Saturday: Hili dialogue

June 22, 2019 • 9:19 am

It’s Saturday, June 22: the second day of summer. Enjoy the first Saturday of the season. It’s National Chocolate Eclair Day, but I’m having strawberry pie. And for you allergy sufferers, stay inside, for it’s International Ragweed Day, and all ragweeds will be showing their stuff.

On this day in history we have these events:

  • 1633 – The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe in the form he presented it in, after heated controversy.
  • 1870 – The United States Department of Justice is created by the U.S. Congress.
  • 1911 – George V and Mary of Teck are crowned King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.

Three events during World War II

  • 1940 – World War II: France is forced to sign the Second Compiègne armistice with Germany, in the same railroad car in which the Germans signed the Armistice in 1918.
  • 1941 – World War II: Nazi Germany invades the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa.
  • 1942 – World War II: Erwin Rommel is promoted to Field Marshal after the capture of Tobruk.

And every secularist—indeed, every American—should know that, although the Pledge was adopted in 1942, the words “under God” were added only in 1954 in a bill signed by President Eisenhower. The words were added after a campaign by the Knights of Columbus (a Catholic organization) and a Presbyterian minister to help distinguish the U.S. from our “atheistic” Cold War enemies:

Every soccer expert I know agrees that this indeed was a handball, and those include the biggest soccer expert I know, ex footie broadcaster Seamus Malin (see his awesome opinions here). Wikipedia takes it for granted, too:

Shilton came out of his goal to punch the ball clear. Maradona, despite being 8 inches (20 cm) shorter than the 6-foot-1 (1.85 m) Shilton, reached it first with his outside left hand. The ball bounced into the goal. Referee Ali Bin Nasser of Tunisia said he did not see the infringement and allowed the goal.

Maradona later said, “I was waiting for my teammates to embrace me, and no one came… I told them, ‘Come hug me, or the referee isn’t going to allow it.'”

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1837 – Paul Morphy, American chess player (d. 1884)
  • 1887 – Julian Huxley, English biologist and academic (d. 1975)
  • 1903 – John Dillinger, American criminal (d. 1934)
  • 1933 – Dianne Feinstein, American politician
  • 1936 – Kris Kristofferson, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor
  • 1949 – Meryl Streep, American actress and singer
  • 1949 – Elizabeth Warren, American academic and politician
  • 1953 – Cyndi Lauper, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress
  • 1960 – Erin Brockovich, American lawyer and environmentalist

Those who expired on June 22 include these people:

  • 1956 – Walter de la Mare, English poet, short story writer and novelist (b. 1873)
  • 1969 – Judy Garland, American actress and singer (b. 1922)
  • 1987 – Fred Astaire, American actor and dancer (b. 1899)
  • 1988 – Dennis Day, American singer and actor (b. 1916)
  • 1993 – Pat Nixon, American educator, 44th First Lady of the United States (b. 1912)
  • 2008 – George Carlin, American comedian, actor, and author (b. 1937)

I’m a huge fan of Fred Astaire, and once had a Fred Astaire Week in which I posted his greatest dance numbers. Most of them are included in the “top ten” summary video below:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej and Hili ponder the uncertainty of life:

Hili: There are certain moments when you don’t know what’s next.
A: I know it all too well.
In Polish:
Hili: Są takie chwile, kiedy nie bardzo wiadomo co dalej.
Ja: Znam to aż za dobrze.

Digging down in my “tweets” inbox, I found a bunch of old tweets from Grania which I thought I’d lost. She may have posted them herself when I was gone, but I prefer to put them here in memoriam, and in her honor. We’ll feature them over the next week or so. She liked to send me tweets that featured cats and politics. Here’s one of each:

Classic Grania: she wrote this about this tweet, “So, too young to choose to have an abortion, but old enough to raise a child.”

I found this tweet myself. Warning: a macaque being swallowed by a Komodo dragon. For more information, go here, and for the full one-minute video go here.

A tweet from reader Barry. This cat, like many, has no fear of heights:

Two cat tweets from Heather Hastie. The first shows a swimming kitten:

Heather says this about the following: “This is cute, and funny, and strange, and a whole lot more besides …” It is of course up against a glass door:

Tweets from Matthew. Two strikes in one!

I wish I had a cat that ate bananas, but maybe not animated ones:

I guess the ancients didn’t like mimes either:

Before I saw the photo, I thought this was a misspelling of “Stonehenge,” but no, it’s a stone hinge. I wonder if it works.



31 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. I love the cat from that first Grania tweet. What a lovely marking from his forehead to his nose! Very distinctive.

    We’ll miss you, Grania.

  2. 1633 – The Holy Office in Rome forces Galileo Galilei to recant his view that the Sun, not the Earth, is the center of the Universe in the form he presented it in, after heated controversy.

    Screw Urban VIII; e pur si muove.

    1. The Pope recently apologized for threatening Galileo with torture. So, everything is hunky-dory now… deinde ludens.

  3. Speaking of mimes, I thought as I watched the cat dancing, maybe this is just a cat mime? I don’t remember the book, but there is one in which a ruler has all the mimes chained up facing signs that say “Learn the words.”

    And our dog likes bananas, although she isn’t so keen on the consistency.

    1. I have a book that my parents bought me when we took a trip to DC when I was little. It’s called “Socks Goes to Washington,” an ostensible account of the Clintons’ cat’s time in the White House. It’s so cute. In fact, I’m going to go read it now…

      Each page has a line or two from Socks and a drawing. The first page says, “My name is Socks. Socks may be a silly name, but it’s better than TIPPER.”

      My favorite part is a picture of Socks sitting on a conference table, smiling as a dead mole lays upside down on it and Cabinet members are screaming in horror. Socks says, “Nothing peps up a Cabinet meeting like a dead mole.”

      My other favorites (all with accompanying illustrations): “It’s fun to sharpen your claws on priceless and irreplaceable furniture”; “When I’m bored, I break Nancy Reagan’s china”; “The innauguration was fun. There were lots of balloons for me to pop, and I looked up Stevie Nicks’ dress”; and “I like to scare the Secret Service guys by racing up and down the hall for no apparent reason.”

    2. Oh, wait! The best one is this diary entry: “I have a busy schedule.” The illustration is of him sleeping next to his schedule book.

      Schedule for the day: “10:00 Wake up; 10:15 Breakfast; 10:30 Claw rug in Oval Office; 10:35 Nap; 11:00 East roses in Rose Garden; 11:10 throw up roses on Oval Office rug; 11:15 Nap; 11:30 Lunch”

      1. What a genius. I remember the first time I read the first book in the Disc WorldM/i> series. It was kind of a revelation.

  4. Before I saw the photo, I thought this was a misspelling of “Stonehenge,” but no, it’s a stone hinge. I wonder if it works

    It would be criminal if it didn’t hinge! A click for the full image reveals the structure is on wheels running in a circular rut – I hope the two hinge leaves are independently moveable.

  5. I was just a kid when “under god” was added to the pledge. Even at that age, I thought it was stupid. I saw that there was more similarity between the authoritarian communists and the authoritarian Republicans, than difference of belief in a god.

    And, I thought it was only a matter of time before they found their common affinity.

    Well, it took longer than I would have predicted, but here we are.


    1. The six jewish kids in my second grade class in 1954 in virginia were told by our parents or rabbi…cannot recall which…that the under god was a reference to the christian god and therefore we were not to add under god when we said the new and improved pledge. So after standing silently through the lords prayer, we also went silent for two words of the pledge. Nobody made fun of us. I did not personally experience any antisemitic remarks until high school.

      1. My public school was at least 25% Jewish. We had to do the whole nine yards every morning – pledge, Bible reading, Lord’s prayer.

        For me, it just went in one ear and out the other. Even as a little kid, I was never much into ritual.

        When I got to college, I had many Jewish friends, just as I did in my public school career, all the way through. Again, I never though much about it. My family didn’t go to church, and although they were nominally Christian, it was pretty perfunctory. But, when I heard my Jewish friends talk about how they felt about all the Christian bs shoved down their throats in public school, I was appalled.

        I wondered how any institution, or individuals within it, could be so incredibly insensitive. I was horrified at the hurt my friends expressed. It was the first crack in my attitude about Christianity, which was basically “meh”.

        That attitude has deteriorated from there, for many reasons, until now I’m a pretty militant atheist.


  6. Fred Astaire was a great dancer. Hisw ‘usual partner Ginger Rodgers is no mean one either, for that matter.
    My mother was a great fan of Fred, and the clip amply shows why. I was always, well still am, impressed by the skills of those great tap dancers. One should note that at the time this perfect kind of dancing (tap or other), quite common nowadays, was rarer then.
    What struck me is that not just the ‘white tie’ coat – known to be flattering, even to those not in ripped shape-, but also the morning coat can be very elegant -on a ripped one like Astaire at least.

      1. If one watches Fred and Ginger dancing, one will see the Fred danced backward as much as Ginger did. Ginger was jealous of all the well earned praise that Fred received. Fred was also a master choreographer and Ginger came in to rehearsal once the dances had been developed.

  7. Let us be honest, you do not need to be an expert like Seamus Malin to see that Maradonna used the hand. The replays suffice.
    Maradonna was a great footballer, no mistake, and nearly singlehandedly (c’est le cas de le dire 🙂 ) won a World cup, I always found him less of a complete footballer than, say, Cruyff, Puskás, Beckenbauer, Pelé, both Ronaldo’s or, above all, Messi.

    1. He admitted it himself pretty much.

      The shame of it is that, in the same game, he scored an amazing solo goal in which he dribbled the ball past virtually every England player. Nobody ever talks about that.

  8. I heard that before deer and goats (and macaques) came to Flores and Komodo, the Komodo Dragons lived by preying on dwarf mammoths.
    I’m not sure it is true, but if so, I find that mind boggling.

        1. Note in the illustration that in Australia and the lesser Sunda islands, there were monsters compared to which our Komodo Dragons are but small fry.

  9. I am a great fan of Fred Astaire, and I have only ever seen him dance in his movies, or on the telly, and his dance scenes were unedited I have seen Michael Jackson on the telly, too, busting a bunch of highly edited moves, but I can’t say I have seen him dance for an extended period. Any Jackson fans here ever attend his concerts, who can correct my shallow appraisal of his dance skills?

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