Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s already Friday (August 5), and I’m nearly halfway through my visit to Dobrzyn. Later today, though, I get to visit Leon and his staff. On Sunday I head to Poznan to give a lecture on Monday, so posting will be light. When I return to Chicago a week thereafter, I won’t be going anywhere till the annual Freedom From Religion Foundation meeting (Pittsburgh, October 7-9), which has a good lineup of speakers, and then, in November—Singapore, Hong Kong, and China (work and fun, including noms)! And, if all goes well, I’d like to visit New Zealand for a month in February (fun only).

Today is, and I’m not kidding, National Underwear Day in the U.S. I’m wearing mine!  On this day in 1772, the First Partition of Poland was undertaken (there were three) , dividing this poor beleaguered state among Austria, Prussia, and Russia. In 1884, the cornerstone of the Statue of Liberty was laid (thanks, France!), and, on August 5, Eva-Maria Buch, a member of the Red Orchestra resistance group against the Nazis , was guillotined in Germany at the age of 22. On this day in 1957, American Bandstand debuted on television; how many remember that wildly popular rock-and-roll show hosted by Dick Clark? And on this day in 1981, Ronald Reagan fired over 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers.

Those born on this day include Neil Armstrong (1930) and Marine Le Pen (1968). Those who died on this day include Marilyn Monroe (1962) and Alec Guinness (2000). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sleeping beside me but pretending to do my work:

A: Are you asleep?
Hili: No, I’m composing a review of the book Jerry is reading.
(Photo: Jerry Coyne)
In Polish:
Ja: Śpisz?
Hili: Nie, piszę recenzję z książki, która Jerry czyta.
(Foto: Jerry Coyne)



  1. Dominic
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 6:46 am | Permalink


    I hope they are fresh…

  2. Posted August 5, 2016 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    “on this day in 1981, Ronald Reagan fired over 11,359 striking air-traffic controllers”

    I remember this very well.

    This was the beginning of the end for unions in the US. The right had openly declared war on them.

    I think they played their cards a bit beyond the mark. But Reagan had this in store, regardless. The PATCO strike just gave him a wonderful opening.

    Check the data on incomes in the US: This is when the slide began for everyone except the top 20%.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 5, 2016 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      The slide – the elephant curve – is global, FWIW. Rather than Reagan , we can blame globalization and the poor catching up. It could have been a more graceful process…

    • dabertini
      Posted August 5, 2016 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      I remember it well, but i don’t recall how they managed to replace all the workers w/o disrupting air traffic.

  3. Posted August 5, 2016 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Reagan deserves his share of blame for tilting the economic systems further off their axes.

  4. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    National Underwear Day??

    Two thoughts immediately spring to mind**:

    1. How on earth…? It started as a satirical joke, right, that got out of hand?

    2. So when is National No-underwear Day?


    ** To my mind, anyway. Other persons’ minds may be less reprehensible.

  5. Larry
    Posted August 5, 2016 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    Wish you would come to speak in Taiwan! Lots to see in Taipei, and lots to eat!

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