Sunday: Hili dialogue

March 8, 2020 • 6:30 am

Do remember that last night the time changed to Daylight Savings Time in the U.S.: you should have set your clocks an hour forward before 2 a.m. today. If you haven’t, please do so immediately! This post will go up at 6:30 a.m.

Greetings on Sunday, March 8, 2019: National Peanut Cluster Day.  If you’re not a fan of peanut clusters (I’m not), it’s also International Women’s Day, Check Your Batteries Day, National Proofreading Day (be sure to read over your emails before sending), and National Be Nasty Day, a day I disapprove of.

There’s a special Google Doodle for International Women’s Day, and if you click on the screenshot below, you’ll go to a one-minute video celebrating the day. The YouTube description:

Today’s annual International Women’s Day Doodle celebrates women coming together throughout the world—and generations—with a special animated video. The multilayered 3D paper mandala animation, illustrated by Oslo and London-based guest artists Julie Wilkinson and Joyanne Horscrof from Makerie Studio and animated by Zurich-based guest animators Marion Willam & Daphne Abderhalden from DRASTIK GmbH, represents both the history of this powerful celebration and the significance it has for women across generations.

News of the day:  Trump claims he’s a genius about coronavirus, for crying out loud! Is there no end to this man’s narcissism? (Don’t answer that.) Tweet courtesy of Matthew.

Matthew’s new book got a positive review in today’s (London) Times. Click on the screenshot (you’ll have to register if you don’t subscribe, but a limited number of articles are free. The money quote: the book is  “sweeping and electrifyingly skeptical”.

And the Times Higher Ed called it “enthralling”. I told you to read it!

If you can’t read either review, ask and ye shall have.

Stuff that happened on March 8 include:

I bet that you can’t name that third law, even if you can name the First and Second. (I couldn’t.)

  • 1775 – An anonymous writer, thought by some to be Thomas Paine, publishes “African Slavery in America”, the first article in the American colonies calling for the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery.
  • 1817 – The New York Stock Exchange is founded.
  • 1910 – French aviator Raymonde de Laroche becomes the first woman to receive a pilot’s license.

Here’s Laroche at the controls of a Voisin biplane. Sadly, she crashed and died in 1919 testing a new airplane. She was only 36:

If you’re into pugilism, here’s a 12-minute video of the fight’s highlight:

  • 1974 – Charles de Gaulle Airport opens in Paris, France.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1841 – Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., American colonel, lawyer, and jurist (d. 1935)
  • 1879 – Otto Hahn, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
  • 1886 – Edward Calvin Kendall, American chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1972)
  • 1931 – John McPhee, American author and educator
  • 1937 – Richard Fariña, American singer-songwriter and author (d. 1966)

McPhee, now 89 and shown below, is still writing for The New Yorker. I’ve read many of his books and recommend them highly. (He reminds me a bit of my colleague Dave Jablonski.)

Attribution: Office of Communications, Princeton University

Those who took the Dirt Nap on March 8 include:

  • 1869 – Hector Berlioz, French composer, conductor, and critic (b. 1803)
  • 1930 – William Howard Taft, American lawyer, jurist, and politician, 27th President of the United States (b. 1857)

Taft was a President of Size, weighing 340 pounds toward the end of his Presidency, though he subsequently went on a walking-oriented fitness regime. He’s also the only person who served as both President and Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (his service on the court came after his Presidency).

  • 1993 – Billy Eckstine, American trumpet player (b. 1914)
  • 1999 – Joe DiMaggio, American baseball player and coach (b. 1914)
  • 2016 – George Martin, English composer, conductor, and producer (b. 1926)

Here’s Eckstine and his orchestra with one of my favorites: “Without a Song.” (He did a better version, but it’s not on YouTube. Still, this one is very good.):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows that not only can she read, but she can count:

Hili: Two new molehills.
A: How do you know?
Hili: Yesterday there were 15 and today there are 17.
In Polish:
Hili: Dwa nowe kretowiska.
Ja: Skąd wiesz?
Hili: Wczoraj było 15, a dziś jest 17.

And here are Szaron and Hili in the same photo: They are wary of each other but not hostile, and there is no hissing:

Andrzej’s caption: Przełamujemy lody (“Breaking the ice”):

A cryptic owl from the Emporium of Unique and Wondrous Things:

From Jesus of the Day:

A cartoon from reader Bruce. I suppose it’s verboten to call these “sex reveal parties”.


From the ever-woke Titania. Apparently flying this flag—”Woman, noun, adult human female”, a dictionary definition—for International Women’s Day is something akin to a hate crime: a “transphobic dog whistle”. See the story here at the BBC. As you might guess, the flag was taken down.

A tweet from Rebecca Markert, a constitutional attorney at the Freedom from Religion Foundation

Ali Rizvi notes how Muslims are using prayer to ward off the viruses. But why did Allah inflict us with this thing in the first place?

More antibiological and ideological madness from Luana. This article, which I may read, claims that sexual dimorphism—the difference between male and female bodies—is actually produced by registering babies as “male” or “female” at birth. I wonder how they decide to register them!

From reader Barry, a misleading but informative photo.

A tweet from Heather Hastie, showing the dextrous badger Mr. Lumpy:

Tweets from Matthew, including this incredible video of a moose swimming in the water and grazing on underwater vegetation. Here Matthew joins the likes of Darwin, who saw the origin of whales in a bear swimming in the water and snapping at insects:

Remember that tree-inside-a-tree in which an artist/carver revived the younger version of a tree by carving around its rings? Here’s another view of the detail of that work:

39 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Recording birth sex? Who remembers the ‘Machine that goes Ping’ sketch from Monty Python’s Meaning of Liff? “A little early to be imposing gender roles, don’t you think?” It was funny because it was ludicrous, yet now it is completely unfunny, serious VirtSig. Oh, well, we already eat ourselves to death like Mr Creosote – I wonder what will come true next?

    1. I don’t disagree with the point you make but if you will excuse a little pedantry can I just clarify that the Monty Python film was called the Meaning of Life. The Meaning of Liff was a book published by Douglas Adams (he of Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy fame) and John Lloyd in which they invented humorous definitions to apply to English place names. For example, if I recall correctly Uttoxeter was defined as “the electronic brain of a drinks vending machine that in effect allows it to make its own decisions”.

    2. That sketch is also appropriate for International Women’s Day, since it features a woman about to give birth.

      WOMAN: What do I do?
      DOCTOR: Nothing dear! You’re not qualified!

      Here ’tis:

    3. It is hard to know what to expect next. Maybe members of PETA going “horseback riding” using coconuts?

  2. All they care about is if Donald is a bully and a loudmouth. Other than that they couldn’t care less.

  3. International Women’s Day is a big deal in Poland, where I was born. It’s customary for everyone to give flowers to their wife, girlfriend, mom, sister, grandma, etc.

    Happy International Women’s Day to all women reading this! 🙂

  4. Somehow the picture of John McPhee along with the video of the moose reminded me of an anecdote from one of McPhee’s books, in which he was drinking from a stream & eating watercress at the same time.

  5. Perhaps the Democrats will include the elimination of Daylight Savings Time in the future on their Platform. I would heartily support that. Currently I have 3 clock radios, 2 cordless telephones, 1 gas stove, and 1 microwave oven I have to figure out once again how to reset their times.

  6. The guy standing just to the right of Donald Trump in the above video — the one with the Mennonite-style beard and the stupid look on his face, grinning along with Trump’s risible remarks — is Trump’s controversial head of the Center for Disease Control, Dr. Robert Redfield.

    In the 1980s, while working at Walter Reed Medical Center, Redfield wrote an introduction for a book by a Christian organization that called HIV/AIDS “God’s judgment” against homosexuality.

    A fella like that, how could we not trust his medical acumen in addressing pandemics?

    1. Who’s the guy to the right of the guy to the right — the one with the red tie? I’ve run that clip several times and watched his face. It’s very controlled — but I think I see subtle signs of pain, incredulity, amusement, and despair fighting behind those eyes.

      I just don’t think he’s buying it.

          1. Nasty and incompetent besides.
            Speaking of nasty, I’ve been wearing my Nasty Woman tee shirt to the gym recently. And speaking of Hillary, she had an excellent long interview with Fareed Zakaria today. What we missed out on😢

  7. I HATE losing that 1 hour when we put the clocks forward. So here’s what I do: I DON’T put the clocks forward an hour until dinner time. So I’m going through the entire day on standard time (it’s not like I’m catching a plane) until I sit down to eat at 6:30. THEN I put the clocks forward one hour because the day is done and I no longer need that hour. So 6:30 becomes 7:30. No big deal. Like I said, I got accomplished what I needed to during the day. Sitting watching TV? I’m not missing that hour.

  8. “I bet that you can’t name that third law, even if you can name the First and Second. (I couldn’t.)”

    The square of the orbital period of a planet is proportional the the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit.

    Disclaimer: I used to teach this stuff 🙂

    1. Isaac Newton showed that Kepler’s 3rd law is a simplified equation that is applicable only in a solar system where the mass of the central body is orders of magnitude greater than the mass of the other bodies (i.e. planets, comets, teapots), otherwise Newton’s more general equation is needed.

      Kepler was right about proportionality, but Newton was ‘righter’, in the same way that Newton was right about gravity, and Einstein ‘righter’.

  9. “Do remember that last night the time changed to Daylight Savings Time in the U.S.: you should have set your clocks an hour forward before 2 a.m. today. If you haven’t, please do so immediately!”

    Except, of course, for readers in Hawaii and (most of) Arizona.

  10. That was a helluva first bout between Ali and Frazier. Smokin’ Joe whooped him fair-and-square. (There was no more lethal punch in that era than Frazier’s left hook). Ali showed a lot of heart picking his keister up off the canvas and finishing the 15th round after the knockdown.

    I was 17 at the time of that fight. (I’d been in kindergarten when Ali won his gold medal at the Rome Olympics, in 5th grade when Ali — then “Cassius Clay” — took the heavyweight title from Sonny Liston. I’d be all grown up with a family of my own by the time Ali finally hung up his gloves for the last time in the early ’80s.)

    There was something unsettling to those of us who considered ourselves part the anti-war Left about Ali losing that fight — as though the fates or the Furies or what have you had for the first time somehow abandoned the cause of righteousness.

      1. Like many a fighter before and since, Ali stayed in the ring too long. I don’t think either he or Joe Frazier was ever the same after the brutal beating they gave each other in Manila.

        It alienated him from the boxing establishment, and from the white American power structure more generally, but as a teenager, I was thrilled when he told the world, “I ain’t got no quarrel with them Viet Cong.”

  11. On the subject for setting the clock ahead, why not wait until rising in the morning on the old time. That way you do not lose an hour of sleep, only an hour of daytime before the bedtime hour. Then in the Fall you can gain an hour of sleep time by your choice of when to set the clock back.

  12. The Google Doodle is slightly confusing.

    By my estimate, at least two of the 35 women shown – I am assuming they represent real people – are shown wearing a garment – a hijab, I think – which is known to be imposed upon women by males. I do not know what other such head coverings might mean. In addition, this garment – the hijab – is associated with a supernatural influence on human behavior, with the outcome of “modesty”. I do not see any other object on display which suggests any other supernatural influence or control by males, such as a burqua. Thus, I’m not sure what Google means by this discrepancy. I refrain from speculation, but I would say that the animation is successful at expressing the empowerment of women, and I expect this to stimulate more empowerment throughout the world in the future.

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