TGIF: Hili dialogue

by Grania

Good morning! It’s the end of the week and National Caramel Day, so you have license to indulge if you fancy the stuff.

In history today:

  • 1792 – United States President George Washington exercises his authority to veto a bill, the first time this power is used in the United States.
  • 1900 – Archaeologists in Knossos, Crete, discover a large cache of clay tablets with hieroglyphic writing in a script they call Linear B.
  • 1922 – The American Birth Control League, forerunner of Planned Parenthood, is incorporated.
  • 1976 – In China, the April Fifth Movement leads to the Tiananmen Incident.
  • 1992 – Peace protesters Suada Dilberovic and Olga Sučić are killed on the Vrbanja Bridge in Sarajevo, becoming the first casualties of the Bosnian War.
  • 1999 – Two Libyans suspected of bringing down Pan Am Flight 103 in 1988 are handed over for eventual trial in the Netherlands.


Notable birthdays:

  • 1908 – Bette Davis, American actress (d. 1989)
  • 1908 – Jagjivan Ram, Indian politician, 4th Deputy Prime Minister of India (d. 1986)
  • 1909 – Albert R. Broccoli, American film producer, co-founded Eon Productions (d. 1996) – I’d never heard of the man, but you can’t argue with a name like that.
  • 1916 – Gregory Peck, American actor, political activist, and producer (d. 2003)
  • 1925 – Janet Rowley, American human geneticist (d. 2013)
  • 1937 – Colin Powell, American general and politician, 65th United States Secretary of State
  • 1949 – Judith Resnik, Ukrainian-American engineer and astronaut (d. 1986)
  • 1950 – Agnetha Fältskog, Swedish singer-songwriter and producer (of ABBA fame).

Hili is worrying about, well, you’ll see.

Hili: I’m anxious.
A: Why?
Hili: I do not see any reasons to worry.

In Polish:

Hili: Jestem niespokojna.
Ja: Z jakiego powodu?
Hili: Nie widzę powodu do zmartwień.

Jerry added:

Now this is a truly Jewish cat!!!

When I was in graduate school, one of my labmates was a Jewish student who fit the classic mold of Jewish Anxiety. One day, when I was working at the bench, he strolled into the lab, rubbing his hands together and muttering, “Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!”

I said, “What’s going on, Fred?”

He replied with glee, “Oh boy! I have THREE things to worry about today!”


From Twitter:

You’re going to want to click through to the thread on this one, it’s a worthwhile rabbit-hole.

A cat with useful skills

The hunting technique of the African Black Heron

Martian moon eclipse

Yes, your cat is just ignoring you.

Baby foxes

Hiccups are not amusing

The Australian Rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) eating porridge.

This is pretty much the height of civilization.

Have a wonderful day.


Hat-tip: Matthew


  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 5, 2019 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    1909 – Albert R. Broccoli, American film producer, co-founded Eon Productions (d. 1996) – I’d never heard of the man, but you can’t argue with a name like that.

    I remember that name on the big silver screen during the opening credits of those early “Bond, James Bond” movies starring Sean Connery.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      “Cubby” Broccoli, as I recall from hype pieces for various 1980s Bond movies. I think the franchise has stayed “in the family”, but it’s probably not worth the effort of following up.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 7:45 am | Permalink

      Probably never heard of Harry Saltzmann either.

      Ever heard of Bond, James Bond? 🙂

      And to answer the gravelinspector’s comment, Broccoli’s daughter Barbara is still a producer of the James Bond series right up till the present day.


    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

      I remember finding those names – Bond, Connery, Broccoli – unfamiliar and amusing.

  2. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 5, 2019 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    A short thread on fractal villages. On Monday I visited the delightful village of Bourton on the Water

    Oh, so that’s what B-o-t-W is famous for. I remember the parents trundling off there one Sunday. I stayed home to do something, my TD homework I think.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 5, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    I think that village within the village within the village of Bourton on the Water constitutes a classic example of mise en abyme (aka “the Droste effect”).

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      Best comment in the Twitterthread:
      Of course the terror truly comes when you exit the model village, walk to the edge of Bourton on the Water, look up, and … there it is, vast walls of rough-cut stone; distant, shadowy figures looming over you …


      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 5, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

        That image recalls for me the Charlie Kaufman film Synecdoche, New York.

        • rickflick
          Posted April 5, 2019 at 8:27 am | Permalink

          Ah, yes. The director creates a simulated city inside a warehouse. A pretty remarkable film.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 5, 2019 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, Philip Seymour Hoffman creates a mock-up of the Theater District of Manhattan inside a warehouse in the Theater District of Manhattan, and then when he walks outside the warehouse he’s right there in the Theater District of Manhattan whence he’s just debouched — that’s the scene I was thinking of in response to the twitter comment you quoted.

            • rickflick
              Posted April 5, 2019 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

              Mixed reviews. Some named it the best film of 2008, others gave a thumbs down. I was a bit confused by it, but recovered enough to like it very much.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted April 5, 2019 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

                I’m a big fan of Charlie Kaufman’s script-writing (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Being John Malkovich, Adaptation).

                There’s a lot about S,NY (his directorial debut) that I liked, but it got kinda ponderous around the last reel.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      The “Droste effect” after Droste cocoa.
      I do not know if those boxes are still sold.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted April 5, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

        I meant these squarish tins, of course.

  4. rickflick
    Posted April 5, 2019 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    The next time I have hiccups, I’m going to check in the mirror. BTW, is there a way to induce hiccups?

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Drink whiskey straight from the bottle. I think I’ve seen it in a cartoon somewhere. 😉

      • rickflick
        Posted April 5, 2019 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        Definitely worth a try. Can’t hurt.

        • Posted April 5, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          If the desired effects are not immediately induced, keep trying. Curiosity must be satisfied.

  5. E.A. Blair
    Posted April 5, 2019 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    Since leaving my parents’ home – about 40 years ago – I’ve had six cats: Astrið, Þórbjorn, Freti, Kveldulf, Isa and Samone. The only one reluctant to recognize her name is Samone (but she’s coming around). The others all at least reacted to the sound of their names and mostly came when they were called. Astrið was, & Isa is, the most responsive almost always coming when called, while Þórbjorn, Freti & Kveldulf almost always responded and coming when called about ⅔ of the time. I have no idea whether this has anything to do with the two most responsive being female* while the other three were males (Samone, the least responsive, is female).

    One of the commenters to the Rock-Paper-Scissors tweet said, “Wish I’d have been there. I would’ve taken it while they were dicking around!” Which remined me of the story of a note found at a bar next to a pair of empty glasses:

    Dear Optimist and Pessimist:

    While you were arguing about whether your glasses were half full or half enpty, I drank your beers.

    — The Opportunist

    *These two are also the only longhaired cats of the lot.

    • darrelle
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      Never heard The Opportunist joke before. Love it.

      All the cats I’ve lived with have responded to their names very well. They didn’t / don’t always come, but they give every indication of knowing that you want their attention when you speak their name.

      They’ve also known many other words. Meaning that they learned that certain sounds their humans make correspond to certain actions, behaviors or words. A good example, it has become nearly impossible to talk out loud about food where our current leonine liege might hear you. We keep coming up with new ways to say things like “did you feed the cat?,” but she keeps learning them.

      The most recent thing we’ve tried is acronyms. WFB is Wet Food Breakfast and WFD is Wet Food Dinner. “Did she get WFB?” She’s long since learned these acronyms. She hears them and she walks into the pantry, jumps up on the step-stool, which puts her at eye level with the wet food stash, turns around to catch your eye and then tell’s you to feed her. Even if she has already been fed she tries to guilt trip you into 2nd dinner. Like a Hobbit cat. And it’s best not to disappoint her. You might find a mess in the pantry if you do. She’s been known to pull boxes or bags of things she likes off of a shelf, open them up, scatter the contents about and eat what she will.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted April 5, 2019 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        There is no doubt that cats can show remarkable intelligence abilities when food is involved (but so do d*gs).
        I once had a cat (BB Nap) who made a loud continuous groaning sound when eating. He was always quickly found out when he had pilfered a chicken or steak or so. He was not stupid, just couldn’t eat silently.

        • darrelle
          Posted April 5, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          LOL Groans of pleasure.

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted April 5, 2019 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

        I like the way The Times summarised the story:

        “If your cat does not respond when you call, it is not because it does not recognise its name. It is because it does not respect you and instead views your life with, at best, cold indifference”.

  6. Posted April 5, 2019 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    That would be a Martian solar eclipse, actually.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      Interesting bio. He accomplished quite a lot.

    • Christopher
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      Just saw that too. Must be one of, if not the last, of his generation of DNA pioneers.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

      Just saw that. .

      I did not know this: “Born in 1927, Sydney Brenner had an impoverished start to life as an immigrant in South Africa, and famously taught himself to read from the newspapers that were used as tablecloths at dinner time.”

    • Posted April 6, 2019 at 2:44 am | Permalink

      Derek Lowe wrote about him on his blog too.

  7. Roger
    Posted April 5, 2019 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

    How come they don’t make them like Gregory Peck any more. These days we have to put up with the various Bradleys and the Ryans (too many Ryans) and a racoon and that one tree that only knows one sentence. I guess we still got Al Pacino.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted April 5, 2019 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      The don’t make gray flannel suits like they used to, let alone the man in them.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted April 5, 2019 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

        And come to think of it, gentlemen’s agreements ain’t what they used to be, either.

        • Roger
          Posted April 5, 2019 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

          Not a good omen. Everyone should just pack up and move to Brazil.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted April 5, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            Dunno about you, Roger, but I got nuthin’ on “Mockingbird.” 🙂

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 5, 2019 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

            What, this Brazil:


    • Posted April 5, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

      Gregory Peck’s grandson Ethan is playing Spock on Star Trek: Discovery. He’s not bad in the iconic role.


      • rickflick
        Posted April 5, 2019 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

        I knew it was genetic.

      • Roger
        Posted April 5, 2019 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

        He sounds too “natural” in interviews. Gregory Peck always played Gregory Peck. You know, like how Christopher Walken always plays Christopher Walken. Good actors should ham it up all the time. Especially themselves.

  8. Posted April 6, 2019 at 2:45 am | Permalink

    If Sean Carroll is the Official Website Physicist, is Jennifer Ouellette the Official Website Science Writer?


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