New York

Monday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

It’s Monday, June 8, 2020, and National Jelly-Filled Donut Day (I get one of these occasionally at the Dunkin Donuts booth outside Midway Airport to treat myself before a flight. I haven’t flown since December, however.) It’s also Best Friends Day, World Oceans Day, World Brain Tumor Day, and Thomas Paine Day, who died on this day in 1809.

News of the Day: The demonstrations sparked by the murder of George Floyd continue, almost all of them peacefully. In many places, including Minneapolis, there are calls to eliminate the police departments, and in that city it may well happen. I will comment later today. I do applaud the peacefulness of the demonstrators as well as their cause, which is just.

Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 110,422 , an increase of about 400 from yesterday (the increase in deaths in our country appears to be slowing). The world toll now stands at 402,233, a one-day increase of about 3,000 from the day before.

Stuff that happened on June 8 includes:

  • 1789 – James Madison introduces twelve proposed amendments to the United States Constitution in Congress.

The third through the twelfth of these amendments became our present Bill of Rights.

  • 1856 – A group of 194 Pitcairn Islanders, descendants of the mutineers of HMS Bounty, arrives at Norfolk Island, commencing the Third Settlement of the Island.
  • 1887 – Herman Hollerith applies for US patent #395,781 for the ‘Art of Compiling Statistics’, which was his punched card calculator.

Here’s a replica of Hollerith’s machine; as Wikipedia argues, the machine “marks the beginning of the era of semiautomatic data processing systems, and his concept dominated that landscape for nearly a century.”  I remember using punched tapes when I was a lab tech in New York in the early Seventies.

(From Wikipedia): Replica of Hollerith tabulating machine with sorting box, circa 1890. The “sorting box” was an adjunct to, and controlled by, the tabulator. The “sorter”, an independent machine, was a later development.

  • 1906 – Theodore Roosevelt signs the Antiquities Act into law, authorizing the President to restrict the use of certain parcels of public land with historical or conservation value.
  • 1949 – Helen Keller, Dorothy Parker, Danny Kaye, Fredric March, John Garfield, Paul Muni and Edward G. Robinson are named in an FBI report as Communist Party members.
  • 1949 – George Orwell‘s Nineteen Eighty-Four is published.

I was surprised to find that a first edition of this book wasn’t too expensive: a decent copy with dust jacket, like this one from, runs around $300:

  • 1953 –The United States Supreme Court rules in District of Columbia v. John R. Thompson Co. that restaurants in Washington, D.C., cannot refuse to serve black patrons.
  • 1972 – Vietnam War: Nine-year-old Phan Thị Kim Phúc is burned by napalm, an event captured by Associated Press photographer Nick Ut moments later while the young girl is seen running down a road, in what would become an iconic, Pulitzer Prize-winning photo.

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll well remember that photo

That is a haunting photo! She was so badly burned that it was doubtful Phuc would survive, but she did after over a year in the hospital and several operations. She’s now a peace ambassador for UNESCO.

  • 1987 – New Zealand’s Labour government establishes a national nuclear-free zone under the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act 1987.
  • 2009 – Two American journalists are found guilty of illegally entering North Korea and sentenced to 12 years of penal labour.

The journalists, Laura Ling and Euna Lee, were pardoned after only two months in custody, thanks to a visit to Kim Jong-il by former President Bill Clinton. Here are Ling (left) and Lee (right) with Clinton and Al Gore:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1810 – Robert Schumann, German composer and critic (d. 1856)
  • 1867 – Frank Lloyd Wright, American architect, designed the Price Tower and Fallingwater (d. 1959)
  • 1916 – Francis Crick, English biologist, biophysicist, and neuroscientist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004)
  • 1943 – William Calley, American lieutenant
  • 1944 – Boz Scaggs, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1967- Tina Purcell, long-suffering partner of Matthew Cobb

Here’s my favorite Boz Scaggs song, but “We’re All Alone” (a hit for Rita Coolidge) is a close second.

Those who ended their earthly careers on June 8 include:

  • 1809 – Thomas Paine, English-American theorist and author (b. 1737)
  • 1845 – Andrew Jackson, American general, judge, and politician, 7th President of the United States (b. 1767)
  • 1874 – Cochise, American tribal chief (b. 1805)
  • 1876 – George Sand, French author and playwright (b. 1804)
  • 1889 – Gerard Manley Hopkins, English poet (b. 1844)

I believe I lost a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship to graduate school because, during my interview, I gave the wrong answer when asked to name my favorite poets. Hopkins was among them, and that didn’t go down well, as I recall. But here’s his great poem “Spring and Fall”. (Remember, too, that Hopkins was a Jesuit priest):

Márgarét, áre you gríeving

Over Goldengrove unleaving?

Leáves like the things of man, you

With your fresh thoughts care for, can you?

Ah! ás the heart grows older

It will come to such sights colder

By and by, nor spare a sigh

Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie;

And yet you wíll weep and know why.

Now no matter, child, the name:

Sórrow’s spríngs áre the same.

Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed

What heart heard of, ghost guessed:

It ís the blight man was born for,

It is Margaret you mourn for.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili comes bearing gifts:

A: Why did you leave a dead mouse on the verandah?

Hili: It’s a gift for you.

In Polish:

Ja: Czemu zostawiłaś zabitą mysz na werandzie?
Hili: to prezent dla was.

Also, somehow Szaron has occupied Andrzej’s chair:

Andrzej: One would sit down, if only one could!

In Polish: Usiadłby człowiek, gdyby mógł.

And in Wloclawek, Mitek, all grown up, reminds us that the Sabbath was made for cats:

Mietek: A well deserved rest after a week of hard work.

In Polish: Zasłużony odpoczynek po tygodniu ciężkiej pracy.

A graph from Jesus of the Day:

Fromt the CBC News, a breaking story! And I thought Honey had her wings full. Click on the screenshot to read the story:

From reader Charles, who describes this as “From The Guardian: Donald tRump in his bunker formulating his plans to make American great again”:

A tweet from Titania:

• Microaggressions
• Offensive jokes
• Misgendering
• Opinions I disagree with

• Looting
• Arson
• Rioting
• Punching conservatives

I hope that’s clear.

— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) June 5, 2020

From reader Simon, who says, “Your people are caus

Read More

Show More

Related Articles

Back to top button