Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Wednesday, December 5, 2018, and a mail holiday in the U.S. (this is in mourning for the death of G. H. W. Bush’s). It’s also National Comfort Food Day. What’s yours? (When I was a kid, I could get whatever I wanted to eat on my birthday, but I always asked my mom to make hamburger stew—a simple recipe with ground meat, onions, catsup, and chunks of potato—and also a Red Velvet Cake.)

It’s also Saint Nicholas’ Eve in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Germany, Poland, and the UK, as well as Krampusnacht in Austria. Krampus is an evil demon who punishes bad kids during the holidays. Here’s a Krampus card, which reads, in German, “Greetings from Krampus!”  Krampus is to Santa as Hell is to Heaven, and they provide the same motivation for kids:

On this day in 1492, Columbus became the first European to visit the island of Hispaniola (that was the “America” he discovered, though he never set foot on the North American continent). On December 5, 1766, auctioneer James Christie held his first sale in London.  And in 1848 the U.S. Gold Rush was pronounced when President James Knox Polk sent a message to Congress that large amounts of gold had been found in California.

I remember this from last year: it was on this day in 1952 when the  Great Smog fell upon London—fog combined with serious air pollution. It lasted four days, and ultimately killed over 10,000 people while making 100,000 ill.  Some readers may remember it. Here’s a short video with scenes of the debacle:

On this day in 1955, E. D. Nixon and Rosa Parks began the Montgomery (Alabama) bus boycott, the iconic beginning of the Civil Rights Movement of the next decade. Finally, it was on December 5, 2004, that the UK’s Civil Partnership Act came into force, and the first civil partnership was registered.

Notables born on December 5 include Martin Van Buren (1782), Christina Rossetti (1830), George Armstrong Custer (1839), Arnold Sommerfeld (1868), Walt Disney and Werner Heisenberg (both 1901), Little Richard (1932), Joan Didion (1934), Calvin Trillin (1935), and J. J. Cale (1938).

Those who died on December 5 include Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1791), Alexandre Dumas (1870), Claude Monet (1926), and Nelson Mandela (2013).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the animals have had enough of the cold:

Hili: Are you going back home?
Cyrus: Yes.
Hili: I’m going with you.
In Polish:
Hili: Wracasz do domu?
Cyrus: Tak.
Hili: Idę z tobą.

A Christmas LOL found by reader Su:

A parti-colored cat:

And a working-up-to-Christmas cat. The painting and artist: “The Christmas Spat” (1883) by Henriëtte Ronner-Knip, a well known painter of moggies. Pretty good depiction of cats!

Here’s a tweet using a recent hamhanded (excuse the pun) PETA ad:

Tweets from Grania. She joked about feeling betrayed by this one, but it’s amazing that the Disney studios seem to have serious institutional memory:

This one I declare a draw:

Read the article; it’s distressing that Italy, like the U.S., may be deep-sixing serious scientific advisors to the government in favor of denialists and woo-sters:

Grania thought this was hilarious, but I’ve had these very doughnuts from the famous Voodoo Doughnuts in Portland, and the maple-bacon combination was fantastic:

Tweets from Matthew. Watch this first one closely, because the action is over in a flash:

The Royal Society is doing Christmas Advent Animals (species that live in cold climes), and here are two:

The Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus) may be my favorite canid. It certainly deserves status as an Honorary Cat®!

Finally, how babies are born in Canada (hint: they’re not brought by storks):



  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    Nice hearing Pops and Ella over the newsreel footage of the Great London Smog.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    I’m guessing it’s like Xmas for Mike Flynn today but that’s another story. I use to ask for apple or cherry pancakes. These were nothing like regular pancakes but I no longer even have the know-how. This lady we knew who came over from East Germany before the wall was the pancake lady so it was probably a German invention.

    • Blue
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      When, Randall, is your birthing day ?

      I shall make for you cherry pancakes then !
      L o o o o ve those !

      I have the tree; her name is
      Chickabooma Cherry Tree, and
      there are plenty, plenty o’th’ fruits
      of her branches, now, within my freezer !
      I even have on hand the t r u e and
      organic maple syrup from
      Ms MacPherson’s Canada !

      Thank you for that braining just now !


      • Randall Schenck
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:57 am | Permalink

        Thanks but I doubt they would travel well. I have never come across anything like this type. There was a kind of vanilla sauce that was part of the deal. Will see if we can dig up the recipe.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          Hey, if you can’t take ’em, Blue can frisbee them over to me, and she needn’t even wait until it’s my birthday.

          • Blue
            Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

            I ‘ld be happy to do so, Ms Haniver; and,
            Randall, with a slathering o’vanilla sauce sounds
            just they ‘ld all be like tasting
            a darling and “divine” ( not ! )
            cherry shortcake !

            Not ? !


            • Jenny Haniver
              Posted December 5, 2018 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

              I say, all right!!!!!!!

  3. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    St Nicholas’ (Santa Claus) Eve? A bit early, isn’t it?

    Though I suppose the stores which are already in full Christmas mode (the background music all pays tribute to the God of Marketing) could claim that as justification.

    I noticed because the hardware megastore I was in was playing ‘Mary’s Boy Child’ which – unlike most dreary carols – is a song I can’t help liking for its tune, notwitstanding the vomit-inducing cringeworthy Goddy lyrics.
    Which just shows, I guess, that you can get away with anything if you give a nice reggae beat to it.


    • Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      St Nicholas’ day is 6 December. The association of Santa Claus with Christmas originates from the US, I believe, as customs of Dutch immigrants became absorbed and mixed with other customs and cultural practices.

    • pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:10 am | Permalink

      Not early at all. The 6 December is the day of Saint Nicholas. Tomorrow, children will celebrate it in several countries.

    • darrelle
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      I’ve never been religious but Christmas was a major holiday in our family and it surprises me how many Christmas songs I can still sing along to word for word. Including many religious ones. Most all of which I like. They just never inspired me to believe.

      I once was forced to sing Silent Night, solo, in German, on stage in front of my entire school including parents. I survived, but it was a frightful experience.

      • Blue
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

        W h o a, Mr darrelle, solo ?! Stille Nacht solo ? !

        .THAT., indeed, must ‘ve been a freakin’ nightmare !
        Good ON you though !


        • darrelle
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:00 am | Permalink


          It was probably worse for the audience. I love music but I’ve got the opposite of a singing voice. I mean, it sounds good to me if the volume is turned up high enough. When my kids catch me singing I tell them I’m ready for The Voice. Instead of support they mock me!

          • Blue
            Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

            O yeah. Yeah, Mr darrelle. I, too, ‘ld so know
            in re the mocking onto me from those kiddos
            of mine. Yeah, that.

            I like, too, ” the opposite of a ” something or other.
            I am going to use that in re almost all
            of my non – talents. Which is … … a L o t !

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:28 pm | Permalink

            You have no idea what ‘bad’ is. When I Googled for the Boney M version, by some incredible glitch Google served up a link to this:
            *** TRIGGER WARNING *** Your Ears will Hate You ***

            This easily surpasses anything by William Shatner.
            I was hesitant about even posting the link but I guess I’m just pure evil.


            • darrelle
              Posted December 6, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink


              That’s on a par with Pat Boone singing Judas Priest.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    This one I declare a draw:

    “You’re Number One.”

    “No, you’re Number One.”

    I think that’s what those guys were trying to say.

    • Blue
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      O yeah, r i i i i ght, Mr Kukec. Right !

      That was ‘it’* all right.

      *n o o o o t !

  5. Posted December 5, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Royal Society of Biology is not THE Royal Society…

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    From the OP:

    It’s also Saint Nicholas’ Eve in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Germany, Poland,and the UK

    I am aware that parts of Europe celebrates St. Nicholas’ day tomorrow [6th Dec.] & some have events on the eve, to do with coins left in shoes & stockings ~ but, I’ve never seen nor heard of the fast day in the UK. Maybe it’s a UK Catholic thing of which I’ve scrubbed all that from working memory!

    I think that PETA Ad is supposed to be part of a campaign which includes a video – [the whole making more sense than the parts], but nobody is hosting the ad – typical PETA failing to connect with a potentially huge audience. Here’s a WEIT-suitable PETA UK ad:

    • Christopher
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      PETA does more harm than good. They mean well but are an embarrassment to all of us who love animals. Theyve made themselves a laughingstock when they could have been championing worthy causes.

      • Mark R.
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        When I lived in Wyoming, PETA put up a billboard on I-80 around this time of year that had a picture of Jesus with the caption: Jesus was a Vegetarian.

        The next day, someone vandalized the sign and it was just strips of paper blowing in the wind. Wyoming folk like their beef and their jesus. As a matter of fact, when you enter the state from Montana on I-25 there is a metal sign that reads: “You’re in Wyoming, Eat Beef!”. Strange state to be sure.

    • Posted December 5, 2018 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

      We are traditionally Orthodox, and we also celebrate it on Dec. 6. But our St. Nicholas has nothing to do with children and presents; he is a patron saint of sailors, fishermen (fish is served on that day), bankers and maybe a few other trades.

  7. GBJames
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    FWIW, it is also Krampusnacht here in Milwaukee.

    • Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Large numbers of Germans and Scandinavians went to Wisconsin back when, no?

    • gscott
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

      Krampusnacht is quite the thing in parts of Austria. We just went to the Krampuslauf in Klagenfurt and the Perchtenlauf (pretty much the same thing) in Villach last weekend. They had a few hundred Krampuses (Krampi?) in each event. Lots of fun – beats the hell out of American Halloween.

  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    05 December 2019 is an anchor day.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      I mean 2018

      What have I done. I apologize.

  9. pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Saint Nicholas is celebrated in Switzwerland too.

  10. Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    While Columbus never visited NAFTA-defined North America (Canada, U.S., Mexico), in 1502 he did visit Honduras down to Panama, which most geographers would include in the continent of North America.

  11. Posted December 5, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    I remember the London smog well. I was six years old and we lived then on the edge of Epping Forest but went into town often by London Transport (the tube and Green Line)
    I remember the busses being guided along the curb by a man with a lamp and the smog in particular on those parts of the tube which ran overground. I also remember my father attempting to drive in this by hanging out of the drivers window and asking me to watch the near side for obstacles etc.
    Thrilling times for a little boy.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      I remember the London Smog. I was twelve and it was wonderful fun!

  12. rickflick
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    This is a bit late, but I thought some would be interested:

    “NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx) spacecraft completed its 1.2 billion-mile (2 billion-kilometer) journey to arrive at the asteroid Bennu Monday.”

    Currently drifting 15 km from the asteroid and beginning preliminary flybys.

  13. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    Google made its logo gray (using Google app) for George H. W. Bush

  14. Jenny Haniver
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    I burst out in a very good morning guffaw at the PETA coitus interruptus ad. True, the people look like they realized they’d just engaged in sex with a chicken and a cow respectively, and were contemplating the existential consequences.

    The latest news from PETA, which seems to be on a roll during the holiday season: They want to proscribe anti-animal language (a category of “speciesism”), such as “bringing home the bacon” a list of alternative suggestions here; and have also declared that women cannot be feminists if they eat eggs. Lordy, lord. I gotta stop eating eggs!!!!!!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 5, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

      Ummmmm … about the egg comment, I offer ideas for yummy things to eat:

      Imperfect out-of-the-box egg substitutes:

      Flax seed meal + hot water (for cooking, really)
      Bob’s Red Mill Egg replacer – mostly for cooking
      The Vegan Egg (?) – like scrambled egg

      Tofu (silken, I think) smashed up, stir fry with peppers or whatever- it’s basically like scrambled. I highly recommend this for best results. Wrap it in a burrito it’s wicked good.

      Haven’t seen an over-easy, or other subs yet.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

        The tofu scramble sounds quite tasty. I’ll try it soon, but I’m not giving up my eggs! That is ridiculous. Are they going to go after males and mountain oysters next? “A man is a eunuch if he eats mountain oysters”?

        • ThyroidPlanet
          Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

          Errrrmmmm …. yes, I’d say the tofu scramble is completely satisfying as in you can ditch the eggs and it makes no overt difference.

          • Posted December 5, 2018 at 11:56 am | Permalink

            Only if your eggs are the weakest supermarket variety will it not make a difference. Many have been conditioned into thinking eggs are almost tasteless. It’s an awful conspiracy imposed on us by the industrial food complex. (Even tofu has a taste but I digress.) Find some really good eggs from a farm and you would never think they taste like tofu. Sorry, this is a pet peeve of mine.

            • ThyroidPlanet
              Posted December 5, 2018 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

              The tofu will look and feel like scrambled eggs, but the flavor alone will be blank. That’s where you add things you like. It’d be like egg whites.

              This comment is relevant to WEIT because… eggs. Yep. Evolution needs eggs. So there you go. QED.

  15. Harrison
    Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Disney’s recycling of animation came at a time when costs were soaring and profits were down. This was also the time when they started using Xerox photocopiers to save on the cost of inking animation cels. All their films of that period have that distinctive rough look because they’re just photocopied pencil lines with color applied directly.

  16. Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    The stock market is also closed today for mourning Bush. The market bombed yesterday as it was discovered that Trump was likely lying about there being a deal with China on tariffs. He also reaffirmed his tariff scheme by tweeting that he’s a “Tariff Man”. Comments coming from China have reassured the market and sent stock futures up.

  17. Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    I was 7 months old in London during the Great Smog. Perhaps this explains why I struggled with asthma until I was in my 20s.

  18. Posted December 5, 2018 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    The Royal Society is quite hemispherist in including only animals who live in the cold in their “24 Species of Christmas” series. Perhaps they are still mourning the loss of the British Empire.

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