Sunday: Hili dialogue

December 8, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Sunday, December 8, 2019, with only 17 shopping days left until the start of Coynezaa (actually, this year Hanukkah starts on December 22 and culminates on my birthday, so we have three holidays going at once).  It’s National Brownie Day, which refers to the baked good rather than the junior Girl Scouts. It’s also National Christmas Tree Day (because we, as bad Jews, celebrated Christmas, my father called ours a “Hannukah Bush”); it’s the day on which you’re supposed to buy your Festivus tree. Finally, it’s National Lard Day,  described this way:

Under the auspices of the Healthy Fats Coalition and ideally timed for the holidays, December 8 marks the first annual National Healthy Fats Day, a celebration of pure lard, a traditional, authentic animal fat that is now enjoying a resurgence within America’s food culture, in restaurants, fast food operations and home kitchens.

I thought lard, which is basically pig fat, was less healthy than other fats, but it turns out that’s not true: it has, for instance, 20% less saturated fat than butter, and only a third of butter’s cholesterol. Should we then be cooking with lard? That’s above my pay grade.

Today’s news: The Apostrophe Protection Society has gone belly-up after only 18 years. The reason? People are obstinate in misusing the punctuation mark, and the Society’s founder, John Richards, 96, is tired as hell and can’t take it any more. As he said:

“With regret I have to announce that, after some 18 years, I have decided to close the Apostrophe Protection Society.

“There are two reasons for this. One is that at 96 I am cutting back on my commitments and the second is that fewer organisations and individuals are now caring about the correct use of the apostrophe in the English Language.”

He added: “We, and our many supporters worldwide, have done our best but the ignorance and laziness present in modern times have won.” (h/t: Ginger K)

Its very sad. . . .  But I will carry on, Mr. Richards!

Today’s Google Doodle (below) celebrates the 155th birthday of Camille Claudel (1864-1943), a French sculptor who has only recently gained renown. Click on the Doodle to go to a number of articles about her.

Stuff that happened on December 8 include these events:

  • 1660 – A woman (either Margaret Hughes or Anne Marshall) appears on an English public stage for the first time, in the role of Desdemona in a production of Shakespeare’s play Othello.
  • 1813 – Premiere of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony.
  • 1922 – Northern Ireland ceases to be part of the Irish Free State.
  • 1941 – World War II: U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declares December 7 to be “a date which will live in infamy“, after which the U.S. declares war on Japan.

Here’s Roosevelt’s famous speech, preserved for posterity:

  • 1941 – World War II: Japanese forces simultaneously invade Shanghai International Settlement, Malaya, Thailand, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and the Dutch East Indies. (See December 7 for the concurrent attack on Pearl Harbor in the Western Hemisphere.)
  • 1974 – A plebiscite results in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.
  • 1980 – Former Beatle John Lennon is murdered in front of The Dakota in New York City.

Lennon’s killer, Mark David Chapman, remains in prison in New York State.

  • 1974 – A plebiscite results in the abolition of monarchy in Greece.
  • 2013 – Metallica performs a show in Antarctica, making them the first band to perform on all 7 continents.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1542 – Mary, Queen of Scots (d. 1587)
  • 1765 – Eli Whitney, American engineer, invented the cotton gin (d. 1825)
  • 1865 – Jean Sibelius, Finnish violinist and composer (d. 1957)
  • 1886 – Diego Rivera, Mexican painter and educator (d. 1957)

Here’s a mural by Rivera that no longer exists: “Man at the Crossroads”.  Started in 1933 to adorn 30 Rock, it was unfinished, as Nelson Rockefeller ordered it removed by his goons (a re-creation is below). Can you imagine why? Look between the “propeller blades” at the right.

  • 1894 – James Thurber, American humorist and cartoonist (d. 1961)
  • 1922 – Lucian Freud, German-English painter and illustrator (d. 2011)
  • 1925 – Sammy Davis, Jr., American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1990)
  • 1943 – Jim Morrison, American singer-songwriter and poet (d. 1971)
  • 1947 – Gregg Allman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2017)
  • 1951 – Bill Bryson, American essayist, travel and science writer
  • 1961 – Ann Coulter, American lawyer, journalist, and author
  • 1966 – Sinéad O’Connor, Irish singer-songwriter

Those who bought the farm on December 8 include:

  • 1859 – Thomas De Quincey, English journalist and author (b. 1785)
  • 1978 – Golda Meir, Ukrainian-Israeli educator and politician, 4th Prime Minister of Israel (b. 1898)
  • 1980 – John Lennon, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1940) [see above]
  • 1992 – William Shawn, American journalist (b. 1917)
  • 2016 – John Glenn, American astronaut and senator, first American to go into orbit (b. 1921)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej lie abed this lazy Sunday morning:

Małgorzata: Time to get up. The readers are waiting.
Hili: Tell them that they may sleep a bit longer today, too.
In Polish:
Małgorzata: Pora wstawać, czytelnicy czekają.
Hili: Powiedz im, że oni też mogą dziś dłużej pospać.

Reader Gregory sent a link to a picture on the public Facebook page of one Czesław Dysarz. What a cool idea: to make yourself up like your cat for Halloween!:

From Jesus of the Day:

And from reader Graham:

From reader Barry. I have trouble thinking that this is a real bear.

Four tweets from Matthew. What with the fires in Australia, Sydney’s beaches are turning black!

I’m not convinced that Drosophila was involved here, but the other conclusions seem sound:

If you’re my age you’ll have seen these ads or even bought “sea monkeys,” which are actually the eggs of brine shrimp (Artemia salina). But I bet you didn’t know you were financing bigotry:

Nothing that Trump says is too stupid to make me think it’s “fake news”. Look at this: “. . . it’s called rain.” Unbelievable!

Three tweets from Heather Hastie. As she says about this first one, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cat jump like this”:

I’ve seen leafcutter ant colonies, but never one this elaborate, and never as a “pet”. Note the fungus, which is what the ants eat and cultivate, using chewed-up leaves as “soil”. I love the disco!

Over at Mr. Lumpy and friends (the wild equivalent of Marsh Farm), a fox and badger live together in perfect harmony:


28 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. There generally is a lot to unpack in Diego Rivera’s paintings (as you can see in the mural shown). I thought he was more recent though, but I see he already died in 1957. I consider him one of the greatest 20th Century painters.

    The reply to the proselytisers (JW’s? Mormons? Other?) is priceless!

    The Dan Zak quotes of Mr Trump appear to be somewhat ‘coalesced’, which makes it worse than it is, which already is bad and unhinged enough. I love the “it gives you an orange look. I don’t want an orange look. Has anyone noticed that?” No, Mr Trump, we definitely did not notice that.

  2. Years ago I visited the Art Institute in Detroit and saw Rivera’s wonderful frescos there. He was a Marxist and painted the auto workers at the Ford plant. “Catholic and Episcopalian clergy condemned the murals as blasphemous. The Detroit News protested that they were “vulgar” and “un-american.” As a result of the controversy, 10,000 people visited the museum on a single Sunday.”

  3. About the sea monkey guy. There was a nice CNN documentary about him (Harold von Braunhut), and you can see a large part of it here:
    It is very interesting, and folks here won’t regret watching it. It reveals how the sea monkeys magically ‘worked’, which is to say it was rather clever sleight-of-hand (though in truth it often did not work well).

    1. Okay, am I the only person here who doesn’t know what sea monkeys are? We didn’t have them in the UK when I was growing up.

      What the hell are they? Are they just biological flotsam, like ginger beer growth, and people imagine they’re alive because they’re too small to see properly? A bit like a flea circus? And you add them to water and they start doing life-like things? It sounds like a cross between those sponge dinosaurs that grow big when you add water, and mail-order jumping beans, and a whole bunch of other things.

      As usual, I am baffled.

        1. Okay, so they’re actual, live things. That sounds quite fun actually. All I had as a kid was a Jack Russell that growled every time I tried to stroke it. Sea Monkeys sound a lot less hard work.

      1. They were advertised in the back of American “comic books” — you know, “graphic novels” avant la lettre. 🙂

        The far-right source for sea monkeys doesn’t surprise me. All those back-of-the-comic-book ads — from sea monkeys, to X-ray specs, to Charles Atlas’s vengeful 97-pound weaklings — struck me as creepily authoritarian.

        1. Watch the video that Mark Sturtevant linked to in his remarks. It’s quite enlightening and enjoyable. You’ll learn that the same Harold “von” Braunhut who invented Sea Monkeys, worked on X-Ray specs. From Wikipedia: “X-Ray Specs were improved (U.S. Patent 3,592,533) by Harold von Braunhut, also the inventor of Amazing Sea-Monkeys.[1]”

  4. Bill Bryson and Ann Coulter born on the same day…the universe has a zero-sum approach to handing out likability I guess.

  5. Walking American brown bears: The TikTok gif shows the trained walking bears at Everland Resort, Yongin, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea. The park has a bad rep re animal welfare. Here’s a longer video from 2016 also recorded from the safety of a theme park bus:

  6. I was once gifted a few pounds of the much coveted Mangalitsa lard by a client. It was amazing – I pretty much basted it onto all the meats I was cooking and found ways to creatively incorporate it. Probably one of the favorite client gifts I ever got.

  7. I had to laugh at the irony of your sentence following the news that The Apostrophe Protection Society was going belly up.

    Its very sad. . . . But I will carry on, Mr. Richards!

    Damn apostrophes!

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