Friday: Hili dialogue

Good morning and happy End Of the Work Week: it’s Friday, September 22, 2017, and we’re into fall. It’s also the 265th day of the year, so we’ve got but a hundred to go until 2018.  Today is also my last physical therapy bout for the shoulder, so my aging carcass, having suffered some trauma, is healing well—though of course my finger remains crooked.

It’s the Autumn Equinox, when the day is as long as the night, and Google is celebrating with this cute animated Doodle. The rodent, however, is using a tea bag, when we all know that rodents prefer a proper cup of tea brewed with leaves.

It’s National White Chocolate Day; lacking chocolate liqueur, and beefed up with milk solids and sugar, this substance is basically cocoa butter, better applied to your skin than your stomach. I can eat the stuff only in white-chocolate/macadamia nut cookies. I’m surprised there isn’t a postmodernist article on the stuff. And it’s HOBBIT DAY, celebrating the birthdays of both Bilbo and Frodo Baggins as recounted in Tolkien’s books; it’s also the beginning of Tolkien Week. As I said, I haven’t read the books for decades, and haven’t seen a single Tolkien movie, but that epic stands as the greatest fantasy book of our time. Wikipedia notes this about Hobbit Day.

Some Tolkien fans celebrate by having parties and feast emulating the hobbit’s parties. Other fans celebrate by simply going barefooted in honor of the hobbits, who don’t wear shoes. Some schools and libraries use this as an opportunity to pique interest in Tolkien’s work by putting up displays and hosting events

Well, I’m barefoot now (in bed, and as I write this it’s 4:20 a.m.), but not for long.

On September 22, 1692, the last person convicted in the Salem witch trials was hanged, with the other accused people released. On this day in 1776, the 21 year old Nathan Hale was hanged by the British for spying. It’s banner day for Mormons, for on this day in 1823, Joseph Smith claimed he retrieved those golden plates after the Angel Moroni, directed by God, led him to their burial site in New York. On such thin and unbelievable tales are religions founded. On this day in 1888, the first issue of National Geographic was released, and it’s been going downhill for a long time, publishing soppy articles on Where Jesus Walked.

Finally, on this day in 1896, Queen Victoria passed her grandfather (King George III) as the longest-reigning British monarch. She eventually ruled for 63 years and 216 days. But now Elizabeth II has passed that: as of today she’s been reigning for 65 years and 226 days. But both pale compared to other monarchs; in fact, according to Wikipedia’s list, Victoria is only #50. The longest reigning ruler of any country given there is Sobhuza II, ruler of Swaziland from December 10, 1899 to 21 August, 1982—a total of 82 years and 252 days. When he died he had had 70 wives and left over a thousand grandchildren. (Take that, Cordelia Fine!) Sobhuza II became king at the age of only four months. Here he is after having reigned many years:

Wikipedia says this, which I didn’t know: on September 22, 1948, “Gail Halvorsen officially started parachuting candy to children as part of the Berlin Air lift.” In operation “Little Vittles,” Halvorsen dropped bubble gum and chocolate to the sugar-starved kids of Berlin. On this day in 1975, Sara Jane Moore unsuccessfully tried to assassinate President Gerald Ford, and exactly five years later, Iraq invaded Iran.

Notables born on this day include Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism (1539), Michael Faraday (1791), Debby Boone (1956) and Joan Jett (1958).

Those who died on this day include Nathan Hale (1776; see above), Shaka Zulu (1828), Marion Davies (1961), George C. Scott (1999), Isaac Stern (2001), Eddie Fisher (2010), and Yogi Berra (2015).  The video below is in honor of Scott in his greatest performance, Patton. Who wasn’t mesmerized by this opening scene? (Note: don’t bother to tell us if you don’t like it; just don’t watch it). Make American great again!! Punch Nazis!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, where the staff is eating plum pies [ 😦 ], Hili is more interested in her kibbles:
A: Hili, you had your breakfast half an hour ago.
Hili: Yes, but I burned up all those calories in walking around. I need my strength to be able to sleep.
In Polish:
Ja: Hili, pół godziny temu jadłaś śniadanie.
Hili: Tak, ale wszystkie kalorie spaliłam podczas spaceru, muszę nabrać sił, żeby móc się przespać.

Matthew sent two tw**ts; this one shows a young seal leaping into a boat to avoid Death by Orca. When I wrote back, “Poor seal,” Matthew responded “Poor orcas,” and then lectured me on how horrible nature is. I think he didn’t have a good breakfast.

And a baby rhino and mom:



  1. Frank Bath
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Such is war the American revolutionaries hung British spies.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Also shot a few deserters as well.

  2. David Harper
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    “It’s the Autumn Equinox, when the day is as long as the night”

    The first part of the statement is correct, but the second isn’t. Not for three or four days. In Chicago today, the 22nd, sunrise is 06:39 CDT and sunset is 18:48, giving 12 hours and 7 minutes of daylight, not 12 hours exactly as you might expect. Here in Cambridge (the original, not the copy in Massachusetts), we get 12 hours and 12 minutes between sunrise and sunset.

    PCC(E) and fellow Chicagoans must wait until the 25th before sunrise and sunset are exactly 12 hours apart, and so must I in Cambridge.

    The reason why day length isn’t exactly 12 hours on the solstice is slightly arcane, depending on the strict definition of sunrise and sunset (when the upper edge of the Sun touches the horizon, not its centre) and on an effect called atmospheric refraction, which makes all celestial objects appear slightly higher in the sky than they would if the Earth was airless like the Moon.

    • Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      The reason why day length isn’t exactly 12 hours on the solstice is slightly arcane

      Or the equinox even…

      • David Harper
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

        You spotted my deliberate mistake 😉

  3. Jeff Rankin
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    “It’s National White Chocolate Day…”

    I’m outraged by this blatant chocolatism and will write a strongly worded huffpost article.

    • marvol19
      Posted September 23, 2017 at 3:28 am | Permalink

      Dark Chocolate Matters!

  4. Hunt
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Re: the seal. I have a pet peeve. It’s scientists who get so emotionally detached because “it’s nature”. I recall seeing a vet leaving abandoned cubs in Africa, who were surely going to die, because “it’s nature”.

    I’m the type who will save a mouse being chased by my cat, even though I know that’s what he does behind my back. It’s a “not on my watch” kind of thing.

    People who don’t react like that are dead inside, IMHO.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      I’m sure there are scientists like that but I seriously doubt that kind of attitude is more prevalent among scientists than non-scientists. In my experience casual, indifferent and unaware cruelty to animals is positively common among the general population.

    • Doug
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      As someone once said, “Would you let a person be eaten by a crocodile because ‘That’s Nature?'”

      • John Frum
        Posted September 23, 2017 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

        I would let a vegan be eaten by a crocodile to show other vegans that it’s ok for animals to eat other animals (joking folks)

  5. darrelle
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    “An entire world at war and I’m left out of it? God will not allow this to happen!

    There are several memorable monologues in the movie Patton and Patton was George C. Scott’s ultimate role. I just can never take him seriously in other movies because, well, he’s Patton. That’s a failing on my part not his. He was a fine actor.

    Oh and, white chocolate is worthless. Heck, milk chocolate is worthless.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      He was very good in Strangelove and The Hospital too. I did not know, until just looking, that he died from an Aortic Aneurysm which would certainly do the job. His was abdominal while mine was ascending. I was one of the lucky ones, discovered before it was too late.

      • Terry Sheldon
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        I would also add “The Hustler” to the list of great GCS performances.

        • Randy schenck
          Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          Just think of the cast of that black & white movie…

    • mfdempsey1946
      Posted September 22, 2017 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

      Another magnificent George C. Scott performance, though mostly unsung, is his portrayal of Abraham in director John Huston’s “The Bible: In The Beginning”.

      I know what the film’s title may suggest around here, but this picture, despite being a multi-million dollar mainstream production, thoroughly subverts the concept of God (portrayed vocally by Huston himself), presenting the deity as cruel and capricious in his creation and management of humanity.

      Scott’s Abraham is an eloquent part of this subversion, especially during the episode when Abraham is ordered by God to kill his son as a test of loyalty. If you see the film, especially note the ferocious power he brings to Abraham’s initial enraged “No!” of defiance in response to this order.

      George C. Scott’s contribution to this film deserves to be more widely known.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted September 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

        As far as I know, Scott is the only actor to BOTH play Ebenezer Scrooge from “Christmas Carol” AND “Fagin” from Oliver Twist.

        His other World War II character is Mussolini.

        I liked him as the strict Calvinist minister whose daughter gets involved in pornography and disappears in “Hardcore”. The scene where he tries to explain the Calvinist theology of double predestination to another prostitute who is helping him find his daughter is classic.

        Scott was an interesting Rochester in a TV version of Jane Eyre, but is not quite my favorite. (That would be Michael Fassbender.)

  6. Dani
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    If you are in the south hemisphere, you’ll get the spring equinox doodle, which is as cute as the other:

  7. Liz
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Worked in a small coffee shop in high school. Used only a French press and tea leaves to brew individual cups of tea for customers.

  8. Alan Clark
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Patton actually had a very high pitched voice, unlike George C Scott.

    He also suffered from foot-in-mouth disease. He once answered the phone and thought he recognised the voice, so he said “Hello you old n*****-lover, who let you out of jail?”. The voice at the other end said “This is the Secretary of State…”.

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

    White chocolate ain’t chocolate, and it ain’t white. Sort of yellow.

  10. busterggi
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    Make American great again!! Punch Nazis!

    If only we had continued this…

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    The fate of that magnificent Patton speech was in some jeopardy at various times. It was in the original script by Coppola, but the studio objected to it.
    They fired Coppola and dropped the speech, but later rehired him and the speech was restored.

    George C. Scott was reluctant to do it, as he thought it would overshadow the rest of his performance, but producer Franklin Schaeffner liked to GCS and told him it would be at the end of the movie. (Scott was also lied to by Stanley Kubrick about the usage of some footage on Dr. Strangelove).

    The speech is an amalgam of multiple speeches of Patton. Although the general was not frequently foul-mouthed, he was in some of this material, and to avoid an R rating, they toned down his language, for example changing ‘phuquing’ to ‘phornikation’ etc.

    Patton was not yet a four-star general when he said most of the stuff in the speech, so that is slightly anachronistic.

  12. revelator60
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    The seal was facing the terrifying possibility of being eaten alive by the Orca, whereas the Orca faced the inconvenience of looking for another seal. The seal was definitely the poor one, and even his escape was traumatic.

    As for Tolkein, my attitude mirrors that of Clive James: “I still haven’t forgiven C. S. Lewis for going on all those long walks with J. R. R. Tolkien and failing to strangle him, thus saving us from hundreds of pages dripping with the wizardly wisdom of Gandalf and from the kind of movie in which Orlando Bloom defiantly flexes his delicate jaw at thousands of computer-generated orcs. In fact it would have been ever better if C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien could have strangled each other, so that we could also have been saved from the Chronicles of Narnia.”

    • marvol19
      Posted September 23, 2017 at 3:34 am | Permalink

      That argument re orcas and seals makes no sense. At some point a seal must be eaten alive else the orca will starve to death. You can’t anthropomorphisize the orca and blame it for being a carnivore.

      As for me, I love orcas and I’d have happily tossed the seal back in 😈.

      • revelator60
        Posted September 23, 2017 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        But it makes plenty of sense from the viewpoint of the individual seal versus the individual Orca—that seal faced a terrifying, horrifying death whereas the Orca faced nothing worse than having to look for another seal, and there are plenty of those in the sea. I don’t blame the Orca for being a carnivore any more than I blame the seal for not wishing to die a horrific death.

  13. nicky
    Posted September 22, 2017 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    The present Ngwenyama of Swaziland is Mswati III. He has only 14 (15?) wives and about 30 children. Not as prolific as Sobhuza II, but then, he’s not 50 yet, still more than 30 years to catch up. [if one wanted to be nasty, one could say: an ugly little man with lots of beautiful wives]
    Cordelia Fine should really read Laura Betzig’s “Despotism and Differential Reproduction: A Darwinian View of Historry”.
    Note, that the present president of S.A. Mr Zuma, has 3 current wives, seven in total (four divorced). He is rumoured to have 22+ children, many of them extra-marital. Your pussygrabber-in-chief, Mr Trump, is but a choirboy in comparison.

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