Monday: Hili dialogue

July 22, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s back to work: Monday, July 22, 2019, and National Penuche Day. What’s that? Wikipedia says it’s

“a fudge-like candy made from brown sugar, butter, and milk, using no flavorings except for vanilla. Penuche often has a tannish color, and is lighter than regular fudge. It is formed by the caramelization of brown sugar; thus, its flavor is said to be reminiscent of caramel. Nuts, especially pecans, are often added to penuche for texture, especially in the making of penuche candies. It is primarily a regional food, found in New England and some places in the Southern United States, though in the latter it goes by different names, including creamy praline fudge, and brown sugar fudge candy.”

Comme ça:

I’ve never had the confection, but it sounds good. Today is also Pi Approximation Day since it’s 22/7 (European date convention) and “the fraction ​227 is a common approximation of π, which is accurate to two decimal places and dates from Archimedes.”

Finally, it’s a sad day for Brits, as Boris Johnson, the UK equivalent of our Orange Man, is set to become the Prime Minister. That means that Brexit will surely take effect. My condolences to all in Blighty.

Stuff that happened on July 22 includes:

  • 1298 – Wars of Scottish Independence: Battle of Falkirk: King Edward I of England and his longbowmen defeat William Wallace and his Scottish schiltrons outside the town of Falkirk.
  • 1598 – William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, is entered on the Stationers’ Register. By decree of Queen Elizabeth, the Stationers’ Register licensed printed works, giving the Crown tight control over all published material.
  • 1793 – Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first recorded human to complete a transcontinental crossing of North America.
  • 1893 – Katharine Lee Bates writes “America the Beautiful” after admiring the view from the top of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs, Colorado. [JAC: The tune, by Samuel Ward, was added later.]

That should have been the national anthem, as it’s much easier to sing, and easier to hear, than the stupid “Star-Spangled Banner.” Here’s a great version by Ray Charles, though the lyrics aren’t in order.

More stuff that happened on this day:

  • 1933 – Aviator Wiley Post returns to Floyd Bennett Field in New York City, completing the first solo flight around the world in seven days, 18 hours and 49 minutes.
  • 1942 – The Holocaust in Poland: The systematic deportation of Jews from the Warsaw ghetto begins.
  • 1946 – King David Hotel bombing: A Zionist underground organisation, the Irgun, bombs the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, site of the civil administration and military headquarters for Mandatory Palestine, resulting in 91 deaths.
  • 2003 – Members of 101st Airborne of the United States, aided by Special Forces, attack a compound in Iraq, killing Saddam Hussein’s sons Uday and Qusay, along with Mustapha Hussein, Qusay’s 14-year-old son, and a bodyguard.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1849 – Emma Lazarus, American poet and educator (d. 1887)

In 1883 Emma Lazarus wrote the poem, “The New Colossus” to raise money for erecting the Statue of Liberty. Some of its lines are inscribed on the statue’s base:

“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Lovely lines; pity that Trump doesn’t want the “wretched refuse” (aka those from “shithole countries”): the “refuse” that made America great.

  • 1888 – Selman Waksman, Jewish-American biochemist and microbiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1973) [JAC: My aunt worked as his secretary for a while.]
  • 1890 – Rose Kennedy, American philanthropist (d. 1995)
  • 1923 – Bob Dole, American soldier, lawyer, and politician
  • 1932 – Tom Robbins, American novelist
  • 1947 – Don Henley, American singer-songwriter and drummer

In Honor of Henley’s 72nd birthday, I’ve put below my favorite Don Henley solo song, which is underappreciated.  (This live version features the Eagles.) It’s hard to realize that it was released 35 years ago! I love it because it reminds me of the wild bit of my youth, now long gone. As for one of the lyrics, Wikipedia says this:

In an interview with NME in 1985, Henley explained the ‘”Deadhead sticker on a Cadillac” lyric as an example of his generation selling out.

I was driving down the San Diego Freeway and got passed by a $21,000 Cadillac Seville, the status symbol of the right-wing upper-middle-class American bourgeoisie – all the guys with the blue blazers with the crests and the grey pants – and there was this Grateful Dead “Deadhead” bumper sticker on it!


Notables who snuffed it on this day were few; they include:

  • 1932 – Flo Ziegfeld, American actor and producer (b. 1867)
  • 1934 – John Dillinger, American gangster (b. 1903)
  • 1967 – Carl Sandburg, American poet and historian (b. 1878)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is waxing enigmatic again. Malgorzata has to translate:

Look at Darwin. He delayed publication because everything added up (or almost). Could he have been suspecting his own confirmation bias? This is the explanation: when absolutely everything is exactly as you would like it to be, you may suspect that you omitted other facts. After all, especially in biology and social sciences, ALL facts do not add up—there are always exceptions.

Hili: When all facts add up perfectly we are most probably wrong.
A: Indeed, in such a situation there is a reason to be suspicious.
In Polish:
Hili: Kiedy wszystkie fakty idealnie się zgadzają, to prawdopodobnie jesteśmy w błędzie.
Ja: Rzeczywiście w takiej sytuacji mamy powody do podejrzeń.

From Facebook:

Also from Facebook: a picture of Frank Zappa and his mother. What did she think of him?

A tweet Grania sent me on November 29, 2018:

The women below were arrested for not wearing a hijab in Iran, and for handing out flowers on a train to those who did. Brave women in a misogynistic country.

From reader Barry. Did you know that centipedes had maternal instincts?

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, icy waves:

Second, packing a cat:

Three tweets from Matthew. Be sure to watch the short embedded video. It would be cool to have a job described as “penis graffiti remover”:

This cat has not only learned to open the door, but to defeat a water obstacle added to prevent its egress:

Now here’s an innovative idea!


53 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Boris Johnson doesn’t actually become Prime Minister until Wednesday afternoon. Voting for the Tory Party leader closes today, and the results will be announced tomorrow. Johnson is almost certain to win.

    But that doesn’t automatically make him Prime Minister. Theresa May will continue in that role until Wednesday, when she goes to Buckingham Palace to tender her resignation as Prime Minister to the Queen and recommend (through gritted teeth, I imagine) Johnson as her successor. Johnson then visits the Queen to be appointed the new Prime Minister.

    Whether he will be able to govern, let alone deliver Brexit, remains to be seen, as many Tory MPs despise him, and senior ministers including the current Chancellor, Philip Hammond, have said publicly that they will oppose a no-deal Brexit via Parliament.

    1. Much as i hate bojo ,i am looking forward to him making a complete balls up of being PM .
      With a bit of luck he will have to call a GE and get booted out by the voters of Uxbridge over the Heathrow fiasco .

    2. I went to a kind of circus act the other night with a friend and her kid. There was this old clown with his hair all straggly prancing about comically yelling “Ladies and gentlemen, come and experience the great Dr Spatzulini’s Imaginarium! Enter it, ladies and gentlemen, and your dreams will become real!!!”

      And then went home and looked in the internet and a clip of Johnson with his hair all over the place waving a kipper in the air and yelling “We can do it, ladies and gentlemen! If you believe….”

      And I thought, hmmm.

      1. Ah ,the kipper .Typical bojo lie ,a fish smoker or fisherman sent him the kipper and said because fish sent through the post now have to have a cool gel pad his business is suffering .
        He is trying to blame the EU and their red tape .
        Only thing is ,it is good old British red tape ,nothing to do with them EU crats ,and also he comes from the Isle Of Man which is not subject to Brussels and it’s diktats .

        I might be wrong on a few things regarding the story .Multiple that one story by 17 1/2 million ,result Britx .

  2. Frank Zappa also liked cats! Years ago his late wife, Gail, offered to answer 50 fan questions and mine was, “What was Frank sentimental about in his private life?”. Her answer was, “The first thing that comes to mind concerning your question is cats and dogess but I am not sure that sentimental is applicable.  FZ was way too romantic to be sentimental”.

  3. At Rutgers (formally, Rutgers, the State University) main location in New Brunswick, you can visit the neo-Colonial Waksman Institute, located out on the Busch Campus in Piscataway and built from the royalties on streptomycin and other antibiotics whose discovery he was responsible for. Behind the facade of one of the wings is a two-story industrial fermenter.

  4. 1793 – Alexander Mackenzie reaches the Pacific Ocean becoming the first recorded human to complete a transcontinental crossing of North America.

    Anybody know whether he took I-10, or’d he get stuck on old Route 66?

        1. Lots of tacky Elvis paraphernalia in the shops along the parts I’ve driven. Had to explain the Road Kill Café across the street to some Viennese tourists. (Slab of Lab, Poodle with Noodle, etc.)They said “Man ißt das?” (One eats this?). Had to reassure them that it was all a joke…

          1. “You’re at the top of the food chain at the Roadkill Cafe” — I used to have one of their t-shirts.

            1. I think I had a tee shirt, too. There was also “Something on a fender…”. Have you read any of Carl Hiaassen with the former Governor (Skink??) who wears a sarong and eats only roadkill?

              1. You talkin’ ’bout Clinton Tyree, the former governor of the great state of Florida?

                You damn tootin’; I love me some Hiaasen. I cast a write-in protest vote for Skink in one election.

          2. Do you mean Seligman AZ,in the loop off the 40?The soft drinks we ordered there came in jam jars for some reason .

      1. Route 66 never went across the whole country. It went from Chicago to Santa Monica. Over 80% of 66 is still driveable. There are long stretches, especially in Missouri and Oklahoma where you will drive on the original concrete highway,

          1. When I was in high school, a friend and I got the idea of following route 66, inspired by those two characters. We didn’t have a car (I don’t think I had a license), so we thumbed it all the way. Some great adventures ensued as well as some not so pleasant surprises. I should write a book.

            1. You and your pal hitchiked Route 66 when you were in high school??!! I love it. You should write about your trip;I’d bet others would like to read it. Actually, an anthology of people’s adventures on Route 66 would make for interesting reading.

              Though my dad’s father was an attorney, my father had a dream of joining the circus, and went off to ride the rails during the Great Depression. He learned how to ride the rails, became a roustabout for the circus for a while, then took various jobs around the Midwest in steel mills and construction. He had many excellent adventures, some dangerous, that he told me about when I was young but, alas, he never wrote them down.

          2. Only two episodes of Route 66 were actually filmed on Route 66. I remember, as a kid, when they did an episode in Cleveland.

            Route 66 was recently listed as one of the top ten destinations in the US for European tourists, but it is also popular for tourists from many countries. There are Route 66 associations in many countries in Europe and also in Japan. I recall seeing a large contingent of motorcyles parked outside of Joe and Aggies Cafe in Holbrook, Arizona all sporting South African flags.

            1. It is interesting how American culture leaks out into the wild and is absorbed (appropriated) by others. Eventually, the reruns will be received by some civilization in the far reaches of the galaxy. They’ll visit in their saucers asking to see Route 66.

              1. Or maybe they’ve already been here. There was something alien-like about Milner and Maharis.

  5. The ice waves remind me of lake Michigan’s ice. It would wave loosely for the first weeks of winter, but then become solid. The pressure from waves under the ice would build huge mounds for miles offshore. We were sometimes tempted to climb out through the piles of ice.

  6. Jerry: Brown Sugar fudge or Sucre à la crème (sugar’s cream) in french is a very traditional dessert in Quebec, and every grandfather or grandmother has their own family’s recipe. You can try it if you come to Montreal, a few places are specialized in it.

  7. My mother used to make a mean penuche fudge and also penuche icing on spice cake. I think I might find it too sweet these days.

  8. My mother used to make a mean penuche fudge and also penuche icing on spice cake. I think I might find it too sweet these days.

    1. My mother also made a mean penuche. She used to send me penuche rescue packages when I was away at summer camp, enough to share, which was very hard for me to do because I wanted it all. To my taste, it’s far superior to chocolate fudge

      I hadn’t had it in years until recently and I still find it addictive. So damned good!!!!!

      1. I think i also got some sent to camp. I think I preferred penuche then, but go for dark chocolate now.

        Where did you grow up, Jennifer? I think we lived in DC area when I first remember penuche, but Mom grew up in California.

        1. My mom was a Californian through and through. She was born and lived her entire life in Los Angeles. I have no idea where she learned to make penuche, never thought to ask — I simply took it as a given. But she was the only person I knew, who made it; and I don’t recall seeing it sold in stores, though it certainly could have been — but nothing’s as good as home made, and made by one’s very own Mother.

          I’m not supposed to eat much sugar these days, and don’t find it much of a problem, but my penuche sweet tooth is aching mightily right now, and I might just break down and make a batch — then I wouldn’t have to share it with anyone.

          1. Must be an Angelena thing. Might just have to make some soon. Butter and brown sugar. What’s not to like?

  9. FZ was eerily photogenic. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a photo of him where he’s not looking cool, calm and collected.

    There is a great t-shirt my brother owns that shows Charlie Brown with eyes closed resting his head on a piano, looking sad. Caption: I still miss Frank Zappa.


    1. It’s about keeping Tour de France official sponsors happy.

      It is from NOS Sport, a Dutch TV channel reporting on the Tour de France [Midi-Pyrenees part of the route I think]. The yobs who follow TdF, paint the names of their favoured cyclists on the out-of-town roads & also graphic graffiti – I guess it makes these losers feel important & special. The paint crew are tasked by ASO [the TdF organisers] to make ALL such daubs cryptic – that includes innocuous, yobbish fan signs “Allez Pinot”, “Geraint Thomas FTW” etc.

      TdF also contend with mooning & other “Hello Mum!” content. Modern broadcasting in the age of selfie stick narcissists – there’s probably a paper on it somewhere. 🙂

  10. Ahhh, The Boys Of Summer. A great song but it evokes nearly unbearable nostalgia in me. I almost always change stations or hit skip when I hear the opening chords.

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