Tuesday: Hili dialogue

July 30, 2019 • 6:30 am

August is drawing nigh: it’s Tuesday, July 30, 2019, and once again it’s National Cheesecake Day. It’s also International Day of Friendship (mostly a South American fête), as well as National Father-in-Law Day.

Stuff that happened on July 30 includes:

Yes, the councilmen were thrown out of the window of the Town Hall. A second defenestration (nice word, eh?) took place in 1618, not killing the defenestrated but precipitating the Thirty Years’ War.

  • 1619 – In Jamestown, Virginia, the first representative assembly in the Americas, the House of Burgesses, convenes for the first time.
  • 1930 – In Montevideo, Uruguay wins the first FIFA World Cup.
  • 1932 – Premiere of Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short.

Here’s that cartoon, which is very clever (I love the caterpillar engagement ring at the end). Watch it!

The next item is something we discussed two days ago. It’s an unconstitutional law, but the Supreme Court doesn’t want to think about it.

  • 1956 – A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress is signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto.

And more:

  • 1965 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.
  • 1974 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon releases subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • 1975 – Jimmy Hoffa disappears from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, at about 2:30 p.m. He is never seen or heard from again.

You can find a clip from the movie “Hoffa’ (1992), starring Jack Nicholson, here; it shows how the movie writer (David Mamet) imagined his death.

  • 2003 – In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.

Here it is: the very last Beetle:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1818 – Emily Brontë, English novelist and poet (d. 1848)
  • 1857 – Thorstein Veblen, American economist and sociologist (d. 1929)

Veblen, whose writings were unbearably turgid, got his comedown in an essay by H. L. Mencken, “Professor Veblen”, a review of his book The Theory of the Leisure Class. It’s one of the funniest and nastiest book reviews ever written. The whole thing isn’t online, but you can read a long excerpt here.

More who were born on July 30:

  • 1898 – Henry Moore, English sculptor and illustrator (d. 1986)
  • 1936 – Buddy Guy, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1939 – Peter Bogdanovich, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1940 – Patricia Schroeder, American lawyer and politician
  • 1941 – Paul Anka, Canadian singer-songwriter and actor
  • 1947 – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-American bodybuilder, actor, and politician, 38th Governor of California
  • 1956 – Anita Hill, American lawyer and academic
  • 1963 – Lisa Kudrow, American actress and producer
  • 1974 – Hilary Swank, American actress and producer

Those who croaked on July 30 include:

  • 1718 – William Penn, English businessman and philosopher, founded the Province of Pennsylvania (b. 1644)
  • 1875 – George Pickett, American general (b. 1825)
  • 1918 – Joyce Kilmer, American soldier, journalist, and poet (b. 1886)
  • 1998 – Buffalo Bob Smith, American television host (b. 1917)

Two great directors died on the same day:

  • 2007 – Michelangelo Antonioni, Italian director and screenwriter (b. 1912)
  • 2007 – Ingmar Bergman, Swedish director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1918)

And then Lynn Anderson:

Remember her huge hit from 1970? I do! It was, like “Stand by Your Man,” a country crossover, reaching #1 on the Billboard country chart and #3 on the Hot 100 chart.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej wax philosophical:

Hili: You can’t predict the future.
A: And you can’t change the past.
Hili: So everything depends on what I do now?
A: We are creating the past.
In Polish:
Hili: Przyszłości nie da się przewidzieć.
Ja: A przeszłości zmienić.
Hili: Czyli wszystko zależy od tego, co teraz zrobię?
Ja: Tworzymy przeszłość.
Two cat memes from Facebook:

A tweet from Grania sent November 29 of last year. Be sure to enlarge the photos to see the most sinister Santas around:


A tweet from Nilou: beautiful octopuses that I didn’t know existed:

Three tweets from Heather Hastie, who notes of the first one, “Oh dear. This cat’s day bed isn’t up to the job. Lucky for Pi and Reilley [Heather’s cat], they don’t get overfed.”

It is what it is. And it is a cat.

And BFFs who should be enemies:

Tweets from Matthew, who says this first one looks like it’s from the Weekly World News (a paper I don’t know):

A funny thread of what departed physicists would post if they could use Twitter. I’ll give just the first two:

What a lovely fossil. Look at the toes!


61 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. “Stand By Your Man” was a Tammy Wynette tune.

    Hell, even Hillary Clinton knew that one. Didn’t she say she wasn’t a “Tammy Wynette stand by your man type” on 60 Minutes during the ’92 campaign — all the while standing by her man over the Gennifer-with-a-“G” Flowers scandal?

      1. That 60 Minutes appearance was about 24 hours after Bill Clinton had a retard name of Ricky Ray Rector executed in Arkansas to prove how tough he was on crime — a convict so mentally handicapped that, as he was finishing his condemned man’s last meal, he asked a prison guard to save his dessert so he could eat it after the execution.

        I voted for Bubba twice, and thought he did a alright job on the peace-and-prosperity front, but I’ll never forgive the sumbitch for that one.

        1. And I’ll never forgive him for his inaction in 94 (Ruanda), and when finally getting in going at the ‘good ones’.
          He apologised for that later, but it still leaves a bitter taste,

          1. That was a sad case. I don’t remember any other country, or the UN taking any decisive action. If there was action, it was way too late.

          1. You are on the euphemism treadmill. It doesn’t matter what new words you choose to substitute for another that has acquired an aura of offensiveness. The word ‘retarded’ itself was once selected because it was not offensive.

            Soon enough the latest euphemism ‘people of colour’ will have become tainted by racist usage and a replacement will have to be found.

          2. Point taken, David. It just seemed like le mot juste for conveying the flippancy with which Bill Clinton executed the man for his own shallow political purposes, making a big show of leaving the campaign trail during the primary season to return to the governor’s mansion in Arkansas to personally oversee the sordid affair.

            SCOTUS has since held it’s unconstitutional to execute the mentally handicapped, though too late for Ricky Ray Rector of course.

        2. “I’ll never forgive the sumbitch for that one.”

          Politics can be grim. Imagine the meeting he held with his advisors on this. Debating whether to sacrifice a man for a fistful of extra votes. I guess he knew his constituents quite well.

          1. Contrast this with Abraham Lincoln. After the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862, the US Army sentenced 303 Indians to death for killing whites. Lincoln outraged the country by commuting the sentences of all but 40, who were shown to have participated in murders of civilians, rather than battles.

            The Republican Party did not do as well in the 1864 election as it had expected; the GOP told Lincoln his leniency had cost them votes. His response: “I could not afford to hang men for votes.”

      1. Same gig where the Blues Brothers did the theme from Rawhide, wasn’t it?

        Tough country & western bar, that joint.

        1. Yeah the rawhide bit was great. I thought I remembered Belushi getting down on one knee when he sang stand by your man. Beer bottles not tomatoes thrown.

        2. “What kind of music do you have here ?”
          “Oh we have both kinds ,country and western .”

          1. 😂😻
            I am so glad to have Sirius radio in my car for cross country jaunts so that I don’t have to listen to only country and western.
            Can alternate among opera, Stones etc., blues, jazz, classical. Maybe just the odd dropkick me Jesus through the goal posts of life…

            1. Reminds me of the story about the great (and acerbic) jazz drummer Buddy Rich. Shortly before he died, he was in the intensive-care unit of a hospital hooked-up to all kinds of wires and tubes. The ICU nurse came in, checked the machines, leaned over him and asked whether there was anything causing him discomfort.

              “Yeah,” he said, “country music.”

  2. Thanks for the Mencken, Jerry!

    It is always a fine thing to start the day off with a good belly laugh.

  3. What a lovely fossil. Look at the toes!

    This fossil gives a whole new meaning to “sleeping with the fishes.” Protorohippus was an early species of horse that lived in Wyoming 52 million years ago

    That would be the infamous Green River Formation, a classic fossil site. The commonest find is a small fish genus Knightia though this horse-ish has a Diplomystus sp near it’s haunch.
    Green River slabs big enough to de-confuse a creationist can be pretty pricy, especially if accompanied by a fish fossil. But their finely layered nature is a bit of a challenge for a “young earth creationist”, since hundreds of thousands of cycles can be seen across the basin. Fitting that into one Noachian flood is … challenging. It’s a nice one to have on the mantleshelf just in case you find a creationist whose throat needs it hammered down.

    1. From that fossil it is clear that protorohippus was a fish eater, one fish just was ejected from it’s rectum! It’s digestion also appears so be whacky, a bit like extant elephants?

  4. A second defenestration (nice word, eh?) took place in 1618, not killing the defenestrated but precipitating the Thirty Years’ War.

    As I recall, there was a strategically placed cart of straw.
    Wiki disagrees :

    Shortly thereafter, the two Regents and their secretary were defenestrated, but they survived the 70-foot (21-metre) fall from the third floor. Catholics maintained the men were saved by angels or by the intercession of the Virgin Mary, who caught them; later Protestant pamphleteers asserted that they survived due to falling onto a dung heap, a story unknown to contemporaries and probably coined in response to divine intervention claims.

    21m is survivable, but any ground padding would have helped. The image give of the actual (alleged) window shows a ledge about half-height, and a slight incline to the lower portion of the wall, which makes it look a lot more survivable. Possibly even walk away-able, with a bit of luck.

    1. I always thought ‘defenestration’ was a silly word, in that its meaning is highly counter-intuitive.

      I would take ‘defenestration’ to mean removing the windows, either by bricking them up or with the aid of a few pounds of high explosive. Pushing people out should surely be ‘trans-fenestration’ or ‘ex-fenestration’.


    1. I’ve never seen a clip of cats doing this in the wild – I think that’s a good place to start – to see if Big Cat kittens do this.

      My guess: To me it looks like kitten behaviour & the kitten** is hoping the object runs off so it can be chased. We see kittens bat stuff [living, dead & never alive] on the ground too, when they do it on a table or shelf they bat it in the direction of the open space in the hopes of a good chase.

      ** or adult domestic cat – domestics seem to be stuck in kitten mode for life in many cases.

      1. I think you got a good read on the issue. Domestic cats are undoubtedly neotenous as is the case with dogs. Juvenile playfulness is much of what separates dogs from wolves, house cats from mountain lions.

  5. There have been many suggestions made throughout the ages to account for this behaviour but this is basically where the argument has ended up:


    NB: do not click if you dislike swearing and criticism of cats. Argument put forward is not my own and I disavow its conclusions.

        1. I think it’s just curiosity at seeing the mounting irritation on the adult’s face, combined with the empathy gap that exists in humans at early ages.

      1. When my parents lived in Nigeria in the late 60s the tabloids over there had some equivalently crazy headlines. The one I remember is something about the Russians doing a soft landing on Venus.

          1. Wow thanks for the info infinite. I had always thought it was fake news. The Nigerian Tabloids had so much outrageous stuff but I figured this was in that Category

      2. My mind is slightly ajar on these matters. There is probably a kitty somewhere with approx 23 little old ladies doting on her – she would also be immensely “big boned” as they say. 🙂

      1. Yeah, most of them long before Trump became 45 rpm.

        We had a bunch of national faux-newspapers like that, but they died off. My favourite was The Sunday Sport owned by a pornographer. Never bought it, but I’d always check out the front page when I bought my own version of reality. Best headline was this – ‘proper’ newspapers were very jelly:


    1. Came here to address this – in my own way, it would be:

      Hmmmm…. I wonder if….

      “[…] What was the sweating professor trying to say? “


      Delightful Mencken – and just when I thought “well, gee, Mencken – you could just about write that in review of anything you don’t like” – he provides a sample to show he’s not just making it up.

    2. That excerpt from Veblen that Mencken quotes, is strikingly similar to some of the po-mo effusions highlighted by Sokal and Bricmont and cited by Dawkins in his review of the Sokal affair**. The same bombastic and opaque phraseology, doubtless passing as wisdom by virtue of being unintelligible.

      **Postmodernism Disrobed

  6. “In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.”

    And not one part interchangeable with the original VW beetle, I think. Which was probably just as well and why the model survived as long as it did.


    1. Defenestrations as a method of execution works better from the second floor than the ground floor.
      I’m always shocked about how easily, without any trial, these defenestrations were carried out.

  7. That would be Paul Dirac on Twi**ter. If you want to know just three things he did for physics:

    1. Showed electron has spin (1/2)

    2. Showed that there has to be anti-matter.

    3. Ushered in the field of Quantum Electrodynamics since experiments showed there was a tiny correction to the gyromagnetic constant.

    He was one of the greatest physicists ever.

    1. Wasn’t he also one of the first physicists to posit the unreality of time, or at least point out the fact that time(or the flow of time at least) is an unnecessary addition to physics?

    2. A truly great mathematician and theoretician. A bit of an odd bloke too. But, I think he was spot-on with his religious opinions:

      “I cannot understand why we idle discussing religion. If we are honest—and scientists have to be—we must admit that religion is a jumble of false assertions, with no basis in reality. The very idea of God is a product of the human imagination. It is quite understandable why primitive people, who were so much more exposed to the overpowering forces of nature than we are today, should have personified these forces in fear and trembling. But nowadays, when we understand so many natural processes, we have no need for such solutions.”

    3. Famed for his careful slowness of speech. Cambridge University had a unit of loquaciousness called the Dirac – defined as one word per hour.


  8. I hear Jimmy Hoffa is sharing an apartment in Erehwon with Judge Crater and Lord Lucan. D.B. Cooper occasionally drops by to visit.

  9. Mencken is hilarious…intellectual diabetes is a classic..going to use that term as often as possible. Genius stuff indeed

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