Monday: Hili dialogue

“Grease the new day!”, as an old friend used to say. It’s Monday, July 10, 2017, and National Piña Colada Day, a drink I find unbearably sweet. But it always reminds me of the New York Times reporter Gina Kolata, who must have gotten many jibes in her life. It’s also Nikola Tesla Day everywhere.

On this day in 1553, Lady Jane Grey became Queen of England. She ruled for only ten days, was dethroned and then tried for treason and beheaded in February of the next year. She died at age 17. On July 10, 1913, a world record temperature for the whole planet was recorded in a place where I did months of field work studying fly movement: Death Valley, California. On that day the temperature spiked at 134 °F (57 °C), the highest temperature ever recorded on Earth. I worked Death Valley in the cooler season (Feb.-April), but once went back in August to see if fruit flies could be found. The temperature was over 120 °F (49°C), I had to rent a room with air-conditioning (and I was a poor postdoc!), and there was nary a fly to be found. But come next spring there were millions: where did they come from?  On this day in 1925, the guru Meher Baba began his silence (commemorated today by his followers); he didn’t speak for 44 years, and died in 1969 without even saying final words (he gestured at the end to say, “Don’t forget that I am god”.) I still have this card from Meher Baba taped in my office, which makes me smile:

Finally, on this day in 1985, French intelligence agents exploded a bomb on the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior moored in Auckland (New Zealand) harbor, sinking it and killing a photographer.  (The ship was going to the Pacific to put itself in the way of French nuclear tests.)  Although the French eventually fessed up and paid Greenpeace $8 million in compensation, the arrested bombers were treated lightly, much to the shame of my adopted nation of New Zealand. The Kiwis briefly held the bombers and then transferred them to French custody, where they were briefly detained and released. Many Kiwis I talked to, though, thought that this was shameful. And to this day no ship carrying nuclear weapons, including those from the U.S., can dock in New Zealand.

Notables born on this day include Eva Eckeblad (1724), a Swedish agronomist and noblewoman; Wikipedia notes that “her best known discovery was to make flour and alcohol out of potatoes (1746)” and that she was the first woman inducted into the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. There’s a Google Doodle today in her honor (click on screenshot):


Others born on this day include David Teniers III (1638), Robert Chambers (1802), Camille Pissarro (1830), Nikola Tesla (1856), Marcel Proust (1871), Kurt Alder (1902), Alice Munro (1931), Arthur Ashe (1943), and Arlo Guthrie (1943).

Here’s a lovely painting by Teniers, “Cat Concerto” (1673, painted when he was only 25):

Who could forget Monty Python’s “Summarize Proust” contest?

Those who died on July 10 include Jelly Roll Morton (1941), Mel Blanc (1989), and Omar Sharif (as Ali; 2015). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is dissing her friend Cyrus again. (By the way, Cyrus finally got a bath and is no longer stinking.)
Hili: Is there any explanation for why dogs like these stupid games with a ball?
A: I doubt it but ask somebody wiser.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy jest jakieś wyjaśnienie, dlaczego psy lubią te głupie zabawy z piłką?
Ja: Wątpię, ale zapytaj kogoś mądrzejszego.
 And from Winnipeg we have a Gus movie, of an intensity rivaling that of Warhol’s classic “Empire”. When Gus heard I wasn’t going to see the cat movie “Kedi” (I finally saw it), he was sad, and I got this report from his staff Taskin:

Gus was sad that you missed Kedi so he decided to make his own movie which he calls “The Cats of Winnipeg”. I tried to explain that he was only one cat and it takes place just in our backyard, but it didn’t deter him. It not as good as that other movie, but it was the best we could do.

Taskin calls the movie “Boop.”:


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Ah! Summarize Proust contest – one of my favorites! NSFW!

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    I think we need to put a mirror under Gus’s noise to catch all the action.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      sorry Gus, that’s nose…

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted July 10, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      Watching Gus, out of the corner of my eye I could see grass grow.

  3. Mike
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Monty Python,genius!

  4. E.A. Blair
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Is there any explanation for why dogs like these stupid games with a ball?

    About the same as with cats and the little bright red dot.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted July 10, 2017 at 9:18 am | Permalink

      A kitten (or a silly cat) and a ping-pong ball will amuse you and it for hours.

      • E.A. Blair
        Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:48 pm | Permalink

        I had a cat who liked to lie in the drain end of the bathtub. He then batted a ping pong ball to the far end of the tub, whereupon, of course, it immediately rolled back to him. It was the perfect cat play: minimal effort, a ball, and a nice rattly noise.

        He also liked to jump in the tub as it drained and slosh around and chase all the floaty bits as they swirled down the drain. Of course that was one cat for whom a squirt gun was never a deterrent.

        Kveldulf, 1995-2012. He is missed.

  5. Blue
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Mr Baba had had someone else with him
    24 / 7 throughout all of those 44 years’ time
    of his alleged silence then ?

    Cuz I as a hermitess and recluse could
    be said — by others — to not speak either.
    But when I am alone ? Why I can rattle off and
    blather on like nobody’s business. Yes, to the
    thin air. But still … … .that. still counts.
    Not ? the vocal cords vibrating.

    Ya’ know … …
    as this dude of ~4.8 million views:

    So there had been total witnessing throughout, not ?


    • Posted July 10, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

      As I recall, he had an alphabet board, and lectured as well as did interviews by pointing at the letters.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted July 10, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Nothing wrong with talking to yourself Blue. All those mad people have given it a bad name.

    • Blue
      Posted July 10, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      I ask the query specifically about
      the 24 / 7 – witnessing in re thus of
      The Categorically Incontrovertible Evidence
      therefor “Don’t forget that I am god … … “
      of his final blithering gesture.


    • bric
      Posted July 10, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?”
      – Bishop Berkeley

  6. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Wow! I never knew the iconic porn star Ron Jeremy also came up with ‘Don’t Worry, Be Happy’. Evidently a man of many talents.

  7. Benjay
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Meher Baba was a prolific blogger?

  8. Hempenstein
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Eva OakLeaf. I love Swedish names.

    Story behind them is interesting. As I understand it, in the military soldiers were assigned usually monosyllabic names for roll call, since calling out Carlsson, Svensson etc was pointless – there were too many. The names were of simple things – the sorts of words that would have come first as the language was developing, that could be called out quickly. Stone (Sten), Branch (Kvist), Leaf (Blad) etc. Then in the late 19th century the national romantic movement started adopting and combining such names, and that’s how you something like Eckeblad, which by now might have become Ekblad.

  9. rickflick
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    “once went back in August to see if fruit flies could be found. The temperature was over 120 °F (49°C)”

    It’s not the heat it’s the humidity.

  10. bric
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    ‘Proust had a bad memory.’
    ~ Samuel Beckett

  11. bric
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    in other literary news: July 10, 1873 after an argument, Verlaine fires two shots at Rimbaud

  12. W.Benson
    Posted July 10, 2017 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    I’m not claiming that Death Valley isn’t hot, only that some people in the know believe that the 1913 record was, well, exaggerated by a few degrees. See . . . (and close up the spaces)
    http: // www. kpbs. org /news/2013/jul/15/ doubts-cloud-death-valleys-100-year-heat-record/

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