Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Well, it’s the final day of January: the 31st, in the year of our Ceiling Cat 2018, and it’s National Hot Chocolate Day. I added extra hot chocolate powder to my latte to celebrate. Political news: Trump’s State of the Union address, which I didn’t watch. What can Trump say that would make me feel better about him? What is he good for? Absolutely nothing (say it again).  I’ll read about the address later, but I’ll predicting now that he touted the economic “progress” of the U.S. (stock market rise and jobs) without mentioning that the middle class isn’t doing better; will say that he’ll propose a DACA bill, but one linked to other immigration reforms (like the goddam wall); and in general will trumpet that things are going terrifically. Was I right? Science news:  a new report in the Guardian, summarizing research from the University of St. Andrews, reveals that Orcas can imitate human speech as well as the sounds of other marine mammals (do listen to the audio at the link; h/t Michael).

On January 31, 1606, Guy Fawkes was put to death for the “Gunpowder Plot” against Parliament and King James. On this day in 1865 the U.S. Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment that abolished slavery. It was later ratified by the states. In 1929, Leon Trotsky was exiled from the Soviet Union; he was killed with an ice axe to the skull in 1940.  On January 31, 1930, a great innovation arrived: the 3M company began marketing Scotch Tape (why do they call it “Scotch”?). On this day in 1945, the U.S. Army executed private Eddie Slovik was for desertion; it was the first execution for desertion since the Civil War, and, I believe, the last in our time (49 soldiers were given the death sentence for desertion in WWII, but Slovik’s was the only one carried out.  Exactly 5 years later, President Harry Truman announced the U.S. program to develop a hydrogen bomb.

Notables born on this day include Franz Schubert (1797), Tallulah Bankhead (1902), Jackie Robinbson (1919), Norman Mailer (1923), Philip Glass and Suzanne Pleshette (both 1937), Nolan Ryan (1947), and Minnie Driver (1970). The Grim Reaper was kindly today, as not many notables died; those include Guy Fawkes (see above), A. A. Milne (1956), and Molly Ivins (2007).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili was out for a bit last night, for the snow is melting. She can’t wait for warmer weather!

Hili: It looks promising.
A: What does?
Hili: The world: the grass is greener today than it was yesterday.
In Polish:
Hili: Wygląda obiecująco.
Ja: Co?
Hili: Świat, trawa jest dziś zieleńsza niż wczoraj.

Matthew sent an optical illustion tw**t; watch the center appear to move:

A nature tweet from Grania:

And three nicer tw**ts. This is a good one. (Here’s another: “Why did the crow sit on the telephone wire?” “Because he wanted to make a long-distance caw.”)

Look at this sweetie!

Noms and history:

From reader Karl, a cartoon showing the difference between cats and d*gs:



  1. glen1davidson
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    the 3M company began marketing Scotch Tape (why do they call it “Scotch”?).

    The story I’ve read is that when they were tweaking it, someone was stingy with the adhesive and it didn’t stick well. So it began to be called “Scotch tape,” as in overly cheap tape. Then they put more adhesive on it so that it would work properly and sell decently, but the name “Scotch” had already, pardon the pun, stuck.

    Yes, ethnic evil, a microagression (the evil continues every time you buy it) that means non-SJW speakers need to be deplatformed. If the story is true, anyhow.

    Glen Davidson

  2. David Duncan
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    “Norman ailer (1923)”


  3. Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Apologies if this has already been answered and I missed it but why are all the recent Hili dialogue posts ended with a dog picture?

    • Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Sometimes the black dog comes to visit.

    • nicky
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      It is because Jerry (stealthily) loves d*gs too. Isn’t this black puppy cute beyond description?

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Nice to see you sampling Edwin Starr this fine Wednesday morning.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Yes, what could possibly be learned listing to Trump who most likely won’t be around much longer.

    More important, we are having a lunar trifecta as we speak, blue moom, lunar eclipes, full moom, you name it. I cannot see it from my location but they showed a good photo on the tube out at the airport.

    Love that cartoon…

    • Larry Smith
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Just saw the lunar eclipse from my front yard… lovely.

      Wondered if the double “moom” reference above were typos, or in sly response to the State of the “Uniom” invitation misprints?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

        Hey, pretty good. I do need an editor for all typing but those white house boys do have a spelling problem.

        • mordacious1
          Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

          Those invitations were issued by the House of Representatives, not the White House.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

            Interesting but…Republicans in the House or White House, what’s the difference?

    • Historian
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      If I were forced to bet, I would wager that Trump will indeed be around for quite some time. There isn’t the slightest indication that the Republican controlled Congress would take impeachment action against him, even if Mueller condemns him in the strongest terms.

      There is a slightly greater possibility that Trump would resign, but I wouldn’t bet on this either. My bet would be on the likelihood that Trump will be around until at least January 20, 2021.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        You may be overlooking the tons of stuff accumulated by Mueller. Or maybe the fall elections and effect on the numbers. This garbage about to be made public by Trump’s puppets in the House will be absolute proof of the House’s complicity in his attempt to take down the justice department and the FBI. Are the people going to sit by while all of this takes place? Even the corrupt have their limits, or at least we hope they do.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 1, 2018 at 2:48 am | Permalink

          There have been so many lies and appalling stories during the campaign and in the first year of his presidency that I was sure would be the death of Trump–and weren’t–that I now see predictions of his imminent demise as mere wishful thinking. I’m quite afraid we’ll have another 7 years of him.

      • Posted February 5, 2018 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Once we are in agreement! I actually think that whenever such a … president is elected, people should roast a turkey to give thanks for the 2-term limit.

  6. Graham Head
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    ‘What can Trump say that would make me feel better about him?’

    I resign?

    There’s an extraneous ‘executed’ in the item on private Eddie Slovik.

    • Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Fixed, thanks.

    • nicky
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

      I bet Slovik didn’t have ‘bone spurs’. If he had had, he might have become POTUS instead of being ignobly executed. 😦
      (for all clarity, I do not imply Mr Trump should have been executed, but….)

  7. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    I guess marketing- the simply chose Scotch plaid as their design, and voila. Was I right? Off to Wikipedia I go…

  8. Ian Harvey
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Re: difference between dogs and cats cartoon, I don’t think this one from the Grauniad has been posted on WEIT.

    Apologies if it has.


    • Stephen Mynett
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Ian, cannot speak for everyone but no apology needed from me, I had not seen that before and it has cheered up an otherwise annoying day for me.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1945, the U.S. Army executed private Eddie Slovik was executed for desertion …

    I once caused an awkward moment during a tour of a portraiture gallery in Washington, DC. There was a painting of a seated, grandfatherly Dwight Eisenhower with his hands folded on his lap. The docent said a few words about the painting, and, before moving on to the next, asked if there were any questions. “Yeah,” I said from the back of the pack, “why’d the artist leave the blood of Eddie Slovik and Ethel Rosenberg offa Ike’s hands?”

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      During the Civil War Lincoln saved many soldiers from death for desertion. The total number are probably not known. But he personally along with his clerk, reviewed all the the court martial cases that came up and there were tons of them during the war. I know of no other President that ever did this but then, there was only one Lincoln.

  10. David Harper
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    The story about the orca who can mimic human speech was featured on the BBC radio news this morning. I was amused to find that the orca could also do fart noises.

  11. Posted January 31, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    I don’t see any motion in the illusion.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      Nor me.

    • nicky
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

      Yes you can stop the movement by staring at one point, you have to move ever so slightly over the picture.

      • Posted January 31, 2018 at 7:19 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I see the movement now. I must have been staring. The motion effect also goes away if you view the figure obliquely.

  12. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:28 am | Permalink

    I think your summary of Trump’s SOTU speech is pretty accurate. I was watching it (out of sense of civic obligation) but nodded off during the anodyne first half, before (as I understand it) he segued into the familiar xenophobic nationalist tropes. Just as well, I suppose, since that probably woulda had me up pacing around and GRRRR-ing at the tube for another couple hours.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Are you the one who used “anodyne” the other week? I love that word! I repeated it a number of times (to myself, in my head) since then – thanks!

  13. Posted January 31, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Hippo looks like a statue contemplating whether existence was a good idea or not.

  14. rickflick
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    The crows(Corvus brachyrhynchos) look like ravens(Corvus corax) to me(Homo sapiens).

    • Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I think you are right. However, they have to be crows to make the joke work. According to Audubon,

      “While crows caw and purr, ravens croak and scream bloody murder.”

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 1, 2018 at 2:56 am | Permalink

        Agree, they are ravens. Love the Audubon description! Ravens can be spooky in the wild!

  15. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted January 31, 2018 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    Re: Origins of Scotch tape.

    Wikipedia reports
    “The use of the term Scotch in the name was a pejorative meaning “stingy” in the 1920s and 1930s. The brand name Scotch came about around 1925 while Richard Drew was testing his first masking tape to determine how much adhesive he needed to add. The bodyshop painter became frustrated with the sample masking tape and exclaimed, “Take this tape back to those Scotch bosses of yours and tell them to put more adhesive on it!”[2][3] The name was soon applied to the entire line of 3M tapes.”

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