Thursday: Hili dialogue

February 23, 2017 • 6:30 am

Good morning: it’s Thursday, February 23, 2017, and National Banana Bread Day. Is anybody having some? It’s also Meteņi, a “national spring waiting holiday” in Latvia, described by Wikipedia thusly: “Meteņi is about people eating and drinking as much as they wanted.” I can truly get behind that, even if you have to dress like this:

Budēļi, Buduļi or Būduļi – Meteņi mumming mask group of Zemgale and Kurzeme.

I see as well that Trump is rolling back the transgender “bathroom dictum” put in place by Obama. I can’t imagine any reason to rescind this save sheer meanness, or to appeal to a constituency that, because of its “alternative facts,” somehow thinks this is a real problem.

On February 23, 1836, the siege of the Alamo began in Texas. In 1898, Émile Zola was convicted in France after writing “J’accuse“; he later fled to England (Wikipedia wrongly says he was imprisoned on this day). In 1903, Cuba made the mistake of leasing Guantanamo Bay to the U.S.—”in perpetuity”. On this day in 1945, the U.S. flag was raised on Iwo Jima by American soldiers—a very famous photo with a confused history:


Exactly 9 years later, the first group of children was inoculated against polio with the Salk vaccine. On February 23, 1991, ground troops crossed from Saudi Arabia into Iraq, beginning the counterattack during the First Gulf War.

Notables born on this day include Samuel Pepys (1633), George Frideric Handel (1685), W. E. B. Du Bois (1868), Peter Fonda (1940), and Rebecca Goldstein (1950). Those who died on this day include John Keats (1821, tuberculosis), John Quincy Adams (1848), Carl Friedrich Gauss (1855), Horst Wessel (1930), Nellie Melba (1931), Stan Laurel (1936), and James Herriot (1995). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Sarah has arrived for a visit, so we will get some especially nice pictures of Hili in the next few days (rumor has it Hili is going to get wormed). But today the Princess is simply watching the world go by:

A: What are you doing up there?
Hili: I’m observing the scene with a stoical calm.
 In Polish:
Ja: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Patrzę ze stoickim spokojem.

Out in Winnipeg, Gus is sleeping away the cold days, and here emits an awesome yawn.


Finally, my last post yesterday called attention to some temporary stick-on tattoos showing Darwin’s famous “I think” phylogeny. But reader Watson wrote in saying that she had that tattoo for real! It appears to be one of the stranger things that my first trade book inspired:

I thought I would share the tattoo I got in 2015. After reading Why Evolution Is True, which really did change my life, I had a tattoo of his sketch and signature done on my leg. It is an ever-present reminder of what is true, and truth is what is meaningful. I cropped the image so that it’s decent.


21 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. Totally agree about Trump. He does not care at all about the actual issue-just currying favour with political factions.

  2. ” … … with a stoical calm” voice tone, did anyone else hear the words of Dr Coyne on today’s / 23 February 2017’s Morning Edition / NPR ? ~5:16am Central / USA ?


  3. … U.S. flag was raised on Iwo Jima by American soldiers …

    Those were U.S. Marines (and in the case of the first flag raised, five Marines and U.S. Navy corpsman).

    1. I see Merriam Webster allows for a slightly broader definition of “soldier.” (But I wouldn’t want to be around when anyone told that to the Marines…)

      1. As a kid, a bunch of us went camping with our dads. One morning we kids made a flag pole out of a felled tree. As we were pushing it upright, one of the kids yelled over to the adults, “Look, just like those soldiers did at that place in World War 2.”

        An old leatherneck who’d been there strode over straight away, bent down, looked the kid in the eye, and said: “Son, ‘that place’ was Iwo Jima. And those weren’t soldiers; those were United States Marines!

        That incident has always stuck with me. When in doubt, go with “GI”; it covers a lot of ground. 🙂

        1. Ha, ha, great story! 😀

          And thanks for sending me off on a “GI” search; such a common term, the derivation of which it’d never even occurred to me to wonder about.

  4. Confused history of Iwo is right. Maybe the desire for symbols of events is the cause. In any case, there has been more ink about a photo than about the battle itself.

    1. I’m afraid it always makes me think of one of those jokes that start “How many Marines does it take to…..?”


  5. Um – “Meteņi ([met̪eɲi]) or Metenis is an ancient Latvian Spring waiting holiday, that ends on Ash Wednesday” so surely yesterday?

  6. A relative posted on Facebook a link showing a discussion of the biology of sex (simple chromosomes = morphology = gender). I had a brief discussion there with people who truly, deeply believe that (1) gender assignment is simple for everyone and (2) horrible, unmentionable things will happen if transgender women use the women’s restroom.

    Interesting to be reminded that presumably well meaning people can be desperately certain about these things.

  7. Were they dressed like that before or after they drank as much as they wanted?

    “Hey, letsh dresh up like Shtar Warsh extrash an’ shcare the kidsh!”


  8. “I can’t imagine any reason to rescind this save sheer meanness, or to appeal to a constituency that, because of its “alternative facts,” somehow thinks this is a real problem.”

    How could you miss the fact that many of tRumps staff are members of the religious right? Pense is an evolution denying creationist, Bannon, DeVos, and Sessions are all religious fanatics, etc. It is religious right dogma that gender is determined by the presence or absence of a penis (their “scientific” sounding version may even state a Y chromosome). Phenotype and genotype? What are those? Simple minds prefer simple black and white dogmatic answers with no shades of grey being allowed.

    Simple visit any on-line discussion area where the religious right are continually insisting that gender is solely a function of the Y chromosome.

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