Friday: Hili dialogue

Good Friday (well, not the real one): it’s March 3, 2017, and it’s National Cold Cuts day. (Do they call them that in other English-speaking countries?) It’s also Cold Weather Day in Chicago, with a temperature of 20° F (-7° C) when I walked to work, and it won’t rise above the freezing point all day. More important, it’s World Wildlife Day, proclaimed by the UN on this day in 2014 when the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora was adopted.

On this day in 1875,  Bizet’s opera Carmen opened at the Opéra-Comique in Paris. On the very same day in Montreal, the world’s first organized indoor game of ice hockey was played (I’m sure some Canadian reader will contest this.) On March 3, 1931, the U.S. adopted “The Star-Spangled Banner” as its national anthem. That was a terrible choice: “America the Beautiful” would have been much better. On this day in 1986, Australia became fully independent from the United Kingdom. Finally, I’ll quote this 2005 anniversary from Wikipedia, as I’ll soon be in that country: “Margaret Wilson is elected as Speaker of the New Zealand House of Representatives, beginning a period lasting until August 23, 2006 where all the highest political offices (including Elizabeth II as Head of State), were occupied by women, making New Zealand the first country for this to occur.”

Notables born on this day include Georg Cantor (1845), Alexander Graham Bell (1847), Jean Harlow (1911), Doc Watson (1923), Ira Glass (1959), Jackie Joyner-Kersee (1962), and Brian Cox (1968; he’s 49 today). In honor of the great Doc Watson, here he is with the equally great Earl Scruggs, both of their sons, and some guy named Stevie, in an impromptu performance of “John Hardy,” “Cripple Creek,” and another song I don’t recognize. Mountain music at its best, played outdoors at Doc’s house.

Those who died on this day include Lou Costello (1959; the same day Ira Glass was born), Hergé (1983), Danny Kaye (1987, real name David Daniel Kaminsky), geneticist Sewall Wright (1988, he was 98), and Albert Sabin (1993). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being paranoid:

Cyrus: They are working all the time.
Hili: They are just pretending they don’t want to go for a walk with us.
(Photo: Sarah Lawson)
In Polish:
Cyrus: Oni ciągle pracują.
Hili: Udają, nie chce im się iść z nami na spacer.
(Foto: Sarah Lawson)
Lagniappe: The BBC reported that, on Wednesday, a church in North Galway had a “drive through Ash Wednesday” service, in which hurried motorists could drive by the church, stop briefly, and have the priest anoint their foreheads with ash—all without leaving their cars. One Irish reader in Australia responded with this clever letter to the Irish Times:
h/t: Grania


  1. Randy schenck
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Thanks for that morning music. Drive-thru Ash. I think they have drive-thru weddings and funerals so what’s next – drive-thru confessions. Just honk when you’re done.

  2. thompjs
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    PCC(E), I was lucky to have a few bucks for a ticket back in 78 while at Northwestern to see Doc Watson in a little place there.

    What a treat.

    • gscott
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      We saw Doc and Merle at a small club in Houston in the early 80s. For some reason, not many people showed up so they let us stay for the second seating(? – whatever it’s called). A full evening of Doc – agreed, what a treat.

  3. rickflick
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Hili is right. When the early spring weather relapses cold and gray, you just want to stay in and wait for the return of good weather. A drive to the drive-thu would be a reasonable alternative – just for coffee of adults and french fries for the kids and pets.

  4. Dave Larson
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    “some guy named Stevie” likely to be Earl’s son, Stevie. He looked a little lost on the guitar.

  5. darrelle
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Ash Wednesday is creepy. It’s one of those things, like transubstantiation, that is a real eye opener to an outsider. It illustrates just how primitive, barbaric and non-special Catholicism really is. The RCC has been slathering lipstick on the pig vigorously for a couple thousand years with ritual, shiny robes and the largest continually operating propaganda campaign in history. But from an outsider’s perspective it doesn’t really help. It just makes Catholics look foolish. And sometimes, creepy.

    • Mary L
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      All xians look foolish and creepy with their Zombie-Jesus worship.

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Looks like the Doc & Earl video’s from the early 70s. I wonder if this was before or after the landmark Will the Circle be Unbroken album that they were both a part of?

  7. Mike
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Was Earl Scruggs the greatest ever Banjo Player?, I think he was, I remember Glenn Campbell another great Musician, saying his ambition was to play the Banjo like Earl Scruggs, and forget about it.

    • John Walsh
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

      Earl played a very specific style of 5 string banjo and did it to near perfection. His timing and clean picking was like a machine. However, melodic runs and licks and up the neck stuff, not so much his style. I think on the 5 string he was eventually eclipsed by people like Bela Fleck, Tony Trishka or Jens Kruger (among others), but I’d bet all of them would say Earl was the best (on the 5 string).

  8. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    ” the U.S. adopted “The Star-Spangled Banner” as its national anthem. That was a terrible choice: “America the Beautiful” would have been much better. ”

    In musical terms, I fervently agree.

    “beginning a period lasting until August 23, 2006 where all the highest political offices (including Elizabeth II as Head of State), were occupied by women, making New Zealand the first country for this to occur.”

    Well I am staggered. Not because I find it unlikely, but because I don’t think anybody here in NZ noticed that fact. Or if they did, they certainly didn’t make enough noise that I noticed it. So it has just caught me completely by surprise.


  9. bluemaas
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    O my, my ! Darling !

    Very many folks like to state that they have had within their lives, and particularly nearing its end for them, no regrets.

    Wull, … … I have had within mine plenty. And one of mine is that I have never learned the 5 – string, clawhammer – style of banjo – picking.


    • rickflick
      Posted March 3, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      And jus’ think. If you’d done it, you’d be the greatest playin’ the ‘blue’. 😉

      • bluemaas
        Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        And I never had learnt Scruggs – style of picking either !

        Likely never, rickflick, as … … I never was with any piano – playing style o’mine either — even to a ‘near – great’ ability. But, thank you for that thinking !

        Just wanted to have been able, alone and out in the woodsy mountains as of .Captain Fantastic. – mode, to enjoy it — is all.


  10. Posted March 3, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    “Cold cuts” is used here, including to describe the Vietnamese and Chinese equivalents.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

    I caught Doc Watson at the tender age of 14 at “The Main Point” in Bryn Mawr, PA, and was overawed.
    I had no idea folk music could be that great!!

  12. Diana Hook
    Posted March 3, 2017 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    The second song is “Home Sweet Home”–Scruggs says so at the end of the song.

  13. HaggisForBrains
    Posted March 4, 2017 at 4:03 am | Permalink

    It’s a little-known fact that Brian Cox (49) has a portrait of himself in his attic.

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