Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Tuesday, December 4, 2018, and National Cookie Day (it would be “National Biscuit Day” in the UK, except that this is an American holiday). There are only 21 shopping days left until Coynezaa, my personal holiday which extends over the six days spanning Christmas and my birthday. Don’t forget the presents (one per day, like Hanukkah, which, by the way, goes from December 2nd through the 10th this year).

On December 4, 1783, after an elaborate “turtle feast” (I don’t want to think what that means), General George Washington bid farewell to his officers at Fraunces Tavern in New York City. The building still exists, having been extensively reconstructed in 1907:

Fraunces Tavern (54 Pearl Street) in New York City

On this day in 1791, the world’s first Sunday newspaper was published: The Observer in London. It’s still going, making it the world’s oldest Sunday paper as well. For you Canucks and hockey fans, today is the 109th anniversary of the foundation of the oldest surviving professional ice-hockey franchise, the Montreal Canadiens.

On December 4, 1918, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson sailed for Europe to attend the WWI peace talks in Versailles, making him the first U.S. President to travel to Europe while in office. On December 4, 1954, the first Burger King was opened in Miami, Florida. Did you know that Burger King also owns Tims Hortons? Perhaps that accounts for the decline in quality of their donuts in the past decade.

On this day in 1956, as Wikipedia reports, “The Million Dollar Quartet (Elvis PresleyJerry Lee LewisCarl Perkins, and Johnny Cash) get together at Sun Studio [Memphis] for the first and last time.” What a meeting! Below is a recording of five of the songs produced on that day. Note the influence of black gospel music on early rock.

1. Peace In The Valley : Words & Music : Thomas A.Dorsey
2. Blessed Jesus (Hold My Hand) : Traditional
3. Farther Along : Traditional
4. Paralyzed : Words & Music : Elvis Presley and Otis Blackwell
5. Softly And Tenderly : Traditional

17 songs were laid down, and you can buy all of them on a single CD. (There’s also a play about the meeting, which I’ve seen in Chicago.)

Speaking of rock, it was on this day in 1965 that the Grateful Dead gave their first concert under the group’s new and final name. Thirteen years later, after the murder of mayor George Moscone, Dianne Feinstein became the first woman mayor of San Francisco. Finally, it was on this day in 1991 that Pan American World Airways, once my favorite international carrier from the U.S., ceased operating after 64 years—taking all my frequent-flier miles with it.

Notables born on this day include Thomas Carlyle (1795), Samuel Butler (1835), Edith Cavell (1865), Rainer Maria Rilke (1875), geneticist Alfred Hershey (1908; Nobel Laureate), Deanna Durbin (1921), Gary Gilmore (1940), Chris Hillman and Anna McGarrigle (both 1944), and Marisa Tomei (1964).

Those who “passed” on December 4 include Cardinal Richelieu (1642), Thomas Hobbes (1679), John Tyndall (1893), Drosophila geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan (1945; Nobel Laureate and my academic great-grandfather), Bert Lahr (1967), and Frank Zappa (1993).

Proof of my ancestry! Note that Morgan is in my lineage twice, as both Tim Prout (postdoc advisor) and Dick Lewontin (Ph.D. advisor) were students of Dobzhansky, who was a researcher in Morgan’s lab.

And the rest. I didn’t produce many students—the diagram includes my Ph.D. students as well as one postdoc, a technician who’s now a professor, and some who moved on without a degree—but my own offspring were fertile!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, as Malgorzata explains, “Hili is commenting on Andrzej’s new book, which has the self-explanatory title “Ateista” (that probably doesn’t need any translation).” She adds this:

You can interpret Hili’s words in two ways: one (more probable) is that she is sarcastic and really recommends the book warmly, or that she understands that faith is a “comfort blanket” for many and she is reluctant to deprive them of their faith.

The dialogue:

The holidays are coming, and this moggie is freaked out by a Christmas tree:

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Wow, Can you see anything? 👻🙀 . タラちゃん、あなたには何が見えるの?🙀‼️ 今日はかなり長い時間立っててビックリしましたー。 途中から伸びたりするのが 納豆の #ねばーる君 みたいに思えたのは私だけでしょうか😂 . 実際は、新しいガーデンホースで水やりしてるお父さんの姿にびっくりしてたみたいです。茶色のホースだからヘビにでも見えたのかな…かなりの大蛇😂 . #catloversclub #9gag #funnycat #catsofinstagram #meowed #pleasantcats #bestmeow #weeklyfluff #instagram #catoftheday #scottishfold #animalsco #catsofworld #instacats #makemyday #cutecatcrew #ilovemycat #adorable

A post shared by yayoi89 (@yayoi89) on

A picture shared by Moto:

And one shared by Diana MacPherson:

From reader Gethyn, two great boys rescue a kitten with an umbrella. That was a brave kitty to make the leap! This is the Tweet of the Week:

From Grania, who says “this is the best thing HuffPo will ever write”. (In case you didn’t know, a “naturist” is a nudist.)

More tweets from Grania. In this one, Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal strip, shows his family’s nativity scene:

However controversial Marc Lamont Hill’s comments about Israel were, he still deserves the protection of the First Amendment:

I bet you had no idea that pufferfish had skeletons like this:

Tweets from Matthew.  If you’re going to Iceland soon, be sure to wear new clothes:

Okay, why did these people get a pass from the sharks?

I love lists, and writer Elle Maruska (support her!) made a list of the 15 best antelope species in the world. Go look at the whole thread, but here are the first three. (Her other Twitter lists are hilarious.)

53 Comments

  1. Laurance
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Well! Have yourself a Merry Little Coynezaa! I like the idea of spreading it out over several days. Here we have Allanmas for my ol’ Sweetie Allan who is cursed with a christmas birthday. How he hates it when people simper, “Oooh, you’re a Christmas Baby!” as though it were something special and wonderful.

    Andrzej has a book out? Oh dear, I don’t speak or read Polish. Any chance the book may be translated into English or German?

    • Malgorzata
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

      No, I don’t think there is any chance for the book to be translated into any more accessible language. But Hili is fluent in Polish and she had no trouble reading it.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted December 4, 2018 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

        I like the graphics of the cover & that the Flying Spaghetti Monster has a “No Entry” road sign over it just like the other religious symbols.

      • George
        Posted December 4, 2018 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

        I am ordering the book on Amazon. Is that the best way to get it in the US?

  2. Posted December 4, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    Are we sure they were sharks? I couldnt get a good look at them but they appeared to be orcas to me. Its a curious fact that there are no documented orca attacks on humans outside captivity (sometimes they attack boats but not swimmers). You’d think they’d mistake us for a seal every once in a while, but apparently not

    • Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Orcas, I think.

      • kieran
        Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

        There is certainly a flash of black and white near the surface after a head dip that looked Orca not shark.

        Sharks generally don’t like people they are just doing test bites and let go afterwards.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

          That would be right. Even if they had been sharks, it would not be surprising if they ignored the kids (though not something one would stake one’s life on, I guess).

          As kieran said, sharks generally don’t like [the taste of] people. Penrhyn lagoon in the northern Cook islands is 10 miles across and up to 20 fathoms deep, very clear water, and full of sharks. You can see six-footers cruising along near the shore. And the kids all swim in the lagoon. I assume there are enough fish that the sharks aren’t hungry enough to bother with people. Of course it may also depend on the species of shark.

          I asked the local doctor how many cases of sharkbite he’d had in the 4 years he’d been there, and he said two – both fishermen. Which suggests to me that the sharks were after their catch, not the fishermen themselves.

          Someone made a video of them (*everything*’s on Youtube…)
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcuQeWLsIpk

          cr

          • rickflick
            Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:21 am | Permalink

            I dove in the Caribbean where you see mostly gray reef sharks and nurse sharks. They are harmless to divers.
            I also dove in the Galapagos where we saw a large school of hammerheads, and numerous Galapagos sharks. Again, they show no interest in divers as they cruise around the islands looking for favored food items. The very large whale sharks we saw are, of course, plankton eaters and were not a threat either. Tiger sharks, bull sharks and great white sharks are considered less predictable and, if seen, you should keep your eye on them. Fortunately, they are less common in the areas I visited.

      • Mike
        Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:45 am | Permalink

        ORCA’S, Sharks have a triangular fin, I’ll bet their Sphincters tightened just a touch.lol

    • George
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

      Probably orcas but it could be another species of cetacean. Definitely not a shark dorsal fin.

    • David Coxill
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      The swimmers were wearing T shirts with “trump is the greatest POTUS ever ” printed on them.

      Not even sharks could swallow that .

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

        Its great to see the ol’ Nixon jokes getting an airing. Lets hope the results of criminal enterprise on the part of the “President” also get a reboot

  3. Desnes Diev
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    “Okay, why did these people get a pass from the sharks?”

    I think they are killer whales. They look huge for sharks and, around 20s, we can see a white spot in the eye region of the one coming close to surface (to the left). I can’t imagine the feeling of being swim past by such beasts.

    “In this one, Matthew Inman, creator of The Oatmeal strip, shows his family’s nativity scene”

    They must be fans of Calvin and Hobbes 🙂

    • Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      Yes -they are not sharks as you can see by the dorsal fins.

  4. John Dentinger
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    Maybe my eyes are deceiving me, but I could swear to Ceiling Cat that I see a blowhole on one of the sharks.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    “The Million Dollar Quartet”

    That’s in Austin Powers pre-inflation dollars, obvs.

  6. pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    It seems to me too that the sharks are orcas. You can see some white patch on them.

  7. pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    A bontebok was the very first wild antelope I saw in my life, during a trip to South Africa a few years ago. A rare subspecies that lives only in a few locations in the west of the country. They are very beautiful indeed (and even for a European tourist easy to identify).

  8. Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Since we are doing cats and baubles, here is my contribution. The cat is called Cookie and he belongs to a friend of mine.

    Apologies for portrait mode.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

      Nice kitty. Nice speakers.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

        Just realised that the game visible on the corner of the table at the beginning is Exploding Kittens.

  9. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    In my traveling experience Pan Am was the best. That was particularly true for those long flights to the pacific where the upgrades were especially nice.

  10. GBJames
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Ah, yes. Today is the 1st of Zappadan!

    • Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

      And the Google Doodle is Edith Cavell – “I realise now that patriotism is not enough…”

  11. Michael Fisher
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Puffer fish: Those spines are modified scales for protection. So we have a fish that presumably signals via bright colours that it’s well protected with spines & a neurotoxin [Tetrodotoxin] in some internal organs. I would have thought spines alone would get the job done.

    • Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:16 am | Permalink

      The scales of all teleosts are composed of dermal bone.

  12. Posted December 4, 2018 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    Seen this? a Canadian baby is born…

    • George
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      A true Canadian baby would be wearing a toque – not that goofy hat with ears.

      • Christopher
        Posted December 4, 2018 at 10:40 am | Permalink

        I had to look up that word, it being unfamiliar. Now I’m really confused about that Brewer and Shipley song. 🎶 Sittin’ Downtown in a railway station, one toque over the line 🎶

        • bPer
          Posted December 4, 2018 at 5:31 pm | Permalink

          Toque doesn’t rhyme with toke; it rhymes with Luke.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      I’d heard such rumors about the McKenzie brothers, but never actually seen a Canadian whelping before. Thx.

  13. George
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    A question for the Jews out there – do you get annoyed with all the attention paid to Hannukah? It is a minor Jewish holiday (of which there are many). Certainly not on a par with Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah. But it gets attention because of its proximity to the great pagan holiday of Saturnalia – which christians have expropriated for their own reasons. If you ask christians what the most impotant Jewish holiday is, most would reply Hannukah. That is like saying President’s Day is the most important US holiday – not just a time for mattress sales.

    But then most christians are wrong about their own holidays. Christmas is meaningless. Many christian sects (including the Puritans) do not celebrate it. Christianity is about salvation. By blood sacrifice. So easter is number one.

    • Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Properly the christians would or SHOULD say Easter is their most important festival, but i might hazard that they do not!

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

        Christmas gets more attention because if the gift giving but Easter is the most important and is so recognized.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted December 4, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

          Actually, easter is not recognized as a federal holiday. Xmas is.

      • Posted December 4, 2018 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        I was a Christian once and I would say that Easter was definitely recognised as the most important Christian festival, in my church, at least.

        I think Christmas gains its prominence more for the non Christian aspects of it.

    • Gabrielle
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I’m Jewish, and I get slightly annoyed about the conflation of Hanukkah and Christmas. Hanukkah is mainly a holiday for children; they get the gifts, but adults don’t get them. I’m more annoyed with all the Christmas music.
      What is more annoying to me is when well-meaning people (mostly coworkers) wish me a Happy Yom Kippur. It’s a very solemn holiday; the equivalent would be wishing someone a Happy Good Friday.
      This year a coworker asked me if I would be having a big family dinner for Yom Kippur. She was somewhat disappointed when I told her that we fast all day and spend the day in synagogue.

  14. Michael Fisher
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    …Fraunces Tavern in New York City. The building still exists, having been extensively reconstructed in 1907.

    The wiki [in the OP] is a very interesting read – it was built starting in 1719 in small yellow brick imported from the Dutch Republic. It was a family mansion on three floors [I’m going with G, 1st, 2nd so shoot me] of brick, tile & lead & that is all that’s known of its appearance.

    The 1907 reconstruction is way off – at a guess the original would have stood alone in a plot & only the ground & first floors would have been visible – the servants above on the 2nd floor would have been in the roof attic space [lead roof & set back from the brick walls].

  15. Michael Fisher
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The Orca GIF comes from this video [with audio] below. January 27 2018, Enclosure Bay, Waiheke, Auckland NZ.

    At first all I saw was a fin in the water and thought a shark had entered the bay. I realised it was a whale and not a shark. Everyone got out of the water, however, there were two children in the middle of the bay who must not have heard the call to get out. By the time they realised what was going on it was too late, it appeared the whales heard the children calling for help and headed directly for them.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      This is close to being the original video [better than above] – it hasn’t been cropped

      • rickflick
        Posted December 4, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

        Well that solves the issue of what kind of creature it was. Orcas. Also, we learn the folks behind the camera are sympathetic – “That’s gotta be a life changing experience”.
        It’s curiously refreshing to see the two swimming frantically to escape, at first, then stop swimming and just sit there praying. 😎

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted December 4, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

          The girl was 9 or less & her brother a young teen. She was terrified & shaking ’til long after – I assume her bro persuaded her to stay still or she couldn’t move. The orcas visit that little, enclosed bay to hunt for stingray. Earlier that day there had been a pair of orca in the bay with a baby orca showing junior how to stingray hunt. Here’s another angle on the incident videoed by Brett Thom who has his dog in the water [very right of frame at the beginning] – I doubt he’s good with kids. 🙂

          • rickflick
            Posted December 4, 2018 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

            I’d guess he’s pretty good with kids. He gave them the right advice anyway. I imagine the young girl will be reluctant to revisit the ocean. For a while at least.
            Thanks for fishing this up Mr. Fisher.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted December 4, 2018 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

              Puns now eh? LOL
              Well he wasn’t giving her advice – she was too far away to hear him basically talk to himself.

              • rickflick
                Posted December 4, 2018 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

                It’s the thought that counts.

  16. Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    There are only 21 shopping days left until Coynezaa, my personal holiday I can foresee endless possibilities for this. For example, is Coynezaa similar to Festivus in that revelers are required to name a recently popular word or idiom they despise on each day of Coynezaa?

    • Posted December 4, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      should be

      There are only 21 shopping days left until Coynezaa, my personal holiday

      I can foresee endless possibilities for this. For example, is Coynezaa similar to Festivus in that revelers are required to name a recently popular word or idiom they despise on each day of Coynezaa?

  17. Posted December 4, 2018 at 10:57 am | Permalink

    “Pan Am” was also a TV show on ABC for only one season (2011-12). It revolved around Pan Am stewardesses and flight crew back in the airline’s heyday. It was lightweight stuff but it had its charm and I enjoyed it.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pan_Am_(TV_series)

  18. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted December 4, 2018 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    The anagram of “Santa” and “Satan” was the punchline of one of Dana Carvey’s best Church Lady sketches on Saturday Night Live.

  19. Matthew North
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 3:10 am | Permalink

    They’re not sharks, they’re Orcas.

  20. rickflick
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Here’s the pufferfish using it’s ability to inflate as protection. They ingest water, of course, not air.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnzlPwaf7cs

    According to the description, the inflation probably evolved before the spines.


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