Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s June 14th, which means the year has exactly 200 days to go. On this day in 1777, the U.S. adopted the Stars and Stripes as its official flag, and, in 1822, Charles Babbage published a paper describing his “difference engine”, now recognized as the world’s first computer. Finally, on June 14, 1907, Norway finally granted women the right to vote.

Notables born on this day include Boy George (1961; he should probably be called “Man George” now) and Steffi Graf (1969). Those who died on this day include Edward Fitzgerald (1883), the great translator of the Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam; Mary Cassatt (1926), G. K. Chesterton (1936), Jorge Luis Borge (1986); and Anne Nicol Gaylor (2015), founder of the Freedom From Religion Foundation and mother of Annie Laurie Gaylor, its current co-President.  Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej inquires of the Editor about her plans for work. It’s amazing that, with a cat at the helm Listy can even function as a website.

A: What are your plans?
Hili: First I will take a nap and then I will eat something.
A: And work?
Hili: Don’t worry, everything will get done.
In Polish:
Ja: Jakie masz plany?
Hili: Najpierw się prześpię, a potem coś zjem.
Ja: A praca?
Hili: Nie martw się, wszystko będzie zrobione.

And, we have a new reader’s cat, shown in a photo sent by his staff Nick C.:

I’m a reader of your website and I thought you might enjoy the attached picture. My wife opened our linen cupboard to put away some towels and was greeted by our black and white cat Nelson (we’re sure he prefers Lord Nelson), who had decided the the gap left for said towels suited him rather nicely.

Look at that face!



  1. Dave
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I think he was stalking the fish on the towel one shelf down.😉

  2. Nick
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks Jerry. I’m sure Nelson would consider it an honour to reside within these pages.

  3. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Omar Khayyam was a favourite of my father’s and, slightly curiously since we disagreed about almost everything else, of mine too.

    The popular image of the mid-19th century as being much more religious than today, doesn’t quite seem to fit with the poem’s popularity – considering its cynical and un-devout (albeit often slightly sentimental) tone.

    For those who husbanded the golden grain
    And those who flung it to the winds like rain
    Alike to no such aureate earth are turn’d
    As, buried once, men want dug up again.

    • somer
      Posted June 15, 2016 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      I think it varied there are also accounts that in 19th C Iran Jews could not go outside for a while after rain because they were held to contaminate the water for Muslims.(Bat Ye’or cited in Wikipedia and elsewhere
      According to Bernard Lewis
      “The situation of Jews in Arab lands reached a low point in the 19th century. Jews in most of North Africa (including Algeria, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Morocco) were forced to live in ghettos. In Morocco, which contained the largest Jewish community in the Islamic Diaspora, Jews were made to walk barefoot or wear shoes of straw when outside the ghetto. Even Muslim children participated in the degradation of Jews, by throwing stones at them or harassing them in other ways. The frequency of anti-Jewish violence increased, and many Jews were executed on charges of apostasy. Ritual murder accusations against the Jews became commonplace in the Ottoman Empire.”(10)

      10. Bernard Lewis, The Jews of Islam, (NJ: Princeton University Press, 1984) p. 158.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted June 15, 2016 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

        Umm, my reference to 19th-century society was not to Iran (where Omar came from?) but to Europe and particularly British society where Fitzgerald’s translations were published.

        I guess I should have made that clear.


  4. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    What a handsome cat! Please give Lord Nelson my greetings, and a scratch behind the ears, Nick!

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    A fine looking cat and very polite. Ours only goes into the linens to relocate them to the floor.

    Hili knows that cats do not get involved in such things as work.

    • dorcheat
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      Yes a cat’s work is never done! Pun intended.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 10:53 am | Permalink


  6. Merilee
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    Nelson might be stalking the fish on the towel below

  7. Markham Thomas
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Why does Nelson blink at me when I scroll the page?

  8. Richard Jonez
    Posted June 14, 2016 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    Alcock and Brown first to fly the Atlantic, 1919 in Vickers Vimy. Now almost forgotten.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted June 14, 2016 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

      Centenary in 3 years.

      Air travel has shrunk the world so much, it’s hard to imagine how vast and hostile the Atlantic must have been on a flight like that.

      I’m wondering if the Vimy would fly ‘on one’ but I greatly doubt it.


      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted June 14, 2016 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        I’m wondering if the Vimy would fly ‘on one’ but I greatly doubt it.

        What do you mean? That it could fly on one engine?
        Bigger question would be – how were their fuel tanks arranged? Could they, if they lost the port engine, route fuel from the port tanks to the starboard engine?

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted June 14, 2016 at 11:58 pm | Permalink

          Good question!

          Apparently a replica Vimy was built in 1994 (don’t know what it was powered with) and repeated the flight in 2005. Now in Brooklands Museum.


          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted June 15, 2016 at 1:52 am | Permalink

            Yeah ; reconstructing an airframe is one thing. Reconstructing an engine WITHOUT using better alloys, better bearings, better lubricants, better tolerances … now that’s probably a bigger challenge than finding a pilot to fly behind the engine.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted June 15, 2016 at 2:35 am | Permalink

              Very likely. I do recall, though, reading a book about the replicas they built for Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. IIRC, they were disconcerted to find that a modern light-aircraft engine with three or four times the power of the original was barely enough to get it airborne. Presumably a high-speed small prop was highly inefficient at very low airspeeds.

              I noticed the same thing, I think, with the big heavy flat-bottom boats used for unloading ships in the Cook Islands (the flat bottoms were suitable for beaching on the reef). A spindly old British Seagull outboard slowly turning a big five-bladed prop would propel one of these things as fast as a modern high-speed outboard of five times the nominal power.


              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted June 15, 2016 at 11:42 am | Permalink

                I recall “scrap heap chllenge” or something like that where they had the same mismatch problem. I filed that one for future reference.

          • Richard
            Posted June 16, 2016 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

            “Now in Brooklands Museum.@

            Yes, saw it there last summer. And they have Concorde G-BBDG.

            They have quite a collection of replica aircraft, and an amazing selection of old guided and unguided weapons (including ‘Upkeep’ and ‘Tallboy’ bombs).

            Well worth a visit.

            • Richard
              Posted June 16, 2016 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

              @ ==> ”

              Blasted keyboard!

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