Thursday: Hili dialogue

June 25, 2020 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Thursday, June 25, 2020: National Strawberry Parfait Day. It’s also National Handshake Day (fuggedaboutit until next year), and Bourdain Day, honoring the birthday of Anthony Bourdain, a guy beloved by everyone who knew him (I wish I were one of them), but who, plagued by demons we couldn’t fathom, killed himself at 61.

On a happier note, it’s Global Beatles Day, celebrated today because:

The day was founded in 2009 by Faith Cohen. It takes place on June 25th, because that marks the day that the first live satellite production was broadcasted globally. It was a British program titled Our World, and it ended with the Beatles’ performance of “All You Need Is Love”. Artists from nineteen countries were included in the program, and it is estimated that at least 400 million people watched it, which was the largest television audience up until that time.

My oldest friend Tim and I compared our lists of the 50+ greatest Beatles songs. Here’s Tim’s top five

  1. Hey Jude
  2. Blackbird
  3. In My Life
  4. Got to Get You into My Lie
  5. For No One

Note that the primary writer on all of these (save “In My Life”, a fantastic song) is Paul McCartney.  I’ll put mine in reverse order (making this list was hard!) Mine is a bit Lennon heavier.

5. The second side of Abbey Road (eight songs but counts as one)
4. In My Life
3. Blackbird
2. Eleanor Rigby
and my favorite:

But there are so many great songs besides these, including For No One; Got to Get You Into My Life; Norwegian Wood;  Here, There, and Everywhere; Penny Lane; Norwegian Wood; Nowhere Man; Something, and the list goes on forever. These are just a few reasons why there has never been a rock group that even came close to the quality of the Beatles.

News of the Day:

Although coronavirus is plateauing or dropping in several states, including Illinois, it’s surging in states in the South and West, to the extent that New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut have required travelers arriving from the hard-hit states of Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and Washington State to quarantine themselves for two weeks.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 121,926 an increase of about 850 over yesterday’s report.  The world death toll now stands at, 482,508, an increase of about 5300 from yesterday.

Because it’s copyrighted, I won’t post yesterday’s Astronomy Picture of the Day—a fantastic aerial view of Chicago taken from an airplane—but I’ll give you the link to it (h/t: Edward). Do have a look.

The BBC reports that in Sheffield, a pub was closed by police when a raid disclosed that drinkers were having their pints while hiding in closets, and then on the roof. Pubs are still not allowed to reopen in the UK. (h/t: Jeremy).

Kvetch of the Day: Duck-tending is driving me nuts, as Dorothy is not proving to be a good mother. She lets her ducklings wander all over the pond (fortunately, Honey’s brood doesn’t attack them), and, once a day, she simply flies away from the pond for a half hour or more, leaving the babies stranded and peeping in distress. I have to sit by the pond for hours trying to protect them, and try to stave off any inter-brood antagonism, but it’s stressful, depriving me of food and sleep, and keeping me from paying full attention to this website. Readership and commenting are falling, compounding the distress. Please bear with me.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, it looks as if the new cat, Szaron, is angling for a position on Listy!

Hili: What are you doing here?
Szaron: I’m checking Małgorzata’s calendar.
In Polish:
Hili: Czego tu szukasz?
Szaron: Sprawdzam Małgorzaty kalendarz.

108 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. In no particular order:

    In My Life
    Let it Be
    Here Comes the Sun
    Lady Madonna
    Got to Get You Into My Life

    A lot of Paul songs. I think he was underrated by those who want to paint John as the genius, and Paul as the hack who wrote cute ballads.

    1. My five favorite Beatles songs (in order of appearance):

      If I Fell
      For No One
      Penny Lane
      Here Comes the Sun

      Five more because let’s make it a Top Ten:

      She Loves You
      Norwegian Wood
      Eleanor Rigby
      Hey Bulldog
      Mother Nature’s Son

      How could I leave out “I Want to Hold Your Hand”? (For me “She Loves You” is the quintessential song that captures Beatlemania.)

  2. Thursday lost an s.

    Dorothy was not such a great mom with her first brood. Those chicks also were wandering all over the pond. Maybe it was good that Honey scooped them all up. Or maybe she did not have a choice because the two broods were so intermixed because of Dorothy’s inability to control hers.

    1. We only have so much control over our kids. Perhaps they were born with the roaming gene. I did also notice that they seemed to go everywhere even though only a few days old.

  3. The Beatles lists gave me adrenaline boosts

    I particularly love McCartney’s forays into ~30’s sounds – Honey Pie – magic! It sounds like a tune that was a hit before your mother was born… and that’s the other one – Your Mother Should Know.

    I’d argue In My Life should be credited to George Martin equally. The composition of that one bears the marks of an advanced study of music that Paul John and George H. simply couldn’t have carried around before meeting George Martin:

  4. Yes, the U.S. continues as number one in Covar-19, it’s a proud record. Meanwhile, the disgusting display yesterday by the republicans in the House committee was right on par with a pack of 5 year olds. They also refused to wear masks to honor their retarded leader.

    1. US is actually #2. Brazil in the last week, under the leadership of evangelical anti-science warrior Jair Bolsonaro, has averaged 1030 deaths a day and the US ‘only’ 620. Brazil has abt. 2/3 the population of the US.

      1. Actually, in deaths per capita, the USA has never been number one. It’s only just overtaking the UK now and, of course, Brazil is way ahead.

        What should really be concerning you, however, is the number of confirmed cases per capita.

        In the linked graph, you can see that US cases are shooting up. What is worse, the graph is using a logarithmic scale. A straight line would be exponential growth. The US’s line is not straight.

  5. So sorry to hear about the duck farming travails – let’s hope that Dorothy’s maternal instincts kick in ASAP!

  6. That is an amazing picture of the city from a passenger in a commercial plane

    Happy duck management! In a short time they will fly off and you’ll know you did your best for them.

    1. Yes, the photo is amazing – the city in the sky makes Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy seem plausible.

  7. On the silver-lining front, in today’s Siena College/New York Times Upshot Poll — rated A+ by 538 — Joe Biden leads Donald Trump by double digits in the three rustbelt swing-states (Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin) that Trump won by a combined 77,000 votes to take the 2016 electoral college.

    Biden also leads Trump in three other swing states Trump won in 2016 — North Carolina, Florida, and Arizona — by nine, six, and seven points, respectively.

    That’s on top of the 13-point national lead Biden had in the same poll yesterday.

    1. It does look like people are slowly turning away from Trump in the required numbers to defeat him. I’m a bit surprised, but I have already said half a dozen times in the last four years that he’s sunk.

      I think that ‘inject bleach’ line seems to have finally made it clear to some people that he really isn’t all that smart after all. But those same people didn’t bat an eyelid about nuking a hurricane or advising the Spanish Foreign Minister to build a wall “on the Sahara border”.

      1. I must say, I have been astonished at tRump’s persistent supporters. It’s like they’ve had their eyes and ears surgically removed for the last 3 years.

        1. This is what happens when a person belongs to a cult, religiously based or not. The question to ask, which may take years to answer definitively if ever, is how was Trump able to cast his spell on his flock?

          1. The flock in Fantasyland grew up in Fantasyland, with visions of “Camelot” – the Kennedys – stolen from them.

          2. I remember tRump, in an interview many years ago, saying when he runs as president he’d run as a Republican because they’re stupider than Democrats. So he’s been plotting his approach for a very long time. He’s pretty good at figuring out how to push peoples buttons.

        2. They’re anti-thinkers. Some may fall away, I hope enough to turn the tide, but many won’t, no matter the evidence. There’s a call-in radio station that I frequently listen to because the callers run the political spectrum and the hosts actually engage them in conversation, which can be very enlightening). I don’t listen 24/7 but I’ve heard only a scant few Trump followers say they’ve changed their minds about Trump and those weren’t hard Trumpers. The always Trumpers are bull-headed and cretinous but I listen because I need to know just how they defend themselves — but they are incapable of rational explanation because there is none and they’re anti-thought.

          As far as enough Trump supporters turning away from him, I fear it may not even matter if T can successfully manipulate the voting process.

          Now the White House has announced that the government is pulling funds from federally funded testing sites. That ain’t no joke.

          1. My hope is that many of Trump’s 2016 voters are the soft kind which are not the kind that would call into a radio show. Unfortunately, many of those people are less engaged in politics which makes them unaware of what Trump is all about. They can have their minds changed but only slowly and not if they perceive everyone around them is voting for Trump.

      2. I’m making the over/under line on the survival of Trump’s embattled campaign manager, Brad Parscale, the Fourth of July.

        The Donald always needs to find himself a fall guy.

    2. If I were advising Biden, I’m not, I’d tell him to not do any debates. Apparently they are planning three but I would suggest he not even do it. Nothing to gain.

      1. Absolutely. If anything, challenge him to a Zoom. Deprive trump of his live audience. What’s to “debate,” anyway?

      2. tRump would call him a chicken. Probably better to debate him. Biden’s not that good at it, but all he’d have to do is calmly ask tRump to chill out a little once or twice, and viewers would be reminded which one is the adult.

        1. I want Biden coached by Jon Stewart, Steven Colbert, Al Franken and the members of the Lincoln Project. Trump is very predictable. Biden could learn a zinger for everything Trump is likely to throw at him.

    1. Someone came up with the perfect solution: change the street’s name to “Penny Lane,” except this time it would be named after the Beatles song.

      Problem solved.

      1. You know that solution wouldn’t work because the name of the street derives (possibly) from a slaveowner. They’d just say the Beatles song perpetuated the legacy of the (supposed) slaveowner.

        1. Are the lyrics really that concrete – unequivocally identifying that specific Penny Lane? And how many Penny (not Penney) Lanes are there?

          1. Are there any Pound Lanes, Farthing Lanes or Crown Lanes? After all, I gather that lane is called ‘Penny Lane’, not ‘James Penny Lane’.
            I always associated that street name with the coin.

        2. Ironically, the family names of many American black protesters derive from those of their own ancestors’ slave owners. The Christian religion of protesters’ families is too a legacy of slavery. Blacks who have converted to Islam have merely exchanged one slave-owning legacy for another. In a larger sense, all of us have slavers, cannibals, and horse thieves in our family lines. I think it would be best if — after making amends through investments in deprived communities, relocating offensive statuary, and teaching Western history more objectively — everyone calmed down. Humankind is, after all, just one big family that ultimately descended from clever monkeys.

  8. Dorothy as a lousy mother, probably knows that you will be there to take care of the. A situation, that unfortunately also happens with human grandparents.

    1. Dorothy’s attitude seems to be “sink or swim”. Which, with ducks, will probably work out OK.

  9. I remember listening obsessively to A Day in the Life when I was 9 years old, just lifting the needle back to the start, over and over again… I still don’t know exactly what it is about that song that makes it so compelling.

    However, I never want to hear Obladioblada ever again as long as I live. And if I ever learn to play piano, my first song will be a version of Let it Be, only with the words changed to the more direct ‘Leave it alone’. It would sound much better like that!

      1. My next fave would be “I Want You”. (The Bee Gees also covered it, which would be in my top ten worst cover versions of all time.)

    1. Can’t really argue with A Day In The Life as #1.

      Still hard to think of anything else that sounds like it.

      I suppose you could argue that Bohemian Rhapsody and Paranoid Android have a similar sort of thing, with several songs bolted together which somehow come out as much greater than the sum of their parts.

      1. Yes, “Bohemian rhapsody” does have a Beatles-like sensibility to it.
        By the way, my nomination for the best album that the Beatles never made is “Kontiki” by Cotton Mather. Here’s one of the best songs from the album:

        1. Thanks for the Cotton Mather post. Sounds like a melange of influences here: Beatles, Kinks, Weezer… Maybe a lot of cross-pollination going on.

          The only other Cotton Mather song I’ve heard before this was “Candy Lilac,” which I thought was intoxicating.

          Larry Smith

          1. I suppose there’s a bit of Kinks there. I’m aware of Weezer but don’t know the band.

            This thought just came to me: My three favorite songs that owe a heavy debt to the Beatles are by Badfinger (McCartney wrote their first hit song, “Come and Get It”): “No Matter What,” “Day After Day” (with a gorgeous guitar solo by George Harrison), and “Baby Blue”. I’d be surprised if Jerry doesn’t know these songs!

      2. Back in the early ‘oughts there was a group of young guys called The Redwalls who had a really great late 60’s sound. I could hear Beatles, and others echoing through their tunes.

  10. “…Dorothy is not proving to be a good mother. She lets her ducklings wander all over the pond (fortunately, Honey’s brood doesn’t attack them), and, once a day, she simply flies away from the pond for a half hour or more, leaving the babies stranded and peeping in distress.”

    Glad to hear that it’s not just me that thinks so. Last night Dorothy and the kids appeared to be bedded down for the night, but then Dorothy jumped up and got some other hen (Honey?) to fly off and go drinking with her.

    The kids stayed together in the nesting spot for a good while, but then they must have panicked and went all over the pond looking for Dorothy.

    It stresses me out not knowing whether Dorothy and the brood are all together for the night. I can only imagine the way the last couple of days must be wearing you out.

    It is a relief though, to hear that Honey’s brood has chilled out around the little ones.

  11. Phish plays the white album all the way through, in addition to A Day In The Life – it’s on YouTube and elsewhere.

    1. Tons of results- here’s one :

      I like it but there’s nothing like Lennon’s vocal sound – laid back, serious, intriguing. … actually Anastasio shines in the McCartney section- calm yet busy, smiling, a certain attitude comes through.

  12. 5. The second side of Abbey Road (eight songs but counts as one)

    You’re referring here, of course, to The Medley. Side Two also includes Mr. Harrison’s “Here Comes the Sun,” as the stand-alone first track, IIRC.

    I’m pretty keen on Track One, Side One of Abbey Road, “Come Together.” Ringo’s drum intro is one of the most interesting things he ever did, much better than his sole solo on The Medley, you ask me.

  13. My favourite is Maxwell’s Silver Hammer. A jolly song about a lovable young serial killer. What’s not to like?

  14. I see Hili on the chair watching Szaron with a weather eye. I’m sure she’s thinking, “Don’t get too cozy over there, buddy. I’m the editor of Listy and it’ll stay that way, though I might let you serve as an unpaid intern now and then. And don’t check out Małgorzata’s calendar. It’s none of your beeswax.”

    Distressing to learn that Dorothy is a negligent mother. Thank goodness for the Duckling Protective Services. If her first boood had bonded with her and she did that, they might well have been killed by Honey while she was away, so best that Honey claimed all of them while they were still impressionable youngsters.

  15. I have to sit by the pond for hours trying to protect them, and try to stave off any inter-brood antagonism, but it’s stressful, depriving me of food and sleep, and keeping me from paying full attention to this website.

    From one parent to another – I don’t know if this is something you’d want to try, but fwiw, I just keep my laptop or phone with me at all times and get through my to do list as time allows. Granted, there is a frustration in never being able to get into a fully concentrated ‘flow state’ with work – but it is offset by the large chunks of (very interrupted) open time that baby care requires. Type a few sentences, baby is rolling off the mat on to the wood floor. Type a few sentences, baby wants exactly three sips from his bottle. Type a few sentences, baby is going for a power cord. Etc. Again, the super-fragmented nature of working that way takes some getting used to, but just a thought if you’re missing writing more articles.

  16. A Day in the Life is also my favorite Beatles song! And yes, that side two of Abbey Road is incredible, though my favorite album is The White Album.

  17. Corona virus, “it’s surging in states in the South and West,…”. My state of Idaho, rural and underpopulated, is beginning to climb again after holding fairly level. Currently 238 confirmed cases per 100,000. The governor had to backtrack on restrictions.

  18. Note also that there can be a difference between The Beatles’ “best” songs and anybody’s “favorite” songs. For example, I would agree that their “best” songs might well include “A Day in the Life,” “In My Life,” “For No One,” and “Norwegian Wood.” Each is perfect in its own way.

    But my “favorite” Beatles’ songs are the ones I don’t get to hear very often. And so, my personal favorites are “Any Time At All,” “I’ll Cry Instead,” “Cry Baby Cry,” and “Dr. Robert.” For my 5th song, I’ll say this one is both a favorite of mine as well as one of their best: “Happiness is a Warm Gun.”

    How about a list of the most underrated Beatles’ songs?

    Larry Smith

    1. Most underrated?

      How about “You Know My Name (Look Up My Number)” and “Old Brown Shoe”?

      “Happiness is a Warm Gun” isn’t just one of the lads’ best tunes; it’s three of ’em.

      1. Happiness is a Warm Gun is so good for so many reasons, but I really love the structure and the multiple shifts in time signature. It makes a good showcase for Ringo’s underrated talent.

        I can’t really make a top five when it comes to the Fab Four, except to say that A Day in the Life is my favorite.

  19. Interesting to see “Blackbird” coming at at #2; my appreciation for “Blackbird” has really taken wing (heh) since I’ve taken a close look at the background voice-leading line. I’ll try to post a link to a quickie sound file to illustrate this as soon as I can.

  20. Here – – is a URL to a very quick-and-dirty audio file that has the beautiful voice-leading line embedded in McCartney’s guitar along with the vocal melody line, both played on piano (starting with “Take these broken wings”). The voice-leading line weaves its way through the chord progression, and is comprised of those notes in the chords that lead one chord to the next. The voice-leading line is in two sections, starting out in one octave and then shifting higher ( after “All your life”). If you haven’t noticed that voice-leading line before, it might be interesting to see if you can hear in the original after hearing the linked audio file.

    1. According to Wikipedia, “that the guitar accompaniment for “Blackbird” was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Bourrée in E minor, a well-known lute piece.”

      I think the term counterpoint applies, although I’m not very music-savvy, so not sure. McCartney leaned the guitar technique from Donovan.

        1. Aw – forget about best Beatles song lists – how about best list of anything- Blackbird is in the top five.

            1. Led Zeppelin: lawsuits like crazy. So many outright copies of blues lyrics. Won against Spirit – OK. Elvis : his writers copied Aura Lee. That’s all possibly arguable, but The Beatles have not, to my knowledge, any lawsuit against them, successful or not. Dismal a metric that is, it says something about their creativity, about their effort to bring in something new.

              BTW Bach – though the similarity is so nebulous with Blackbird- is public domain so anyone can copy it or make an arrangement and call it whatever they want.

              1. I know – but that’s not The Beatles.

                I mean “The Beatles” as the group all together. Not the honorary “George Harrison is a Beatle”. That would be a different question- but even then I think My Sweet Lord is the only problem.

              2. FWIW, Harrison was still a Beatle when he wrote the song, or at least wrote the lyrics to the song. 😉

                He had a huge amount of material he had written that The Beatles hadn’t performed/recorded/released which is why his debut multi-disk album was so large.

      1. “Inspired” is sure the right word because there’s very little technically that’s similar between the Bouree and Blackbird as it relates to the voice-leading line. Actually, McCartney’s progression makes for a more sophisticated voice-leading line than Bourree (for the most part, and not like Bach didn’t do other sophisticated things, though). I don’t doubt that it inspired McCartney, but it’s the broadest, vaguest type of inspiration. I wouldn’t say that Blackbird is *based* on the Bouree, for instance.

      2. … “that the guitar accompaniment for “Blackbird” was inspired by Johann Sebastian Bach’s Bourrée in E minor …

        If you’re gonna steal, steal from the best. That’s always been my motto when it comes to any kind of writin’. 🙂

              1. John was sued for stealing a line from Chuck Berry’s “You Can’t Catch Me” in “Come Together:” Chuck wrote “Here come a flat top/He come movin’ up with me;” John wrote “Here come ol’ Flattop/He come groovin’ up slowly.” John called it a tribute; Berry’s publisher disagreed. As part of a settlement, John agreed to record “You Can’t Catch Me” on his “Rock ‘n’ Roll” album.

              2. @Doug:

                Show me a rock’n’roll guitarist hasn’t purloined a lick or two from Chuck Berry. Some of ’em a whole helluva lot more than that.

              3. @Darwinswins:

                Even before the Woodman, Picasso was quoted for the line: “Good artists borrow; great artists steal.”

              4. “Good artists borrow; great artists steal” was already a think during the cave art movement in southern France. 🙂

        1. “T. S. Eliot published “The Sacred Wood: Essays on Poetry and Criticism”” and wrote :

          “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal”

          There’s a lot of other claims about famous people making their own quote from this. More to read here :

          … Stravinsky is claimed to have made a similar quote but I found no firm evidence. This is still interesting a read :

          1. @Ken Kukec:

            “Show me a rock’n’roll guitarist who hasn’t purloined a lick or two from Chuck Berry.”

            Oh, I agree. When Keith Richards inducted Chuck into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, he candidly admitted “I stole everything from this man.”

            But, for some reason, they nailed John.

              1. I’ve been reviewing lots of pop music from back around The Beatles early days and it seems every group essentially did covers to showcase *their* sound – but also there was real loose borrowing. A sort of free and happy Wild West Of music? I think this is rare these days. Instead, teams of writers use computers to generate melody-light sound/rhythm patterns for rapping over.

  21. I would choose your list over Tim’s. And thanks for that video of “A Day in the Life”; I’d never seen it before and it was fantastic.

    Sorry about your Dorothy dilemma. But I’m still reading all your posts and comment here and there. You won’t lose me as a reader, not even close.

  22. Nor will you lose me as a reader! Several times a day I check the website to get updates, also so I can read articles/comments in smaller increments.
    Wonder what hot date Dorothy is going on when she disappears? I’m sorry you are having such a bad experience with her. If it weren’t for you, all those sweet ducklings might already have perished, so courage! At least they grow much faster than human babies. Honey is such an exemplary mother that any other one would probably pale in comparison.

  23. Not related to anything in today’s post, but to PCC(E)’s longstanding question about why medieval paintings of cats are so bad. Cheddar(*) has a new youtube video on the subject. Oversimplified summary: cats were associated with both pagan religions and women, and medieval christianity didn’t like either of those. Therefore, cats are clearly demonic and must be painted as such.

    (* Now somebody has to explain to me why “Cheddar” is a reasonable name for a media company, or whatever it is.)

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