Thursday: Hili dialogue

September 19, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Thursday, September 19, 2019, with three days of Summer left. It’s National Butterscotch Pudding Day, something once advertised by Bill Cosby, as well as International Talk Like a Pirate Day (Arrrrr!) I could have written this column in piratese, but don’t have the spoons.

Posting will be light today as I have tasks to do (kiss the black spot!), but I will do my best here. Aye, maties! But be aware of this in two hours and 49 minutes:

Stuff that happened on September 19 include:

  • 1778 – The Continental Congress passes the first United States federal budget.
  • 1796 – George Washington’s Farewell Address is printed across America as an open letter to the public.
  • 1846 – Two French shepherd children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, experience a Marian apparition on a mountaintop near La Salette, France, now known as Our Lady of La Salette.

Why is it always children who see these apparitions, I wonder? And why always Mary rather than, say, Jesus?

  • 1863 – American Civil War: The first day of the Battle of Chickamauga, in northwestern Georgia, the bloodiest two-day battle of the conflict, and the only significant Confederate victory in the war’s Western Theater.
  • 1881 – U.S. President James A. Garfield dies of wounds suffered in a July 2 shooting. Vice President Chester A. Arthur becomes President upon Garfield’s death.
  • 1940 – World War II: Witold Pilecki is voluntarily captured and sent to Auschwitz to smuggle out information and start a resistance movement.

To my mind, Pilecki is an unsung hero. Here’s what he did:

During World War II, Pilecki volunteered for a Polish resistance operation that involved being imprisoned in the Auschwitz concentration camp in order to gather intelligence and later escape. While in the camp, he organized a resistance movement and informed the Western Allies of Nazi Germany’s Auschwitz atrocities as early as 1941. He escaped from the camp in 1943 after nearly 2½ years of imprisonment. He took part as a combatant in the Warsaw Uprising in August–October 1944. He remained loyal to the London-based Polish government-in-exile after the Communist takeover of Poland, and he was arrested for espionage in 1947 by the Stalinist secret police (Urząd Bezpieczeństwa) on charges of working for “foreign imperialism”, a euphemism for British Intelligence.He was executed after a show trial in 1948. Information was suppressed about his exploits and fate until 1989 by the Communist regime in Poland.

And here he is in a colorized photo taken before 1939:

  • 1952 – The United States bars Charlie Chaplin from re-entering the country after a trip to England.

Chaplin was unjustly barred from the US (he was a British citizen) because he was deemed immoral on political grounds (and also lost a paternity suit against him, though blood tests showed that the kid was not his son) and was accused of being a Communist to boot. He never returned to the U.S., moved to Switzerland, and died there in 1977.

  • 1982 – Scott Fahlman posts the first documented emoticons 🙂 and 🙁 on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board system.

Wikipedia notes, at the link, that there are at least two antecedents to this “first documented emoticon.” But here’s the crucial post by Fahlman:

  • 1985 – Tipper Gore and other political wives form the Parents Music Resource Center as Frank Zappa and other musicians testify at U.S. Congressional hearings on obscenity in rock music.
  • 1995 – The Washington Post and The New York Times publish the Unabomber’s manifesto.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1867 – Arthur Rackham, English illustrator (d. 1939)
  • 1907 – Lewis F. Powell, Jr., American lawyer and jurist (d. 1998)
  • 1920 – Roger Angell, American journalist and author [turns 99 today!]
  • 1934 – Brian Epstein, English talent manager (d. 1967)
  • 1941 – Cass Elliot, American singer (d. 1974)
  • 1949 – Twiggy, English model, actress, and singer
  • 1974 – Jimmy Fallon, American comedian and talk show host

Rackham was a very great book illustrator; here’s one of his works: “The Fish King and the Dogfish”:

Those who snuffed it on September 19 include:

  • 1881 – James A. Garfield, American general, lawyer, and politician, and the 20th President of the United States (b. 1831)
  • 1965 – Lionel Terray, French mountaineer (b. 1921)
  • 1990 – Hermes Pan, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1910)
  • 1995 – Orville Redenbacher, American businessman, founded his own eponymous brand (b. 1907)
  • 2004 – Eddie Adams, American photographer and journalist (b. 1933)
  • 2004 – Skeeter Davis, American singer-songwriter (b. 1931)

Skeeter Davis had one monster hit, “End of the World”  (1962) and a very good song it was, too. Although she was a country singer, it rose to the top of the Billboard “Hot 100” charts in 1963, peaking at #2, right behind another great song, “Our Day Will Come” by Ruby and the Romantics.

Here’s Davis singing “End of the World” live:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is inspecting the orchard:

Hili: This stick is dangerous.
A: Why?
Hili: It fell from the tree and almost hit me.
A: But you weren’t here then.
Hili: But I might have been.
In Polish:
Hili: Ten patyk jest niebezpieczny.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Spadł z drzewa niemal na mnie.
Ja: Ale ciebie wtedy tu nie było.
Hili: Ale mogłam być.

A lovely and poignant sculpture found by reader Joan:

From Jesus of the Day:

This is the last tweet from Grania that I didn’t yet post.  It shows her characteristic empathy for the underclasses (she taught Zulu children in elementary school in the outback of South Africa). Goodbye, dear friend.

Three tweets from Heather Hastie, the first a superb cat tweet (sound up):

Another great animal tweet (and a response). Is that a parakeet?

Heather got angry at this one, saying, “This one’s just sad. The bastard should rescue the poor kitten instead of filming. When he heard this, Reilly [Heather’s cat] went looking for the kitten.” I agree with her.

Tweets from Matthew. First, the amazing potter wasp.  The “pot” nest is provisioned with a paralyzed prey, which will stay fresh until the wasp larva consumes it.

I saw a scary sight like this in a cave in New Zealand. Wetas are big flightless crickets.

I have a feeling I’ve posted Hypno-Cat before, but why not again?

This is clearly in New York City. You don’t often hear music and dance of this quality in a subway station!

32 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Arrrr, 91919 be no prime, but by Blackbeard’s curse, ye number 9191919 be prime, or a scurvy dog shiver me timbers walk the plank!

      1. I knew that would happen- Thank you -excellent point – I think I’ll remember that one.

        What I really meant was :


        but I also found^*


        They are amusing – 19 and 191 are prime, fitting your rule, but there are y any more in that series as far as I looked… perhaps a tiny proof can be written that there are no primes after 191?

        ^* using an app

        1. Any of those numbers with a multiple of three 1’s is divisible by 3. If the digits add up to a multiple of 3 then the number itself is also a multiple of 3.

    1. A notable moment in the past occurred just over 29 years ago, shortly after half-past noon on 7 August:

      12:34:56 7/8/90

      Although for Americans it would have happened on 8 July.

  2. Chaplin was unjustly barred from the US (he was a British citizen) because he was deemed immoral on political grounds (and also lost a paternity suit against him, though blood tests showed that the kid was not his son) and was accused of being a Communist to boot. He never returned to the U.S., moved to Switzerland, and died there in 1977.

    I recall Charlie Chaplin being back in the USA, specifically at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in Los Angeles in 1972, to receive an honorary Oscar:

    (PS — You sampling MJ’s “Billie Jean” with that second parenthetical?)

    1. When the song Billie Jean came out I was not all that fond of it. I recall a music critic (can’t remember who it was) proclaimed that it was the best pop song ever recorded. At the time this elicited a snort and an eye roll. Fast forward a decade or three and I now think that critic may have been right. The song is still not a favorite, though I do like it. But there is just something about it. I’m not a musician so I don’t know how to describe it in technical terms. It just seems to be nearly perfectly constructed and it’s impossible not to be taken in by the groove.

      1. I love it when that happens

        With Initial encounters of a song I might think it stinks, or is stupid, etc. then perhaps years later, it falls away and I see how wrong I was.

        With Billie Jean, it just was a song. Then it left my everyday experience. Became almost a joke – an “80’s” tune, to be laughed at. But you know what, that is a _good_ recording and song. Is that the endpoint? It will forever be viewed as a masterpiece of pop?

      2. It’s never been my favorite, either. But it’s one hell of a catchy pop tune. Much of the credit goes, I think, to the great jazz arranger and producer Quincy Jones.

  3. It is nearly always Catholic children who see The Lady or The Virgin Mary, never some kid brought up in some other death cult. When I was a seven year old at English Martyrs’ Catholic Primary School, Birmingham, UK…

    …I did all I could to join the PIONEERS [Juvenile Division] based at my school, telling teachers I wanted to help “save the pagans” [my exact words], but the female teachers laughed & the male ones gave me that look that meant I should make myself scarce, before the ruler or cane appeared.

    My real motivation was because I knew that the kiddos on the inside got jelly & ice cream at the end of the meetings! If I’d thought of inventing a visitation by a ghost woman to swing the matter I’d have lied my socks off. And being seven I’d be believing it happened in short order.

    P.S. years later I figured out I was too young, it’s 8 to 11 for junior brainwashing.

    1. Until I checked, I thought The Pioneers was a club promoting total sexual abstinence (like some contemporary Protestant groups), not alcohol and drugs. But observing the first can sure drive one to substance abuse.


    Too Many Zooz is an American music group based in NYC, consisting of Leo “Leo P” Pellegrino (baritone saxophone), Matt “Doe” Muirhead (trumpet) & David “King of Sludge” Parks (drums)

    MORE AT WIKI For a few examples of their excellent groove & moves search for their YouTube channel “Too Many Zooz.”

    The Twitter thread pointed me to this Leo P performance at The BBC Proms, 2017 – from the look, he was some sort of rainforest parrot in a previous life obvs. :-

      1. The Zebra stripe shoes are fetching! The tune he’s blowing BTW is the jazz standard, Moanin’ composed by Bobby Timmons in the late ’50s – a stonker stomper.

  5. My great-great-grandfather was almost at Chickamauga. His regiment, the 19th US Infantry, was part of Thomas’s rearguard, and, like him, won the sobriquet “The Rock of Chickamauga.” Grandpa Ben was in hospital with dysentary. Considering that at the end of the battle the 19th had 57 effectives, he was probably lucky to survive either.

    The British POW Charles Coward (The Password Is Courage) claimed to have also sneaked into Auschwitz, and to have helped prisoners escape. Since his death his claims have been discounted by some, but he testified at Nuremberg (I think the IG Farben trial), and was declared Righteous Among the Nations.

  6. The sax player and percussionist at the Union Square subway station remind of the best NY busking act I ever saw — four Nuyorican guys on a street corner downtown near the Washington Square Park Arch singing spot-on acoustic versions of early Beatles’ songs. Between tunes, they addressed each other as John, Paul, George, and Ringo and spoke among themselves, and to the crowd, in perfect Scouser accents. I hung around for a couple sets, peeling a little folding money into the upside down bowler hat, in front of the boxes and buckets of “Ringo’s” drum kit, that served as their tip jar.

    Guys in the video come in a close second.

  7. “You don’t often hear music and dance of this quality in a subway station!”

    You quite often hear good music in the Paris Metro. I think I recall also hearing some music in the Moscow Metro, but I was only there a few days so can’t swear to it.


  8. Thanks for mentioning Pilecki. He is an unsung hero indeed, never heard of him before. What courage voluntarily incarcerating himself, escaping Auschwitz and participating -and surviving- in the Warsaw uprising. Close to unbelievable. And in the style of great tragedy, victim to treason, executed by those who used to be his allies.
    How many other unsung heroes we know nothing about?

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