Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Thursday, June 4, 2020: National Cheese Day. This makes me wish I were in France where great cheese are on tap everywhere. The best cheese I ever had was a three-year-old Comté that I bought at a market in Dijon. Although America increasingly has good cheese on tap, France is DA BOMB!

It’s also National Cognac Day, International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression, and Hug your Cat Day, which you should of course do, assuming your cat allows such behavior.

News of the Day: Totally depressing, and I am extra dispirited because of the duck episode yesterday. The protests over the murder of George Floyd seem to have become more peaceful, perhaps because all four officers involved have been charged—the “kneeler” with second-degree murder. All four cops face a maximum of 40 years in prison. But the protests continue over incidents of what are called “systemic racism” in America’s police departments. Trump hasn’t deployed the U.S. military in cities, though I’m sure he’d like to, but his advisers wisely counsel otherwise.

Former Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis lashed out at Trump’s divisive leadership style. A quote:

“Donald Trump is the first president in my lifetime who does not try to unite the American people — does not even pretend to try,” Mr. Mattis said in a statement. “Instead he tries to divide us. We are witnessing the consequences of three years of this deliberate effort. We are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership.”

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 107,071 , an increase of about a thousand from yesterday. The world toll now stands at 384,620, a one-day increase of about 4,700.

Stuff that happened on June 4 includes:

  • 1561 – The steeple of St Paul’s, the medieval cathedral of London, is destroyed in a fire caused by lightning and is never rebuilt.

But the cathedral was rebuilt after it was destroyed in the Great Fire of 1666. Here’s a reconstruction of “Old St. Paul’s” with the steeple that was destroyed:


  • 1783 – The Montgolfier brothers publicly demonstrate their montgolfière (hot air balloon).
  • 1896 – Henry Ford completes the Ford Quadricycle, his first gasoline-powered automobile, and gives it a successful test run.

And here’s Henry himself sitting in the Quadricycle, which was very expensive; this one now sits in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan:

  • 1917 – The first Pulitzer Prizes are awarded: Laura E. Richards, Maude H. Elliott, and Florence Hall receive the first Pulitzer for biography (for Julia Ward Howe). Jean Jules Jusserand receives the first Pulitzer for history for his work With Americans of Past and Present Days. Herbert B. Swope receives the first Pulitzer for journalism for his work for the New York World.
  • 1919 – Women’s rights: The U.S. Congress approves the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution, which guarantees suffrage to women, and sends it to the U.S. states for ratification.
  • 1939 – The Holocaust: The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, in the United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, more than 200 of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps.

The Brits took several hundred passengers, while the Belgians, French, and Dutch took the others, many of whom died in concentration camps. This is a shameful episode in U.S. History. Here is the ship:

(Caption from History); Refugees aboard the M.S. St. Louis. Here, they are seen arriving in Antwerp, Belgium after over a month at sea, during which they were denied entry to Cuba. Three Lions/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Here’s a four-minute video of that Battle (which gave its name to Chicago’s second airport), which was a great victory for the American Navy:

  • 1986 – Jonathan Pollard pleads guilty to espionage for selling top secret United States military intelligence to Israel.
  • 1989 – Solidarity’s victory in the first (somewhat) free parliamentary elections in post-war Poland sparks off a succession of peaceful anti-communist revolutions in Eastern Europe, leads to the creation of the so-called Contract Sejm and begins the Autumn of Nations.
  • 2010 – Falcon 9 Flight 1 is the maiden flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, which launches from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station Space Launch Complex 40.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1738 – George III of the United Kingdom (d. 1820)
  • 1907 – Rosalind Russell, American actress (d. 1976)
  • 1944 – Michelle Phillips, American singer-songwriter and actress
  • 1965 – Andrea Jaeger, American tennis player and preacher (Anglican Order of Preachers)

I had no idea that the former tennis champion is now “Sister Andrea”, having taken a vow of simplicity, purity, and obedience.

  • 1975 – Angelina Jolie, American actress, filmmaker, humanitarian, and activist

Notables who crossed the River Styx on June 4 were few, and include:

  • 1922 – W. H. R. Rivers, English anthropologist, neurologist, ethnologist, and psychiatrist (b. 1864).

Rivers of course was the psychiatrist hero of Pat Barker’s famous Ghost Road Trilogy, which I can’t recommend highly enough. He died suddenly of a strangulated hernia at age 58. And, of course, his most famous patient was the writer Siegfried Sassoon. Here is Rivers:


  • 1951 – Serge Koussevitzky, Russian-American bassist, composer, and conductor (b. 1874)
  • 1968 – Dorothy Gish, American actress (b. 1898)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is checking out where Szaron sleeps at night: in a padded bedroom container at the lodgers’ apartment upstairs (Szaron spends days during the week with Andrzej and Malgorzata while Paulina and her husband are at work. Paulina keeps him at night and on weekends.)

Szaron: This is my house.
Hili: I’m just checking to see how it looks like.
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Szaron: To mój domek.
Hili: Patrzę tylko jak wygląda.
(Foto: Paulina R.)

From Isabelle:

From Bruce:

From Charles:

Titania is out of Twitter Jail and back in business!

From Muffy. Nice people protect a cat:

Two tweets from Barry about galagos. primates related to lorises. The first one is in repose, the second shows a stupendous and amazing leap. Look at that thing jump!

Tweets from Matthew. A brittle star, whose arms look for all the world like a rattlesnake:


Matthew called this “balm for your soul” when he sent it to me, and it is soothing. I love those misty British mornings. (Sound up.)

If you’re a spaceophile, you’ll want to go over and look at the map enlarged:




  1. Historian
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    A devastating critique of Trump and his assault on democracy, the Mattis statement may turn out to be very important. As a former well respected Marine Corps general, Mattis may be able to induce other establishment figures to speak out against Trump, as the latter’s mental illness and fascist tendencies have never been clearer. Democracy is under full assault as his cult, the religious right leaders, and the Republican Party stick by him. I hope that Mattis may help to turn things around. The November election (and its aftermath) will be the most important since 1860.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 4, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullins has similarly spoken out, in perhaps even starker terms.

      Meanwhile, current Defense Secretary Mark Esper dithers, making like Hamlet in his Pentagon Elsinore.

      • EdwardM
        Posted June 4, 2020 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

        Mattis got Senator Murkowski’s attention.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Jim Mattis, what took you so long?

    A little luck and breaking the enemy’s code were important at Midway.

    • Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Actually, it was an absolutely massive slice of luck. The US Navy had made several attacks without any success at all before the decisive one. The squadrons in that attack were on the point of turning back, because they couldn’t find the Japanese fleet, when they spotted a destroyer steaming in what they hoped was the right direction.

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 4, 2020 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      Better late than never I suppose, but as Historian points out above, maybe his statement will prompt other prominent officials to point out the obvious. Trump needs a pile on to shake up the unthinking cultists.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Although America increasingly has good cheese on tap, France is DA BOMB!

    Yes, no doubt, though as Charles de Gaulle was heard to complain, “How can you govern a country that has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?!”

    • Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Two hundred and forty-six? My French teacher told me they had a cheese for every day of the year – she lied!

      • Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:23 am | Permalink

        I think 246 were only the AOC names registered. Many, many more types of cheeses. A different set in every village!

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        If de Gaulle was that bad with numbers, it’s no wonder Churchill and FDR kept him in the dark at the Casablanca Conference about the allied plans for Europe. 🙂

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 4, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        “The poets have been mysteriously silent on the subject of cheese.”
        G.K. Chesterton

        Don’t know why this quote seemed apt, but I was reminded of it for whatever reason.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 4, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

          Ogden Nash’s doggerel

          The cow is of the bovine ilk;
          one end is moo, the other, milk.

          has, however, made its way onto packages of cheese. 🙂

          • Mark R.
            Posted June 4, 2020 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

            Ha! Love it. Have you tried that brand? I’ve never seen it, but would give it a go just from the packaging.

          • merilee
            Posted June 4, 2020 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            Love it!

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Galagos have remarkable jumping abilities, including the ability to jump up to 2 metres (6.6 ft) vertically.

    By comparison, Michael Jordan’s vertical leap was a mere 46 inches (1.2 meters for you foreigners and commies).

  5. Historian
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    In the Age of Trump, historical analogies have become quite common as attempts to show the similarities between Trump and nefarious historical figures. At the History News Network Site, historian and legal scholar Victoria Woeste outlines the similarities between Trump and Henry Ford. I’m not sure that the analogy works all that well, but her portrait of Ford is something people today should be aware. My guess is that most people remember Ford as a car manufacturing tycoon. But, he was much more than that: a raving, anti-Semite and a friend of Nazis. Unlike Ford, I don’t think Trump is anti-Semitic at heart, after all his son-in-law is Jewish and his daughter converted. The architect of his immigration policy is Stephen Miller (as odious as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham), another Jew. His late, unlamented friend Jeffrey Epstein was also Jewish. Rather, Trump says anti-Semitic things because in his need to be loved, he curries favor with the anti-Semitic religious right while most American Jews loathe him. What the comparison between Trump and Ford shows is that anti-Semitism lies always just below the surface. Jews have proven to be useful scapegoats for problems caused by others. After all the common argument is how can one trust Christ killers? No matter when or where, they are always plotting for world domination.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Trump recently praised >a href=””>Henry Ford’s “good bloodlines.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 4, 2020 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      I see now that a link to that video was provided in the article you linked to. Interesting piece.

    • Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Is his replacement better or worse?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        It will have to better I’m sure. He got knocked out in the primary so we do not know yet who will replace him. When a long term congressmen gets knocked out in the primary, you know something is bad. That rarely happens.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

          Yeah, Steve King said the silent racist parts out so loud, he proved an embarrassment even to today’s Republican Party (and that, my friend, takes some doin’).

  6. daniaq
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Is it only me that feel uncomfortable when Jerry posts videos of wild animals as pets?
    When I typed `galago` on google the second word that came was `pet` . Wild animals are not pets. I read it is bad but I’m not sure of the real impact of sharing those videos, but I’m sure that are videos of galagos jumping in the wild. In case it does have a negative impact, it doesn’t cost much to find a video of the animal in the wild instead of someone’s house.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 4, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      Many of the exotic creatures featured here have been identified as in rehab, orphans a such. Taking animals from the wild to use as pets is something to be discouraged. It’s often illegal.

      • EdwardM
        Posted June 4, 2020 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Indeed and it is not uncommon that rehabbed animals cannot be returned to the wild for a variety of reasons, such as permanent disability or habituation.

  7. Dragon
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    An important event from this date in history is the final day of the Tianamen Square protest, when China killed peaceful protesters on June 4, 1989.
    Trump praised China for it in 1990 for showing the ‘power of strength’. Thirty years ago he praised dictators dominating peaceful protesters. A lesson for today.

  8. merilee
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 10:03 am | Permalink


  9. Mark R.
    Posted June 4, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

    Can someone explain to me the “My Plans 2020” with the Beatles and Yoko? Is it that they are not socially distancing? Can’t figure it out. 😦

    • sugould
      Posted June 4, 2020 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      The woman on the right in the hat is Yoko Ono, rightly or wrongly held responsibe for the breakup of the Beatles.

    • Posted June 4, 2020 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

      I think because “2020” is over Yoko Ono, she represents the unforeseen event that scrambles everyone’s plans, where the Beatles’ plans were to be together as a group. I think the Beatles would have parted ways with or without Ono.

      • Mark R.
        Posted June 4, 2020 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        OK, that makes sense. Thanks for the clarifications.

  10. Posted June 4, 2020 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    The MS St. Louis incident is a black mark on the nation and FDR. I recently read In the Garden of the Beasts by Erik Larsen and was stunned to discover the degree of anti-semitism in the country and the State Department in particular at that time.

    • EdwardM
      Posted June 4, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      A black mark on Canada too as they refused them as well. The UK had to have its arm twisted to take a fraction too, though all the Jews who made it there survived the war.

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