Monday: Hili dialogue

Note: PCC(E)—formerly Chat de Plafond—is a bit ill today (or, as they say in the UK, “poorly”): not coronavirus, but some bug that’s going to keep me resting for a day or so. I’ve prepared this Hili in advance, as I usually do, but posting today will be light. Matthew, however, has promised to contribute a swell science post on odor, flies, and the insects’ sense of smell.

Also, I’m told by a duck expert that the female mallards quacking in the pond yesterday were trying to establish territories.  This, I’m told, is indicated by the head bob that follows the bout of quacking (you can see it at 0:13 in the video from yesterday’s post. We’re breaking in a new Duck Farmer today as well.


It’s Monday, March 9, 2020, and and double food holiday: National Meatball Day and National Crab Day. I haven’t had a meatball in ages, though I’ve had a matzo ball. It’s also Commonwealth Day, celebrating the former British Empire, Joe Franklin Day, commemorating the New York t.v. and radio personality born on this day in 1926,  Barbie Day (the anorexic doll made her debut on March 9, 1959), and, most important, Fill Our Staplers Day. You might be down to your last few staples, and do you even have a backup supply?

Stuff that happened on Marc 9 includes:

  • 1566 – David Rizzio, private secretary to Mary, Queen of Scots, is murdered in the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh, Scotland.
  • 1776 – The Wealth of Nations by Scottish economist and philosopher Adam Smith is published.
  • 1841 – The U.S. Supreme Court rules in the United States v. The Amistad case that captive Africans who had seized control of the ship carrying them had been taken into slavery illegally.
  • 1933 – Great Depression: President Franklin D. Roosevelt submits the Emergency Banking Act to Congress, the first of his New Deal policies.
  • 1954 – McCarthyismCBS television broadcasts the See It Now episode, “A Report on Senator Joseph McCarthy“, produced by Fred Friendly.

I can’t find the whole video of this episode, but here’s the last three minutes of Edward R. Murrow going after McCarthy. This is the television episode that in fact spelled the end of McCarthy’s witch-hunting career. Murrow was so eloquent! (In 2005, this episode was made into a very good movie, “Good Night and Good Luck,” directed by George Clooney.)

  • 1959 – The Barbie doll makes its debut at the American International Toy Fair in New York.

Here’s the very first Barbie. The neck looks a little long. . . .

Original uploaded by Barbieologin at Wikimedia Commons Released under the {{Cc-by-3.0}} license


2011 – Space Shuttle Discovery makes its final landing after 39 flights.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1892 – Vita Sackville-West, English author, poet, and gardener (d. 1962)
  • 1910 – Samuel Barber, American pianist and composer (d. 1981)
  • 1918 – George Lincoln Rockwell, American sailor and politician, founded the American Nazi Party (d. 1967),

Rockwell, whose headquarters were not far from my childhood home In Arlington, Virginia, was assassinated by one of his own in 1967. A friend and I went to visit the headquarters of the Nazi Party when I was in junior high, and it took a lot of courage to go to that shabby house and knock on the door. But we wanted to say we’d done it. As expected, it was full of a bunch of bigots, though Rockwell wasn’t in. We left with a bunch of racist and anti-Semitic propaganda.  Here’s a photo from Wikipedia:

George Lincoln Rockwell (far right) with American Nazi party members, including assassin-to-be John Patler (to the left), and their Volkswagen hate bus in Virginia, 1961. Bettmann / Contributor via Getty Images

  • 1918 – Mickey Spillane, American crime novelist (d. 2006)
  • 1934 – Yuri Gagarin, Russian colonel, pilot, and astronaut (d. 1968)

Gagarin was the first human in outer space, completing one orbit of the Earth in April, 1961. Here’s a Soviet stamp honoring his achievement:

  • 1943 – Bobby Fischer, American chess player and author (d. 2008)
  • 1954 – Bobby Sands, PIRA volunteer; Irish republican politician (d. 1981)
  • 1964 – Juliette Binoche, French actress

Those whose hearts stopped beating on March 9 include:

  • 1566 – David Rizzio, Italian-Scottish courtier and politician (b. 1533)
  • 1825 – Anna Laetitia Barbauld, English poet, author, and critic (b. 1743)
  • 1847 – Mary Anning, English paleontologist (b. 1799)
  • 1989 – Robert Mapplethorpe, American photographer (b. 1946)

You can see some of Mapplethorpe’s images on this Google Image search; many are erotic, and some were the subjects of famous censorship cases. Here’s a famous one of Patti Smith, with whom he lived from 1967-1972 (Mapplethorpe was gay, and died of AIDS.)

  • 1994 – Charles Bukowski, American poet, novelist, and short story writer (b. 1920)
  • 1997 – The Notorious B.I.G., American rapper, songwriter, and actor (b. 1972)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s cares are local rather than national or international. In fact, they’re limited to a single room in her house:

Hili: I’m going to check the news.
A: On the computer?
Hili: No, in the kitchen
In Polish:
Hili: Idę sprawdzić wiadomości.
Ja: W komputerze?
Hili: Nie, w kuchni.

From Jesus of the Day, we have what looks like an atheist area:

A stunning osprey photo from Wild and Wonderful:

From Jesus of the Day. Could some kind reader ascertain if this book really does exist?

Two Women’s Day tweets from Titania. She’s such a wag!

From reader Barry, a needy but adorable seal gets some underwater fusses:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. The first depicts interspecific love in its many forms, and note the ducks! I think the guitar music (turn sound up) is by Django Reinhardt.

From Heather via Ann German. I hadn’t heard of this film; have you? (It’s not out yet.)

Three tweets from Matthew. Look at this gorgeous gastropod!

A shrew conga line. When I retweeted it, I said, “I sure hope one of them doesn’t lose hold.”

This is only one of a gazillion reasons to want a cat!

You MUST have the sound up on this one or you’ll miss the best part. This frog clearly doesn’t like fusses.



    • Terry Sheldon
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Yep. Bought a copy as a gift for a fellow ailurophile a few years back. Hilarious!

  1. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    People Are Eating
    Children In This Area

    Jonathan Swift Memorial Park?

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      Good one, Ken!

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    The playing on the interspecific-love video sounds to be either Django himself or from the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s film Sweet and Lowdown — the conceit of which is that the character played by Sean Penn is the the second greatest jazz guitarist in the world after Django Reinhardt.

  3. rickflick
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    Josh Turner covers Django Reinhardt. Nice finger work. Django, as I recall had a couple of missing fingers on his fret hand. How’d he do it?

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Hadn’t heard about the film Unfit before. But not only does the Donald himself not have a security clearance (since, as the elected president, he needn’t qualify for one), but Trump has also overruled his own White House security office to grant security clearances to dozens of his staffers who were deemed unqualified for such clearances following FBI background investigations.

    This includes Trump’s own dilettante son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, who was denied a top-secret clearance due to his numerous odd, compromising international financial ties, as well as his weird BFF bromance with the Crown Prince of Saudia Arabia, Mohammad bin Bonesaw. (This was one of the reasons for the rift between Trump and one of his three former Chiefs of Staff, General John Kelly.)

    Like so much else regarding the Trump presidency, this cavalier handling of top-secret security clearances is unprecedented in this nation’s history.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

      That film is being produced (?) by Bandy Lee and the group she founded, Duty to Warn, from whence the tweet originates.

      Think I’ve said it before but every time she makes some observation and prognostication that I think is over the top, it’s proved right in spades. She’s been advocating for placing an involuntary psychiatric hold on him and has been urging Nancy Pelosi to do so, so far to no avail. I wish Nancy Pelosi or somebody would do that. Cart him off to the nut house. Barr might have a fatal aneurism.

      • rickflick
        Posted March 9, 2020 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        The 25th Amendment:

        “The Vice President, and a majority of Cabinet officers, prepare a letter for the President pro tem of the Senate (Senator Chuck Grassley) and the Speaker of the House (Representative Nancy Pelosi) stating that the president is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office. At that point, the VP becomes acting president”

        Nancy Pelosi is just a small and neutral part of the process. I don’t think removal is ever going to happen, unless he goes into a catatonic fit or starts howling at the moon.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

          Yeah, I think you’re right but his paranoia grows by the hour and the old man is already yelling at clouds so I wouldn’t be too surprised if he does start howling at the moon and then goes into a catatonic trance of denial But “god forbid” that Pence should become president — or Barr. Something’s got to give but I guess we’re screwed no matter what.

          However, every time I think ‘this time, with this crisis, he’s got to blow’ he proves to be just like the Energizer Bunny. Where is our Suetonius?

          • rickflick
            Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:58 pm | Permalink

            I can tolerate Pence for a few months. He’s a dunce, but simply not in the same wacko league as tRump.

          • rickflick
            Posted March 9, 2020 at 10:00 pm | Permalink

            By the way, I think Justice Ginsburg may have to be propped up, tied to a broom handle if necessary, until the election, even if Pence took over. 😎

    • sugould
      Posted March 10, 2020 at 9:46 am | Permalink

      What with many of the folks who attended the CPAC convention possibly spreading the Coronavirus (Louie Gomert), Trump may come down with it *himself.*

      In which case, the only honorable thing to do would be to quarantine himself on the infected cruise ship. So his “numbers” don’t suffer.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    Your video for today:

    • JezGrove
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

      Heart warming. It sounds like the cops’ “going the extra mile” was appreciated by their superiors – I certainly hope so! Back in the ’70s my mother was given a ride home by the local police in the UK after they encountered her when her car broke down on the motorway. (A nervous driver at the best of times, she doesn’t deal well in stressful situations, so was probably beside herself.) A neighbour, also in the police force, was shocked when she told him she had written a thank you letter to the police chief – he said the guys would be in serious trouble for giving her a lift in their patrol car.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 10:03 pm | Permalink


  6. Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    Gee, frogs really don’t like being petted, do they.

    • boudiccadylis
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      Is that real frog? It looks very plastic

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:23 pm | Permalink

        I ca ‘t think even the Japanese making toy frogs like that (I mention Japanese because they are the masters of creating weird toys).
        I think it is real, but have no clue about the species. Some anurophile here?

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

          My guess is a Budgett’s frog Lepidobatrachus laevis, but an anorophile may correct me.

      • Posted March 9, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        It looks real and it freaks me out. So did the red and black snail.

  7. Barb Melichar
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Yes, the gun safety book for cats is for real.

    Barb Melichar

    On Mon, Mar 9, 2020, 7:32 AM Why Evolution Is True wrote:

    > whyevolutionistrue posted: “Note: PCC(E)—formerly Chat de Plafond—is a bit > ill today (or, as they say in the UK, “poorly”): not coronavirus, but some > bug that’s going to keep me resting for a day or so. I’ve prepared this > Hili in advance, as I usually do, but posting today will be l” >

  8. Frank Bath
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:26 am | Permalink

    Without fear or favour the blonde featured in Titania’s tweet is Britain’s infamous child murderer Myra Hindley, deceased.

  9. Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Am I the only one who, upon reading the George Lincoln Rockwell picture description thought, “Aren’t ALL of those guys on the far right?”

  10. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    I woke up feeling particularly splenetic but that frog, those shrews, the snail, the interspecific affection, the seal (no wonder baby seals are called pups), all and more have made my morning. Titania, too. And Hili — yesterday, I was heartened to see that she and Szaron might well become friends.

    BTW, the New York AG is going to shut down Jim Bakker’s ‘silver solution’ scam. About time!

    Had I actually seen Rockwell and his “Hate Bus” I’d probably have burst out laughing at the very idea of grown men having a Hate Bus, though it’s not funny at all and they’d surely have string me up for making light of their stupidity.

    In that regard, I recall when I was staying with friends in Stauffenberg (home of Faust’s Castle, and one night, in a meadow outside of town, I saw a flickering fire in the distance and some men gathered around it. I was very curious and told my host that I was going over to investigate (hey, it looked like a campfire at my old sleep-away camp). She said Stay Away! those are guys into some Germanic male ritual stuff, no telling what would happen if you went over there. Damn, I was curious but I heeded her cautionary words.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Some Teutonic variant of Robert Bly‘s mythopoetic “Iron John” men’s movement? 🙂

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted March 9, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

        I am sure! But as far as I could tell they didn’t have harmoniums.

  11. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    That osprey photograph must go into the history books as the best wildlife photograph ever. Monumental, in action, perfect take.

  12. merilee
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 2:48 pm | Permalink


  13. Heather Hastie
    Posted March 9, 2020 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    The reason the murder of Mary, Queen of Scots private secretary is so significant is that it was done in front of her, by her fiance Lord Bothwell. He burst in on them having dinner (no hanky-panky – Rizzo was gay). Mary still went ahead and married Bothwell.

    • rickflick
      Posted March 9, 2020 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

      I won’t believe it ’til I see the Netflix version. 😎

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