Saturday: Hili dialogue

March 11, 2017 • 6:30 am

Good morning on a very cold Chicago Saturday (20° F, -7° C); it is March 11, 2017, and I’m proud to announce that it is this day, too:

So eat them, as the proclamation assumes that you already have noodles! It’s also Johnny Appleseed Day, which is strange because it corresponds to neither his birthday nor his deathday; but it’s apple planting season. (He was famous for planting apple nurseries all over the eastern U.S., and for loving all of Ceiling Cat’s creatures). If you’re not American and don’t know about Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman), read about him here.

The News of the Day is, of course, Trump’s firing (via his minion Dana Boente) of 46 federal prosecutors appointed by Obama. Those included the much admired Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, whom Trump had earlier said he’d retain.  That leaves in office exactly zero prosecutors appointed by Obama: a real house-cleaning. While such mass purging is not unprecedented, it leaves the prosecution of important federal cases in the hands of attorneys with less experience. Trump has been in office 50 days, and has done nothing good, but the upside is that he’s also failed to keep many of his campaign promises. His “TrumpCare” medical plan is dead in the water.

So it goes. On this day in 1818. Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s novel Frankenstein was published. In 1851, Verdi’s opera Rigoletto premiered in Venice, and in 1867 the same composer opened his opera Don Carlos in Paris. On this day in 1918, the first case of Spanish Flu was reported in Kansas, the start of a pandemic that ultimately killed 50-100 million people: 3-5% of the population of the world. Among the victims was my paternal grandmother, who died when my father was only weeks old. As Wikipedia notes:

The site of the very first confirmed outbreak was at Camp Funston, within Fort Riley in Kansas, USA at a military training facility preparing American troops for involvement in World War I. The first victim diagnosed with the new strain of flu on Monday, March 11, 1918, was mess cook Private Albert Gitchell. Historian Alfred W. Crosby recorded that the flu originated in Kansas and  popular writer John Barry echoed Crosby in describing Haskell County, Kansas, as the point of origin.

Gitchell reported to the doctor in the morning; by noon 107 men in his camp had acquired the same illness. Here’s a sign from a naval aircraft factory in Philadelphia, courtesy of the U.S. Naval Historical Center:

Finally, on March 11, 1993, Janet Reno was confirmed by the Senate as the first female Attorney General of the U.S.; she was sworn in on March 12.

Notables born on this day include Vannevar Bush (1890), Lawrence Welk (1903), Rupert Murdoch (1931), Antonin Scalia (1936), and Douglas Adams (1952). Those who died on this day include Alexander Fleming (1955), Roy Chapman Andrews (1960; the man who introduced me to fossils through his books), Erle Stanley Gardner (1970), and Slobodan Milošević (2006). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is so desperate to get out that she’ll tolerate a bit of rain:

A: You will get wet.
Hili: Never mind, it’s only a spring rain.
(Photo: Sarah Lawson)
In Polish:
Ja: Zmokniesz tam.
Hili: Nie szkodzi, to jest wiosenny deszcz.
(Foto: Sarah Lawson)
And a cartoon from The New Yorker, expressing a profound truth:
Finally, how to get your cat to the vet:
h/t: Stash Krod, Nicole Reggia

24 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

    1. I’ve reacted to it every time so I’m afraid to get it now. We don’t know why my immune system seems to go into overdrive but I’ve always had odd sensitivities to random things.

  1. Ever notice nobody says Happy Eat Your Noodles Day anymore? There’s a war on noodles. Just like with Ranch Dressing in fact!

    That “house cleaning” – ominous, is what I think.

  2. My Grandfather, would have been 18 in 1918, got the flu while in Kansas City and came very close to death. I’m told they punched holes into his lungs from the back to drain liquid out. Had he not made it, I wouldn’t be writing this comment. My dad was not born until 1927.

  3. “Flores said that until new U.S. attorneys are confirmed, the career prosecutors in the nation’s 94 U.S. attorneys’ offices will oversee cases”

    “Flores said the action is not unusual. A similar step was taken at the start of the Bill Clinton administration. Sessions himself was asked to resign as the U.S. attorney in Alabama in March 1993 by Clinton’s attorney general, Janet Reno.

    But the George W. Bush administration eased U.S. attorneys out gradually while officials sought replacements, as did Barack Obama’s Justice Department.”

    Justice Department tells all remaining Obama administration US attorneys to resign

    1. Clinton did the same, but he didn’t do it without notice. The Trump firing was done Friday and staff were told DCM. In the Clinton situation, there was up to eight months so major cases could be properly handed over.

      There’s also speculation this is a result of Sean Hannity saying on his show on Thursday night that this must be done to stop the leaks.

  4. Interesting rear it was called Spanish Flu when the death count was about 30. That refutes several theories about why it was called that — I read one place that it got that name long after it spread. Clearly not.

  5. First rule of safety signs: attention.

    My sign would have been:

    Don’t spit if you don’t want to fucking die.

    1. Errm, don’t spit if you don’t want someone else to die. You’re gonna die anyway.

      Loses a little of the impact, I know.


  6. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is one of my favourite stories. It’s a shame it was horribly popularized and corrupted the way it was because her story asks big questions if having the power to do something means we should use that power (something the Romantic poets thought about during a time of great scientific and industrial knowledge growth). It’s a very touching story too and quite sad in many places as it evokes such empathy for the poor unnamed “wretch”.

    1. I agree. I once saw the first Frankenstein movie – with Boris Karloff – and the feeling of sympathy managed to transcend the primitive b&w film.

      Actually the ‘monster’ / alien / robot trying to make sense of human conventions or feelings is a curiously intriguing and sympathy-engaging concept. It’s a contrast to the conventional aliens-as-killer-monsters trope of early sci-fi.

      It surfaces for example with Spock in Star Trek (‘Fascinating’). Or, come to that, the replicant Roy in the finale of Blade Runner when he unexpectedly saves Deckard’s life. Or innumerable lesser TV episodes.


      1. I recall a British TV serialisation of the book which was reasonably true to the book, and more about the creature’s angst and loneliness than most movie adaptations. Possibly 30-40 years ago.

        Roy’s final “Tears in rain” speech is very moving, and IIRC, largely written by Rutger Hauer.

    1. O golly, y1918 = a time and era dreadful for so, so many persons Worldwide including my parents (both of them just then themselves born y1919, and y1917) and, too of course, for their own parents and grandparents. I am sorry for Dr Coyne’s grandmama, a terribly and viciously common outcome for women anywhere near to contagions and warrings — particularly when they are just themselves postpartum and are so trying to recover stamina after pregnancies, laborings and babies’ birthings have ripped themselves apart for so, so many prior months’ time.

      I have studied up upon other of the histories — of right then — happening in very many places of the World. One piece I have not put together, however, and ask fellow readers if AllYa’All know, as re “On this day in 1918, the first case of Spanish Flu was reported,” .HOW. did personnel inside somewhere with the very first stages of some disease coming on within that specific place … … that would eventually go on to spread so incredibly epidemically — — how did these people know, say, inside Kansas and its “first case” there, as Ms Hastie as well asks, that they were, indeed, dealing with the — Spanish — flu contagion.

      With that specific H1N1 influenza virus? Specifically right there in Kansas then? Was stating that, in reality, actually a waaaay – later epidemiological traceback ? after seeing a disease with the verisimilar onset rapidities, signs, symptoms and sad, sad outcomes, months’ time after, just nearly everywhere else? Or did persons .know. nearly right off? The diagnostic procedure(s) of that horrid deal … … right then inside Kansas? Of that era … … inside the very early 20th Century?


    2. My thought exactly. Blame it on [someone foreign]. Where have we heard that recently?

      I will remember from now on to make sure I call it ‘American flu’ 😉


  7. Next year is the 200th anniversary of the publication of Shelley’s “Frankenstein” (most folk read a heavily revised edition done in 1831).

    Ironically (especially for readers of WEIT), although the original Frankenstein is in many ways a polemic against Milton’s “Paradise Lost” (Victor F is an incompetent God who bungled his “Adam”), it in later generations came to be seen as a polemic against science. Director James Whale, who surely knew better, apparently went the latter route with his Boris Karloff movies.

    However, not waiting for next years 200th, it is this year that both the San Francisco ballet and the East Bay’s West Edge Opera are doing adaptations of Shelley’s book. The former has come and gone and was terrific.

  8. Proud to report : noodle achievement for today : rice vermicelli.

    Apologies for the selfishness. And please keep the noodles in Eat Your Noodles Day.

  9. “The site of the very first confirmed outbreak was at Camp Funston, within Fort Riley in Kansas..”

    My mother was born in 1913 Junction City, and grew up there, a five minute drive from Camp Funston. So happy she did not get a bad case of the flu. Among other things, if she had, I would not be writing this. Thanks Mom!

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