Monday: Hili dialogue (and Leon lagniappe)

It’s Monday, September 19 in Chicago, and it’s National Butterscotch Pudding Day! The chances are slim that any of us will have this comestible today, as I haven’t seen it on any menus in decades. But I’m sure you can buy the Jell-o brand in the store. It is good.


Who remembers this?

On this day in 1881, President James Garfield died of his wounds after an assassin shot him on July 2 (he almost certainly died of infection); Garfield, who had assumed the Presidency only that year, was succeeded by Chester Arthur. On Sept. 19, 1959, Nikita Krushchev was prohibited from visiting Disneyland due to security issues; he was mad. And, on this day 1991, Ötzi the Iceman, the preserved body of a 5000-year-old Copper Age man, was discovered by two tourists on the border between Austria and Italy. It remains the oldest “mummy” found in Europe.

Notables born on this day include Duke Snider (1926), Adam “Batman” West (1928), Cass Elliot (1944; went to my high school), Jeremy Irons (1948), and Twiggy (née Lesley Hornby, born 1949 and therefore almost my age). Those who died on this day include, beside James Garfield, mountaineer Lionel Terray (1965), Hermes Pan (1990), Skeeter Davis (2004), and Eddie Adams (also 2004). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, the spoiled cat, is slaking her thirst with some whole milk:

A: Why are you so thirsty?
Hili: Some mice are too salty.
 In Polish:
Ja: Co ci się tak pić chce?
Hili: Niektóre myszki są przesolone.

And in the fields around his Forever-Home-to-Be, Leon exculpates himself:

Leon: It wasn’t me, it was beavers!



And out in Winnipeg where the caribou roam, Gus is hiding:




  1. David
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    You left out the most important holiday – it’s International Talk Like A Pirate Day!

    Arrrghhh, matey!

    • Lurker111
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Just found out something interesting the other day. No one writes pirate stories in May, June, July or August.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Arrrr! Ya dun beat me to it, ya swab. Arrr.

    • rickflick
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

      I’ve just made myself some butterscotch pudding for dinner tonight, and you can imagine the topic of conversation. Ahoy me maties?

  2. busterggi
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    Shiver me booties, I hates butterscotch!

  3. Lurker111
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    I’m not crazy about butterscotch either, EXCEPT in the form of Butterscotch Crimpets:

    If I created an ad for these, I’d have two Keystone Kops-ish robbers, complete in raccoon masks, pull over a Tastykake van, and when the driver reaches for his wallet, the two robbers go, “Forget the wallet! Give us the Butterscotch Crimpets!” Then a voice-over says, “Tastykake Butterscotch Crimpets. They’re _that_ good!”

    In an alternate universe, I must have been an ad man. In another alternate universe, a failed stand-up comedian.

  4. Sarah
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    The iceman was found between Austria and Italy; now he is in a special museum in Bolzano in Italy.

    • Posted September 19, 2016 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      Sorry, I knew that but had a big typo. Fixed, thanks.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

      The Iceman was darned close to the border, and IIRC the original finders were going into Austria and thought they were on the Austria side of the pass, so they made their initial report to the Austrian authorities. When initial investigations got more interesting, they ended up having to do a re-survey of the border marker stones before eventually concluding that the find was in Italian jurisdiction. Politics!

      It remains the oldest “mummy” found in Europe.

      No need for the quote marks around “mummy” – the post-mortem exposure had sufficiently dehydrated the body that it is a classic case of mummification. That dehydration is the marker of mummification. The taphonomy of hoomin bodies is well studied and reported, for fairly obvious reasons.
      There is a misperception that “mummification” is a process that requires the application of heat to a body to dehydrate it and so arrest the normal processes of decomposition. Not so – it’s just the dehydration. In cold climates, and particularly in cold, well ventilated environments, the body can become effectively freeze-dried, which is the same thing. Bacteria stop growing ; arthropods stop nomming ; flesh hardens into leathery material over the skeleton and adipocere (“grave wax”) doesn’t form. Ötzi, the Andean mountain top sacrifices, the homeless person’s corpse in an empty (but still roofed) factory in a Chicago winter – all become mummified if they’re cold and sufficiently dry.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted September 19, 2016 at 5:37 pm | Permalink

        mountaineer Lionel Terray (1965),

        It’s a small world.
        When Ötzi was discovered, Reinhold Messner was marginally involved in the recovery (the mountain gendarmes realised it was hardly his first mountain body-recovery, and his experience was a contribution to the growing realisation that this was an archaeological issue rather than a recent mountaineering death. The equipment and situation were wrong. Both the original Ötzi book and one of Messner’s subsequent books mention the event.)
        While Messner modelled his mountaineering philosophy and career on the hardest of the hard, Hermannn Buhl, he learned huge lessons from Terray about the need for speed, particularly at altitude. If there were an mountaineer’s version of “rock family trees,” Terray would be one of Messner’s “parents”, and thereby a contributor to the recovery of Otzi.

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I read somewhere that James A Garfield owned one of the first copies of Origin of Species in Ohio. What little I’ve read since then suggests that he was a remarkable man, and someone who would be generally a lot more well-known if he hadn’t been cut down so early in his presidency.

    His son, James R, was Secy Interior under Teddy Roosevelt & Wm Howard Taft, so the name James Garfield occasionally turns up unexpectedly.

    • frednotfaith2
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:57 pm | Permalink

      None of the Presidents who served between the end of Grant’s 2nd term in 1877 and Theodore Roosevelt’s accession to the office after McKinley’s death in 1901 really stood out, unless you count Cleveland for having the distinction of being the only one to serve two non-consecutive terms. But as you say, Garfield may have been regarded as more exceptional if he hadn’t been cut down so soon in his term. His assassin, Charles Guiteau, tried to use the fact that it was the infection from the various doctors probing the wound with dirty fingers and instruments that killed Garfield rather than the bullet itself as his defense but the jury didn’t buy it — probably simply because Guiteau had intended to murder Garfield and that he failed but the doctors inadvertently did so wasn’t persuasive.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    I would say Leon is correct. Looks like the work of a beaver and will probably be back to finish the job if some protection, usually a wire fence is not put around the tree.

    Our cat likes to hide similar to Gus. It is the pre-attack position.

  7. rickflick
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Leon’s beaver seams to have just gotten starterd on that tree. A couple of years ago, here in the Hudson Valley of NY, I began noticing evidence of beaver moving into the suburban residential area. I never saw one, but trees along stream banks and ponds were cut down leaving cuts characteristic of beaver. They’ve since disappeared.
    Reading about the subject, there is a long history of beaver population control and nuisance control in NY. The main mechanism of control is by adjusting the fur hunting season.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      We have lots of beaver here but you don’t have to kill them. You do need to put protection around the trees you want to save. It works.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    “Ötzi the Iceman” — great name for a grunge band, or for a session man on an ABBA album.

  9. Hempenstein
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    When it comes to ice cream toppings, it’s always butterscotch over chocolate for me.

    And re. that beaver, the tree looks like a black locust. Tough as nails! The beaver may have given up once it got to the heartwood.

  10. bluemaas
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 9:35 am | Permalink

    Salty mice, Ms Hili: .that. is just too, too funny !

    And … … B l e c H !


  11. Stonyground
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Interesting cat story here:

  12. bric
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Hermes Pan is such a perfect name for a choreographer; were his parents prescient?

  13. John Conoboy
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Garfield not only died from infection, but it was likely caused by his doctors. The first thing they did in treating him was stick fingers into the wound. As they were not followers of the radical idea being promoted by Joseph Lister that surgery and treatment should be antiseptic, they used their bare, and unwashed hands. There was a doctor from Washington, DC who was called in, I believe, by Robert Lincoln. He did subscribe to Lister’s ideas, but the other doctors dismissed his input, perhaps because he was African American. I don’t remember my source for this information, but it might have been from an interview on the radio show Fresh Air.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted September 19, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Did a little more checking and Lincoln was responsible for calling Dr. Willard Bliss. Bliss appointed himself as being in charge and led the mis-treatment of Garfield.

  14. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted September 19, 2016 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    Butterscotch desserts are dead? I must admit to not having looked on the shop shelves for years, but I certainly used to take powdered butterscotch-flavoured-sludge in my rucksack as “too tired to cook yet” food.
    I’m not good at remembering tastes more than a few minutes after they’ve faded, but aren’t Creme Brulee and butterscotch very much in the same category of foods?

  15. Posted September 20, 2016 at 5:48 am | Permalink

    butterscotch dream pie:

    most excellent

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