Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s Friday, April 6, 2018, National Caramel Popcorn Day. Now you may spurn this snack, but to get a warm bag of freshly made caramel corn from Garrett’s Popcorn Shop in Chicago is to hold a sack of heaven in your hands. It’s even better when mixed with “cheese corn”, a melange called a “Chicago Mix.” It’s also “New Beer’s Eve” in the U.S., celebrating the day before Prohibition ended in 1933.

It snowed a bit in Chicago yesterday, freezing all the fans and players at the White Sox opening game (which our team lost to the Detroit Tigers 9-7).

On this day in 1199, Richard I of England died from an infection after being shot in the shoulder by a crossbow. On April 6, 1320, the stalwart Scots signed the Declaration of Arbroath, informing the Pope that Scotland was an independent country that could and would defend itself. In 1808, John Jacob Astor incorporated the American Fur Company, whose proceeds would, says Wikipedia, make him America’s very first millionaire. On April 6, 1862, the bloody Battle of Shiloh began in Tennessee, resulting in 24,000 casualties and nearly 3500 killed.  On this day in 1895, Oscar Wilde was arrested in London for homosexuality after having lost a libel lawsuit against the Marquess of Queensbury. It was the beginning of the end for the luckless Wilde, guilty only of the love that dare not speak its name.  On this day in 1909, or so it’s claimed, Robert Peary and Matthew Henson (an African American) reached the North Pole. There’s still dispute over whether they actually reached that landmark.  On April 6, 1930, Mohandas Gandhi reached the sea, ending his famous Salt March. As he raised a handful of muddy salt to the sky, he declared, “With this, I am shaking the foundations of the British Empire.” And so he did. On this day in 1968, Pierre Trudeau won the Liberal Leadership Election, ensuring that he’d become the Prime Minister of Canada. And an infamous day: on April 6, 1973, the American League (in baseball) began using “designated hitters” so that pitchers, who were notoriously poor hitters, didn’t have to bat.  Another infamous day: exactly a year thereafter, ABBA won the Eurovision Song contest with their song “Waterloo.”  (I have to admit, I cannot stand that group!). Finally, a third day of infamy: the Rwandan genocide began on April 6, 1994 when a plane carrying Rwandan president Juvénal Habyarimana and Burundian president Cyprien Ntaryamira was mysteriously shot down.

Notables born on this day include Philip Henry Gosse (1810), Lowell Thomas (1892), Harold Eugene Edgerton (1903), Gerry Mulligan (1927), James D. (NA) Watson (1928; he’s 90 today), Merle Haggard (1937), and Marilu Henner (1952).

Lowell Thomas made a lot of money giving lectures about T. E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia”), who he’d interviewed several times. Lawrence despised the ensuing publicity. Here’s one of Thomas’s films (music added later) which shows Lawrence only briefly (only about a minute of video exists showing the man). You can see a newsreel of Lawrence’s simple village funeral here.

Those who expired on this day include Richard I (see above), Albrecht Dürer (1528; one of my 10 favorite artists), Edward Arlington Robinson (1935), Igor Stravinsky (1971), Isaac Asimov (1992), Greer Garson (1996), Tammy Wynette (1998), Prince Ranier III of Monaco (2005), Mickey Rooney (2014), Ray Charles (2015), Merle Haggard (2016) and Don Rickles (last year). Here’s a big cat from Dürer:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is, as usual, controlling the sleeping arrangements:

I must defend Cyrus’s bed.
Me: From who?
Hili: From Cyrus.

In Polish:

Hili: Muszę bronić posłania Cyrusa.
Ja: Przed kim?
Hili: Przed Cyrusem.

A tweet found by Grania: some Irish/English equivalents:

A mother cuddling her somewhat malformed (but still beloved) kitten:


This is a great front-on view of a walking chameleon, showing not only its bizarre gait, but its independently moving eyes:

Look at that tongue!

First Responders rescue goats. I saw on the news last night that these goats had escaped from a farm and it took 18 hours to rescue them!

You MUST know the orders of insects:

The wisdom of philosophers:


Matthew surmises that this is at Schiphol airport:

The tweet I embedded here has vanished, as its sender has decided to make his account protected. But here are two screenshots. The guy saw his cat in the street 1/4 mile from home, and let it into his car to drive it back. The second shows the cat’s expression when getting into the car. LOOK AT THAT FACE!


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    After the first day of battle at Shiloh, it is said that General Sherman found Grant sitting under a tree in the dark night. Sherman’s men had been overrun during the day and were scattered. Grant was chewing on a cigar and seemed confident in saying, we’ll get them tomorrow. They did.

  2. David Duncan
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    “(I have to admit, I cannot stand that group!)”

    Mamma Mia!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 6, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      It’s probably not cool to admit it, but my regard for Abba has gone up over the years. They could write catchy tunes and they could actually sing. And they had an irresistible dancing beat (unlike, be it noted, ‘disco’). I defy anyone to listen to Dancing Queen without their feet starting to jiggle involuntarily.


    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 6, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      ABBA’s not ordinarily in my musical sweet spot, but I double dare our host to watch Muriel’s Wedding (which wouldn’t ordinarily fall into my cinematic sweet spot, either) and not be thoroughly charmed!

      • Terry Sheldon
        Posted April 6, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        “Muriel’s Wedding” is a movie I only recently discovered (Toni Collette is a VERY fine actress). Agree both about ABBA’s music and about its use in the movie.

    • Neil Wolfe
      Posted April 6, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

      I don’t like ABBA’s music either. It’s no Rwandan genocide, but it’s still pretty bad.

    • glen1davidson
      Posted April 6, 2018 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      First of all, there was Agnetha. Most fine.

      Second, Benny Andersson, especially, was very talented, writing an amazing number of songs inspired by European folk songs. Most rather good.

      I can’t say that I listen to them much, but their talent isn’t really in doubt.

      Glen Davidson

      • Frank Bath
        Posted April 6, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        If you’re not enamoured with ABBA please go to YouTube and give an ear to ‘The Day Before You Came’. It’s very different.

    • Posted April 6, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      Abba fan here! Not in my top ten certainly but I appreciate their melodies.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 6, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Generally speaking, whether one likes them or does not like them makes little difference, except to yourself. The facts seem to be that they sold something like 350,000 records and made tons of money. I saw on line where one of them was figured to be worth around $200 million. They were also voted into the rock and roll hall of fame. So I guess someone liked them.

  3. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1199, Richard I of England died from an infection after being shot in the shoulder by a crossbow.

    Wasn’t there some story about Richard forgiving the crossbowman who shot him, but his minions not being so understanding.

    [Wikipedia] Richard asked to have the crossbowman brought before him; called alternatively [various] by chroniclers, the man turned out [] to be a boy. He said Richard had killed his father and two brothers, and that he had killed Richard in revenge. He expected to be executed, but as a final act of mercy Richard forgave him, saying “Live on, and by my bounty behold the light of day”, before he ordered the boy to be freed and sent away with 100 shillings. []
    Richard died on 6 April 1199 in the arms of his mother, and thus “ended his earthly day”.
    According to one chronicler, Richard’s last act of chivalry proved fruitless when the infamous mercenary captain Mercadier had the crossbowman flayed alive and hanged as soon as Richard died.

    On April 6, 1320, the stalwart Scots signed the Declaration of Arbroath, informing the Pope that Scotland was an independent country that could and would defend itself.

    Ooops – that reminds me – itinerary to work out for some visiting Germans.
    The Declaration of Arbroath was a pretty murky bit of argumentation – I forget the details, but it was well down to normal levels of political shenanigans. Tallyrand would have been proud.

    • Barney
      Posted April 6, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      The Declaration of Arbroath has a complete fantasy history of the Scots:

      “Most Holy Father, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. It journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage peoples, but nowhere could it be subdued by any people, however barbarous. Thence it came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to its home in the west where it still lives today. The Britons it first drove out, the Picts it utterly destroyed, and, even though very often assailed by the Norwegians, the Danes and the English, it took possession of that home with many victories and untold efforts; and, as the histories of old time bear witness, they have held it free of all servitude ever since. In their kingdom there have reigned one hundred and thirteen kings of their own royal stock, the line unbroken by a single foreigner”

      Decidedly odd for something placed in lists of important political documents.

  4. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Holland Boulevard, in Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.

    “The space is intended to help travellers discover parts of Dutch culture in a relaxing manner.

    Here are the highlights:

    The Rijksmuseum Annex is an extension of the world-famous Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. The airport annex provides an overview of 17th century Dutch paintings. Perhaps more importantly, the space truly feels like a proper museum, which means you may forget you’re in an airport for a bit.
    The Airport Library features hundreds of books by Dutch authors, translated into more than 40 languages. There’s comfortable seating and touchscreens that show off Dutch culture

    The NEMO Science Museum features interactive exhibits on science and technology. A couple oversized stuffed animals are perfect for kids who just need to run off some energy.

    Open 24-hours, the space is located after security, between Departure Lounges 2 and 3. Holland Boulevard also has some things you’d expect from an airport: a transfers desk, a few shops and dining options, and a spa”


    sch - library

    • DrBrydon
      Posted April 6, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      I’ll be there in two and a half weeks. First jaunt overseas in fourteen years.

    • nicky
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 3:42 am | Permalink

      What is that giant cat made of?

  5. Christopher
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    10 of those orders I had never heard of before, though I’m familiar (ish) with some of their member species. I am embarrassed by my ignorance.

  6. glen1davidson
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

    Did they really think that sending Oscar Wilde to prison would keep him from engaging in homosexual activity?

    Gle Davidson

    • Frank Bath
      Posted April 6, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      They might well have, Wilde endured the most dreadful punishment – the treadmill – which broke him. No-one would want to be caught again.

      • glen1davidson
        Posted April 6, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        So, prison as a place of torture.

        Good for destroying men, it would seem, not for much else.

        Glen Davidson

  7. Posted April 6, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    Interesting place (the Dutch airport). But why do I get the reaction “what happened to Snuffy?!?” when I see that thing?

  8. Nobody Special
    Posted April 6, 2018 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

    ABBA gets a ‘No!’ from me, too, as does every muppet who says “I bet you don’t know how ABBA got their name’.

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