Thursday: Hili dialogue

It’s December 15, 2016, already Thursday, and only ten shopping days till Christmas.  It’s also the Day for Two Weird Comestibles: National Gingerbread Latte Day and National Lemon Cupcake Day. Don’t talk to me about flavored lattes, which have turned coffee into a milkshake, just as bottled water is becoming soda and granola bars became candy. Fortunately, it’s also a non-fake holiday: International Tea Day.

On this day in 1791, the Bill of Rights—the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution—became law after ratification by the Virginia legislature. In 1933, the 21st Amendment was affirmed, repealing the ill-fated 18th Amendment, which prohibited the manufacture and sale of alcohol and gave rise to the miserable era of Prohibition. Exactly six years later, the movie “Gone With the Wind” premiered in Atlanta, listed by Wikipedia as still the highest-grossing film of all time—when adjusted for inflation. On this day in 1973, the American Psychiatric Association removed homosexuality from its list of mental disorders in the DSM compilation. On December 15, 1961, Adolf Eichmann was sentenced to Death (btw, I’ve finished The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich). And on this day in 1978, Jimmy Carter severed diplomatic ties with Taiwan and recognized the People’s Republic of China.

Notables born on this day include Nobel Laureate Maurice Wilkins (1916), Max Yasgur (1919; and you better know who he is!), and Freeman Dyson (1923). Those who died on this day include Sitting Bull (1890). Fats Waller (1943), Glenn Miller (1944), Wolfgang Pauli (1958), Walt Disney (1966), and William Proxmire (2005). I’m a Waller fan; although he mugged and played the clown, he was an absolutely terrific stride piano player and entertainer. Here he is playing his most famous song, “Ain’t Misbehavin'”. This is from the movie “Stormy Weather” with Lena Horne; accompanists on this song include Benny Carter on trumpet and Zutty Singleton on drums:

And since we’re doing this movie, here’s the “Jumping Jive” sequence with Cab Calloway and the fabulous Nicholas Brothers, a scene that Fred Astaire called the greatest movie musical number he had ever seen. I have to agree it’s up there (and Astaire knew what he was talking about). The Nicholas Brothers’ performance (starting at 1:33) is beyond belief. (I know I’ve put this up before.)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili set up headquarters in the wood basket next to the fireplace, but its salubrious location also made her uncomfortable:

Hili: After long deliberation I’ve come to a conclusion.
A: What conclusion is that?
Hili: That it’s not very comfortable here.
In Polish:
Hili: Po głębszym namyśle doszłam do wniosku.
Ja: Jakiego?
Hili: Tu nie jest bardzo wygodnie.
As lagniappe, here are two cat cartoons. Reader jsp sent a Non Sequitur strip:
And Gregory J. provided an oldie but goodie from Gary Larson:


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Great cartoons. The Nicholas brothers were the best by far. Can’t imagine what kind of shape they were in to do that piece.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 4:23 pm | Permalink

      I’m wondering what kind of shape they were in after it.

  2. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    I’ve never seen that before but it was wonderful – the second the Nicholas Brothers came on I couldn’t help but laugh out loud at the things they were doing. What an insane, joyous routine.

  3. jaxkayaker
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    I miss The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes. At least Bloom County is back, and Non Sequitur is still around, though I don’t read the latter regularly.

  4. Mike
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Those two videos were fantastic, entertainment of the highest quality, by people who didn’t need all the special fx and various other equipment to perform ,they just went out there and did it. As for the great Fats Waller, for me he was the best of that era.

  5. Mike Cracraft
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    I just saw the weather report for Chicago: not good !

  6. Patrick
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Love Gary Larson, but a gentle criticism: surely that would’ve been even funnier WITHOUT the caption?

  7. John Harshman
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I haven’t listened to it yet, but Benny Carter on trumpet? Is that really true?

    • Christopher Bonds
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:29 am | Permalink

      It looks like Benny Carter, but after searching a while on google, I can’t find any listing of band personnel for that film, nor can I find a listing of people who played with Fats Waller. I did learn that Waller died only a few months after “Stormy Weather” was made. He was 39.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      It is indeed Benny Carter on trumpet. Imdb lists him as “Trumpeter (uncredited).” I had the pleasure of meeting and interviewing him for a research project in the 1970s. A fine man and fine musician.

      • John Harshman
        Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        I had no idea that he had ever played trumpet.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted December 15, 2016 at 1:22 pm | Permalink

          From Wikipedia “… alto saxophonist, clarinetist, trumpeter, composer, arranger, and bandleader.” He was a man of many parts. His Wikipedia entry also states that “Carter’s arrangements were sophisticated and very complex…” I’d say that characterizes the man as well.

          • Seversky
            Posted December 16, 2016 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

            Carter wrote a number called “Rainbow Rhapsody” for Glenn Miller who, as we know, went MIA this day in 1944. You can find it on YouTube.

  8. Posted December 15, 2016 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    Jumping Jive is well worth reposting.

  9. ploubere
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    Flavored lattes are for people who don’t actually like the taste of coffee but want the caffeine, doctored granola bars for those who don’t like granola but want to imagine they’re eating healthy, and mixed drinks for those who don’t like the taste of alcohol but like the effects.
    Me, I take all three straight. Well, a little milk in my coffee, but that’s all.

    • Jeff Lewis
      Posted December 15, 2016 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

      Meh. I drink black coffee throughout the day at work, and I like it just fine. But on the weekends, I’ll treat myself to a sugary, creamy ‘cappuccino’ (made with the Keurig Rivo – hence the scare quotes), and every once in a while I’ll even go get a frappuccino or some similar concoction from a coffee shop. It’s not that I dislike coffee. Rather, it’s that I like the taste of coffee so much, then when I’m in the mood for a sweet treat, I’ll get one with coffee flavor.

      Personally, I’ve always found coffee and chocolate to have very similar flavors. And I don’t personally know anybody who prefers chocolate with no sugar at all. In fact, most people I know rather like milk chocolate, chocolate ice cream, chocolate milkshakes, etc. Why should coffee be some pure substance that has to be enjoyed on its own rather than as a flavoring with other ingredients?

      As far as alcohol, I guess I don’t really like the taste of pure alcohol. The few times I’ve had moonshine or straight everclear, I didn’t really care for it. I’d much rather have alcohol flavored by aging in oak barrels, or just the right blend of barley and hops at much lower concentrations than distilled liquors.

      Anyway, that’s just a long winded way of saying – to each their own.

      • ploubere
        Posted December 16, 2016 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

        No argument here. The only hypocrisy I would find would be in the granola bar eaters thinking they’re eating healthy. If you like the effects of caffeine and/or alcohol but don’t like them straight, then by all means mix them with something more appealing.

        And now that you point it out, I don’t drink straight alcohol, but rather straight whiskey, no ice, which of course is only 40% alcohol.

  10. Charles Minus
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:21 am | Permalink

    Yes, Benny Carter was a multi-instrumentalist, like my mentor, and Chicago native, Ira Sullivan.

  11. Ken Elliott
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    The video of Cab Calloway and the Nicholas Brothers is awesome! The Nicholas Brothers demonstrate a plyometric ability even the fittest of CrossFitters might find challenging. Simply amazing. Thank you for posting this, especially if it’s a repeat since I must’ve missed the initial post.

  12. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Fats Waller facts :

    “Louisiana Fairytale” is the original This Old House theme music.

    If you heard David Lee Roth’s version of Just a Gigolo, which was on the radio back in the day, there’s a part where he sings “I ain’t got nobody (etc.)” -that specific part is a Fats Waller tune. I just discovered this so I don’t have more to say, but it looks like Louie Prima did that too.

  13. Larry
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    The Jumpin Jive is one of my favorite dance performances. The human abilities derived from our primate ancestry is something to appreciate.

  14. Larry Smith
    Posted December 15, 2016 at 11:49 pm | Permalink

    Fats Waller – check out “Hold Tight (I Want Some Seafood, Mama)”:

  15. MAUCH
    Posted December 16, 2016 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    Don’t forget that Fats Waller was a great composer as well. In all aspects he was a giant.

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