Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s August! It’s August! August 1, 2017, and I am not really excited, for it means that summer is slipping by, and even though I’m long past the age of schooling, it was on this date that I began to feel queasy when I was a child. It was to buy new clothes and notebooks, and the thought of no fun and loads of homework loomed. And just as many of us still have the dreaded “final exam” dream years after college, so the specter of August still haunts us. August 1 is also National Raspberry Cream Pie Day, but never having seen one of these strange beasts, I’ll move on to note that it’s Yorkshire Day in England. In honor of that, here’s the famous Monty Python sketch, “Four Yorkshire Men”. (Not being familiar with Yorkshire, I’ll ask for a Brit to tell us what the stereotype is being mockd.)

On this day in 1774, British researcher Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen, or rather rediscovered it, for the German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele had found it earlier but never published his findings. Exactly sixty years later, the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 took effect, outlawing slavery throughout the British Empire. On August 1, 1936, “Hitler’s Olympics” opened in Berlin, famously starring a black man, Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals, greatly discomfiting the Führer. On this day in 1944, as Soviet troops approached Warsaw, the Polish Underground began the Warsaw Uprising against the Germans. Sadly, they were crushed, and it’s said that the Soviets held back entering the city to allow the Germans to destroy a group of Poles who might have resisted Soviet occupation. On this day in 1966, Charles Whitman, having climbed atop “The Tower” on the University of Texas campus in Austin, shot and killed 16 people before he was killed by police. And on August 1, 2008, a terrible series of mishaps on the mountain K2 killed eleven climbers.

Notables born on this day include Francis Scott Key, lyricist for the U.S. national anthem (1779), Herman Melville (1819), Eric Shipton (1907), evolutionist W. D. Hamilton (1936), Jerry Garcia (1942), and a bunch of athletes who I don’t know. Those who died on this day include Calamity Jane (1903), Francis Gary Powers (1977), Corazon Aquino (2009), and Cilla Black (2015). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Princess exercises her major obsession:

Hili: We have no alternative.
A: To doing what?
Hili: To retreating in the direction of the refrigerator.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie mamy alternatywy.
Ja: W jakiej sprawie?
Hili: W sprawie wycofania się w pobliże lodówki.

It’s been hot out in Winnipeg, and Gus spends a lot of time snoozing and sprawling outdoors:

Heather Hastie sent this tw**t, saying that “it’s better than kittens.” She might be right, but only as a photo:

. . .but she added a cat one, too:


  1. TJR
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    The Four Yorkshiremen sketch is IMHO one of the pinnacles of western civilisation.

    However, it was originally in “At last the 1948 show” (featuring some Pythons, from 1968), not Python, but Python used it in their live shows. On TV a few years ago they commented that nobody can remember who wrote it, though.

    If you’d ever heard Fred Trueman you’d realise that its not a stereotype of Yorkshiremen, they really are like that.

    Its all terrible cultural appropriation of an oppressed minority by middle class whites, of course.

    • Posted August 1, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Well, it is cultural appropriation of Gradgrind & Bounderby from Dickens’ Hard Times. None the worse for that.

      Gradgrind: ‘NOW, what I want is, Facts. Teach these boys and girls nothing but Facts. Facts alone are wanted in life…’

      That’s why I always had a tinge of worry about the title of Jerry’s book. I thought some sneery religiant might use Dickens to have a go.

      • David Coxill
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        Hard Times ,remember that novel from Studying with the Open University .

        Did Ripping Yarns ever cross the pond ?, Golden Gordon ,”Eight one! Eight Bloody One”.

    • Mike
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Nair lad,don’t tha call me, an oppressed minority,our minorities wer neva oppressed,ar minorities wer reel minorities, none o yer suthern nancy minorities, but reel minorities, y we even ad minorities darn tpit.

      • kieran
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

        Competitive one up manship about being humble.

        In Ireland we’ve got Cork, Did you here about the cork man with low self esteem? He thought he was just as good as anyone else.

        • jimroberts
          Posted August 1, 2017 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

          Reminds me of the (probably apocryphal) headline, “Cork man drowns”.

          • Richard
            Posted August 2, 2017 at 3:37 am | Permalink

            Or the distress signal “‘Maid of Cork’ sinking”.

    • bric
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Dickie Bird on Geoffrey Boycott (both from Yorkshire)

      • Posted August 1, 2017 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        We might as well have a soft Southerner getting the better of a true son of Yorkshire, while we are at it.


        Some context: the series of matches referred to included some South Africans in the Rest of the World team at a time when South African sports teams were being shunned. The 40th anniversary of Geoffrey Boycott’s 100th 100 which he made at the Yorkshire cricket ground at Headingly is on the 7th August and if the directive referred to went through, it would mean pushing it back and celebrating it in Faisalabad

    • dale
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

  2. Posted August 1, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Rags-to-self-made-riches… it’s the sort of boasting the likes of Trump could indulge in if he had not had a bit of a leg-up. Yorkshire folk (sic) talk of coming from ‘God’s own county’. There is a breed of professional Yorkshiremen, down-to-earth, commonsense etc. Those in search of further enlightenment might care to see Michael Parkinson with Muhammad Ali https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-ui9mTPMMY or, more esoterically because it is ‘creekit’ (the sport that makes baseball look rather straightforward), Geoffrey Boycott, eg, yesterday http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/cricket/40781223

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    On August 1, 1936, “Hitler’s Olympics” opened in Berlin, famously starring a black man, Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals, greatly discomfiting the Führer.

    The only two US athletes at the ’36 games who did not get to compete in Berlin were two Jewish sprinters on the 4 x 100 meter relay team — Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman (who went on to have a celebrated career as a broadcast sports announcer). They were replaced at the last minute on direction of the reactionary head of the US Olympic team (and future president of the International Olympic Committee) Avery Brundage, so as not to embarrass the Führer.

    That happened a generation before I was born and it still burns my ass every time I think about it.

  4. Frank Bath
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Yorkshire is the largest county in England and those born up there are rather like your Texans, nothing you have is as good or as big as anything they have etc.. They are noted for being straightforwardly blunt to the point of rudeness, at least to our southern home counties sensibilities. Good scrappers.

    • Posted August 1, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      So here’s a bit of doggerel I remember from somewhere, I have no idea where:

      Yorkshire born and Yorkshire bred
      Thick in the arm and thick in the head

      I used to go mountaineering with a man who immigrated to the US from Yorkshire. I could hardly understand his speech, even after years of outings together. But we could at least understand a few phrases mutually: “belay on!”, “belay off!”, “rope!”, a few others. 🙂

      • Nobody Special
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Strong in t’arm and thick in t’ead.

        Good Yorkshire advice; say nowt, give nowt, pay nowt, and if ever tha does owt for nowt, allus mek sure tha does it for tha sen.

        • Posted August 1, 2017 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

          I once walked in to the snug in a pub in Leeds and a Yorkshireman (who I knew) thought he’d have some fun at my expense. “Put t’wood in t’ole” he said. He was somewhat upset when I demonstrated that I knew exactly what he meant.

        • jimroberts
          Posted August 1, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

          Owt fer nowt if it kills ya.

    • Alan Clark
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      If you want to know about your personal failings you will find Yorkshiremen very helpful.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

      Like many Scotsmen, Yorkshire folk are very well balanced: they have a chip on each shoulder.

  5. Posted August 1, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Captain Trips!

  6. Randy schenck
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    The Yorkshire bit reminds me of the parents and other older folks who would exaggerate how tough they had it, or how easy we have it. Like having to walk to school 4 miles uphill each way. We had nothing and were glad to get it.

    • Merilee
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink


      • jimroberts
        Posted August 1, 2017 at 3:22 pm | Permalink

        4 miles uphill each way in t’snow.

        • Merilee
          Posted August 1, 2017 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

          😁got up in the morning before even going to bed…

  7. MKray
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Spelling: Priestley

  8. E.A. Blair
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    “…Francis Scott Key, composer of the U.S. national anthem…”

    Key did not compose the annthem; he wrote the lyrics, not as a song but as a poem titled The Defense of Fort McHenry. According to Wikipedia:<blockquote"Key gave the poem to his brother-in-law Judge Joseph H. Nicholson who saw that the words fit the popular melody "The Anacreontic Song", by English composer John Stafford Smith.So it’s Smith who deserves credit for composing the anthem, not Key. Key also wrote an earlier poem When the Warrior Returns which had similar imagery and was set to the same tune.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      two typos: “anthem” and forgot to close the bracket on the second blockquote.

    • Andy Lowry
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

      Original lyrics of the first verse:

      To Anacreon in Heav’n, where he sat in full Glee,
      A few Sons of Harmony sent a Petition,
      That he their Inspirer and Patron would be;
      When this answer arriv’d from the Jolly Old Grecian
      “Voice, Fiddle, and Flute,
      “no longer be mute,
      “I’ll lend you my Name and inspire you to boot,
      “And, besides I’ll instruct you, like me, to intwine
      “The Myrtle of Venus with Bacchus’s Vine.”

      I think I like that better than Key’s work.

  9. bric
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    Yorkshire man takes his cat to be neutered…

    Vet: ‘Is it a tom?’
    Man: ‘Nor, it’s in t’basket’

    (from #yorkshireday)

    • Graham Martin-Royle
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

      Two yorkies playing “I Spy”.

      1st, “I spy wi mi little eye summat beginning wi T”

      2nd, “Table”

      1st, “nay, not table”

      2nd, “I give up”

      1st, “t’oven”.

  10. Merilee
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink


  11. Craw
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Forget homeopathy! Alternative woo, ratcheted up a notch


    They should book therapists through goop.com

  12. James Walker
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    My Dad (RIP) was from Yorkshire and that’s pretty much the type of story I grew up hearing. No matter how bad we had it, he’d had it much (mooch) harder 🙂

    “Tha can always tell a Yorkshireman but tha can’t tell him much.”

  13. Sastra
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Those last two pics of Heather’s are now in my Pinterest folder, the one titled “CUTE ” (I began it the very day after the last U.S. presidential election.)

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    I am fantasizing a scientifically illiterate person reading this and asking “What did people breathe before someone discovered oxygen?”

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted August 1, 2017 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

      I wondered that too! 😀

  15. Taz
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    I know Gus is probably yawning in that second picture, but I like to imagine he’s laughing out loud.

  16. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Paging Ant – Ant would know about Yorkshire and their men.

    • Posted August 2, 2017 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      Not much to add to the comments above. Just the Yorkshireman’s motto:

      ’ear all, see all, say nowt. Eat all, sup all, pay nowt. And if ever tha does owt fer nowt, allus do it fer thissen


  17. Katiness Everdeen
    Posted August 1, 2017 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

    Love Bugs

  18. Posted August 1, 2017 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    As I get older, I become acutely aware of the Space Time warp.

  19. Phil Rounds
    Posted August 2, 2017 at 6:06 am | Permalink

    Isn’t that where the pudding comes from?

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