Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning: it’s Thursday, September 21, 2017, considered the official start of Fall in the Northern Hemisphere (it starts in Chicago at 3:02 this afternoon). It’s also the 264th day of the year: 101 days to go until 2018. We’ve had record heat in Chicago the past few days, with high temperatures predicted for both today and tomorrow of 92° F (33° C ). That’s ungodly hot!

It’s National Pecan Cookie Day (meh), and three separate Independence Days: of Armenia from the Soviet Union (1991), and of both Belize and Malta from the United Kingdom (the former in 1981, the latter in 1984).

On this day in 1780, Benedict Arnold, a general in the American Continental Army, gave the British the plans for the American fortifications at West Point, committing treason. He later went over to the British Army and, contrary to popular wisdom, was not caught and executed by the Americans, but moved to London where he lived out his life as a merchant. The name “Benedict Arnold,” however, is synonymous with “traitor” for every American—or at least those over the age of 35.  On September 21, 1937, J. R. R. Tolkien published The Hobbit, a book I liked better than the Ring Trilogy, though I haven’t read any of them since I was a teenager. On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos of the Philippines put his country under martial law until 1981. Ruling until 1986, he then fled with his wife to Hawaii, bringing, according to Wikipedia, the following items with him:

As per the official twenty-three page US Customs record, the two C-141 transport planes that carried the Marcos family and their closest allies had 23 wooden crates; 12 suitcases and bags, and various boxes, whose contents included enough clothes to fill 67 racks; 413 pieces of jewelry; 24 gold bricks, inscribed “To my husband on our 24th anniversary”; and more than 27m Philippine pesos in freshly-printed notes. The jewelry included 70 pairs of jewel-studded cufflinks; an ivory statue of the infant Jesus with a silver mantle and a diamond necklace. The total value of these items was $15 millon. Meanwhile, when protestors stormed Malacañang Palace shortly after their departure, it was famously discovered that Imelda had left behind over 2,700 pairs of shoes in her closet.

Finally, on this day in 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor’s nomination for Supreme Court justice was unanimously approved by the U.S. Senate, making her the first woman Justice.

Notables born on September 21 include H. G. Wells (1866), Gustav Holst (1874), Chuck Jones (1912), the great Austrian climber Hermann Buhl (1924; died in a climbing accident in 1957), Leonard Cohen (1934; there’s a really nice profile of him, free to read, in a recent New Yorker), Stephen King (1947), Bill Murray (1950), Shinzō Abe (1954) and Ethan Coen (1957).  Those who died on this day include Virgil (19 BC), Jai Sing II (1743), Walter Scott (1832), Arthur Schopenhauer (1860), Walter Brennan and Jacqueline Susann (both 1974) and Florence Griffith Joyner (1998, epileptic seizure).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, I am greatly honored by having been allowed to construct both a Hili dialogue and furnish the photo for it: a first for me. Andrzej does the Hili dialogues by choosing a photo in which a dialogue simply appears to him. That is what happened to me when I looked at my photo (below) of Hili and Monika, and so I sent the dialogue to Malgorzata, and, mirabile dictu, Andrzej approved it!

Hili: Monika, you are very pretty
Monika: Why, thank you, Hili!
Hili: Of course, I am even prettier, and I also have a fur coat.
In Polish:
Hili: Wiesz, Moniko, jesteś bardzo ładna.
Monika: O, dziękuję, Hili!
Hili: Oczywiście ja jestem jeszcze ładniejsza, a w dodatku mam futro.
(Dialog i zdjęcie Jerry Coyne)
 We also have a Leon monologue today, but it’s a bit arcane, so Malgorzata explains it:

There  is a new Leon which would be a bit cryptic for non-Poles. Our current government has carried out a total revolution in the education system of Poland. Among many other things, they changed the curriculum, all the textbooks and all the tests for pupils. This was done with unseemly haste, and the textbooks and tests are rife with mistakes and errors. Both of Leon’s staff, as experienced teachers, are in despair. Leon agrees that this is a disaster.

Leon: Have you seen what they are writing in the tests?
Finally, Grania sent a couple of cat tw**ts:


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    I didn’t know Flo Jo died, and that way … goodness … is that THE Flo Jo? The Olympic athlete?

    • Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Yes. You may be thinking of Jackie Joyner-Kersee, who was “Flo Jo”‘s sister in law and is still alive.

      • GBJames
        Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        My friend, Mr. Google, tells me I have another day of summer. I like Fall, but I’m going to take the extra day! 😉

  2. GBJames
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Isn’t tomorrow the equinox? So today is still summer!

    • Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      The fall equinox can occur any time between the 21st and 24th of September, so (at least I have been told my whole life), fall is taken to begin on the 21st. Maybe that’s just the convention.

      • David Harper
        Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

        The equinox occurs at 20:02 Universal Time (15:02 Central Daylight Time) on the 22nd, according to Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office, who may be relied upon not to get these things wrong.

        You’ll forgive the pedantry, I hope, but I was on the staff of HMNAO for a while, and old habits die hard.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted September 21, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

        Calendar fall is in September, but meteorologic fall varies with nation. In Sweden that fall is when the daily average temperature is decreasing and between 10 and 0 degC [ ]. Conveniently, the both definitions pretty much agree around the latitudes of Stockholm!

      • David Harper
        Posted September 21, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        Apropos the possible dates for the equinox:

        Over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries, the astronomical equinox fell on the 24th of September in 1803 and 1807, and on the 24th every fourth year from 1903 to 1931, but other than those years, it fell predominantly on the 23rd and less commonly on the 22nd.

        During the 21st century, it will fall mostly on the 22nd, but on the 23rd 22 times, and on the 21st only in 2092 and 2096.

        This assumes that times are given in Universal Time, which is effectively the same as Greenwich Mean Time and is the standard time scale used by astronomers. In other time zones, your mileage may vary.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted September 21, 2017 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      As soon as the heating goes on it’s not summer any more ;-P

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Great cat photos today with Hili on top.

    We were living in Hawaii back in 86 when Marcos and Imelda arrived at Hickam AFB on the U.S. C-141 aircraft. If I recall they were first housed at the base in pretty nice housing and then later moved to a really nice place on the Island. One of the first things they were given was a trip to the Hickam BX to shop for all the things they needed after leaving the Philippines in such a rush. Certainly unauthorized customers.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 21, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      Possibly the capture and hanging of British Major John Andre, who Arnold was working with in his treason is why some may think he was hanged. The Benedict Arnold story is a good one considering he was probably the best general available to Washington and also highlighted a fault in Washington’s judgement in constantly ignoring Arnold’s troubles and failure to recognize character flaws in others that he would not have himself.

  4. kieran
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    CS. Lewis owned a house and holidayed in the Barrow valley, nearby is the village of Bilboa. This is where in conversation with Tolkien the name Bilbo was given to the hobbit. I’ve no evidence for this but think I should sell the idea to the local tourist board.

  5. BobTerrace
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Today is Thursday, September 21; not Wednesday

  6. Taz
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    That tweet was jarring. The black fuzzy cat looks a lot like my little buddy I lost this summer, after 17 years.

  7. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted September 21, 2017 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    Benedict Arnold may have escaped punishment, but according to local folklore, his British handler, Major John André, was captured in my hometown of Peekskill NY, executed on Gallows Hill less than a mile from my parents’ house, and buried in the churchyard across the street from where my Boy Scout troop met.

    Now, on checking Wikipedia, I discover that none of that actually happened as I learned it. André was captured in Tarrytown, some 15 miles south of Peekskill, and hanged across the river in Tappan NY. His remains were moved to Westminster Abbey 40 years after his death.

    Next they’ll be telling me that George Washington didn’t ever actually sleep in the manor house near my elementary school.

  8. Posted September 21, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    The Hili dialogue made me chuckle. And I can imagine that it’s PCC(E)who’s speaking to de lovely Monika. 😉

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