Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s a “hump day”: Wednesday, March 28, 2018. The food holiday is National Black Forest Cake Day, described by Foodimentary as “several layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream and cherries between each layer.” Sounds good, no? (I’ve never had one.) But I suspect the dessert is an import from Austria or Germany, where it’s surely called Schwarzwaldkuchen (that’s just my guess).  In Japan it’s a beverage holiday, the Commemoration of Sen no Rikyū, the man who had the greatest influence on Japan’s tea ceremony.

On March 28, 37 AD, Caligula formally succeeded Tiberius as the Emperor of the Roman Empire, accepting the titles of the Principate.  He was assassinated roughly four years thereafter.  This date is apparently a big one for Rome, as on the same day in 193 AD, the Roman Emperor Pertinax was assassinated by the Praetorian Guards. (The Guards also killed Caligula, so they were apparently good at offing Emperors.) Finally, on this day in 364 AD, the Roman Emperor Valentinian I appointed his brother Flavius Valens as co-emperor, charged with running the eastern half of the Empire. On March 28, 1871, the Paris Commune was formally established. That socialist government lasted exactly two months. On this day in 1939, Generalissimo Francisco Franco (yes, he’s still dead) conquered Madrid after besieging it for three years. Finally, on March 28, 1979, a big coolant leak at the Three Mile Island nuclear reactor in Pennsylvania led to the core overheating and partly melting down. Although 20 years of monitoring showed no apparent health effects from the small leakage of radiation, the unit was finally shut down for good last year.

Today’s Google Doodle honors the 310th birthday Hannah Glasse (1708-1770), author of one of the first popular cookbooks,  The Art of Cookery made Plain and Easy (1747) which helped define British food. Published anonymously (“by a Lady” was the named author), it introduced many well known recipes: as C|Net notes:

Modern English cooking would be nothing without sausages and jelly and trifle (just like American cooking would be nothing with [sic] hotdogs and Jell-O and sponge cake).

But before Hannah Glasse, English cooking was little more than cabbage soup and mutton (and the occasional eel pie, if you were lucky!). The woman behind one of Britain’s most popular early cookbooks, “The Art of Cookery Made Plain and Easy” brought simple and accessible cooking to the masses, both in Glasse’s homeland of England as well as in America.

. . . First published in England in 1747 (and later in America in 1805), “The Art of Cookery” was notable for its conversational language and its “plain and easy” recipes. The book brought cookery within the reach of all classes (not just those fortunate enough to have a cook to do the work for them).

The impressive list of 972 recipes in her book also included some of the first known mentions of now-famous foods, including jelly and Yorkshire Pudding.

Google’s doodle, illustrated by Matthew Cruickshank, shows Glasse baking a batch of Yorkshire puddings, ready for the Sunday roast. Very British indeeed. [sic?]

Give me a roast and Yorkshire pud—two of the glories of British cooking!

Notabes born on March 28 include painter Fra Bartolemeo (1472), Teresa of Àvila (1515), Marlin Perkins (1905; remember him and his sidekick Jim Fowler?), Nelson Algren (1909), Mario Vargas Llosa (1936), Daniel Dennett (1942), Reba McEntire (1955), and Lady Gaga (1986).

Those who expired on this day include Ivan the Terrible (1584), Modest Mussorgsky (1881), Virginia Woolf (1941), Jim Thorpe (1953), Dwight D. Eisenhower (1969), and Marc Chagall (1985).

Here’s a nice Chagall: “The Cat Transformed into a Woman” (1928-1931):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Gosia, the former tenant who once lived upstairs, is visiting Andrzej, Malgorzata, and Hili. She took a selfie with The Princess:

Hili: We have a mission in life!
Gosia: What mission is that?
Hili: We have to look beautiful.
(Photo: Gosia)
In Polish:
Hili: Mamy misję!
Gosia: Jaką?
Hili: Musimy wspaniale wyglądać.
(Foto: Gosia)

Here’s an old cat cartoon I found; I may have posted it before:

From Grania (translation, please?); be sure to watch the video. It’s a cat stuck up a pole for three days, but it all ended well.

And a lovely calico rolling about (translation, readers?)

Here is proof that cats can read (note that “Kedi” means “cat”, not “pet”):

Why don’t they play this game any more?

A biology pun; and not a bad one, either! (If you don’t know the reference, listen to this song.)

Cats used to sell pillowcases in the 19th century:

Matthew sent some pretty horrible parasites:

And a parasitoid, which apparently puts its eggs into the prey from its anterior bits:

And smelly defenses of caterpillars:

Trump to sheep dog: “You’re FIRED!”

What probabilities do people say are associated with terms like “unlikely” and “probable”? Matthew found out:

Finally, I should have put this up on Da Roolz:



  1. Kenneth Thompson
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte

    • Terry Sheldon
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      What he said.

  2. Posted March 28, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    That pushball looks great fun; can’t see any harm coming from that!

    Here’s another clip of this gentle game:

    • darrelle
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      I’m wondering how many people died.

    • Neil Wolfe
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

      We played pushball in high school PE class but we called it “controlled violence”. I am fairly certain that this game is no longer allowed in the school. Too bad since it was a lot of fun and a great workout.

  3. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    I now hate moray eels even more than I did before…

    (Not that they’ve ever done anything to me. Not that I ever gave them the chance…)


    • Lurker111
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      The verse I came up with (some time ago) was:

      When the eel has a grin
      That gets under your skin,
      That’s a moray …


      • Sabine
        Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        So clever!

        • Lorinnor
          Posted March 28, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

          When you swim in the sea,
          and an eel bites your knee:
          That’s a Moray

          For those into real (non-merkin) football:
          When a ball hits your head,
          while you sit in Row Z:
          That’s Zamora

      • John Frum
        Posted March 28, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

        When the sun hits your knee,
        And you mispronounce trees,

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      .. in fact it reminds me of the vicious killer aliens of the movie of that name…

      (Google tells me I’m far from the first to notice that)

      • Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

        Yes, my first thought, too. Seems it’s difficult to invent an alien characteristic that doesn’t already exist here on earth. (Sits back and waits for the deluge from Trekkies).

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 28, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

          Trekkie aliens are rubbish mostly humanoid with American accents. Then there’s the odd Brit overacting in a stagy Shakespearian actorly actor style [that ham Patrick Stewart making speeches]. Hate the ‘swishy ‘ doors a lot! I see more frightening humanoids down my pub. Detest the show – worse than a Sunday sermon for moralising at every turn.

          Gimme Red Dwarf for honestly cheap, cheerful & chewy ham.

          • Posted March 28, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

            Internet reviewer SFDebris says in a way Lister is a bigger hero than any of the Star Trek characters, because he keeps doing the right thing (more or less) and keeps on living despite being the last human alive and being surrounded by idiots and incomptents. (The exact opposite of a ST character’s situation.)

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted March 28, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

              Interesting observation – I’ll have to think on it. Nothing in ST is as poignant as his non-relationship with Kristine Z. Kochanski & all the characters bar Rimmer know what fun is, a forbidden quality in ST.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted March 28, 2018 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

            I liked DS9 because the Federation was at war, there was spies in the Federation, the captain didn’t want to be there anymore, and his wife had been killed by Locutus. The captain also refused to see he worm hole aliens as gods. Sisko is actually my favourite Star Fleet captain.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted March 28, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

              Hmmm thanks. I haven’t dipped a toe into DS9 & maybe I should then – since its you 🙂

              Does it over-moralise though? That would be a deal-breaker! [speaking as a fan of Iain M. Banks, rip, whose ‘Special Circumstances’ Dept. are forever interfering with primitive, ignorant aliens & tended to break eggs along the way to making that perfect omelette]

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 28, 2018 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

                I think the writing is a lot darker on DS9. It has a slow start as well. It takes a couple seasons to get really interesting. One of my favourite episodes is when the worm hole aliens give Sisko a vision (or was it real – we don’t know) that he is a science fiction writer in 1930s America writing about DS9. The other characters he knows in his life also appear in the whole vision. His editor gives him hell for insisting that his captain is black and he, along with the women actors are forbidden from taking part in a photo shoot (the women write under pen names) because people don’t want to read fiction written by women or black men.

                Several episodes later, you see Sisko complain about everyone going to the holodeck to partake in some sort of 30s type dinner because he experienced how blacks were discriminated against in his vision. It’s really clever writing I thought and it explored themes other ST shows didn’t exactly do so on the nose.

                It isn’t like Banks or Simmons but it is a departure from regular Star Trek. It’s too bad Sisko doesn’t make other people’s lists of favourite captain. He struggles with the whole idea of being called “Emissary” in his contact with the worm hole aliens and that is interesting as well as he tries to deal with being a prophet of sorts.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted March 28, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

                I’m gonna give it a go then despite the preponderance of aliens just like us monkeys! I see all seasons are free on Netflix so I’ll start at the beginning & see if it tickles me – I have the HD package, a spatchcock chicken just in the oven & beer cans aplenty in the magic cold box wot lights up when I open the door.

                Thanks! Wishing your migraines away from across the pond [The only Trump Wall that interests me – yes I know you’re .CA].

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 28, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

                Ha ha! And I think I’m getting another migraine right now but I’ve been migraine free for 10 days which is a good stretch for me!

                There are some aliens that aren’t monkey like – Odo, the worm hole aliens (non corporeal). I do love the aliens that are from the gamma quadrant (the aorta) as they are genetically built to adore the shape shifting aliens like Odo. The reason I like them is because they say “founder” when they see him and look down. I always think of this when it comes to founders of start ups and how if I ever found myself in a situation where I worked for one or interacted with the founder of one, I’d work in that joke somehow.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted March 28, 2018 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

                subservient junior race aliens… I wonder if that was nicked from the Vorlons in Babylon 5 who ‘monkeyed’ with the junior species so as to be seen as divine beings?

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted March 28, 2018 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

                Vorta not aorta (autocorrect strikes again)

              • Heather Hastie
                Posted March 28, 2018 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

                There are several non-humanoid aliens in the prequel series ST: Enterprise with Scott Bakula as Captain Jonathan Archer. I can’t remember when they come in, but it takes 2-3 years I think – insects, fish etc. Some can’t live in our environment, and some can’t have their language translated by the universal translator, which is still in its origins.

              • Posted March 29, 2018 at 4:57 am | Permalink

                Sorry I mentioned it! (Agree about Iain M Banks, and Special Circumstances, BTW).

  4. Steven in Tokyo
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    Here’s a rough translation of the Japanese under the stretching cat:

    Cat mania [12 cats and (1?) quail]

    Lying belly-button up and stretching
    So cute ~~ Little Apricot (hearts)

  5. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Black Forest Cake was THE birthday treat when I worked at Frasers in Berkeley years ago. Please go to a good Chicago bakery and try one. Make sure the batter and the whipped cream contain Kirschwasser!

  6. "Busy" Beaver
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    When you swim in the sea
    And a fish bites your knee
    That’s a moray…

    My son and I sang dozens of versions to each other to while away the time on a long drive from Tasmania to Sydney in 2016!

  7. jaxkayaker
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Along with refuting the central point of an argument, I like the concept of a steel man argument (as opposed to a straw man argument), as promoted by Julia Galef, a good person to follow on Twitter.

    • Christopher
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      But what if the person actually IS an ass hat?

      • Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Doesn’t mean their argument is wrong.

        • glen1davidson
          Posted March 28, 2018 at 11:09 am | Permalink

          No, but if you succeed in impeaching the testimony of an asshat in court, his testimony isn’t going to count for much.

          It really does matter whether the person is trustworthy, or knowledgeable. Ad hominem attacks are a problem, but one really can’t avoid the fact some people are going to be good sources of facts and truth, and others are not.

          Glen Davidson

          • Posted March 28, 2018 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

            The modern work on fallacies by what some call the “Canadian school” of informal logic suggests that most fallacies have similar argumentation forms that are plausible.

            Also, “ad hominem” arguments weren’t always the fallacious kind either. It can also mean, particularly historically, an argument to your conclusion from your opponent’s premises.

  8. Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I can’t help thinking that Ivan the Terrible wouldn’t have turned out so bad if his parents had thought longer before choosing that name. Same with Vlad the Impaler.

    Some parents don’t deserve to have kids.

    • Christopher
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

      Equally so for James II, aka James the Shit (Seamus an Chaca). Kids on the playground are never gonna let you live that down.

    • Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:54 am | Permalink

      Unlike Vlad the Impala who was quite cute.

      • Diane G.
        Posted March 30, 2018 at 3:47 am | Permalink


    • glen1davidson
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 11:02 am | Permalink

      Name your kid Adolf Hitler, and how do you expect him to act?

      Glen Davidson

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Indeed. They should have paid attention to Alexander the Great’s parents. He conquered a large portion of the world! Would he have done so if they named him Alexander the Doofus? I think not!

  9. Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    There are some really strange outliers on these Perceptions of Probability graphs.

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      It started for me when I noticed the grouping of half a dozen all near the right. When I checked the Assigned Probability axis, many of them extended past the 100% line.

      Looking to the left, almost all the low probability distributions have tails that extend below 0%. Clearly my education in statistics theory is lacking.

      Reminds me of quantum tunneling due to uncertainty principle. Don’t hear much about tunnel diodes these days.

  10. David Harper
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    “The [Praetorian] Guards also killed Caligula, so they were apparently good at offing Emperors.”

    Well, the Praetorian Guards were the personal bodyguards to the Emperor, so they were well-placed to do the deed. According to Suetonius, Caligula regularly humiliated one of the tribunes of his Praetorian Guard, who then led the assassination.

  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    Praetorian guards were the elite body guards of the emperor so it’s always ironically amusing to me that they assassinated emperors on occasion. The emperors really should have paid them better because if I’ve learned anything from Roman history, it’s pay your militia well.

    • TJR
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

      And don’t order your other soldiers to attack their holiest shrine (Indira Gandhi I’m talking to you).

    • David Harper
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      The historian Suetonius wrote that Caligula humiliated one of the tribunes of his Praetorian Guard, who went on to become one of his assassins:

      When they had decided to attempt his life at the exhibition of the Palatine games, as he went out at noon, Cassius Chaerea, tribune of a cohort of the praetorian guard, claimed for himself the principal part; for Gaius used to taunt him, a man already well on in years, with voluptuousness and effeminacy by every form of insult. When he asked for the watchword Gaius would give him “Priapus” or “Venus,” and when Chaerea had occasion to thank him for anything, he would hold out his hand to kiss, forming and moving it in an obscene fashion.

      (Suetonius, Life of Caligula, 56.2, from*.html#56)

  12. TJR
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Who needs to be on twitter when Jerry summarises all the best bits? I especially like the last two.

  13. Pablo
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Now I kind of want to see a show with Daniel Dennett and Lady Gaga.

    • George
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      But do you think the show could possibly be as good as Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom with Marlin Perkins and Jim Fowler? Perkins was the director of the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago when he hosted a local television show called Zoo Parade from 1950-57 – during the infancy of television. That led to his stardom on Wild Kingdom.

  14. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    “several layers of chocolate cake, with whipped cream and cherries between each layer.”

    They forgot the Kirsch.

  15. Posted March 28, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    I think if a sheepdog can make the sheep follow him, he should be given a raise, not fired! Yes, his methods are unorthodox but highly efficient.

    • Posted March 28, 2018 at 8:15 pm | Permalink

      Yes, and dog could escape under the fence after they chased him into the pen! Good call!

  16. Mike
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    You called him Caligula at your peril, he was Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, Gauis son of Germanicus grandson of the God Augustus,gt Grandson of the God Julius Ceasar. which are pretty good credentials for an Emperor. His father Germanicus took him on his Campaigns dressed in a cut down Soldiers Uniform ,which got him the name Caligula or “little Boots”,which apparently he hated. he was also pretty fond of his 3 Sisters, regularly having sex with them. And on one occasion during a Beast Hunt in the Arena had a whole front row of the Coliseum thrown into the Arena, for not showing enough appreciation. Not a very nice Chap.

    • TJR
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      He can’t have had anyone from the Coliseum (or Colosseum) thrown into the arena because it hadn’t been built yet.

      (Will I beat Diana MacP to making this comment?)

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        It also sounds a little made up too. The good seats at the Coliseum (which was built as the Flavian Amphitheatre in AD 70 by everyone’s favourite Flavians – Titus and Vespasian) were taken up by the Vestal Virgins and senators. Where you sat reflected your place in Roman society. An emperor, even a crazy one, wouldn’t willy nilly execute a bunch of senators and vestal virgins.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

      If you called him goat or said goat near him he tended to get upset as well.

      • MIke
        Posted March 29, 2018 at 9:01 am | Permalink

        Of course your correct, just Arena then. But i doubt Caligula would have baulked at a few Senators, after all it was his laissez faire and who gives a shit attitude ,that ultimately led to his demise.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted March 30, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          It wouldn’t be a few – it would have been pretty much all of them and Roman emperors still had to pay some respects to the system – it made up their whole gravitas and the strength of Roman institutions. Civil war would have ensued immediately.

  17. glen1davidson
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    The hierarchy of philosophical arguments leaves out really crucial matters, like fallacies. A lot of people want you to think that they’re using the top three, when they’re pitching fallacies.

    That’s how you get junk like ID. They know enough to reduce the ad hominems (still plentiful, though), while spouting a host of fallacies and unwarranted assumptions. “Social justice” sounds high-minded as well, while generally bypassing mere evidence.

    Glen Davidson

  18. Posted March 28, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    As for the song – I’ve wondered about science songs for a while, even buying _The Biochemist’s Song Book_.

    Maybe we should put together a list.

    There’s two _Elements_ songs …

  19. een
    Posted March 28, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    the sheepdog video reminds me of the story of a farmer giving a sheepdog a trial before deciding whether or not to buy it. When the guy hoping to sell the dog sees that it’s not going to go well he gives it the command – Scatter ’em, boy!

One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] This is brilliant. (Pinched from WEIT) […]

%d bloggers like this: