Sunday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning on Sunday, December 15, 2019. We have a chance of snow today, and it’s a bit chilly (22° F, -6° C). Botany Pond is frozen over, but Honey is down at the Mississippi Delta with her feet up, enjoying the warmth and eating grain.

But oy gewalt: it’s National Gingerbread Latte Day, celebrating the creeping candification of coffee (Coyne’s Fourth Law of Life: all snacks and drinks gravitate asymptotically towards candy), but also National Lemon Cupcake Day.

It’s also Bill of Rights Day, celebrating Virginia’s 1791 ratification of the first ten amendments to the Constitution, which officially made enough states to make the Bill effectively part of the Constitution.  It’s also International Tea Day and Cat Herders’ Day,  celebrating those with difficult jobs, like these cowpokes (this is, by the way, the best commercial ever made, bar none):

There’s a scant nine shopping days left until the onset of the season’s best holiday: Coynezaa.

Stuff that happened on December 15 includes:

  • 1791 – The United States Bill of Rights becomes law when ratified by the Virginia General Assembly.
  • 1890 – Hunkpapa Lakota leader Sitting Bull is killed on Standing Rock Indian Reservation, leading to the Wounded Knee Massacre.
  • 1933 – The Twenty-first Amendment to the United States Constitution officially becomes effective, repealing the Eighteenth Amendment that prohibited the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol.
  • 1939 – Gone with the Wind (highest inflation adjusted grossing film) receives its premiere at Loew’s Grand Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, United States.
  • 1961 – Adolf Eichmann is sentenced to death after being found guilty by an Israeli court of 15 criminal charges, including charges of crimes against humanity, crimes against the Jewish people, and membership of an outlawed organization.
  • 1973 – The American Psychiatric Association votes 13–0 to remove homosexuality from its official list of psychiatric disorders, the DSM-II.
  • 1978 – U.S. President Jimmy Carter announces that the United States will recognize the People’s Republic of China and sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan.
  • 2001 – The Leaning Tower of Pisa reopens after 11 years and $27,000,000 spent to stabilize it, without fixing its famous lean.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s Guardroom with Monkeys by David Teniers. Wikipedia “unpacks” it:

Teniers combined the genres of singerie [JAC: Money scenes!] and guardroom scene in the composition Guardroom with monkeys (Private collection). At a first glance, the Guardroom with Monkeys is no different from other guardroom scenes. It is clear from the round moon above the door that the scene is set late at night. The off-duty monkeys have removed their armor, stowed their pikes and rolled up their company flag and placed it against the far wall. Like their human counterparts, the monkey soldiers are loitering about, some of them are drinking and smoking, others are playing games. At the door a cat wearing respectable civilian clothes is led into the room by two monkeys who restrain it. The contrast between the properly dressed cat and the bizarre outfit of the monkey soldiers, one of which is wearing a funnel on his head while another has an upturned pot on his head, raises doubt as to the legitimacy of the monkeys’ authority. As was customary in singeries, the dress and behaviour of the monkeys highlight the foolishness of human undertakings. Teniers may also have intended to criticize the bloated military in the Southern Netherlands in the 1630s.

Singerie avec chat!

  • 1852 – Henri Becquerel, French physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1908)
  • 1892 – J. Paul Getty, American-English businessman and art collector, founded Getty Oil (d. 1976)
  • 1916 – Maurice Wilkins, New Zealand-English physicist and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2004)
  • 1919 – Max Yasgur, American dairy farmer and host of the Woodstock Music & Art Fair (d. 1973)
  • 1942 – Dave Clark, English drummer, songwriter, and producer
  • 1981 – Michelle Dockery, English actress. [I watched Downton Abbey only a couple of times at the behest of friends, but couldn’t get into it. I was, however, much taken with Lady Mary.)

Those who croaked on December 15 include:

  • 1683 – Izaak Walton, English author (b. 1593)
  • 1890 – Sitting Bull, Hunkpapa Lakota tribal chief (b. 1831)
  • 1943 – Fats Waller, American singer-songwriter and pianist (b. 1904)
  • 1944 – Glenn Miller, American bandleader and composer (b. 1904)
  • 1950 – Vallabhbhai Patel, Indian lawyer and politician, 1st Deputy Prime Minister of India (b. 1875)
  • 1958 – Wolfgang Pauli, Austrian-Swiss physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1900)
  • 1966 – Walt Disney, American animator, director, producer, and screenwriter, co-founded The Walt Disney Company (b. 1901)
  • 2011 – Christopher Hitchens, English-American essayist, literary critic, and journalist (b. 1949)

Here’s a 60 Minutes piece on Hitchens, produced when he was undergoing cancer treatment:

And a collection of Hitchens in confrontational moments:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is resting in the basket where they normally keep the firewood:

A; Are you comfortable in this basket?
Hili: No, but I have to show somehow that I am in possession of it.
In Polish:
Ja: Wygodnie ci w tym koszyku?
Hili: Nie, ale muszę jakoś zaznaczyć, że objęłam go w posiadanie.

And in nearby Wloclawek, the loving brothers Mietek and Leon await their noms:

Leon: Do you think they are preparing our supper?

In Polish: Myślisz,że szykują nam kolację?

Another photo of the pair with Elzbieta’s caption: “The big brother washes the ears of the baby brother.”

In Polish: Starszy brat umyje uszka.

Two “cat memes” from Jesus of the Day:

His eyes may be lit up now, but destruction is in them, too. . .

And this one contributed by Merilee:

 

Larry the Cat, Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office, who lives at 10 Downing Street, weighs in on the election:

From Matthew we have three tweets about his major source of solace: Marsh Farm and its beats. First, the daily egress of animals from the Marsh Farm barn, with Smudge the cat supervising:

And the farm ducks demonstrating their name. Can you spot the smart one?

And a look back when Smudge, the farm cat, was a kitten:

From reader Barry. I may have published this before, but it’s always good to get an evolution refresher:

Cat kung fu from Heather Hastie:

Also from Heather. I wish there was a sound track on this one, as I bet you’d hear some kitten-growling:

And the last word goes to Titania. Some readers don’t find her—or rather, Andrew Doyle—funny, but I think this is great:

Oh, here’s another. She’s a gold mine, I tell you! And look at Boris Derangement Syndrome:

35 Comments

  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    Sub

  2. Alan Jardine
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    >> the best commercial ever made, bar none

    Hee-hee: Eds, the last company I worked for and who still provide my pension!
    Alan.

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      As US commercials go, I’d agree with our host – if not THE best, certainly one of the best.
      But when you look at commercials outside the US, where edgier content is acceptable, there are some great ones. Nando’s, the peri-peri chicken chain, had a number of very good ones: like “Last Dictator Standing” (https://youtu.be/9B4k5URj6b8), which they had to pull because Mugabe was still in power at the time.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Yes, cat herding, the opposite of herding republicans. I know almost no republican cats.

    Lots of good stuff to look at today.

  4. Barry Lyons
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    Re Hitchens’s joke about the excommunicated Amish woman, should it be, when the joke is written, “Too Mennonite” or “Two men a night”? I’m not sure which is in better service to the joke!

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      The first one of course…

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      I couldn’t hear the joke (thanks for writing it down), I wonder if he had that ready (as I suspect) or improvised on the spot, you never know with Christopher (which literally means ‘Christ Carrier’, btw). At any rate it is a brilliant joke in the French ‘jeux de mots’ style.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        I’d say Hitchens’ work carries something about Christ, for sure – carries it into the future, for all to examine.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Hitchens was fond of his wordplay. I once heard him repeat the old saw about puns being the lowest form of wit … then, not long afterward, turn around and say that the motto of the Catholic Church should be “no child’s behind left.”

      Goes to show, foolish consistency is a hobgoblin only for the small-minded.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:06 am | Permalink

        Give this WEIT reader a prize! Connecting Thoreau to Hitchens!

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:42 am | Permalink

          To be a real pain-in-the-ass pedant, the latter actually comes from Thoreau’s old Transcendentalist running buddy, Emerson. Sorry, couldn’t help myself. 🙂

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:55 am | Permalink

            Of course

            I think my recall error was forgetting it was from Self-reliance and relying on how I remember Thoreau with three names and Emerson with one … maybe because of the college .

            Bugs in the system

      • rickflick
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 11:02 am | Permalink

        puns being the lowest form of wit –

        It also shows that low forms can still be fun. 😎

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted December 15, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

          For the most part I take issue with that old saw that puns are the lowest form of wit. Well-turned puns and other word-play that go beneath and beyond the surface can be extremely illuminating and the height of wit (in the fullest sense of the word) IMO.

          That said, I indulged in an admittedly low pun that by mistake I posted as a comment in the wrong post. Probably shouldn’t repeat it as it’s quite unwoke, but I’ll take my humor high and low, so goes, “Hunkpapa Oom mow mow…”

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted December 15, 2019 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

            Yeah, I take issue with it, too — and I’m not a hundred percent on Oscar Wilde’s claim that “sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.”

            I do, however, agree with that old windbag Polonius’s claim that “brevity is the soul of wit.” So I’ll try to stop before I get myself in any deeper. 🙂

            • Jenny Haniver
              Posted December 15, 2019 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

              Ha ha! I need to keep that in mind, too.

          • rickflick
            Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

            That’s completely disgraceful, but I love it.

  5. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Amy A was also pretty mean: “If you want to be your own country so bad, find an island and fuck off”.
    A worthy follower of Tatiana!

  6. JezGrove
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    There’s a typo re “singerie” – “monkey scenes” not “money scenes”. Sorry to be picky.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      that is an uncomfortably bizarre fact

  7. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    It is noted that David Teniers the Younger could paint cats. I disagree with Wiki the cat is properly dressed, he looks more like a properly dressed cat whose clothes are basically robbed from him, for proper dress look at the monkey commander. I think some historian could unpack much more for us here.
    I suspect the monkeys’ faces were painted after stuffed models though.
    And Tenioers clearly mastered chiaroscuro too.
    I can look at that painting for hours, fascinating, thanks.

    • rickflick
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

      I agree. Some of Teniers’ works are just full of wonderful detail, very well executed. I was struck by the paintings of collections which represent dozens of paintings within a painting. Reading the Wikipedia article we see him in the context of the art movements of his time. Fascinating.

    • Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      But he can’t get monkey feet. They are anatomically incorrect.

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Possibly the stuffed ones look more like that? Maybe he had only one stuffed monkey?

  8. Don
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    That mother bird had a harrowing escape.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      Actually a discing experience. Certainly a set up with the photographer or someone on the ground to tell the driver exactly when to stop, lift the disc and to drop on the other side. It is scary.

  9. rickflick
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I watched all the Hitchens, nearly all of it I’d seen before, with great relish. He ages well on YouTube because he’s like a good book you can reread. I have to smile thinking what fun he would have skewering both the right and the left of today. I hope every generation has it’s own Hitch, though I suspect he’s much too rare. Aren’t we lucky.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted December 15, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      I think about Doyle’s talk from the other day – he draws a distinction between the satirist and the comedian. Hitchens’ work calls for yet another distinction I think – not sure what. Whatever it is, Mencken’s work would be in that category too.

      • rickflick
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:36 am | Permalink

        I’ve heard Hitch referred to as a rhetorician, a social critic, a gadfly. Perhaps something along those lines.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        The most apt category, I think, might be Juvenalian satire, a genre that probably predates Juvenal himself to Aristophanes, and runs through Jonathan Swift and Samuel Johnson to Mencken and Hitchens.

        That and their mordant, coruscating wit. Plus, both Mencken and Hitchen were essentially moralists (their somewhat louche lifestyles notwithstanding). 🙂

  10. DrBrydon
    Posted December 15, 2019 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I see dogs are not the only ones who follow the philosophy of “no take, only throw.”

  11. Posted December 15, 2019 at 2:06 pm | Permalink

    I had a discussion in my class about what makes a good commercial. Herding cats, and the Staples one below (worth posting as it is appropriate at the moment), are considered good commercials by the public as they are funny and entertaining. However both would be considered bad commercials by corporations, as while most people remember the commercial, they rarely remember what product or service is being advertised.
    I’m curious how they filmed the herding cats commercial.

  12. Posted December 17, 2019 at 12:06 pm | Permalink

    Hope that cat looking at the tree doesn’t spot any tinsel – that’s a way to have a messy carpet!


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