Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s Saturday, November 25, 2017, and the third day of our long four-day Thanksgiving weekend. It’s National Parfait Day (oy!) as well as a UN day: International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

It’s again one of those days again in which events and births/deaths are a bit thin. On November 25, 1915, Albert Einstein introduced his theory of general relativity at a meeting of the Prussian Academy of Sciences.  In 1947, New Zealand formally became independent of legislative control by the UK by ratifying the  Statute of Westminster. (This is what Wikipedia says, but I’m not sure it’s correct.) On this day in 1952, Agatha Christie’s murder-mystery play The Mousetrap began its run in London. It became the longest continuously running play in history. The play’s 25,000th performance took place in 2012, and it’s still going strong!  On November 25, 1963, John F. Kennedy was buried at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D.C., and on the same day Lee Harvey Oswald, his killer, was buried in Forth Worth, Texas.  On November 25, 1970, author Yukio Mishima and one follower, after a miserable failure to instigate a coup d’etat that would restore the Emperor, committed seppuku.  On this day in 1992, the Czechoslovakian government voted to split the country in two: the Czech Republic and Slovakia, a sundering that took place on January 1 of the next year. Finally, on this day in 1999—and many of you will remember this and its aftermath—the 5 year old Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, floating in an inner tube off Florida, was rescued by fishermen. His mother drowned in the escape attempt, and ultimately American courts ruled that he be returned to his father in Cuba, something that happened in June of 2000. You may remember the heart-rending video of government agents wresting Elian from the arms of his American relatives.

Notables born on this day include Andrew Carnegie (1835), Carrie Nation (1846), Rudolf Höss (1900), Joe DiMaggio (1914), Augusto Pinochet (1915), Percy Sledge (1940), Bob Lind (1942), Amy Grant and John F. Kennedy Jr. (both 1960), and Jill Hennessy (1968).  Those who began pushing up daisies on this day include Gaston Chevrolet (1920), Bill “Bojangles” Robinson (1949), Upton Sinclair (1968), Yukio Mishima (1970; see above), U Thant (1974), Harold Washington (1987; our beloved Mayor of Chicago, who loved the invasive monk parrots), George Best (2005), and, one year ago today, Fidel Castro.

In honor of Bob Lind‘s 75th birthday, I’ll put up his song, which those of a certain age will remember. He was a one-hit wonder, and his hit was “Elusive Butterfly“, a romantic hippie ballad released in 1965. It was his own composition, written in 1964, released the next year, and wound up as #5 on the charts. Leon Russell played piano on the recording, and Wikipedia recounts the song’s genesis:

Bob Lind wrote “Elusive Butterfly” around sunrise while pulling an all-nighter in 1964: at that time he was living in Denver, performing at local Folk clubs. Lind credits the song’s inspiration as the W. B. Yeats’ poem The Song of the Wandering Aengus, stating: “I wanted to write something that [like Yeats’ poem] had the sense we feel of being most alive when we’re searching or looking or chasing after something. That expectation is more life affirming than getting the thing you’re after.” The song was originally five verses long and with the instrumental passages Lind included its performance time approximated ten minutes: (Lind quote:) “I played it for everybody I knew but I didn’t [think] ‘Man, this is my best song: it’s going to be a hit [that] millions of people [will] hearIt was just another [Bob Lind] song. I was thrilled [then] by everything I wrote.”

Remember this?

And let’s not forget Amy Grant, who crossed over into pop from a successful career singing Christian Music. This 1991 song made it to #1 on the Billboard chart.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, like the vegetation, is taking a nap:

Hili: The orchard has gone into its winter sleep.
A: So what does that mean?
Hili: I think I will go to sleep as well.
In Polish:
Hili: Sad zapadł w zimowy sen.
Ja: I co w związku z tym?
Hili: Ja też chyba pójdę spać.

Faithful Dr. Cobb has sent a “spot the” tweet. Can you see the sparrowhawk driving this starling murmuration?

A great example of crypsis, also found by Dr. Cobb:

A cat tweet contributed by Heather:

Tw**ts stolen from Heather Hastie:

A first! I had no idea that bush dogs (Speothos venaticus) even existed.

I love flying foxes:

And Stephen Muth put this on my Facebook page:


  1. Jerry Piven
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    Dear Dr. C.,

    Mishima wasn’t attempting a coup d’etat. He was staging a symbolic act to exhort the Japanese to rise from their timorous paralysis, to show themselves willing to die for their Emperor. He had previously implored people to do so, asking who would hurl themselves to death for their Tenno. Mishima had glorified seppuku, eroticized it, and even extolled the esthetic beauty of intestines turned inside out like a rose petal rolled between the fingers.

    He also wrote about the erotic beauty of death (masturbating to his first orgasm at the image of Reni’s St. Sebasian pierced by arrows, as Mishima relayed in the autobiographical novel Confessions of a Mask, as well as the sexual excitement of murdering young boys and kissing them as their bodies writhed spasmodically).

    Mishima may have become an ultranationalist in his later years, but during the Second World War, he hardly cared that Japan was being destroyed, and even fictionalized enthusiastic ideas about Kyoto being destroyed. He had long eroticized death though….

  2. Posted November 25, 2017 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Very nice picture of Hili on the tree.
    The bush-dogs also have a very appealing cuteness, the adult dogs have the looks of little puppies

  3. nicky
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Obersturmbannführer (Lieutenant colonel) Rudolf Höss was, lest someone confuses him with Rudolf Hess*, the commander of the Auschwitz extermination camp. He introduced the innovative use of Zyklon B (hydrogen cyanide) to kill his victims in a more ‘industrial’ manner. After the war he was hanged for his crimes.
    *[I surmise that most readers of this site, imminent as most of them are, would not.]

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Loved those bush hogs and the bat but that cheetah…

    • rickflick
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      Quite the little hunter…grasshoppers and crickets – watch out!

  5. George
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I had a cool hawk encounter yesterday. I also had my first ever encounter with Black Friday. I plead ignorance on the latter.

    So we have a mouse problem. I hope it is singular. Mouse problems have a tendency to grow rapidly. So I had to get some traps and spray foam insulation. I thought if I went to Menards (a Midwest home improvement big box store) when they opened at 6am, I could miss the crowds. Silly me. People had been lining up. The parking lot was full. I parked in the bank across the street. They were out of shopping carts and gave people plastic garbage cans to drag around the store. The crowd was well behaved and Menards did a great job preparing for the horde. I still never want to experience this again.

    So I leave the store around 6:30am. It is still dark out – twilight to be precise. This is in Streamwood, IL – in LBO (Land Beyond O’Hare – northwest suburban Chicago). I am stopped at the light at the intersection of Irving Park and Barrington. There are many overhead utility lines here – at this time of morning well populated by numerous birds singing away. This morning, not a single singing bird. I could not have heard them anyway since I was listening to “Fat Man in the Bath Tub” by Little Feat from Waiting for Columbus. At very high volume. Only way to calm down from my Black Friday experience.

    Good reason for no birds. There were three hawks putting on an aerobatics display right above the intersection. Not sure what kind of hawks – it was too dark but the black outline against the brightening skies was all the more captivating.

    There are a lot of hawks in this area. There is a Hawk Hollow Forest Preserve. Cooper’s and Red Tailed are the most common. But according to the local Audubon site, Common Nighthawk, Sharp-shinned and Broad Winged hawks have all been spotted in the past month. As well as a confirm sighting of a Golden Eagle.

    • claudia baker
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      I too, am dealing with a mouse problem. I already had a trap from a couple of years ago, when I first noticed mice around. So, I dug it out and set it and sure enough, caught a big, fat, deer mouse with huge ears. He was cute, but stay outta my house! I took him a few kms away and set him free.

      I reset the trap (it’s under the house in the crawl space) and then we had a cold snap. I didn’t check it for a few days, and when I did, there was a mouse, dead, in the trap. Froze to death. Some neighbours came by as I was disposing of the carcas. One of them sarcastically said: “Great humane trap.” We had a laugh, but I did feel badly. Now, I make sure to check it every morning, and set the critters free (far from the house). I have caught five so far, including the dead one. My 12-year-old orange tabby is blissfully unaware. He likes to snooze by the fire now, in his golden years, rather than hunt mice.

      • claudia baker
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:51 am | Permalink


      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Mice got in my car & did $600 damage. I’m sad about the whole thing. Last year I used a sound maker to keep them away but thought it was coincidence & didn’t use it. I had no mouse problem last year & this year I did. Next summer (I store the car for the winter), I’ll plug it in & see if it fixes the issue or if it is just a coincidence.

        • claudia baker
          Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

          I have heard that those sound makers really work. It’s funny how some years, no mice at all, and the next year, one is inundated. $600 damage is no joke! Little buggers!

      • George
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        No humanity here. Spring and glue traps. We got one mouse about two hours after setting the first trap – a spring trap with peanut butter. Have not had another one yet. Maybe we were lucky and it was just the one.

        • claudia baker
          Posted November 26, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

          Haha George. I get what you are saying. It’s not so much because of the “humanity” of the catch-and-set-free traps that I use them. It’s the ‘ick’ factor of the dead bodies. When I use those spring traps, which kill instantly, I have to throw out the whole trap, ’cause I can’t bear to touch it with the dead critter in it. Not only that, but I use a shovel to pick it up and toss it into the garbage. I may have a problem…

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Just a small suggestion. Try steal wool in the area where you suspect the mice instead of the spray foam if this is why you were getting this. Mice can chew right through the foam but the steal wool will stop them. Another suggestion, as always, get a cat.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 25, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      sorry, this was for George.

      • George
        Posted November 25, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        I know about steel wool and will use it where appropriate. I think the mouse got inside where the AC tubing, which is copper, passes through the wall. Not sure if I want steel and copper touching each other.

  7. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 25, 2017 at 10:21 am | Permalink

    When I read that cat hair led to the arrest of a woman who’d mailed explosives to Obama,”, I wondered what Hili would think about it; then I realized that her thought has become so elevated and rarefied of late — she kind of reminds me of Parmenides — that in the grand scheme of things, she’d probably have no time for such quotidian activities as crime solving.

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