Friday: Hili dialogue

September 6, 2019 • 6:30 am

The week has flown by: it’s Friday, September 6, 2019, National Coffee Ice-Cream Day (why the superfluous and erroneous hyphen?). It’s also Barbie Doll Day, Fight Procrastination Day (oh, just observe it tomorrow), and Read a Book Day (this should be EVERY day).

Stuff that happened on this day includes these things, with the first six involving sea voyages:

  • 1492 – Christopher Columbus sails from La Gomera in the Canary Islands, his final port of call before crossing the Atlantic Ocean for the first time.
  • 1522 – The Victoria returns to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, the only surviving ship of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition and the first ship to circumnavigate the world.
  • 1620 – The Pilgrims sail from Plymouth, England on the Mayflower to settle in North America. (Old Style date; September 16 per New Style date.)
  • 1628 – Puritans settle Salem which became part of Massachusetts Bay Colony.
  • 1901 – Leon Czolgosz, an unemployed anarchist, shoots and fatally wounds US President William McKinley at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.
  • 1916 – The first self-service grocery store Piggly Wiggly was opened in Memphis, Tennessee by Clarence Saunders.

Before Piggy Wiggly, you went to the grocery store with a list of what you wanted and gave it to the clerk, who collected your items from shelves you couldn’t access. The public responded with tremendous enthusiasm to “pick your own groceries”, and Piggly Wiggly burgeoned. Here’s a photo of the very first store, and a historical marker now on its site. Piggly Wiggly stores still exist, but only in the South.

Pirsig wrote the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values,  a huge bestseller, especially among young people of my generation. I thought it was okay but not great, but I haven’t reread it since it came out in 1974. If anybody has, let us know what you think in the comments.

  • 1966 – Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd, the architect of apartheid, is stabbed to death in Cape Town, South Africa during a parliamentary meeting.
  • 1972 – Munich massacre: Nine Israeli athletes die (along with a German policeman) at the hands of the Palestinian “Black September” terrorist group after being taken hostage at the Munich Olympic Games. Two other Israeli athletes were slain in the initial attack the previous day.
  • 1991 – The Russian parliament approves the name change of Leningrad back to Saint Petersburg. The change is effective October 1, 1991.
  • 1995 – Cal Ripken, Jr. of the Baltimore Orioles plays in his 2,131st consecutive game, breaking a record that had stood for 56 years.

Ripken still holds the record with 2,632 consecutive games (remember, the season is at most 162 games), breaking Lou Gehrig’s record of 2130 games—a record many thought was unbreakable.  Here’s a video of the day he broke the record, which took him 16 years of playing in every game; note that he capped the day by hitting a home run.

  • 1997 – The Funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales takes place in London. Well over a million people lined the streets and 2​12 billion watched around the world on television.
  • 2013 – Forty one elephants are poisoned with cyanide in salt pans, by poachers in Hwange National Park.

Notables born on September 6 include:

  • 1860 – Jane Addams, American sociologist and author, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1935)
  • 1888 – Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., American businessman and diplomat, 44th United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom (d. 1969)
  • 1947 – Jane Curtin, American actress and comedian

Those who “fell asleep” on September 6 include:

  • 1939 – Arthur Rackham, English illustrator (b. 1867)
  • 1945 – John S. McCain Sr., American admiral (b. 1884)
  • 1984 – Ernest Tubb, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1914)
  • 1972 – Perpetrator and victims of the Munich massacre
  • 2007 – Luciano Pavarotti, Italian tenor (b. 1935)
  • 2017 – Kate Millett, American feminist author and activist (b. 1934)
  • 2018 – Burt Reynolds, American actor, director and producer (b. 1936)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is once again playing philosopher:

A: What are you doing over there.
Hili: I’m looking for a philosopher’s stone.
A: Among the bushes?
Hili: I’ve already checked all the shelves.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Szukam kamienia filozoficznego.
Ja: W krzakach?
Hili: Na półkach już sprawdziłam.

A cat “meme”, and I hope you know the real song involved:

From Jesus of the Day. Actually, I think it’s “first-hand”. Oy!

Grania sent me this curly-feathered pigeon on April 5:

The height of pleasure for one man (tweet from gravelinspector):

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. The first one has the perfection caption:

Heather noted this about the tweet below: “I used to do this with one of my cats years ago. She was into catching flies, and after I did this for her a couple of times, she demanded I do it for her whenever there was a fly she couldn’t reach.” Cats!

Four tweets from Matthew Cobb. The first one was something he tweeted, giving the proper caveats:

Look how well the termites have dined, and I didn’t even know termites liked tomatoes:

One of Matthew’s beloved optical illusions:

I didn’t know there was a Samuel Pepys Twitter site. Presumably these are real extracts from his diary, and they’re appropriate given that the Great Fire of London ended on September 5, 1666.

26 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. “Piggly Wiggly stores still exist, but only in the South.”

    There’s a Piggly Wiggly store five minutes away from me by bus, and I don’t think anyone considers Milwaukee WI to be “in the South”. Piggly Wiggly has been one of the mainstays in medium-sized towns in Wisconsin for loger than I can remember.

    1. Well… ever since Scott Walker and crew took over in 2010, we’ve had this “Mississippi of the north” thing to deal with. 😉

  2. I have reread _Zen_and_the_Art_… several times over the years. It holds up only moderately well, in my opinion. I was never a cheerleader for the book, though I have regularly assigned it to students, with caveats, as a nice introduction to several concepts.

    1. I agree with WEIT on this. I read it a few years ago and struggled to see what the fuss was about. It was all a bit too ning-nang-nongy, new-agey, other-ways-of-knowing-y.

    2. I read it not long after it came out, and even then I thought it was a load of self-indulgent bollocks. I doubt my opinion would change if I re-read it today.

  3. Pirsig wrote the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values, a huge bestseller, especially among young people of my generation. I thought it was okay but not great, but I haven’t reread it since it came out in 1974.

    I read it around a year or so later than you did, about the same time I read The Tao of Physics and Castaneda’s Don Juan books and Ram Dass’s Be Here Now. Those books and a couple others served as a canon of sorts for the folks in my circle I’d classify at the time (mid-Seventies) as “seekers” — people who’d abandoned religion but (at least in my case) weren’t yet committed materialists.

    1. I confess to having read Zen & the Art at least half a dozen times over several decades. There is a recent edition which corrects some of the more confusing parts of the narrative, especially the ending.

      As a student it shaped my world view quite profoundly, and probably gave my mystical tendencies something more sensible to hang on to than might otherwise have been the case. (Especially his idea that quality is both real, and subjectively experienced.)

      I still think it deals with a genuine and important aspect of consciousness and perception, and discusses it in a practical and vivid manner.

      I also read Castenada and The Tao of Physics — the latter a serious attempt at scientific mysticism, but failed to show anything more than a few similarities, and completely refused to preempt any of the predictable misunderstandings that were bound to arise. Castenada was for the most part a fabrication and at times quite ridiculous, but a worthwhile experience for a young adult, I think!

  4. Looking at the complexity of the mouse brain, it is not hard to see how complex behavior and even human consciousness is an emergent property of the brain, and not a free-floating “force” of mysterious origin. Especially given that much simpler organisms like fruit fly, with only 250,000 neurons to their name, can sustain themselves wonderfully.

  5. ‘Well over a million people lined the streets and 2 ​1⁄2 billion watched around the world on television.’

    I’m very sceptical of claims like this. To get over two billion you would need a significant proportion of the populations of India and China watching. It seems unlikely.

  6. The cat raised up to catch flies reminded me of my cat, Brio. He also likes catching flies and other bugs. He went crazy recently when a fairly large dragonfly got into the house. It stayed for most of the day, though Brio could never get close to it. Eventually I was able to throw a towel over it and release it outside.

    I don’t hold Brio up to help him catch bugs but he does like it a lot when I lift him up and put him on our roof. (We have low eaves.) He lets me pet him up there for a few minutes and then jumps off onto my shoulder. He seems to enjoy it immensely and so do I.

  7. The Piggly Wiggly plaque says *American* self service grocery. I wonder if there were any anywhere else, first?

    It is, however, amazing to think of people like 3 of my 4 grandparents, who were alive when this innovation happened.

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