Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Tuesday, the cruelest day, August 14, 2018, and National Creamsicle Day, celebrating my favorite quiescently frozen confection. I’ll be at KentPresents from tomorrow through Sunday, but Grania has kindly offered to take over the Hili dialogues, needless to say, posting will be light.  The schedule for the sold-out meeting is here: I am the last talk, but could be considered the opening act for Wynton Marsalis. The schedule actually looks pretty terrific.  I also see that Lesley Stahl will be having a conversation onstage with Henry Kissinger. I wonder who’s Kissinger now?

On this day in 1457, according to Wikipedia, occurred the “Publication of the Mainz Psalter, the first book to feature a printed date of publication and printed colophon.” What’s a colophon, you ask? It’s this:

On August 14, 1888, again according to Wikipedia, “an audio recording of English composer Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord“, one of the first recordings of music ever made, is played during a press conference introducing Thomas Edison’s phonograph in London, England.” On this day in 1935, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Social Security Act into law, a real act of socialism.

One year later, in the last known public execution in the United States, Rainey Bethea, a black man who confessed to rape and murder, was hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky. 20,000 happy spectators came out, the atmosphere was festive, and the hangman was drunk. No wonder it was the last one! (Although I’m opposed to the death penalty, sometimes I think that executions should all be public, just so people know what they’re favoring.)  Finally, on August 14, 1975, The Rocky Horror Picture Show opened in London, still the longest-running film in history.

Happy postmortem birthday to what was claimed to be one of the world’s oldest cats, Nutmeg, who died on this day last year at 30-31. (h/t: Grania). There’s no real documentation for that: the documented record is held by Creme Puff, who lived a tad over 34 years. As Creme Puff’s Wikipedia entry says, “the longevity of [Jake] Perry’s cats may have had something to do with an unusual diet of, among other things, bacon and eggs, asparagus, broccoli, and coffee with heavy cream, concluding that Perry ‘must be doing something right’.” You can see a video of Perry’s ancient cats, including Creme Puff and the cats’ diet, here.

Notables born on this day include, besides Nutmeg, Richard von Krafft-Ebing (1840), Doc Holliday (1851), John Galsworthy (1867), Lina Wertmüller (1928), David Crosby (1941), Steve Martin (1945), Gary Larson (1950), Magic Johnson (1959), Halle Berry (1966), and Tim Tebow (1987).  Those who died on August 14 include William Randolph Hearst (1951; ROSEBUD), Bertolt Brecht (1956), Frédérick Joliot-Curie (1958; Nobel Laureate), John Sirica (1992), and Pee Wee Reese (1999).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s pronouncements become more and more opaque. This one required a long explanation from Malgorzata:

Hili finds the idea of “moderate Islam” quite funny. She is playing with using the word “moderate” to other religions: “moderate Catholicism”, “moderate Protestantism”, “moderate Mormonism”. Then she went over to ideology: “moderate Fascism”, “moderate Communism”. Finally, she wanted to generalise and asked  Andrzej whether any Absolute can be moderate. Actually, she has a suggestion: rather than talking about “moderate religion” humans should use a three steps scale  “lukewarm believer”, “believer” and “fanatical believer”. It sounds more reasonable to her.
Hili: Can Absolute be moderate?
A: I’ve never met one.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy Absolut może być umiarkowany?
Ja: Nie spotkałem takiego.

Tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a cat gets pissed off:

Heather says that this is funny even though it’s a d*g:

Biological fact o’ the day:

A tweet from Matthew. This is fricking amazing! Look at that wave! It was in Portugal, and was estimated at 80 feet tall.


Tweets from Grania: ancient cat footprints.

Once again Maru seeks psychological comfort:

Brtitish hypocrisy:

Do you know what this bird is (play video). Readers will answer in the comments.

From reader Barry, a rescued and sodden bunny.



  1. Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Ahem – World Lizard day!!!

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    (Although I’m opposed to the death penalty, sometimes I think that executions should all be public, just so people know what they’re favoring.)

    Precisely. If the state is executing offenders in the name of the people, put the executions on broadcast tv where the people can see what’s being done in their name. Wouldn’t that maximize its (now non-existent)”deterrent effect”?

    Then, all it would take is one more botched execution — one more botched lethal injection, or one more botched electrocution — to end this barbarism for good.

    • Laurance
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      But it seems that people enjoyed it. They came out to gawk and stare and have a good time.

      I would have thought people would be horrified by Trump and his antics, but many are having more fun the more outrageous he gets.

      My fear is that ugly public executions would add to the cheerful hatefulness we’re seeing too much of these days and would only contribute to the coarseness and incivility that is growing.

      • Rita
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink


      • darrelle
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        I agree. Humans can acclimate to just about anything in my experience. I think public executions would be a bad idea. Likely as not to help move us towards becoming a more brutal society, or at least more callous about the value of human life, than to motivate enough of the public to get the death penalty ended.

    • Posted October 7, 2018 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

      Before modern times, public executions were a routine in many countries and were accepted as normal. In fact, people got so used to the sight that to impress them, rulers had to introduce gruesome methods of execution or to keep the corpse (or parts of it) exposed.

  3. joanfaiola
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    Bird is a shoebill (Balaeniceps rex)found in central Africa – Uganda and Zambia.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Thanks for the info – that shoebill has a lovely Sesame Street vibe going. I looked it up & the Latin Moniker means whale headed stork – I can see why now in this amusing vid: “A humble chat with a Shoebill” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfUX5dfr3MU

    • Mark R.
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Shoebill. I wonder why they call it that? 😉

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted August 15, 2018 at 1:43 am | Permalink

      And it is reputed to specialize in digging out and eating lungfish.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Damn, the sight of that wave in Portugal makes me wanna break out some old Safaris’ vinyl.

  5. Frank
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    I wonder who’s Kissenger now ?
    Groan …..

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

    I wonder who’s Kissinger now?

    Really? Gonna break out a pun like that this early in the morning?

    That’s ok; made me laugh (which is something mention of that liver-spotted old war criminal doesn’t often do).

  7. Graham Head
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    To be precise British GOVERNMENT hypocrisy. Please don’t tar us all with the same brush as that bunch of idiots.

    • Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      Actually, is it hypocrisy? The Bank of England has always held reserves of foreign currency. They have just moved away from dollars to Euros which is kind of understandable since the head of state of the country that backs the US dollar is intent on starting trade wars that they will probably lose.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

        Yes, what’s hypocritical about it? Most countries hold stocks of foreign currency. Doesn’t mean they agree with the policies of the country concerned. Given current Trump pronouncements, I’d say dollars would be more hypocritical.

        Wonder if they’ve got any Riyals or Yuan?


    • Diane G
      Posted August 16, 2018 at 3:45 am | Permalink

      If you’ll promise to do us (Yanks) the same favor!

  8. busterggi
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Just mix 1/3 of orange soda with 2/3 cream soda and you have drinkable Creamsicles.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

      I would experiment with some vodka and a dash of grenadine in that one.

      • XCellKen
        Posted August 14, 2018 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

        3/4ths oz Triple Sec
        3/4ths oz of White Cream of Cocoa
        Two ozs of OJ
        One Scoop Vanilla Ice Cream
        One scoop OJ Sherbet


        Has alcohol, tastes just like a Creamsicle, and its FROZEN !!!

  9. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Regarding the Brazilian surfer gif… It has been slowed down to around 1/3 speed. This is an old trick to fool the viewer into misjudging scale. The wave seems extra-super-dupa tall because Rodrigo takes such a long time to navigate down the slope. Here’s the same thing at proper speed:

    [Rodrigo Koxa was awarded the Guinness World Record for the biggest wave ever surfed at the World Surf League’s Big Wave Awards on Saturday night. Koxa surfed a 24.38-meter wave at Nazaré in Portugal on November 8, 2017]

    What is that thing Maru is scrunching into? A child’s play kitchen hob? Or is this how one cooks in a tiny, tiny Japanese home? No markings on the switches, but perhaps it’s some clever Japanese speaking electric hob? Never seen kid toys around the Maru house before.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

      It’s very common to slow down big-wave videos; at normal speed things happen too fast to fully appreciate the size of the thing.

      While Nazare is the biggest, it seems to break from the top, so the actual ‘breaking’ height is not as big as the figures suggest. But it’s still absolutely enormous. Whereas other waves like e.g. Teahupoo break over their full height.

      Here’s a Teahupoo for contrast (note much of it is slowed down too):

      Incidentally, all the really big waves, almost without exception, seem to come from the west (or north-west or south-west). Why? Ocean currents? Prevailing winds?

      (Here (based on a Google/Youtube survey!) is my top ten list: Nazare, Portugal; Mullaghmore, Ireland; Belharra, France; Dungeons, Cape Town; Mavericks, California; Jaws and Waimea Bay, Hawaii; Teahupoo, Tahiti; Shipsterns, Tasmania; the Right, West Australia. All of them westerly. I wouldn’t claim that as a definitive list(!) but I think anyone’s ‘top ten’ list would show the same sort of pattern.)


  10. Bat
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    I see that mitch landrieu is on kent schedule for late thursday afternoon. Recently read his “in the shadow of the statues” book which provides an excellent playbook of his process, both analysis and action, regarding confederate statues in new orleans during his recent time as mayor. The first and latter parts of the book deal with the statues issue while the middle deals with some general failures in governance during hurricane katrina and aftermath.

    • Bat
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

      Correction. Landrieu is on friday afternoon not thursday.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

    Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord” inspired Jimmy Durante’s song “I’m the guy who found the Lost Chord” which in turn inspired the title of the Moody Blues’ third album “In Search of the Lost Chord”


    There are people who have described English socialism as “moderate Communism”, but I am not so sure. Similarly, Putin has been described as a “moderate Fascist”.

    Virtually no Christians call themselves “moderate Christians” but many have called themselves “modernist” usually rejecting Biblical literalism.

  12. Posted August 14, 2018 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Tuesday, the cruelest day.
    April, the cruelest month.
    The cruelest year?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 4:03 pm | Permalink

      According to Ed, a chap on Good Reads it’s 1932

      coined the “cruelest year” by American historian Frederick Louis Allen and Pulizer Prize nominee William Manchester. It was the darkest moment in American capitalism, the grimmest moment of the Great Depression. Deaths of children from malnutrition were happening in cities all across America. Unemployment was at an unbelievable 25%. There were daily riots and outbreaks of violence by out of work laborers. In March, Ford Motor Co. “detectives” opened fire on protesting laid-off Ford workers, killing 5 and wounding 19. In July, a Bonus Army protestor William Hushka was shot and killed by Washington, DC police<

      A Londoner might suggest 1666 [except for that fool John Dryden]
      An Irish will say “Black ’47” or An Drochshaol [“The Bad Life”]
      Anywhere in the Balkans has a host of years to choose from

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted August 14, 2018 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

      ‘Tuesday, the cruelest day.’



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