Monday: Hili dialogue

June 11, 2018 • 7:20 am

Another damn week has begun, but it’s a quiet one here at the University of Chicago, where the students will be gone until mid-September and classes won’t start until early October. It’s Monday, June 11, 2018, International Picnic Day. If you can pitch your blanket atop a border, do so. In Hawaii it’s Kamehameha Day, honoring the king who united the islands. Oh, and there are still eight ducklings and they’re getting big!

On this day in 1184 B.C., according to (dubious) calculations by Eratosthenes, Troy was sacked and burned. (But remember, Erastosthenes was the first to calculate the circumference of the Earth, and got it quite accurately.) On June 11, 1509, Henry VIII married Catherine of Aragon, who was Queen for nearly 24 years, but left when Henry had the marriage annulled so he could wed Anne Boleyn. On this day in 1748, according to Wikipedia, “Denmark adopts the characteristic Nordic Cross flag later taken up by all other Scandinavian countries.” I didn’t realize that all Scandinavian countries had crosses on their flags. Even Iceland!  On this day in 1776, the Continental Congress appointed a committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. A committee seems a bad choice, but considering that it consisted of Thomas Jefferson, Ben Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, and Robert Livingston, it turned out to be a good choice.  On this day in 1919, the horse Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse to win America’s “Triple Crown.” As you may know, the horse Justify won the Triple Crown this weekend—the first Pferd to do so since American Pharoah in 2015 and, before that, Affirmed in 1978. If you missed the race, here it is, with Justify leading all the way.

On this day in 1955, the deadliest racing-car accident that ever happened occurred at the 24 hour Le Mans race: 83 spectators were killed and at least 100 injured after two cars collided. Here’s some raw footage, but if you’re squeamish don’t watch. One of the cars flies right into the crowd:

It is an infamous day in the history of civil rights in America, for it was on June 11, 1963, that Alabama Governor George Wallace, an unrepentant racist, stood in the door of the Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama to prevent two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood (both now deceased), from registering. Later in the day, accompanied by National Guard troops federalized by John F. Kennedy, they were able to enter the building. And on that very same day, JFK addressed America from the Oval Office proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, ensuring all Americans equal access to public facilities, ending segregating in schools, and protecting voting rights. Although Kennedy was killed before the bill was passed, his successor Lyndon Johnson pushed the bill through in a feat of legislation and psychology detailed in Robert Caro’s masterpiece (one of four in the LBJ series so far) The Passage of Power.  Finally, on June 11, 2011, Timothy McVeigh was executed by lethal injection for helping carry out the Oklahoma City bombing.

Notables born on June 11 include Ben Jonson (1572), John Constable (1776), Richard Strauss (1864), Gene Wilder (1933), Joe Montana (1956), Hugh Laurie (1959), and the unctuous quack Dr. Mehmet Oz (1960). Those who departed this life on June 11 include Alexander the Great (323: didn’t I say this happened yesterday?), Timothy McVeigh (see above), David Brinkley (2003) and Ornette Coleman (2015).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili thinks herself a sage:

A: What can a cat tell humanity?
Hili: Everything.
In Polish:
Ja: Co może kot powiedzieć ludzkości?
Hili: Wszystko.
From reader Su: a gif of a grateful squirrel getting a drink from a kind man:

From Matthew, baby crocs hitchhiking a ride on mom:

Look at the gnashers on this marine iguana, the only such reptile in the world. It is, of course, endemic to the Galápagos.

A sheep shearer comes out of retirement. These guys know their business!

Well, a mandarin duck gives this wasp a run for the title of “most colorful creature in existence,” but this metallic hymenopteran is still magical:

“My cat ate my homework!” TRUEFACT.

But why did they put a slice on his head? That detracts from his dignity!

The last leg of this relay race is amazing:

From reader Blue, a kid who has a great future in baseball (and by that I don’t mean the catcher!):

27 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day in 1919, the horse Sir Barton won the Belmont Stakes, becoming the first horse to win America’s “Triple Crown.”

    In related news, triple-crown winner “Justify” has been invited to the White House to meet with president Donald Trump. The chestnut colt declined, saying “if I wanted to see a horse’s ass, I would’ve just run second in the Belmont Stakes.”

  2. A quarter mile in 50 seconds. Try that guys. I’m going out for a walk now.

    I believe Ben handed off to John and he gave it to Thomas, so Jefferson got the job writing that draft.

    Car races were never boring back in those early days and safety was not a consideration.

    1. And yet, justify would have finished 21 lengths behind Secretariat in 1973. “He is moving like a tremendous machine!” Justify would need binoculars to see Secretariat’s ass.

      1. Yes, but no other horse is like Secretariat. It is still a tremendous accomplishment. I didn’t even say anything about the horse race.

    1. Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes bounced off the back of Lance Macklin’s Austin-Healey. Or more accurately, it hit the back of the Austin-Healey which presumably ‘launched’ it into the air.


      1. The car on the left (as seen from in front) is Mike Hawthorn’s D-type Jaguar (which later won the race) braking to pull into the pits. Macklin’s Austin-Healey pulls out to avoid him and is hit from behind at full speed by Levegh’s Mercedes.

        As the video shows at 11 seconds, Levegh was being closely followed by another car which managed to squeeze between Hawthorn’s Jag and Macklin’s Austin-Healey – fortunately.

        I had no idea so much video footage had survived.


    1. I think Wallace was more opportunist than racist. Wallace lost the 1958 Democratic primary for governor. He had opposed the Ku Klux Klan. The man who won had the Klan’s support. After the election, Wallace said to one of his aides, “Seymore, you know why I lost that governor’s race? … I was outniggered by John Patterson. And I’ll tell you here and now, I will never be outniggered again.”

      1. Yeah, Wallace was considered something of a progressive on race in the Fifties, by Alabama’s troglodyte standards anyway. But after his 1958 loss to John Malcolm Patterson, Wallace (as they used to say at Tammany Hall) “seen his opportunities and he took ’em.”

  3. “actual footage of our cat eating my daughter’s math homework”

    Guess now with teachers & missing homework, it must be “video or GTFO.”

  4. Another damn week has begun

    I was thinking the same thing this morning, in part because it’s a fasting day for me. Hope the outlook improves for both of us.

    1. I guess you, me and PCC(E) all do a Monday & Thursday fast. It’s 5pm here, and so far ~350 calories gone. A slice of toast for tea, and I think I can get away with a gin & slimline tonic. That reminds me, it’s just past gin o’clock, must dash. (That “dash” would be angostura bitters).

      1. Mondays and Thursdays are gross anatomy lab teaching days for me most of the year. Can’t eat during lab sessions (not that one would want to), plus lab sessions are fairly intense (demanding or clueless students) and therefore distracting.

        Nevertheless, fasting days are somewhat grim.

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