Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on the second day of summer: Thursday, June 22, 2017, It’s National Chocolate Eclair Day. I can’t remember when I had one of those, though they’re good. I suppose the Dunkin Donuts Boston Creme Donut is a reasonable facsimile, and I occasionally have one of those in airports. In Croatia it’s Anti-Fascist Struggle Day, commemorating the partisans who fought the Germans and Italians in World War II.

On this day in 1633, Catholic authorities in Rome forced Galileo to recant his idea of a Sun-centered solar system; whether Galileo whispered “Nevertheless, the Earth still moves” is unknown. In 1906, the flag of Sweden was adopted; in case you’ve forgotten, this is what it looks like:

Heja Sverige!

On June 22, 1911, George V and Mary of Teck were crowned as King and Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. On this day in 1940, the French were humiliated by having to sign a surrender to the Germans in the same railroad car, in the forest of Compiègne, in which Germany surrendered to the Allies in World War I. And exactly one year later, after pledging mutual support, the Nazis invaded the Soviet Union in Operation Barbarossa. That ensured a German defeat, though it took four more years.  And on this day in 1942, the U.S. Congress adopted the Pledge of Allegiance. The goddy part of the pledge, “one nation, under God”, was added on June 14, 1954.

Soccer fans will remember that on this day in 1986, in the World Cup game in which Argentina defeated England 2-1, Diego Maradona scored the “Hand of God” goal. It was clearly a handball, but the referee didn’t see it. As Wikipedia notes:

Six minutes into the second half, Maradona cut inside from the left and played a diagonal low pass to the edge of the area to team-mate Jorge Valdano and continued his run in the hope of a one-two movement. Maradona’s pass was played slightly behind Valdano and reached England’s Steve Hodge, the left midfielder who had dropped back to defend.

Hodge tried to hook the ball clear but miscued it. The ball screwed off his foot and into the penalty area, toward Maradona, who had continued his run. England goalkeeper Peter Shilton came out of his goal to punch the ball clear. Maradona, despite being 8 inches (20 cm) shorter than the 6-foot-1 (1.85 m) Shilton, reached it first with his outside left hand. The ball went into the goal. RefereeAli Bin Nasser of Tunisia claimed he did not see the infringement and allowed the goal.

Maradona later said, “I was waiting for my teammates to embrace me, and no one came… I told them, ‘Come hug me, or the referee isn’t going to allow it.'”

At the post-game press conference, Maradona facetiously commented that the goal was scored “un poco con la cabeza de Maradona y otro poco con la mano de Dios” (“a little with the head of Maradona and a little with the hand of God”),[12] after which it became known as the “Hand of God” goal. The goal helped intensify the footballing rivalry between the two nations: the English now felt that they had been cheated out of a possible World Cup victory, while the Argentines enjoyed the manner in which they had taken the lead.

Here it is; looks like a handball to me.

Four minutes later, Maradona also scored the Goal of the Century, a fantastic (and legitimate) goal, seen as one of the best of all time. Here it is. Argentina went on to win the World Cup, but the “Hand of God” remains controversial; and it’s one reason why many soccer fans don’t like Maradona, for he cheated and successfully got away with it.

Notables born on this day include biologist Julian Huxley (1887), gangster John Dillinger (1903), Anne Morrow Lindbergh and Billy Wilder (both 1906), Dianne Feinstein (1933; she’s 84 today and still persisting), Kris Kristofferson (1936), Meryl Streep (1949, my own birth year; I gauge my own physical decline against how she looks, which is great), Elizabeth Warren (also 1949), and Erin Brockovitch (1960). Those who died on this day include David O. Selznick (1965), Judy Garland (1969), Fred Astaire (1987), Dennis Day (1988), and Pat Nixon (1993). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is getting squashed by Cyrus. It’s even worse because, according to reports, Cyrus is “stinking” and needs a bath (this is another advantage of cats over d*gs):

Hili Some forms of cohabitation are overwhelming.
Cyrus: Yes, this sofa is very comfortable but something’s not quite right.
 In Polish:
Hili: Niektóre formy kohabitacji są przygniatające.
Cyrus: Tak, ta sofa jest bardzo wygodna, ale mnie też coś przeszkadza.

Out in Winnipeg, Gus has made the only good use of a vegetable I can’t abide, but I’ll let his staff member Taskin explain:

Gus has found a use for rhubarb that you may approve of. I have a huge crop of rhubarb this year. 🙂

In London, Theo the cat is about to have his coffee (yes, he drinks it and prefers it black, with espresso being his favorite):


  1. Posted June 22, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Tip: Don’t put Jeremy Clarkson and Maradona alone together in the same room.


  2. BJ
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Oh maaaaan, chocolate eclairs are sooooo good. Find a French bakery that makes them. The dough will be much better and more satisfying, and you live in Chicago, so it can’t be that hard to find one (I hope).

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 23, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      My father loved chocolate éclairs. My nephew, who was six at the time, put one in his grave for him.

  3. Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Pledge of Allegiance – such a fascistic thing – fits with the wartime experience though, I suppose, though it is curious that the UK never felt the need to pledge allegiance to the monarch. I wonder why…

    Funny, it seems no one wants to be one now… a monarch, that is –
    So he can give up his life of privilege & give back to the state all his wealth…

    • Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Rhubarb is great stuff – just ask Geoff Boycott’s granny…

    • Simon Hayward
      Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      The original 1892 version of the pledge – without the three subsequent amendments is much easier and cleaner:

      “I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

      I had the same thought re the rhubarb

  4. claudia baker
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    Gus in a rhubarb jungle.

    This is bugging me this morning:

    Why is Trump going around doing rallies like the one in Iowa yesterday? Did any other U.S. president do this? Two people who kept up this campaign-style of stirring the masses spring to mind: Hitler and Goebbels.

    • Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      Rhubarb a vegetable?

      “the thick leaf stalks of a cultivated plant of the dock family, which are reddish or green and eaten as a fruit after cooking.” [NOAD]

      If you’re eating it as a vegetable, Jerry, no wonder you don’t like it!

      Try it in a crumble* with custard! 😋


      * a mixture of flour and butter that is rubbed to the texture of breadcrumbs and cooked as a topping for fruit.
      • a dessert made with crumble and a particular fruit: rhubarb crumble.

    • Posted June 25, 2017 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      Whenever he needs his ego tank topped off, he does one of these rallies.

  5. darrelle
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I am one of those who never particularly cared for Maradona. No argument about his abilities, he was a skilled player. Just a personal quirk of mine that I don’t like cheating and I especially don’t like the attitude that cheating is cool, everybody does it, it’s honorable and expected. I don’t mind hard aggressive play, most of the coaches I had when I played soccer were of the “it’s a contact sport” school of thought, but cheating sucks and I think poorly of those who do it and normalize it.

    Though it can be funny sometimes. One game against a South American team, I was playing left half, I stole the ball and advanced it down the left side to good centering range. A defender, who was about twice my size, took me down just as I managed to center the ball. He then proceeded to sit on me like I was a bean bag for the next 30 seconds or so very effectively taking me out of play. Absurdly enough no official saw this. It was so blatant and absurd I had to laugh.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I’ve heard it said that cheating and, crucially, _getting away with it_ is much-admired by Argentine football supporters. Something about sticking it to the man, or breaking the rules as a symbolic political act. I’ve always though this was an amusingly shameless kind of rationalisation of the fact that their national side had a bit of a reputation for being dirty, cheating sods.

      I was a bit too young for Maradona in his prime so I missed all the national outrage and whipped-up fervour about the Hand of God goal.
      But the goal that comes after it is generally regarded as the greatest goal of all time, partly because of how gorgeous it is to watch; how elegant Maradona remains throughout, the upper half of his body remaining almost gyroscopically stable while his short, chunky, side-of-ham legs whirred away underneath; but also because it was at a World Cup, and it was a crucial goal, against a credible opposition; and because he beat, what? eight men, just sliced through them like he was the only sober person on the pitch. There’s nothing more beautiful in football than a natural dribbler like Maradona or Ronaldo Nazario or Michael Laudrup.

      Like you, I can’t stand the cheating, especially now that it’s evolved and spread across the professional game to the extent that it has; the diving, the card-waving whenever there’s the possibility of getting your opponent sent off, the time-wasting, oh god the time-wasting.

      But then, to be fair, it’s a kind of arms-race between defenders and attackers – the more skillful you are as an attacker, the more desperate and cynical the attention you get from defenders(like niggly digs off-the-ball, and cynical, professional fouls on the most skillful players whenever they get the ball in a position where they can counter-attack dangerously), and in turn the more you feel you have to start diving and exaggerating contact or else you won’t get any referee-protection from the kind of player who wants to break your legs.

      • Blue
        Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        This cheating is called a p r o v e c h a r.
        And common.

        “to benefit oneself”
        “to benefit oneself by taking”
        “to benefit oneself by taking to its maximum
        what one can get away with”
        “to benefit oneself by taking to its maximum
        what one can get away with … … with
        glee and with others’ admiration for doing so”

        And commonly done not just in football
        or within other sports but also
        inside any endeavor at where
        one can get away with doing so.

        As in benefiting oneself by taking away from
        one’s teammates, one’s teachers, one’s boss,
        one’s preacher, one’s judge, one’s cousins,
        one’s own mother and father.

        A close associate, at one time serving
        in the Peace Corps in Honduras, in Guatemala,
        and within other points inside South America
        recounted years and years ago to me that
        during her Peace Corps – school she was
        specifically trained in this concept.
        So as to (try to) not, she stated, be taken
        advantage of. Too often. Apparently.

        Around other parts of the World and in English,
        this concept of one’s actions may be termed as
        … … to swindle.


        • darrelle
          Posted June 22, 2017 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          How interesting. I’d never heard of that before. Thanks Blue.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted June 23, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

          That’s interesting. Still sounds like a rationalisation for nicking stuff and doing over your fellow man/woman though.

      • darrelle
        Posted June 22, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        Just based on my own experience, it seems the admiration for cheating is fairly common among Latin-American sports teams. You can find dirty players anywhere of course.

        Funny you mention leg breaking. I once suffered a very badly broken leg playing soccer. But no injuries remotely that bad playing US style football, skateboarding, biking, motorcycling or any other “dangerous” activities.

  6. Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I like how the rhubarb turns Gus green. (And I like rhubarb.)

    Fruits are ripe plant ovaries (often with other tissues included). All other parts when used for food are vegetables. Thus tomatoes, peppers, and beans are fruits while rhubarb petioles are veggies. Technically. For botanists. Sometimes we botanists can be overly technical.

    • Posted June 22, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      You’ll be telling us next that a tomato is a fruit!

      Thankfully, greengrocer’s’ and chefs know better. (Or is that just, “differently”?)


      • Dennis McCarthy
        Posted June 22, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        Difference between knowledge and wisdom: knowledge is knowing tomatoes are fruit, wisdom is not putting them in fruit salad.

  7. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted June 22, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I had forgotten the flag law date, we celebrate June 6 as national day. The late date of the current flag was a result of Sweden and Norway peacefully dissolving our union. But the blue and yellow national colors go back to royal colors of the 13th century at the very least, at the time when kings more robustly asserted themselves based on “a society of privileges”.

    Tomorrow is the modern national festival of Midsummer Eve. That too is becoming more peaceful over time, likely correlated with that statistically less people drink heavily.

  8. Posted June 22, 2017 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    No mention of the brilliant Google Doodle?

  9. Andrea Kenner
    Posted June 24, 2017 at 5:08 am | Permalink

    Cyrus is looking a bit grizzled in that photo.

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