Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s Saturday, August 24, 2019, and I survived my surgery. The video below shows the kind of surgery I had, except that I had no initial symptoms beyond a bulge (and no pain).  In fact, the surgeon said it was my choice whether or not to elect surgery. But because I’m going to Antarctica, I decided I didn’t want to be far away from medical care if the damn thing strangulated.

This is pretty much the procedure I had (note: if you don’t like looking at innards, don’t watch). The advent of robotic laparoscopic surgery is amazing: one of the great medical innovations to stand near anesthesia and hand-washing.

Appropriate to the season, it’s National Peach Pie Day.  It’s also National Waffle Day, Can Opener Day, Pluto Demoted Day (oy!; see 2006 below) and International Strange Music Day. To celebrate the latter, I offer some Tuvan throat singing, which I find mesmerizing.

The fun starts 54 seconds in:

Stuff that happened on this day includes:

  • 455 – The Vandals, led by king Gaiseric, begin to plunder Rome. Pope Leo I requests Gaiseric not destroy the ancient city or murder its citizens. He agrees and the gates of Rome are opened. However, the Vandals loot a great amount of treasure.
  • 1349 – Six thousand Jews are killed in Mainz after being blamed for the bubonic plague.

It used to be plague, now it’s poisoning wells (this from the Daily Fail!), and sending out terrorist animals.

  • 1662 – The Act of Uniformity requires England to accept the Book of Common Prayer.
  • 1814 – British troops invade Washington, D.C. and during the Burning of Washington the White House, the Capitol and many other buildings are set ablaze.
  • 1891 – Thomas Edison patents the motion picture camera.
  • 1909 – Workers start pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.
  • 1932 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey).
  • 1941 – Adolf Hitler orders the cessation of Nazi Germany’s systematic T4 euthanasia program of the mentally ill and the handicapped due to protests, although killings continue for the remainder of the war.
  • 1967 – Led by Abbie Hoffman, the Youth International Party temporarily disrupts trading at the New York Stock Exchange by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery, causing trading to cease as brokers scramble to grab them.

I remember this well, and here’s a short video about the “guerrilla theater”:

  • 1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon.
  • 1989 – Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose is banned from baseball for gambling by Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.
  • 2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” such that Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1787 – James Weddell, Belgian-English sailor, hunter, and explorer (d. 1834)
  • 1890 – Duke Kahanamoku, American swimmer, actor, and surfer (d. 1968)

The Duke was a big man with an even bigger board: a Hawaiian icon:

  • 1929 – Yasser Arafat, Egyptian-Palestinian engineer and politician, 1st President of the Palestinian National Authority (d. 2004)
  • 1945 – Ronee Blakley, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress
  • 1947 – Anne Archer, American actress and producer
  • 1950 – Tim D. White, American paleoanthropologist and academic
  • 1955 – Mike Huckabee, American minister and politician, 44th Governor of Arkansas
  • 1957 – Stephen Fry, English actor, journalist, producer, and screenwriter

Fry is a man I much admire. Here’s his famous appearance on Irish television when he told the interviewer what he, Fry, would say to God if he met Him. Fry got into big trouble for this eloquent statement:

Notables who passed away on August 24 were very few, they include only:

  • 2013 – Julie Harris, American actress (b. 1925)


  • 2018 – Robin Leach, English entertainment reporter and writer (b. 1941)

Champagne wishes and caviar dreams.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej discuss practical philosophy:

Hili: We never know what’s hiding around the corner.
A: That’s true; it’s better to combine adventures with caution.
In Polish:
Hili: Nigdy nie wiemy, co się kryje za rogiem.
Ja: To prawda, lepiej łączyć chęć przygody z umiarkowaną ostrożnością .

A cartoon from reader Pliny the In Between’s Far Corner Cafe:

Especially if they rub your belly!

Grania sent me this tweet on January 7 of this year, and it’s relevant to a discussion we’ve recently had about FGM:

Two tweets from Nilou. First, adorable baby foxes (Honorary Cats®. I guess I should say “fox kits”):

And what is Sam Harris ON?

From reader Barry, who calls this “the most brutal fight ever”. LOL!

From Matthew, who likes both the original and the quoted tweet. Be sure to click on Emma Hart’s tweet and look at the full picture. If only this would happen to me!

Matthew and I agree that what you see below is truly amazing behavior. Nature never runs out of surprises:

I think I’ve posted this before, but you can’t see it too often!


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    To the very untrained eye the operation seems a little sloppy at times. Difficult place to work and more so by the method.

    From my experience surgery is not something you can really prepare for. You simply experience it and then spend a long time slowly forgetting it.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    “the most brutal fight ever”

    Almost as boring as Floyd Mayweather v. Manny Pacquiao.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    IIRC, the Tuvan throat singers held a certain fascination for Richard Feynman.

    • merilee
      Posted August 24, 2019 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      Yeah, I love Feynman’s stories about trying to go to Tuva. I think he eventually got there after many years of effort.

      • Posted August 24, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        No, I think he was too sick to go when he finally got his visa. I may be wrong, but I think that his friend Ralph (?)went alone.

        • merilee
          Posted August 24, 2019 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          Yeah, Jerry, i think you’re right. Been a long time since I read about it and I think I saw a video of Ralph’s about the whole adventure…Including Feynman playing the bongos?

  4. Posted August 24, 2019 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Abbie Hoffman’s prank of throwing dollar bills on the floor of the stock exchange has got to be one of the best pieces of guerilla theater ever!

    Here’s some Tuvan throat singing in an unusual context. Shortly before his death, Frank Zappa had a jam session at his house that included Tuvan throat singers, The Chieftains and Johnny “Guitar” Watson. He incorporated the Tuvan sining into “Dance Me This”, the last album he completed before his death (although it wasn’t released until 20 some years later!)

    Here is a scene from the jam:

    Here is the title track from “Dace Me This”.
    The other track that contains Tuvan throat singing is “Goat Polo”.

  5. rickflick
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I enjoyed watching the surgery. What a great tool he’s using. I’ve watched a handful of other surgeries now and find them fascinating. A great one you can find on YouTube is knee replacement. Lot’s of jigs and cutting tools like a handyman’s workshop.

  6. Silvia Planchett
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Glad the surgery went well!

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I’m your keyhole surgeon Dr. Coyne & I’m going to have you home by duck tea time.


  8. Posted August 24, 2019 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    A bee carrying a rock? What will evolution think of next?

    • yazikus
      Posted August 24, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

      A rabbit rescued a chicken at my parents last week. The story goes like this (I wasn’t there – but was sent video). They have a fenced orchard where the rabbits and chickens live. The rabbits have been tunneling. The chickens needed rounded up so my kiddo was employed to do just that. One of the chickens, resisting arrest, so to speak, ran into a rabbit tunnel. Kiddo was terrified and distraught, so they dug down to try to find the chicken. No such luck. Then, one of the bunnies hopped over and started investigating the now-trench they had excavated. He hopped down and deeper into the tunnels. After a few minutes, he hopped back out, followed by the shaken chicken. So there is that!

      • rickflick
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

        Can you upload to YouTube and provide a link?

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted August 24, 2019 at 11:10 am | Permalink

          Good idea!

          • yazikus
            Posted August 24, 2019 at 11:15 am | Permalink

            Alright- but I’m going to rely on the collective expertise of y’all to get it done. My mom texted me the three short video clips – the quality isn’t great. How do I get it done? (And I’d be more than happy to send them to PCC(E) if he is interested).

            • Posted August 24, 2019 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

              I hesitate to put other people’s videos on YouTube, because they’ll forever be under my name, and that seems unfair to the videomakers. It’s easy to join YouTube and upload them, but if you want me to do it, let me know and whom I should credit.

              • yazikus
                Posted August 25, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

                Thanks for the offer, PCC(E). I think with the video quality being what it is, this story may be best left as prose.

            • rickflick
              Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

              If you go to, you can get an account, or create a channel. In the upper right of the youtube screen there’s a small box with a plus. Click that and it will allow you to create a channel if you haven’t already done that. Then, just open your folder with videos and slide each video file into the upload window. It may take a while to upload depending on the length of the video. Once it’s there, you can copy the link and place it into a comment on WEIT, or forward the link in an email to Jerry.

      • Posted August 24, 2019 at 11:13 am | Permalink

        That’s a good story. Perhaps you could get Dr. Coyne to post the video? Just a thought.

        In my retirement, I am playing around with AI and thinking a lot about how the brain works. At the same time, I observe my two cats very closely. They know a lot more than they let on and more than I suspect most people think they know. The same with chickens and rabbits.

      • merilee
        Posted August 24, 2019 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

        Great story!

  9. ginger katz
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 8:52 pm | Permalink

    From atheist sources, Fry said those things deliberately to challenge Ireland’s blasphemy law, which has since been rightly repealed.

  10. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted August 24, 2019 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

    On Mongolian throat singing, has anyone seen or heard The HU?

    They are well worth a listen and may surprise.

    Here’s a link to one with a short intro.
    There are another two songs but they take a while to get going, but once going is hard to stop.

    The other two are ‘Wolf Totem’ and Yuve Yuve Yu.

    Yu will not be disappointed.

  11. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted August 25, 2019 at 2:42 am | Permalink

    [Jews blamed for] “sending out terrorist animals.”

    Wouldn’t be the first time. Foxes with their tails on fire? And the Bible seems to regard that as a Good Idea?

    So much for the Bible. My reaction when I first read that was similar to Stephen Fry’s in that video clip from RTE.


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