Wednesday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

A very merry unbirthday to you. Unless it is your birthday, in which case, have a good one!

Other birthdays today belong to:

Arthur Miller, American playwright and screenwriter (1915 – 2005)

Evel Knievel, American motorcycle rider and stuntman (1938 – 2007)

Mark Gatiss, (1966) English actor, screenwriter and novelist

Eminem, (1972) American rapper, producer, and actor

Mae Jemison, (1956) American physician, academic, and first African American woman in space.

In honor of his birthday, here’s the song that made Eminem famous.

This song was from the movie 8 Mile, loosely based on his life up to that point.

And the song that for reasons known only to the gods has spawned a word that is now in the Oxford dictionary. It’s one of those curiosities, as the song goes all the way back to 2000, yet somehow it is in 2018 that stan has become an official verb. The moral of the story is, yes, the baby really is picking up everything you play on the radio. It is not “too young” to understand.

In history today, there was a  tornado in London in 1091 thought to be of strength T8/F4. I didn’t think that England was tornado country, but there you go.

In 1662 Charles II of England sold Dunkirk to France for 40,000 pounds. I’m pretty sure that counts as cultural appropriation.

In 1771 the opera Ascanio in Alba, was premiered in Milan, it was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, at the age of 15.

In 1814 eight people died in the London Beer Flood. London doesn’t half get odd disasters. As always, the poor got shafted and Big Business rewarded: the brewery was sued, but it was ruled an act of God and they were allowed to reclaim the duty already paid on the beer to recoup their losses.

In 1956 Donald Byrne and Bobby Fischer played chess against each other in The Game of the Century. Fischer was only 13 at the time and beat Byrne by sacrificing his queen in a move chess nerds are still talking about.

Over in Poland this morning, Hili is being cautious, and sensibly so.

Hili: I have to retreat.
A: Why?
Hili: I see a badly brought up dog.

In Polish:

Hili: Muszę się wycofać.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Dostrzegam źle wychowanego psa.

Finally, on to Twitter offerings du jour.

The dignity of cats:

The majesty of elephants (Matthew is entirely to blame for this one)

A happy child. Wait til he discovers ice cream.

More children being cute

The cat portion of Twitter:



Current events Twitter:

I think the Ecuadorian Embassy is taking notes from Jordan Peterson or something.

If this doesn’t convince people they need to do something, nothing will

Remember that weird new piece of ‘art’ on the wall of the White House? The internet has been busy.

Alternative version

Then there’s the weird glitch on Twitter today that seems to be affecting everyone except Matthew. Not even Twitter knows what it is. I’m telling you, Skynet is real.


And when the Singularity arrives, the man who made this robot twerk to Uptown Funk will be the first one against the wall.

Anyhoo, that’s all for today!



Hat-tip: Blue, Heather, Matthew.





  1. Serendipitydawg
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I didn’t think that England was tornado country, but there you go.

    According to several sources, the most recent being the Met Office, we have more per square mile than the USA. I have only ever seen one, while at work in East Yorkshire; many apparently occur over water around the coast and also in the somewhat wild areas where they remain unobserved (which begs the question how they are known about, maybe weather radar).

    • Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Berkshire by the look…

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

        Well remembered. The most recent reference I saw was last night on an ITV ‘weird weather’ programme. There was a BBC weather picture in the last couple of weeks that was a viewer’s picture of one in Cumbria (I think), so Tomasz Schafernaker treated us to another ‘more tornados than the USA’ quote.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      “we have more per square mile than the USA”

      Yes but – I think an awful lot of the USA is not ‘tornado country’. So if the tornadoes there are divided by the area of the whole country it results in quite a low density.

      Also, I suspect UK’s tornadoes may not be as big as many US ones.

      Probably. 🙂


      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink


        I have no knowledge of the maximum damage ever caused (probably minimal), I do remember the aftermath of a Midlands ‘tornado’ where the damage seemed to mostly consist of lots of wheelie bins being blown away down the road 🙂 🙂

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 10:22 am | Permalink

          Here’s a pic of the 2005 B/ham, UK tornado damage – more than a few wheelie bins. No loss of life, cars up in the air, 1,000 trees uprooted & £40M in damage to housing. I called it the Small Heath [a B/ham district] improvement scheme:

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      That is surprising. However, that most of the tornadoes are on the lower end of the scale is not. I think most of the really big tornadoes are created east of the rocky mountains where the cooler air masses hit the warm humid air in the Midwest. I always thought Oklahoma was first in tornadoes here but in numbers both Texas and Kansas have more. Tornado season is spring time but they can happen almost year round. The really powerful thunderstorms occur in this part of the country.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

        Not so surprising when one compares the relative land areas… I have no idea why it is such a popular statistic.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:17 am | Permalink

          England should consider itself lucky. That the tornadoes are on the lower end of the scale and maybe of shorter duration. With the density of population they do not have to travel far to hit something. Here in Kansas a big tornado can go a long way on the ground without hitting much. What surprises me here is how often hail is associated with a storm. Sizing the hail becomes the entertainment for the weather forecasters.

  2. Serendipitydawg
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Ravens are pretty smart birds, so I suspect they are mimicing Yeoman Warders telling children to bugger off 🙂 That or the old scamps are spending their time teaching them the phrase.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Reminds of a hilarious episode from my youth. A group of friends would get together regularly to play poker at our one friend’s apartment. She had a bird, a cockatiel of some sort if I recall correctly. I can’t recall exactly how this started, just a result of the general atmosphere of ribbing each other, but one evening we got to teasing our friend Greg by encouraging the bird to say “Greg’s a douchebag.” This actually irritated Greg which of course we found hilarious and which only served to egg us on. But the bird wasn’t interested and didn’t utter a peep.

      Another evening a few weeks later we are again playing poker together, the attempted avian linguistics training session forgotten. As we are talking back and forth we are suddenly interrupted by a loud squawk from the bird, almost like an attention-getting signal, followed by a loud and perfectly enunciated “Greg’s a douchebag!” We just fell about the place. Which made Greg angry! Which of course only made it worse.

  3. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    “In 1814 eight people died in the London Beer Flood.”

    Well, if ya gotta go… 😎


    • Conelrad
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

      Or, as W.C. Fields said, upon hearing that someone had drowned in a vat of whiskey,
      “Death, where is thy sting.”

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Game Of The Century move sequence :

    Not a video. It’s surprisingly short to examine. Not so short to learn the strategy.

    • Larry Smith
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      Yes, it’s a wonderful game, and us chess nerds are still talking about it, but IMO it was more of a harbinger of Fischer’s eventual brilliance and domination of chess in the years to follow. His other games, though less flashy, are more studied and revered than this one.

      But Fischer still remains one of the icons of the game, in the way similar to how The Beatles are still the touchstone for popular music. As my Prufrock chess parody would have it, “In the room the patzers think so small/Talking of Fischer and of Tal.”

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Remember: If caught in a beer flood, don’t inhale; swallow.

  6. mordacious1
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Recently, a devastating tornado ripped through a densely populated area of Scotland leaving a path of destruction. Damage was estimated at £11.50
    (I’ll get my coat)

  7. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    … it’s worse than we thought.

    First they came for the banana, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was an omnivore.

    Then they came for the meat, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was an omnivore.

    Then they came for the coffee, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was an omnivore.

    Then they came for the beer, and I … hey!

  8. Posted October 17, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    The optimist part of me will hope that the beer shortage will wake up certain people about climate change …

  9. mikeyc
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    The most amazing and strange thing happened to me on my way into work this morning and as I don’t do FB, I have no where else to post this. Besides, this website is really interested in animal behavior.

    I cycle into work and on my way out of Capitol Hill in Seattle I came across about two dozen crows perched on the edge of an apartment building making one hell of a noise. I rode over to investigate and found a badly injured crow in the middle of the street. I gathered it had raided a nearby dumpster and was struck, only minutes before I arrived. He was still alive but his injuries were not survivable. In fact he finished dying while I was taking stock of the situation. Poor fella. While I was checking him out, I noticed that more and more crows were arriving and all of them were CAWing at the top of their lungs. They were perched on the edge of three story buildings on both sides of the street, making it reverberate with their calls.

    It was a funeral!

    I couldn’t leave the poor guy in the street to get squashed further, so I got a piece of cardboard from the dumpster and went to scoop him up. As soon as I touched him the birds went silent, except for a few CAWs from crows who were still arriving. It was eeriest, strangest thing. Just moments ago you’d have had a hard time hearing someone talking to you (by now there were about a dozen people watching), then suddenly …. silence.

    I carried his carcass on the cardboard and left him on the sidewalk and stepped away. Instantly the crows began again their deafening mourning. I looked up and by now there were twice the number of crows than when I arrived.

    I had to get to work and I spoke to a young woman there who said she lived in the apartment building that the dumpster belonged to. She agreed it wouldn’t be right to just throw him in the dumpster so she said after the crows had finished the funeral she’d bury him the gardens behind the apartment. I rode away completely flabbergasted at what I just witnessed

    Sorry for the length, but I bet some WEIT readers will appreciate it. Such amazing animals.

    RIP little crow.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:17 pm | Permalink

      I’m all for random stories

      They’re not random but you know what I mean

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

      That must have been a sight to see! There are many reports of crow funerals although they need to be filtered for crows clustering on certain trees to settle for the night [obviously not in your case]. Below are two links with more information, the first being science:
      [1] Why crows hold funerals for their dead Scientists don masks to find out if crows are holding vigil or something else entirely
      [2] Video: Crows giving their buddy a funeral Please read the video comments

      • rickflick
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        From, “Why crows hold funerals for their dead”:

        The research is particularly compelling because only a small handful of species are known to pay attention to their dead.

        I remember seeing a program showing how Zebras in Africa, stampeded by lions, resumed casual grazing moments after there fellow zebra had just been brought down by lions. Apparently they didn’t need to learn a lesson by holding a funeral.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 18, 2018 at 3:38 pm | Permalink

          I don’t rate the “learning a lesson” bit.

          • rickflick
            Posted October 18, 2018 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

            You mean you don’t “buy” that explanation? Perhaps you have another?

    • Tom M.
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

      The Stranger ran this piece on Seattle crows a few months ago:

      I feel compelled to share that article because you wrote about Capitol Hill crows.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

      Great story. I’ve heard of similar behavior from crows before but have never witnessed it. It is a sad event, but I envy you having experienced it.

  10. rickflick
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    I’m always impressed by Boston Dynamics. Have they come out with a sexbot yet?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

      Strange that you should ask now. Boston Dynamics Monotony is on the test bed [so to speak] – Monotony yawns, sighs, checks the phone & also has an option of calling you by the wrong name. A good way to go yet, they are working on the difficult roll over & snore functionality.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 17, 2018 at 9:34 pm | Permalink

        I can see they are working toward a new level of realism in sexbots:

        Named “Monotony,” the robot is said to provide an incomparably realistic sexual experience. For lead programmer and designer Gerald Oakhouse, this authenticity is reached because of Monotony’s active disinterest in the task.

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The note on Bobby Fischer’s win by a Queen sacrifice compels me to post this.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted October 17, 2018 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Let’s try that again.

  12. Posted October 18, 2018 at 3:07 am | Permalink

    I think my cat understands the concept of Thursday.

    Okay so he’s on fortekor because he suffered kidney failure a few years ago. The vet at the time advised that he get put down, and he’s spent the time since that more or less dominating the neighbourhood, and chasing other cats up trees when they look at our younger cat funny.

    So anyway, because of his kidney issues he’s not great at grooming himself, and his fur has recently become quite clumpy.

    Normally he hangs around the house, jumping on keyboards and discovering all new functions that leave us both wondering what the particular combination of keys to activate them was, and why that function exista in the first place.

    My sneaking suspicion is that a fair chunk of Microsoft’s developers are in fact cats, and it is all part of their twisted sense of humour.

    Generally in the mornings he comes into my room and tries to get under the covers. First the nose, if that doesn’t work, the claws.

    The other day we made arrangements to get him groomed, which were fairly expensive. The appointment was for today.

    Haven’t seen him all day. So here’s my question – do cats understand the concept of Thursday?

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