Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s July! July 1, 2017, to be exact, and all Americans, save your genial host, are celebrating the Fourth of July Holiday, which is on Tuesday. It’s National Gingersnap Day in the U.S. (I believe this cookie is not only called a “biscuit” in the UK, but also “Ginger Nuts”. Correct me if I’m wrong.) And, more important, it’s CANADA DAY, described like this in Wikipedia (which, contrary to Greg, I see as sometimes being right!).

[Canada Day] celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united the three separate colonies of Canada, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick into a single Dominion within the British Empire called Canada. Originally called Dominion Day (FrenchLe Jour de la Confédération), the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada Act was passed. Canada Day celebrations take place throughout the country, as well as in various locations around the world, attended by Canadians living abroad.

In fact, it’s the 150th anniversary of Canada as a country! Here’s a video in which the world celebrates Canada (was Superman really Canadian?):

I’ve had nothing but good times in Canada, and refuse to stereotype it by putting up pictures of beavers or Mounties to celebrate. Instead, let’s see Gus, my favorite Canadian cat, playing with the Northwest Territories license plate I bought him. Note that the plate, like Gus, is in the shape of a polar bear. That license is now affixed, along with the maple-leaf flag, to the cardboard box that Gus naps in—his Canadian “boat”.  Sadly, bear-shaped license plates are no longer produced in Canada: they’re extinct, as the bear itself will be soon.

O Canada!

If you’re a Darwin scholar, you’ll know that on July 1, 1858, the papers of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace were read jointly before the Linnean Society of London; this was the solution worked out after Darwin received Wallace’s letter showing that both men had independently hit on the idea of evolution by natural selection. Exactly five years later, the Battle of Gettysburg began; it marked the furthest incursion of the Confederate Army into the north; after they were defeated, it was downhill all the way until Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. On this day in 1873, Prince Edward Island joined the Canadian Confederation.  July 1, 1916, the Battle of the Somme began, one of the bloodiest days in human history. On the first day alone, 19,000 soldiers of the British Army were killed and 40,000 were wounded. Before the battle ended in November, more than a million men were killed in this battle.

There’s lots of Canadian history today: July 1 must be a day that things must happen there. On this day in 1958, for instance, there were two events: the Canadian Broadcasting System linked its television programming throughout the country, and the flooding of the Saint Lawrence Seaway began. In 1966, the first color t.v. broadcast in Canada (from Toronto) took place. On July 1, 1979, the Sony Walkman was introduced; did you have one? (I didn’t.) And—more Canadian history—on July 1, 1980, “O Canada” officially became the national anthem of Canada. In 1997, China officially took over Hong Kong, and exactly a decade later, smoking was banned in all indoor spaces in England.

Notables born on this day include Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646), Sally Kirkland (1912), Olivia de Havilland (1916), Gerald Edelman (1929), Karen “Rayette Dipesto” Black (1939), Twyla Tharp (1941), Debbie Harry (1945), Dan Akroyd (1952; today he goes on Medicare, as I suspect that although he was born in Ottawa, CANADA, Akroyd is now an American citizen), and Princess Diana (1961). Those who died on this day include Harriet Beecher Stowe (1896), Erik Satie (1925), Ernst Röhm (1934, killed during the Night of the Long Knives), William Lawrence Bragg (1971), Juan Perón (1974), Buckminster Fuller (1983), Wolfman Jack (1995), Walter Matthau (2000), Marlon Brando (2004), and Karl Malden (2009; remember the famous movie that starred both Brando and Malden?). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, who has slimmed down for the summer, has gained in wisdom what she’s lost in weight:

Hili: Let’s not delude ourselves.
A: What about?
Hili: About anything.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie łudźmy się.
Ja: Z czym?
Hili: Najlepiej z niczym.
Finally, here’s a tweet that Matthew Cobb sent me “to cheer me up”, but I’m not much cheered when Trump says anything dumb and others react. Still, Buzz Aldrin, on Trump’s left, is not impressed.

Oh hell, the laws of physics dictated that I’d post this:



  1. Randy schenck
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    Now that’s a beaver. Happy birthday Canada.
    Interesting mention of the civil war and WWI. As bloody as the civil war was in U.S. lives WWI was worse for the British, the French, and also the Germans.

  2. Historian
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Let’s not forget Russia. According to Wikipedia that country suffered 1,700,000 combat deaths (second to Germany at 1,800,000) and probably more than another million deaths due to other causes. The chart in the Wikipedia article is horrifying.

    • Historian
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      This is in response to Randy Schenck, #1.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted July 1, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        I was going to include but forgot. Thanks.

  3. Posted July 1, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    Happy birthday Canada (and upcoming the USA).

    Gerry, not that I am overly curious, but was wondering why you weren’t celebrating July 4.

  4. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    “How did we do it without space?”

    Step aside “I have a dream…”; move over “Ask not what your country can do for you…”; this is a proper quote for the ages, up there with “I love the poorly educated”. How indeed _did_ we do it without space? Mind: blown.

    • Posted July 1, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      I LOLed. The prez just needed to stick to the script. But no….

    • somer
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      President ****@@@@@%%!!! has a real hero beside him looking so disapproving throughout its hilarious. And happy Constitution day Canada 🇨🇦🇨🇦

  5. davidintoronto
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Artist Joe Shuster was born in Toronto. But his family moved to Cleveland when Joe was age 10. And it was in Cleveland where Joe met Jerry Siegel. By their early twenties, the duo was working in the pulp sci-fi genre and would – eventually – co-create the iconic Man of Steel.

    So there IS a Canadian connection; but it would be highly dubious (IMO) to call Superman a Canadian invention.

    Nevertheless… Happy Canada Day! 🙂

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      Yeah superman’s creator was Canadian. Basketball was crated my a Canadian teacher in Canada but Canada’s best invention is the buttertart. Here is a list of Canadian inventions. Like a typical Canadian, I’m going to doubt them as i don’t know how they came up with the list.

      Here is the google doodle with a bunch of pastries that include a buttertart in the centre.

      • Taskin
        Posted July 1, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        I had a buttertart last night, it reminded me of my grandmother. 🙂

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted July 1, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

          I went to a conference for work last week and they had a Canada 150 theme so there were beaver tails and buttertarts for dessert. I filled up on the buttertarts and took one every time I passed the table (they were small ones). They were really good. Sort of runny when you ate them.

  6. Stephen Mynett
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Correct about the cookie, they are called Ginger Nuts here, although a better name might be Ginger Nutshells as they are rock hard and biting through the shell of a nut may be easier than chewing on this biscuit. Still delicious though.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      That’s what tea is for – dunking gingernuts.

      Gingernuts are the bestselling biscuits in New Zealand.

      • Colin McLachlan
        Posted July 2, 2017 at 4:32 am | Permalink

        I get through so many ginger nuts with my coffee, I have to designate two days a week without them, to keep my weight under control.

  7. Karl
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    One-Eyed Jacks is the movie.
    I enjoyed it.

    • mfdempsey1946
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      Though Karl Malden’s role in “A Streetcar Named Desire” is a supporting part, this picture should not be overlooked when pairing Malden with Marlon Brando (who also directed “One-Eyed Jacks”).

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted July 1, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        And “On the Waterfront”.

        Malden’s persona is quite different in all THREE of the movies he did opposite Brando.

        Brando was so upset over studio interference with “One Eyed Jacks” that it marked the beginning of his disillusionment with Hollywood. It was shortly after this that he began to gain weight and his behavior on set became even more erratic.

    • revelator60
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

      The restored version of One-Eyed Jacks was recently released on Blu-Ray by Criterion and I recommend it highly. It’s a gorgeous looking Western, filmed near Monterey, and shows that Brando could have been an excellent film director if he’d continued with the job.

  8. James Walker
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    As a Canadian recently transplanted to Australia, I’m celebrating my homeland’s birthday (or at least Confederation). I learned today that this is also the date that my new home, the state of Victoria, separated from New South Wales in 1851.

  9. Diana MacPherson
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    I love that clip with Buzz Aldrin. He’s so plucky. He punched that guy in the face for getting in his face and saying that the lunar missions were a hoax.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Even astronauts are human.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      I found it interesting to watch Pence in that video clip too. It is very creepy the way he stares at Trump.

  10. rickflick
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    “Let’s not delude ourselves.”

    Hili at the apex of profundity.

    Being a US citizen and Canadian born I take a special joy in today. We kid about making Canada a new State(not without asking). But it occurred to me that it would be a win for the US. A country cannot but be vastly improved by the ingestion of so much rationality and sanity and good humor. But let’s not delude ourselves, Canada would likely take a huge hit from cultural contamination.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Actually, I’m surprised Canada has not asked to purchase Minnesota. Maybe we could throw in Texas for the closer or better yet, New Jersey. I understand Jersey is about to close down they are so broke.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

      “Let’s not delude ourselves.”
      Hili at the apex of profundity.

      Hili at the nadir of levity.

  11. DrBeydon
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Happy 101st birthday to Olivia de Havilland!!

    • BJ
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 9:49 am | Permalink

      Who is now suing FX for her portrayal in Feud, a case which she will never win.

      Then again, at least someone will finally call to say hello. Is that too much to ask, Gerald? Your brother, with his big, fancy real estate business, he calls. Bah, what do I care…

  12. Barney
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    I think that figure of a million at the Battle of the Somme should be for dead *or wounded* – as, for instance, here: . Wikipedia puts the total dead at just over 300,000 – still appalling:

    And at that Buzz Aldrin ceremony, there was also a painful moment where Colonel Aldrin made a small Buzz Lightyear joke, and Trump’s mind wanders off into such a dense thicket that I think he not only didn’t get the common “Toy Story” reference, but he really hasn’t a clue about infinity either:

    (The order is signed.)

    COLONEL ALDRIN: Infinity and beyond. (Laughter.)

    THE PRESIDENT: This is infinity here. It could be infinity. We don’t really don’t know. But it could be. It has to be something — but it could be infinity, right?

    Okay. (Applause.)

    • rickflick
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Not only is Trump beneath our dignity to answer on moral issues, he’s so clueless he’s embarrassing when he tries to ad lib a comment. He seems to be the only one in the room with nothing of value to add. It’s as if a small child wandered to the microphone. Are Trump’s core 30% embarrassed as well?

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      I think that figure of a million at the Battle of the Somme should be for dead *or wounded*

      That has probably transmuted at some point from a count of casualties to a count of dead, by someone who is under the mistaken belief that the terms are equivalent. “Casualties” are the dead AND wounded.
      Which is part of the reason that chemical and germ weapons have an enduring appeal. A wounded casualty is worth several times what a dead casualty is worth, to the people inflicting the casualties, because they need transporting from the field, field hospitals, then come back home as “the legless, the armless, the blind and insane” (to quote a song) to cheer up the domestic population. Far more valuable than someone who needs burying with some ID, and can be “processed” later.
      Aum Shinrikyo may have been (clinically?) insane, but that doesn’t mean they were irrational in their choice of weapons.

  13. claudia baker
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Ginger snaps are a family favourite at Christmas time. One of my aunts always made them, and when she died, the task was passed on to me. If I am away for x-mas, like I was last year, I still have to make a batch and leave them for the family to enjoy on the 25th. Otherwise, “it’s not a proper x-mas”, according to the younger generation.

    Yes, it’s Canada Day, and though I am only 25 miles from Ottawa, I am not at the celebrations downtown. Crowds are not my thing, plus it’s raining. And parking is a nightmare. But, I celebrate in spirit, and I appreciate the shout-out on this site to acknowledge the day.

  14. Michael Fisher
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday to all you groovy Canadians! Fine peeps.

  15. Richard Jone4s
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for all the good wishes on Canada’s 150th birthday (of confederation that is as the indigenous people have been here for millennia)

    I brought my family here in 1966, saw in the 100th Canada Day, went to Expo, but never expected to add a fourth kid to the family and see in the 150.

    Looking back at the chaos across the pond, Brexit, an incompetent as PM, Old Etonians still in charge, I compare it with our dull politics (with a young, outward looking PM) and thank my lucky stars we made the trip.

  16. Mark R.
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Canada!

    It’s good to see you still understand the word “enlightenment”. If the American people can’t pull their collective heads out of their asses, you’ll soon be the bright and shiny country of the Americas.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

      We always thought we were the bright and shiny country of the Americas. 😉

  17. David Duncan
    Posted July 1, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Is Hili’s diet voluntary or involuntary?

    • Malgorzata
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 5:41 am | Permalink

      Oh, she is not on any diet. She just runs freely in the woods when it’s warmer and sleeps all days (and nights) at home when it’s cold. So her weight varies accordingly to her activity/inactivity.

  18. Posted July 1, 2017 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Canada’s 150th birthday. Here is a letter written by my great, great grandmother about their trip to “America” which became Canada 15 years later. So written in 1852. It’s quite a look into what it was like to be a pioneer. For anyone who’s interested:

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

      Very interesting! I note that Frances’ new born boy is shown on the ’71 census at age 18, but not his mum…

      “faces ?ion ward” seems like it refers to a business. Clothes or shoe shop or the manufacture of same perhaps?

      Pity there’s no envelope with address in England to locate croft court & kidhear hamlet. Do you know anything re the above?

      • Posted July 1, 2017 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for reading the letter, Michael. We know that they came from a small town near Exeter, Devon and settled near Exeter Ontario. I believe there is a connection. A branch of our family has been over and have found the town/hamlet. As for the business I have no idea. There are parts of the letter that are just not legible. As for when Frances died I’d have to dig out the family tree.

    • claudia baker
      Posted July 1, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for posting this Karen. Fascinating look into pioneer life in Canada in the 1850s. How nice for you to read your great grandmother’s words – a window into her world at the time. Awesome!

      • Posted July 1, 2017 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

        Thank you, Claudia! All those children in a strange land. It must have been hell at times. Yes. I’m so glad we have this letter.

    • Glenda
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Thoroughly enjoyed reading the informative letter by your ancestor. I can only imagine the misery when the family came down with the small pox. The hard work of their day to day living makes me shake. Thank you for sharing.

      My father’s people came from Scotland about the same time and went to Nova Scotia. Mother’s people came from Russia during first decade of 1900s and settled in Saskatchewan. Their stories have been passed on.

  19. rickflick
    Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Before Canada Day bows politely and disappears off the radar, you can maintain your intermittent affection for the country by keeping an eye on the Canadian comedy show, “This Hour Has 22 Minutes”(may not be available in your area). It’s guaranteed to raise a smile.

    Scroll down to view clips.

    • rickflick
      Posted July 2, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Also on YouTube.

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