Sunday: Hili dialogue

May 6, 2018 • 6:30 am

Good morning: it’s Sunday, May 6, 2018, and I leave for Paris today. The obliging and amiable Grania will take over Hilis for the eleven days I’m gone, so thanks to her in advance. And of course posting will be lighter than usual. But, like Maru, I do my best. I will try to send photos of each meal.

Appropriately, it’s National Crepe Suzette Day (who was Suzette?)—one of the few French foods I don’t crave (the other is tripe). It’s also International No Diet Day, a celebration of body acceptance. In its honor, I will not be fasting while in Paris (that would be bloody stupid, wouldn’t it?).

On this day in 1536, King Henry VIII ordered that Bibles translated into English be placed in every church, a request fulfilled when the Great Bible was made available.  On May 6, 1757, the English poet Christopher Smart, deemed insane, was placed into the St. Luke’s hospital for Lunatics in London, where he stayed six years.  While confined, he wrote the best cat poem of all time, a fragment of his larger Jubilate Agno called “For I will consider my cat Jeoffrey.” You can (and should) read it here. There is no poem that embodies the catness of cats more than this one.

On May 6, 1877, the great leader Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota surrendered to U.S. troops in Nebraska. He was bayoneted to death by one of his guards that same year. On this date in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was opened to the public for the first time. And in 1915, Babe Ruth, a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, poled his first home run. He was perhaps the greatest hitting pitcher of all time.  On this day in 1937, the German zeppelin Hindenburg, filled with hydrogen, caught fire and immediately burned to a crisp while trying to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey; 36 people died. Here’s the famous film footage with the tearful reporters’ cry, “Oh, the humanity!”

On this day in 1940, John Steinbeck received the Pulitzer Prize for his novel The Grapes of Wrath. He received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1962. On this day in 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. Here’s the film of that achievement with Bannister’s narration. (The current record was set in 1999 by the Moroccan Hicham El Guerrouj with a time of of 3:43.13; the woman’s record, held by Svetlana Masterkova, is 4:12.56. ) There’s obviously a limit, but what is it, and how would we know?

Finally, on this day in 1994, Queen Elizabeth II and French President François Miterrand together officially opened the Channel Tunnel.

Notables born on this day include Maximilien Robespierre (1758), Sigmund Freud and Robert Peary (both 1856), Motilal Nehru (1861), Rudolph Valentino (1895), Orson Welles (1915), and George Clooney (1961).  Those who died on May 6 included Henry David Thoreau (1862), Marlene Dietrich (1992), and Farley Mowat (2014).

 Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is enjoying the rapid approach of Spring:
Hili: How quickly everything is changing.
A: That’s because it’s so warm.
Hili: I like it.
In Polish:

From Matthew: An architectural optical illusion (the walking people make it look as if it’s moving):

Another illustion from Matthew. How did they do this?

Jumping bean cats!

This video of a squirrel trying to climb up a greased pole to a bird feeder has gone viral. And it is is just CRUEL.

Be sure to watch the video:

The early developmental stages of clams:

From Grania. I have no idea how the artist did this (I imagine some kind of laser sculpture), so if you know weigh in below:

17 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Babe Ruth was “perhaps the greatest hitting pitcher of all time.” Since he is in the discussion as the greatest hitter of all time, this is a mammoth understatement. A baseball analyst, for fun and profit, analyzed a single year of Mr. Ruth’s output. By placing the end points of all of his long hits on outlines of the modern stadia that have replaced the much larger, older stadia and by using current rules, rather than older rules (such as a ball had to land in fair ground and be over the fence for a home run whereas now it only has to leave the stadium in fair ground, he determined that Mr. Ruth would have hit 109 home runs that year. Amazing.

  2. One can go look at all the stats on Babe Ruth but his pitching and hitting records easily makes him the best ever. Essentially all of his pitching was done in the first third of his career in baseball while playing in Boston. His win / loss was 94/46 with a .671 percentage. He pitched 29 1/3 scoreless innings in the 1918 world series. No need to go over what he did when just hitting for the Yankees.

  3. “There’s obviously a limit, but what is it, and how would we know?” Maybe the limit is like Heraclitus’ river.

  4. The Pyrenean desman is cute, especially the proboscis. The squirrel on the greased pole is hilarious.

    I found this rather amusing and informative website about French offal If one doesn’t wish to be served these dubious delicacies, the website instructs you to declare: “‘je ne désire pas manger d’abats’ and if this includes liver, add: “même pas de foie s’il vous plaît” (not even liver please).”

  5. Crepe Suzette is covered with a buttery sauce called beurre Suzette (“butter Suzette”). There is a commune by that name in Southern France, so I suspect it is named after the place, not a person.


    I adore the film version of “The Grapes of Wrath” with Henry Fonda directed by John Ford, but it omits all the material critiquing American religion. The character known simply as “the preacher” (Jim Casy) is a former holy roller fellow, who has given up on all that and now embraces a kind of quasi-transcendentalist philosophy.
    Consistently, Steinbeck inverts traditional Christian symbolism turning it inside out and upside down so that all the Biblical imagery is used in decidedly unorthodox ways.

    1. In fact there was a person called Suzette among the entourage of the Prince of Wales. At Monte Carlo’s Café de Paris the chef Henri Charpentier served the prince’s party the first ever “Crepes Suzette” in 1895

      1. But, to complicate things, there was also an actress called Suzanne Reichenberg who performed as “Suzette” and was somehow involved with crepes around 1897. I believe the Café de Paris story, but… who cares 🙂 Crepes are better without flambé.

  6. Jubilate Agno: set by Benjamin Britten as “Rejoice in the Lamb” (1943) for soloists, choir and organ. Plenty of free online performances: download and enjoy!

    1. In 1980 I lived in the village of Zeppelinheim across the autobahn from the Frankfurt am Main airport in Germany and lived there for over ten years. Two of the surviving crewmembers of the Hindenburg were still alive then and lived there. The village was built in 1938 to house the crews for the zeppelins. There is a small museum there.

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