Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

It’s Tuesday, August 21, 2018, and National Sweet Tea Day, referring to highly sweetened iced tea. That beverage, called “the table wine of the South” is the perfect accompaniment to heavy Southern food, including barbecue. Fie on those who abjure the sugar!

News: This happened on Sunday: Esraa al-Ghamgam, a Saudi human rights activist, was beheaded in public for opposing the regime and participating in peaceful demonstrations. One can barely find this in the news (certainly not in the New York Times), yet it’s a horrible violation of human rights (she was in jail for three years before execution). It’s time we joined Canada and called out Saudi Arabia for its brutality. If Prince Mohammad bin Salman wants to reform the country, he has to do more than allow women to drive, which is merely a cosmetic gesture. He could have stopped the execution, but didn’t. But of course we mustn’t criticize our ally: reform has to go slowly! Even if people have to die. . .

On August 21, 1770, James Cook claimed eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming the land New South Wales. On this day in 1831, Nat Turner led a rebellion of black slaves and free blacks against whites, killing 55-65 of them. The rebellion was quashed and Turner, after hiding out for several months, was captured, hanged, beheaded, and flayed.  On this day in 1888, William S. Burroughs patented the first adding machine in the U.S., and yes, the writer William S. Burroughs was his grandson, which is why he had the leisure and dosh to write.

On this day in 1911, the painting “The Mona Lisa” was stolen by Vincenzo Perugia, an employee of the Louvre. After keeping it hidden for two years, he returned it, expecting a reward, but got a short time in jail.  On this day in 1945 was a sad event: Physicist Harry Daghlian was, as Wikipedia notes, “fatally irradiated in a criticality accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.” After dropping a brick on the apparatus the pile went critical and he received a massive dose of radiation, dying 25 days later. On this day in 1959, President Eisenhower signed an executive order deeming Hawaii the 50th state in the U.S. Today is thus celebrated as Hawaii Admission Day.

There were two musical events on August 21, 1961:

a. Patsy Cline went into a Nashville studio and recorded her version of “Crazy” (written by Willie Nelson, who is 85 this year). It was her best song, her signature song, and one of the best country songs of all time. Here it is:

b. Motown released its first number one hit: “Please Mr. Postman” by the Marvelettes. It was also a hit for the Beatles two years later. Here it is:

Finally, it was one year ago today that a solar eclipse traversed much of the United States.

Notables born on this day include Count Basie (1904), Princess Margaret (1930, died 2002; the Queen’s sister), Wilt Chamberlain (1936), and Kenny Rogers (1938; 80 today). Those who died on August 21 include Leon Trotsky (1940; hacked in the head the previous day), George Jackson (1971), Buford Pusser (1974; I can’t resist that name), Subrahmayan Chandrasekhar (1995, Nobel Laureate and a fellow Chicago faculty member), and mountaineer Marcus Schmuck (2005).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is optimistic:

A: Where are you rushing off to?
Hili: To a better future.
In Polish:
Ja: Dokąd pędzisz?
Hili: Do lepszej przyszłości.

Nearby, Leon went for another hike and pondered his route:

Leon: Let’s see from which direction good news is coming.
Some tweets. I can’t imagine someone being either brave enough or foolish enough to do this. But he made it! A leap of 25,000 feet into a net—without a parachute!

Tweets from Heather Hastie. A cat doesn’t like a plush toy:

But this cat finds itself beautiful. Animals and mirrors can be a fantastic combination:


Chipmunk rescue! What a nice man! (I may have shown this before.)

If you were a peahen you’d find this irresistible:

A dolphin is born. Note how it instinctively heads up for air right after birth:

More nice people in Kerala, India, where there’s been terrible flooding:

Which person is not like the others?



  1. Serendipitydawg
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    The kitty nailing the plush toy, the entranced mirror cat, the butterflies and the chipmunk rescue have all featured recently. Some things are worth repeating 🙂

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    The guy jumping out of a plane at 25000 ft. That is almost nuts with a parachute. He hit more on the edge of the catch net. Could be you only get to try that once. Close does not count.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      He wasn’t actually the first to jump out without a parachute from high altitude. Though very likely the first to do it voluntarily.

      Actually, anything over a few thousand feet makes no difference, since the jumper will soon reach terminal velocity (about 120mph IIRC).

      There was the famous case of a British navigator who jumped out of a burning bomber (his ‘chute had been burned up) at 18000 (?) feet and survived, due to bouncing off a pine tree into deep snow. The Germans were inclined to shoot him as a spy until they found the metal fittings off his ‘chute in the crashed bomber where he said they would be.


      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Umm, here. Rear gunner, not navigator.

        An American also did it in 1943
        – he survived by crashing through the glass roof of St Nazaire railway station, which had evidently miraculously survived all bombing raids up to that time. Typical. 😉


        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

          Oops, sorry, the Britsh rear gunner was here:

          (Oh for an edit function)


          • Mark R.
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

            Thanks for the references…I love these types of “Ripley’s Believe It or Not” WWII stories.

      • darrelle
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

        And then there was the Yugoslav Airlines stewardess who fell 33,000 feet (10,000 meters) in the tail section of a DC-9 after a bomb destroyed the airplane, and survived.

        But, yes, this is the first time someone did it on purpose, landed in a net and walked away. That is completely different than being a victim of an accident. Sure, the altitude doesn’t make any difference when it comes to the rate of fall. But he still had to hit a rather small target and the greater the height the more opportunity for winds, aerodynamic effects and misjudgment to cause a miss.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

          Oh, I agree. This was the first truly voluntary one. And extremely high-risk.

          I’m not sure whether jumping from 25000 feet instead of (say) 2500 actually makes any difference to the risk. Impact speed would be the same. The extra altitude gives more chance for him to be blown off course, but it also gives him a lot more time to steer himself to the target zone. So I’m not certain which of those effects would be the more significant.


          • Posted August 21, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            At 25000 the atmosphere is noticeably thinner, so there’s that too.

            • Adam M.
              Posted August 21, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

              And extremely cold, about -30F.

        • Posted August 21, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

          This reminded me of an “Outrageous Acts of Science” segment where someone jumped from a plane in a wingsuit and landed on a large number of cardboard boxes. It probably wasn’t from 25,000 feet but it was still impressive.

  3. W.Benson
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    I remember well “Please Mr. Postman” as a wet-behind-the-ears, 18-going-on-19 college freshman.

  4. Terry Sheldon
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    Regarding the beheading of Esraa al-Ghamgam, if you scroll down the comments to the tweet it appears that the alleged video of her beheading may have been an old video and she may yet be alive. Not saying that anyone else deserves that horrible execution, just that it may not have been hers.

    • David Coxill
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      Anyway ,you won’t hear any comment from the British Govt ,not with all the nice shiny arms we flog to the Saudis .
      Back in the 1980 there was a film shown on British tv about a Saudi Princess who along with her lover were executed .

      The tory govt issued an apology to SA .


      Here is a Wikipedia article about the case .

    • Posted October 12, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      I hope very much that she is alive!

  5. Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    We had the butterflies & the chipmunk the other day when Grania was in charge!


  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Re Hawaii Admission Day: I believe Barack Obama is the only US president for whom there were the same number of states at the time of his presidency as there were at the time of his birth (and for him only barely, since his home state was admitted less than a year before he was born). For every other president there had been an increase in the size of the Union between his birth and his inauguration.

    Goes to show what a young, nearly inchoate nation the US is.

    • Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Wow! That’s really interesting! Thank you.

    • David Coxill
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Inchoate ,you can’t fool us with fancy made up words .

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:04 pm | Permalink

        Was gonna go with “barely choate,” but that really is a made-up back-formation. 🙂

        • David Coxill
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

          I once saw a Japanese 125 cc Motorbike got up to look lie a hog chopper .
          It had “Hardly Davidson ” on the tank .

          • Merilee
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

            Hardly Davidson. Love it!

  7. Posted August 21, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    How about a shark eating a dolphin…

  8. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    That tweet ‘A photographer took pictures of people before and after she called them beautiful’ is, as usual, misleadingly titled.

    It comes from a Youtube video (NOT still photos) here:
    ‘People react to being called beautiful’

    Most (not all) people grinned, either from pleasure or amusement or embarrassment (or a mixture). A few were suspicious or annoyed.
    And yes, happy smiling people do look more beautiful.

    The military guy did not feature in the video at all and in fact both ‘before’ and ‘after’ appear to be the same shot.

    About normal for accuracy of a tweet, I guess…


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Oh bugger, sorry for the imbed, I slipped up.

      [cue cheesy grin]


    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Maybe he’s been trained to resist all blandishments in case of capture.

    • Posted October 12, 2018 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      I also mentioned that it was the same photo; I even suppose that the image may have been created as a joke about the stiff upper lip of military people.

  9. busterggi
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    The Trump House will never condemn Saudi Arabia for doing what it wishes it could do.

    Patsy Cline – one of the great voices of all time from when Country Music was real & not regurgitated pop by fake cowboys.

    My cats regularly check out the mirror-world cats – amazingly there are copies of each of them there!

  10. Hempenstein
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Drake name: How about Edwin (Edwin Drake – first oil well).

    And Crazy’s great, but I like Walking after Midnight too. Someone, who I wish I could remember but with a recognizable name, did an abysmally clueless cover of that – up tempo, like it it was a bouncy stroll. She’d clearly never listened to the words.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      All versions of this song are bad. Walking After Midnight is a second rate song. Simple-headed lyrics with obvious nods to Hank Williams [the god of this stuff], an overall idea ripped from Hank Williams, wrong beat, over produced crap. Cline didn’t like this song at all from the word go – quite right!

      But if you want badder-than-bad covers try Fairground attraction or worst of all Anna Wilson as per here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ny0yrDPrnOY

      Meanwhile here’s Hank with the ‘original’ version:

  11. Bruce Swanney
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    I believe Willie Nelson wrote “Crazy” in less than an hour.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    The Saudis’ execution of Esraa al-Ghamgam brings to mind when then-governor of Texas George W. Bush croaked Karla Faye Tucker, the first woman executed in the US 14 years, and only the second since the death penalty was re-instituted in 1976. There’ve been 14 more women executed since ol’ Karla Faye.

    We should beware the company we keep with capital punishment.

    • Rita
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Yes, we should.

    • mikeyc
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

      Six others were sentenced to death along with al-Ghamgam for the same “crimes”, including her husband. But she’s a woman so it a problem?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        I’m opposed to the death penalty for all offenders, under all circumstances.

        • mikeyc
          Posted August 21, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          I know you are, Ken and sorry for any agro. Sometimes it strikes me how bias we all have (self included) creep into conversations – that it’s somehow worse when it is a woman who is put to death.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

            Maybe my insidious sense of retro-chivalry was showing through, Mikey. 🙂

      • Posted October 12, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

        I also think that males and females should be treated equally by law.

  13. kieran
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Naming places Mitchell and Webb

    • kieran
      Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      Well that failed Link to Naming places

      • kieran
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

        Just look up new south wales Mitchell and Webb and I’m off to get coffee

  14. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    As per comment #4 by Terry Sheldon: Esra Al-Ghamgam most likely has not been beheaded.

    Human rights activists and Al-Ghamgam’s relatives have refuted the reports of her beheading. The woman activist’s sister told media that the false reports have caused distress to their family, and have done nothing to advance her cause.

    Twitter account Thefreethoughts shared a video of an executioner fixing her on the ground and then beheading her with a sword – the video is of an earlier beheading & the photo above in the OP seems to be of Samar Badawi & not Esra Al-Ghamgam [by all reports]. I can’t find a picture of Al-Ghamgam that I know to be her so I’m guessing someone googled her name & put up Badawi’s image in error [google produces related connected images of other people as well as the search target]

    This could be part of the proxy conflict between Iran & Saudi Arabia – Iran spreading cyber-misinformation as they’re wont to do.

    • Posted August 21, 2018 at 1:28 pm | Permalink

      She is certainly at great risk. This benighted kingdom beheaded 100 people last year.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 21, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        I can’t see the point of your obvious comment darwinwins – it is as if fact checking the truth of the tweet is not important to you

        Your figure of 100 executions in 2017 is incorrect. You googled for 2017 Saudi executions & looked at the first few search returns wherein various sources reported Saud’s 100th execution – in October 2017. The correct figure for the year is 146 or more.

        I did not comment on the likelihood of her execution occurring in the future because I have no special info & neither do you. My aim was to FACT CHECK the reports of her beheading. The reports are bollocks. I then went on to suggest a source of the misinformation.

        • Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          I wasn’t trying to minimize your comment, I was just following up. I will avoid your comments in the future. Sheesh.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 22, 2018 at 3:23 am | Permalink

      Since yesterday I’ve confirmed that Ms. al-Ghomgham [more than one western spelling] is alive. Authorities have held her and the other activists in pretrial detention and without legal representation for more than two years. Their next court date is scheduled for Oct. 28th. Thus she & her fellows are safe for at least nine weeks.

      There is a lot going on behind the scenes & I predict the Sauds will not execute these political activists – it needs ratification from the King. He realises that if nothing else his reform image will be destroyed & he’ll not be partying in Europe/America for a couple of years or more. If a death sentence is given by the Saudi court he’ll commute it – or Disneyland will have to pull out of their Saudi adventure, most world leaders will not be shaking his hand in public & he’ll not be hosting bikini babes on one of his yachts in the Mediterranean.

  15. Posted August 21, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    The local CFI chapter has had a few discussions about how the Saudi establishment is getting hardass even on Shia, which are at least *Muslims*. (I suspect the fact that many Shia have Iranian ties plays a role.) But it is apparently also not new – some of the conversations grew out of someone pointing out that they were raised in such a context and their *school administrator* used to say that the “Shia children” were going to hell.

    • Posted October 12, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

      My impression is that some Sunni Muslims hate Shia more than non-Muslim infidels (the same with Shia to Sunni). And this is not surprising; in the bad old days, Christian denominations treated “heretics” at least as badly as any non-Christian.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 21, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t used it in 25 years, but my first e-mail password (for a work account) was
    PleaseMrPostman .

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