Friday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Well done, you have reached the end of the week!

Today is World Tuberculosis Day, so chosen because it is the day in 1882 that Robert Koch announced the discovery of the bacterium responsible for the disease: Mycobacterium tuberculosis. The discovery was a vital breakthrough in the fight against a disease that was responsible for 25% of all deaths in the 1800s. Koch is also famous for his work with anthrax which provided evidence supporting the germ theory of disease as opposed to the theory of spontaneous generation.

It is the birthday of Dorothy Height (1912-2010), American civil rights and women’s rights activist. Amongst the many campaigns she worked for during her life were the desegregation of schools (during Eisenhower’s term) and the appointment of African American women to government (Lyndon B. Johnson’s term). She was also appointed to the Commision that published the Belmont Report that investigated the ethical behavior in research prompted by the appalling breaches of ethics and violation of human rights of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.

It’s also the birthday of Harry Houdini (1874 – 1926), magician, escape artist and investigator of charlatans and claims of the paranormal.

Some of his escape stunts still make my hair stand on end (what sort of nutter signs up for the Water Torture Cell stunt?) but I always found the debunking part of his career fascinating. Even his own death was not without drama and controversy, firstly because the true cause of a ruptured appendix was possibly exacerbated or completely overlooked because of blows to his abdomen from visitors to his dressing-room. Then his widow held a number of séances for the next decade trying to test whether there was life after death – they had previously agreed to a code should communication be possible. Needless to say, Houdini did not turn up, although one pastor Arthur Ford claimed to have made contact. Bess Houdini discontinued her search after ten years, saying that it was “long enough to wait for any man”.

Speaking of daring stunt masters, this morning Hili is performing some stunts of her own.

Hili: Do you see me?
A: Of course.
Hili: Do I look like a cat on the roof?
A: One hundred percent so.

In Polish:

Hili: Widzisz mnie?
Ja: Oczywiście.
Hili: Czy wyglądam jak kot na dachu?
Ja: W stu procentach.

As as a lagniappe, here’s Business Cat, that furry little psychopath, doing cat stuff.



Hat-tip: Blue


  1. rickflick
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Quit a spread of characters for our consideration. Koch, Height, Houdini, Hili, Business Cat. Such diversity! How is it that people are motivated to do what they end up doing? All these characters have unique sets of personalities and environments that make them who they are. We can imagine Koch must have been motivated by scientific and perhaps altruistic inner forces. Likewise Height must have had great empathy for others. Houdini perhaps had a desire to be applauded by crowds of admirers. Hili’s motivations are always a bit puzzling. Business Cat too seems driven by mysterious cat forces that are impossible to account for using normal modes of analysis.

  2. Posted March 24, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Well, we’ve yet to survive Friday. So far i’ve made it through a rudimentary breakfast and a few Facebook rants….let’s see what the rest of the day brings!

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      It’s Saturday in NZ so I can confirm the world didn’t end! 🙂

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Houdini was a one of a kind and big self-promoter. Kind of like someone more recent only Houdini had much more talent.

    • Posted March 24, 2017 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

      And, as far as I know, he did no harm.

  4. Dominic
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    In the 1830s my great grandma lost her parents & a sister to TB.

  5. bluemaas
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Interestingly and connected, Ms Height could have been the granddaughter of another born only 86 years earlier upon her very same date of today in y1826, Ms Matilda Joslyn (Gage) of thus: and of her infamously scandalous y1893 work of Woman, Church and State kindly provided in toto here ! !


  6. jwthomas
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

    Also, today is Lawrence Ferlinghetti’d 98th birthday and he’s still very much alive.

  7. JohnnieCanuck
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 4:08 pm | Permalink


    Google tells me it means “I’m feeling lucky”. I imagine Hili hasn’t read it, so it shouldn’t affect her.

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 24, 2017 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Houdini has been played in a number of movies and TV shows, but of special interest is Harvey Keitel as Houdini in “FairyTale: A True Story” about the girls who faked the photos of fairies that fooled Arthur Conan Doyle (Peter O’Toole in the movie).

    Unfortunately, the film opts for there being real fairies in the woods- although the photoes are still fake.

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