Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Wednesday, September 6, 2017, and I’m feeling much better today, thank you. I believe it was the ministrations of Princess Hili that cured me. It’s still cold and overcast in Dobrzyn, and may remain so for the rest of the week. Today is National Coffee Ice-Cream Day (why is there a hyphen between “Ice” and “Cream”?); here in Dobrzyn we have butterscotch, but we also have a freshly baked cherry pie. It’s also Armed Forces Day in São Tomé and Príncipe, a country where I spent many arduous days doing field work on flies, and where I don’t remember seeing any military.

On September 6, 1522, the only surviving ship of Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition returned to Sanlúcar de Barrameda in Spain, becoming the first ship to circumnavigate the world. Magellan was not aboard: he’d been killed in the Philippines. On this day in 1803, British scientist John Dalton, the father of the modern theory of atoms, was the first to use symbols for chemical elements; he had 20 symbols. Curiously, Wired gives the date as September 3, while Wikipedia says September 6. I’m betting on Wired. On this day in 1901, President William M. McKinley was shot by the anarchist Leon Czolgosz at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York; McKinley died of infection eight days later, and Czolgosz was executed by electrocution on October 29. On September 6, 1916, the first Piggly Wiggly (the world’s first self service grocery store) opened in Memphis, Tennessee; the chain is still going strong despite its dire name. It also provided the first checkout stands, individually priced items, and shopping carts. Here’s that first one:

On this day in 1972, 9 of the 11 Israeli athletes kidnapped by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September were killed by their captors during a botched rescue mission; the other two had been killed the day before. In 1991, Leningrad was renamed St. Petersburg. On September 6, 1995, Cal Ripken, Jr. surpassed Lou Gehrig’s record of playing in consecutive baseball games by finishing game 2,131. Ripken went on to attain an all-time record of 2,632. (In Gehrig’s days a regular baseball season was 154 games, in Ripken’s 162; so Ripken played roughly 16.25 full seasons without missing a game. That’s remarkable.) Here’s a video of Ripken breaking Gehrig’s record:

Finally, on this day in 1997 Princess Diana’s funeral took place in London, with an estimated 2.5 billion people—half of the world—watching on television.

Notables born on this day include John Dalton (1766; see accomplishments above), Jane Addams (1860), Jane Curtin (1947), and Chris Christie and Elizabeth Vargas (both 1962). Those who died on this day include Sully Prudhomme (1907), Gertrude Lawrence (1952), Margaret Sanger (1966; all statues of her soon to be removed), Ernest Tubb (1984), and Luciano Pavarotti (2007).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Hili dialogue features ME!! I’m ill but encatted:

​A: So you’ve positioned yourself here.
Hili: Yes, here I’m most appreciated.
In Polish:

Ja: Tu się ulokowałaś?
Hili: Tak, tu jestem najbardziej doceniana.​

Grania found this tw**t posted by New Yorker staff writer Elif Batuman. It is one of the greatest tw**ts I’ve ever seen, worthy of a marriage proposal:

And Matthew found a tweet featuring a speedy North American turtle, Apalone spinifera. As Matthew said, “Look at it go!”


  1. Posted September 6, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    A British professional pedant notes: The online Oxford dictionary has ditched the hyphen, even in adjectival uses

    • Stephen Mynett
      Posted September 6, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      A hyphen is a little like an apostrophe, some people seem to think they must be used but are never sure where.

      OT: Has anyone else had problems getting to the Richard Dawkins Foundation site? I keep getting redirected to, a site I found almost completely unimpressive.

      • Posted September 6, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        The Richard Dawkins Foundation has merged with

        • Stephen Mynett
          Posted September 6, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

          I had hoped they would keep their old website or at least part of it. I was following a discussion of a couple of topics on there until yesterday but when I went back today it had gone.

          I am not against the merger but if they have shut the old site it is a great shame and a bit of an insult to the regular posters for doing it suddenly with no notice. I had heard about the merger ages ago but there was no mention of the site suddenly closing.

          Also, why link to and not centerforinquiry, the latter is a decent site while the former is pretty awful.

          • Posted September 6, 2017 at 9:42 am | Permalink

            Mystery remains. Particularly annoying as this hasn’t been updated since April.

            • Stephen Mynett
              Posted September 6, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

              Good news, is back, it must just have been a glitch in the system. Very relieved though, I do not think I would have bothered with the openly secular site.

    • Posted September 6, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      The complete ditching of the hyphen for adjectival uses can’t be true: see reader’s comment on “man eating chicken” below!

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted September 6, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Many forget the assassination of McKinley resulted in the Presidency of Teddy Roosevelt.

    No choice – that would be taxes and death and there is something dead on Donald Trumps Head.

  3. Posted September 6, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    I wonder how they come up with the figure of 2.5 billion. What percentage of the World’s population had access to a TV in 1997? What percentage of them could be bothered to watch the funeral (full disclosure: I wasn’t one of them)?

  4. dabertini
    Posted September 6, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    It is also National Read a Book Day.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 6, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Finally, a day worthwhile.

  5. Larry LeClair
    Posted September 6, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Sorry, Jerry. MLB has been playing 162-game seasons since 1962, well before Ripken’s playing days.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 6, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      But he is comparing Ripken’s run to the seasons of Gehrig.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 6, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I think the American League went to the 162-game schedule in 1961, the NL in 1962. Cal Ripken was born in 1960. I think Jerry may have meant to put his parenthetical after the sentence about Lou Gehrig, since the original Ironman played his entire career in the 154-game era.

    • Posted September 6, 2017 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Yes, I know about the 162-game seasons and got balled up. I’ll fix that and make it for Ripken.

  6. darrelle
    Posted September 6, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Piggly Wiggly was our local grocery store when I lived in New Mexico back in ’79-’80. I’ve never seen one since.

  7. Posted September 6, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    It appears this is also the 140th birthday of none other than Buddy Bolden:

  8. David Coxill
    Posted September 6, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Hi ,nothing to do with any of the topics .
    Do Americans understand the word Diddums ?.
    Used it in a post on a comments section of a newspaper ,and got the reply ,”What The Hell Is A Diddum ?..
    LOL .

    • Hempenstein
      Posted September 6, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      Perhaps an accessory for a prothonotary. (See under Pennsylvania <a href= ).

      • Hempenstein
        Posted September 6, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Dammit! here.

        • David Coxill
          Posted September 6, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          Hi, Brits use Diddums talking to child with ,say ,a scratch on their knee ,as in “Diddums mummy will kiss it better “.
          When you say it to an adult ,it is meant as sarcasm .
          As in a merchant banker (both meanings of the word) in a city pub .
          “They only gave me a £50.000 bonus ,i won’t get that new Ferrari this year “.
          To which the barman would reply.
          Ah Diddums .
          See ?.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted September 6, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

        As far as the original Piggly-Wiggly, and especially since it was down south, was it/ were they integrated in the beginning? I don’t recall any reference to grocery stores being segregated, and if they weren’t, I wonder why? Maybe something to do with wanting servants to be able to shop where their employers did?

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 6, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

      If you really want a laugh, this has some similarity to an old song…Three little Fishies. You can look it up but goes back to 1939, #11 on the charts.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 6, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    … (why is there a hyphen between “Ice” and “Cream”?)

    “Ice cream” is being used as a compound adjective modifying “day,” so I think that’s reasonably standard usage (although no one’d be likely to squawk had the hyphen been omitted). Sometimes, however, such hyphens can be crucial, the difference between “a man eating chicken” and “a man-eating chicken.” 🙂

    • Posted September 6, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      When I was the pedant-in-chief at The Times, we had a news story about changing Oxbridge attitudes to co-education. In the first edition, a final bastion of traditional separation was referred to as ‘a single sex college’. I got that clarified to ‘a single-sex college’ for the second edition.

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 6, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    The Smithsonian has rejected a request from African American pastors to remove their statue of Margaret Sanger, and issued this statement.

    “I received your letter regarding the legacy of Margaret Sanger and respectfully decline to remove her portrait from the museum. The Struggle for Justice gallery brings attention to major cultural and political figures from the 19th century to the present day who fought to achieve civil rights for disenfranchised or marginalized groups.”

    …..“Her association with the eugenics movement shadowed her achievements in sex education and contraception, making her a figure of controversy, one whose complexities and contradictions mirror her times. There is no ‘moral test’ for people to be accepted into the National Portrait Gallery.”

    Life News, an anti-abortion paper strongly supports the black pastors, as do several other conservative publications like National Review.

    Wikipedia reports “Sanger worked with eminent African American leaders and professionals who saw a need for birth control in their communities. In 1929, James H. Hubert, a black social worker and the leader of New York’s Urban League, asked Sanger to open a clinic in Harlem…. Sanger did not tolerate bigotry among her staff, nor would she tolerate any refusal to work within interracial projects. Sanger’s work with minorities earned praise from Martin Luther King, Jr., in his 1966 acceptance speech for the Margaret Sanger award.”

    She also REJECTED race-based eugenics.
    “Sanger’s view of eugenics was influenced by Havelock Ellis and other British eugenicists who held that environmentally acquired traits were inherited by one’s progeny.[114] Consequently, she rejected race and ethnicity as determining factors.[115] Instead she stressed limiting the number of births to live within one’s economic ability to raise and support healthy children. This would lead to a betterment of society and the human race.[116] Sanger’s view put her at odds with leading American eugenicists, such as Charles Davenport who took a racist view of inherited traits. She continually rejected their approach.”

    One of the protests by black ministers clearly quotes her grossly out of context..

    She is quoted as saying “We do not want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro community”. Yep, that’s because she didn’t.

    This is a tactic that reminds me of Sean Hannity. When Obama said that insurance companies do something “not because they are evil”, Sean Hannity assumed Obama thought they WERE evil. Wrong!! Nor did Sanger make that remark due to a desire to exterminate African-Americans.

    As Wikipedia notes with three citations “New York University’s Margaret Sanger Papers Project says that though the letter would have been meant to avoid the mistaken notion that the Negro Project was a racist campaign, conspiracy theorists have fraudulently attempted to exploit the quotation “as evidence she led a calculated effort to reduce the black population against their will”.”

    That makes this demand by far and away the most outrageous demand to remove a statue yet!!!!!

    • rickflick
      Posted September 6, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      I too was interested to see what the Sanger kerfuffle was all about. Looks like Ted Cruse has gotten involved in the dethroning of Sanger too.
      The comment I saw quoted was that she believed retarded and defective children should be prevented from reproducing, not blacks or other minorities. Her views agreed with a broad consensus at the time that society should worry about bad genes in the population. Her motivation, in part may have been to gain support for birth control among the eugenicists.

  11. Posted September 6, 2017 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    “I’m really enjoying this so-called ‘iced cream'”

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