Sunday: Hili dialogue

June 17, 2018 • 6:45 am

It’s Sunday, June 17, 2018, National Apple Strudel Day. It’s also World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought. And of course it’s Father’s Day. Word has it that my own and only kids, the ducklings of Botany Pond, will be presenting me with algae as a thank-you.

Google has a special Father’s Day Doodle (below); but what is it? The Sun and other venues, largely in India, explain:

Google is marking Father’s Day 2018 with a commemorative Doodle.

The heartwarming design features six painted hand-prints with the colours matching those of the lettering on the search giant’s normal logo.

With the simple additions of a slender neck and a pair of eyes the prints become a multicoloured herd of diplodocus dinosaurs.

The quirky design is available across the many countries celebrating dads today, including the US, India and Canada.


On June 17, 1579, Sir Francis Drake (named after my mallard), claimed “Nova Albion” (California) for England. It’s a good thing it became part of the U.S., as otherwise you couldn’t get a decent sandwich in the state. On this day in 1631, Mumtaz Mahal, Empress Consort of the Mughal Empire, died in childbirth. Her husband, the Emperor Shah Jahan, then spent the next 17 years constructing the most beautiful tribute to love in history: her mausoleum, also called the Taj Mahal.

On June 17, 1885, the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor from France—in parts. Its erection began over a year later.  On this day in 1901, the first standardized college test, the forerunner of the SAT, was introduced by the College Board. On June 17, 1939, there was the last public guillotining in France: the murderer Eugen Weidmann was beheaded in Versailles. There was such a public hubub (and malfunctioning equipment) that the French from then on lopped off heads in secret, stopping the practice only in 1977.  On this day in 1944, Iceland (who tied Argentina 1-1 at the World Cup yesterday), declared independence from Denmark. On this day in 1963, as Wikipedia notes, “The United States Supreme Court rules 8–1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against requiring the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.” Would the court rule the same today? On June 17, 1972, five men, operatives of the White House, were arrested for their botched attempt to enter the offices of the Democratic National Committee and wiretap the phones. This, of course, ultimately led to the Watergate scandal and Nixon’s resignation.

A sad day for biology: on June 17, 1987, the last individual of the subspecies the dusky seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens) died in captivity under a failed breeding program. Here’s what they looked like:

Notables born on this day include Igor Stravinsky (1882), M. C. Escher (1898), Martin Bormann (1900), and Newt Gingrich and Barry Manilow (both 1943).  Those who died on June 17 include Mumtaz Mahal (see above; she was 38), Edward Burne-Jones (1898), and Cyd Charisse (2008).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Hili dialogue puzzled me, but Malgorzata explained that it’s simple:

“Hili is so simple that you must’ve been looking for something hidden there. There is nothing hidden. We have drought here. We can see that it is raining on the other side of the river and we hope it will come to us (the cherries need water!), but it never does. Hili knows that we are worried by the lack of rain and she tries to comfort Andrzej by showing him that it’s raining on the other side.”

Hili: It’s raining on the other side of the river.
A: Maybe it will come to us as well.
In Polish:
Hili: Za rzeką pada deszcz.
Ja: Może do nas też przyjdzie.

Some tweets from Heather Hastie:

Wouldn’t you like to sing a lullaby to a sleepy baby elephant? This one’s an orphan, too.

Grania sent an extremely pampered cat!

From Matthew, who’s going on a trip. Zermatt!

And the effect of thousands of footsteps:

Video of an echidna (a monotreme) in the wild:

Zelda, running low and charged:

A response to Jeff Sessions’s hamhanded remark about our immigration policy reflecting the dictates of the Bible:

A lovely beetle:

A Spinoza quote:

Be sure to watch the video on this one. I suppose the explanation is credible, but how do we know?


24 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

    1. My Dom makes me recite a version of Hail Mary, where I substitute her name for the Virgin Mary !!!

  1. The 4th Earl of Sandwich, he of the eponimous comestible, wasn’t born until the early 18th C, so Drake would have been playing bowls for a long time while wondering what to call the two pieces of curled buttered bread with a small slice of something between them

  2. Would the court rule the same today?

    I don’t think there’s much risk of the Court reversing course on Schempp (or on Engel v. Vitale, the case decided the term before in which the Court proscribed school-sponsored prayer). But if the question is whether the outcome would be the same if those cases were to reach the Court today as issues of first impression, I dunno. My guess is that school prayer would come out the same way, but bible-reading might be a closer call. For sure, there would be more than the lone dissenting vote originally cast by Potter Stewart in both cases.

    1. well, I would have thought that no western government in this day and age would engage in state-sponsored kidnapping, activly attacking and destroying several hundred families (and counting)and consider it in line with the christian bible, US law, and basic human morality. So, I won’t put anything past this government, the courts, or the citizenry.

      I’m sure tRump, Pence, Sessions, and racist republicans everywhere are having a happy Fathers Day.

  3. … the last individual of the subspecies the dusky seaside sparrow (Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens) died in captivity …

    Ask not for whom that bell tolls.

  4. Quirky bit of knowledge. Sir Christopher Lee, the late actor famed for playing Saruman in LOTR, was in the crowd watching Weidmann lose his head.

  5. So a day after I start reading Rebecca Goldstein’s book on Spinoza I get a morning Spinoza-quote. A coincidence like this is enough to convince me to take a non-rational view of everything. Your play, Spinoza.

  6. On this day in 1944, Iceland (who tied Argentina 1-1 at the World Cup yesterday), declared independence from Denmark.

    The Icelanders call it þjóðhátíðardagurinn.

  7. The Bancroft Library, on the UC Berkeley campus has the forgery “Drake’s Plate of Brass” on display. If I recall, it’s displayed with a description that’s somewhat equivocal as to letting the viewer know that it’s pure forgery, though they might have acknowledged the forgery by now — hope so because it’s a historical repository, but it would be embarrassing, since the plate was created specifically to fool the then director, who fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

  8. Those steps. I was in England at the end of April, and went with friends to Knaresborough castle near Leeds (not much left, but lovely location and park). The stairway in the remaining tower was so worn, I am surprised we made it down without a fall. Some of them didn’t even qualify as steps any more.

  9. If anyone wants to see the execution of Weidmann, someone took a video that’s on youtube You see the head fly, from a distance, and blurred. The video of Saddam Hussein’s execution does not show the actual drop, but everything leading up to it. Chilling and sobering.

  10. Strange coincidence…my folks are currently in Zermatt. This morning they sent a photo from the Matterhorn where they took a helicopter ride. Looks like fun!!!

    1. I didn’t know until I read her wiki that she began dancing to strengthen her muscles after having had polio. Wow!

  11. I would think that under even a fairly conservative interpretation of the First Amendment, reading of Bible verses in public schools would be proscribed.

    Conservatives argue the government can promote generic religiosity as long it does not privilege any specific religion. But you are surely doing the latter when you read Bible verses. Students are of course free to read them during study breaks.

    A public school is not a house of worship or prayer, period!!

  12. The ventral markings of the throat and neck of the Wryneck are indeed reminiscent of the scale patterns in the same areas of some snakes.

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