Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Tuesday, June 6, and your host has returned from Canada. And. . . it’s National Gingerbread Day, a cake I do enjoy but which needs either whipped cream or applesauce to cut its dryness. And this date might ring a bell for you, as it was on June 6, 1944 that “Operation Neptune” commenced—a day better known as D-Day, when the Allied forces landed on Normandy. You may not realize that “D-Day” is a general military term for any day on which an operation is supposed to start (“H” hour on “D” day), and the term was first used in World War I.

On this day in 1844, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) was founded in London, enabling many people to swim and whose most outstanding result was this song (1978), a celebration of gay culture (YMCAs were popular gay “hookup” spots). The song was a huge worldwide hit.

On June 6, 1889, the Great Seattle Fire destroyed the entire downtown business district of that city, and exactly three years later the Chicago “El”—our elevated subway system—began operation. On this day in 1933, the first drive-in movie theater opened; it was in Camden, New Jersey, and these theatres were a staple of my youth and prime make-out spots. Now, very few remain. On June 6, 1968. Robert F. Kennedy died after being shot the day before in Los Angeles.

Notables born on this day include Diego Velázquez, one of my favorite painters (1599), Nathan Hale (1755), Robert Falcon Scott (1868; he looked after his people), Thomas Mann (1875), Isaiah Berlin (1909), Levi Stubbs (1936), and physicist Lee Smolin (1955). Those who died on June 6 include Patrick Henry (1799), Jeremy Bentham (1832), Carl Jung (1961), Robert F. Kennedy (1968; see ab0ve), Stan Getz (1991), and Billy Preston (2006). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes a funny joke:

Hili: My claws are ready for anything.
A: For example?
Hili: I can give you acupuncture.
In Polish:
Hili: Moje pazurki są gotowe na wszystko.
Ja: Na przykład?
Hili: Mogę ci zrobić akupunkturę.

Biology lagniappe: some leaf-mimicking butterflies in a tw**t found by Matthew Cobb:


  1. Posted June 6, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I suppose 2 days before D-day was bidet…

    We are having the sort of stormy June weather that came before & after D-Day…

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 6, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    “Operation Overlord,” I think, is the better known name for the Battle of Normandy, launched with the D-day invasion.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 7:25 am | Permalink

      Yes and the Allies went in on 5 beaches with all being pretty successful save Omaha beach, which was nearly a disaster. Of course many landed in France the night before by parachute and gliders.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted June 6, 2017 at 10:56 am | Permalink

        Yeah, JFK wasn’t out to poison peasants; he merely complied with the request of Ngo Diem, the corrupt ruler of South Vietnam, for a defoliant to help root out the Viet Minh.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 6, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          Wrong place. Sorry.

  3. Posted June 6, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    One thing I remember about the YMCA song back in the day was general obliviousness about the underlying subject. And so it was played at parties in the school gym, and whereever

    It should be noted that no way could a white man dress in a Hollywood-derived indian costume today without sparking a furor about cultural appropriation.

    • bric
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      Indeed, and in fact the whole accept of ‘gay culture’ is objectionable.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      I remember when it came out. It was the YMCA themselves who commissioned it, but didn’t use it when they found out the Village People were gay. They were apparently not happy the Village People were still able to use it themselves.

      In a girl’s magazine I had at the time (I was in the target audience for the magazine) I still remember how there was a story about how girls could rejoice because all except one of the Village People were still single!

      • Posted June 6, 2017 at 5:40 pm | Permalink

        I read somewhere that only the one who dressed as a native American was actually gay. Unfortunately I can’t find anything with Google to corroborate that (or that they were all gay).

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted June 6, 2017 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

          I don’t know for sure either. I have a vague remembrance of the guy in the construction worker outfit being gay as well, but that might be my pre-teen 1970s sterotyping too.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 6, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Bobby’s death, coming two months after Martin’s and a half-decade after Jack’s, really sealed the deal. It led directly to Chicago and to the election of Richard Nixon, altering the American political landscape forever. After that, there was no going back; the American Dream hasn’t been the same since.

    • somer
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Kennedy still initiated spraying of agent orange in South Vietnam in 1962 after a test run in 1961

      • Randy schenck
        Posted June 6, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        Please give it a rest. Neither you or Kennedy knew of the damages that this weed killer would have on humans in 1961. If he had know – do you think he would have authorized it anyway??

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted June 6, 2017 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          Yeah, JFK wasn’t out to poison peasants; he merely complied with the request of Ngo Diem, the corrupt ruler of South Vietnam, for a defoliant to help root out the Viet Minh.

          • somer
            Posted June 7, 2017 at 5:31 am | Permalink

            I apologise for my snark Ken, it was petty. JFK was the last of the great Democrat presidents in the US to date.

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

    One has to wonder why the name “Indian Leaf”. Were they considered deceptive as American Indians were once perceived to be? Perhaps in the same vein as “Indian giver”?

    I’ve been reading a bit about the early settlement of the American east coast by Europeans (“The Barbarous Years” by Bernard Bailyn). It seems that most of what white settlers assumed to be deception on the part of First Americans was simply misunderstanding. Indians had no concept of land ownership. When Europeans thought they were buying property by the exchange of trade goods, what the Indians actually thought they were doing was simply allowing access to their turf. So the conclusion was likely arrived at that the Indians were taking something back when, in fact, they had never given it.

    The sociological and linguistic disconnects between the two groups was enormous, with each culture misunderstanding the other at almost every opportunity. This lack of concise communication often gave rise to the assumption that Indians were dishonest while in realty the two civilizations were just totally alien to each other. Of course once a condition of animosity was established (on both sides), trickery and deception became intentional for Europeans and Indians alike.

    • Posted June 6, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Before you go off on this tangent, I think these butterflies are from India!

    • Randy schenck
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      More to see than a cultural misunderstanding. Early in George Washington’s first term, his Sec. of War, Henry Knox made a big push to have Washington deal with the Indians in the south. A not so honest fellow, Alexander McGillivray was the lead spokesman for the Creek Indians and they came to Washington, had a great time and signed treaties. However, the state of Georgia sold the whole thing out from under them and what they and the Indians discovered was the govt. could not control the people. So treaties were pretty much worthless.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 6, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Regarding Kallima inachus, nope, the common name is not a reference to their deceptiveness or to American Indians. Their range is tropical Asia from India to Japan. As far as I can tell their common name, Indian Oakleaf, arose either simply because they are common in India or perhaps because they were collected by people of the East India Company. Maybe someone else knows more about how the name came about.

      To confuse matters there is a closely related species, Kallima paralekta, common names Indian leafwing and Malayan leafwing. And this butterfly doesn’t live in either India or Malaysia but is only found in parts of Indonesia.

  6. rickflick
    Posted June 6, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    Wikipedia has a very sharp image of the Kallima inachus. The underside of the wings is leaf mimicking, while the top is brightly colored.


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