Sunday: Hili dialogue

Greetings on Sunday (Ceiling Cat’s Day), April 23, 2017. It’s a double food holiday: National Cherry Cheesecake Day and National Picnic Day, though I prefer my cheesecake plain (cherries are too much, and mask the pure cheesecake flavor), and it’s too cold in Chicago for a picnic. It’s also World Book Day, a project of UNESCO.  I’ll be reading Lawrence Krauss’s new book: The Greatest Story Ever Told. . . So Far. What will you be reading? Put answers below, and maybe I’ll find my next book to read.

On this day in history, not much of note happened. I could only find these items on Wikipedia:

1985: Coca-Cola changes its formula and releases New Coke. The response is overwhelmingly negative, and the original formula is back on the market in less than three months.

2005: The first ever YouTube video, titled “Me at the zoo”, was published by user “jawed”.

Further information about “Me at the zoo”:

Me at the zoo is the first-ever video that was uploaded to YouTube. It was uploaded on April 24 2005 at 3:27:12 UTC (on April 23, 2005 at 20:27:12 PDT)  by the site’s cofounder Jawed Karim, with the username “jawed” and recorded by his high school friend Yakov Lapitsky.

He created an account on YouTube the same day.

The nineteen-second video was shot by Yakov Lapitsky at the San Diego Zoo, featuring Karim in front of the elephants in their old exhibit in Elephant Mesa, professing his interest in their “really, really, really long trunks”.

Here it is, still on the site!:

On the other hands, lots of births and deaths on this day. On April 23, 1858, Max Planck was born, and in 1891 Sergei Prokofiev. Photographer Lee Miller was born in 1907, Warren Spahn in 1921, Shirley Temple in 1928, Roy Orbison (1936), Sandra Dee (1942; died in 2005 from complications of anorexia: I had no idea!), Michael Moore (1954), and Timothy McVeigh (1968). Those who died on this day include Joan of Acre (1307; not a typo!), William Wordsworth (1850), Rupert Brooke (1915), Sam Ervin (country lawyer, 1985), Satyajit Ray (1992), Cesar Chavez (1993), James Earl Ray (1998), and Boris Yeltsin (2007). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Beasts are awaiting the arrival of their Staff:

Hili: You need loads of patience with this staff!
​Cyrus: I think they’re coming.
In Polish:
Hili: Trzeba ogromnej cierpliwości do tej służby!
Cyrus: Chyba już idą.

In response to my call for experiments and photos of cats sitting in squares of tape (PLEASE?), reader Cicely sent an alternative truth she calls: “Cats sitting in defined spaces”, and adds this about the moggie:

Name: Bella-a stray, now the ruler of my life. She is about three years old, keeps the house free of mice, and has just rediscovered the outdoors now that the snow has gone—and has begun bringing in voles and birds




  1. Kevin
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    At age 30, I’ve finally dived into Cosmos by Carl Sagan (a book I bought for $1.00 at a used book sale!)

    I have many years of experience peering through a microscope…and now I can’t help but be inspired to purchase a hobby telescope.

    What a wonderful universe!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Thirty? I’ve got ties in the back of my closet older than you.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted April 23, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        You are suppose to say, maybe some shoes too.

      • Kevin
        Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        I’ve got ties and shoes older than me in my closet too 😀

  2. David Coxill
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    I make models ,if i leave the lid of the box where they can reach it sooner or latter there will be a cat sitting in it .
    Same with hanging baskets ,i was making some up last year and Misha came and sat in one .

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

      I tried to reply to your email about Vlad (a couple of months ago?), but the email address wouldn’t work.

      • David Coxill
        Posted April 23, 2017 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Hi ,took me a bit to remember it was a cat ,i will send your my email address again .

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Already read a bit of Pascal Boyer’s 2001 book “Religion Explained”, at the recommendation of reader Dan (I think), but I bet PCC(E) already read that one.

  4. Historian
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I think you’re joshing us when you refer to Sam Ervin as a “country lawyer.” He was, of course, one of the most consequential senators in U.S. history because he chaired the Senate Watergate Committee, which helped bring down Richard Nixon. I and many others who are old enough to remember these hearings were glued to the television screen, day after day. These hearings and the earlier McCarthy hearings allowed the public to see history being made, live and in living black and white (at least for me).

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      I was in high school during those hearings, and we used to commandeer empty classrooms so we could watch them. The school let us get away with it because they deemed it an educational activity.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      I was recently back from my service time and watched the hearings on black and white TV that summer. A bit young for McCarthy hearing, I thought television was only for cartoons.

    • Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      That referred to Sam Ervin’s famous statement during the Watergate hearings that he was “just a little old country lawyer.” I thought those who watched the hearings would get it.

      • Randy schenck
        Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

        Yes, I remember that…I got it.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      “Country lawyer” was a sly self-deprecation Ol’ Sam (a Harvard Law grad) bestowed on himself. Let the slick yankees underestimate ya, seemed to be his way of thinking.

      • rickflick
        Posted April 23, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        I’ll always remember another instance of self-deprecation. When he was being compared to JFK he said JFK was cut from a much finer cloth.

        I used to enjoy listening to him. Not so much any senator today, although Al Franken can be entertaining sometimes.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          Used to like watching him, too — he had eyebrows like a pair of caterpillars in the throes of an Amyl frenzy.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      I was 10 when Nixon resigned. I remember because his announcement was broadcast live in class on radio, which was never done. My best friend was from the US and she cried. I was completely dumbfounded that anyone would cry because a president resigned, especially someone our age. I asked the teacher about it; he said something about Americans seeing presidents differently than we do, which didn’t help.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 23, 2017 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, we all cried at my house, too … tears of joy and relief that the truthless bastard finally got his long-deserved comeuppance.

  5. E.A. Blair
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I just finished The Dictator’s Handbook: Why Bad Behavior Is Almost Always Good Politics by Bruce Bueno de Mesquita and Alastair Smith and am now four chapters into The Rocks Don’t Lie: A Geologist Investigates Noah’s Flood by David R. Montgomery and also reading The Science of the Oven by Hervé This.

    23 April is also given as the birth (1564) and death (1616) date of William Shakespeare.

  6. Frank Bath
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I shall be reading Lawrence’s book as soon as it becomes available over here. I find theoretical physics difficult but I will apply myself.
    The book I’m reading at the moment is Alan Furst’s ‘A Hero In France’. I have read everything by this US spy thriller writer and I recommended him to all. His ability to recreate the terror’s of the first part of 20th century Europe with minimal word count is astonishing. Edge of the chair stuff.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      ‘terrors’ of course.

  7. Randy schenck
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Bella is a lovely looking cat. I still have not tried the tape as yet but hope to. Reading at this time – Never Surrender, a historical review of the build up to WWII and Britain’s decision to fight Nazi Germany. Copyright 2015, Author, John Kelly

  8. Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    Off Topic:
    Did anyone else notice that CBS news played a long interview with a dude refuting Global Warming right after a quick mention of the march for science? Have our major news outlets gone over to the dark side with Tr*ump?

  9. Marilyn
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    “A People’s History of the United States” by Howard Zinn

  10. Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Does anybody here know how to contact Dr. Coyne? This has to do with Deepak Chopra speaking at my university. Thanks.

    • Christopher
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      Just google him. His email is found on his university of Chicago web page.

  11. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    I recommend the recent Waking Up podcast with Sam Harris and Krauss.

  12. Stephen Barnard
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    The Undoing Project, Michael Lewis

  13. David Harper
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    Apropos notable births and deaths on this date, 23 April is day on which William Shakespeare died in 1616. It is also the day that has been adopted as his date of birth 52 years earlier, although only a baptism records exists (for 26 April 1564).

    • Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      I don’t know how I missed that!!!

    • bric
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

      Also, according to himself but not documented, J M W Turner (1775).
      And, as all True English Men no St George’s Day

  14. Jeannine Lanigan aka pghwelshgirl
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Today is also the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s birth and death. If I remember correctly, today is the actual date of his death. The birthday’s a little less certain, as the records I think show his christening, but not the birth. Based on that, his birthday is traditionally celebrated on the 23rd.

    I just joined a local organizer that promotes British history and culture (“Britsburgh”). They are cosponsors for a week-long commemoration of Shakespeare’s birth. I’m going to a British beer tasting later today. So long as they don’t serve it warm, I’m in.

    • Jeannine Lanigan aka pghwelshgirl
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Damned auto-guess. Organization, not organizer.

  15. Debbie Coplan
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    “In The Darkroom” by Susan Faludi.

  16. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    Sandra Dee … or as we Mack-the-Knife lovers think of her, Mrs. Bobby Darin.

    Agree with you about cherry cheesecake. It’s best taken plain, although I did have a tasty piece with pineapple topping once at the Carnegie Deli, back when it was on 7th Avenue.

    Reading a collection of Gore Vidal’s essays, The Last Empire.

    • Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      I was devastated to hear that the Carnegie Deli closed. Yes, it was a tourist spot, but the sandwiches were excellent, and the big gratis bowls of pickles unsurpassed.

  17. Christopher
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    I’m reading Far From Any Coast, by the late C.W. Gusewelle, which ties in nicely with the last book I read, Hillbilly Elegy, by J. D. Vance, which was depressingly close to home for me. Gusewelle’s much more cheerful and poetically written book focuses mostly on the Ozarks, where my family is from, but a hillbilly is a hillbilly, even if the hills are in different places.

    Even though the book was released in 1989, there was a wonderful statement at the beginning of chapter 9, Truth and the Careless Ear: “In an age of disinformation, the ability to unravel threads of truth from the larger tissue of deceit has become a necessary survival skill.”

    Gusewelle also wrote a great little book, a collection of his newspaper columns, about his life with cats, even though he was at the time of his marriage a confirmed d*g man. It’s called “Another Cat at the Door” and I highly recommend it.

  18. Claudia Baker
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    ‘D-Day: The Battle for Normandy’ by Antony Beevor (2009). I have read his books ‘Stalingrad’ and ‘The Fall of Berlin 1945’. Wonderful historian.

    Also ‘Champlain’s Dream’ by David Hackett Fischer (2008). This won a Pulitzer. Story of Champlain’s exploration of “New France” and the first European settlements in Canada.

    • Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      I second Beevor’s books on Stalingrad and Berlin, both of which I’ve read.

    • Posted April 23, 2017 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Also read & recommend Beevor’s Berlin. Currently reading his book on the Spanish Civil War.

  19. Steve Pollard
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    The revised edition of “The Ancestor’s Tale”, by Richard Dawkins and Yang Won.

    23 April is also the traditional start of the English asparagus season. But the weather this spring has been so warm that our local asparagus farm has been selling it for nearly 3 weeks.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:44 am | Permalink

      So is 24 April the traditional start of the English pee-smells-funny season?

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted April 23, 2017 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

        Yup! And the traditional date when the season ends is Midsummer’s Day, June 21. Although my local asparagus farmer tells me that if we don’t get some rain pretty soon, the season will be over long before that.

        Incidentally, some people claim their pee is not affected by eating asparagus. I seem to recall reading somewhere that in fact everyone’s pee acquires that distinctive odour: it’s just that certain people lack the relevant olfactory detection mechanism.

  20. Steve Pollard
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    Sorry, “Yan Wong”!

  21. rickflick
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I read and enjoyed the new Krauss book.

    I’m reading Dan Dennett’s new book, “From Bacteria to Bach and Back – The Evolution of Minds”. I’m about 1/3 into it. It’s largely a repeat of earlier books but still nicely presented. Some of what’s new – he reports on recent research on brains. I skipped through a few sections that were too familiar.

  22. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Up next in my reading is the same Kraus book, Shakespeare After All by Marjorie Gerber, the play “John” by Annie Baker (which I just saw on stage) and Jesus Before the Gospels by Bart Ehrman. Also a golden oldie, Feynmans stuff on quantum physics.

  23. Patrick
    Posted April 23, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I’ll be rereading Dark Continent Europe’s Twentieth Century by Mark Mazower

  24. Posted April 23, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    Bella-the-stray is lovely. We rescued a sweet 3-pound cat who could have been Bella’s ancestor. Our Little One was 17 when we took her in. She lived as the adored centre of our lives until she passed quietly at 21. May your Bella have an equally long life!

  25. Posted April 23, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

    Recently finished “The Orenda”, by Joseph Boyden, and am in half-way through another novel of his, “Three Day Road”. Both spellbinding stories.

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