Saturday: Hili dialogue

May 9, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Saturday, May 9, 2020, and National Foodies Day. Remember the immortal words of Dr. Johnson: ” He who does not mind his belly, will hardly mind anything else.” It’s also Brunch for Lunch Day (remember, though, that Anthony Bourdain said to never go out for brunch), International Migratory Bird Day, Hurray for Buttons Day, National Moscato Day (a vastly underrated grape), National Train Day, and Lost Sock Memorial Day. I have lost many a sock in the dryer over the years, and have a big bag of singletons that never seem to find a mate (but I’m ever hopeful). At one time I thought of throwing one of those socks into the dryer to propitiate the Sock Thief God before each drying bout. Now I buy socks of only one color (black or dark blue), so I can always have a match if I lose one.

I injured my ear on duck duty yesterday, catching it on a tree branch while running to break up a hen fight, and wound up lacerating it pretty badly—a complex laceration into the cartilage, it says. Or, as the doctor told me after she gave me 9 stitches (several of them double), “You had a really messed up ear.” I will try to keep the website going as normally as possible until I’m healed, but please bear with me until then. It shouldn’t take long.  Now I am Vincent Van Dugh. More in the next post:


News of the day: Bad for me, worse for the world.

Stuff that happened on this day includes:

  • 1662 – The figure who later became Mr. Punch makes his first recorded appearance in England.

That was a diary entry by Samuel Pepys:

In his diary entry for May 9, Pepys wrote: “Thence to see an Italian puppet play that is within the rayles there, which is very pretty, the best that ever I saw.” He enjoyed the performance so much that he went again two weeks later, taking his wife to see the show.

Here’s an early picture of Mr. Punch:

  • 1671 – Thomas Blood, disguised as a clergyman, attempts to steal England’s Crown Jewels from the Tower of London.

Blood was not only pardoned, which I see as unthinkable back then, but given a piece of land in Ireland.

Read the entry: a “molly house” was a tavern for male homosexuals where they could meet and have sex.  (A gay man was known as a “molly”.) That was punishable by death in that era.  I can’t find confirmation of the execution, but it must be somewhere on the web.

  • 1901 – Australia opens its first national parliament in Melbourne.
  • 1926 – Admiral Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett claim to have flown over the North Pole (later discovery of Byrd’s diary appears to cast some doubt on the claim.)

As it says, this is a dubious claim. Wikipedia notes this:

The first claimed flight over the Pole was made on 9 May 1926 by US naval officer Richard E. Byrd and pilot Floyd Bennett in a Fokker tri-motor aircraft. Although verified at the time by a committee of the National Geographic Society, this claim has since been undermined by the 1996 revelation that Byrd’s long-hidden diary’s solar sextant data (which the NGS never checked) consistently contradict his June 1926 report’s parallel data by over 100 mi (160 km). The secret report’s alleged en-route solar sextant data were inadvertently so impossibly overprecise that he excised all these alleged raw solar observations out of the version of the report finally sent to geographical societies five months later (while the original version was hidden for 70 years), a realization first published in 2000 by the University of Cambridge after scrupulous refereeing.

The confirmed first flights are these:

The first consistent, verified, and scientifically convincing attainment of the Pole was on 12 May 1926, by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen and his US sponsor Lincoln Ellsworth from the airship Norge. Norge, though Norwegian-owned, was designed and piloted by the Italian Umberto Nobile. The flight started from Svalbard in Norway, and crossed the Arctic Ocean to Alaska. Nobile, with several scientists and crew from the Norge, overflew the Pole a second time on 24 May 1928, in the airship Italia. The Italia crashed on its return from the Pole, with the loss of half the crew.

  • 1942 – Holocaust: The SS executes 588 Jewish residents of the Podolian town of Zinkiv (Khmelnytska oblast, Ukraine). The Zoludek Ghetto (in Belarus) is destroyed and all its inhabitants executed or deported.
  • 1945 – World War II: The final German Instrument of Surrender is signed at the Soviet headquarters in Berlin-Karlshorst.

Here’s the last page of the surrender document that ended the war in Europe:

From Wikipedia: Third and final page of the instrument of unconditional surrender signed at Berlin on 9 May 1945 (back-dated to 8 May 1945)
  • 1950 – Robert Schuman presents his proposal on the creation of an organized Europe, which according to him was indispensable to the maintenance of peaceful relations. This proposal, known as the “Schuman Declaration”, is considered by some people to be the beginning of the creation of what is now the European Union.
  • 1970 – Vietnam War: In Washington, D.C., 75,000 to 100,000 war protesters demonstrate in front of the White House.
  • 1979 – Iranian Jewish businessman Habib Elghanian is executed by firing squad in Tehran, prompting the mass exodus of the once 100,000-strong Jewish community of Iran.

Notables born on May 9 include:

  • 1800 – John Brown, American activist (d. 1859)
  • 1860 – J. M. Barrie, Scottish novelist and playwright (d. 1937)
  • 1874 – Howard Carter, English archaeologist and historian (d. 1939)
  • 1918 – Mike Wallace, American journalist, media personality and one-time game show host (d. 2012)
  • 1920 – Richard Adams, English novelist (d. 2016)
  • 1921 – Sophie Scholl, German activist (d. 1943)

Scholl, her brother Hans, and the other members of the White Rose group are heroes of mine, as it took a lot of nerve to defy the Nazis. She, Hans, and Christopher Probst were executed by guillotine on February 22, 1943.  The trial, verdict, and execution all took place within a few minutes. Here’s a reenactment from the movie, showing the speed of the verdict and execution (no gore is shown):

  • 1927 – Manfred Eigen, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019)
  • 1955 – Anne Sofie von Otter, Swedish soprano and actress

Here are Scholl and Hans:


Those who “passed” on May 9 include:

  • 1707 – Dieterich Buxtehude, German-Danish organist and composer (b. 1637)
  • 1805 – Friedrich Schiller, German poet, playwright, and historian (b. 1759)
  • 1976 – Ulrike Meinhof, German militant, co-founded the Red Army Faction (b. 1934)
  • 1977 – James Jones, American novelist (b. 1921)
  • 1986 – Tenzing Norgay, Nepalese mountaineer (b. 1914)
  • 2010 – Lena Horne, American singer, actress, and activist (b. 1917)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s hunting instincts are returning:

Hili: If I’m not mistaken, there is a nest.
A: Don’t even think about it.
In Polish:
Hili: Albo mi się zdaje, albo tam jest gniazdo.
Ja: Nawet o tym nie myśl.


32 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Ouchies dear Prof
    I hope it is not s painful as it looks
    and that you can keep the dressing dry.

      1. Wow, physical injury on top of all the stress. The order of Le Garde de Canetons must issue a medal.

        I was just so glad to see any ducklings on the pond this morning. I was afraid yesterday’s stress might result in both hens abandoning their broods.

      2. Glad that you could get to a medic for quick care. Looks like one of the hens and several babies are staying warm in some debris by the tree on one of the islands this morning as i write this(0745 chicago time). The babies spend some time in the water which may be a bit warmer than the air this morning.

      3. And still you were out there this morning, feeding your charges! Do get well soon, Jerry. Duck husbandry is a dangerous front-line job, as it’s turned out.

  2. Hope there’s no hematoma in the ear – the ducks would probably want to devour the resulting “cauliflower ear”!
    I too decided long ago to solve the sock problem. Red for weekdays, and yellow at weekends. Next time you visit Paris, a visit to Mes Chaussettes Rouges is in order, and I’d recommend the red Gammarelli socks in Merino wool.

  3. Heal well. I have been stitched up many times (many, many times) over the years. You have my sympathy in this.

    Do take care. Ears stick out. My most painful experience in the last 10 or 20 years was having a sutured wound torn back open 36hours after they were put in.

  4. There is quite a lot of discussion out there on the internets about how socks become lost. There is even a formula for the probability of sock loss per person:
    Prob = (L(pxf)+C(t+s)-(PAxA). It is Very Interesting.

  5. Perfect opportunity for joining the meme of recreating famous art! Do you have a green overcoat? I hope so.

  6. Wow, sorry to hear about the ear! I hope you see the humor in this: “Running to stop a hen fight” might be a first as an explanation for why anyone would need stitches.

    Be well!

  7. Sorry about the tree being in the way but what’s needed is needed.
    How are the invalids doing. Are they part
    of the mass swimming with mama?

  8. Ouch, that’s an ugly wound and I can’t even see it! But now I understand why the duck farmer I saw on the video stream this morning had unusual headgear.

  9. Ouch! Sorry about the ear, Jerry! I hope it heals quickly.

    If I might be so bold, next time you might want to duck…. (I’ll show myself out.)

    1. During Friday’s huge duck fight, I saw (via the webcam) a woman pond-side who had to duck; she was inadvertently strafed by incoming duelling Mallards.

  10. Ouch. The trees are fighting back! At least that’s what they used to say at the park I worked at in my youth when a branch would try to kill the staff cutting the grass on ride in mowers.

  11. The ear looks pretty dramatic. Don’t fall in the pond and compound things. The geese on our pond seem to have much more peaceful parenting dynamics than your combative ducks.

  12. You have my deepest sympathies over the ear. However, I must admit they are somewhat tempered by your new name: Vincent Van Dugh indeed 😉

  13. I’ll want to know if you can still wiggle it. The ear, I mean. It would be a shame if that amazing talent was lost.

  14. My god… Hope it heals quickly & isn’t too annoying.

    ….Kinda fitting in a way that Professor Ceiling Cat winds up with a chewed up ear, though!

  15. What to say? I wish you good healing and am sorry this happened. Trees and shrubs are surprisingly “grabby.” I’ve never suffered an injury like this but I’ve forced to the ground, slapped, banged and knocked around. And I’ve tripped as well on branches, roots, and old wire fences I never spotted, etc

    This is a terrible time to raise the following but it is said in the interest of your safety.

    I’ve wondered from the beginning this year why the UC doesn’t require you to wear a helmet and a vest, especially when you are working alone in un-natural urban habitat

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