Friday: Hili dialogue

News of the day: A separatist group attacked the Chinese consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, killing four (including two police officers). Three members of the attacking group were also killed. Read more at CNN, and here’s a tweet (h/t Grania):

‘Tis the day after Thanksgiving—Friday, November 23, 2018, and all good Americans are recovering from yesterday’s Food Coma. I’d like to declare that it’s National Pepto-Bismol Day, but actually it’s National Espresso Day. And in North America, the United Kingdom, Finland and Sweden it’s Buy Nothing Day, decrying the excesses of consumerism. (I bought a slow-cooker at half price because I need one, but I bought it yesterday.) Posting may be light today because I might take my car in for a brake job.

On this day in 1644, John Milton published a pamphlet often touted by Christopher Hitchens as a model for arguing in favor of free speech, Areopagitica. On November 23, 1924, the New York Times published Edwin Hubble’s discovery that the Andromeda “nebula”, supposedly in our galaxy, was actually another galaxy far from the Milky Way. And on this day in 1963, one day after JFK’s assassination, and according to Wikipedia, “The BBC [broadcast] the first episode of An Unearthly Child (starring William Hartnell), the first story from the first series of Doctor Who, which is now the world’s longest running science fiction drama.”  I have to say that I’ve never watched it.

On this day in 1976, Apneist Jacques Mayol became the first man to dive to 100 m undersea without breathing equipment. He was 49 then, and went down to 105 meters when he was 56 (“apneist” is a new word for me). The current record is an astounding 214 meters, held by the Austrian Herbert Nitsch! On November 23, 1992, the first smartphone, the “IBM Simon” was introduced at the COMDEX convention in Las Vegas.

Finally, it was on this day three years ago that the New Shepard space vehicle, built by Blue Origin, became the first rocket to return to Earth and land vertically after flying into space. Now we’re used to that, but it’s an amazing feat. Here’s that landing:

Notables born on this day include Franklin Pierce (1804), José Clemente Orozco (1883), Susan Anspach (1942), Rick Bayless (1953), and Bruce Hornsby (1954).

Those who died on November 23 include Roald Dahl (1990), Louis Malle (1995), Junior Walker (1995), Anita O’Day (2006), and Marion Barry (2014).  As always on Walker’s birthday and deathiversary, I present a live version of his greatest hit, “What does it take (to win your love)“. It’s one of my favorite songs, and this version is from 1985.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the animals are cold!

Cyrus: You cannot light the fire in the fireplace by yourself.
Hili: Unfortunately true, and the servants are busy with other tasks.
In Polish:
Cyrus: Sama nie rozpalisz w kominku. 
Hili: Niestety, a służba jest zajęta innymi sprawami.

Tweets from Grania. The first is a deep-sea catshark!

Artistic cats:

This is certainly a contender for the best letter ever written. Be sure you read the whole thing.

Grania gets another d*g post, and this is a really good one. (Someone should adopt that friendly d*g.)

Are these piglets having fun, or only looking for a nipple?

Tweets from Matthew. A scary waterspout off the Italian coast:

Yet another cat peeing on an ancient manuscript. Can anyone make out and understand the rebuke? (Note how poorly the cat is drawn. It looks like an aardvark.)

Here’s some movie history, though of course the Prince’s kiss is now seen as sexual assault:

From The Dodo: a singed kitten, later named Vulcan, gets saved.

And a lovely “pale blue dot” photograph:



  1. Posted November 23, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    It surprises me somewhat that the Earth is resolved into a disc in that photo. If I look at Saturn from Earth, it’s not a disc even though it is much bigger.

    The lens on the camera must be fairly meaty.

    • Posted November 23, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      Just looked it up, it has a 2 metre focal length apparently.

      • rickflick
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        love the view from up there.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 6:00 am | Permalink

      The Earth and Moon look much bigger than the distance between Earth and moon suggests.
      The Earth is about 12.000 km in diameter, but the Moon is about 845.000 km away from the Earth. More than 70 times the Earth’s diameter. Not the about 7 times suggested by the photograph, misleading by an order of magnitude.
      If you imagine a football (soccer ball) of about 22cm diameter the moon would be more than 15m away and just a tad bigger than a golf ball, but smaller than a petanque ball.
      Very beautiful photograph though.

      • Posted November 25, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

        You are assuming that the Moon Earth Cassini angle is a right angle.

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    When it comes to Junior & the All Stars, I’ve always been a “Shotgun” man myself:

    • Merilee
      Posted November 23, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Me, too.

      • Richard benton
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

        The golden age of the soul sound awzum body of music and verification of African American capacity for musical genius

  3. Hempenstein
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    A question for Andrzej and Malgorzata – is your fireplace a modern kakelugn? If so, I’ve long wondered how a cross-section of one looks, in case you know of one online somewhere.

    • Malgorzata
      Posted November 23, 2018 at 1:23 pm | Permalink

      No, it’s not, unfortunately. It’s quite normal 20 years old fireplace which we’ve build in to pretend it was a kakelugn – those were unobtainable in Poland when we moved here. I don’t know whether it’s possible to get them now.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

        Thanks, sorry to hear that it isn’t.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      What defines a kakelugn? Is it just that the tiles keep heat and radiate it later? Or what?
      In the south of France I once spent some time in an very old country house with a massive earthen fireplace, it had some small (about 8cm(?) diameter) tunnels in it, heating the air coming from inside and outside. The heat of the fire kept the hot air circulating, quite ingenious.

  4. David Harper
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    If I ever have a coat of arms, then “Cattus minxit desuper” is going to be the motto.

  5. Richard benton
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    When I was 11 in SF my dad bought me a copy of Hubble’s Atlas of the galaxies For a kid big wow and big science heads up for all of us I remember going on Friday nights up a twisty mountain road to Lick Observatory to view thru the 36” refractor telescope I saw Jupiter and watched one of the moons transiting and M31.What a view from Mt Hamilton If you travel that way schedule a visit into your itinerary if you can I don’t know how that works nowadays That was 54 years ago gettin old

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    Mary Grant, in the last line of her letter to the “Old Peoples Home,” shows a real knack for bathos.

    • rickflick
      Posted November 23, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      I hope to be so sensible.

      • Richard benton
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        You already are😇

  7. Richard benton
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

    I really enjoyed that bit on free diving I was swimming in my local pool this summer and got bored with doing laps so I put on my self contained underwater breathing apparatus….I mean mask😇 and did laps underwater and played around with floating and my natural bouancy the enjoyment of my swimming experience increased significantly

  8. Posted November 23, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

    I hadn’t read down to the note that today is the anniversary of Roald Dahl’s death before I made my comment about Blister Beetles in his book “My Uncle Oswald”. Gotta love coincidences (that blister beetles would feature on the same day).

  9. Geoff Toscano
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I so remember the beginning of Dr Who, and its first episode coinciding with the JFK assassination. I’d been looking forward madly to watching it (and of course it was long before the era of recordable television, or even endless repeats), but because of events in the world (the UK was almost as devastated by the assassination as was the US) I somehow managed to miss the broadcast, and was an extremely disappointed ten year old as a result. On the basis that every cloud has a silver lining, when I switched on the television the following Saturday to watch the second Dr Who episode, I was overjoyed to find that they decided to repeat the first episode, followed immediately by the second, as a result of the ‘unprecedented’ events of the previous week.

    • Richard benton
      Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

      Tom Baker was the coolest Dr Who but the special effects were pretty ummm awkward he deserved better

      • Geoff Toscano
        Posted November 23, 2018 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

        I always liked Patrick Troughton but the effects were, as you say, umm…decidedly awkward!

      • Posted November 23, 2018 at 11:33 pm | Permalink

        I haven’t watched much classic Who but I liked Jon Pertwee more than Tom Baker, for some reason.

        As for the new stuff, I haven’t kept up, but I did like Peter Capaldi immensely.


  10. Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    The dog wash is priceless. Nice to see the biodiversity on this site slowly increasing enough to include canidae too!

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 23, 2018 at 12:53 pm | Permalink

    Some of Doctor Who’s longevity seems to be due to it not having a continuing cast of characters. The doctor morphs into a new person every 3 to 4 years (with the memories of older versions but a different personality), and he says goodbye to old traveling companions and finds new ones.

    Doctor Who ran continuously for 26 years from 1963-89, then there was a TV movie in 1996 and then it resumed in 2005. That’s a total of 39 years. If we add 4 years for the Who spinoff Torchwood and 1 for the spinoff Class, that’s 44 years.

    If we double the years in which two different Star Trek series were running consecutively, and don’t count the years that there was no new TV Trek, then Star Trek has run for 31 years.

    • Richard benton
      Posted November 23, 2018 at 7:54 pm | Permalink


  12. Dale Franzwa
    Posted November 24, 2018 at 12:57 am | Permalink

    In my opinion, that Pepto stuff is the worst tasting thing you can take. It makes my tum-tum want to turn over. It’s so bad, I call it Pepto Dismal. There are far better meds out there to make you feel better. (I’m not a TV doctor so I’ll make no recommendations.

    • Dale Franzwa
      Posted November 24, 2018 at 1:03 am | Permalink

      I told you that stuff was bad. It even made me forget to close my parenthesis)

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