Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s Wednesday, May 23, 2018, and, for those of you without dental work, National Taffy Day. It’s also World Turtle Day (I mistakenly said it was yesterday; it’s not). We’ll have a readers’ Turtle Post later today, so I’m extending the deadline for readers send me pictures of their turtles, tortoises, and terrapins: 1 pm Chicago time.

I’ll have a duckling report in a minute.

On this day in 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the English-allied Burgundians and accused of heresy, which included dressing like a man. She was burned at the stake the next year; she was only 19.  Another heretic on May 23, 1498: Girolamo Savonarola was burned at the stake in Florence, Italy.  On this day in 1873, the Canadian government established the “North-West Mounted Police,” the antecedents of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (“Mounties”).  On this day in 1934, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow were ambushed by the Law in Bienville Parish, Louisiana, and riddled with bullets (you’ll remember the last scene of “Bonnie and Clyde”, which I’ve put below. Don’t watch it if you don’t want to see gore. In real life, each of the criminals was riddled with over 50 bullets. They’re played, of course, by Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty.

On this day in 1945, Heinrich Himmler, head of the Nazi SS, committed suicide while in custody of the Allies. Finally, exactly four years later, the Federal Republic of Germany was established.

Notables born on this day include the father of taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus (1707), Douglas Fairbanks (1883), Pär Lagerkvist (1891), Artie Shaw (1910), Nobel-winning geneticist Joshua Lederberg (1925), Joan Collins (1933), Anatoly Karpov (1951) and Jewel (1974). Those who died on this day include Savonarola (see above), William “Captain” Kidd (executed 1701), Kit Carson (1868), Henrik Ibsen (1906), Bonnie and Clyde (1934, see above), Heinrich Himmler (1945, see above), Sam Snead (2002), John Forbes Nash, Jr. (2015) and, last year, Roger Moore.

To palliate the violence above, here’s the great clarinetist Artie Shaw (real name Arthur Jacob Arshawsky—born Jewish), playing “Concerto for Clarinet” in the 1940 film “Second Chorus”.  The song that made him famous, which you can hear here, is “Frenesi”, a wonderful tune. Fun fact: Shaw was married eight times, including to Lana Turner and Ava Gardner. He also dated Judy Garland and was said to have had an affair with Lena Horne. Shaw was also the fourth highest-rated marksman in the U.S.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, there’s a Big Debate about whether to leave the garden, but Hili is of course in charge:

Cyrus: Are you staying here?
Hili: It depends…
Cyrus: Depends on what?
Hili: On what I decide.
In Polish:
Cyrus: Zostajesz tu?
Hili: To zależy…
Cyrus: Od czego?
Hili: Od tego co postanowię.

Matthew sent some tweets; this one shows how far Boston Dynamics has come with its robots. (No, that’s not a man inside!)

Impala run for their lives!

Some fun for you linguists; guess the second word, the one with 8 consonants and only one vowel. (You’ll find it in the tweet’s thread.)

A cool cat wooing his lady. What nonchalance!

Some great people save a raccoon.

The Cat Who Moves Only When Not Watched:

From Joyce Carol Oates via Grania:

Presumably you know the song:

From reader JJ:

From reader Gethyn:

Finally, reader Al contributed this cartoon, which could be used to illustrate what is NOT affirmative consent!


  1. Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    “Strengths”? If that is a word. Bit of a scrabble stretch.

    • Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink


      • Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

        Gosh. Another good one is the two English words which have the 5 vowels as they appear in the alphabet – a, e, i, o, u. Clue: you could add ‘y’, used as a vowel, to the end of both.

        • Dragon
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          I know ‘facetiously’, but not the other one.

          • Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

            Congrats. But, in the spirit of clue-giving, I would not drink to the other answer.

      • Dominic
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

        … all the way down?!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Good one!

  2. Blue
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    What is the point in re “married eight times ?”

    Why not just, ya’ know, romp eight times or
    seven or six times more ? T r u l y ?

    Only deal I can think of ? religion


  3. Dominic
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    By the way, The Man Without a Shadow by Oates is pretty good – lab lit –
    We read it for the Royal Institute ‘Fiction Lab’ a year or so ago…

  4. Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    That’s the great Nick Fatool at the drums in the Concerto.

    I suppose it’s nice to have eight anniversaries… Here’s Artie with Anniversary Song. Short and sweet, 2 minutes and 12 seconds.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    I fall on the Goodman side of the great clarinetists divide. I like Shaw’s Frenesi, but his Begin the Beguine is my favorite of his.

    • freiner
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      I tend to agree, but my tastes really trend toward the great eccentric Pee Wee Russell. I also wish Lester Young recorded on that metal clarinet of his more often.

    • Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

      I agree that Goodman was better than Shaw, but I think Goodman was the best jazz clarinetist of all time.

      • freiner
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

        I completely agree with the Goodman verdict. My fondness for Russell focuses on his improvisation, humor and imagination. In fact, I think calling Russell the best jazz clarinetist would be like calling Monk the best jazz pianist — that’s not where their “bestedness” lies.

  6. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    The Cat Who Moves Only When Not Watched is an exact counterpart of the Weeping Angels from the classic and highly-regarded Doctor Who episode ‘Blink’.


    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      … and while I’m at it, here’s an extract that ‘explains’ the Weeping Angels, but is also a very neat illustration of a time-travel paradox, and the last half-minute is one of the scariest monologues in sci-fi

      (yes I know the ‘explanation’ makes no sense, scientifically)

    • Graham Head
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      The one Dr Who episode that, as an adult, I found genuinely frightening.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted May 23, 2018 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

        Same here. Even as a kid I didn’t find Dr Who scary. But the Weeping Angels are the Real Deal.

        When I RT’d that cat, it was with the comment, “Don’t blink!”

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Lana Turner … Ava Gardner … Lena Horne — clearly, Artie Shaw wasn’t just a marksman.

  8. Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:23 am | Permalink

    I don’t believe that cat that pushes the vacuum cleaner away is “wooing” the other cat. See how flattened the other cat’s ears are? They are about to do battle!

    • darrelle
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Courting in cats often includes battle. And the most outlandish noises.

      • Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:14 am | Permalink

        You realize that’s also sometimes true of humans too?

        • darrelle
          Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

          I’ve seen it on occasion. Not for me though!

  9. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Joan of Arc is:

    a) the only official Catholic martyr to have been executed by church authorities

    b) pretty much tied with Saint Sebastian as easily the most popular Catholic saint among gays and lesbians.

  10. John S
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    The motionless cat reminded me of quantum theory measurements – it could be anywhere until it is somewhere

  11. bonetired
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    National Taffy Day? Dim diolch !

  12. nicky
    Posted May 23, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    That black cat nonchalantly, if not dismissively, getting rid of, what are they called again? is absolutely brilliant. What panache, what disdain! Pure class!
    I doubt it is about wooing though.

    Love the cat-lady cartoon too.

  13. Posted May 23, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    The impalas are impressive! I hoped we’d also see the cheetahs.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted May 23, 2018 at 4:30 pm | Permalink

      No cheetahs? Look behind you. 🙂

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