Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s Saturday, April 7, 2018, and if the creeks don’t rise in one week I’ll be in Florida’s panhandle soaking up sun and watching my friends fish. (I’ll also be eating oysters and shrimp.) Warning: these several trips, and another one soon thereafter, will reduce writing here to a minimal level until mid-May. As always, I do my best.

Today is also National Coffee Cake Day, as well as National Beer Day in the U.S., celebrating the day Prohibition ended in 1933.

The weather in Chicago has been crazy cold; right now it’s 23º F (-5° C), and I’m worried that Honey and her boyfriend will be cold. I don’t want them to leave the pond. (By the way, I’m looking for a name for Honey’s duck-husband.) There’s no sign of a let-up in weather over the next few days, and that means the vegetation around the pond, where the ducks presumably nest and the ducklings hide, isn’t growing very fast.

On April 7, 1724, Bach’s St. John Passion premiered at the St. Nicholas Church in Leipzig. Another premiere on this day in 1805: Beethoven’s Third Symphony, which played at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna. On this day in 1829, Joseph Smith, who founded Mormonism, began translating the “golden plates” using his peepstone to see God’s words and his credulous friend Oliver Cowdery as a scribe. What a scam!  On April 7, 1906, Mount Vesuvius erupted again, killing 100 people and ejecting tons of lava. And Naples still sits there, awaiting the next eruption.  This day in 1927 saw the first long-distance public television broadcast: an image of Herbert Hoover (oy!) was sent from Washington D. C. to New York City.  And (see above) Prohibition ended on this day in 1933, allowing the sale of beer of 3.2% alcohol content or less.  On this day in 1949 (my birth year), the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical South Pacific opened on Broadway. It ran for 1,925 performances and garnered ten Tony awards.  On April 7, 1955, Winston Churchill resigned his second stint as Prime Minister, purportedly for health reasons. But he lived on for another decade.

On April 7, 1994, the Rwandan genocide began in earnest as the massacre of Tutsis began.  Here’s one I didn’t know. On this day in 1999, as Wikipedia notes, “The World Trade Organization rules in favor of the United States in its long-running trade dispute with the European Union over bananas.” Bananas? Could someone enlighten me?  Finally, on this day 15 years ago, U.S. troops captured Baghdad in the Iraq war, and Saddam Hussein’s regime collapsed two days later.

Notables born on this day include William Wordsworth (1770), Percy Faith (1908), Billie Holiday (1915), Ravi Shankar (1920), Daniel Ellsberg (1931), Francis Ford Coppola (1939), Janis Ian (1951), Jackie Chan (1954) and Russell Crowe (1964). Those who died on this day include El Greco (1614), P. T. Barnum (1891), Henry Ford (1947), Walter Huston (1950), Jim Clark (1968; killed in a race car crash), and Mike Wallace (2012).

Here’s a lovely El Greco: “The Noblelman”:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hil is defending Cyrus against accusations of canine malfeasance!

A: Cyrus dug up all the bulbs.
Hili: You exaggerate—only 96 per cent.
In Polish:
Ja: Cyrus wykopał wszystkie cebulki.
Hili: Przesadzasz, tylko 96 procent.

From reader Paul, a brutal kidnapping (or catnapping):

From Grania: “Bad joke day”. Brits would say this is “rude.”

“Kitteh”. Don’t ask me what “DarkSouls” is!

“Shocking interspecies love” from Grania.

Look at that Tabby try to run! It’s also the Wile E. Coyote run.


Hiroko, who made my Hili shirt!

All your strings belong to us:

From Matthew: a new book displaces Dawkins on Amazon, and one of the authors preens. This is the state of modern science education.

. . . and GET OFF MY LAWN!



  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    National Beer Day. That sounds like a good day. Is that a rat sleeping with a cat?

    It is colder by a couple of degrees in Wichita than Chicago this morning. About an inch of snow as well. That can’t be good.

  2. Mike
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    The over-indulged Puss in the El Greco Painting, does not look too

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      The cat was “photoshopped” in.

  3. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Dark Souls is a notoriously rock-hard, Japanese videogame series, in which the player spends most of their time desperately rolling away from enormous, hideous/beautiful creatures as they smash twenty foot long melee weapons into the ground. The default style of movement for the player is a kind of terrified, panicky scuttle, with the shield constantly drawn in anticipation of a surprise attack from a giant skeleton with scythes for arms.
    I’d say the kitten is displaying decent Dark Souls protocol, although it could at least have tried backstabbing the cat. The big bosses often go down easier than the smaller ones.

  4. Reggie Cormack
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Honey’s partner’s name – Sir Francis?

  5. Blue
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Born this day within Minneapolis, Minnesota,
    and living to 108 years of age,
    Ms Marjory Stoneman of the name on that
    Floridian school and of this y1987 statement:
    “I believe that life should be lived
    so vividly and so intensely that thoughts
    of another life, or of a longer life, are
    not … … necessary.”

    Of FFRF’s twitter: and wikipedia thus: “journalist,
    author, women’s advocate and
    conservationist” within


    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

      Thank you for this.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 2:34 pm | Permalink

      I’m with “Jenny Hanvier”. Thanks Blue.

  6. Sarah
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Get-Off-My-Lawn Dept:
    We learned to misspell “led”.

  7. glen1davidson
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I’ll pass on “Does it Fart?”

    Glen Davidson

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      That ‘fart’/Dawkins image appears to be fake news [a lie]. The Dawkins book isn’t tagged ‘zoology’ as far as I can tell & shouldn’t show up in the ‘zoology’ subsection at all. It looks as if the Dawkins book image was pasted into that listing from another listing.

      That ‘Fart’ listing is for Amazon Canada Best Sellers list for ‘zoology’ – a category that I couldn’t find on the UK nor the .com Amazon. Of those three Amazons I checked, the Fart book only comes first in Best Sellers only in Canada & only in the ‘zoology’ sub-category! And the Dawkins book doesn’t show up at all in the top 100 books within the Canadian ‘Zoology’ category. – it doesn’t exist in that category as far as I can see.

      • Posted April 7, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Anyway, I think it’s OK that many readers are interested in the gastrointestinal tract and its functions.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted April 7, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

          The fart gimmick is fine with me. The reviews indicate it’s a very informative book generally. And who would have thought the octopus doesn’t? 🙂

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Those who disdain something merely because it seems silly and trivial to them or offends their sense of decorum miss out on a lot; but ignorance is bliss.

      “Does it Fart” is a fascinating, informative, and scientifically relevant book. Not to hint at any teleology, but farting has its place in nature, it is crucial to understand the mechanism of farting and the components of farts re evolution and in the ecological scheme of things.

      Farting in this book is construed as far more than simply passing a particular kind of gaseous eruption from an intestine; and I would aver that one could extend the notion to the physical world in general, such as the eruptions of lakes such as Lake Nios in Cameroon I’d call that a farting lake. And what about the Big Bang? Not divine afflatus,but perhaps cosmic afflatus. There’s a direct and obvious etymological link between flatus and afflatus, which drives me to call divine afflatus flatus.

  8. Terry Sheldon
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    The obvious choice for a name for Honey’s paramour is “Milk”.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      The Vogues would approve.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Or Bread.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

      How about “Bees”?
      Or, for an Egyptian connection, “Bez”?

  9. Neil Wolfe
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    Richard Duckins

  10. glen1davidson
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    “Mead” for Honey’s guy’s name.

    Glen Davidson

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    … Herbert Hoover (oy!) …

    After the stock-market crash, during the Great Depression, a sportswriter asked Babe Ruth (the first baseball player ever to earn $100,000 a year) how he could justify making more money than president Herbert Hoover. Said the Babe: “I’m havin’ a better year.”

    I’ve had oysters from all over the world, but those plump, succulent, salty bivalves from Apalachicola might be my favorites anywhere. Get ’em while there’s still an “R” in the month.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

      Whatever the month,mountain oysters “R” always in season. And full of pearls.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted April 7, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

        In NZ, mountain oysters means something quite different. They’re what we chop off the ram lambs to turn them into wethers.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted April 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

          That’s exactly what they are. A southern delicacy. Fryin’ up a mess o’ testicles. Some say Yum. Not I. Testicles are consumed in many cultures across the globe. When I was in Tunis, I never ceased to be amazed when I saw sheep testicles deftly arranged on a plate in the display cases of butcher shops. Don’t know how they cooked them.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted April 7, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

            They don’t get eaten here. Well, I’m sure some people do, but not anyone I’ve heard about.

            The method of removing them was usually rubber rings, so they dropped off in the paddock anyway. Some people used a hot clamp to chop them off. Maybe that was so they could save them. That was probably more time consuming, more expensive, more painful for the lambs, and put farmers at greater risk of injury.

            (I’m not up to date with sheep farming methods. My knowledge is from 30+ years ago, mostly more.)

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm | Permalink

      [oysters] Get ’em while there’s still an “R” in the month.

      What, if anything, is the basis behind this assertion?
      I learned how shellfish feed long before they ever appeared on a menu in my sight. I don’t think I’ve even tried oysters, and only mussels through hunger or wifely encouragement.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 7, 2018 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

        If you harvested them wild then avoid May to August [northern hemisphere] because of the heat & because they’re not as firm due to energy put into reproduction. That’s what I was told years ago anyway & the rule is from pre-electrification & refrigeration. I’m guessing experts know which specific critter to avoid for which specific time, but that rule is a thumb one for consumers.

        I don’t know what happens near the equator 🙂

        Oysters/shellfish are safe if there’s any letter in the month – assuming they’re commercially farmed & refrigerated. It seems the farms have ways of maintaining quality all year.

  12. GBJames
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    The banana wars explained

    Also…. names not to consider for Honey’s drake: “BooBoo”, “Nutz’n”, “Pie”.

  13. allison
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Honey’s boyfriend = Boo Boo

  14. BJ
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    The Nobleman is the cat,right? And the man holding him is just the butler?

  15. Posted April 7, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    How about “Bear” for Honey’s mate?

  16. barn owl
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    El Greco’s nobleman was stretching cats before cat-stretching was cool.

  17. Posted April 7, 2018 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    The method that Joseph Smith used to translate the Book of Mormon should be noted. From Wikipedia (and as an ex-Mormon this is what the church teaches): Smith dictated the text of the Book of Mormon over the next several years, claiming that it was a translation of the plates. He did so by using a seer stone, which he placed in the bottom of a hat and then placed the hat over his face to view the words written within the stone.

    So it can be truly said that Joseph Smith was talking out of his hat.

    • Sarah
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      I’ve translated a few books, but I never thought of the stone-in-the-hat method. That would have saved me a lot of time and dictionary-thumbing. I always thought it was interesting that the chunky Book of Mormon was originally on a few golden plates. The language must have been exceptionally compact.

      • Richard
        Posted April 8, 2018 at 5:46 am | Permalink

        Try taking a look at Joseph Smith’s ‘Grammar & Alphabet of the Egyptian Language’ (all complete nonsense, of course). He was able to assign amazing amounts of information to single symbols.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted April 7, 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      One year on this anniversary I questioned on Twitter about how otherwise intelligent people could believe Smith’s more obvious lies like this. (I wasn’t rude or nasty or anything in the way I wrote the question.) Several Mormons came back to me saying that if I read the full history which includes all the eyewitness testimony etc I’d realize it was the truth.

  18. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    I propose as a moniker for Honey’s mate “Anton” after Anton Chekov author of the play “Wild Geese”


    “South Pacific” is pretty much tied with “Showboat” as my favorite musical. Both are powerful indictments of racism.
    South Pacific has a slightly better structured plot, and Showboat has slightly better songs.


    Some religions should raise suspicion simply because of the dubious character of their founder- including Mormonism and the Unification church.

  19. glen1davidson
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1829, Joseph Smith, who founded Mormonism, began translating the “golden plates” using his peepstone to see God’s words and his credulous friend Oliver Cowdery as a scribe. What a scam!

    You think, why even bother scamming anyone if you’re going to be that obvious?

    Depends on your marks, I guess.

    Glen Davidson

  20. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 7, 2018 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    From Grania: “Bad joke day”. Brits would say this is “rude.”

    As a fan of batter-based dishes, I’m taking this as a challenge. At a first guess, this started as a slightly dried coiled spiral sausage (Cumberland sausage, for example), which with the baking has contracted on the drying upper side, coming to it’s priapulid impersonation. Experimentation to follow.
    Within the family, we do version of toad-in-the-hole using burger patties instead of sausages. Under the name of toad-in-the-road.
    As I just heard some Bill Oddie on the radio, I’ll point out that a proper Yorkshire pudding can be used as a shield against even a white belt in Ecky-Thump.

%d bloggers like this: