Thursday: Hili dialogue

May 6, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Thursday, May 6, 2021: National Crepe Suzette Day (overrated dessert). It’s also International No Diet Day, National Beverage Day, National No Homework Day (that’s been the case for over a year!), and National Nurses Day (like schoolteachers, nurses are one of the most underappreciated professions).

One of Honey’s ducklings disappeared yesterday. I don’t think it was the one I introduced yesterday, but how and why it disappeared is a mystery (this happened to one of Dorothy’s last year). Of course I am devastated. Every duckling life taken away is one fewer mallard that gets to live out its life in the wild, doing what it evolved to do. Send jokes or something.

News of the Day:

The oversight board appointed by Facebook upheld Trump’s being blocked from the platform, but must reconsider that decision within six months.

The board said it concluded that Trump’s posts on January 6, which praised the rioters, “severely violated” Facebook’s policies and “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.”

However, the board criticized Facebook for having made the suspension indefinite and said Facebook must review the decision and impose disciplinary actions such as a “time-bound period of suspension” or permanently disabling the account — sanctions consistent with Facebook’s policies.

Trump is still banned from Twitter and YouTube.

Is there a war impending in Ukraine? Russia still has 80,000 troops massed near the border of that smaller, beleaguered nation. This more than matches the nearly 30,000 NATO troops involved in exercises in Eastern Europe. While Ukraine is a U.S. ally, it’s not a member of NATO, although it’s seeking membership (the U.S. is not particularly supportive). Remember that in 2014 Russia annexed Crimea, which was part of Ukraine. Putin, I believe,  is counting on the fact that nobody wants to go to war with Russia over a country like Ukraine.

Is Liz Cheney on the way out as a GOP House leader for opposing Donald Trump? The Republicans, still swearing a misguided and twisted fealty to Trump, want Cheney out of the way (she’s the third most powerful Republican in Congress). But she’s an anti-Trumper, largely because of Trump’s role in accusing the election of being “stolen”, which led to the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Read her outspoken op-ed in the Washington Post.

I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution. The electoral college has spoken. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple Trump-appointed judges, have rejected the former president’s arguments, and refused to overturn election results. That is the rule of law; that is our constitutional system for resolving claims of election fraud.

.  . . History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.

I cannot bear to think of Trump reappearing on the political scene, yet he’s making noises about running for President again in 2024. I can’t imagine that he could win if Biden just keeps doing what he’s doing, but then again I lost several hundred dollars betting against Trump’s win in 2016.

Covid continues to ravage India, with nearly 4,000 people dying of the virus yesterday and over 380,000 infected.  Only 2.% of the population is fully vaccinated. Prime Minister Modi, an evil and manipulative man if ever there was one, and a man who cares nothing about his people, still resists ordering a nationwide lockdown.

Here’s India’s mortality-over-time plot


Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 578,804, an increase of 701 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,257,603, an increase of about 14,600 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on May 6 include:

  • 1536 – The Siege of Cuzco commences, in which Incan forces attempt to retake the city of Cuzco from the Spanish.

The siege against Pizarro’s forces was unsuccessful after ten months, and the Incas were pretty much done.

While institutionalized, Smart wrote  a fragment of a longer poem, Jubilate Agno, which is the best cat poetry in history, “For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffrey.”

  • 1840 – The Penny Black postage stamp becomes valid for use in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • 1877 – Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota surrenders to United States troops in Nebraska.

There are no authenticated photos of Crazy Horse, but this one purports to be from 1877:

This act prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers into the U.S., following an earlier law prohibiting the immigration of Chinese women. As Wikipedia notes, “the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first, and remains the only law to have been implemented, to prevent all members of a specific ethnic or national group from immigrating to the United States.” Here’s a racist political “ad” for “Magic Washer” which was to get rid of Chinese people:

Here’s a paorama of Paris from the top of the tower. I have to confess that I’ve never been up it:

Amazingly, many survived the crash. Here’s Pathé footage of the disaster:

A first edition and first printing of this classic will cost you around $20,000:

Here’s a historical tweet referring to this day in 1945, contributed by Matthew. See more information here.


Once again, here’s a video of the race with Bannister’s narration. The current record is 3:43:15, set by Hicham El Guerrouj.

  • 1994 – Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and French President François Mitterrand officiate at the opening of the Channel Tunnel.

  • 1998 – Kerry Wood strikes out 20 Houston Astros to tie the major league record held by Roger Clemens. He threw a one-hitter and did not walk a batter in his fifth career start.
  • 1998 – Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. unveils the first iMac.

Here’s Jobs showing the first iMac (I have a three-year-old model):


Notables born on this day include:

I visited Freud’s digs in London and saw the famous couch. This, however, is not my photo. Note where Freud sat, and sometimes fell asleep during the patient’s narration:

Photo: SCMP Pictures
  • 1856 – Robert Peary, American admiral and explorer (d. 1920)
  • 1895 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor (d. 1926)
  • 1915 – Orson Welles, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1985)
  • 1931 – Willie Mays, American baseball player and coach

Here’s “the Catch,” Willie Mays’s famous over-the-should catch during the 1954 World Series. It’s often regarded as the best outfield catch of all time, but I think there are many now that at least match it:

  • 1953 – Tony Blair, British politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
  • 1961 – George Clooney, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter

Those who punched out on the Time Clock of Life on May 6 include:

  • 1859 – Alexander von Humboldt, German geographer and explorer (b. 1769)
  • 1862 – Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet, and philosopher (b. 1817)
  • 1919 – L. Frank Baum, American novelist (b. 1856)
  • 1992 – Marlene Dietrich, German-American actress and singer (b. 1901)

The move “The Blue Angel” (1930; made in both German and English) was what brought Dietrich to fame. It’s the story of how a showgirl made a fool of a professor, who eventually dies. Here’s the famous song from the movie, “Falling in Love Again“.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being nefarious and duplicitous.

A: What are you looking for?
Hili: I’m looking to see whether there is a mouse here admiring a beautiful flower.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu się tak przyglądasz?
Hili: Patrzę, czy nie ma tu jakiejś myszy podziwiającej piękny kwiat.

From Barry, who notes that this may be Photoshopped.

From Rick. I’ve always wondered why cat rather than dogs are the stars of the Internet, and I have no idea. (But of course it’s the right way to go.)

From Bruce. The significance of the conch shell can be seen here.

All today’s tweets come from Matthew (I welcome readers sending me really good tweets).

A poor sheep gets bamboozled, and a cat massages a dog (which is just WRONG):

Yes, there’s vandalism and damage, but I would love to have been party to this:

Matthew sent me the Guardian article, and I found another tweet. This moth has a 25 cm wingspan (about ten inches) and lives at most a few days after eclosing. What a beauty!

Goose parade! I think this is in the Netherlands:

Poor horses! Fortunately, this is highly curable:

A lovely turquoise Anolis; Matthew says that apparently they aren’t always this color.

I may have published this before, but if so, here it is again. Another geriatric fruit bat (remember Stadler?). For some reason I love these aged bats, perhaps because I empathize with them.



50 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. “Covid continues to ravage India” – and for some inexplicable reason, a delegation from India has just flown into the UK for in-person meetings as part of the G7 summit in London. Two members have tested positive, after having been in physical meetings with British officials including the home secretary.They are now going to participate online – which begs the question, why wasn’t that the plan all along?

    1. That is not begging the question. Look it up. Please. Like “the exception proves the rule”, “begging the question” is one of the most mis-used phrases.

        1. Yes, that’s the point I often make. Professors are free to give special meanings to phrases for use in their chosen subject but they don’t get to take away their original meaning. The sooner they learn that, the better.

        1. It’s a question whether one should support such evolution. It is too late to change “an umpire” back to “a numpire”, “a napkin” back to “an apkin” and “an orange” back to “a norange”. Languages change, and sometimes that is OK. But we shouldn’t accept all changes, such as the words and phrases Jerry hates. 🙂

    2. As is often the case, the best advice on this nettlesome phrase comes, I think, from the cunning linguists at Language Log:

      [W]hat should we do? Should we join the herd and use “beg the question” to mean “raise the question”? Or should we join the few, proud hold-outs who still use it in the old “assume the conclusion” sense, while complaining about the ignorant rabble who etc.?

      In my opinion, those are both bad choices. If you use the phrase to mean “raise the question”, some pedants will silently dismiss you as a dunce, while others will complain loudly, thus distracting everyone else from whatever you wanted to say. If you complain about others’ “misuse”, you come across as an annoying pedant. And if you use the phrase to mean “assume the conclusion”, almost no one will understand you.

      My recommendation: Never use the phrase yourself — use “assume the conclusion” or “raise the question”, depending on what you mean — and cultivate an attitude of serene detachment in the face of its use by others.


      1. Indeed, Ken. The point about the Indian delegation got lost thanks to my poor phraseology…

        P.S.: Nice move that Ron DeSantis just pulled – and doing it live on Fox & Friends was a classy touch.

  2. It seems likely the U.S. will reach 600,000 official deaths from Covid. That will give it Civil War comparisons and it took 4 years to do it in the war.

    Isn’t it interesting that the republicans have one person, a woman, who is not such a spineless coward as all those old white men. I do not think many folks here realize what a close thing this country still is today. The republicans are concentrating on taking back the congress in the next election and after that Trump runs again. Votes can then be adjusted however they want. That is what just failed last time. Unless we wake up and put this guy away, it could happen.

    1. Even more surprisingly, she’s bucking the trend when she’s up for reelection in 2022.

      But I think she politically survives and Trump fades. Just my opinion.

      1. She may survive in Montana but her position or title in the House of Representatives is going to be taken from her. At the moment the republicans in the House and Senate are all bent over kissing Trump’s ring. I do not think that changes until he either goes to jail or the midterm elections go south for the republicans.

        1. Short-term, you’re right. But I think she’s playing the long game. If she wins Senate reelection in 2022 she’ll be set until 2028. If Trumpism fades in the next 7 years, she’ll come out of this era looking like a reasonable, respectable conservative who didn’t bow to pressure. A woman Republican, with name recognition, in her early 60s, viewed as a moderate or at least acceptable by anyone who disliked Trump. And oh yeah, 2028 is a Presidential election year, isn’t it? It’s a political gamble to be an anti-Trump Republican right now, but if she can weather the initial storm, it could pay off big time for someone like her.

          1. “viewed as a moderate”. By who? She’s as right-wing as they come (in the traditional sense; today the majority of the Republican party is far right of her which is why they pose a threat to our democracy). But a moderate? No way- there are no more moderates in the Congressional GOP. She may be perceived as a moderate by some Republicans, but I don’t think that benefits her at this point. I guess it depends on whether Trump stays or fades away.

            1. Yeah, she’s pretty conservative. Liberals are in this strange position right now. We have to support all Republicans who repudiate the Big Lie but then vote against them in elections, assuming they get that far by surviving their own party’s membership test.

          2. Liz Cheney is a representative, not a senator. This means she has to run every two years, not six. It will be remarkable if she wins the Wyoming Republican primary in 2022. The chances of her ever winning the Republican nomination for president is are near zero. Whatever one may think of her policy positions (which are far right), she deserves praise for sacrificing her political career for principle

    2. The BBC today has a bit of commentary on this:
      I hope that Cheney emerges from this emboldened – certainly the Republican leadership (McCarthy, McConnell; and particularly McCarthy) come off as poltroons.
      The money quote for me in the article is from Moscow Mitch:
      ‘”One-hundred percent of my focus is on stopping this new administration,” he said when asked if he had comment about Cheney’s impending removal. “One hundred percent of my focus is on standing up to this administration.”‘
      Hey Moscow Mitch, how about “One-hundred percent of my focus is on US recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic disruption it has brought”? Mitch’s quote just emphasizes the utter immorality of the Republicans.

  3. So sorry to hear about the missing duckling. “Send jokes or something”:

    Girlfriend: “Why are you naked and covered in baby oil?”

    Boyfriend: “Because you told me that I never glisten.”

    Girlfriend: “No! I said you never listen!”

    1. A Minister, Imam, and Rabbit walk into a bar.
      Bartender says to the Rabbit: what’ll you have? Carrot juice?
      Rabbit says: don’t ask me, I’m just here because of autocorrect.

  4. Dear Jerry,

    My condolences. Here is a duck joke:

    A guy walks into a bar carrying a huge sack and looking upset. The bartender asks: “What’s in the sack?”

    The guy pulls out a miniature piano and a tiny man, about a foot tall. The tiny man sits down at the piano and begins to play beautifully.

    “Wow, that’s amazing! Where did you find him?” the bartender asks.

    “Well, I found this rusty old lamp in my attic, and when I rubbed it, out came a genie and offered to grant me one wish. Here, see for yourself.” And the guy produces a rusty old lamp and hands it to the bartender.

    The bartender looks skeptical, but he rubs the lamp and out comes a genie! He bows to the bartender and says in a booming voice, “Sir, I shall grant you one wish, and one wish only!”

    The bartender is stunned, but he manages to blurt out, “I want a million bucks!”

    The genie disappears in a puff of smoke, and suddenly the place is filled with a million ducks! They’re quacking loudly, knocking glasses off the bar, pooping everywhere, making a huge mess. The bartender yells furiously at the guy with the sack: “What the hell is wrong with this genie?!? I asked for bucks, not ducks! Is he deaf?”

    And the guy just shrugs. “What did you expect? Did you really think I asked the genie for a twelve-inch pianist?”

  5. Humans get enteroliths too, but we call them bezoars (after the Persian for ‘antidote’—bezoars were believed to be a universal antidote to any poison). Generally occurring in people who are prone to eating odd things, like hair, in which case it is a trichobezoar.

  6. Here’s “the Catch,” Willie Mays’s famous over-the-should catch during the 1954 World Series. It’s often regarded as the best outfield catch of all time, but I think there are many now that at least match it …

    It was a great catch, but by no means the greatest ever. In fact it was fairly routine by Willie Mays’s high standards. There was a reason that patch of the Polo Grounds’ outfield was known as “where triples go to die.”

    But it came in the first game of the World Series (shortly after the Series began being broadcast on national tv), in the eighth inning of the first game, with the score tied and men on base. The ball was hit by Cleveland Indians’ first baseman Vic Wertz. The Indians had won a then-record 111 regular-season games that year and had the “Big Four” pitching staff — including future Hall-of-Famers Bob Feller, Bob Lemon, and Early Wynn. But the Giants won that game and went on to sweep the Tribe 4-0 in the Series. I was only a year old at the time, so have no memory of it, but had plenty of time to absorb the grizzly details from my elders, given that the Indians didn’t make another World Series appearance for another 41 years (and still haven’t won the Series since 1948).

    Ain’t been easy being an Indians’ fan lo these many years. And, starting next season, they won’t even be called “the Indians” anymore.

  7. I had a slightly later generation iMac (a purple one). And that mouse… worst feeling mouse ever. My running joke with myself is that Apple cannot design a good mouse since they keep trying to make it cool looking.

  8. “One of Honey’s ducklings disappeared yesterday.”

    It looks like a great blue heron has been stalking ducklings today.

  9. I just saw the request for jokes so I couldnt resist passing on a all -time great palindrome. Even if you don’t like anyone mocking cats you have to admit this is sheer genius in the palindrome world:

    senile felines

    Take that, cat lovers.

    1. Please, not with the arrogance and incivility again. Can’t you point out to me politely that the picture has been debunked (I said it was dubious).

      I don’t want people like bulling your way over hear and ordering me what to do. You haven’t read the Roolz and your are uncivil. Try some other websites.

      Your posting name, by the way, is appropriate.

    1. Re: “Shtupp”: I guess that’s the word I heard Don Rickles use in a show when he referred to “shtupping the wife.”

  10. Very sad about the duckling, I haven’t a joke to offer. I do, however, have an amusing anecdote that is related this this item:

    1682 – Louis XIV of France moves his court to the Palace of Versailles.

    The scene – camping in northern Idaho (and Idaho readers, I think you will also enjoy!). The subject, a gangly youth hanging out at his campsite. He looked about fourteen, shaved head, boots, shirtless. On his back, a large tattoo – in fancy script, it read “I AM THE STATE- LOUIS XIV”. /fin

  11. What did the crab say when he found his long-lost girlfriend? “I lobster, but I flounder!”

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