Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning: it’s October 4, 2017, and Wednesday. It’s National Taco Day, and as I recall, yesterday was National Soft Taco Day. Somehow I sense the hand of Big Taco behind this.  It’s also World Animal Day, to celebrate and raise the status of animals around the world. Remember, they were here before us, so make a donation to their welfare if you have a few bucks. These organizations have the highest four-star rating from Charity Navigator:

On this day in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII implemented his eponymous calendar. According to Wikipedia, “In Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain, October 4 of this year is followed directly by October 15.” Imagine all the appointments that were missed!  In 1883, this day marked the first run of the Orient Express. On October 4, 1927, Gutzon Borglum began sculpting Mount Rushmore. The sculpturing continued after Borglum’s death, but ran out of steam in 1941, and it’s still not finished, for each President was supposed to be carved from head to waist. Do you know how many Presidents are on it, and who they were?

On this day in 1957, the Russians launched Sputnik 1, the first human-made satellite to orbit the Earth, and it caused huge consternation in the U.S.—the fear that we were falling behind the Russians scientifically (and militarily). I remember that well. And exactly 11 years ago on this day, Julian Assange launched Wikileaks.

Notables born on this day include the underrated painter Jean-François Millet (1814), Frederick Remington (1861), Damon Runyon (1880), Buster Keaton (1895), H. Rap Brown (1943), and Alicia Silverstone (1976). Those who died on October 4 include Rembrandt (1669), Max Planck (1947), Henrietta Lacks (1951), Janis Joplin (1970), Anne Sexton (1974), and Glenn Gould (1982; he was just 50). In honor of our two painters, here is a lovely Millet and a wonderful Rembrandt etching:

Millet: La Baratteuse (The Churner). 1866-1868:

And Rembrandt: The Virgin and Child with a Cat (1654):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is pondering extraterrestrial life:
Hili: Are there other cats out in the Universe?
A: Up until now no meowing has been heard.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy w kosmosie są inne koty?
Ja: Jak dotąd miauczenia nie słychać.

A cartoon  tweeted by the American Atheists:

Finally, how about a nice Rousseau to symbolize our relationship to animals (or what it should be) on World Animal Day. This is “The Dream”:


  1. Randy schenck
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Four Presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt

  2. Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    “Imagine all the appointments that were missed!” 🙂

    Here in the Nordic countries we have a regular pub quiz question: What happened in Norrköping/Turku or wherever you live on February 24, 1753?

    Well, there was no such day, as in the Kingdom of Sweden the Gregorian calendar was implemented in 1753 and February 17th was followed by the 1st of March.

    If Hili’s ancestors lived in catholic Dobrzyn in 1582, they may have missed appointments in October.

  3. Stackpole
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Rembrandt: OK, so where’s the cat? (You didn’t warn us that this was another “Spot the ____” picture.)

    • Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      Whenever I post an artist’s picture, I try to find one with a cat in it. Some artists don’t seem to have ever drawn a cat (e.g., Edward Hopper).

      The cat in the Rembrandt is obvious!

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 4, 2017 at 11:24 am | Permalink

      Should be “spot the snake.” I can see the cat, but didn’t know there was a snake until I looked up the image. I can say that that divine baby is definitely hydrocephalic.

      • ploubere
        Posted October 4, 2017 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I see the snake. Rembrandt had a habit of inserting unusual animals into his work. There is a story that one time he had a portrait commission, and while working on it, his pet monkey died. So he painted the monkey into the scene. The client demanded that it be removed, but he refused. He ended up keeping the painting himself.

  4. David Harper
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Apropos the 60th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik 1, this was an important day for British radio-astronomy. The 250-foot radio telescope at Jodrell Bank in Cheshire had recently begun operating, but it had run seriously over budget, and there was scepticism in government over the need for such a leviathan. However, it turned out to be the only instrument in the world that could track Sputnik’s booster rocket, and this was naturally of great interest to our American allies. It remained the world’s largest fully-steerable radio telescope for some years, and it is still in operation, having been re-fitted several times and named the Lovell Telescope in honour of Sir Bernard Lovell, who was the driving force behind its construction.

    So the Russians were indirectly responsible for ensuring the future of British radio-astronomy.

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Don’t ask me how I remember this, but that’s last painting is the cover art for the updated Claire De Lune recording by all-electronic Tomita, recorded in the mid 70’s.

    About 1582 – if you’re looking for a good, long-term, challenging and useful hobby is anchor dates.

  6. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I seem to recall that PCC didn’t rate Rousseau much.

    Have we broadened his views?

    (My recollection could be quite worng, of course)


  7. Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Re “On this day in 1582, Pope Gregory XIII implemented his eponymous calendar.” Add this to the very long list of things left out of the Bible (along with a numerical system, the rudiments of science, personal and group hygiene, the rudiments of disease prevention, etc.) Having a calendar system right there would have simplified the ordering of events a great deal.

    For the infallible word of god, their god makes more than a few mistakes and left out a lot of important stuff to make room for an avalanche of irrelevant historical detail.

  8. Posted October 4, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    I love “The Dream”! It is kind of how I think of myself when in ecology class…

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted October 4, 2017 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      On a couch, supporting the local mosquito population? Dedicated, you are.

      I note he had that same challenge drawing your face, feet and hands, as with many artists.

  9. BJ
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 10:02 am | Permalink

    Not pictured in Rousseau’s “The Dream”: all the mosquitoes bugging the hell out of them.

    And the people subsequently running inside and saying, “screw this. Oh wow, I forgot it’s air conditioned in here! Man, this is nice.”

    Once we’ve regularly experienced modern-day comforts, I think very few of us can ever go back 😦

  10. nicky
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 5:32 pm | Permalink

    Yes, that baby indeed appears hydrocephalic! And ‘Africanoid’ too. Did not notice that, because I was fixated on the cat. The cat really looks like a cat. Shows that at least some of these painters actually could draw cats.
    I will not comment on Mary’s face or the anatomy of Rousseau’s woman.

    • nicky
      Posted October 4, 2017 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      was meant as a comment on 3. Sorry.

  11. nicky
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    The 4th of October is animal day because it is the day of St Francis of Assisi. St Francis was reputed to care deeply for animals.

  12. Blue
    Posted October 4, 2017 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    And Ms Joplin, a wee year only after
    her performance upon Woodstock’s stage,
    was at meeting up with Death
    a mere … … 27 years of age.


  13. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 5, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    I have to say that Damon Runyon is always one of my favourite writers, right from the time I first come across his stories. He has a highly idiosyncratic style (not that he is ever caught using a long word like that) and it is said that he never uses a past tense. This is much harder than it looks.

    I will lay plenty of six to five that his stories are disapproved of even more than Dr Seuss, these days.


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