Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on the day before Thanksgiving in America: Wednesday, November 22, 2017. The campus is empty, and all employees (and most faculty and grad students) will be gone till next Monday. I’ll be here all week folks; don’t forget to try the roast beef!  It’s National Cashew Day, the world’s second best nut (macadamias are first). Actually, cashews are technically not nuts but seeds, so it’s the world’s best seed. It’s also The Day of the Albanian Alphabet, celebrating the meeting in 1908 that standardized what had been at least six separate alphabets.

On this day in 1718, the British pirate Edward Teach, better known as “Blackbeard“, was killed in battle against a Royal Navy ship.  On November 22, 1928, the first performance of Ravel’s Boléro was held in Paris.

Of course this day is etched in American memories as the day in 1963 when Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President John F. Kennedy in Dallas, also killing a police officer (J. D. Tippit) and wounding Texas governor John Connelly. Exactly five years later, the Beatles released the “white album”, technically known as “The Beatles”. On November 22, 1975, Juan Carlos became the King of Spain after Franco finally joined the Choir Invisible. Exactly two decades later, the movie Toy Story was released as the first full-length film created entirely from computer-generated images. Finally, it was on this day in 2005 that Angela Merkel became Germany’s first female Chancellor.

Notables born on this day include Abigail Adams (1744), George Eliot (1819), André Gide (1869), Charles de Gaulle (1890), Benjamin Britten (1913), Terry Gilliam (1940), Billie Jean King (1943) and Mariel Hemingway (1961). Those who expired on November 22 include, besides Blackbeard and John F. Kennedy (see above), Walter Reed (1902), Jack London (1916), Arthur Eddington (1944), Shemp Howard (1955; He was, for a while, one of the Three Stooges, but not a popular one. Wikipedia notes “he was called “Shemp” because ‘Sam’ [his real last name was Horowitz] came out that way in his mother’s thick Litvak accent), C. S. Lewis (1963; died on the same day as JFK),  Mae West (1980), Hans Adolf Krebs (1981), and Lynn Margulis (2011).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, we have another enigmatic Hili Dialogue. When I told Malgorzata I didn’t understand it, she replied:

Oh! It can be a cultural problem! In Polish there is a saying that a person is like an open book which means straightforward, easy to understand, just go and read it. Now, Hili tries to read books which are above her ability to understand. So she mistakenly associates this saying with something that is difficult to fathom. She is now trying to decipher the traces on the floor and it’s not so easy. Hence her comment. It’s funny: I can’t imagine a Pole who would’ve any trouble with understanding this dialogue.

Well, the phrase is similar in English but the dialogue is still enigmatic:

Hili: A floor is like an open book.
A: What do you mean?
Hili: That it’s not always possible to understand.
In Polish:
Hili: Podłoga jest jak otwarta książka.
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: Nie zawsze daje się zrozumieć.

I found this tw**t; be sure to watch the video—the best Christmas video ever!

From Heather Hastie:

This is one of the most beautiful kittens I’ve seen. Look at that face!

And a tw**t from Matthew:

I miss my duck. . . .


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 22, 2017 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Those grad students better call a senator or something because they’ll be taxed as if their tuition is their income, if the latest tax bill goes through – there’s an NPR story on it.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

        It is my understanding that most colleges will also be hit big time with taxes on their endowments. This is a really nasty one because it appears to be a direct personal attack on schools considered the enemy of the republicans. Never before has tax legislation been used to go after opposition. It is amazing not more outrage has not be made of this. I heard this on MSNBC in an interview with Larry Summers.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted November 22, 2017 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          I really need to edit this stuff. Anyway this tax applies to more than 70 private universities (that would be Chicago too). A 1.4% excise tax on net investment income. Maybe they could protest something similar to the colonies a number of years ago – taxation without representation. The richest 1% needs this income, thank you.

    • Filippo
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      Will those apotheoses of intellectual curiosity, college athletes, find their full scholarships – covering tuition as they do – similarly taxed?

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

        Good point

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 22, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    As I recall, Aldous Huxley also died the same day as JFK.

  3. David Harper
    Posted November 22, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    “He’s like an open book” has the same meaning in English as it does in Polish. I’m familiar with the idiom, anyway.

    • Posted November 22, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Yes, I know, but do you understand the dialogue without the explanation?

      • David Harper
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

        The ways of cats are mysterious. The ways of Hili, doubly so.

  4. Blue
    Posted November 22, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    O M G ! .THAT. video soooo .IS.
    … … T H E BEST One EVER !

    Just what I needed to see this morning !
    On an eve just afore my Buy – Nothing Day !

    Thank YOU !

    • Blue
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 7:48 am | Permalink

      It just made me ‘follow’
      The Invisible Man on twitter.

      This twitterer has a bagazillion
      charming ones all filled with
      wee kiddos and animals !


    • Filippo
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      In the 11/21/17 NY Times Science (not Business) section, there is an article, if memory correctly serves me, “Psychology of the Black Friday Mob.”

      I would also be interested in follow up articles on the psychology of the corporate and investor classes who I gather reap benefits from this consumer mob mentality.

  5. Posted November 22, 2017 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    There’s nothing pangolins love more than playing in the mud.

    Just wait till mummy gets home!

  6. DrBrydon
    Posted November 22, 2017 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I take issue with the idea that Shemp Howard wasn’t one of the more popular Stooges. He was certainly the most popular of the Curly replacements. I would even argue that he was/is more popular than Larry Fine, who was really a passive figure in their comedy. Shemp was also the only Stooge to have an indepedent career in movies.

    • busterggi
      Posted November 22, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      Indeed! Curly was Shemp’s replacement back before they got into films. Shemp had his own career of starring in a series of two-reelers and lots of smallish parts in features.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted November 22, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        Well, you can’t beat Curly, although Moe certainly tried.

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