Monday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

April 30, 2018 • 7:15 am

Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) here: I’m back for a week doing the Hili dialogues, but will then repair to Paris for a week and a half. Let’s all have a round of applause for Grania, who took over this onerous duty when importuned.

Honey is still not back, though Sir Francis continues to guard the pond (and to get his daily rations). I will be bereft if my hen mallard doesn’t return; my one hope is that she’s sitting on her eggs somewhere nearby.

It’s April 30, National Raisin Day, brought to you by California Big Raisin. And it’s a UNESCO holiday: International Jazz Day! Let’s have some jazz, then, and in order not to jar you at this time in the morning, some soft jazz:

It’s the 241st birthday of Carl Friedrich Gauss, and Google has a Doodle celebrating the great German polymath. Note that the letters “oogle” each commemorate one of his contributions; can you name them?

On April 30,1492, Christopher Columbus received his “commission of exploration”, which of course led to his voyage to the Americas that year. On this day in 1789, George Washington was sworn in (on Wall Street in New York City) as the first elected President of the United States.  On April 30, 1803, the U.S. bought the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million. This “Louisiana Purchase” more than doubled the size of the country.  On this day in 1897, J. J. Thomson announced his discovery of the electron as a subatomic particle; the work was done at the Cavendish Labs and the announcement made at a lecture at London’s Royal Institution.  In 1905, the “Miracle Year” for Einstein, he finished his doctoral thesis on April 30 at the University of Zurich.  Exactly 22 years later, the first set of footprints were left in concrete in front of Hollywood’s Grauman’s Chinese Theater: they belonged to Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. It’s Hitler Death Day, too: on April 30, 1945, Hitler and his new wife Eva Braun committed suicide in the Führerbunker as Russian troops closed in.  Exactly three decades later, Saigon fell to the Communists and the Vietnam war ended as the South Vietnamese President surrendered.  On April 30, 1993, CERN announced that the protocols for the World Wide Web would be free. Finally, in 2008, skeletal remains found near Yekaterinburg, Russia, were confirmed to be those of Alexei and Anastasia, two children of the Czar. The remains of the whole family, shot by the Bolsheviks, now rest in the Peter and Paul Fortress in St. Petersburg.

Notables born on this day include Carl Friedrich Gauss (1777), Alice B. Toklas (1877), Bobby Vee (1943), Annie Dillard (1945) and Gal Gadot (1985). Those who died on April 30 include the engineer Casey Jones (1900), Adolf Hitler (1945; see above), George Balanchine and Muddy Waters (both 1983), and Nobel-winning chemist Harry Kroto (2016).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Elzbieta, who with luck (and with Andrzej II and Leon) will soon be a neighbor of Hili and Staff, came to visit, bringing Hili a cat sausage:

Hili: How nice that you came.
Elzbieta: I can tell that you are glad to see me.
 In Polish:
Hili: Jak miło, że wpadłaś.
Elżbieta: Widzę, że się cieszysz.

The good news from Wloclawek is that Leon and his staff have at last managed to find a contractor to pour the foundations for their wooden home, previously moved from southern Poland and its pieces stored in Andrzej and Malogrzata’s garage over the winter. Soon Leon will be living only ten miles from Hili! Here’s Leon speaking from the site of his future home:

Leon: The Sunday siesta. Where shall I dig around?

In Polish: Niedzielna sjesta, co by tu pogrzebać?

And we’re lucky to have photos and videos of all three Website Cats today. Here is a video of Gus getting baked in Winnipeg. Staff Taskin reports:

I plucked a bit of last year’s dried out plant from the pot. (It was a tiny bit too.) Catnip doesn’t survive our winters, so I will have to buy a new plant this year.

From Matthew; a Christmas pine cone, over half a century old, brings new life:

Spot the spider! Matthew will answer below:

A drunken cat came home:

From Grania: George Takei seems a bit of a flake!

LOL, these ducks refused grapes, as did mine!

A lovely Calico Maine Coon cat (Grania’s favorite) with a simply fantastic tail:

And cats pwning d*gs: all is well in the world.

39 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

  1. An important day it seems but mostly for Leon and the new house to come. We have a big job to do shortly taking our cat Emma in for a teeth cleaning. The worst part is holding back the morning food and water. Certainly not a happy cat, this one.

  2. You want me to find a spider that is maybe 1.5mm (male), maybe 4mm (female) long in that mess? Whoooboy!

    I’ve got a little cross shaped dark anomaly that is a candidate. Might also be a bit of bark. Might be an odd shadow. Might be an hallucination.

  3. The spider is impossible, almost. I had to use to find it!

    On bark
    Body is bark coloured
    Legs are dark
    Female bodies reach 4mm according to Wiki – for a sense of scale the whole beast is the same size as the “D” in Bob Dawson [the name below the pic]

    That’s all I’m sayin’

    1. I think Michael may have found it. I must admit, I can’t see it, and I told Jerry when I sent it to him!

      Bob Dawson posted the following clues/explanations on Twitter. They don’t help me much:

      • It is minute in the image, sorry!

      • Yes, against the bark, virtually impossible! There was an exceptionally dark individual on another tree, but that one was even smaller

      • Left hand side, below the two ‘bumps’ of bark and in a bit…

      Hope that helps!


    2. OK. Here is an image showing where I think the spider is. The round body of the spider is at the top of the rectangle & almost invisible. The spider is pointed down the tree & it’s dark legs are arrayed in the lower half of the rectangle:

  4. And in Sweden and certain other European places, it’s Valborgsmässoafton, when people repair to the countryside or the outskirts of their community and light a big bonfire this evening, basically to mark the end of winter. Of course, all sorts of religious commemorations have attached to this over the centuries, but it’s obvious that this is a celebration of the onset of spring and also testament to the ability of fire to draw humans together – a pre-Xtian celebration that the X’s had to assimilate, not abolish.

    I would love to be in a small airplane flying over Sweden tonite.

  5. Gauss was a thoroughly unpleasant person, despite his genius and many contributions to mathematics. I always wonder if we should honor people who are excellent in a certain area but are otherwise poor role models. Euler was someone far more worthy of celebration and remembrance.

    Gauss reportedly forbade his children from becoming mathematicians because he did not want to sully the family name, for example.

    1. A great mathematician who was a complete ass???? Hard to believe.

      No one has mentioned yet what the symbols for oogle stand for –
      o – Gauss worked on planetary motion using conic sections.
      o – a heptadecagonm a 17 sided polygon, which Gauss constructed with compass and a straightedge.
      g – the normal distribution, which some people still call Gaussian
      l – a telescope. Gauss did important work in optics.
      e – an equivalent sign. Could stand for many things. I will go with the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra.

      1. The equivalent sign used for the e is probably for his contributions to modular arithmetic. I prefer the Fundamental Theorem of Algebra.

      2. Gauss also came out with the 2nd proof (after Euler) that the sum of two cubic numbers cannot be a 3rd cube.

      3. I think it is a special sort of telescope–a heliotrope that was used in surveying. If memory serves me, Gauss was interested in connecting his area’s survey triangles with Denmark’s survey triangles. He went on to see if he could detect non-Euclidian space.

        1. SP – I think you’re right. My first guess was maybe it as an early version of a Gauss Meter [magnetometer]; that would have been real appropriate. But compared to pictures I have found of early Gauss Meters, it doesn’t look complex enough to be one.

    2. “Gauss remained mentally active into his old age, even while suffering from gout and general unhappiness. For example, at the age of 62, he taught himself Russian.”

      I am not sure what this sentence from Wikipedia means. I am 70. If I study Russian, will get gout and be unhappy?

      1. Aww c’mon, you know what it means.

        In those days, 62 was probably about the equivalent of 70 now. If you study Russian, (or anything) I guess it’s in the hope it will keep yer brain cells exercised.

        Anyway, it is kinda fun to transliterate the Cyrillic signs you can see in Moscow (via Streetview if you can’t make it in person) into Latin letters, about half of them are instantly recognisable as being derived from English or French. (And not just макдоналдс or бургер кинг :).


    3. However, Gauss did recommend the neglected female mathematician, Sophie Germain, for an honorary degree (which she never received).

      He shot himself in the foot (figuratively) with some of his perfectionism. He was unwilling to publish work which he did not consider complete, and as such withheld from the world several important math discoveries published by others decades later.

      The ridiculous feud between Newton and Leibnitz remains the greatest tale of nastiness among mathematicians, IMO.

  6. It may not be well known that Sir harry kroto was a great supporter of k12 science. In his later years he spent several months a year in the u.s. and i met him when he gave a wonderful presentation on nanotechnology to more than 100 middle and high school science teachers in 2009 in the small town of danville, Va. The technical level and his explanation of science and scientific discovery were perfectly pitched for this audience. He also provided url for freely available general level lectures on nanotechnology from his university in the u.k. It was so great to have a nobel laureate take the initiative to work with k12 science teachers in a very comforting way. I was scheduled tofollow him on the agenda and offered him my slot as i wanted to listen to more.

  7. FWIW: I once knew a cat named Gauss. It was the first time I had heard of the man. Gauss’s staff was a mathematician, I believe.

  8. Yeah, pretty smooth on the jazz front — especially seein’ as how ‘Trane would take jazz in a whole nother direction a year later wit A Love Supreme.

  9. in re, Mr Black, thus of yours, “I always
    wonder if we should honor people who are
    excellent in a certain area but are otherwise
    poor role models.”

    I do not wonder anymore.

    I just do not.
    I do not honor such people.
    Anymore. AT all.
    Including .not. passing on their so – called
    “excellent” accomplishments TO any others.

    No excuses.
    I know plenty of people
    and all of them of very, very modest means
    who do smashingly good things AND, at the same time,
    who never ever did bad things or
    otherwise were “poor role models,”
    so being excellent and being a good person
    .are. possible. So: NO excuses. Not anymore.


    1. “I just do not.
      I do not honor such people.
      Anymore. AT all.
      Including .not. passing on their so – called
      “excellent” accomplishments TO any others.”

      Too bad. Newton, for example, was a notoriously strange character. It’s unfortunate that much of classical physics was built on his discoveries.

      Or Galileo – extremely arrogant and hard to get along with. A lot of mechanics is built on his foundations.

      So, too bad for most of physics.

      It may well be that, in order to make revolutionary discoveries, a person needs a certain ornery iconoclastic awkward-bastard streak in them.

      I doubt there’s any person, living or dead, who “never ever did bad things” if you dig deep enough. Of course, since most of us are insignificant, even if we’re mostly crap at personal relations, we’re fortunate that nobody finds it worth while to go muckraking – err, I mean digging.


      1. in re “It may well be that,” cr, I quite disagree. It may well be that one, that any one, does .not. require such a streak. At all.

        Again: I happen to know plenty of people, not at all “insignificant” in their or within others’ views, who have done great, great … … while utterly UNheralded things … … that have not only furthered their own day’s worth of activities but also have helped out the daily lives of very, very many others.

        Including “revolutionary discoveries” ( eg, at the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center, University of Iowa ) that they who are or were, instead, someone nice … … eventually came up with.


      1. No – once you say a thing, that fixes it. I gather…. allergies?…. a late cold-season bug?

  10. Thanks for keeping us connected, Grania! I enjoyed the posts.

    As for Taskin’s catmint, if it’s worth the trouble, you could try burying it under a bag of manure and covering it with a styrofoam rose cone. I did have one that survived multiple winters in Ontario, without any cover, but your winters are harsher.

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