Wednesday: Hili dialogue

July 29, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Hump Day, except we had the hump in February and everything’s been downhill since then. It’s July 29, 2020:  National Lasagna Day. It’s also National Chicken Wing Day and International Tiger Day. 

Here, have a tiger (from One Green Planet):


News of the day: Take my word for it—the news is all bad. First, a 63-year-old woman, swimming 20 yards offshore in southern Maine, was fatally bitten by a great white shark—only the second shark attack in that state since 1837.

Trump continues to lie about the coronavirus, sharing a video touting the use of hydroxychloroquine as a palliative for the virus, a video which was removed by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.  He also claimed that large portions of the country were “corona free.” I’d like to know where they are so I can travel there.

There’s a rise in viral infections in parts of Europe as well, including Spain, Germany, and Belgium.

The discovery of what appears to be van Gogh’s last painting (not “Wheatfield with Crows”) casts doubt on the recent hypothesis that he didn’t shoot himself but was shot by two young ruffians. Read the details here. Here’s the painting: “Tree Roots”:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 149,767, an increase of about 1300 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at,659,273, an increase of about 6700 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on July 29 includes:

  • 1565 – The widowed Mary, Queen of Scots marries Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, Duke of Albany, at Holyrood Palace, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • 1567 – The infant James VI is crowned King of Scotland at Stirling.
  • 1818 – French physicist Augustin Fresnel submits his prizewinning “Memoir on the Diffraction of Light”, precisely accounting for the limited extent to which light spreads into shadows, and thereby demolishing the oldest objection to the wave theory of light.
  • 1836 – Inauguration of the Arc de Triomphe in Paris, France.
  • 1921 – Adolf Hitler becomes leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party.
  • 1948 – Olympic Games: The Games of the XIV Olympiad: After a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the first Summer Olympics to be held since the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, open in London.
  • 1973 – Greeks vote to abolish the monarchy, beginning the first period of the Metapolitefsi.
  • 1976 – In New York City, David Berkowitz (a.k.a. the “Son of Sam”) kills one person and seriously wounds another in the first of a series of attacks.

Berkowitz who killed six and wounded seven, is serving three consecutive 25-years-to-life sentences in the Attica Supermax Prison. Amazingly, he was eligible for parole in 2003, though he’ll never get out. Here he is:

Al Aaronson/NY Daily News/Getty

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1805 – Alexis de Tocqueville, French historian and philosopher (d. 1859)
  • 1869 – Booth Tarkington, American novelist and dramatist (d. 1946)
  • 1883 – Benito Mussolini, Italian fascist revolutionary and politician, 27th Prime Minister of Italy (d. 1945)
  • 1898 – Isidor Isaac Rabi, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize Laureate (d. 1988)
  • 1905 – Clara Bow, American actress (d. 1965)

Here’s “the It girl,” the biggest sex symbol of the Roaring Twenties:

Those who started playing the harp on July 29 include:

See above for some news of van Gogh. Here’s one of my favorite of his paintings: “Noon, Rest from Work” (a copy from Millet):

. . . and the original:



  • 1974 – Cass Elliot, American singer (b. 1941)
  • 1979 – Herbert Marcuse, German sociologist and philosopher (b. 1898)
  • 1994 – Dorothy Hodgkin, Egyptian-English biochemist and biophysicist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)

Here are two headlines from British papers when she won the Prize.  How things have changed! Crikey, as if “wife” were her distinguishing characteristic. Would they have said, “Nobel prize for a husband from Oxford”?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili read the news today, oh boy:

Hili: Did you read the morning papers?
A: Yes.
Hili: Irritating. Bad news and bad journalism.
In Polish:
Hili: Czytałeś już poranną prasę?
Ja: Tak.
Hili: Irytujące, Złe wiadomości i złe dziennikarstwo.

And you get a treat today: six photos of the new kitten Kulka, who still weighs less than half a kilo (one pound). And she looks pretty much like baby Hili did.

Caption:  This little monster is everywhere. (In Polish: Ten mały potwór jest wszędzie.)

Kulka and Szaron

And Hili as a kitten:

An exchange from reader Bruce:

From Jesus of the Day:

From Bad Cat Clothing, a handy fix:

A tweet from Titania:

A tweet from Simon:

From cesar: Nikole Hannah-Jones better decide whether The 1619 Project is history or not history:

From reader Barry. This is adorable; does anybody know the lizard species?

From reader Ken, who says, “Way to stay classy, Donald!” Indeed.

Tweets from Matthew. Eleven? I had 23 this year!

Ducks 1, Pigeon -10:

Two antlion larvae making their cocoons.

24 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

    1. ¿ The wee one, Dr Mayer, is not a
      northern green anole of Dactyloidae ?
      ¿ perhaps Anolis carolinensis ?


  1. Trump continues to lie about the coronavirus, sharing a video touting the use of hydroxychloroquine as a palliative for the virus, a video which was removed by Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

    When asked about this at his press briefing yesterday — after he and his failson shared the video on social media gaining it 19 million views — Trump did one of his famous “I don’t know anything about” her bits, then abruptly ended the presser and walked off the podium when asked a follow-up:

    1. His son retweeted and got cancelled momentarily from Twitter. He’s essentially tRump’s mini-me.

    2. You beat me to it. People need to watch that whole video to get the full context of the insanity and Trump’s absurd deflection, saying he thought she was “an important voice” before saying he knew absolutely nothing about her. But she’s “spectacular.” But he knows nothing about her. Oh, we’re done with questions now. Thanks, Mr. President.

  2. Kulka is extremely cute, and very like the young Hili. (Sweet tiger cub at the top of the post, too.)

  3. Of course, the 1619 Project is a history. I don’t understand why Hannah-Jones would shy away from asserting this. The important thing to realize is that it is “a history” not “the history” of a specific aspect of American history – the role of slavery and race. As I have stated before, I agree largely with her interpretation. I have also stated before that there is no such thing as a true or objective history, but there can be a false history. False history is easy to describe – a series of assertions about past events where is there is little or no evidence to support them or that existing evidence is so distorted or misrepresented to make it worthless. There cannot be true or objective history because historians pick and choose what evidence they believe support their narratives and analyses. Different historians, acting in good faith, can come to different conclusions. This is why the meaning and significance of many historical events are hotly debated by historians and why history (or more specifically, how historians view the past) is continually being revised and rewritten, which are not dirty words as those ignorant of what historians do frequently imply.

    Obviously, Hannah-Jones wrote her article to offer a specific interpretation of early American history – the centrality of slavery and race in the unfolding of early American history. One can dispute, as some historians do, some factual errors made by Hannah-Jones. One can also debate whether slavery and race was THE most important factor in early American history or one of several. Again, historians will disagree on this. But, what is incontestable (as sure as sure can be), yet what many Americans are unaware of, is that it is impossible to understand early American history without being aware that slavery and race loomed like a dark shadow over every discussion at that time on what kind of nation the United States was and could be. And this is the value of the 1619 Project – it has started, as nothing else, a national debate on American history and has helped to destroy its fairy tale version. This is a very good thing.

  4. The British newspaper headlines from the 1970s are absolutely typical. Women in news stories tended to be either “girls” [any age] or “housewives” or “grandmothers”. I collected a classic in 1975 of a story that ran in both the Sun and The Times concerning a “girl bus driver” who later in the story turned out to be 40 years old! Women Olympic athletes were also generally “girls”. American newspapers by this time usually had specific age criteria for “woman” and “girl” and were not so condescending.

    1. In 1974, Time magazine did a cover story on Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper, captioned “TV’s Funny Girls.” A few weeks later they printed a letter from someone who asked if the magazine would have titled a cover story on Carroll O’Conner and Redd Foxx “TV’s Funny Boys.” I was 14 at the time and thought “They have a point.” It hadn’t occurred to me before then.

      When I entered college in 1978, the restrooms in some buildings were still labeled “Men” and “Girls.” Someone had crossed out “Girls” and written in “Women” in Magic Marker. I didn’t blame them. I also remember a bulletin board had the schedules for the “Men’s Basketball team” and the “Girls’ Basketball team.” Someone must have complained, because the next day it said “Women’s Team.”

      1. Isn’t that amazing! Women were becoming aware that they didn’t have to be “girls” all their lives. I thought that speaking of “high school women” was perhaps overdoing it a bit, but there was a vogue for that, too. The only excuse for “Funny Girls” could be that it was a reference to Fanny Brice/Barbra Streisand in “Funny Girl”. It sounds, on the whole, as though that was the idea.

  5. 繭 (mayu) Means “cocoon”, apparently. Had to look that one up as it isn’t a word I’d use that often. Being a lifelong student of the Japanese language is a curse. Just a curse.
    I’d rather live in a 繭


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