Friday: Hili dialogue

March 27, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Friday, March 27, 2020—not Friday the 13th, but, given everything going on, it might as well be.  Perhaps it’s appropriate that it’s International Whisky Day (make mine a Springbank). It’s also National Spanish Paella Day (in the US??), Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day (go to the link to see some, like this one), and World Theatre Day.

News of the day: We’re still headed for hell on the Red Ball Express. Every media site I’ve seen is proclaiming that the U.S. has more coronavirus cases than any other country, which is depressing, but not that informative given the differences in population size.  Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus. In America, there’s no end in sight to the lockdown, and many of us are getting restless. Even cats:

Stuff that happened on March 27 includes:

  • 1794 – The United States Government establishes a permanent navy and authorizes the building of six frigates.
  • 1866 – President Andrew Johnson vetoes the Civil Rights Act of 1866. His veto is overridden by Congress and the bill passes into law on April 9.
  • 1871 – The first international rugby football match, when Scotland defeats England in Edinburgh at Raeburn Place.
  • 1886 – GeronimoApache warrior, surrenders to the U.S. Army, ending the main phase of the Apache Wars.

Here’s Geronimo, who died at eighty. He had some regrets at his death:

In February 1909, Geronimo was thrown from his horse while riding home, and had to lie in the cold all night until a friend found him extremely ill. He died of pneumonia on February 17, 1909, as a prisoner of the United States at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. On his deathbed, he confessed to his nephew that he regretted his decision to surrender. His last words were reported to be said to his nephew, “I should have never surrendered. I should have fought until I was the last man alive.”  He was buried at Fort Sill, Oklahoma in the Apache Indian Prisoner of War Cemetery.

  • 1915 – Typhoid Mary, the first healthy carrier of disease ever identified in the United States is put in quarantine for the second time, where she would remain for the rest of her life.

Mary’s real name was Mary Mallon. She was an asymptomatic carrier of typhoid, who during her life infected at least 51 people, of whom three died (there may have been up to 50 who died). She worked as a cook for various families, enabling the infection to spread. After a first quarantine she promised never to work as a cook again, but changed her name to Mary Cook and began cooking, infecting more people. She was re-incarcerated in 1915 and spent her remaining 23 years in Riverside Hospital in New York. Her nickname lives on as someone who spreads contagious or other noxious traits.  Here she is in a hospital bed (foreground):

  • 1964 – The Good Friday earthquake, the most powerful earthquake recorded in North American history at a magnitude of 9.2 strikes Southcentral Alaska, killing 125 people and inflicting massive damage to the city of Anchorage.
  • 1977 – Tenerife airport disaster: Two Boeing 747 airliners collide on a foggy runway on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, killing 583 (all 248 on KLM and 335 on Pan Am). Sixty-one survived on the Pan Am flight. This is the deadliest aviation accident in history.

This is a photo of the collision from the Aviation Geek Club. There were 583 fatalities, and it’s amazing anyone survived. (JAC: A reader suggested that this may be a reconstruction and, given the unlikelihood that someone would have been in a position to take this photo, I agree. If you find out it’s fake, let me know.)


Notables born on this day include:

  • 1845 – Wilhelm Röntgen, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1923)
  • 1857 – Karl Pearson, English mathematician, eugenicist, and academic (d. 1936)
  • 1886 – Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, German-American architect, designed IBM Plaza and Seagram Building (d. 1969)
  • 1909 – Ben Webster, American saxophonist (d. 1973)

Webster’s one of my favorite jazz saxophonists. Here he is playing “Over the Rainbow”:

  • 1924 – Sarah Vaughan, American singer (d. 1990)
  • 1963 – Quentin Tarantino, American director, producer, screenwriter and actor
  • 1970 – Mariah Carey, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress

Those who found eternal rest on March 27 include:

  • 1900 – Joseph A. Campbell, American businessman, founded the Campbell Soup Company (b. 1817)
  • 1910 – Alexander Emanuel Agassiz, Swiss-American ichthyologist, zoologist, and engineer (b. 1835)
  • 1925 – Carl Neumann, German mathematician and academic (b. 1832)
  • 1968 – Yuri Gagarin, Russian colonel, pilot, and astronaut (b. 1934)[7]
  • 1989 – Malcolm Cowley, American novelist, poet, and literary critic (b. 1898)
  • 2002 – Dudley Moore, English actor (b. 1935)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, we have our first exchange between Hili and Szaron! Szaron is resting on the veranda:

Hili: This is my armchair.
Szaron: Time will tell.
In Polish:
Hili: To jest mój fotel.
Szaron: Czas pokaże.
And a photo of Szaron alone, with a caption by Andrzej and translation by Malgorzata:

Szaron: We have to focus on what’s important.

In Polish: Musimy skupić się na tym, co ważne.

Szaron continues to be tamed, and jumped into Malgorzata and Andrzej’s bed for the first time. Andrzej used the occasion to thank people here for the birthday wishes they sent him:

I thank everybody wishing me and wish the same to you in return. Szaron made himself a feast: he devoured everything that was in Hili’s bowls and went to sleep in our bed.

In Polish: Wszystkim mi życzącym pięknie dziękuję i życzę zwrotnie tego samego. Szaron urządził sobie ucztę i zżarł Hili wszystko z jej misek, a potem poszedł spać do naszego łóżka.

From Beth:

From Jesus of the Day:

A baby platypus from Wild and Wonderful:

The Queen extols (but really spoofs) makeup-free celebrities, people who can’t resist flaunting their virtue of staying home while pasting themselves all over Instagram. I detest this odious self-promotion. (Have a look at the link.)

A tweet from reader Barry. This is another candidate for Tweet of the Year, as it’s a perfect (Trump word) impersonation of Trump.

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, can people really be this stupid? The answer is, “OF COURSE!”

A zinger from Hillary Clinton, mocking Trump:

Tweets from Matthew. First, pareidolia. Be sure to enlarge the photo:

A BBC public-health ad. This would never be shown in the U.S. (profanity!):

As Matthew said, this is “amazing”:

Finally, be sure to watch this lovely video: four whole minutes of kids and kitties:

27 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

      1. On that photo the Pan Am plane appears to be in flames before the KLM jumbo hit it, but for the rest it fits the narrative.
        Many factors were to blame, congestion of the small northern Tenerife Airport due to terrorist threats, fog, and most importantly, miscommunication between tower and KLM crew, both using informal language (the language protocols were improved after this disaster) allowing the KLM crew -all of whom died- to erroneously think they were cleared for take off. Although many factors were to blame, KLM assumed responsibility (!!! Yes, something rare nowadays) and paid the ‘repairs’ to the relatives of the victims.

    1. I don’t see a hole in the PanAm fuselage which the KLM front landing gear must have made, since the landing gear is still fully down in the photo after it has passed the PanAm plane.

    2. The first thing I noticed was that the front landing gear of the upper plane was still there, despite the fact that it would have been knocked off by that point.

    3. I think it’s a reconstruction, simply because (a) I’ve never seen it before in any account of the accident and (b) phones with cameras didn’t exist in those days, and CCTV was rare. It’s highly unlikely someone would have been in the right place with a film camera.


  1. “More tunneling through shit, and no fookin’ redemption” — a précis on the distinction between life and the movies in general.

    1. Peter Capaldi as the magnificently profane Malcolm Tucker from The Thick of It.

      If swearing were a competitive sport I rather think he would take the gold medal.

      I think I need to order that series on DVD.


  2. If you ask somebody from Valencia they would probably say that a national paella day can not exist since only in Valencia they make the real thing (no seefood but chicken, rabbit and, optionally, land snails).

  3. We call baby platypuses puggles. Same for baby echidnas. Though the platypus in the pic above may developed beyond the puggle stage, in the same way that there comes a time when a young cat is no longer a kitten.

    And just to mention the edicarian critter from yesterday’s WEIT, it was probably poisonous, like most Australian fauna 😉

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