Thursday: Hili dialogue

October 17, 2019 • 7:00 am

Good morning on Thursday, October 17, 2019—National Pasta Day. It’s also Wear Something Gaudy Day (probably too late for you, as you may be at work) and World Trauma Day and International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Stuff that happened on October 17 includes:

This was the last supernova in our galaxy observed with the naked eye. Here’s a false-color composite photo:

The end of conflict in the Revolutionary War:

  • 1777 – American Revolutionary War: British General John Burgoyne surrenders his army at Saratoga, New York.
  • 1781 – American Revolutionary War: British General Charles, Earl Cornwallis surrenders at the Siege of Yorktown.
  • 1814 – Eight people die in the London Beer Flood.

Wikipedia describes how this happened. Imagine being drowned by porter!

 It took place when one of the 22-foot-tall (6.7 m) wooden vats of fermenting porter burst. The pressure destroyed another vessel, and between 128,000 and 323,000 imperial gallons (580,000–1,470,000 l; 154,000–388,000 US gal) of beer were released.

The resulting wave of porter destroyed the back wall of the brewery and swept into an area of slum-dwellings known as the St Giles rookery. Eight people were killed, five of them attendees at the wake being held by an Irish family for a two-year-old boy.

  • 1888 – Thomas Edison files a patent for the Optical Phonograph (the first movie).
  • 1931 – Al Capone is convicted of income tax evasion.

Here’s Al Capone’s mugshot:

  • 1933 – Albert Einstein flees Nazi Germany and moves to the United States.
  • 1956 – The first commercial nuclear power station is officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in Sellafield, England.
  • 1956 – Bobby Fischer defeats Donald Byrne in the chess Game of the Century.
  • 1969 – The Caravaggio painting Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence was stolen from the Oratory of Saint Lawrence in Palermo.

The painting is still missing and now a replica hangs in its place. Here’s the original, whose loss I mourn since I consider Caravaggio as one of the greatest painters of all time:

  • 1992 – Having gone to the wrong house, Japanese student Yoshihiro Hattori is killed by the homeowner in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
  • 1994 – Russian journalist Dmitry Kholodov is assassinated while investigating corruption in the armed forces.
  • 2018 – The recreational use of cannabis is legalized in Canada.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1903 – Nathanael West, American author and screenwriter (d. 1940)
  • 1915 – Arthur Miller, American playwright and screenwriter (d. 2005)
  • 1918 – Rita Hayworth, American actress, singer and dancer (d. 1987)
  • 1920 – Montgomery Clift, American actor (d. 1966)
  • 1933 – The Singing Nun, Belgian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and nun (d. 1985)
  • 1938 – Evel Knievel, American motorcycle rider and stuntman (d. 2007)
  • 1968 – Ziggy Marley, Jamaican singer-songwriter, guitarist, and voice actor
  • 1969 – Wyclef Jean, Haitian-American rapper, producer, and actor
  • 1972 – Eminem, American rapper, producer, and actor
  • 1974 – Ariel Levy, American journalist and author

Who remembers The Singing Nun? Here’s her big hit, “Dominique“, from 1963, which reached the top of the charts. You can find the translation at the link.

Those who took the Big Nap on this day include:

  • 1849 – Frédéric Chopin, Polish pianist and composer (b. 1810)
  • 1910 – Julia Ward Howe, American poet and songwriter (b. 1819)
  • 1979 – S. J. Perelman, American humorist and screenwriter (b. 1904)
  • 1991 – Tennessee Ernie Ford, American singer and actor (b. 1919)
  • 2008 – Levi Stubbs, American singer (b. 1936)

Stubbs, lead singer of The Four Tops, was one of the greatest singers of the Motown era. Here’s a live rendition (Paris, 1967) that I consider one of the best live performances of any soul song. And look at that man sweat!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, editor Hili is getting in the way:

A: Could you go and meditate somewhere else?
Hili: But I’m not disturbing you at all.
In Polish:
Ja: Czy mogłabyś medytować gdzie indziej?
Hili: Przecież ja ci w niczym nie przeszkadzam.

From The Cat House on the Kings:

From Amazing Cats:

From Donna:


A reminder that the oppression of women in Iran continues, and they continue to resist.

Ducks in ancient art! Look at that bag o’ quackers!

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a bipedal gorilla:

Can you imagine what this cat is thinking?

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. The first one is apparently an authentic letter from Trump to Erdogan. (Katie Rogers is a White House correspondent for the New York Times.) OY! But we don’t need more proof that Trump is a bull-goose loon.

A nice illusion of straight squares and then skewed ones:

Spot the katydid! (This one isn’t too hard.)

This has got to be the Nature Video of the Week:


32 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. The Four Tops were the best.

    Sad to hear Elijah Cummings died last night. Chairman of the Oversight & Reform Committee. He was only 68 years old.

  2. I’m pretty sure that PCC has already given a shout out to Beck & Gibbons tribute to Ernie Ford and “Sixteen Tons,” but if you missed it, give a listen.

    1. I love the song “Sixteen Tons” — both the T.E. Ford original and the ZZ Top/Jeff Beck cover you reference. (Both are on the list of tunes to be played at my wake.)

      I chose “Sixteen Tons” for my high-school glee-club solo — not just ’cause I love it, but because it’s pretty straightforward and I could do a kind of Tennessee Ernie impression for laughs thereby relieving my self-consciousness over my lack of vocal ability.

      1. Hey, Ken. How ‘bout sending us a “reader’s video” of your performance? I’m sure you could wrangle a comeback version🤓

        1. Lucky for me, that was in the days before camcorders. I’m counting on any audio having long ago been erased. 🙂

  3. Onliest thing could’ve made Trump’s letter to Erdoğan more perfect is were it written in Comic Sans font.

    1. He should frame that letter and put it right next to Pelosi’s quote – All roads for Trump lead to Putin.

      1. I think it’s still waiting for the final seal of authenticity in a Whitehouse/ Trumptweet denial. At the moment I think all it’s got is Whitehouse authentication, which we know to have no value.

  4. I recently finished Thomas Fleming’s The Perils of Peace: America’s Struggle for Survival After Yorktown, which examines the end of the War of the Revolution, which I srtongly recommend. It’s really amazing how easily it might have all gone wrong after Yorktown. In some ways our revolution was a lot like others, even down to an incipient Pride’s Purge of Congress.

  5. The humpbacks blowing bubbles is really beautiful. I am trying to imagine how this behavior might have come about. I think it has to be an evolved trait that they know how to do from birth, but it looks a lot like something that is learned and passed down in culture.

  6. The young Iranian woman in the video looks so touchingly happy to be free of her mandatory hijab while walking and dancing in the streets of her city.

    Will the followup be that some cruel moron representing a cruel, moronic system will (to paraphrase a late Warren Zevon song) “hunt her down and hang her for her crimes?”

  7. Yes, I also think Caravaggio is one of the greatest painters, the master of Chiaroscuro.
    He died at age 39, just like Chopin (mentioned above)

    1. I think, Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio impressed me the most of the early generations of European painters.

  8. World Trauma Day

    Is that a day for causing trauma to the world, or a day for causing trauma to someone in the world.
    In either case of “this”, 365.242 opportunities a year that this is celebrated in the action if not the calendar.

    1. I never get the images on those – it takes me three clicks to get through to the tweet in a separate sandbox because there’s a cross-site scripting vulnerability in the way WordPress presents the links. SNAFU.

  9. 1604 – Kepler’s Supernova is observed in the constellation of Ophiuchus.
    This was the last supernova in our galaxy observed with the naked eye.

    Useless factoid – Ophiuchus is the “Serpent Bearer” and on the sky it divides the old constellation of “Serpens” into the (two) modern constellation(s) of Serpens Caput and Serpens Cauda. Which I think is unique in the constellations. It’s also the zodiacal constellation which should be raised with all astrologers to get a nice purple tint to their faces in addition to the usual useless flapping of gums.
    There was another supernova in the Milky Way galaxy between about 1880 and 1908, which was probably “extinguished” (dimmed) into invisibility by intervening gas/ dust clouds, and is only visible in the X-ray and radio regions of the spectrum. On the sky, it is just outside the “spout” of the infamous Sagittarius “teapot” asterism.
    Annoyingly there is a weird error in the Wikipedia article, putting the object literally in the wrong half of the sky.

  10. “Dominique” was a hit on AM radio in late ’63, at the same time JFK got whacked in Dallas. Hearing it takes me right back to being a 10-year-old Catholic schoolboy.

  11. Drowning in a beer flood is bad enough, but twenty-one people came to a sticky end when they drowned in molasses. From Wikipedia

    ” The Great Molasses Flood, also known as the Boston Molasses Disaster or the Great Boston Molasses Flood, and sometimes referred to locally as the Boston Molassacre, occurred on January 15, 1919, in the North End neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts. A large storage tank burst, filled with 2,300,000 US gal (8,700 m3; 8,706,447 liters) (ca 12,000 tons; 10,886 metric tons; 24,000,000 lbs) of molasses, and a wave of molasses rushed through the streets at an estimated 35 mph (56 km/h), killing 21 and injuring 150. The event entered local folklore and residents claimed for decades afterwards that the area still smelled of molasses on hot summer days.”

  12. What a day! Mick Mulvaney confesses to crimes on live television then has to go back on TV a few hours later to lie about it.

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