Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

Welcome to Tuesday—the Cruelest Day—August 4, 2020. It’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and National White Wine Day (ditch the pinot grigio and try a nice sauvignon blanc, a viognier or a dry semillon instead). It is a dreary day, and I have come to work creeping like a snail unwillingly to school, though my hose are too wide for my shrunk shank. And I have no idea what I’ll write about today, if anything.

News of the Day: Once again the court have rejected Trump’s demands to keep his tax returns private, and the kicker is that the Manhattan District Attorney revealed that their criminal investigation of Trump actually goes beyond the original one: that he paid hush money to women who claimed he had sexual affairs with them. The probe has widened to “insurance and bank fraud.” Will Trump wind up in jail? Can he pardon himself in advance?

Trump has now gone after Deborah Birx, which, since he’s already dissed Fauci, means that he’s criticized the top two infectious disease specialists in his administration.  I’m not sure Nancy Pelosi was justified in criticizing Birx just because she was a Trump appointee, but neither was Trump justified in being a loon this way:

If Major League Baseball can’t get through a truncated season, even without fans and with the requirement of quarantine, what hope is there that colleges, with students whose livelihoods don’t depend on them remaining virus-free, will be able to re-open safely?  My two predictions—that the 2020 baseball season will die and that colleges like mine that plan to re-open will have to change their minds—still stand.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 155,935, an increase of about 600 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 693,731, an increase of about 4200 deaths from yesterday.

And, since it’s Obama’s 59th birthday, here’s “A thought for today” from AWordADay (h/t: Rick):

Appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it weren’t for those who don’t look like us or don’t sound like us or don’t pray like we do, that’s an old playbook. It’s as old as time. And in a healthy democracy it doesn’t work. Our antibodies kick in, and people of goodwill from across the political spectrum call out the bigots and the fearmongers, and work to compromise and get things done and promote the better angels of our nature.

-Barack Obama, 44th US President (b. 4 Aug 1961)

Stuff that happened on August 4 include:

  • 1693 – Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon’s invention of champagne; it is not clear whether he actually invented champagne, however he has been credited as an innovator who developed the techniques used to perfect sparkling wine.
  • 1873 – American Indian Wars: While protecting a railroad survey party in Montana, the United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer clashes for the first time with the Cheyenne and Lakota people near the Tongue River; only one man on each side is killed.
  • 1892 – The father and stepmother of Lizzie Borden are found murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. She was tried and acquitted for the crimes a year later.

Lizzie, shown below, continued to live in Fall River though she was shunned. And she probably did the crime:

Lizzie Bordon (1889)

The Anne Frank House is well worth a visit, but reserve well in advance; it’s jammed these days. Here’s a picture from the Museum site of a visitor viewing Anne’s diary—the original:

  • 1964 – Civil rights movement: Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney are found dead in Mississippi after disappearing on June 21.
  • 1964 – Gulf of Tonkin incident: U.S. destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy falsely report coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1792 – Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet and playwright (d. 1822)
  • 1901 – Louis Armstrong, American trumpet player and singer (d. 1971)

Here’s one of my favorite Armstrong Songs, “Potato Head Blues” (1927), performed by Louis and his Hot Seven. I believe it was in Manhattan that Woody Allen said that this song was one of the things that made life worth living. One of the first famous jazz solos is here.

Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, was famous for having saved the lives of thousands of Jews from the Nazis (he was one-sixteenth Jewish). He disappeared in 1945 and in all probability was captured by the Soviets and shot in Lubyanka Prison. He is one of the Righteous Among the Nations, which means Israel counted him as a non-Jew. Here’s a photo (he probably died in 1947 at age 35:


  • 1955 – Billy Bob Thornton, American actor, director, and screenwriter
  • 1961 – Barack Obama, American lawyer and politician, 44th President of the United States, Nobel Prize laureate [see quote above]
  • 1962 – Roger Clemens, American baseball player and actor
  • 1981 – Meghan Markle, American actress and humanitarian, and member of British Royal Family

Those who breathed their last on August 4 were few, and include these three:

Here’s what the great Danish author looked like in 1869:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili finds that her jaunt in nature isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!

Hili: Something is lacking here.
A: What?
Hili: I don’t know, maybe a bowl with something tasty..
In Polish:
Hili: Czegoś mi tu brakuje.
Ja: Czego?
Hili: Nie wiem, może miseczki z czymś smacznym.

On the other hand, Mietek the Kitten doesn’t want his food. (Isn’t he getting big?)

Mietek: Sprouts? Rather not.

In Polish: Kiełki? Chyba jednak nie.

. . . and Szaron still wants to help out on Listy:

From Jesus of the Day, a fabulous picture:

PHOTO:Duck face
ARTIST: Tilly Melier

An ingenious idea from the Purrfect Feline Page:

From Fat Cat Art, we have “responsible social-distancing cats”:

From Titania, an ad from KFC in Trinidad that is remarkably, well, “tone deaf”. What on earth were they thinking?

From Simon, we have a canid as a model organism:

From reader Barry, a really lovely tweet of two mated storks celebrating, for one of them has just laid an egg. Be sure to turn the sound up:

Tweets from Matthew. First, one of Matthew’s beloved optical illusions:

To give the penguins something to do when the Shedd Aquarium was closed during the pandemic, they let them run around in the Field Museum across the street:

This is a fricking amazing mini-tornado (I’m sure there’s a fancy name for it):

One of the bittersweet heartwarmers that takes our minds off the pandemic:

Too much time on his hands. . . .




  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    The Armstrong is broke. Here’s another: https://youtu.be/AeBn_TZ4Iak

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I don’t really know how audiences took this, but to me, the sound is ethereal, almost magical like a time machine…

    • jezgrove
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      PCC(E)’s original link worked for me. Great solo!

    • another fred
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:46 am | Permalink

      Didn’t Woody Allen use this in “Sleeper”?

      • hectorburleeives
        Posted August 4, 2020 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        If not “Potato Head,” then something very like. Funny, funny movie, “Sleeper.”
        And I believe Dr. Coyne is correct about “Manhattan,” in which Allen’s character, speaking into a tape recorder, lists this number as well as a movement from Mozart’s Jupiter symphony and, I think, Cezanne’s apples or pears or whatever fruits he is celebrated for putting on canvas as essentials for living well.
        The cinematography in “Manhattan” is gorgeous.

  2. enl
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    “This is a fricking amazing mini-tornado (I’m sure there’s a fancy name for it)”

    A whirlwind of some flavour.

    Dust devil, maybe? IIRC, a dust devil is heat induced in the absence of storm conditions, and a tornado is associated with thunder storm cells.

  3. eric
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Does the Trump quote mean he’s going to verbally, publicly endorse vaccination? That’s going to tick off a lot of his base, but it’s a good thing. Three steps back, one step forward I guess.

    • Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      There’s a conspiracy theory going round to the effect that a vaccine will get rolled out in October regardless of its state of readiness just so Trump can claim it as his success before the election.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    … my hose are too wide for my shrunk shank …

    Your stockings may be loose simply due to your recurrent fasting, rather than age. After all, you still wield that big, manly voice.

    Nice to see you sampling As You Like It this early in the morning though.

  5. Jon Mummaw
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    I think Speaker Pelosi lost confidence in Dr. Birx because she groveled for Trump’s approval with the following quote which certainly isn’t true but it damaged her credibility.

    “He’s been so attentive to the scientific literature and the details and the data,” Birx said. “I think his ability to analyze and integrate data that comes out of his long history in business has really been a real benefit during these discussions about medical issues.”

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      You assume that nauseating, butt-licking quote is bogus? Here it is, straight from her lips on screen:

      I’m not at all surprised, given that from the very beginning, every chance she got, she engaged in fulsome praise for Dear Leader Donald.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    … the Manhattan District Attorney revealed that their criminal investigation of Trump actually goes beyond the original one: that he paid hush money to women who claimed he had sexual affairs with them. The probe has widened to “insurance and bank fraud.”

    No surprise there. Cyrus Vance picks at that suppurating scab, no telling what could come oozing out.

    Donald Trump has been on the grift his entire life,

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      It’s an open question whether a president can pardon himself. But any such pardon would extend only to federal offenses. The Manhattan DA’s office is investigating New York state crimes, as to which a presidential pardon is feckless.

  7. jezgrove
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Typical that the anniversary of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s birth would coincide with the announcement that GCSE students in England will not have to learn poetry. (“Ozymandias’ is currently on the curriculum.)

  8. DrBrydon
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Could it be the people in Trinidad don’t identify with American racial politics and stereotypes?

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Make your own maple seed glider :


  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    About that “Dear Sara” letter — the chance of encountering such magnanimity (on both ends: the hairstylist’s and the widower’s) is what makes it worth getting outta bed in the morning. Some mornings, it seems like the only thing.

  11. rickflick
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    The stork couple show a remarkable gesture of solidarity. Before human couples resort to the drastic step of divorce, they should try this first.

  12. Posted August 4, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    In the UK, the salt goes in the one with only one hole in the top and the pepper goes in the one with multiple holes. This isn’t a universal convention – I think it’s the other way around in France.

    Anyway, the man in the video should follow the conventions of his own country.

  13. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    The great salt-and-pepper paradox. Maybe the fella in that vid should seek a dispositive opinion from Salt-N-Pepa.

  14. Nobody Special
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    I used to wonder where Louis Armstrong’s nickname, Satchmo, came from. I finally found out in a book titled In His Own Words: Selected Writings, a compilation of letters he’d written*. He got the nickname as a youngster because his larger-than-average mouth was likened to a certain type of bag, Satchmo being a shortened version of the original ‘satchel-mouth’.

    *He was a prolific letter-writer and took a portable typewriter with him everywhere he went. Having received very little schooling he had a grammar, punctuation and spelling convention of his own which, being reproduced verbatim in the book makes his letters a joy to read – one of the rare times that you really do hear the voice of the writer from reading his words.
    There have been other compilations which have edited his letters into conventional grammar, punctuation and spelling, and they have taken all of the life out of his words.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink


  15. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    I think the good that the Yad Vashem (The Righteous among the Nations) institution has done cannot be underestimated.
    My late father visited Israel where he was awarded the Yad Vashem. He planted a tree. He was suffering from a PSTD-like depression,and I think his being awarded the distinction was instrumental in him fully overcoming it. Later he got medals from the Netherlands and Belgium, but I think it was the Yad Vashem that was closest to his heart. I’m unreservedly grateful.

  16. merilee
    Posted August 4, 2020 at 1:25 pm | Permalink


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