Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Hump Day in the U.S.: Wednesday, July 12, 2017. Chicago had a huge rainstorm last night—in some places six inches fell in the city and there was flooding—but it’s stopped now. I trust my ducks have survived the deluge. Now the temperature will rise to 94° F (34.4° C), so it’s going to be muggy and miserable. It’s National Pecan Pie Day, one of the best American desserts, especially when the pecans are larded throughout the sweet filling rather than laid as a thin layer on top:



On the island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe, where I did field work, it’s Independence Day, celebrating its freedom from Portugal in 1975.

There was a big snow in New Zealand yesterday, leading to scenes like this (h/t: Gordon):

Arthur’s Pass, home of my favorite bird (see below). Photo: KATE LE COMTE

My favorite bird, and you’d better know it. Photo: JOEL MCDOWELL/SUPPLIED

In honor of the unusual weather, I am wearing an unusual New Zealand pendant, a toki (a symbol of the Māori adze or axe); they’re usually made of nephrite (pounamu), but this one is made of lapis and carved with Maori designs. The tee shirt pays homage to the One True Deity:

On this day in history, Henry VIII (he appears regularly here) married his sixth and last wife, Catherine Parr, who was not beheaded. On July 12, 1804, Alexander Hamilton died after being shot in a duel with Aaron Burr. In 1962,  The Rolling Stones performed their first concert—at London’s Marquee Club. And in 1979, Kiribati became independent from the UK.

Notables born on this day include Claude Bernard (1813), William Osler (1849), Louis B. Mayer (1884), Oscar Hammerstein II (1895), Bill Cosby (1937, in disgrace at the age of 80), Eiko Ishioka, Japanese art director and graphic designer (1938; see below), Christine McVie (1943), Brian Grazer and Cheryl Ladd (both 1951), and skater Kristi Yamaguchi (1971; what young man was not in love with her?). In honor of Eiko Ishioka’s birthday (she died in 2012), Google has an interactive Doodle today (click on screen shot to go there):

From Wikipedia:

Noted for her advertising campaigns for the Japanese boutique chain Parco, [Ishioka’s] collaboration with sportswear company Descente in designing uniforms and outerwear for members of the Swiss, Canadian, Japanese and Spanish teams at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and was the director of costume design for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. She won the Academy Award for Best Costume Design for her work in Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 film Bram Stoker’s Dracula and was posthumously nominated for an Academy Award in the same category for her work in Tarsem Singh’s 2012 film Mirror Mirror.

Those who died on this day include Alfred Dreyfus (1935) and Minnie Riperton (1979),  a one-hit wonder who had the highest voice I’ve ever heard in pop music (she had a five-octave range). Remember this song and those amazing notes? Riperton died of cancer at only 31.

Finally, out in Dobrzyn, Hili is trying to manipulate Cyrus to get the walkies going with Andrzej:

Hili: Tell him to hurry up.
Cyrus: Tell him yourself.
Hili: You have greater influence on him than I do.
In Polish:
Hili: Powiedz mu, żeby się pospieszył.
Cyrus: Sama mu powiedz.
Hili: Ty masz na niego większy wpływ.



  1. mfdempsey1946
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Eiko Ishioka was indeed a splendid artist.

    A wondrous example of her creativity can be found in the production design of Paul Schrader’s magnificent film, “Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters.”

  2. Phil Rounds
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I don’t like pecan pie….In fact i don’t like pecans in general. I’m more an apple pie person, when i do pie at all.
    National Apple Pie Day is May 13.

    I honestly don’t see the point of the fake satanism plates…or of using satanism as a foil against organized religion. I think it cheapens the secular cause. Why not a DARWIN plate…or something like IM4RESON?
    Aren’t we supposed to be the grownups in this debate?

    Ever notice how dogs seem to hate making eye contact with cats?

    • Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

      Well, good morning to you too. Do you have Mr. Grump in your tummy today?

    • Randy schenck
      Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      What would the difference be between a fake satinism plate be and a real one?

      • David Coxill
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        I can’t see no stinking satanism plates ,national Hump day ,is that Hump in the American slang for you know what.

    • darrelle
      Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      The grownups? I’ll leave the full-time grownup gig in your capable hands. Me, I’ll be happy to have some fun every now and again.

      I suppose cheapening is in the eye of the beholder, but no, Hail Satan license plates don’t cheapen the debate. I think they are funny as shit and I also think that Christians getting their knickers in a twist when seeing one is a Good Thing.

      • Dee
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink


      • claudia baker
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:11 am | Permalink

        I agree. If Christians can have stupid shit on their license plates, then All Hail Satan.

        Pecan pie is delicious. Especially my home made with my grandmother’s recipe for pie crust. Butter tarts are a close second and something my son always requests on a visit home.

        I would like to see someone comment on the giant iceberg that is supposed to have broken off yesterday. It’s not “Fake News” is it?

        • Randy schenck
          Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

          Not if you heard it on FOX.

          • claudia baker
            Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:31 am | Permalink

            I can honestly say I have never watched Fox news. But that may only be because I don’t get that channel. If I did, it would probably be so tempting, if only to see what the crazies are up to now.

            • Randy schenck
              Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

              Well, if you ever do watch, I recommend waiting at least 2 hours after eating.

              • claudia baker
                Posted July 12, 2017 at 9:17 am | Permalink

                🙂 Will do!

            • Rita
              Posted July 12, 2017 at 9:01 am | Permalink

              I’m surprised that you have managed to escape Fox news, because it seems to me that every time I visit a public place such as the rec center, tire store, etc., if they have a TV (and they usually do), it will be showing Fox news. sometimes I ask them to change the channel or (better yet) just turn it off. I’ve considered getting a device I saw at Amazon that will remotely switch the TV off. You can keep it on your key chain, and no one will know who is the culprit.

        • darrelle
          Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:24 am | Permalink

          With all the positive mention of butter tarts on this site I am now determined to find out what the heck they are! I’ve never seen one let alone eaten one. I guess I’ll have to get a recipe off the internet and make it myself. But then I won’t really know if it’s good or bad, or if I just screwed it up.

          • claudia baker
            Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

            With or without raisins is the thing with butter tarts. I am definitely in the WITH camp, but there can be bitter arguments…

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

        Combos can sometimes redeem a food.

        I like pecan pie far far more than I like pecans.

      • David Coxill
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

        What would happen if a godbot saw a satan number plate on the devil’s highway US666,now renamed route 491?.

        • darrelle
          Posted July 12, 2017 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

          Good question. Perhaps found a new church? Binge watch the Omen movies for survival tips? Explode maybe?

          Sounds like a great opening scene for a comedy starring Melissa McCarthy as Satan incarnate. Sent by God to scare humans back to being properly worshipful but, like a smart-ass and devious teenager, determined to make God regret it.

          • Colin McLachlan
            Posted July 13, 2017 at 4:08 am | Permalink

            Great pitch! Have your people talk to my people.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted July 12, 2017 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

      I actually LOL’d at your post because both paragraphs talk about what you don’t like and end with an observation about dog and cat interaction. I don’t know why I find it funny but I’ve been having a rough week with migraines and maybe it just perfectly sums up my feelings.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        Here, I made an awkward poem loosely based on Green Eggs and Ham. Sorry folks, this is what migraine does to you.

        Do you like pecans and pie?

        I do not like them. I do not like pecans and pie.

        Would you like them here or there?

        I do not like them here or there.
        I do not like them anywhere.
        I do not like pecans and pie.

        Also dogs never look cats in the eye.

        • rickflick
          Posted July 12, 2017 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

          You’ve made me hungry for pecans and pie. 😎

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted July 13, 2017 at 9:04 am | Permalink

            Or buttertarts.

  3. Fernando Peregrin
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Jerry, you said that Minnie Riperton was one of the sharpest voices of pop. You said that she had a range of five octaves! It is very difficult to believe since, for example, the voices of Maria Callas, Joan Sutherland and Lucia Popp had a range of three octaves maximun.

    The five octaves range sounds weird, check your sources of voice estension information

    • Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Why don’t you listen to the song and check your sources, like here:

      Or better yet, listen to the song, which you apparently didn’t do before wagging your finger at me.

      • rickflick
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the link. I knew nothing about her other than the hit song. Fascinating and unique voice.

      • Fernando Peregrin
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

        Sorry Jerry, but we’re talking about different things. When speaking of 5 octaves (in reality, according to your source, 4 Octaves 2 note and a semi-tone D3-F # 7) you seem to include the range of falsetto (somo times call Whistle Register), and for me, that is not to sing, but to shout, even if it is considered valid in the exhibitionist pop.

        I always understand, until I am told otherwise, that the range of a coloratura soprano of the type of Minnie Riperon refers to its extension where the voice maintains its color, its identity or timbre.

        And be assured, dear Jerry, that I have heard the song twice and that its extension without fading, discoloring or artificially clarifying the voice is, notably, of little more than three octaves (And the color of the voice changed a lot when passing from the medium register to the top, which makes it difficult to speak of type of voice)

        Have you taken me wrong when you said that I’am “wagging your finger at me”? Your answer is a bit harsh and unpolite. What a surprise!

      • JonLynnHarvey
        Posted July 12, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

        If you take statistics, you learn there are often “outliers” in any data set.

        Julie Andrews had a perfect four octave range at the age of 12.
        Ergo, a five octave range isn’t hard to believe.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      The problem that I had with Minnie Riperton was that the only thing people praised about her was her range. The song Lovin’ You seemed to have been written for no other reason than to exploit that, and I found the extreme high notes piercing and annoying. A co-worker once excoriated me for my disdain for the song, using the argument, “She has such an amazing range!” My reply was, “Yes, she does have a wonderful voice. I just don’t happen to like what she does with it.”

  4. Randy schenck
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    Maybe it is loony day. Lovely weather here in Wichita, yesterday 102 and today 103. That’s about 39 on your Celsius devices. Just as well be in Phoenix.

    • claudia baker
      Posted July 12, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Jesus wept, that’s hot!

  5. DaveP
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Re: Religious license plate article…

    Copyright 2017 Chattanooga Bystander. This site is satire, fiction, and intended only for those age 18 and over. Names used in articles are fictional, unless those of public figures or entities as the subject of satire.

    • Posted July 12, 2017 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Oops, I’ll omit that. Thanks!

    • Colin McLachlan
      Posted July 13, 2017 at 4:23 am | Permalink

      Ah, that explains comment #2.

  6. Posted July 12, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Speaking of rainstorms, rain was so sudden and strong in Paris on Sunday evening that the metro was flooded. Video here.

    • claudia baker
      Posted July 12, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

      Wow, that’s amazing!

      We have also had a lot of rain here in Ontario. Almost every day. And last summer we had drought conditions. Not good, these drastic fluctuations.

      More rain today, which is why I’m on the computer and not out mowing the lawn, weeding the garden or swimming in the lake.

      I suppose I could be baking butter tarts…

  7. BJ
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Pecan pie is the greatest thing in the world! I’ve never seen one that looked like that crappy knockoff in the first picture, but the second one literally has my mouth watering.

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because we always have my three favorite pies for dessert: pecan (#1), coconut custard (#2), and pumpkin (#3).

  8. Vaal
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 11:59 am | Permalink


    To a pie lover, I agree that second pecan pie photo obviously represents a superior pie in every way.

    If you ever find yourself in New Orleans and want great pecan pie, I recommend Brigtsen’s restaurant – a homey place with superb service, known for their pecan pie. It was out of this world!

  9. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Since Henry VIII appears so often in this blog that started out as an evolution blog, it is high time to post this painting of
    Henry’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, with her pet monkey.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted July 12, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Oops, I totally forgot about not using the b-word here!!

  10. Chris Swart
    Posted July 12, 2017 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Minnie Ripperton gave us Maya Rudolph, a gift far beyond her limited recording output, IMO.

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