Wednesday: Hili dialogue

March 11, 2020 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, National “Eat Your Noodles” Day. Why the scare quotes? Are we only supposed to pretend to eat noodles? Or are we restricted from eating other people’s noodles? Who knows—and who cares—but these scare quotes have to go. See more of them at The “Blog” of “Unnecessary” Quotation Marks (sadly, the “blog” went “silent” over three years ago. Here are two examples:

When will they ever learn?

It’s also Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day (who thought that one up?), Johnny Appleseed Day, celebrating the life of the planter John Chapman, who, curiously, was neither born nor died on this day. It’s also Debunking Day (here’s mine: anthropogenic global warming is not a hoax), and World Plumbing Day, in which you should take time to appreciate your fixtures and modern plumbing.

The big news of the day (in America): There were Democratic primaries in six states yesterday, and Biden won four of them, including the critical swing state of Michigan (the others were Missouri, Mississippi, and Idaho. Biden got 53% of the vote in Michigan; Sanders only 37%.  Bernie picked up two states: North Dakota and Washington. The total delegate count is 883 for Biden and 663 for Sanders. It looks as if The Bern has been extinguished. Curiously, Sanders didn’t address his supporters at the end of the day. I’m hoping that, if Biden is the nominee, Sanders supporters won’t stay home on Election Day out of petulance. We have too much to lose. After all, I’d vote for Sanders with alacrity if he was the nominee (and, I suppose, he still could be, though it’s looking unlikely).

We’ll have a discussion of the elections, should you care to weigh in, in about an hour.

Meanwhile in Manchester, Matthew has recovered from his lurgy and is back on the picket line taking selfies (he’s front left):

Stuff that happened on March 11 includes:

  • 1702 – The Daily Courant, England’s first national daily newspaper is published for the first time.

Here’s the very first day’s paper (the paper died in 1735).

Here’s a short video of Höss testifying at the Nuremberg trials in 1946. He was hanged at Auschwitz the next year.

A photo of Höss mounting the gallows. He finally admitted his crimes, which included supervising the execution of half a million people, right before he died:

  • 1985 – Mikhail Gorbachev is elected to the position of General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union making Gorbachev the USSR’s de facto, and last, head of state.
  • 1993 – Janet Reno is confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in the next day, becoming the first female Attorney General of the United States.
  • 2011 – An earthquake measuring 9.0 in magnitude strikes 130 km (81 mi) east of Sendai, Japan, triggering a tsunami killing thousands of people. This event also triggered the second largest nuclear accident in history, and one of only two events to be classified as a Level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1885 – Malcolm Campbell, English race car driver and journalist (d. 1948)
  • 1890 – Vannevar Bush, American engineer and academic (d. 1974)
  • 1895 – Shemp Howard, American actor (d. 1955)

Shemp’s real name was Samuel Horowitz, and he was the brother of Moe Howard (real name: Moses Horowitz), another of the Three Stooges. Remember Shemp? Here’s a photo from Rotten Tomatoes, and a few fun Shemp Facts from Wikipedia:

Shemp used his somewhat homely appearance for comic effect, often mugging grotesquely or allowing his hair to fall in disarray. He even played along with a publicity stunt that named him “The Ugliest Man in Hollywood”. (“I’m hideous,” he explained to reporters.) Notoriously phobic, his fears included airplanes, automobiles, dogs and water. According to Moe’s autobiography, Shemp was involved in a driving accident as a teenager and never obtained a driver’s license.

  • 1903 – Lawrence Welk, American accordion player and bandleader (d. 1992)
  • 1916 – Harold Wilson, English academic and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1995)
  • 1934 – Sam Donaldson, American journalist
  • 1963 – Alex Kingston, English actress

Those who achieved mortality on March 11 include:

  • 1820 – Benjamin West, American-English painter and academic (b. 1738)
  • 1955 – Alexander Fleming, Scottish biologist, pharmacologist, and botanist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1881)
  • 1960 – Roy Chapman Andrews, American paleontologist and explorer (b. 1884)
  • 1970 – Erle Stanley Gardner, American lawyer and author (b. 1889)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili detects interlopers:

Hili: I feel the smell of spring.
A: A flower is coming up?
Hili: No, alien cats are marking my territory.
In Polish:
Hili: Czuję zapach wiosny.
Ja: Jakiś kwiatek wychodzi?
Hili: Nie, obce koty znaczą moje terytorium.

Here’s a new picture of Szaron. The two visits to the vet scared him so he doesn’t like going inside, though he still jumps in laps on the veranda and gets petted. I think he’s an unusual color for a tabby: much darker gray than most gray tabbies, with a lot of black.

This was posted by Diana MacPherson on Facebook:

And Doc Bill posted this one:

From Wild and Wonderful with the caption “Nature is amazing.” Indeed. If this isn’t mimicry of vertebrate eyes that works by startling predators, I’ll eat my hat (I don’t wear hats). There is some controversy about the adaptive significance of these markings, which are widely distributed in Lepidoptera. But the fact that the patterns are flashed by opening the wings when a predator approaches suggests that they did evolve by deterring predation.


Below, a scary tweet from Luana, and this is not a joke. Further, there’s not a Jew among them, as far as I know.  Beside the three members of the “squad”, all of whom support the anti-Semitic BDS movement, we also have Congresswoman Betty McCollum, called the “strongest critic of Israel in Congress” and who has falsely accused Israel of torturing Palestinian children.

Joining her is Representative Pramila Jayapal, and here’s one thing Wikipedia notes about her:

In July 2019, Jayapal voted against H. Res. 246 – 116th Congress, a House resolution introduced by Congressman Brad Schneider (D-IL) opposing efforts to delegitimize the State of Israel and the Global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement targeting Israel. The resolution passed 398-17.

Finally, we have Congressman Marc Pocan, who joined Jayapal and others in voting “no” for HR 246.

If you think Israel has a right to exist at all, these people are your enemies. And what Jewish Voice for Peace should really be called is “‘Progressives for the Destruction of Israel.”

On the lighter side, Dom found a video of a cat playing a theramin. These would be great cat toys if a.) they didn’t cost so much, and b.) the noise would be disturbing:

Barry found this painful tweet, and captioned it, “But seriously–WTF?”

Tweets from Matthew. One of these is a wasp, and the other is a Batesian mimic. Look closely and spot the real wasp, and then tell me what the other insect is.

A Matthew Cobb retweet:

Sound up on this one, please. It this Ceiling Cat investigating His creation, or simply a mouse’s eye view?

Finally, a cat that’s lacking some of its senses:


23 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

    1. I was going to say as well. Also if you do an image search online for ‘owl mimicking moth’ that particular picture is the only one you see of that species. Plenty of other owl mimics in moths and butterflies, but nothing like this one.

    2. As a photographer and naturalist I am 99.999% sure that is a photoshopped fake– the face of a great horned owl put on a month. Dominique claims rubbish and supports the claim with a paper about fake eyes but I have read all of those papers and seen hundreds of photos of moths with fake eyes and never seen anything close to this. Willing to bet folks a bottle of single malt whiskey on this one.

  1. My kids were recently watching three stooges shorts on YouTube when I heard one of them call out “Ugh, it’s a Shemp. Skip it!” My eyes actually welled up a bit, I was so proud of them.

  2. WA and ND are currently tied (well, actually, the undecided votes win in WA).

    WA: Biden 17, Sanders 17, Undec. 55
    ND: Biden 5, Sanders 5, Undec. 4

    … as of just now, per NPR

  3. Shouldn’t National “Eat Your Noodles” Day be

    National Eat “You’re” Noodles Day

    for full grammatical and punctuational (I know, that is not a word. Yet) effect?

    Or maybe

    National Eat Your “Noodles” Day?

    1. Bingo. But still amazing. Clever details include its antennae, and how its wings are half-pigmented length-wise to resemble the wings of its wasp model which are folded length-wise.

  4. Parenting can be tough – I can’t figure out what that pup is trying to accomplish. He’s supposed to take tiny sips (it would be a “he” wouldn’t it?)

  5. I’m not sure exactly what you mean by this, Jerry:
    “On the lighter side, Dom found a video of a cat playing a theramin. These would be great cat toys if a.) they didn’t cost so much, and b.) the noise would be disturbing”.

    I think you might mean “if …. b) the noise wasn’t so disturbing:.

    1. The idea of buying a theremin as a cat toy is an intriguing one. I know there’s very little inside a theremin that is costly, so I googled it. Turns out that a “junior theremin” kit is available from several places for less than $20. I suspect it doesn’t include a sound system. I haven’t looked into them to see if there are ones that come assembled or even one designed for pets. My cats want one with rechargeable batteries and either a built-in speaker or bluetooth to connect to computers and tvs to produce the sound, perhaps both.

      This one takes a 9 volt battery and it looks like it has its own speaker for $15.99:

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