Sunday: Hili dialogue

It’s Sunday, August 18, 2019, and National Ice Cream Pie Day. Just don’t order it with Turkish ice cream, or you’ll never get it! It’s also Helium Discovery Day (see below), Pinot Noir Day (I wish I could afford good Burgundy), and National Fajita Day, which you’d think would be cultural appropriation, but fajitas are really a Tex-Mex dish, invented by cowboys in the 1930s (granted, some of those cowboys were Mexican vaqueros, but the dish first became popular in the U.S.). Here: this will make you hungry:

Stuff that happened on this day includes:

  • 1587 – Virginia Dare, granddaughter of Governor John White of the Colony of Roanoke, becomes the first English child born in the Americas.

Dare disappeared with the other 107 people who vanished in the famous “Lost Colony” episode.

  • 1612 – The trial of the Pendle witches, one of England’s most famous witch trials, begins at Lancaster Assizes.

Speaking of witches,

  • 1634 – Urbain Grandier, accused and convicted of sorcery, is burned alive in Loudun, France.
  • 1838 – The Wilkes Expedition, which would explore the Puget Sound and Antarctica, weighs anchor at Hampton Roads.
  • 1868 – French astronomer Pierre Janssen discovers helium. [This is why it’s Helium Discovery Day]
  • 1920 – The Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing women’s suffrage.

And the text of that amendment: 

The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex.
Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

  • 1958 – Vladimir Nabokov’s controversial novel Lolita is published in the United States.

If you want a first edition of that novel, published by the Olympia Press in 1955 (it was published in France first, and Olympia was Nabokov’s own creation), it’ll cost you about $4000 bucks (used):

  • 1963 – Civil rights movement: James Meredith becomes the first African American to graduate from the University of Mississippi.
  • 1977 – Steve Biko is arrested at a police roadblock under the Terrorism Act No. 83 of 1967 in King William’s Town, South Africa. He later dies from injuries sustained during this arrest bringing attention to South Africa’s apartheid policies.
  • 2017 – The first terrorist attack ever sentenced as a crime in Finland kills two and injures eight.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1774 – Meriwether Lewis, American soldier, explorer, and politician (d. 1809)
  • 1834 – Marshall Field, American businessman, founded Marshall Field’s (d. 1906)
  • 1917 – Caspar Weinberger, American captain, lawyer, and politician, 15th United States Secretary of Defense (d. 2006)
  • 1920 – Shelley Winters, American actress (d. 2006)
  • 1936 – Robert Redford, American actor, director, and producer [Redford is 83 today: hard to believe.

I’ve always said that if I could change my appearance to look like any male, it would be Redford in his prime, comme ça (George Clooney would be a distant second):

  • 1952 – Patrick Swayze, American actor and dancer (d. 2009)

Those who Met Their Maker on this day include:

  • 1227 – Genghis Khan, Mongolian emperor (b. 1162)
  • 1850 – Honoré de Balzac, French novelist and playwright (b. 1799)
  • 1945 – Subhas Chandra Bose, Indian activist and politician (b. 1897)

Here’s Bose, displayed on the teeshirt of this joker:

  • 1981 – Anita Loos, American author and screenwriter (b. 1889)
  • 1990 – B. F. Skinner, American psychologist and philosopher, invented the Skinner box (b. 1904)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the editor is about to fall asleep on Andrzej’s lap while he’s working at the computer:

Hili: Continue working and I will take a nap here.
A: That’s fine, my dear, you are not disturbing me at all.
In Polish:
Hili: Pracuj dalej, a ja się tu prześpię.
Ja: Dobrze kochanie, zupełnie mi nie przeszkadzasz.
A groaner from Merilee:

From The Purrfect Feline Page:

Here’s what was going down at Max Yasgur’s farm 50 years ago yesterday. And what’s there now (from Empire Explorer). The farm, along with Berkeley, California and Portland, Oregon, should be declared A National Historical Cultural Preserve.

Grania sent me this tweet on January 7 of this year (be sure to watch video). Blair Braverman is an adventurer who’s competed in the Iditerod dog-sled race:

A tweet I found: Bill Maher reveals the real purpose of the BDS movement, which all but the brain-dead and the Woke realize:

Nilou says, “Be careful with that paddle!” I don’t know the circumstances here, but it reminds me of The Life of Pi, and I want to be in the canoe!

Also from Nilou. A man and his pet mallard!

From reader Barry. I have vague memories of posting this before, but you can’t see it too often. A deaf man interacts with his cat at mealtime. How sweet!

A tweet from Heather Hastie (via Ann German). What a great idea, but how sad. . . .

Tweets from Matthew: Here’s a funny one, and I’d love to have that clock:



  1. Posted August 18, 2019 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    What I want to see is how the tiger got on the paddle board without tipping it over!
    That was awesome!

    • Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Go to her Instagram page for a ton more of amazing wildlife pictures and videos.

      • Marcello Santo Nicol
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

        Loved the instagram images, but a little research on the safary and “conservation” program left me less impressed.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      At a guess, the cat walked onboard while it was beached. If it were beached nose-in (or tail-in), it wouldn’t even need much of a poke to push off.
      It is cool though. tigers regularly hunt in the waters of their swampy homes, so they’ll appreciate the watery habitat without the wet feet.

    • Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Gives new meaning to having a tiger by the tail.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    1634 – Urbain Grandier, accused and convicted of sorcery, is burned alive in Loudun, France.

    Aldous Huxley wrote a book about it, The Devils of Loudun.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:23 am | Permalink

      And Ken Russell did a movie — The Ddevils — based on John Whiting’s play.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        That movie is one of my favorites. In fact, time to see it again.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    … Olympia was Nabokov’s own creation …

    Olympia Press was founded by Maurice Girodias in France in 1953. It published a lot of avant-garde lit in addition to Lolita, including, William Burroughs’s Naked Lunch, and (as Obelisk Press, before Girodias re-branded it Olympia) Henry Miller’s The Tropic of Cancer. I’ve got a copy of The Olympia Reader anthology I picked up back in the Seventies.

  4. Hunt
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Redford was pretty damn good looking in his prime, but I think in the blond white male category, James Franciscus edged him out. Er, not that I swing that way…

    • merilee
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      I always found Paul Newman much more attractive than Redford.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:14 am | Permalink

      I saw Butch & Sundance on the big screen again a few weeks ago during a series at the local art-house on movies that changed Hollywood, and I gotta tell ya, I’d go with Newman, not that I’m an expert in male pulchritude or anything.

  5. E.A. Blair
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    What a lot of people don’t know is that at the time the ninteenth amendment was passed, only seven states denied all voting rights to women. Fifteen of forty-eight states (mostly the western states) allowed full suffrage, and the rest limited voting rights in varying degrees; some allowed women to vote only in presedential elections, others limited the vote to school-related or municipal elections and a few states allowed woment to vote only in primary elections. So saying that the ninteenth “gave women the vote” is a relative term.

  6. Posted August 18, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    That Jesus clock is a little tacky for our house, but I am on the lookout for one of these.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink

      LOL! That must be a Catholic Jesus light switch Peter

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted August 19, 2019 at 1:58 am | Permalink

      Do a Google Image search for Jesus clocks and you’ll find some very cool Jesus clocks that put the one pictured to shame. As for the crazy cool light switch, I see that you can find them online at ebay and etsy, perhaps elsewhere(alas, not on Amazon). Do you collect RC kitch? I’ve got a small cache.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    “The joker” [as JAC knows] is Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff Saikat Chakrabarti. I suppose these young ideologue politicos don’t delve into history:

  8. rickflick
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    Blair Braverman must have to perform much of the same maneuver just to take a pee!

  9. rickflick
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    I think I’ve seen one of those Jesus clocks in a thrift store. I’ll pick one up for you if I see it again.

  10. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    From Myrtle Beach Safari, SC [the home of the canoe kitty above] – here’s a 900lb cat paw & human foot compared [audio: kitty is enjoying a bottle of something]

  11. Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I always remember eating with friends at an El Torito (back when their food was ok) and having fajitas. The server brought it to the table and said, “Enjoy your Chinese food.” This made us wonder what he meant but then I smelt the soy sauce and understood.

    • merilee
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Soysauce on fajitas?? I’ve got a cool plug-in red fajita cooker when is fun to use when company is over.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 3:49 pm | Permalink

      Soy sauce on fajitas is the kind of cultural appropriation I could do without.

      According to Gustavo Arellano in his book Taco USA, the name fajita is the diminutive of faja, which means belt. It refers to a cut of steak from around the cow’s diaphragm also known as the outside skirt steak. It is not the best cut and needed to be pounded and marinated. Fajitas probably started out in the lower Rio Grande valley. Arellano says that a Laredo restaurant called the Round-Up came up with the idea of serving fajitas on a sizzling hot plate. A few years later a restaurant in Houston called Ninfa’s started serving them and fajitas spread from there.

      • Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:07 pm | Permalink

        I’m a big fan of skirt steak and cuts like it as they are often the most flavorful cuts. My mother used to roll it around sage and onion stuffing, making an English version of Rouladen I suppose. It was one of my favorite dishes as a child.

        When I ate fajitas at El Torito, probably 30 years ago, I believe they were new on the scene, at least in So. California. They were ok but I steer clear of them now.

  12. Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Skinner’s behaviorism set science (part of it anyway) back a few decades, IMHO. On the other hand, it was perhaps my first realization that I didn’t actually have to agree with what we were being taught, an important milestone in my education.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      There’s no gainsaying Skinner’s contributions regarding operant conditioning, but he was way out of his depth with Beyond Freedom and Dignity.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted August 19, 2019 at 1:46 am | Permalink

        Speaking of Skinner and operant conditioning reminded me of this piece Calvin Trillin did for the radio story hour “The Moth” It’s about a chicken that had been trained to play tic-tac-toe at the IQ Zoo, a lab in Arkansas where some ex-students of Skinner’s developed operant conditioning to train raccoons to play basketball (look out Dennis Rodman!), pigs to drive cars, chickens to play tic-tac-toe, etc. Trillin also wrote a New Yorker piece on the talented chicken.

        I understand that operant conditioning is also used on non-verbal humans.

    • rickflick
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I was always fascinated (and repelled) by the adoption of behaviorism by corporations. I remember they were hiring psych majors right and left because they thought they could learn to condition the public to buy their products. I’m sure some of it stuck, but it was certainly not what Skinner had in mind.

      • Posted August 18, 2019 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

        Well, to be fair, it is not as if conditioning doesn’t work. What upset me most was hardcore behaviorists’ claim that looking at anything other than inputs and outputs should be considered bad science. While we can be led astray by “just so” explanations of why creatures do what they do, they are still a valid source of inspiration and, at a minimum, they provide ideas worthy of further investigation.

        • rickflick
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          You’re right. Even simple animals can have moments of erratic behavior that upset the experiment. Applying input and output analysis to human beings is doomed to failure.

  13. David Harper
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Apropos Helium Discovery Day, it’s worth noting that Janssen identified it by noting a yellow emission line in the spectrum of the Sun’s chromosphere which didn’t correspond to any known element. He named it helium after Helios, the Greek name for the Sun.

    It wasn’t isolated on the Earth until 1895, when William Ramsay obtained a sample as a uranium decay product. Ramsay was professor of chemistry at University College London, and was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1904 for his pioneering role in also discovering and isolating the other noble gases.

  14. Liz
    Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    Objectively, though, George Clooney and/or Robert Redford don’t have anything on you.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 18, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

      Redford has an interest in the Sundance Catalogue that sells cowboy boots, but not of the class of JAC’s boots. Clooney & Redford exhibit no knowledge of Drosophila melanogaster – they’re out & out losers.

      • rickflick
        Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:03 pm | Permalink

        “…they’re out & out losers”, but rich.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

          When you’re Lord Of The Flies & servant to the kitty & the duck you’re rich too.

          The one thing that puzzles me is no more feeding squirrels from the lab window – the squirrels moved on? What will happen to squirrel lore now there’s no stonetree god providing a cornucopia of nuts – squirrel theology will mark down these two seasons of duck usurpation as The Dark Times.

          • rickflick
            Posted August 18, 2019 at 11:39 pm | Permalink

            Good question. Two possibilities – 1. They are still around but we don’t get to see. 2. They drifted away as the young mature and decided to nest elsewhere.

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