing submits On Computable Numbers for publication.
  • 1937 – Volkswagen, the German automobile manufacturer is founded.
  • 1961 – Peter Benenson’s article The Forgotten Prisoners is published in several internationally read newspapers. This will later be thought of as the founding of the human rights organization Amnesty International.
  • 1987 – A West German pilot, Mathias Rust, who was 18 years old, evades Soviet Union air defences and lands a private plane in the Red Square in Moscow, Russia. He is immediately detained and released on August 3, 1988.

As Wikipedia notes, “Rust said he wanted to create an “imaginary bridge” to the East, and that his flight was intended to reduce tension and suspicion between the two Cold War sides.” Here’s a video of Rust today and some rare footage of his landing:


  • 1999 – In Milan, Italy, after 22 years of restoration work, Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece The Last Supper is put back on display.
  • 2002 – The last steel girder is removed from the original World Trade Center site. Cleanup duties officially end with closing ceremonies at Ground Zero in Manhattan, New York City.
  • 1807 – Louis Agassiz, Swiss-American paleontologist and geologist (d. 1873)

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1807 – Louis Agassiz, Swiss-American paleontologist and geologist (d. 1873)
  • 1888 – Jim Thorpe, American decathlete, football player, and coach (d. 1953)
  • 1912 – Patrick White, Australian novelist, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1990)
  • 1916 – Walker Percy, American novelist and essayist (d. 1990)
  • 1918 – Johnny Wayne, Canadian comedian (d. 1990)
  • 1968 – Kylie Minogue, Australian singer-songwriter, producer, and actress

Notables who went the way of all flesh on May 28 were few; I have only two:

  • 1849 – Anne Brontë, English novelist and poet (b. 1820)
  • 2014 – Maya Angelou, American memoirist and poet (b. 1928)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is jealous of the Pope! (It’s true that monuments to Pope John Paul is everywhere in Poland):

Hili: I’ve noticed a serious problem.
A: What problem?
Hili: There are too many monuments of John Paul II and too few of me.
In Polish:
Hili: Dostrzegam poważny problem.
Ja: Jaki?
Hili: Jest zbyt wiele pomników Jana Pawła II, a za mało moich.
And here’s the new cat in the household, Szaron, having a fine nap. Isn’t he lovely?

Here’s a portrait of Sammy the Duckling from Jean Greenberg:

. . . and meme from Bruce Thiel:

A really lousy argument posted by Phil Ferguson. It’s so lame that it’s not even worth the trouble of refuting:

From Sarah Lieno’s Facebook post:

Reader Ken sent this tweet, noting “This is how the Trump White House responds to the heartrending letter from the widower of the woman about whom Donald Trump has been spreading completely baseless murder conspiracy theories.” Sound up, of course, and here’s a bit of backstory:

From Wikipedia:

On July 20, 2001, one of Scarborough’s aides, Lori Klausutis, was found dead from a head injury in his office in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. The autopsy found that she had collapsed due to an undiagnosed heart condition and had struck her head. A theory that Scarborough was involved in the death was promoted by such people as publisher Markos Moulitsas and filmmaker Michael Moore, who registered the domain name Since 2017, as part of a war of words with Scarborough, President Donald Trump has raised this debunked theory and called for another investigation.

Just another of the “President’s” malicious acts, here justified by his press secretary, which must be the worst job in the world.

From Simon: Sarah Cooper has become more famous since, while in quarantine, she created a series of videos in which she lip-synchs some of Trump’s nonsense. Here she expands on her motives:


More of Sarah discussing her method on the Ellen show.

Simon also sent Cooper reprising Trump’s nonsense about insulin, now that he’s trying to reduce its price as a campaign gimmick:

From reader Barry; this 70-step Rube Goldberg device sure looks as if it were a product of extreme boredom during quarantine:

Tweets from Matthew. This first one isn’t cant: Darwin truly was a self-deprecating man:

Crikey, talk about constipation. . . .

What a fantastic find—and in what great shape after two millennia:


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    … and The Slugs Return from Capistrano Day …

    Mebbe so, but I can’t see that one ever being a hit for the Ink Spots, like the SWALLOWS returning TO Capistrano.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    2002 – The last steel girder is removed from the original World Trade Center site. Cleanup duties officially end with closing ceremonies at Ground Zero in Manhattan, New York City.

    Journalist William Langewiesche wrote an excellent book about the Ground Zero clean-up, American Ground, which began as a three-part series in The Atlantic. The first installment of that series can be accessed here.

  3. BJ
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    That Rube Goldberg machine was awesome.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      It was indeed, but at the I anticipated that one of the objects would hit a door of a nearby house and his mother wold come out and say, “Charles, you never pick up after yourself, please clean up that mess littering the yard NOW!”

      • boudiccadylis
        Posted May 28, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        Just imagine how much time energy and engineering it took to put that together. If I were he I’d point that out to mother for some reconsideration.
        It is awsome

    • Posted May 28, 2020 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      This is what biology looks like when you drill down on it.

  4. Jenny Haniver
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I could see Hili in a mitre, and I think she’d love it if her subjects knelt and kissed her right paw and brought offerings of unblemished mice.

    • boudiccadylis
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 8:29 am | Permalink


  5. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Re: Brisket Day
    City Market in Luling has a Facebook page.

    • mike cracraft
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      Rest assured that Texas BBQ is alive and well.
      Check out the latest issue of Texas Monthly magazine (maybe available on line).

  6. Roger
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait for the “deep fake” political propaganda. People already eat up the most idiotic made up propaganda without it looking like anything remotely real.

    • Deodand
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      It’s already happening, with all the bad/stupid things President Trump has done, it does the world no good to make things up about him, but in response to him spruiking the Lori Klausutis murder claims someone decided to make up a false murder/cover up claim about Trump.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Playwright and AIDS activist Larry Kramer died yesterday of pneumonia at age 84.

  8. boudiccadylis
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    I agree Szaron is gorgeous. I do so enjoy seeing his pictures and how well he’s become domesticated. Also I credit Hili with great tolerance and kindness towards him

  9. rickflick
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    I was curious about the restoration of The Last Supper and read that the entire chapel had to be restored into a controlled environment. The restorers used water color in many areas as a way to avoid overdoing the effect of repainting.

    I was then treated (youtube knows how to do this) to another film on the restoration of another of Leonardo’s great works, the long-lost painting “Salvator Mundi”. Now that’s quite a remarkable story. The painting ended up being restored and purchased for $450,000,000. The highest price ever.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

      You neglected to mention the upshot of the auction of the Salvator Mundi: purchased by Bandar Bush and perhaps residing on Muhammad bin Salman’s yacht.

      Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about it: “It was sold at auction for $450.3 million on 15 November 2017 by Christie’s in New York to Prince Badr bin Abdullah, setting a new record for most expensive painting ever sold at public auction.[10] Prince Badr allegedly made the purchase on behalf of Abu Dhabi’s Department of Culture and Tourism,[11][12] but it has since been posited that he may have been a stand-in bidder for his close ally and Saudi Arabian crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.[13] This follows late-2017 reports that the painting would be put on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi[14][15] and the unexplained cancellation of its scheduled September 2018 unveiling.[16] The current location of the painting has been reported as unknown,[13] but a June 2019 report stated that it was being stored on bin Salman’s luxury yacht, pending completion of a cultural center in Al-`Ula[17] and an October 2019 report indicated it may be in storage in Switzerland.[18]”


      • rickflick
        Posted May 28, 2020 at 11:18 am | Permalink

        Since the Arab princes are all Muslims, they should have little interest in a portrait of the Christian God. I suspect they might want to hold it for ransom if there is ever another Great Crusade.

  10. Jenny Haniver
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I like the portrait of Sammy the duckling very much.

    • Mark R.
      Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      Me too!

  11. MacSlernz
    Posted May 28, 2020 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    I am not a Trump supporter but Ms Cooper doesn’t seem much of a comedian to me. She’s just as boring as the man she is mimicking.

  12. sugould
    Posted May 29, 2020 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Sarah Cooper is genius. Doesn’t even tie her hair back to make her “look” more like trump. I can bear to listen to his idiocy, if she’s doing him.

  13. Colin McLachlan
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:16 am | Permalink


  14. Colin McLachlan
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    sub again!

  15. Adam K Gehr Jr
    Posted May 30, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    I can’t find your personal e-mail, so I’ll post this here. I went to your current web address and found the following:
    Warning! Domain mapping upgrade for this domain not found. Please log in and go to the Domains Upgrades page of your blog to use this domain.
    Apparently a wordpress problem.

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