Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

It’s Thursday, August 9, 2018, all my ducks—both of them—are in a row, and I just got a new shipment of mealworms. All is well with the world—for the nonce. It’s National Rice Pudding Day, too—one of my favorite desserts. Sadly, the best version in the world, at L’Ami Jean in Paris, has declined precipitously, and now I don’t know where to get it. It’s also National Book Lovers Day, which I think covers most of us (e-books not included!).

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the birthday in 1908 of Mary G. Ross (she lived 100 years), the first known Native American female engineer and a designer for Lockheed, specializing in interplanetary space travel:

As you know, yesterday was International Cat Day, which I wrote about at the time. But it was all in vain in light of this tweet (from Grania):

On August 9, 1173, the Leaning Tower of Pisa (formally known as the “campanile [bell tower] of the Cathedral of Pisa” started being built. It wasn’t done for two centuries, and the tilt began in the same century.  It’s now been stabilized and will last for at least 200 years. Get there before it topples! On this day in 1854, Henry David Thoreau published his famous book Walden. On August 9, 1930, in the cartoon Dizzy Dishes, the character Betty Boop first appeared. Here’s that cartoon, which I put up every year. It’s freaky! Cartoons in those days were dark and scary, not like the feel-good pablum of today.  Boop makes her appearance at 2:30, but be sure to see the dancing cats at the beginning and the dancing headless chicken at 3:56.

On August 9, 1936, Jesse Owens, a black man, won his fourth gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Berlin. This greatly angered Hitler, who thought that Aryans should win.  And on this day in 1945, the atomic bomb “Fat Man” was dropped on Nagasaki, killing 35,000 people instantly.  On this day in 1969, the Manson Family committed the Tate Murders, which were formally on August 8 and 9 since they continued over midnight. On August 9, 1974, Richard Nixon resigned the Presidency at noon, becoming the first American President to resign from office. I remember how overjoyed many of us were. But of course Gerald Ford (not a crook) took his place and pardoned Nixon.  Finally, on this day four years ago, 18 year old Michael Brown, a black man, was shot by a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, leading to protests and riots.

Notables born on August 9 include Izaak Walton (1593), John Dryden (1631), Jean Piaget (1896), Philip Larkin (1922), Bob Cousy (1928, still alive at 90), Melanie Griffith (1957) and Anna Kendrick (1985). Here’s a clip of Kendrick doing her famous “When I’m Gone” cups song and routine in the 2012 movie “Pitch Perfect” (song starts at 1:24):

Even more impressive is her spontaneous performance on Letterman (starts at 1:00):

Notables who died on this day were few, including only Chaim Soutine (1943) and Jerry Garcia (1995). Here’s a lovely Soutine from Chicago’s Art Institute: Landscape at Cagnes (1923):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes a literary joke. As Malgorzata explains, “You may not remember, but Winnie the Pooh always had eleven o’clock on his watch. This is just a variation on the Winnie the Pooh theme.”

Cyrus: Do you think it’s eleven o’clock already?
Hili: It depends on how you look at it.
In Polish:
Cyrus: Czy sądzisz, że jest już jedenasta?
Hili: To zależy jak na to patrzeć.

Leon is here, too, and makes a funny:

Leon: Do you want a second cat? Here you are – I’ve cloned myself.

From reader Gethyn, the old tale of a very brave and protective cat:

Tweets from Grania. The article in Quillette to which Pinker refers was also discussed on this site, but read the Quillette piece by the much maligned Heather MacDonald:

Another tweet by Pinker, this time reporting a little known case of progress:

From the wonderful Shappi Khorsandi (former President of the British Humanists), reporting, with some humor, that she’s alone. . .

Noooo! Tell us it ain’t so, Italy!

I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but you can’t see this baby kangaroo video too many times:

Terry Gilliam has a new film! Choose the poster for “Don Quixote” and tweet it to Gilliam:

I love that old Cardinal too! The article from Audubon is here.

Nichols has a point here. . .

Monkeys in tanks! Monkeys in tanks!

Via Matthew. I just in fact went through the same dilemma King had, and the correct answer is “lay”:

And a cartoon from Merilee:



  1. Serendipitydawg
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Let’s not forget Rin Tin Tin, a prominent memory of my 1950’s UK childhood, albeit not the original, who died this day in 1932 aged 13.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Good old Rinty. I miss him, too.

  2. chris moffatt
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    “I just laid there.” Could be correct if you are a female chicken.

    • Merilee
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink


    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      Or gettin’ jiggy in a transitive kinda way.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      Close, I think the trick is to add a term and then pick the one that did not make sense:

      “Okay, grammarians, help me out:
      “I just [got] lay there” or “I just [got] laid there.””

      Did I got it?

  3. enl
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Dizzy dishes always gets me when the cooked, plucked, headless duck craps out an egg while dancing, that then hatches to a mini cooked, plucked, headless dancing duck.

    One does sometimes need to ask if the writers lived on wild mushroom soup….

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      Psilocybin mushroom soup, of course.

  4. Terry Sheldon
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

    I am pleasantly surprised that Terry Gilliam’s Don Quixote movie actually got finished! I highly recommend the documentary film “Lost in La Mancha” for chronicling the amazing string of misfortunes that plagued the 1998 attempt at the making of the Quixote movie.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

      Those posters all look good. Probably my choice would be #3, but I’m biassed since I also like Dali.


  5. Historian
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Jill Wine-Banks, a former Watergate prosecutor in her younger days, stated last night on MSNBC that Nixon would have been indicted after he resigned except that Gerald Ford pardoned him. I fear that Pence would do the same thing if Trump leaves office before the end of his term. Seeing Trump in an orange jump suit is not likely in your future. The only way this could possibly happen is if Trump serves out his term and is followed by a Democrat, who would allow an indictment to go through. This could be an incentive for Trump to leave early.

    I have said often only semi-facetiously that Nixon wasn’t such a bad president if you leave out the fact that he was a war criminal and a common criminal. In terms of policy, Nixon would have no place in today’s Republican Party. It’s hard to believe, but Nixon established the EPA.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      As I recall, Nixon was a bit friendlier to China as well.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

      I run through all the scenarios of what would happen if Trump were impeached and prosecuted, and it doesn’t matter how strong the hypothetical evidence in my head is because one fact about Donald Trump overrides everything: he is a _world class_ weasel.

      He’s spent his life weaselling out of things; weaselled out of showing his tax returns, weaselled out of multiple bankruptcies, weaselled out of going to Vietnam, weaselled out of condemning Nazis…
      He is extraordinarily proficient at avoiding accepting responsibility for his fuck-ups. He’s a pro. Mueller is trying to corner the King Of Weasels, the mutant super-weasel who rules them all, and my pessimistic sense of it is that Trump will wriggle free(even if everything goes wrong for him and everything goes right for Mueller) at the last, just like he always does.

      • Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Made me think that the best way to bring down a weasel is another weasel but we really don’t want to go there.

    • Harrison
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      Two things:

      1) Why exactly do you think prosecutors keep going after the Trump team with state level charges that cannot be pardoned by the President?

      2) Do you not think that if Pence did such a thing after the full extent of Trump’s crimes were made public it would lead to such a massive public backlash that the Republican Party would cease to exist?

      • Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        I assume #1 was a rhetorical question since it provided its own answer. Though, to be serious, some crimes are best gone after at the state level.

        If I remember correctly, Nixon was pardoned in order to “bring the country together” or some such nonsense. Perhaps the real reason was no one fancied the process and the time it would take away from other things. I suspect Pence would use the same excuse but for a different, more slimy, hidden reason.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      The Nixon pardon probably cost Ford the ’76 election against Carter. Much as I’d treasure the schadenfreude of seeing the Donald in a jumpsuit, I’d jump at a similar swap right now.

  6. Don Quijote
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Don Quixote. ¿Quien es?

  7. kieran
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink version of cups in Irish

  8. Doug
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    “I just lay there;” “lay” is the past tense of “lie,” as in recline. You would say “laid” as the past tense of “lay,” meaning to put something down [“I laid the carpet”].

    Today, most people say “lay” when they mean “lie” [“I’m going to go lay down”] which I find really grating.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Shall we pin the blame on Bob Dylan?

      • Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

        Or prayer. Now I lay me down to sleep…

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

          Technically, since that one’s reflexive — the precant is laying himself or herself down to sleep — the transitive “lay” is probably correct. “Now I lie me down to sleep” doesn’t sound quite right to me; does it to you?

          • Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

            You are correct. But I am thinking that perhaps this little ditty is a reason why so many confuse lay with lie.

            “Lie, lady, lie…” would be confusing too, in a different way.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

              Yeah, Dylan’s love song would be mistaken for a tune about distaff dissimulation had it been “Lie, Lady, Lie.” 🙂

          • Merilee
            Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:07 am | Permalink

            Now I lie down OR Now I lay me/myself down.

    • Merilee
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Drives me nuts, but I fear it’s a loosing (sic) battle🙀

  9. Historian
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    Cat lovers may be interested in The Atlantic’s posting of historic cat photographs. One of them is of a kitten on Mark Twain’s lap.

  10. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    On August 9, 1936, Jesse Owens, a black man, won his fourth gold medal at the Summer Olympics in Berlin. This greatly angered Hitler, who thought that Aryans should win.

    Jesse won his fourth gold medal in the 4X100 meter relays — but only because the crypto-fascist US Olympic Committee chairman, Avery Brundage, inserted him and another US sprinter, Ralph Metcalfe, to run in the place of the US team’s only two Jewish athletes, Sam Stoller and Marty Glickman (who went on to have a celebrated career as a sports broadcaster), so as not to offend der Führer.

    Still frosts my ass every time I think about it.

    • mikeyc
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Another thing about those games that fried Hitler’s jimmies is that the powerful, dominating German 8 man crew was defeated by a bunch of working class rowers from the University of Washington, sons of lumber jacks and miners. Hitler was so pissed off when the kids from Seattle won (by less than a second), he is reported to have stormed out of the venue.

      • mikeyc
        Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        damn it. Sometimes they embed, sometimes they don’t

        • tomh
          Posted August 9, 2018 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

          Great book.

  11. Posted August 9, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    I found this interesting. Abandoning Islam to become a porn star.

    I found this on a left leaning site. Most of the reactions were “she is deluded” or “she is too damaged to be thinking straight”.

  12. Merilee
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

    It drives me nuts, but I fear it’s a loosing (sic) battle🙀
    My Chinese-born yoga teacher says rise your legs, but she has an excuse…

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Sounds like somethin’ might be said at Lourdes. 🙂

  13. Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    I also like a good rice pudding, something that my mother made often. While perhaps not the best rice pudding in the world, I’ve found that Indian restaurants often serve a worthy rice pudding. Might have a cardamom seed or two in it though.

  14. Posted August 9, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    “Cat thwarts sex attack on owner”

    Will women start taking cats on dates and other social occasions in order to turn back unwanted advances?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:20 am | Permalink

      I’ve had a cat jump in the middle of consensual. Pretty sure I’m not the only one.

      • Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

        Is it really consensual if your cat doesn’t approve? 😉

  15. DrBryon
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

    Elevenses ( /ɪˈlɛvənzɪz/) is a short break taken at around 11 a.m. to consume a drink or snack of some sort. (Wikipedia)

  16. Alicia
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    Rice pudding is not my favourite dessert, not even my grandma’s, but I love the one served in this restaurant:
    (Sidrería Asturiana in Madrid, Spain). It is creamy and covered with a thin layer of burnt sugar.
    If you ever come to Madrid I’ll be happy to show you the rest of the menu too!

  17. FA
    Posted August 9, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Monkey in tank:

  18. Posted October 6, 2018 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    I like posts about prominent native Americans.

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