Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Thursday, December 7, 2017. Posting will be a bit light today as I must hie downtown to pick up my cleaned camera (dust gets on the sensor, but it’s cheaper to get it cleaned than to buy a new one). India demands that my camera be in good shape. It’s National Cotton Candy Day (“candy floss” to you Brits); did you know that Tootsie Roll of Canada, Ltd. is the world’s manufacturer of this “food”? Do they sell it pre-made in Canada?

And, of course, it’s National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day. Beyond the Japanese suprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, which got the U.S. into World War II, not much else happened in history on this day. On December 7, 1703, there was what was appropriately known as The Great Storm of 1703, the most violent windstorm ever recorded in southern  Great Britain. The winds gusted up to 120 mph and killed 9,000 people.  On this day in 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the U.S. Constitution. In 1922, the Parliament of Northern Ireland voted to remain part of the UK rather than to join with Southern Ireland, now called the Republic of Ireland. Soon there may be a wall between the areas—and the Northern Irish will pay for it! On this day in 1972, the last Apollo moon mission, Apollo 17, was launched. When 18,000 miles (29,000 km) from Earth, the astronauts took the famous photo known as The Blue MarbleThis is not the photo Carl Sagan rhapsodized about, but the one below, which is lovely:

Finally, on this day in 1982, Texas executed Charles Brooks, Jr.: the first person in the U.S. to be put to death by lethal injection.

Notables born on this day include biologist Theodor Schwann (1810; he invented the word “metabolism”), Willa Cather (1873), Noam Chomsky (1928; he’s 89 today), Ellen Burstyn (1932), Harry Chapin (1942, died 1981), and Tom Waits (1949). Those who bought the farm on this day include Kirsten Flagstad (1962), Rube Goldberg (1970), Thornton Wilder (1975), Robert Graves (1985) and Jeane Kirkpatrick (2006).

Re Flagstad, Wikipedia says this:

Kirsten Malfrid Flagstad (12 July 1895 – 7 December 1962) was a Norwegian opera singer and a highly regarded Wagnerian soprano. She ranks among the greatest singers of the 20th century, and many opera critics called hers “the voice of the century.” Desmond Shawe-Taylor wrote of her in the New Grove Dictionary of Opera: “No one within living memory surpassed her in sheer beauty and consistency of line and tone.”

Here she is singing Wagner’s great aria “Liebestod” in Covent Garden in 1936 (the orchestra is Fritz Reiner’s London Philharmonic). Sadly, recordings were not as good then, but you get an idea of her voice:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is celebrating the publication of a book by Marcin Kruk, a person who writes for Listy from time to time:

Hili: I’m so proud.
A: What are you proud of?
Hili: We have a new book by one of our authors.
In Polish:
Hili: Dumna jestem.
Ja: Z czego?
Hili: Znowu mamy książkę naszego autora.

Here are some tweets found by Matthew. The first shows the the fabled NIGHTJAR, instigator of the eponymous “spot the. . . ” posts. Look at that crypsis!

Look at the teeth on this fish! (Be sure to click to make the skull rotate.)

Ancient cheese! I wonder if it’s still taste-able.

And a few from Heather Hastie:

There are few groups containing weirder insects than the planthoppers:

Finally, some kitties:




  1. Hempenstein
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Flagstad appeared in The Big Broadcast of 1938 with WC Fields, Bob Hope, Martha Raye and many others. The audio on her clip from her scene may be be better than the Covent Garden clip.

  2. kieran
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    DUP will pay for it with ash! Republic of Ireland is a soccer team 😉 not the country cause it’s called Ireland in the constitution, which has lead to some wonderful stupid exchanges between us and our nearest neighbours.

    DUP refuse a deal that Scotland and London would give their right arm for, entry into the common market and still in the UK. They don’t want northern Ireland to be treated differently from the rest of the UK, except for marriage equality, abortion and that they should be allowed to live in 1690 for the rest of eternity.

  3. mikeyc
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    This is what Brooks did (from Wikipedia);

    On December 14, 1976, Brooks went to a used car lot and asked to test drive a car. The mechanic, David Gregory, accompanied him in the car. After Brooks picked up his accomplice Woody Loudres, they put the mechanic in the trunk of the car and Brooks and Loudres drove to a motel. There the mechanic was bound to a chair with coat hangers, gagged with tape and then shot once in the head.

  4. Merilee
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Kirsten’s rendition is like totes dope. I have this on vinyl ( on which it sounds better). “Ungewußt…höchste Lusssssssssst”🎶🎶
    I have tried, unsuccessfully, for years, to love Wagner. Trustan’s the only one that dies it for me.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted December 7, 2017 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      I’ve had a similar experience — trying to love Wagner but failing, except for Tristan — most especially the Liebestod, and that is only because I fell under the demented spell of Bunuel and Dali’s film, Un Chien Andalou. How could I not relate to that film, what with priests dragging around decomposing donkeys.

      And, thank you, I learned a new word here – totes. I thought it could be Yiddish because I found this “Totes Koshke” tee shirt advertised here: Whatever, “totes dope” is the dopiest dope!

  5. Merilee
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink


  6. Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    I guess you could say Pearl Harbor got the US into WWII, but technically the US was neutral until four days later after Hitler inexplicably declared war on the US.

    • mikeyc
      Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

      The U.S. declared war on Japan on 8 December, the day after Pearl Harbor.

      • Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:24 am | Permalink

        Yes, and it may have remained a US-Japan conflict had Germany not declared war on the US bringing it into the European conflict.

        • Posted December 7, 2017 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          ok, but you said;

          “Pearl Harbor got the US into WWII, but technically the US was neutral until four days later…”

          Had you said;

          “Pearl Harbor got the US into the Pacific theater of WWII, but technically the US was neutral in the European conflict until four days later….”

          I would have kept my pie hole shut.

  7. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Ancient cheese! I wonder if it’s still taste-able.

    A fragment of a Scythian decorated leather cheese bag, and remarkably well-preserved lumps of cheese, that are over 2,000 years


    Someone (else) has been to the Scythians exhibition at the BM.
    I’m sure it’ll have a taste. Even my cooking has a taste (usually of incineration following overboiling). And to quote Louis Wu (of the Motley Crew), “One man’s cheese is another man’s rotten milk.”

  8. Mike Cracraft
    Posted December 7, 2017 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Flagstad’s recordings of Wagner’s Ring with Sir George Solti conducting are the gold standard for these operas.

  9. danstarfish
    Posted December 8, 2017 at 2:31 am | Permalink

    I love the picture of the cat leaping through the air. Something about it reminds me of a Japanese cartoon. Except that it is a real picture of a real cat.

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