Monday: Hili dialogue

Sadly, Monday is here again. It’s not only the start of another work week, but we’re also one day closer to death. (As Dawkins would say, “That makes us the lucky ones,” but somehow I’m not consoled.) It’s June 4, 2018, and National Eggs Benedict Day, a dish that Anthony Bourdain says never to order at brunch (in fact, he says avoid restaurant brunches.) And it’s also International Day of Innocent Children Victims of Aggression.

Lots happened on June 4. In 1411, according to Wikipedia “King Charles VI granted a monopoly for the ripening of Roquefort cheese to the people of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon as they had been doing for centuries.”That means, of course, that it should be International Roquefort Cheese Day.  On this day in 1783, the Montgolfier brothers gave the first public demonstration of their hot air balloon (montgolfière). On June 4, 1876, the first transcontinental train journey in the U.S. ended in San Francisco; it took only 83 hours and 39 minutes from New York, and I don’t think that’s much slower (or even faster) than the trains today.  On June 4, 1896, Henry Ford finished the “Ford Quadricycle”, his first gasoline powered vehicle, and drove it successfully.  On June 4, 1912, Massachusetts became America’s first state to mandate a minimum wage, though New Zealand was the first country to do so: in 1894. Go Kiwis!  It was on this day in 1913 that an infamous episode in the history of women’s rights took place: the suffragette Emily Davison deliberately ran in front of King George V’s horse at “The Derby” race, was struck severely, and died after four days. Here’s a video, but don’t watch it if you don’t want to see her get hit:

Exactly six years later, however, there was a happier event: the U.S. Senate approved the 19th Amendment to our Constitution, guaranteeing women the right to vote. It was then sent to the states for ratification, and next year became part of the Constitution. Again, New Zealand was the first country to give women the right to vote—in 1893.

Here’s a sad June 4 event, underscoring how little other countries cared for Jewish refugees from the Nazis:  as Wikipedia notes, on this day in 1939, “The MS St. Louis, a ship carrying 963 Jewish refugees, is denied permission to land in Florida, in the United States, after already being turned away from Cuba. Forced to return to Europe, more than 200 of its passengers later die in Nazi concentration camps.”

On June 4, 1940, the evacuation of British troops from Dunkirk ended; 338,000 men were returned safely. On that day Winston Churchill gave his famous “We shall fight on the beaches” speech to the House of Commons. Here it is, a bit more low-key than I remember:

On this day in 1944, the U.S. Navy captured the German submarine U-505: a foreign vessel capture that had not happened since the eighteenth century. The sub is now on display at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry, just a few blocks from where I sit, and is well worth seeing. I believe part of the movie Das Boot was filmed inside it. It’s remarkably cramped in there! Finally, on June 4, 2010, the first flight of the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket took place from Cape Canaveral in Florida. After orbiting the Earth, it re-entered and disintegrated on June 27. Some highlights:

Notables born on this day include George III of England (1738), and Tom Longboat, a Canadian runner and soldier and a member of the  Onondaga tribe from the Six Nations Reserve. He was the premier long distance runner of his time, and the subject of today’s Google Doodle:

Here’s Longboat with his World Marathon trophy:

Others born on this day include Rosalind Russell (1907), Bruce Dern (1936), Michelle Phillips (1944), and Russell Brand and Angelina Jolie (both 1975). Those who died on June 4 include W. H. R. Rivers (1922), one of the subjects of Pat Barker’s wonderful Ghost Road fiction trilogy, Serge Koussevitzky (1951), and two baseball players who later became managers: Clete Boyer (2007) and Don Zimmer (2014).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants IN!

Hili: Nobody pays any attention to me.
A: I understand. I’m coming.
In Polish:
Hili: Nikt nie zwraca na mnie uwagi.
Ja: Rozumiem, już idę.

And here’s Gus in Winnipeg, the photo simply called “A happy cat.”

Some tweets from Dr. Cobb:

This man, James Harrison, is an unsung hero. You can read about him here.

From the sublime to the ridiculous:

If you look in the dictionary under “romping”, you’ll find this illustration:

The first moment of wren flight! How I long to see this for my ducklings:

An amazingly cryptic cephalopod, the flamboyant cuttlefish (yes, that’s its vernacular name):

Billions and billions of stars!

Music randomly selected to be on a music-themed cafe. Do you know the music they chose? Hint: It ain’t Mozart! (Answer below the fold.)

A black kitten to start the day:

But not all moggies are sweet:

We already knew we were screwed!:

And from reader Barry:

Read below to see the music gracing the menu of the Amadeus Cafe:


  1. enl
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I dearly hope that the choice of music on the menu was a conscious, reasoned, intentional choice. Really.

    I am told that I have an odd sense of humour…..

  2. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    “It’s not only the start of another work week, but we’re also one day closer to death.”

    … as if we weren’t on every other day of the week? 😉

    And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it’s sinking
    Racing around to come up behind you again
    The sun is the same in a relative way, but you’re older
    Shorter of breath and one day closer to death

    Pink Floyd, of course:


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

      I told Jerry Monday was a public holiday for us. I didn’t tell him it was Queen’s Birthday Weekend! But by the time I write this, he’s in bed, so we Kiwis and other members of the Commonwealth are safe!

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 5, 2018 at 6:31 pm | Permalink


        One disadvantage of being retired, though, is that ‘long weekends’ no longer have any special meaning.

        On the up-side, though, all my days are now one long weekend.


  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Definitely avoid the Sunday brunch seafood omelette, according to Chef Tony from tv.

    His Kitchen Confidential is a great book for anyone whose ever worked in a restaurant, or ever even just eaten in one.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      “who’s” — an edit button, an edit button, my kingdom for an edit button!

      • BJ
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

        I don’t trust people with edit buttons. They may do some conniving editing. You can’t trust a man with an edit button.

        • Diane G
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          I like the sites that have an edit window that’s only open for 10 minutes or so. Usually the desire to connive takes longer to develop, IMO.

          • Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

            Yes, you only need editing to fix typos and thinkos, not change history.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

          I’m talkin’ ’bout typos, comma faults, mangled html code — that sorta thing. Editing a comment after esprit de l’escalier kicks in wouldn’t be sporting. 🙂

    • Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Great book.

    • Diane G
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Somehow I think that if aged Hollandaise were a significant cause of food poisoning, it would be common knowledge by now.

      I did really the enjoy the book, several years ago. But since then I’ve gotten a little sick of Bourdain.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Diane G. Bordain wrote a hilarious & arrogant assessment of Brit chefs in one of his books – made it obvious he didn’t have a clue about life beyond his bubble. Though he did pick the right Brit chef to admire in that Fergus Henderson MBE.

        If I’m going to eat out then I pay over the odds & go to a place run & staffed by pros who are fully aware of how food poisoning can crash a restaurant. Recycling yesterdays bread & sauces is a complete no no in today’s market.

        Below is a short video with our faux Cockney Jamie Oliver [sneer from Bordain] demonstrating how the pros safely do Hollandaise today:

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink


        • Diane G
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

          Ha ha, that was fun to watch. “As you’re doing it, have a little taste…” 😀

          Faux Cockney–does that mean the accent’s an act?

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

            Yeah. He’s middle class & born nowhere near enough to hear the sound of Bow Bells.

            • Diane G
              Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

              Well, it does seem more fun in Cockney-ese. 😉

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Churchill was such a solid figure in 1940 but like all of us his great days came and went as he found just a few years later.

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Interesting to hear the preamble to the famous section of the speech. Starting with Napoleon at Boulogne and moving somehow to the unity of the British Empire and the French Republic.

      Shifting allegiances over time

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Yes and as far as movies go – Darkest Day was pretty good. By 1942/43 Churchill’s strategic idea had escaped him and for some reason he became caught up in his southern strategic ideas and adamantly against the Channel crossing. Fortunately FDR was just as certain in Overlord.

        • dale
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

          His strategic ideas had escaped him long before that; Gallipoli and Norway are two classic examples.

          He really was not good on strategy. He was excellent on politics.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

          Well, the history of successful cross-Channel invasions was hardly reassuring. The Dunkirk raid was a disastrous precedent.

          And in the event, the Normandy landings, in which the Allies threw everything they had at it including every means of deception at their disposal (which was so successful that the Germans were completely fooled and did *not* throw everything they had back for several critical days) – even then, it was a close-run thing.

          So as it turned out Churchill’s caution was incorrect but, I would submit, not unjustified.


  5. Blue
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    in re “Sadly, Monday is here again,” thus, not ?
    … … IF I were a young canid, that is:


    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      Looks as if this pooch might be the same one that decided to take a soak in the planter (above). If not, that’s what it should do.

  6. Simon Hayward
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Excellent guitar picking of the Flintstones theme here:

    • Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      I prefer Bruce Springstone’s version.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Longboat was born the same year as Jim Thorpe. With Longboat doing the distance running and Thorpe handling everything else, the First Nations people coulda probably swept an Olympics all on their own.

  8. Dominic
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Cunk did the suffragettes you may recall

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Why is this not working?

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Arranged and everything by Jacob Collier

  10. Michael Fisher
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    Das Boot: The BBC 6-part mini-series version [300 mins] was remarkable – much more character development than the various movie versions. Das Boot didn’t use a real U-Boat – they had three mock-ups of various scales – one was 1:1 scale, dry, un-floating suspended set on hydraulics, that could be tilted & rocked for interior filming of most of the movie while simulating running on the surface in poor weather & crash dives**. Then there were two working scale models to use for exterior filming [entering/leaving harbour, being bombed, being depth charged & so on].

    ** Star Trek never convincingly got the space version of being attacked in the least bit right – cheesy & full of sparking electricals for some reason…

    • Diane G
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      My beef with Star Trek battles (Next Gen was the only series I watched much of)–why wasn’t everyone on the bridge wearing seat belts?!

      Must have been hard to remain serious when everyone had to synchronously jostle back and forth in their seats…

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        pew pew … pew pew pew

        Imagine the fun with seatbelts – the ship would cross it’s arms & refuse to warp drive thingy until all are belted up with their trays in an upright position. Also airbags have comedy potential.

        • Diane G
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink


        • Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

          I think they had an answer to that, something called “inertial dampening” or “inertia damper”. It’s when it goes offline that the real trouble starts.

        • Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

          Loud, obnoxious dings until all belts were clicked.

  11. freiner
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    What’s the Kochel number for that tune?

  12. Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Emily Davison was the antifa of her day.

    • Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      It was a tragedy that she died but in all the hagiography I’ve seen about her no one has said anything about the fact that her act of defiance put both the horse and its rider at grave risk. I don’t know what happened to them, but a fall from a horse at speed is often fatal to both the rider and the horse.

      Protest – loudly and often- but don’t put others lives at serious risk.

      • Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        The rider had a concussion but survived. Apparently the horse was okay, and finished the race without a rider.

        New research suggests (see this Guardian article) that Davison was not trying to commit suicide, but to attach a banner to the horse, and may not have even known it was the King’s horse:

        Historians have suggested that Davison was trying to attach a flag to King George V’s horse and police reports suggested two flags were found on her body. Some witnesses believed she was trying to cross the track, thinking the horses had passed by, others believed she had tried to pull down Anmer. The fact that she was carrying a return train ticket from Epsom and had holiday plans with her sister in the near future have also caused some historians to claim that she had no intention of killing herself.

        In 2011 the horse-racing historian Michael Tanner argued that as Davison was standing in crowds on the inside of the bend at Tattenham Corner it would have been impossible for her to see the king’s horse.

        But new cross-referencing between the cameras has revealed, say the C4 programme makers, that Davison was closer to the start of Tattenham Corner than thought and so had a better line of sight. In this position she could have seen and singled out Anmer.

        Historians have suggested that Davison and other suffragettes were seen “practising” at grabbing horses in the park near her mother’s house and that they then drew lots to determine who should go to the Derby.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

          I’m of a mind that sometimes it’s better to be killed quickly than survive and linger on with debilitating injuries. From what we know now about concussions (and I’d bet it wasn’t his first as a jockey), this man might well have developed some sort of dreadful encephalopathy.

      • Posted June 5, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

        Jockey was slightly injured. Horse was fine and both jockey and horse ran a race shortly thereafter. The incident could easily have traumatized the horse, though, and he did not race very long after.

        Davison had a long record of mayhem – throwing rocks through windows, setting post boxes on fire — and she’d attempted suicide as a grand gesture.

        I have zero respect for someone who’d endanger an animal to make a statement. That it was a horse really busts my chaps.

  13. Blue
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Lovely FREEthought o’th’ day from out of FFRF ! y1985. Lovely.

    O, for some … … at least, some … …
    .elected. officials who were / are of:
    … … the “none at all” – posse.


    • Diane G
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 11:00 am | Permalink

      Good one!

      Rather annoying first comment below…

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Re: “On June 4, 1876, the first transcontinental train journey in the U.S. ended in San Francisco; it took only 83 hours and 39 minutes from New York, and I don’t think that’s much slower (or even faster) than the trains today.”

    The speed of trains is very much a function of both the engine of the train AND the state or repair of the tracks.
    Lots of trains that were faster in the 1940s had slowed down by the 1970s due to budget cuts making it hard to keep the tracks in tip-top shape.
    More than one train official mentioned this to me when I took a cross-country train trip from San Francisco to New York in 1978!!

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted June 4, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Something else that slowed down the trains. Airplanes and Trucks.

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted June 4, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

        Passenger trains around here are slowed down the most by freight trains, which always have priority. Seems like every siding along the way will be visited while oncoming or overtaking freights go by.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 5, 2018 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

          Yep. This is because the railroads (as I understand it) run the freights, while the long-distance passenger trains are run by Amtrak so the railroads derive little benefit from them.

          The opposite situation prevails in Europe and Japan, of course. And in Russia.


  15. Posted June 4, 2018 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    I love watching the SpaceX launches, especially when they land the first stage back at the launching pad just a few minutes after launch. The recent launch of the Falcon Heavy where two first stages landed simultaneously was really satisfying. I am looking forward the the first BFR launch. BFR either means Big Fucking Rocket or Big Falcon Rocket, depending on the venue. This thing is really big!

  16. Posted June 4, 2018 at 12:05 pm | Permalink


    the U.S. Navy captured the German submarine U-505: a foreign vessel capture that had not happened since the eighteenth century.

    Presumably you mean by the US Navy. Capturing enemy ships as opposed to sinking them was a good way for the officers (and to a lesser extent, the crew) of Royal Navy ships to make some money on the side in the 18th and 19th centuries. This was true even to the point that capturing enemy ships was sometimes given priority over good tactics.

    At the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, the Royal Navy captured 21 enemy ships although several of them sunk in the storm following the battle.

  17. DrBrydon
    Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    I listened to the “Fight Them on the Beaches” speech a month or so ago, and was surprised at how uninspiring the delivery was. Did some searching, and found that the speech was not recorded when delivered, but was actually delivered nine years later. Given how much older Churchill was (in relative and absolute terms), it’s not surprising that there isn’t a lot of fire in it.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 5, 2018 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

      I noticed the exact same thing.

      (As I understand it, you’re saying Churchill re-voiced it for recording purposes 9 years later?)


  18. Posted June 4, 2018 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

    Churchill’s speech: understatement par excellence

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