Tuesday: Hili dialogue

May 29, 2018 • 6:30 am

Today we have what the Brits would call a “bumper issue” of Hili, with extra stuff.

It’s back to work in the U.S.; the three-day Memorial Day weekend is over, and it’s Tuesday, May 29, 2018: National Biscuit Day. We’re not referring to the British “biscuit” (what Americans call “cookies”), but these luscious Southern breadstuffs, which are fantastic. I don’t think any other country has the equivalent:

And if you eat too many (best served with red-eye gravy and sausage), you can participate in another one of today’s celebrations: World Digestive Health Day.

First, an update on The Donald’s self-aggrandizing Memorial Day tweet, which I posted yesterday:

This is a response, not really from a WWII veteran, but from a journalist.

Today’s Google Doodle is an animation and game honoring the Danish biochemist S. P. L.S. P .L. Sørensen (1868-1939), who invented the pH scale for measuring acidity—the concentration of free hydrogen ions. The scale ranges from 0, very acidic, to 14, very basic. (The pH of Coca Cola, by the way, is 2.5, which is very acidic!). Your job in the game is to look at the six displayed food items and click on the arrows that put them either on the acidic side (left) or basic side (right). It’s not too hard!  I’m not sure why they’re doing this on May 29, which isn’t Sørensen’s birth or death dates, nor anything I can find connected with the invention of the pH scale.

On May 29, 1453, Sultan Mehmed II Fatih’s army captured Constantinople after 53 days of siege, finally ending the Byzantine Empire. And speaking of Coca Cola (or “Co-Cola” as they sometimes say in the South), it was on this day in 1886 that druggist John Pemberton placed his first ad (in the Atlanta Journal) for the drink. It began as a cure for his morphine addiction, and, sadly, he sold the rights for a pittance shortly before he died at 57.  On this day in 1913, Stravinsky’s ballet score The Rite of Spring was first performed in Paris, provoking riots. Now, of course, it’s well loved classical music.  On this day in 1919, Arthur Eddington and Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin tested Einstein’s theory of general relativity, leading to its confirmation, although I heard this test wasn’t as good as people claim.  For all mountaineers it’s a banner day, for it was on May 29, 1953, that Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to climb Mount Everest. Finally, on May 29, 1990, Boris Yeltsin was elected president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic by the Russian parliament.

Notables born on this day include Patrick Henry (1736), G. K. Chesterton (1874), Oswald Spengler (1880), Bob Hope (1903), Tenzing Norgay (summited on his birthday!, born 1914), John F. Kennedy (1917), Peter “Boson” Higgs (1929), Paul R. Ehrlich (1932), mountaineer Doug Scott (1941), John Hinkley, Jr. (1955), Annette Bening (1958) and Melissa Etheridge (1961). Those who died on this day include Humphry Davy (1829), W. S. Gilbert (1911), John Barrymore (1942), Moe Berg (1972), Barry Goldwater (1998), Archibald Cox (2004), Dennis Hopper (2010), Doc Watson (2012), Walter Gehring (2014), and Manuel Noriega (last year).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, for once, isn’t kvetching! And she’s very cute in the cherry tree.

Hili: There are such moments.
A: What moments?
Hili: When I lack any reasons to complain.
In Polish:
Hili: Są takie chwile.
Ja: Jakie?
Hili: Kiedy brakuje mi powodów do narzekania.
In Winnipeg, Gus is walking proudly on his leash:

Some tweets from Matthew. First, an amazingly cryptic katydid (watch the video):

I wish I had been this guy who was reading. What a treat!

I graduated in 1971, when facial hair was at its peak:

What I want to know is how they could tell males from females in macaws. I thought they were morphologically identical.

You all know this story about an immigrant from Mali to France who climbed four floors outside a building to rescue a dangling child. Watch the video:

Who he is:

He was granted French citizenship after saving the child (story here): a fitting tribute.

And a couple of humorous/sarcastic remarks about the situation:


A booby for your Tuesday enjoyment:

A medical fact you might not have known:

From reader Barry, who didn’t know that a dog could sing opera:


Finally, a tweet stolen from Heather Hastie, who has a new “Cats vs. Dogs” post with gobs of tweets. Listen to this lynx meow! (And look at the size of those paws! You know what that means.)


69 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

        1. There’s no egg (or sugar usually) in scones, but there is butter.

          Flour, baking powder, butter, milk or water.

          I like to add cheese, onions, and paprika. Sometimes tomatoes and chives too.

          Feta, onion, and spinnach is another excellent combination.

          Date (or sultana scones) are nice.

          Or roll out the scone dough, cover with cinnamon and sugar, and roll up and cut into pieces. Delicious!

        1. Thanks. I found a savoury scone recipe w. mustard powder, cayenne pepper & salt – to go with cheese filling or a nice bacon.

          I’m gonna make today & see what heaven is like

      1. Cobblers!
        No, I’m not being rude. Cobblers are a British classic; savoury scones floated atop a stew for the last 20 mins of cooking.

  1. I saw that story about the Malian refugee rescuing the kid in The Guardian and within a few seconds of reading it I thought to myself ‘I bet someone at this paper will write a column criticising Macron’s actions. Literally within the hour this article appeared in the CiF section:


    Why don’t I stop going to The Guardian?

      1. I have a familial, nostalgic tie to it I think. Plus it still has Jonathan Freedland, Nick Cohen, Kenan Malik, etc., and for a British liberal it’s the least-bad choice available.

      2. The Guardian used to be a reliable, relatively non-partisan and respected paper.
        Note, FP Adams’ “Nothing is more responsible for the good old days than a bad memory.” is possibly applicable here.

    1. It is not only the Guardian. Macron’s action was criticized in France too. And in Switzerland. I did not look in other countries.

    2. Except that the piece you cited is not criticising Macron for granting citizenship to Mamoudou Gassama. It criticises instead the casual racism of the French police and the anti-immigrant sentiments whipped up by Marine Le Pen.

      1. You’re right that it criticises those things, but the article’s premise(and its title underlines it) is that by granting citizenship to the guy, Macron is essentially predicating French citizenship on borderline miraculous acts of bravery which the vast majority of immigrants can’t live up to, and has therefore Done The Wrong Thing, or done the right thing but in The Wrong Way. The article is implicitly and explicitly critical of Macron throughout:

        ” It’s hard to say if Macron really intended the tone of patrician condescension to the noble savage from the former colony”

        “Macron’s attitude, indeed, sends the message that you can only become French if you do something so extraordinary that the vast majority of French people would never even attempt it.”

        In truth there is the slightest glimmer of a glimmer of a point in what the writer says, but The Graun is so predictably churlish and so consistent in its ability to divest moments like this of all their joy that it doesn’t serve to concentrate minds on the iniquities of the French immigration system: instead it just makes people roll their eyes at the finger-wagging mentality that seems to pervade The Grauniad’s Comment is Free section.

      2. Oh, it is so easy: he probably learned this by being a cat-burglar. How else would he be so proficient?

    3. I’m going to make a prediction that someone on the right will point out that the negligent dad was also an immigrant and so claim that the heroic act by an immigrant was cancelled out by the original irresponsible act by an immigrant.

  2. I imagine that the macaws can be sexed by looking at the medullary bone, found in avian (and dinosaur!) leg bones, which are important for helping lay down calcium during egg production and therefore would identify the bird as female.

    1. I don’t quite understand this in re the tweet, which is about pre-contact. They couldn’t “look” at the medullary bone in a live bird. Could they feel it? Or did they perhaps just wait and watch the birds closely and see which mounted another and which ones laid eggs? I know. Must have been “indigenous ways of knowing,” which we will never understand.

        1. If they follow the same rule-of-thumb as dogs, the bigger the paws on a youngster the larger the adult will be.

      1. I have no idea, it yeah, probably watching them get busy with each other. In wildlife observations, the indigenous peoples were pretty good, and knew of things long before science came along and worked out the “why” to go along with “what”, however, considering some groups even today still think owls are witches coming to steal souls…there are ways of knowing and ways of being wrong as hell!

        1. Almost certainly they determined sex by behavior. That’s how it was done for many kinds of birds (and some fish) until very recently when DNA testing became available. It wasn’t perfect and I have no doubt they got it wrong from time to time.

            1. I was thinking about that (homosexual behavior). Not directly related, but once I cared for exotic birds and was told that one of the macaws detested women (meaning human females). I was constantly forced to do a lot of fancy footwork to escape its beak, and that made it all the more angry. But it took a fancy to the male caretaker, and when it wanted the guy to do something and the man was sitting down, it would bite his balls softly (or not so softly) through his pants.

  3. Domestic cats only meow to commumicate with humans, is this the same for lynx? Beast and Mr. Kitty, two of my cats who listened to this found it fascinating.

    1. I wondered about that as well — re the meows of a domestic cat vs. the that of the lynx. Hoping for an explanation.

      1. Lynx are loners who stalk prey or ambush – favoured time is twilight or dark with sleep for during the day. They are preyed upon by wolves, wolverines & similar & can’t run fast so they go to tree. For these reasons I would expect a feral lynx to not talk to itself in the wild, but what do I know? Also maybe behaviour varies with the four lynx species.

        The female screeches like the devil to attract a mate over many miles. I don’t know if the male screeches back or sends a text or somethin’. The lynx will screech & howl & bump heads over territory – I dunno if that’s both sexes or just the males.

        The lynx in the Tweet seems aware of the birdies – is that a factor? Not the ‘chittering’ of domestic cats though.

        [1] This Lynx mama meows to her cubs, “oi, get in line!” In this nice STORY
        [2] This lone lynx is meowing continuously at a wildlife park during the daytime – perhaps more to do with the environment than normal lynx behaviour?

        1. Wow! That account and accompanying photos of the mother lynx and her passel of kittens playing on the guy’s porch for quite some time is really something. Lucky guy; even luckier that he was able to photograph the goings on.

          And that lynx in the video sure is meowing. Had I been in the forest at that time and heard the meows, I’d have thought it was a lost domesticcat and gone around calling “Here, kitty, kitty, kitty.” Good thing cougars don’t meow — or do they?

          1. The cheetah was a surprise! It seems to be begging for food from the people in the vehicle.

            1. Sounds like my Carmen Dingle if we’re even 2 seconds late with her dinner. Poor starving me🙀

              1. HaHa! And Carmen Dingle? Were you smoking at the time or do you prefer those special ‘herbal’ cookies? 🙂

              2. No special cookies involved in Carmen’s nickname. “Carmen” lasted about 20 minutes till we realized what a (sweet and smart!) dingbat she was😻

  4. Not to take anything away from Mamoudou, but why didn’t the guy/woman up on the balcony with the kid haul him up?

    1. If you watch again, the guy on the balcony only appeared (presumably alerted by the shouting) when Mamoudou was already at Level 2, and he (the guy on the balcony) was on the wrong side of a barrier, so having to stretch. However, had Mamoudou not moved so fast, the guy on the balcony might have rescued the kid by himself.

      I won’t take any credit away from either of them – when Mamoudou started his climb, the guy on the balcony had not yet appeared.


      1. I read in the Telegraph that the man on the balcony, who was behind a divider, was holding onto the child’s hand and feared that if he tried to do anything more, he’d lose that grip on the boy.

        The Telegraph also stated that the little boy had been wearing a Spiderman cape! Spiderman rules!

      2. I would also say that the guy up there appears to be ata bad angle because of the barrier between flats on that balcony. Maybe didn’t have the leverage to grab him properly without risking losing the kid.

  5. Good one by Charles Pierce on the Omaha landing craft & Trump. The Appalling behavior continues today with the guy again attacking the Russian Investigation, saying Mueller’s team will meddle in the midterm election. Funny, I thought that was his thing.

    1. “Hey there Political Norms Of Decency; I’m the new president. I’m afraid we won’t be needing you around here any more. Now get lost, loser.”

      “But I’ve been here ever since American democracy began – you can’t get rid of me, people won’t stand for it”

      “Well let’s see what my Twitter fans think of that:
      ‘have just gotten rid of Political Norms Of Decency, he was a bad influence and overrated, with an ugly face’…
      There you go: three hundred million likes already. Still think the people won’t stand for it?”

      “You’re breaking my heart mr president.”

      “Whatever. Just be out of the White House by noon. Oh by the way, I’m replacing you with Charlie Sheen and the cast of Jersey Shore.”

  6. “On this day in 1919, Arthur Eddington and Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin tested Einstein’s theory of general relativity, leading to its confirmation, although I heard this test wasn’t as good as people claim.”

    The observed effect was the gravitational displacement of light from stars close in the sky to the eclipsed Sun on 29 May 1919. Newtonian gravitation also predicted a displacement, and the difference between that and Einstein’s value is what Eddington and Crommelin were hoping to detect. The difference amounts to less than one second of arc in the observed position of the stars, which was at the very limit of what could be measured using the technology of the day. Moreover, the observations were made in very challenging conditions using relatively small telescopes which had to be transported to the path of the eclipse.

    The paper reporting the results is freely available via the Royal Society:


    Much of the paper is devoted to the mathematical analysis of the measured positions of the stars on the photographic plates, but there is an extensive discussion of possible sources of error, and the steps that were taken to either prevent them or to correct for their effects. Eddington and his colleagues carried out a very thorough analysis and did not hide any details: the paper is 44 pages long.

  7. Re the Trump Memorial-Day tweet: I’ve seen no evidence that Trump is capable of experience fellow feelings for his fellow citizens, or of experiencing any generosity of spirit, or even of experiencing empathy or kindness. That’s why he’s so bad at feigning such feelings with any verisimilitude (indeed, seems not even to comprehend what’s expected of him) when the occasion calls for it — as we all are called upon to feign them on occasion, and as most American politicians are especially adept at doing on national holidays.

    This is why Trump is also so bad at responding to national disasters (particularly natural disasters, where there’s no perpetrator to blame or vengeance to invoke) — why Trump’s usual response is merely to brag copiously about the first-responders (and about Donald Trump for enabling those first-responders). It’s why during the first natural disaster of his administration, Hurricane Harvey in Texas, he had to have a do-over to get a photo-op of him and Melania comforting children in a relief shelter — after, during his first trip, he was filmed tossing paper towels to a crowd of survivors, as though he were tossing t-shirts into the stands during the halftime show of a ballgame.

    1. If he could get a line of paper towels with his name on them I’m confident his enthusiasm will improve. Maybe part of the action on the trash pickup contract.

  8. I thought the facial hair graph was amusing but then wondered how they figured it out. Graduates don’t exactly fill out a form on it. I haven’t looked it up but I’m guessing that someone went through 10s of thousands of pics of graduating classes and scored them for facial hair.

    1. The Redditor Mystic_Toaster used the online digitised yearbooks from the below four universities that happened to go back to the 1890s:

      Perdue, West Lafayette, Indiana, USA
      Saint Mary’s, Halifax, NS, Can.
      Dalhousie, Halifax, NS, Can.
      McGill, Montreal, Quebec, Can.

      The ’73 figure of only 10% of uni males being clean shaven is Dylan’s fault! His roots revival [John Wesley Hardin] leaked out to infect all those post-Byrds / post-Buffalo Springfield band members who decided they coundn’t make music unless they had an English country house [Stills] or some overgrown, scrappy ranch – the fake rural idyll era of “livin’ down the farm, but going shopping in the Porsche” was born! 🙂 The clean shaven, poor locals must have hated every last pretentious one of them!

        1. Of course! One channel blasting from the barn while boating on the lake. I’m an avid Neil Young fan – more on the rock side than the ballad side though.

          I like his raw, dial-at-11 approach to music where ones stomach is also a hearing organ. I grew tired of his mythical picture of native peoples [though I’d go back & divert Cortez into a love of embroidery or something] – some stuff is too complex for lyrics.

          1. Cortez and embroidery and Neil??
            Do love his hard-rocking stuff, but also Harvest Moon, Cinnamon Girl, Heart of Gold.

            1. I like “On Broadway” from his ‘anger rock’ side – let down by poor drumming somewhat & yes Cinnamon Girl is great.

              He needs to get better percussion live & studio – was that a drum machine on some studio tracks [?] – that’s how plodding. He went through a terrible phase of hand claps in the backing as did many artistes in the 80s. Gave him up for lost a couple of times, but he stormed back.

  9. Would Trump grant citizenship to a guy from Mali if he rescued a child in the US in a similar fashion? My guess is that we wouldn’t hear even a tweet.

Leave a Reply