Tuesday: Hili dialogue

January 21, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning on a chilly morning in Boston (currently 17° C or -8° C). It’s Tuesday, January 21, 2020, and my last full day in Cambridge. I’ll be sad to leave, but it’s been fun to return to my old stomping grounds (I lived in Boston for two years and across the river in Cambridge for four more).

It’s National New England Clam Chowder Day (or as they say here, “Clam Chowdah”), as well as National Granola Bar Day. It’s also Squirrel Appreciation Day, International Sweatpants Day, National Hugging Day (also observed in many other countries) and “Grandma’s Day” in Poland.

I had a dream:  I slept soundly last night, but had a weird dream. I was wandering by a lake, and all the Democratic candidates for President were sitting on a wharf with their fishing lines in the water. I got tangled in them, and Bernie Sanders yelled at me to get out of the way. Then, taking a boat across the lake, I passed a number of souvenir stands selling items like hats and buttons that accused Bernie of being a pedophile, having abducted an underaged girl named “Peanut”. What does this mean?  Does it mean that I have a deep but hidden animus towards The Bern?

Stuff that happened on January 21 includes:

Wikipedia gives a summary of this “sentimental novel written in an epistolary form”, and it doesn’t inspire me to read it:

The Power of Sympathy was Brown’s first novel. The characters’ struggles illustrate the dangers of seduction and the pitfalls of giving in to one’s passions, while advocating the moral education of women and the use of rational thinking as ways to prevent the consequences of such actions.

I’m guessing that among all those reading this, none has ever read that novel.

  • 1793 – After being found guilty of treason by the French National Convention, Louis XVI of France is executed by guillotine.
  • 1908 – New York City passes the Sullivan Ordinance, making it illegal for women to smoke in public, only to have the measure vetoed by the mayor.
  • 1950 – American lawyer and government official Alger Hiss is convicted of perjury.
  • 1954 – The first nuclear-powered submarine, the USS Nautilus, is launched in Groton, Connecticut by Mamie Eisenhower, the First Lady of the United States.
  • 1976 – Commercial service of Concorde begins with the London-Bahrain and Paris-Rio routes.
  • 1981 – Production of the iconic DeLorean sports car begins in DunmurryNorthern IrelandUnited Kingdom.

The DeLorean was made only from 1981-1983, and was famous for its distinctive gull-wing doors, stainless steel body, and fiberglass frame (below: a 1981 model). I suspect they are expensive collector’s items now:

  • 1997 – The U.S. House of Representatives votes 395–28 to reprimand Newt Gingrich for ethics violations, making him the first Speaker of the House to be so disciplined.
  • 2009 – Israel withdraws from the Gaza Strip, officially ending a three-week war it had with Hamas. However, intermittent fire by both sides continues in the weeks to follow.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1738 – Ethan Allen, American general (d. 1789)
  • 1813 – John C. Frémont, American general, explorer, and politician, 5th Territorial Governor of Arizona (d. 1890)
  • 1869 – Grigori Rasputin, Russian Mystic (d. 1916)

Rasputin (I was once compared to him in my hairy hippie days by a horrified old dowager whom I walked down the aisle as a groomsman at a friend’s wedding):

Wallenda, still performing at 73, fell to his death from a high wire in Puerto Rico in 1978.

  • 1924 – Benny Hill, English actor, singer, and screenwriter (d. 1992)

Hill was famous for his sketches with lovely and semi-clad women. I found his humor bawdy and not nearly as funny as that of Monty Python. If you watched it (it was on American t.v.), you probably remember scenes like these:

  • 1938 – Wolfman Jack, American radio host (d. 1995)
  • 1940 – Jack Nicklaus, American golfer and sportscaster
  • 1941 – Plácido Domingo, Spanish tenor and conductor
  • 1941 – Richie Havens, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2013)
  • 1951 – Eric Holder, American lawyer, judge, and politician, 82nd United States Attorney General

Those who experienced their demise on January 21 include:

Lenin was a cat lover, which doesn’t mitigate his crimes:

  • 1926 – Camillo Golgi, Italian physician and pathologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1843)
  • 1932 – Lytton Strachey, English writer and critic (b. 1880)
  • 1959 – Cecil B. DeMille, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1881)
  • 2002 – Peggy Lee, American singer (b. 1920)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is afraid of the eagles—probably white-tailed eagles—that regularly appear near her house:

Hili: The eagles are back.
A: They were here yesterday.
Hili: Yesterday there were three of them and today there are four.
In Polish:
Hili: Orły wróciły.
Ja: Były już wczoraj.
Hili: Wczoraj były trzy, a dziś są cztery.

From Jesus of the Day:

Also from Jesus of the Day:

From The Purrfect Feline Facebook page:

A tweet from me: see the photo and read the story:

From reader j.j.: Is the cat here looking for the prettiest pig, or the most comfortable one?

Two tweets from Heather Hastie, the second sent to her by Ann German:

Tweets from Matthew. The first one is TRUEFACT:

I once had a baby skunk, and yes, from its early youth it tried to squirt (it was “de-scented”):

An intrepid cheetah fights—and vanquishes—the rapids:

Ducks en masse!

45 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Hll was famous for his sketches with lovely and semi-clad women. I found his humor bawdy and not nearly as funny as that of Monty Python.

    Fully agree; bawdy, sexist, and not as good as Python. Though like a lot of historical sexism, his jokes say more about men and their attitudes than it says anything about women. I still remember “Women are like pianos. When they’re not upright, they’re grand.” But really, which sex does this zing?

  2. Have no idea what that dream could mean but Bernie is having more problems trashing other candidates. Now pointed at Biden saying he has a corruption problem. Maybe he should go fishing.

  3. DeLoreans are not highly valued as collectable cars. In fact, they haven’t even kept up with inflation. You can buy one for about $40K, while their original price of $25K in 1981 would be worth $70K today. They’re awful cars.

    However, if you find one equipped with the optional flux capacitor, buy it.

    1. You could buy a new one fairly recently, assembled from old parts. Looks like they are out of production for the moment pending finding someone to make engines for them – hopefully better engines than the originals.


        1. Some people will collect anything, so long as it’s rare. (And often the reason for rarity is that nobody bought it because it was a turkey).

          The de Lorean – looked like a Lamborghini, went like a VW Beetle…


    1. I imagine Clinton has no love lost for Sanders. After all his attacks on her in the 2016 primaries and the fact his supporters sat on their hands in the election is the reason she lost. And the reason we’ve got Trump.

      1. I think the Bernie supporters who “sat on their hands” group is smaller than the number of people who didn’t vote because they didn’t like the way Clinton campaigned.

        Or, didn’t campaign at all, as it happened here in Wisconsin… the state that put Trump over the top and a state that Clinton never even bothered to visit. If Clinton blames Sanders for her loss, she’s just shirking her own responsibility, IMO.

        1. I agree. Taking a state like Wisconsin for granted was a huge mistake. I think she believed the “blue wall” myth. And we are all paying for that mistake.

        2. Serious question – how much difference does it make whether a candidate actually visits a state. It’s not like this is the 1890’s.

          Otherwise, I think too many people look on voting as a way of showing their moral superiority, with not voting being one of the options.

          1. Politics is a participatory game. Voter turnout is driven in part by people encouraging others to vote. Volunteers do this work. They engage more when they feel close to a candidate. They don’t feel close to candidates who don’t show up.

    1. Especially now, because he is looking a little like Trump. His sketches even remind the “grab them by the p***” mentality of the latter.

      1. The difference – and it’s a fundamental difference – is that Benny Hill was making jokes and didn’t mind the joke being at his own expense, if that made the joke work better. Whereas tRump has absolutely no sense of humour and would be incapable of poking fun at himself.


    2. I love British comedy. But Benny Hill left me cold. On the other hand, Rowan Atkinson would have me rolling on the floor in a minute. My friends would just shake their heads when they’d see me break up watching Mr. Bean. They didn’t understand why. Humor is funny that way.

    3. I find Benny Hill funnier than I used to, simply because his humour violates every possible rule of political correctness as outrageously as possible. Subtle, he certainly ain’t.

      Comparing him with the Pythons, I think, is pointless. The two schools of humour are absolutely different. Benny Hill comes from the old British music-hall slapstick school; his most obvious successor was Kenny Everett.

      The Pythons come from the school of satire.


      1. Pointless? The fact that they come from different “schools” of comedy doesn’t mean you can’t compare them. The point of comedy is to be funny. There are reasons one finds some comedy better than others, and those reasons are perfectly good ways to compare them.

        I don’t find violating rule of “correctness” inherently funny. Someone not cleaning up his/her/their/foobar’s dog shit in front of my house violates a norm. The fact that it was done on purpose as a “joke” doesn’t cause me to laugh. Your mileage may vary.

        1. I agree the point of comedy is to be funny BUT the fact that you like the Pythons better than Benny Hill is just a reflection of your tastes in comedy. ‘Funny’ is in the eye of the beholder. (Disclaimer: I like the Pythons better than Benny Hill too.)

          Isn’t one of the most common attributes of comedy, that of ‘breaking the rules’ of etiquette? As used by the Pythons, Benny Hill and almost any other comedian you care to name. (For the record, I wouldn’t find someone letting their dog shit on my lawn funny, whether intended as a joke or not. OTOH, if an elephant managed to do a ton on the lawn of someone particularly
          obnoxious, I might regard it as hilarious – but it’s all in the context).

          But humour is very subjective. Some people even laughed at Bob Hope, or so I’ve heard.


  4. Jerry & Rasputin

    To be fair, I can see the resemblance:


  5. I was curious if the Total Eclipse image had been taken anywhere near me on the Snake River. Looks like it was taken along the canyon stretch upstream near the Washington boarder. Around Lewiston. Only a hundred miles North.

        1. Did the Flat-Earthers doorstep you or something. Not that the average Flat-Earther denies the existence of passenger aircraft. Yet.

            1. You know, I believe that Stanley Kubrick was recruited to take the pics of the moon landing. I also believe that he’s such a stickler for detail that he insisted they be shot on-site.

              1. When Kubrick shot the apes scene at the beginning of 2001 Space Odyssey, he wanted it shot on site in Africa. However, he loathed flying, so he sent a crew with instructions. The scene ended up composed with various techniques including a green screen and projected stills of the sunset. Kind of hokey, but it was well crafted and looked pretty good in the end.

    1. Below I’ve drawn onto Google maps the FlightAware flight path for Southwest Flight 1368 [PDX to STL] on Aug. 21, 2017. That indicates Jon Campbell took the picture at 39,000 ft [7.4 miles] somewhere between Weiser & Lowman with the river to the left of his shot – that’s about 220 km [140 miles] south of Lewiston I think. Not far from you at all.


  6. I think your dream did show you harbor some negative feeling toward Bernie. Democrats fishing for truth, you must feel guilty about over analyzing and questioning or at least not understanding what they are doing, so the anger from the Bernie image. That is my take on the first part of the dream. Rather not comment on the second part. Better to not go there.

    Of course the above analysis could be all wet. It does sound a little fishy. (apologies for the puns)

    1. Or it could be s story about an old man going back to his college campus , enjoying being around young people and enjoying the trip. And maybe feeling somewhat guilty or uncomfortable about the experience.

  7. The first part of dream seems easy enough…being caught up in their tangled fishing lines: they’re all trying to get votes, in this case – yours (fishing)…but perhaps you find the whole affair to be a big mess (caught in ‘their’ tangled lines…oh, what a tangled web…?).

    The other part is a little more confusing…do you have compassion for Bernie, but are seeing him being slammed publicly in ways you feel are untrue and unfair? …or maybe you see him being accused of things that he actually did, and do you see them (albeit perhaps subconsciously) as truly grievous?

    ‘Peanut’ is a common pet name for a cute child. I don’t know if that means anything to you directly, or perhaps you have another meaning you attach to that word – either as a cutesy nickname or not. Maybe you think he’s destroying Jimmy Carter’s legacy? 😉

  8. Leslie Fiedler’s Love and Death in the American Novel has a full crit of Brown’s Power of Sympathy — said it was crap, and a total commercial failure.

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