Wednesday: Hili dialogue

August 14, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Wednesday, August 14, 2019, and National Creamsicle Day, a quiescently frozen confection that I loved in my youth. It’s also National Wiffleball Day and National Navajo Code Talkers Day.  The latter celebrates a fascinating practice in World War II: the use of Navajo language as a means of communication that couldn’t be deciphered by the enemy. Do read the section about it in Wikipedia.  (Navajo was one of several languages used as a form of code, including Comanchee, Cree, Mohawk, and even Basque.) Here’s a photo of Comanche soldiers who were code-talkers during WWII:



Stuff that happened on August 14 includes:

  • 1040 – King Duncan I is killed in battle against his first cousin and rival Macbeth. The latter succeeds him as King of Scotland.
  • 1457 – Publication of the Mainz Psalter, the first book to feature a printed date of publication and printed colophon.

What’s a colophon, you ask? The answer is here. The Mainz Psalter was the second book printed in movable type, and you know the first one.

  • 1592 – The first sighting of the Falkland Islands by John Davis.

The first sighting of the Falkland Islands by Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) will be in November of this year.

  • 1816 – The United Kingdom formally annexes the Tristan da Cunha archipelago, administering the islands from the Cape Colony in South Africa.
  • 1888 – An audio recording of English composer Arthur Sullivan’s “The Lost Chord”, one of the first recordings of music ever made, is played during a press conference introducing Thomas Edison’s phonograph in London, England.

Here’s that recording:

  • 1935 – Franklin D. Roosevelt signs the Social Security Act, creating a government pension system for the retired.
  • 1936 – Rainey Bethea is hanged in Owensboro, Kentucky in the last known public execution in the United States.
  • 1945 – Japan accepts the Allied terms of surrender in World War II and the Emperor records the Imperial Rescript on Surrender (August 15 in Japan Standard Time).
  • 1947 – Pakistan gains Independence from the British Empire and joins the Commonwealth of Nations.
  • 1975 – The Rocky Horror Picture Show, the longest-running release in film history, opens in London.

I shamefully admit that I never saw this movie (and I never saw any of the Star Wars movies or hardly any adventure movie, even though I know TRHPS isn’t an adventure movie.

  • 1980 – Lech Wałęsa leads strikes at the Gdańsk, Poland shipyards.
  • 2015 – The US Embassy in Havana, Cuba re-opens after 54 years of being closed when Cuba–United States relations were broken off

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1851 – Doc Holliday, American dentist and gambler (d. 1887) [JAC: they forgot “gunfighter”; after all, he was in the gunfight at the OK Corral.
  • 1928 – Lina Wertmüller, Italian director and screenwriter
  • 1941 – David Crosby, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1950 – Gary Larson, American cartoonist
  • 1959 – Magic Johnson, American basketball player and coach
  • 1966 – Halle Berry, American model, actress, and producer, Miss World United States 1986
  • 1987 – Tim Tebow, American football and baseball player, television personality and sportscaster

And how could I mark Gary Larson’s birthday without one of his cartoons? This is my favorite of all:

Those who went to the Great Beyond (or Great Below) on August 14 include:

  • 1870 – David Farragut, American admiral (b. 1801)
  • 1951 – William Randolph Hearst, American publisher and politician, founded the Hearst Corporation (b. 1863)
  • 1958 – Frédéric Joliot-Curie, French physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1900)
  • 1992 – John Sirica, American lawyer and judge (b. 1904)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili sees that the grass is cooler on the other side of the line:

Hili: Behind the line of shade is a different world.
A: What kind of different?
Hili: A cooler one.
In Polish:

Hili: Za linią cienia jest inny świat.
Ja: Jaki?
Hili: Chłodniejszy.

Reader Mark sent a working cat photo with an explanation:

While in Medellin, Colombia visiting family and friends, we updated our mobile SIM card at a corner tienda, supervised by a very inquisitive cat. Thought you might appreciate this.

From Stephen Barnard, who found it on Facebook. Mom doesn’t look too pleased. . . .

Grania sent me this tweet on February 4 of this year, showing one of many great Gary Larson cartoons (appropriate for today). Be sure to click on the tweet to see the caption.


Two tweets from Nilou. This is a terrific invention, but it needs some improvement if it’s to be applied to fish like salmon, for the hand-insertion of fish into the tube is onerous.


This is amazing: the parsite turns the snail into a flashing neon sign saying: “Here I am! Eat me!” How a parasite does this I do not know, but it’s a marvel of adaptation and natural selection on a parasite to manipulate its host:

From reader Barry: a very tidy elephant. Look how it uses its foot to help put litter in its trunk:


Two tweets from Heather Hastie.  The first one shows a newborn red panda, which Heather deems “one of her top ten favorite animals.” (h/t: Ann German)


Heather’s note: “This is tweet is from a thread, and the thread is pages from a book by Marianne Williamson. She’s even wooier than I thought!”  Read and weep: this woman is a Presidential candidate!


Three tweets from Matthew, who’s taking a social-media break. But I have a backlog from him, and here’s a good one:


This lacewing is supposed to be a spider mimic (a form of Batesian mimicry), what with the “leg” markings and all. But I’m dubious:


An untimely snowstorm in Oz has produced these “snow kangaroos,” which are, as they say, “trending”:


22 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. … National Navajo Code Talkers Day. The latter celebrates a fascinating practice in World War II: the use of Navajo language as a means of communication that couldn’t be deciphered by the enemy.

    There have been worse days in the Trump White House, many of them in fact, but for pure, 200-proof cringe-inducement, nothing takes the cake for me like Trump’s interruption of an event honoring these patriotic nonagenarians to obtrude upon them his fatuous “Pocahontas” story — on the theory, I guess, that, hey, they’re Injuns, Pocahontas was an Injun, makes sense, don’t it?

    1. I enjoy hearing Trump use the term “heart” and “love”. It can’t help but remind (almost) everyone about his total insincerity and narcissism.

    1. The tweet itself has some very funny stuff beneath it too. The Larson cartoon of the cat putting money in the mouse dispenser is sublime.

  2. My favorite “Far Side” shows an image of hell with three doors marked “Murderers”, “Rapists”, and “People who drive slow in the left lane”.

  3. I heard a presentation on dams and salmon in the Northwest recently. The dams on the Columbia and Snake rivers were discussed and apparently the salmon are not doing too well. There numbers are reduced dramatically since dams were built. In fact, the governments involved have spent something like $15 billion on various schemes to help the salmon. One of the simplest solutions would be to remove the two main dams blocking the fish’s migration. Dams which have outlived their usefulness. But people have been stuck in bureaucratic inertia and have not done it yet.

  4. I recently re-watched The Rocky Horror P. S., and it did not work for me. But I think it is an age thing.
    But the entrance of Frankenfurter & his opening song is still by far really terrific. Just see that part, which I expect is on YouTube.

    1. That is truly horrific. Along with parasitic wasp larvae.

      Just another in the long list of entries that demonstrate that any Creator God must be an ingenious sadist of horrific proportions.

      But hey, maybe we could teach snails to write so they could compose touching letters to their parasites, Marianne Williamson style.


  5. The salmon-transporter is like something Elon Musk’s less-business-savvy younger brother would have come up with. It’s fantastic though – Futurama for fish.

  6. So PPC(E) will be visiting the Falkland Islands this November, pray tell why? Did you lose a bet?
    No, seriously this made me wonder that if Darwin had stationed on the Falklands rather than the Galapagos, would he have been likely to made similar observations of nature to develop his thoughts on speciation and evolution? Do similar lessons exist(ed) on the Falklands?

    1. He did visit the Falklands. That area was very much on the Beagle’s itinerary, since the main task of the cruise was to chart the coasts of southern South America. While on the islands Darwin made some of the few scientific observations of the behaviour of the Falkland Islands fox, along with the correct prediction that it would soon be exterminated by the island’s sheep farmers.

    1. My disease would only need a very limited vocabulary to decipher my missives. About four letters would do it. 😉


  7. I wonder where the Kangaroos were filmed.

    I live ina place with a lot of Kangaroos, I have one resting in my backyard now and we have just had two days of snow.

    That’s about all we get each year, but the paddocks kind of look familiar, but paddocks are paddocks so it could be anywhere.
    Although snow is fairly rare in Aus.

    The Kangaroo in my backyard at the moment is really big.
    He did something the other day that I never have seen, in the real or in pictures.
    He stood up high, then went higher again, right onto his tiptoes, stretching way way up.
    A kangaroo on tiptoes!? He seemed about 7 feet high.
    It turned out that there was a lady Kangaroo nearby, hidden by my shed and he was showing off.

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