Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning. It’s Tuesday, January 9, 2018, and it’s warming up in Chicago today, with a predicted high above freezing: 39° F (4° C). Big Apricot has managed to get today declared National Apricot Day, but it’s also National Cassoulet Day, celebrating a very fine dish indeed. Posting will be light today as, having no food in the house (I fasted yesterday), I must leave early to go shopping.

On this day in 1349, with the population of Basel, Switzerland infected with bubonic plague, the city fathers decided that it was caused by Jews poisoning the wells (their mortality rate was lower), and so all 600 of the resident Jews were gathered together and stuck in a barn, which was burned down. Speaking of incineration, on January 9, 1431, the trial of Joan of Arc for treason began in Rouen, France. She was convicted, of course, and burned at the stake on May 30 of that year. Here is her death scene from the famous and superb 1928 silent movie “The Passion of Joan of Arc ” with Maria Falconetti in the title role.  it’s a bit gruesome, but you should really see the entire movie, which is free online here (not embeddable). I think it’s the best silent movie I’ve ever seen.

On this day in 1806, Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson got a state funeral, with his remains placed in St. Paul’s Cathedral. He is of course memorialized (and pooed on by pigeons) in Trafalgar Square.  On January 9, 1916, the Battle of Gallipoli concluded: a disaster for the Allies but a great victory for the Ottomans (the only one of WWI) and a career-making triumph for their commander Kemal Atatürk, who went on to become Turkey’s first President. Those Allied soldiers who hadn’t been slaughtered were evacuated from the Gallipoli peninsula. On this day in 2005, Mahmoud Abbas won a Palestinian election to succeed the expired Yasser Arafat as president of the Palestinian National Authority. Finally, it was only eleven years ago today that Steve Jobs introduced the first iPhone at a Macworld conference in San Francisco. Seems like longer, doesn’t it?

Notabes born on this day include Richard Nixon (1913), Bob “Maynard G. Krebs” Denver (1935, died 2005), Joan Baez (1941), Billy Cowsill (1948), Crystal Gayle (1951; real name Brenda Gail Gatzimos, and younger sister of Loretta Lynn), reclusive NYT book reviewer Michiko Kakutani (1955), and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (1982).

Those names include two “one-hit wonder” singers: Billy Cowsill, whose group, the Cowsills, had this hit, “The Rain, The Park, and Other Things” in 1967, the year I graduated from high school. I remember it well and still like it a lot. (Actually, the group had two other hits: “Indian Lake” and the title song from “Hair”.) This is a superb live reunion version from 2004—37 years after the first release. It’s as good as the original.

And of course Crystal Gayle’s big hit was the 1977 country crossover, “Don’t It Make my Brown Eyes Blue“, a hit during the same weeks as Debby Boone’s schmaltzy “You Light Up my Life”. Here’s a live version of Gayle’s Big Hit, and I believe it’s introduced by Andy Gibb:

This is another day when few people of note died. The only one I want to highlight is New Zealand-born author Katherine Mansfield, who died in 1923 of tuberculosis at the young age of 34. She was an immense talent.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is entranced by a picture on Andrzej’s computer screen. I didn’t recognize the photo, but Malgozata explained (Gosia was their non-paying boarder for several years, brought home after they picked her up hitchhiking):

Didn’t you recognize her? This is Hania, Gosia’s daughter. Gosia got a wonderful picture of her jumping high up with her hair flowing. Andrzej loves both the girl and the picture and he has this picture permanently on his screen.

Hili: Do you know a more wonderful girl?
A: No, absolutely not, how could you even ask?
 In Polish:
Hili: Znasz wspanialszą dziewczynę?
Ja: Nie, skąd, jak możesz tak myśleć?

Today’s tweets, beginning with one that Matthew liked. Look at those hidden choppers!

Another from Matthew: a BBC Earth tweet about of the world’s smallest wild cat. The Rusty-spotted cat (Prionailurus rubiginosus) a denizen of India and Sri Lanka,  weighs between 2 and 3.5 pounds (0.9-1.6 kg). That’s about a third the weight of a house cat! It’s very secretive and not much is known about it.  Be sure to watch the video.

Another tweet from Matthew: cockatoo versus Bengal cat. Can someone translate the Japanese?

A fair cat vs. d*g fight. Hint: d*g loses. This is from reader Charleen:

And I love this one, also sent by Charleen: a duck lands on ice!


  1. Posted January 9, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Though you search hard, you will find very few pigeons in Trafalgar Square now, thank goodness!
    Nelson went to my school… for a short while only!

    • David Coxill
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      David Niven once poined out to Peter Ustinov that from a certain angle Nelson appears to be pleasuring himself .

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    It is generally believed that Churchill was a great leader but lacking when it came to military ability. This is shown in the WWI battle and offensive in Turkey and again during WWII with Churchill’s push to the African campaign and then Italy. The U.S. was not crazy about the Africa/Italy idea but went with it because Churchill wanted it. In the end the Italian campaign accomplished nothing more than creating another front and the loss of many lives.

    • Dave
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

      Yes, it created another front, thereby drawing off (and killing) German troops and draining German resources that could have been deployed elsewhere. It didn’t provide the quick route into the underbelly of Hitler’s empire that Churchill hoped for, but unfortunately he didn’t have the benefit of 70 years hindsight that we armchair generals enjoy.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:26 am | Permalink

        It is not simply hindsight armchair generals but if it makes you feel good. The U.S. was doubtful about this strategy before going in because they did not see flogging their way through the easily defended hills and mountains of Italy as a way to Germany. You can always throw out that stuff about how many divisions of Germans were pulled away from some where else, they made the same claim in WWI in Turkey. I don’t think New Zealand and Australia were too crazy about it.

        And as long as we are bringing it up, that Market Garden fiasco that Montgomery came up with was a poor idea before any hindsight.

        • David Coxill
          Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

          There were more British and French troops at Gallipoli.

          They leaders of the British Airborne forces were desperate to get in action .Stupid idea to drop near Arnhem .
          They could have dropped both sides of the river near Driel ,where they dropped the Poles later in the battle .

          But as you say hindsight is easy.

          • David Coxill
            Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:36 am | Permalink

            Hi ,ignore the hindsight bit ,meant for someone else.

      • David Coxill
        Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

        He made a mistake in getting involved in Greece ,he should have let General O’Connor deal with the Italians in North Africa .

        The Italian campaign was a mistake ,this armchair general thinks they should have taken Sardinia ,then Corsica after taken Sicily .
        The Allies then would have been in a position to threaten Northern Italy and Southern France ,while the Allied air forces could have bombed the Romanian oil fields ,which was what adolf was scared of .

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Churchill’s “push to the African campaign and…” means what? What should Churchill have done differently in North Africa when Italy declared war on the Allied Nations & invaded Egypt in September of 1940?

      I ask because your remarks don’t seem to be solely about the period from May 1942 onwards: Torch, Husky, Avalanche etc

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        I am sorry but England went after the Italians in Africa prior to the U.S. being in the war. I do not say anything about that and why would I. But, Africa and the next phase going into Italy was something Churchill wanted to do and the Americans did not see it as a good long term plan. That is the facts at the time and the results prove this to be the case.

        I am talking about Churchill’s military ideas and they left some to be desired. The only logical way to Germany was through France and that was the plan from very early on for the Americans. That is not hindsight either.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

          Don’t mix me up with other commenters – I didn’t remark on armchair generalship & the like. And don’t be patently un-sorry.

          So the answer to my POLITE question is something like: “Yes, my remarks are about the period from May 1942 onwards: Torch, Husky, Avalanche etc”

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

            The first part of your comment initially was stating, What should we have expected Churchill to do?? Now you say only about 1942 and beyond. Okay, I will buy that and consider my answer the same.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:21 am | Permalink

              Caused by your vague “push to the African campaign…” which seemed a peculiar thing to say – led me to wonder if you were suggesting it was an error to fight for control of the vital Suez Canal [oil & other strategic supplies].

    • Taz
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

      creating another front

      Which was very important to Russia.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        And if you check, Stalin was crying for a second front long after the fighting in Italy was going on. He did not think the attempt we were making in Italy was enough and he was right.

        • Taz
          Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

          I know. It was a compromise neither side was happy with.

    • aljones909
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      Without the Italian campaign we may not have had the exceptional war memoir by Spike Milligan – Adolf Hitler – My Part in His Downfall

      • David Coxill
        Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

        HAHA ,Major ,”I hope you know you are 2 weeks late for your call up?”

        Spike Milligan “I will make up for it sir ,i will fight nights as well ”

        Sgt Major “Silence when you speak to an Officer.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Google USA Doodle of Har Gobind Khorana today

  4. rickflick
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I saw the Passion of Joan of Arc years ago and I’d forgotten how modern the cutting was. I agree that it is a very fine film. It has very fast cuts with quick glimpses of activity surrounding the main event. Strange angles and camera movement to disorient the viewer. Hand held camera effects. There was a lot of experimentation and innovation going on in those early days of film.

  5. XCellKen
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    The Cowsills were the inspiration for the creation of the TV Show The Partridge Family. Not sure if that was a good thing or not

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      I just watched the 60s video not realising initially they were a family, but the distinctive [too be kind] teeth gene they share gave it away… 🙂

    • Taz
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      There was a good documentary about the Cowsills on TV a couple of years ago: Family Band: The Cowsills Story.

      Their father was an abusive asshole.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    The Cockatoo is named Karin & his Bengal kitty buddy is Kome. Google imperfectly translates the tweet as:

    Batman ♂ (parrot’s karin) @ masaki_1133

    Open the karin (≧ 艸 ≦)
    Catch punch pop out surprised box ʬʬʬ

    It is after nice in (LOL) # Karin # Parrot # Bengal # cat # cat punch # surprise box

    11:56 AM – Jul 19, 2017 Nagoya-shi Midori, Aichi

    * The bolded bit is a version of a happy kitty like: =^_^=
    * Midori-ku ward of the city of Nagoya in Aichi Prefecture, Japan

    • nicky
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 11:32 am | Permalink

      There is no doubt that cockatoos, like many psittacidae, are very intelligent. I also noted that when they talk they are quite aware of what they are saying.
      I saw the tweet earlier on Heather’s site, but it cannot cease to amaze me.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted January 9, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        If you click through to the Twitter account there are more interesting short vids of Karin’s interactions. When you say the cockatoo is aware of what s/he’s saying… have you observed this or is it info you’ve garnered from the likes of Irene Pepperberg/Alex?

    • Tim Harris
      Posted January 10, 2018 at 6:01 am | Permalink

      I think this would be better:

      Karin (the cockatoo’s name), try opening it.

      A surprise box that let’s fly a cat punch!

      I don’t know what ナイスイン means here – there’s a chain of hotels called Nice Inn, but I’m not sure how one would make sense out of ‘behind the Nice Inn’ or ‘after the Nice Inn’.

      (笑)means ’laughter’

      The remainder merely gives the name of the cockatoo (‘oum’ in Japanese) and says the cat is a Bengal cat.

  7. darrelle
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Your mention of Crystal Gayle’s 1977 hit caused (I had no choice) to look up pop / rock hits in the US in 1977. Holy Crap. 1977 was a really good year. At least for me. Won’t even try to list all the ones that are favorites of mine, but here are some.

    The Commodores 1977 Musical Extravaganza live album was released.

    Styx’s Grand Illusion album was released. The title track was mediocre, but almost every other track is great.

    Fleetwood Mac Rumors album was released.

    The Eagles Hotel California album was released.

    Donna Summer, I Feel Love
    Carly Simon, Nobody Does It Better
    Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band, Night Moves
    Leo Sayer, When I Need You
    Rose Royce(!), Wishing On A Star, & the Car Wash album
    Linda Ronstadt, Blue Bayou(!)
    Player, Baby Come Back(!)
    The London Symphony Orchestra, you know, right?
    Kansas, Dust In The Wind, Carry On Wayward Son
    Heatwave, Boogie Nights
    Heart, Barracuda(!)
    Marvin Gaye, Got To Give It Up(!)
    The Floaters, Float On (sorry, I love it)
    ELO, Telephone Line(!)
    Rita Coolidge, Higher & Higher
    The Brothers Johnson, Strawberry Letter 23(!)
    ABBA, Dancing Queen

    And many more! But I’ll stop now. The nostalgia is almost overpowering.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      A UK perspective – the 1977 albums I bought in 1977/78/79:

      David Bowie: Low
      The Runaways: Queens of Noise
      Television: Marquee Moon
      The Damned: Damned, Damned, Damned
      Foreigner: Foreigner
      Iggy Pop: The Idiot
      Can: Saw Delight
      The Clash: The Clash
      The Stranglers: Rattus Norvegicus
      Donna Summer: I Remember Yesterday
      Heart: Heart
      The Jam: In The City
      Bob Marley & The Wailers: Exodus
      Neil Young: American Stars & Bars
      Steve Winwood: Steve Winwood
      Giorgio Moroder: From Here to Eternity
      Elvis Costello: My Aim is True
      Harry Nilsson: Knnillssonn
      Motörhead: Motörhead
      Iggy Pop: Lust For Life
      Harry Chapin: Dance Band on the Titanic
      Ian Dury: New Boots and Panties!!
      David Bowie: “Heroes”
      ABBA: ABBA: The Album
      Wire: Pink Flag

      • darrelle
        Posted January 9, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

        Lot’s of overlap with what I was listening to then. Though I’ve got to admit, I’ve never heard of Television. Or The Stranglers.

      • Mark R.
        Posted January 9, 2018 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        No Pink Floyd? Animals came out in 1977 and is probably my favorite.

        The eponymous Clash debut is fantastic. Though I liked the U.S. release better because of “Clash City Rockers”, “(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais” and the cover “I Fought the Law”.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted January 9, 2018 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

          I’ve gone entirely digital FLAC, which makes it easy to check my MusicBee – love that music player program. My Floyd is consciously only parts of the first six albums: Piper, Secrets, More, Ummagumma, Atom Heart Mother & Meddle – I’m not interested in their stuff after Meddle [Including TDSOTM] & I can’t abide The Wall which is dreadful, lazy stuff

          I have 13 Floyd tracks I still like today 🙂

          I wasn’t aware the US album [1979] was so different – I just looked it up & there’s a lot of non-overlaps. I’m gonna have a listen on Amazon & see what I’ve missed! Thanks for that. There doesn’t seem to be a 40th anniversary remastered blah blah from 2017, which is strange.

          • Mark R.
            Posted January 9, 2018 at 7:57 pm | Permalink

            Yes, more similarities than differences, but the three I listed replaced “Cheat”, “Protex Blue” and “48-hours”. I like those songs, but they are all 2 minutes or less, and no where near the quality of the three that replaced them (imho). A 40th anniversary release of ALL songs would be pretty cool, and you’re right, I wonder why the money-makers missed that opportunity.

            Early Floyd is exceptional, and Meddle I believe is their finest realization of what “Pink Floyd” is- culminating with the mesmerizing release of Live at Pompeii. Since “More” and “Obscured by Clouds” were movie scores, I don’t compare them with their other studio albums. I appreciate the entire evolution of the band though, including “The Wall” and even the most lazy “Final Cut”…well a couple of tracks anyway.

  8. Taz
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    this gotta be the best fight of 2015

    I think it was fixed! That was a phantom knock-out punch.

  9. mfdempsey1946
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Crystal Gale and Tom Waits are very stirring together on the soundtrack of Francis Ford Coppola’s ill-fated, highly stylized Las Vegas musical, “One From The Heart.”

  10. Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    Cassoulet! Yum! One of my favorite dishes.

    • John Frum
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

      I had cassoulet in a brasserie across the road from the Toulouse main station a year or so ago.
      They had Leffe (a Belgian beer) on tap for a couple euros.
      I was in heaven.

  11. David Coxill
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    That Rusty -Spotted Cat is too cute for it’s own good .

  12. Kiwi Dave
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Gallipoli was not the only Turkish victory of WWI. In 1916 the Turks inflicted a major defeat on the British at Kut.

  13. revelator60
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    PCC speaks the truth! “The Passion of Joan of Arc” (1928) is regarded by many critics and fans as one of the greatest silent films ever made. The Criterion Collection will be re-releasing the film on Blu-Ray (www.criterion.com/films/228-the-passion-of-joan-of-arc) on March 20, so I’d advise everyone to save up and watch the film on Blu-Ray rather than youtube. And no, I have no affiliation with Criterion beyond being a satisfied customer.

  14. Mark R.
    Posted January 9, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    For those who live in the Seattle area, there is a French cafe in Pike’s Place market called Cafe Campagne that makes a killer Cassoulet. Make sure your stomach is empty.

    • Mark R.
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

      It’s not actually in the market, but on one of the side-streets. Next to Sur La Table.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted January 9, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      Those who live in the Seattle area know better than to call it Pike’s Place.

  15. Posted January 30, 2018 at 5:13 pm | Permalink

    I want a new domestic cat breed based on the rusty-spotted cat, the way they made the Bengal breed.

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