Sunday: Hili dialogue

It’s Sunday, May 21, 2017: National Strawberries and Cream Day. It’s also the Circassian Day of Mourning, commemorating the genocide of a people everyone forgets.

On this day in 1863, the Seventh-day Adventist Church was founded in Battle Creek, Michigan, and exactly 18 years later Clara Barton founded a more useful organization in Washington, D.C.: The American Red Cross.

On May 21, 1924, two University of Chicago students, Richard Loeb and Nathan Leopold, Jr., murdered a random victim, 14-year-old Bobby Franks, just to see if they could get away with “the perfect crime”. They didn’t: they were caught because Leopold left his distinctive eyeglasses at the desolate site in Indiana where Franks’s body was dumped. The two men pleaded guilty, but Clarence Darrow, their lawyer, won a life sentence (plus 99 years) rather than execution after his justly famous and impassioned twelve-hour plea to the judge,  You can read about that magnificent speech here. Loeb was murdered in prison in 1936; Leopold was released in 1958 and moved to Puerto Rico, where he died in 1971.

On this day in 1927 Charles Lindbergh landed at Le Bourget Field in Paris, finishing the world’s first solo nonstop flight across the Atlantic Ocean and ensuring lifelong fame. Exactly five years later, Amelia Earhart landed in Northern Ireland, becoming the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.

On May 21, 1936, Sada Abe was arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days carrying the severed genitals of Kichizo Ishida, her lover whom she had strangled in an erotic marathon in a brothel. At the time it was a huge scandal in Japan and was depicted in the 1976 movie In the Realm of the Senses, notorious for its explicit sexual scenes. I liked the move, which is at once compelling, erotic, and disturbing; it earned a 84% critics’ rating on Rotten Tomatoes.

Here is Abe after her arrest in 1936. She doesn’t look very upset; in fact, everyone looks amused:

Abe spent about five years in prison and died some time around 1971, then living anonymously. Here’s a still from the movie in which Abe engages in erotic asphyxiation (you can see the YouTube trailer here):

Finally, on this day in 1982, Johnny Carson wrapped up  30 years hosting The Tonight Show with his final taping, featuring guests Robin Williams and Bette Midler.  Here’s his farewell:

Notables born on this day include Alexander Pope (1688), paleontologist Mary Anning (1799), Henri Rousseau (1844). Fats Waller (1904) and Al Franken (1951). Those who died on this day (in 1935) include just one notable: social reformer Jane Addams, who co-founded Hull House here in Chicago and received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1931.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is as solipsistic as ever:

A: Because of the cold weather wisteria has only few flowers this year.
Hili: Well, yes, but I still look good next to it.
In Polish:
Ja: Przez te chłody wisteria ma w tym roku mało kwiatów.
Hili: No tak, ale i tak mi z nią do pyszczka.
 Finally, out in Winnipeg Gus has a new friend–a squirrel. His staff Taskin tells the tale and includes a photo of the female, who’s obviously nursing some pups:

There is a new red squirrel around. I had seen two of them around earlier but lately it’s just been the new one. She’s smaller, tap dances faster and is really noisy. I just snapped this photo of her at our feeder. I think we are in trouble….. She was helping herself to the bird feeder for at least  half an hour. No birds were allowed near it 🙂



  1. Christopher
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Put some capsaicin on that bird food. Unless you want to feed the squirrels. Works for me.

  2. somer
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    The Sada Abe saga is bizarre, kinky, deeply depraved and appalling – how could those present at her arrest be amused?!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 21, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Doubtless some people with sick and twisted senses of humour* find it highly amusing, for no logical reason.

      *like me, for instance.

    • Posted May 21, 2017 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Read the Wikipedia article to see how she was treated later in life when she was a barmaid and everyone knew who she was.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Johnny Carson – the one and only. For those who grew up with Carson, no other came close. From Norfolk, Nebraska, but actually born in Corning, Ia, about 25 miles from where I was born.

    • DrBeydon
      Posted May 21, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      I miss Johnny.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted May 21, 2017 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

        I don’t think we knew what a great interviewer he was until we had all the others for comparison.

  4. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    I was about 23 when I saw “Realm of the Senses” about 4 years after its original release. Now I only saw it once, so I have no statistical sample size of showings, but that was the longest line in front of the men’s room I had ever seen!

    When I myself finally arrived at the latrine, I quipped to the fellow next to me, “Well, I’ve still got mine. You still got yours?” He gave me a verrry hostile look, and it remains of the 2 or 3 most memorably Dead-On-Arrival quips of mine in my entire lifetime.


    I’ve always wondered how much Leopold and Loeb set back the cause of gay rights. They did less to set back the appreciation of Nietzsche (whom they admired) than Hitler, most likely.
    I first heard about them in a Woody Allen joke which I had to have explained to me, because I didn’t know who they were. The stage play Rope, adapted by Alfred Hitchcock, is based on their case.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 21, 2017 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      The castration scene in El Topo was no picnic, either.

    • Mark R.
      Posted May 21, 2017 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

      I hadn’t heard of this case before, but I immediately thought of Hitchcock’s Rope. Thanks for the clarification.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Another interesting film from that time based on the Leopold & Loeb case is Compulsion, starring Orson Welles.

        • Mark R.
          Posted May 22, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

          Thanks for the tip Ken.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    … Sada Abe was arrested after wandering the streets of Tokyo for days carrying the severed genitals of Kichizo Ishida, her lover whom she had strangled in an erotic marathon in a brothel.

    Somebody forgot his “safe word,” obvs.

  6. Posted May 21, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    My wisteria vines are shaping up for a good blooming this year. Last year was dismal.

  7. starskeptic
    Posted May 21, 2017 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Saw In the Realm of the Senses at Northern Illinois during ‘Erotic Week’ which, after parents found out about it had to be renamed ‘Comedy Week’.

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