Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

July 4, 2019 • 7:00 am

It’s Thursday, July 4, 2019: Independence Day in the U.S., and a national holiday (see below). Appropriately, it’s National Barbecue Day, so go whole hog and dig inunless you’re a vegetarian. If you’re Norwegian, today you’ll be celebrating the birthday of Queen Sonja, a day when the Norwegian State Flag is flown ubiquitously.

I’ll be celebrating today with snorkeling, as we’re now in the Kona area, home of four or five excellent snorkeling spots. So far I’ve snorkeled every day for the past two days.

A lot of stuff happened on July 4 besides the adoption of our Declaration of Independence. Here are some events:

  • 1776 – American Revolution: The United States Declaration of Independence is adopted by the Second Continental Congress. [This is why today is “Independence Day”].
  • 1802 – At West Point, New York, the United States Military Academy opens.
  • 1803 – The Louisiana Purchase is announced to the U.S. people.

And this is one of the most poignant and remarkable coincidences I know of:

  • 1826 – Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States, dies the same day as John Adams, second president of the United States, on the fiftieth anniversary of the adoption of the United States Declaration of Independence.

But wait—there’s lots more!

  • 1845 – Henry David Thoreau moves into a small cabin on Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts. Thoreau’s account of his two years there, Walden, will become a touchstone of the environmental movement.
  • 1855 – The first edition of Walt Whitman’s book of poems, Leaves of Grass, is published In Brooklyn.
  • 1862 – Lewis Carroll tells Alice Liddell a story that would grow into Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels.
  • 1910 – African-American boxer Jack Johnson knocks out white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match, sparking race riots across the United States.

If you haven’t seen Ken Burns’s biographical program on Johnson, by all means do. Here’s a summary of the fight, which took place in Reno in 110-degree heat (that’s 43°C)!

  • 1918 – Bolsheviks kill Tsar Nicholas II of Russia and his family (Julian calendar date).
  • 1939 – Lou Gehrig, recently diagnosed with Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, informs a crowd at Yankee Stadium that he considers himself “The luckiest man on the face of the earth”, then announces his retirement from major league baseball.

Here’s a video of that poignant moment with Shirley Povich recounting it (Gehrig’s ownwords are at the end). The great Iron Horse of the Yankees died on June 2, 1941.

  • 1946 – After 381 years of near-continuous colonial rule by various powers, the Philippines attains full independence from the United States.
  • 1947 – The “Indian Independence Bill” is presented before the British House of Commons, proposing the independence of the Provinces of British India into two sovereign countries: India and Pakistan.
  • 1951 – William Shockley announces the invention of the junction transistor.
  • 1960 – Due to the post-Independence Day admission of Hawaii as the 50th U.S. state on August 21, 1959, the 50-star flag of the United States debuts in Philadelphia, almost ten and a half months later (see Flag Acts (United States)).
  • 1976 – Israeli commandos raid Entebbe airport in Uganda, rescuing all but four of the passengers and crew of an Air France jetliner seized by Palestinian terrorists.
  • 2012 – The discovery of particles consistent with the Higgs boson at the Large Hadron Collider is announced at CERN.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1790 – George Everest, Welsh geographer and surveyor (d. 1866)
  • 1804 – Nathaniel Hawthorne, American novelist and short story writer (d. 1864)
  • 1816 – Hiram Walker, American businessman, founded Canadian club whiskey (d. 1899)
  • 1872 – Calvin Coolidge, American lawyer and politician, 30th President of the United States (d. 1933)
  • 1883 – Rube Goldberg, American sculptor, cartoonist, and engineer (d. 1970)

Rube Goldberg is America’s equivalent of W. Heath Robinson (1872-1944): both cartoonists envisioned elaborate and funny devices to accomplish mundane tasks. Here’s one of each:

Goldberg (a reminder to mail a letter):

As you walk past cobbler shop, hook (A) strikes suspended boot (B), causing it to kick football (C) through goal posts (D). Football drops into basket (E) and string (F) tilts sprinkling can (G), causing water to soak coat tails (H). As coat shrinks, cord (I) opens door (J) of cage, allowing bird (K) to walk out on perch (L) and grab worm (M), which is attached to string (N). This pulls down window shade (O), on which is written, “YOU SAP, MAIL THAT LETTER.”

Robinson (removing a wart):

  • 1905 – Lionel Trilling, American critic, essayist, short story writer, and educator (d. 1975)
  • 1918 – Eppie Lederer,  [“Ann Landers’] American journalist and radio host (d. 2002)
  • 1927 – Neil Simon, American playwright and screenwriter (d. 2018)
  • 1937 – Queen Sonja of Norway
  • 1951 – Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, American lawyer and politician, 6th Lieutenant Governor of Maryland
  • 1962 – Pam Shriver, American tennis player and sportscaster

Those who passed away on July 4 include:

  • 1826 – John Adams, American lawyer and politician, 2nd President of the United States (b. 1735)
  • 1826 – Thomas Jefferson, American architect, lawyer, and politician, 3rd President of the United States (b. 1743)
  • 2002 – Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., American general (b. 1912)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili becomes the Anti Pinker:

A: What are you thinking about?
Hili: About the Enlightenment.
A: And?
Hili: I have a feeling that it is disappearing.
In Polish:
Ja: O czym myślisz?
Hili: O Oświeceniu.
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: Mam wrażenie, że zanika.
And Leon is on guard:
Leon: I’m watching the surroundings. Not a mouse will slink by.
In Polish: Mam oko na okolicę, teraz żadna mysz się nie prześlizgnie.

A gif I made, just for fun, so I could watch the First Flights over and over:

Speaking of which, here’s a cartoon I’m sure I’ve posted before. My ducks are now contemplating this issue:

Also from Facebook, something surely Photoshopped but still nice. Bonus points if you know the song:

From Nilou. Designating the “Naughty Penguin of the Month” and “Good Penguin of the Month” and then describing their transgressions or accomplishments, is a work of marketing genius! Good job, National Aquarium of New Zealand! Here are a few of the winners and losers.

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. Heather loves hedgehogs (that sounds like a t.v. series), but why this one is displayed with strawberries mystifies me.

Okay, I don’t know about all of this aerodynamics, but it’s interesting to attach a camera to a helicopter blade:

Tweets from Matthew, who often finds capybara tweets. Well, the caption of this tweet is exaggerated (read Better Angels of Our Nature), but the cat is helpful:

A compliant mountain goat shares its enclosure:

I guess the ticks don’t drown when the crock immerses itself, but crikey, look at the size of those things!

And, for the Fourth of July, Matthew sent this tweet for a dish that sounds a bit, well, dicey. The “red” comes from bacon, and bacon is not red! Matthew’s email header for this tweet was “!!!!!!”


37 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

    1. What are you thinking about?
      About Enlightenment.
      It means?
      I have the impression that it is disappearing.

      Is my polish office mates brief translation

  1. My Polish is very poor, but is Hili thinking about Auschwitz? No English dialogue today!

    1. 😎

      That’s how a helicopter works, blade goes into fine pitch (flat) going forwards and coarse pitch going backwards. All very inefficient compared with a fixed wing.


      1. … in fact, entirely worthy of being described as a Heath Robinson / Rube Goldberg means of transportation, IMO. 🙂


      2. Actually, I suspect they are quite efficient. When the blade is going backward relative to the oncoming airflow, the flow over the airfoil is reduced and so the increased tilt (pitch) adds lift. The blade is optimizing based on it’s speed through the medium.
        The same principle is employed by using a variable pitch propeller on a fixed wing plane. At slow speeds the blade is rotated to take a bigger bite of air. At high speed it is turned to take a thinner slice.

  2. For what it’s worth, I know that song. You can’t buffalo me by springfielding trick questions.

  3. When John Adams left the Job as second president he was no longer speaking to Thomas Jefferson, due mainly to Jefferson’s nasty political ways. John’s wife never forgave Jefferson or spoke to him again. However, as time past and everyone aged, Adams and Jefferson begin corresponding by letter until their deaths on the same day. No email or twitter available.

      1. Exactly. However he actually had died early in the day I believe. Little hard to nail down those two events maybe a thousand miles apart.

    1. Jefferson was pretty ruthless, writing anonymous, salacious, articles about Adams. Part of his rational, I think, is he was really afraid of Adams fascination with the idea of royalty and the trappings of royalty. Jefferson feared the whole democratic experiment might fail in the first decades of the republic. Adams had been ambassador to Britain and his experience in the lofty circles of the royal palace made him yearn for some of that type of class back in the States. An example: He had made ornamented tack (silver?) for his presidential carriage to add glam to the White House. When Jefferson took over, he sold the fancy stuff and used common leather. Jefferson, as if to dramatize his anti-royalist position, often greeted dignitaries at the White House in a night robe and old worn slippers.

  4. Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. American businessman, founded Canadian club whiskey? I don’t believe it. It says Canadian right on the label. Pretty good stuff too. Next thing you know, your going to tell me Thoreau never lived on Walden Pond – which I swam in back in the 1980s. I may have said this before, but I think 50 stars is way too many for any flag. It looked comfortable at 13. They shouldn’t have changed it. And, get off my lawn!

    1. Nike recently pulled it’s 4th of July celebration shoe with the Betsy Ross-designed flag on it because Kapernick said it reminds people of a time when slavery was legal, and also because supposedly white supremacists are now using that flag as a new symbol, though this idea seems to be a complete troll (even the Anti-Defamation League says it’s BS and the flag isn’t associated with white nationalists).

      This is like the time everyone went nuts for a few months whenever somebody made the “OK” symbol with their hand because 4Chan convinced the media that it was a secret white supremacy symbol.

      1. This is going to put Andy Borowitz out of business. There’l be nothing left to satirize because everything will be just too absurd.

  5. Bugger ,didn’t know Neil Simon had died .

    Loved all the films based on his plays with Jack Lemon and Walter Matthau .

  6. Let us not forget today, 1863. John Pemberton surrendered Vicksburg to U.S. Grant and the Confederacy was sundered. The Mississippi would run unvexed to the sea.

  7. In honor of ol’ Silent Cal, a quote of his upon which I have often reflected over the years. I consider it his riff on Ecclesiastes 9:11.

    Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan Press On! has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

  8. In 1946 was also the year the ‘Nenita’ was created, a special unit to destroy the communist anti-japanese Hukbalahap of central Luzon. It was a very dirty war (from both sides) if anything. I guess that is about always the case when former allies fight each other.
    ‘Hukbalahap’ (short for Hukbong Bayan Laban sa Hapón), is definitely unsurpassed as a name for a resistance movement [now, decades later, hardly living memory, they are still regarded as some kind of heros by many an inhabitant of Luzon].

  9. Just a comment on July 4 in history. You mentioned the Battle of Gettysburg on July 1 (it started) and July 3 (it ended). Almost as important to the Civil War was the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863. That gave the Union total control of the Mississippi River.

  10. I was shocked to see that the list of people born on this day didn’t include George M. Cohan (“A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam / Born on the Fourth of July”), and even more shocked when I discovered the reason: Cohan was born on July 3!

    It has been a long-standing—at least 30-year—tradition of mine on every July 4 to watch “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” the Oscar-winning Michael Curtiz biopic of Cohan starring the great Jimmy Cagney. You’d have to have a heart of stone to be able to watch the title-song dance scene (and the follow up “Give My Regards to Broadway”) without smiling. Happy Fourth!

      1. A songwriter who WAS born on July 4th was Stephen Foster. In fact, he was born on July 4, 1826–the same day Adams and Jefferson died.

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