Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s Tuesday, May 30, 2017: the 150th day of the year. I am saddened to report that, the night before last, Grania tripped over an electrical cord in the dark and fractured her ulna. She’ll be in a sling for four weeks. Condolences!

It’s National Mint Julep Day: an estimable drink when made properly, and that means good bourbon. Make mine Woodford Reserve! As a lover of India, I’m also pleased to note that it’s Indian Arrival Day in Trinidad and Tobago. Among those feted should be V. S. Naipal, whose grandparents were migrants to Trinidad from India, and whose 1961 book set in Trinidad, A House for Mr Biswas, deserves to be read by everyone.

On this day in 1431, Joan of Arc was burned at the stake after being convicted of heresy, charges that included her dressing like a man. She was 19.  On May 30, 1536, Henry VIII of England married Jane Seymour. She was queen for only 15 months, and died giving birth to Henry’s son, the future King Edward VI. On this day in 1899, one of the last stagecoach robberies in the West took place in Arizona, carried out by Pearl Hart, a rare woman outlaw. Here she is:

Finally, in 1961, Dominican dictator Rafael Trujillo was assassinated in Santo Domingo.

Notables born on this day include Mel Blanc (1908), Benny Goodman (1909), Nobel Laureate and biochemist Julius Axelrod (1912), and Wynona Judd (1964).  Let’s have a look at  Blanc, “the man of a thousand voices” (it was more like 400). Wikipedia notes this:

He began his 60-plus-year career performing in radio, but is best remembered for his work inanimation as the voices of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety Bird, Sylvester the Cat, Yosemite Sam,Foghorn Leghorn, Marvin the Martian, Pepé Le Pew, Speedy Gonzales, Wile E. Coyote, Road Runner , theTasmanian Devil, and many of the other characters from the Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies theatrical cartoons during the golden age of American animation. He was, in fact, the voice for all of the major male Warner Bros. cartoon characters except for Elmer Fudd, whose voice was provided by fellow radio actor Arthur Q. Bryan, although Blanc later voiced Fudd as well after Bryan’s death.

Here’s Blanc on the Dave Letterman show, in a funny interview that demonstrates his vocal talents:

Here’s Blanc’s famous ending to the Warner Brothers cartoons, with a stammering Porky Pig:

And, at his request, here is Blanc’s real tombstone in Hollywood:

Those who died on this day include Joan of Arc (1431), Peter Paul Rubens (1540), Alexander Pope (1744), Voltaire (1778), Boris Pasternake (1960), Leó Szilárd (1964), botanist David Lloyd (1938; died under suspicious circumstances; his wife was tried and acquited for poisoning him), and Rosalyn Sussman Yalow, who won the Nobel Prize for devising radioimmuno assays (1961).  Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is making jokes:

A: Vanity of vanities.
Hili: Or vice versa.
In Polish:
Ja: Marność nad marnościami.
Hili: Albo odwrotnie.

Lagniappe: a baked cat and a raccoon rescue:


  1. Posted May 30, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    “an estimable drink when made properly” – recipe please as that website gives none & says opinions differ!

    • Posted May 30, 2017 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      Here’s a good recipe:


    • Christopher
      Posted May 30, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      My recipe is get some sugar, mint, and the best bourbon you can afford, then take the sugar, put it back in the sugar bowl, put the mint in a pot to grow for the bees, pour the bourbon in a glass and consume. I’m not much for mixed drinks I guess…Cheers!

      • Posted May 30, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        My favorite recipe for a mint julep is:
        Fill a julep cup half full with crushed ice, add several ounces of simple syrup and a sprig of mint. Throw the contents out the window. Fill the now chilled julep cup with a couple of ounces of good bourbon and a splash of cold water. Enjoy!

        I have heard a similar recipe attributed to Thomass Jefferson, but I’m sceptical of that attribution. Woodford Reserve is one of the best bourbon made here in Kentucky. I’m lucky the distillery is only about 15 miles away.

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Wish Grania a fast recovery…

    Those of us in a certain age range grew up with the sound of Mel Blanc. Saturday morning cartoons and all the rest.

    • Doug
      Posted May 30, 2017 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      He was also Barney Rubble.

  3. JohnH
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    The first V. S. Naipaul book I read was The Mystic Masseur after watching the 2002 movie based on the novel. This was followed by A House for Mr. Biswa and Miguel Street all of which are beautifully written portraits of people well worth reading.

  4. Gary Allan
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    I am following WEIT on Twitter, and this entry as well as the entry about the boots, came up with a warning about sensitive material (again). Do you have Twitter set to mark media you send as being sensitive? It is the last check box on the Privacy and Safety page for Twitter settings.

    • Posted May 30, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      No, it’s Twitter’s fault as some reader flagged some post as “offensive” (I suspect it was the poached elephant whose face was cut off to steal its tusks). You can adjust your own settings so that doesn’t appear, but I’m going to take it up with Twitter.

  5. Posted May 30, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Also the death of Christopher Marlowe in 1593…
    “Base Fortune, now I see, that in thy wheel
    There is a point, to which when men aspire, They tumble headlong down: that point I touched”

  6. Kevin
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    One happy cat. And Joan of Arc was burned because she was delusional.

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    These days, Mel Blanc mightta gotten in trouble with the cultural appropriation police. Glad they weren’t around when I was a kid.

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    Delightful gravestone for a wonderful man and vocalist, but it leaves me wondering if the gravestone Nolan Bushnell (founder of Atari) is going to say “Game Over”.

  9. Mobius
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Love the catnip pic. That is hilarious.

  10. Don Mackay
    Posted May 30, 2017 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for a great post; made my morning.
    Mel Blanc was extraordinary.

  11. Posted May 30, 2017 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

    Rosalyn Yalow won the Nobel Prize in 1977. She died May 30, 2011. Not sure what “1961” signifies.

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