Thursday: Hili dialogue

Welcome to Thursday, April 20, 2017! And it’s an extra good day because it’s National Pineapple Upside-Down Cake Day, a cake I dearly love (even when made with canned pineapple), but which I haven’t had in ages! It’s also “4/20” Day (in American date style), and 420 is widely celebrated as a number connected with marijuana (see the link for the tortuous reason why).

On this day in 1535 a “sun dog” appeared over Stockholm, and was celebrated in the famous painting Vädersolstavlan (“sun dog painting” in Swedish), whose artist isn’t known for sure. Here’s a freaky 17th-century copy by Jacob Elbfas; as Wikipedia notes, “While chiefly noted for being the oldest depiction of Stockholm in colour, it is arguably also the oldest Swedish landscape painting and the oldest depiction of sun dogs.” [The sun dogs aren’t really accurate.]

On this day in 1861, Robert E. Lee resigned his commission in the U.S. Army to begin serving for the Confederacy in the Army of Virginia. On April 20, 1862, Pasteur and Bernard completed their experiment falsifying the idea of spontaneous generation. On this day in 1902, Marie and Pierre Curie isolated radium chloride, the first compound of radium obtained in a pure state. Exactly 14 years later, the ill-fated Chicago Cubs played their first game in what is now Wrigley Field. On April 20, 1961, the U.S.-sponsored Bay of Pigs Invasion failed miserably, and in 1999 the Columbine school massacre took place, killing 13 and injuring 24.

Notables born on this day include Odilon Redon (1840), Adolf Hitler (1889), Joan Miró (1893), Willi Hennig (1913), and Jessica Lange (1949; my year!),  To wash out the bad taste of Hitler, here’s a lovely painting by Redon:

Those who died on April 20 include Archibald MacLeish (1982), Benny Hill (1992), and Cantinflas (1993). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, little Hania, who used to live upstairs, has returned for a visit with her parents—and Hili finds she isn’t so little any more!

Hania: Did you grow up?
Hili: No, you grew up, I’ve just increased a bit.
In Polish:
Hania: Czy ty urosłaś?
Hili: Nie, ty urosłaś, ja się troszkę powiększyłam.


  1. Randy schenck
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Hili looks a bit big for the lap.

    Never heard of 420 so I likely was not with it. I think this country is going to legalize Marijuana before too many years. Declare the war on drugs lost and buried, then solve a great deal of the prison problem in the country.

    • Posted April 20, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      You seem to be operating under a common misunderstanding.

      It’s not a prison problem but prison profit, and the time-honored way to maximize profits is by being tough on crime.

      …and, lest you accuse me of cynicism, let me assure you that nobody in the prison industry even pretends to the contrary any more these days.



  2. jeremy pereira
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    What was the ill fate that overtook the Chicago Cubs? I just skimmed their Wikipedia page and couldn’t find anything more than the usual ups and downs that a sports team has.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted April 20, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      That would be the inability to win a world series. They finally did it last year.

      • Posted April 20, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink


      • jeremy pereira
        Posted April 21, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

        Ah, OK. I’d not really thought of being unsuccessful as being an ill fate for a sports team.

  3. rickflick
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The painting “Vädersolstavlan“ is known to be an accurate copy of the original. some of the buildings still exist (although often modified by subsequent construction). The colors are remarkably similar to the photo of present day Stockholm and obviously carefully rendered ( see Wikipedia ).
    True perspective is not respected so many bits of architecture are bent or turned magically very much like works by the Cubists in the 20th century.
    The sundog event would actually been seen as 3 suns on the horizon but the painting attempts to show this from a birds-eye or fish-eye view.

  4. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I first learned April 20 was Hitler’s birthday when I saw Woody Allen’s “Crimes and Misdemeanors” and he says “You stopped sleeping with my on April 20. I remember because it was Hitler’s birthday”.
    I retained the date because it is precisely 6 months opposite my mother’s birthday, Oct. 20.

    Great painting.

  5. Claudia Baker
    Posted April 20, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    Hania + Hili = total adorable-ness

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 20, 2017 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      I like the paw across Hana’s middle. It looks really cute like Hili is cuddling her, but you know that if she starts to slip off that wee lap the claws will dig in to save herself.

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