Sunday: Hili dialogue

August 16, 2020 • 6:30 am

Welcome to Ceiling Cat’s Day: Sunday, August 16, 2020: National Rum Day. It’s also National Bratwurst Day (make mine with grilled onions (or kraut) and mustard), God’s Preeminence Day (WTF?), National Airborne Day, and Tell a Joke Day. Okay, so here’s a joke, and you have to tell one in the comments:

Two cows were standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, “I was artificially inseminated this morning.”
“I don’t believe you,” said Dolly.
“It’s true–no bull!”

I’ll be here all year, folks.

News of the Day: Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, died yesterday in a New York hospital at age 71. Details of what killed him haven’t been reported, but he was apparently ill for some time.

I don’t blame students and parents who feel they are being robbed by having to pay full or nearly full college tuition when there are no live classes and, often, no resident students on campus. Harvard, for example, which will have no live classes this semester, is still charging $49,653 for tuition. There will be some students in residence (40% of the total population), and the total cost including room, board, and fees is $72,391. (One-fifth of the entering students have deferred entry rather than face virtual “learning”, and I don’t blame them.) No wonder parents are rebelling and demanding hefty tuition refunds throughout the U.S., as reported by the NY Times. Although the University of Chicago is still set to open with some live classes and live students on campus, I wouldn’t bet that this will happen.

The well known song by the Band, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” is being criticized for glorifying the Confederacy (see also here), has been called “racist”, and has been rewritten to denigrate the Confederacy for one performance. But to me Robbie Robertson’s song describes the suffering of a poor white Southern farmer from war’s depredations, and never for a minute did I think it glorified the Confederacy. Listen for yourself. I just did, and I can’t see what the fracas is about.

Bald eagle downs U.S. government drone!

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 169,394, an increase of about 1000 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 770,308,, an increase of about 6400 deaths from yesterday.

Stuff that happened on August 16 includes:

  • 1792 – Maximilien de Robespierre presents the petition of the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, which demanded the formation of a revolutionary tribunal.
  • 1858 – U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, a weak signal forces a shutdown of the service in a few weeks.
  • 1896 – Skookum Jim MasonGeorge Carmack and Dawson Charlie discover gold in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada, setting off the Klondike Gold Rush.

So eager were prospectors to get rich (most of course didn’t), that they schlepped stuff over snow-covered passes. Here’s a photo from Wikipedia of “Klondikers carrying supplies ascending the Chilkoot Pass, 1898″:

  • 1920 – Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit on the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day. Chapman was the second player to die from injuries sustained in a Major League Baseball game, the first being Doc Powers in 1909.
  • 1930 – The first color sound cartoonFiddlesticks, is released by Ub Iwerks.

Here’s “Fiddlesticks”, starring Flip the Frog:

  • 1960 – Joseph Kittinger parachutes from a balloon over New Mexico at 102,800 feet (31,300 m), setting three records that held until 2012: High-altitude jump, free fall, and highest speed by a human without an aircraft.

Here’s a three-minute documentary about the jump:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1888 – T. E. Lawrence, British colonel, diplomat, writer and archaeologist (d. 1935)

  • 1924 – Fess Parker, American actor (d. 2010)
  • 1946 – Lesley Ann Warren, American actress
  • 1958 – Madonna, American singer-songwriter, producer, actress, and director
  • 1967 – Mark Coyne, Australian rugby league player

Those who took up residence on their cloud on August 16 include:

  • 1678 – Andrew Marvell, English poet and author (b. 1621)
  • 1705 – Jacob Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician and theorist (b. 1654)
  • 1733 – Matthew Tindal, English philosopher and author (b. 1657)
  • 1899 – Robert Bunsen, German chemist and academic (b. 1811)

Yes, he invented the Bunsen burners. You could do worse than be immortalized (well, till the Sun burns us up) in the name of a chemistry-la fixture.

  • 1938 – Robert Johnson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1911)

And here’s Johnson’s most famous song, “Crossroad,” sung by him. Johnson died at 27; the cause is unclear, but he may have been poisoned.

  • 1948 – Babe Ruth, American baseball player and coach (b. 1895)
  • 1956 – Bela Lugosi, Hungarian-American actor (b. 1882)
  • 1973 – Selman Waksman, Ukrainian-American biochemist and microbiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1888)
  • 1977 – Elvis Presley, American singer, guitarist, and actor (b. 1935)
  • 1997 – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistani musician and Qawwali singer (b. 1948)

I was lucky enough to see Nusrat (I always think of “muskrat” when I read it) in concert in Chicago. (He died at 48 from obesity-related issues.) He was about two hours late, and didn’t care. But his qawwali performance was terrific. Here’s an example:

  • 2002 – Abu Nidal, Palestinian terrorist leader (b. 1937)
  • 2018 – Aretha Franklin, American singer-songwriter (b. 1942)
  • 2019 – Peter Fonda, American actor, director, and screenwriter. (b. 1940) 

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili was photographed hissing at Szaron. She just can’t bring herself to be friendly to the new cat, who is a sweet and loving boy. Hili is the cat equivalent of Honey, who cannot tolerate other ducks (except her own brood).

A: Why are you so enraged?
Hili: I’m not enraged, I’m just instructing Szaron to mind his own business.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu jesteś taka wściekła?
Hili: Nie jestem wściekła, tylko pouczam Szarona, żeby pilnował swoich spraw.

Here are some pictures of Kulka and her BFF Szaron taken by Andrzej, who calls the set “Poranne igraszki” (“Morning fun”). Have a gander, for Kulka won’t remain an adorable kitten forever!

From Jesus of the Day:

Also from Jesus of the Day. Oy!

From Stash Krod. I think these are inevitable. . .


What’s up with Titania’s Twitter account? When you go there, you see the notice below, but you can still access her tweets. The last one, though, was four days ago.

“Unusual activity from this account”? What does that mean?

A tweet from reader Al.  One of these books is not like the others.  And somebody doesn’t know the books they’re trying to sell! Ever weirder, this bookstore, at Cal Poly, has left the tweet up. Could the display be an inside joke?


From Simon. Is the duck really making that rhythm? (Sound up, of course.)

From Barry. Look at the expression on that cat’s face!!!

Tweets from Matthew. The first one is a cliffhanger, but ends well (for the mammal):

This is a CATERPILLAR, and looks as if it has a fake head to throw off predators (check out the video in the second tweet):

Feeling low? You might want to skip this Zach Weinersmith cartoon:

A mating ritual in ciliates!

73 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. My niece told me this one.

    A young couple had just moved to a new town and approached the priest to enquire about joining the congregation of worshippers.

    He said there was a simple character test before they could.
    They had to agree to no marital relationships for one month.
    The couple thought that would be difficult, but possible.

    After a month they were back.
    Young Ken confessed that on the very last day, his wife was bent over the freezer and he was overcome – would that still be enough?

    The priest thought about it, but reluctantly said they would not be able to come to his church.

    Whereupon, Ken’s wife turned on Ken with:
    “See, your lack of control means we will have to look for another church. What’s more, we are also never going to be able to shop at Piglly Wiggly again”

  2. What did the zero say to the eight?
    “Nice belt!”


    I cried because I had no shoes until I met a man who had no feet, so I said “Hey, man, can I have your shoes?”

  3. “That cat is definitely plotting his owners death” – despite my pathetic results from the survey yesterday, that’s one cat whose expressions even I can read!

    1. Oops, forgot to include a joke:

      Q: What do all national anthems have in common?

      A: They’re all country music.

      (You can blame my daughter Ana for that one!)

            1. Not for the first time, jeremy. Dom’s “Claude” idea is a better way to go but I can’t think or a reasonably plausible surname.

  4. A lady took a fox to the veterinarian, who shook his head and said “I’m sorry, it’s dead.”

    “Are you sure?”, asked the lady.

    The vet left and returned with a Labrador. The dog stood up on its hind legs and shook its head.

    The vet left again and came back with a cat. The cat sniffed the fox and shook its head.

    The vet said the fox was 100% dead and handed the lady his invoice.

    “$300! Why’s it so expensive?”, the lady complained.

    “Well”, the vet replied, “it would’ve been just $40 if you believed me at first, but then you had a lab report and a cat scan.”

  5. “What’s up with Titania’s Twitter account?”

    It has been disabled owing to Woke Fragility. They simply can’t tolerate being disagreed with, let alone ridiculed.

      1. The Woke are that species of political being that likes being laughed at even less than being contradicted. Jokes have and will land people in jails.

    1. This reminds me of a joke an old friend used to say.
      “I dig, therefore, I’m Doug.”
      Yes, that was his name.

  6. [sorry just checking to see if previous comment got sidetracked]

    Has any current student even heard of a Bunsen burner, much less used one?

    In the truck picture i see 2 smart guys and 3 dumb ones.

    God joke
    source: Emo Philips

    1. OK, so the filters rejected emo philips’ joke

      Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. … And I pushed him over.

  7. As Robbie Robertson is half Cayuga/Mohawk (Wikipedia says his mom was raised on the Rez) then he is a POC and by woke logic cannot be racist.

    Of course it would be easy to see why anyone of native ancestry could find some connection between Sherman’s scorched earth policy in the south during the Civil War and the actions of the US Army against the tribes in the west following the war. That song doesn’t require one to believe that by feeling the anguish of the southerners is the same as supporting their cause, only that you are recognizing the trauma on a human level, as one can do with Hiroshima, Nagasaki, or Dresden.

  8. A man gets lost on the outskirts of Leeds, and stops to ask for directions. “Excuse me,” he says to a passerby. “Does you know the Bradford turn-off?” The passerby thinks for a moment before replying, “I should do; I married her.”

    Alan Bennett told that joke in the London Review of Books over twenty years ago. It’s stuck in my head because at the time I was traveling to Leeds frequently for business (and to Bradford for Indian food).

    1. With regard to “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” we wouldn’t be in such a mess if the Wokiees were willing to look at the merits of various potentially objectionable cultural objects. They are not; they are interested in terror.

      1. I’ve heard ‘The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down’ more than once recently, while listening to SiriusXM’s ‘Deep Tracks.’ As I drove I wondered when they’d try to ‘drive this one down.’

        The fracas is about those making the fracas.

  9. It was a rainy and miserable day when a firing squad was marching a prisoner 2 miles down a muddy road to the execution area. The prisoner commented that it was a hell of a day to die on. One of the guards said ” Stop complaining and think about us, we have to walk back in this stuff”.

    1. Which reminds me of this oldie:

      On a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the midst of the French Revolution the revolting citizens led a priest, a drunkard and an engineer to the guillotine. They ask the priest if he wants to face up or down when he meets his fate. The priest says he would like to face up so he will be looking towards heaven when he dies. They raise the blade of the guillotine and release it. It comes speeding down and suddenly stops just inches from his neck. The authorities take this as divine intervention and release the priest.

      The drunkard comes to the guillotine next. He also decides to die face up, hoping that he will be as fortunate as the priest. They raise the blade of the guillotine and release it. It comes speeding down and suddenly stops just inches from his neck. Again, the authorities take this as a sign of divine intervention, and they release the drunkard as well.

      Next is the engineer. He, too, decides to die facing up. As they slowly raise the blade of the guillotine, the engineer suddenly says, “Hey, I see what your problem is …”

      1. The sales head, the head of HR & the boss were on their way to lunch. They took a short cut through an alley, & stumbled on a bashed up but valuable-looking old lamp. The sales head picks it up & gives it a rub. Suddenly a genie emerges in a puff of smoke. Grateful to be set free he offers them each a wish.

        The head of HR is over the moon. She says, “I want to be living on a beautiful beach in Bermuda, with a yacht & enough money to keep me in luxury for the rest of my life.”

        Poof – she vanishes…

        The head of sales says “I want to be married to a gorgeous supermodel, & have penthouses in New York, Paris, & Singapore.”

        Poof – he vanishes.

        “What about you? “ says the genie to the boss.

        The boss scowls & says, “I want both of those idiots back in the office by 2pm!”

  10. Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. Then, when you come to criticise them, you’re a mile away and you have their shoes.
    If at first you don’t succeed, sky-diving is probably not for you.

  11. one day god told 3 angels to come and watch what he was about to do. He looked down at Earth and told them: “I’m going to create a man and a woman and make them as different from each other as i possibly can. Then I’m going to make them marry each other.” So he made man from mud. To make the woman he took a rib from man. The very rib that would let men read women’s minds. We can’t read their minds. But they can read ours!!

  12. Julius Caesar walks into a bar…
    … and the bartender says “What’ll ya have?”
    Julius Caesar says “I’ll have a Martinus.”
    The bartender asks “Didn’t you mean a Martini?”
    Julius Caesar says “If I wanted a double, I’d have asked for a double!”

    In a previous life I was a photojournalist. But the BIG prize always eluded me.
    Our neighbor raises chickens so we seldom have to buy eggs. Often, when a new hen starts laying eggs (a pullet) the eggs are really small. I asked my wife the other day at breakfast if a pullet lays little eggs for a while and then suddenly lays a HUGE egg, is that a pullet surprise?

  13. My late uncle knew about three jokes, here’s two of them:

    What did the big chimney say to the little chimney?

    “You’re too young to smoke.“

    What did one mind reader say to the other mind reader?

    “You’re fine, how am I?”

    And one I heard on the radio from less-PC days gone by:

    What did one lesbian frog say to the other lesbian frog?

    “We really do taste like chicken!”

  14. Wow!!! Thank you so much for the Musrat footage–that opens a whole new world. I love Indian traditional music, so this adds another genre to my knowledge of south central Asian music.
    Sorry–no joke, just blown away by the music.

  15. The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer was so “profound” that the professor shared it with colleagues, which is why we have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.
    Bonus Question:
    Is Hell exothermic (gives of heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?
    Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle’s Law, (gas cools off when it expands and heats up when it is compressed) or some varient.
    One student however, wrote the following:
    First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate that souls are moving into Hell and the rate they are leaving.
    I think we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving. As for how many souls are entering Hell, lets look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Some of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to hell. Since there are more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to hell.
    With birth and death rates as they are we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially.
    Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume of Hell because Boyle’s Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand as souls are added.
    This gives two possibilities:
    1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.
    2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.
    So which is it? If we accept the postulate given to me by Ms. Banyan during my freshman year that, “It will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you” and we take into account the fact that I still have not succeeded in having sexual relations with her, then #2 cannot be true.
    Thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and will not freeze.
    The student received the only “A” given.

    1. A further application of physics to theology is the proof that heaven is hotter than hell. In brief, the proof goes thus:

      Isiah 30:26 says of Heaven “Moreover, the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold as the light of seven days.” Thus Heaven received 50 (49+1) times the amount of heat and light energy as the Earth does from the Sun. Assuming that Heaven is in thermal equilibrium, application of the Stefan-Boltzmann law shows that the absolute temperature is 798 K, or 525 C.

      Of Hell, Revelation 21:8 says “ut the fearful and unbelieving … shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone.” Thus sulphur is in the liquid state. But sulphur boils at 445 C, so Hell must be cooler than this.

      Therefore Heaven is hotter then Hell.

    2. That makes no sense. As a thought experiment (there is no heaven or hell & souls do not exist but suppose here they do):

      we know people have tried to weigh souls with no success, therefore they must be without mass or of such a tiny mass that it would take a lot to weigh anything much.
      Even assuming that 100 billion people have ever lived, shall we say a soul weighs a gramme, that is not a whole lot in comparison with the universe let alone the solar system, so I think that answer does not make sense…

      1. If one revises the parameters to include your conditions, then does hell freeze over or not? It is possible that the temperature of hell remains in a steady state based on this new data. But that might not be funny.

        1. The orchestra was performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Some of the string players had a long stretch where they weren’t needed, so they tied the score to the music stand so they wouldn’t lose their place, and sneaked backstage for a drink. They enjoyed themselves so much, they almost forgot their cue. As they rushed back to the stage, the bass viol players were too drunk to play, and two violinists keeled over.

          The conductor thought “Oh my god! It’s the bottom of the Ninth, with the score tied, two men out and the basses loaded!”

          I don’t know how many non-American/Canadian readers will get this one.

      2. “we know people have tried to weigh souls with no success …” because they are doing it wrong. The weight of an ovum and a sperm and a soul combining in a test tube would be much easier to measure than trying to determine the reduction in weight of a dying and then dead person. Not that there are souls.

        On a side-note, I take the view that “life” does not begin at conception. Life began billions of years ago. It’s just an ongoing process.

  16. Combining PCC(E)’s request for jokes and his inclusion of the SMBC cartoon, I offer this:

    An astrophysicist is giving a public astronomy lecture about the evolution of stars, using the Sun as an example. She notices one member of the audience becoming more and more agitated and upset. After the talk has finished, this person approaches her, almost at the point of tears. “Professor, you said that eventually the Sun will expand and engulf the Earth.”

    “Yes,” replies the astrophysicist, “In about five billion years.”

    The questioner immediately breaks into a relieved smile. “Thank heavens, professor. I was so worried. I thought you said five million!”

  17. Elvis Presley has now been dead for longer than he was alive. I find that both sad and amazing.

    (It’s sort of like discovering that we are further in time from the release of Sgt Pepper than the time between World War I and the same release)

    I have no joke at the moment!

    1. This December, it will be 40 years since John Lennon died at age 40.

      25 years after the Beatles broke up, they released the Anthology TV series. That was 25 years ago.

      I’ll stop now.

  18. “What’s up with Titania’s Twitter account?”

    I see her recent posts have been about health. My guess is that Twitter is very sensitive about any tweets giving dubious health-related advice, even in jest.

  19. Republican Senator Orrin Hatch sponsored the God Preeminence Day craziness. I note with some pleasure that he finally retired in 2019. I’m now awaiting his death and resurrection in the form of a fruit fly maggot.

  20. A joke from the late, great Henny Youngman (PBUH):

    A man and a woman check into a hotel next to a train
    station. The man goes off to work and the women lies
    down to take a nap. All of a sudden a train roars through
    the station and BOOM ! the sound knocks the women to the floor.
    She gets back up and goes back to sleep. 10 minutes later
    another train comes through and BOOM! the sound knocks her
    out of bed again. Once again she tries to go back to sleep.
    10 minutes later BOOM! same thing happens. She gets up and calls
    the manager who rushes right up. He comes in and lays down
    on the bed.
    All of a sudden her husband comes back from work. The manager
    looks at him and says: “You’re not going to believe this but
    I’m waiting for a train.”

  21. A guy goes into a brickyard and asks for 20,000 bricks.
    “Certainly sir” said the salesman, “are you building a house?”
    “No, I’m building a barbecue by my kitchen window” the customer replied.
    “A barbecue?” said the salesman, “You don’t need 20,000 bricks to build a barbecue.”
    “Yes I do” said the customer, “I live on the 30th floor.”

  22. A computer programmer’s wife says to him, “Be a dear and go to the village shop for a pint of milk”.

    “Certainly, darling!”

    She adds, “and if they’ve got eggs, get six.”

    The guy leaves and comes back with six pints of milk and no eggs.

    He explains to his puzzled wife, “Well,they had eggs.”

  23. My pony had a sore throat, and fancied himself as a Spanish show horse. The vet diagnosed him as Andalusional, and just a little hoarse.

  24. Two bulls are standing in a field looking at a herd of cows up in the next pasture. The young bull says to the old bull “let’s run up there and do a cow”. The old bull replies “let’s walk up and do them all”.

  25. “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” is written from the point of view of a poor southern farmer swept up by his times. In 1969 it was unheard of to hear a song from the perspective of someone like that, especially in a song about the Civil War. Those who object to the song are really objecting to the idea that the perspective of someone like a poor Tennessee farmer should count.

    Of course Virgil Kaine supports the Confederacy—that’s all someone in his position has to take pride in. But anyone who confuses his support for a glorification of the Confederacy on the song’s part doesn’t understand the idea of characterization.

    Early James’s presentist rewrite of the song exemplifies this confusion. He puts lines in Virgil’s mouth that Virgil would never have said, unless Virgil was actually a 21st century woke Southerner. The rewrite is bad art—the new lyrics (which look awfully clunky on the page) are an ass-covering exercise designed to make sure everyone knows Mr. James thoroughly disapproves of the Confederacy. We seem to be back in the Victorian era, where potential disturbing works of art are rewritten to protect fragile sensibilities.

    The Slate article is not horrible and makes a good point about the song’s late 60s anti-war context, but it’s occasionally uncomprehending. “Virgil, quick come see/ There goes Robert E. Lee” is not “a howlingly awful line.” It encapsulates Virgil’s dilemma and that of the South after the Civil War. You can just picture queuing up to view the false messiah who helped plunge the south into defeat, military occupation, and further property. Like the South, Virgil will continue to admire this man.

    Virgil is not nostalgic for the Lost Cause mythical south of plantations and wealthy masters. For him this is a question of regional pride, of a poor person finding something bigger than himself to believe in, despite its moral bankruptcy. Many southerners did the same. And if you want to understand the mentality that held the south in its grip for a hundred years, “The Night They Drive Old Dixie Down” is a very good place to start.

    As the scholar Linda Ray Pratt wrote, “Southerners do not love the old Confederacy because it was a noble ideal, but because the suffering of the past occasioned by it has formed our hearts and souls, both good and evil. But we celebrate the past with cheap flags, cliché slogans, decorative license plates, decaled ash trays, and a glorious myth of a Southern ‘way of life’ no one today ever lived.”

    1. A very cogent analysis. I don’t have the lyrics at hand, but I always heard the line as ‘there goes THE Robert E. Lee’ and thought it was the sight of a steamboat (maybe a Confederate navy vessel) the speaker was trying to get Virgil’s attention about.

      1. It must be the famous riverboat because Virgil is “back with his wife in Tennessee”, and AFAIK Robert E Lee never got to Tennessee during (he did try before Appomattox) or after the war.

    2. I blush that several typos are in my post. In paragraph four “further property” should be “further poverty”!

  26. A doctor walks into an examination room where a patient is waiting.
    Doctor: Your test results are back, and I’m afraid your condition is much worse than I thought. In fact, I don’t know a good way to tell you this, but you don’t have long to live.
    Patient: Oh, crap! Well, give it to me straight, doc, how much time do I have?
    Doctor: I’m thinking nine.
    Patient: Uh, nine what? Months? Weeks?
    Doctor: (looking at watch) Make that eight… seven… six…

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