Saturday: Hili dialogue

Good morning! It’s Saturday, September 17, 2016—National Apple Dumpling day! (Do these things even exist any more?) But it’s a big holiday for Australia, for on this day in 1900, Queen Victoria issued the Proclamation for Declaring the Establishment of the Commonwealth of Australia. Can you imagine?: it’s not even listed under Wikipedia‘s Sept. 17 holidays!

Also on this day, in 1683 (and Matthew will like this), Antonie van Leeuwenhoek wrote a letter to the Royal Society describing his observation of “animalcules” under his microscope: the first recorded description of protozoa. On September 17, 1916, Baron von Richtofen, the first famous “ace,” scored his first aerial kill. After downing 80 enemy aircraft, Richtofen was killed in 1918 at the age of 25:


Manfred von Richtofen (1892-1918)

The greatest ace of all time, however, was another German, Erich Hartmann (1922-1993), credited with shooting down 352 allied aircraft, 345 of them Soviet. He crash-landed 14 times, but was never shot down. Captured by the Soviets, he eventually spent 10 years in labor camps before being returned to Germany:


Erich Hartmann, the “ace of aces”

Notables born on this day include Billy the Kid (1859), Warren Burger (1907), Stirling Moss (1929; still with us), Ken Kesey (1935), and perhaps the greatest mountaineer of all time, Reinhold Messner (1944; the first man to summit Everest alone and without supplementary oxygen: a stupendous feat). Notables who died on this day include Dred Scott (1858), Karl Popper (1994), Spiro Agnew (1996), and Red Skelton (1997). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili was dithering about what to do, when suddenly it struck her that she was hungry:

Hili: Aren’t you surprised?
A: At what?
Hili: Before a cat can get its thoughts together it’s time to eat something.
 In Polish:
Hili: Czy ciebie to nie dziwi?
Ja: Co?
Hili: Zanim się kot zorientuje już pora coś zjeść.

Eat me!


  1. rickflick
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Note: Baron von Richtofen was known as the red baron. In those days they flew rather unstable, open cockpit, biplanes. I’ve ridden in a modern one – the Waco.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Or triplanes – Richthofen was famous for flying the Fokker DR1 Triplane.

      And they (biplanes) weren’t necessarily unstable – it depended on the individual design. Also, flimsy as they look, biplanes (and triplanes) are often extremely strong, since the wings and bracing wires form a very rigid box. It was early monoplanes that were often structurally suspect.


      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

        Errm, that should be ‘wings *and struts* and bracing wires’ of course.

        I believe correctly tensioning the bracing wires was a fairly skilled and quite critical job, since getting it wrong could put a twist into the wing and change its angle of attack with adverse effects on the handling.


    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      Hey, I lived in Waco for a couple of years. Just a joke. They are pronounced differently as well. Waco the city is more like going to a wake. And Waco the plane is more like going for a walk. I hope you enjoy this bit of trivia.

  2. jimroberts
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Typo alert: Spiro Agnew, not Agnet.

    • Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Fixed, thanks.

      • Bethlenfalvy
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        Bigger typo: Richthofen, not Richtofen.

    • George
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Quit being such a nattering nabob of negativism.

      • jimroberts
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

        I believe that our host and many of his readers value accuracy, even in very minor matters. My correction, trivial though it was, was intended as positive, constructive criticism.
        I would also welcome a new policy by PCC of deleting such trivial criticism once acted on, but regard for the Roolz prevents me from telling him how to run his site.

        • jimroberts
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          PS. Nice alliteration though.

          • rickflick
            Posted September 17, 2016 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

            Sounds like you are too young to know the origin of the phrase.

            • jimroberts
              Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

              Sorry: chances are, I’m a good deal older than you, and I remember Spiro well.

              • jimroberts
                Posted September 17, 2016 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

                Maybe I misunderstood George and he wasn’t trying to criticise my comment, merely display his erudition.

              • Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:10 am | Permalink

                You don’t remember Agnew’s original of that phrase?

                George was tongue in cheek all the way.

              • jimroberts
                Posted September 19, 2016 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

                You’re right. I didn’t remember that phrase until you reminded me.

  3. Christopher
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    I haven’t had an apple dumpling in ages. A delightful treat for young and old alike that was! Perhaps they’re not considered “cultured” enough to eat these days. One must serve a tarte aux pommes or something European-sounding to excite people (not that I turn my nose up at French pastries!)

    And while I’m busy yelling at kids to get off my lawn, it’s a shame “kids these days” have never seen the Apple Dumpling Gang movie. What’s this country coming to?!

    and thanks autocorrect for constantly trying to change pommes into pommel.

  4. Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    Manfred von Richthofen was one of the most arrogant Junkers of his time if you believe his autobiography. I read it when I had already adopted Red Baron as a pen name and was ashamed. It was too late. Now I am stuck:

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 17, 2016 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Not necessarily. From Wikipedia:

      “During his convalescent leave, Richthofen completed an autobiographic sketch, Der rote Kampfflieger (1917). Written on the instructions of the “Press and Intelligence” (propaganda) section of the Luftstreitkräfte, it shows evidence of having been heavily censored and edited.[34] An English translation by J. Ellis Barker was published in 1918 as The Red Battle Flyer.[35] Although Richthofen died before a revised version could be prepared, he is on record as repudiating the book, stating that it was “too insolent” (or “arrogant”) and that he was “no longer that kind of person”.[36]”


      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted September 17, 2016 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        And if he died by 25 he was so young and who wasn’t a bit of a jerk at that age?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted September 17, 2016 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

          Not me.



  5. busterggi
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    Shouldn’t that be a spoon rather than a fork? Wouldn’t want to lose all that dripping goodness.

  6. phil
    Posted September 17, 2016 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    “Can you imagine?: it’s not even listed under Wikipedia‘s Sept. 17 holidays!”

    That’s probably because it isn’t recognised as a holiday in Oz, or at least if it is nobody remembered to tell me. In fact I don’t think anyone much (in Oz) recognises the date for its significance.

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