Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s the weekend again: Saturday, June 13, 2020 (thank god it’s not Friday the 13th), and I am dispirited and tired. But, as Steve Goodman sang, “it ain’t hard to get along with somebody else’s troubles.” It’s National Cupcake Lover’s Day, but the singular implies that there’s only one cupcake lover being celebrated. Who is that person? Could it be Roosevelt McKnuckles, former resident of Chicago? (I love the name!) It’s also National Rosé Day, celebrating a wine that can be good but is usually mediocre, World Gin Day, Weed Your Garden Day, and World Softball Day.

News of the Day: It’s depressing, as usual, and if you subscribe to a newspaper, I needn’t recount the turmoil of racial and political division atop a still-raging pandemic. The good news is that Trump’s chances of winning in November are not increasing; according to many polls, Biden still shows a lead of from 7 to 14 points.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 114,752 , an increase of about 800 from yesterday (the daily in deaths in the U.S. is still diminishing). The once-unthinkable toll of 200,000 in the U.S. may well be attained this year. The world toll now stands at 425,513, a one-day increase of about 4,200 from the day before.

For Bob Dylan fans (I used to be one, but not so much any more, though I still love his earlier music), be aware that has a new album out—”Rough and Rowdy Ways”—and gives one of his very infrequent interviews in today’s New York Times. It is, as always, cryptic and weird. Click on the screenshot. Hard to believe he’s 79 now.

Not much stuff happened on June 13, but it includes this:

  • 1525 – Martin Luther marries Katharina von Bora, against the celibacy rule decreed by the Roman Catholic Church for priests and nuns.
  • 1774 – Rhode Island becomes the first of Britain’s North American colonies to ban the importation of slaves.
  • 1927 – Aviator Charles Lindbergh receives a ticker tape parade down 5th Avenue in New York City.

Here’s a newsreel of Lindbergh’s parade. Who would know that within a decade or so, he’d become a Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semite?

Ernesto Miranda’s conviction for kidnapping, rape and robbery was overturned 5-4 by the Warren Court. He was retried without his confession being introduced, again convicted in 1966, and sentenced to 20-30 years in prison but paroled in 1972. He was in and out of jail after that, and was knifed to death in a bar fight in 1976, age 34. Here’s his mug shot:

  • 1967 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson nominates Solicitor-General Thurgood Marshall to become the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
  • 1971 – Vietnam War: The New York Times begins publication of the Pentagon Papers.

Here’s the headline of the New York Times that day:

  • 1997 – A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to death for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1831 – James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist and mathematician (d. 1879)
  • 1865 – W. B. Yeats, Irish poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1939)

Yeats is one of my favorite poets, and here’s a photo, looking exactly as you’d expect. Horseman, pass by!

Nurmi, the “Flying Finn” was a superb runner. Wikipedia recounts this:

Nurmi set 22 official world records at distances between 1500 metres and 20 kilometres, and won nine gold and three silver medals in his twelve events in the Olympic Games. At his peak, Nurmi was undefeated for 121 races at distances from 800 m upwards. Throughout his 14-year career, he remained unbeaten in cross country events and the 10,000 m.

Here’s a short video clip about his exploits:

And of course when I mention Ben Johnson I always show this clip: his soliloquy on life and love from the movie “The Last Picture Show” (1971).  Here, as Sam the Lion, he tells Sonny (Timothy Bottoms) about a young love. I consider this one of the best scenes in all movies, American or foreign.

  • 1928 – John Forbes Nash, Jr., American mathematician and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2015)
  • 1986 – Ashley Olsen, American child actress, fashion designer, and businesswoman
  • 1986 – Mary-Kate Olsen, American child actress, fashion designer, and businesswoman

Those who “fell asleep” on this day were also few, and include:

  • 1965 – Martin Buber, Austrian-Israeli philosopher and theologian (b. 1878)
  • 1986 – Benny Goodman, American clarinet player, songwriter, and bandleader (b. 1909)
  • 2010 – Jimmy Dean, American singer and businessman, founded Jimmy Dean Foods (b. 1928)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has ambitendencies:

Hili: Do you prefer cats that cuddle or cats that scratch?
A: Why do you ask?
Hili: Because I don’t know what I will do first.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy wolisz koty, które się tulą, czy takie, które drapią?
Ja: Dlaczego pytasz?
Hili: Bo nie wiem, co zrobię najpierw.

And Szaron has now learned how to ask for entry to Malgorzata and Andrzej’s place: he sits on the windowsill, just like Hili!

A meme from Bruce Thiel:

From Charles Bennett’s FB page. Someone please help this greedy raccoon!

From Jesus of the Day:

I retweeted this retweet of Ricky Gervais. Somehow videos like this, with entertainment stars acting like penitentes, make me cringe. (I think it made Gervais cringe too. . .). Here they take responsibility, whatever that means.

Reader Barry sent this, saying “I wonder what the meeting was all about.” Note that the tweeter describes the turtles as “awkward,” but I have no idea why:

Speaking of marine creatures, Gethyn sent this monster manta ray:

Tweets from Matthew. This fungus is aptly named, except the more common name is “Dead man’s fingers.”

Many flies, especially diopsids, have their eyes on long stalks, and sometimes the stalk eyes are far more pronounced in males, probably a sexually selected trait used as a way of competing by going head to head. Here’s a weevil with stalk eyes:

A male diopsid from Wikipedia:

Here’s another. Aren’t they amazing? Some species of Drosophila have eyes like these.

Matthew tweeted this buff insect, which is a beetle:

This is both sobering and depressing:


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Jimmy Dean has been dead for ten years yet he still sells sausage on TV commercials. That’s dedication.

    • W.T. Effingham
      Posted June 13, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Even in his “afterlife” every day is ground hog day.

  2. Tim Harris
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I remember in my long-past youth standing entranced for about half an hour at an unpopulated (by visitors) aquarium at London Zoo, watching a green turtle swimming – I have seldom see such grace & beauty.

  3. Hempenstein
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    It was relatively easy to find Ernesto Mirando since he was driving a 1953 Packard. At best, Packard never had more than a 2% market share, and by 1963, 5yrs after the last Packard, they were thinning out even more. Here’s the car. It’s either a Cavalier or Patrician.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 13, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      My father owned an old one in the 60s. Pretty well built, smooth ride, but not really a luxury model. Once the transmission started to slip, it sat out back for a few years, floor rusted out, and then he sold it for parts.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted June 13, 2020 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

        Sadly, that was the fate of many of them. When the Ultramatic went out, transmission shops didn’t want to work on them, and they wound up sitting behind gas stations.

        Meanwhile, since the Lindbergh parade is mentioned above, too, here’s a shot of him in a Packard in a parade coincidentally in NE.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 13, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

          My dad’s model, 1956 Clipper:

          • Hempenstein
            Posted June 15, 2020 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

            One of jac’s and my classmates, recently retired as head of a division focused on Alzheimer’s at a major US pharmaceutical company, always said that he had lost his virginity on the back seat of a 1956 Packard Clipper with Torsion-Level suspension. Did your father’s Clipper have Torsion-Level?

            • rickflick
              Posted June 15, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

              Yes, I seem to remember it did. Do you suppose it would help with losing virginity in the back seat? I think the hood ornament would have been an attractant.

              • Hempenstein
                Posted June 15, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

                Standing still, probably not, but if they were going down the road with someone else driving at the time, that floating-on-a-cloud ride might have been just the ticket. Or maybe it put them in the mood and they pulled over. Additional details were not provided at the time.

                If I ever see him again, I’ll ask. (Remember, their advertising slogan was always, “Ask the Man Who Owns One”. Maybe that’w what we were supposed to ask)

              • rickflick
                Posted June 15, 2020 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

                we were supposed to ask – That must have been it!

              • Hempenstein
                Posted June 17, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

                Indeed. But one thing I did ask long ago re. Torsion-Level was a ride in the prototype that was used in developing the system. It was a cycle-car built by then-Hudson engineer Bill Allison on his own time at home, and powered by an Indian motorcycle engine. Hudson wasn’t interested in it and let him shop it to other car companies and Packard bit. He had it at the Packard Club’s national meet in Detroit in 1973 out at the old factory test track – an event that I attended in lieu of MS, Biology graduation @ the U of Richmond. (I remember that I had to give an excuse to get out of that, and I said that I had a once-in-a-lifetime travel opportunity.)

                For a look at the cycle car, this really cool video is now available. I recently corresponded with Bill’s son who answered a question I’d long had – what model Indian donated the powerplant? Turns out that the answer is that no Indians were sacrificed in constructing the cycle-car He bought it as an Army surplus crate motor for $50 in 1950.

            • rickflick
              Posted June 17, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

              Amazing film. All dressed for the office.

              • Hempenstein
                Posted June 18, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

                Lest anyone might mistake them for locomotive engineers.

  4. GBJames
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    W. B. Yeats was one strange dude. Seems he took seriously the existence of fairies.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 13, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      And he also wore one of those frou-frou bow ties.

    • Posted June 13, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      That would be faeries. Literary fairies. Yeats was a spiritualist and believed all manner of nonsense.

  5. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    The explanation for that phenomenal congregation of sea turtles is easily explained because June 10-16 is Sea Turtle Week and they’re having their convention.

  6. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    The tweet about the epidemiologists is especially chilling because this morning’s news brought the announcement that “A district of Beijing was on a ‘wartime’ footing and the capital banned tourism on Saturday after a cluster of novel coronavirus infections centred around a major wholesale market sparked fears of a new wave of COVID-19.”

    In this context I think of what will surely happen when Trump goes out on the hustings again, especially since it’s been announced that he requires attendees to sign a waiver declaring that they won’t sue if they get COVID-19 at a rally. Frankly, I’m surprised he doesn’t compel them not wear masks. I stand with those who contend that Trump is ruled by his destructive impulses – destructive both to him and to others but with a solipsist there is no difference between the self and others.

  7. Posted June 13, 2020 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    The monologue by Ben Johnson never gets old no matter how many times you post it. Remarkable acting by a former stunt man and rodeo cowboy. And the RYO setting with Bottoms is brilliant.

  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I’d like to see the Johnson monologue with :

    1. The young actors taken from modern times. Every other word Johnson says to be cut off with “OK boomer”, “LOL WUT”, etc. The kid off screen too.

    2. Modern mom off camera intervenes in the adult providing tobacco to a minor and suggesting to go swimming in an unsafe body of water,… perhaps ending by dragging the kid home by the arm.

    3. Millennial Whoop soundtrack

    4. Cut out all the parts without anyone talking.

    …. oh heck, :

    5. Something- ANYTHING- animated by computer. Maybe even his hat.

  9. Posted June 13, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Maybe the turtles were headed in the direction of Awkland?

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

    [Dylan] gives one of his very infrequent interviews in today’s New York Times. It is, as always, cryptic and weird.

    Just finished reading the interview in the NYT. I agree that most of Dylan’s public pronouncements are cryptic and weird, but I thought this interview was (by Dylanesque standards anyway) relatively keen and insightful. Credit Douglas Brinkley for asking good, tight, pertinent questions.

    I’ve always liked Doug Brinkley. He’s a legit historian, but for an academic he’s pretty hip — he’s Hunter Thompson’s literary executor, for example, and edited and wrote introductions for a couple collections of Hunter’s correspondence — especially for somebody looks like an all growed-up version of Beaver Cleaver. 🙂

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 13, 2020 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

      Gotta admit, I was happy to learn he wrote a tune about Key West on his new album — and that he name-checks Ginsberg, Corso, and Kerouac on it, well, that’s just red-eyed gravy on my grits.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 13, 2020 at 9:40 pm | Permalink

    So now Sweden newspapers send their war correspondents to US, perhaps because journalists are now targeted in US [!

    And they see the Middle East:

    “President Donald Trump was elected on the message to put the United States first and withdraw from the wars in the Middle East.

    When I, a correspondent from these wars, come to the United States at the end of Trump’s term, it is a Middle East I see.”

    The war correspondent first visit is Chicago, so the article may be especially interesting on this site. In one part she describes the contrast between the university area and its neighborhood.

    “Chicago is a segregated immigrant city, notorious for organized crime. One third of the city is considered white, one third Hispanic, one third black.

    On Sunday morning, I take a walk through Hyde Park, which with the University of Chicago, the green trees and the beautiful architecture stands out as an idyll. In the university courtyard, I see almost only white people.

    One street south I see only black and fallen buildings, far from anything that can even be called architecture. By crossing a street I have crossed an invisible ethnic and socio-economic boundary.

    I move on to a neighborhood in Chicago’s South Central that, with its opioid crisis and gang crime, has contributed to Chicago’s reputation as one of the most dangerous and homicide-proof cities in the United States.”

    And this was an apt description by an interviewee in that part of the city:

    “I say I’m here because I want to describe today’s US.

    – Today’s USA? We have a president who doesn’t care. He doesn’t care about anything.

    That man can’t even talk. He sounds completely uneducated when he opens his mouth.

    He is not even a clown. A clown needs an education.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 13, 2020 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

      Torbjörn, this is exactly the situation we have. Under previous administrations, whether Democrats or Republicans, there was always the attempt to bridge the divide and push for more reform and more economic and social progress. Under tRump, there is nothing even resembling hope or a future for this divided nation.

  12. Posted June 14, 2020 at 3:21 am | Permalink

    Damn it *I* want stalk eyes! Then my glasses won’t fog up above my scarf or mask (which we’re ALL wearing here these days – its the Thing to Do).

    My stalk eyes will be watching you!

    D.A. NYC

    • Posted June 15, 2020 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

      Smear shaving cream on the lenses and wipe off with dry dish towel. I find it works quite well. Probably not as well as stalks.

  13. Hempenstein
    Posted June 19, 2020 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

    Also re. Miranda, my son, Esq, owes his gainful employment to Ernesto. He’s an atty with the Allegheny County Public Defender’s Office, and before the Miranda decision there were no Public Defenders. I didn’t realize that until the possibility occurred to me and I asked him.

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