Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s Tuesday (the Cruelest Day), May 9, 2017. First, have a look at Cornell’s RobinCam (use fullscreen): there are at least two babies and it’s mesmerizing. It’s National Shrimp Day (who was the first brave person to eat one?), and also National Teacher Day in the US, part of Teacher Week that is celebrated with this animated Google Doodle (click on screenshot to go to link). Note that the teacher is teaching SCIENCE, not the humanities!

It’s also Victory Day, celebrating the Nazi surrender to the Soviet Union that occurred on the evening of May 8, 1945. Although the Germans surrendered to the Allies in Reims, France on May 7, the petulant Stalin insisted on a separate surrender to his country, saying this:

Today, in Reims, Germans signed the preliminary act on an unconditional surrender. The main contribution, however, was done by Soviet people and not by the Allies, therefore the capitulation must be signed in front of the Supreme Command of all countries of the anti-Hitler coalition, and not only in front of the Supreme Command of Allied Forces. Moreover, I disagree that the surrender was not signed in Berlin, which was the center of Nazi aggression. We agreed with the Allies to consider the Reims protocol as preliminary.

Also on this day in 1671. Colonel Thomas Blood attempted to steal the Crown Jewels from the Tower of London. He almost succeeded, but was apprehended at the Tower and, amazingly, given a pardon and some land by the King. In  1945, the Channel Islands were liberated from the Germans by the British; they were the only British territory to be occupied by the Nazis during World War II. (I wonder what it was like for the Brits on those islands.) In 1961, FCC Chairman Newton Minow famously declared television a “vast wasteland,” which it pretty much still is. But he was wrong, as it had had good news coverage up till then, and t.v. news is dire now. On this day in 1970, there was a huge protest against the Vietnam War, and the nascent Professor Ceiling Cat was there. In 1974, the House of Representatives opened impeachment proceedings against Richard “I am not a crook” Nixon. He resigned before being impeached, and then was pardoned that year by Gerald Ford.

Notables born on May 9 include Howard Carter (1874), Hank Snow (1914), Mike Wallace (1918), Richard Adams (1920), Daniel Berrigan and Sophie Scholl (both 1921, and both workers for peace), Manfred Eigen (1927), Glenda Jackson (1936), Richie Furay (1944), Candice Bergen (1946), and Billy Joel (1949). Those who died on this day include William Bradford (1657), Friedrich Schiller (1805), Ezio Pinza (1957), Walter Reuther (1970), James Jones (1977), Tenzing Norgay (1986), Lena Horne (2010). Here’s an early clip of La Lena singing the George and Ira Gershwin classic, “The Man I Love“. (I can’t resist adding the Coleman Hawkins Swing Four version of that song, containing one of the best jazz solos of all time: it’s here, with Hawkins’s sax solo starting at 2:35. Lordy, could that man blow!).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the beasts are being stalked by the parparazzi:

Hili: Where did he disappear to?
Cyrus: He is behind us with his camera.
In Polish:
Hili: Gdzie on się podział?
Cyrus: Stoi za nami ze swoim aparatem

Reader Mel sends some lagniappe:

And a New Yorker (!) cartoon via Matthew Cobb:


  1. Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    “I wonder what it was like for the Brits on those islands.”

    Hi Jerry, I can highly recommend the book Agent ZigZag about a British/German double agent in WWII (Eddie Chapman). He spent significant time on the Channel Islands during WWII, if I remember correctly. Great book.

    • Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      I seem to recall that the policemen saluted Nazis…

      • Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        I mean on the Channel Islands. The point being that the British were just as subject to ‘collaborationist'(co-operative perhaps) tendencies as anyone else. Probably more difficult not to on a small island though…

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

      I’ll second that.

    • Mike
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Here you go PCC http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/topics/occupation_channel_islands

    • darrelle
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      I’ve never heard of that before, I’ll have to check it out.

      It is reminiscent of the Donald Sutherland movie Eye Of The Needle, based on the book by Ken Follet. A German spy, Sutherland, living in England and trying to get out with information about D-Day. The story takes place on a small Island off the coast of Scotland. Good movie.

      I wonder if Follet was influenced by Eddie Chapman?

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      THere were a couple of fairly decent 6-episode Masterpiece Theatre about the occupation of the Channel Islands during that time.

      “Island at War” shown around 2003 and was on Masterpiece theatre, and “Enemy at the Door” filmed around the late 1970s

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        There have been some excellent British TV series about the occupation of the Channel Islands. I also recall ‘Island at War’ as being very good.

  2. Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    We have a different Google Doodle –
    Ferdinand Monoyer – “onoyer chart was designed more than 100 years ago and was the first eye test to use a decimal system”

  3. Frank Bath
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    The German occupation of the Channel Islands was a remarkable event, and there’s plenty published about it. (See Wiki, ‘German occupation of the Channel Islands.’) The amount of concrete poured into subterranean and coastal defensive construction, and the number of slaves worked to death, to defend and keep the islands defies logic.
    They were taken without a shot.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted May 9, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Almost like France. I’m just kidding. Some today do not remember that soon after France surrendered, the British Navy sunk much of the French Navy. At the same time FDR was attempting to get Churchill to ship their navy to the U.S. – assuming they would not want it to fall into Nazi hands. Lots of faith there, eh. Fortunately, Britain did not do that.

  4. ploubere
    Posted May 9, 2017 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    Stalin had a point. The Soviets sacrificed significantly more and did more to win the war than the Allies. He was still a monster though.

    When I was a kid my family lived in France for a while. I remember a teacher I had there describing WWII as “the war between the French and the Germans.”

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