Thursday: Hili dialogue

It’s Thursday, January 23, 2020, and I am back in Chicago, with snow showers already coming down; we may get a few inches by the weekend. But there are only a few short months until the mallards return to Botany Pond. It’s National Pie Day, celebrating America’s finest contribution to the dessert world (it’s National Rhubarb Pie Day as well, but we won’t speak of vegetable pies).

It’s also National Handwriting Day, celebrating a lost art, and National Measure Your Feet Day, meant to ensure that you’re wearing the right size shoes. Be sure to inspect your pedal extremities as well for calluses, bunions, and other foot maladies.

News of the Day: I’m not really watching the impeachment proceedings and won’t be posting much about them. The conclusion—barring some new juicy tidbit—is preordained: Trump not guilty, vote split nearly 100% along party lines. The only bit that interests me now is whether any Republicans will vote to convict. Fortunately Heather Hastie, a Kiwi, is following the proceedings avidly and will be posting about them. Her first post, “Laurence Tribe vs. Alan Dershowitz“, is just up, and discusses the two Harvard colleagues’ disparate takes on whether Trump should be tried, whether the proceeding are legal, and so on. Go over to Heather’s Homilies and have a look.

As I must catch up with tasks that have accumulated in my absence, posting may be light until Monday.

Stuff that happened on January 23 includes:

  • 1368 – In a coronation ceremony, Zhu Yuanzhang ascends the throne of China as the Hongwu Emperor, initiating Ming dynasty rule over China that would last for three centuries.
  • 1556 – The deadliest earthquake in history, the Shaanxi earthquake, hits Shaanxi province, China. The death toll may have been as high as 830,000. [The high death toll is attributed to much of the population living in artificial loess caves, excavated in silty soil, which collapsed.]
  • 1719 – The Principality of Liechtenstein is created within the Holy Roman Empire.
  • 1795 – After an extraordinary charge across the frozen Zuiderzee, the French cavalry captured 14 Dutch ships and 850 guns, in a rare occurrence of a battle between ships and cavalry.
  • 1849 – Elizabeth Blackwell is awarded her M.D. by the Geneva Medical College of Geneva, New York, becoming the United States’ first female doctor.

Born in England, Blackwell emigrated to the U.S. with her family, and attended Geneva Medical College, the only place that would accept a woman—on the condition that every other medical student (all male) voted to accept her. They did so unanimously, and she went on to a distinguished career in the U.S. as a founder of clinics and a promoter of women’s medical care and of their right to become doctors. She died in 1910 at 89, and here she is:

  • 1941 – Charles Lindbergh testifies before the U.S. Congress and recommends that the United States negotiate a neutrality pact with Adolf Hitler.

Here’s something about Lindbergh that I discovered only when perusing his Wikipedia biography:

Beginning in 1957, Lindbergh had engaged in lengthy sexual relationships with three women while he remained married to Anne Morrow. He fathered three children with hatmaker Brigitte Hesshaimer (1926–2001), who had lived in the small Bavarian town of Geretsried. He had two children with her sister Mariette, a painter, living in Grimisuat. Lindbergh also had a son and daughter (born in 1959 and 1961) with Valeska, an East Prussian aristocrat who was his private secretary in Europe and lived in Baden-Baden. All seven children were born between 1958 and 1967.

  • 1957 – American inventor Walter Frederick Morrison sells the rights to his flying disc to the Wham-O toy company, which later renames it the “Frisbee”.
  • 1986 – The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inducts its first members: Little Richard, Chuck Berry, James Brown, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Fats Domino, The Everly Brothers, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis and Elvis Presley.
  • 1997 – Madeleine Albright becomes the first woman to serve as United States Secretary of State.
  • 2002 – U.S. journalist Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Karachi, Pakistan and subsequently murdered.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1737 – John Hancock, American general and politician, 1st Governor of Massachusetts (d. 1793)
  • 1783 – Stendhal, French novelist (d. 1842)
  • 1862 – David Hilbert, Russian-German mathematician and academic (d. 1943)
  • 1897 – Subhas Chandra Bose, Indian activist and politician (d. 1945)
  • 1910 – Django Reinhardt, Belgian guitarist and composer (d. 1953)

Reinhardt lost use of the third and fourth fingers of his left hand, making it amazing that he was able to not only play, but become one of the greatest jazz guitarists of all time, partnering with violinist Stéphane Grappelli and others in the famous Quintette du Hot Club de France. Here you can see Reinhardt’s two-finger fretting and his collaboration with Reinhardt. This is almost the definition of “swing”:

Reinhardt died of a stroke in 1953. He was only 43.

  • 1918 – Gertrude B. Elion, American biochemist and pharmacologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1999)

Those whose existence lapsed on January 23 include:

  • 1803 – Arthur Guinness, Irish brewer, founded Guinness (b. 1725)
  • 1806 – William Pitt the Younger, English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1759)
  • 1883 – Gustave Doré, French engraver and illustrator (b. 1832)
  • 1944 – Edvard Munch, Norwegian painter and illustrator (b. 1863)
  • 1947 – Pierre Bonnard, French painter (b. 1867)
  • 1976 – Paul Robeson, American actor, singer, and activist (b. 1898)
  • 1989 – Salvador Dalí, Spanish painter and sculptor (b. 1904)
  • 2004 – Helmut Newton, German-Australian photographer (b. 1920)
  • 2005 – Johnny Carson, American talk show host, television personality, and producer (b. 1925)
  • 2011 – Jack LaLanne, American fitness instructor, author, and television host (b. 1914)
  • 2015 – Ernie Banks, American baseball player and coach (b. 1931)

Munch was of course most famous for his renditions of “The Scream”, but he also drew “Two Reclining Lions“:

And here’s a nice video of a re-creation of one of Newton’s sexually charged fashion photos, using the original models:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Pauline, the upstairs lodger, is communing with the Princess. (This is Pauline’s photo).

Hili: Yes, scratch me there and also behind the ear.
Paulina: And the belly?
Hili: Later on.
In Polish:
Hili: Tak, tu mnie podrap i jeszcze za uchem.
Palina: A po brzuchu?
Hili: To później.

Posted by Stephen Cho at Science Humor:

From the Purrfect Feline Page:

. . . and from Jesus of the Day:


Three tweets from Titania. The other day she put up a tweet that’s met with considerable pushback. (It’s the one that says “All animals are naturally vegan. The ‘food chain’ is a myth created by men to justify eating meat.”)

More abuse (people still think she’s a real person, and a woke one:

And you may have heard that Terry Jones of Monty Python died. Titania’s reaction:

A tweet sent by Orli. Sound up on this one! Mandatory!

Tweets from Matthew. I haven’t listened to this first one yet, but it sounds propitious: Matthew says, “Hour long scabrous chat between Herring (who’s a comedian) and Stavrakopoulou about the Bible. Includes a discussion about the size of God’s cock.”  I can’t miss that!

Don’t mess with this gecko! It can also let its tail fall off when a predator is around.

Goff is using this blog survey to somehow buttress panpsychism—on the grounds that some theories (like the fact that the “real world” may not be real but a delusion) are deemed LESS credible than panpsychism. Give me a break, Goff? Adduce some evidence to support the ridiculous notion of panpsychism.

Some wag responded to the poll and Goff’s shameless touting:



  1. Posted January 23, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Is someone who believes in panpsychism a panpsychic?

    • Posted January 23, 2020 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      Perhaps you are joking but, in case you aren’t, I’ve seen them called “panpsychists”.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted January 23, 2020 at 11:34 am | Permalink

        I wasn’t joking re my comment below yours. Over the past couple of weeks I’ve spent a good deal of time trying to find the correct suffx, and it wasn’t until I googled “panchychist” that I found that word in the Stanford Dictionary of Philosophy and nowhere else. I can’t find any citations where the believers in this philosophy or theology refer to themselves as panpsychists; not saying they don’t, but I found only this one citation.

        Now building on the suffix “-ist,” I shall alternate between referring to them as “panpsychics” and “panpsychistas.”

        BTW, what’s the proper grammatical term for nouns of this type, indicating a belief or practice in something? It’s slipped my mind.

        • Posted January 23, 2020 at 11:50 am | Permalink

          Panpsychist is also in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary: “an advocate of panpsychism” Panpsychic is ambiguous as it might mean either a. one who practices panpsychism or b. of or related to panpsychism.

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted January 23, 2020 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

            I don’t give credence to panpsychism, can’t you tell that it’s woo to me. But my tongue was only halfway in my cheek, though tongue in or out, panpsychic works for me. And certainly the weakest definition of psychic is applicable, the Cambridge online dictionary gives one definition: “If a person, experience, or event is said to be psychic, the person’s abilities or the nature of the experience or event cannot be explained by modern science.” I think even the panpsychistas would agree with that.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted January 23, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

      That’s what I’ve been calling ’em. In fact, it works admirably because one must have preternatural powers to discern the alleged phenomenon.

      • Posted January 23, 2020 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        Amusingly, it calls to mind the notion that they can divine the future of inanimate matter.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted January 23, 2020 at 1:41 pm | Permalink


  2. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 23, 2020 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    in a rare occurrence of a battle between ships and cavalry

    I wonder if there’s a second member of that class. Anyone know?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 23, 2020 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      War stories are often wrong – the one example of ships versus cavalry battle is likely bogus, thus the class size equals zero.


      The traditional narrative of French cavalry storming and capturing the ships at Den Helder is primarily based on French sources. Dutch historian Johannes Cornelis de Jonge wrote that the Dutch fleet had already received orders […] to offer no resistance […] a couple of French hussars merely crossed the ice to negotiate a handover by the Dutch officers. […] De Jonge states that the misconception stems from an 1819 publication by Swiss general Antoine-Henri Jomini, whose account was subsequently cited by French historians

      MORE DETAIL HERE from a different source – mostly in agreement with the Wiki.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 24, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        I haven’t fallen off the sofa in astonishment at hearing that it’s Fake News.
        I almost can’t wait for the conspiracy theorists to get their teeth into the Trump-session-2 Moon landings. If they ever happen, on anything like their announced schedule.
        On those occasions that I dip into Twitter I follow a Floridan scientist who specialises in planetary and satellite surfaces. One thing he points out occasionally is that the so-celebrated “first footstep on the Moon” was almost certainly erased by the rocket wash from the astronauts taking off.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 23, 2020 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Who you gonna call?…


    Sorry – I’ve been philosophizing about ghosts.

  4. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 23, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Tatiana asks

    What would be a respectful period of time to wait until we start trawling through his work for any signs of sexism, racism or homophobia and completely savaging his reputation?

    A very un-haha and totally-serious take on that would be that news service’s (ink-on-deadtree, online, whatever) “Obituary” departments have probably already started doing exactly that. As they plough through their file of “ready-updated obituaries for people who aren’t dead yet”, they’ll be keeping notes of when people have been “naughty or nice”, flagging things for the next generation of AI obituary-writing software.
    Actually, since Obits don’t generally need to worry about the Legal Department, they’d probably be a pretty good target for automatic story-writing software, which is coming already. (The last UK general election had, for example, a story produced “softwarily” for every one of the possible results for every one of the 626(-ish) constituencies, for something like 1800 potential stories, which their psephologists added commentary for “more interesting” results. I could well see a similar approach working for Obits.

    “Softwarily” – a neologism for cautious, partial deployment of new software, with close oversight by hoomins. Knowing my luck, it’s probably in the Jargon File from 30 years ago.

    • Posted January 23, 2020 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      Just in Life of Brian he took the role of Mandy the Mother of Brian thus depriving the role to somebody of the right gender identity.

      He also directed a scene that was transphobicically truthful: “where’s the foetus going to gestate? You gonna keep it in a box?”

      /sarcasm just in case anybody thinks otherwise.

      • Posted January 23, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        I always thought that a man playing a women was part of the joke. His falsetto voice and non-feminine physique made it much funnier than it would be with a woman in the role. And Pythons did not hesitate to use a woman in roles where it made sense.

        • Posted January 23, 2020 at 11:58 am | Permalink

          Sorry Paul but feminist comedy is no laughing matter.

          • Posted January 23, 2020 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

            I wasn’t laughing. I take my comedy very seriously. 😉

  5. TJR
    Posted January 23, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    Herring and Stavrakopolou sounds like an excellent double act.

    For non-Brits, Richard Herring was half of classic nineties comedy double act Lee and Herring, while Francesca Stavrakopolou did an excellent 3-part TV documentary on the history of the bible a few years ago. Well worth a watch if you can find it.

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 23, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I just watched an interview with Palin – he mentions how “dangerous” this skit was :

    .. and how that “physical” comedy was one if Jones’ fortés

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted January 23, 2020 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    Seventeen ninety-five: Greatest French naval victory won by cavalry.

  8. merilee
    Posted January 23, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink


  9. rickflick
    Posted January 23, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    “Lindbergh had engaged in lengthy sexual relationships with three women”

    I can’t help wondering it he was caught up with Hitler’s notion of a pure Aryan race. He and his mistresses might have been doing their part to contribute to the 1000 years plan.

  10. Posted January 23, 2020 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    Uh Oh…

  11. Posted January 23, 2020 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

    A fond farewell, Terry Jones. Thanks for the laughs.

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