Thursday: Hili dialogue

January 9, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Thursday, January 9, 2020, and National Apricot Day, celebrating a fruit that I like in nectar, jam, or with Sachertorte, but don’t enjoy it so much as a fresh fruit.

It’s also Play God Day, which of course includes all cats, International Choreographers Day, National Word Nerd Day (put your nerdy word below), National Static Electricity Day, and in India, National Nonresident Indian Day (Prvasi Bhartiya Divas}, celebrating those Indians who have done good stuff outside their country. (I know of no other nation that has such a holiday.)

Heather Hastie hasn’t posted a good while on her Heather’s Homilies site, but I see that she has a new post up, “Where I’ve been, Soleimani, and Solace,” which is critical of the targeted killing of Soleimani and of Trump’s withdrawal from our nuclear deal with Iran. Go have a look.

Stuff that happened on January 9 includes:

  • 1349 – The Jewish population of Basel, believed by the residents to be the cause of the ongoing Black Death, is rounded up and incinerated.
  • 1431 – Judges’ investigations for the trial of Joan of Arc begin in Rouen.
  • 1806 – Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson receives a state funeral and is interred in St Paul’s Cathedral.
  • 1816 – Sir Humphry Davy tests his safety lamp for miners at Hebburn Colliery.
  • 1839 – The French Academy of Sciences announces the Daguerreotype photography process.
  • 1861 – American Civil War: “Star of the West” incident occurs near Charleston, South Carolina.

Although the cannon fusillade unleashed by Southern forces on Fort Sumter on April 12, 1861, is regarded as the first volley of the Civil War, the firing by Citadel Academy on the “Star of the West”, three months earlier, actually takes precedence. South Carolina had seceded from the Union on December 20, 1860.

Here’s Shackleton with two of his team at their southernmost point. He pioneered the route that Scott’s party took when it successfully reached the pole in January, 1912 (all of that party died on the return). Shackleton had the good sense to turn back, as he and his party would have perished otherwise.

  • 1916 – World War I: The Battle of Gallipoli concludes with an Ottoman Empire victory when the last Allied forces are evacuated from the peninsula.
  • 1957 – British Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden resigns from office following his failure to retake the Suez Canal from Egyptian sovereignty.
  • 2005 – Mahmoud Abbas wins the election to succeed Yasser Arafat as President of the Palestinian National Authority, replacing interim president Rawhi Fattouh.
  • 2007 – Apple CEO Steve Jobs introduces the original iPhone at a Macworld keynote in San Francisco.

The phone wasn’t put on sale until June 29. You can still buy first-generation iPhones; here’s one for $11,000 (plus $4.53 shipping!). I wonder if they still work. . ..


Notables born on this day include:

  • 1854 – Lady Randolph Churchill, American-born wife of Lord Randolph Churchill, mother of Sir Winston Churchill (d. 1921)
  • 1908 – Simone de Beauvoir, French philosopher and author (d. 1986)
  • 1913 – Richard Nixon, American commander, lawyer, and politician, 37th President of the United States (d. 1994)
  • 1935 – Bob Denver, American actor (d. 2005)
  • 1941 – Joan Baez, American singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist
  • 1950 – Alec Jeffreys, English geneticist and academic
  • 1959 – Rigoberta Menchú, Guatemalan activist and politician, Nobel Prize laureate

Notables who kicked the bucket on January 9 were few, and include these two:

  • 1848 – Caroline Herschel, German-English astronomer (b. 1750) [JAC: Brian Cox’s calico cat is named after Herschel.]
  • 1923 – Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1888)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s dialogue is a bit enigmatic, but relates to the new lodgers who are spoiling her and giving her fusses. As Malgorzata explains:

Hili goes now upstairs and gets additional treats and petting. She is making the couple upstairs love and spoil her. These are “survival skills”. Hili suffered from the lack of servants (just the two of us here, downstairs), so when the opportunity arrived in the form of two young people who love cats, she started to learn skills to get more care than we were delivering.

And so this dialogue:

Hili: I’m learning survival skills.
Paulina: But there is nothing threatening you.
Hili: Sometimes I feel a shortage of servants
(Photo: Paulina R.)
In Polish:
Hili: Uczę się sztuki przetrwania.
Paulina: Przecież nic ci nie grozi.
Hili: Czasami odczuwam niedosyt służby.
(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)

Cats do have their uses. Here’s a novel one from Homer Blind WonderCat:

From Cole & Marmalade:

From Jesus of the Day:

Titania is causing trouble again. And no, the genital guidance is not a joke.

From reader Barry. Cats, as we all know, have not an atom of altruism:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. This first one came via Ann German:

This is pretty funny; I guess the cat would take a long time to figure it out:

Tweets from Matthew Cobb. Ctenophores are among the world’s coolest animals. Look at that thing!

This even made Curmudgeon Matthew say “Awwww!”. I’d feel the same way as this guy: you can lose your house, but what’s most important is that you don’t lose your cat. Sound up!

Here’s a leucistic mutant robin (the British kind), banded at a year old in 2016, so it’s at least five years old!

I guess the arriving passenger changed in the restroom!



30 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue


    Travellers and airport staff had a Jurassic experience at the Victoria International Airport [B.C., Canada] this week. Two young boys decided to dress in inflatable dinosaur costumes as a fun way to greet their grandmother, who had done the same thing to them two years ago in Toronto.

    “They thought they were getting her back,” said the boys’ mother, Tabitha Cooper. “Little did they know she’d be dressed as a dinosaur as well.”

    Out came grandma-sauraus, resulting in a parade of (extremely short-armed) waves, dancing and bopping. The trio bounced around into a group hug that could warm even the cold-blooded.

    Airport staff were in on the joke after a security guard assisted the grandmother with getting into her costume – which of course was packed in her carry-on case.

    The dino-family have more to celebrate than good coordination: grandma is visiting because a new family member is on the way.

    Cooper laughed that now it would probably be wise to get baby a dinosaur outfit, too.

        1. Obviously mama dinosaur was travelling as an Emotional Support Animal. No need to change in the restroom.


  2. Gallipoli — the low point in the career of Winston Churchill; the high point in the career of Mel Gibson.

    1. I’ve never been sure whether the problem with Gallipoli was conception or execution. Of course, any concept that can’t be executed well is a problem.

    2. Gallipoli may have been Mel Gibson’s high point, but that wasn’t Churchill’s nadir. Though it was published in 2010, I just recently learned about this book, “Churchill’s Secret War: The British Empire and the Ravaging of India during World War II,” by Madhusree Mukerjee, about the Bengal famine in 1943. Churchill’ part in this, stoked by his appalling racism and lust for empire, is abominable. This is an interview with the author in Harper’s,; and this is the first part of a four-part interview with the author by John Batchelor Wikipedia has a good entry on the book, and notes how appalled the British were when the book came out — appalled by Churchill, that is. This was information that hadn’t been known until the book was published. I could see Gibson, with suitable makeup and padding, portraying Churchill in Bengal.

      1. I was speaking in terms of “career” (as opposed to “moral”) nadir, but now that you’ve made me aware of this incident, I see your point.

    3. Just from memory, the Gallipoli campaign got off to a bad start when the initial landings took place at the wrong beaches.

      And if the Allied fleet had continued for another hour to pound the big guns protecting the Dardanelles they would have won through and been able to shell Constantinople, because the Turks had very little ordnance left for defense of the Dardanelles Straits.

      I have also read that more French troops were killed at Gallipoli than were Australians and New Zealanders – the ANZACS.

      My grandfather told me that at Gallipoli he never saw a Turk. He was posted in a gully away from the fighting. Every afternoon, he said, the ammunition carriers would come to replenish their cartridges, and take away empty brass cartridge cases. Because there were no Turks to shoot at, but because the carriers were required to collect the cases, the Australian troops would fire all their ammunition from the previous day into the air so the carriers had something to collect and return with.

      1. “I have also read that more French troops were killed at Gallipoli than were Australians and New Zealanders – the ANZACS.”

        Very likely, but then the French had far bigger triumphs and disasters elsewhere, so they don’t have any particular reason to make a Big Thing of Gallipoli.


  3. The Star of the West incident is probably overlooked because it took place before Lincoln was in office and Buchanan was not going to do anything.

  4. Don’t see any reason that a 2007 iphone wouldn’t still work. I recently had to dig out my 2001 motorola phone and it still worked fine.

  5. “Front hole” indeed. We hardly need comics with reality like this. I think the word for trying to change reality by changing language is doublespeak.

    1. So now: “PARTS: We use this word when we’re talking about genitals or sexual anatomy of any kind.”

      Is there a new word for those bits of my car that need service from time to time?

    2. Well there is a common word for ‘front hole’, and it starts with ‘c’. 😉
      But of course there are hundreds of euphemisms for it, whether real or fake.

      The language is thoroughly confused with euphemism upon euphemism even before misguided transenthusiasts start complicating it.

      GBJames –

      I agree, ‘PARTS’ is ludicrous. ‘Parts’ could apply to parts of… anything. Trying to limit its definition to any particular class of things is daft.


  6. Cestum -is it a single creature? Are they not colonial? Where/when does colonialism become a single organism???

    1. Good question. For sexually reproducing organisms, I suppose a useful demarcation is when they have a single set of gametes. But for which reproduce asexually, I think there would be some requirement for involvement of a restricted set of genomes.

    2. It’s my understanding that a comb jelly is a single creature, as are true jellyfish. Comb jellies form the Ctenophore phylum and I think they’re the sole members of that phylum. Jellyfish are coelenterates. But a taxonomist will surely correct me and I welcome corrections.

      1. I don’t know if any are colonial, but like nudibranchs and beetles, they are extraordinarily beautiful animals

        1. Check it out. The Portuguese man-of-war, which is not a jellyfish…is not one organism, though the other organisms bud off a newly formed Portuguese man-of-war. Jellyfish and ctenophores are single organisms.

          “the Portuguese man o’ war is not a true jellyfish but a siphonophore, which is not an individual multicellular organism (true jellyfishes are single organisms)…”

          All of them jelly fish, comb jellies and the Portuguese man-of-war are, as you say, like nudibranchs and beetles, extraordinary beautiful animals. Even the voracious big mouth beroe.

    1. No harm except to the bugs. That is a totally insensitive and mammal-centric comment which marginalises insects and trivialises their suffering.

      Also, ‘bugs’ is a prejudicial and derogatory name for insects.

      Be warned, the insects outnumber you a thousand to one, human. They will have their revenge!


  7. Word learned from Scrabble yesterday:

    Learn to pronounce
    noun: trice
    in a moment; very quickly.
    “in a trice, she had flown up the stairs”
    in a moment
    in a minute

    late Middle English trice ‘a tug’, figuratively ‘an instant’, from Middle Dutch trīsen ‘pull sharply’, related to trīse ‘pulley’.

    1. Well remembered – I’d forgotten about the “word nerd” element. For some reason, I’ve recently come across “apricity” (the warmth of the sun on a winter’s day, apparently) a couple of times. No link to National Apricot Day as far as I know – but then I haven’t actually checked the etymology.

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