Sunday: Hili dialogue

June 10, 2018 • 6:45 am

Well, the academic year here is at an end and the campus will be empty all summer. Graduation was yesterday, and now it’s a quiet Sunday, June 10, 2018: National Iced Tea Day.  This morning it was raining hard (lucky it wasn’t this bad during yesterday’s Convocation) and I was worried that the pond level would rise, inundating the tree islands and eliminating resting space for the ducks. Fortunately, that hasn’t yet happened, but the level is still rising. While checking the pond at 6 a.m., I saw a big shadow and eight smaller shadows emerged from the darkness, waddling toward me on the grass. It was, of course, Honey and her hungry brood, and I immediately went upstairs to get corn and duckling chow to feed them. I’m now soaked, but the ducks are well fed and, for the nonce, have energy to swim.  I am pathetic, for the purpose of my life has become to help a mallard hen fledge 8 ducklings.

Today’s Google Doodle is a game celebrating garden gnomes (you can get to it by clicking on the screenshot below). As C|Net notes:

To celebrate our obsession with the figurines, Google on Sunday dedicated an interactive game doodle to teaching us how they’re made — and how far they’ll fly by applying the optimum trajectory. Using the keyboard’s space bar to start the doodle’s catapult swing, players tap a second time to launch their clay figure as far into their garden as they can. The further your gnome goes, the more flowers (and points) you get.

You can experiment with different shapes, weights and bounciness to make your gnome travel further. (Pro tip: Tap the down-arrow button in the lower right corner of the game before your gnome hits the ground to get extra bounce and distance.)

There’s a bit of Angry Birds in this, but without the destruction on the other side. Have a little fun with yet another of Google’s addicting game doodles.

I’m not much of a gamer, and haven’t played it, but go try your skill:

On this day in 1793, the Jardin des Plantes museum opened in Paris, and a year later became the first public zoo. I spent many pleasant hours in the gardens and Museum when I worked for a month at Paris VI nearby.  On June 10, 1829, the first boat race between Oxford and Cambridge took place on the Thames in London. I can’t be arsed to look up who won. In New Zealand in 1885, Mount Tarawera erupted, killing 153 and burying two of the great attractions of that country, the Pink and White Terraces.  In 1916, Hussein bin Ali, Sharif of Mecca, declared the Arab revolt against the Ottoman empire. Famous to us because of T. E. Lawrence’s participation, it was a display of skill and bravery by everyone fighting the Turks. Here’s a photo of the Arab delegation at the Versailles Conference that declared an end to WWI.  The caption from Wikipedia:  “Left to right: Rustum Haidar, Nuri as-Said, Prince Faisal (front), Captain Pisani (rear), T. E. Lawrence, Faisal’s slave (name unknown), Captain Hassan Khadri.”

Prince Faisal looks pretty much as he did in the movie, where he was played by Alec Guinness:

On June 10, 1935, after Dr. Robert Smith took his last drink, he and Bill Wilson started Alcoholics Anonymous in Akron, Ohio.  Exactly 7 years later, the Nazis razed the Czech village of Lidice, killed all its men over age 16, and sending the women to concentration camps in reprisal for the assassination of Nazi Reinhard Heydrich.  On this day in 1944, Joe Nuxhall pitched 2/3 of an inning for the Cincinnati Reds, becoming the youngest player ever to participate in a major-league baseball game. He was just 15 (there was a player shortage during the war). Exactly two decades later, the U.S. Senate ended a 75-day filibuster against the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and this landmark bill was quickly passed (LBJ was instrumental in its passage).

Notables born on this day include Hattie McDaniel (1895), Prince Philip (1921), Judy Garland (1922), Maurice Sendak (1928), biologist E. O. Wilson (1929), Elizabeth Hurley (1965), Kate Snow (1969; I’ll watch her on the NBC News tonight), Tara Lipinski (1982), and Kate Upton (1992). Those who croaked on this day include Alexander the Great (323 B.C.; are they sure?), Antoni Gaudi (1926), Jack Johnson (1946), Spencer Tracy (1967), Ray Charles (2004), and Gordie Howe (2016).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili seems to be afflicted again with a bad case of narcissism:

Hili: I hope that you understand how important it is?
A: What?
Hili: To look good.
In Polish:
Hili: Chyba rozumiesz jakie to ważne?
Ja: Co takiego?
Hili: Żebym dobrze wyglądała.

And in Winnipeg, we have “Gus in the garden”:


Some tweets from Grania. About the first one she asserts, “This is what I’ve been saying all along.”

Trump is behaving badly at the G-7 summit, as usual. And soon he’ll meet Kim Jong-un, which should be good for a few laughs.

Stephen Fry introduced an odious NRA tweet about gun silencers like this:

The tweet at issue; be sure to watch the video:

As I’ve long maintained, the British don’t know how to make a proper sandwich, though many readers object, claiming that the sandwiches are getting better. Yes they are, but they’re still pretty dire, consisting of a thin filling between two pieces of forgettable bread. And they sometimes have “SWEETCORN” (as opposed to SOURCORN) in them!  Here’s a tweet showing some British sandwiches from 1972, sent by Dr. Matthew Cobb. I’ll add a quote from Douglas Adams contributed by Grania:

“There is a feeling which persists in England that making a sandwich interesting, attractive, or in any way pleasant to eat is something sinful that only foreigners do. “Make ’em dry,” is the instruction buried somewhere in the collective national consciousness, “make ’em rubbery. If you have to keep the buggers fresh, do it by washing ’em once a week.” It is by eating sandwiches in pubs on Saturday lunchtimes that the British seek to atone for whatever their national sins have been. They’re not altogether clear what those sins are, and don’t want to know either. Sins are not the sort of things one wants to know about. But whatever their sins are they are amply atoned for by the sandwiches they make themselves eat.”

More from Matthew: a beetle mimicking a bee, a cool example of Batesian mimicry:

Definitive refutation of a flat earth:

A video of a beetle feeding on a tree:

Who doesn’t love puffins?

Matthew was insistent that I show his tweet, and he’s right in his claim. See here for the proof.


38 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Wake up time. The words today for Trump – will they still love you tomorrow. I’m pretty sure all of those mental disorders are coming to the surface.

    Quillette Magazine explaining the obvious. Very odd.

  2. “croaked”



    Scientology uses language like this, viz. “suppressive person (SP)”

    1. Puzzled me too. Is it an Americanism for the various noise-suppression bits of car exhausts, rendered largely obsolete by catalytic converters?

  3. My wife showed my the G7 photo this morning, and said it looks like Trump is being the calm one in that picture.

    1. When you’re arrogantly ignorant being calm is not surprising. Trump thinks somehow that destroying the western alliance is a good thing. Maybe he looks to Mr. Putin for advice on economic and defense matters.

      1. Trump does that arms-folded-across-the-chest thing whenever he feels under attack — it’s the same posture Trump adopts during the photo-op before a cabinet meeting when someone from the press pool shouts out an uncomfortable question.

    2. Borowitz claims Trudeau and Macron conspired to not let Trump know where the after-party was. I thought that sounded appropriate.

    1. Thought I’d posted a comment to yours, but must have evaporated in transit, so I’ll try again. I noted that those pathetic, eponymous sandwiches are a disgrace to the country that ‘invented’ and named them.

  4. I am pathetic, for the purpose of my life has become to help a mallard hen fledge 8 ducklings.

    They’ll be time enough to don the sackcloth and ashes once those ducklings can safely make their way in the world.

    1. I’m not sure why aiding a hen and her brood makes one pathetic. Honorable, I’d say, and lucky too. I would love the opportunity to be surrounded by 8 lovable ducklings. Seriously, if caring for ducklings, (not to mention being a successful scientist, professor, speaker, author…) then what does that make me, someone who has failed at everything he has ever done or tried?! Being a duck farmer is just another aspect of what makes PCC great.

    2. Or even worse than donning sackcloth and ashes, getting some sandwiches sent over from sub-tropical Britain. By surface mail. With a couple of sausage rolls (“This … is not sausage!”) for company.
      No self-respecting bacterium would touch them with a cilium of yours, let alone theirs!

  5. Trump is behaving badly at the G-7 summit, as usual.

    Trump’s people are out in the media this morning accusing Canada’s Justin Trudeau of a “stab in the back” — the imagery the Nazis borrowed from Wagner’s Götterdämmerung to blame the Jews for Germany’s WW1 loss.

    It’s difficult to tell with these people if they’re simply tone-deaf, or if they wish to inflame Trump’s alt-right base.

    1. Give us a heads up ‘Merica, if you’re going to invade. I’ll need a bit of time to gather up some belongings and head for the hills. Also, my kitteh has to be prepared. He doesn’t like last-minute plans.

  6. In 1970 my sister and I took a guided tour of the UK. We had our meals in very nice restaurants and hotels. The meal was usually meat, potatoes and a green veg, but I noticed that it was never corn. One day I asked our waitress why they never seemed to serve corn. She got this startled look on her face and said “Corn!! Corn is pig food!”

    1. And yes, sweetcorn (maize kernels) would have been a pretty rare sight in 1970s Britain. I vaguely remember being equally confused by both the sweetcorn and the olives when we first started to get pizzas after we got a freezer – so that would have been this side of 1975.

  7. Looking at that photo of Trump “behaving badly at the G-7 summit, as usual” reminded me of this clip of Trump behaving badly at his first NATO summit, where he crudely shoves aside the minister from Montenegro so that he can take the spotlight. Check out his preening moves of dominance right after he shoves the minister away.

  8. Corn – ie maize kernels – has been fed to British poultry, pigs, etc for many years. It’s not very nice to eat. When corn that was good to eat arrived some time in the 50s it was called “sweetcorn” to distinguish it from the other stuff. The name stuck.

    And our sandwiches are doing just fine these days, thanks for asking. But it is true that we don’t care for them so jam-packed with filling that the only way to get them in your mouth is to squeeze them so hard that the ketchup squirts down your front. We leave that to our American friends.

    1. It is called “sweet corn” here in the US, too. This is to distinguish it from “feed corn”. The former is selected for eating fresh. The latter is selected for storage and consumption by cattle and pigs. Other types of corn are selected for other purposes, like popping, or making tortillas. Lots of types of corn out there.

    2. I too will stick up for British bread and scrape. When I was growing two bits of buppy marged and slapped together made a fine tummy filler until it was time to have a meal – especially if there was something to put in the middle.

      1. There is nothing but nothing like a slab of cold real Yorkshire Pud (not the aerated crap provided by shops and restaurants), coated with the dripping from the Sunday joint, between two doorstops off a cob loaf and shoved in your gob on the way to school on Monday morning.

  9. Thin, dry, tasteless sandwiches are thankfully a thing of the past here in Britain. Back in the 1970s, the epitome (if one can call it that) of the bad British sandwich was the British Rail sandwich. A long-running joke said that catering staff stopped them from curling at the edges by ironing them each night.

  10. I did not know that AA started in Akron, Ohio. If you want to drive folks on Facebook into a tizzy, point out to them that AA is basically a religious cult. On TV, movies, in newspapers and magazines, novels, etc. you would think that AA is the only way to stop drinking, but it actually has, I recently read, only about a 5% success rate after 3 years.

    1. I am told that it explicitly requires you to do some crap like “putting yourself into the hands of your creator”. Which for a ordination-carrying minister of the Church of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (Sauce Be Upon Her Meaty Meaty Balls), is almost blasphemous. And for followers of Sithrak, the Equal Opportunity God, it must be a pretty daunting prospect too.

  11. Insult British sandwiches all you like – much of it is deserved. But Americans will never know the pleasure of coming home from school on a rainy autumn day and getting toasted sliced white bread liberally covered with butter and marmite for tea. Marmite has to be introduced to a young palate – has anyone learned to love it when first introduced to it when they are older? My American partner cannot stand it and argues for peanut butter and jelly instead. My Englishness (I have not lived there in decades) has been worn down to marmite, colemans mustard, HP sauce and listening to the news quiz on radio 4.

    1. Marmite has to be introduced to a young palate

      Oh no – sneaking Marmite into the diet of an adult is almost always a cause of great performance art. divorces too, but that too can be considered drawn-out performance art.

      My Englishness (I have not lived there in decades) has been worn down to marmite, colemans mustard, HP sauce and listening to the news quiz on radio 4.

      There is a 45-minute cut of the News Quiz on Radio4 extra on Monday evenings, and I generally discipline myself to save my ears for that version. Shame Dead Ringers is back – never got into that.

  12. Sandwiches – a case study in why cultural appropriation can be a good thing. (I.e., the English invented the sandwich but badly, and others – e.g., the French, the Americans, etc. have improved them.)

  13. Already-made sandwiches in my experience are much better in the UK. Chains like Pret-a-Manger and Eat! serve much better product than the packaged horrors one finds in Walgreens or has stations.

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