Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s now Tuesday, April 23, 2019 (except across the International Date Line), and National Picnic Day, a holiday better set in Summer. It’s also International Pixel-Stained Technopeasant Day (look it up). And in England it’s St. George’s Day, honoring the day he is supposed to have died in 303 AD.  He is, of course, supposed to have slain a dragon that demanded human sacrifices: here’s a famous painting of the killing by Raphael (ca. 1505):

On this day in 1635, one year before Harvard College was founded, the first public school in the U.S., Boston Latin School, was founded in the eponymous city. As Wikipedia reports for April 23, “1914 – First baseball game at Wrigley Field, then known as Weeghman Park, in Chicago. But for April 20 Wikipedia says this:

Okay, Wikipedia, which the hell is it?

On this day in 1927, Cardiff City defeated Arsenal in the FA Cup Final, which is the only time that cup wasn’t won by an England-based team.  On this day in 1945, as the Russians closed in on the Führerbunker, Hitler’s designated successor Hermann Göring sent him a telegram asking permission to take over leadership of the Reich. Bormann and Goebbels, however, told Hitler to decline as the telegram was treasonous.

A black day in food history: it was on this day in 1985 that Coca-Cola changed its formula and released “New Coke.” Although taste tests showed that most people preferred New Coke to both Old Coke and Pepsi, the nostalgia for Old Coke caused a backlash, and New Coke was deep-sixed.

A banner day in Internet history: it was on April 23, 2005, that the very first YouTube video was released by user “jawed”. It was called, ungrammatically, “Me at the zoo“, and is still up. I’ve put it below.  Wikipedia adds this:

The Los Angeles Times explains that “as the first video uploaded to YouTube, it played a pivotal role in fundamentally altering how people consumed media and helped usher in a golden era of the 60-second video.”  The Observer describes its production quality as “poor”.  As of April 22, 2019, the video is still active on YouTube and has received more than 66 million views, 1.8 million likes, 69 thousand dislikes, and over 2.2 million comments.

Behold: “Me at the zoo”:

Notables born on this day include Stephen A. Douglas (1813), evolutionary ecologist E. B. Ford (1901), Warren Spahn (1921), J. P. Donleavy (1926), Shirley Temple (1928), Roy Orbison (1936), Michael Moore (1954), Timothy McVeigh (1968), John Oliver (1977) and Dev Patel (1990).

Those who died on April 23 include Saint George (303, see above), Æthelred the Unready (1016), Boris Godunov (1605), William Shakespeare (1616), William Wordsworth (1850), Rupert Brooke (1915), Sam Ervin (1985), Satyajit Ray (1992), Howard Cosell (1995), and David Halberstam (2007).

You either love Ray’s films or find them boring. I’m in the former class. Here’s a short (12-minute) film he made for PBS and Esso in 1964, called “Two“. The YouTube notes are below (click on the link in the previous sentence to see the Wikipedia entry):

Asked to write and direct the film in English, Ray opted instead to make a film without words. The result is a poignant fable of friendship and rivalry. As he did for many of his films, Ray composed the music for the film, including the haunting tune played on the flute.

However, I see no “friendship” in the film, just rivalry.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili appears to be dilating on the conservation of matter:

Hili: Nothing disappears in nature.
A: Apparently.
Hili: But some things are eaten.
In Polish:
Hili: Nic w przyrodzie nie ginie.
Ja: Podobno.
Hili: Ale niektóre rzeczy są zjedzone.

Shoot me now, but I enjoyed this little kid imitating AOC, even if it was scripted:

Reader Nilou, who has a penchant for ravens, sent this, noting that Queen Elizabeth turned 93 two days ago. Poor Prince Charles will never get a shot at being King!

From reader Gethyn. I would have had no idea that there was a Rickroll in a student paper on Feynman. Give this student an “A”!

From reader Barry, who says that “This dog represents the wealthy under Trump’s tax plan.”

Tweets from Grania. I think this first one is real. Be sure to read the comments on the thread:

I may have posted this before, but it’s worth seeing twice. Look at that magnificent plume of a tail!

These are the most awesome Peep imitations I’ve ever seen. I’d kill for a box of these: they’re all screwed up!

Tweets from Matthew. I’d love to see this cheesy movie. “No sex in space!”

Okay, it’s a bad pun, but it’s worth seeing once:

This is going to happen with my hen, who’s nesting on the third floor overlooking the pond, but I’m sure I’ll miss the Big Leap. I need a DuckCam!




  1. Simon Hayward
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I’m hoping this doesn’t embed. In honor of St Georges day here is our host’s favorite historian on the subject:

    • Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

      It’s okay; I don’t mind some embedding from time to time. I have purchased unlimited bandwidth from WordPress anyway. . .

      Cunk is fantastic, as always.

      • Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:56 am | Permalink

        Bandwidth wouldn’t be an issue anyway. When a video is embedded in a WordPress comment, all that comes from your website is a URL to the video, in this case:


        The browser on the reader’s PC fetches the thumbnail and the video stream from the referenced site, in this case Vimeo.

        As a matter of fact, I thought the anti-embedding rool, was more about infesting the comment thread with thumbnail images that you have to scroll past.

        • Simon Hayward
          Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:08 am | Permalink

          Bandwidth issue or not, you managed to do what I tried to do – put in the url without embedding the video.

          I just pasted in the url and when I hit post the message looked like yours. When it posted the video was embedded. What did I do wrong? (Or is this a browser/OS thing. Mac/Safari at this end.)

          • Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

            If you just put the URL in, WordPress “helpfully” turns it into an embedded video. What I do is use the HTML <a> tag.

            In this case I made both the href and the description the URL. Normally I would put some English words in the description.

          • Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:15 am | Permalink

            Now I know how to make < and > I can write it out exactly. If “THEURL” is http : something, write:

            <a href=”THEURL” >some description <a>

            • Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

              Oops got that wrong:

              <a href=”THEURL” >some description</a>

              Forgot the / in the closing tag.

          • darrelle
            Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:24 am | Permalink

            WordPress is just so user friendly that it takes effort to not embed things. I’m sure there is more than one way to avoid it. I usually just use an “a href”, for example

            [a href=”web address” rel=”nofollow”]text you wish link to appear as[/a]

            (all “[” and “]” brackets should be “less than” and “greater than” brackets)

            The rel=”nofollow” is not necessary. It specifies that the link does not affect the search engine ranking of the target. I use it when I want to reference something I do not agree with and would rather not help the target become more popular.

            Many people have noted that if you leave out the https:// the target will not embed and WordPress will insert a clickable link to the target with the https:// added back in. That’s a bit quicker, but I’ve never tried it.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted April 23, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

              You could just paste the url after some text on the same line. If it’s on the same line it doesn’t embed. eg:

              Audio of a Marsquake: https://youtu.be/DLBP-5KoSCc

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:16 pm | Permalink


              I don’t call that ‘user friendly’, I call that being a right PITA.

              Your last paragraph is what I do, just omit the ‘http://’, WP puts it back in automagically.


              • darrelle
                Posted April 24, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

                I tend to agree!

          • rickflick
            Posted April 23, 2019 at 4:42 pm | Permalink

            If you check da roolz, you’ll see a way to avoid embedding.


            Where +++ is you desired link.

            • rickflick
              Posted April 23, 2019 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

              No, I tried to make a comment out of it but the HTML farted. Go to da roolz and you can see how it’s done.

      • Dominic
        Posted April 23, 2019 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        Tom Holland has got some kickback on Twitter for his Spectator article on christianity in case you missed it –

        He is a cat lover, but he has a book due in September, Dominion: The Making of the Western Mind which I reckon will not meet with your wholehearted approval…

        • Frank Bath
          Posted April 23, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

          Tom Holland’s ‘In the Shadow of The Sword’ is an instructive read. On the early history and forging of islam inevitably he received death threats.

  2. mfdempsey1946
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    For me, Satyajit Ray (whom I once had the honor of meeting for an impromtu interview) is one of the supreme artists of the 20th Century in any medium.

    Among his wonderful films are “Pather Panchali”, “Aparajito”, “The World Of Apu” (The Apu Trilogy), “Charulata” (AKA “The Lonely Wife”), “Days And Nights In The Forest”, “The Music Room”, and “Distant Thunder”, to name just a few.

    He was an incisive social critic as well as a passionate lyricist of childhood, love, loneliness, and so many other facets of this ambiguous thing we call life.

    I can still recall the pang I felt upon hearing of death, and I hope more people will check out his wondrous body of work. Those who haven’t experienced it but can get on his wavelength have a rich experience awaiting them. So do those who regularly revisit his achievements.

    • Posted April 23, 2019 at 9:17 pm | Permalink

      I’ll check those out. Thanks. Every since reading Amartya Sen, whose work I greatly admire, I’ve been meaning to familiarize myself with this artist, as well as Rabindranath Tagore.

    • chrism
      Posted April 24, 2019 at 6:14 am | Permalink

      Pather Panchali is a favourite, especially for the soundtrack composed and played by a young Ravi Shankar. I have 1960’s vinyl LP of him playing the soundtrack, and it still gets plenty of play in this house.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    I don’t see why “Me at the Zoo” is ungrammatical — especially the title is understood to be preceded by the introductory phrase “(a video of) me at the zoo.” Under what construction would “I at the zoo” be more grammatical?

    I have a vague recollection of a discussion in this space some time ago on a similar issue, prompted by some notable person posting a similarly labeled selfie.

    • merilee
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      You beat me to it, Ken😬

    • Posted April 23, 2019 at 9:00 am | Permalink

      “I at the zoo” is awkward. I would have called it “At the zoo” or “My visit to the zoo”.

    • Posted April 23, 2019 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      Me, at the zoo?

    • Dominic
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Me am with you on that!

      …the youf of today – it’s all I I I!

      • merilee
        Posted April 23, 2019 at 11:42 am | Permalink

        Myself at the zoo😬

        • darrelle
          Posted April 23, 2019 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

          Me, myself and I at the zoo.

    • Mark R.
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      Me and Julio down by the zoo…

      • merilee
        Posted April 23, 2019 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        The same thought occurred to me🤓

  4. Historian
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Let’s clear up the confusion about Weeghman Park. On April 23, 1914, the Chicago Federals of the Federal league played the first major league game there. On April 20, 1916, the Chicago Cubs played their first game at the field as a member of the National League.




    • W.Benson
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 10:20 am | Permalink

      Wasn’t complicated at all.

  5. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I would have had no idea that there was a Rickroll in a student paper on Feynman. Give this student an “A”!

    So that’s what a Rickroll is. I suspect that having popup blockers and previously a junkbuster filter has protected me in the past.

    Notables […] Michael Moore (1954), [redacted] (1968),

    Some people might quibble over Fahrenheit Flint Moore’s “Notable” vs “Notorious” classification, but I doubt that the “Notorious” person next on the list really deserves his name repeating. For some, “unpersoning” is an appropriate memorial. Unless you’re actually doing a paper on domestic terrorism.

    • Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      Technically, it is not a rick-roll, it’s a clever acrostic using the lyrics of the Rick Astley song used in a rick-roll. It would have been a rick-roll if clicking on the link took you to the video instead of to the Tweet.

      Explanation of rick-rolling here:


      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

        Some of us learned to not click on the link, but to mouse-over and read the link’s actual value from the status bar. And only then to click on the link.
        Wasn’t there a news item this week about the number of people using “123456” as their password? And essentially the same story every damned fortnight for the last 25 years. And the same chorus of “[SIGH]” from everyone who has had to clear up the debris of a virus-riddled hard drive in the last 30-odd years. What is that sound I hear? It’s the sound of IT Admins beating their way, head first, through granite mountains. Shoulder-to-shoulder parallel, not in a FIFO pipeline.

        • Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

          The BBC covered the password thing here


          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

            You utter BASTARD!!!

            You got me right between the eyes!

            That was classic. Beautifully done. I *always* mouse-over links in my emails but I wasn’t expecting it on this page.

            This is the real link:



            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted April 23, 2019 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

              The article at that link is a promoter of the ‘screw up your password’ fashion, i.e. swapping in random capitals and numbers. e.g. ‘m1ss0Ur1&3’
              As Randall Munro pointed out, ‘we’ve successfully trained everyone to use passwords that are hard for humans to remember, but easy for computers to guess’.

              To a computer doing a brute-force attack, ‘a’, ‘A’, ‘1’ or ‘@’ are all just equally likely characters to be tried. So inserting random capitals and numbers add nothing to the difficulty (unless it’s just a human doing the guessing).

              Just adding to the length of the password exponentially increases the number of possible combinations.


            • Posted April 24, 2019 at 3:46 am | Permalink

              And it was the second time I tried that trick on this page.

      • Posted April 24, 2019 at 2:07 am | Permalink

        I’m not falling for that!


    • TJR
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      According to wikipedia, rickrolling was invented in 2007.

      However, I just watched a BBC4 repeat of Top Of The Pops from 1987, and it was quite blatantly rickrolled. Halfway through there was Rick Astley, doing the whole song!

      How could everybody have missed this???

      I’ll never trust wikipedia again.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      [redacted] (1968),

      What, he of the anfo and aluminium dust?

      I’m not sure ‘unpersoning’ works, though I sympathise with your motives.


      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted April 24, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        ANFO and aluminium dust? That’s a silly thing to do. Mix your aluminium and fertilizer stoichiometrically, and surround it with your stoichiometric AN-FO mix. The guy obviously had no idea of chemistry.

  6. BJ
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    That paper with the Rickroll may not be very good overall, but I’d give it an A even if its writing was at the level of a UNC football player.

  7. Roger
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    St. George is so saintly that his first name is literally St. It don’t get more saintly than that folks.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      The weird thing about St George’s Day in England is almost no-one knows the date and even fewer people celebrate it. Where it doesn’t pass in silence it passes with embarrassment. So English. Scotland, Wales and Ireland go big on their saint days but not big bully England.
      Another curiosity, if the dates are to be believed, is Shakespeare died on his birthday too. Short life!

      • David Coxill
        Posted April 23, 2019 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

        That bloke st george is a johnny foreigner init,if he was around today he would be told to get back to where he came from .
        Coming over here ,slaying English dragons ,taking work that should be dun by a proper English St .

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      That’s not a very big dragon, is it?

      Typical bloody Xtian, massacring the local wildlife, no wonder dragons are extinct. St Francis should have had a serious word with St George.


      • merilee
        Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:33 pm | Permalink


  8. Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    A typo: the student paper on Feynman is actually about Neils Bohr.

  9. Ken Kukec
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    “MOON ZERO TWO” — looks to be a possible Ed Wood hommage.

    • rickflick
      Posted April 23, 2019 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      It’s got an IMDb rating of 4.2 and you can see it for $2.99! What’s not to like?

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 23, 2019 at 5:01 pm | Permalink

        It is very strange to watch that Hammer SciFi Western film because the lead baddie is the actor Warren Mitchell who was already thoroughly stereotyped as Alf Garnet – a shiny-bald, weedy, bespectacled, mouthy, blowhard, cowardly, reactionary, racist Cockney in the Brit TV sitcom Till Death Do Us Part [1965 to ’75] – the seed for your Archie Bunker of All In The Family fame.

        HERE HE IS talking bollocks about BREXIT years before BREXIT [dunno how understandable he is in places]

        • merilee
          Posted April 23, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          Could not get the audio to work

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted April 23, 2019 at 5:16 pm | Permalink

            I’ve tried it in Waterfox, Firefox & Edge – audio is fine. Try ‘uncrossing’ audio [bottom left of video frame].

            • merilee
              Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

              THanks, Michael. Not sure what was wrong th3 first time, but the 2nd time it worked. Yes, very Archie and Edith.

              • rickflick
                Posted April 23, 2019 at 9:06 pm | Permalink

                Yes, Archie and Edith.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted April 23, 2019 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          THE “Enoch” mentioned by Alf Garnet is Enoch Powell an interesting, complicated, scholarly, loony at times politician from my neck of the woods [Birmingham] – he was against proposed anti-discrimination legislation being put forth in a Race Relations Bill. Went from atheism to Christianity & was probably a racist [I can’t make my mind up].

        • merilee
          Posted April 23, 2019 at 5:12 pm | Permalink

          Never mind…

  10. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Also on this day in history, a bit over an hour ago, the World Snooker Championship saw it’s first ever amateur contender go through to the second round by defeating the 5-times world champion. Which is a pretty notable event in any “mature” sport with several generations of professionalism.

  11. Posted April 23, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

    Although taste tests showed that most people preferred New Coke to both Old Coke and Pepsi, the nostalgia for Old Coke caused a backlash, and New Coke was deep-sixed.

    * People in general will prefer sweeter food & drink at first taste, but over time — or a full 12 oz — most favor less sweetness. That’s why Pepsi always won ‘The Pepsi Challenge’, but its market share never budged;

    * In the tests, New Coke was tested on existing coke drinkers, Pepsi drinkers, and cola non-drinkers. It was slightly preferred by the first group (see above), liked just fine by the second (cuz it was as sweet as Pepsi), and liked a lot by the last;

    * It is very hard to change purchase behavior. Ads about winning taste tests and a few coupons won’t do much. The cola non-drinkers weren’t about to take up cola drinking, and switching offered the Pepsi drinkers no advantage. The coke drinkers, however, were furious that the taste they’d grown accustomed to had suddenly changed. It wasn’t just nostalgia; this was a radical alteration of their daily, bodily routine.

  12. Mobius
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    That cat’s tail is gorgeous.

    I am reminded of a chow chow I once owned. He had a gloriously thick tail, and no one (including me) was allowed to touch it. I nicknamed him “Keeper of the sacred tail”.

  13. Posted April 23, 2019 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

    The baby whose treat is stolen by the dog is poignant. I hope that someone comforted him.

  14. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    So ducklings are impact-resistant. 🙂


  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 23, 2019 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    Loved that raven! And I liked the allusion to Poe and Pratchett.


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