Sunday: Hili dialogue

It’s going to be another scorcher in Chicago today, with high temperatures about 87° F (31° C) with even hotter weather tomorrow. It’s June 26, 2016, and Brisbane, Australia is having a weeklong celebration (photo courtesy of Dr. Michael Turelli, who’s visiting the city):


On this day in 1907, the Tiflis bank robbery, organized by Lenin, Stalin, and their confederates to fund the Bolsheviks, took place, killing 40 people and netting the Reds several million dollars in today’s currency. In 1963, John F. Kennedy gave his “Ich bin ein Berliner” speech. I’ve been told that saying “ein Berliner” rather than “Berliner” makes it mean “I am a jelly donut,” but that appears to be wrong. On June 26, 1974, the Universal Product Code was used for the first time, scanning a pack of chewing gum at a supermarket in Ohio. And, in 2015, the U. S. Supreme Court ruled that gay couples have a right to marry.

Notables born on this day include Chesty Puller (1898), Babe Didrikson Zaharias (1911), Chris Isaak (1956), and Derek Jeter (1974). Those who died on this day include Malcolm Lowry (1957), Roy Campanella (1993), and the wonderful Nora Ephron (2012). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is again looking for avian noms:

Hili: I have to go to confession.
A: Why?
Hili: I’ve sinned against my flying bretheren again.

In Polish:

Hili: Muszę iść do spowiedzi.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Znowu zgrzeszyłam wobec fruwających braci.

Meanwhile, at Ten Cats, the search continues for a bellhop for Cat’s Inn:


And the cat shall lie down with the rodent. . .


  1. E.A. Blair
    Posted June 26, 2016 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Pavlovian Conditioning: Teaching a scientist to ring a bell when a dog starts drooling.

  2. Jim Knight
    Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Thanks for mentioning Chesty Puller’s birthday. He was one of my childhood heroes, one whose actions highlighted to me how I sometimes needed to act…

    • lwgreen1
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      I learned about Chesty Puller in boot camp in 1962. In our bunks after lights out, in unison we would recite the Rifleman’s Creed and then say, “Good night, Chesty, wherever you are.”

  3. Posted June 26, 2016 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    A “Berliner” is both someone from Berlin and a jelly doughnut. To say you are from Berlin, you would say “Ich bin Berliner.” To say “Ich bin ein Berliner” is grammatically not correct, and could well mean I am a (Berliner) doughnut though in fairness to Kennedy I don’t think anyone would misunderstand what he meant to say.

    Carl Kruse

    • Posted June 26, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      I thought the link above noted that it WAS grammatically correct to say “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

      • Posted June 26, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        I think it’s a bit ambivalent, given the unusual context. German does indeed drop the article when describing someones profession or other identity, eg., “Ich bin Wissenschaftler” — I am a scientist. As far as I know, no native speaker would say “Ich bin ein Wissenschaftler”. As the article points out, to say “Ich bin Berliner” would mean someone was born in Berlin. But to say “I am in spirit a Berliner” would probably need a completely different formulation which wouldn’t work as well.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted June 26, 2016 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          Darn definite and indefinite articles! Kennedy should’ve stuck with the Latin but then no one would get it and he’d look snooty! 🙂

    • Posted June 26, 2016 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Obligatory Eddie Izzard scene:

    • Charles Minus
      Posted June 26, 2016 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      FWIW: When I was a lad in Chicagoland, the jelly doughnut was called a Bismark. I believe that (Otto von) Bismark was, in fact, a Berliner, hence both interpretations of Kennedy’s remark would be correct.

  4. Posted June 27, 2016 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    We (humans) do really celebrate almost everything, don’t we?

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