Is August gone already? If that’s the case, then fall is on us, and if fall is on us, can winter be far behind? Yes, it’s September 1, 2016, 77 years to the day from when Germany invaded Poland in 1939, beginning World War II. It’s also Random Acts of Kindness Day everywhere as well as Wattle Day in Australia, celebrated on the first day of Spring in the Southern hemisphere. Are any Aussies wearing wattle sprigs today? If you are, send a photo and I’ll put it up. Here’s a woman buying Wattles for Wattle Day in Sydney in 1935. (If you know the “wattle poem” from Monty Python’s famous “Philosophers at the University of Wallabaloo” sketch, please put it in the comments.
On this day in history, besides the invasion of Poland by Hitler, Louis XIV died in 1715 after reigning more than 72 years. On September 1, 1914, the last known passenger pigeon, Martha, died in the Cinncinnati Zoo, bringing a once-numerous species to extinction. Here’s Martha, stuffed and mounted:
Those born on this day include Art Pepper (1925; listen here for Saxaphone Paradise), Alan Dershowitz (1938), and Padma Lakshmi (1970 ♥). Those who died on this day include Sigfried Sassoon (1967), Albert Speer (1981), and, exactly one year ago, my friend Will Provine, a contrarian population geneticist who didn’t believe in genetic drift. But he was a nice guy.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, we have an explanation from Malgorzata for the Hili Dialogue. Many is the time I hurt my feet on those stones when, barefoot, I went outside to either call Hili or fetch her from the windowsill!
Explanation first: There was a punishment in Poland, often meted out to disobedient children: they were forced to kneel for a long time on hard, dry peas scattered on a hard floor.
Hili: Did you ever kneel on peas?
Hili: See? And I have to lie on stones.
Hili: Klęczałeś kiedyś na grochu?
Hili: No widzisz, a ja muszę leżeć na kamieniach.