Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

April 18, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Saturday, April 18, and about two more weeks before both broods of ducklings are scheduled to hatch and then leap. It’s National Animal Crackers Day, celebrating a treat greatly beloved when I was a kid: remember the rectangular boxes of “Barnum’s Animals” with the white string? I read that they still make them, but I haven’t seen them in decades. Also, the strings have vanished in favor of cardboard handles, and PETA has gotten Nabisco to take the animals out of their cages on the box, and let them roam free. Well, good for them:

It’s also Husband Appreciation Day, Newspaper Columnists’ Day, International Day for Monuments and Sites, National Velociraptor Awareness Day, and Piñata Day, a day of cultural appropriation.

Today’s Google Doodle apparently ends the two weeks of thank-you nods to coronavirus helpers as it summarizes all of them (click on screenshot):

News of the Day: Worse than yesterday thanks to more deaths (U.S. = 32, 823, World = 153,822) and the behavior of Trump, which is contemptible. Yesterday I posted on Trump’s Biggest Tantrum yet, which has thrown me into despair about this President. I don’t have enough nasty words to characterize him. And now people in Texas are going to gather to demand the opening of the state.

Here’s a tweet showing a healthcare worker who couldn’t get to his job because of the protests. Premature openings = unnecessary deaths.

Stuff that happened on April 18 include:

  • 1521 – Trial of Martin Luther begins its second day during the assembly of the Diet of Worms. He refuses to recant his teachings despite the risk of excommunication. [He was also sick of eating worms.]
  • 1775 – American Revolution: The British advancement by sea begins; Paul Revere and other riders warn the countryside of the troop movements.
  • 1783 – Three-Fifths Compromise: the first instance of black slaves in the United States of America being counted as three fifths of persons (for the purpose of taxation), in a resolution of the Congress of the Confederation. This was later adopted in the 1787 Constitution.
  • 1909 – Joan of Arc is beatified in Rome.

She was canonized in 1920, so now she is Saint Joan. You could do worse than watch the greatest of all silent movies, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928), starring Renée Jeanne Falconetti in the title role. Here’s a trailer, and you can see the whole movie on Vimeo, though with Danish subtitles (you don’t really need subtitles). If anyone can find the whole movie with English subtitles online, post it below and email me the link.

  • 1923 – Yankee Stadium: “The House that Ruth Built” opens.
  • 1930 – The British Broadcasting Corporation announced that “there is no news” in their evening report.
  • 1946 – The International Court of Justice holds its inaugural meeting in The Hague, Netherlands.
  • 2019 – A redacted version of the Mueller Report is released to the United States Congress and the public.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1480 – Lucrezia Borgia, daughter of Pope Alexander VI
  • 1857 – Clarence Darrow, American lawyer (d. 1938)
  • 1915 – Joy Davidman, Polish-Ukrainian Jewish American poet and author (d. 1960)
  • 1946 – Hayley Mills, English actress

Here’s Hayley Mills as I remember her—in the Disney film “The Parent Trap” (1961). Hard to believe she’s 74 now.

  • 1947 – James Woods, American actor and producer

Those who became deceased on April 18 include:

Darwin was the grandfather of both Charles Darwin and Francis Galton (more on the out-of-favor Galton later this week).

  • 1945 – Ernie Pyle, American journalist and soldier (b. 1900)
  • 1955 – Albert Einstein, German-American physicist, engineer, and academic (b. 1879)
  • 2012 – Dick Clark, American television host and producer, founded Dick Clark Productions (b. 1929)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej are having a spat:

Hili: We need innovations.
A: What innovations?
Hili: To cleanse the world from stupidity.
A: Our own?
Hili: You are saying stupid things again.
In Polish:
Hili: Potrzebujemy innowacji.
Ja: Jakich?
Hili: Czegoś do oczyszczenia świata z głupoty.
Ja: Własnej?
Hili: Znowu mówisz głupstwa.

And in nearby Wloclawek, sweet Mietek the Kitten takes a nap, thereby avoiding having to move:

Mietek: Tidying up? I’m busy.
In Polish: Sprzątanie? Jestem zajęty.

From Merilee, a solution to the bogroll shortage:

Put on Facebook by The New Yorker and sent to me by Stash Krod: a cartoon by Barry Blitt. I have no idea what it means but perhaps readers can explain!

A warrior cat from Jesus of the Day:


Titania tweets a racist Chinese ad for laundry detergent, and that is real (well, the Guardian says so). Jebus! But of course the Queen has her own take on it:

From reader Barry; is Dr. Oz really this obtuse?

From Heather Hastie via Ann German:

Tweets from Matthew:

This first one is PLENTY WEIRD. Only one species does this motion, and look how the babies ape it (the birds can also walk “normally”). I asked Bruce Lyon, “What the deal with the woodcock?” and his answer is below the tweet.

From evolutionary ornithologist Bruce Lyon in response to my asking, “Why do they walk like that that?”

 I have no idea, but it is as adorable as it is interesting. That chicks do it suggests it is probably important and likely in a survival context; my first instinct would be something connected to predation but some folks in the thread wondered if they use it to find worms (a big part of their diet). I would think that works only if they really slap the ground; there are species of birds than do this but I cannot remember them right now.

I went to the species account online and found this comment about the ‘silly walk’ (John Cleese would be amused by these birds; in case you are not familiar with him he did silly walk skits with Monte Python):

“Occasionally, walking changes to a rocking motion (Marshall 1982a), observed while birds feed (see Food Habits: feeding/food capture and consumption) when female returns to nest after having been flushed from it (Pettingill 1936a) and when birds are “caught”/observed walking in the open (DGM).”

The fact that females use it to return to their nest, which often involves cryptic behaviors, and that birds use it when walking in open habitat, makes me wonder how it would make them less detectable by predators. Perhaps it is a motion version of disruption in the  way that patterns and colors can lead to disruptive visual patterns that are harder to detect. This is a complete guess though. Because the behavior is associated with foraging, folks assume that it helps them find their prey; another option is that it makes the birds less detectable by the worms?

Re the tweet below: Matthew wants me to ask the readers what you’d choose. He said he’d “probably choose a Zoom screen.” Some answers are in the thread for this tweet.

Crikey: Lock this person UP!

This one speaks for itself:

If you are too nervous to go to the grocery store, take a lesson from this gull, who has discovered another way to get food:


32 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue (and Mietek monologue)

    1. …and going over the falls without a barrel, trailing their followers behind them.

      It takes leadership like this to make ducks forget they can fly.

    2. They’ve been trying to avoid taking responsibility for their stupid advice, which is something quack doctors always end up having to do: duck and dive to wriggle out of responsibility for the latest moronic statement. In short, if it ducks like a quack…

  1. Wait I just got upstaged on the worms joke. Now I know what it feels like to be every other actor in every Al Pacino movie.

    1. There were a lot of diets in Europe in the middle ages (e.g. the Swiss Confederation had been governed by a diet since the middle ages until it ceased being a confederation in 1848). Thats why people were so skinny then.

  2. Titania’s barbs are getting limper and limper each time imo.

    Which liberals have ever have claimed that that advert isn’t racist? I remember a general sense of utter disgust when that advert was covered on various satirical liberal news shows.

    PCC even provides a link to an article, in well-known liberal-leaning newspaper The Guardian, the headline to which explicitly describes said advert as racist.

    Titania is scraping the barrel for snark-ammo there.

    w/r/t the total insanity of president ‘Let It Wash Over’…this is a regular, spineless pivot of his: to foment violence in a ‘just sayin” kind of way, all while throwing in a reference to the 2nd Amendment.

    He did the same with a semi-veiled threat against Hillary’s life, which somehow receded from general memory instead of ending his idiotic career there and then.

    As always I have my fingers crossed for you guys.

  3. The death of War Correspondent Ernie Pyle during the last major battle of WWII on Okinawa was a sad event. And it followed the death of Franklin Roosevelt about a week earlier.

  4. What I heard Dr. Sanjay Gupta explain on CNN last night was that what Dr. Oz said was not that 2-3% of children would die, but that estimates say that closing of the schools has probably had a 2-3% effect on overall mortality. So I guess that means we could have lost 2-3% more of the 37,000 people who have died.

    1. Dr. Gupta is exactly what Dr. Oz could have/should have been. Somewhere along the line he saw an opportunity to turn his notoriety into buckets of cash. He appeared before a congressional committee some years ago where he was excoriated by the committee chairperson for pushing sham pills on his unsuspecting millions of fans. She said something to the effect: “Have you no shame?”, to which he replied, “No, not really. I take these pills myself.” (paraphrasing). We need less Oz and more Gupta.

  5. There’s a version of The Passion of Joan of Arc available for download at the Internet Archive, but the subtitle cards are in French. There is also a version available at the file sharing service Rapidgator, but I have no idea in what language the subtitle cards are. The Rapidgator version is a compressed .rar file that has to be opened up using the WINrar utility before the video file can be played. Apparently, an English language version exists, but I could not find a listing that explicitly mentions it.

  6. I work in food sales and it’s my job to get digital images for the top moving products. The sales of Nabisco animal crackers don’t qualify, but I couldn’t help but get the images anyway for nostalgic reasons. Something cozy about the crackers I ate as a toddler still being around, and part of my job. I’ll have update to the cage free, but I don’t yet find them searching on the product’s GTIN.

  7. The Passion of Joan of Arc is on TCM at 3:15 am Central TONIGHT (well, actually, tomorrow morning).

  8. About the bobbing birds: This sort of thing is seen in many bird species and even more in insects. In insects it imitates the moving vegetation, I suspect it normally plays the same role in birds, serving both to foll predators and fool prey, though it doesn’t work too well on open roads! Herons and bitterns do somthing like this before striking (see Tara Tanaka’s video a few weeks ago; I’ve also seen and filmed it in a bittern in Taiwan). I have also filmed whole-body bobbing behavior, very similar to that of a stick insect, in an antpitta in Amazonia, presumably to blend into the moving vegetation.

    1. One theory about the dipping behavior of American Dippers (aka water ouzels) is that it is a form of visual communication between them, necessitated by their environment of noisy mountain streams. This is supported by that fact that dippers perform exaggerated dips in courting and in discouraging territorial aggressors. Would this theory apply to woodcocks, I wonder? Do they have a noisy environment?

      1. The woodcock perform their courtship displays—sky dancing at dawn and dusk. I’m not sure if that helps explain the behavior. Maybe better to see each other on the mating grounds in dim light. But then why carry it over into daylight hours?

    2. With herons and egrets, prior to striking, I think that the movements could be used to help judge the exact distance to the target prey item by use of parallax, rather than a means of imitating moving vegetation.

  9. “1955 – Albert Einstein, German-American physicist, engineer, and academic (b. 1879)”.

    Since 1901 until his death he also had the Swiss citizenship.

    1. That used to be a common theme in US soap ads in the early 1900s. I think it was Ivory soap that used an illustration of black children holding up hads that had been scrubbed white. Some of those ad images persisted through the end of the 1950s and even a bit later.

  10. Unfortunately,I think governor Whitmer is on the money with the “showing” being political. In the evening news there were people standing on their cars with placards praising Trump.

    1. Curiously, Aunt Jemima is still on the syrup bottle. She was originally a minstrel show character. I’m surprised she hasn’t been given her freedom at last.

  11. “You could do worse than watch the greatest of all silent movies, The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)”

    I would also recommend watching it by purchasing the Blu-Ray from the Criterion Collection (if you’re in the US) or Eureka/Masters of Cinema (if you’re in the UK). Both editions have loads of informative extras and both companies deserve support: for every high-profile film they release like Joan, they also release lesser-known but equally deserving classics that other DVD companies wouldn’t touch for fear of not making their money back. Furthermore, every release features a digital restoration, with the best possible picture quality, and many extras.

    I don’t work for either company but I think it’s important to support them for the sake of cinephilia and continuing to make otherwise rare or hard-to-see classic films available to the public in the best possible quality.

Leave a Reply