Tuesday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Good morning!

I suspect Jerry is jet-lagged this morning, but I am sure he will join us later on.

Today in 1689 there was a popular uprising against the Governor of New England, now called the Boston Revolt.

In 1906 San Francisco was hit by an earthquake that killed 3000 people and caused large-scale destruction. As the NYT noted:

Fifty thousand people are homeless and destitute, and all day long streams of people have been fleeing from the stricken districts to places of safety.

It’s estimated that the quake was around 7.8 on the Richter scale and nearly 80% of the city was destroyed.

Albert Einstein died today in 1955 at  the age of 76. He was a theoretical physicist and of course will forever be in the history books for his formulation of the Special Theory of Relativity.

In 1909 Joan of Arc was beatified, nearly 500 years after her execution; which is somewhat coy of the Vatican when viewed in the light of recent fast-tracking of saintly candidates. Regardless of the supernatural elements of her story, she remains an interesting historical character. Quite how a teenage peasant girl in the early years of the 15th century managed to convince a  garrison commander and then the uncrowned king of France Charles VII that she could lead an army against English forces remains to this day a mystery shrouded in legendary tales.

A notable birthday today is lyricist and songwriter Al Lewis (1901-1967). One of his compositions is Blueberry Hill. Here’s the master Louis Armstrong performing it with All Stars live in Berlin.


And finally, today our felid friend is so enigmatical that even she doesn’t know what she is talking about.

Hili: This hedge smells of yesterday.
A: I don’t understand.
Hili: Neither do I.

In Polish:

​Hili: Ten żywopłot ma zapach wczorajszego dnia.
Ja: Nie rozumiem.
Hili: Ja też nie.​


  1. Frank Bath
    Posted April 18, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Love Louis but surely Fats Domino has to be Mr Blueberry Hill?

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 18, 2017 at 12:11 pm | Permalink

      C’mon, Vladimir Putin is the Blueberry Hill man. Haven’t you heard his rendition? Check it out. This — Dec. 13, 2010 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ekeq4szDmJo. I see Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell in the audience. Also present, Sharon Stone, Kevin Costner, Gerard Depardieu. I can’t but wonder if future members of Trump’s coterie were present, too.

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted April 18, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        If he wasn’t such a gangster, I could like this version of Putin. He is so charming, almost adorable, in this video. What would happen if you stopped clapping too soon though?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted April 18, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

          For a while.

  2. Mike
    Posted April 18, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Fats for me.

    • Lurker111
      Posted April 18, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I’d give it to Fats, too.

      There’s also this, of course:


      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted April 19, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink


  3. Posted April 18, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Einstein was, of course, also responsible for the General Theory or Relativity (or theory of gravity) and for a significant contribution to quantum mechanics.

    • Posted April 18, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      And it is the General Theory of Relativity which is Einstein’s greatest and most unique legacy. The special theory probably would have been developed quite fast even without Einstein, though perhaps not with the same philosophical acumen. That theory was already implicit (though well-hidden) in Maxwell’s equations, and the key Lorentz transformation was already found before Einstein.

      On the other hand the General Theory is a work of art that would have taken a very long time to develop without Eisntein, though Hilbert had managed it, partly or entirely prodded by Eisnetein though.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted April 18, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      It’s an odd fact that Einstein was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery of the photoelectric effect, and not for his far more significant and famous theories of special and general relativity.

      • Posted April 18, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        That is because by Nobel’s will the Nobel Prizes are awarded for work done “during the preceding year”. So the Nobel Prize committee had to nominally give it for something Einstein did recently, even it is much less significant than what they’re actually honoring him for. It’s all rather silly.

        • Posted April 18, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

          As usual a typo: “even if it is”

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted April 18, 2017 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

          Einstein explained the photoelectric effect in, I believe, 1905, and it was verified in 1916 by Robert Millikan. Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in 1922, for work he did in 1905.

          Einstein also published his theory of special relativity in 1905, during his annus mirabilis. The prize committee had to pick something, but it wasn’t something done during the preceding year.

          • Posted April 19, 2017 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

            I stand corrected, then. The Prize is for work done in the previous year, and this is more or less ignored by the prize committee, because it would be too hard to implement, and because the long-term significance of work cannot be judged in that short a time.

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted April 19, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

              The “previous year” condition is ridiculous, and I’m glad it’s ignored. The condition that the prize can only be given to a living person is also pointless and should be ignored.

              I don’t mean to minimize Einstein’s contribution wrt the photoelectric effect. It was fundamental. It just seems odd to me that his work on relativity, special and general, was unacknowledged by the Nobel committee. He should have won at least two Nobel Prizes in physics, and arguably one Peace Prize for his role in convincing Roosevelt of the feasibility of nuclear weapons.

      • Posted April 18, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        It was not for discovering the photoelectric effect but for accounting for remarkable features of the PE effect. This was in the course of deducing (on thermodynamical grounds) that light (and all EM radiation) comes in lumps. Twenty years later, and after other key discoveries of Einstein himself (1916), Compton and Dirac, these lumps of EM radiation were called `photons’ which we all know and love. This was much more the true beginning of quantum physics than Planck’s work in 1900.

  4. thompjs
    Posted April 18, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    My great grandfather was in SF when the quake hit. He stole door knobs from the hotel he was in because he thought they were gold.


    • Randy schenck
      Posted April 18, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      If I recall what I have learned from the great earthquake, the fire that raged for three days after did much of the damage.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted April 18, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        That’s very much what I’d heard from the geological frame too. To quote a brutal seismologists saying, “earthquakes don’t kill people, buildings kill people”. With honourable mentions in the hecatomb stakes to the well known Horsemen of Pestilence and Famine.
        War gets a good few too.
        Regulation, building codes, bureaucracy and public servants (fire, police, medicine), paid for by taxes, are the counteracting Donkeys to the horsemen. And very effective they can be. Which is why a certain elephantine politician (the one with a marmalade cat for a toupee) will slaughter the Donkeys to free the Horsemen.

        [DISCLAIMER : not an American; I may have got political symbols flipped.]

  5. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted April 18, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    Well, more good news from the little isle of Britain today. An opportunity to rerun the most poisonous vote my country has ever held, and soon too! Lucky us.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted April 18, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      I was wondering about that. If the government loses the election, what does that mean for Brexit?

      • David Duncan
        Posted April 18, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink


        Remember that Jeremy Corbyn is the alternative PM.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted April 18, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Well, the govt won’t lose the election, because the left-liberal vote is split between the Scottish nationalists, Labour and the Liberak Democrats. The only vaguely realistic possibility I’ve heard floated since the May-bot made its announcement a few hours ago is the possibility of Remain voters unifying: the Remainer parties and their voters team up and some kind of cohesive strategy is created for setting aside party differences for this one election.
        Even if such a flawed and complex tactic were pulled off successfully It’s vanishingly unlikely that anyone but the Tories will win.

        The only positive I can see coming out of this general election is that Jeremy Corbyn will likely be marmalised and the far-left’s chokehold on Labour will be weakened. The infuriating incompetence and dogmatism of Corbyn’s Labour have been major contributors to the ease with which the Tories have passed through so much divisive legislation over the last year or so. Corbyn has turned the country into what is effectively a relatively benign one-party state.

        …to answer your original question though, in the event of the govt actually losing…well, it would result in either a significant softening of attitudes towards the EU and a move towards remaining in the single market while still leaving the EU, OR a complete volte-face on leaving the EU altogether.

        Admittedly a lot of legal processes have begun in that direction but AFAIU there’s nothing stopping the EU and Britain from just ignoring them. The latter is marginally more likely to happen under a Lib Dem govt than a Labour one, simply because the current Labour leadership includes quite a few far-left eurosceptics and a large chunk of Labour voters voted Leave, and the Lib Dems have occasionally floated the idea of another referendum altogether.

        • DrBrydon
          Posted April 18, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

          Thanks, Saul!

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted April 18, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

          OR a complete volte-face on leaving the EU altogether

          Sadly, unlikely. I’m progressing my Irish-by-descent citizenship application.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted April 19, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

            Unlikely yes, and the kind of thing that’d foment a small civil war in the event that it did happen.
            For a sense of the atmosphere among the more…how can I put this?…’completely fucking insane’ members of the Leave side, overseas readers should google today’s front cover of the Daily Mail, which has run with the scarcely believable headline ‘Crush The Saboteurs’.

            • gravelinspector-Aidan
              Posted April 19, 2017 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

              There’s a good reason that The Author gives Mo’ a copy of the Daily Mail to read in bed with Jeebus.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 18, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      Joy and bliss are unbounded. Or immeasurable. Or something.
      (I have a relative who had a few months of brain fade after the King Tut road trip exhibition, when she confused “priceless” and “worthless”. I know how she felt.)

  6. Posted April 18, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Reflecting on the 1689 revolutions n against Andros and the second amendment. Militia should be able to revolt against despots who deny town meetings or gatherings.

  7. Posted April 18, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “Listen my children and you shall hear of the midnight ride of Paul Revere. On the 18th April, 75, hardly a man is now alive who remembers that famous day and year” Longfellow. A poem that was required reading in 5th grade, 1954, but probably not anymore. Longfellow took a lot of literary license with the facts of course but still a fine poem.

  8. Mike Cracraft
    Posted April 18, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    The middle ages were a crazy time. Similar to Joan although 300 years previous, there was
    Peter the Hermit who led a peasant army in the 1st Crusade.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted April 18, 2017 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      Ah yes, the good old days. They should have quit after the first Crusade. Believe it was the only one that made it to destination.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted April 18, 2017 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Maybe they should have quit, but there are still Saracens to do battle with, and I’m talking about the Bristol Saracens, a British rugby team. I kinda like the name and marvel that they could get away with it in this day and age, because the PC squad in Britain is as hypersensitive and hyperactive as their counterparts in the States; and we’ve tomahawked American Indian names for sports teams.

  9. Larry Smith
    Posted April 18, 2017 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Re: Hili’s comment: this makes perfect sense to me! When my daughter was about 5 or so, watching our dog sniff about the yard, she turned to me and remarked, “That’s how dogs see the past!” A profound comment only a child (or child at heart, perhaps) could make.

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted April 18, 2017 at 6:21 pm | Permalink

    Joan of Arc was greatly admired by the strong secularists Mark Twain and George Bernard Shaw (writing a pseudonymous bio and a play about her respectively), and is the subject of a very good bio by Vida Sackville-West, the lesbian lover of Virginia Woolf.

    She is the only person on the official Catholic list of martyrs executed by Catholic church authorities for alleged witchcraft.

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