Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s January 3, 2017 (how many of you are still writing “2016,” as I did yesterday?), and it’s National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day. If there’s a reader out there who is going to eat one of these dire sweets (they can be good, but usually aren’t), let me know. And it’s still only the tenth of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

On this day in 1777, General George Washington of the Continental Army defeated British general Lord Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton, which was important in rallying American morale to expel the mean colonialist Brits. In 1925, Mussolini assumed absolute dictatorial power in Italy. On January 3, 1947, the proceedings of the U.S. Congress were televised for the first time. In 1959, Alaska was admitted at the 49th state (I remember that well), and, in 1977, Apple Computer was incorporated. (My only computers since I started using them in the early 80s have been Apples.)

Notables born in this day include Father Damien (1840, look him up), J. R. R. Tolkien (1892), George Martin (1926), Bobby Hull (1939), Stephen Stills (1945 ♥) and Mel Gibson (1956).  Those who died on this day—and I’ll first announce the sudden death of philosopher Derek Parfit two days ago—include Josiah Wedgwood (1795, relative of Darwin and source of CD’s wealth), Edgar Cayce (1945), Jack Ruby (1967), Conrad Hilton (1979), Joy Adamson (1980) and Phil Everly (2014).

Today we have the cutest picture of Hili EVER, basking in the sun in Dobrzyn. Her dialogue with Andrzej, however, is a bit cryptic, and I asked Malgorzata for an explanation. Here it is:

Sam Harris published recently a paper (together with others) about the reaction of our brain when we encounter statements that contradict our cherished beliefs. The lesson is that our own brain can fool us and should be treated with suspicion. So what is the solution? To have a distance from yourself. That was the origin of the dialogue. And I agree, Hili’s face is priceless. [The paper was discussed in Polish by Andrzej on Listy.]

Being a solipsist, of course, Hili can’t take that advice:

Hili: How to be wise?
A: By keeping a proper distance.
Hili: What from?
A: Yourself.
Hili: You must be joking.
In Polish:
Hili: Jak być mądrą?
Ja: Zachowując stosowny dystans.
Hili: Do czego?
Ja: Do siebie.
Hili: Chyba żartujesz.
Lagniappe: an appropriate New Year’s Resolution cartoon from reader Paul H.:
And, just for grins, here’s a photo of me with the rice pudding dessert at my favorite Parisian restaurant, L’Ami Jean. (It’s a Basque bistro, and the menu lists the dessert as “Riz Zo Lait”). They place in front of you a wooden bowl containing about two liters of the world’s best rice pudding, as well as various garnishes like praline and candied fruit to put on top.  You can eat as much as you want. There is no better dessert anywhere.


  1. Posted January 3, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    It’s January 3, 2017 (how many of you are still writing “2016,” as I did yesterday?)

    Lots of ‘screggans’ at this time of year.


    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted January 3, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Ha, The Meaning of Liff! I keep a copy by the loo to help pass the time. Many of its words are so useful that they have passed into common parlance in my household.

      • Posted January 3, 2017 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        The loo is a good place to keep it, but watch out for shoeburyness.

  2. Posted January 3, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    A New Year’s resolution: Procrastinate less in 2019.


  3. Dominic
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    “the mean colonialist Brits”? We know you love us really 😉

    Merry Nude Year!

  4. Peter
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    My local east indian restaurant serves Chawal ki kheer – rice pudding made with basmati rice, green cardamoms, raisins and saffron. It really takes an old favourite to a new level.

  5. barn owl
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Hmmm, I think it’s time to make some rice pudding for dessert … and breakfast!

    Especially breakfast.

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Ah yes, the battles of Trenton. One of the bright moments in an otherwise not so good time for the revolution.

    I thought all cats were Solipsist until I experienced this Trump person.

  7. Jacques Hausser
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    “So what is the solution? To have a distance from yourself.”
    A faint perfume of dualism…

  8. Linda Calhoun
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    After checking in with myself, I realized that I don’t really have ANY “cherished” beliefs. I am more or less constantly reevaluating everything, probably the result of being trained as a shrink and also having lots of time while I do barn stuff to let my brain run wild. (Hank Fox talks about having lots of time to think while riding fence. Same sort of thing.)

    As far as New Year’s resolutions, I made one many years ago that I have faithfully kept: to never make another New Year’s resolution.


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 3, 2017 at 11:47 am | Permalink

      I made the same New Year resolution some years ago. I decided it was just setting myself up for failure, and I’d had enough of that without creating more.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 3, 2017 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        I decided they were pointless since I was sure to promptly forget them anyway.

        (Resolution: To gratuitously split infinitives at every possible opportunity…)

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 4, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      I completely forgot about making New Years resolutions this year. Actually, I think I forgot it last year too.

      • rickflick
        Posted January 4, 2017 at 9:31 am | Permalink

        That’s a sign of maturity, isn’t it? 😎

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 4, 2017 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          Maturity, immaturity, senility. Who cares?

  9. rickflick
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Hili may have a tendency to mystical meditation and merely wishes to be “in the moment”. Not self conscious, but self aware. There. Have I ennobled her enough?

    That grin says a lot.

  10. Mark Hummel
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    You might want to prepare yourself for the demise of Apple computers. The Macbook platform has been on the decline for years. I’m moving back to PC after a decade on Mac. Alas, Apple is not the same since Jobs’ death.

  11. DrBrydon
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    I find that I have to write the date less and less, since I only write a check once every couple of months. I think because of that I don’t get the year wrong, because I haven’t spend the previous twelve months writing it over and over again.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 3, 2017 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

      Interesting point, and I’ve found the same.


      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 3, 2017 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

        Oh, and because instead of writing the date automatically, on those infrequent occasions one has to actually think about what the date is.


        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 4, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

          As well as what date format the recipient of [whatever] is going to expect. (Personally, I only use ISO 8601 format. I got fed up with having to produce multiple different versions of documents with multiple different date formats because different countries have different formats.

  12. Posted January 3, 2017 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    Great cartoon.

    • Posted January 3, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      I had the same thought yesterday after I read the article on Noah’s ark.

  13. Claudia Baker
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Chocolate covered cherries – ew. I’m talking about the ones you get in a box of chocolates that are all runny. Chocolate covered ‘fresh’ cherries might be very nice. But I’ve never had one.

    In my childhood home, if my Dad gave my Mom a gift for Valentine’s Day or her birthday, it was often a box of said confections. She loved them. All the kids hated them. It was the only way she could get a treat without some kid pinching them behind her back.

  14. Posted January 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the reminder. I want to get after my wife to make Swedish rice pudding, called risgrünsgröt. I like it so much i have even learned to pronounce it — approximately.

    Is this the l’ami Jean in the rue Malar, near the Tour Eiffel?

    • darrelle
      Posted January 3, 2017 at 2:53 pm | Permalink

      How frustrating. A Google search for risgrünsgröt yields a whole six hits. All of which are merely Instagram pics with no other useful info.

      Please describe it? Or better yet give us a recipe? Pretty Please?

      • Posted January 3, 2017 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

        John’s spelling isn’t quite right.

        I went to Rice pudding on Wikipedia, then followed the Svenska link on the LH side and arrived at: https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Risgrynsgröt


        • darrelle
          Posted January 3, 2017 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

          Thank you Ant!

          • Posted January 3, 2017 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

            You’re welcome!

            Btw, my dessert tonight was Ambrosia rice pudding with sultanas and nutmeg — eaten straight from the can! (Sorry, Jerry.)


            • darrelle
              Posted January 3, 2017 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

              Sacrilege! I don’t often eat dessert, but you’ve inspired me.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 4, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

          Ah, “rice grain sludge” instread of “rice green sludge”. Makes more sense.

  15. Jenny Haniver
    Posted January 3, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    That is indeed the best photo of Hili. Many thanks to Malgorzata for the link to the Harris paper, and to PCC(E) for the heads up on Persian pudding. I love Persian food (right now I’m thinking about gormeh sabzi, kuku sabzi, sabzi polow), have a Persian neighbor who sometimes brings me dishes she cooks, and I make it frequently myself, but have never had the rice pudding. I will tonight. But the Indian rice pudding that “Peter” mentions above sounds damned delectable, too.

  16. Posted January 3, 2017 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Is this Parisian restaurant/bistro in Chicago? A Yelp search directed me to either Mon Ami Gabi or laminate flooring stores.

    • Posted January 3, 2017 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

      No, it is in fact, as “Parisian” indicates, in Paris!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 4, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

        Not Paris, Texas?

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 4, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

          Intended link this time.

          • rickflick
            Posted January 4, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            Looks like an interesting film. I’ve ordered it from my library.

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