Tuesday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Good morning!

Today in 1636 Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII of Britain was arrested on trumped-up charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft. The poor thing never stood a chance after only producing one female heir (ironically the one who would become Elizabeth I). After Anne suffered three miscarriages Henry started courting Jane Seymour and Anne’s days were numbered. It was for her that Henry had broken ties with the Roman Catholic church and made England independent of Rome.

She was beheaded with a sword, not an axe. This was the “commuted” sentence.

It’s a grim business, and as Christopher Hitchens liked to note, these were the values on which the current British monarchy and religion were founded.

In 1986 the city of Chernobyl was evacuated, a full six days after the disaster and the nuclear plant at Pripyat. The 2600km Exclusion Zone is still in effect and is a poignant ghost town.

In 2000 GPS access was opened up and no longer restricted to the military.

It’s also the birthday today of Alessandro Scarlatti 1660-1725; Italian Baroque composer (If it’s not baroque, don’t fix it). He composed operas, with Mitridate Eupatore being considered his masterpiece, and chamber music, as well as the obligatory Masses. I agree with Luciano Pavarotti who once said that operatic singing is a sort of controlled scream and I find it hard to appreciate. So instead here is his Toccata in G minor.

Even dead composers were once young.

With that it’s on to the most famousest of cats of Poland.

Hili: We are blooming.
A: Who is blooming?
Hili: I and the tulips.


In Polish:

Hili: Kwitniemy.
Ja: Kto?
Hili: Ja i tulipany.

And from the Most Serious Cat in Poland:

Leon: My observation deck.

Lagniappe: A cartoon of Darwin’s Dog from “Rhymes with Orange” by Hilary Price  (h/t: Jon):

 

46 Comments

  1. Randy schenck
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Today’s post has a PBS theme in there somewhere. For those who still admit to turning on the television, currently running on Masterpiece Theater is Wolf Hall, an interesting look at the Henry VIII period. I would also point to the NOVA series for an excellent documentary on the mega tomb built over top of the Chernobyl disaster.

  2. Frank Bath
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The execution scene in the BBC’s ‘Wolf Hall’ is well worth watching. Cleverly done all round.

  3. Posted May 2, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    The 2600km Exclusion Zone is still in effect and is a poignant ghost town.

    That’s km2 I assume.

    • Posted May 2, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      So superscript doesn’t work in WordPress – it’s square kilometres, I assume.

      • Reginald Selkirk
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        Yes, that’s what Wikipedia says.

  4. David Harper
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    “In 2000 GPS access was opened up and no longer restricted to the military.”

    GPS was available to civilians before 2000. I was given a hand-held Garmin GPS receiver as a leaving gift by colleagues in 1996, and I saw a demonstration of the system as early as 1984, albeit using a receiver the size of a large suitcase which needed several hours to gather enough data to yield a position.

    What happened in 2000 is that the US Department of Defense switched off a feature called Selective Availability, which had introduced intentional errors into the signals broadcast by the satellites. These errors followed a formula known only to the DoD, whose equipment could remove them and get an accurate fix. For the rest of us, they made the instantaneous positions displayed by our receivers uncertain by tens of metres. This supposedly denied a potential enemy the ability to use GPS to guide a missile with any accuracy.

    In theory, the DoD could re-enable Selective Availability, but GPS is no longer the only game in town. Russia, China and the European Union all have their own fleets of global positioning satellites.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted May 2, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      This comment reminds me to point to the Space X launch yesterday, successfully putting some secret project into space. The first stage dropped back to earth and made a perfect landing.

      • darrelle
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Yes indeed, Space X is on a roll with 1st stage landings.

        For anyone with any interest whatsoever in what Space X does you really should do yourself the favor of watching the launch / landing of this latest Space X mission. Even if you have seen previous launches and landings, you haven’t seen them like this. The footage of 1st stage separation, fly-back and landing of this mission is phenomenal and unlike the footage of any previous missions.

        Here is a good link for the footage, NROL-76 Launch. You can skip past a lot of it if you wish, but don’t miss from about 11:45 through 21:10.

        • Posted May 2, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

          I watched it just now. Thanks. Looks like they are getting that landing technology down, but dang, that looks tricky.

  5. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    “It was for her that Henry had broken ties with the Roman Catholic church and made England independent of Rome.”

    Well, first, top marks to Henry for telling the Pope where to get off. There was absolutely zero benefit to the country in being subservient to some foreign Ayatollah sitting in Rome, whose interests were not England’s.

    And there was a substantial need for Henry to produce a Legitimate Male Heir to pre-empt any repeat of the Wars of the Roses (which had been all about who had the best claim to succession). It wasn’t just a case of Henry chasing skirt as the music-hall version would have it.

    cr

    • Randy schenck
      Posted May 2, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      I believe he had already produced an heir. Of course – only a female. With 6 wives, he was certainly chasing something.

      • Reginald Selkirk
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        I presume everyone reading this web site understands that in humans, the sex of the zygote is determined by the sperm, not the egg.

        • ploubere
          Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          True, but they wouldn’t have known that then.

      • Posted May 2, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Henry put the “wolf” in Wolf Hall.

      • eric
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        He had two female heirs, in fact, by the time he killed Anne Boleyn.

        The bit about wanting a male heir to stop a potential war appears in hindsight to have been justified. AFAIK neither Mary nor Elizabeth tried to fight for the throne during the 6 years between their father dying and their half-brother becoming king, and their half-brother dying.

        • Posted May 3, 2017 at 1:59 am | Permalink

          It’s complicated. Theoretically he he had two heirs but they were both female. The legal and political position wasn’t clear in the sense that nobody was sure if a woman could be allowed to rule England in her own right. In fact, at one point Henry enacted a law that said Mary and Elizabeth could not be in the succession, although it was repealed before Henry’s death.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        “With 6 wives, he was certainly chasing something.”

        Yeah, what I said, a 100% ‘legitimate’ male heir. Bastards didn’t count (in fact they only complicated the issue*).

        He was married to his first wife for 24 years. If he’d just wanted a bit of skirt he could have had more mistresses queued up than the Playboy Mansion and nobody would have blinked an eye.

        By the time Henry divorced Catherine he was 42 – an old man for those times – and he must have wondered how long the Royal artillery could keep firing. (And Katherine was 48). So, much of his subsequent marital history can be understood in that context.

        cr
        * In fact he at least one, Henry FitzRoy, and possibly one by Anne Boleyn’s sister Mary. I said it was complicated.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Unfortunately, Henry VIII was a bit late in rejecting the Pope. In 1171, under the Pope’s orders, England invaded Ireland to suppress their rather independent version of Christianity. The subsequent complicated mayhem persisted through eight centuries, between countries that actually had a great deal in common. There was much injustice on both sides, culminating in Eamon de Valera signing the book of condolence for Hitler’s death in the German embassy in Dublin, with the repression of Catholics in the north, and the IRA’s subsequent murderous campaign there.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Fortunate that evolution of Kings in Britain did not spread to the new World, at least until now.

        • Richard Jones
          Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

          Elizabeth II is Canada’s head of state!

          • Randy schenck
            Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

            Sorry, I stand corrected. I always think of Queen Elizabeth when I think of Canada.

        • Richard Bond
          Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

          What would you rather have: a politically neutral titular head of state or Trump? It seems that people in the USA do not understand the subtleties of a constitutional monarchy, a system that works in the area of north-western Europe that is generally highly praised by American liberals.

          Of course, the downside is that we might end up with Charles III. Long live the Queen!

          • Randy schenck
            Posted May 2, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

            I believe we already waste far too much in taxes on the wrong things without supporting a Monarchy, for symbolic reasons.

            • Richard Bond
              Posted May 2, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

              It is hideously complicated, but the monarchy is funded mainly by income from the Crown Estates, which is not owned by he monarch. From that income, the Treasury currently supports the institution of the head of state with about £35 million per year, about $45 million. How much has Trump cost the USA already, particularly for his weekends in Florida?

              • Richard Bond
                Posted May 2, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

                And, as I have already pointed out, we probably need some kind of a head of state for other than symbolic reasons. Also as I said, the concept of a constitution monarchy is subtle.

              • Randy schenck
                Posted May 2, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

                My reference to Trump, without naming the guy, was to compare the attitude with that of a Monarch of old. I do not nor ever have tried to justify a Trump. You seem to want to compare him to a Monarch of some type to say that is better than a Trump. Carry on.

              • Richard Bond
                Posted May 2, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

                I think that we are about to break the Roolz, so this is my last comment.
                1) The presidency of America was established to replace the authority of George III, already much diminished by the British Parliament. It has been pointed out that,in consequence,the USA has an elected monarch, whereas the UK has an hereditary president.
                2) I am fed up with the typical American attitude of telling the rest of us what we should believe. The fact is, that if there were a referendum on replacing the UK monarchy with an alternative,it would lose badly. I presume that we are allowed to choose?

              • Randy schenck
                Posted May 2, 2017 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

                I had no idea that Americans were telling you what to believe, but if they are, they should stop it. If we are breaking any roolz we should stop that as well. By the way, in this American system the president is suppose to be the executive, one of three branches of government, no matter what you may hear from Trump. We do not refer to them as your majesty, regardless of what John Adams suggested.

    • Posted May 3, 2017 at 1:52 am | Permalink

      There was absolutely zero benefit to the country in being subservient to some foreign Ayatollah sitting in Rome

      No, much better to be subservient to a domestic dictator whose interests also weren’t England’s (if “England” is all the people who live there).

      The Wars of the Roses were not about who had the best claim to succession but who should be in charge. Claims to succession were merely tools to gather support. The claim of succession of the eventual winner was very dubious indeed.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 3, 2017 at 2:58 am | Permalink

        “No, much better to be subservient to a domestic dictator whose interests also weren’t England’s (if “England” is all the people who live there).”

        I assume you’re being sarcastic. But in fact I’d aver it IS much better to be subservient to a domestic king than a foreign emperor or Pope, if only because self-interest on any king’s part would dictate that he should try to ensure the peace and prosperity of the country he ruled over.

        This was not a consideration that would bother the Pope, who had other political business of his own to worry about. (In Pope Clement VII’s case, lots of political business). In fact in this specific instance, the Pope was firmly under the thumb of the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.

        You don’t have to be an enthusiast for kings to figure out that a king who is subject to some foreign power is markedly worse.

        cr

        • Posted May 3, 2017 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

          Except it often didn’t pan out that way. Henry VIII was fairly unusual in that he didn’t have to fight a war to acquire or keep his kingdom. The consequence of these wars were usually bad for the citizenry.

          On the other hand, the Pope was a long way from England. It’s difficult to argue he had much effect on the lives of ordinary English people until the thing with Henry VIII.

    • Rasmo carenna
      Posted May 3, 2017 at 1:58 am | Permalink

      Not having any relationship with England nor its derivatives, I find no need to defend nor contextualize the actions of a whimsical tyrant who had one of his wives callously executed.

  6. Gary Allan
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    2600 km exclusion zone around Chernobyl? Seems rather large; I haven’t checked the map but I think that would include Moscow, St Petersburg, Berlin and so on. Was it 2600 m? Actually looking it up, I see it is 2600 km^2 which would have a radius of 30 km. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_Exclusion_Zone

    • Randy schenck
      Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      However, I believe they were able to construct the project roughly 300 meters from the destroyed building and then spent 7 days sliding the massive structure in place.

  7. Posted May 2, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Nice clip of Alessandro Scarlatti, Domenico’s less famous but far more talented father. And hey, I engineered that recording! Could it really be 20 years ago?

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    A terrific play about Anne Boleyn had a West Coast premiere here in the Bay Area about 2 years ago at Marin Theatre.

    http://www.marintheatre.org/productions/anne-boleyn

    Arguably, the chief architect of modern Anglicanism is Queen Elizabeth I, though Henry certainly provided her the means.
    Henry in turn exploited a whole series of popular and more legitimate discontents with the papacy- the insistence that clergy be tried for even secular crimes by a clerical judge and jury, the incompetence of monasteries as landlords (worse than most dukes, earls, etc.) and so on.

  9. David Duncan
    Posted May 2, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    “Today in 1636 Anne Boleyn, second wife of Henry VIII of Britain was arrested on trumped-up charges…”

    1536

    • Dave
      Posted May 2, 2017 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      And not forgetting that Henry was not Henry VIII “of Britain”, only of England (plus Wales, which was constitutionally absorbed into England). Scotland at the time was a completely independent state with its own monarch.

  10. Dale Franzwa
    Posted May 3, 2017 at 12:27 am | Permalink

    That “controlled scream” Pavarotti mentions comes out as the most beautiful music in the world, namely “opera,” in my opinion. I’m only sorry everyone in the world doesn’t agree with me. My only reason for bringing this up is that Trump is in the process of cutting all gov’t funding for The National Endowment for the Arts which is one source of funding for The Metropolitan Opera Co. as well as many other fine arts organizations. In addition, he plans to cut gov’t funding for The Corporation for Public Broadcasting which will not only adversely affect PBS and NPR but also Public Broadcasting stations all across the US.

    Trump brags about creating jobs but with the above actions he is cutting thousands of jobs for many deserving people in the arts and related occupations. I have yet to figure out how these “actions” benefit the economy.

  11. Posted May 3, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    What is happening – only one post yesterday?!


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