Monday: Hili dialogue and talk story with Pi

It’s Monday, January 14, 2019, and a week from today I’ll be back in Chicago where, I hear, there’s snow and may be more. It’s Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day, a fitting food day to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this website, which happens to be today (more later). It’s also “Old New Year,” or New Year’s day in the outmoded Julian Calendar.

On this day in 1539, Spain annexed Cuba. On January 14, 1784, the ratification of the Treaty of Paris by the American Confederation Congress officially ended the Revolutionary War of the U.S. vs. Britain.

On this day in 1952, NBC broadcast the first Today Show program (with Dave Garroway); it’s still on the air after 67 years. Surprisingly, though, it’s only the fifth longest-running American t.v. show. Can you name another one? Exactly a year later, Tito was inaugurated as the President of Yugoslavia. On January 14, 1967, the “Summer of Love” (not really summer!) was kicked off by the famous Human Be-In in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco. A 26-minute video of the event is below; I wasn’t there, but feel privileged to have been alive during those days:

On this day in 1973, according to Wikipedia, “Elvis Presley‘s concert Aloha from Hawaii is broadcast live via satellite, and sets the record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history.” It was watched by over a billion viewers (according to Wikipedia), and I’ll put it below in case you’re an Elvis fan (I’m not):

It was on January 14, 2009, that I made the first post on this website.

Finally, it was on this day in 2011 that most consider the “Arab Spring” to have begun, as Tunisia’s President fled his country for Saudi Arabia after a series of street demonstrations against the government. That call for freedom spread across much of the Arab world.

Notables born on this day include Mark Antony (83 BC), Henri Fantin-Latour (1836), Albert Schweitzer (1875), Andy Rooney (1919), Julian Bond (1940), Faye Dunaway (1941), Nina Totenberg (1944), T Bone Burnett (1948), and Maureen Dowd (1952).

Albert Schweitzer was a writer, humanitarian, theologian organist, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, and cat-lover. Here he is practicing Bach in Lambarene (then in French Equatorial Africa) with his kitties.

Those who died on January 14 include Edmund Halley (1742), George Berkeley (1753), Lewis Carroll 1898), Humphrey Bogart (1957), Anthony Eden (1977), Anaïs Nin (1977), Kurt Gödel (1978), Ray Kroc (1984), and Donna Reed (1986).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has taken to pre-empting conversations.

Hili: Don’t quarrel with me.
A: But I didn’t say anything.
Hili: But you wanted to.

In Polish:

Hili: Nie sprzeczaj się ze mną.
Ja: Przecież nic nie mówiłem.
Hili: Ale chciałeś coś powiedzieć.

In Honolulu, I showed Pi a picture of him on my website, and he responded in Hawaiian pidgin (he is a Hawaiian cat):

Pi: Dis buggah give me stink eye!
Jerry: Pi—that’s YOU!

A tweet from Heather Hastie. I approve of this proposed border wall, which will keep out those who don’t like cats. And the dogs will pay for it!

A hamster-game tweet from reader Gethyn:

And from reader Blue, yet another case of complete human incompetence:

A tweet from reader Barry. Look at the spring in Darwin’s step!

Tweets from Grania, beginning with Swedish television fashion:

An emergency kitten (the site has 7.25 million followers, showing that many people require Emergency Kittens):

Yes, lynxes meow, but they don’t sound the way you think:

Tweets from Matthew. This guy is weird but skillful, and I have a feeling that I’ve posted something about him before.

Things You Didn’t Know.

When the cows come home—Irish style:




  1. Posted January 14, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    It was watched by over a billion viewers

    Yes, I don’t believe that. The World’s population was only about four billion at the time. I don’t believe a quarter of them had access to a television set, never mind were actually watching Elvis.

    Wikipedia says: “this would appear to be pure hype, originally speculated by Elvis’ manager Colonel Tom Parker in 1972. The total population of the countries which took the show live certainly didn’t add up to over 1 billion”.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      Actually they were referring to the numbers at the Trump inaugural. Reported by Trump.

      More accurate numbers – today approx. 34,000 teachers go on strike in LA. That covers about 640,000 students.

      • rickflick
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        The expressways and surfing beaches will be crowded.

    • Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      Some watched it twice?

      • Posted January 15, 2019 at 3:45 am | Permalink

        I thought it was about the live broadcast. Some people must have been watching it on more than one telly.

  2. Jimbo
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I must admit, my first take on the Swedish weatherman (viewing a small image on a phone) was that he had a shirt showing electrified areolas…then I saw the cat after zooming in.

  3. Posted January 14, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Those look like bullocks not cows!

    • kieran
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 7:54 am | Permalink

      Nothing funnier than a herd of bullocks pretending not to be sneaking up on you when you turn your back.

    • Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:31 am | Permalink

      PS – I thought it is Hawai’i now rather than Hawaii?

  4. GBJames
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    That comparison of Airplane and Zero Hour is amazing!

    • Neil Wolfe
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      +1! I can’t believe I didn’t know this about one of my favorite movies.

      • Lurker111
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        Shirley, you jest! 🙂

        • Mark Sturtevant
          Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

          I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.

          • Neil Wolfe
            Posted January 14, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

            Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue.

    • Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      I have known that Airplane! was a remake of Zero Hour! for years. It’s why I have a copy of Zero Hour!. If you have a copy of Airplane! with the director’s commentary I highly recommend listening to it. It’s almost as funny as the movie and you learn all kinds of cool things like how it was inspired by Zero Hour!.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Now I want to see Zero Hour.

    • Posted January 14, 2019 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      I’ve known about it for a while. I’ve even seen a video exactly like the one posted here before (don’t know if it’s the same one).

      Somehow I don’t think the lines:


      “No I take my coffee black… like my men”

      are in the original.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:44 am | Permalink

      I saw neither, but they make a clear case.
      Didn’t we see how Disney’s cartoon films were ‘inspired’ by other films? Recently on WEIT? (can’t find it now)

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    … in case you’re an Elvis fan (I’m not) …

    As I may have mentioned here before, I have deeply ambivalent feelings about Elvis, an attraction-repulsion syndrome of sorts (the same as I have about certain other musical stars of days past, notably Frank Sinatra).

    I find much to admire in their music (and even in some of their personal qualities), but find much else in their behavior (and even in some of the more decadent aspects of their music) completely repugnant.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:32 am | Permalink

      I must say, Frank was a better actor by far than Elvis but then so was everyone else.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Yep. Elvis made some godawful, meretricious movies (all of ’em, in fact, except for King Creole).

        The world would be a better place had the King stayed in Memphis and continued making records with Sam Phillips at Sun Studios, instead of running off to Hollywood with “Colonel” Tom Parker.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted January 14, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

          Oh well. I think he has made more money dead than alive. Only in America.

    • Vaal
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I’m not as ambivalent about Elvis. He is an idiom, music and personality, that I just don’t get at all. Whenever I see any musical performance I am always left thinking “is he kidding? Is this real life?” It seems pure kitsch, the music doesn’t even seem catchy and it barely even registers as “music” to me.

      I get the physical charisma thing when he was young, but I’ll apparently never understand the appeal of his “music.”

      • James
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:05 am | Permalink

        I feel the same way about Elvis. I also feel that way about the Beatles and most of Metalica’s stuff. I understand that culturally and historically they were significant, but at the end of the day, I’m not going to sit there and listen to their music for entertainment value alone, which is my criteria.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        The best Elvis on tv was his 1968 comeback special, and the best part of that was Elvis on guitar, sitting in a circle with his band, playing some old blues — “unplugged” avant la lettre.

        And the best writing about Elvis was done on the occasion of his death by the rock critic par excellence Lester Bangs in The Village Voice.

        If you have an interest in understanding something of Elvis’s appeal, watch and read those.

        • revelator60
          Posted January 14, 2019 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

          Spot on Ken, though I think the best writing about Elvis was Greil Marcus’s “Presliad,” from his book “Mystery Train.” And Elvis made a few good movies besides King Creole, like Jailhouse Rock, Follow That Dream, Flaming Star, Viva Las Vegas, and That’s the Way It Is (though that’s actually a concert film).

          Elvis’s ’68 Comeback Special is one of the best performances in all of rock’n’roll, and much greater than his Aloha special.

          I’m sorry for those unable to enjoy Elvis’s music, especially when I recall the artistry and bliss of “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “That’s All Right Mama,” “Mystery Train,” “If I Can Dream,” “Suspicious Minds,” “How Great Thou Art,” “That’s Someone You’ll Never Forget,” and dozens and dozens of other songs.

          • Ken W.
            Posted January 14, 2019 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

            Whether you appreciate Elvis or not, you probably like some of the artists that he influenced.

            “When I heard [Heartbreak Hotel], it was the end for me. […] Once I heard it and got into it, that was life, there was no other thing. I thought of nothing else but rock ‘n’ roll”- John Lennon

            “When I first heard Elvis’ voice I just knew that I wasn’t going to work for anybody; and nobody was going to be my boss. Hearing him for the first time was like busting out of jail.” – Bob Dylan

        • Vaal
          Posted January 14, 2019 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Ken.

          That clip of Elvis you posted only re-enforces my bafflement.

          I’m a music fanatic and omnivore in my tastes. However there seems to be a very narrow band of North American music that just won’t click with me and Elvis (and “down on my luck blues”) seems to hit it on the button. As soon as Elvis started that tired riff…my brain checked out. No doubt it was at some point in history fresh, but there is probably no riff I dislike more in terms of the sheer mind-numbing boredom it causes me.

          I tried to stay with the clip, but the decision between continuing to listen and walking out into traffic was becoming harder and harder.

          Ah well, we aren’t made to understand everything. 😉

          • rickflick
            Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:00 pm | Permalink

            I pretty much agree on Elvis. Never moved me other than to turn the channel. But, I think he hit it big, with his rich male voice and stage wiggle and wavy hair, with the teenyboppers back then. They are now grandmothers with old white bucks still in the closet.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    This guy is weird but skillful …

    Is he available for children’s birthday parties? 🙂

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:53 am | Permalink

      Wasn’t that the same guy of the ‘Christmas Surprise’?

  7. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Well! Albert S. is a little rough on the kitties.

    • Posted January 14, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      Yeah, he’s just as ham-fisted with his cats as he is with his Bach!

  8. Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

    What’s a “theologian organist”? There’s a joke in there somewhere but I can’t come up with it.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 8:30 am | Permalink

      Someone who pulls out all the stops to stop up all the holes in the logic?

  9. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    That FNCK cup is priceless!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 15, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      14.90€, actually.
      I can’t see anything about where it’s made but somewhere where Latin characters are not the norm would be a high probability. Unless, of course, the picture is a fake.

  10. Christopher
    Posted January 14, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    I think we are way overdue for another Human Be-In.

  11. Posted January 14, 2019 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    I love the lynx’s vocalizations and the cows.
    I’m reminded of that moving movie about Temple Grandin.

    • Posted January 14, 2019 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      That Temple Grandin movie was really, really good. A rare balance between science and personal interest story. Even the superimposed graphs and diagrams were done well.

      • rickflick
        Posted January 14, 2019 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

        I’m going to see it!!

  12. Posted January 15, 2019 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    As a kid my father and I tried to create the tallest possible Jenga tower by simply making +s with the blocks by hand. We did not succeed. We then noticed that they are not measured precisely enough to do what we tried – there are 1-2 mm variations between blocks on various dimensions and hence (even assuming constant density) suggests ever so slight differences in centers of mass.

    My dad and I always had fun thinking through toys in addition to playing with them. 🙂 (We also reverse engineered Monopoly and a few other things.)

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