Saturday: Hili dialogue

August 31, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s the long Labor Day weekend in the U.S., starting today: August 31, 2019. And although summer doesn’t end for three weeks, it sure feels like it. It’s National Trail Mix Day, National Diatomaceous Earth Day, International Bacon Day, which is not inclusive of Jews or Muslims.

Stuff that happened on this day includes:

  • 1864 – During the American Civil War, Union forces led by General William T. Sherman launch an assault on Atlanta.

Sherman captured the city on December 21, offering it to President Lincoln as a “Christmas present.” Some present!:

  • 1897 – Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector.

Well, it didn’t project anything, except to a single viewer who looked down the device (below). However, it used the principle of later “real” motion pictures: moving a sprocketed batch of still pictures on film past a light:

Bad mistake in the long run! Gleiwitz is not Gliwice in Poland, and still has the famous wooden radio tower: the tallest wooden structure in Europe (below). Using the pretext of this false attack, the Germans invaded Poland on September 1, and, since both the UK and France had treaties with Poland, they declared war on Germany on September 3. Then the Soviets invaded Poland on September 17.  Replacing the credulous Chamberlain, Churchill became Prime Minister on May 10 of the next year.

  • 1962 – Trinidad and Tobago becomes independent.
  • 1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul die in a car crash in Paris.
  • 2006 – Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream, stolen on August 22, 2004, is recovered in a raid by Norwegian police.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1870 – Maria Montessori, Italian physician and educator (d. 1952)
  • 1903 – Arthur Godfrey, American radio and television host (d. 1983)
  • 1907 – William Shawn, American journalist (d. 1992)
  • 1918 – Alan Jay Lerner, American songwriter and composer (d. 1986)
  • 1935 – Eldridge Cleaver, American activist and author (d. 1998)
  • 1940 – Robbie Basho, American guitarist, pianist, and composer (d. 1986)
  • 1945 – Van Morrison, Northern Irish singer-songwriter
  • 1945 – Itzhak Perlman, Israeli-American violinist and conductor

In honor of Van Morrison’s birthday, here’s one of my favorite songs—a song he wrote and then released in 1989.  Yes, it conflates earthy love with religion, but it’s still a lovely ballad.

Those who expired on August 31 include:

  • 1528 – Matthias Grünewald, German artist (b. 1470)
  • 1867 – Charles Baudelaire, French poet and critic (b. 1821)
  • 1969 – Rocky Marciano, American boxer (b. 1923)
  • 1986 – Henry Moore, English sculptor and illustrator (b. 1898)
  • 1997 – Dodi Fayed, Egyptian film producer (b. 1955)
  • 1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales (b. 1961)

I must mention that Grünewald painted what I consider the finest—or at least the most moving—work of art in history: the Isenheim Altarpiece (1512-1516, and I’ve never seen it in person ). Here it is. The “Christ rising” panel is stunning.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili mourns the summer’s drought. “The barren soil” is the name of Eliot’s poem “The Waste Land” in Polish.

Hili: The barren soil.
A: The rain will come and everything will be green again.
In Polish:
Hili: Ziemia jałowa.
Ja: Spadnie deszcz i znowu wszystko się zazieleni.

Two cat memes from Merilee:

A tweet Grania sent me on March 22 of this year. It has to be seen to be believed. Trigger warning: spit!

It’s the risk-taking behavior!

From reader Barry. Looks like we’re going to have at least three tweets with people provoking animals and coming to a bad end:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie:

Two lovely cats with heterochromia. I think they’re Turkish Van cats, which tend to be odd-eyed.

Three tweets from Matthew Cobb, the first showing another animal-provoker coming to grief. I know plenty of people who deserve to GET THE HORN:

A nice man who rescues raccoons (sound up):

Who knew that orcas could mimic human voices?

51 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. I believe the date when Sherman captured Atlanta was in July, not December. Well before the election of 1864 and very beneficial to Lincoln.

      1. Thanks. I did a check after making the comment on this as see, while the effort to take Atlanta started in July it was completed in September.

        1. The assault against Atlanta was against John Bell Hood’s army, Hood having recently replace Johnson as commander. The city fell on Sept. 2, 1864. The capture of Atlanta would have much influence on the November presidential election.

          On the 15th of Nov., Sherman would start his March to the Sea, ending with the capture of Savannah on Dec. 21. It was Savannah that was Sherman’s Christmas gift to Lincoln.

          The picture is likely of Atlanta after the infamous fire. The fire started as Sherman was starting his famous march. While the South likes to blame Sherman for the fire, there is evidence that it was started by looters after the Union army left the city. What actually happened is unclear.

  2. I always enjoy the miscellania collected for these posts but today’s is particularly terrific.

    The rhino video dropped my jaw – the effortless strength to tip and roll that car over(and over and over)…amazing.

    1. That’s a 30-year-old bull named Kusini at Serengeti Park, Hodenhagen, Germany – brought there a couple of years ago to breed. The park keeper lady was lucky to escape with bruises – far too small a car for the job, they use a much more imposing double decker bus for customer visitors who aren’t in their own vehicles & Kusini is in his own enclosure in open hours [it is claimed].

      Cramped park. Can’t we do better than this? “Animal World” is 270 acres divided into 13 zones with Kusini living in the zone called “Afrika 2” with camels, zebra, antelope & wacky Ankole-Watusi cattle which are a zoo-only breed invented in the last hundred years or so for reasons I don’t understand. Amazing beast mostly bred in the USA – has its own breeding society same as pigeon fanciers or dog breeding organisations. Entirely fucked up.

      I hope this pic of the creature embeds from Wiki:

      1. Those horns are completely ridiculous. So someone selected for them? We really are arseholes sometimes.

  3. A sciurophobic relative of mine(who will remain anonymous) bought four of the metal cage traps in that raccoon video.

    (She told me at the time that if you see a squirrel it is “illegal not to kill it”, but I was young so didn’t argue back too much.)

    Then, when a squirrel wandered in, she would dump the cage in a big dustbin full of water. It was pretty grim to see the top of the cage poking over the bin’s rim.

    …Yet she’s a humane person, can’t stand cruelty or bullying. She just has a completely irrational hatred for squirrels.

    I don’t know what it is about some people. It’s almost like they need a little safety valve to let the psychotic pressure out every now and then. The more I tried to reason with her, the more she would emphasise how incredibly, singularly evil squirrels are, and how unlike other animals. I’d say ‘but they’re just like animal x, and you love them’, and she’d shake her head and tell me that squirrels are just essentially different. Not like normal animals.

    All of this came back to me when I was recently reading an article about anti-Semitism – and racist essentialism in general. It’s exactly the same kind of language true racists use to talk about other groups.

    I suppose I’m glad that the aforementioned relative confines her prejudices to squirrels(and slugs, she’s genocidal when it comes to slugs.).

      1. Honestly, she’s normal apart from that. It’s her irrational little dark side…everyone has one I think. And as long as she doesn’t start ranting about the squirrels taking our jobs and clogging up the NHS I think she has it in hand.

    1. I’m with her on slugs😖

      Great rhino and raccoon vids! Wonder the condition of the people in the rhino-rolled auto?

      1. I was wondering about that too. You’d hope that they wouldn’t show us a rhino-on-human snuff video without telling us though.

        Re. slugs…this relative shish kebabs them. Then sticks the skewer into the ground as totem, like when armies would put the heads of their victims on the battlements. Maybe she thinks it will warn off the slugs.

        1. Slug kebab is a birdy treat I expect. My only gripe with slugs, as a non-gardener, is their tendency to move onto paving in the rain – flash light required at night to avoid squished slug on shoe.

          1. I’m with you on that too, although it’s not as bad as squashed snail. I like snails more too. It always feels slightly tragic when I hear that ‘crunch’ noise underfoot.

        2. I somehow doubt that the slugs would be warned off. I suspect their IQSs are only slightly above our current president‘S.

    2. I like squirrels. They are so smart and sassy. They constantly tease my cats but I have to give my cats credit as they’ve given up responding to their taunts.

      As far as slugs are concerned, my most significant encounter with them was on a family vacation when I was about 10. We rented a camper and drove to Seattle. We stayed a few nights at Salt Water State Park, right on Puget Sound. The slugs were so numerous, you really couldn’t walk without squishing them unless you spent all your attention watching where you placed each foot. My sisters and I were grossed out, as we used to say.

      1. That’s pretty disgusting.

        When I was about eleven or twelve my family was having a party and I noticed my little sister(she’s ten years younger than me) had toddled off to the bottom of the garden.
        I wandered down to see what was happening, what she was up to, because she was peering at something in the flower bed, and then she looked up at me. She was holding a snail and sucking on it. She had a second snail in her other hand. Her face was half-covered in green snail-trail slime. She looked utterly blissed out and contemplative.

        1. That’s also disgusting. Do you torment your sister by bringing this up at family gatherings as often as possible or are you a “nice” brother? Does she eat and enjoy escargot?

          1. I don’t bring it up, because it’s a bit too humiliating.

            I do occasionally bring up something that my other sister did, which is that she(somehow) managed to accidentally post her mobile phone to Australia.

            She’s a frighteningly effective professional woman working in the civil service right now, in a prestigious position, so it really annoys her when I bring this up. I can’t help it though, it’s just so perfect.

      2. In a little cottage I rented in Palo Alto during college, The landlord had left an old cement laundry tub in the tiny backyard. I decided to use it to compost kitchen scraps without really knowing what I was doing. After a few months thing was full of huge slugs, probably the banana variety, and I was so grossed out I sprinkled a whole box of salt on them. The thing was too heavy to tip over so I may eventually have hosed the whole thing out. End of my murderous confession…

        1. Yes, though part of it is size, at least in my experience. Some of those slugs in Seattle were 7 inches long! I haven never seen a snail’s body more than 2 inches long.

          1. You’ve got a point there Paul, I find even the little ones gross. I will eat escargots though with plenty of garlic butter. I’m sure the escargots themselves could be left out and you could just dip nice crusty French bread into the garlic butter.

  4. 1969 – Rocky Marciano, American boxer (b. 1923)

    Rocky Marciano pulled off that rare feat for a professional prizefighter — he retired undefeated.

    Shortly before Marciano’s death in a plane crash in 1969, there was a well-publicized computerized contest to determine the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time. The finalists came down to Marciano and the then-undefeated Muhammad Ali.

    Ali and Marciano actually climbed into the ring together to film a simulated version of the final. As I recall, they filmed thee possible endings — one with Marciano winning, one with Ali winning, and one a draw. (Rocky was in his mid-forties then, so of course the fighters were pulling their punches, although Ali said later that Rocky could still hit).

    Here’s the version with Ali winning by TKO in the 13th round:

    1. Lest there be any doubt about how hard Marciano could hit, here’s the vicious left hook with which Marciano knocked an over-the-hill Joe Louis (Rocky’s childhood idol) clean between the ropes of the ring to end their 1951 bout:

    2. “Shortly before Marciano’s death in a plane crash in 1969, there was a well-publicized computerized contest to determine the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time”

      A “computerised contest”…in the late sixties? Was that an autoincorrection Ken?

      Or did they really use a computer to calculate probabilities or something?

      1. There was a staged fight between Rocky & Ali in 1970 using Rocky & Ali themselves [Rocky wore a wig & lost a LOT of weight] – it was called the Superfight or some such. A programmer inputted the ‘styles’ & physicals on a number of famous fighters from across the boxing eras onto an NCR 315 & then ran a virtual contest. This of course is bogus because of a million reasons atarting with fighters will adapt their styles per opponent style.

        Anyway the NCR 315 produces a printout of all the blows & counters & ‘decides’ who won in what round by what points. These were turned into a series of radio broadcasts with proper commentary & sound effects. Commenters only aware of the match in real time to give some feeling of immediacy.

        Later on there was the broadcast-to-cinema Rocky vs Ali ‘Superfight’ which was a brilliant bit of marketing that filled a lot of cinema seats with suckers. Read about all the above in interesting detail here: SUPER FIGHT

        Realer than the current MMA hype I suppose!

        1. That must’ve been quite the high tech stunt for the time.

          I immediately started picturing a visual simulation, which sounds crazy and would’ve been impossible at the time, but of course I should have known better than to doubt the human Wiki. Wiki-Ken.

        2. A lot of what we do these days is “aesthetic” – and justifiably so. If all one wants to do though is calculate a regression coefficient or something like that, 20K may well be enough, particularly with “swap” space.

  5. Yesterday, August 30th, Valerie Harper died. Few people of my generation can forget her great role as “Rhoda” on the Mary Tyler Moore show.

    1. Didn’t see the Mary Tyler Moore show ,used to watch Rhoda .In the opening or closing credits a guy appears to ask her a question while she is walking past him ,i have always wondered what he said because V H gave him such a dirty look .
      It happens about 1.40 in ,strange things i remember .

    2. Had to go check on this as I had not seen this news. Both Valerie and Mary had some tough health issues. I see she made it to 80.

  6. The idiots abusing that camel were choking it with the rope. The pervasiveness of ignorance, callousness, and casual brutality against animals in many parts of the world is too depressing to contemplate.

    1. I think you can multiply that many times if you think of the cruelty inflicted over past millennia. The Roman Colosseum comes quickly to mind, but the way humans treated each other in the past is probably an indication of how they dealt with animals.

  7. My feeeelings are hurt. I can’t believe how speciesist those orcas are to mimic human speech and then ridicule it by giving us a raspberry. Those are nothing but violent whale chauvinists, killers. It’s in their name and their genes. They should be bred to be vegan whales.

  8. It’s Van Morrison’s birthday? Hooray. I’ve been listening to “These Are The Days” and “Days Like This” recently. Van Morrison is usually in my mix somehow.

  9. I once met a girl with heterochromia iridum. She was behind the jewelry counter in a department store and had one brilliantly light blue eye and one strikingly vivid green eye. I asked her about it and she said she was born that way. I must say, she was absolutely beautiful! She had freckles too.

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