Wednesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

It’s Wednesday, June 28, 2017, and it’s National Tapioca Day! I love tapioca pudding, but I couldn’t tell you the last time I had it. Where would you get it anyway, unless you buy it and make it yourself? And in Poland, where I’m heading in early September, it’s Poznań Remembrance Day, honoring the 1956 rebellion of Poles against the Communist government. It failed, of course, and hundreds of people were killed or injured.

On this day in 1838, Queen Victoria was crowned the Queen of the United Kingdom. She ruled until 1901: 63 years! On June 28, 1846, Adolphe Sax patented the saxophone. It’s a good thing he wasn’t named Katzenellenbogen!  And on this day in 1914, Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife Sophie were assassinated in Sarajevo—the incident that began the Great War. In 1969, the Stonewall riots began in New York City, usually taken as the formal beginning of the Gay Rights Movement. On this day in 1987, for the first time in recorded history, a civilian population was subjected to chemical attack. It was the Iranian town of Sardasht, the weapon was mustard gas, and the perpetrator was the evil Saddam Hussein.  Finally, exactly one year ago today, terrorists attacked the Atatürk Airport in Istanbul, killing 42 and injuring more than 230. We all remember that well.

Notables born on this day include Peter Paul Rubens (1577), John Wesley (1703), Jean-Jacques Rousseau (1712), Paul Broca (1824), Richard Rodgers (1902), Mel Brooks (1926; he’s 91 today), and Lalla Ward (1951). Those who died on this day included James Madison (1836), and Rod Serling (1975). Here’s one of Rubens’s most famous works (he was known for portraying voluptuous bodies of women):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili (looking very cute by the Vistula) recalls a famous painting, but criticizes it for not including enough noms:

Hili: I dream about lunch on the grass.
A: Manet’s?
Hili: No, something more substantial.
In Polish:
Hili: Marzę o śniadaniu na trawie.
Ja: Maneta?
Hili: Nie, coś bardziej treściwego.
Here’s the Manet painting to which Hili refers: “Le Déjeuner sur l’herbe” (“Luncheon on the grass”; 1862-1863). I had remembered the repast as being more ample, but I see that Hili is right: there is just bread and fruit here—not good fare for a cat:
And in the garden of his future home near Dobrzyn, Leon is resting (and, as usual, scowling):

Leon: I woke up terribly tired.

Lagniappe: Senator Al Franken (it still cracks me up to say that title, but he’s been a good Senator) tells Rick Perry how science is done (h/t Matthew Cobb)

And here I am holding the only wild felid I ever held: a margay (Leopardus wiedii) in Costa Rica in 1974.  It wasn’t really wild; it was the pet at a bar/restaurant at Playa del Coco, but it was wild enough to bite the Turkish puzzle ring I was wearing then, which bore a nick for years until the ring fell apart. This is a picture of a slide held up to the window, so the quality is lousy; but LOOK AT THAT ANIMAL!

Margay, OTS, Costa Rica


  1. Sastra
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I like the Franken clip. But when he says that “100% of peer-review climate scientists agree,” I know that goes right out the window if we’re dealing with the typical global warming denier. They have their cranks, whom they consider to be scientists, and so there’s still a controversy “in the community.”

    Some of these marginal “experts” have a marginal amount of qualifications, and a layperson can’t easily tell why the scientists on one side are considered legitimate– but not the ones on their side. To them, it looks like special pleading on our part. We’re believing the folks who tell us what we want to hear, obviously — and inflate the number in the consensus. Global warming, evolution, homeopathy, vitalism, you name it: it’s always about who you decide to trust.

    “We just trust different people.” I’m so sick of hearing that.

  2. Linda Calhoun
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Al Franken is my first choice for someone to run against Trump in 2020.

    I hope he’s considering it; I sent him an email asking if he would.


    • Heather Hastie
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      The last time I heard someone ask him in an interview was about 6 weeks ago. He said he “definitely wouldn’t run”. Also that he wouldn’t change his mind on that. Of course, this is US politics, so who knows from one minute to the next let alone 3 years out.

      • darrelle
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        I’m guessing that he probably thinks that he is not qualified for the job of POTUS. As Dunning Kruger noted the more capable people are the more modest they tend to be about their own abilities. Unfortunately this leads to a preponderance of leaders that are both less capable and delusional about their abilities because the more capable less delusional people tend to remove themselves from consideration.

        There is no doubt in my mind that Al Franken could do a better job than Bush Jr or Trump as POTUS (practicing my stereotypical English understatement impersonation), but I bet he doesn’t feel he meets his own standards for POTUS.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted June 28, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          Yeah, good points all. I think it must be really awful going for the job of President in the US. The relentless personal attacks alone would make it sooooo hard, and that’s just the start.

        • Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

          Interesting! I have long wondered how such a large and advanced nation comes up with so disappointing candidates, both those who get elected and their close competitors.

          (Of course, most other nations are the same or worse; but no other leader can do harm comparable to that by a bad US president, except maybe the Russian president.)

          • darrelle
            Posted June 28, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

            You and me both. Surely it is possible for us to do better?

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Rick Perry started wearing glasses a while back to fool people into thinking he actually read something.

  4. mordacious1
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    James Madison 1836…

  5. Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    My Senator Al Franken has done an excellent job. Based on his previous life in public as a comedian, many discounted him. (I find that comedians are generally very sharp.)

    I got to vote for him in both his elections: 2008 and 2014. 2008 was a real squeaker, decided by a few hundred votes (Minnesota had 2,921,498 voters in the 2008 election – 78% of eligible voters; we often lead the nation in turnout); but in the 2014 election, he won comfortably.

    Much like our Governor, Mark Dayton, Franken has greatly exceeded my expectations.

    • darrelle
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      I could only wish for about 187 more Al Frankens in the House & Senate.

  6. Blue
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Not bad at all actually —
    @~95¢ per serving = ready – made tapioca pudding
    of and
    in Chicago may likely be here @ one of these

    I just had its cupful with yesterday’s lunch.
    My mother’s had in her homemade concoction
    raisins and more cinnamon, but Aldi’s comes
    sort of close to hers.


  7. DrBeydon
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    I used to get Tapioca at the deli at Jewel. I think any decent deli would have it. If worse comes to worst, Jello makes a Tapioca snack pack (refrigerated).

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Damn, but Rick Perry’s dumb as so much Texas mud. And this embarrassing performance ain’t the half of it.

    Not only did Perry not know that the Dept. of Energy was responsible for maintaining the US nuclear arsenal until after he was appointed to run it, but during his ill-fated 2012 presidential run he campaigned on a promise to do away with that department (even though during a debate he couldn’t recall its name as one of the three agencies he planned to eliminate. Oops!).

    Apparently it’s enough to be a human jockstrap wrapped around the testicles of the oil & gas industry to be named Secretary of Energy by Donald Trump. Governor Rick’s still sportin’ The Coiffure, though, I see.

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

      That penultimate sentence had me laughing.

  9. rickflick
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I just noticed Manet didn’t even put a bottle of wine in the painting!

    • Colin McLachlan
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      And what’s with the naked and near-naked women with fully-clothed men?

  10. rickflick
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I am always very impressed with the comedian from Minnesota.

  11. bric
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    The best tapioca puddings are found in Malaysian restaurants and generally known as Gula Melaka

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Tapioca’s ok. Personally, I prefer the rice pudding at L’Ami Jean.

  13. Posted June 28, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    Tapioca should be marched out wearing a blindfold and shot. It’s vile and we all know it.

    However, that Margay looks beautiful.

    Opinions delivered, he strode, blinking, towards the sun filled future….

  14. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    May the incomparable Mel Brooks live to b 191.

    My first thought at seeing JAC with the margay was ‘That wild looking, scantily clad, indigenous ulotrician must have just emerged from the jungle,’ (or else a ulotrician hippie).

  15. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Do napalm and Agent Orange not count as chemical weapons? Both were used against civilians in Vietnam prior to 1987.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Mr. Perry confuses being a skeptic with being incredulous. A true skeptic has an alternative explanation for data that goes against their position.

    Franken’s new book on his time in politics is as funny as his earlier ones.


    I remember actress Lalla Ward from long before she was married to Richard Dawkins.
    Among the many benefits of his life, RD is lucky to be married to a professional actress who is the reader of his books on tape!!

    • darrelle
      Posted June 28, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      I think you are being too generous to Perry. He himself has probably never given serious thought to understanding anything about science. Using some science method terms to pretend like you just want to do the same thing science does is a standard tactic of politicians aiming to do something that science shows to be stupid, and Perry was probably coached on this by staff or is simply mimicking what he has seen other’s of his ilk do.

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted June 28, 2017 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        Well then, his rhetoric confuses skepticism with incredulity!!

  17. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    The English subtitles in the Franken clip say “cast out” when Franken said “cast doubt”

  18. Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Until now, I didn’t know about the margay! It’s a shame that such a beautiful cat is endangered. I’d suggest to establish a breeding program and sell the kittens as pets to South Americans cat lovers. They may be a little wild… but the so called domestic cats also aren’t 100% domestic, and the photo is evidence that margays qualify as pets.

  19. Diane G.
    Posted June 28, 2017 at 11:15 pm | Permalink


    Yeah! Nice cat, too!

    Also, how do we know Hili wasn’t making a great pun? (Manet’s, mayonnaise…)

    I’ll get my hat…

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