Wednesday: Hili dialogue

September 25, 2019 • 6:30 am

We’re into fall by two days now: it’s Wednesday, September 25, 2019, and National Quesadilla Day.  It’s also National Lobster Day, National Comic Book Day, National Psychotherapy Day, and National One-Hit Wonder Day (name some below; I’ll start the ball rolling with “Take On Me“, by A-Ha, which is a good song but still a one-off; Rolling Stone lists more here).

Stuff that happened on September 25 includes:

  • 275 – For the last time, the Roman Senate chooses an emperor (Marcus Claudius Tacitus).
  • 1237 – England and Scotland sign the Treaty of York, establishing the location of their common border.
  • 1513 – Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa reaches what would become known as the Pacific Ocean.
Well, the poem by Keats below, “On first looking into Chapman’s Homer,” is about Cortez seeing the Pacific, but it’ll do for Balboa as it’s such a great poem:
Much have I travell’d in the realms of gold,
And many goodly states and kingdoms seen;
Round many western islands have I been
Which bards in fealty to Apollo hold.
Oft of one wide expanse had I been told
That deep-brow’d Homer ruled as his demesne;
Yet did I never breathe its pure serene
Till I heard Chapman speak out loud and bold:
Then felt I like some watcher of the skies
When a new planet swims into his ken;
Or like stout Cortez when with eagle eyes
He star’d at the Pacific—and all his men
Look’d at each other with a wild surmise—
Silent, upon a peak in Darien.

Actually, it was the first multipage newspaper published in the Americas (in Cambridge), and was shut down by the Colonial government after one issue for “reflections of a very high nature” (whatever those are) and uncertain reports. Here’s the first page of the only issue:

From the Massachusetts Historical Society. Not to be reproduced without permission.
  • 1789 – The United States Congress passes twelve constitutional amendments: the ten known as the Bill of Rights, the (unratified) Congressional Apportionment Amendment, and the Congressional Compensation Amendment.
  • 1926 – The international Convention to Suppress the Slave Trade and Slavery is first signed.
  • 1957 – Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, is integrated by the use of United States Army troops.
  • 1974 – Dr. Frank Jobe performs first ulnar collateral ligament replacement surgery (better known as Tommy John surgery) on baseball player Tommy John.

As Wikipedia notes about this procedure:

At the time of John’s operation, Jobe put the chances for success of the operation at 1 in 100.[2] In 2009, prospects of a complete recovery had risen to 85–92 percent.[3]

Following his 1974 surgery, John missed the entire 1975 season rehabilitating his arm before returning for the 1976 season. Before his surgery, John had won 124 games. He won 164 games after surgery, retiring in 1989 at age 46.

Notables born on this day include:

Christian, of course, was the head mutineer on HMS Bounty, and died on Pitcairn Island after burning the boat and stranding himself and his mates. He was 28.

Also born on this day was a Great Fly Man:

  • 1866 – Thomas Hunt Morgan, American biologist, geneticist, and embryologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1945)

Morgan was my academic great-grandfather, mentor of Theodosius Dobzhansky who was the Ph.D. advisor of my own Ph.D. advisor, Richard Lewontin. To wit:

  • 1903 – Mark Rothko, Latvian-American painter and educator (d. 1970)
  • 1932 – Glenn Gould, Canadian pianist and composer (d. 1982)
  • 1944 – Michael Douglas, American actor and producer
  • 1952 – bell hooks, American author and activist
  • 1969 – Catherine Zeta-Jones, Welsh actress [born on the same day of the year as her husband Michael Douglas; see above]

Here’s Rothko’s “The Cat and the Canary” from 1934/1935:

Those who shuffled off the mortal coil on September 25 include:

  • 1933 – Ring Lardner, American journalist and author (b. 1885)
  • 1960 – Emily Post, American author and educator (b. 1873)
  • 2016 – Arnold Palmer, American golfer (b. 1929)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s on the windowsill, but gives no sign that she wants to come in. Soon she’ll be housebound and restless from cold weather.

A: Do you want to come inside?
Hili: No, I’m contemplating the passage of time.
In Polish:
Ja: Chcesz wejść do domu?
Hili: Nie, kontempluję przemijanie czasu.

From Meriliee:

From Michael Fisher:

From the great FB site  I am not a grammar cop. I am an English-language enthusiast.

The antepenultimate tweet issued by Grania on her Twitter site. I’ll stop with this soon, but I wasn’t ready to “erase” her from these pages:

From Nilou. I had NO idea that any turtle could move this fast!

From reader Barry, a Big Bear Fight. I hope the damage was limited to chawed ears. Sound up!

Two tweets from Heather Hastie, one a followup from the same Tweeter.

And three from Matthew Cobb. The first shows his beloved Buster Keaton:

This is excellent:

. . . and a lovely jet-black bug with bright red eyes. Why the red?


29 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. As for one-hit numbers, I’ma go with Tommy Tutone’s “Jenny,” whose phone number, 867-5309, was written on a wall with the message “for a good time call.”

    As a telephone number tunes go, it ranks second only to Wilson Pickett’s 634-5789.

  2. Discussion of a bill of rights was easily voted down at the convention in Philadelphia, Madison said something about such a thing was not a good idea because some items would be left out. Also the rights should be assumed. It was later taken up in the first congress due to promises made during ratification and the anti-federalist were talking of demanding another convention.

  3. Ronald Reagan:

    [Man-faced Stink Bug, Catacanthus incarnatus]

    PS I thought the middle section of that almost wind-up toy softshell turtle gif was too quick, but there’s videos like it on YT of other speedy turtles.

    1. …and by Google chance I now bump into this, which is called the Hitler Bug:

      [Hitler has Anophthalmus hitleri, a blind cave beetle, named for him by some brown nose admirer in 1933. After World War II, renaming the beetle was rejected by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature]

  4. On the awful side, a contender for the most horrid pop song ever, nearly caused me to gouge my ear drums out of my ear canal with a pencil . . ., I give you Hey Mickey by Toni Basil.

  5. On the good side, the epic Children Of The Sun by Billy Thorpe.

    He did sort of go overboard trying to milk as much as possible out of the song. He released an entire album that was nothing but different versions of it. The original is by far the best.

    1. A Manchester lad. He released albums Children Of The Sun & Children Of The Sun… Revisited, but both have a selection of songs on them & only one track named Children Of The Sun. Can’t find this single-repeated-track album in his discography nor in the one for the Aztecs.

      I remember how strange the mix is on both the above albums [vinyl, original, I borrowed from the library I think] – it’s as if there’s no band at all & Billy sounds like he’s in one cupboard & each instrument is in various other cupboards scattered about [& all of them too far away] + very muddy sound. No acoustic space quality & what little echo there is sounds wrong to me. I never enjoyed either album.

      It turned out the original album was recorded especially for Quadraphonic & will not play correctly on stereo kit [not my stereo kit anyway] & the “…Revisited” version was mixed down for normal stereo, but only has the front two channels on it [effectively removing the echo & the ‘space’]! 🙂

      He’s a bit Robert Planty

      1. You are right and I’ve slandered Billy Thorpe!. My apologies to Billy, may he rest in peace.

        I mixed up some memories. I was thinking of a CD of tributes to Children Of The Sun by “various artists.” I normally don’t buy those kinds of albums but I acquired this one with a used car (left by the previous owner). About all I remember of it is that it was pretty bad and I’d never heard of any of the artists.

  6. My most ever favored one – hit wonder =
    = Zager and Evans’ “In the Year 2525 ”
    which keeps me grounded in that it
    lets me know how insignificant my particular cells
    are, were and always will be: just stardust
    before ” I ” was here and, later, … … forevermore.

    I truly like this song:


    1. Yes, this is quintessential one hit wonder. Number one hit in both Britain and the US followed by crickets. It was even parodied by Futurama.

    2. And

      i) for the record because
      ii) FOR MY PERSON, William, … … this one – hit wonder:
      “Seasons in the Sun” from out of Mr Terry Jacks = =
      ” GoodBYE to you, My Trusted Friend. ”

      “Now that the Spring is in the Air” and
      … … come 14 April 2019, when he so did = “it’s hard to die.”


    1. I was scratching my head to see A-ha listed as one hit wonders. I can think of a couple more songs that were also on the radio – “Cry Wolf” and “The Living Daylights”. They weren’t as big as “Take on me”, but still did OK.

    1. Clearly, the Genghis Khan of mathematician progenitors, spreading his intellectual seed across the steppes of academic Mongolia. 🙂

    1. Lardner may have been under-appreciated in some quarters, but he was highly influential among writers. “You could look it up,” as Ring would say. 🙂

  7. Please do not “erase” Grania from this site. “Studies show” (I read this years ago and confirm from my own experience) that it takes 18-24 months to complete grieving for a loved one, to soften the loss into loving memory. We didn’t know her personally, but miss her nonetheless. Thanks for adopting her way of doing the what happened/births/deaths notice.

  8. That fast turtle looks like what we used to call a “rubber back”. Maybe a Forida softshell turtle (Apalone ferox). The long snout allows them to breath from the surface while remaining mostly submerged.

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