Saturday: Hili dialogue

June 15, 2019 • 6:30 am

Good morning on my penultimate day on the mainland U.S.: June 15, 2019—the Ides of June. It’s National Lobster Day, but I haven’t had a lobster in years. It’s National Beer Day in the UK, and, if you’re there, have a pint and report what you’ve had. I, for one, would fancy a pint or three of Tim Taylor’s Landlord, my favorite session beer in the UK. Reader Simon, who knows of my love for that pint, drank one in my honor the other day and sent two pictures:

Get in my tummy, beer!

Why Beer Day on June 15? Wikipedia explains:

The date was chosen because 15 June is also the date that Magna Carta was sealed in 1215 and ale is mentioned in clause 35 of Magna Carta, which states:

Let there be throughout our kingdom a single measure for wine and a single measure for ale and a single measure for corn, namely ‘the London quarter’

It’s Graduation Day at the University of Chicago, so the campus with be thronged today with robe-clad students and their proud parents. Let us hope that the ducks survive the onslaught. The weather is predicted to be rainy this morning, turning to thunderstorms, which would put a damper on the ceremonies.

Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the “jingle dress dance” of Ojibwe Native Americans, which is best demonstrated by the video below the Doodle:

On this day in 1215, as implied above, King John of England put his seal on the Magna Carta. In 1648, the first execution for witchcraft took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. The unfortunate victim was Margaret Jones, a 35-year-old midwife. Here’s a guide on how to find witches by celebrated English witch-finder Matthew Hopkins. Just look for their “imps,” including Sacke & Sugar and the dreaded Vinegar Tom.

On this day in 1752, Benjamin Franklin supposedly proved that lightning was electricity, though the exact date is unknown. And although Franklin suggested the “kite experiment” to draw lightning from a cloud, it’s not at all clear that he, rather than someone else, actually did that experiment.

On June 15, 1844, Charles Goodyear received a patent for vulcanization, the addition of sulfur to natural rubber to harden it. In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper became the first African American cadet to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A former slave, he served with distinction but then was dismissed on trumped-up charges of embezzlement. Here he is:


On this day in 1878, Eadweard Muybridge took the first photographs—a series—showing that at one point in a gallop, all four feet of a horse leave the ground. That was a subject of great contention in those days (the human eye couldn’t detect that brief moment), but here’s the proof (the original photo is lost, but here’a gif made from successive photos taken later by Muybridge.

On June 15, 1937, a German expedition led by Karl Wien lost 16 climbers in an avalanche on Nanga Parbat, still the worst single disaster on an 8000-meter peak. Nanga Parbat, a beautiful mountain, was first summited in 1953 by the great Austrian climber Hermann Buhl.  I’ll add here that I would love to see the Himalayas one more time before I die (I was going to hike to Everest for the third time on my 60th birthday, but a party intervened). There is no sight more beautiful to me than the world’s highest mountains soaring up to the sun.

Here’s Nanga Parbat:

On this day in 1970, Charles Manson went on trial for the Sharon Tate murders. Exactly seven years later, after Franco’s death (and yes, he’s still dead), the first democratic elections took place in Spain. Finally, it was on June 15, 2012, that Nik Wallenda became the first person to successfully walk a tightrope over Niagara Falls. Oy! Here’s the deed (he appears to have safety gear):


Notables born on this day include Saul Steinberg (1914), Erroll Garner (1921), Harry Nilsson (1941), Johnny Hallyday (1943), Jim Belushi (1954), Helen Hunt (1963), Courteney Cox (1964), Ice Cube (1969), Leah Remini (1970), and Neil Patrick Harris (1973). Here’s a New Yorker cover by Steinberg:

Those who passed away on June 15 include James Knox Polk (1849), Ella Fitzgerald (1996), and Casey Kasem (2014).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s dialogue was a bit arcane, so I asked Malgorzata what it was about. She said this:

“We’ve recently posted an article about Traditional Chinese Medicine – a nice one, with all the history starting with its invention by Mao and all gullible Westerners buying this quackery wholesale. Hili is talking about this article.”

The dialogue:

A: You are eating grass again.
Hili: Yes, it helps with the digestion of meat, provided that you avoid Traditional Chinese Medicine.
In Polish:
Ja: Znowu zjadasz trawę?
Hili: Tak, pomaga w trawieniu mięsa, pod od warunkiem, że unikamy tradycyjnej chińskiej medycyny.

From Facebook: an awesome read for moggies:

And from this wonderful site, it’s the time of year for cake mistakes:


Sad but funny (sound up):

From Orli:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. I could do infinite pushups if I were this guy.

Heather shows off her nation’s most famous parrot (well, the kakapo is pretty famous, too). Look at those colors!

Tweets from Grania. Francis, of course, talks the talk but doesn’t walk the walk. What else could we have expected? Here he says abortion is equivalent to “hiring a hitman.”

Literary masterpiece!

From Alice Roberts; have a look at some of the finds in the article:

Three tweets from Matthew. The whole “cats and computers” thread is a hoot:

Matthew says that this is not a satirical account, and, by god, I think he’s right:


39 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Mathew is correct it’s not a satire. It is a real moron groping a flag at the CPAC, Conservative Political Action Conference. That is what they do to honor anyone sucker enough who happened to go into the military. Saturday morning sarcasm.

    1. In the 19th (?) century, reputedly, the society classes used to go to lunatic asylums to laugh at the antics of the inmates.

      These days, all we have to do is turn on the TV news…


    2. Are there no rules or so, a kind of protocol that determines how to behave with a flag? A kind of respect?
      I mean, I do not really care, just a piece of cloth, but I’m sure there are many who do.

      1. The thing is that Trump pretends like he loves his country (he’s hugging the flag) while he mocks the rule of law and social norms. It may just be a piece of cloth but it actually represents important stuff to a lot of people.

        1. Yes, Trump would look more in line with himself if he would wrap himself around the soviet flag. But my experience is that politicians with no military seem to wave the flag much harder. Notice how they all had to wear those flag pins on the suits for years. Some still do. If it actually represents important stuff then they could prove it in many ways other than planting it on the side of the house. Maybe those pin wearing republicans can explain why they wouldn’t even take a vote the other day on a bill to make it illegal to accept anything from a foreign agent or country. You know, kind of like Trump did.

        2. Yes, I think I stated there are many who see it as much more, indeed. My question was if there are any rules about how to treat a National Flag. Isn’t pawing and hugging it against protocol? It appears quite disrespectful to me.

          1. I read through the 4 U.S. Code § 8 – Respect for flag, and found nothing that forbids actually hugging the flag. However, the last rule would definitely apply to any flag which has been mauled by DT:

            The flag, when it is in such condition that it is no longer a fitting emblem for display, should be destroyed in a dignified way, preferably by burning.

            1. I seem to recall, back in the day, Vietnam protestors used to get arrested for burning the flag. Usually charged with ‘disturbing the peace’ or some such pretext.

              All the while, used car salesmen and others were using the flag to peddle their wares, without the least hindrance.

              The hypocrisy did not go unnoticed.

              (In New Zealand, I am embarrassed to admit, it is illegal to destroy the NZ flag. There has been one conviction, which was overturned on appeal on grounds of freedom of expression. Later ‘offenders’ were charged with offensive behaviour, but in 2007 our Supreme Court ruled that had not been established in the particular case, meaning the flag-burning law is pretty well neutered).


              1. it is illegal to destroy the NZ flag

                It used to concern me that the entire Universe would end up being nothing but copies of the Koran. This is good news – it means it is possible for the entire Universe to end up as nothing but New Zealand flags.

          2. “I’m automatically attracted to flags… I just start hugging them. It’s like a magnet. Just hug. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the jack. You can do anything.”

            1. Why does this make me think of a certain notorious paraphiliac?
              Oh, hang on – the 2007 story seems to have joined the Choir Immortal. But he’s got a 2016 fan.

  2. I shall raise a glass of John Smiths to you tonight, PCC(E). I have the one every evening at 9.00 exactly. Purely for medicinal purposes obviously.

    1. I will be enjoying a pint of Naked Ladies, brewed by Twickenham Fine Ales, and I too will raise my glass to Jerry. I’m not waiting until 9pm, though, that’s for sure.

  3. “… Franco’s death (and yes, he’s still dead)“

    I wonder what the literary expression for shouting through hands cupped around the mouth is? All caps doesn’t get you there … I suppose a simple :

    [ hands cupped around mouth ]

  4. >>the Ides of June

    No, it ain’t. The 15th is not the ides of every month. March, yes, but not June.

      1. Every Roman month had three days to which names were given, much as we have a name for each day of the week. These three days were the Kalends, Kalendae, the 1st day of the month; the Nones, Nonae, the 5th day of the month except in March, May, July, and October, when the Nones fell on the 7th; and the Ides, Idus, the 13th day of the month except in March, May, July, and October, when the Ides fell on the 15th.

        1. That’s quite amazing. The Romans must have perceived the passing of time differently than we do. But, that’s a lot to keep track of. I wonder how these names made life better for them. And, why the first, 7th, and 13th? Was there something sacred about those numbers? Curious minds want to know.

          1. The Roman system of reckoning the dates of days in the month was indeed complicated. FWIW, as someone who studied Latin a long time ago, I can hazard a guess as to how these ancients perceived the passage of time. It seems that that the Kalends and the Ides corresponded to the occurrances of the new moon and the full moon. (I don’t remember if the Kalends was the full moon or the new moon.) If there is any sacredness associated with these dates, I suppose it would be around moon worship. What really makes ancient Roman reckoning of dates complicated is that other dates were determined by figuring backward from the three special days, viz., Kalends, Nones, and Ides. To add another complicating twist, we must remember that the Romans counted the part of a day at either end of a given period as a full day in their reckoning. Thus, the day before Kalends was pridie Kalendas, but the day before that was die tertio ante Kalendas, the third day before was die quarto, and so on. Indeed, keeping this backward reckoning system in mind, the Nones, as the name implies, is nine days before the Ides. Some further details that may explain why the days of the Ides and the Nones varied from month to month: Before Caesar’s reform of the calendar in 46 B.C., Romans assigned 31 days to March, May, July, and October; 28 days to February; and 29 days to the remaining months. Every fourth year, February 24 was counted twice, giving the month 29 days in that year. Caesar’s reform divided the year into months containing the same number of days as our present calendar has. Exeo!

            1. Ah! The lunar calendar. I should have guessed. Today people sometimes use the phases of the moon informally to reference dates. There’s is overly elaborate, but I suppose there are things in all modern cultures that are as convoluted and overdone. Thanks for the history lesson.

  5. I wonder from whom the North Koreans picked up the goose-step? It could have been the Russians, who do it ceremonially. Or it could have been from the Chinese who got it from the Germans (there were German military advisors in China in the interwar period).

    1. IIRC, the goose-step was an 18th-century Prussian invention. It allows for a minimum of physical exertion by soldiers remaining in tight formation.

  6. The owl passing the slit to get the goodies is fascinating to see. It seems to be a spotted eagle owl filmed in England. It’s a bit odd the owl doesn’t go around instead of through, to save having to fold it’s wings back. I suspect, though, that the owl has evolved a lock-on-target mechanism which requires a direct path. Here’s a better view:

  7. Tim Macartney-Snape climbed Mount Everest the proper way, by walking from sea level to the summit, which added about 1200 km to the climb.

    1. Apparently this way of climbing is now popular – 10 or so years ago, my dad and I attempted the closest we could do reasonably in Montreal. We took transit to the “Peel Basin” and walked from there to the summit on Mount Royal. This is *almost* (10m or so off) a sea-level-to-summit climb. To add the additional 10m would require something like 3000 km or the like of additional “horizontal”.

  8. In 1877, Henry Ossian Flipper became the first African American cadet to graduate from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. A former slave, he served with distinction but then was dismissed on trumped-up charges of embezzlement.

    An American Dreyfus Affair. J’Accuse!

  9. Nanga Parbat, a beautiful mountain, was first summited in 1953 by the great Austrian climber Hermann Buhl.

    Nanga Parbat has long had a reputation as a “killer mountain”. And Buhl’s account of his state of severe amphetamine intoxication during his summit bid is a classic of mountain literature.
    Hmmm, my computer has squawked twice in the last hour about earthquakes on the US west coast. Small ones, 2.6 – 3.0 moment magnitude, but there seems to be a cluster developing under the San Bernadino-Riverside border in LA. Probably nothing significant in the greater scheme of things.

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