Wednesday: Hili dialogue

We’re at Hump Day now: July 7, 2020: National Chocolate with Almonds Day.  It’s also National Ice Cream Sundae Day (much preferable to chocolate with almonds). I prefer mine at Margie’s Candies, an establishment that is exactly like it was in the 1930s, including the treats. Like the old days, when you order a hot fudge sundae you get a pitcher of the hot fudge (homemade, of course) on the side, with extra for pouring—or drinking.  Here’s a video (the Turtle Sundae is to die for!). This is one reason I love living in Chicago:

News of the Day: You’d think it can’t get worse, but you’d be wrong. The pandemic is surging in all but about 20 states in the U.S. (fortunately, Illinois isn’t one). The situation is especially bad in Georgia, California, and Florida; in the latter state, 56 hospitals have reached full capacity of their ICUs.

Read this NYT report on the conditions in Sweden, which decided to ride out the pandemic without lockdown. It’s grim: lots of deaths and virtually no benefit to the economy from not having lockdowns.

The odious president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonero, who has repeatedly downplayed the threat of the coronavirus over the past months, with many unmasked displays of hugging, being in crowds, and so on, has tested positive for the virus. Brazil of course is a hotspot for the pandemic.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 131,289, an increase of about 1000 deaths over yesterday’s report (which itself reported an increase of only 400 deaths). The world death toll now stands at 543,882, an increase of about 6000 from yesterday.

If you still want to travel during the pandemic, the New York Times provides a list of countries where Americans can visit, though there may still be some restrictions.

Stuff that happened on July 8 include:

  • 1099 – Some 15,000 starving Christian soldiers begin the siege of Jerusalem by marching in a religious procession around the city as its Muslim defenders watch.
  • 1497 – Vasco da Gama sets sail on the first direct European voyage to India.
  • 1776 – Church bells (possibly including the Liberty Bell) are rung after John Nixon delivers the first public reading of the Declaration of Independence of the United States.
  • 1898 – The death of crime boss Soapy Smith, killed in the Shootout on Juneau Wharf, releases Skagway, Alaska from his iron grip.

Here’s Soapy, killed in Skagway over a gambling debt.

  • 1932 – The Dow Jones Industrial Average reaches its lowest level of the Great Depression, closing at 41.22.
  • 1960 – Francis Gary Powers is charged with espionage resulting from his flight over the Soviet Union.
  • 1994 – Kim Jong-il begins to assume supreme leadership of North Korea upon the death of his father, Kim Il-sung.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1838 – Eli Lilly, American soldier, chemist, and businessman, founded Eli Lilly and Company (d. 1898)
  • 1867 – Käthe Kollwitz, German painter and sculptor (d. 1945)
  • 1914 – Billy Eckstine, American singer and trumpet player (d. 1993)

Here’s Eckstine in one version (not his best) of “Without a Song“. It still shows off his trumpet-playing and vocal talents. His voice is very mellow.

  • 1926 – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Swiss-American psychiatrist and author (d. 2004)
  • 1944 – Jaimoe, American drummer
  • 1949 – Wolfgang Puck, Austrian-American chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur
  • 1952 – Marianne Williamson, American author and activist
  • 1962 – Joan Osborne, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

I couldn’t decide which of my two favorite Joan Osborne videos to post; both are from the documentary “Standing the Shadows of Motown”, featuring the Funk Brothers, the session musicians who played on many classic Motown hits. Her version of these songs is second only to the originals.

Heat Wave” (original of course by Martha and the Vandellas, written by the inimitable trio of Holland–Dozier–Holland. This will get your morning started right!

What Becomes of the Broken Hearted” (original sung by Jimmy Ruffin, written by William Weatherspoon, Paul Riser, and James Dean.  Like the song above, this is a great classic.

Those who Rested in Peace on July 8 include:

  • 1721 – Elihu Yale, American-English merchant and philanthropist (b. 1649)

Soon to be canceled, though I’d bet a lot of dough that Yale University, hypocritical as it is, will keep its name.

Shelley died in a boating accident at the age of 29. My favorite poem of his is “Ozymandias.” Below is a fairly well-known but inaccurate painting of his funeral (or rather, cremation). The Wikipedia caption is “The Funeral of Shelley by Louis Édouard Fournier (1889). Pictured in the centre are, from left, Trelawny, Hunt, and Byron. In fact, Hunt did not observe the cremation, and Byron left early. Mary Shelley, who is pictured kneeling at left, did not attend the funeral according to customs at the time.”

  • 1939 – Havelock Ellis, English psychologist and author (b. 1859)
  • 1979 – Robert Burns Woodward, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1917)
  • 1994 – Kim Il-sung, North Korean commander and politician, President of North Korea (b. 1912)
  • 2008 – John Templeton, American-born British businessman and philanthropist (b. 1912)
  • 2011 – Betty Ford, First Lady of the United States (b. 1918)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being mean to the sweet kitty Szaron.

Szaron: Can we do something together?
Hili: Yes, we can ignore each other together.
In Polish:
Szaron: Czy możemy coś zrobić razem?
Hili: Tak, możemy się razem ignorować.

A cartoon from reader Blue, though I’m not sure the reporters check their spines and brains at the door!

From Frans de Waal’s public Facebook page, which attributes the photo this way: “A peregrine falcon looking like a B-2 bomber darting downward as if it is about to demolish a target. By Thomas Kaestner, from San Diego, California.” It’s an amazing photo!


From Jesus of the Day. In truth, a cat does need three tops!

From Titania. The woman’s statement she quotes unbelievably racist, but it’s ok, because racism is the purview only of “majority” populations:

From Barry. Look at all those legs dangling from dad’s chest! After that, a ball of harvestmen:

From Heather Hastie: more red sprites, which I love to feature. Sprites are a form of high-altitude lightning. The tweet says that we really don’t understand what causes the phenomenon, but we actually have a pretty good idea:

Matthew visited his office at Manchester Uni today for the first time in a long time. He had to make an appointment to get in and pick up some stuff. In the meantime, his prized Stegosaurus toy collection is gathering dust.  . .

Anti-Trump Republicans produced this remarkable ad, juxtaposing images to the words of Ronald Reagan:

Who knew?

Sound up to hear this amazing bird call:



  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Some great songs on the site today. Way to start the day.

    Biggest news today is the book by Mary Trump. Have already heard much about it yesterday but it is a barn burner. The real question is – Sociopath or Psychopath, you decide.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      I’ve heard she says in the book he had someone take his SAT test for him. I’m sure that’s just a small nugget of the revelations in store. It should easily outsell, The Art of the Deal. Oh, wait. He had someone write it for him didn’t he.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        Yes he did. She not only tells the story about getting someone else to take the SATs she names who it was in 1964 that took it for him. She also says she use to do his homework for him in school. She and her brother were really screwed by Trump regarding her father’s part of the family money. I suspect this book will soon be a movie.

        • Historian
          Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:35 am | Permalink

          Mary L. Trump, Donald’s niece, did not do his homework. She wasn’t born until 1965. I believe she is referring to Donald’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry.

          Obviously, Mary has no firsthand knowledge that Donald paid someone to take the SAT. I do not know if in the book Mary reveals her source for this information. I hope she does. I am guessing that Mary got this information as well from Donald’s sister.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted July 8, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            You are correct, I am getting the Mary’s confused in this story. Donald’s sister is the one who got a lifetime judge appointment via connections we are told but then gave it all up due to investigations of the Trump’s financial past. I think much of this is covered in the book as well.

            • rickflick
              Posted July 8, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

              That’s an odd juxtaposition – A family of grifters with a sister administering justice from the bench. 😇

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      He’s a psychopath.

      View at

      • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Sorry about the embed. I wasn’t expecting WordPress to be quite so clever.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 8, 2020 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        I’m not quite half way through the piece, and it’s truly fascinating. Thanks for the link. I recommend it to anyone with any doubt that the nation and the world are in grave danger right now. He builds a long and careful explanation of psychopathy including the state of research on the disorder. He shows that you can diagnose DT which turns out to be not very difficult given the state of the science. I have the urge to forward this to some of the members of my family who seem to be completely oblivious to the danger. But, maybe I should not.

      • Glenda Palmer
        Posted July 8, 2020 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

        I have just spent some time skimming the essay and the Medium site itself. Really interesting. Going back to read fully when I have a bit more time so thank you. Like most rational people I have believed DT is a psychopath for sometime but this provides convincing confirmation by an expert.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted July 9, 2020 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

      Well, in any case it fulfills the criteria for a diagnosis (doctor having met the patient).

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Here’s a video (the Turtle Sundae is to die for!). This is one reason I love living in Chicago …

    Speaking of Chicago ice cream emporia, did you ever used to go to the Hyde Park Baskin-Robbins where Barack and Michelle went on their first date — the one where they sat outside on the curb eating their ice cream, then had their first kiss? Barack said she tasted like chocolate.

    Gotta confess that, ever since reading that in one of Barack’s books, I’ve had a gnawing, unslaked desire to lay one on Michelle myself — nothing too wet or sloppy, mind you, and with the full consent of, and all due respect toward, the parties concerned, but a nice, healthy one right on the lips. Bet you anything she still tastes like chocolate.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Bet you anything she still tastes like chocolate.

      I shudder to think what the woke will make of that comment 😮

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        What, you sayin’ those folks might be a bit light in the sense-of-humor department, Colin? 🙂

        Only ones I could give a damn would take offense at a line like that would be Barack and Michelle themselves — and those two DO have a healthy sense of humor.

  3. GBJames
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Regarding the cartoon from Blue….

    It doesn’t refer to reporters since they don’t attend the Presidential Daily Brief. I think it refers to the people who do the briefings… national security staff, etc.

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      That was how I read it too.

  4. Simon Hayward
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    I thinkwe have a desert destination next time my wife’s family are allowed to visit. thx

    I’m impressed by how hard hitting the never trump republican groups ads are. Much better than the stuff the dems are putting out. The Lincoln Project one from yesterday is also worth a look – they play these things on Fox News when they think el Cheeto will be watching. Seem to get under his skin.

  5. Posted July 8, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink


    Oh, I see… the evil ‘man’ particle!

    • Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      I kind of see the logic, but could’t they at least use a vowel?

      • Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        Yeah, maybe a “u” would work…it would give the word a nice symmetry, even.

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Wow. That Titania post. The referenced original tweet is apparently from early 2017. I certainly stand re-assured about the regime of justice that would exist under a country governed on BLM principles.

  7. Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    That is a powerful campaign ad.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    A cartoon from reader Blue, though I’m not sure the reporters check their spines and brains at the door!

    I don’t think that cartoon refers to reporters but to the briefers who deliver the President’s Daily Brief (PDB) — most often Beth Sanner of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence — who were intimidated when orally briefing Trump (who never actually reads his PDB) from bringing up Russia or Vladimir Putin, because they know any mention of those subjects upsets Dear Leader.

  9. darrelle
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    Good to hear from Blue, even at one remove.

    Ozymandias is also my favorite from Shelley.

    I’ve always thought the Peregrine falcon to be particularly fascinating. Observed speed in a stoop of up to 389 kph (242 mph)! But even more impressive is the precision even at such speeds. And, I once owned a motorcycle named after the Peregrine. A great bike, should have never sold it.

    I’ve never seen anything like that ball of harvestmen. A bit, ahhh . . ., exciting when they broke apart and scattered.

    Sprites are very cool.

  10. Posted July 8, 2020 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Yes, white people are recessive genetic defects. Hence their terrible record of success in the world.

  11. Posted July 8, 2020 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    “Sprites” – what’s the colour?

  12. merilee
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 11:13 am | Permalink


  13. jezgrove
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    Just for the record, the obnoxious post by the co-founder of BLM Toronto that Titania mocks is about 3 years old (that doesn’t make the views expressed by “Yusra K. Ali” any more acceptable, of course):

    • jezgrove
      Posted July 8, 2020 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

      Doh! Didn’t spot DrBrydon’s post above, sorry.

  14. jezgrove
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Trump’s niece thanks The Donald’s sister in the acknowledgments of her new book, apparently:

  15. openidname
    Posted July 8, 2020 at 11:52 pm | Permalink

    Huge Leigh Hunt fan here! And me love this painting long time.

    You’re right that Hunt didn’t watch the cremation, but only because it was too much for him to take; he waited nearby, in the carriage.

    Hunt took Shelley’s heart away with him. Eventually, he surrendered it, very reluctantly, to Mary Shelley.

    I always feel sad for Charles Vivian, the youth (age 16), who came along as a deckhand and who also drowned.

  16. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted July 9, 2020 at 7:24 pm | Permalink

    Read this NYT report on the conditions in Sweden, which decided to ride out the pandemic without lockdown. It’s grim: lots of deaths and virtually no benefit to the economy from not having lockdowns.

    Oy vey. Grim!? We now have scientific evidence [from my alma mater, comparing epidemic models with observations] that our science oriented strategy worked. (I’m not sure of the intention of the NYT article judgment, but if we are now victim blaming, can US say the same?)

    Sweden’s strategy to reduce the spread of the coronavirus, which is largely based on recommendations and voluntariness, has worked. This is shown by a study at Uppsala University, where researchers used computers to build a mathematical model.”

    – The individual efforts have had a great effect and fundamentally changed the course of the pandemic in Sweden, says Peter Kasson, senior lecturer at the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, Uppsala University.

    The study was recently published in the scientific journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

    – Powerful individual measures can work almost as well as a comprehensive shutdown – if a large part of the population adopts the measures, says Lynn Kamerlin, professor at the Department of Chemistry, BMC, Uppsala University.

    [ ].

    It is too early to look at death rates, but other European nations that suppressed the first wave with hard lockdowns have the same rates among elders (say, Belgium). It seems pretty random, among nations and also internally (large spread).

    I haven’t read the NYT article but I have noted it is written by an economist. It is odd if it doesn’t mention that Sweden is a heavily exporting nation, so of course our trade is no better than the median EU under the pandemic. But we still see beneficial effects on economy, and society such as that our children seems to have fared well in and out of schools.

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