Monday: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Good morning and welcome to the new week.

In history today:

Notable birthdays:

As it’s Elton John’s birthday, here are two of his most famous songs, Your Song and Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word.

Hili is being contrary this morning. Well, it is a Monday.

A: Look at the beautiful crocuses!
Hili: I don’t want to.

In Polish:

Ja: Patrz jakie piękne krokusy!
Hili: Nie chcę.


From Twitter today.

A very fluffy caterpillar

If this were a dog I would think that playing fetch with a ball was adapted hunting play. I don’t know how this happens in a herbivore. Maybe Cows With Guns is real.

I asked Matthew about this and he said:

It’s just a young cow having fun. May have been trained, perhaps accidentally (moves towards ball, gets loves/treats, touches ball, gets more loves/treats, etc etc).

You learn something every day

An iridescent bee

A dog after Jerry’s heart

When you really love your food

Another thylacine photo.

Panda MMA

The incredible problem-solving ability of parrots.

There’s a weird thing on social media lately where parents throw slices of cheese on their baby’s face (and are still allowed to be parents afterwards). But this was genuinely funny.

And finally, the fearsome hunter instincts of the cat.

Ceiling Cat is watching you

Hat-tip: Matthew


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    1969 – During their honeymoon, John Lennon and Yoko Ono hold their first Bed-In for Peace at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel (until March 31).

    Drove from Paris to the Amsterdam Hilton
    Talking in our beds for a week
    The newspapers said
    Say what’re you doing in bed
    I said we’re only trying to get us some peace

    Christ, you know it ain’t easy

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    I thought the PARROTS OPERATING THE WINDMILL was a wind up like the BBC’s vintage spaghetti tree farming spoof of years ago, but apparently not, though I’m suspicious – it’s assuming a lot to suppose the birds have made the connection between spinning wind vane & water coming from the pipe – what we think we see in behaviour could be wrong.

    If you have access to BBC iPlayer you can see the original recording HERE starting at 43:30. It’s the 2015 Life on The Edge series, Episode 3, Patagonia: Earth’s Secret Paradise & the birdie is the Burrowing Parakeet Cyanoliseus patagonus

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      When it said ‘jump-starting a water pump’ I thought it meant a petrol-powered pump – which would have been truly incredible.

      I suppose, if the windmill is just a very teeny bit stiff, in light winds, giving it a small but sufficient push with their weight could be described as ‘jump-starting’. I agree it’s uncertain, but I suppose possible, that the parrots have noticed that water comes out when the windmill is rotating.


      • Posted March 25, 2019 at 9:47 am | Permalink

        Or it’s just judicious editing of random shots down on the farm.

        • rickflick
          Posted March 25, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

          Agree. judicious editing.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 26, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

            The fact it’s edited together doesn’t mean it’s fake. The behaviour may have been reliably observed but not when a camera happened to be available. Or, the behaviour may have happened in front of a camera but taken too long for the desired timeframe for the sequence in the TV doco.

            I’m sure many events – probably a majority – in TV wildlife docos are similarly edited up from unconnected shots.


            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted March 26, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

              To be clear – I’m not saying it is genuine, not saying it isn’t.


            • Posted March 26, 2019 at 10:21 am | Permalink

              Yes, I’m sure that the docs manipulate us. I hope that they only simplify and dramatize an essentially true story but I worry that I’m being too naive.

              I hate docs of any kind that manipulate the narrative. For example, I will never forgive Penelope Spheeris for altering the sequence of events in “The Decline of Western Civilization Part II: The Metal Years” just to make Ozzy Osbourne look like an idiot spilling his orange juice in his own kitchen.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 25, 2019 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

          It might be, but never underestimate the intelligence of parrots and corvids.

    • BJ
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      “it’s assuming a lot to suppose the birds have made the connection between spinning wind vane & water coming from the pipe – what we think we see in behaviour could be wrong.”

      Oh, I don’t think it’s assuming much at all. We know corvids have the ability to process this kind of information and even more complex connections between taking certain actions and outcomes. Certain parrots are likely close to or entirely on par with corvids when it comes to intelligence.

      If you want a fascinating story that’s both fun to read and is also relevant to this discussion, take a gander at Alex the Parrot.

      • Posted March 25, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

        Pepperberg’s boox, “Alex & Ne”, is a good read.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 26, 2019 at 2:40 am | Permalink

          There is also Frans De Waal’s “Are we smart enough to know how smart animals are?”.

  3. rickflick
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I was compelled to read a bit on Richard I (the lionhearted) who was wounded by a crossbow bolt while fighting in France, leading to his death. What’s a “bolt”? Well, an arrow, shorter than a standard arrow. He was shot by a boy in the neck and the bolt had to be removed by a butcher. The wound became gangrenous. He forgave the youth before dying. Strangely, though he was the king of England from the age of 16, he spent almost his entire life making war in France.

  4. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Face splatting is all that “pasteurized prepared cheese product” is good for! Apparently the process was invented by the Swiss in 1911 & commercialised by James L. Kraft in the USA [his own patent 1916].

    • rickflick
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      The shape is right for sandwiches and cheezeburgers. There’s that.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted March 25, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

        A home made burger with real cheese is a yummy pleasure, the processed stuff is a pale experience. Except for an upmarket restaurant burger eight years ago I haven’t had a chain burger, pizza or fried chicken since around 1990. I like take away fish & chips & an Indian/Chinese but that’s my lot.

        But, I’m not a food Nazi – people can have what their heart desires. As a kiddo I loved those processed cheese triangles wrapped in foil, but Brit food was deeply effected by WWII with rationing continuing until 1954! During the war food production was put on an industrial basis because we were a net importer [still are] – ALL cheese producers were ordered by law to make what was called “government Cheddar”. The hundreds of cheese varieties were wiped out in one fell swoop to rationalise a war economy & it took four decades or more to get it all back. I was 10 before I saw my first pineapple or banana & I remember only rock hard government Cheddar & around 1960 a weird version of Red Leicester that was probably built in a lab.

        Now in my 60s, if given the choice I will take [2] below every time.

        [1] Kraft singles: Cheddar cheese [but not from Cheddar], whey, water, protein concentrate, milk, sodium citrate, calcium phosphate, milkfat, gelatin, salt, sodium phosphate, lactic acid, annatto & paprika extract colouring, enzymes, Vitamin A palmitate, cheese culture & Vitamin D3

        [2]Cheddar cheese: Cow’s milk

        • rickflick
          Posted March 25, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

          You have a complex relationship history with cheese. Tortured even.
          I have to sympathize. Growing up I ate mostly Kraft processed “cheese”, on macaroni, sandwiches, broccoli, everything. When I discovered delicious imported European cheeses, I was spoiled and rarely touch the Kraft. We still keep a few slices of Kraft for occasional quick emergency melt-on lunch snacks.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted March 25, 2019 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

            ISS now stocks Kraft Singles for when there’s a 20,000 mph micrometeorite puncture.

            • rickflick
              Posted March 25, 2019 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

              Great idea. The plastic wrap would hold until they found the Marmite.

            • darrelle
              Posted March 25, 2019 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

              I remember seeing the commercials some decades ago, “Now made with real milk!” and wondering what the hell the stuff was made of. The real milk they added comprised something like 2% of the ingredients *shudder*.

              If it says “cheese food” I ain’t touching it. One of the more disgusting “party favorites” here in the US is melting a block of Velveeta (wait, I think I might be sick) cheese food in the microwave and then adding a can of RO*TEL® DICED TOMATOES AND GREEN CHILIES (also nasty). People actually think this cheese dip is great. I can’t understand why people would suffer this stuff. You can make an actual real cheese sauce in perhaps 15 minutes with a little practice and it’s at least two orders of magnitude better.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted March 25, 2019 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

                ‘orrible – in the UK there’s no cooking classes AKA ‘domestic science’ in schools & fewer opportunities for urban school kids to get out there & see an actual cow or sheep. Partly due to closure of activity clubs, scouts, guides, funding in ‘austerity UK’ & also the huge jump in costs [insurance, elf & safety etc.].

              • rickflick
                Posted March 25, 2019 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

                Fortunately, “virtual” “reality” is coming to the rescue. All these healthy, educational, but expensive, experiences can be had by dawning a helmet. And the sheep and cows are relieved of their stench. For the win.

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted March 26, 2019 at 2:35 am | Permalink

            I guess I was luckier than you, my mother only bought cheese cut from the wheel, never in plastic wrapping, let alone those these ‘face splatters’.
            Some small French cheeses came wrapped in aluminum foil reinforced paper.

  5. Roger
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I still don’t know the words to “Someone Saved My Life Tonight” and I never want to know how badly I have misheard those lyrics lol.

  6. yazikus
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    I was reading a satisfactorily diverting thread this weekend: What song should be made into a feature film?

    I was pleased to see that Elton John’s works were frequently mentioned. I’d vote for Levon, myself.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    I dunno, when it comes to Sir Elton’s tunes, I’ve always been partial to “Tiny Dancer.” Part of it, I suppose, might have to do with the bus scene in Almost Famous. But then, I’m a sucker for certain Hollywood tropes:

    • BJ
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      Cameron Crowe’s career/screenplay writing history is very, very confusing to me, but this is his best work by far and one of my favorites. So many memorable moments in this film.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 25, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        I think it’s probably CC’s most personal film, given that the protagonist is based on Crowe’s own experience writing for Rolling Stone as a teenager.

        Also, great performance by PSH as the IRL rock’n’roll writer par excellence Lester Bangs.

        • Mark R.
          Posted March 25, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

          After watching Almost Famous, I was smitten by Kate Hudson. She was only 21! But I was 31, so not too creepy I guess.

          I also agree with BJ re. CC’s career and this being his best effort…and for the reason you mentioned.

  8. Caldwell
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    Re. the cheese cat: there are cat face masks used by groomers and such to keep cats calm. I saw a guy put one of these on his cat and it slowly backed into a corner and then just sat there, perhaps pining for the fjords – maybe the cheese is doing something similar by covering the eyes.

  9. Curtis
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    I like the way that Grania creates bullet list for the In History and Birthday. It makes it much easier to see the content.

    • Posted March 25, 2019 at 11:38 am | Permalink

      +1 I was thinking the same thing.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

      Oh, yes!

  10. Mark
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    That duck-herding dog was amazing!

    • Kahlil Jabroni
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

      My thought also.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 26, 2019 at 12:51 am | Permalink

      The dog’s duck herding skills are superb; keep in mind, though, that he’s herding a bunch of Indian runner ducks (the long necks and upright stance), and as their name implies, they run as if they’re trying to catch up with the Mad Hatter. They don’t seem to be able to keep still (kind of like the honey badger in that respect) They also seem to keep pretty close together and move as a group, following whichever duck is in the front when they turn, the way flocks of some birds do in the air.

      I’m charmed by runner ducks, but what an exhausting existence they must have. In fact, I read that females tend to lay their eggs, not exactly on the fly, but on the run, and keep on running. Here’s a charming video of them

  11. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    This is a video of the last captive thylacine, which, the article says, “bit the cameraman on the buttocks.”

    Good for him or her!

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted March 25, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      For one or other unknown reason I find the extinction of the Thylacine even more tragic than most.
      Did you see what a huge gape it had on the bottom photograph? What a wonderful animal!

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted March 25, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        I agree with you on both counts, and love that gape.

        But there are the unconfirmed sightings, which I hope are not akin to spotting a Bigfoot or Yeti. I have hope!

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 26, 2019 at 5:05 am | Permalink

          According to the article there are close to 300.000 (what a terrible number!) roadkills per year in Tasmania, but never a thylacine….
          I fear all these sightings are not of thylacines. More in the category of mistaken identity of feral dogs or indeed in the Bigfoot/Yeti category.
          I have more hope in genetically manipulated rebreeding, it only went extinct 83 years ago (Yes, there are still human contemporaries alive today!), so I hope and guess there is quite a bit of Thylacine DNA available for sequencing. In fact they have a full sequence of one individual that died 108 years ago!

          Implant that in the egg of a quoll, numbat or other dasyuromorph and maybe… I somehow suspect that for a marsupial it is kind a easier than for a placental mammal: no placenta and long gestation.
          Future techniques, I keep hoping to see the thylacine resurrected during my lifetime!.

  12. Posted March 25, 2019 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

    There’s a line from EJ: “loving you is so easy because you’re beautiful” – which I have liked because it is ambiguous. False in one interpretation, true in another, too.

  13. Posted March 25, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    The puppy video is nice!

  14. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted March 25, 2019 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    This might interest, since US free speech laws are discussed so often. In reading an article on how Trump threatens 35 billion USD in research funding to shore up free speech support [ ], I learned that statistics say that speaker disinvitation (deplatforming) peaked 2016 and faculty termination for political speech peaked (so far, but huge peak) 2017 [ ].

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