Sunday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Ceiling Cat’s Day: Sunday, May 31, 2020. We are almost into June now! It’s National Macaroon Day (macarons, the French version, are a horrible yuppie fad about a mediocre cookie), National Meditation Day, National Smile DayWorld Parrot Day, and Speak in Complete Sentences Day (we all must be Hitchenses).

News of the Day: On top of the pandemic, protests, sometimes violent, are spreading throughout the U.S. after the apparent murder of George Floyd by police in Minneapolis. Here’s the New York Times‘s map of where all protests (many nonviolent) are happening:

I’ll have a bit more to say about this later today, but what the cops did deserves murder and other charges (one has been charged) as well as investigations of racism among certain police departments. On the other hand, there can be no justification for violent responses by the public accompanied by looting, shooting, and burning.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 103,775, an increase of about a thousand from yesterday. The world toll now stands at 368,737.

Stuff that happened on May 31 includes:

  • 1669 – Citing poor eyesight as a reason, Samuel Pepys records the last event in his diary.
  • 1859 – The clock tower at the Houses of Parliament, which houses Big Ben, starts keeping time.
  • 1889 – Johnstown Flood: Over 2,200 people die after a dam fails and sends a 60-foot (18-meter) wall of water over the town of Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

Here’s some of the damage in Johnstown from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette:

  • 1911 – The RMS Titanic is launched in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Here’s a poignant video of Captain Edward Smith inspecting the ship before its first voyage, which of course was its last:

  • 1921 – The Tulsa race riot kills at least 39, but other estimates of black fatalities vary from 55 to about 300.
  • 1942 – World War II: Imperial Japanese Navy midget submarines begin a series of attacks on Sydney, Australia.
  • 1970 – The 7.9 Mw  Ancash earthquake shakes Peru with a maximum Mercalli intensity of VIII (Severe) and a landslide buries the town of Yungay, Peru. Between 66,794–70,000 were killed and 50,000 were injured.
  • 2005 – Vanity Fair reveals that Mark Felt was “Deep Throat”.
  • 2008 – Usain Bolt breaks the world record in the 100m sprint, with a wind-legal (+1.7 m/s) 9.72 seconds.

The new record, also set by Bolt, is 9.58 seconds. Here’s a video of that record. The man is amazing.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1819 – Walt Whitman, American poet, essayist, and journalist (d. 1892)
  • 1866 – John Ringling, American entrepreneur; one of the founders of the Ringling Brothers Circus (d. 1936)
  • 1930 – Clint Eastwood, American actor, director, musician, and producer

Clint is 90 today!

  • 1943 – Joe Namath, American football player, sportscaster, and actor
  • 1965 – Brooke Shields, American model, actress, and producer

Those who made their final exit on May 31 include:

If you don’t remember Elizabeth Blackwell, she was the first woman to get a medical degree in the U.S. Here she is with a quote:

  • 1976 – Jacques Monod, French biologist and geneticist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)
  • 1983 – Jack Dempsey, American boxer and lieutenant (b. 1895)
  • 1985 – Gaston Rébuffat, French mountaineer and author (b. 1921)
  • 2006 – Raymond Davis, Jr., American physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1914)
  • 2013 – Jean Stapleton, American actress (b. 1923)

Stapleton’s role as Edith Bunker in All in the Family is one of the greatest roles ever, and in what I think is the best television sitcom ever. Here she is (as Stapleton, not Edith) discussing the show’s treatment of racism and bigotry:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Editor Hili is showing another catlike behavior:

Hili: Will this vase fall when I jump over the table?
A: It’s possible.
Hili: I have to try.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy ten wazon może się przewrócić jak przeskoczę na stolik?
Ja: Może.
Hili: Muszę spróbować.

A meme from Bruce Thiel:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Antonio D’Ignoti’s Facebook page: Doctors do da Vinci:

A tweet from Gethyn. Those bears do look animated!

A tweet from Simon, another duckling rescue (it’s that time of year):

A tweet from Heather Hastie via Ann German. Look at this albino whale! Call me Ishmael.

Tweets from Matthew. First, Mennonites protesting racial injustice!

I may have posted this one before, but if I have, you can bloody well see it again:

As Matthew noted with this one, “Make Darwin sick.” That refers to this quote from Darwin in 1860: “The sight of a feather in a peacock’s tail makes me sick.” He didn’t understand extreme sexual dimorphism like that in the peacock, but later, in 1871, proposed his theory of sexual selection.

Beep beep!

A superb bumblebee mimic, but it’s a fly (it has only two wings: “Dipteran”)


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Everything looked normal on your site this morning. If the protest map included yesterday, the Times missed Wichita on their map. There was a sizable one downtown yesterday.

    You could tell who the Mennonites were in the video. They were the ones without masks.

  2. Roger
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    That’s actually a video of the Olympic. During the Captain’s inspection you can see the letters “OLYM” peeking through the animated scribbles.

    • Kevin Patfield
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

      Yes I noticed that too. There’s s similarly ham-fisted attempt to obscure the names on the stern of the tugs at the end of the film.

      I was amused by the fact that, rather than the high-tech video editing one may see today, it just looks as if the film emulsion has been scraped off frame by frame.

      Fascinating film nevertheless.

    • Posted June 1, 2020 at 12:15 am | Permalink

      Good eye. I’ve pored through all things Titanic for years and was surprised that I could have missed such a film clip.

  3. Jim batterson
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    A quick note to space fans: the spacex capsule ISS approach and docking is being carried live on website now and for the next hour or so…i think they actually dock around 1000 edt. Just click through two watch demo-2 buttons. Pretty neat views of module from station with earth in background. Also live communications.

  4. GBJames
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    So nice to see the old familiar page format working again!

  5. merilee
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink


  6. rickflick
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    “The new record, also set by Bolt, is 9.58 seconds” – The hundred yard dash must be the shortest duration event in sports. Think of Cricket!

    • EdwardM
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      I think the shortest competition is likely NHRA drag racing with times under 4 seconds.

      • rickflick
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        Gracious me!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 31, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      That’s the hundred-metre dash, man. In international competition they use the metric system. You know the metric system, right — the reason they call a quarter-pounder a “royale with cheese” in Paris? 🙂

      • EdwardM
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        Well, technically speaking, rickflick is still on track; 100 yards is almost 10 meters short of 100 meters.

        • rickflick
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

          See? What’d I tell ya.

      • rickflick
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Sorry (x-Canadian here). I grew up with using the king’s foot, etc.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted May 31, 2020 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

          As opposed to the Queen’s foot? (Which, you ask me, she should keep planted up Prince Charles’s ass.) 🙂

          • grasshopper
            Posted May 31, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            That’s how he got named the Prince of Wails.

    • Posted May 31, 2020 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

      Indoor athletics has a 60 metre sprint event. It takes less than 70 seconds.

      • Posted May 31, 2020 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

        7 seconds!

      • rickflick
        Posted May 31, 2020 at 2:08 pm | Permalink

        Really! Never heard of it. Probably because it’s already over between blinks.

        • Posted June 1, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          Between six and seven seconds according to the Wikipedia page on the World Indoor Athletics Championship.

  7. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I’m still having problems with this new site. Every video I try to watch I get the message “The media could not be played”.

  8. Posted May 31, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    If I view the site through the wordpress viewer, I can comment as my wordpress user id, but if I come to the site through its URL, it doesn’t know who I am. That’s in spite of clicking on the “log in with wordpress” link that appears at the bottom right hand side of the page.

  9. Steve Pollard
    Posted May 31, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    National Macaroon Day reminds me of the terrible old joke (to be recited in a Scottish accent):

    – Tell me, is that a macaroon or a meringue?

    – No, you’re right, it is a macaroon.

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