Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Hump Day: Wednesday, September 19, 2018, with three days of summer left (that includes today). It’s National Butterscotch Pudding Day, a dessert that I ate as a child, much debased since it came from a Jell-O box. It’s also International Talk Like a Pirate Day, about which Wikipedia says this:

An observer of this holiday would greet friends not with “Hello, everyone!” but with “Ahoy, maties!” or “Ahoy, me hearties!”. The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy.

So, ARRRRRRRR (kiss the black spot!)—on with the news that happened on this day:

On September 19, 1778, the Continental Congress passed the U.S.’s first federal budget. In 1881, President Garfield died of sepsis from wounds inflicted in an assassination attempt on July 2. Chester A. Arthur, the Vice President, took over at the helm. And here’s the story of a hero (click on the link): it was on this day in 1940 that Witold Pilecki was “voluntarily captured and sent to Auschwitz to smuggle out information and start a resistance movement”. A member of the Polish Resistance during the War, Pilecki was summarily executed by the goddam Soviets in 1948 (Russia didn’t like the Polish Underground).  On this day in 1952, accused of Communist sympathies, the U.S. government barred Charlie Chaplin from returning to the U.S. after Chaplin had made a trip to England.

It’s a day that will live in infamy: on September 19, 1982, Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons,  🙂 and 😦 on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board system. Here is that original message:

19-Sep-82 11:44    Scott E  Fahlman             :-)
From: Scott E  Fahlman <Fahlman at Cmu-20c>

I propose that the following character sequence for joke markers:


Read it sideways.  Actually, it is probably more economical to mark
things that are NOT jokes, given current trends.  For this, use


On September 19, 1991, the frozen corpse of Ötzi the Iceman was discovered in the Italian/Austrian Alps.  Here he is, along with a reconstruction of his clothes. He’d eaten ibex meat a few hours before his death, and had an arrow embedded in his scapula—probably the cause of death.

Finally, it was on this day in 1995 that both The Washington Post and The New York Times published the Unabomber‘s manifesto.

Notables born on this day include Arthur Rackham (1867), Lewis F. Powell, Jr. (1907), William Golding (1911), Brian Epstein (1934), Cass Elliot (1941, died 1974, but not from eating a ham sandwich), and Twiggy (1949; my age). Here’s a rendition of Rip Van Winkle by Rackham, one of my favorite illustrators:

Those who expired on September 19 include James A. Garfield (see above), mountaineer Lionel Terray (1965, died on a rock climb), Gram Parsons (1973), Italo Calvino and Orville Redenbacher (both 1985), and photographer Eddie Adams and singer Skeeter Davis (both 2004). Here’s Skeeter Davis singing her immortal crossover hit from 1962, “The End of the World“. As Wikipedia reports (my emphasis):

In December 1962, “The End of the World” peaked in March 1963 at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 (behind “Our Day Will Come” by Ruby & the Romantics), No. 2 on the Billboard country singles, No. 1 on Billboard’s easy listening, and No. 4 on Billboard’s rhythm and blues It is the first, and, to date, only time that a song cracked the Top 10 on all four Billboard charts.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is on a solipsistic hunt:

Here are some tweets from Grania. the first showing the kindness of humans:

. . and the preserved foal we mentioned the other day. Look at those hooves:

A flatulent d*g offends a cat (sound on, please):

This must be a tame bear. I’d love to give one a snow massage! (sound on):

Another video demonstrating the cleverness of cats. I would dearly love a cat-made pot:

From First Amendment lawyer Mark Randazza, who clearly has an adolescent streak:

Tweets from Matthew. Can you spot the caterpillar in the picture? It’s in plain view!

Saber-toothed cat tracks!!!

What is this? Matthew says, “It’s a spine on a spiny-backed spider I think.”

Orson Welles was a great filmmaker, but this ad, which is genuine, shows his pretentious side. Seriously: “mallow-based confection”? (I do love Peeps, though.)

NOTE: I’ve since found that this ad is a fake.



  1. Posted September 19, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Did we have the mummified wolf & reindeer the other day?

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    First Continental Congress – 1774?

    That song sounds just like 1962.

  3. DrBrydon
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    I am not sure that the Welles ad is actually an endorsement. I personally have never had a craving for a “mallow-based confection,” and I wonder if he ever did.

  4. Mike
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    If anybody deserved a Film about their life, it has to be Witold Pilecki.

    • Posted October 20, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      Yes! Thank you, Prof. Coyne, for writing about him.

  5. hazur
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    About the ‘cat tracks’, the text in Spanish says 30 thousands, not millions.

    • Don Quijote
      Posted September 19, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      i was about to mention that. I havs noticed that many English speakers confuse mil with million.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Da hell was Skeeter Davis doin’ on the R&B charts?

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I’m guessing that Orson Welles peeps ad was back in the olden days, before irony died.

  8. rickflick
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    A Welles quote:

    If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.

    I wish he’d stopped his story before those last years of selling wine and candy.

  9. Rita
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Peeps have changed, they now contain something that keeps them from getting stale. That is a disappointment because I loved them only after they got dried out and crunchy.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted September 19, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      That’s akin to being a carrion-eater, Rita. 🙂

      • Janet
        Posted September 19, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

        Oh, Ken, Rita is SO right! Chewy-crunchy Peeps are the BEST and indeed take far too long to create these days with whatever they add.

  10. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    I would strongly defend the use and usefulness of emoticons. Given that it is notoriously difficult to discern ‘tone of voice’ on the Internet, and even more difficult to detect irony, I would think that the basic : ) emoticon has done more to ensure world peace than all the Mutually Assured Destruction in history.

    That said, there is really no need or justification for the shoals of fancy and barely comprehensible bandwidth-wasting animated emoticons perpetrated by some editor software (looking at you, WordPress)



  11. yazikus
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    Is this a good place for bad pirate jokes? What sort of information return does the pirate issue in January?

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted September 19, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      Well, since you ask, a favourite with my two eldest grandchildren (7 and 5) is:

      Q: Why are pirates so scary?

      A: Because they ARRRRR!

  12. Logan Moss
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 4:09 pm | Permalink

    I’m perplexed why you, as an “honorary Kiwi,” failed to note that on 19 September 1893, New Zealand became the first country in the world to give women the right to vote – more than 25 years before either the USA or Britain got around to doing so.

    The 125th anniversary of that momentous occasion was widely celebrated yesterday with commemorative events taking place throughout the country.

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