Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Kulka monologue)

July 30, 2020 • 6:15 am

August is approaching fast: it’s July 30, 2020, and National Cheesecake Day. I would kill for a piece of Junior’s cheesecake, with the only acceptable varieties being plain or cherry. Every year my mom used to send me one for my birthday. In fact, because I’m depressed (readership here is down again), and I’m peevish and need a treat. In fact, I just ordered one for myself (it’s $7 off for the rest of the day, which will save you half the cost of the two-day shipping).


It’s also National Chili Dog Day, Paperback Book Day, World Snorkeling Day, International Friendship Day, created by Big Greeting Card, and Share A Hug Day (not this year, folks!).

News of the Day: In its series on religion and death, the New York Times has an informative interview with a Jain professor of philosophy at the University of North Texas, Pankaj Jain. (Many Jains are named Jain.) Jainism is one of the less pernicious religions as it’s nontheistic and preaches great compassion for all—including animals. But it’s still wonky since one of its tenets is reincarnation.  Nevertheless, you should read it to learn about an interesting brand of faith.

For further proof that the New York Times is circling the drain, though, here’s one of yesterday’s op-eds (click on screenshot). This is exactly the kind of stuff that is published in HuffPo’s “Personal” section:

According to CNN, and the stats below, the U.S. passed 150,000 deaths from coronavirus yesterday. Remember when the figure “100,000-200,000 deaths” was unthinkable? Well, we’re going to surpass the high end of that, and before too long.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 151,194, an increase of about 1500 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 667,140, a big increase of about 8000 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on July 30 includes:

Yes, the councilors were literally tossed out the window to their deaths. Here’s a print:

(From Wikipedia): A later woodcut of the defenestration in 1618
  • 1619 – In Jamestown, Virginia, the first Colonial European representative assembly in the Americas, the Virginia General Assembly, convenes for the first time.
  • 1859 – First ascent of Grand Combin, one of the highest summits in the Alps.
  • 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of the Crater: Union forces attempt to break Confederate lines at Petersburg, Virginia by exploding a large bomb under their trenches.
  • 1932 – Premiere of Walt Disney‘s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short.

Here’s that award-winning cartoon, with a villain, anthropomorphic flowers (and everything else), and a sweet love story. Watch it!

The highway is s 7,821 km (4,860 miles) long. Here’s a photo of the official opening:


  • 1965 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.
  • 1966 – England defeats West Germany to win the 1966 FIFA World Cup at Wembley Stadium after extra time.
  • 1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 15 Mission: David Scott and James Irwin on the Apollo Lunar Module Falcon land on the Moon with the first Lunar Rover.
  • 1974 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon releases subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • 1975 – Jimmy Hoffa disappears from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, at about 2:30 p.m. He is never seen or heard from again.
  • 2003 – In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.

Here’s a picture of the last edition of the old-style Beetle, along with some facts from Wikipedia:

. . . the final original Type 1 VW Beetle (No. 21,529,464) rolled off the production line at Puebla, Mexico, on 30 July 2003, 65 years after its original launch. This last Beetle, nicknamed El Rey (Spanish for “The King” after a legendary Mexican song by José Alfredo Jiménez) was delivered to the company’s museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.

To celebrate the occasion, Volkswagen marketed a final, special series of 3,000 Beetles marketed as “Última Edición” (Final Edition) in light blue (Aquarius Blue) or beige (Harvest Moon Beige). Each car included the 1.6 engine, whitewall tires, a CD player with four speakers, chrome bumpers, trim, hub caps and exterior mirrors, a Wolfsburg emblem above the front trunk’s handle, an all-cloth interior, chrome glove box badge, body coloured wheels, tinted glass, a rear parcel shelf, and VW Última Edición plaque.

A mariachi band serenaded production of the last car. In Mexico, there was an advertising campaign as a goodbye for the Beetle. In one of the ads was a very small parking space on the street, and many big cars tried to use it, but could not. After a while, a sign appears in that parking space saying: “Es increíble que un auto tan pequeño deje un vacío tan grande” (It is incredible that a car so small can leave such a large void). Another depicted the rear end of a 1954 Beetle (the year Volkswagen was established in Mexico) in the left side of the ad, reading “Erase una vez…” (Once upon a time…) and the last 2003 Beetle in the right side, reading “Fin” (The end). Other ads also had the same nostalgic tone.

The last Beetle.  They’re sill making a similar version, though I don’t know anyone who owns one. If you do, weigh in below and tell us how it’s doing.

Here’s a specimen of the Última Edición:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1818 – Emily Brontë, English novelist and poet (d. 1848)
  • 1857 – Thorstein Veblen, American economist and sociologist (d. 1929)
  • 1863 – Henry Ford, American engineer and businessman, founded the Ford Motor Company (d. 1947)
  • 1890 – Casey Stengel, American baseball player and manager (d. 1975)
  • 1898 – Henry Moore, English sculptor and illustrator (d. 1986)
  • 1936 – Buddy Guy, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1947 – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-American bodybuilder, actor, and politician, 38th Governor of California
  • 1974 – Hilary Swank, American actress and producer

Those who bought the farm on July 30 include:

  • 1718 – William Penn, English businessman and philosopher, founded the Province of Pennsylvania (b. 1644)
  • 1771 – Thomas Gray, English poet (b. 1716)
  • 1996 – Claudette Colbert, French-American actress (b. 1903)
  • 1998 – Buffalo Bob Smith, American television host (b. 1917)

Here’s a ten-minute video of Buffalo Bob and the Howdy Doody show. If you remember this, you’re OLD!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron is so fed up with Hili rejecting his overtures of friendship that he’s resorted to prayer:

Hili: What are you doing?
Szaron: I’m praying for you to stop being such a shrew.
In Polish:
Hili: Co ty robisz?
Szaron: Modlę się, żebyś przestała być taką zołzą.

We have our first Kukla monologue today! The kitten speaks! Apparently she wants an editorial position.

Kulka:  May I be helping, too?

In Polish: Czy ja też mogę pomagać?

From reader Ken:

From reader Bruce:

Matthew spotted this piece in Private Eye. But why can men wear underpants?

Matthew is on a one-week Twitter-reading hiatus, so tweets from him may be thin on the ground.

A tweet from reader Simon. The cat takes a cue from Shania Twain: “That don’t impress me much.”

A tweet from reader Barry, noted in passing:

Tweets from Matthew. This paper must be expensive!

Same meaning, different countries, different phrases:

Matthew notes helpfully that this isn’t true in French:

Two tweets about the Internet’s second favorite mammal:

I may have posted this before, and if so, well, here it is again. It’s a cool piece of biology:

Ants detected on radar!

77 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Kulka monologue)

  1. 1857 – Thorstein Veblen, American economist and sociologist (d. 1929)

    Mencken’s original sweating professor, IINM.

  2. Odd has an odd number of letters.
    Even has an even number of letters.
    Prime has a prime number of letters.

    Does that qualify them as autological?

  3. “Matthew spotted this piece in Private Eye. But why can men wear underpants?”

    Seriously, you don’t know?

    It’s not that men can wear underpants. It’s that men have a CHOICE, whereas women must do what they’re told.


    1. Indeed – religionists are much happier telling women what they can and can’t wear. In this particular case, I suspect an element of sexual perversion is also in the mix.

      Btw, Private Eye is a wonderful publication (and not just because I’m listed in the current issue as the winner of the latest cryptic crossword competition).

      1. I always try to buy an issue of Private Eye when I visit the UK. I read them on the plane home. In addition to being very funny, PE also features excellent investigative reporting.

        The magazine is also one of the few that has done well in the internet age. Its secret? Put as little content online as possible!

    2. Men already have the Holy Spirit in them. Women are wicked by nature and need to receive it.

  4. I drove an old-style Beetle in the 1960s. Mostly a good ride, easy to fix, but not so great in snow and slush.

    1. I borrowed my bf’s once and it took me forever to figure out how to put it in reverse when I was trying to back out of a parking space. Didn’t you have to pull up a ring or something?

      1. No ring (that would be a stubborn bull). Just push the stick straight down and then shift, (I think, forward and to the right?)

        1. I guess that sounds right. I know there were kind of two steps to the process. I was used to stick shifts but the reverse was totally different than my Opel. This was back in the early 70s.

            1. I’ve seen push down and go past where 5th is. I hate that kind of reverse with 6 speeds. I would rather do that for the 6th gear and leave reverse where it is.

              1. Me, too. I think the old Bug was in a class of its own. I thought I’d never get out of that parking lot!

                I also remember driving my brother’s Opel in Vienna (before I got one of my own) and not really understanding the choke and having to wait quite a while for the rpms to come down enough so that I could get out of a tight parallel parking space.

              2. My first car has a choke and was a 5spd manual with no power steering and a cable clutch.

              3. With your hand or foot? Never heard of this.
                I needed to replace my clutch when I lived in SF- all those hills and you’d have to stop behind a bus at the top of one of them.

              4. It’s how a clutch works. When you push it down that connects via a cable.

              5. Yeah and once you have a hydronic one you realize how painful the cable one was. I remember really having to push down the clutch. Also some are just shitty heavy clutches. I tried a mini (a modern one) and hated the clutch. It was so heavy my 1986 Hyundai Pony was probably easier. What were they thinking? It was manly to fight the clutch?

              6. When you step on the clutch peddle, it separates the drive shaft from the gears driving the wheels so you can shift gears while they are not under load. When the clutch pedal is released, the connection is reestablished with the new gear setting.

              7. Yes I know. It’s why I drove standard most of my life. It is especially nice to cut off the works from the engine in an emergency.

              8. I drove standard till a few years ago when my right elbow was getting sore on long drives. I do miss it.

              9. Yeah I got sick of the stop and go traffic and coming home feeling like I fell out of 12th storey window. 5 years ago when I got the car I have now is when I completely went automatic. I still reach for the gears sometimes and I have to keep my left foot back in fear I will jam it on the break thinking it’s the clutch.

              10. “Manly to fight the clutch?” 🤣
                Yeah, some are much stiffer than others. (No comments from the Peanut Gallery.) I think maybe my ex’s GTI had a very stiff clutch. My daughter still teases me about always having my hand on my automatic shifter.

  5. The woodcut is actually from the Third Defenstration of Prague in 1618, which took place at the Prague Castle. I was in Prague in early March, and saw the window, which is well-indicated by signs.

    1. Well, we didn’t see that coming…! Now that he’s behind in the polls he’ll be doing everything he can to avoid facing the music in November.

    2. Per the US constitution, congress sets the election date, and only congress could change it. Not gonna happen.

      This does show how desperate Trump is already, 95 days out from the election. There is no telling what he will try to pull as he runs out of runway. I doubt there is any line below which he would refuse to go.

      1. He will do everything possible to delegitimize the election before it happens and will refuse to accept the results afterward. This will play out as a combination of lawsuits and violent activities by armed tRumpists. He will go as far as to have Barr try to institute some kind of “emergency” rule by DNS.

        I sure hope I am wrong.

      2. Agreed because this administration scrupulously obeys the law /S. What if Trump decrees that the election must be postponed and then deploys federal agents to “protect government property” on Election Day. What if Republican governors obey the decree so that Biden can’t win an absolute majority in the EC? Would he win a contingent election in the House?

        1. Pretty unlikely scenarios. First of all, I don’t think the US military would go along. Second, there would be an insurrection and probably a short civil war. Probably a top general would take over and kick the bum out of the WH on his ear.

          1. I wouldn’t put it past Trump to try any of these things, but I think the Republic remains strong enough to withstand such efforts.

            And I seriously doubt Trump would get any support from the US military, since he’s broken faith with it. Most recently by failing to take any action on (or even express any interest in) intelligence reports that Russia put bounties on the lives of US soldiers in Afghanistan, but going back even further — by abandoning our allies the Kurds, by calling the Joint Chiefs of Staff “dopes and babies,” by publicly criticizing a general as popular as James Mattis, and by claiming John McCain wasn’t a hero because he was captured in Vietnam (a war Trump himself dodged service in), among a host of other debacles.

    3. And for some reason, it’s never pointed out that Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Washington have had universal mail-in voting long before the pandemic. And guess what? NO voter fraud. Since we already have proof that vote-by-mail works fine, why is this fact never brought up?

    4. In the words of the BBC’s North America reporter, Anthony Zurcher: “His tweet could also be an attempt to divert attention away from the truly dismal second-quarter economic numbers just released. He’s been relying on a financial turnaround to breathe life into his re-election campaign, and instead the outlook appears exceedingly gloomy. Whatever the reason, tweeting about an election delay is not the move of a candidate confident of victory – and could be a sign of more desperate moves to come.”

  6. I think I actually ate at the Machus Red Fox when I was a kid. I knew nothing about Hoffa at the time, though.

    Also, I love how that tweet shared by Bruce couldn’t help but contradict itself, no matter what the outcome was. ^_^

  7. Oh! I’m sorry to hear you are depressed! The internet can be depressing but this blog gives me hope.

    1. PCC desperately needs to get away. Hawaii has hardly any covid, and with a negative test he can fly there now with no quarantine. A long time in an airplane, but worth thinking about.

        1. The new wingnut conspiracy theory is that he wasn’t given enough HCQ which they believe would surely have saved his life.

    1. Yup, and I’ve heard reports on the news that he may have contracted the virus at the Tulsa rally. Sad to hear of anyone’s death, but attending given his health condition was hardly sensible.

  8. Couldn’t they have found something better to have on hand for the opening of the trans-Canada than a 2y/o Plymouth, and a base model at that?

    1. John G. Diefenbaker (centre, hand-shaking, reaching forward) was the Prime Minister at the time. He was a two-year-old-base-model-Plymouth kinda guy. Walked on water, according to my grandmother.

    1. “Pan comido” (eaten bread) in Spanish, and also, a comparative and personal favourite, “más fácil que el mecanismo del chupete” (easier than the mechanism of a pacifier”

  9. Not noted by enough but, nonetheless,
    a(nother) ” notable born on this day ” in y1956,
    is Brandeis Professor and Attorney
    Dr Anita Hill.

    ¿ Soon and very soon … … to ?
    … … to the very next j u s t i c e – opening
    … … upon the United States Supreme Court.


  10. The most visible fellow in the photo of the opening of the trans-Canada is the Canadian prime minister of the time, John Diefenbaker, who was a Conservative. I can still remember my father vehemently complaining about him, although I think it must have been after he’d left office, otherwise I would have had to be very precocious indeed. I wonder what percentage of Canadians would recognize Diefenbaker today. Not a high one, I’m betting.

    The photo is from before Canada adopted its current flag, which is one of the best flags in the world in my not completely unbiased opinion. On the right side of the photo are a couple of examples of the old flag, surely one of the WORST flags in the world, with the British Union Jack in the corner, no doubt a source of considerable annoyance to French Canadians and others who didn’t like the British colony symbolism. Not that I have anything against the Union Jack per se. Both my parents were born in England.

    1. Dief the Chief. Killer of the Avro Arrow and expeller of the American Bomarc nuclear tipped missiles from the north. A lot to love and hate about him but I think he was the right leader for Canada at the time and got us through some difficult times especially with US relations.

  11. We Canadians aren’t known for our classy style. We are very smooth though according to Trump.

  12. In the 1950s I watched the Howdy Doody puppet show as well as a local Atlanta imitation, the Woody Willow show. Howdy Doody gave rise to at least one neologism, cowabunga, derived from the original kawabanga or kawabunga, mentioned in the video. It was later popularized, so I read, by the Teenage Mutant Turtles, but that was after my time.

    1. They also claim to have “coyned” the term peanut gallery, which I vividly remember was used by Buffalo Bob to address the bleacher kids in the studio. Google says it actually comes from Vaudville – meaning, the cheap seats.

  13. Sorry the Black D*g has got you down, Jerry. Everybody is scrambling in one way or another to survive during the time of Corona. Your readers will come back to you when things are calm again.

    At my house, we’re swamped with garden chores because my daughter wanted to learn how to grow her own vegetables. At least it helps to dissipate anxiety and depression.

    1. I still have a theory, which is mine, that there’s something off with the page view count ever since the WordPress revamp. I receive emails saying “so-and-so liked your comment at WEIT”, but the version I see has no “Like” buttons below the comments (although it did for a day or two just after the platform changes). Also, many more people are likely reading the posts on tablets or smart phones without clicking through to visit the website itself. I’m in no position to objectively judge the number of comments below the line, but subjectively I can’t say I’ve noticed any difference recently.

          1. When you sign in to WordPress, it’s the bell in the banner heading (upper right corner, beside the person icon where you can sign out of WP). That’s how you can look up comments and replies. A red dot appears beside the bell when someone replies to your comment(s). You can ‘like’ it and/or type in a reply.

      1. Yeah. Even though reading and commenting here are low-intensity activities on a warm day, people are getting back to basics and whatever are their higher priorities of life – minding the children, trying to earn money, grocery shopping, breathing in fresh air and getting sunshine, fixing up their homesteads, etc.

  14. What an expensive sounding piece of cheese cake! I do enjoy CC (waitaminute, I caught that as I wrote!) too, but $7 *discount*? (This is not a complaint, just amazement 🙂 ) Wow, enjoy – a treat is a good thing I think.

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