Saturday: Hili dialogue

July 27, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Caturday, July 27, 2019, with only four days to go until August, and National Scotch Day.  Make mine a Springbank. And, as it’s the fourth Saturday in July, it’s National Day of the American Cowboy. There are still some of these left, and I’ll honor them by wearing cowboy boots.

Stuff that happened on this day includes:

  • 1789 – The first U.S. federal government agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, is established (it will be later renamed Department of State).
  • 1866 – The first permanent transatlantic telegraph cable is successfully completed, stretching from Valentia Island, Ireland, to Heart’s Content, Newfoundland.
  • 1890 – Vincent van Gogh shoots himself and dies two days later.

I recent finished what’s regarded as the definitive biography of Van Gogh (it’s about 850 pages of text), and I recommend it very highly. It’s only $20 on Amazon. In that book, the authors make the case, in an Appendix, that Van Gogh did not try to commit suicide, but was shot by somebody else, perhaps a rowdy boy in Auvers known to carry a pistol. The case for murder or an accident rather than suicide, is compelling, and yet Wikipedia still maintains that van Gogh shot himself.  The book will show you that he had a horrible life, unrelieved by any periods of joy, and it was a miracle that he made such great art. But, as the Dr. Who episode below shows, he forged great beauty out of pain. The van Gogh shown in this clip is not  much like the real van Gogh save in his facial features, for the real one was moody, given to periods of mania, and, above all, dirty and unkempt. I gather that in the other van Gogh episodes of the show his mental illness more graphically.

But this clip, which I posted before—and which was called to my attention by Grania—always brings tears to my eyes anyway:

And here is one of my favorite van Gogh paintings, created in the year he died (1890).

Other stuff that happened on this day:

  • 1919 – The Chicago Race Riot erupts after a racial incident occurred on a South Side beach, leading to 38 fatalities and 537 injuries over a five-day period.
  • 1921 – Researchers at the University of Toronto, led by biochemist Frederick Banting, prove that the hormone insulin regulates blood sugar.
  • 1940 – The animated short A Wild Hare is released, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny.
  • 1974 – Watergate scandal: The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee votes 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of impeachment (for obstruction of justice) against President Richard Nixon.
  • 1987 – RMS Titanic Inc. begins the first expedited salvage of wreckage of the RMS Titanic.
  • 2016 – At a news conference in Florida, U.S. Presidential Candidate Donald Trump publicly appealed to Russia to find and release private emails from Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton; a Special Counsel investigation (2017–2019) later alleged that Russian operatives began hacking into servers at the Democratic National Committee on that same day, leading to the July 13, 2018 indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1768 – Charlotte Corday, French assassin of Jean-Paul Marat (d. 1793)
  • 1824 – Alexandre Dumas, fils, French novelist and playwright (d. 1895)
  • 1870 – Hilaire Belloc, French-born British writer and historian (d. 1953)
  • 1905 – Leo Durocher, American baseball player and manager (d. 1991)
  • 1922 – Norman Lear, American screenwriter and producer
  • 1948 – Peggy Fleming, American figure skater and sportscaster
  • 1975 – Alex Rodriguez, American baseball player

Although A-Rod was known for his hitting (and was suspended for a year for drug use), he was also a very good defensive player. Here are some of his best plays as a third baseman:

Those who snuffed it on this day include:

  • 1946 – Gertrude Stein, American novelist, poet, and playwright (b. 1874)
  • 1980 – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iranian king (b. 1919)
  • 2017 – Sam Shepard, American playwright, actor, author, screenwriter, and director (b. 1943)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili quotes from the gospel of Matthew, showing that an atheist cat knows the Bible better than human believers:

Hili: I was hungry and you gave me food.
A: And what now?
Hili: Now you may pet me.
In Polish:
Hili: Byłam głodna i nakarmiłeś mnie.
Ja: A co teraz?
Hili: Teraz możesz mnie pogłaskać.

Look at this sleepy duck! I don’t know the breed, but it’s adorable.

I suspect that one of Daphne’s ducklings may be Jewish (which means, of course, that Daphne herself is Jewish). Why? This resemblance:

Reader gravelinspector sent this picture with a note, “A Russian friend saw this a few days ago in London. She didn’t say which tube station.”

Level 5 goose warning! Is there a level 6 and above?

A tweet sent from Grania on November 29 of last year:

A tweet from reader Jiten: a woman loses her beloved Muscovy duck:

Three tweets from Heather Hastie. Here’s a big collateral benefit to having a ponytail:

Oh, the irony!

Here’s someone who really loves their friendly neighborhood fox:

Three tweets from Matthew. I’d say the first one is Banksy, but nobody knows who Banksy is:

Algae-like multicellular organisms existed about 1.6 billion years ago. As the linked paper notes, “Phylogenetic placement of these remains is uncertain, but they indicate that simple macroscopic multicellularity evolved early in the eukaryotic domain.”

Now Robert Ballard is trying to find Amelia Earhart’s plane (sound up):


29 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. If Van Gogh was alive for two days after being shot, why did he not tell others what had happened? Seems to me if someone shot him he would have had ample opportunity to let us know? (Not having read the book).

    1. There’s a long section in the Wiki discussing the various possibilities. It says that VG didn’t want to get the boys into trouble, but go read.

      One aspect mentioned is the lack of [or rather no mention of by witness reports] black powder burns on his clothes, chest skin & hand. I wonder if there’s a surviving medical report.

      I have no opinion – I certainly don’t trust the report of Adeline Ravoux not given until in her ’70s, of events when she was 13yo..

      1. His mental issues suggest he might have been suicidal, so I think that’s most likely. Perhaps it will be always a mystery.

  2. Sleepy duck, nice! Interesting, half of the brain awake, does not appear to be true for this duck. Normally ducks keep their heads up when sleeping.

  3. In “today’s happenings”, “other stuff”, the 1919 race riot item is duplicated — appearing once before, once after, the 1921 insulin item.

    Is there a better way to report typos, alternative to using this commentary dept?

  4. Level 5 goose warning! Is there a level 6 and above?

    Intercontinental thermonuclear goosedroppings?
    Hang on – the Goodies, as normal, got there first. I can’t find any images in the 2d internet, so people without the memory will just have to settle for their imaginations to view the trandem-mounted trio being dive-bombed by wings of geese laying golden “eggs” upon them from a great height.
    Do I need to introduce the Goodies to the longitude-negative contingent? I doubt it.

    1. That “Level 5 Goose Warning” pic goes back to 2017 & it also appeared on WEIT a year ago that I remember. Your Russian friend & the conveniently unnamed Tube Station – she is trolling you [national sport] 🙂

      1. Well, she was in London a couple of weekends ago, so the timing was credible. Very much more an Snapgram-Instarbook-Facechat person than I am.
        Mind you, I’m resolved to hunt for Goodies DVDs now. Which is a good thing.

        1. It occurred to me that that sign may have been recycled on the Underground station if the same goose recurs seasonally.

          However, googling ‘level 5 goose warning’ shows that the photo is not original.

          Sorry about that.


          1. Oh I’d be very surprised if the poster isn’t rolled up and stowed somewhere safe for next year.

            1. Be nice if it were, but that isn’t a real, unadulterated tfl poster image. It originates on imgur dated 10th February 2016 – the Ave a Gander! account.

              “Ave a Gander” has removed the original message & put in his/her own Goose platform 5 message.
              ** The top & bottom frames of the stand have a distant vanishing point to the left – which is correct
              ** The white lettered “London underground” blue banner at the top which looks edited, the replacement text, the grey line below the text & the bottom frame share the same sloping line – no vanishing point. I think the artist rotated his text to match the bottom frame & didn’t bother to give it a vanishing point.
              ** Nobody has identified the station on line in three years – no mention of this aggressive underground goose IRL

        1. I have to cut/paste your emoticons into Google to understand them. “Nerd face” lol 🤓

    2. “Defgoose 6”
      Nice phrase, I just have to construct a situation calling for it now.

  5. Happy Scotch Day.

    Make mine Bunnahabhain Ceobanach or perhaps a dram of Highland Park Valknut.


  6. That homage to Banksy’s Girl With Red Balloon [2004] is by The Final Cut King – Zach King, an American film maker who socialises in ultra short videos that he describes as “digital sleight of hand”.

    A hard working genius that the Twitterer above in the OP doesn’t credit.

    1. I’m seriously impressed.

      I watched that several times to try and see how it was done. There appear to be no cuts anywhere in the footage. Equally, it’s obviously utterly physically impossible in several ways.

      I assume it has to be CGI, (which covers a multitude of computer-aided ‘effects’), but if so it’s quite incredibly good CGI.


      1. Not CGI at all, evenly broadly construed. King uses old school live green screen mainly & combines layers which he cleans up in editing software. I’ve watched his insruction/deconstruction vids & every on-screen second equates to 1, 2 maybe 3 hrs work.

        1. When I said ‘CGI’ I was using the phrase very loosely, and I had green-screen in mind, along with overlaying one image over another.

          I was probably using the wrong generic term, but I’m not sure what generic term there is for ‘computer-aided editing’.

          As I said, incredibly impressive.


  7. I haven’t seen that episode of Doctor Who in a long while, but as I recall it, Amy Pond thinks taking Vincent to the future to see his art being appreciated will lift his spirits, which it does for a moment. Later though, when she finds out he still killed himself, the lesson is that depression isn’t rational.

  8. Regarding the hacking of the DNC server, here are some statements from the Wikipedia site that treats the topic. These seem to show that Putin-detractors at the DNC may not have provided an accurate account of the hacking and that it was the Democrats who were perpetrating fraud against Trump. To me, both political parties are likely run by crooks.
    1. “In June 2017, former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson, who was appointed by and served under President Barack Obama, testified before a House Select committee that his department offered their assistance to the DNC during the campaign to determine what happened to their server, but said his efforts were “rebuffed” because the DHS was offering to provide assistance months after the FBI had provided assistance.”
    2. “Comey testified that the FBI requested, but did not receive, physical access to the DNC servers. According to Comey, the FBI did obtain copies of the servers and all the information on them, as well as access to forensics from CrowdStrike, a third-party cybersecurity company that reviewed the DNC servers. Comey said that access through Crowdstrike was an “appropriate substitute” and called the firm a “highly respected private company.”” [I personally think the “third party” company at the service of the DNC would be suspect: see item 4 below.]
    3. The “Dossier” says: “That the hacking of the DNC servers was performed by Romanian hackers ultimately controlled by Putin and paid by both Trump and Putin.(Dossier, pp. 34–35)” [Romanians controlled by Putin neither seems logical nor in agreement with “2”.]
    4. “Russian security expert and investigative journalist Andrei Soldatov said “It is almost impossible to know for sure whether or not Russia is behind a hack of the DNC’s servers”. According to him, one of the reasons Russia would try to sway the US presidential election is that the Russian government considers Clinton “a hater of Russia”: “There is this mentality in Russia of being besieged; that it is always under attack from the United States … They are trying to interfere in our internal affairs so why not try to do the same thing to them?””
    In short, evidence is short, and Hillary Clinton’s campaign did everything possible to incriminate Russia with Trump and divert attention from her personal email scandal in which the hard disk of her home server was erased apparently with the aim of obstructing justice. [And there remains Seth Rich.]
    Here is one relevant link [not that I am a fan of the Washington Times]:

  9. The pictures of the duck and Hasidic Jewish person remind me of a song that came up on my YouTube music feed randomly last night. I had been listening to one of Steve “N” Seagulls songs which is sort of bluegrass acoustic. It was called “Jewish men singing Pink Floyd’s ‘Wish You Were Here'”. It was pretty good. The Hasidic Jews always fascinated me because of their cult-like qualities. I see them now all of the time and still say hello. I used to ask, when my hair was equally as curly, if that was their natural curl. People would ask me all of the time the same question about my own hair. They are pretty friendly and willing to engage in conversation.

  10. I love watching Major League baseball players with good arms throwing flat and hard and accurate like that.

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