Thursday: Hili dialogue

December 1, 2016 • 6:30 am

Good morning on the first day of December, 2016. Foodwise, it’s not a good day for your arteries, as it’s both National Fried Pie Day and National French Fried Clam Day. It’s also Military Abolition Day in Costa Rica, which, I believe is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t have an army; it was abolished in 1948.

On this day in 1918, Iceland became a sovereign state; are any Icelanders reading here? On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American seamstress, refused to surrender her seat to a white man on a Montgomery, Alabama bus, launching the Montgomery bus boycott that was a major impetus for the U.S. civil rights movement. (This day is celebrated as Rosa Parks Day in Alabama and Oregon.) Parks, also a secretary for the local NAACP, was arrested for violating the segregation law of Montgomery city; here’s her booking photo:

rosa_parks_bookingOn this day in 1847, Julia A. Moore, the “Sweet Singer of Michigan” was born; she was one of the worst poets in history and you can read some specimens of her work on her Wikipedia page; here’s a sample of her writing, this one about the Great Chicago Fire:

The great Chicago Fire, friends,
Will never be forgot;
In the history of Chicago
It will remain a darken spot.
It was a dreadful horrid sight
To see that City in flames;
But no human aid could save it,
For all skill was tried in vain.

Also born on this day was Lou Rawls (1933), Woody Allen (1935), Bette Midler (1945), and Carol Alt (1960, ♥). Those who died on this day include mathematician G. H. Hardy (1947) and J. B. S. Haldane (1964), both of whom made contributions to population genetics. Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili claims intellectual hegemony over Andrzej. But how can one criticize her, as she’s so cute?:

Hili: I hope you agree with me.
A: Absolutely.
Hili: It’s good that we understand each other without words.
In Polish:
Hili: Mam nadzieję, że się ze mną zgadzasz?
Ja: Absolutnie.
Hili: Dobrze, że rozumiemy się bez słów.

26 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Costa Rica is a tiny country with some forward-looking policies. Besides abandoning it’s army:

    “In 1996, the Forest Law was enacted to provide direct financial incentives to landowners for the provision of environmental services. This helped reorient the forestry sector away from commercial timber production and the resulting deforestation, and helped create awareness of the services it provides for the economy and society (i.e., carbon fixation, hydrological services such as producing fresh drinking water, biodiversity protection, and provision of scenic beauty).”

    No wonder Cost Rica is known for it’s ecotourism.

    1. “I belong to a small country that was not afraid to abolish its army in order to increase its strength. In my homeland you will not find a single tank, a single artillery piece, a single warship or a single military helicopter…. Today we threaten no one, neither our own people nor our neighbors. Such threats are absent not because we lack tanks but because there are few of us who are hungry, illiterate or unemployed.”

      –1987, Costa Rican President Oscar Arias, speaking to the US Congress, on how doing away with the military allowed them to concentrate on improving citizen well-being.

      I first learned of this abolishment in 1972, and at the same time that CR expected the US to come to its (literal) defense if ever necessary (under the auspices of the OAS). Maybe it was just the times, but I suddenly had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach; wondering if little CR might be thrown under the bus if ever the US government (famously supporting international dictators since…?) felt them to be more valuable as a pawn in some foreign affairs machinations. (Note, I had nothing in particular in mind, just uncomfortable feelings about US foreign policy, esp. in 3rd world nations.)

      1. Costa Rica seems to be stable with a growth rate normally at 7% and 9%. A poverty rate estimated to be 23%, unemployment is 7.8%. Inflation, 4.2%. They have had a large Intel plant which was a significant part of the economy but which has since moved away. The economy is mostly coffee, bananas, and tourism. It’s considered to be doing better than it’s neighbors.
        It should be a good model for the rest of Latin America which, as we know, has suffered many ups and downs. If Steven Pinker’s thesis in “Better Angels…” is correct, military-lessness might be the future of the world. Who knows?

        1. How wonderful it would be to leave that kind of world to our children!

          CR also continually rates at the top of the list of “happiest countries,” despite significant poverty. Military-less for 68 years now–that’s a long time in Latin American years.

          (Joke from my childhood: Q–How’s the situation in Latin America? A–Revolting.)

  2. Love Lou Rawls. Being that it is the holiday season I’ll mention his cover of Have Your Self A Merry Little Christmas. Without doubt the best rendition of that song and a contender for the best Christmas song. Though Nat King Cole’s The Christmas Song is right up there too.

  3. Has anyone seen the film about Hardy and Ramanujan, The Man Who Knew Infinity, that was released this year? It has Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons, and had a proper mathematician as an advisor, so that’s promising but Rotten Tomatoes only gave it something like a 64.

  4. I’d humbly suggest that as bad as the poetry of Julia A Moore undoubtedly is, the poems of William McGonagall achieve an entirely different level of awfulness. His poem marking the Tay railway bridge disaster is a true classic.

      1. Julia A. Moore was the inspiration for Emmeline Grangerford, the composer of “Ode to Stephen Dowling Bots, Dec’d.” in “Huckleberry Finn.”

      2. The Vogons were the first thing I thought of as well.

        Jerry – Vogon poetry is another reason to read Douglas Adams’ ‘Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy’.

    1. Thanks for the note on Wm. McGonagall, whom I hadn’t known about. Delightfully execrable poetry. Reading his Wiki makes me wish that I could have attended one of his readings, well-armed with a sack of “eggs, flour, herrings, potatoes and stale bread” to throw, as the Wiki says audiences were wont to do. Interesting to read that “contemporary descriptions of these performances indicate that many listeners were appreciating McGonagall’s skill as a comic music hall character.” That’s the way to appreciate any hoggerel poet (hoggerel is worse than doggerel). Though the Wiki states, his poems are “widely regarded as some of the worst in English literature,” I wouldn’t give the crown to him. There are countless others. I have my own list. Rod McKuen immediately comes to mind, but I know that some others cotton to his poetasting — but again, it’s de gustibus.

    2. The Hoffnung Interplanetary Music Festival in 1958 performed another of McGonagall’s works “The Famous Tay Whale” (McGonagall was evidently impressed by the Tay), declaimed by Dame Edith Evans and accompanied by the festival orchestra. Well worth listening to!

        1. Yep, I bet Uncle Salomon was not amused!
          “Hätt’ er gelernt was Rechtes, müsst er nicht schreiben Bücher.” Still, he forked over money to support his wayward nephew.

          I like Heinrich Heine, his poems and essays are great literature. has his complete works for 99cents for Kindle.

    1. Do you remember the apple and cherry pies from McDonalds back before McDonalds became health conscious? Those were deep fried. Most convenience stores have some brand of fried fruit pies along with all the other factory made junk foods.

      Those aren’t the greatest examples, but fried pies are great! Especially fried in lard. I mean, shit, if you are going to go bad you may as well go all the way bad.

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