Monday: Hili dialogue

Well, it’s Monday again, at least in the U.S.: October 30, 2017, the day before Halloween and the day of Devil’s Night. And, Ceiling Cat help us, it’s National Candy Corn Day—perhaps the worst confection commercially available. Yet 35 million pounds of this vile comestible will be produced this year—9 billion pieces—with 3/4 of that produced for Halloween. Somebody’s eating that stuff!

If you have a black cat (of any nationality), send me a photo pronto. In tomorrow’s Halloween special, I’ll put up the first five black cats to arrive (only one photo per reader, please, and email them to me). Two years ago we had an awesome Halloween Black Cat Parade, showing six dozen black moggies staffed by readers, but I’m too busy to put that together this year.

On October 30, 1817, Simón Bólivar established the independent government of Venezuela.  Exactly 14 years later, the escaped slave Nat Turner was captured after leading the bloodiest slave rebellion in United States history, killing some 60 white people. He was hanged on November 11, and then, as a warning to other slaves contemplating rebellion, his body was decapitated and flayed. On this day in 1938, Orson Welles did a radio broadcast of the H. G. Wells play War of the Worlds. Wikipedia says this “caus[ed] anxiety in some of the audience in the United States”, but it was worse than that. Many people went nuts, thinking the play (broadcast as a realistic event, complete with news bulletins) described a real invasion of the U.S. by Martians. As my father recounted, some people ran about distraught in the streets (he was 20 at the time). On this day in 1944, Anne Frank and her sister Margot were moved from Auschwitz to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, where they died, probably of typhus, the next year—shortly before World War II ended.  Exactly one year later, Jackie Robinson of the Kansas City Monarchs signed a contract for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African-American to play professional baseball. And what a player he was, achieving a lifetime .311 batting average as well as Rookie of the Year, despite the early bigotry and catcalls of the crowds. After a decade he retired, but continued to fight for civil rights until his death. The movie “42 (Robinson’s number), starring Chadwick Boseman as Robinson and Harrison Ford as Branch Rickey, is well worth watching.

Here’s a four-minute video biography:

On this day in 1961, Stalin’s body was moved out of Lenin’s tomb due to a late realization that he wasn’t very “Leninist”, and Papa Joe was buried by the Kremlin wall. Pity; I would have wanted to see both bodies (I did see the embalmed Mao, though). Finally, on this day in 1995, the voters of Quebec decided by a narrow margin (50.58% to 49.42%) that their province would remain part of Canada rather than becoming an independent state.

Notables born on this day include Christopher Wren (1632), John Adams (1735), Ezra Pound (1885), Charles Atlas (1893), Robert Caro (1935; let’s hope he finishes his multivolume biography of Lyndon Johnson), Grace Slick (1939), Diego Maradona (1960), and Ivanka Trump (1981).  Here’s Maradona scoring what many regard as the most beautiful goal of all time, getting past five defenders. This was in the quarterfinals of the 1986 World Cup, with Argentina beating England 2-1. (The other goal, also by Maradona, was an illegal handball that wasn’t caught by the referees.) Argentina went on to win the Cup, and the handball still rankles the English.

It is a lovely goal; see soccer broadcaster Seamus Malin’s take on it in a post I’m quite proud of, but one that’s long forgotten: “Sports special: soccer expert lists the best players, games, and goals ever.

Notables who died on this day include Joseph Campbell (1987), Steve Allen (2000), and Robert Goulet (2007); what can I say–it was a slow day for the Grim Reaper.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Cyrus was distracted by a lovely female dog on the soccer field:

A: What are you looking at?
Hili: I’m watching to see whether Cyrus will bring us the ball or will be more interested in that little bitch.
 In Polish:
Ja: Czemu się tak przyglądasz?
Hili: Patrzę czy Cyrus przyniesie nam piłkę, czy zainteresuje się tą suczką.

And here are three tweets from Heather Hastie, including this salacious cat:

Scared by a bubble!

And this little guy might have been born on National Cat Day:



  1. Posted October 30, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    National Candy Corn day?

    We have national Sausage WEEK!


  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Catalonia might do well to recall the Quebec situation back in 95. Jackie Robinson was a hero to many, what a story.

  3. Chuck Gordon
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    My family’s cat, Bella Luna, stalking a local pest. ________________________________

    • Posted October 30, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Email me the photo if it’s a black moggie. No picture of a cat is here!

  4. peter
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Isn’t he s she? Little guy? Little doll?

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 30, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      If you’re referring to the little one day-old kitten, I wonder, too, because if it’s a male and it’s particolored like that, won’t it be sterile?

  5. Hempenstein
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Simon Bolivar was greatly influenced by Alexander von Humboldt, as detailed in Andrea Wulf’s biography ‘The Invention of Nature’. I’d look back at it to refresh my memory except that I loaned my copy to a friend.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 30, 2017 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve read the fictional account by Marquez The General in His Labyrinth (a great novel) but I’d like to read a good biography about him as well.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted October 30, 2017 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

        Indeed recommended! He greatly influenced many, including Darwin and Thoreau.

  6. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    That’s the lion from the Wizard Of Oz.

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 30, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink


  7. Taz
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    I don’t think the lion was scared, I think it got its nose wet when the bubble popped – hence the delayed reaction.

  8. John Conoboy
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    The panic from the War of the Worlds broadcast may not have been as bad as some say. Here is a link to a recent story.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted October 30, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      It always sounded fishy to me, that story. We do like to imagine previous generations as incredibly suggestible, wide-eyed naifs but the truth tends to be exaggerated. Same with the stories about people screaming in terror when they first saw a cinema image of a train bearing down on the camera – sounds dubious to me.

    • Cheyney R
      Posted October 30, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I came to say the same thing.

  9. claudia baker
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    I well remember the night of the Quebec referendum. My friends and I sat around the T.V., chewing our nails, for the result was a nail-biter! Many people from all over Canada went to Quebec to rally support for the “no” camp: “Please don’t vote yes. We love you!” It worked, but only by the slimmest margin.

    • Posted October 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      There were voting irregularities (in some Laval ridings) and a ridiculous question, mind you.

      I do think of the 1995 referendum as doing at least two good things, in spite of its inanity. One, we finally got to see, point blank, that Jacques Parizeau was a racist. Two, Guy Bertrand’s good work to clarify the legal situation.

  10. E.A. Blair
    Posted October 30, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Paul Bronks was wrong in his tw**t; the lion is not the “king of the jungle” but the “king of the beasts”. If nothing else, the lion’s size and coloration is totally unsuited to jungle life, unlike jaguars.

  11. Diane G.
    Posted October 31, 2017 at 1:05 am | Permalink


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