Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s Monday again (they just keep coming): November 19, 2018, and National Macchiato Day (that’s espresso with foamed milk—infinitely better than the candylike drinks proffered by Starbuck’s). It’s also World Toilet Day, but don’t laugh—nearly 60% of the world’s population has inadequate toilet facilities, and we should be helping. (I have provisions for this in my will.)

I have just realized that Thursday—Thanksgiving Day—is a fast day and I should not be eating then. I will have to swap it for some other day this week.

On November 19, 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivered the Gettysburg Address at the dedication ceremony of the military cemetery at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. For an excellent book “deconstructing” that speech, read Lincoln At Gettysburg by Garry Wills. On this day in 1959, Ford announced it was discontinuing the Edsel, a car much disdained because its front grill looked like “an Oldsmobile sucking a lemon”:

On November 19, 1969, two things happened: Apollo 12 astronauts Pete Conrad and Alan Bean became the third and fourth humans to walk on the Moon, and Pelé scored his 1000th goal. And two things happened on this day in 1998. The U.S. House of Representatives began impeachment proceedings against President Clinton for lying during the “Clinton-Lewinsky” scandal, and Vincent Van Gogh’s “Portrait of the Artist Without Beard” sold at auction for $71.5 million U.S (below). Adjusted for inflation, it was the fourth most expensive painting ever sold:

Do you know the most expensive painting ever sold? Here it is:

Although it’s not 100% certain that this is an original Leonardo (only 20 verified works of his exist), it was enough to convince the buyer, identified this way on Wikipedia:

It was sold at auction by Christie’s in New York to Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Farhan on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Department of Culture & Tourism on 15 November 2017, for $450.3 million, setting a new record for most expensive painting ever sold. The painting is to be on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi but no date has been fixed for its unveiling.

See here for the list of the world’s most expensive paintings, especially #2.

Those born on this day include: James A. Garfield (1831), Billy Sunday (1862), Tommy Dorsey (1905), Indira Gandhi (1917), Gene Tierney (1920), Roy Campanella (1921), Ann Curry (1956), Jodie Foster (1962; I watched “Contact” on the flight back from Paris and found it a mixed bag), and Shmuley Boteach (1966).

Notables who expired on November 19 include the Man in the Iron Mask (1703; read at the link), Franz Schubert (1828), Joe Hill (1915), and Della Reese and Mel Tillis (both on this date last year).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is discussing her very favorite subject:

Hili: I’m analysing my identity.
A: And what’s your conclusion?
Hili: I’m a full cat who is slowly getting hungry again.
In Polish:
Hili: Analizuję moją tożsamość.
Ja: I jaki wniosek?
Hili: Jestem kotem najedzonym, który powoli staje się głodny.

Two tweets from reader Nilou. The first is translated: “I wonder what I’m making. This is great!”  Do you know what the final result shows? (I do!)

Otters are WAY underrated, and this one is clearly having fun.

From reader Gethyn. The man got what he deserved.

Tweets from Grania. You’ve seen all of the  cryptic beasts in the first tweet before, but it’s time for a refresher.

A tweet in two acts, featuring the Sarah Palin of the Left as well as the Dear Leader’s (fake) Twitter account:

The dangers of poor comma use:

Tweets from Matthew. The first is shows an epic battle between CAT and RACCOON:

This is a useful list!

And . . . one of Matthew’s beloved optical illusions. Try it!



  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    … the world’s population has inadequate toilet facilities, and we should be helping. (I have provisions for this in my will.)

    “The Water-Closet Codicil” would’ve been a cool name for an Arthur Conan Doyle “Sherlock Holmes” story.

  2. David Coxill
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Nothing to do with commas ,but i broke my left wrist a month ago pushing my motorbike and i slipped and and it fell on top of me,waiting in the A&E dept i noticed a sign .
    Instead of saying
    “In Patient Waiting Area ” it has
    “Inpatient Waiting Area ”
    Did take a photo ,but my phone won’t let me transfer it to my laptop.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      You get the same kind of effect with hashtag messages: over here in the UK there was a recent advert in which a bunch of ostriches learned to fly, and the slogan was ‘do what you can’t’. The hashtag said dowhatyoucant, which sounds like an expression of incredulity in ‘cockney gangster-ese’.

      Danny Dyer: “We’re goin’ in. There’s only one guard in the bank. But we’ll ‘ave to go in wivaaht a shooter cos Rodney left it back in the garage”

      Ray Winstone: “Do what, you cant?!”

    • Giancarlo
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink

      David, I’m not sure what your objection to that sign is. An inpatient is a patient who stays in the hospital while under treatment. It does not refer to someone who lacks patience. That would be impatient, with an m.

      • Merilee
        Posted November 19, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

        I was wondering that, too…

      • David Coxill
        Posted November 19, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

        Not objecting to it ,but it is normally two separate words “In Patient “.

        Just had a look on the interweb ,and it is just one word ,well i never .

        • David Coxill
          Posted November 19, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

          By the way my wrist is still painful sometimes ,due to have the cast off on the 29th of Nov .
          Any bone Doctors out there ,should it still be painful after a month ?

          • Mark R.
            Posted November 19, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

            My wife broke her ulna last year. She was in pain (not severe) the entire time while wearing the cast and even after the cast was off for a couple weeks. She thinks the nurse/assistant didn’t put her cast on correctly, but I have no way of knowing that. Either way, I don’t think its abnormal to still be feeling some pain.

            • David Coxill
              Posted November 20, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

              Thanks for the reply ,can’t wait to get the plaster off ,got things to do .

    • XCellKen
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

      Try getting the Dropbox App on your phone. Move it to there, then go to on your laptop, and download from there. Works for my computer illiterate self

      • David Coxill
        Posted November 20, 2018 at 9:08 am | Permalink

        Hi ,that’s for that ,i will give a try .

      • David Coxill
        Posted November 20, 2018 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

        Hi ,thanks for the tip ,managed to install it .

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    I watched “Contact” on the flight back from Paris and found it a mixed bag.

    Coulda done without the McConaughey character. Thought the versatile character actor William Fichtner gave a great turn as the blind radio-astronomer, though.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      I read the book. It was good, but not great. And I must’ve seen the film because I have a memory of the scene where the transporter drops and she meets the ETs. I think if we did ever meet aliens they probably _would_ have to dumb themselves down for us, given how extraordinarily advanced they would be. So that scene made sense. And I liked the fact that the journey is instantaneous to outside observers.

      But I also like a bit of ambiguity and mystery in my sci-fi films. It was all a bit workmanlike.

    • Mark R.
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, his religious blather dumbed the movie down while trying to be profound.

    • Mike Cracraft
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      I mostly agree but there had to be a love connection to make it more appealing to a wider audience. Sagan’s widow had a big part in the screen play and I’m know that she made sure that Jodie Foster didn’t kow tow to religion.

  4. Bric
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I love Totoro

    • Mark R.
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 2:08 pm | Permalink


    • bric
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted November 19, 2018 at 8:59 pm | Permalink

        The same umbrella girl with the ‘beast’ as on the modified Starbuck cup. What is it?

  5. George
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    The Van Gogh optical illusion is a bit like dropping acid. Not that I would know.

    If you have not seen “Loving Vincent”, I highly recommend it.

    And to get you in the mood, Vincent from Don McLean.

    • Merilee
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      Loving Vincent was spectacular, in all senses of the word.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 10:26 am | Permalink

      An incredible illusion. A few of Matthew’s recent illusions have been a bit underwhelming but this one was amazing.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted November 19, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        I don’t think that Galileo would appreciate me cribbing his line for an illusion, but “E pur si muove.”

  6. Posted November 19, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    The Starry Night illusion is amazing. I am assuming it is the saccades induced in one’s eyes after viewing the moving spiral.

  7. Keith
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    My impression of Ocasio-Cortez is that she certainly has much to learn and will undoubtedly make naive mistakes on the national stage, but she is earnest and authentic in her desire to serve. She is clearly very bright and not at all comparable with the odious grifter Sarah Palin. Ocasio-Cortez is someone capable of learning from her errors.

    • tomh
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      I’m not even sure what “errors” she’s made, not even having taken her place in the House yet. Promoting health care, child care, the environment, jobs, and such issues, certainly has engendered vitriol, though. She won the primary over an old-style, Tammany Hall type Dem politician, in Joe Crowley, by running on issues that her district cared about. The tweet on her bank account echoes the ridicule she received on Fox News for having difficulty finding an apartment in D.C. that she could afford.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted November 19, 2018 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        Yes. For decades there have been complaints about elitist politicians whose wealth makes them out of touch with the poorest people in society. And there was a lot of sneering from the right about Bernie Sanders owning a nice house and thus being a hypocrite.

        They can’t have it both ways.

        • David Coxill
          Posted November 19, 2018 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

          Same thing happened over here with that arch Anti-semite Jeremy Corbyn .

      • Giancarlo
        Posted November 19, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Both the right and the center piled onto Ocasio-Cortez for claiming that the unemployment rate is low because many people have two jobs. A single mistake and a democratic socialist is doomed in our double standard world of false equivalences.

        • Posted November 19, 2018 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

          It’s not a single mistake. Did anyone read my post citing multiple left wing sources, including the Washington Post, calling out Ocasio-Cortez for MULTIPLE misstatements and errors?

          • Posted November 20, 2018 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

            She apparently has overwhelming charisma. She is enchanting people.

  8. rickflick
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Many of the artists who’s works now sell for megabucks were dirt poor or at least not wealthy throughout their careers. When I see these fabulous prices I wonder what they would think about it? Also, what would be the effect if they could have brought these uber prices during there lives. The money would have relieved stress and worry, but might have stifled creativity.

  9. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    It was my understanding that Mohammed bin Salman bought Salvator Mundi. But checking just now I find this from the Guardian apparently quashing that rumor. I say apparently, because I am not convinced.

    In any event, I find it passing strange that these Arabs spend fantastic amounts of money to acquire paintings of the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. I know that Jesus is a prophet in Islam, but “Salvator Mundi” – that’s more like a title for the 12th Imam.

  10. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Re Nicholas Berggren, from whose twitter feed the wonderful neologisms came, this is his identifying twitter description of himself:
    Niclas Berggren
    Associate professor of economics of the neoliberal, nihilist, hedonist, immoralist, atheist, sodomitic, asocial, atomistic, introvert & ballet-loving kind. Who can beat that?

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted November 19, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      I meant to note the book in which he found those words, it’s called A Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, “Beautiful new words to describe obscure emotions”, and will be published soon by Simon & Schuster.

      I’ve definitely got a bad case of Altschmerz:
      “n. weariness with the same old issues that you’ve always had—the same boring flaws and anxieties you’ve been gnawing on for years, which leaves them soggy and tasteless and inert, with nothing interesting left to think about, nothing left to do but spit them out and wander off to the backyard, ready to dig up some fresher pain you might have buried long ago.”

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted November 19, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

        I’m neither a neoliberal or sodomitic, but Professor Berggren has a very interesting and thought provoking twitter account.

  11. DrBrydon
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    OK, I have experienced vellichor and ellipsism.

  12. Hempenstein
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 10:56 am | Permalink

    That’s a ’58 Edsel in the pic. My first automotive heartthrob was a ’58 convertible. The little-known and rarely-seen 1960 models that had only been in production for about 2mos when the line was killed off, were to my eye the most handsome of all of FoMoCo’s offerings that year, or from anyone else for that matter.

    And that Starbuck’s cup is fantastic!

  13. Posted November 19, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    The English language seems deficient in words describing complex emotions. The German language does much better, probably because compound words are more common in German.

  14. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 19, 2018 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

    Starbucks does serve some rather overly sweet Machiatto’s primarily a Caramel one, but also serves some perfectly plain ones without “enhancements”.

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