Wednesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

August 21, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Wednesday, August 21, 2019, and National Sweet Tea Day. That refers to sweetened ice tea, of course—the perfect accompaniment to southern barbecue, and a drink called “the table wine of the South.” It’s also National Senior Citizens Day (do I get a present?) and Poet’s Day. Again I’m flummoxed by the apostrophe: are they celebrating only one poet? If so, which poet? The word “Poet’s” should have either no apostrophe or an apostrophe after the “s”.

Stuff that happened on August 21 include:

  • 1770 – James Cook formally claims eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming it New South Wales.
  • 1791 – A Vodou ceremony, led by Dutty Boukman, turns into a violent slave rebellion, beginning the Haitian Revolution.

This revolution was successful, and led to the foundation of Haiti as an independent state—the only one founded after a slave revolt, with whites and former slaves ruling the new state. But there were unsuccessful revolts, too:

  • 1831 – Nat Turner leads black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, which will claim the lives of 55 to 65 whites and about twice that number of blacks.
  • 1888 – The first successful adding machine in the United States is patented by William Seward Burroughs.
  • 1897 – Oldsmobile, an American automobile manufacturer and marque, is founded.
  • 1911 – The Mona Lisa is stolen by Vincenzo Perugia, a Louvre employee.

Here’s the blank spot where the painting resided before the theft. It took two years before it was recovered, and the thieving handyman, Perugia, spent only 7 months in jail (his photo below):

  • 1945 – Physicist Harry Daghlian is fatally irradiated in a criticality accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

This is a sad story; it took Daghlian 25 days to die. You can see a picture of his blistered and burned hand after the accident here.

  • 1959 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union. Hawaii’s admission is currently commemorated by Hawaii Admission Day
  • 1961 – American country music singer Patsy Cline returns to record producer Owen Bradley’s studio in Nashville, Tennessee to record her vocals to Willie Nelson’s “Crazy”, which would become her signature song.

Indeed; what a great song! And how many people know that Willie Nelson wrote it? Here’s a recording of her singing it live at the Grand Ole Opry:

  • 1961 – Motown releases what would be its first #1 hit (in America), “Please Mr. Postman” by The Marvelettes.
  • 2000 – Tiger Woods, American professional golfer, wins the 82nd PGA Championship and becomes the first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win three majors in a calendar year.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1872 – Aubrey Beardsley, English author and illustrator (d. 1898)
  • 1936 – Wilt Chamberlain, American basketball player and coach (d. 1999)
  • 1938 – Kenny Rogers, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor
  • 1967 – Charb, French journalist and cartoonist (d. 2015)
  • 1986 – Usain Bolt, Jamaican sprinter

Beardsley, a fop and an eccentric, was also a terrific artist. He died at only 25 of tuberculosis. Here’s one of his drawings, “The Black Cat” (1894-1895):

And Beardsley at about the same time, about 23 years old.

Those who went six feet under on August 21 include:

  • 1940 – Leon Trotsky, Russian theorist and politician, founded the Red Army (b. 1879)
  • 1971 – George Jackson, American activist and author, co-founded the Black Guerrilla Family (b. 1941)
  • 1974 – Buford Pusser, American police officer (b. 1937)
  • 1995 – Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, Indian-American astrophysicist and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)

Buford Pusser, who as a fighting sheriff sustained seven stabbings and eight shootings by criminals out to get him, finally died in a car crash, and many suspect it was a murder:



Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is scared by something she saw outside.

Hili: It can be an illusion.
A: It’s possible; our senses sometimes mislead us.
In Polish:
Hili: To może być złudzenie.
Ja: Możliwe, nasze zmysły czasami wprowadzają nas w błąd.

And Leon, lingering nearby in his home-to-be, waits for rain.

Leon: I’m waiting like a parasol mushroom waits for drizzle. (That’s a Polish expression that roughly means “I’m dying for rain.”)

In Polish: Czekam jak Kania dżdżu.

This is a good one. If you don’t know at least one Yiddish word in each row, it’s time to brush up!

From Merilee. I guess it isn’t just cats that medieval artists had trouble painting. And, like cats, horses got human faces.

Another one from Jesus of the Day, making a virtue of necessity:

On December 3 of last year, Grania sent me two tweets with “alternative nativity scenes”. The first is from the artist who creates the Oatmeal cartoon:

And one from Star Trek:

It’s pretty clear what this is, but some folks actually think it’s a rabbit.

From Nilou. The mystery deepened when it was discovered that some of the skeletons had DNA from the Mediterranean region:

From reader gravelinspector: a tweet that’s weird in many different ways:

And three tweets from Dr. Cobb. How lovely to have tame badgers around, though I still prefer my ducks:

Matthew calls this one “the future”. Oy vey if it is!

This is truly stunning. Slug sex!

But wait! There’s more!

23 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

  1. I like the Alien nativity scene. And then the slugs mating, which could come from an Alien film.

    Giger’s creatures have a similar mix of disgustingness and grace. You can’t look away. And I’d imagine the giant(NB: relatively speaking) translucent slug penises would have appealed to Giger, what with him being a complete weirdo.

    1. We sometimes get big (3′ long) leopard slugs on the inside of our glass kitchen door, at night. Handsome things. I put them back outside.
      Which means they must have squeezed through a gap of less than 1/8″. But I suppose if octopuses can do it, so can other molluscs.


      1. Oops. That should be 3″ long (three inch) not 3′ long (3 feet). A 3-foot long leopard slug would be a magnificent creature.


  2. Re Cook claiming Australia, I’m reminded of the character ‘Pub Landlord’ (aka Al Murray)…

    “NEW South Wales?. Like we needed one!”


  3. Props to gravelinspector for the duck tweet, that made me laugh. I’ve always though that ducks were imperialistic, land-grabbing little sods.

  4. 1888 – The first successful adding machine in the United States is patented by William Seward Burroughs.

    Grandfather and namesake of the Beat novelist.

  5. I was reflecting recently on how humans seem to have so many more and elaborate ways to indicate things that they don’t like than things they do.

    1. I’ve seen that rabbit/bird dimorphism** in cartoons before, but never in a real video.

      **Almost certainly the wrong word, but I can’t think of the right one.

      1. … and the interesting thing is, the illusion/ambiguity *still* works even with the enormously increased high-definition visual cues of the video. I can still ‘see’ the entire sequence as a rabbit without much mental effort if I want to.


  6. Star Trek nativity scene – If the pre-shooting scripts I’ve seen over the years are to be believed, there actually was sort of one *contemplated for Star Trek: The Next Generation*. The script for “Datalore” has the crew visiting Data’s home planet, as aired. What was unaired was one of the characters remarking how odd and forbidding a place it was, and Riker remarking “So was a manger.”

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