Saturday: Hili dialogue

Good morning! It’s a chilly Saturday in Chicago, but remains May 6.  It’s National Crepe Suzette day, but fuhgeddaboutit: I have a jar of gooseberry preserves to put on my toast:

Most Americans disdain the sour gooseberry, and its products aren’t widely available here, but a good gooseberry pie is nothing to be sniffed at! And, amazingly, it’s also International No Diet Day—to celebrate the abnegation of abstemious eating, Have some pie! The symbol of the holiday is a light blue ribbon, and I bet none of you see one.

On May 6,  1682, Louis XIV moved the French court to Versailles. On this day in 1840, the first adhesive postage stamp, the “Penny Black”, became valid for sending letters in Great Britain (see below). Featuring a portrait of Queen Victoria, the stamp lasted one year before being replaced by the Penny Red:

On this day in 1889, the Eiffel Tower was opened to the public, and on May 6, 1915, Babe Ruth (still regarded by many as the best baseball player of all time), hit his first home run for the Boston Red Sox (if you’re a baseball maven, you’ll know his lifetime total). He was a pitcher at the time. On May 6, 1937, the Hindenburg Disaster occurred, with the zeppelin catching fire and crashing at Lakehurst, New Jersey, killimg 36.  Exactly three years later, John Steinbeck got the Pulitzer Prize for The Grapes of Wrath.  On this day in 1954, Roger Bannister became the first person to run a mile in under four minutes. The current record for men is 3:43.13, set in 1999 by Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco, and for women is 4:12.56, set by the Russian Svetlana Masterkova in 1996. Here is the reduction of time over the years for men (Wilkipedia gives no figure for women), and there MUST be a limit because humans can’t run a mile in ten seconds:

Finally, on this date in 1994, the Channel Tunnel was officially opened.

Notables born on this day include Sigmund Freud and Robert Peary (both 1856), Rudolph Valentino (1895), Willie Mays (1931), Bob Seger (1945), and Tony Blair (1953). Those who died on this day include Henry David Thoreau (1862), Marlene Dietrich (1992), and Farley Mowat (2014). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is pretending to look for flowers:

A: What are you looking at?
Hili: Over there in the grass there could be  a clump of daffodils.
In Polish:
A: Czemu się tak przyglądasz?
Hili: Tam na łące powinna być kępa żonkili.

A lagniappe tweet found by Matthew Cobb:


  1. Linda Calhoun
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    re: dieting –

    “Dieting won’t make you live longer; it’ll just feel longer.” Mark Twain

    “Diet is die with a T.” Garfield the Cat


  2. Jacques Hausser
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Hum… some well trained people should practise teleportation around 2040…

  3. David Duncan
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    “Have some pie!”

    Have a big dinner.
    Have a light snack
    If you don’t like it, you can’t send it back

    Weird Al Yankovic

  4. joanfaiola
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    tuxedo cat ??

  5. Art
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Ah, gooseberry pie! When I was a lad my grandparents had a cottage in rural NY, and my sister and I were often detailed to go forth and collect gooseberries (the American variety) so Grandma could make a pie. Mostly I remember trying (unsuccessfully) not to get stabbed by the huge spines on the bushes, but I also remember the wonderful pies, paid for in blood.

  6. Craw
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    I saw with with the caption “Going to the vet? I thought you said MET!”

    • Diane G.
      Posted May 7, 2017 at 3:57 am | Permalink

      Ah, now I get it.

      • Lurker111
        Posted May 7, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

        Reminded me of this:

        • Diane G.
          Posted May 8, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

          Oh, yes! One of my all time favorites!

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    It’s also Kentucky Derby Day — or as it’s known around my place, one of the holy days of obligation.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted May 6, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Ah, Secretariat Day.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        Greatest thoroughbred or our lifetime; still holds the Churchill Downs track record for a mile & a quarter.

        • Randy schenck
          Posted May 6, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          Yes, when they make a movie for a horse you know it was something special. I recall watching the races on TV when they occurred in 73 and you knew it was special, even then. You can watch them again on You Tube as well.

  8. Randy schenck
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    A good part of the reduction in time for running the mile and other distances is surely the training, compared to older times. The speeds for both men and women is almost beyond understanding. Run around a track as fast as you can and then think about others who go faster and can do so for many laps.

    • Alan Clark
      Posted May 6, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Another reason is the improvement in running surfaces, which absorb less energy.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

        Sure, and the shoes, etc.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted May 6, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

        Usain Bolt according to The Daily Telegraph [Aug. 2016]

        The known sums:
        Puma – £7,750,000 a year
        Gatorade – £2-3,000,000 a year (plus a bonus every time he’s pictured drinking it)
        Visa – £500,000+
        Virgin Media – £2,000,000
        Digicel – £100,000
        Soul Electronics – £100,000
        Regupol – a world-class track installed at his training venue in Jamaica

        Other supporters:
        All Nippon Airways
        Gibson Innovations
        Enertor (insoles)
        Optus, Telkom, Fastweb, Celcom, Banco Original

        Stuff I garnered from elsewhere:
        ** His Puma contract is until 2025 as brand ambassador
        ** His price for making an appearance at an athletics stadium is 6 digits because he will fill all the seats at the stadium + attract pay-per-view
        ** His manager is working hard right now constructing a post-athletics portfolio for him. It will include a well paid job [doing very little] with the IOC money pit no doubt

  9. W.Benson
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    [Friedrich Wilhelm Heinrich] Alexander von Humboldt died on this day in 1859. von Humboldt was author of the 5 volume “Cosmos”, “Personal Narrative of Travels” [in tropical America], “Essay on the Geography of Plants”, “Views of Nature” and at least 20 other major works on natural history, geography, anthropology, linguistics and politics, much of it concerning Spanish America. von Humboldt’s “Narrative” was among the books Darwin took with him on the Beagle. Henry David Thoreau, who also died on May 6, was a great admirer of Humboldt (according to Andrea Wulf in her “Invention of Nature) and may have had his his philosophical views matured by reading Cosmos.

  10. Richard Jones
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    Wilkin preserves from Tiptree in Essex are the best. Right now I have marmalade and rasp-berry jam. (I guess they don’t grow oranges in Essex)

  11. bric
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Gooseberry jam from Tiptree! You can’t do better (I was born nearby). Wilkin have another company, Thursday Cottage, which makes the best marmalade bar none.

  12. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    Today is also Orson Welles’ birthday.

    (Maningful???) Coincidence of the month:

    Lots of folks have noticed the similarities between the careers of Orson Welles and Stanley Kubrick, with both men directing exactly 13 full length films from being on the fringes of the Hollywood system.
    (See ).

    Due to Kubrick’s interest in Carl Jung, many have noticed he and Carl Jung have the same birthday.

    Relatively few have noted that Welles and Sigmund Freud also share a birthday.

  13. harrync
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    The penny black was printed in sheets of 240 stamps. The “M” [lower left] indicates it is from the 13th row; the “H” [lower right] shows it was in the 8th column. The bottom right stamp on the sheet would have been “T L”. Since those letters were hand punched into the plates, it is even possible to tell not only the position, but which of the 12 plates an individual stamp came from. Yes, there are fanatics that research this. Why the British Post Office thought they needed to show the plate position of each stamp, I have not been able to find. Anybody out there know why?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted May 6, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink


      According to Stanley Gibbons & other places I’ve googled the ‘check letters’ are…

      “Letters placed in the corners of stamps in order to identify their sheet position and to act as an anti-forgery device”

  14. robert van bakel
    Posted May 6, 2017 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

    The IAAF accepts the mile as the only remaining imperial distance which it collects offical times for.

    As someone brought up in the metric system it has always intersted me as an oddity. That extra 100m makes a significant differance in time.

    The world record for the 1500m is 3.26, set by Hiccham El Guerrouj of Morroco. He also has the record for the mile, as Jerry says, 3.43.13.

    So the last 100m of the mile takes him 17.13 seconds. Quite slow, even after the previous 1500m of exertion.

    My question; Could it be that the mile can come down to the times of the 1500m, and that the 1500m could come down a similar 17.0 seconds to, 3.09?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted May 7, 2017 at 2:55 am | Permalink

      @robert. There’s the 1500m, 1600m & the mile [1609m]. Part of the mile time problem is it’s rarely run

      I once looked up the subject of marking out the start line, break line & finish line for various race distances on an 8-lane track & the geometry is fearsome! It makes me think today that the apparent time deficit for the mile is because nobody actually runs 1500m in a 1500m race…

      In training: Most tracks are 400 metres [437.5 yards] around in lane 1. Thus 4 laps is almost exactly a mile which makes keeping track of your pace is very simple – you need only listen to your coach shout out your split as you pass her each lap at the same point. In the 1,500, depending on where the coach is standing, you may have to calculate your pace with splits at 300, 700, and 1,100 meters. I think that because the mile [or 1600m more likely] is rarely run the athletes have difficulty with adjusting their pace.

      I think the most important aspect is the viewer experience & it is a little peculiar that one can’t easily say “oh two laps completed so her time at halfway is x, so she’s ahead of record pace” – this is because the curved start line isn’t near the finish line in 1500m – the start line is on one of the bends. Confusing for the audience IMO

%d bloggers like this: