Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning: it’s Tuesday, February 6, 2018. Foodimentary says it’s National Chopsticks Day, but chopsticks aren’t even a food. And it’s a UN-decreed day: International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation.

Oh, be sure to listen to the BBC’s free-speech discussion today.  It’s already been on but will be broadcast again at 21:30 GMT (4:30 pm EST in the US). I hope it will then be archived.

On this day in AD 60, it was, as Wikipedia claims, “The earliest date for which the day of the week is known. A graffito in Pompeii identifies this day as a dies Solis (Sunday). In modern reckoning, this date would have been a Wednesday.”  On February 6, 1840, New Zealand became a British colony with the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi. It’s my understanding, though, that not all Maori tribes signed on, and even the interpretation of the existing agreement is contentious.  On this day in 1918, British women got the right to vote, though they had to be over 30 and meet some property requirements. Full women’s voting rights in Britain, equivalent to those of men, weren’t established until 1921. On February 6, 1952, Elizabeth II became the queen of the UK and Commonwealth after her father George VI died. Apparently at the moment she became queen she was in a treehouse at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya. Finally, today marks the beginning of the fall of communism in Eastern Europe, as the Round Table Talks with Solidarity and other dissident groups began in Poland on February 6, 1989.

Notables born on this day include Aaron Burr (1765), Charles Wheatstone (1802), J. E. B. Stuart (1833), Babe Ruth (1895), Ronald Reagan (1911), Mary Leakey (1913), François Truffaut (1932), Tom Brokaw (1940), Bob Marley (1945) and Kate McGarrigle (1946).

Those who joined the Choir Invisible on February 6 include Joseph Priestley (1804), Gustav Klimt (1918), Barbara Tuchman (1989), Danny Thomas (1991), Arthur Ashe (1993), and Max Perutz (2002). Here is the great Klimt with his beloved cat:

Meawhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is acting like a typical cat:

Hili: After doing some thinking I’ve come to a conclusion.
A: What conclusion?
Hili: I will go inside now and I will go out a moment later.
 In Polish:
Hili: Po dłuższym zastanowieniu się doszłam do wniosku.
Ja: Jakiego?
Hili: Teraz wrócę do domu, a wyjdę za chwilę.

Here’s today’s comic, from Bizarro (first sent by reader Pete, then by many others). It would have been a much better strip had the hand puppet said “. . .free will is not an illusion.” And that puppet should have been labeled “Dennett.”

A tweet found by Grania: Those who watched the t.v. show “Frasier”, will remember his curmudgeonly dad, played by John Mahoney. Mahoney died Sunday in Chicago at age 77. And you’ll also remember what the cartoon below means:

A happy Siamese:

I feel like this today:

Note an error in the translation given in the tweet below (the placement of “only” should be after “like”, not “I”).

Lovely footage of a whale disporting with dolphins:

Matthew sent this: be sure to turn on the video to see cryptic mantids in action:

God on the couch:

Finally, a tweet found by reader BJ, in which sheep become staff:


  1. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Slight typo: Kate McGarrigle [1946]

    An excellent selection of tweets, pics etc today
    Never knew heated blankets existed

    • Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      Fixed, thanks. You don’t have electric blankets in the UK?????

      • David Coxill
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

        Of course we do.
        Sad news about John Mahoney .
        Those Mantids that look like the white and pinkish flowers ,are they always that colour?

        There are Crab Spiders that can change their colour to match the flower they are on .

        Well according to Gerald Durrell they do.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          I’ve read the Corfu Trilogy a couple of times, both times in the wrong order [M&W], with great pleasure.

          He is probably referring to Misumena vatia although a few different species are commonly called crab spiders – she can change colour over a few days between white & yellow. The change is quicker one way than the other [I think] & involves the vision.

          BTW A recent article that straightens out parts of GD’s idealised picture of the family while on Corfu is HERE – some aspects of the story make more sense to me having read that.

          • David Coxill
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

            Hi ,i have the official bio of GD by Douglas Botting ,another book i haven’t read yet .

            It was a bit sad to find out the truth about their stay on Corfu ,but it is still a very funny series of books .

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

        For years we’ve had those electric heated pads that go atop the mattress under the bottom sheet, but I was unaware until now [I just googled] that electric blankets & electric wraps are now ‘a thing’ in Blighty.

        I expect we’ll continue to trail in the U.S. innovation wake – what next? Electric chairs? 🙂

        P.S. Just seen a stat by the Fire Service which I haven’t dug into yet: “Electric blankets account for over 5,000 fires a year in the home…” – bloody hell, that’s a lot if accurate!

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

          Like the U.K. we have lots of houses with poor insulation both old and new. It is one of those things we know is wrong and a bad idea but we just can’t help ourselves.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

            We have lots of old houses without proper insulation, though retro-fitting ceiling insulation at least is extremely common. The government subsidised it for a while, which helped. (It reduced health care costs long-term so was a good investment.)

            New homes, though, have had minimum insulation requirements for walls, ceiling, floor, and glass thickness for at least 40 years, and the minimum has been increased over the years too. It’s about keeping the population healthy, which is better for everyone.

            As an example, a huge percentage of people in prison in NZ have hearing problems from growing up in cold, damp homes. They therefore didn’t get educated to their full potential. A huge percentage have literacy issues.

            Warmer, dryer homes from insulation = less ear infections (etc) = increased literacy levels and lower healthcare costs = better education = less people resorting to crime = lower prison costs, less crime, more productive population etc etc.

            Everyone in NZ knows and understands that formula, and most agree that the short term cost is worth the long term benefit whatever their political leaning.

        • Robert
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          About the fires – not true. I have an electric blanket and have never had a fire.

          • rickflick
            Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

            Yes, and it snowed today so no global warming!

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted February 6, 2018 at 6:44 pm | Permalink


        • David Coxill
          Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

          I think problems arise with electric blankets when they are not stored properly ,you can’t just bungle them up ,they have to be folded flat because of the wires .

          Also not a good idea to use them is you are prone to bed wetting .haha .

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    John Mahoney was one of those great character actors who make everything they’re in better. I especially liked him as an aluminum-siding salesman in Tin Men, as the Irish-American paterfamilias in She’s the One, and as the Faulkner-like writer in the Coens’ Barton Fink.

    • George
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Outside of Chicago, Mahoney is mentioned for his work on Frasier. Here, he is a member of the Steppenwolf Theatre. John Malkovich brought him in because they needed an adult in a company full of 20 something year olds. Last time I saw him was about 10 years ago in The Seafarer. Great play – great performance.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

        Thanks for the link, George. I went to The Steppenwolf once, while visiting my brother in Chicago, back in our young and wild days. Saw them put on some minor Mamet.

    • Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

      I am still watching the complete series of Frasier, in which I got to know him for the first time. Yes, a great character actor, who was a counterbalance by his talent to Kelsey Grammer.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Many notables born and died today. Barbara Tuchman, great writer, Babe Ruth, greatest baseball player, and Aaron Burr, great bad guy.

    • Ted Burk
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Since Aaron Burr served in the Continental Army, that birth year seemed to be wrong; Wikipedia says 1756.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

        Yes, that sounds about right – had to be at least 20 before joining the fight. Probably around the same age as Hamilton.

  4. Linda Calhoun
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    The house we lived in before we built this one had radiant underfloor heating. It was fun watching the cats’ contortions as they maximized contact with the floor when they slept.


  5. nicky
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    What a collection of mantids!
    And they don’t even attack each other. Maybe we are influenced by TV that depicts them as insatiable hunters?

  6. Geoff Toscano
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I did watch the Big Question on Sunday and watched Professor Francesca …unpronounceable Greek surname. Actually she was incredibly knowledgeable of the bible, and very articulate, but of course rational discussion isn’t overly appreciated in religious circles.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    Seems God’s suffering from delusions of Freudian grandeur in that cartoon.

  8. Hempenstein
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    Also today, a meme on my FB feed (and so it must be true) says that the Berlin wall has been down for 10,316 days, which = the number of days it was up. Without checking, that seems about right.

    • David Coxill
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      It’s a shame the East Germans didn’t try to make it a cash cow like it is now .

      You can have yourself photographed with guys dressed up as US soldiers at checkpoint Charlie ,the Berliners name for the people who chip off bits that are left is woodpeckers .

      • Hempenstein
        Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

        Hmm, I see it’s shorter in German. Swedish is hackspett. Always interesting to see how similar or not they are.

      • Posted February 6, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

        The german name for these people you referring to is: “Mauerspechte” that is a compositum of wall and woodpecker, so in English you could translate it with “Wall-Woodpecker”.

  9. E.A. Blair
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Don’t ask me where I got this, but my calendar has today as Ice Creaam For Breaakfast Day, but apparently that’s wrong – it’s supposed to be the first Saturday in February.

  10. Bruce Thiel
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Thanks for adding selected tweets to Hili. Although I don’t use the app, I enjoy seeing what I would normally have missed.

  11. Steve Pollard
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Tiny point, but women in the UK didn’t get the same voting rights as men until 1928 (not 1921).

  12. DrBrydon
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    I had not seen that John Mahoney had died. RIP. Moose, the dog who played Eddie, went to that great couch in the sky in 2006.

    • David Coxill
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

      There was more than one dog who played Eddie ,or so i have heard .

    • Les Faby
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

      His son Enzo took over playing Eddie after Moose retired. I saw them both perform while at a live filming of Frazier. The performed between switching scenes.

    • Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

      And Mahoney didn’t even like dogs very much, if it is true what I read some time ago.But even if – from his acting performance one had the opposite impression, that he and Eddie are one soul. That is what great actors are able to and that makes them great.

  13. Anthony
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Another good free will puppet joke: http://www.damnlol.com/what-im-about-to-tell-you-is-gonna-change-your-life-forever-9507.html

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:27 pm | Permalink

      Very good! And the one below it too.

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    I believe I have seen some of Prof. Francesca’s BBC documentaries and they are excellent!!!

    Hey, critic! You weren’t there 2000 years ago either.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 6, 2018 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

      I think she’s great!

      • zytigon
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        Yes Prof. Francesca Stavrakopoulou made brilliant points on the subject of ,”Is evidence a problem for religions ?”
        I also liked what Nicky Campbell had to say about how bias can sway people to cherry pick evidence in an attempt to confirm the conclusion they started with.

        Charlotte Hemple who is a scholar at the University of Birmingham studying the Hebrew Bible and 2nd Temple Judaism said at 48 minutes in that she thought the evidence pointed to Moses being a literary figure. Prof. Francesca agreed. (Hemple was two to the right of Francesca, wearing a pink blouse) When she was talking about the Dead Sea scrolls and the parts that were the same sort of stuff as the O.T. back stories she said that the promises made to the Kings of Israel were all not coming true…and then some of the Jewish folks got taken into Exile in Babylon.

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

          Do you have a link for which one you’re referring to so I can watch it? Thanks.

  15. Dale Pickard
    Posted February 6, 2018 at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I liked the free will comic. Cheap shot at Dan Dennett though. I suppose you couldn’t help yourself 😉

  16. Posted February 6, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    “It would have been a much better strip had the hand puppet said “. . .free will is not an illusion.”

    Absolutely true, in that other way around, the joke would really work.

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