Friday: Hili dialogue (and Leon Monologue)

Good morning: we’ve reached the end of another week, which means that, without exception, we’re all another week closer to the grave. It’s June 16, 2017, and National Fudge Day (in the US), as well as Sussex Day (in Sussex), which occurs on St Richard’s Day, the feast day of Sussex’s patron Saint, St Richard of Chichester. Raise your hand if you have a Sussex connection. And, if you know your Joyce, you’ll know that it’s also Bloomsday (see below).

On this day in 1871, Oxford, Cambridge and Durham Universities absolished religious tests for student enrollment, except for theology students. Were there no Jewish or Muslim students before that, or simply no atheists? On this day in 1904 (see above), James Joyce met his future wife Nora Barnacle, and this is the precise day on which all the action in Ulysses takes place. There will be toasts and tours in Dublin on this Bloomsday; and I’ve just found out that our own Matthew Cobb is in Dublin today for a family birthday! On this day in  1904, IBM was founded in Endicott, New York under the name “The Computing-Tabulating-Recording Company”. And a depressing anniversary: on June 16, 1944,  George Junius Stinney, Jr. became the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century. He was only 14 years old and the trial was a travesty. Wikipedia describes it like this:

Stinney was convicted in less than 10 minutes, during a one-day trial, by an all-white jury of the first-degree murder of two white girls: 11-year-old Betty June Binnicker and 8-year-old Mary Emma Thames. After being arrested, Stinney was said to have confessed to the crime. There was no written record of his confession apart from notes provided by an investigating deputy, and no transcript was recorded of the brief trial. He was denied appeal and executed by electric chair.

Here’s his mug shot.

Finally, on this day in 1961, dancer Rudolf Nureyev defected from the Soviet Union.

Notables born on this day include Adam Smith (1723), Edward Davy (1806), Stan Laurel (1890), two scientists, Barbara McClintock and George Gaylord Simpson (both 1902), Joyce Carol Oates (1938) and Tupac Shakur (1971). Not many notables died on this day; I have but one: George “Superman” Reeves” (1959).  In honor of Joyce’s birthday, here’s a photo I snapped of her holding a Bengal cat (breeder: Anthony Hutcherson) at the Great New Yorker Cat versus Dog Debate in 2014. After meeting that Bengal (which I put into her arms), she adopted one from Anthony, and named it Cleopatra (“Cleo” for short”):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili can’t help calling attention to her stunning beauty:

Hili: I think that our readers like pictures of poppies.
A: That’s true.
Hili: I hope they will notice me as well.
 In Polish:
Hili: Mam wrażenie, że nasi czytelnicy bardzo lubią zdjęcia maków.
Ja: To prawda.
Hili: Mam nadzieję, że mnie też zauważą.

And nearby in Wloclawek, Leon is excited at the prospect of finally catching a bird:

Leon: Why is it flying around? It could land close to me!

Via Grania, here are Simon’s real cats (Simon Tofield has four of them, one named Teddy—like my last cat). Press the blue button to play.

And Matthew found some spiffy looking rabbits:


  1. davidintoronto
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Btw, the last few photos of Leon (/w flowers) have been lovely.

    • Posted June 16, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      His staff spent the spring making a beautiful garden on the spot in the country where they’re supposed to move the wooden house purchased in southern Poland. Sadly, there have been many delays moving the house up to the new site, and Leon’s owners are getting impatient. They spend their spare time gardening at the site, but there’s no house to go into yet!

  2. Hempenstein
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Those blue flowers, L foreground, look like Viper’s Bugloss (Echium vulgare). I love that name.

    • Hempenstein
      Posted June 16, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      And finally took the time to find the etymology on bugloss, which wasn’t particularly easy. From Greek, bous and glossa: “cow’s tongue.”

    • Hempenstein
      Posted June 16, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Finally took the time to find the etymology on bugloss, which wasn’t particularly easy. From Greek, bous and glossa: “cow’s tongue.”

  3. Peter
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    ” religious tests for student enrollment ”
    Before that students had the belong to the Anglican Church. No Catholics, no dissenters.

    • Barney
      Posted June 16, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      There were some students, and at least Jewish student, Numa Edward Hartog, was awarded his degree at Cambridge (he was “Senior Wrangler”, ie top in the year in Mathematics), with a change in the (Anglican) wording, but he wasn’t allowed to join the faculty. The change in law was largely because of his case, but he died of smallpox just 3 days later, before he could join.,_Numa_Edward_%28DNB00%29

  4. darrelle
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Whenever I hear or see the word “poppies” it always brings to mind the poem In Flanders Fields, which makes me a bit sad.

    My mother in law makes the most fabulous fudge I’ve ever had. It isn’t a chocolate fudge. I’m not sure what to call it, perhaps plain fudge? You’d swear that it must have maple sugar in it, but it doesn’t.

    My wife asked her for the recipe, but she doesn’t have one and couldn’t quantify the ingredients or give us clear instructions. She sort of just does it all by feel and sight. So my wife observed her making a batch, took notes and tried to measure ingredients as best she could. It didn’t work. She still can’t make the fudge the way her mother can.

    I bet we could build a successful business around this fudge. I’d have two kinds, naked and enrobed in a fine dark chocolate.

  5. Randy schenck
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    We notice Hili everyday and Leon tends the garden.

    No Sussex connection, a bit further north I think, Suffolk.

  6. Graham Head
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    My dad was from Horsham and every other Sunday throughout my childhood we’d visit my grandmother so I have a sort of link to Sussex. I am, though, a died in the wool Londoner.

    • Graham Head
      Posted June 16, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      A further thought. Those visits would involve ‘going for a drive’ which seemed to involve driving around the lanes of Sussex, getting lost, my mum and dad having a row about the map and finally finding a pub. Where my sisters and I would be left in the car with a glass of lemonade and a bag of crisps. I hasten to add that this was the sixties. Attitudes to drink driving and childcare were somewhat different to today.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted June 16, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

        Hey, if you wanted to see lost, that was me once attempting a drive in London.

  7. eliz20108
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    I think the religious test had to do with belonging to the Church of England.

  8. Posted June 16, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    National Fudge Day? Every day is Fudge Day in the social sciences.

  9. Posted June 16, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Joke seen today online.

    James Joyce walks into a bar.

    Barman says,

    “Why the long phrase?”

  10. Blue
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Aren’t these smashing statements ?!
    from Ms Joyce Carol Oates ?!


    “ I’m not a person who feels very friendly toward organized religion. I think people have been brainwashed through the centuries. The churches, particularly the Catholic Church, are patriarchal organizations that have been invested with power for the sake of the people in power, who happen to be men. It breeds corruption. I found going to church every Sunday and on holy days an exercise in extreme boredom. . .

    I’ve never felt that anyone who stands up and says ‘Look, I have the answers’ has the answers. . .

    How can people still be superstitious, still believe in nonsense and astrology and grotesque demonic religions of every kind, every fundamentalist religion crowding us on all sides? ”


  11. Christian
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    Not many notables died on this day

    Seems like you can add an other one: Helmut Kohl

    Just heard it on the news that he died this morning.

  12. Mark Ayling
    Posted June 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    *Raises hand*

    Hi from Littlehampton on the Sussex coast. Once the home of Dame Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, who died in St. Richard’s Hospital, Chichester.

  13. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted June 17, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Good old ‘South’ Carolina.

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