Saturday: Hili dialogue

February 16, 2019 • 6:30 am

It’s Saturday, February 16, 2019 and, thanks to Big Almond, National Almond Day. And in North Korea it’s the Day of the Shining Star (Kim Jong-il’s Birthday). Here’s how it’s being celebrated as we speak:

The holiday begins on 16 February and lasts for two days. Celebrations are observed throughout the country. The capital, Pyongyang, has observances such as mass gymnastics, music performances, fireworks displays, military demonstrations, and mass dancing parties. Boulevards are lined up with flags and banners. Millions of people visit the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun where both Kim Il-sung and Kim Jong-il lay in state. Exhibitions of the orchid Kimjongilia take place. The orchid is named after Kim and has been cultivated to bloom around the Day of the Shining Star. Outside of Pyongyang, commemorations are not as lavish. The North Korean government often allocates more food and energy to the people on Day of the Shining Star than normally. Children are given candy, and it is one of the few occasions on which new members are admitted in the Korean Children’s Union. Vitaly Mansky’s 2015 documentary film Under the Sun chronicles the run up to such a ceremony on the Day of the Shining Star.

Government and business offices, banks, and retail close for the Day of the Shining Star. Weddings are commonly held on the Day of the Shining Star.

Here’s a brief video of the celebrations, and a heartbreaking bit at the end when relatives separated by the DMZ get a rare chance to meet.

On February 16, 1923, Howard Carter and his men finally unsealed the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun. Exactly 14 years later, Wallace H. Carothers received the United States patent for nylon. And yet, checking on this, Wikipedia says “DuPont obtained a patent for the polymer in September 1938.” We are all awaiting Greg’s article, “What’s the matter with Wikipedia?”, which will check the accuracy of some chosen sites.

Yes, it’s a thin day for news, although “President” Trump continues to wreak havoc in the U.S. going back to this day in 1968, the first 911 emergency telephone system went into operation, and, exactly ten years later, the first computer bulletin board—CBBS in Chicago—came into being.  On this day in 2005, the National Hockey League canceled the entire 2004-2005 season, and, one year later, the last MASH unit of the U.S. Army (“Mobile Army Surgical Hospital”) was decommissioned.

Notables born on this day include three scientists: Francis Galton (1822), Ernst Haeckel (1834), and Hugo de Vries (1848), as well as Margot Frank (1926), Sonny Bono (1935), Kim Jong-Il (1941; see above), Natalie Angier (1958), John McEnroe (1959), and The Weeknd (1990; real name Abel Makkonen Tesfaye. I can’t stand writing “The Weeknd”).

Those who expired on February 16 were few, or at least not so notable; they include Eddie Foy, Sr. (1928) and Leslie Gore (2015).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej is trying to play with Hili using a cat toy. Hili warns him off: as Malgorzata says, “Hili is not interested in any cat toys at all.”

Hili: Don’t play with that.
A: Why?
Hili:  Because I say so.
In Polish:
Hili: Nie baw się tym.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Bo ja tak mówię.

Look! I’m a patron! Feline Friends London, a lovely no-kill cat rescue, fostering, and adoption organization, will now become one of this website’s Official Charities™.  (You can donate here.) This weekend readers Laurie and Gethyn, the staff of the late espresso-drinking moggie Theo, will adopt from them a pair of black sister kittens.

Tweets from reader Nilou. First, biologist Adam Rutherford throws shade on otters! I’m not sure, as he implies, that otters can drown harbour seals. Otter necrophilia is disturbing, but ducks do it, too (they also drown females).

A very rare eight-legged (octopod) avocet:

From reader Barry: an extremely rude fox.

Tweets from Grania: look at this blue fungus!

And have a butchers at this helpful sea cat!

This is terminally cute.

An anti-vax tweet from the woman married to Bill Shine, Trump’s Deputy Chief of Communications. Jebus!

Tweets from Matthew, the first one touting a must-have book:

If you click on the photo, you’ll see that there really is a Brexit pizza.

Can you spot the moth? (Yes, there’s one in the photo.)

And this is a splendid beetle. Darwin would have been blown away:


36 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

    1. That is sad. He was a great actor. Also funny. I saw an interview with him where he talked about his family teasing him about being a dictator at home. I’ve often thought that Amazon missed a beat when they didn’t cast him as Hitler in The Man in the High Castle. I can’t wait though for Hitler to be informed of the death.

  1. “Exhibitions of the orchid Kimjongilia take place. The orchid is named after Kim and has been cultivated to bloom around the Day of the Shining Star.”

    That quote from Wikipedia caught my attention as an orchid lover. But when I read the linked Wikipedia article on Kimjongilia, it said the flower was a begonia, not an orchid. I learned however that there is an orchid named Kimilsungia named after him. The full name is Dendrobium Clara Bundt ‘Kimilsungia’.

    So this is one for Greg’s article.

    1. I find it interesting that statistics, at least earlier, said that Wikipedia was no worse or better than other encyclopedias at around 80 % error rate. What is the explanation for that seemingly robust number, is it the best we (the market of commercial companies and open enthusiast contribution) can do? Maybe an article on the science of encyclopedias can delve into that question!

      1. 80% error rate? What does that mean? That 80% of all facts in Wikipedia are wrong? I just don’t believe it.

        Or 80% of articles contain *an* error? That is possible, I guess.


  2. That bit about male otter and ducks was ghastly!

    I am also disappointed by the Italian pizza restaurant where guests are mocked. Most Italians, however, are very hospitable.

    1. Too little information to know if the apparently UK person was recognized and mocked personally, or if the restaurant and its staff was impartial (except on Brexit, natch).

      That said, the sane reaction to Brexit, its non-handling by the UK, and the cost it will bring all of us for no other apparent reason than that at times more people dislike than like cooperative organizations, is mockery.

      1. I disagree about the latter. About the former, the menu in the photo was prepared before any British customer appeared. Apparently the owner of the restaurant hates British and uses Brexit as an excuse for his bigotry.

        1. I’m British and I thoroughly agree with the restaurant owner that Brexit deserves mockery.

          It’s no more anti-British than laughing at tRump is anti-American.


  3. Surprising Trump was not invited over to the big holiday in N. Korea. He really likes those parades. Probably too busy declaring emergencies and playing golf where most of the workers are now unemployed illegals. Appears the emergency was in Chicago yesterday afternoon with 5 dead plus the shooter, plus 4 police shot. Not really news worthy this far north where the real killing takes place.

  4. The NK Vid. The narrator says “Kim Jong the Second”. Twice.
    Not knowing that it’s “Kim Jong-il” where presumably the “il” had been written Calital I small L — looking like “II”…


    The Mayo Clinic & others have known for years by observation that measles can slow the progress of cancer cells

    So the Mayo engineer a special measles virus of just the right weakness that it will disrupt cancer cells, but not healthy cells

    Treatment successful on a difficult case as a last resort [because one gets very ill] & Stacy Erholtz is doing very well thank you

    Therefore Darla Shine thinks this:
    Here we go LOL #measlesoutbreak on #CNN #Fake #Hysteria. The entire Baby Boom population alive today had the #Measles as kids
    Bring back our #ChildhoodDiseases they keep you healthy & fight cancer.

    Here retro website HAPPY HOUSEWIVES CLUB reminds me of 40s pinups & I Love Lucy, but her grins are just a little forced…

    1. Her husband — Trump’s current comms director, Bill Shine — is the former Fox News executive who got canned for aiding and abetting sexual harassment by Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes.

      The Donald hires all the best people.

      1. The swamp isn’t drying out – the flow of sewage is undiminished. The Shine kids are screwed before they can even toddle.

        1. Fairfax’s sins were not known to voters until very recently and now everyone in his own party wants him out.

          How is this in any way comparable to hiring a known accessory to sexual misconduct and not simply the most transparent and shameless bit of bothsiderism.

    2. Shine’s argument is also essentially “All the ALIVE people I know never died so where’s the danger?”

      I personally don’t know any living people who ever died of anything, therefore nothing is dangerous.

  6. The cryptic moth has got to be the leaf in the middle ground (slightly out of focus). I can’t pick out any appendages, but it’s just got to be that one.

  7. Darla Shine, cleaning the house in High Heels awaiting daddy to come home. The kids and even the dog appear not impressed on that photograph there.
    Her tweet is correct: all the baby boomers alive (from before the 1963 vaccine) got measles and survived* (Deuh), but she doesn’t mention the millions that did not, nor the ones that got deaf, blind or mentally impaired. The death rate before the vaccine is estimated by the WHO to have been about 2.6 million annually (and with today’s increased population it would be closer to 5 million p/a without vaccine)
    Measles is a highly contagious, if not the most contagious, disease, with a substantial death and disability rate. And it is contagious well before the diagnostic rash appears.
    The measles vaccine is highly effective and probably saved more lives than any other vaccine. The fact Ms Darla (estimating her age probably vaccinated herself) is so dismissive is due to vaccination. The Measles vaccine has become victim of it’s own success.
    Also note that recently it was discovered that measles suppresses the immune system: children having had actual measles have a significantly higher mortality rate from other diseases up to 2 -3 years after surviving measles.

    *all the Jews (or their descendants) alive now survived the Shoa, all Rwandans alive now survived the 1094 genocide, etc. etc.

    1. Personally I hate measles, since the immune system suppression as an anecdote example likely was what waylaid me for three years after the measles passed the pre-vaccination neighborhood. My school attendance record from the time says the first year after I attended a total of a month instead of nine, so 90 % sick time.

      I don’t think diseases help your health (including cancer rates) but IIRC research shows your body on average takes a lasting hit. “What does not kill you weakens you.”

      The newest policies seem to say that it is okay for anti-vaxx parents to mistreat their children but that those children should be further disadvantaged by not being able to attend school. Dunno if I like the possible consequences of that but perhaps it is better than having anti-vaxxery run rampant.

      We were supposed to *eradicate* measles by year 2020 or so! Oy vey.

  8. “I’m not sure, as he implies, that otters can drown harbour seals.”

    They do. But they drown harbor seal pups, not adults. The scientific paper documenting this is here:

    “Nineteen occurrences of interspecific sexual
    behavior between male southern sea otters
    (Enhydra lutris nereis) and juvenile Pacific harbor seals (Phoca vitulina richardsi) were reported in Monterey Bay, California, between 2000 and 2002. At least three different male sea otters were observed harassing, dragging, guarding, and copulating with harbor seals for up to 7 days postmortem.

    Carcasses of 15 juvenile harbor seals were recovered, and seven were necropsied in detail by a veterinary pathologist. Necropsy findings from two female sea otters that were recovered dead from male sea otters exhibiting similar behavior are also
    presented to facilitate a comparison of lesions.”

    An unexplained decrease in the number of female sea otters in Monterey Bay might be causing sexually frustrated male otters to rape and drown harbor seal pups. “Normal” sea otter sex is already rather rough, and when applied to seal pups it can be fatal.

  9. “On this day in 2005, the National Hockey League canceled the entire 2004-2005 season,”

    Why? I mean, I can think of reasons, right after cancelling the World Series and the NFL, but I’m a sports-phobe. 8-(

    (Google google google…)
    It seems it was an industrial dispute (
    These things are always more banal and less interesting than the imagination suggests.


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