Monday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

The work week has begun anew as we wend our way slowly toward extinction. It’s Monday, April 15, 2019, and if you’re an American, your tax form is due today.  It’s National Ham Day, from which Jews and Muslims are excluded. It’s also these days, too:

In honor of World Art Day, here is some lovely art; I needn’t tell you the painter:

On this day in 1755, Dr. Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language was published in London. On April 15, 1783, long after the fighting had ended, a preliminary peace treaty for ending the American RevolutionaryWar was ratified, at least according to Wikipedia, though I can find that date nowhere else. The error-ridden site says this: “Preliminary peace articles were signed in Paris on 30 November, while preliminaries between Britain, Spain, France, and the Netherlands continued until September 1783. The United States Congress of the Confederation ratified the Treaty of Paris on January 14, 1784. Copies were sent back to Europe for ratification by the other parties involved, the first reaching France in March 1784. British ratification occurred on April 9, 1784, and the ratified versions were exchanged in Paris on May 12, 1784. The war formally concluded on September 3, 1783.” Where’s April 15?

On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln died after he was shot the previous evening in Ford’s Theater by John Wilkes Booth. Vice-President Andrew Johnson became President.  On April 15, 1912, at 2:20 a.m., the RMS Titanic slipped beneath the sea after having struck an iceberg shortly before midnight.  On April 15, 1920, two security guards were murdered during a robbery in South Braintree, Massachusetts: the crime for which Sacco and Vanzetti were subsequently convicted and executed.

Again I find doubtful information in Wikipedia, which states that on this day in 1923, “Insulin becomes generally available for use by people with diabetes.” But I can find that date nowhere else. It is a fact, though, that on April 15, 1945, Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany was liberated by British and Canadian troops. Here are some of the happy women who survived and were liberated:

It was on April 15, 1947 that Jackie Robinson debuted at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first black man to play major league baseball.  Further, and again this is dubious, Wikipedia says that on this day in 1955, “McDonald’s restaurant dates its founding to the opening of a franchised restaurant by Ray Kroc, in Des Plaines, Illinois.”  Well, maybe the chain does, but look at this, also from Wikipedia:

The oldest operating McDonald’s restaurant is the third one built, opened in 1953. It is located at 10207 Lakewood Blvd. at Florence Ave. in Downey, California (at 33.9471°N 118.1182°W).

If you’re nearby, go visit it! (Downey, of course, was where the Carpenters were from.) But if this is the case, and the Golden Arches were already in place in 1953, then the franchise’s founding date is bogus. 

And according to Wikipedia’s article on McDonald’s No. 1 Store Museum (see below), we see where the date comes from: “Ray Kroc’s involvement with the firm.” Who cares??? What a Kroc!

The McDonald’s #1 Store Museum is housed in a replica of the former McDonald’s restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois, opened by Ray Kroc in April 1955. The company usually refers to this as The Original McDonald’s, although it is not the first McDonald’s restaurant but the ninth; the first was opened by Richard and Maurice McDonald in San Bernardino, California in 1940, while the oldest McDonald’s still in operation is the third one built, in Downey, California, which opened in 1953. However, the Des Plaines restaurant marked the beginning of future CEO Kroc’s involvement with the firm. It opened under the aegis of his franchising company McDonald’s Systems, Inc., which became McDonald’s Corporation after Kroc purchased the McDonald brothers’ stake in the firm.

The actual Des Plaines restaurant was demolished in 1984, but McDonald’s realized they had a history to preserve, so they built a replica.

I do remember when burgers, shakes, and fries were each 15 cents, so you could get a filling lunch for less than half a dollar. I grow old!

On this day in 1989, 96 Liverpool fans were killed during a human crush at Hillsborough Stadium in the FA Cup semifinal. This is known as the Hillsborough disaster.  Finally, it was on this day six years ago that the Tsarnaev brothers set off two bombs near the finish of the Boston Marathon, killing 3 and injuring 264.  One of the brothers was killed in the manhunt, while the other, Dzhokhar, was sentenced to death in federal court and is on death row in Colorado.

Notables born on this day include Leonardo da Vinci (1452), Guru Nanak (1469, the first Sikh guru), Leonhard Euler (1707), Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772), Émile Durkheim (1858), Thomas Hart Benton (1889), Nikita Khrushchev and Bessie Smith (both 1894), Nikolaas Tinbergen (1907), Kim Il-sung (1912), Harold Washington (1922), Dodi Fayed (1955), Emma Thompson (1959; she’s 60 today), and Seth Rogen (1982).

Those who gave up the ghost on Tax Day include Abraham Lincoln (1865, see above), Matthew Arnold (1888), Father Damien (1889), the victims of the Titanic, including John Jacob Astor IV and Isidor and Ida Strauss (all 1912), Wallace Beery (1949), Jean-Paul Sartre (1980), Jean Genet (1986), Greta Garbo (1990), Pol Pot (1998), and Edward Gorey (2000).  Gorey, of course, loved cats and often drew them:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is asking about the domestication of cats:

Hili: What actually united humans and cats?
A: I’m afraid it was mice.
In Polish:
Hili: Co właściwie połączyło ludzi i koty?
Ja: Obawiam się, że myszy.

And in nearby Wloclawek, it’s exam time for secondary-school students, and Leon wishes them luck:

Leon: Exam tomorrow? I’m keeping my claws crossed.

Jutro egzamin? Trzymam pazurki!

A gif from the CHEEZburger site, courtesy of reader Su. This cat would be a great goalie in the Feline League:

I found this one by looking at the Twitter sites that Matthew and Grania follow:

A tweet from reader Barry:

Tweets from Matthew. I believe the first one is Kevin Richardson, aka The Lion Whisperer. Somehow he remains alive.

Oh man, that goose is a real jerk:

Progress in making robots is dramatic. Look at this one!

I don’t know what kind of kittens these are (Abyssinians?) but they’re adorable.

Tweets from Grania. The first one is muy heartwarming:

Poor lion! But he’s a good swimmer.

This should help you appreciate how small hummingbird nests and eggs are. You dare not eat that peach!

The results of a human sneeze:


  1. Stephen Barnard
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Better double check the birthdays.

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    The McDonalds Universe:

    The first McDonalds was opened by the McDonald brothers in San Bernardino, California in 1940, while the oldest McDonald’s still in operation is the third one built, in Downey, California, which opened in 1953. The McDonald brothers began franchising their system in 1953, beginning with a restaurant in Phoenix, Arizona, operated by Neil Fox, but the early franchised restaurants didn’t have the name “McDonalds” in signage, nor the paired golden arches.

    A guy named Ray Kroc opened one in April 1955 in Des Plaines, Illinois this was the ninth McDonalds, however Kroc took the McDonalds brand to the next level setting up the franchising company McDonalds Systems, Inc, which became McDonald’s Corp. after Kroc bought the McDonald’s Bros. stake.

    In the Kroc universe this 1955 Des Plaines outlet is regarded as the first.

    I cobbled the above together from various Wiki pages & all errors are the property of Wiki! 🙂

    • Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I remember from my childhood in the early 1950’s a 15c hamburger joint named Scots opening in West Los Angeles (near Pico and Sepulveda Blvd). I believe it soon transformed into a MacDonalds a few years later and was advertising xxMillion sold on their banner. Anyone else remember Scots?

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    One of the [Tsarnaev] brothers was killed in the manhunt, while the other, Dzhokhar, was sentenced to death in federal court and is on death row in Colorado.

    The federal death row is at the US Penitentiary in Terre Haute, Indiana. Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, although sentenced to death — he was tried on federal charges, inasmuch as the state of Massachusetts, where his crimes occurred, does not have capital punishment — is being held at the “Supermax” (ADX) facility in Florence, Colorado, ostensibly due to special security concerns.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Odd coincidence that Jean-Paul Sartre and Jean Genet should die on the same day of the year. It was Sartre who published the book that popularized the writing of Genet — a petty criminal, gay hustler, and ultimate lumpenprole — entitled Saint Genet.

  5. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink


    As PCC[E] suspects this is bogus. Wiki got the below info from the Daily Dose site which has it parked under April 15th for no given reason. Perhaps Daily Dose had a blank page & decided to stick this entry in. Wiki fails in not fact checking a dubious internet site:

    “While they were able to extract larger quantities of insulin from the pancreas of animals, Banting and Best needed help purifying it. So they began working with Eli Lilly and Company, the Indianapolis-based medical company & by late in 1922, the chemists there were able to start producing large amounts of highly refined insulin. By the following spring, insulin is available for diabetes patients throughout North America”

    Notice that the notion of “widely available” only applies if you’re North American – another common fault of the internet where the American POV is by far the most common stance. 🙂

  6. Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1755, Dr. Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language was published in London.

    My heartiest contrafibularities.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      How could you write “contrafibularities” without linking it to its etymological source?!

      • Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        I assumed we were all well informed on the classics here.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:20 am | Permalink

          Yes, but I think that watching it is the perfect way to mark the occasion. But it’s just so good that I don’t need an excuse to watch it again.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        I was setting up the idiot box over the weekend and noticed that one of the regular channels was doing a back-to-back of Blackadder … Beeb 4, Saturday night … which bodes well for the next few weeks too.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted April 16, 2019 at 2:37 am | Permalink

        I see contrafibularities (plural) has made it into Wiktionary. Meaning: False congratulations, sounding congratulatory while actually pulling someone’s leg.

        I wonder if, per medium of the Internet, the word will actually make its way into usage, thus mimicking the process depicted in Blackadder. There is something deficient about reality and the rightness of things if it doesn’t.


        • Posted April 16, 2019 at 5:23 am | Permalink

          I read that deprivation too. It never occurred to me that the word was anything other than completely made up.

          My favourite is “interfrastically” (sp?).

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    You dare not eat that peach!

    Thanks for the dietary advice, Mr. Eliot.

  8. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Isn’t that footballing kitteh a perfect illustration of Newton’s Third Law?


    • Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Poor goalkeeping though. The cat should easily have kept hold of it.

      • rickflick
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Pretty good for a 6 month old, don’t you think?

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Nope, the cat immediately kicked the ball far back into play, allowing for a lighting counter attack. You know, these counter attacks that result in goals!

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink


          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 16, 2019 at 2:29 am | Permalink


        • Posted April 16, 2019 at 5:26 am | Permalink

          No. When you punch the ball out without controlling it, there is always the possibility that it will be intercepted by another player. That’s why goalkeepers are often criticised for punching when they had the opportunity to keep hold of it, as the cat did here.

  9. JJH
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The date for the ratification of the Treaty of Paris is correct. From the journal of the Confederation Congress for April 15, 1783:

  10. George
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Just like a human, that lion was talking on his cell phone and not looking where he was walking.

  11. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    The tiny kittens in bonnets reminded me that until yesterday, I’d been unaware that Julian Assange’s cat sported starched white collars and ties, and has a number of them. The poor thing. Talk about the wrong kind of anthropomorphization. He didn’t take proper care of his cat but made sure that it was tricked out in a starched color and necktie.

  12. BJ
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    That lion tweet has a great exchange down-thread:

  13. Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    I’ve driven by that McDonald’s in Downey, CA a few times. It definitely has that old-time look.

    I also worked at a McDonald’s back in the summer of 1969. I was always impressed by how efficiently and cleanly it was run. Of course, their hamburgers tasted way better back then as they grilled them. I’m not sure what they do now but they never get hot enough to melt the cheese. In-n-out is way better, IMHO.

  14. Posted April 15, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

    Speaking of Downey and The Carpenters. They also have a connection to Cal State Long Beach University which I happen to live next to. I drive past the Carpenter Performing Arts Center almost every day but I’ve never seen a performance there.

  15. Vaal
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Re the lion whisperer and his type…

    I’m still amazed…and confused…by the fact the Lions seem to be able to turn off their natural hunting/eating instincts and just roll around playing with another edible and easily eaten mammal (human).

    It would be like my ice cream cone wanting to play with me.

    Well, I guess there are examples in humans: humans on a farm may raise pigs to eat, but may take one as a pet. But that seems to be a sort of higher order thinking and discrimination than I’d attribute to a Lion.

    I’d be interested in how animals like lions discriminate that way between “this is food” and “this is an animal to play with and not harm.’

  16. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted April 15, 2019 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    The painting by Van Gogh is indeed kinda pathognomonic. I used not to like Van Gogh at all, but the more I study his paintings, the more I realise how absolutely brilliant they are.
    In the cat race it is clear that cat no 7 beats no 2 with a claw length. 🙂
    Buchenwald was not your typical extermination camp, although they had this unique device: a traditional looking meter measuring the length of a prisoner, with a gun-hole just below the hight bar as to not miss the lower brain. I think this execution device was unique to Buchenwald.

  17. Posted April 15, 2019 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    The wind in the trees has created an art-like effect in the background of Hili’s photo.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 15, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

      I think it’s multiple reflections from the different surfaces of a double-glazed window.

  18. Andrea Kenner
    Posted April 19, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Euler’s method was mentioned in Hidden Figures.

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