Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s now the second of December, 2016, and the days are getting shorter as we head toward the winter solstice. In the U.S., it’s National Fritters Day, and while a good corn fritter would hit the spot, there’s small chance of finding one these days. In Cuba, as Castro’s ashes wend their way around his country, it’s also Armed Forces Day, celebrating the transport of rebel fighters (including the Castro brothers and Che Guevara) from Mexico to Cuba on the yacht Granma in 1956. It was the nominal (and inauspicious) beginning of the revolution that would overthrow Batista.

On this day in 1804, Napoleon Bonaparte crowned himself Emperor of the French in Notre Dame cathedral. On this day in 1942, about a block away from where am sitting just now, Enrico Fermi created the first self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction in the “Chicago Pile“. It was to culminate, less than three years later, in the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japan. In 1954, Joe McCarthy was censured by the United States Senate for his odious anti-Communist smearings, and seven years later Castro announced on December 2 that Cuba was going to be a Communist nation.

Notables born on this day include Maria Callas (1923) and Lucy Liu (1968). Those who died on this day include Hernán Cortés, (1547), the Marquis de Sade (1814), and Aaron Copland (1990). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili uses the ear muscles which we humans share, but only in vestigial form:

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m pricking up my ears.
A: And?
Hili: All quiet in the outer space.
In Polish:
Ja: Co robisz?
Hili: Nadstawiam ucha.
Ja: I co?
Hili: W kosmosie bez zmian.

And we have three non-Hili readers’ cats today. The first comes Dan B., who noticed my post on the lovely Singapura cat the other day:

I was struck by how much the Singapura picture you posted resembled our Burmese cat.  I went looking around the internet and found an article that said a study done on cat genetics had found that some breeds were not distinguishable genetically.  Burmese and Singapura were one of the examples.
Bunny (our Burmese) is 4 years old now and weighs 6 1/2 pounds.  When we first got her at a year old she was 5 1/2 pounds.  The cattery that we got her from had an adult breeding female that was more petite than Bunny at the time.  That cat was probably the friendliest and most affectionate cat I have ever met.  Bunny looks and acts more kittenish than our other cats.  She spends much more time playing.
Heeeere’s Bunny!:

Out in snowy Winnipeg, reader Taskin has noticed that Gus’s nose can serve as a kind of thermometer, for it gets deeper red in colder temperatures, undoubtedly due to more blood flow to the exposed bits of the cat:

Pink nose! I judge it to be about -3°C.


Finally, reader Laurie from London sent a picture of neighborhood cat whom they’ve named Jerry Coyne, visiting their own cat Theo. (There are now five cats named after me).



  1. George
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Is Hili pursuing a career as a high fashion model? Note how she has her left paw turned out to the side in a model pose.

  2. rickflick
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    “the days are getting shorter as we head toward the winter solstice”

    Winter solstice 2016 will be 5:44 AM eastern time on Wednesday, December 21. Anyone in the vicinity of Stonehenge or any astronomically aligned megaliths should take the time to witness the position of the sun’s rising. Pictures please.

    • George
      Posted December 2, 2016 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      If anyone wants to get sunrise/sunset times, they are available from the US Naval Observatory. For US locations, you just need the nameplace. For the rest of the world, you need the latitude and longitude.
      For one day –
      For a year –
      You can get lat and long here:

      On the winter solstice, PCC(e) will have 9:08 of daylight (at 41.85 North) while Hili will only have 7:32 (at 53.10 North). On the summer solstice, Hili had 16:57 while PCC(e) only had 15:34.

      • rickflick
        Posted December 2, 2016 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        That’s good to know. Thanks.

      • Diane G.
        Posted December 2, 2016 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

        I love the tropics, but the sameness of the day length drives me crazy! 🙂

  3. Jenny Haniver
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    For those who love Maria Callas, as I do, here’s a video of her singing “Casta Diva” from Bellini’s Norma.

  4. Posted December 2, 2016 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Beautiful cats! Is a corn fritter something like a hush puppy? I miss them.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted December 3, 2016 at 4:54 am | Permalink

      Hush puppies are a type of men’s shoe in NZ.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted December 3, 2016 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        Can you still get them there? I used to wear them all the time, but I don’t think they exist in the UK any more. Cotton Traders do something similar – very comfortable and not at all stylish; my kind of shoe.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 3, 2016 at 8:21 am | Permalink

          They are still in Canada but they make lots of different shoes under that name so I can’t recall if I’ve seen the iconic Hush Puppy I knew of in the 70s.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted December 3, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure. Try TradeMe – a NZ site where people sell just about everything. The NZ shoe store chain most likely to have them is Hannahs.

  5. Ann German
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    PCCE: Five cats THAT YOU KNOW OF are named after you!!!

  6. Diana MacPherson
    Posted December 2, 2016 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    Best picture of Napoleon ever. He looks like an angry bunny.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 2, 2016 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

      Hilarious. But I’ll bet it seemed like a good idea at the time.

      • HaggisForBrains
        Posted December 3, 2016 at 7:20 am | Permalink

        it seemed like a good idea at the time

        Like his march on Moscow?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted December 3, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

          I think this picture is actually done when he had the brilliant idea of invading Russia in the winter. Perhaps his angry scowl is a result of his realization of what a bad idea that was.

%d bloggers like this: