Thursday: Hili dialogue

January 30, 2020 • 6:45 am

It’s Thursday, January 30, 2020, with one more day until this wretched month is behind us. It’s now been eight days without any sun in Chicago, and that’s not predicted to change until Monday. If the prediction is true, that will be eleven days in a row without sun; the record for Chicago is twelve.

It’s National Croissant Day, a day of cultural appropriation. Better to eat a cronut, the American hybrid of a croissant and a donut, which is a purely American invention and which has yuppies lining up for hours in New York to procure one.

Cronut (vertical cross section)

It’s also National Escape Day (known as a “mental health day” in the U.S.), and National Inane Answering Message Day, which is the opposite of what you expect:

According to Thomas and Ruth Roy, who created Inane Answering Message Day, the day takes place each year so that people can listen to what they have as their recorded greeting for their voicemail and home answering machines, and replace any that are “ridiculous” and “annoying,” that “waste the time of anyone who must listen to them.”

I haven’t heard any of these lately, but what’s worse is hearing the automatic voice that tells you to leave a message and hang up, or “press 1 for more options” WE ALREADY KNOW THAT!

Finally (where do they get these holidays), it’s National Yodel for Your Neighbors Day:

Celebrate the day by walking around your neighborhood and yodeling for your neighbors. It may be advantageous to get a refresher on how to yodel before sharing your yodeling talents with them.

If you’re not Jimmie Rodgers, that might be hard.  Here’s one of his famous “Blue Yodel” songs; this version is “Number 1.”

Finally, in India is Martyr’s Day, celebrating those who gave their life for the country. This is the day in 1948 in which Gandhi was assassinated by a Hindu nationalist.

Stuff that happened on January 30 includes:

  • 1661 – Oliver Cromwell, Lord Protector of the Commonwealth of England, is ritually executed more than two years after his death, on the 12th anniversary of the execution of the monarch he himself deposed.[5]
  • 1703 – The Forty-seven rōnin, under the command of Ōishi Kuranosuke, avenge the death of their master, by killing Kira Yoshinaka.

This is a famous story and I recommend reading the Wikipedia version. The rōnin, being samurai, of course all committed seppuku.

  • 1820 – Edward Bransfield sights the Trinity Peninsula and claims the discovery of Antarctica.
  • 1847 – Yerba Buena, California is renamed San Francisco, California.
  • 1933 – Adolf Hitler is sworn in as Chancellor of Germany.
  • 1948 – Mahatma Gandhi is assassinated by Nathuram Godse, a Hindu extremist.
  • 1969 – The Beatles’ last public performance, on the roof of Apple Records in London. The impromptu concert is broken up by the police.
  • 1982 – Richard Skrenta writes the first PC virus code, which is 400 lines long and disguised as an Apple boot program called “Elk Cloner”.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 58 BC – Livia, Roman wife of Augustus (d. 29)
  • 1882 – Franklin D. Roosevelt, American lawyer and politician, 32nd President of the United States (d. 1945)
  • 1911 – Roy Eldridge, American jazz trumpet player (d. 1989)
  • 1912 – Barbara W. Tuchman, American historian and author (d. 1989)
  • 1930 – Gene Hackman, American actor and author
  • 1935 – Richard Brautigan, American novelist, poet, and short story writer (d. 1984)
  • 1937 – Vanessa Redgrave, English actress
  • 1951 – Phil Collins, English drummer, singer-songwriter, producer, and actor

Eldredge, nicknamed “Little Jazz” (he was short) was one of the greatest trumpet players in jazz history. Here’s one of my favorites, “After You’ve Gone”. It’s been recorded many times, but this is the best, recorded by Eldredge and his orchestra in 1937. Listen to that hot horn!

Those who “fell asleep” on January 30 include:

  • 1948 – Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement against British rule (b. 1869)
  • 1948 – Orville Wright, American pilot and engineer, co-founded the Wright Company (b. 1871)
  • 1982 – Lightnin’ Hopkins, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1912)
  • 2006 – Coretta Scott King, American author and activist (b. 1927)
  • 2006 – Wendy Wasserstein, American playwright and academic (b. 1950)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili needs a bit of explanation. Malgorzata explains: “There is a huge media campaign now in Poland against hunters. Our government wants to remove most restrictions on hunting, but many people are against that policy.”

Hili: Sometimes I lack the motivation to hunt.
A: You may not be hungry or you changed under the influence of media.
In Polish:
Hili: Czasami brakuje mi motywacji do polowania.
Ja: To może nie jesteś głodna albo zmieniłaś się pod wpływem mediów.

From Facebook, which is accurate except for the God bit:

A new story from the Guardian, in which the rag evinces a rare sense of humor (click on screenshot; h/t Jeremy):

Reader Merillee pointed out a Sad and Useless post reporting that many miscreants are posting pictures of their dogs with hipster-ish “man buns”. Here’s one (see the #Dogbun site for more).  People are cruel!

From Andrew Doyle, creator of Queen Titania. See my post on this here.

Speaking of Titania. . .

Samantha Harris is a lawyer at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). And this is indeed pretty much how these scenarios play out:


Tweets from Matthew. The first one is really interesting: look how the proportion of abstract versus concrete words in literature goes down over time. Cormac McCarthy gets the nod for least abstraction, while, in the modern era, Gertrude Stein, whose writing I abhor, leads in abstraction. I wonder why this trend, though! Any thoughts?

A good caption on this one:

I’ve written about Félicette before: the first cat to be launched into space. Sadly and cruelly, although she came back to Earth safely, she was euthanized so that the researchers Dr. Frankensteins could examine her brain. Two years ago there was a Kickstarter campaign to get her a memorial, and now it’s done!

What a great statue!

Finally, a d*g gets a save:

27 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

    1. Jewel (Foolish Games, You Were Meant for Me, Hands, Who Will Save Your Soul, Standing Still) can yodel. She doesn’t yodel in these more popular songs, though.

      This one is pretty good.

      Jewel – Chime Bells ‘The Yodel Song’ live in Tulsa OK, Osage Million Dollar Elm Casino
      0:33 to 2:19.

      1. Coens’ movies always have interesting music — be it the films with scores by Carter Burwell, or the ones (like Raising Arizona) with popular music soundtracks curated by T Bone Burnett. Hell, O Brother, Where Art Thou? was almost single-handedly responsible for the bluegrass revival.

  1. The shrine of the 47 Ronin in a quiet area of Tokyo is one of my favorite places to visit. There is a very nice little museum that displays the receipt the Ronin wrote for the head of Yoshinaka. It doesn’t seem to get many visitors, at least not on the occasions I have visited there.

  2. Anyone know what the missing captions on the bottom 2 of today’s “The Farside” cartoons are supposed to say?

    1. The alligator one: “No, they’re not real exciting pets – mostly the just lie around & wait to be fed – although a couple of years ago Charles tried teachin’ him to take a cookie from his mouth”

    2. As you likely already know, the captions are up now.

      The bottom caption: “Thank God! … It was only a cat!”

  3. Granada TV recording on Aug 22nd 1962
    It was Ringo´s 3rd day as a Beatle

    It was their 126th 12-til-2 lunchtime performance at the underground Cavern Club on Mathew Street, Liverpool [218th appearance including evening shows]

    It’s less than a week after Pete Best had been sacked from the group, and one male fan is captured shouting “We want Pete!” at the end of Some Other Guy & the film cuts just as Lennon is about to make a fruity retort along the lines of “fcuk orf.” There was two or three takes of that song that day – I think because Granada TV was trying to capture it without Lennon being his arsey, unbroadcastable self.

    The audio is a bit duff with McCartney almost inaudible & bits of the audio may be dubbed from a Sept. ’62 recording.

    Ringo is calm & collected – a rock. It is generally forgotten that at that stage he was the most famous of the Beatles. Apparently the band went on to have quite a reasonably successful musical career.

  4. The croissant is of course quintessentially French, but it’s my understanding that the doughnut originated in Holland — therefore any American eating a cronut must be doubly guilty of cultural appropriation. Cronuts don’t seem to have made it to Iowa yet but I would risk Woke Perdition to try one!

    1. Quintessentially French but probably with Austrian origins. Croissants and similar baked goods are called viennoiseries in French.

    2. Croissants, some Parmesan cheese and a sprinkle of spring onions, with a good Gewürztraminer: unbeatable!

  5. Tweet: “A linguistic map of the canon” – looks like bollocks to me. Why does Hemingway get a dot all to himself on the graph while other dots represent entire genres? Nonsense in, nonsense out.

    1. A weird canon indeed. Almost all English language authors with a couple of authors from other languages. It is neither an English literature canon nor an international one. And what the hell does Elena Ferrante in a literary canon?

    2. I wondered about the accuracy of the source data. One potential ‘bias’ I would like to see accounted for is the ratio of abstract to concrete nouns in dictionaries through the ages. Unless you are Shakespeare you can only use the words in circulation.

      Arguably since around 1800 or so there have been more and more concrete things to name due to industrialisation and consumerism. For example all the parts of a railway engine and network. Cars. All the parts of the internal combustion engine. Aeroplane bits. Computer parts. A whole panoply of biological terms, chemistry terms, physics terms.

      On top of that you might reasonably argue that the earlier works tended to present wisdom in allegorical tales, but more recently present a pleasant entertainment.

    3. The rise in concrete nouns perhaps coincides loosely with the rise in literacy and public schooling, but whether or not the two are actually linked I don’t know.

  6. Can’t say the trend revealed in the literature chart surprises me. I think most modern creative-writing programs — including the famous one at the University of Idaho — encourage aspiring fiction writers to prefer the specific to the general, the concrete to the abstract. I should think that authors of the so-called “dirty realism” school (in which Cormac McCarthy is sometimes included), especially the writer generally regarded as its foremost practitioner, Raymond Carver, would rank especially low in their abstract-to-concrete ratios.

    1. The reference should be to the creative-writing program at the University of Iowa.

      Apologies to my friends in the Hawkeye state.

    1. The photo is, of course, a visual representation of Alvin Plantinga’s evolutionary argument against naturalism.

  7. Emory made the local news. Heather Mac Donal, the conservative author, not the comedian with a similar name spoke. There were minority student objections and objections from female students. Emory provide s safe room for the students who feared for their safety, to watch be closed circuit tv. There were objects about Emory letting her speak on campus. Emory put out a statement that they were committed to freedom of speech. I was a student at Emory
    Altizer was there and appeared on the front if Time magazine talking about the Death of God. Those were interesting times but that is another story. Emory stood by his freedom of expression against a lot of pressure.

  8. Ha at the “Tim” the dog photo and caption.

    As it happened just last night I was out in a local bar with an acquaintance who looks like that, the same hair style and general hipster vibe.

    Wonderful guy, but somewhat to my embarrassment he did get in to it with the bartender, being picky and complaining about the craft beer selection and the waiter’s recommendations! 😉

  9. 1820 – Edward Bransfield sights the Trinity Peninsula and claims the discovery of Antarctica.

    “In 1985, a unique skull was discovered lying on Yamana Beach at Cape Shirreff in Antarctica’s South Shetland Islands. It belonged to an indigenous woman from southern Chile in her early 20s, thought to have died between 1819 and 1825. It was the oldest known human remains ever found in Antarctica.

    The location of the discovered skull was unexpected. It was found at a beach camp made by sealers in the early 19th Century near remnants of her femur bone, yet female sealers were unheard of at the time. There are no surviving documents explaining how or why a young woman came to be in Antarctica during this era. Now, at nearly 200 years old, the skull is thought to align with the beginning of the first known landings on Antarctica.”

    “Other events, such as historic shipwrecks, could play a similar role as the Yamana skull. In 1819, the Spanish frigate San Telmo was wrecked in the Drake Passage, which separates the tip of Chile from the Antarctic Peninsula. Archaeologists have searched the Antarctic islands for signs of whether any crew made it alive to the shore.”

    “For the Chilean woman whose skull was found on Yamana Beach, the most likely conclusion is that she was caught up somehow in a sealing mission to Antarctica. She may have drowned or died of exposure on the shore. But her bones remain among the most significant archaeological discoveries ever made in Antarctica. And they are now part of a much bigger picture of soft power and national pride, in the context of the political long-game of laying claim to the frozen continent.”

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