Monday: Hili dialogue

August 19, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Monday, August 19, 2019, and National Soft Serve Ice Cream Day. It’s also National Root Beer Float (“Black Cow”) Day, National Hot and Spicy Food Day, Cupcake Day, but only in Australia, where it benefits the RSPCA, and International Orangutan Day. At least learn the Latin binomial for the orangs (there are currently said to be three species, though I’m dubious): Pongo pygmaeus, P. abelii, and P. tapanuliensis.  (Wikipedia notes, “Comparisons of the genomes of all 37 orangutans [of all 3 “species] using principal component analysis and population genetic models also indicated that the Batang Toru population is a separate species.” But genetic divergence isn’t a sign of a new species under the Biological Species Concept, as reproductive isolation where the species coexist is the BSC criterion. Unfortunately, none of these “species” coexist in nature so we can’t know about their interbreeding and interfertility.)

Stuff that happened on August 19 includes the following:

  • 43 BC – Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus, later known as Augustus, compels the Roman Senate to elect him Consul.
  • 1612 – The “Samlesbury witches”, three women from the Lancashire village of Samlesbury, England, are put on trial, accused of practicing witchcraft, one of the most famous witch trials in British history.
  • 1692 – Salem witch trials: In Salem, Province of Massachusetts Bay, five people, one woman and four men, including a clergyman, are executed after being convicted of witchcraft.
  • 1839 – The French government announces that Louis Daguerre’s photographic process is a gift “free to the world”.
  • 1848 – California Gold Rush: The New York Herald breaks the news to the East Coast of the United States of the gold rush in California (although the rush started in January).
  • 1909 – The first automobile race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Here’s the “Marmon Wasp” that won the first Indy 500, driven by Ray Harroun (it’s on display at the Speedway). The average winning speed was a bit less than 75 miles per hour:

  • 1934 – The first All-American Soap Box Derby is held in Dayton, Ohio.

And here are the winners of that race, which resemble the Marmon Wasp!

  • 1936 – The Great Purge of the Soviet Union begins when the first of the Moscow Trials is convened.
  • 1991 – Dissolution of the Soviet Union, August Coup: Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev is placed under house arrest while on holiday in the town of Foros, Ukraine.
  • 2003 – A car-bomb attack on United Nations headquarters in Iraq kills the agency’s top envoy Sérgio Vieira de Mello and 21 other employees.
  • 2003 – A suicide attack on a bus in Jerusalem, Israel, planned by Hamas, kills 23 Israelis, seven of them children, in the Shmuel HaNavi bus bombing.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1631 – John Dryden, English poet, literary critic and playwright (d. 1700)
  • 1689 – Samuel Richardson, English author and publisher (d. 1761)
  • 1743 – Madame du Barry, French mistress of Louis XV of France (d. 1793)
  • 1870 – Bernard Baruch, American businessman and philanthropist (d. 1965)
  • 1871 – Orville Wright, American engineer and pilot, co-founded the Wright Company (d. 1948)
  • 1883 – Coco Chanel, French fashion designer, founded the Chanel Company (d. 1971)
  • 1902 – Ogden Nash, American poet (d. 1971)
  • 1919 – Malcolm Forbes, American publisher and politician (d. 1990)
  • 1921 – Gene Roddenberry, American screenwriter and producer (d. 1991)
  • 1930 – Frank McCourt, American author and educator (d. 2009)
  • 1939 – Ginger Baker, English drummer and songwriter

Note that Ginger Baker is 80 today; nobody expected him to live that long! Here’s the photo on the cover of his 2010 autobiography, Hellraiser, preceded by part of one review on Amazon:

Every single chapter contains at least one (and often all) of the following: drug mishap, fight, drug deal, car crash, drug bust, financial disaster, new girlfriend, band forms, band splits, re-location following major fall-out with associates / authorities. You get the picture. This could have been the recipe for an intriguing and entertaining story, but Baker quickly emerges as a deeply unpleasant personality with several substantial chips on his shoulder. One can’t help but conclude that his massive ego and hair-trigger temper have resulted in him being the architect of most of his own misfortune. At no point does Ginger contemplate that he might have done anything differently. [JAC: he couldn’t of course; he was subject to the laws of physics.]  He does occasionally observe, following this or that debacle or betrayal, that “I felt a bit bad about that”, but then he’s off again, punching somebody’s lights out or crashing his Jensen for the umpteenth time.

  • 1946 – Bill Clinton, American lawyer and politician, 42nd President of the United States

Those who gave up the ghost on August 19 include:

  • AD 14 – Augustus, Roman emperor (b. 63 BC)
  • 1662 – Blaise Pascal, French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (b. 1623)
  • 1929 – Sergei Diaghilev, Russian critic and producer, founded Ballets Russes (b. 1872)
  • 1968 – George Gamow, Ukrainian-American physicist and cosmologist (b. 1904)
  • 1977 – Groucho Marx, American comedian and actor (b. 1890)
  • 1980 – Otto Frank, German-Swiss businessman, father of Anne Frank (b. 1889)
  • 1994 – Linus Pauling, American chemist and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)

Pauling in fact was a double Nobel Laureate: Chemistry in 1954 and Peace in 1962. Had he discovered the structure of DNA, he might have had three.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has caught a rodent:

Hili: Look what I’ve brought you!
A: Thank you, but I was rather thinking about a vegetarian breakfast.
In Polish:
Hili: Patrz co ci przyniosłam.
a: Dziękuje, ale raczej myślałem o wegetariańskim śniadaniu.

A duck-themed television commercial from reader bPer, who says “Telus is one of the largest telecom companies in Canada.  This is the latest in a series of duckling-themed commercials.”:

A gif from Rick Longworth:

And from reader Karl:

Grania sent me this tweet on January 7 of this year. The benjo! The music sounds like a hybrid between Irish and Indian.

Reader Helian sent in the classic playing-dead mallard video:


This comes from reader Barry, who says, “It’s one thing to go into a dumpster, but to steal one?

From reader Gethyn; the caption says it all:

From Nilou; the Woke can make ANYTHING problematic!

From Heather Hastie via Ann German. Graduation day for penguins!

And from Matthew Cobb (from God’s mouth to his ear), the stages of climate change:


29 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

        1. Hili with her mouse reminded me of a recent event with our cats. We had to stay in a local hotel for a couple of days while our floors were given a coating.

          One night in the hotel, I was woken by a commotion in the room. One of our cats, Brio, found a mouse in the room! He had no intention of eating the mouse so I had to take it away from him to stop the torture and get some sleep. The mouse ran under the bed and we never saw it again.

  1. That Institute of Postcolonial Studies blurb is, on the face of it, crap. Yet another ‘issue’ that I can comfortably not give a shit about.

    The trouble is, this sort of nonsense blows a smokescreen around the real issues – such as rainforests being destroyed to produce PKE (palm kernel extract) which is shipped to countries such as New Zealand to feed excessive numbers of cows which produce as much carbon as all the cars in the country. Now that is something that we should be concerned about.

    Just conceivably the IPC might be referring to that sort of issue. But if so they hide it with their PC jargon. ‘Colonial violence’ could mean anything with these twits. Bugger off and come back when you’ve learned to speak English.

    Or they might just be indulging in the usual PC cultural cringe, in which case they can just foad.


      1. Umm.

        Okay, first a mea culpa – I didn’t read the link. I was just having a rant at the idiotic PC jargon with which they phrased the question.

        Having read the link, I’m afraid my opinion is no better. It appears they are obsessing (or not) over a cultural cringe about Australian history.

        It looks from the blurb as if they are completely failing to address such ongoing and critically important issues as rainforest destruction. Although one (out of the four) panellists has some background in climate change.


        1. It’s an advertisement for a discussion. You can’t say they didn’t address any particular issue unless you have witnessed the actual discussion.

          Also, not every discussion panel has to address the issue of the rain forests. Maybe it did. Maybe it didn’t, but it seems churlish to me to criticise an event based on an advertisement for the event.

          1. “You can’t say they didn’t address any particular issue unless you have witnessed the actual discussion.”

            Well that is true. I was assuming the advertisment reasonably anticipated the tenor of the discussion (although it was somewhat muddled in its message).

            I could certainly criticise the wording of the advertisement, though.


          2. Oh, and “not every discussion panel has to address the issue of the rain forests.”

            Agreed, but this panel was about – so far as one could tell from the blurb – food production and its social implications. And what is the biggest destroyer of rainforests? Agriculture.


  2. Never liked Ginger’s drumming. Ringo’s was much more interesting, who I’m sure Ginger has insulted at some point lol.

  3. Ray Harroun is spelled with two ‘r’s. Haroun is the arabic equivalent of Aaron, so would be a first name.
    Other racers tried to get him disqualified, as he was the first to use a rear-view mirror in a race, rather than have an observer to watch behind him. That saved a lot of weight. The officials determined that there was nothing in the rule books prohibiting the mirror and so allowed him to race. So he wasn’t just a good driver, but a good innovator.
    Note: He did not invent the rear-view mirror nor the first to use it. He was just the first to use it in a race.

      1. It’s a bear proof dumpster & the bear has left his key at home, the rational choice is to wheel the dumpster home, but I do wish he’d closed the gates after him.

  4. George Gamow was born in Odessa, Russian Empire in 1904. His father was a professor of Russian language. When Gamow left Odessa to live in St. Petersburg (Leningrad) in the early 1920s, Odessa had twice as many ethnic Russians as ethnic Ukrainians. I may be mistaken, but I think it unlikely that Gamow would have self-identified as Ukrainian. Wikipedia describes him as a “Soviet”, although this also seems to fail considering that Gamow and his wife did not identify with Communism and tried twice to flee the Soviet Union by kayak.

    1. The bear may just be moving the dumpster under the street light so it can see its contents more clearly. We are seeing it in this video via the infrared lighting made visible by security camera software. I’m guessing the bear can’t see what’s in the dumpster in the dark much better than we could.

        1. Bears are just platforms for their formidable Smell-O-Vision nose missile [same as dogs] – no need for eyes at all.

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