Saturday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Saturday, June 27, 2020: National Orange Blossom Day. What’s being celebrated here is the flower, but in fact there is a cocktail, the “Orange Blossom,” containing gin, orange juice, and vermouth. It’s what we in the trade used to call a “sissy drink”: a way to get drunk if you didn’t like the taste of booze. That’s not quite fair here, since the drink has equal parts of of each ingredient.

It’s also National Indian Pudding Day, my favorite among all puddings, but hard to obtain unless you cook it yourself (a good recipe is here, and don’t forget the ice cream atop the warm pudding). It’s a dish of the American northeast, once at its best at Durgin-Park restaurant in Boston, now sadly defunct.  Here’s a fine specimen. I recommend you try making it; you’ll either love it or hate it, but you must try it once:

Further, it’s Bartender and Mixologist Day (see if they can make a pousse café), Great American Picnic Day, National Ice Cream Cake Day (not nearly as good as Indian Pudding), Helen Keller Day, and, in Germany, Seven Sleepers’ Day

News of the Day:

The big news is that, due to unwise reopenings and the failure of Americans to take the pandemic seriously, the number of coronavirus cases hit a record high yesterday: about 45,000 new cases, the third day in a row a record was set. ICU beds are nearly full in some places in Texas. Some state governors and Pence still try to rationalize this, citing the First Amendment and the right of assembly.  And the EU is considering banning most American travelers because we’ve been so stupid in controlling the virus. Will I ever see my beloved Paris again?

Anthony Fauci is giving serious warnings about the pandemic not abating in our country, and at the meantime”Vice President” Pence, minimizing the serious resurgence of the pandemic, refuses to endorse the wearing of masks.

As I feared but predicted, the pandemic is now hitting India hard, with half a million cases reported, and half a million predicted in Delhi alone by late July. The medical system is cracking, and sick patients are being turned away from hospitals.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 125,033, an increase of about 600 over yesterday’s report.  The world death toll now stands at 493,687, an increase of about 5500 from yesterday.

Voting mostly along party lines, the Democratic-majority House of Representatives voted yesterday to make Washington, D. C. a state (it has a higher population than several existing states and pays more taxes than some). The Senate, under McConnell will likely prevent this from coming to a vote, and Trump is opposed to statehood, but perhaps we’ll have a Democratic Senate next year.

Finally, we had a hell of a thunderstorm last night in Chicago, with 60 mph winds, lightning, thunder, and all the fury of Ceiling Cat in the pouring rain. Honey’s ducks took advantage of a tailwind to do some short flying hops in the pond, while Dorothy hunkered all night long on the grassy mound, sitting on her seven ducklings (yes, there are still seven. Here’s a pondcam shot showing her sitting tight during the worst of the storm (cursor):

Some photos of Chicago from my crib. The first was on June 11, just showing a night view, while the second and third show downtown during the storm and then clearing up afterwards, during sunset:

The Big Storm:

Storm abating, sun comes out:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili indulges in her fantasy that she’s a tiger:

Hili: After all the rain our garden has turned into a jungle
A: I like it.

In Polish:
Hili: Po tych deszczach nasz ogród zmienia się w dżunglę.
Ja: Ja to lubię

A Mike Lukovich cartoon from reader Charlie, who adds, “Sorry Jerry,  tRump has me so pissed off I’m not functioning particularly well.” I hear you, Charlie!

Some sobering tweets from reader George. You might want to watch the animation of what it’s like to be intubated (it’s not pretty, but it’s an animation):

From Simon, who says, “I know it’s a d*g, but . . . ”

Also from Simon, the inimitable Sarah Cooper lip-synching Trump. This is a pretty good one:

Tweets from Matthew.

In these pictures, presumably from Brazil (it’s in Portuguese), parrots are nomming the side of a building because they crave the clay, and bricks are made of clay. Or so the caption says.

Translation (from Google):

“It is relatively common for Psittaciformes to gather in natural muds (banks of Amazonian rivers for example) where they eat clay soil in search of nutrients and / or neutralizing aggressive substances in their diets. But in a brick building it is too fascinating.”

Blackbear fly!

And a helpful cat completes the scale:

The famous “footstep illusion”: the blue and yellow bars are in line and moving around the circle at the same rate, but their movement looks staggered. As one commenter on the thread noted, it would be cool to make a clock with a second hand like this.

A proof that’s simpler to see:


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 27, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Speaking of the Senate, DC as a state and the election, you should maybe think about doubling you money and taking some bets on the democrats taking the senate. I believe it will happen. Although I am the one who thought Trump wouldn’t make it to this election let alone lose it so what do I know.

  2. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted June 27, 2020 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I do love that cat that appears to sing C one octave above middle C. Or was the standard modern intonation (A440) modelled on a cat’s meow?
    Thankfully I am not cursed with perfect pitch!

    • jezgrove
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      That kitty is much more musical than our own Marcus Clawrelius (pretentious, moi?) – though that doesn’t stop him playing piano duets with my wife.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      I’m not “cursed” with perfect pitch, either, but I think that’s the same “High C” famously hit by Pavarotti and other great operatic tenors:

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      That cat IS the Cat’s Meow to be sure, and if kitty’s a female, her name should be Ella, as in Fitzgerald, who famously broke glass with her high C.

  3. Damien
    Posted June 27, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Can anyone tell me what those parrots find in clay that is nutritious ? Do they digest the clay ? If find the fact that they eat it extremely weird.

    • rickflick
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      Here’s my guess: Lot’s of minerals in lime/clay. I suppose calcium, magnesium, etc. would be valuable to the birds. lime is calcium oxide or calcium hydroxide. I’m thinking it might be the mortar between the bricks they are after. Softer and mineral rich. The fired bricks are clay fired to be extremely hard and resistant to erosion.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:22 am | Permalink

        Other animals including humans eat clay, too and and humans eat clay mostly for the reasons you offer for non-human animals I knew that people in the South ate clay (another Southern delicacy?) but didn’t know of the worldwide history and practice. Some interesting articles on this phenomenon can be found online.

        Nowadays one can buy edible clay on Amazon and other mail order businesses, any type you desire to chow down on

        Not surprisingly, clay crunching has become a “thing” for some into ASMDR (autonomous sensory meridian response).

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          That’s “ASMR” no “D”. Too many abbreviations and acronyms floating around these days to keep track of. Whatever it is, ASMR is pretty strange. Kinda creepy but not to those devoted to the sensations.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

          I’d heard of that. What would bother me is getting something in the blend that was detrimental.

        • W.Benson
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

          My mom believed a child had to eat a pound of dirt to grow up, but that was before everyone became hysterical about germs. Growing up with cats seems to help children avoid respiratory problems later in life. Clay, beside containing salts, may help remove chemical toxins present in the bird’s plant diet. [I see now that Pete Taylor, below, gives a reference].
          The bird is the White-eyed Parakeet — yes, parakeet, with a long tail — (Psittacara leucophthalmus). Its Brazilian name translates as Big Maracanã Parakeet, a type of “maritaca”. The bird is also noteworthy for nesting in attics where young birds may strip the insulation from wiring, often ending up electrocuted or setting the house on fire.

      • sugould
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        A very large cuttlebone.

        • rickflick
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

          Ya. A whole wall of cuttlebone.

      • sugould
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        A very large cuttlebone.

    • Pete Taylor
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      I recall a documentary by David Attenborough (Life on Earth IIRC) in which he covers this phenomenon. I believe it’s because in the wild parrots often eat unripe berries which have toxins, and the kaolin in the clay help counteract the toxins but allow nutrients to be digested.

      Here’s a website discussing this:

      • Pete Taylor
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

        Posted this before reading Jenny’s link above!

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          The link you provide is fascinating! Not to be passed over as duplicating information just because I tossed out some links to read, as your comment might imply.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I do remember the Attenborough program. Thanks.

  4. George
    Posted June 27, 2020 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I love the inimitable Sarah Cooper. Look closely at the pad that “Hannity” is writing on. There is “Trump” inside a heart. Under that, “Seantrump” with a couple of hearts. She blows kisses at her as Donnie. And she is correct. This is like a grade school crush.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Hannity teed the ball up for Trump, asking about his “priorities for a second term” — a question any competent incumbent would have knocked out of the park, but on which the Donald whiffed.

      Trump’s incoherent, narcissistic answer makes George H.W. Bush look like he had “the vision thing,” and makes the rambling answer Teddy Kennedy infamously gave to Roger Mudd, which killed his chances for the 1980 Democratic nomination, sound like Abe Lincoln’s Cooper Union Address.

      • rickflick
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

        So true. You’ve outlined just one more way of saying it. This president should be impossible, but he’s real. It’s like a nightmare that’s still playing out when you wake up. I want to pull the blankets up over my head and you can wake me when it’s over.

        • Posted June 27, 2020 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

          This morning’s revelation is that Trump has known since March that Russia has been paying bounties on US soldiers to the Taliban in Afghanistan and has done nothing. He has even praised Putin while knowing this. How does this not bring Trump down? Reported by NYT and confirmed by WaPo.

          • Posted June 27, 2020 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

            Unbelievable. The Republicans would be clamoring for a Democrat president’s head on a pike.

            • Posted June 27, 2020 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

              I wonder how Fox News covers this. Do they simply ignore it? I don’t see how they can spin it in Trump’s favor.

          • rickflick
            Posted June 27, 2020 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

            “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters”.

            • Posted June 27, 2020 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

              Maybe what he really meant by that is that (a) he wouldn’t shoot someone that voted for him or (b) no one in Manhattan would vote for him anyway.

              • rickflick
                Posted June 27, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

                🙄 Ya, but somehow I don’t think he’s that complicated.

          • W.Benson
            Posted June 27, 2020 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

            Not defending the Russians, but Carter and Reagan seem to have shipped arms wholesale — old Soviet arms purchased from Israel — to the Taliban during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. At least that what is said about the Soviet-Afghan war at Wikipedia.

            • Posted June 27, 2020 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

              Ok but I’m pretty sure the Russians objected to us sending arms to the Taliban. We were enemies then. We’re enemies now too but Trump finds it convenient to ignore it and his enablers are silent.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:41 pm | Permalink

              Those were the anti-Soviet mujahideen the US sent arms to in the 1980s; they only later morphed into the anti-US Taliban (with an assist from some botched Reagan-Bush-era US foreign policy).

  5. Marina
    Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Brave Dorothy deserves a Yay!

    • jezgrove
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Yes, she was a responsible mother for once – let’s hope that she keeps it up!

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:24 am | Permalink

        I was thinking that very thought, as I’m sure most other readers were.

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    This just in – another specimen:

    Subject: Calling all Space Cadets

    [ redacted ],

    Did you hear about our new product?

    We’re about to launch our BRAND NEW Official Make Space Great Again Hats, and the President specifically asked us to reach out to YOU to make sure you get one.

    President Trump only authorized the production of 500 of these LIMITED-EDITION hats, and because you’re one of his best supporters, we’re saving one just for you.

    We can only hold your hat for ONE HOUR before we release it to the next Patriot, so don’t wait.
    [ pictures of hat etc. ]
    President Trump just sent American Astronauts into space on an AMERICAN rocket for the FIRST TIME in nearly a DECADE. There’s no better way for you to show your support than by wearing one of these iconic Make Space Great Again Hats.

    You have ONE HOUR to claim your hat before we give it to the next Patriot. Get YOURS now.

    Please contribute $35 IMMEDIATELY and we’ll send you one of our Official Make Space Great Again Hats.

    Thank you,

    Team Trump 2020

    P.S. As always, everything is proudly Made in America.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      I have a link to the website that sells the hat. I’m not going to put it here. It uses 10 ads and trackers and 59 fingerprinting methods.

    • Posted June 27, 2020 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      Ha ha a great parody (is it?). Anyway, I can recommend Space Force on Netflix.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

        My own analysis suggests it is genuine… genuine… genuine Trump.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted June 27, 2020 at 9:23 am | Permalink

        Fred Willard beams in to visit Jimmy Kimmel :

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

      They also sell – can you guess?

      Plastic drinking straws with the logo down the straw.

  7. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 27, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink


  8. Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Marvelous shots of Chi town.

    The footstep illusion is so “famous” that this is the first I’ve heard of it. Easy to understand why the visual cortex gets confused though.

  9. Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Not only did Pence not advise mask wearing, he claimed we have “flattened the curve”. Of course, he didn’t say which curve. I’m sure there’s always some curve that is flatter now. But we all know the lie he was telling.

    BTW, CNN has an interesting post on the measures Trump is taking to protect himself from the virus while downplaying its significance to everyone else. How can there be a more plain display of his character?

    Measures to protect Trump from coronavirus scale up even as he seeks to move on

    • Mark R.
      Posted June 27, 2020 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the article. I loved this quote.

      “The President continues to lead the whole-of-government response to Covid-19 and regularly receives updates on the work of the task force from the vice president,” White House spokesman Judd Deere told CNN.

      Now that’s a laugh! And we all know it’s not true, but either way, his “leadership” is not to be found (with the pandemic or anything else). Unfortunately, millions think he’s doing great at “leading the whole-of-government response”. At least there are signs that some of his supporters have woken up.

      • Posted June 27, 2020 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        “Hole-of-government” seems closer to the mark though. 😉

    • Posted June 27, 2020 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      A vertical straight line is just as flat as a horizontal straight line.

      I was perusing the other day and I noticed that the USA’s cases per capita was curving gently upwards. “That’s not good” I thought.

      Then I noticed the vertical scale was logarithmic.

  10. Posted June 27, 2020 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Glad to see Dorothy doing her job when it counts!

  11. Hempenstein
    Posted June 27, 2020 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    “Black bear spotted… at Union Depot”

    Likely answers to Paddington.

  12. Posted June 27, 2020 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    I do like your photos of Chicago in different lighting and weather!

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