Monday: Hili dialogue

Here we are at the start of another week: it’s July 17, 2017, and National Peach Ice Cream Day, honoring a wonderful flavor (if made with fresh peaches). It’s also National Firgun Day and World Emoji Day.

On July 17, 1717 (7/17/17 or 17/7/17, depending on where you live), King George I of England sailed down the Thames in a barge full of musicians, and that’s where Handel’s Water Music was premiered. On this day in 1902, the first air conditioner was created by Willis Carrier in New York (his firm still exists), and, on this day in 1918, Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, along with his family and servants, were gunned down in a room by Bolsheviks in Yekaterinburg, Russia. A 14-minute reconstruction of the last hours of the Romanovs (trigger warning!: gory at the end) can be seen here. On July 17, 1955, Disneyland (the real one) was opened in Anaheim, California. On this day in 1984, the federal drinking age in the US was raised from 18 to 21; that was the age mandated by the federal government if states were to receive federal highway aid, and was applied to the purchase but not consumption of alcohol. It seems to me that if you can be inducted into the Army at 18, you should be able to buy a beer at 18.

The women’s cricket World Cup is underway in England; it began June 24 and will end in six days. I have no idea who is favored, but Google has an interactive Doodle where you can play as batsman (batsperson?). Click on the screenshot to go there (my high score was 20):

Notables born on this day include Lyonel Feininger (1871; one of my favorite painters), James Cagney (1899), James Coyne, Canadian lawyer and second Governor of the Bank of Canada (1910; I never heard of him but he shares my last name), David Hasselhoff (1952, eligible today for Social Security and Medicare), and Angela Merkel (1954). Here’s a nice painting by Feininger, “Markwippach” (1917):

Those who died on this day include Adam Smith (1790), Henri Poincaré (1912), the 11 Romanovs and their retainers murdered by the Bolsheviks (1918), Billie Holiday (1959), Ty Cobb (1961), John Coltrane (1967), and Walter Cronkite (2009). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata translated Steve Novella’s article “”Conspiracy Thinking and the Need for Certainty” into Polish;  I’m told that Hili, having read it, now sees conspiracies everywhere:

Hili: They are conspiring!
A: Who?
Hili: A spider with a fly.
 In Polish:
Hili: Spiskują!
Ja: Kto?
Hili: Pająk z muchą.

In Winnipeg, Gus is as cute as usual, but his world was a bit upset last night (see below):

His staff Taskin writes, “Since I was an hour late to serve dinner, Gus got some dessert catnip. Am I forgiven?”

As lagniappe, here is a tw**t provided by Grania:



  1. Frank Bath
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    I love the parakeet and the cat. So funny. Let’s hope it signals better relations between hunter and hunted.

    • Posted July 17, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      How the heck did the parrot decide to make that motion? It is utterly unlike any normal parrot behavior. Did it observe the owner stroking the cat? If so, this implies quite a lot of cognitive ability on the part of the parrot, because it has got the motion and context exactly right.

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The odd thing about that drinking age legally changed to 21 by federal law, in 1984, there was no longer an operating draft so maybe our argument was not as strong for 18. Would point out, however, for those in the military, drinking was okay as soon as you reached 18. On military installations that is.

    • Art
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

      Summer of 1969, four young men about a week away from Vietnam went out to dinner in California, which had a drinking age of 21. I was the only one of age, so when the waitress politely refused my companions’ requests for beer, I explained our situation and asked if I could buy four. She hesitated, looked around, and said: “We have a nice small room in the back, if you gentlemen wouldn’t mind moving.” We moved, had a nice meal with a couple of beers, and left a big tip. I often think fondly of her. I doubt that we were her first (or last) customers in that situation.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted July 17, 2017 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

        Good story. Prior to the 84 law it was always up to the state so the age for drinking was all over the place. During my earliest military period in 68, I was in Texas, which also was 21, so all the drinking was on base. After I went to England I could drink anywhere and nobody ID’d us. Love the British.

  3. GBJames
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    I had to look firgun up. A great reason for a day!

  4. rickflick
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    Years ago we had a parakeet that used to play with the cat’s whiskers. The cat seemed mostly OK with it but when the bird took off, she’d make a reflexive halfast grab which always missed the mark. We decided to never leave them alone together.

  5. Fernando Peregrin
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    François Jacob

    Born 17 June 1920[1]
    Nancy, France

    Died 19 April 2013 (aged 92)
    Paris, France

    Citizenship French

    Alma mater University of Paris

    Notable awards
    Grand Prix Charles-Leopold Mayer (1962)
    Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1965)
    ForMemRS (1973)

    • Fernando Peregrin
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

      Sorry, my mistake

      Errata & corigenda

      François was born June 17 and not July 17

  6. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I would add Chico Freeman, born on 17 July 1949 in Chicago.

  7. Historian
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    A minor correction: for people born between 1943 and 1954, the age for full social security benefits is 66. Hasselhoff will be eligible next year.

    The Medicare eligibility age is 65.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Yes, but he can start getting some of it, if he decides, at 62. Maybe about half?

  8. W.Benson
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Why shed tears over the pogrom-king Tsar Nicholas II, in particular Jewish tears? Like dinosaurs, the Romanovs had to go away before something new, perhaps better, could come. Sometimes the food chain inverts,like happened in the American and French Revolutions, but people feel uneasy with common folk drinking campaign from crystal goblets.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      I’m all for a drinking campaign. Sign me up! 🙂

    • W.Benson
      Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

      You’re on!

  9. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted July 17, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Google has an interactive Doodle where you can play as batsman (batsperson?).

    Can I play as Batman?

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