Sunday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s Sunday, June 18, 2017, and it’s Father’s Day! I hope to be celebrated by my brood of ducklings and scurry of squirrels (yes, that’s the right word for a group of those rodents). It’s also International Picnic Day. I’m not sure whether that means you should eat culturally appropriated food, dine sitting on a border between two countries, or simply celebrate that day throughout the world. Never mind, as I doubt any of us will be having picnics today; certainly not in Chicago, where rain is in the forecast. It’s also Waterloo Day, the anniversary of that battle in 1815  and a holiday observed by the British Army.

On this day in 1858, Charles Darwin got the Fated Letter from Alfred Russel Wallace, written in Indonesia,  describing ARW’s independent discovery of the theory of evolution by natural selection. Disturbed, Darwin did the right thing and arranged for simultaneous publication of Wallace’s letter and Darwin’s own views, and then he got to work writing The Origin. Ceiling Cat knows when Darwin would have written that book had Wallace not written him.

On June 18, 1940, Winston Churchill delivered his “Finest Hour” speech to the House of Commons, ending with these stirring words (note that he mentions science):

But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new dark age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves, that if the British Empire and its Commonwealth, last for a thousand years, men will still say, This was their finest hour.

And on this day in 1983, Sally Ride became the first American woman in space as an astronaut on the Space Shuttle.

Notables born on this day include Roger Ebert and Paul McCartney (both 1942; Ebert died but Sir Paul is 75 today), Carol Kane (1952) and Lisa Randall (1962; 55 today). Those who died on this day include Samuel Butler (1902), Roald Amundsen (1928), Ethel Barrymore (1959) and John Cheever (1982),  Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, disporting herself among the ripening cherries, seems to be paraphrasing Arthur Conan Doyle (see below):

Hili: If I see correctly, new times are coming.
A: From the East?
Hili: No, from stupidity.
In Polish:
Hili: Jeśli dobrze widzę idą nowe czasy.
Ja: Ze wschodu?
Hili: Nie, z głupoty.

From Wikipedia on Conan Doye’s Sherlock Holmes story, His Last Bow, in which Holmes presages the Great War:

Holmes and Watson take Von Bork and the evidence to Scotland Yard. Afterward, Holmes retires from detective work. He spends his days beekeeping in the countryside and writing his definitive work on investigation. In reference to the impending War, Holmes says, “There’s an east wind coming, Watson.” Watson misinterprets the meaning of the words and says, “I think not, Holmes. It is very warm.”

“Good old Watson! You are the one fixed point in a changing age. There’s an east wind coming all the same, such a wind as never blew on England yet. It will be cold and bitter, Watson, and a good many of us may wither before its blast. But it’s God’s own wind none the less, and a cleaner, better, stronger land will lie in the sunshine when the storm has cleared.”

But I am assured by Malgorzata that Andrzej wasn’t referring to this when he translated Hili’s meows.

Lagniappe: this video is strangely soothing; it shows Gus being petted by one of his staff (Taskin) for a minute and ten seconds. Look at that snow-white, luxuriant fur!

Reader Charleen sent a cat that looks like a cinnamon roll:

This picture of a shaved Husky appears to be genuine, and is quite amazing. But it’s caused a furor on the Internet because you’re generally not supposed to shave this kind of dog. So don’t try it at home, but have a gander at this:


  1. Posted June 18, 2017 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    “And on this day in 1983, Sally Ride became the first woman in space as an astronaut on the Space Shuttle.”

    First American woman in space.

    • Posted June 18, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      Whoops, I forgot about the Russians. Fixed.

      • Christopher
        Posted June 18, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink

        The Russians seemed to forget about it too. After Valentina Tereshkova completed her three days in space, on June 16, 1963, and after beating the US with the first woman in space, they didn’t bother sending up another female cosmonaut until 19 years later. Pure propaganda, and a criticism that Tereshkova has brought up in interviews, despite her having been a prominent party member.

  2. Nobody Special
    Posted June 18, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Who photoshopped the husky head onto a plucked chicken?

  3. rickflick
    Posted June 18, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The Darwin/Wallace story is fascinating. I’m just now reading “The Evolution of Beauty” by Richard Prum, an ornithologist. He relates how Darwin viewed sexual selection as driven by an aesthetic sense rather than strict adaptation. Wallace felt only pure, adaptive natural selection could account for variation. They fought over this from the time Origin was published. When Darwin died in 1882, Wallace continued to denigrate Darwin’s view so that it was not until the 1970s that the idea came under serious consideration.

    Here’s Prum’s TEDx talk:

    • Posted June 18, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      Aesthetic sense, however, can’t explain the many INTERNAL adaptations: genital shape of females, sperm discrimination, etc. unless you consider aesthetics to encompass internal physiology and biochemistry not connected with vision or hearing.

      • Christopher
        Posted June 18, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        I’ve been reading Menno Schilthuizen’s popular science book, Nature’s Nether Regions. It’s quite interesting so far, and anyone who wants a simplified overview of the evolution of willies and such should pick it up, ask for it behind the counter, wrapped in a plain brown paper bag…😜

      • rickflick
        Posted June 18, 2017 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

        I haven’t gotten far into the book, but I think he must mean external. The ornamental tail of the peacock, the various colors and shapes of the birds-of-paradise, etc. Usually color and shape in males which are chosen by females.

  4. Raymond Little
    Posted June 18, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    bad photoshop.

    • Posted June 18, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      I don’t think so.

    • Paul S
      Posted June 19, 2017 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      My neighbor had a malamute and it attempted to blow it’s coat all year long and Chicago winters can be down right frigid. I’ve never seen such thick fur.

  5. GBJames
    Posted June 18, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Up here in Milwaukee we have NO rain in the forecast. I could go on a picnic!

    But it is Father’s Day and the kids are taking us out to my favorite Serbian restaurant. I will culinarily appropriate some culturally appropriated burek.

    • Christopher
      Posted June 18, 2017 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      My son and I are going to culturally appropriate some Indian food, which itself is culturally appropriated, as tomatoes and hot peppers that are the basis of so many curries, and the vanilla used in the rice pudding, originated in South America! And trust me, I’ll enjoy every damn appropriated bite of it!
      And speaking of Siberia, I just finished a book called A Great Current Running: the US-Russia Lena River Expedition, by C W Gusewelle, which was an interesting story about Gusewelle, a KC Star newspaper man who sought a travel expedition down the length of the Lena through Siberia during the last days of the Soviet Union. I highly recommend it.
      Enjoy your burek, whatever that might be.

      • GBJames
        Posted June 18, 2017 at 10:16 am | Permalink

        I shall enjoy my burek as I’m sure you will enjoy that Indian food!

        Putting on my pedant’s hat I’m forced to note that the vanilla you so enjoy was culturally appropriated from Mesoamerica, not South America.

        • Christopher
          Posted June 18, 2017 at 11:11 am | Permalink


          Perhaps this is my internalized North American bias, considering everything south of the US as South American. I must go now for a bit of self-flagellation, and out myself as a subconscious racist for violating the unwritten laws of the left as I have now done. Actually, I don’t find that pedantic at all, to correct a simple and stupid mistake. As someone who made Native American (north and south) history a focus of my history degree, that level of sloppiness is inexcusable. Now, when I pointed out to a grocer who was affixing a sign to some multicolored corn variety that ALL corn was in fact “Indian” corn…THAT was being pedantic! (But said only in jest, I swear)


          • GBJames
            Posted June 18, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

            Speaking of vanilla, there’s some very interesting symbiotic evolution involved. The stingless bees (Melipona) that pollinate the orchid that produces vanilla beans are Mesoamerican natives. As a result, vanilla was only produce there until the 1840s when a technique for artificial pollination was invented. Now, most of the world’s vanilla is produced in Madagascar. I believe the bees are now somewhat threatened. It is a good thing to support growers of Mexican vanilla for this reason (and others).

            • jahigginbotham
              Posted June 18, 2017 at 8:09 pm | Permalink

              Not this year for production in Madagascar. Due to a storm, the crop was wiped out. Costco vanilla has gone from ~$8 to ~$24 a bottle.

      • Posted June 19, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

        Burek is a type of banitsa. Hope this helps :-).

    • Posted June 18, 2017 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Man, I’ve always wanted to go to the famous Three Brothers, but I’ve never been in Milwaukee except to drive through it on the interstate.

  6. Posted June 18, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Although the transformation is disturbing, I can see the reasons for giving a Husky a close haircut at least. They will be a lot more comfortable in the heat, and we all know how much they shed.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted June 18, 2017 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      Labs she’d like crazy too and they have an undercoat like huskies. I think huskies must have thicker coats though as my yellow dog rarely gets hot but she seems always to be blowing off her coat.

    • jahigginbotham
      Posted June 18, 2017 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      From South Florida Siberian Husky Rescue, Inc.

      The Siberian Husky should never be clipped / shaved except in medical emergencies.

      Dogs do not sweat like humans. Their cooling process is done via panting from the mouth, sweating at the paws and cooling the blood in their ears. Shaving the dog does nothing to keep the dog cool.
      The Siberian Husky has little to no pigmentation in its skin. If you shave the Husky, you expose it to the sun without protection. Now you have a dog that can come up with a variety of skin problems including skin cancer. Another reason to NOT clip / shave your Husky is that the fur acts as a protection against insects and parasites. You remove that protection the dog is exposed to even more insect problems than he would have had if he had been allowed to keep is protective coat.

      Furthermore, if you clip / shave a Husky it will eventually ruin the coat and disturb the proper shedding process. Resource: Ted Greenlee

  7. Richard Bond
    Posted June 18, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    …in which Holmes presages the Great War:

    A much more impressive anticipation is in The Riddle of the Sands by Erskine Childers, published in 1903, and still my favourite thriller/spy novel.

  8. Mark R.
    Posted June 18, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

    I think Hili is very prescient today.

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