Tuesday: Hili dialogue

July 3, 2018 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Tuesday, July 3, 2018, National Chocolate Wafer Day. And, according to Wikipedia, it’s “the start of the Dog Days according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac but not according to established meaning in most European cultures.” Well when do Dog Days start in Europe?

The Fourth of July holiday in America starts tomorrow (with many leaving early today), celebrating our independence from Great Britain. Had that not happened, we’d have better soccer but we’d all be eating paper-thin sandwiches and curtseying to the King. In honor of tomorrow’s holiday, today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) highlights culinary specialities (and recipes) from all fifty states. The comestible for Illinois is below:

In honor of the holiday, here’s the shirt I’m wearing today:

Make America Cat Again!

On this day in 987,  Hugh Capet was crowned King of France, the first ruler of the Capetian Dynasty that would be in charge of France until the French Revolution 805 years later. On July 3, 1035, William the Conquerer became the Duke of Normandy, later becoming the first Norman King of England in 1066 and ruling for 21 years. On this date in 1775, George Washington took command of the Continental Army in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the army that beat the scarlet coats off the British.  On July 3, 1863, the famous Battle of Gettysburg ended with the fatal Pickett’s Charge. The Confederates then retreated after having reached their farthest incursion into the north. On this day in 1952, the passenger liner SS United States began her maiden voyage to Southampton. During that voyage the ship snatched the Blue Riband away from the RMS Queen Mary (the award for the fastest transatlantic crossing by such a liner), going from Ambrose Light in New York to Bishop Rock on the Isles of Scilly in 3 days, 10 hours, and 40 minutes. That record beat the Queen Mary by ten whole hours and still stands. And it was on the SS United States that a very young Professor Ceiling Cat and his staff traveled across the Atlantic on our way to my father’s duty station in Athens, Greece in the 1950s.

On July 3, 1962, Jackie Robinson became the first African America player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. On this day in 1996, the stolen Stone of Scone was returned to Scotland. Finally, on July 3, 2013, the military overthrew Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi.

Notables born on July 3 include George M. Cohan (1878), Franz Kafka (1883), M. F. K Fisher (1908), Tom Stoppard (1937), Dave Barry (1947), Betty Buckley (1947), and Tom Cruise (1962).

Bragging time: here’s a photo of me with future Nobel Laureate (to be awarded some day) Stoppard eight years ago at the Hay Literary Festival. We’d been on a panel together and then discussed evolution privately. He showed a weakness for teleology in evolution, which was surprising. But he was a lovely guy, and even autographed one of his books for a friend of mine who was ill and admired Stoppard greatly.  Having been added to the panel at the last moment, I borrowed geneticist Steve Jones’s jacket, which fit me poorly. But I was with STOPPARD! (The roses were a gift from the Festival.)

More commonality: we both had unruly hair:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is up a tree:

A: And why did you climb up there?
Hili: Probably in order to climb down now.
In Polish:
Ja: I po co się tam wdrapałaś?
Hili: Pewnie po to, żeby teraz zejść.

Some tweets from Grania. This one shows a brave tuxedo kitten:

Russian ballerinas watching their team at the World Cup:

Grania also found a tweet showing the Chicago skyline, which is close to a farther view I get when the sunset is right:

Cat reciprocity: You scratch my back, and I’ll get pleasure.


Another contented moggie (listen to the meowy purr):


Yet more kittens playing (and fearing) an awesome cat toy:


From Matthew; turn the sound on to hear the repertoire of this awesome courting lyrebird:

This was part of a tweet by Michael Siva-Jothy that said “Ever wonder how staphilinids fold and unfold their wings?” Watch the video and see:

Ah, the Russians and their cats! Translate the tweet below:

“Translate tweet” is right above the cat photo to the left if you go to the site:

I’ve posted this before, but you can’t see it too often. The British Underground staff can be wags:

For Heather Hastie, who loves hedgehogs:

Finally, a big Thank You! to reader Su, who had a special custom Professor Ceiling Cat lunch bag made for me by a woman in Riga, Latvia after I expressed a desire on this site for one that was unavailable. Much appreciated, Su. And the package came with her own artwork referring to Botany Pond:

and the box:

34 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I do like that Google chose the Italian Beef for Illinois. I thought they would go for deep dish pizza or the Chicago hot dog. To me, the beef is the perfect fast food. Incredibly delicious. Leaves a nice, spicy aftertaste which is so pleasing. The bread is crucial. I prefer Gonella to Turano.

    What I really like about the beef is the story behind it. Most of human history has been a quest for calories followed by a quest for slightly better tasting calories. Many foods we think of as culinary delights were something much more practical when they started. Barbecue for example. The long, slow type of barbecue was simply an attempt to make otherwise inedible cuts of meat edible. And now we have barbecue contests.

    The origins of the Italian beef are supposedly with the Italian immigrant workers at Chicago’s Union Stock Yards. They brought home the supposedly inedible scraps from work and found a way to make them edible. Wikipedia has a good article on it:

    1. Surprised that virginia is salmon cakes, might rather expect chesapeake bay crab cakes…a more local species

    2. Tres leches (I think from Peru) was mostly a ‘nothing dessert’ and now you can find it for $$ at expensive restaurants. That’s just one example, similar to the BBQ, about how some street foods make their way into high cuisine. It’s all good.

    3. There are so many delicious sounding foods from Chicago, and this one sounds the best of the lot to me! Pity I’m never likely to make it to Chicago.

      1. It is because of all these damn immigrants. If we had kept these foreigners out of our country, well then …. our food would suck. OK – never mind.

        Funny how the areas most opposed to immigration are the areas immigrants do not go to. Places with immigrants like immigrants. My only problem with a taco truck on every corner (as one of the republican presidential candidates complained about in 2016) is that I don’t want to have to walk to the corner. I am a real Murican. Park it in front of my house.

        1. Yeah, I noticed that too. The ones who hate the immigrants the most are the ones who never meet them. As usual, it’s fear and prejudice that are driving them.

          It was the same with Brexit, which came about largely because of immigrants. It was the areas that immigrants didn’t go to that voted for Brexit. The places that had lots of immigrants were okay with them.

  2. Wondering – When you made that PCS to Athens on the ocean liner did the ship get you to destination or was there additional modes of transport?

      1. Ah, quite an adventure. A large prop job from England, probably 8 hours or so in the air.

  3. Very strange – Google has asparagus as Pennsylvania’s food. I was expecting maybe shoo-fly pie or scrapple.

    And re. hedgehogs, when I arrived in Sweden I needed to set up a bank account. There were several banks in the local commercial center – which to pick? Handelsbanken had a relatively large poster in the window with an igelkott, and so I went with Handelsbanken, and still have the account since from time to time I need to pay something in SEK.

        1. My goodness! I actually own that record. Would not have made the connection, though, without your link. Thanks.

  4. On July 3, 1962, Jackie Robinson became the first African America player to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

    The second black player admitted to the Hall was Jackie’s Dodger teammate Roy Campanella in 1969. In 1971, Major League Baseball got around to giving some recognition to the great players from the old Negro Leagues to which black players were restricted until Jackie broke the MLB color-line in 1947 — the Leagues where, as the saying went, “only the ball was white.”

  5. “Dog Days” would be High Summer locally, which used to mean July (the traditional vacation month).

    But since Sweden has converted to meteorological periods (risking that those may actually not happen in a given year), the concept is more and more conflated with sufficiently hot, long periods (“tropical nights”; https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sommar , https://www.smhi.se/kunskapsbanken/meteorologi/tropiska-natter-1.1085 ). Such heatwaves do not happen very often though.

    1. Yes. Dog days are the period during which you can see Sirius just before the sunrise. In southern Finland that’s approximately from July 23 to August 23.

  6. Due to my parents’ love of ocean liner travel, as a child I was lucky to go on several transatlantic crossings and one through the Panama Canal. We crossed to New York on the RMS Queen Mary and was 18 hours late going deliberately off-course to avoid the worst of a big North Atlantic storm. I also crossed once on the SS United States. Of course normal crossings took 5 days, much more than the 3-1/2 of the record-breaking Blue Riband ones.

  7. Tom Stoppard! So cool. So many great works, but my favorite is still Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead. Just sit back and marvel at the genius of this scene, which, like any brilliant theater, wouldn’t be even one tenth as great without the brilliant acting involved:


    I could post just about every scene from it, but I’ve chosen this one. So many levels if you understand the context.

    1. That was brilliant! I didn’t want it to stop. I’d never heard of Stoppard before. Thanks for the introduction.

      1. Gotta see the whole film! It’s amazing. One of my favorites. You can rent it for $2.99 on Amazon here in the US, and it’s available on DVD and BluRay as well (at least in Region 1).

    2. I first saw Rosencrantz and Guildenstern back in 1978 (or so). It was in the basement of a church in Highland Park, a northern suburb of Chicago. It was put on by the newly formed Steppenwolf Theater Company (Laurie Metcalf, Terry Kinney, John Malkovich, Gary Sinise, et al). I was not interested in the play let alone theater. But I met a young lady at a party who was just raving about Steppenwolf and I of course told her that I as well would love to see this hot new acting company (which in fact I knew nothing about).

      I got tickets and we headed up to Highland Park. During dinner and the car ride, I realized I made a horrible mistake. While physically attractive, the young lady was incredibly annoying. Something I overlooked when we first met – probably because of alcohol consumption. Being a gentleman, I soldiered on. I was not looking forward to sitting in a church basement with this woman.

      But then something magical happened. The play and acting just grabbed me. I have been a theater fan ever since. As well as a fan of Steppenwolf.

      I told my date what a great time I had with her and that I would call her. I never called her. Yeah, I was a jerk.

      1. Haha a great and familiar story. Usually doing something because an attractive woman might like you more is a terrible idea, but the world is fully of happy accidents.

  8. Oooooh that lunch bag is awesome!

    You’re branching out, Jerry, first cats, then squirrels, ducks and now turtles!

  9. I keep seeing that Persian cat in the field of lupines as a Zeppelin sized anime character. I know those are lupines, a foot or so high, but the relation of the flower stalks to the hillside takes over and my subconscious brain reads the stalks as conifer trees.. Very odd, and if not Zeppelin-sized, the cat is Zeppelin-shaped.

  10. That fat Russian cat – I got the Galactic Empire bit ( межгалактической империи – Mezhgalakticheskoy Imperii) – I should’ve got ‘Intergalactic’ apparently

    But I couldn’t find ‘translate tweet’ anywhere, had to drag & drop to Google Translate:
    ‘The photo is charged to the conquest of countless worlds and the construction of an intergalactic empire.’

    Obviously a fat cat with big ideas.


  11. That third Emergency Kittens tweet – *seven* identical grey kittens – is that normal?


  12. I sailed on the United States in late December 1963 as a young boy with my family, from New York to Le Havre. It was stormy the whole way, with 40-foot seas at times. A passageway door in the hull broke and flooded part of the ship, which was exciting.

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