Saturday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Saturday, May 13, 2017. It’s another triple-header food day: National Apple Pie Day. National Fruit Cocktail Day, and National Hummus Day. I’ll have the first and third, thank you, but I haven’t even seen fruit cocktail for ages. Does it still exist? And it’s Abbotsbury Garland Day in the eponymous Dorset village: the local children make garlands, as they have since the 19th century, and gambol about like these lambs:

On this day in 1830, Ecuador became independent from the then-country of “Gran Colombia”, a huge area that has now become 7 nations. In 1846, the Mexican-American War began. On May 13, 1917, the three kids shown below reported a vision of the Virgin Mary in Fátima, Portugal, leading to the sensational delusion of Our Lady of Fátima. Later that year, another delusion occurred, the famous Miracle of the Sun, which may simply have been a sun dog or other natural phenomenon—if it was anything at all.

Lúcia Santos (left) with her cousins Jacinta and Francisco Marto in 1917. Only Lucia survived the flu pandemic of the next year.

On May 13, 1989, the famous student demonstrations began in Tiananmen Square, Beijing. And on this day in 1995 (May is climbing season in Nepal), Alison Hargreaves, a 33-year-old British woman, became the first woman to summit Everest without either oxygen or Sherpas. She died in August of that year while descending from the summit of K-2. This photo of her and her two children was taken right before her fatal trip::

Notables born on this day include George Braque (1882), Gil Evans (1912), Joe Louis (1914), Bea Arthur (1922), Bruce Chatwin (1940), Ritchie Valins (1941), Manning Marable and Stevie Wonder ( both 1950), and the philosopher Herman Philipse (1951; I highly recommend his 2012 book, God in the Age of Science?: A Critique of Religious Reason).

Those who died on this day include Fridtjof Nansen (1930), Gary Cooper (1961), Bob Wills (1975), Chet Baker (1988), and Joyce Brothers (2013). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is looking very feral today, don’t you agree?

Hili: Did you plant these dandelions?
A: No, they sneaked in by themselves.
Hili: Somebody should hunt them.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy to ty posadziłeś tu te mlecze?
A: Nie same się wkradły.
Hili: Ktoś powinien na nie zapolować.

And from The Dodo, here’s a tweet showing a cat who doesn’t want share his noms!


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 13, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    “Herman Philipse (1951; I highly recommend his 2012 book, God in the Age of Science?: A Critique of Religious Reason).”

    Interesting book recommendation – I’ll check it out!

    • Posted May 13, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      It’s scholarly (i.e., dense, but dissects religious arguments for God in a super way. especially that of the deluded Plantinga.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted May 13, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

        Available at my not-necessarily-academic library!

  2. Art
    Posted May 13, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Those kids don’t look too happy about meeting the Virgin Mary.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted May 13, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      @Art Forced to wear their best clothes, stupid headgear AND shoes – all for the photographer is my guess!

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted May 13, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    That g*d is crafty eh? Have Mary appear before three catholic children nearly 200 years ago in Ecuador. Who wouldn’t believe that. Very similar to the appearance of Elvis in the streets of Vegas last year.

  4. Chris Lang
    Posted May 13, 2017 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    There is a peculiar book I was enamored of years ago, “The Handbook of Unusual Natural Phenomena” by William Corliss (1983). Corliss collected reports of strange or unexplained natural phenomena from serious popular magazines and scientific journals. But he mentions the Fatima miracle of the dancing sun as a possible example of a phenomenon seen in 1923 in Ireland referred to as a “kaleidoscopic sun”. The description of this fits (intense prismatic colors, and the appearance of the sun shifting its position in a dancing motion). The speculation was that this was caused by “falling sheets of ice crystals of different geometries” (according to the 1923 observer).

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted May 14, 2017 at 5:25 am | Permalink

      by William Corliss

      There’s a bell jingling in my brain. I don’t know why though. [Googles] OK, this is the guy. With an extensive bibliography, it’s not surprising that the name rings bells. But this one “Carolina Bays, Mima Mounds, Submarine Canyons (1988)” stands out, since I had a Creationist touting “Carolina bays” at me as being an unexplained geological phenomenon some years ago and remember researching the subject – to find it wasn’t inexplicable, even if there was no generally accepted explanation. People differ in their plausible explanations, and the subject isn’t worth detailed investigation. (And if you disagree, stump up some funding, and I’ll happily do a detailed investigation for you.)

  5. Posted May 13, 2017 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    It’s interesting to look for natural explanations for the “Miracle of the Sun”, but face it — the chances that a rare atmospheric phenomenon just happened to occur at the precise time and place predicted by three peasant children are slim to none.

    But remember, we don’t have the occurrence, or even the observation of a striking atmospheric (or celestial) phenomenon, we only have the reporting of this [alleged] phenomenon. And it turns out that the reporting stinks! We have some hearsay, local newspaper accounts (no doubt adhering to the highest standards of 1917 journalism), and accounts written decades later by a Catholic priest.

    I would say that if anybody saw anything that day, it’s what anyone would see staring at a bright light, That, plus a stew of all the well-known cognitive errors that flesh is heir to, are more than sufficient to explain the reporting.

    But even if it were all really real, I say: what a lame-ass miracle!. Tricks of the light? Is that the best the Queen of Heaven can do? If only she could have done something even remotely useful, like, I don’t know, maybe stop the First World War?

    • Chris Lang
      Posted May 13, 2017 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      A very good caveat, which reminds me of the attempts over the years to explain the Star of Bethlehem described in the Gospel According to Luke. (Comet? Supernova? A conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn? But it’s part of a fictional narrative intended to establish the royal status of Jesus.)

      In the case of the Fatima miracle, the standard narrative is of tens of thousands of witnesses, including atheists wanting to see the humiliation of a prophetic no-show, being awed by the solar spectacle. I honestly don’t know what really happened, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility that a strange coincidence happened–a spectacular sun-dog like phenomenon (but certainly not of a supernatural nature).

      The book I read on Fatima was by a writer named Walsh, said to be a historian. The one odd detail I keyed on was his claim that one of the Marian prophecies was of a supernatural sign in the heavens immediately before the next world war. Walsh identified this sign with a foreboding red glow that filled the night sky right before the Anschluss (if memory serves), in 1938; he claimed there was no natural explanation. I made note of the date, and found the correct issue of the NY Times on microfilm (this was before the internet). The red glow was a red aurora, which happens roughly every ten years.

      • Posted May 13, 2017 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

        Thanks a bunch, God, but your “warning” wasn’t very helpful, was it? Couldn’t you have pulled strings to get Hitler into the Vienna Academy of Art and avoided the whole mess?

  6. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted May 14, 2017 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    I haven’t even seen fruit cocktail for ages. Does it still exist?

    There’s around a kilo of it siting in my fridge, which I made for the next few days breakfast. A third of a melon (forget which type) roughly cubed, tin of pineapple chunks, diced banana, fist full of grapes. Serve a bowlful with a good dollop of yoghurt. Yummy!

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