Friday: Hili dialogue

June 21, 2019 • 10:00 am

We’ve reached the end of another work week, and arrived at the first day of summer in the northern hemisphere—the summer solstice and the longest day of the year. Google celebrates it with a Doodle (click on screenshot):

Appropriately, it’s National Peaches and Cream Day, as well as all these holidays:

And, as for this day in history,

  • 1749 – Halifax, Nova Scotia, is founded.
  • 1900 – Boxer Rebellion. China formally declares war on the United States, Britain, Germany, France and Japan, as an edict issued from the Empress Dowager Cixi.
  • 1915 – The U.S. Supreme Court hands down its decision in Guinn v. United States 238 US 347 1915, striking down Oklahoma grandfather clause legislation which had the effect of denying the right to vote to blacks.
  • 1919 – Admiral Ludwig von Reuter scuttles the German fleet at Scapa Flow, Orkney. The nine sailors killed are the last casualties of World War I.

How did the “last casualties in WWI take place after the war was over? Wikipedia explains:

The scuttling of the German fleet took place at the Royal Navy’s base at Scapa Flow, in Scotland, after the First World War. The High Seas Fleet was interned there under the terms of the Armistice whilst negotiations took place over the fate of the ships. Fearing that all of the ships would be seized and divided amongst the allied powers Admiral Ludwig von Reuterdecided to scuttle the fleet.

The scuttling was carried out on 21 June 1919. Intervening British guard ships were able to beach a number of the ships, but 52 of the 74 interned vessels sank. Many of the wrecks were salvaged over the next two decades and were towed away for scrapping. Those that remain are popular diving sites.

But wait! There’s a lot more:

  • 1945 – World War II: The Battle of Okinawa ends when the organized resistance of Imperial Japanese Army forces collapses in the Mabuni area on the southern tip of the main island.
  • 1964 – Three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner, are murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States, by members of the Ku Klux Klan.
  • 1978 – The original production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, Evita, based on the life of Eva Perón, opened at the Prince Edward Theatre, London.
  • 1982 – John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.
  • 1989 – The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Texas v. Johnson that American flag-burning was a form of political protest protected by the First Amendment.

This may change with the new Court; stay tuned. And speaking of the Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner murders, there was finally a conviction exactly 41 years later:

  • 2005 – Edgar Ray Killen, who had previously been unsuccessfully tried for the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Mickey Schwerner, is convicted of manslaughter 41 years afterwards (the case had been reopened in 2004).
  • 2009 – Greenland assumes self-rule.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1639 – Increase Mather, American minister and author (d. 1723)
  • 1905 – Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and author (d. 1980)
  • 1912 – Mary McCarthy, American novelist and critic (d. 1989)
  • 1948 – Ian McEwan, British novelist and screenwriter[3]
  • 1951 – Nils Lofgren, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1953 – Benazir Bhutto, Pakistani financier and politician, 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan (d. 2007)
  • 1966 – Gretchen Carlson, American model and television journalist, Miss America 1989
  • 1982 – Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
  • 1982 – Jussie Smollett, American actor and singer
  • 1997 – Rebecca Black, American singer-songwriter

Remember Rebecca Black, who released the worst pop music song of all time in 2011: “Friday“? It’s now up to 132 million YouTube views. Black, to be sure, didn’t write the song; her mother paid $4000 to have a company write the song for her and produce a music video.

As Wikipedia reports,

The song has received almost universally negative reviews from music critics, for its songwriting, instrumentation, Black’s vocals, and the video choreography. Lyndsey Parker of Yahoo! Music asked if it could be “the worst song ever”. On March 29, 2011, it surpassed Justin Bieber’s “Baby” as the most disliked YouTube video, with 1.17 million dislikes,  and once had over 3 million “dislikes”, accounting for 88% of the total ratings of the video. [JAC: it now has 3.5 million dislikes]

Rebeca Black, somehow heartened by the reaction to “Friday”, tried to pursue a music career, moving to Los Angeles and abjuring college, but, as you might imagine, her dreams turned to dust.

I still think “I’ve never been to me” by Charlene, released in 1977, gives “Friday” a run for its money as the Worst Pop Song of All Time (listen to it here if you can bear it). I’ll never forget the first time I heard it: driving to Death Valley to do field work on fly migration. I had to pull the car over so I could listen to every irritating word.

Those who died on June 21 include

  • 1652 – Inigo Jones, English architect, designed the Queen’s House and Wilton House (b. 1573)
  • 1908 – Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov, Russian composer and educator (b. 1844)
  • 1957 – Johannes Stark, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1874)
  • 1964 – James Chaney, American civil rights activist (b. 1943)
  • 1964 – Andrew Goodman, American civil rights activist (b. 1943)
  • 1964 – Michael Schwerner, American civil rights activist (b. 1939)
  • 2001 – Carroll O’Connor, American actor and producer (b. 1924)
  • 2018 – Charles Krauthammer, American columnist and conservative political commentator (b.1950)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sleeping upstairs. She’s still traumatized by the death of her beloved d*g friend Cyrus, and Malgorzata adds this:

Hili is upstairs. She still refuses to come into the room she shared with Cyrus. She is either out or upstairs. When Andrzej goes upstairs and brings her down she allows us to pet her for a few moments and escapes again.
How sad! The dialogue:
A: What are you doing here?
Hili: I’m resting after my nocturnal peregrinations.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tu robisz?
Hili: Odpoczywam po nocnych wędrówkach.

Here’s a meme from The Poke via Nilou. I bet you hadn’t noticed that Matt Damon looks like an otter. At The Poke, they pay people to find out this stuff! In fact, the photos below are collated from a Tumblr site called “Otters that look like Matt Damon“, where there are plenty more.

A tweet from reader Barry. Not much learning going on here, I think!

Tweets from Heather Hastie, showing my two favorite animals as BFFs:

The pain is clearly worth it here:

A cat playing whack-a-mole:

Another kakapo chick reared successfully. Heather notes, “Tiwihiri is his name, and 1-A-19 his ID#. Pronunciation: tea-wee-hi (as in hit)-ree (as in read).”

Tweets from Matthew. If you took genetics you’ll remember the Punnett Square. Punnett’s birthday was yesterday:

This is almost certainly a gynandromorph beetle, male on the left and female on the right. This is probably caused by an X chromosome loss at the two-cell stage, as I described in a post about a similar gynandromorph two years ago.

Twitter translation: “Japan Miyazaki Today, I collected the male and female rotating (part) of Miyama Stag. I have been collecting it for a long time, but it was the first in outdoor goods. It is 47mm in length to the far left of the chin.”

I like “porket” or “gruntling”. (In French it would be porquette.)

Beetle battle!



34 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. If I were to pick a worst pop song ever it would be Mary’s Boy Child, the version by Boney M. Not only is it dreadful but the group were manufactured and some, by their own admission, did not sing. An all round piece of garbage.

    I have declined to post a link as no one here has done anything to offend me and I have no wish to torment any of you.

    1. We could spend a lot of virtual ink arguing about how we qualify “worst”, but for my money the worst is “Cats in the Cradle” closely followed by “One Tin Soldier.”

    2. For me, it’s gotta be “You Get What You Give” by the New Radicals. “Don’t let go, you’ve got the music in you!” Oh boy.

  2. ” . . . driving to Death Valley to do field work on fly migration.” There has GOT to be a good story here!

        1. Why?

          I’m not trying to be obtuse here. I would genuinely like to know why you think Nicolas Cage would have been better in the role than Matt Damon, or if there is some joke going over my head.

  3. 1964 – Three civil rights workers, Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Mickey Schwerner, are murdered in Neshoba County, Mississippi, United States, by members of the Ku Klux Klan.

    Sixteen years later, Republican candidate Ronald Wilson Reagan launched his post-convention presidential campaign with a fiery “States’ Rights” speech at the Neshoba County Fair.

    1. This kind of thing is what gives politicians a bad name. Reagan played the role of the nice guy very well most of the time. He was a duplicitous jerk. Jefferson’s inflammatory denunciation of Adams (through his own newspaper) in 1800 established the norm for the profession. Why can’t politicians stick to actual policy and end the demagoguery? You’d think it would garner the most votes. I guess you have to blame the electorate. I think I’ll go back to bed.

  4. “I like “porket” or “gruntling”. (In French it would be porquette.)”

    Piglet translates as “porcelet” in French (appr. phon. “por-sse-lay”). Pig could be “porc” (“por” and not “pork”) as well as “cochon”.

    In some coutrysides, “grognard” or “grogneur” were sometimes used to designate the (male) pig (“grogner” = to grunt).

    I don’t know if other terms were used in the medieval times.

    1. I recall that grognard [grumbler] is an old soldier – the term originating with Napoleon’s elite Imperial Guard, who had some licence to complain because they’d earned the right via years of campaigning. Wiki says Old Guard Grenadiers were known as les Grognards.

      My grubby old French dictionary:

      Grognard or grogneur “grumbler”
      Grogneur – the snout of a pig

      1. You’re true for the soldiers of Napoleon’s Old Guard. But it was also used by farmers to designate pigs, at least where my younger self spent his vacations.

        Note that, depending of the pronunciation (accent), “-ard” and “-eur” may sound similar.

  5. 1982 – John Hinckley is found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of U.S. President Ronald Reagan.

    Leading the United States congress, and several state legislatures, to enact insanity-defense reform statutes. Hinckley’s acquittal did for the insanity defense essentially what pantyhose did for finger-banging. 🙂

  6. 1905 – Jean-Paul Sartre, French philosopher and author (d. 1980)

    And Nobel Laureate in Literature (prize refused) (“I would prefer to be known as Sartre the perverse existentialist than Sartre the Nobel Prize winner.”)

  7. I would encourage anyone who gets the chance to travel to Okinawa as a tourist or spend some time there, to take in some of the tours of the Okinawa WWII battle areas and memorials. There is much to see including the location where Lt. General Mitsuru Ushijima ended his life by ritual suicide, harakiri. At the peace memorial museum there are 240,831 names including 140,009 Okinawans, 77,166 Japanese soldiers and 14,009 Americans.

  8. That’s all terribly wrong. The worst pop song of all time, places first to however many songs they recorded, is of course by Supertramp. They recorded the worst noises ever committed to any medium. I don’t know if “fingernails on chalk board” was ever recorded, but when it was, it would be better than Supertramp.

    I think the output of the band is used alongside other “enhanced interrogation” techniques in facilities around the globe, because it’s simply the most effective method to break any prisoner, ahead of waterboarding, electric shocks, and driving bamboo under fingernails. But it’s rarely used, because even routine torturers say it’s just too inhumane.

    This is just a fact, and I urge to not check it out, or risk irreparable damages. If you must, under no circumstances listen to “it’s raining again”. Pick a different song and have a second person in a (soundproof) room nearby who can step in before you jump out of a window, and rush in and comfort you after you listened to the soul-crushing sound that makes life meaningless.

    1. I have to agree & yet they had phenomenal success for year after year after year – I liked the Wurlitzer organ sound on their first album, but not put to good use – overall very forgettable lyrics, lotsa twiddly solo passages from various instruments [de rigueur in late 60s/early 70s progressive]. Then they went pop & it all got much worse from album II onwards. Dreadful.

      They give me the same feeling of despair as much of 10CC’s output [good musicians] & Steely Dan [great musicians] & Leo Sayer.

      The big NO! No! for me is the Scottish band Pilot , but they had the good grace to vanish after their single January ~ do not listen!

      1. I was so excited when Leo Sayer’s Endless Flight album came out. I walked all the way down the hill into town, Landstuhl, to buy it. Probably 1-1/2 to 2 hour round trip. Those were the days. Used to go dancing nearly every Friday night.

        Now that I think about, I’ve still got it. Along with a bunch of other vinyl that may never be spun again and most of which hasn’t been for decades.

        1. Landstuhl – I was in the north Rhine six months that year, Wildenrath & Brüggen.

          1973 – the year his first album came out this was the 20 top selling singles in order [I’ve only put up band names to save time]

          Dawn featuring Tony Orlando
          Peters & Lee
          The Sweet
          Simon Park Orchestra
          Gary Glitter
          Little Jimmy Osmond
          Gary Glitter
          Perry Como
          David Cassidy
          Donny Osmond
          Gilbert O’Sullivan
          Gary Glitter
          Donny Osmond
          Al Martino
          The Carpenters
          Suzi Quatro
          The Strawbs

          Leo Sayer was definitely better than any of that pap although a little music hall for my taste. Some reasonable or great albums were charting from Focus, Deep Purple, Rory Gallagher, Simon & Garfunkle, David Bowie [very good year], Carly Simon, Lennon. I wuz 18 then 🙂

    2. Thank you thank you thank you for mentioning Supertramp! I heave whenever “The Logical Song” comes on the radio! I never understood their appeal.

      1. I had forgotten about Supertramp, genuinely among the all time worst.

        Of course, some bands are so bad they can be amusing, all hail the Portsmouth Sinfonia

        1. Yes, but the Portsmouth Sinfonia was deliberately bad – which is to say, they all had no experience at playing their instruments – and they eventually disbanded when they got too good at it.

          But that is classically hilarious.


    3. Musically, I *like* ‘I’ve never been to me’. I think it’s an excellent tune (which is probably why everyone and his dog has covered it on Youboob). And I see nothing wrong with corrupting preachers (not that most of ’em need it), sipping champagne on yachts or being undressed by kings. Vive la Good Time Girl!

      Here’s a better (if cut-down) version:

      So if you cut out that dreadful maudlin spoken bridge passage inserted by Charlene and which nobody else ever used, there’s just a couple of words and a couple of lines that need fixing and I came up with a perfectly good alternative for them in my head walking along the beach one day. (The verse format is surprisingly easy to come up with lyrics for). Can’t remember them now but they changed the whole tone of the song from a fallen woman’s lament to one of encouragement to a repressed housewife with no life to get out and live it up.

      It’s a damn good tune in my opinion, and it deserves to have a decent set of words put to it, in the same way that many tunes have done.


  9. And I wouldn’t call Black’s ‘Friday’ the worst by any means. She is in tune (or auto-tune). It does absolutely nothing for me but it doesn’t give me an uncontrollable urge to grab a chainsaw and hunt down the perpetrator and take hideous revenge the way some songs do.
    Only one that comes to mind right now is ‘Achy Breaky Heart’ by Billy Ray Cyrus, but there are dozens of others.

    There are many worse performances, for example, in Youtube compilations of X-factor/America’s Got Talent etc failures, if that counts. Here’s just one of hundreds:


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