Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s Friday, October 5, 2018: one week before I depart for Zagreb, Croatia to give three lectures. It’s National Apple Betty Day, and the International Day of No Prostitution, which some people might dislike because they feel that sex work is respectable work.

My ducks have not appeared for two days, so I’m marking October 3, 2018, as the day that Honey and James took off for migratory purposes. I hope they return, but my hopes are not high. Most of all, I hope that Honey and James return here next spring.

Here’s Friday on the Cheezburger site’s new calendar: “A typical week through the eyes of a [Pallas] cat“.  The manul is really happy today!

On this day in 1905, Wilbur Wright flew the Wright Flyer III over a distance of 24 miles in just 39 minutes; this record stood for three years. Nine years later, during World War I, Wikipedia reports that “An aircraft successfully destroys another aircraft with gunfire.” A French pilot shot down a German biplane to pull off the first aerial combat victory in history. On this day in 1938, the Nazis invalidated the passports of every Jew in the country under the Nuremberg Laws.  On this day in 1943, Japanese troops on Wake Island executed 98 American prisoners of War. The details from Wikipedia:

After a successful American air raid on October 5, 1943, Sakaibara ordered the execution of all of the 98 captured Americans who remained on the island. They were taken to the northern end of the island, blindfolded and machine-gunned. One prisoner escaped, carving the message “98 US PW 5-10-43” on a large coral rock near where the victims had been hastily buried in a mass grave. This unknown American was soon recaptured and beheaded. Sakaibara and his subordinate, Lt. Cmdr. Tachibana, were later sentenced to death after conviction for this and other war crimes. Tachibana’s sentence was later commuted to life in prison. Sakaibara was executed on June 18, 1947, on Guam. The remains of the murdered civilians were exhumed and reburied at the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in section G.

On October 5, 1947, President Truman gave the first televised Presidential address from the White House Oval Office. His message involved asking Americans to reduce grain consumption so our grain could be sent to starving people in Europe. And—do you remember this?—on this day in 1982, Tylenol products were recalled after several bottles of Tylenol in Chicago were found to have been laced with cyanide, killing seven people.  Nobody has ever been charged with the murders. Finally, on this day in 2000, Slobodan Milošević resigned after riots in Serbia. He was found guilty of war crimes and died in 2006 in a Dutch prison. 

Notables born on this day include Jonathan Edwards (1703), Denis Diderot (1713), Chester A. Arthur (1829), Francis Peyton Rous (1879; Nobel Laureate), Larry Fine of the Three Stooges and Ray Kroc of the Hamburger (both 1902), mountaineer Willi Unsoeld (1926, died in an avalanche in 1979), Edward P. Jones (1950, one of his books is dedicated to my mom), Bob Geldof (1951), Neil deGrasse Tyson (1958), and Kate Winslet (1975).

Those who died on October 5 include Tecumseh (1813), Jacques Offenbach (1880), Louis Brandeis (1941), Lars Onsager (1976, Nobel Laureate, he had me kicked out of my adjoining room at Rockefeller University for having a woman in my quarters), Eddie Kendricks (1992), Rodney Dangerfield and Maurice Wilkins (2004), and Bert Jansch and Steve Jobs (2011).

Here’s one of my favorite Bert Jansch songs (there are many) from 1973. (If you have an hour to spare, check out the BBC documentary of his 60th birthday concert; the “Running” song begins at 10:14, and his best song, “Angie”, at 17:12)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili had decided to sleep in the firewood basket:

A: Hili, this basket is needed for wood for the fireplace.
Hili: You shouldn’t put all your wood into one basket.
In Polish:
Ja: Hili, ten koszyk będzie potrzebny na drewno do kominka.
Hili: Nie powinieneś wkładać wszystkiego do jednego koszyka.

From Matthew, a tweet with a remarkable obituary. I must look this man up. He died in flagrante! (Note: a reader below sent this link to a story about the remarkable love life of Zanfanti.)

Tweets from Heather Hastie (this first one, showing a cuddle-needy octopus, was also sent by reader Barry). That is a friendly cephalopod!

I don’t think these cats are enjoying their bath:

Is Kanye West sane?

And, in case you haven’t seen a pangolin tongue today, watch this video:

A hapless d*g:

This is a lovely visualization, taken from GPS tracking, of bird migration at night:

Someday I must see the Northern Lights. It’s on my bucket list along with Antarctica (next year) and a trip to see the “big game” of Africa (not scheduled).

From reader Amy, a d*g gets a ride. (I had a reader write me recently unsubscribing because I was rude to d*gs.)

From reader Barry, a picky chameleon:

From Grania, who calls this “AN HONORABLE DOG”. I concur! Note that the dog, named “Dude”, volunteered to be a duck island. Watch the 3-minute story.



  1. Peter
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    M”y ducks have not appeared for two days, so I’m marking September 3, 2018,” ???

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    … Edward P. Jones (1950, one of his books is dedicated to my mom) …

    Never knew your moms was a muse, boss. Care to spill with the deets?

    • Posted October 5, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Jones was a tax accountant who lived across the hall from my parents in their high-rise apartment in Virginia. My mother became sort of a surrogate mom to Edward, bringing him food and taking care of him. He was also writing on the side. It turns out that he was a superb writer and won the Pulitzer Prize for his book “The Known World”. I can’t remember whether it was that one or “Lost in the City” which has a dedication to Lillian Coyne.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 5, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

        Cool story. Who knew a tax accountant had it in him? (Then again, David Foster Wallace, a great writer, wrote his last, unfinished novel about tax accounting — so why not a tax accountant writing a great novel?)

        I think there might be another, metafictional story to be told about this one regarding your mom and Jones.

      • Merilee
        Posted October 5, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        Very cool story. Loved The Known World, some of which chronicles ex-slaves who owned slaves in the American South.

      • Christopher
        Posted October 5, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

        This is what I found in the Acknowledgements page of my copy of The Known World: “Lil Coyne (grandmother to Steven Mears), a woman of small stature who stood on the night shore and held the lantern up as high as she could.”

  3. George
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I think you meant October 3 (not September) as the date of Honey and James’ departure.

    Many stories out there about Zanza. I like this one:

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    He died in flagrante!

    And here I thought he was still in Italy. 🙂

    • Merilee
      Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Depressing shot of current Rimini. Looks like one of those massive cruise liners disgorged its contents. Went there a number of times when I lived in Florence in the late 60s and we practically had the beach to ourselves.

  5. Frank Bath
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    Perhaps you will see the aurora australis while you are in Antarctica. Unless you’ve seen them in NZ.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    … International Day of No Prostitution, which some people might dislike because they feel that sex work is respectable work.

    Don’t know that I’d go so far as to call it “respectable” — I mean, it’s not career counseling I’d give my sister — but it sure as hell shouldn’t be illegal, either. The government’s only role ought to be to make it as safe as possible for all concerned — and to keep the workers free from coercion.

    Never understood why some bluenoses think they can control the sex lives of consenting adults.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:21 am | Permalink

      Not only do they want to control the act itself, they want to control everything after. Kind of like some mythic creature I was thinking of.

  7. pck
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Methinks this is a frog and not a chameleon.

    • Posted October 5, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      I agree!

      • Lars
        Posted October 5, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        Yup. Looks like a monkey frog (Phyllomedusa sauvagii).

  8. Posted October 5, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    A French pilot shot down a German biplane to pull off the first aerial combat victory in history.

    There is some evidence that two Frenchmen fought a duel in balloons in 1808. The loser and his second were killed in the crash.

  9. DrBrydon
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I remember the Tylenol poisonings. I was a Senior in high school in the north suburbs of Chicago when it happened. I remember a big warning sign near the office, telling people to toss their Tylenol.

  10. Michael Day
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    That octopus may have been on MDMA:

  11. Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    Prof. Coyne I am very glad that you are visiting Zagreb. I will try to attend at least one of your lectures if not all three of them.


  12. Jeff
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    Credit where credit’s due: Jansch’s version of Angie/Angi/Anji is superb, but it’s not ‘his’ song; it’s Davy Graham’s (mentioned at 16:56).

  13. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

    The Tuesday Manul is my favourite.
    International Day of No Prostitution? So all other 364 days….? Is there also an International Prostitution Day? Just wondering.
    Although I could not open the GIF, I love Pangolins, sadly they are endangered, mostly because they are hunted for their scales, which -albeit just keratin- are assumed to have great medicinal properties. They also generally walk and run on their 2 hind legs (like a T Rex).

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Larry Fine of the Three Stooges was an excellent violin player and apparently attended the original Woodstock.


    Two of Donovan’s songs are about Bert Jansch, “Bert’s Blues” and “House of Jansch”.
    I post the latter

  15. revelator60
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    For those who want more pangolin tongue, there’s Zefrank’s video “Pangolin Posse”:

  16. Barbara Radcliffe
    Posted October 5, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

    With regard to ant-eaters, there has been a recent report of Matilda the echidna, resident at Healesville Animal Sanctuary, who has after several years of treatment been cured of her allergy to ants! Food allergies seem to be rife even in the animal world. She will not be released into the wild since she now thinks that all humans are her friends.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 5, 2018 at 9:20 pm | Permalink


  17. Posted October 27, 2018 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    I haven’t mentioned you, Prof. Coyne, to be disrespectful to dogs, except that you occasionally disavowel them.

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