Wednesday: Hili dialogue

December 25, 2019 • 7:00 am

Today is Christmas, the third full day of Hanukkah, and the first day of Coynezaa: a perfect trifecta of holidays on this Wednesday, December 25, 2019. Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) wishes you all a Happy Trifecta and hope that you are in the presence of presents, family and/or good friends, and, of course, good noms. (Please report on your Christmas victuals below.)

I’m still suffering a bit from my bug, and so will spending most of the day in bed—Jews shouldn’t celebrate Christmas, anyway—but I’m feeling much better. I have some Christmas posts lined up, but don’t expect much that is substantive today. Have a big dinner and a nap instead!

It’s very warm in Chicago, with a predicted high today of 53° F (12° C); I don’t think I’ve seen as warm a Christmas since I moved here in December, 1986. Tomorrow may well get to 60° F, which would beat the all-time record for December 26 by two degrees.

As for food, it’s National Pumpkin Pie Day (good, but only with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream; sweet potato pie is better). It’s also “No ‘L’ Day”, a pun on the holiday but also a day on which you’re supposed to remove that (l)etter from speech and writing. Good (l)uck with that.

Today’s new Google Doodle celebrates the season, and, as Google is fighting the war on Christmas, leads to a bunch of sites about the “holiday season” (click on screenshot):

Matthew sends this Merry Xmas tweet, with “X” being especially appropriate here:

To celebrate the Jewish holiday, we have a special song: Boyz II Menorah singing their smash Hanukkah hit “A Week and a Day”, which is very good for a spoof song (h/t: Merilee):

Stuff that happened on Christmas Day include:

  • 0 AD-Jesus was born. [I added that one]
  • 333 – Roman Emperor Constantine the Great elevates his youngest son Constans to the rank of Caesar.

Remember that Constantine was the first Roman Emperor to convert to Christianity.

  • 336 – First documentary sign of Christmas celebration in Rome.
  • 800 – The coronation of Charlemagne as Holy Roman Emperor, in Rome.
  • 1066 – William the Conqueror, Duke of Normandy is crowned king of England, at Westminster Abbey, London.
  • 1758 – Halley’s Comet is sighted by Johann Georg Palitzsch, confirming Edmund Halley’s prediction of its passage. This was the first passage of a comet predicted ahead of time.
  • 1776 – George Washington and the Continental Army cross the Delaware River at night to attack Hessian forces serving Great Britain at Trenton, New Jersey, the next day.

Here’s the most famous painting of that event: “Washington Crossing the Delaware “by Emanuel Leutze, done in 1851:

  • 1809 – Dr. Ephraim McDowell performs the first ovariotomy, removing a 22-pound tumor.
  • 1831 – The Great Jamaican Slave Revolt begins; up to 20% of Jamaica’s slaves mobilize in an ultimately unsuccessful fight for freedom.
  • 1914 – A series of unofficial truces occur across the Western Front to celebrate Christmas.
  • 1950 – The Stone of Scone, traditional coronation stone of British monarchs, is taken from Westminster Abbey by Scottish nationalist students. It later turns up in Scotland on April 11, 1951.
  • 1991 – Mikhail Gorbachev resigns as President of the Soviet Union (the union itself is dissolved the next day). Ukraine’s referendum is finalized and Ukraine officially leaves the Soviet Union.

Notables born on Christmas Day include:

  • 0 – AD Jesus was born [I added that here, too]
  • 1642 (OS) – Isaac Newton, English physicist and mathematician (d. 1726/1727)
  • 1821 – Clara Barton, American nurse and humanitarian, founder of the American Red Cross (d. 1912)
  • 1876 – Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Indian-Pakistani lawyer and politician, 1st Governor-General of Pakistan (d. 1948)
  • 1884 – Evelyn Nesbit, American model and actress (d. 1967)
  • 1887 – Conrad Hilton, American entrepreneur (d. 1979)
  • 1899 – Humphrey Bogart, American actor (d. 1957)
  • 1907 – Cab Calloway, American singer-songwriter and bandleader (d. 1994)
  • 1924 – Rod Serling, American screenwriter and producer, created The Twilight Zone (d. 1975)
  • 1946 -Jimmy Buffett [JAC: I added this because I heard it on NPR]
  • 1949 – Sissy Spacek, American actress [JAC: only five days older than I!]
  • 1950 – Karl Rove, American political strategist and activist
  • 1954 – Annie Lennox, Scottish singer-songwriter and pianist

Those who began necrosis on this day include:

  • 1946 – W. C. Fields, American actor, comedian, juggler, and screenwriter (b. 1880)
  • 1977 – Charlie Chaplin, English actor and director (b. 1889)
  • 1983 – Joan Miró, Spanish painter and sculptor (b. 1893)
  • 1995 – Dean Martin, American singer and actor (b. 1917)
  • 2005 – Birgit Nilsson, Swedish operatic soprano (b. 1918)
  • 2008 – Eartha Kitt, American singer and actress (b. 1927)
  • 2016 – George Michael, British singer and songwriter (b. 1963)

Miró painted many cats in his life; you can see some of them here. Here’s a good one, “Jumping Cat”:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants her Christmas although she’s a secular Jewish cat, and she always gets treats on the holidays:

Hili: Where are the presents?
A: You ate them yesterday.
Hili: That’s not the right answer.
In Polish:
Hili: Gdzie te prezenty?
Ja: Wczoraj zjadłaś.
Hili: To nie jest właściwa odpowiedź.

In nearby Wloclawek, Mietek and Leon also seem to be worried that they haven’t had their holiday noms yet.

Leon:  Did we miss something?

In Polish: Coś przegapilismy?

Reader Pliny the in Between posted this Christmas cartoon at The Far Corner Cafe:

From Cole & Marmalade:

A tip from Jesus of the Day, which reminds me of Leon and Mietek:

A tweet sent by Gethyn, showing a Christmas miracle! It proves that God is a hedgehog!


And seven tweets from Matthew. First, the Christmas Day egress from the Marsh Farm barn. The animals are especially excited as they get extra treats, and there’s also a Christmas scarecrow. Once again, Cuthbert the Goose, who has privilege, gets a special mention:

I love the wags who run the “signage” for the London Underground:

About this one Matthew says, “This is not a joke”:

I think this is a ferret, and look how clever (and agile) it is!

New Darwiniana released!

Matthew loves optical illusions, as do I. Can you see the snakes move in the picture below?

Finally, Philomena returns to tell us the true meaning of Christmas. (And note this; “Cunk On Christmas is on BBC2 on Thursday 29 December at 10pm.”)



Cunk on Britain: Episode 3

April 23, 2018 • 2:00 pm

I believe I’ve posted the first two episodes of Cunk on Britain, Diane Morgan’s very funny take of the history of Old Blighty. I’m surprised that the episodes are still up (#1 here and #2 here), as the BBC tends to take these things down. Well, watch them soon.

This episode covers the nineteenth century, and there are some real gems. There’s of course a bit on Darwin (from 12:49 to 15:25).  You get to hear Philomena say her best word, “monkey” (pronounced “mahn-kee”), five times, and hear her description of Darwin’s classic book The Oranges of the Peaches.

h/t: Julian

Cunk on Britain, part 2

April 10, 2018 • 6:00 pm

The second installment of the BBC “Cunk on Britain” series is up, and watch it while it’s there. (There will be five parts.)

Surprisingly, Part I is still up (here) though perhaps in a different incarnation, so maybe the BBC will for once let us Yanks watch the whole thing—at least for a short while.

I haven’t yet seen this, but wanted to give people a chance to watch while they could.

h/t: Kieran

Cunk on Britain, part I

April 4, 2018 • 3:00 pm

I’m truly surprised that this is still up, as the BBC relentlessly removes most of its purloined videos from YouTube. So far, this one—the first of Cunk’s five-part BBC Two series—is still up. I mentioned it this morning, but you might have missed it. Have a look at this 30-minute show, which is classic Cunk, before it’s gone.

You’ll be amused at King Arthur of Come-A-Lot and the Baywatch Tapestry.


“Cunk on Britain” tonight

April 3, 2018 • 2:30 pm

Several Brits have written to inform me that the first episode of “Cunk on Britain”, Philomena’s series on her beloved land, plays tonight on BBC Two. There will be five episodes, with two scheduled. The first is this evening at 10 pm England time (don’t ask me what it’s formally called)—about an hour and a half from this posting; and the second episode is in a week:

Little do the people who wrote me know that I won’t be able to SEE this, which makes me unspeakably sad. (BBC shows are embargoed in the US.) It’s like telling me they’re giving out free glasses of 1982 Petrus at a bar in Mongolia.

Here’s one clip, which makes me want to watch it even more (click on screenshot):

Cunk on Christmas

December 27, 2017 • 8:30 am

Although this is a year old, I don’t think I’ve posted “Cunk on Christmas” before, and it’s appropriate as most people are still on holidays. Here the incomparable Philomena finds the true meaning of Christmas in a half-hour BBC special. As usual, she calls on various academics as Christmas Experts.

Note the mention of Richard Dawkins at 28 seconds in.

Diane Morgan tries falconry

November 6, 2017 • 2:30 pm

Diane Morgan, my beloved Philomena Cunk, has stepped outside the Cunk persona to do a short sponsored video in which she tries falconry—with unexpected results. It’s pretty clear though, that Morgan— as she’s said herself—really is Philomena Cunk.

This is a lovely video, and brings Morgan’s work back to the quality level of her work for Charlie Brooker. Long may she run! I love it when she and the bird become enamored of each other.

I hear she’s got a new t.v. show on tap, and I hope it’s good.

h/t: Amber

Philomena promotes Britain but wants to be famous in America

April 29, 2017 • 12:00 pm

Reader Michael, who has contributed to two posts today (see previous one), called my attention to a new series of short videos by Diana Morgan, who has abandoned the persona but not the demeanor of Philomena Cunk. The new series of three clips (one more to come) is called “British Famous“, and attempts to sell Britain as a tourist destination using the conceit that Morgan visits various places in Britain to prepare to be TRULY famous, which means famous not just in Britain, but in America. Here are the first three videos with this introduction:

Who was Benedict Cumberbatch a few years ago? Nobody Cumberbatch, that’s who. Because he was only British Famous. And he’s not alone.

For decades, British celebrities have been adored at home but anonymous abroad, until America discovers them and makes them the real kind of famous.

And that is precisely Diane Morgan’s plan. So she’s doing things she believes Americans love in the hopes of becoming the next big American thing, all while showcasing the greatest parts of Great Britain.

The first video, “The Self-Help Guru”, shows, as Michael noted, Morgan

…taking the piss out of ‘mindfulness’, crystals, chakras etc. . .  Good fun! Not from the T.V. show – Diane seems to have branched out into other stuff such as this YouTube channel, Love GREAT Britain, which is promoting holidays in GB

There are a few other Morgan skits on the channel if you’re interested, but this is the only one that’s reasonably well written IMO.

I didn’t know she has a talent for physical comedy [pratfalls, slapstick] until this series.

Judge for yourself. I prefer Philomena but this is still worth watching:

“The Rock Star”, filmed in Manchester, home of our Matthew Cobb:

And “The action hero,” filmed in Scotland:

The next installment to come is called “The Foodie.”


Philomena on “Moments of Wonder”

March 30, 2017 • 3:00 pm

Philomena Cunk presents a new “Moments of Wonder,” the subject being “Charity”. Reader Michael sent this, alone with a note:

This video was made for Comic Relief day last week in the UK [AKA Red Nose Day]
Unfortunately Cunk’s writers have fallen for the Mother Teresa myth, but other than that a reasonable stab. I’m not sure how well this sketch travels due to the Brit references throughout – the best one being @ 2:11 – red noses in the Groucho Club toilets [the club is a hangout for cocaine-sniffing rock stars, media ‘luvvies’ & C list celebs]
The best part is her interview with “Charity Man”: