Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s Friday the Thirteenth: April 13, 2018. If one were superstitious, one would be loath to begin a journey today, but I’m off this morning to Florida and New Mexico for two weeks. It’s National Peach Cobbler Day, an estimable comestible, as well as [Thomas] Jefferson’s birthday in America. (Note that it’s also Christopher Hitchens’s birthday.)

Note to readers: as I’ll be on the road, please limit any emails to me, including those that have links.  One every three days or so would be something I could handle. But of course if I make errors in posts, let me know any time. Grania will be taking over the Hili dialogues, and perhaps Greg and Matthew can make a few posts as well, but in general posting will be light.

On this day in 1742, Handel’s Messiah made its debut in Dublin, Ireland. And on April 13, 1861, Fort Sumter in South Carolina surrendered to Confederate troops. The Civil War had begun. In Amritsar, India, on this day in 1919, the infamous Jallianwala Bagh massacre took place, with British troops killing at least 379 protestors and wounding over 1200 in an enclosed space: another nail in the British coffin in India.  On this day in 1943, the graves of 22,000 Polish civilians and resistance army were discovered—they were part of the Katyń Forest Massacre ordered by Lavrenty Beria and his Soviet secret police. On this day in 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first African American male to win the Best Actor award (Lilies of the Field).  Hattie McDaniel won for Best Supporting Actress in 1939 (Gone with the Wind), and Halle Berry nabbed the Best Actress Oscar for her 2001 performance in Monster’s Ball. 

On this day in 1976, the U.S. Treasury reintroduced the two-dollar bill as an official note; Jefferson’s portrait was on his bill, and that was his 233rd birthday.  26 years ago on this day, basements throughout the Chicago Loop was flooded (I remember this well),  closing the Board of Trade and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Finally, it was on April 13, 1997, that Tiger Woods became the youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament: he was only 21.

Notables born on this day include Catherine de’ Medici (1510), Guy Fawkes (1570), Thomas Jefferson (1743), Butch Cassidy (1866), Samuel Beckett (1906), Eudora Welty (1909), Madalyn Murray O’Hair (1919), Seamus Heaney (1939), and Christopher Hitchens (1949). Those who died on April 13 include Emil Nolde (1956), Wallace Stegner (1993), and Günter Grass (2015).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being extra demanding:

Hili: What time is it?
A: 6:30 a.m.
Hili: Prepare breakfast. I will come in a moment
In Polish:
Hili: Która godzina?
Ja: 6.30
Hili: To zrób śniadanie, ja zaraz przyjdę

From Matthew: a Sphynx in its luxurious bath:

This thread contains some hilarious geographic mistakes. Just go to one of the two tweets and read down on the site:

A meta-joke:

Put the sound up on this one:

Another illusion from Matthew, who says, “Look at one, see what happens to the other”:

From Grania. I would LOVE to have a pot thrown by a cat!

And here’s the story of Flame the Firehouse cat, sent by both Grania and Heather Hastie. A lovely story (sound up):

And a heartwarming story of a huggy cat who finally found a home (sound up):



  1. Dominic
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink


  2. W.Benson
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    Between the errors, ignorance, and bias, can anyone uncritically accept the news reported on cable?

  3. Liz
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    It looks like the pandas bamboozled him.

    • Posted April 13, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink


    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 13, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      I’m envious. Wish I’d thought of that.

      • Liz
        Posted April 13, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

        Okay. I thought of one for you. It’s a pawerful single leg takedown : )

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted April 13, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

          I like it but you still thought of it. The punning area of your brain is bigger than mine. And I wonder just what part or parts of the language areas of the brain give a person a facility for and appreciation of puns?

          • Liz
            Posted April 13, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

            I’m not sure. Based on your comments, you probably have a larger conversational vocabulary than I do. I think everyone just has different strengths. Not that the use of “pawerful” is a strength. Maybe the one below
            : )

            • Jenny Haniver
              Posted April 13, 2018 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

              I think that the ability to engage in punning and wordplay is much more than a game, it reflects something not only about the ability of the punster to find that certain linguistic je ne sais quoi*, but about the person’s sensibilities; and not all puns are created equal, though I understand that there are those who deride the practice across the board as being one of the lowest forms of linguistic endeavor and humor. In my estimation, puns, well-executed, can be of the highest; some are brilliant and one could write books about them; but even a less than brilliant but well-turned pun illuminates and reveals things about language and things that go beyond language, and even pedestrian puns cause one to appreciate the marvelous and mysterious thing that is language.

              *Amusing to me that I was compelled to resort to a foreign phrase in order to describe in words a phrase that means one can’t find words to describe what one wants to describe.

              • Liz
                Posted April 13, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

                A little tongue-tied. This is so beautiful.

      • Liz
        Posted April 13, 2018 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

        I just realized he sort of looks like a teacup teetering out of the cupboard. What an embarrassment!

  4. E.A. Blair
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    The Chicago Flood (or Chicago Leak) was 26 years ago, not 16. I remember it well, having lived in Chicago from 1991 to 2000.

    I also take note of Thomas Jefferson’s birthday (which occurred before the switch to the Gregorian calendar and was recorded as 2 April) as a matter of personal interest because he is my many-times-great uncle (I am a descendant of one of Jefferson’s sisters).

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 13, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Wow. Ever get the urge to declare something?
      My birthday being April 4 seems to be a bad one.

    • Posted April 13, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

      Yes, fixed the typo. Thanks!

  5. Posted April 13, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    May interest –
    Jewish Genetics: The Exodus Comes Full Circle

  6. Max
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    What’s the New Mexico event? (Assuming there is one.)

    • Posted April 13, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      There is no event; I’m traveling and visiting friends (and eating the local green-chile-heavy cuisine).

  7. glen1davidson
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    They weren’t Syrias with that map, more like Iranic.

    Glen Davidosn

  8. Jenny Haniver
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

    There’s a perfectly good explanation for the risibly insufficient geographical knowledge possessed by those in the media, and it was given by Miss South Carolina in the Miss Teen USA pageant back in 2007 — how could anyone forget — She couldn’t have explained it better, and I’m not joking.

    • glen1davidson
      Posted April 13, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      Such as?

      Glen Davidson

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted April 13, 2018 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

        Such as? If you mean a reason, watch the video. Res ipsa loquitur.

        • glen1davidson
          Posted April 13, 2018 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

          It was in reference to the video. She keeps saying “such as.”

          Didn’t know if it was too cryptic or not…

          Glen Davidson

          • John Frum
            Posted April 13, 2018 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

            I got that reference straight away although for me I remember it as “such as ….. and”.
            My theory is that her “coach” told her to give examples using the term “such as this and that”.

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted April 13, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

            In the past, that video has been cited in various contexts on this site as an example of the basic ignorance of geography, world events, and language facility that afflicts so many Americans, despite all the education they’ve had.

            One assumes that those responsible for putting up the maps on TV and writing the scripts have a college education of some sort from a reputable school of higher learning; after all, these major media companies.

            The poor young woman is herself woefully geographically and grammatically impaired. The explanation she gives in answer to the question epitomizes the very ignorance that she’s explaining, and her explanation is as goofy as the goof-ups captured on the twitter feed. They all need accurate maps and accurate information.

            I see an exact parallel; perhaps you don’t get what I appreciate as wonderful irony, but if you don’t get it, that’s not meant to be a put-down because a sense of humorous irony is idiosyncratic, and what I might find hilarious, someone else wouldn’t find humorous in the least.

            • Liz
              Posted April 13, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink


  9. ed hessler
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    Thanks for posting the Will Nicholls photo.

    Ah, the wonder of the world!

  10. nicky
    Posted April 13, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Really, those ‘geographical mistakes’ would be funny if they would not have been so breathtakingly unbelievable. One would think that with access to, say, Google maps (or any maps for that matter) even the most ignorant of journalists would be able to avoid these toe-cringingly embarassing gaffes.
    That photograph of the ‘Sphynx’ in it’s luxurious bath is beautiful, look at the sphynx’s head! Awe inspiring.
    I thought I knew about all visual illusions, but those ‘breathing’ shapes were new to me. Great one!

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