Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s January 4, 2017, and National Spaghetti Day. It’s also World Braille Day (can any readers read it?)

On this day in 1853, Solomon Northrup, kidnapped slave and author of the book (later a movie) Twelve Years a Slave, was granted his freedom. On this day in 1903, Topsy the elephant was publicly executed for the crime of no more than being unwanted. The elephant was electrocuted; a film was made (I won’t link to it) and released by Thomas Edison’s company. It’s one of the most public and unconscionable acts of animal cruelty I know of.  On January4, 1974, Richard Nixon refused to hand over requested documents to the Watergate Committee: that and the tapes were the beginning of the end for him. And, on this day in 2004, the Mars Rover “Spirit” landed on the surface of the Red Planet; another rover, “Opportunity,” landed three weeks later. Spirit continued to roam around and send data until 2010.

Notables born on this day include Louis Braille (1809, accounting for today being Braille Day), Augustus John (1878), James Bond (1900; the real one: an ornithologist—and name model for the spy), and Michael Stipe (1960; what happened to him?). Those who died on this day include Henri Bergson (1941), Albert Camus (1960), Erwin Schrödinger (1961; no dead physicist jokes, please), T. S. Eliot (1965, author of “Prufrock”, began when the lad was but 22), and photographer Eve Arnold (2012). Here’s one of her photos: a bar girl in a brothel in Cuba, taken in 1954:

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Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants some of the staff’s dinner, but no condiments, please. You can see she’s put on her winter weight, which she’ll shed come spring.

Hili: What is this garlic for?
A: It’s for roasted lamb.
Hili: Without garlic for me, please.
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In Polish:
Hili: Do czego ten czosnek?
Ja: Do jagnięciny.
Hili: Dla mnie bez czosnku, poproszę.
 Lagniappe for today includes this photo found by Grania, which she calls “Brave activist kitteh”:
img_20170104_101943
And we have an animal-rescue story from kind reader Woody Benson in Brazil:
Your ‘be kind to animals’ piece yesterday prompts me to send a photo of the latest addition to my house.  It is a young male White-eared Opossum [Didelphis albiventris] that was presented to me as a ‘gift’.  When I got it two months ago, it shortly slipped its front legs and head through the grille of its carrying cage, thus the photo.  It took two of us to work him free.  I had intended caring for the opossum until it was old enough to fend for itself.  Unfortunately, both hind legs are paralyzed, so we are now planning to live with pet that would be problematic even if in good health.  He is not in pain and the prehensile tail works fine but is mostly useless without coordinating legs; he pulls himself around with his front legs quite well.  Though the little guy hisses and snaps at movements, he is slow on the bite.  He calms down when held and likes being massaged on his forehead, nose, and backside.
I’m told Woody has named him “Pogo”.
d-albiventris

20 Comments

  1. Dominic
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Poor Pogo… he has beautiful ears! Nocturnal?

  2. JohnH
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Michael Stipe recently appeared on Colbert’s Late Show in a modified version of It’s the End of the World.
    Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8brH1kdAySw

  3. Posted January 4, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Typo alert; I think it’s Northup, not Northrop.

  4. GBJames
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    A sacred day for Pastafarians! It’s National Spaghetti Day!

  5. darrelle
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Pogo looks pissed (US English usage).

    • Dominic
      Posted January 4, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      British English distinguishes the two – ‘pissed’ & ‘pissed off’. American usage just doesn’t bother with the ‘off’ – presumably as Americans favour brevity 😉

      • darrelle
        Posted January 4, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        I think you must be right. We certainly do use “pissed off” but “pissed” is merely short for “pissed off” rather than something else entirely.

        I rather like the British English usage of “pissed,” but when I use it around these parts I usually get a “Huh?”

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 4, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        Americans favour brevity😉

        Anything but Budweiser. (And a brickbat for the sludge that begins with M too, just to be even handed. Mouldy’s or Moleskin or something.

  6. Christopher
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    What an adorable little critter! I’d never heard of a white-eared opossum. How wonderful of you to give it a chance in life.

    I do read braille a bit, sight-read, not tactile, for work. It’s a wonderfully designed bit of, well, code, really. What really trips me up are all the contractions (used to save space) numbers, and the punctuation. If I were more driven, or perhaps more competent (meaning, if I were more clever and less lazy), I’d learn more because it’s quite fascinating, but I’d need to own a brailler, and they are expensive and fussy machines.

    • Posted January 4, 2017 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      The other day I was reading a story about the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which mentioned one of the nifty gadgets of the week: a sort of iPad that outputs braille. It’s an idea I’ve had for years.

      On the subject of alternative communication systems, I have long thought that we should all learn to use sign language — it would be great, for example, to be able to carry on a conversation across a noisy room.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted January 4, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        The other day I was reading a story about the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, which mentioned one of the nifty gadgets of the week: a sort of iPad that outputs braille. It’s an idea I’ve had for years.

        I’ve never seen one, but if you’ve ever had need to use the highly-regarded computer recovery system known as “Knoppix” (a Linux system maintained by Klaus Knopper, laden with file-system recovery tools, forensics tools and all sorts of other goodies ; very well designed for running from bootable CDs or bootable USB sticks ; I’ve not left the country without a disc or a stick of it in my briefcase for more years than I can remember), you’ll have seen that drivers for “Braille displays” have been available for at least a decade. Whether Windoze or Mac systems support such “niche” hardware, I don’t know. I don’t know why Knopper does maintain such device drivers (apart from the basic requirement of being able to diagnose anything thrown at his distribution) – but he does seem to have a strong drive about such matters.
        Reminds me of the first touch-screen system I used – in 1989, on a Xenix base system. Microsoft refused to include drivers for it with Win3.11, delaying the development of the technology by about 15 years until Psion broke through with their handhelds.

      • eric
        Posted January 4, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

        They’ve had electro-mechanical versions of that for at least 40 years – look up “versabraille” for a good example. Though the old versions were stand-alone machines rather than things you could add on to a regular computer.

  7. Albert Habichdobinge
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    Note the yellow margarine container on the Hili dialogue pic. It is a clear reference to Hinduism:
    Hare Krishna – Hare Rama
    If no Butta then use Rama.

  8. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    And, on this day in 2004, the Mars Rover “Spirit” landed on the surface of the Red Planet; another rover, “Opportunity,” landed three weeks later. Spirit continued to roam around and send data until 2010.

    Next year, assuming that it’s still operational, “Oppy” will become a teenager. It’s currently on Sol 4276 (or so) of a 90-day mission.
    Verily there will be a wailing and a gnashing of teeth in Pasadena when Oppy finally pops it’s clogs.

  9. busterggi
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

    Video of Topsy’s execution is out there – its pretty horrific though not as much as video of what her killers were thinking would have been.

  10. revelator60
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Speaking of Nixon, evidence has recently come to light which all but confirms that he committed grand treason before becoming President:
    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/31/opinion/sunday/nixons-vietnam-treachery.html

    • busterggi
      Posted January 4, 2017 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

      So Trump has a precedent after all.

  11. Lars
    Posted January 4, 2017 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    I remember trying to use James Bond’s field guide to identify terns in St. Maartin’s. All of his key characters for the different species had to do with the colours of the feet and legs, as I recall. All of the terns that I was looking at were roosting and had fluffed their feathers over their legs.


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