Friday: Hili dialogue

August 9, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Friday already? How did that happen? Well, it’s true, as today is Friday, August 9, 2019, and it’s been a beautiful week, weatherwise, in Chicago. Hardly any rain, blue skies, and highs not much above 80°F (27° C).  The ducks have enjoyed the temperature, frisking about in their cool pond and resting under vegetation in the heat of the day. And it’s National Rice Pudding Day, one of my favorite desserts. It’s also Book Lovers Day and National Polka Day, as well as a United Nations holiday International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples.

Stuff that happened on August 9 includes:

  • 1173 – Construction of the campanile of the Cathedral of Pisa (now known as the Leaning Tower of Pisa) begins; it will take two centuries to complete.
  • 1854 – Henry David Thoreau publishes Walden.
  • 1892 – Thomas Edison receives a patent for a two-way telegraph.
  • 1930 – Betty Boop makes her cartoon debut in Dizzy Dishes.

Here’s the cartoon: Betty Boop appears at 2:40. Note the request for knishes and a roast ham by two characters (1:47, 1:50) that seem to look Jewish, with one speaking Yiddish.

There’s also a dancing roast duck. Cartoons were darker (and, I think) better back then. Now they’re all sweetness and light, guaranteed to give children a “safe” experience.

I’m told by my friend Orli that the ham demanded by the character (which he gets in the face), is labeled “kosher” in Hebrew. A screenshot. Remember that ham cannot be kosher!


  • 1936 – Summer Olympic Games: Games of the XI Olympiad: Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal at the games.

Here’s a short summary of Owens’s superb performance in those Olympics.

  • 1945 – World War II: Nagasaki is devastated when an atomic bomb, Fat Man, is dropped by the United States B-29 Bockscar. Thirty-five thousand people are killed outright, including 23,200–28,200 Japanese war workers, 2,000 Korean forced workers, and 150 Japanese soldiers.
  • 1969 – Followers of Charles Manson murder pregnant actress Sharon Tate (wife of Roman Polanski), coffee heiress Abigail Folger, Polish actor Wojciech Frykowski, men’s hairstylist Jay Sebring and recent high-school graduate Steven Parent. [I also announced this yesterday, but I guess the killing extended through midnight.]
  • 1974 – As a direct result of the Watergate scandal, Richard Nixon becomes the first President of the United States to resign from office. His Vice President, Gerald Ford, becomes president. [I also noted this yesterday, but the formal resignation letter apparently followed the television announcement—or that Wikipedia got it wrong.]
  • 2014 – Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African American male in Ferguson, Missouri, was shot and killed by a Ferguson police officer after reportedly assaulting the officer and attempting to steal his weapon, sparking protests and unrest in the city.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1593 – Izaak Walton, English writer (d. 1683)
  • 1776 – Amedeo Avogadro, Italian physicist and chemist (d. 1856)
  • 1928 – Bob Cousy, American basketball player and coach
  • 1938 – Rod Laver, Australian tennis player and coach
  • 1963 – Whitney Houston, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress (d. 2012)
  • 1968 – Gillian Anderson, American-British actress, activist and writer

Whitney Houston didn’t live long—she died at 48 from heart disease exacerbated by drug use. But oy, could she sing! Here she is in her prime (1999), singing what is perhaps her most famous song:

Those who bought the farm on August 9 include:

  • 1516 – Hieronymus Bosch, Early Netherlandish painter (b. circa 1450)
  • 1943 – Chaim Soutine, Belarusian-French painter and educator (b. 1893)
  • 1962 – Hermann Hesse, German-born Swiss poet, novelist, and painter, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1877)
  • 1969 – Sharon Tate, American model and actress (b. 1943)
  • 1995 – Jerry Garcia, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1942)
  • 2003 – Gregory Hines, American actor, dancer, and choreographer (b. 1946)

Here’s a detail from Bosch’s “The Garden of Earthly Delights”, which I was delighted to see in the Prado a few years back, and then a lovely Soutine:

Soutine: “The fish”

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej are relaxing on the grass, but can’t be arsed to see what’s moving nearby

Hili: We are lying here and something is moving over there.
A: What?
Hili: That’s it. What?
In Polish:
Hili: My tu tak sobie leżymy, a tam coś się rusza.
Ja: Co?
Hili: No właśnie. Co?
A seagull downs an entire McDonald’s apple pie in one bite.

From Otter News on Facebook:

A cartoon from reader Ken:

A tweet sent to me by Grania on January 20 of this year. She was a regular reader of Mr. Lumpy:

A tweet sent by Ann German via Heather Hastie. Duck and d*g buddies!

Another tweet from Heather, who says, “I know you’ve seen the pic in this tweet before of Mark Twain and some of his cats, but this time it includes some of the names he used for his cats.” And what names! Sour Mash??

Philosophical road signs in New Mexico from reader j.j.:

A quartet of tweets from Matthew Cobb. Nice video in this first one, but the guy is crowing about his “shares”, an unseemly behavior.

“Pandemonium” is a great one!

Yesterday we had a “Readers’ Wildlife” post on manatees, and here they are coming out of the water to graze. This could be the first step in their evolution towards something like hippos:

An apparent case of Müllerian mimicry, in which diverse but unpalatable species evolve to resemble one another (such resemblance more quickly “educates” the predator to avoid the pattern):


21 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. A guy got a hoax article published by Quillette specifically as revenge for their promoting the Sokal Squared hoax.

    I’m sure everyone here will be absolutely shocked to learn that the same crowd who decried Sokal Squared as an unethical experiment on human beings that proves nothing think this new hoax is the best thing since sliced bread.

    1. Those people are obviously massive hypocrites. But I’m quite pleased to see Quillette’s incredible rigour and scrupulous impartiality getting a testing. I find their one-eyed skew towards right-wing/anti-left grievance-mongering increasingly tiresome.

      1. It’s a pretty big own goal though because further tarnishing the reputation of a fringe publication that used the results of Sokal Squared to push its own narrative doesn’t actually push back against Sokal Squared. What it does do is legitimize the hoaxing method which was one of their key arguments against Sokal Squared.

        1. I’m not aware of the people involved in the hoax but it doesn’t surprise me that the postmodernist social theory types would abandon their own principles in service of some point scoring. They are beyond reason, intentionally so.

          D’you have a link btw?

            1. Thanks. I read the article. I don’t see much hypocrisy there but I’m not on the twitterverse, so I’m probably not sufficiently plugged in to judge.

              I liked the hoax though. It was skillfully done and demonstrated that Quillette is significantly less rigorous and free-thinking than it portrays itself to be. It’s an anti-left echo chamber and it seems pretty willing to accept any old bollocks so long as it tells them what they want to hear.

  2. One of the first albums I bought was The Bodyguard OST. I was very young mind, and everyone else was buying it…although if everybody else jumped off a cliff I wouldn’t have followed them so it’s not much of an excuse.

    Back then, I’d routinely buy or get bought for me albums I hated*. And I’d sit listening to them, just because no-one else in the household had any taste and I was at a tiny little school with people who liked awful music.

    I even remember there being a boy, a school-friend, whose parents were from Newcastle, and he was unironically raving about a novelty hit single called Crocodile Shoes by Jimmy Nail(a legend in the north-east of England, for reasons I cannot go into because I don’t understand them). I was so determined to fit in I went and bought the single.

    (I’m glad this is a safe space.)

    *The three exceptions were Purple Rain, Bad and Blood Sugar Sex Magik, which I genuinely liked, and which were small hidden doorways towards good music that I never knew enough to go down.
    So they remained the only records I owned that I didn’t hate in a vague, subconscious way. It was only when I was thirteen or so and started getting the NME that the musical world opened up to me, and I started burning through their ‘top 100 albums of all-time’ list, buying pretty much everything on it.

  3. “I Will Always Love You” has an interesting history. Dolly Parton wrote it and hit No 1 on the country charts with it, twice.

    Then Elvis was all set to record it when his manager acquainted Dolly with the fact that it was customary for The King to be assigned half the publishing rights – which she flatly refused, though with some trepidation.

    Then Dolly’s friend Linda Ronstadt recorded it, and it was her version that Kevin Costner liked so much he insisted on it being written in to ‘The Bodyguard’ for Whitney to sing – which made Dolly very wealthy.

    Full marks to Dolly for having the courage to stand up to Colonel Parker, IMO.


  4. “I will always love you” by Whitney Houston is one of my all-time favourite recordings. This version, however, I couldn’t listen to for more than 2 minutes. It was ruined for me by two things:

    Firstly, the totally unnecessary and frankly rude cheers, whoops, and clapping after each note. Why can’t modern audiences not just STFU and enjoy the performance?

    Secondly, Whitney completely overplaying the song with long pauses and too many grace notes. I appreciate that a live performance should not be a carbon copy of the recording, and that the performer will wish to make it a bit special, but for me she was ruining the song in this performance.

    1. I agree with that. Generally (not always) the studio recording is better musically than the ‘live’ version. Certainly in this case.


  5. Likely yes, Ms Houston’s most famously heard piece sung it is.

    Yet the song itself … … I Will Always Love You
    … … is of and from outta Ms Dolly Parton.
    It is her accomplishment, her work.

    And when Mr Elvis Presley requested from Ms Parton
    all of its rights, she said … … no.

    Today, as well, Mr Sam Elliott is 75.
    Also … … A Voice. What a speaking v o i c e !


  6. Love the Forth Bridge storm, which seems to have just reached us further out on the Firth (Crail). Temperature down to 14°C here this afternoon.

    It seems like the little white boat on bottom right saw the storm coming, and scuttled out the way just in time.

  7. Manatees, of course , went from the land to the water, as also did hippos (just not as far in the latter case). I’m unaware of any mammals that have gone from aquatic to terrestrial. There are crocodiles that became terrestrial, but they had never become fully aquatic.

    The manateed feeding on land is fascinating. For the reverse, going from land to water (which occurred several times evolutionarily in mammals), I’ve long been intrigued by the cases, first highlighted by Phil Gingerich, of hoofed mammals eating fish at the shore. Whales, of course, are descended from hoofed mammals that became (in part) aquatic piscivores.

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