Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s a fast day for me: Thursday, November 30, 2017, and bleak December is almost upon us. However, it was on the penultimate day of the next month, in the year of our Ceiling Cat 1949, that the blessed infant Jerry was born in a Catholic hospital in St. Louis, Missouri. It’s National Mousse Day, and if you have a cat just take off one “s.” It’s also an Israeli holiday, Day to Mark the Departure and Expulsion of Jews from the Arab Countries and Iran; the link gives the explanation.

On this day in 1782, representatives from both the U.S. and Great Britain began the formal end to the Revolutionary War by signing peace articles in Paris (these became the 1783 Treaty of Paris). On November 30, 1872, the first international football (i.e., soccer) match took place in Glasgow. Scotland played England; do you know who won? In 1936, the Crystal Palace (the name of another footie team) was destroyed by fire.  On this day in 1947, civil war began in “Mandatory Palestine”, which culminated in the creation of the state of Israel. Finally, it was on November 30, 1982 that Michael Jackson released his solo album Thriller.  It remains the best-selling record album in history, having sold over 66 million copies. I suppose I’m an oddball in thinking that the best song on the album isn’t “Billie Jean,” but “Human Nature.” Here’s a live rendition:

Notables born on this day include Andrea Palladio (1508), Philip Sidney (1554), Jonathan Swift (1667), Mark Twain (1835), Winston Churchill (1874), photographer (and director) Gordon Parks (1912), Dick Clark (1929), Abbie Hoffman (1936), Ridley Scott (1937), Terrence Malick (1943, be sure to see his movie “Days of Heaven”), and David Mamet (1947).  It is a day of artists! Those who fell asleep on this day include Oscar Wilde (1900), Zeppo Marx (1979), Tiny Tim (1996), Gertrude Ederle (2003), and Evel Knievel (2007).

Here’s a picture by Gordon Parks, and I hope you recognize the man holding the paper:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the Hili dialogue is a bit puzzling today. Malgorzata and I had an email conversation:

Jerry: I don’t quite understand this one. What is Hili waiting for?
Malgorzata: Hili is just waiting for Andrzej to finish the article he is writing (put the last full stop) so he could turn his attention to her. She is sitting on his desk looking down at the keyboard.
Jerry:  So he can feed her?
Malgorzata: Or pet her or talk to her, whatever as long as his attention is concentrated on her and not on some trifles like writing articles.
Jerry: LOL! What a self-centered cat (or is that redundant?)
Malgorzata: Well, yes, I think it’s redundant…

So with that under your belt, here’s the dialogue:

A: What are you watching so carefully?
Hili: I’m waiting until you put a full stop.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu się tak przyglądasz?
Hili: Czekam kiedy postawisz kropkę.


These tw**ts all come from Matthew Cobb, an inveterate watcher of Twitter. I really like the first one; would that my own children’s book (now almost done) could have come so easy!

If you’re wondering what Max looks like, here’s his photo. They should let him in!

Matthew explains this one: “The left is Obama’s Xmas White House. The right is what Melania Trump has done this year, which is all over media, social and otherwise.” Social media will look for any excuse to denigrate Trump, though, and I think this is beneath them.

This next tw**t reminds me of the freshwater mussel Lampsilis, which has evolved its brood pouch into a fishlike shape, attracting fish that try to nibble the small fish, at which point the clam blows its larvae into the mouth of the predator. The larvae have a parasitic stage and for a few weeks suck blood from the inside of the fish’s gills before dropping off and becoming sedentary mussels. (Be sure to see a video of this here.) Lampsilis‘s “mock fish” is much better than these mock “minnows and worms.” Ain’t evolution wonderful?

Here’s a murmuration stopping traffic:


  1. Posted November 30, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Sorry cats –
    Dogs have the most neurons, though not the largest brain: Trade-off between body mass and number of neurons in the cerebral cortex of large carnivoran species

  2. Christopher
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I have to side with the minions of social media on this one; that’s one dark, ugly, and creepy xmas display.

    • Laurance
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Melania’s xmas display does not look like xmas to me at all! That said, I actually like it and do find it quite beautiful, but it’s darkside and cold. It has me expecting the movie to start, and the elegant vampire appears and does something, and then the beautiful but icy cold lady shows up wearing a long dress, and then all sorts of sinister, mysterious events take place.

      No, not xmas at all. Perhaps Halloween, but not a children’s Halloween. Melania’s display is evoking some interesting sensations for me.

      And now I’m wondering what this display is saying about Melania. So many pictures I see of her show her with such a grim and unhappy look on her face. Now, she’d been a model, and pictures of models I see have these grim faces, not warm, not smiling as they wear those often really weird clothes and show themselves off. I rarely see a genuine warm face on Melania – usually that ice cold mask and I wonder who is behind that mask.

      • Christopher
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        I concur. She looks dead inside. Perhaps that’s the look of someone who has sold their “soul”…Or it’s just her public mask. She could have been one helluva poker player.

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

        I quite like the dark and sombre look as well, though I too will admit it looks not at all Christmassy.

        • Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:57 am | Permalink

          I’m talking about the room, that is.

      • gluonspring
        Posted December 1, 2017 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

        In isolation it is a cheap shot, but in the full context of Trump’s con, I think it’s totally appropriate.

        Trump has made a very big deal out of presenting himself as the defender of traditional Christmas celebrations (“If I become president, we’re going to be saying Merry Christmas at every store.”, as if he even has such power). Given such claims, it’s apropos to highlight all the ways this is an absurdity. While I don’t see any incompatibility between modernist decorations and a traditional understanding of Christmas, this is definitely not what Trump supporters like my mom ordered. She wants full restoration of the past she remembers, and this isn’t it. As Ben G. used to say, to get people out of a state of cognitive dissonance you need to heighten the pain (thus he’d always say, “You mean the book with the wizard and the talking snake, that book?”). I think for many of those who have bought into Trump’s con, this picture heightens the pain, and that makes it a good thing.

    • BJ
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Right? That doesn’t look like Christmas. Clearly, Melania thinks she needs to put a modern, sleek twist on things in order for it to look luxurious.

      No style. Sad!

    • Walt Jones
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

      I thought that not using red and green was unAmerican (the Trump Hotel’s gold Happy Holidays card notwithstanding).

      I can’t keep up.

    • Graham Martin-Royle
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

      I like it. It’s nice to see something different.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

      Very German expressionist.

    • Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:35 am | Permalink

      I like it. It’s more Halloween than Christmas but that’s understandable (Oct 31 = Dec 25). It’s very pretty nonetheless.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    I think it is Thursday (Heading)

    • Posted November 30, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

      Fixed, thanks. Oy!

      • Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        They SHOULD let the cat into the library! 😉

        • Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

          Scroll down in Tw*tter to see Max…

        • Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

          Absolutely! What’s the downside?

          • David Coxill
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:38 am | Permalink

            The downside is the cats could use the books as scratching posts .
            Also my cats seem to like pushing my books further back into the shelves .
            My nieces and nephew have grown out of that ,now my cats are doing it .
            Also ,my cat Callie likes to hide behind the books for some strange reason.
            I will send you a photo.

            • Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:46 am | Permalink

              looking forward to it 🙂

          • BJ
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:42 am | Permalink

            Seriously. All that sign did was make me feel bad for Max. Are cats not people? Do they not deserve the same access to knowledge and old DVDs of middling quality that we enjoy?

          • Jenny Haniver
            Posted November 30, 2017 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

            I think you should take the hint — another children’s book!

        • Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:37 am | Permalink

          Max is nice, yet they won’t let him in? What’s the motivation? It’s half a children’s book, and already it has a plot hole!

    • Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

      Glad one of us is awake! 🙂

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Born in a Catholic hospital in St. Louie, you say? Well, bless your heathen soul, you might manage to grab hold of the bottom rung of Purgatory yet!

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Scotland played England; do you know who won?

    Wait, there’s a difference? I mean, they’re both in not-America, right? Are we gonna split hairs here?

    • Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

      Not-America? Where’s that, then?

      • darrelle
        Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink


  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    St. Louis eh. I did some school there 40 some years ago. I think the population of St. Louis the city has dropped by about half since those days.

    Do not think the media has to look for things to denigrate Trump. There were probably three yesterday done all by himself.

  7. George
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I will beat the rush and wish PCC(e) a happy birthday. If I remember again on December 30, maybe I will type some wishes again.

    Was Barnes-Jewish hospital not good enough for you? You had to go with the nuns. I had nuns for my birth (St. Mary of Nazareth in Chicago). And then suffered with nuns and priests until I graduated from high school.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Jesus that’s a depressing story…

    • darrelle
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      Jerry’s birthday should be easy for me to remember as it is nearly the same date as mine. But then again I have forgot my own once or twice.

    • Laurance
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Okay…ultimate, penultimate, and of what? So if today is the ultimate day of this month, then yesterday was the penultimate. But is today the penultimate day of next month? I would think the penultimate day of next month would be December 30th. If today is the penultimate day of next month would that make December 1st the ultimate day? Help me out!

      In any event, I hope you have a happy birthday!

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 2:12 pm | Permalink

      Another reason for a single-payer system. When there’s no profit in it, religion doesn’t get involved in healthcare. We have no Catholic hospitals.

  8. David Harper
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Apropos Max the cat who wants to visit the library, we have a visiting cat here at the Wellcome Genome Campus, just outside Cambridge. His name is Quincy. He lives in the neighbouring village, but spends a lot of time on campus. He’s part Siamese, and he yowls at 100dB to be let into the labs. Alas, we’re under strict instructions not to allow Quincy into the building.

    As part of the planning for the Sanger Institute’s 25th anniversary celebrations next year, staff were asked to nominate 25 species for whole-genome sequencing. Suggestions included the director of the Institute and, of course, Quincy. Sadly, both suggestions were turned down, so there will be no Quincy Genome Project.

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    “Winston Churchill”

    There’s a new movie out titled “Darkest Hour”. Gary Oldman plays Churchill. You have to see the pictures to not believe it is Oldman.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      OK I just watched the trailer and it’s more believable.

      They had a promo shot from the side, a profile, and there was no way to tell it was anyone other that WC.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      That is one I will want to see.

    • BJ
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      I can’t wait to see this film. Gary Oldman is amazing when he’s in productions like this, and Joe Wright has really perfected the art of British period pieces.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Looks like Melania had Fritz Lang or F.W. Munrau come in to do the White House Xmas decorating this year.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Caption would be something like – Xmas in the Weeds.

  11. kieran
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    “I have lived in important places, times
    When great events were decided, who owned
    That half a rood of rock, a no-man’s land
    Surrounded by our pitchfork-armed claims.
    I heard the Duffys shouting “Damn your soul!”
    And old McCabe stripped to the waist, seen
    Step the plot defying blue cast-steel –
    “Here is the march along these iron stones.”
    That was the year of the Munich bother. Which
    Was more important? I inclined
    To lose my faith in Ballyrush and Gortin
    Till Homer’s ghost came whispering to my mind.
    He said: I made the Iliad from such
    A local row. Gods make their own importance.”

    Patrick Kavanagh Died 30th of November 1967

  12. David Coxill
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    Re the Fresh Water Mussel ,there is a Fish Called the European Bitterling (introduced into Britain) the female uses her long Ovipositor to lay her eggs inside a Mussel .

  13. Robert Ryder
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    I agree in principle that opponents of Trump should not spend all their time focusing on his latest outrage, but there are so many outrages and the man is so far outside the norm of human decency, that it becomes a great challenge to refrain from doing our best to demean him. Yesterday I was doing my lunchtime workout and CNN had the story about Trump retweeting posts by English white supremacists and I thought I was going to stroke out on the elliptical machine. Never did I think my country would have an unapologetic white supremacist or, at the very least, white supremacist sympathizer as president in the 21st century! So, I guess I’m sympathetic to the folks going crazy over Trump, because there is nothing beyond the pale with him. But we probably need to tamp down our anger somewhat for the good of our nervous systems and perhaps the future of the country. Perhaps.

  14. Charles Minus
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Regarding Max the unwelcome cat, I gather from a discussion at a different site that Max is an unfixed male who likes to mark his territory. Such a cat would not be welcome in any library and he should be fixed. It is not neighborly to allow an unfixed male cat to wander at will.

  15. Hunt
    Posted November 30, 2017 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Not sure when that video of Jackson was done, but he’d obviously already started sawing away at his nose.

    Why, why…why couldn’t he have left his face alone?

  16. Vaal
    Posted December 1, 2017 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Jackson certainly was a mesmerizing performer.

    It’s interesting contrasting the young Michael with the older Michael. The young Michael sang with such gusto, I know some fans think he was actually a better singer at that point and to some extent I agree. Once Michael’s voice broke and he rocketed to super-stardom, his singing lost the projection and he started singing like he’s locked in a freezer, running out of air.

    Ultimately I think his later approach worked for him, giving him an even more distinctive style, though I find myself when listening to the earlier Jackson Five thinking “wow what a singer” and much less so in Michael’s later career.

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