Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning on a chilly Saturday (August 5, 2017) in Chicago, where we’ve had one of the coolest summers I remember. Yesterday the thermometer didn’t even hit 70ºF  (21ºC), and I was positively cold walking home, but today temperatures will rise to 79ºF (26 ºC)—still much lower than usual for early August. It’s also National Oyster Day, and I’m sorry I won’t be slurping down a dozen of these bivalves.

Remember this classic poem?

On this day in 1305, William Wallace, the Scottish rebel played by Mel Gibson in “Braveheart”, was captured by the English and taken to London. Shortly thereafter, he was hanged, drawn, and quartered, graphically depicted in the movie. There is no record that he cried “Freedom!!!” as he was disemboweled and emasculated. On August 5, 1914, the world’s first electric traffic light was installed—in Cleveland, Ohio. On this day in 1957, the rock and roll music show “American Bandstand” was first broadcast. I was a faithful fan, watching Dick Clark and a bunch of gyrating teenagers not much older than I. It was the precursor to MTV.

On August 5, 1962, Nelson Mandela was captured for minor antigovernment infractions; he was sentenced in October to five years in prison. But then he got a life sentence after they found evidence he’d engaged in sabotage and conspiracy to overthrow the government. He pleaded guilty, got a life sentence, and spent the next 18 years imprisoned on Robben Island. After stints in two more prisons, he was released for good in 1990, having spent 28 years in jail, and the rest is history. He could have torn South Africa apart, but shepherded it toward peace and democracy. He was a good man. Finally, on this day in 1981, President Reagan fired over 11,000 air traffic controllers who had gone on strike and refused a government order to return to work. I remember that well, but can’t remember how they managed to keep the planes flying.

Notables born on this day include Guy de Maupassant (1850), Conraid Aiken (1889), Neil Armstrong (1930), and Marine Le Pen (1968; her name always reminds me of a pen that can write underwater). Those who died on this day include Carmen Miranda (1955), Marilyn Monroe (1962), Richard Burton (1984), and Alec Guinness (2000). Miranda was famous for her Fruit Hats, and died of a heart attack at only 46.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is rejecting Hania’s ministrations in favor of something more important:

Hania: Where are you going?
Hili: To the bowl which should be filled first.
In Polish:
Hania: Dokąd idziesz?
Hili: Do miseczki, która powinna być napełniona pierwsza.

And yes, Leon’s still alive and kicking—and apparently watching television:

Leon: I’ve won in the Game of Thrones

Finally, Heather Hastie sent three cat-related tweets (remember that foxes are Honorary Cats). Be sure to click the arrows to watch the videos.

I like this one since the fox apparently thinks the bedsheets are snow, and is trying to hunt rodents beneath them:


  1. Randy schenck
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Regarding the air traffic controllers, if I recall they got by with all supervisors (non union) and others during the time it would take to hire and train thousands of additional people. Reagan started the long march toward anti-union and low wages that remains today. The event most likely cost the government far more than if he had just left it alone and actually bargained with them. But that would never be admitted. Also, safety of the flying public was not much of a consideration to Reagan.

    • BJ
      Posted August 5, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      “The event most likely cost the government far more than if he had just left it alone and actually bargained with them. But that would never be admitted. Also, safety of the flying public was not much of a consideration to Reagan.”

      These both seem like assumptions. I’ve read these claims before, but never hard evidence for them. Also, let us not forget that (1) the strike itself was illegal, and (2) the FAA was using the contingency plan it already had in place for if air traffic controllers ever walked out en masse. It makes sense that the FAA had a contingency plan to immediately replace air traffic controllers if an event such as this arose, lest people be unable to fly anywhere for as long as it wore on and the union be able to demand anything at any time and not be forced to negotiate to any degree. The lack of a contingency plan and the will to use it would cripple the entire economy.

      While the action against Patco may, unfortunately, have led to the longer road of unions declining and, by extension, wages stagnating (though the latter is also in large part the result of globalization and the loss of many unionized jobs to outsourcing), Reagan did not intend it as such; it was an unfortunate side effect that he did not see coming. He was actually a friend to unions generally in all his previous words and deeds.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted August 5, 2017 at 10:17 am | Permalink

        Never hard evidence you say? If the workforce to replace the fired workers were primarily supervisors and lots of overtime it could only cost more. Plus it took years to eventually train and replace all the fired workers You think training 11,000 new employees and 2 or 3 years to fully train an air traffic controller is cheap?

        Striking of govt. employees is illegal in any case I am aware of so that kind of goes without saying. Give Reagan a medal for being the tough guy but not the smart guy.

  2. Posted August 5, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Yes it was cool in Chicago yesterday, but did you get hail? (We did in Edgewater.)

    Plus, the “anti-union” efforts were not begun at the time of Reagan. This is why labor history keeps getting rejected as a topic for our schools. The shootings, beatings, and underhanded dealings with unions began as soon as the unions tried to exert influence. Private armies were hired to fight “union thugs,” (all people who disagree with the status quo get labeled thugs. Very few of these worthies ever got arrested and fewer got prosecuted for gross violations of the law.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted August 5, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Would recommend you go back and review the history a bit more. Certainly the raise of unions in the U.S. happened long before the 1980s and Reagan. The violence you speak of was many years before. But Unions were at their peak before the Reagan firing occurred and it was down hill from that time forward. In fact Reagan considered himself a friend of union and bragged about being head of the actors union. PATCO was suckered.

  3. Posted August 5, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    I like the Carmen Miranda video, as it is a strange and fairly awesome spectacle from another era. But members of the regressive left could spend all day describing its numerous sins.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted August 5, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Kind of looked like a long commercial for Chiquita or Dole.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 5, 2017 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      I can’t believe how good the CGI is in that film. They even made the water look like large sheets of fabric for authenticity. Those huge bananas…animators deserve great credit for making them look like stage props. 😎

      • jwthomas
        Posted August 5, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

        Give all credit to the great Busby Berkeley, who directed the movie and staged all the musical numbers himself.
        From a Busby Berkeley Technicolor Musical, “The Gang’s All Here” starring Carmen Miranda

        • jwthomas
          Posted August 5, 2017 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

          Busby Berkeley’s most famous dance number:
          “42nd Street” (1933)

          • rickflick
            Posted August 5, 2017 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

            Ha! That last dolly shot reminds me of the scene in The Big Lebowski when the Dude is in a dream sequence that’s basically a big BB production number. He glides between the legs of chorus girls on his back.

    • Posted August 6, 2017 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      I think it’s astonishing. The first obvious edit is at 3:08. Before that, the camera seems to sweep across a restaurant with an orchestra playing to some trees with apes in them, on to the desert islands ands then to the set where Carmen Miranda makes her entrance.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 6, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

        @jeremy Yes – moving through space at different heights & angles. Busby did a very good job for his first full colour film & while ‘Hollywood’ was supposed to be under wartime economic restrictions.

        You did write “obvious” I know, but I see cuts before 3:02 at 0:41 & 1:41 – though it flows as one scene. 🙂

        • Posted August 6, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

          Oh yes, actually, the one at 1:41 is also obvious. The one at 0:41 is disguised but, if you were looking for edits, you’d say, there’s one. Especially as the set would otherwise have to violate physical law.

  4. BJ
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    There is no record of most things in the movie Braveheart because it’s a nigh entirely fabricated story and the writer should be ashamed 🙂

    Also, while Nelson Mandela was a great man (one of the greatest in modern history) who did great things and is a personal hero of mine, he unfortunately did not manage to bring peace to South Africa. Like many revolutions to overthrow an oppressive government, his made a crucial but oft-replicated blunder: throwing out the lower level administrators who helped the previous regime. Just as we saw with the Baathists in Iraq post-2003 invasion, if you turn out everyone who knows about administrating government, you end up with a deeply dysfunctional and usually highly corrupt regime. South Africa ended up with both deep corruption and widespread dysfunction. By all accounts I’ve read and heard, South Africa is more violent now than it was under Apartheid, and I pin that on the corruption that so infests every level of government there. I wish I knew how they could solve such entrenched issues, but I don’t. I would love to hear more about this from someone who knows the issue better than I do.

  5. nwalsh
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    We in southern British Columbia could certainly use some of your rain. Today will be the 36th straight day with no rain and temps most days in the mid 30’s with over 200 forest fires.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Element’ry Penguin!

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Wallace may not have cried out “Freedom!” during his execution, but during his Thomas Harrington, one of the Regicides of Charles I, after he had been hanged (in the process one was not hanged until dead) and cut open for the drawing, is reported to have struck his executioner.

  8. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t see “American Bandstand” as a precursor to MTV. As I remember it, AB was a sort of variety show without the variety: Ed Sullivan sans Topo Gigio and stand-up comics.

    MTV’s innovation was to replace straight-up stage performances with highly produced video set to studio recordings. In that sense it owes more to movies like Help and Magical Mystery Tour than to Clark and AB.

    • Posted August 5, 2017 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but they didn’t have videos back then. What I meant is that Bandstand was the first regular show on t.v. that was solely about young people’s music.

  9. pdx1jtj
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Why would they celebrate National Oyster Day in August – a month without an ‘R’?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 5, 2017 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

      @pdx1jtj True! There’s also this major error on the page: “Oysters actually helped build New York City’s restaurant trade as the FISH were so abundant in the city’s harbour during the early 1800s”

  10. Diane G.
    Posted August 5, 2017 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

    I love the setting, composition, and colors of the Leon picture!

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