Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning! It’s Thursday, September 20, 2018, and we have two more days of summer to go. Appropriately, it’s National Rum Punch Day. An example:

Rum Punch
  • 1 part dark rum
  • 1 part coconut rum.
  • 1 part pineapple juice.
  • 1 part orange juice.
  • 1/2 part lime juice.
  • Splash of grenadine.

I have never had one of these drinks, but it sounds a bit too sweet.

As of yesterday afternoon, Honey and James were still in Botany Pond, eating three big meals a day. I now have a new bag containing 25 pounds of duck food (the company delivers fast) as well as plenty of corn and mealworms. I feel that Honey deserves some pampering after the hassle of raising eight ducklings, during which time she ate little. And I’m happy that she’s bonded with a handsome and kindly mate, James Pond. All is well for the nonce.

On this day in 1519, Ferdinand Magellan left Spain with five ships and about 270 men to sail around the globe. The expedition succeeded, though just one of the ships returned—in September, 1522. Of the original 270 sailors, only about 38 made it back. Magellan was not among them, having been killed in the Philippines. Here’s the voyage’s route:

On this day in 1962, the black man James Meredith was temporarily barred from entering the segregated University of Mississippi. Governor Ross Barnett reluctantly reversed himself after pressure from Attorney General Robert Kennedy, and Meredith entered the University on October 1—accompanied by 500 U.S. Marshals. Here’s his entry:

Meredith, still alive, is somewhat of a maverick, having supported both the reelection of Barnett and the 1991 bid for the Louisiana governorship by racist David Duke. He disassociated himself from the Civil Rights movement, though he was once an icon of it.

On this day in 1973, Billie Jean King beat Bobby Riggs in the “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match held at the Houston Astrodome. What a show that was!

On this day in 1973, Jim Croce and five other people died in a plane crash in Louisiana. Croce, who was only 30, was a great musician. Here’s one specimen of his work, and my favorite of his songs. “Operator” was written by Croce and released the year before his death. He’s accompanied here by Maury Muehleisen, also killed in the crash: 

On September 20, 2001, nine days after the World Trade Center attack, George W. Bush declared a “war on terror” in an address to Congress. He clearly meant a “war on terrorism.”  Finally, on this day seven years ago, the U.S. military abandoned its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, finally allowing gay soldiers to serve openly in the armed forces.

Notables born on September 20 include Upton Sinclair (1878), editor Maxwell Perkins (1884), S. Dillon Ripley (1913), Sophia Loren (1934), and Asia Argento (1975). Those who died on this day include brother Jacob Grimm (1863), Fiorello La Guardia (1947), Jean Sibelius (1957), Jim Croce (1973, see above), Steve Goodman (1984; two great musicians died on this day), Paul Erdös (1996), Simon Wiesenthal (2005), and Sven Nykvist (2006).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is up in the trees again:

Hili: I will move on to more serious matters.
A: And that means?
Hili: Onto another branch.
In Polish:
Hili: Przejdę teraz do poważniejszych spraw.
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: Na inną gałąź.

Here’s a cartoon that Matthew spied in Private Eye. No free will for cats!

A tweet from reader Barry, showing once again the enormous empathy many biologists have for animals. You have to like a guy who’d rescue an exhausted and starving wasp! Video on, please:

Some tweets, also from Matthew, with the first one showing the continuity of carbon:

This is a stunning find: a terrestrial eel!

I eat shaggy manes whenever I can find them, but they can’t have started deliquescing when you pick them:

Birds flee the typhoon in east Asia (watch the video in the second tweet):

A salacious but informative tweet. Birds do it, bees do it, even beetles on their knees do it:

Tweets from Grania, starting with Owl-in-the-box (video on):

Anybody want a cat prize?:

You’d have to go a long way to beat this video of a squirrel eating an avocado, and wearing part of it as a hat. Now this is what Twitter is good for!



  1. Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    This is… interesting… hope link works

    • Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

      ooops – sorry did not know it would embed – roolz fail from dom 😦

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted September 20, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

        “University Professor” – that is scary enough right there!

      • darrelle
        Posted September 20, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        At 1st glance I thought he was a chef.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    “Rum Punch” provided the title for one of Elmore Leonard’s finest novels, adapted for the screen by Quentin Tarantino as Jackie Brown.

    • ChrisS
      Posted September 20, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Not a bad movie, too. Maybe Tarantino’s best, despite his tendency towards sprawling length.

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

        Yeah, the last of his best (which would include PF and RD). His films since have had great scenes and great performances, great moments of film-making, but the overall work has become undisciplined and self-indulgent.

        • Mark R.
          Posted September 20, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

          PF and RD are my faves, but I also enjoyed Kill Bill vol. 1 (not 2) and Inglourious Basterds (Christoph Waltz’s performance alone is worth the watch imo).

    • Mark R.
      Posted September 20, 2018 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Leonard’s novels provided a great many film adaptations over the years…off the top of my head, Get Shorty, Mr. Majestyk, Stick (h/t Mr. Reynolds), Freaky Deaky… I need to pick up one of his novels soon.

      • Merilee
        Posted September 20, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

        Leonard is great fun to read. Wonderful dialogue!

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted September 20, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

          He’s a model of concision. He’s also been influential on “serious” novelists, especially as to dialogue. First thing I read by him was La Brava, and I was blown away. Some of his later stuff got a bit formulaic, but, still, a hell of a writer, and a hell of a prolific one, at that.

          • Merilee Olson
            Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            My dad built a little Cris Craft boat and we would go by boat over to the beaches.

            Typo ergo sum Merilee


      • Ken Kukec
        Posted September 20, 2018 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

        Let us not forget Steven Soderbergh’s Outta Sight with Clooney and J-Lo.

        Leonard started out writing westerns; 3:10 to Yuma and the Paul Newman flick Hombre were made from his novels, too.

        • Merilee
          Posted September 20, 2018 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

          I though that Out of Sight was a terribly disappointing movie. Can’t remember the details but thought both Clooney and J-Lo were awful in it. Don’t know what went wrong? Should’ve been good.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

            It did well with the critics, and I believe Leonard said it was his favorite adaptation. I thought Albert Brooks and Don Cheadle were great in it, but then I’m a yooge Brooks and Cheadle fan.

            • Merilee
              Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

              I love Cheadle, too, but don’t remember him in it. It was a while ago. I remember wondering what the big fuss was about George Clooney. Now I think he’s particularly good in comic roles. Maybe I felt he took himself too seriously in this. Really don’t remember. He was so good in that Coen Bros flick, O Brother, Where Art Thou? Everyone was hilarious in that.

              • Merilee
                Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

                Did you ever see The Men Who Stare at Goats? Semi-true CIA experiment, with George as a long-haired hippy. Not sure it got great reviews, but I got a real kick out of it.

              • Posted September 21, 2018 at 12:43 am | Permalink

                Do you know the story about Clooney’s casting for that? Ostensibly, the filmmakers thought that he would be a good singer, because of his aunt, Rosemary. He was not.


              • Merilee
                Posted September 21, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

                His singing was hilarious in O Brother!

              • Merilee
                Posted September 21, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            • Posted September 21, 2018 at 12:40 am | Permalink

              I liked it a lot.


  3. TJR
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Gah, first Otzi and now a mummified corpse!

    Please can we have trigger warnings for this sort of stuff?

    I’m not entirely joking here, I find that any gruesome picture like that sticks in my mind for weeks, usually reappearing whenever I try to eat.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    He [Bush] clearly meant a “war on terrorism.”

    Even that made no sense. Terrorism isn’t an entity; it’s a tactic. It would make as much sense to declare a war on carpet bombing, or on the linear ambush, or on maneuver warfare.

  5. GBJames
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    I’ll skip the rum punch, thanks. But maybe a wee dram of that Bunnahabhain 12 Year over there…

  6. Randall Schenck
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    How about a war on drugs or a war on poverty. So he declares a war on terrorism, again not one of his duties but who pays attention. Too bad we do not have a war on stupid.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Birds do it, bees do it, even beetles on their knees do it …

    Nobody but nobody has ever swung that Cole Porter tune the way Ms. Fitzgerald do:

  8. Posted September 20, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    Wikipedia: “Bajan (Barbadian) Rum Punch is one of the oldest rum punches and has a simple recipe enshrined in a national rhyme: “One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak.” That is: one part lime juice, two parts sweetener, three parts rum (preferably Barbados), and four parts water. It is served with a dash or two of Angostura bitters and nutmeg.”

    This is the recipe I brough home with me from the Caribbean. The water can be replaced with lemonade or ginger beer. Make it in pitcher and keep in the fridge (except to pour!).


    • darrelle
      Posted September 20, 2018 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      That sounds pretty good. Thanks for sharing Ant.

      My favorite recipe book ever is a little red linen bound book of Christmas season recipes, published sometime in the 1940s, that I found in a used books store ages ago. In it is a recipe for what may be the best punch I’ve ever had. Unfortunately I can’t remember the recipe off the top of my head. You have to be careful drinking it though. Easy to drink and very potent. I first tried it for New Years party about 15 years ago. It was a huge hit.

  9. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    Glad to hear your mallards are still there! Here in Oz it is spring, and the Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) ducklings are starting to hatch. It appears that both parents contribute to rearing the young. Today after volunteering in the State Herbarium, I was walking across the Botanic Garden, and saw a pair of wood ducks with six ducklings grazing on the lawn. Despite the fact that I was about 5 meters away on the footpath, the drake took umbrage, and flew at me, actually hitting me in the head (sort of an inverted dive bomb?). I congratulated him on his great care for his wife and family. I do hope they manage to raise all six ducklings.

  10. busterggi
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    I expect creationists will ‘explain’ that the terrestrial eel is actually some sort of snake – dna & biology be damned.

  11. Hempenstein
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    100yrs after Magellan, the 14% survival rate hadn’t improved. In 1619, Jens Munk + 65 in two ships left Denmark, arriving in Hudson’s Bay and getting frozen in there. He returned with only two others in one ship the next year <5%.

    And re. that squirrel with avocado, suspect they'll also eat the pits. There's a restaurant in Kobarid, Slovenia (where there's a great WWI museum) that made TIME magazine's list of 21 places to eat/drink for 2018. They specialize in finding uses for stuff that's generally thrown out. Such as, I wondered? The example given was making pesto out of toasted avocado pits in lieu of pine nuts. I need to try this.

    • Merilee
      Posted September 20, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink
      This might be worth reading before you eat too many avocado seeds? No idea about the veracity of these claims.

  12. Roger
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    When you see “remaster” usually it means basically more reverb and more louder, which is okay by me as long as they don’t completely destroy everything lol.

  13. Posted September 20, 2018 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The “Battle of the Sexes” was made into a movie last year, starring Steve Carrel as Riggs and Emma Stone as King. It was surprisingly enjoyable and brought back memories of the real event.

  14. yazikus
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 11:24 am | Permalink

    A tweet from reader Barry, showing once again the enormous empathy many biologists have for animals.

    Kiddo’s forest-school summer camp had quite a few yellow jackets hanging about. Kiddo decided that he would sacrifice a slice of salami from his sandwich to share with the creatures each day to establish a relationship. He related how ‘cute and adorable their little chomping jaws’ were when eating. Incidentally, he was not stung once.

  15. yazikus
    Posted September 20, 2018 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Question for those who might know (PCCE?): I had heard that the name of the beverage punch was a play on the hindi word for five (because it was made of five ingredients). Any ring of truth to it?

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