Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s Saturday, September 30,2017, and it’s going to cool off at last in Chicago: the high temperature is predicted to be 64° F (15° C). And, god help us, it’s National Mulled Cider Day. Who cares? And it should be in October, anyway. It’s Recovery Day in Canada, but that’s not about the hangovers that drunken Canadians acquired from debauchery last night; it’s about recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

On September 30, 1791, the first performance of The Magic Flute was staged in Vienna. On this day in 1915,  Radoje Ljutovac became the first soldier in history to down an enemy aircraft by firing a gun from the ground.  Ljutovac used a cannon, of all things, and downed an aircraft that was presumably Teutonic. It was on this day in 1927 that Yankee outfielder Babe Ruth hit his 60th home run of the season against the Washington Sentators, establishing a record that wasn’t broken until Roger Maris hit 61 in 1961. Lou Gehrig was vying for the record that year, too, but finished with only 47. What a team that would have been to see! (I did see Maris and Mantle play in 1961.) Here are the first six men in the Yankees lineup, called “Murderer’s Row” for their hitting prowess:

On this day in 1938, France, Germany, Britain, and Italy signed the Munich Agreement, allowing Germany to take over the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia,—one of the appeasements of the Allies that didn’t work. In 1947, the baseball World Series was televised for the first time (do you know who played?).  On September 30, 1962, James Meredith entered the University of Mississippi, becoming the first black student in that previously segregated state university. And exactly 12 years ago today, the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten published the controversial cartoons of Muhammad, beginning the modern era of Offended Muslims demanding retribution in blood.  You can see the cartoons at the link. The controversy (and cowardice) continues as a museum in Denmark didn’t include the cartoon in a new exhibition of blasphemous art.

Notables born on this day include Hans Geiger (1882), Lester Maddox (1915), Buddy Rich (1917), Truman Capote (1924), Elie Wiesel (1928), Johnny Mathis (1935), Marilyn McCoo (1943), Gary Coyne (1961; not me!), Monica Bellucci (1964), and Martina Hingis (1980). Those who died on September 30 include James Dean (1955; crashed his sports car at age 24), Virgil Thomson (1989), Patrick White (1990), and Barry Commoner (2012).

Marilyn McCoo had a terrific voice, but who remembers her? Here she is with The Fifth Dimension (I saw them live in college), singing a Laura Nyro classic, “Wedding Bell Blues”.

This is lip-synched, but “One Less Bell to Answer” is my favorite of all her recordings (it’s a Burt Bacharach/Hal David composition):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has learned some biology, though she might not be aware that there’s controversy about whether programmed cell death in plants—as opposed to animals—should be called “apoptosis.”

Hili: Apoptosis.
A: I can’t deny it.
In Polish:
Hili: Apoptoza.
Ja: Nie mogę zaprzeczyć.
Here are two tw**ts sent by Matthew Cobb. The second one, which went viral this week, is hilarious, but I wonder if the incident is real:

. . .and two tw**ts I’ve stolen from Heather Hastie’s daily compendium:

Trigger warning: Animal predation.  Here, from Life on Earth, is a video of three cheetahs taking down an ostrich. It’s not an easy job.


  1. Randy schenck
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    The 27 Yankees, best team ever. But note, no one comes close to the Babe. I watched the Yankees in 61 when the M&M boys were going at it.

  2. Posted September 30, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    When Babe Ruth hit 59 home runs in the early 1920’s (21?) there were only a handful of guys who hit as many as 20. As Juan Carlos Stanton approaches the magic number of 60, the number of players who have hit 20 or more home runs is over 100. Put’s Mr. Ruth’s feat in context.

    On Sat, Sep 30, 2017 at 7:01 AM, Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “It’s Saturday, September 30,2017, and it’s > going to cool off at last in Chicago: the high temperature is predicted to > be 64° F (15° C). And, god help us, it’s National Mulled Cider Day. Who > cares? And it should be in October, anyway. It’s Recovery Day in ” >

    • Randy schenck
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      It is only 100 years…big deal. Just think how good Babe might have been had he worked out. The only workout he got was bending the elbow and also in bed. Or how many home runs he might have had, if he had not been a pitcher in the first 3rd or 4th of his career.

  3. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    “the first soldier in history to down an enemy aircraft by firing a gun from the ground.”

    A cynic might say that, given the notorious propensity of ground-based artillery to claim a hit on anything aerial they shot at, and the reliability of aircraft of that period, engine failure is an equally likely probability.

    It is not physically impossible that a shell fired without gunlaying predictors, without a proximity fuse, should happen to strike the aircraft. But I note that ground troops were also firing rifles and machine guns at the aircraft.

    I know which one my money’s on. 😉


  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    I had to look up the 1947 Series (it was a so-called “subway series”), but I know who won the next year in ’48: my beloved Cleveland Indians (something every boy born in Northern Ohio knows, since it’s the last time the Tribe won the crown). They beat the Boston Braves in six games that year. (They had to beat the Red Sox in a one-game playoff to get to play the Braves, thereby preventing what would’ve otherwise been an all-Boston World Series.)

    The Indians had a shot at winning it all again last year, 70 years after their last World Series championship, but came up short in extra-innings in Game 7 against the Cubs. The Tribe’s on a roll again this year, recently winning a record-setting 22-games in a row. (I listened to the record-setter on a radio plugged into a generator at a shelter on the mainland, after making a last-minute dash from Key West to avoid Hurricane Irma.)

    • Diane G.
      Posted October 1, 2017 at 12:25 am | Permalink

      The Tribe would have won last year had they not lost Carrasco & Salazar.

      Glad to hear you kept your priorities straight during Irma. 😀

      (Why on earth did you wait till the last minute to abandon Key West?)

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Worth noting that, a couple years after matriculating at Ole Miss, James Meredith was was shot and badly wounded while trying to register black voters in the Mississippi delta.

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    30 September 1791 was s Friday.

  7. Nancy Steisslinger
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Marilyn McCoo guest starred on It Takes A Thief with Robert Wagner. She sang “One Less Bell to Answer” – as I recall there were a few notes added at the end which would trigger an explosive. I don’t remember anything else about the plot of that episode.

  8. darrelle
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone besides me remember the rather cheesey American Bandstand type show called Solid Gold? Started in the early ’80’s? Marilyn McCoo hostd the show for a number of years.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted September 30, 2017 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

      Marilyn McCoo – yes, good voice. But little-known now.

      My irrepressible sense of mischief compels me to add that the first time I came across her was her half-decent version of PCC’s bete noire [1] ‘I’ve Never Been to Me'[2] – which at least didn’t have the dreadful schmaltzy spoken bridge that the appalling Charlene stuck in it.

      I still like the song, musically. I once spent an idle hour at Piha Beach composing in my head an alternative last verse that was trenchantly hedonistic – it rhymed, it scanned, it was surprisingly easy to do, and it completely rescued the song – but I’ve forgotten it now.

      [1] Can a song be a ‘bete noire'[3]? I don’t know.
      [2] I think the song gets a bad rep from the way the wretched Xtians eagerly siezed on it – which ain’t fair to the song, IMO.
      [3] I know ‘bete’ should have a circumflex accent but my keyboard won’t do it.
      [4] Sorry for all the footnotes 😉


    • Posted September 30, 2017 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

      I used to enjoy that show!

  9. Posted September 30, 2017 at 7:45 pm | Permalink

    Marilyn McCoo? Hell, yeah, I remember her. Great voice. Loved this one by the Fifth Dimension (Last Night I Didn’t Get to Sleep At All):

  10. Craw
    Posted September 30, 2017 at 10:15 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the notice of Virgil Thomson! His Four Saints in Three Acts, libretto by Gertrude Stein, is a piece I love dearly, or this, his setting of his own translation of Pervigilium Veneris

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