Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Independence Day: Wednesday, July 4, 2018: the day in 1776 that the Continental Congress approved the wording of the Declaration of Independence, whose issuance had been approved on July 2. It’s also National Barbecue Day as well. It’s also the birthday of Queen Sonja of Norway (see below). But let us Americans celebrate our holiday, including me. That means posting will be light today, and Yanks should enjoy their barbecue and fireworks instead of reading this site.

Today’s news, courtesy of Kevin and the BBC:  There are only two early parchment copies of the American Declaration of Independence: the “original” document that rests in the National Archives, and another, just recently rediscovered in—of all places—the archives of the West Sussex County Council in Chichester, England. The British copy dates to a few years later than the American one. Click on the screenshot to go to the story.

Heather Hastie found a modern version of the Declaration: a text dialogue between the U.S. and Britain discussing their breakup:

On July 4, 1802, the United States Military Academy opened at West Point, New York. Exactly one year later, the Louisiana Purchase was announced to the American people.  On this day in 1845, Henry David Thoreau moved into a small cabin in Concord, Massachusetts situated by Walden Pond. This, of course, led to his account of two years in that cabin in Walden, an iconic book for environmentalists and hippies.  On July 4, 1855, Walt Whitman’s book of poetry, Leaves of Grass, was published in Brooklyn. Exactly 7 years later, Lewis Carroll told 10-year-old Alice Liddell the story that would inspire Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and its sequels. Here’s Alice at seven:

On July 4, 1910, the black boxer Jack Johnson knocked out the white boxer Jim Jeffries in a heavyweight boxing match in Reno, Nevada. It was called “The Match of the Century”, and Jeffries, a representative of the “superior race” was supposed to win. He withdrew after 15 rounds. Angry whites attacked jubilant blacks in 50 cities and 25 states: a scattering of race riots.

On this day in 1939, baseball great Lou Gehrig, forced to retire from the New York Yankees at age 36 after a diagnosis of ALS, gave a famous farewell talk at Yankee Stadium in which he said he considered himself “the luckiest man on the face of the earth.” Here’s that speech, and it still brings tears to my eyes. He was both a great player and a great man—a modest man who didn’t want to be honored. He died two years after he uttered these words:

Notables born on this day include George Everest (1790, the mountain is named after him), Calvin Coolidge (1872), Ulysses S. Grant (1881), Rube Goldberg (1883), Lionel Trilling (1905), Eppie Lederer (aka “Ann Landers”, 1918) and Queen Sonja of Norway (1937; see above). Those who died on this day included both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (both 1826, on the 50th anniversary of the approval of the Declaration of the Independence), Marie Curie (1934), and Barry White (2003).

Have a walk down memory lane with Barry White performing his most famous song. What a mellow voice he had; I wonder how many babies were conceived to it!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants a snooze:

Hili: Something is chirping in the grass.
A: Do you know what it is?
Hili: No, but now is my siesta time.
In Polish:
Hili: Coś piszczy w trawie.
Ja: Już wiesz co?
Hili: Nie, ale teraz mam sjestę.

Some tweets from Grania. She says the first one is “strangely appropriate”:

Mark Hamill has a good tweet:

Yes, a cat wrote a message on a computer. What does it mean??

Some jaw-dropping biology:




A kitten and its toy:

Tweets from Matthew. This baby bird already shows its sex:

An example of a type of cryptic painting that I didn’t know existed (be sure to watch the video):

A bizarre but nice interspecies friendship:

Bees hatching!

. . . and a giant milliped (watch the video):

Finally, a theft that must have confused some scientists:

A duck traffic jam (from a parody David Attenborough account) sent by reader Charleen:

From reader Amy, Happy Fourth of July!


  1. Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    I doubt that Ulysses S. Grant was born in 1881.

    • John W.
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      It was the President’s grandson, U.S. Grant III, born on that day.

      • Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Yeah, I forgot to include that. Sorry.

        • Doug
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

          Another birthday: Stephen Foster was born July 4, 1826–the same day that Jefferson & Adams died.

    • Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      Vicksburg surrendered to Grant on July 4, 1863, arguably a more significant victory than Gettysburg, and the culmination of one of the most brilliant campaigns in the annals of warfare.

      • GBJames
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

        Yes. And one of these days I’ll get my self down to visit Vicksburg. One of the bucket list items I haven’t hit yet.

      • BJ
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Military warfare up to WWII is so much more interesting. More strategy and shit. Can really make a good CIV game around it. Warfare today is so boring, all about numbers and surges and bombings. WHERE ARE MY PINCER MANEUVERS AND LINE FORMATIONS. Ugh. Ancient through gunpowder eras are best, though. Medieval era is kind of a crapshoot, but there are some good battles in there.

        I wish we could go back to the good old days of warfare. Less people dying and, more importantly, FUN.

        • GBJames
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          More people died, at least in proportion to the population.

          Of course, I may have just mistaken sarcasm for seriousness.

          • BJ
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

            It depends what we’re talking about. Fewer people died in battles during ancient through medieval eras. During the industrial era, more people definitely died. During the gunpowder era, it depends on which war, but it was still usually fewer. The US Civil War was brutal, though.

            • Posted July 4, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

              I think it’s fair to say civil wars appear unusually bad since the combatants of both sides come from the same country. In terms of percentage of the population killed, I think the English Civil War ranks the worst for England.

              • BJ
                Posted July 4, 2018 at 11:05 am | Permalink

                My claim was that individual battles before the industrial era generally claimed fewer casualties. I would be interested in seeing anything demonstrating that I’m wrong, though. I’m no expert. My opinion is based only on what I remember reading in the past.

              • GBJames
                Posted July 4, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

                You’re wrong, assuming we are talking about deaths per hundred thousand. I would think that graph would be evidence enough.

            • Kiwi Dave
              Posted July 4, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

              Although the battle of the Somme in 1916 has a justified reputation for bloodshed with 58000 British casualties, including 19000 dead, on the first day of the infantry assault, and one million German, French and British casualties over the 140 days of the battle,the bloodiest day (as measured by deaths)in English military history was probably in 1461 at the battle of Towton when an estimated 20000 to 28000 died out of 45000 to 76000 soldiers engaged in the battle.

              In writing the previous Anglo-centric paragraph, I had forgotten Cannae where a Roman army of 75000 mostly perished in a day, IIRC.

        • GBJames
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

          More people died, at least in proportion to the population.

          Of course, I may have just mistaken sarcasm for seriousness.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

          Fun you say. The good old days?

          More people killed in the civil war than we lost in all others combined. More killed in one day than any other battles in U.S. history. More died of dysentery than any other war. More strategy? Vicksburg was primarily a siege, not exactly a new strategy. More people died due to poor or absent medical care…lots of fun.

          • Blue
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

            I do not know, All, how it is that you believe in re researching all manner of history / in re studying war no more; but of what I know of Randall, I am thinking that he believes it important to know if not always, o’course,
            to understand.

            The start of this week and of our next month, last Sunday, 01 July, began
            the three days’ history of the 155th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and,
            *now with yet another and so recent Supreme Court nomination process coming at Us All,
            then of Mr Lincoln’s y1863 statement, ” Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent … … a new nation … … conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal. Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived, can long endure … … ”

            Gettysburg National Military Park (U.S. National Park Service) at where my three pacifist sons and I had hired inside the early 1980s, for only $10.00 then … … a United States park official to ride along
            inside our vehicle for a full two hours’ time of guided and so worthy an oral history of this entire venue.

            It was so, so saddeningly … … fascinating, actually; and one, if that Park’s service is still available, that I highly recommend to you now, … … if you have not already recently done so.

            War or any “type” of warring … … fun ? Ever ? Including sarcasm thereof ? Tell that to the women who are within this film’s depiction of USA’s history, y1892, and who by the millions Worldwide this of our LIBERTIES’ Day y2018, actually live / lived and die / died by way of:
            the r e a l i t y of warrioring men.

            ” DROP those shovels ! I will bury my family !
            You hear me ? ! I … … will bury my family. ”
            … … the character of Ms Rosalee Quaid
            portrayed by the inestimable Ms Rosamund Pike
            in re liberating Chief Yellow Hawk and
            his Belovèd Family. the Hostiles, y2018.


          • BJ
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 11:03 am | Permalink

            I think my underlying sarcasm regarding the idea of “fun” was pretty obvious, and also that I was talking about battle strategies being far more interesting (for me). Typing “FUN” in all caps, referencing videogames, and saying “more strategy and shit” should tip you off.

          • BJ
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 11:07 am | Permalink

            Unless you were being sarcastic, too, in which case I both commend you and unreservedly apologize for my failure to recognize sarcasm.

          • Taz
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

            Vicksburg might have been a siege, but it took some strategy for Grant to get his forces in position for it.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Just watched the linked BBC clip on the Declaration of Independence. Appreciate the subtitles. By the way, what language was that archivist speaking? 🙂

    • Frank Bath
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      Titter ye not. Tis the Mother Tongue.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    That text dialogue between the Brits & Yanks is freakin’ hilarious. Thanks, Heather.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      … they did go south of the border.

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    The breakup in 1776 or 5 depending on where you live was due to the same problems as today. It was about the lack of compromise and about sovereignty and the inability to share it. It was a long distance conversation without phones or tweets or email. It was inevitable.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      With a wild hinterland and the French helping it was an unwinnable war. An early Vietnam?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Yes, for the British it was a Vietnam in distance and inability to find the center of gravity. But the civil war in Vietnam was totally mistaken by the U.S. and the civil war in 1776 for the British was with itself.

        • Frank Bath
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:32 am | Permalink

          Mind you if Britain had held on to the States it may only have been a matter of time before Britain was absorbed into the ever expanding America and the capital moved from London across the Atlantic. (Well I’d like to think that…)

      • Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        Might have been better for the indigenous peoples if the United States had lost the war & settlers would not have moved west as early as they did…

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

          Yes, well the British were not exactly in a loving relationship with the Native people either. Recall the 7 years war prior to the revolution, which by the way, was also a cause of the revolutionary war.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          Two words: Manifest Destiny.

    • Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Certainly one parallel is a dysfunctional legislature. In the 1760’s & 1770’s, the squabbling & pettiness of Parliament’s factions prevented them from wisely or effectively responding to American grievances.

      But what about our situation today do you perceive as an ‘inability to share sovereignty’?

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Walden, an iconic book for environmentalists and hippies.

    Or anybody else marchin’ to the backbeat of a different polyrhythmic drummer.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    A bizarre but nice interspecies friendship …

    If the lion can lie down with the lamb, why not the cat with the cow?

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      And the cow is vegetarian.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

        Yeah, as Woody Allen said, the lion may lie down with the lamb, but, let’s face it, the lamb’s not gonna get much sleep. 🙂

  7. Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Born today: You mentioned Ann Landers, who wrote the famous advice column, but not her twin sister who also wrote a famous advice column (Dear Abby). Ann was born Esther Pauline Lederer while her twin was named Pauline Esther Lederer. Between the two of them, they gave America mellow truisms about life, love, work, and play. Such as:

    “The poor wish to be rich, the rich wish to be happy, the single wish to be married and the married wish to be dead.”

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      Well, hell, in that case let’s listen to John Prine’s ode to the birthday gal:

      • Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

        Nice! Thanks for this!

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Yikes, I think maybe Blue’s song below is favorable to this one. This one could be titled – Life’s a bitch and then you die. That car salesman who says your car will never be worth more than it is today or you will never be younger than you are now.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

          Well, since you mentioned Vietnam above, maybe “Sam Stone” would be more to your liking from the John Prine catalogue.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

            Oh yeah, that’s a real pick me up.

          • Taz
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

            Or, Your Flag Decal Won’t Get You Into Heaven Anymore

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted July 4, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

              Yeah, great tune.

              I’ve always been partial to the one Goodman and Prine wrote together, “You Never Even Call Me By Name” (aka “The Perfect Country Song”) — the one Stevie had to add another verse to ’cause David Allan Coe said it couldn’t be the “perfect” country song unless it was about trains and rain and mamma and dogs and prison and pick-up trucks and gettin’ drunk.

              • Taz
                Posted July 4, 2018 at 5:09 pm | Permalink

                I remember that – something like:

                I was drunk the day my mother got out of prison
                And I went to pick her up in the rain
                But before I got my pick truck down to the station
                She went and got run over by a god damn train.

      • George
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        One of the great pleasures of going to college in Chicago in the 1970s is that most nights of the week you could see John Prine and/or Steve Goodman playing somewhere around town. Or hanging out in the bleachers at Wrigley Field. That was more Goodman. I don’t think Prine was such a big baseball fan.

        The first person who wrote about Prine was the late movie critic Roger Ebert who just happened to see him at a club in Chicago and wrote about him.

        My favorite Prine song – increasingly so as I age – Hello in There:

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted July 4, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

          I love the story of how Stevie Goodman went to see Arlo Guthrie at a club in Chicago and told him during a break that he wrote a song for him. Arlo said to buy him a beer, and he would listen to Goodman play the tune for as long as it took him to drink it. The song was “City of New Orleans.”

          • George
            Posted July 4, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

            City of New Orleans is the best train song. Both Willie Nelson and Johnny Cash say so. It captures the rhythm of a train ride perfectly. Songs like Wabash Cannonball get the power of a train but not the repetitive rhythm of a train journey.

            I have many Steve Goodman memories – like his concert in January 1977 at Mandel Hall at the University of Chicago. A month after the first Mayor Daley died. Goodman debuted Daley’s Gone. I was at Wrigley Field once sitting in the left field bleachers. Back then a typical week day crowd was around 5-7,000. Goodman would often stop by the ballpark for a few innings. Hard for him to take in entire games. I always think this happened against the Pirates and the hitter was Willie Stargell. But Stargell was a lefty and a dead pull hitter so I probably have this detail wrong. Anyway, an opponent hit a mammoth drive out to left center. One of those no doubt about it home runs. The fans in the bleachers just stood up and turned around to watch the ball clear the fence and land on Waveland Avenue. For a bit, I thought it might hit the center field scoreboard – something that has never been done. When I turned around, I saw Goodman sitting by himself in the centerfield bleachers. He was the only person in that section. I looked at him, he smiled at me (he had an impish smile) and shook his head. He did not bother to turn around and watch the ball fly out of the ball park. I just shrugged my shoulders and then sat back down.

    • Blue
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Many may with me disagree; but I so find
      t r u e thus of these Twin Women’s sagacity:
      ” … … and the married wish to be dead.”

      Just know this IF you are of such:
      a mawwied person needn’t die.
      Religions may wanna counter
      my thinking on mawwiage, but … …
      .that. is woo; and … … there is a way out.

      So, instead of wishing for one’s death
      or of ever having to succumb
      to religions’ guilt – ridden shaming,
      take it !


      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 4:05 pm | Permalink

        “Many may with me disagree …”

        Lovely use of anastrophe, Blue.

        • Blue
          Posted July 7, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

          Whooooa, Mr Kukec ! I never knew that that
          manner of writing or speaking … … which
          I seem to myself oft script by way of a daddy
          who almost always did as well … … had to
          it its own descriptor – explanation !

          I never did know that ! NOW I do ! I do
          know that ! I adore learning new – to – me
          words !

          Whoa ! My thanks, Mr Kukec !

  8. Blue
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    My most favored – ever patriotic song, All,
    upon my most favored – ever holiday =
    Independence Day, and with not one mention
    to its lyrics of any goddiness or any other woo:
    ” … … if you last, it’s a mystery ! ”
    ” … … promise and then follow through ”
    ” … … who fell on the Plains and lived through hardship and pain ”
    ” … … could not fight in a war that didn’t seem right ”
    ” … … but the people in California are nice to me ! ”

    from My Darlin’ Mr Waylon Jennings thus
    for your L I B E R T I E S’ Day – pleasuring !


  9. GBJames
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Happy Fourth of July!

    Today is the day that we liberals start the Civil War!

  10. Claudia Baker
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Who are David Brody & Scott Lamb, and what the hell are they smoking?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      From the looks of things, a pair of masochists.

  11. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

    Happy 4th! We are having some old friends over, and all of us shall engorge ourselves before setting off a bunch of fireworks. Our poor d*g will not like that part, sorry to say.

  12. BJ
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Happy 4th of July, all! May God bless you and continue to bless this great country (just kidding about the God stuff though).

  13. XCellKen
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    Houston is four for four:

    The Tax Day flood of 2015.

    The memorial Day flood of 2016.

    Hurricane Harvey in 2017

    And now the July 4th flood of 2018 !

    The road in front of my house is under H2O. Several stalled out cars. Only pickup trucks with huge tires are making it thru

    • BJ
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      Pat Robertson would say this is a sign from God, but what does it mean? His best guess would likely be that there are too many gays and other assorted sinners in Houston, but mine would be that God thinks Houston should be part of Mexico…?

      • XCellKen
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        Well, we did have a Lesbian mayor for six years, so…

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted July 4, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        Or at least the Gulf of Mexico …

      • Diane G
        Posted July 6, 2018 at 2:14 am | Permalink

        God drives an F-150.

  14. Posted July 4, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Happy Independence Day, but remember all …

  15. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Some fellow named Stephen Mansfield wrote both “The Faith of George W. Bush” and “The Faith of Barack Obama”, but someone even weirder wrote “The Faith of Donald Trump”. Brody is a political reporter of CBN, and an advocate of the grotesque prosperity Gospel.

    I basically want a president schooled in statecraft, who is reasonably versed in Cicero, Shakespeare’s history plays, the Founding Fathers, John Stuart Mill, etc.

    Now if that president’s religion acts as an inspiration, a sort of kind of icing on the cake or leavening of the bread, then fine, but in America “faith” is quite frequently used as a justification to believe something counter-factual, or a simply a cloak to convince people of their virtue.

    • Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Or allows others to make “small differences” comments. Think of how those play out with Jimmy Carter.

  16. Craw
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 2:13 pm | Permalink

    This shocked even me, an FBI skeptic of long standing. “Don’t shake hands with Asians.”

  17. openidname
    Posted July 4, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    And here’s little Alice all grown up:

    I mean, she had a whole life after Carroll.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted July 4, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      I’m feelin’ Meryl Streep in the role of grown-up Alice.

    • Posted July 5, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      There are certain people that I always picture as old: Socrates, for example. (Can you *imagine* Socrates as a *teenager*??)

      I guess there are people one always thinks of as young, too.

  18. Posted July 5, 2018 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    Another born on the Fourth of July is Ron Kovic, author of his 1976 memoir Born on the Fourth of July, which was made into the Academy Award–winning 1989 film directed by Oliver Stone.

  19. Posted July 12, 2018 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    The wasps before hatching look absolutely like “sarmi”, a traditional Balkan dish of stuffed vine leafs:

%d bloggers like this: