Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s Monday, April 22, 2019, and National Jelly Bean Day (the only ones I like are Jelly Bellies   except for the “buttered popcorn” flavor). And it’s Earth Day! Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) is an animated cartoon of some of the world’s wonderful creatures. Go see!

On this day in 1500, the Portuguese explorer Pedro Álvares Cabral first landed in Brazil. He’s regarded as the European discoverer of Brazil, but of course people had already been there for thousands of years. On April 22, 1864, the U.S. Congress passed the Coinage Act of 1864 stipulating, among other things, that the motto “In God We Trust” be placed on all U.S. coins. It didn’t appear on paper currency until nearly a century later: 1957. (The FFRF still auctions off these pre-1957 bills as “clean money” at its annual convention.)

At noon on April 22, 1889, the Oklahoma Land Rush began, with thousands rushing and riding to claim free land. Within a few hours Oklahoma City, with a population of at least 10,000, came into existence. Here’s a photo of one land rush, though I’m not sure whether it’s the one just described:

On this day in 1945, Adolf Hitler, learning of the Soviet Army’s advance on Berlin, cowered in his Führerbunker and decided that suicide was his only recourse. He shot himself, while Eva Braun took poison, on April 30.  Exactly nine years later, during the “Red Scare,” testimony in the Army–McCarthy hearings began (they were also televised). And do you remember the “Hitler diaries” published in the German magazine Stern? It was on April 22, 1983 that the magazine claimed they had been found in East Germany. They were, of course, forgeries.

On April 22, 2000, federal agents seized six-year-old Cuban “boat boy” Elián González from his relatives’ home in Miami. He was returned to the custody of his father, and went back to Cuba on June 28. Now, at 25, he’s an engineer. Do you remember this photo that shocked the U.S.? The caption from Wikipedia is this:

Federal agent Jim Goldman (Assistant District Director, Investigations – Miami District INS) retrieves Elián from his relatives’ home in Miami. This photo won the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News.

Finally, it was on this day three years ago that the Paris Agreement was signed, with 196 countries agreeing to help fight global warming. Little has been done since then.

Notables born on this day include Isabella I of Castile (1451), Henry Fielding (1707), Immanuel Kant (1724), Vladimir Lenin (1870), Nicola Sacco (1891), Vladimir Nabokov (1899), J. Robert Oppenheimer (1894), Yehudi Menuhin (1916), Charles Mingus (1922), Bettie Page (1923), Glenn Campbell (1936), Jack Nicholson (1937), Jancis Robinson (1950), and Amber Heard (1986).

I’ve posted this clip before, but I’ll post it again in honor of Glenn Campbell. Here he plays a John Hartford song with many country greats, including Chet Atkins, Willie Nelson, and Roy Clark, looking on. You might be able to recognize some others. It’s a terrific impromptu performance with one of the best guitar breaks ever. (Campbell had been a session musician, part of the famous “Wrecking Crew“.) I have no idea what show this was on, and have been unable to find out (reader help appreciated).

RIP, Mr. Campbell.

Those who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on this day include Käthe Kollwitz (1945), Ansel Adams (1984), Richard Nixon (1994), Linda Lovelace (2002), Richie Havens (2013),

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, down by the Vistula, it’s clear that while Hili likes Cyrus, she’s not fond of other dogs:

A: What do you see there?
Hili: An old man is coming with his dog.
A: So what?
Hili: I hope he will not want to greet us.
In Polish:
Ja; Co tam widzisz?
Hili: Idzie staruszek z pieskiem.
Ja: No to co?
Hili: Mam nadzieję, że nie będzie chciał się z nami przywitać.

Today it’s mostly cat tweets, but what’s wrong with that?

We have a few late Easter tweets, but better late than never. Here’s a cabbit from reader Nilou:

Another pissed off cabbit from reader Barry:

And a swimming cat from Heather Hastie, who says, “I love how it swims faster when it gets close to its owner”:

Tweets from Matthew. I was pleased to tell him, “I think you sent me that one before!” Well, maybe he didn’t, but I know I’ve posted this video somewhere with the same interpretation:

An anthropologist takes down a history wingnut:

Oh, dear!

Tweets from Grania. Here’s an anthropomorphized parrot:

A cat passes the mirror test:

A truly awesome pun, and if you don’t get it, well, go LEARN!


  1. Posted April 22, 2019 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    Well, the German and English name of Eastern is from the name Eostre.

    It is also historically much more plausible than the Ishtar theory, because only German and English use this form and there is no tradition of Ishtar in the past of Germanic culture. Most European languages have Christian or at least Judeo-Christian names for this holiday with a few exception. (In Hungarian the name of the Holiday means something like “meat-take”, so it is named after the end of the Lent 🙂

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      “Eostre” means eastern, how it is related to the passover or resurrection, apart from the sun ‘resurrecting’ every day in the East, is not very clear.
      The connection with Ishtar appears a bit far-fetched, but not impossible.
      Here is a skeptic blog:
      The thing is, if Ishtar was not associated with eggs and bunnies, what was? One could argue for eggs, spring, new life, etc., but Easterbunny remains veiled in mystery.

      • Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

        ““Eostre” means eastern, how it is related to the passover or resurrection, apart from the sun ‘resurrecting’ every day in the East, is not very clear.”

        It is not connected. What happened here that the Christian holiday of the resurrection of Jesus fused together with the Germanic sprig holiday dedicated to the goddess of dawn and took its name.

        “The thing is, if Ishtar was not associated with eggs and bunnies, what was?”

        I do not know. My comment was simply about the modern English (and German) name of the holiday. Note however that the fertility symbolism/rites and other symbols could be also the heritage of the old pagan spring celebration.

        Also note that only the English and German name of this holiday is similar, everybody else call it completely differently. The two main Germanic speaking groups using the name of an old Germanic spring festival is vastly more plausible than dragging Ishtar into the picture and then somehow explain why only the two mayor Germanic groups use the name.

        Setting aside the name, it is safe to assume that all pre-Christian European cultures had spring holidays, quite possibly with fertility related aspects (as it is logically connected to spring), and some of the those traditions also possibly got attached to the Christian holidays.

        Now, the deep origin of resurrection myth(s) is another story, but that was not the topic of my comment at all.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

          Note, my comment was not meant to be negatively critical. You give quite a bit of interesting info. I agree, as said, that Isthar is a bit far-fetched, especially in a geographic sense.
          Still, where did the Easterbunny come in? I find that more mysterious than the origins of resurrection myths. After all, in temperate climate spring is a kind of resurrection of nature (just like the Christmas fir is a kind of symbol of life continuing during a ‘deadly’ period).
          So I guess we can solve most mysteries of easter, except for Easterbunny, especially if one considers the fact that bunnies don’t lay eggs. 🙂

          • Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

            Don’t worry I did not feel any hostility or negativity from your comment. I hope it goes the other way around too, sometimes I become a bit too lecturing in my arguments.

          • Laurance
            Posted April 24, 2019 at 7:08 am | Permalink

            Easter bunny?? Easter bunny? Pooh!!

            Rabbits don’t lay eggs. People don’t seem to understand that it’s the Easter Snake who lays eggs!!

            Julius Squeezer is my pet ball python. In the spring of 2000 she laid five eggs on Easter weekend. When I came down in the morning and had a look-see in the snake tank I exclaimed “Holy sh*t!! Those eggs are HUGE!! There is no Easter bunny!! It’s been the Easter Snake all along!!”

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:48 pm | Permalink


          “The thing is, if Ishtar was not associated with eggs and bunnies, what was?”

          The idea of an egg-giving hare went to the U.S. in the 18th century. Protestant German immigrants in the Pennsylvania Dutch area told their children about the “Osterhase” (sometimes spelled “Oschter Haws”. Hase means “hare”, not rabbit, and in Northwest European folklore the “Easter Bunny” indeed is a hare. According to the legend, only good children received gifts of coloured eggs in the nests that they made in their caps and bonnets before Easter.

          During Lent the Lutherans & other sects would forego certain foods – eggs were boiled & kept in their decorated shells or presumably they could also be de-shelled & pickled. These eggs were delivered to the good kids after Lent by the mysterious, unseen hare. The hare is the Easter version of Santa Claus.

          All the above stolen from various Wiki pages & not checked thoroughly 🙂

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:32 pm | Permalink

            Yes, I know that in Holland and Germany it is a hare, bannies and hares are both leporidae. In Dutch they even talk about the ‘Paashaas’ (passover hare’).
            Thé mad and fighting March hares may have caused thé association with spring and fertilité..

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 2:18 pm | Permalink

      Yes, the Ishtar theory is obviously bollocks and is generally only pushed by people who are unaware that languages exist that aren’t English. In a lot of European countries, the name of the festival is something like “Pasqua” (Italian), “Pascua” (Spanish), “Pâques” (French), “Pazko” (Basque), “Pasqua” (Catalan), “Pasqua” (Corsican), “påske” (Danish) – actually that one surprises me, “Pasen” (Dutch), “pääsiäinen” (Finnish), “pasko” (Esperanto), “Peaske” (Frisian), “Pascua” (Galician), “Πάσχα” (Greek) – sounds like “pasca”

      Bored now…

      These all have their root in the word “Pesach” which translates into English as “Passover”. This seems pretty obvious when you think about it because the events celebrated during the festival literally do happen at the beginning of Passover.

      “Easter” most likely has a Germanic root and is either from the name of a goddess or a month named after the said goddess and the name stuck probably because the Pesach based Christian festival usually happened in that month.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    The Glen Campbell piece was on TNN, The Nashville Network but the exact show, I don’t know. They had things like The Grand Old Opry and Nashville Now so it may have been one of those.

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:40 am | Permalink

      I’m trying to identify these people but haven’t gotten many of them. Who is the woman in the front row sitting between Roy Clark and Willie Nelson?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        Sorry, I am not a big expert on country western but others may know.

      • Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

        Jerry, see my list of participants in a comment below…

      • Posted April 22, 2019 at 9:11 am | Permalink

        Janie Fricke! The published list of participants was incomplete.

        • Posted April 22, 2019 at 9:53 am | Permalink

          No, she is on the list, I just missed it..

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    The mention of Glenn Campbell’s session work having come in proximity to the recent post about the Beach Boys reminds me that Campbell actually toured as a member of the Beach Boys for a little while, shortly after Brian Wilson began having the problems that kept him off the road, and appeared, if I’m not mistaken, as a session player on the Pet Sounds album.

  4. Laurance
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Oh, I must, must find a way to print out the rotating snakes picture! My (recently adopted) cat is ten years old but she thinks she’s still a kitten and needs to play. Oh boy, does she play!

    This illusion might be just the thing! And if she responds to it I’ll look for other illusions to try on her.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 10:35 am | Permalink

      You can purchase them quite inexpensively online, or if you want to enlarge yourself, Google “rotating snakes illusion” and “Image,s” and you’ll come up with a passel of iterations to print. I’m sure if your cat doesn’t respond to one, she’ll respond to another. But buying one would probably be best. Any game/puzzle stores nearby you?

      • Laurance
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 7:02 am | Permalink

        Thank you! Yes, there’s such a store in town.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      That was great, and shows that our vision and a cat’s one are related.
      I wonder what a convergent visual camera eye animal, such as an octopus, would make of it.
      I’m almost certain -still ‘informed speculation’- that the reaction of arthropods, with composite eyes, would be quite different.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink


        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:20 am | Permalink

          Why what? The fact I suspect the composite eye is not given to the sane visual illusions?

          • Nicolaas Stempels
            Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

            And then there are apposition and superposition composite eyes. It is difficult to ‘see’ like a dragonfly. Their eyes are poor at detailed imaging, but extremely good at motion detection.
            I do not venture either way, maybe they would not detect illusionary movement where there is none (as I suspect), but on the other hand they might even be more susceptible to Akiyoshi’s illusions.
            I do not think it has ever been tested.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:39 am | Permalink


  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    “Ishtar” — Wasn’t that also the title of the big Hollywood flop with Warren Beatty and Dustin Hoffman that pretty much put Elaine May’s directing career on ice?

  6. Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    This is from “Ryman’s Country Homecoming” series, and these are the participants:

    Willie Nelson, Glen Campbell, Crystal Gale, Bobby Bare, Lorrie Morgan, BJ Thomas, Waylon Jennings, Ricky Van Shelton, Larry Gatlin, Janie Frickle, TJ Sheppard, Lynn Anderson, Gene Watson, Ferlin Husky, Porter Wagoner, T. Graham Brown, Roy Clark, Joe Stampley, Dan Seals, Hank Thompson, and Ronnie McDowell.

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

      There are also more great clips from this program on Youtube, like this one:

  7. rickflick
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    In the mirror-test scene the cat is clearly enchanted by her image. She seems to be thinking about how she can be at two places at once. The beginnings of spacetime physics.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      But the clip was short-cut, it appears to me the cat was going to investigate behind the mirror. Until further notice, not a full passing (to my regret).

      • Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:18 pm | Permalink

        Check out the slightly longer clip in Comment 11. At the end, the cat is not trying to look behind the mirror, but rather is feeling parts of its face with both paws while staring at the mirror. Really remarkable, even if not exactly the formal “mirror test”.

    • Torbjörn Larsson
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

      All I see is a young cat that has not quite figured out that classical “leg wave” stabilizing behavior of cats that stretch out (too far) on their haunches. “It is spacetime gymnastics, Albert, but not as you meant it.”

      The mirror test would be that an animal scratch at an unfamiliar marking on its body; this was not it.

      • Torbjörn Larsson
        Posted April 22, 2019 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

        A marking seen only in a mirror, I mean.

  8. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 9:45 am | Permalink

    BILLBOARD, SEPTEMBER 23rd, 2000:

    Recorded over two days at the Grand Ole Opry House, Nashvile Tennessee, in March 1999 & released initially as two instalments with two more planned: “Country Legends Homecoming” & “Ralph Emery’s Country Homecoming” – the latter hosted by Ralph Emery & Bobby Bare.

    Released in video & audio formats Sept. 26th 2000
    Aired on country cable station TNN on Sept. 16th & Oct. 7th 2000

    Glen Campbell, Chet Atkins, Willie Nelson, Roy Clark, Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, BJ Thomas, Crystal Gayle, Ray Stevens, Ralph Emory, Kris Kristofferson, Lorrie Morgan, Mickey Gilley, Billy Joe Shaver, George Lindsay, Gene Watson, Mel Tillis, Porter Wagoner, Barbara Fairchild & Janie Fricke.

    glen 1

    The above is expandable by clicking.

  9. merilee
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 10:39 am | Permalink


  10. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Now if that picture of the Oklahoma land grab is anything to go by, that was a real invasion (Mr Trump? Are you listening?). IIRC Oklahoma was allotted to the indigenous population, until then, that is.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

      There was an amusing one that went past today – and I didn’t copy the tweet to my laptop. Picture of several people standing on the Great Wall of China, bearing a couple of sheets of paper proclaiming, per the Tangerine Racist, that “walls work”. Whether in deliberate or accidental irony of the fact that the Trampling Hordes would routinely either walk round it, or bribe their way through it.
      Which is only going to increase.

  11. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    It is the celebrated Mimo – a Brooklyn-based Scottish straight. Here is a video copy that hasn’t had the frame cropped & it’s 10 seconds longer, but 10 secs at the beginning not the end. I don’t ‘believe’ in the mirror test, but I could be persuaded. Maybe.

    Random thoughts:

    There is controversy over whether passing the mirror test implies self-awareness – does a creature recognising itself in a reflection really have an “I” concept?

    Ant researchers state that many ants, from three species, pass the mirror test, but the researchers do not know that they have self-awareness.

    Cleaner wrasse fish [finger sized] have been seen to try & scrape injected dye from their skins [injected where they can’t see it other than in a mirror] only after observing themselves in a mirror.

    Michael Platt — a cognitive neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania says that many more animals have a sense of “self” than we’ve realized, or the mirror test has little to do with recognizing “self.” Instead, learning to use mirrors may just be a way of helping an animal define the boundaries of its own body [I don’t quite know what that last sentence means – it’s copy/paste & I’m head scratching at the moment].

    A few neuroperts say we too easily clothe other animals in our modes of reasoning & we should be careful how we interpret mirror behaviour – even when there seems to be only one conclusion that fits all the evidence, we are painting a picture with our own palette of reasoning, where another species has vastly different rules [or fewer rules] of cause/effect.

    Mimo seems to be indulging in cleaning behaviour. Mimo sees ears in the mirror & begins cleaning his own ears – the sight of ears starts his ‘ear cleaning sub-routine’?

    I would like to see how a mirror-familiarized Mimo reacts to an unknown cat that’s 170 degrees behind him – a cat only initially in his line of view in the reflection. Does he immediately look behind himself or does he puff out his fur, turn sideways, arch his back & hiss at the mirror? In other words – does he have some concept of a reflected mirror world or is it a ‘room’ behind the mirror? I am guessing he thinks of it as a room. But I think a cat learns quickly that the images in a mirror offer it nothing in this world & they learn to ignore familiar mirrors as just ‘noise’.

    But, even if the kitty goes to look behind the dresser mirror, that doesn’t invalidate kitty checking his own ears in the mirror prior to that [IF that is what he’s doing] – Mimo could ‘know’ that’s his own ears, but still he’ll have the urge to go with a base, incorrect assumption: it’s easier for Mimo kitty to assume there’s another kitty lurking than for Mimo to figure out how a mirror reflection works.

    Maybe a CCTV multi-camera 3D live image ‘flipped’ like a mirror & displaying his position in space [like a real mirror does] might be an interested tool to try on Mimo because one can introduce birds & other cats into the other ‘room’ while he still sees his own reflection. But cats are rubbish at closeup vision [25cm or 10″] so Mimo will lose focus on himself when he’s half that distance from the mirror. Also Mimo might be less curious with age.

    Summary: I dunno.

    • Posted April 22, 2019 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

      “Mimo seems to be indulging in cleaning behaviour. Mimo sees ears in the mirror & begins cleaning his own ears – the sight of ears starts his ‘ear cleaning sub-routine’?”

      No, I don’t think so. One paw is touching the ear (not cleaning it really) and the other paw is feeling (not cleaning) the lower part of its face. Especially interesting in the final two seconds.

  12. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    Finally, it was on this day three years ago that the Paris Agreement was signed, with 196 countries agreeing to help fight global warming. Little has been done since then.

    A lot has been *done*, such as those nations national strategies planned – I think you mean we see little result as of yet. But some signs are nice, such as the exponential increase in wind power in the US grid, or today’s BBC article on their record “coal free” period. (Measurable in days yet, but still, it is the proverbial coal mine that is *UK*: ).

  13. Michael Waterhouse
    Posted April 22, 2019 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

    Glenn Campbell is an amazing guitar player.
    He is on the top shelf of all time players.
    He was shredding before shredding was a thing.

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