Sunday: Hili dialogue

We’re at Ceiling Cat’s Day today, which means a day of Napping and Nomming on this third of December, 2017. It’s National Peppermint Latte Day, a drink that I’ll try one day so you won’t have to. It’s also a UN observance day: International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

My tum is on the fritz today because after yesterday’s dinner I made brownies and ate too many of them too close to bedtime. Indigestion! Posting may be light today if I require nap therapy.

On this day in 1818, Illinois became the 21st state in the U.S. On December 3, 1910, neon lighting was demonstrated for the first time by Georges Claude at the Paris Motor Show. In 1960, one of my favorite musicals, Camelot, debuted at the Majestic Theater in New York.  The movie, which replaced Richard Burton with Richard Harris and Julie Andrews with Vanessa Redgrave (how could they?), was not nearly as good.  Modern Broadway musicals may be okay, but they don’t have the plethora of memorable songs that will live forever—songs like those from the musicals Brigadoon, My Fair Lady, or Oklahoma.  Here are two of my favorite songs from Camelot, using original cast members.

On this day in 1964, during the Free Speech Movement in Berkeley, police arrested over 800 UC Berkeley students after they took over the administration building  takeover and had a sit-in to protest the administrations ban on protests on University property. Today they’d just send in pizzas to the students. On December 2, 1967, Christiaan Barnard and his team in South Africa performed the first human heart transplant. The patient, 53 year old Louis Washansky, lived 18 days, dying of pneumonia after being given massive quantities of immunosuppressants; it turned out that he was misdiagnosed as having a rejection response. Finally, on this day in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became the leader of Iran.

UPDATE: Reader Mkray submitted a photo he took in December 1964 showing the protesting students; he was a Ph.D. student newly arrived at Berkeley:

Notables born on this day include Carlos Finlay (1833), who recognized that mosquitoes were the vector of yellow fever, Joseph Conrad (1857), Anna Freud (1895), Sven Nykvist (1922), Andy Williams (1927), Ozzy Osbourne (1948), Julianne Moore (1960), and Terri Schiavo (1963, died in 2005). Those who joined the Choir Invisible on this day include Carl Zeiss (1888), Robert Louis Stevenson (1894), Mary Baker Eddy (1910; why did she die?), Oswald Mosley (1980), and Lewis Thomas (1993).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes a funny:

Cyrus: What is this renewable energy?
Hili: Mice.
 In Polish:
Cyrus: Co to jest ta energia odnawialna?
Hili: Myszy.

I have a beef, which I’ll put here (this is clearly a “get off my lawn!” day). On the local news yesterday, one of the anchors said, “Follow us on social.”  Too lazy to say “media”? It’s like telling a waiter, “I’ll have the baked.”

Here’s a funny tweet sent by Matthew Cobb; usually captioned animals videos are dire, but I like this one:

Life imitates art!

A baby rhino from  Heather Hastie, who wrote a nice new post on Michael Flynn.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    MBE died of pneumonia

    … a religious entrepreneur. I love that term – religious entrepreneur.

    • BobTerrace
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

      Also, she was 89 years old and was addicted to morphine.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      That would be how she died.

      The why is easy: entropy.

  2. Hunt
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink


  3. Posted December 3, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I tasted a peppermint latte once and I think one should need a prescription to order one of those. Addition waits at the bottom of the cup. I stopped well short.

    I think your analysis of immortal show tunes is a bit myopic. You compare decades of the best (cherry picked) with those of only a few modern shows. Most Broadway shows are revivals, so the number of “new” shows is quite limited. I think Evita has a few very memorable songs, as does Cats, and who is to say whether any of Hamilton’s will “have legs?”

    • Posted December 3, 2017 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Myopic, eh? I disagree. Yes, the shows are cherry-picked, but every one of those shows has MULTIPLE good songs. Who remembers anything from Evita but “Don’t cry for me, Argentina”? I’ve listened to music from many recent shows, and while the shows, like Hamilton, may be great, the average number of great tunes per musical is low. I can think of only four good Broadway songs in recent years, and there’s only ONE PER MUSICAL:

      “All I Ask of You” from Phantom of the Opera
      “Send in the Clowns” from A Little Night Music
      “Memory” from Cats
      and the song above from Evita.

      Compare that to, say, My Fair Lady or Oklahoma. Let’s take the former:

      “Why Can’t the English?” – Professor Higgins
      “Wouldn’t It Be Loverly?” – Eliza and Male Quartet
      “With a Little Bit of Luck” – Alfred Doolittle, Harry, and Jamie
      “I’m an Ordinary Man” – Professor Higgins
      “Just You Wait” – Eliza
      “The Rain in Spain” – Professor Higgins, Eliza, and Colonel Pickering
      “I Could Have Danced All Night” – Eliza, Mrs. Pearce, and Servants
      “On the Street Where You Live” – Freddy
      “You Did It” – Colonel Pickering, Professor Higgins, Mrs. Pearce, and Servants
      “Show Me” – Eliza and Freddy
      “Get Me to the Church on Time” – Alfred Doolittle and Ensemble
      “A Hymn to Him” – Professor Higgins and Colonel Pickering
      “Without You” – Eliza and Professor Higgins
      “I’ve Grown Accustomed to Her Face” – Professor Higgins
      “I Could Have Danced All Night (Reprise) / Finale” – The Orchestra

      Many of these are classics, and it’s just a single musical. LOOK AT THEM!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      The quality of the lyrics have dropped off a cliff over the years. To generalise: less literate & less witty.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 3:37 pm | Permalink

        They ain’t makin’ ’em like Noël Coward and Cole Porter anymore, heh?

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

          Cole Porter has the perfect reply of course:

          In olden days a glimpse of stocking,
          Was looked on as something shocking,
          But now, God knows,
          Anything Goes.

          Good authors too who once knew better words,
          Now only use four letter words,
          Writing prose, Anything Goes.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 3, 2017 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

            That’s the tune I had bouncing around my brain when I wrote that!

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted December 3, 2017 at 5:19 pm | Permalink

        Matching to the audience?

  4. Posted December 3, 2017 at 8:08 am | Permalink

    Re “Mary Baker Eddy (1910; why did she die?)” Momentary loss of faith? This is the problem for people whose faith keeps them alive. One slip, and Bam! … done!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

      Would that be sort of … the bookie collecting the stake on your Pascal’s Wager?

  5. Posted December 3, 2017 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    The video with the crow behaving like a bat and being hindered by another crow that dislikes it is just great.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink

    Julie Andrews was also replaced in the movie version of My Fair Lady. This time by Audrey Hepburn (whose singing had to be dubbed).

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      Dame Julie Andrews, as director & Opera Australia re-created the legendary My Fair Lady Broadway production last year for its 60th anniversary, at the Joan Sutherland theatre, Sydney Opera House. Copied right down to costumes & stage design. A roaring success. That must have been something to see.

      • Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:13 am | Permalink

        It’s a damn shame she can’t sing any more because of that botched throat operation. What a voice she had!

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:36 am | Permalink

          Andrews is a trouper. Examples:

          She turned down a nomination for some award or other because she felt the rest of the cast had been overlooked. [found on her Wiki]

          After the loss of her singing voice she appeared in a stage production of Dr. Dolittle in London. From her website:

          she performed the voice of Polynesia the parrot and “recorded some 700 sentences and sounds, which were placed on a computer chip that sat in the mechanical bird’s mouth. In the song ‘Talk to the Animals,’ Polynesia the parrot even sings”

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 3, 2017 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

            Dame Julie had a reputation for playing goody-two-shoes after Mary Poppins and Sound of Music. But she could also do saucy, as she did opposite James Garner in the great anti-war film The Americanization of Emily, and opposite Paul Newman in Hitchcock’s Torn Curtain.

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Don’t get me started on Hollywood versions of Broadway musicals. Suffice it to say that, when they made Guys and Dolls, they put Marlon Brando in the singing role (Sky Masterson) and Frank Sinatra in the non-singing role (Nathan Detroit). Yes, he sang, and they even added a song for him, but Sam Levine, who created the role, was tone-deaf.

    • Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

      They messed up the Phantom one pretty badly too.

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    The film version of “Camelot” suffers also from rather wooden and stagey director by Joshua Logan, who is a great stage director, but a rather stilted film director.

    IMO The replacement of Andrews with Redgrave doesn’t work at all. Harris is OK, but Burton was better. On the other hand, I never really liked Robert Goulet as Lancelot in the stage version, and in the film David Hemmings is marvelous as Mordred. (It’s mainly Goulet’s later concert performances of “If Ever I would Leave you” that I don’t care for. He did it well when performing in the play, but I saw the others first.)

    The film also removes a lot of songs from the musical.

    I saw the musical twice, in 2007 a touring production with Michael York as Arthur, and the unrelated Rachel York as Guinevere, who had a superb singing voice. They used the revised 1980s script.
    In 2011, a local company decided to stage in using 6th century costumes, meaning rather primitive looking. The story is set in the 6th century, but is usually staged and illustrated with the more ornate costumes of the 12th and 13th century. Merlin simply wore a bear-skin.

  9. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted December 3, 2017 at 11:07 am | Permalink

    Goulet looks like he’s ready to beam up. I actually mistook him for Shatner at first glance.


    Berkeley students […] took over the administration building takeover

    …where they presumably occupied the Department of Redundancy Department.

  10. Posted December 3, 2017 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    Sonny Rollins version of “If Ever I Would Leave You” belongs among mankind’s greatest achievements.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 3, 2017 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Well, since people (including me) have mentioned Julie Andrews and Sound of Music, we shouldn’t let the opportunity to go by without a plug for ‘Trane’s “Favorite Things”:

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