Thursday: Hili dialogue

It’s now Thursday, August 15, 2019, and I won’t say it’s the Ides of August because someone will correct me (if I’m wrong, which I’m not sure I am). It’s definitely National Lemon Meringue Pie Day, celebrating a great pie, as well as Independence Day in India, and, ironically, both National Relaxation Day and National Failures Day (a good day to think about Trump).

Today’s Google Doodle is a gif honoring the 124th birthday of Ignacio Anaya Garcia, who happened to be the inventor of nachos, an abbreviation of “Ignacio”. Google explains:

On this day in 1895, Mexican culinary innovator Ignacio Anaya García was born, whose proper name is not as familiar as his nickname: “Nacho,” a common abbreviation for Ignacio. As shown in today’s Doodle, illustrated by Mexico City-based guest artist Alfonso de Anda, this particular Nacho revolutionized world cuisine by melting grated Wisconsin cheese over some jalapeno slices and totopos (tortilla chips), thus inventing the dish he dubbed Nachos especiales.

The year was 1943, and García was working as Maître d’ at Club Victoria, a popular restaurant in the border town of Piedras Negras, Coahuila. A group of American women, wives of soldiers stationed at nearby Eagle Pass Army Airbase, stopped in asking for a snack. Unable to find a chef, García took matters into his own hands, improvising the tasty treat much to his customers’ delight.

Word soon spread about the Nachos especiales, which were added to the Club Victoria menu, imitated around town, and written up in an American cookbook as early as 1949. By 1960, García had opened his own restaurant, El Nacho.

Nachos have gotten a lot more elaborate in the last 76 years, with the addition of meat, guacamole, beans, sour cream, and the like. Doesn’t this make you hungry?:


Other stuff that happened on August 15 includes:

  • 1057 – King Macbeth is killed at the Battle of Lumphanan by the forces of Máel Coluim mac Donnchada.
  • 1483 – Pope Sixtus IV consecrates the Sistine Chapel.
  • 1843 – Tivoli Gardens, one of the oldest still intact amusement parks in the world, opens in Copenhagen, Denmark.
  • 1914 – The Panama Canal opens to traffic with the transit of the cargo ship SS Ancon.
  • 1935 – Will Rogers and Wiley Post are killed after their aircraft develops engine problems during takeoff in Barrow, Alaska.
  • 1939 – The Wizard of Oz premieres at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, California.
  • 1941 – Corporal Josef Jakobs is executed by firing squad at the Tower of London at 07:12, making him the last person to be executed at the Tower for espionage. [JAC: “He was not hanged because he was captured as an enemy combatant.”]

According to Wikipedia, the spy was killed like this:

Jakobs’s execution took place at the miniature rifle range in the grounds of the Tower of London on 15 August 1941. He was seated blindfolded in a brown Windsor chair. Eight soldiers from the Holding battalion of the Scots Guards, armed with .303 Lee–Enfields, took aim at a white cotton target (the approximate size of a matchbook) pinned over Jakobs’ heart. The squad fired in unison at 7:12 a.m. after being given a silent signal from Lieutenant-Colonel C.R. Gerard (Deputy Provost Marshal for London District). Jakobs died instantly. A postmortem examination found that one bullet had hit Jakobs in the heart and the other four had been on or around the marked target area. As three members of the eight-man firing squad had been issued with blanks, only five live rounds were used.

Here’s the Windsor chair in which he was executed, and, sure enough the damage is on the left (heart) side:


  • 1947 – India gains Independence from British rule after near 190 years of Crown rule and joins the Commonwealth of Nations.

That’s why it’s a national holiday in India: Independence Day (see above).

  • 1948 – The Republic of Korea (South Korea) is established south of the 38th parallel north.
  • 1961 – Border guard Conrad Schumann flees from East Germany while on duty guarding the construction of the Berlin Wall.

Here’s a video of his famous “leap to freedom”, when only a coil of barbed wire separated East and West Berling:

  • 1962 – James Joseph Dresnok defects to North Korea after running across the Korean Demilitarized Zone. Dresnok died in 2016.

Dresnok was one of six Americans who defected to North Korea after the war, and, curious about his fate, I found this video:

His sons, Ted and James (Dresnok supposedly had an arranged marriage to a Romanian woman), stayed in North Korea, and that too is a strange story. They all hated America, of course, but the North Koreans also hated them because they were American. Here’s a video of his sons, one of whom appears to be in the North Korean Army:

  • 1965 – The Beatles play to nearly 60,000 fans at Shea Stadium in New York City, an event later regarded as the birth of stadium rock.
  • 1969 – The Woodstock Music & Art Fair opens in upstate New York, featuring some of the top rock musicians of the era.
  • 1998 – Northern Ireland: Omagh bombing takes place; 29 people (including a woman pregnant with twins) killed and some 220 others injured.
  • 2005 – Israel’s unilateral disengagement plan to evict all Israelis from the Gaza Strip and from four settlements in the northern West Bank begins.
  • 2013 – The Smithsonian announces the discovery of the olinguito, the first new carnivorous species found in the Americas in 35 years.

And a short clip about the olinguito, a lovely beast:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1717 – Blind Jack, English engineer (d. 1810)
  • 1771 – Walter Scott, Scottish novelist, playwright, and poet (d. 1832)
  • 1785 – Thomas De Quincey, English journalist and author (d. 1859)
  • 1879 – Ethel Barrymore, American actress (d. 1959)
  • 1892 – Louis de Broglie, French physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1987)
  • 1912 – Julia Child, American chef and author (d. 2004)
  • 1924 – Phyllis Schlafly, American lawyer, writer, and political activist (d. 2016)
  • 1925 – Oscar Peterson, Canadian pianist and composer (d. 2007)
  • 1938 – Stephen Breyer, American lawyer and judge
  • 1946 – Jimmy Webb, American singer-songwriter and pianist
  • 1964 – Melinda Gates, American businesswoman and philanthropist, co-founded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
  • 1968 – Debra Messing, American actress
  • 1972 – Ben Affleck, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1990 – Jennifer Lawrence, American actress

Those who croaked on August 15 include:

  • 1057 – Macbeth, King of Scotland
  • 1935 – Wiley Post, American pilot (b. 1898)
  • 1935 – Will Rogers, American actor, comedian, and screenwriter (b. 1879)
  • 1967 – René Magritte, Belgian painter (b. 1898)
  • 2015 – Julian Bond, American academic and politician (b. 1940)

I couldn’t find any painting by Magritte that included a cat, but here’s a fake one:


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is worried about moles:

Hili: The population of our moles has grown significantly.
A: I too have this impression.


In Polish:
Hili: Populacja naszych kretów bardzo wzrosła.
Ja: Też mam takie wrażenie.

From Jesus of the Day on Facebook. Some poor schlemiel lost their glasses:

Mark Sturtevant sent in a picture and a story about his interaction with cartoonist Gary Larson:

With the references to Gary Larson in WEIT, I thought the attached picture might be of interest to your readers. Many years ago, fairly early in his career, Gary was at a bookstore in a shopping mall near me to promote what I think was his 3rd book of cartoons. I was pretty broke at the time but I brought his second book with me in the hopes he might autograph it. I chatted with him for about 10 minutes (there was no one behind me in the line), and he made this nice signature with a cartoon. It is one of my most Treasured Possessions. It turns out that like me, he has considerable education in Entomology. Small world!


And a picture from reader Karl:


Grania sent me this tweet on December 3 of last year:

Nilou calls our attention to a dugong, which she sent with “WTF is this?” It is Dugong dugon, the only living representative of the family Dungongidae and one of only four species in the mammalian order Sirenia (the other three are manatees). It’s found in the Indo-West Pacific, and you need to know about it:


I found these two tweets; the full story behind them is here:

Early diving equipment from reader j.j.:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie via Ann German. The first is a familiar target:

I guess the orca wasn’t hungry:

And two tweets from Matthew. The first is a case of art imitating life too closely:

Any drososophilist would love to get this treat. Good work!


  1. Blue
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    A fair representation for our grandchildren /
    great grandchildren is of thus . Our progeny ‘ll benefit. Seriously.

    I ‘ve stated it before: I look. Every time
    a picture or video appears, I look for John
    and me. And, o’course, I ‘ve never found us.

    “No viciousness, no selfishness, no violence,”
    Ms Bobbi Ercoline stated on this morning’s
    npr piece. I concur and, as well, with,
    “Why n o t … … now ?”


    • Blue
      Posted August 15, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

      So … … exactly nine years later .to this day.,
      to celebrate my time there and, more likely,
      due to SP – A / PAF / surfactant secreted
      by him … … as fetus, thus:
      “Notables born on this day include:”
      my second of three sons, Jacob Thomas … …,
      trying to recover this morning in the joint at where
      he is a pro bono immigration attorney
      assisting unaccompanied minor children:
      El Paso.


      • darrelle
        Posted August 15, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

        Happy Birthday to Jacob!

        • Blue
          Posted August 15, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

          Oooo, that is darling, Mr darrelle !
          = a kiddo the likes of which … …
          Some today abhor. For at what he works, that is.

          Ms Bobbi of Woodstock’s iconic photograph is
          correct when she states recently, “I’m just
          very grateful to be a very small part of
          Woodstock. There’s a lot of sadness and
          viciousness and selfishness in today’s world
          and there was none of that at Woodstock.”


  2. Posted August 15, 2019 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Wow, something new I learned today about Nachos lol thank you!

    • John Conoboy
      Posted August 15, 2019 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      I did not know the history of nachos either. I actually had nachos for dinner last night at a local brew pub. They had beef brisket, queso, and BBQ sauce. All hail the wonders of cultural appropriation.

      • Posted August 15, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

        It is fascinating how we learn new things here in our WordPress community! 😇

        • Barbara Radcliffe
          Posted August 15, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

          That’s done it! Nachos for dinner tonight! With some of the more recent additives….

  3. David Coxill
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Re failures ,anyone heard of a book called “The Book Of Heroic Failures ” by Stephen Pile ?

    Very funny.

    • Serendipitydawg
      Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      A very good book indeed… my copy disappeared into a loan chain many years ago, along with “Graffiti, the scrawl of the wild” by Roger Kilroy.

  4. Lurker111
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Snopes on fake tunnel:

    • Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Could not really tell from a poor photograph, as many muralists are capable of making a realistic tunnel. (“…at night it was really deceptive.”)So thanks for posting, I might well have reposted it, and I also wouldn’t have bothered to check snopes.

      • Posted August 15, 2019 at 11:30 am | Permalink

        Also might be interesting to try various forms of computer vision, including those for autonomous vehicles, on it!

  5. Serendipitydawg
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    The Google doodle in the UK is celebrating a pioneer: Louisa Aldrich-Blake, one of the first British women to enter the world of medicine. I guess Nachos aren’t regarded as noteworthy, despite their ubiquity in cinemas 😀

  6. Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Trump did not call neo-nazis “fine people”. He says enough terrible things on his own, it doesn’t do any good to make up others.

    • Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      In the wake of the Charlotsville demonstration, where a counter-demonstrator died, Trump is quoted as saying there were “very fine people on both sides.”

      • Posted August 15, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink


        And you had people, and I’m not talking about the neo-Nazis and the white nationalists, because they should be condemned totally. But you had many people in that group other than neo-Nazis and white nationalists. OK? And the press has treated them absolutely unfairly. Now, in the other group also, you had some fine people, but you also had troublemakers and you see them come with the black outfits and with the helmets and with the baseball bats. You’ve got — you had a lot of bad — you had a lot of bad people in the other group… There were people in that rally, and I looked the night before. If you look, they were people protesting very quietly the taking down of the statue of Robert E. Lee. I’m sure in that group there were some bad ones. The following day, it looked like they had some rough, bad people — neo-Nazis, white nationalists, whatever you want to call them. But you had a lot of people in that group that were there to innocently protest and very legally protest, because you know — I don’t know if you know, they had a permit. The other group didn’t have a permit.

  7. Posted August 15, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    À propos The Wizard of Oz, there’s a very interesting piece on the BBC News today about the social commentary implied in the film.

  8. Diana MacPherson
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    I love dugongs. They are the manatees of the southern hemisphere. I saw many in Australia at the Aquarium in Sydney.

  9. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Karl’s picture of puppy and cat is great, but the accompanying comment launched it into the realm of priceless brilliance!

  10. rickflick
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

    Mark, I love your Larson story. That lady waving at you is, of course, one of Larson’s standard characters. He quite often shows her with her overweight, dull looking, husband and overweight, dull looking, son. The three of them are iconic for me, representing the ridiculousness of so many people. Repulsive and lovable at the same time.

  11. keith
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    If Wikipedia is to be believed, it’s not the ides of August, that would have been the day before yesterday in the Julian calendar. No idea how the Gregorian calendar reform affects that.

    “Ides (calendar), a day in the Roman calendar that fell roughly in the middle of the month. In March, May, July, and October it was the 15th day of the month; in other months it was the 13th.”

    “The 31-day months established by the Julian reform were January, Sextilis or August, and December. The other 31-day months of the Julian calendar continued to use the old system, with their Nones on the 7th and Ides on the 15th.”

  12. Bill Turner
    Posted August 15, 2019 at 11:42 pm | Permalink

    Regarding the ‘not hungry’ orca. Orcas are very diet specific. There are sub-groups (Type A, Type B, Type C…etc.) and one of the differences is diets. Orca in captivity have starved because they were seal eating and were only offered fish.

    Something I learned from my recent trip to Antarctica and something to look up and include in your lectures on your trip.

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