Monday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on the last day of July, 2017. As August begins tomorrow, the long sobs of the violins of autumn will begin to wound my heart with a monotonous languor. It’s National Cotton Candy Day (I believe it’s called “candy floss” in Britain), a pretty useless confection containing only sugar and a bit of dye. And it’s also Ka Hae Hawaii Day, celebrating the state flag of Hawaii, which looks like this:

It’s the only U.S. state flag that also contains the flag of a foreign nation. Can you guess why?

On this day in 1492, the same year that Columbus sailed the ocean blue, his patrons King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella expelled all the Jews from Spain via the Alhambra Decree. This was to prevent the remaining Jews from influencing those Jews who had already converted to Catholicism. July 31, 1970 was also Black Tot Day, the last day that sailors in the Royal Navy were given their official rum ration. Curiously, the bibulous Aussies had abolished the rum ration in 1921. After Britain abolished the obligatory tot, the Royal Canadian Navy followed suit on March 31, 1972, followed by the very last Commonwealth navy to abolish the ration, the Royal New Zealand Navy, which deep-sixed the tot on February 27, 1990. I’ve read, however, that the British Royal Navy tried to compensate by allowing sailors to buy three daily cans of beer in the ship’s canteen rather than two. That’s not much solace compared to free rum.

You can buy a bottle of the unused “last consignment” rum for about $1200.

Here’s a short video about the End of the Tot (note the black armbands on the mourning sailors):

On this day in 2006, Fidel Castro ceded power to his brother Raúl, and, on July 31, 2012, Michael Phelps broke the Olympic record of Russian gymnast Larisa Latynina by winning yet another gold medal in swimming. Phelps is now by far the most decorated Olympian of modern times, with a total of 28 medals—23 of them gold. Now he’s racing virtual sharks.

Notables born on this day include Milton Friedman (1912), Primo Levi (1919), Geraldine Chaplin (1944), and J. K. Rowling (1965). Those who died on this day include Ignatius of Loyola (1556), Franz Liszt (1886), Bud Powell (1966), and Gore Vidal (2012). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the princess is seeking solitude in the empty upstairs apartment:

Hili: I told you not to come here.
A: You didn’t tell me why.
Hili: Everybody needs some privacy.

In Polish:

Hili: Mówiłam, żebyś tu nie przychodził.
Ja: Nie powiedziałaś dlaczego.
Hili: Każdy potrzebuje trochę prywatności.

Here’s a tw**t found by Heather Hastie:

And here’s a nice cartoon produced by reader Pliny the in Between with a double-entendre title: “Nero my God to thee”:

And here’s a black dog for Black Dog Day:


  1. Linda Calhoun
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    FFRF website also tells us that Nobel Prize winner Dr. Paul D. Boyer was born in 1918.

    He’s 99 today!!


  2. Posted July 31, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Flag experts, who sometimes have to deal with vexatious issues, are known as vexillologists. Those who are interested in other guest appearances of the Union Flag on flags are invited to peek up various flagpoles here…

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    July 31, 1970 was also Black Tot Day, the last day that sailors in the Royal Navy were given their official rum ration.

    They retained their official rations of sodomy and the lash?

    • David Coxill
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      How do they separate the men from the boys in the Royal Navy ?.

      With a big crowbar.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      I’m sorry, but there are at least two ways to read “Black Tot Day.” One would surely bring down the SJW censors.

    • Weary
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      Rum, Bum and Gramaphone The Navy’s equivalent of Wine Women and Song

  4. rickflick
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Baby elephant’s first day at the beach is a real smile maker. Relief from any more news about Nero. Hili is beginning to make more and more sense to me as I soften with age like an over-ripe banana. 😎

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      I think Hili was hiding because today is National Treasury Day in Poland and she’s embarrassed because she just learned that it wasn’t National Treasure Day, as she’s a national treasure.

  5. Perluigi Ballabeni
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    It is interesting that Spain was among the last European countries to expel the Jews. England and France, for instance, did it much erlier, England in 1290.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      In the history of Columbus and the financing by Spain for his voyages it is likely part of the cost was provided by money stolen from Jews.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 31, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Yes. They were probably partly expelled so he didn’t have to pay it back.

        It’s the reason the Jews were expelled from England. The king owed them a lot of money. Edward I borrowed a lot to go on Crusade to the Holy Land. He got himself a great reputation as a fighter, but nothing else, so couldn’t afford to pay the Jews back.

  6. Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Can confirm cotton candy is called candy floss in the UK. Australians call it Fairy Floss

    • Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      and in South Africa it is Spookasem – ghost breath

      • darrelle
        Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

        Sounds . . . gratifying.

      • nicky
        Posted July 31, 2017 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

        Curious indeed, it must have been invented not too long ago, since the Afrikaans ‘Spookasem’ is definitely different -and better immo- than the Dutch ‘suikerspin’ (sugarspider).

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

      NZ is candy floss too.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 1:18 am | Permalink

      The French call it barb à papa. Daddy’s, or sometimes grandfather’s beard. First came across it when we took the kids to Hull, Québec.

  7. Randy schenck
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Pretty good – It tweets while Washington burns. Hili just needs some alone time.

    Long ago when I was in the service there was no free rum, just a thing called the Class VI store (liquor store). There was also Happy Hour in the clubs when the drinks were half price (15 cents vs the regular 30 cents)

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      I prefer to think of it as twiddling, the combination of old and new.

    • nicky
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

      I like that: “It tweets”. “it appoints Harlequin, oops, Scaramouche”, “it wants to repeal Obamacare”, “it has something to hide with it’s tax returns”. Yep, it is great, the greatest, bigly. And it definitely tweets.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted July 31, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

        The Mooch has “resigned” today. He lasted 10 days. Looks like Flynn said, “It’s him or me.”

  8. Fernando Peregrin
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Very little known

    About the commemoration today of Ignacio de Loyola, founder of La Compañía de Jesús (Jesuits)

    A Jesuit Journal in the Age
    Of the Enlightenment'Keefe.pdf

  9. Posted July 31, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Ah – the “Sandwich” Islands… the name given to the Hawaiian Islands by Captain Cook in 1778!

    • Randy schenck
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      It was that return trip that did not go well for Cook.

  10. David Coxill
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Hi ,today is the 100th anniversary of the start of the battle of Passchendaele ,a proper British cock up ,don’t you know .

  11. Kevin
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Black Dog LedZep

    Nero it is, but without the fiddle. All embrace the chaos monkey burn humanity to the ground.

    And cotton candy is highly overrated.

  12. Posted July 31, 2017 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised the rum ration lasted that long. I would have thought they’d be gone a century earlier.

    Trivia question: After the sailors added water to their rum ration what was it then called? No looking it up!

    • Art
      Posted July 31, 2017 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      “Splice the main brace, and more grog to the men…!”

  13. Jenny Haniver
    Posted July 31, 2017 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    And both Sam Shepard and Jeanne Moreau died today.

    • Posted July 31, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

      Jeanne Moreau too? I didn’t see any news of that!

      • Mike
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

        I was in love with Jeanne Moreau,far sexier than Brigitte Bardot.

  14. Posted July 31, 2017 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    I did not know about the Hawaiian flag, but it was easy enough to look up. It includes the union jack b/c King Kamehameha had wished it, as there were many important advisors to the king from Great Britain.

  15. Diane G.
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Love it, Pliny t-i-B! 😀

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