Tuesday: Hili dialogue

I was saddened to learn that Chicago has now had its own mass shooting: yesterday afternoon a police-department trainee shot up Mercy Hospital on the South Side, killing three, including an active police officer. The gunman died as well, though it’s not clear whether he killed himself or was shot by the police.

Back to the regular post:

Tuesday (November 20, 2018) is the cruelest day, but Americans have Thanksgiving to look forward to, and a four-day weekend as well. Today, though, is National Peanut Butter Fudge Day, as well as Transgender Day of Remembrance.

On this day in 1789, New Jersey became the first U.S. state to ratify the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the Constitution). On November 20, 1805, Beethoven’s Fidelio (his only opera) premiered in Vienna.

On November 20, 1820, as Wikipedia notes, “An 80-ton sperm whale attacks and sinks the Essex (a whaling ship from Nantucket, Massachusetts) 2,000 miles from the western coast of South America. (Herman Melville’s 1851 novel Moby-Dick is in part inspired by this story.”  I didn’t know Moby-Dick was based on something like that, nor that a sperm whale could sink a whaling ship. But the history, at least, is real, and also involves cannibalism! Wikipedia then says this about the Essex:

Essex was an American whaler from Nantucket, Massachusetts, which was launched in 1799. In 1820, while at sea in the southern Pacific Ocean under the command of Captain George Pollard Jr., she was attacked and sunk by a sperm whale. Stranded thousands of miles from the coast of South America with little food and water, the 20-man crew was forced to make for land in the ship’s surviving whaleboats.

The men suffered severe dehydration, starvation, and exposure on the open ocean, and the survivors eventually resorted to eating the bodies of the crewmen who had died. When that proved insufficient, members of the crew drew lots to determine who they would sacrifice so that the others could live. A total of seven crew members were cannibalized before the last of the eight survivors were rescued, more than three months after the sinking of the Essex. First mate Owen Chase and cabin boy Thomas Nickerson later wrote accounts of the ordeal. The tragedy attracted international attention, and inspired Herman Melville to write his famous novel Moby-Dick.

One person was shot so that he could be eaten. You can read more about this at Smithsonian.com (click on screenshot below):

On this day in 1945, the Nuremberg trials, with accusations against 24 Nazi war criminals, began at the Palace of Justice in the eponymous city.  On November 20, 1947 (71 years ago!), Princess Elizabeth married Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. She became Queen Elizabeth II on February 6, 1952.  Finally, it was on this day in 1985 that Microsoft released Windows 1.0.

Notables born on this day include Kenesaw Mountain Landis (1866; what a name!), Edwin Hubble (1889), Alistair Cooke (1908), Robert F. Kennedy (1925, shot 1968), Suze Rotolo (1943; Wikipedia’s Nov. 20 entry says she’s still alive but she is not; one of her friends told me she died in 2011), Duane Allman (1946), Joe Walsh (1947), Bo Derek (1956), and Ming-Na Wen (1963).

Those who died on November 20 include Christian Goldbach (1764), Leo Tolstoy (1910), Allan Sherman (1973), and Robert Altman (2006). Let us remember that Goldbach’s Conjecture remains one of the most famous unproven theorems in mathematics; it states every integer larger than 2 can be expressed as the sum of two prime numbers.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sensing the onset of winter, and doesn’t like it:

Hili: I prefer when the leaves are green.
A: Me too.
In Polish:
Hili: Wolałam jak te liście były zielone.
Ja: Ja też.

Matthew sent a cartoon illustrating a feline version of the Turing Test. This is from Zach Weinersmith’s SMBC series:

A tweet from reader Nilou, illustrating the concept of “tough love” in animals:


Tweets from Grania:

This is why you don’t get huge forest fires in Finland:

A cheetah mom trying to herd cubs:

The chewee is remarkably calm:

I’ve known this one for years, but maybe it’s new to you:

Tweets from Matthew. OMG I’d never before seen Tasmanian devil “cubs” (or whatever they call them), but they’re adorable!

The Unbearable Tenacity of Geese:

Nicole persisted!



  1. Blue
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    O, that ‘toon, Matthew, Sir, is purrfect !
    So, so ‘f a c t u a l’ in re Us with … … each our Felidae !


  2. rickflick
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    On the world map, Australia and New Zealand are a little disappointing. However, they do have the nicest people.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted November 20, 2018 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      What I find extraordinary is the size of Russia (by population) compared with its vast land area. Siberia is, to a first approximation, empty.


      • rickflick
        Posted November 20, 2018 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes. Putin rules a dwarf state. Populationwisespeeking.

  3. Frank Bath
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    Nathaniel Philbrick’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ is well worth reading. Chilling.

    • Posted November 20, 2018 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      That was going to be my comment as well. Enthusiastically seconded. Or any of Philbrick’s books: He really brings history to life.

    • Posted November 20, 2018 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      Yep, was going to mention this book as well! I loved it.

    • Posted November 21, 2018 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

      The movie was an even bigger disaster than the original sinking of the ship.

      Cillian Murphy almost makes it worth watching. His scenes at least.

  4. Tom Esslinger
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Goldbach’s Conjecture: Every even integer, not every integer!

  5. Bat
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Re world represented by population, i would like to see but cannot locate (nor create)a similar map of the u.s. with red (republican party) states and blue (democratic) voting states sized by population. It would obviously show a much better visual representation of the overall voter numbers than the standard representation of states geographic boundaries.

  6. Merilee
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    That Euripides joke😂😂😂

  7. Jenny Haniver
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

    I once had two rescue cats,a male and a female. They loved to nibble on each other’s ears, and loved to have their ears nibbled. I think it was how they made friends. Mongo, the male was pretty old and Fido, the female was young and didn’t want to share the space with another cat — until Mongo got to her ears. Then they were best friends.

  8. Posted November 20, 2018 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    All good and funny! I especially liked the Tasmanian Devil pups (or whatever they call them). The tweet says “joeys” but they are kangaroo kids, right? So who made up the rule that each specie’s babies get a different term?

    • rickflick
      Posted November 20, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      According to Wiki, Tasmanian devil young are variously called “pups”, “joeys”, or “imps”.
      As to why species’ babies get different terms, there is a certain whimsy to the human spirit. 😎

      • Posted November 20, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

        It is certainly whimsical, as you say. There can’t be a scientific reason but there might be some practical reason or an origin story. Perhaps they would mix things up on the farm/zoo/habitat if all babies had the same name. But WHO made the rule?

        The rule is certainly a loose one. Do all species with babies referred to as “kids”, for example, have something in common? In Australia, can all animal babies be called “joeys”? Do all languages do this or just English?

        Inquiring minds with nothing better to do want to know!

        • rickflick
          Posted November 20, 2018 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

          Nothing better? Well, you could always work on one of David Hilbert’s problems. 😎

          • Posted November 20, 2018 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

            That kind of thing might actually interest me if I had the skill.

      • Merilee
        Posted November 20, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        The general all-purpose (scientific) term is poopies, as in poopy puppies (coined by my late dearly beloved mother)🤓

  9. Posted November 20, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Canada Geese sure do show their dinosaur heritage – they are pretty fearless – and very dangerous if you get in range..

    • Posted November 20, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      What makes you think dinosaurs were fearless? Movies? My guess is that they were no more, and no less, fearful and fearless as today’s animals since they were subject to the same kinds of pressures.

      • Posted November 21, 2018 at 11:21 am | Permalink

        I guess you may be right, but CGs are still ferocious beasts all the same. (One of the ferocious dinosaurs.)

        (Plot idea: “Timmy, the terrified T-Rex.”)

        • Posted November 21, 2018 at 11:30 am | Permalink

          Yes, they’re much more fun if we build them up to be supreme predators. Jurassic Park, for example, turned their raptors into super-intelligent pack hunters. Based on the size of their brains, it is really unlikely they were very intelligent. As far as I know, we have no evidence they hunted in packs either. Not very many predators hunt in packs today and it probably requires more intelligence than dinos had.

          • Posted November 21, 2018 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

            Indeed, I don’t know any ectothermic pack hunters.

        • Merilee
          Posted November 21, 2018 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

          The tttttttewified ttttt-rex. Love it!

    • Rob Aron
      Posted November 20, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      O Canada, we stand on guard for thee!

  10. DrBrydon
    Posted November 20, 2018 at 1:12 pm | Permalink

    Kenesaw Mountain Landis sounded familiar (for other reasons that being namaed after a landmark). His bio is interesting. It says his father named him Kenesaw Mountain because he himself had been wounded at the Battle Kennesaw Mountain. Could have been worse; at least his dad wasn’t wounded at Island No. 10.

    • Posted November 21, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

      Definitely a civil war buff’s joke but LMAO.

  11. Posted November 20, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

    That may be a Canadian goose; but the common species name is Canada, Goose (Branta canadensis).

    • Posted November 20, 2018 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      … or even Canada goose. Some kind of strange html fail …

      • Posted November 20, 2018 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

        … and now I give up …

        • rickflick
          Posted November 20, 2018 at 5:35 pm | Permalink


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