Thursday: Hili dialogue

We’re wending our way toward the weekend: it’s Thursday, May 16, 2019, and National Barbecue Day. Which reminds me: I haven’t had rib tips in a while. It’s also Brown Bag It Thursday, though if you’re reading this you’ve already either brought your lunch to work (thus observing the holiday), will buy lunch, won’t eat at all, or will eat at home.

I have the pleasure to inform you that all ten ducklings are still alive, and, along with Mom and Dad thriving in Botany Pond. They had a huge breakfast at 5:30 in the morning.

On this day in 1568, Mary, Queen of Scots fled to England. She was then taken into custody and executed in 1587.  On May 16, 1770, Marie Antoinette, only 14 years old, married the 15 year old Louis-Auguste, who was to become king of France. On this day in 1843, the first big wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest started out along the Oregon trail from Elm, Grove Missouri, carrying about a thousand pioneers.

On this day in 1866, the U.S. Congress established the “nickel” or, 5-cent coin.  Exactly two years later, Andrew Johnson, the first President to be impeached, was acquitted by one vote in the Senate. Will we have a rerun?

On May 16, 1920, Joan of Arc was canonized by Pope Benedict XV. I can’t find the two miracles that established her as Saint Joan, but I’m sure some reader will tell us.  Exactly nine years later, the first Academy Awards ceremony took place in Hollywood. Best picture: “Wings”; best directors: Lewis Milestone for comedy and Frank Borzage for drama; best actor: Emil Jannings (for two movies!); best actress: Janet Gaynor (for three movies).

On this day in 1943, the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ended with about 15,000 Jews killed, the rest deported to the camps, and the end of the massacre announced in this way (from Wikipedia):

The suppression of the uprising officially ended on 16 May 1943, when Stroop personally pushed a detonator button to demolish the Great Synagogue of Warsaw. Stroop later recalled:

What a marvelous sight it was. A fantastic piece of theater. My staff and I stood at a distance. I held the electrical device which would detonate all the charges simultaneously. Jesuiter called for silence. I glanced over at my brave officers and men, tired and dirty, silhouetted against the glow of the burning buildings. After prolonging the suspense for a moment, I shouted: Heil Hitler and pressed the button.

— Jürgen Stroop, Conversations with an Executioner
Here’s a picture of some arrested Jews after the uprising:

On May 16, 1951, the first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights began: they were operated by El Al Israel Airlines and went between Idlewild Airport (now JFK Airport) and Heathrow in London.  Finally, it was on this day in 1966 that the “May 16 Notice” was issued by China’s Communist party, kicking off the Cultural Revolution.

Notables born on this day include William H. Seward (1801), Henry Fonda (1905), Studs Terkel (1912), Liberace (1919), Pierce Brosnan (1953), Janet Jackson (1963), and Behati Prinsloo (1989).

Those who breathed their last on May 16 include Django Reinhardt (1953), James Agee (1955), Eliot Ness (1957), Andy Kaufman (1984), and Sammy Davis, Jr. and Jim Henson (both 1990). Here’s Eliot Ness’s real team of “untouchables”: federal agents who were incorruptable. They were most famous for having brought down Al Capone, and also were featured on the famous television show “The Untouchables,” with Ness played by Robert Stack. (The axe and crowbar are for destroying booze barrels, as they were also tasked with enforcing Prohibition.)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili speaks metaphorically, like Sherlock Holmes at the end of “His Last Bow”. Malgorzata explains:

Hili is looking at the local church and she can see real dark clouds over it. But black clouds have also another meaning: trouble or shame. So, while normally congregations pray for rain, this time, with allegorical black clouds over the Polish Church as an institution (now almost 17 million have seen the film [about sexual predation by Polish priests]) they pray for these clouds to disappear.

The dialogue:

Hili: Black clouds are over the church.
A: So what?
Hili: They are praying for them to disappear.
In Polish:
Hili: Czarne chmury nad kościołem.
Ja: I co z tego?
Hili: Modlą, żeby się rozeszły.

A comic sent by reader Paul—a Speed Bump panel from Dave Coverly. It’s a good one!


From Wild and Wonderful, the “selfie of the year”:

And my BFF Pi in his box. He’s shaved for the summer:

From reader James, who’s now glad he’s an ex-Brit. This municipal behavior is unconscionable, and Orwell would have a thing or two to say about it.

A tweet from reader Barry, who titles it “Thanks, Mom!”

Tweets from Matthew. You’ll have to extract and look at this picture, because all the tweet shows is the antennae:

Oh hell, here it is:

If I had a house, I’d certainly have a birdbath.

One of the world’s oldest dies (?). It’s curious that they seem to put the same numbers opposite each other that we do today. It doesn’t have to be that way:

Tweets from Grania. They don’t make cough syrups like they used to. Look at this stuff!

I must confess to a bit of Schadenfreude here. The notes for the video in the tweet below say this: “Live-streaming host in China wanted to gain popularity by eating a live octopus  But she ended up screaming and crying after the octopus sucked onto her face.” GOOD!

Why England doesn’t have school shootings. But what is that spoon doing there?

From Woke Fairy Tales:



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    I learned from discussion this website that the classic brown bag for lunch is not good to cook popcorn in. I found parchment bags instead -works great.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

      Where did you find the bags, from a local store or online? I find rolls and sheets parchment paper in the stores but the only parchment bags I can find are very large ones for a whole chicken or roasts.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink


        I forgot the brand.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Palisades Paper, New York, USA
        Gourmet Parchment Bags

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

          Thanks. Even if I could find them in a store, I’m sure Amazon has a better deal.

          Did you put butter or oil and seasoning in the bag or added after popping? I must admit that when it comes to popcorn, I like to gild the lily. Later, I’ll try making kettle corn in a bag.

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted May 19, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

            [ always save Important Stuff for Sunday ]

            I use about 1-5 tsp of oil, or about as much as I can pour out of the bottle before stopping on … perhaps 1/2 cup of kernels? 1 cup? can’t recall. It is in progress. The bag volume is important. The oil matters a little, preventing a sort of burning.

            I haven’t done much with seasoning, but I’ve tried putting a dab of Nutella in afterwards, shaking really good (important to shake in the bag). The popcorn gets elegantly coated in a way I think is impossible to bag/tag/sell in a store.

            … hmmm… next I might try saffron… that will be really good – and nobody will sell that in a store because it’d be so expensive…

            “gild the lily”… huh – that’s a thing. Important Stuff!

  2. Roger
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Why don’t the crane flies save some antennae for the other flies. I don’t care who they are, ain’t no fly got no right having that long of antennae.

  3. Simon Hayward
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    That piece from the Beeb is chilling.

    • rickflick
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

      It sounded like the test was designed to find out how much push-back they’d get. I guess they found out.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:35 am | Permalink

        I notice the passers-by were not reticent in saying what they thought. I’d be the same.

        Here in NZ, if the cops stop a driver for a random breath test, they say “Please speak your name and address into the machine”. I strongly object to that, I think it’s a subtle form of intimidation to get us used to giving our names to policemen – something they cannot demand without a reason. So I always say – into the machine – “Why does it want my name and address? What’s it going to do with it?” So far no policeman has chosen to argue the toss.

        Mind you, neither the UK police nor our NZ ones wear guns – so that’s one less factor in the intimidation quotient.


        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 11:25 am | Permalink

          The woman in the yellow scarf-neck-thing wasn’t a random passer-by as other parts of the same footage shows) – she was part of a placard-waving, pamphlet-handing out group of protestors (who I entirely support, BTW), with one of her crew videoing the encounter. And from the reaction of the police, I’m pretty sure that they’d already had their lawyer along to explain to the police why the protesters weren’t breaking the law.
          There are indeed, several probable crimes going on in that footage, (unlawful detention, obstruction, assault, failure to display badge numbers) by the criminals in helmets. I won’t hold my breath waiting for them to be charged.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

            Well yes, I was being a bit lazy with ‘passers-by’. I entirely support the protestors too.

            To be consistent, I don’t believe in belabouring the police with crime statistics. They are caught between the extremes of unchecked crime (one end) and a total police state (the other). The optimum solution is somewhere in the middle.


    • DrBrydon
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

      I think it’s time in the US for a Consitutional amendment covering the collection, storage, and use of electronic data.

    • Mark R.
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      The city of San Francisco recently banned all face recognition systems. I hope other cities follow suit. I don’t know what that means for the new iphone/ipad that uses face recognition technology.

      • darrelle
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

        I think that ban is only applicable to city / county government organizations.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:18 pm | Permalink

          Which means some ambitious DA-politician will just employ a ‘private’ contractor to do it. You betcha. There’s a rotten apple in every barrel.


        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:19 pm | Permalink

          … but top marks to San Francisco for the ban, though.

  4. Harrison
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    The pips on a 6-sided die are arranged so that opposite faces add up to 7. If you arrange them another way then the die is no longer fair and you can bias the results through your throwing technique.

    • Posted May 16, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      I suspected that, but wouldn’t you have to be pretty good at throwing?

      • Posted May 16, 2019 at 10:09 am | Permalink

        Yes, but considering humans’ fine motor control and the monetary gain involved, someone would practice long enough to get it down.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      This is a common assertion that has never been established as true. A D6 with opposites adding to 7 inevitably has one apex formed by the faces 4, 5, 6 & an opposite apex formed by the faces 1,2, 3 ~ a skilled manipulator of dice can spin a die [or even a pair of dice] on the relevant apex such that the result is going to be low [1,2 or 3] or high [4, 5 or 6]. Casinos these days insist that dice are thrown on a slightly sloped surface with a rebound from a wall to prevent such shenanigans [in craps for example].

      In craps the cheats swap out the dice for a weighted pair or a peculiarly numbered pair that can’t produce certain totals [the latter is ahem a very dicey strategy…]. I don’t believe it’s possible to throw dice to order after a rebound unless they are unusually large dice [large dice are easier to control]

      A thought that occurs to me is that a D6 with pits cut out to represent 1 to 6 would be most evenly balanced from a Centre of Gravity POV if opposites were consecutive integers [1&2 3&4 5&6] but I’ve never seen that arrangement.

      • Posted May 16, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

        There are dice that add extra bits so that each side is the same (within manufacturing error) weight. I do not know how much of a correction this is.

        • Harrison
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

          Vegas dice have the pips made out of a different color of the same plastic as the whole die, so there’s uniform weight and volume.

  5. Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    The photo is of cast members, not the real untouchables. That’s Keenan Wynn in the middle with a long arm, and Robert Stack next to him, also with a long arm.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      I don’t remember Keenan Wynn being an Untouchable, but, yes, that’s the cast.

      • Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        Wynn was in the (at the time) one-off TV drama. It became a series later, without Wynn reprising his role.


  6. RPGNo1
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Octopus ONE
    Stupid vlogger ZERO

    Very good! 🙂

  7. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    That is a fearsome collection of knives, and I suppose the charity shop should be commended for its caution in very slightly reducing the chance of someone committing an act of violence with one of them. Though of course such knives are freely available in any kitchen.

    (I once did a mental survey of all the lethal weapons in my house – kitchen, garage and workshop. The total was many hundreds of items, though there was a huge grey area – just how small does a screwdriver have to be, or how blunt does a table knife have to be, for it not to be a deadly weapon if used with enough skill and diligence?)


    • max blancke
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

      This seems insane to me. Besides the fact that people with ill intent can easily fashion a prison-style shiv, How does this affect normal, law abiding people?
      I am trying to picture someone slicing a roast by smashing it with a rock, but it just seems absurd.
      Or, when a pallet is lashed with reinforced twine, and cannot be untied, do the dock workers just stand around and shake their heads, slowly realizing that those boxes can never, ever be removed from the pallet?

      I will repeat something I have written before, but it is appropriate. I was taught that in a contest between a person who has a rock, and someone with a gun- The victor is the one who is willing to kill.

      In the long run, it will be a lot easier to deal with the stabby people than it will be to try to incrementally ban everything that could possibly be used as a weapon. Just replacing all the window glass with perspex is going to be insanely expensive.

      I wonder if this sort of attitude is why England has gone from being a great empire, to being a minor colony of Belgium in less than a generation.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        I don’t often comment on stuff like this, but your last paragraph is so f***ing offensive as to really get me cross.

        You might just remember that the German violation of Belgium is the proximate reason why we went to war in 1914 in the first place. Maybe we shouldn’t have bothered.

        • max blancke
          Posted May 16, 2019 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

          I did not intend to offend, of course. My remark was supposed to be a semi humorous statement comparing The England of Churchill’s “We shall never surrender” speech to to the UK of today, where the PM negotiates British sovereignty with Junker in Brussels, and British shopkeepers turn in knives and other sharp objects to the police.

          And I freely admit that I do not have a comprehensive knowledge of EU/Brexit issues, nor do I have a strong position on Brexit. So, if my comment hit a nerve, it was not intentional.

          But the knife thing is really interesting to me. What do you think “Mad Jack” Churchill would make of it?

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted May 16, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

            You were onto something with your ignorant Belgium comment ~ John Churchill is from an era that didn’t have a £5,000,000,000/year flood of cheap, high purity cocaine channelled to our streets via Belgium & the Netherlands, all under the control of the Albanian mob & the ’Ndrangheta.

            Due to our short sighted guns policy our street corner postcode gangs generally settle disputes via the machete, the sword, the knife [& even bleach & acid], but hopefully we will buck up our ideas & graduate eventually to the far more glamorous drive-by shooting method of drug corner arbitration.

            That photo of “stabby” objects from the SCOPE charity shop near Camden Town in London is in line with the genuine, horrified reaction of most decent people in the UK, to the knife culture [can’t think of a better term right now while I’m angry with you] that has trapped our young males in a tightening spiral of violence.

            Everyone is uneasy about this urban phenomena fuelled by drugs & even uninvolved, innocent young males feel obliged to arm themselves against other young males who are after disposable goods & cash to trade for white powder. Every kid with even a cheap Samsung mobile phone is now a target – something “Mad Jack” never had to face as a young lad.

            • rickflick
              Posted May 16, 2019 at 10:08 pm | Permalink

              That sounds so sad. And similar to inner city USA. It is intuitively reasonable that there is a solution out there somewhere.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted May 16, 2019 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

                I don’t know the exact start of this thing, but it’s the period leading up to the 2008 global financial crisis straight through to today. The politicians instituted a regime of austerity to dig our way out of debt, but did it in such a way as to keep the money tap running for the wealthy – the poverty gap has widened while all the support services have been gutted. Police were already feeling they were on the back foot & that feeling has worsened – morale has plummeted & early retirements galore. Many petty crimes barely recorded.

                Promises have been made that money will be thrown at it, but I doubt there’s enough money available [now that we’ve turned the corner on the crisis after a decade] to get courts, prisons, police, hospital doctors, GPs, nurses, social workers, parole officers, forensics back up to workable numbers & it takes years to train these people & feed them through the system. Some parts of the above have been disastrously privatised making a few goons very rich by cutting corners – THAT could benefit from a reversal, but it ain’t gonna happen.

                So it is indeed very like the USA – a lot of kids who are only average are surplus to the requirements of the shiny new world of work – the short term contract gig economy has no need of them.

              • rickflick
                Posted May 16, 2019 at 11:04 pm | Permalink


            • max blancke
              Posted May 17, 2019 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

              I had neither anticipated nor wished for anyone to be made “angry” my my remarks.

              But I am having a hard time trying to work out the reasoning process that has led to the point where people there seem to believe that the solution to street violence is turning in their knives, and in this case, and old spoon.
              If we cannot keep inmates in penitentiary from making and using knives, there seems little chance of disarming British street gangs. Especially when they seem to be able to import drugs with relative impunity.

              My eldest son was just sitting near me, read the conversation, and proposed the following:
              “The British are taking these steps because they want to feel that they are doing something about the problem, but don’t want to face the fact that the actual solutions to the problem are going to be difficult, distasteful, and possibly immoral, by current enlightened standards.”

              Maybe the kid is right.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

        Like Steve Pollard, I think your last paragraph was offensive. Maybe we took it the wrong way.

        Obviously, knives of one sort or another will always be with us. (And if they were banned, what about screwdrivers? Plus hammers, crowbars, and I have quite a good collection of car spares that would be deadly ‘blunt objects’ such as a gearbox mainshaft.) I suppose the best we can do is avoid selling really stabby knives for a pound each in a charity shop in an inner-city location where street crime is a problem.

        Which was my original point, kinda.


  8. Jenny Haniver
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    “One Night Cough Syrup”

    To echo James Comey, “Lordy!” If I sipped a spoonful of that super-potent concoction before going to bed, that night would surely be my last, but what a way to go. The formulation is closely resembles Brompton’s cocktail.

  9. Peter
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    …and let us not forget that it is National Caesar Day in Canada. A Caesar is similar to a Bloody Mary, but made with Clamato juice which is why it is sometimes referred to as the Canadian aphrodisiac.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 11:43 am | Permalink

      I think there are a lot of things I’d call that before I called it an aphrodisiac. . . .

      • Posted May 17, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        Tell me about it – I love clams, and I love tomatoes. But clamato juice is pretty bad. A case study in emergent properties. 🙂

  10. Rasko
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    Well, with the spoon collected along with all of those blades, there’s one less person out there who’s going to be a victim of spoonerism.

    • grasshopper
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      The picture is a parable of sorts – He who lives by the blade will always get his just desserts-spoon.

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

    Well, here’s some more deadly cutlery –

    One really has to ask, ‘Why?’


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 16, 2019 at 9:41 pm | Permalink

      Damn, that was a reply to grasshopper at #11, WP strikes again…

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