Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s now (in the US) Saturday, June 10, 2017: graduation day at The University of Chicago. Today the campus will be overrun with maroon-robed students and their proud parents, though I fear for the peace of my ducklings! Here’s the venue, waiting for the activities to begin (employees are wiping down the seats). The stage for dignaries, speakers, and College officials is at the far end (the bell tower of Rockefeller Chapel looms in the distance), and the quad is full of seats.

I don’t yet know who is getting honorary degrees; the University has a tradition (unique as far as I know) that only recognized scholars get those degrees, so there will be no appearances or graduation speeches by humorists, authors, politicians, cartoonists or the like. The convocation address, likewise, is always given by a member of our faculty; this year it’s Ka Yee C. Lee, professor of chemistry.

The gate in the biology area (“Hull Court”) through which the seniors will march after they’ve graduated (duck pond to the right after you pass through the gate:

It’s also National Iced Tea Day, appropriate since the temperatures today and tomorrow will be in the 90s (or mid 30s Celsius). It’s Army Day in Jordan and Navy Day in Italy.

It was not a big day in history, On June 10, 1935, Dr. Robert Smith, an alcoholic surgeon, took his last drink and, with his friend Bill Wilson, founded Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio. On this day in 1942, the Czech village of  Lidice was razed, and its inhabitants killed (men) or sent to the camps (women and children; nearly all died) in reprisal for the assassination of  Nazi official Reinhard Heydrich. Finally, on June 10, 1944, Joe Nuxhall took the mound to pitch part of an inning for the Cincinnati Reds, becoming, at age 15, the youngest player to ever take part in a major-leage baseball game. There was a shortage of players during the war, and Nuxhall, called in during the ninth inning to help with a 13-0 losing score against the St. Louis Cardinals, promptly yielded five more runs and was pulled from the game. He later came back to the major leagues in 1952 and pitched until 1967, when he retired and became a broadcaster.

Notables born on this day incude Hattie McDaniel (1895), Saul Bellow (1915), Judy Garland (1922), Maurice Sendak (1928), biologist E. O. Wilson (1929; he’s 88 today), and Elizabeth Hurley (1965). Those who died on this day include Antoni Gaudi (1926; hit by a trolley), Marcus Garvey (1940), Jack Johnson (1946), Spencer Tracy (1967), Ray Charles (2004) and Gordie Howe (last year).

Charles is surely most famous for singing “Georgia On My Mind,” a very great song, but it’s become a bit of a cliche, and I prefer his version of the Eddy Arnold song “You Don’t Know Me,” performed here in a lovely duet with Diana Krall:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili looks very cute as she espouses Cat Theology:

Hili: The argument from authority says that I shouldn’t go any further.
A: Whose authority?
Hili: Mine.
In Polish:
Hili: Argument autorytetu mówi, że nie powinnam iść dalej.
Ja: Czyjego autorytetu?
Hili: Mojego.


Grania found a cat/bogroll tw**t with a video; note that the paper is in the MacPherson position:


  1. Ken Phelps
    Posted June 10, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Well, it looks like the cats have checked in on the question. The MacPherson position has been rejected.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 10, 2017 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

      Not according to this good kitteh

      • Posted June 10, 2017 at 3:11 pm | Permalink


      • rickflick
        Posted June 10, 2017 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Very good! She has the decency to try to wind it up again. 🙂

      • Diane G.
        Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:53 am | Permalink

        Aww, so cute!

  2. George
    Posted June 10, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Honorary degrees:
    Robert MacPherson, the Herman Weyl Professor of Mathematics at the Institute for Advanced Study
    Shaul Mukamel, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine
    Craig B. Thompson, president and CEO of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center and professor at the Weill Cornell Medicine Graduate School of Medical Sciences.

    Here is the press release on honorary degrees:

    • George
      Posted June 10, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      I should point out that UofC refers to this as a convocation not graduation. And it certainly has its own way of doing things. In 1999, Bill Clinton invited himself to the spring convocation (there is one every quarter). He was allowed to give remarks (not the convocation address) and did not get an honorary degree.

      In 1959, Mayor Richard J. Daley (the first) asked UofC to give Queen Elizabeth an honorary degree. It declined – for lack of scholarly credentials.

      • DrBeydon
        Posted June 10, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        I graduated in ’87, and UC had begun the process of easing admissions requirements to attract a more diverse (i.e., less nerdy) student body in hopes of addressing the poor social life. (At the same time they increased the size of the college to help pay for Hanna Gray’s misguided attempt to make the school into Harvard.) I have several friends from those days still, one of whom was a first year my fourth year. It’s always amusing to tweak him during a conversation with the phrase, “of course, I went to the old school, before they lowered admissions standards.”

        It was either my fourth year or the year after that they also tried to discontinue the self-deprecating, traditional UC football cheer:

        Thucydides, Aristophanes, Peloponnesian War!
        H2, S2, H2SO4!
        Who for? What for? What the hell are we cheering for?
        Chicago! Chicago! Yay, Chicago!

  3. rickflick
    Posted June 10, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I love this Hili dialogue. She’s shamelessly telling you like it is. Just get used to it.

    Also, there’s something amusing about the very notion of “argument from authority”. How can you even argue if you’re dealing with THE authority?

  4. DrBeydon
    Posted June 10, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    When I graduated, we all sat in Rockefeller Chapel. Our commencement address was given by a professor of music. Not knocking the professoriate, but I always thought it disappointing that UC didn’t bring in big names for that.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 10, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    When it comes to duets of “You Don’t Know Me,” I love the one Van Morrison did with his daughter Shana.

    And speaking of Ray and Van and great duets, I love the one they did together of Van’s “Crazy Love”. Now, Ray & Van — there’s a pairing with a real musical affinity.

  6. David Harper
    Posted June 10, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    Apropos the rather splendid gate through which the new graduates will pass, I am reminded of Gonville and Caius College here in Cambridge. It has three famous gates, named “Humility”, “Virtue” and “Honour”. New students enter the college through the Gate of Humility. During their studies, they pass regularly through the Gate of Virtue. And on the day of their graduation, they leave the college through the Gate of Honour on their way to the Senate House where they receive their degrees.

  7. Posted June 10, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    “Hili: Argument autorytetu mówi”

    Not knowing Polish, I read this as “Argument authority of Meow”.

  8. Posted June 10, 2017 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    The gate is beautiful!

  9. Dale Franzwa
    Posted June 11, 2017 at 12:00 am | Permalink

    To add to your death list. Batman died today. Adam West, who played the Caped Crusader on TV several decades ago was 88.

    • Diane G.
      Posted June 11, 2017 at 1:30 am | Permalink

      Duh-duh duh-duh duh-duh duh-duh
      Duh-duh duh-duh duh-duh duh-duh

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