Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; It’s Tuesday, when the work week ahead looks long and daunting; and it’s September 19, 2017, National Butterscotch Pudding Day. Enough said about that vile dessert. And it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day. RRRRRRRR!!!! Kiss the black spot! (Is that good enough?)

Again, it’s one of those days that not a lot happened in history, either famous incidents or births and deaths of notable people. It was on this day in 1881 that U.S. President James Garfield died of wounds he suffered in an assassination attempt on July 2 in Washington D.C. With doctors unable to locate the bullet, and with no antibiotics in those days, Garfield died of infection, and Vice President Chester A. Arthur became President. On this day in 1893, New Zealand became the world’s first self-governing nation to give all women the right to vote. I am proud of my status as an honorary Kiwi!

And that’s about all the stuff that happened on this day.

Births, too, are thin, especially as exemplified by Twiggy, born on this day in 1949. Others born on September 19 include “Mama” Cass Elliot (1941), who died of obesity at age 32; the rumor of her having choked on a ham sandwich is untrue. Finally, Jimmy Fallon was born on this day in 1974.

Today’s Google Doodle also highlights the fact that it’s the 100th birthday of Amalia Hernandez (1917-2000), who, in 1952, founded the famous Ballet Folklorico de Mexico.

Notables who died on this day include James Garfield (see above) and mountaineer Lionel Terray (1965), member of Maurice Herzog’s successful expedition to be the first team to reach the summit of Annapurna, though Terray didn’t get to the top. Also expired on September 19 were popcorn magnate Orville Redenbacher (1995, a proud son of the tiny hamlet of Brazil, Indiana) and Skeeter Davis and photographer Eddie Adams (both 2004).

Here’s Skeeter doing her most famous song, one that I love; it’s a live version from 1963). “The End of the World” was released in 1962, written by Sylvia Dee and Arthur Kent, and produced by Chet Atkins. The song was played at both Atkins’s and Davis’s funerals, and was a huge hit: as Wikipedia notes (my emphasis):

Released by RCA Records in December 1962, “The End of the World” peaked in March 1963 at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (behind “Our Day Will Come” by Ruby & the Romantics), No. 2 on the Billboard country singles, No. 1 on Billboard’s easy listening, and No. 4 on Billboard’s rhythm and blues. It is the first, and, to date, only time that a song cracked the Top 10 on all four Billboard charts.  Billboard ranked the record as the No. 3 song of 1963.

In the Skeeter Davis version, after she sings the whole song through in the key of B-flat, the song modulates up by a half step to the key of B, where Skeeter speaks the first two lines of the final stanza, before singing the rest of the stanza, ending the song.

Eddy Adams was a great photographer, and this is his most famous picture, which those of you of a certain age will remember (TRIGGER WARNING: EXECUTION). It shows the exact moment at which South Vietnam Police Chief Nguyen Ngoc Loan publicly executed suspected Viet Cong member Nguyen Van Lem. It was taken on February 2, 1968, and became World Press Photo of the Year. You can read more about the photo here.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows some concern for the world outside her little territory:
Hili: All this scares me.
A: What is scaring you?
Hili: News from the world, because it’s OK here.
In Polish:.
Hili: To wszystko mnie przeraża.
Ja: Co takiego?
Hili: Wiadomości ze świata, bo tu jest O.K.
Matthew sent a tw**t of a very weird bird. “Wrynecks” are two species of Old World woodpecker in the genus Jynx. This is probably the Eurasian wryneck, Jynx torquilla:

And here’s a sweet tweet, showing love spanning a lifetime, stolen from Heather Hastie’s daily collection:


  1. Posted September 19, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    No mention of Matthew’s new article?!

    60 years ago, Francis Crick changed the logic of biology

    AND he woke me up – he was talking about that on radio 4 this morning!

  2. George
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Mama Cass Elliot was born in 1941 on September 19. She died in 1974 (July 29).

    • George
      Posted September 19, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      Also, it is Jimmy Kimmel, not Fallon, who was the erstwhile paramour of the wonderful Sarah Silverman. That relationship gave us this –

    • Posted September 19, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Fixed both this and the comment below. I do remember that awesome video from La Belle Sarah.

  3. ladyatheist
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Shouldn’t that be “Trigger warning: trigger”


  4. Posted September 19, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    What’s the matter with Butterscotch Pudding? Light it with a torch and call it Crème brûlée.

  5. Posted September 19, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Although New Zealand was the first to give the women suffrage in 1893, Finland was the first self-governing country where women actually got elected. In the 1907 elections 19 of the 200 MP’s were women:


  6. Jeremy Tarone
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    More on the Vietnam photo:

    “According to accounts at the time, when South Vietnamese officers captured Lem, he was more or less caught in the act, at the site of a mass grave. This grave contained the bodies of no less than seven South Vietnamese police officers, as well as their families, around 34 bound and shot bodies in total.”

    Viet Cong officer Nguyen Van Lem was part of a death squad that murdered police officers and their families.

    • jahigginbotham
      Posted September 21, 2017 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      Thanks much for posting this. It is amazing how a picture can give a false impression. [Although other versions i have read argue the killing was quite legal. I am no lawyer.] I wish Coyne would update his post.

    • jahigginbotham
      Posted September 21, 2017 at 2:02 am | Permalink

      Thanks much for posting this. It is amazing how a picture can give a false impression. [Although other versions i have read argue the killing was quite legal. I am no lawyer.] I wish Coyne would update his post.

  7. BJ
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I remember seeing that execution in an eleventh grade history class. It’s something you can never forget, but it’s the kind of thing I think everyone should see. We so often see violence in movies and television now, and violence has become so impersonal and fun to watch (hey, I love a great action flick where tons of people get killed. No shame in that. John Wick is awesome). But we need to be reminded of the brutal reality on occasion.

    And butterscotch pudding is awesome.

  8. Posted September 19, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    That footage of the Viet Cong soldier being shot showed up in the strangest places, including here. Because of course playing in a rock concert is like being in a war, right? Footage at 2:30 but play the entire clip for other Viet Nam moments. Note: this man being shot was used throughout the film Head such was the thinking in 1968. Note: the song as written had nothing to do with war.

  9. bonetired
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    There is a much less famous film of the murder (I refrain to call it an “execution”) of Nguyen Van Lem which is in, many respects, even more disturbing. The casualness of the killing, which took just a few seconds with Laon re-holstering his weapon and walking off immediately afterwards, is just horrible.

    I won’t provide a link although it is easy to find via Google.

    • jahigginbotham
      Posted September 21, 2017 at 2:09 am | Permalink

      “Murder most foul, as in the best it is,
      But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.”

      I used to think in the same vein. Until i read versions of the links provided by Jeremy Tarone and Chris Swart above and below your comment.

      Never having been in a war, I can’t really comment on the casualness but it may be no different than the emotional distance surgeons require.

  10. RPGNo1
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Great blogpost: The reactor cat from Garching 🙂 (unfortunately in German only)

  11. Liz
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    Didn’t recognize the song until I listened. In addition to growing up with this, I also had a Back to the 60s tape with this song. It immediately reminded me of other songs on the tape like “Judy’s Turn To Cry,” “Lightnin’ Strikes,” “I Love You More Today Than Yesterday,” and “Raindrops Keep Falling On My Head.” Good music.

  12. Chris Swart
    Posted September 19, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    The execution of the Viet Cong Officer Lem bothered me for decades, until I recently read the entire story. Given the situation, it was not only justified but legal under the laws of war, IMO. https://cherrieswriter.wordpress.com/2015/08/03/the-story-behind-the-famous-saigon-execution-photo/

    • jahigginbotham
      Posted September 21, 2017 at 2:04 am | Permalink

      Thanks much for posting this. It is amazing how a picture can give a false impression. I wish Coyne would update his post.

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