Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s Friday, the fourth of August, in the year of Our Ceiling Cat 2017; and the weekend is nigh. But it’s a lousy food holiday: National Chocolate Chip Day, which is pretty useless unless you add a cookie. (Chocolate chip cookies, by the way, were invented as late as  1938—at the Toll House Inn in Whitman, Massachusetts. Another thing that makes America great again: there is no country in the world that makes better chocolate chip cookies than us!) In Slovakia (any readers here from there?) it’s Matica slovenská, a day honoring a cultural and scientific institution in that country.

On this day in 1873, Lieutenant General George Armstrong Custer had his first clash with Native Americans in Montana, though just one fighter was killed on each side.  Less than two years later, he and all of his men perished in the Battle of Little Bighorn. On this day in 1944, Anne Frank, her family, and four others, whose hiding place in Amsterdam had been betrayed, were arrested by the Gestapo. Only Frank’s father Otto survived their confinement in the camps. After his return to the Netherlands he published her diary, which had been recovered by a friend. Here’s Anne in 1940:

Exactly twenty years later, the young civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney were found buried in an earthen dam in Mississippi. They had disappeared on June 21, murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Seven men were convicted for the murders, and then another man, outed by a journalist, was convicted in 2005. I remember well the finding of their bodies in 1964. Here’s the FBI poster after they went missing:

Notables born on this day include Percy Bysshe Shelley (1792), Knut Hamsun (1959), Queen Mother Elizabeth (1900, died in 2002; doing a sabbatical in Edinburgh several years before her death, I wanted to bet at Ladbroke’s that the old gal would make it to 100 because of good Windsor genes, but my girlfriend at the time wouldn’t let me bet. I would have won!), Louis Armstrong (1901), Raoul Wallenberg (1912), Bill Bob Thornton (1955), and Barack Obama (1961). Those who died on this day include Hans Christian Andersen (1875) and Victor Mature (1999). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the weather has turned torrid, and Hili is complaining:

Hili: It’s horrible.
A: What’s horrible?
Hili: That those poor lions have to put up with tropical heat.
In Polish:
Hili: To straszne.
Ja: Co jest straszne?
Hili: Że te biedne lwy muszą znosić tropikalne upały.

And here’s a tw**t sent in by several readers:


  1. Randy schenck
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Possibly you mean Lieutenant General George Armstrong Custer, a legion in his own mind.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Actually looked it up and it’s major general.

    • Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      Yes, I forgot the “general.”

      • Randy schenck
        Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        Without google I would know nothing. At the time of his demise he was at the rank of Lieutenant Col. He had been a major general during the war but later was mustered out at a captain. Pretty sure the Indians did not care.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

          “Please, Mr. Custer, I don’t wanna go”

          • Randy schenck
            Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

            Wow…1960. Almost more painful than being there.

          • Derek Freyberg
            Posted August 4, 2017 at 4:31 pm | Permalink

            Another in a long line:
            “Please Mr. Columbus, turna de ship around”

        • DrBrydon
          Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

          Civil War officer ranks can be confusing. During the war most officers were actually using temporary ranks under the Union Army as opposed to the US (regular) Army. (This was a practice used on both sides to sidestep the pernicious promotion by seniority doctrine, which would have prevented the rise to command of worthy officers over their senriors.) So people like Custer and Grant had regular army ranks (which were permanent) and Union Army ranks (which were temporary). In the case of officers like Grant, they were often promoted in the US Army as well as the Union Army, but their regular or substantive rank often lagged behind. To add to the confusion, the US Army also used brevet ranks, which were a way to reward oustanding service. Brevets were sort of like honorary ranks. An officer with a brevet rank was entitled to be addressed in that rank, but was not paid in that rank, nor did the brevet entitle him to hold a command commensurate with that rank. It was, therefore, common to see officers with a permanent rank like Captain, a brevet rank like Colonel, and a rank as a US Volunteer of Major General. At the end of the war, when the Union Army was stood down, officers of the regular army reverted to their permanent/brevet ranks.

          • Randy schenck
            Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

            One of our inside jokes way back when I was actually in the service we would say, how do you get generals in the Italian Army. Three soldiers would get together and make one a general.

        • Historian
          Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

          Yes, he was Lieutenant Colonel at the time of Little Big Horn. During the Civil War, he rose to the rank of Major General. At the end of the war the army was reduced to a tiny fraction of its wartime strength and Custer was reduced to a captain, later rising to a colonel (in 1866).

  2. rickflick
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Hili is right. Tropical heat is heating up along with the rest of the world. I really fear for the animals, including humans, in the tropical regions of the Earth. Temperature records continue to be set everywhere. Death Valley has a temperature of 88 degrees right now, which is 5:00 AM California time. India has had a growing problem with 10s of thousands of suicides by farmers due to bad weather conditions. In tropical East Asia temperatures and humidity levels are expected to combine to make living outdoors impossible. Now that I’ve got that off my chest, I’ll go out and work in the yard before it gets too hot.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    What was up with the girlfriend and the over/under bet on Queen Mum? She think you were gonna jinx the dowager?

    • Posted August 4, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      I think she thought betting was unsavory, especially betting on whether the Queen Mother would live or die. I still regret not making that bet!

      • David Coxill
        Posted August 5, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        The first thing Prince Charles does in the morning is check with buck house to see if his mum is still alive .

  4. Randy schenck
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Since it is chocolate chip day I would mention chocolate chip ice cream. One of my favorites.

  5. David Coxill
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Hi ,1876 ,not 1875 ,you are a first rate scientist ,but Doc you are a crap Historian .
    Just joking.

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Chocolate chips are also good in ice cream!

  7. Posted August 4, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Chocolate chips are far better in cookies, but they’re good on their own. Unfortunately. I eat far too many of them.

  8. bric
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Not many people know that

  9. Dave B
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    “which is pretty useless unless you add a cookie”

    Negative. Peanut butter, small spoon, small bowl of CC. Scoop small amount of PB onto spoon, invert and dunk into CC bowl. Eat. Enjoy.

  10. Barney
    Posted August 4, 2017 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    “Good Windsor genes”? Your reasoning was dubious: the Windsor (ie “British” royal family – Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Hanover etc.) genes aren’t that great for longevity anyway, but the Queen Mother married into them. You’d need to look at the Bowes-Lyon etc. genes – her father made it to 89, not bad for a man, her mother 75, which isn’t that old.

    Maybe your girlfriend was wise to talk you out of it, even if you would have happened to have won.

    • David Coxill
      Posted August 5, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

      It is a 100 years since the Windsor’s changed their Family name .

  11. chrism
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    The first thing to come to my mind when it’s the 4th of August would be the start of The Great War.

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