Monday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

It’s Monday, June 8, 2020, and National Jelly-Filled Donut Day (I get one of these occasionally at the Dunkin Donuts booth outside Midway Airport to treat myself before a flight. I haven’t flown since December, however.) It’s also Best Friends Day, World Oceans Day, World Brain Tumor Day, and Thomas Paine Day, who died on this day in 1809.

News of the Day: The demonstrations sparked by the murder of George Floyd continue, almost all of them peacefully. In many places, including Minneapolis, there are calls to eliminate the police departments, and in that city it may well happen. I will comment later today. I do applaud the peacefulness of the demonstrators as well as their cause, which is just.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 110,422 , an increase of about 400 from yesterday (the increase in deaths in our country appears to be slowing). The world toll now stands at 402,233, a one-day increase of about 3,000 from the day before.

Stuff that happened on June 8 includes:

The third through the twelfth of these amendments became our present Bill of Rights.

  • 1856 – A group of 194 Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the mutineers of HMS Bounty, arrives at Norfolk Island, commencing the Third Settlement of the Island.
  • 1887 – Herman Hollerith applies for US patent #395,781 for the ‘Art of Compiling Statistics’, which was his punched card calculator.

Here’s a replica of Hollerith’s machine; as Wikipedia argues, the machine “marks the beginning of the era of semiautomatic data processing systems, and his concept dominated that landscape for nearly a century.”  I remember using punched tapes when I was a lab tech in New York in the early Seventies.

(From Wikipedia): Replica of Hollerith tabulating machine with sorting box, circa 1890. The “sorting box” was an adjunct to, and controlled by, the tabulator. The “sorter”, an independent machine, was a later development.

  • 1906 – Theodore Roosevelt signs the Antiquities Act into law, authorizing the President to restrict the use of certain parcels of public land with historical or conservation value.
  • 1949 – Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson are named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.
  • 1949 – George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four is published.

I was surprised to find that a first edition of this book wasn’t too expensive: a decent copy with dust jacket, like this one from, runs around $300:


  • 1953 –The United States Supreme Court rules in District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. that restaurants in Washington, D.C., cannot refuse to serve black patrons.
  • 1972 – Vietnam War: Nine-year-old Phan Thị Kim Phúc is burned by napalm, an event captured by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut moments later while the young girl is seen running down a road, in what would become an iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo.

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll well remember that photo

That is a haunting photo! She was so badly burned that it was doubtful Phuc would survive, but she did after over a year in the hospital and several operations. She’s now a peace ambassador for UNESCO.

  • 1987 – New Zealand’s Labour government establishes a national nuclear-free zone under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987.
  • 2009 – Two American journalists are found guilty of illegally entering North Korea and sentenced to 12 years of penal labour.

The journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were pardoned after only two months in custody, thanks to a visit to Kim Jong-il by former President Bill Clinton. Here are Ling (left) and Lee (right) with Clinton and Al Gore:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1810 – Robert Schumann, German composer and critic (d. 1856)
  • 1867 – Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, designed the Price Tower and Fallingwater (d. 1959)
  • 1916 – Francis Crick, English biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004)
  • 1943 – William Calley, American lieutenant
  • 1944 – Boz Scaggs, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1967- Tina Purcell, long-suffering partner of Matthew Cobb

Here’s my favorite Boz Scaggs song, but “We’re All Alone” (a hit for Rita Coolidge) is a close second.

Those who ended their earthly careers on June 8 include:

  • 1809 – Thomas Paine, English-American theorist and author (b. 1737)
  • 1845 – Andrew Jackson, American general, judge, and politician, 7th President of the United States (b. 1767)
  • 1874 – Cochise, American tribal chief (b. 1805)
  • 1876 – George Sand, French author and playwright (b. 1804)
  • 1889 – Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet (b. 1844)

I believe I lost a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to graduate school because, during my interview, I gave the wrong answer when asked to name my favorite poets. Hopkins was among them, and that didn’t go down well, as I recall. But here’s his great poem “Spring and Fall”. (Remember, too, that Hopkins was a Jesuit priest):

Márgarét, áre you gríeving
Over Goldengrove unleaving?
Leáves like the things of man, you
With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?
Ah! ás the heart grows older
It will come to such sights colder
By and by, nor spare a sigh
Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;
And yet you wíll weep and know why.
Now no matter, child, the name:
Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.
Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed
What heart heard of, ghost guessed:
It ís the blight man was born for,
It is Margaret you mourn for.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili comes bearing gifts:

A: Why did you leave a dead mouse on the verandah?
Hili: It’s a gift for you.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu zostawiłaś zabitą mysz na werandzie?
Hili: to prezent dla was.

Also, somehow Szaron has occupied Andrzej’s chair:

Andrzej: One would sit down, if only one could!

In Polish: Usiadłby człowiek, gdyby mógł.

And in Wloclawek, Mitek, all grown up, reminds us that the Sabbath was made for cats:

Mietek: A well deserved rest after a week of hard work.

In Polish: Zasłużony odpoczynek po tygodniu ciężkiej pracy.

A graph from Jesus of the Day:

Fromt the CBC News, a breaking story! And I thought Honey had her wings full. Click on the screenshot to read the story:

From reader Charles, who describes this as “From The Guardian: Donald tRump in his bunker formulating his plans to make American great again”:


A tweet from Titania:

From reader Simon, who says, “Your people are causing trouble again.”  Well, yes, we do celebrate good fortune with explosive cocktails.

From Gethyn, who calls this “Reservoir Cats”:

Here’s the model: a poster for Tarantino’s of “Reservoir Dogs”:


Tweets from Matthew. A young puma caught in a camera trap:

If the date on this tweet is correct, the guy wins the Nostradamus Award:

I’m not sure what species of fish this is, but here’s how it eats:

LOOK AT THIS BIRD! It’s apparently not sexually dimorphic, so what is the horn about?

A faux tiger scares the locals:


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Here’s my favorite Boz Scaggs song …

    I’m partial to “Loan Me a Dime,” the blues tune he recorded with Duane Allman at Muscle Shoals in ’69:

    • GBJames
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Thanks for posting that. A remarkable recording.

    • Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Yes, that is a great classic.I dearly love it.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 11:08 am | Permalink

      Thanks. Good one.

    • Posted June 10, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

      Loan Me a Dime’s one of my favourite Skaggs songs, too. I love the way the brass comes in.

      Another favorite is Alone, Alone, from the Moments LP. That, and Van Morrison’s Crazy Face are two songs that touch me emotionally.

  2. jezgrove
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I’d missed The Guardian‘s story about the fake tiger. But in Spain there have been apparently genuine sightings of a Nile crocodile in a river in Castilla y León.

    • Merilee
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink


      • merilee
        Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink


  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    There isn’t any sound in the four-cats video. The allusion to Reservoir Dogs would’ve been much clearer with “Little Green Bag” by the George Baker Selection playing on the soundtrack.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Politics in 1789 made friends and enemies just as it does today. Madison had been friends with Hamilton and Washington up to this time but soon turned 180 degrees. Many have studied Madison’s great change attempting to understand it but maybe the change was not as great as they thought. Madison was a product of the slave owning south and was often in concert with Thomas Jefferson. Washington himself had stopped communication with both Madison and Jefferson before he died. We know that in the two years between the Constitutional convention and the writing of the Bill of Rights, Madison made one of his 180 degree moves.

  5. EdwardM
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I was curious too about what the Horned Guan was using its horn for. It is surprisingly difficult to find any answers (really, you’d think someone would mention its purpose) but in googlating the question I stumbled across this article, which says there are dozens of species of birds with horns;
    In addition to the Guan there’s the Cassowary, of course as well as a

    … horned curassow, horned coot, horned parakeet, a hummingbird — the horned sungem — and a bird whose name sounds like it should be in a horror movie, the horned screamer.

    A hornedhummingbird!

    Sadly, though it is informative, even that article doesn’t say why the Horned Guan is horned.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      I’m guessing it was a slippery slope. On male had a defective scull, the chicks dug it. The rest is history. 🤯

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted June 8, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        PCC(E) says that the horn is “apparently not sexually dimorphic” so the horn isn’t restricted to males. No “apparently” about it; it’s a fact. Here’s a photo of horned guans mating

        I also wonder about their weird calls or clacks.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

          I did not mean to imply it was dimorphic. It just started when a male displayed a mutation (my hypothetical scenario). The mutation, supposedly, would not be a sex locus and would spread through the whole population.

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            Got it. I was thinking about PCC(E)’s statement re the horn and read your comment in that context.

            I’d love to see those birds in their natural habitat.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      The name horned screamer does sound as if it belongs in a horror movie but when you see them and hear their calls, they’re quite amusing Wonder what the heck they’re discussing, must be very important.

      I wouldn’t call the things on their heads horns but some antenna-like structure. Some of the other birds get their name because of the way certain feathers stick out on their heads, not because some particular structure.

    • jezgrove
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      I posted the query on Wikipedia’s Horned Guan talk page, but I’m not holding my breath!

  6. Posted June 8, 2020 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    From Madison’s proposed Amendments.

    “The right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; a well armed and well regulated militia being the best security of a free country: but no person religiously scrupulous of bearing arms shall be compelled to render military service in person.”

    To me, this passage clearly supports the view that the Second Amendment has to do with the Militia and the defense of the nation, not the individual right to own guns. Straight from the pen of author.

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Re. the Hollerith punch-card machines, Edwin Black’s IBM and the Holocaust is essential reading. (Via these devices the Nazis determined and kept track of what % Jewish everyone was.)

  8. Posted June 8, 2020 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday, Tina, “long-suffering partner of Matthew Cobb”!

  9. John CRISP
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 11:36 am | Permalink

    I’m curious about how you can give the “wrong answer” when asked who your favourite poets are. Admittedly, William McGonagall (Officially classified as the world’s worst poet) would raise some eyebrows, but you would have thought that there is by definition no “right answer” on matters of preference.

    • W.Benson
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

      Hopkins also tops on my favorites list.

    • jezgrove
      Posted June 8, 2020 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Indeed – McGonagall and doggerel probably (almost!) rhyme for a reason. Dylan Thomas and Philip Larkin are both very good, but there are so very many other great poets to choose from and I’m not sure I could choose a favourite. Different poems/poets speak to you at different times, I find.

  10. Dtaylor
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    Interpretation of the Hopkins poem was one of the tasks on the entrance exam I took many years ago for admission to the College at University of Chicago. It has been etched into my brain ever since. Thank goodness it is more than worthy!

  11. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 8, 2020 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    1916 – Francis Crick, English biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004)

    By pure coincidence, my day started well – in a press release a biochemist gave the correct scientist and formulation* for Crick’s Central Dogma.

    Usually I see Watson’s later textbook version, which is the wrong attribution and decidedly not ‘a dogma’** – it should have “a trigger warning”!

    * Sequence information gets stuck in proteins (one way transfer).

    ** The standard pathways, which does not allow for (say) retroviruses.

  12. sugould
    Posted June 9, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    “So many people have so little real knowledge of how animals behave in the countryside. Any escaped cat of any sort would be in a state of terror, and would not be basking in the sun, amiably looking up at the nearest footpath.”

    Kind of how we react today. Was the black man jogging… Or… was he stealing?” No time to stop and think, act!

    And police are now militarized, so why not send a helicopter for good measure?

    No time to just observe it for a few minutes, or even check the internet. And the locals knew about the tiger.

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