Saturday: Hili dialogue

May 1, 2021 • 6:30 am

Welcome to CaturSaturday, the first day of the Lusty Month of May, 2021. If you’re old enough, you’ll remember this song from “Camelot”:

It’s National Chocolate Parfait Day, but May is also these food months:

National Beef Month
National Barbecue Month
National Loaded Potato Month
National Egg Month
National Hamburger Month
National Salad Month
National Salsa Month
National Strawberry Month
It’s also Beer Pong Day, National Homebrew Day, Pilates Day, Herb Day, International Workers’ Day, Lei Day in Hawaii, and of course May Day , the ancient celebration of Spring.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) is a gif that urges us all to get vaccinated against covid:

News of the Day:

The news is scant today. If you have an interesting and not widely-read news item, do sent it to me from time to time.

Britain has stopped most incoming flights from India because of the coronavirus, which continues to ravage the country (I suspect both new cases, officially tallied at about 400,000 per day) and deaths are severely underreported). The New York Times has a report on the anguish suffered by Indians overseas, who have little way to help their relatives or relieve the anguish of the country. In a NYT op-ed, Armand Sethi describes how cremations are being conducted.

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 575,637, an increase of 695 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,195,792, an increase of about 14,700 over yesterday’s total.

Lots of stuff happened on May 1 and includes:

  • 1328 – Wars of Scottish Independence end: By the Treaty of Edinburgh–Northampton, England recognises Scotland as an independent state.
  • 1707 – The Act of Union joining England and Scotland to form the Kingdom of Great Britain takes effect.
  • 1753 – Publication of Species Plantarum by Linnaeus, and the formal start date of plant taxonomy adopted by the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature.

Here’s the cover page of that famoous treatise. I found a listing for what appears to be a first edition, but it’s only $7500, which seems remarkably low.

Here is Josiah Wedgewood’s famous anti-slavery medallion from 1786, which helped promote abolition. Wedgewood was the grandfather of both Charles Darwin and his wife Emma:

Here’s one, featuring the likeness of Queen Victoria.  They aren’t particularly rare as 68 million were produced in the print run, and one in mint condition can cost as little as £5000.

  • 1851 – Queen Victoria opens The Great Exhibition at The Crystal Palace in London.
  • 1852 – Santiago Ramón y Cajal, Spanish neuroscientist and pathologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1934)

Here’s a tweet about Ramón y Cajal (h/t Matthew):

A bomb went off, seven policemen and four civilians died, and four of the accused “anarchists” were hanged, while four were sent to prison. There was almost no evidence against most of the convicted. though one may have built the bomb. Here’s a contemporary depiction of the hanging (one man slowly strangled to death).

198 Americans were among the 1,198 people killed in the sinking by a German U-boat, and although we didn’t enter the war until several years later, the sinking of this passenger vessel helped bolster U.S. support for entering the war. Here’s the Lusitania:

  • 1931 – The Empire State Building is dedicated in New York City.
  • 1956 – The polio vaccine developed by Jonas Salk is made available to the public.

Here’s Salk injecting a young girl. Given how many lives he saved, what he did, and that he refused to profit from or even patent the vaccine, he surely deserved a Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology, but he never got one. I well remember the polio scares when I was a young kid; we weren’t even allowed to go swimming in public pools:

I also remember this, and worried that we’d go to war with the Soviet Union. After two years of imprisonment, Powers was eventually returned to the U.S. in a prisoner exchange, and died in a helicopter crash in 1977. Here’s a photo of him in Soviet custody:

35174 16.11.1960 Американский летчик-шпион Фрэнсис Гарри Пауэрс, чей самолет-разведчик “Локхид У-2” был сбит советской зенитной ракетой под Свердловском. Чернов/РИА Новости
  • 1961 – The Prime Minister of Cuba, Fidel Castro, proclaims Cuba a socialist nation and abolishes elections.
  • 1978 – Japan’s Naomi Uemura, travelling by dog sled, becomes the first person to reach the North Pole alone.

Here’s part of his story from Wikipedia: ” (February 12, 1941 – disappeared February 13, 1984) was a Japanese adventurer who was known particularly for his solo exploits. For example, he was the first man to reach the North Pole solo, the first man to raft the Amazon solo, and the first man to climb Denali solo. He disappeared a day after his 43rd birthday while attempting to climb Denali in the winter.” Here he is with his dog sled:

It was identified as Mallory because he had a name tag on his clothing. Here’s the body that was found, bleached white after so many years. We sill don’t know whether he and Irvine successfully summited the mountain. You can see a video of the expedition that found his body here (there are five parts).

  • 2003 – Invasion of Iraq: In what becomes known as the “Mission Accomplished” speech, on board the USS Abraham Lincoln (off the coast of California), U.S. President George W. Bush declares that “major combat operations in Iraq have ended”.

People born on this day include:

And here she is:

Theo looked a lot like his brother Vincent, and early photos of Theo have been mistaken as photos of Vincent. Below is a photo of Theo, and below that is the only known authenticated photo of Vincent van Gogh, who was 19 at the time:



  • 1881 – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, French priest, palaeontologist, and philosopher (d. 1955)
  • 1923 – Joseph Heller, American novelist, short story writer, and playwright (d. 1999)
  • 1925 – Scott Carpenter, American commander, pilot, and astronaut (d. 2013)
  • 1939 – Judy Collins, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1945 – Rita Coolidge, American singer-songwriter
  • 1951 – Sally Mann, American photographer

Those who, bereft of life, began resting in peace on May 1 include:

Here’s Livingstone (I presume), who died at 60 in Africa of malaria and dystentery:

Goebbels and his wife of course committed suicide as the Russians approached the Hitler Bunker, but not before Magda, in collusion with Hitler’s doctors, dosed all their children (save the adult son Harald) with morphine and then, when they were unconscious, crushed cyanide capsules in their mouths. Here’s a picture of the family with Harald’s picture artificially stuck in (he survived the war).

Here’s a reenactment of that murder from the movie “Downfall”. I can’t imagine how it would be to kill all your children this way. I understand that Magda and Josef feared what would happen to their children should they fall into the hands of the Russians, but still, they had had offers to have the children smuggled out of Berlin and given into the care of others. . . . .  (Don’t watch if you’re squeamish!)

  • 1965 – Spike Jones, American singer and bandleader (b. 1911)
  • 1998 – Eldridge Cleaver, American author and activist (b. 1935)
  • 2000 – Steve Reeves, American bodybuilder and actor (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, a rare woodpecker has visited Andrzej and Malgorzata’s yard. Hili is warned away:

Hili: Either I’m mistaken or I see a woodpecker.
A: You better not come close.
Hili: Why?
A: Because it will escape.
In Polish:
Hili: Albo mi się zdaje, albo widzę dzięcioła.
Ja: To lepiej nie podchodź.
Hii: Dlaczego?
Ja: Bo ucieknie.

And a photo of Szaron:

A meme from Bruce:

From Stash Krod:

Bored Panda has a feature called “71 People who just realized they’re dating an idiot”. Here’s one example; go see the others.

From Titania. Be sure to read the bit on the right:

It’s World Robber Fly Day, celebrating a great group of dipterans. I showed a few in the Hili dialogue yesterday morning, and here’s one more:

Tweets from Matthew. Do you think this was done on purpose?

Darwin did indeed have wide tastes; see part of his reading list here.

If this owl doesn’t look happy, I don’t know what does.

A spider mimicking an ant (count the legs):

A response to the “Long Boi” mallard, which for some reason has gone viral. You’d think that nobody had ever seen an Indian runner duck before.


24 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. So does anyone remember May Basket Day and what took place on that day? Probably not.

    Rudy Giuliani is making news these days for the same reasons he was making it just a few years ago. Depending on just how far gone old Rudy is, he may have only one choice to avoid the remainder of his life locked up. Do you remember that Rudy? Lock her up, lock her up.

      1. I did not know there was anything on it. Thanks. Maybe it was just done in certain parts of this country too. For us it was a kids thing, about 5th grade or so. I remember we sometimes made them at school. You could also get the baskets at the dime store, then put into them whatever you want. The idea was boys took them to girls houses and for girls the same. Ring the door bell and run. People think I am making it up but it was real.

      1. My previous comment was not intended as a reply but as a stand-alone comment.
        No idea how that happened.

  2. “1978 – Japan’s Naomi Uemura, travelling by dog sled, becomes the first person to reach the North Pole alone.”. On a slightly related note, according to the Guardian, “while previous generations of polar travellers devised their own rules for their gruelling journeys, a new certification scheme has been launched after growing controversy over allegedly inflated claims of exploits at the Earth’s two poles.”

    1. “start construction works on the new museum’s seven floors and 4,000 sq metres of floorspace” -for a cartoon strip? Yikes!

  3. The inscription on Josiah Wedgewood’s 1786 abolitionist medallion appears to have served as the inspiration for Sojourner Truth’s famous speech at the 1827 Akron Women’s Convention: “Ain’t I a Woman?”

  4. The U-2 shoot down was a big deal way back in the cold war. Ike told such an obvious lie at first and that did not go over well. He must have been thinking the soviets would find little and Powers was dead. When none of that worked out he really looked stupid. It was great propaganda for the Russians. We also found out the soviet’s surface to air missiles were better than we thought.

  5. That little owl is indescribably appealing. That’s the essence of happiness right there.

  6. Late Nite talk show host James Corden joked about Long Boi. With the help of a photoshopped picture, he said that if you put it in a trench coat the duck would look like 2 ducks trying to sneak into a movie theater.

  7. I think the Goebbels indicated that they did not want their children to have to live in a world where Hitler was not in power. If so, it tells you something about the mindset of those who succumb to an extreme cult of personality.

  8. Armand Sethi describes how cremations are being conducted.

    I recall, during the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, that the death rate was sufficiently high that they struggled to get sufficient wood in towns to perform traditional cremation-burials. People got very upset about burying their relatives (1) in the ground, (2) zipped up inside a body bag, with (3) 5 or 10 litres of strong bleach sloshing around inside.
    To perform an effective cremation takes in excess of 100kg of wood. Occasionally I’ve seen news shots of a heavy duty trolley wheeled out to the cremation ground, with the shroud-wrapped body at shoulder height on a pile of wood, held in place by metal poles. That’s probably more than 100kg of wood, for less than 100 kg of person.
    Let’s hope that they don’t have to start facing choices like that. But I suspect they will.

  9. 1328 – Wars of Scottish Independence end

    Temporary hold only. I strongly suspect that people reading this today are going to see an independent Scotland again.

    Here’s the cover page of [Species Plantarum by Linnaeus]. I found a listing for what appears to be a first edition, but it’s only $7500, which seems remarkably low.

    Depends on how big the print run was, but depends more on how many remain on the market, and how many people are looking for them. I suspect that many more bibliophiles have heard of, and would bid for, a first edition of Darwin’s Origin, than have heard of Species Plantarum. Wasn’t the first print run (of the first edition) of Originonly just over 1000 copies, so that would help keep the price up.

    I can’t imagine how it would be to kill all your children this way.

    Isn’t there a report from a survivor (or back-slider, a “splitter” in Pythonian Aramaic) of the Masada mass suicide? Where the women knifed the children, then the men stabbed the women, then a group selected by lots stabbed the rest of the men until the last man standing (literally) fell upon his own sword. I know Josephus isn’t the most reliable of sources, but there is plenty of precedent when your enemies are beating on the gates. Jim Jones and his people were wimps for using poison. Disguised poison, even!

    1. Morphine and arsenic aren’t a bad idea (morphine and anything is usually a good idea!)…for death but were I that deranged I’d pick morphine and a heavy load of barbiturates. Slower than arsenic but surely less painful in case they wake up. Or Pavulon but I doubt it was invented then. 🙂

      I couldn’t do that to my kids (if I had any) though. Damn – I could barely call the vet to do a “final” home visit for my kitty! Still makes me cry.

  10. Ramona Cajal’s work was extraordinary, During my training we still used his mindblowing imaging of particular neurons. Luckily he got a deserved Nobel prize.
    And Salk (and Sabin) definitely deserved one too, no dispute there. The fact that Salk didn’t want to profit from his vaccine makes him ever so great a hero.

  11. As of May 1, Covid in India has a mortality rate of ‘only’ 15.5 per 100k population, which is much lower than the US at 175, not to mention Brazil at 191, Slovakia at 214, Czechia at 274, Hungary at 282 or even Denmark at 43 (just to give some examples).
    The case fatality rate is highest by far in Mexico with 9.3%, while in India it is 1.1% (for comparison, in the US it is 1.8%)
    Of course, the death rate in India is growing fast, but as yet I think the eastern European countries (and Mexico) are the actual greater disaster at present.

  12. Theo died less than a year after Vincent, at age 34 allegedly of syphilis. Unlucky family.

  13. Right below Tatania’s post I see a video of Caitlyn (Bruce) Jenner opposing the participation of biological male trans types in girls sports, stating that it was unfair to the girls.

    In the last couple of days NPR interviewed the West Virginia governor on his signing a law outlawing the participation of trans girls in girl’s sports.

    (His accent/manner is so exaggerated – as if his mouth is full of grease from eating ribs [got that from Jimmy Walker] – that it all too-easily reinforces stereotypical perceptions Americans from other regions of the country have of those in southern Appalachia, and does not one whit to help justify his position. His accent/manner is so exaggerated that it is immune to further parody/exaggeration/ridicule. I will presume to so hold forth on the matter since I myself am from East Tennessee.)

    I wonder if NPR will soon be interviewing Jenner, or will decline to do so because her opinion would not support NPR’s desired narrative.

    I don’t know that there should be such a law. I as a male try to put myself in the female sports participant’s place. The law would seem to somewhat insulate girls from the pressure of having to make individual decisions about whether to continue participating in sports in such circumstances. Were there no such law and I as a female were faced with making a decision, and I decided to no longer participate in sports – and intrusive holier-than-thou progressive media popinjays presumed to press me to justify my decision – I suppose that I would reply that, regarding sports, I had “been there, done that,” and that there was more to life than sports and that I had other interests/enthusiasms, and, if all else failed, that I didn’t owe them any explanation.

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