Saturday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Saturday, July 18, 2020: National Caviar Day (didn’t we just have that?) It’s also National Sour Candy Day, National Strawberry Rhubarb Wine Day, and Nelson Mandela International Day, an official UN holiday celebrating the great man’s birthday.

News of the Day: Good news! Captain Tom Moore is now Captain Sir Tom Moore, as he was just knighted by the Queen. I’m not a fan of the monarchy, but I love this because Moore will surely be chuffed to be called “Sir Tom.” And he deserves it for diligently walking with his walker for charity, earning (as of today) over £32 million for the National Health Service. Here he is in that socially-distanced knighting ceremony (“she who would knight during a pandemic must have a very long sword”):


Bad news: Ruth Bader Ginsburg is being treated for a recurrence of cancer: metastatic pancreatic cancer that spread to her liver. She’s a tough lady, but this is a very hard fight.

More bad news: the White House has blocked officials from the Centers for Disease Control from testifying next week at a Congressional hearing on reopening schools. The Trump administration doesn’t want science to get in the way of its mission to reopen schools.

Here’s a map from the New York Times showing the proportion, across America, of five people you meet in random encounters who will be wearing masks. Chicago is in the “high” zone, but the Midwest (sparsely populated) and the Southeast aren’t doing that well.


Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 139,186, an increase of about 900 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 595,989, an increase of about 6400 deaths from yesterday.

Here’s what I found in my mail this morning. Cowardly Christians don’t even give a return address!  Whoever sent this wasted their time and a stamp:

And Dorothy’s growing ducklings have started sprouting tail feathers along with wing and back feathers. Look at the three brushes on this one! (Photo by Jean Greenberg).

Stuff that happened on July 18 include:

  • 1290 – King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B’Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities.
  • 1862 – First ascent of Dent Blanche, one of the highest summits in the Alps.
  • 1870 – The First Vatican Council decrees the dogma of papal infallibility.
  • 1925 – Adolf Hitler publishes Mein Kampf.

Not surprisingly, the book doesn’t command high prices, even when signed. Here’s a first edition signed by Hitler, and it went for only $43,750 in 2015:


Here’s that plane: the world’s first operational jet fighter. It didn’t begin service until mid-1944, too late for the Germans:

  • 1944 – World War II: Hideki Tōjō resigns as Prime Minister of Japan because of numerous setbacks in the war effort.

Tojo was hanged for war crimes in November of 1948.

Here’s her perfect performance on the uneven bars:

And here it is ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, and comrades, the first picture posted to the Web (not a kitten!):

This picture of Les Horribles Cernettes was the first photographic image of a band published on the World Wide Web in 1992. From left to right: Angela Higney, Michele de Gennaro, Colette Marx-Neilsen, Lynn Veronneau.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1887 – Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian military officer and politician, Minister President of Norway (d. 1945)
  • 1913 – Red Skelton, American actor and comedian (d. 1997)
  • 1918 – Nelson Mandela, South African lawyer and politician, 1st President of South Africa, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2013)
  • 1921 – John Glenn, American colonel, astronaut, and politician (d. 2016)
  • 1937 – Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (d. 2005)
  • 1941 – Martha Reeves, American singer and politician
  • 1950 – Richard Branson, English businessman, founded Virgin Group

Those who kicked the bucket on July 18 include:

  • 1610 – Caravaggio, Italian painter (b. 1571)
  • 1792 – John Paul Jones, Scottish-American admiral and diplomat (b. 1747)
  • 1954 – Machine Gun Kelly, American gangster (b. 1895)
  • 1988 – Nico, German singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and actress (b. 1938)

Here’s my favorite painting by one of my favorite painters, “The Calling of St. Matthew“. (“Who, me?”)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, up in the apple tree, has a pressing question:

Hili: Why are birds afraid of cats?
A: You may have a bad reputation in that community.
In Polish:
Hili: Dlaczego ptaki boją się kotów?
Ja: Możecie mieć złą opinię w tym środowisku.

From Laurie Ann (answer: cats shouldn’t wear pants!):

And a meme from Stephen Muth:

A Mike Lukovich cartoon from reader Charles:

Part of Titania’s continuing series on things that have been deemed racist:

Two tweets from Simon.  First, look at this poor thirsty squirrel begging for water.

And they still charge a ton, except more.

From reader Woody, who says that this cow-fart, country-music promotion from Burger King “is getting a lot of attention.” Does lemongrass really work this way?

Tweets from Matthew. Who doesn’t love puffins?

Now this is a bit weird, because the protection doesn’t work until all the chicks (or whatever turkey babies are called) can fly. Still, some protection is better than none.


29 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. “Dorothy’s growing ducklings have started sprouting tail feathers”

    Am I the only one that read this that immediately thought of Ray Charles in the Blues Brothers?

  2. John L Lewis, Representative from Georgia, died last night. One of the last of the original civil rights leaders that marched with King.

    1. Sad to say “so long…” to the Conscience of Congress. No one could replace him but who, I ask, is willing to take up his standard, the nonviolent resistance to hatred, and hold it proud and high?

  3. I will certainly hope for RBG to get well, but having dealt with a loved one getting pancreatic cancer, recovering from it, then the doctors finding it has come back and spread, I think we should mentally prepare ourselves for another Trump SCOTUS nomination. Were it anyone else, I’d be telling her to quit her job, eat and drink whatever the heck she wants, and enjoy her remaining time with her family.

  4. Words fail me in attempting to express my great respect and admiration for john lewis over the years. He was always educating and looking for solutions regardless of how he was treated. So very sorry to have lost him.

  5. Machine Gun Kelly, American gangster.
    Well, with a name like that his career choices were bound to be somewhat limited. 🙂

  6. Jerry, those might be “get out of Hell free” coupons. I’d hold on to them, just in case.

    1. If there is a return address I would reply, “Jesus Christ! Thanks! Let’s come again sometime.”

  7. Perhaps the confederate flag truck owner was actually trying to say, “No, you belong to the Right,” but left out the comma and dropped the definite article?

    1. Maybe they wanted the right to ignore punctuation whilst carrying a loaded gun? The authors of the Constitution clearly omitted an important article.

  8. the first picture posted to the Web

    As the Wiki page for Les Horribles Cernettes says, it was the first photo of a band posted to the Internet.

    Gizmodo: “If you read well our [CERN’s] website, it says that it was, to our knowledge, the “first photo of a band”. Dozens of media are totally distorting our words for the sake of cheap sensationalism. Nobody knows which was the first photo on the web.

    1. So now we know they flew into a poult tree! (I’m here all week – apologies in advance!)

      1. About the turkeys: Do any of our birder brethren know of other birds that fledge and fly at a small fraction of their adult linear size and weight? About a month ago I was surprised to see a chick trailing mom and three siblings take flight in front of me on a bike path. Again, no more that a fifth or so of mom’s weight and only a few weeks old, I’d guess.

        Turkeys aren’t native here, and I’ve never seen chicks of our native galliform birds [quail, grouse] fly, even though they are precocial, and superior runners from hatching.

  9. Sure hope Her Royal Majesty is proud of herself scoring a touché like that against an unarmed walker-bound centenarian.

  10. Learned behavior on the squirrel’s part, surely? Or could he figure out on his own that the bottle contained potable water and that people would give it to him if he begged?

  11. The Lady Antebellum thing you couldn’t make up. The group is changing its name to “Lady A” because “antebellum” refers to the period before the US Civil War and that has apparently caused deep distress to many black people.

    Unfortunately, Anita White who is a black blues singer is now in deep distress because that is her stage name of 20 years. The band has gone to court in order to claim the right to use the name (they have a good case because they trademarked it in 2006) but the optics really don’t look good.

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