Thursday: Hili dialogue

March 19, 2020 • 6:45 am

It’s Thursday, March 19, 2020: the first day of Spring in the Northern Hemisphere. That’s celebrated with a Google Doodle that links to the announcement (click on screenshot below).

It’s also National Oatmeal Cookie Day, the worst of all possible cookies, and National Chocolate Caramel Day as well as Oranges and Lemons Day. Finally, it’s National Poultry Day and, appropriately, Let’s Laugh Day and Certified Nurses Day.

Stuff that happened on March 19 includes:

  • 1649 – The House of Commons of England passes an act abolishing the House of Lords, declaring it “useless and dangerous to the people of England”.
  • 1861 – The First Taranaki War ends in New Zealand.
  • 1895 – Auguste and Louis Lumière record their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph.

Here’s a 6.5-minute compilation of those first films from 1895, now 125 years old. These were the first movies that could be projected (Edison’s kinetograph was seen through a binocular-like apparatus, and his films weren’t this sharp). I find these mesmerizing, and the way people dressed seems much fancier than today:

And here’s their early motion-picture camera which was hand cranked:

Uploaded by Victogrigas. This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.
  • 1918 – The US Congress establishes time zones and approves daylight saving time.
  • 1931 – Gambling is legalized in Nevada.
  • 1943 – Frank Nitti, the Chicago Outfit Boss after Al Capone, commits suicide at the Chicago Central Railyard.
  • 1954 – Willie Mosconi sets a world record by running 526 consecutive balls without a miss during a straight pool exhibition at East High Billiard Club in Springfield, Ohio, setting a record that remains unbroken.

That’s an amazing feet of pool. Here’s a short video (2.25 minutes) recounting that record:

  • 1962 – Highly influential artist Bob Dylan releases his first album, Bob Dylan, for Columbia Records.

Can you name one song from that album? (Click the link for answers.) However, I think his later albums, Highway 61 Revisited and Nashville Skyline, are better.

  • 1982 – Falklands War: Argentinian forces land on South Georgia Island, precipitating war with the United Kingdom.
  • 2018 – The last male northern white rhinocerosSudan, dies, ensuring a chance of extinction for the species.

This is a subspecies of the white rhinoceros (the other being the northern white rhinoceros), and, since only two females are left, the subspecies will almost certainly go extinct—but not the species. Here’s a photo of one of the two remaining females from Smithsonian Magazine:

Najin, one of only two female northern white rhinos left in the world, walks in the pen where she is kept for observation. (AP Photo/Sunday Alamba)

.Notables born on this day include:

  • 1844 – Minna Canth, Finnish journalist, playwright, and activist (d. 1897)
  • 1848 – Wyatt Earp, American police officer (d. 1929)
  • 1891 – Earl Warren, American lieutenant, jurist, and politician, 14th Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1974)

Reader Rick sent in a quote from Warren, which came as a “Thought for the Day”:

Many people consider the things government does for them to be social progress but they regard the things government does for others as socialism. -Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court (19 Mar 1891-1974)
  • 1904 – John Sirica, American lawyer and judge (d. 1992)
  • 1905 – Albert Speer, German architect and politician (d. 1981)
  • 1906 – Adolf Eichmann, German SS officer (d. 1962)
  • 1933 – Philip Roth, American novelist (d. 2018)
  • 1947 – Glenn Close, American actress, singer, and producer
  • 1955 – Bruce Willis, German-American actor and producer

Those who died on March 19 but didn’t find eternal life include:

  • 1930 – Arthur Balfour, Scottish-English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1848)
  • 1984 – Garry Winogrand, American photographer (b. 1928)
  • 1997 – Willem de Kooning, Dutch-American painter and educator (b. 1904)
  • 2008 – Arthur C. Clarke, British science fiction writer (b. 1917)

Winogrand is one of the great “street photographers” of our time, a genre whose master was Henri Cartier-Bresson. Here’s a good Winogrand photo:

New York, 1969. Photograph: The Estate of Garry Winogrand/Courtesy Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the cherry trees are getting ready to bloom!

Hili: We have to hurry with pruning of the trees because everything is coming back to life.
A: Yes, this year everything is happening earlier than usual.
In Polish:
Hili: Trzeba się spieszyć z przycinaniem drzew, bo już się budzą do życia.
Ja: Tak, wszystko jest w tym roku wcześniej niż zwykle.

A manipulated photo posted by reader Avis: Rock in the Time of Virus:

From Nicole:

Posted on FB by Margaret Downey:

Titania has a new piece in The Critic Magazine (characterized as “a contrarian conservative magazine”) criticizing freedom of speech. An excerpt from the Queen’s article:

And in these days of the internet, it’s even easier for people to say wrong things to a wider audience. This is why we must campaign for tighter controls on internet freedom. As committed left-wing activists, our priority must be to ensure that corporations in Silicon Valley are empowered to set the limits of what we can and cannot say.

As the great social justice pioneer Mary Whitehouse put it, “Bad language coarsens the whole quality of our life.  It normalises harsh, often indecent language, which despoils our communication.” Today we call this “hate speech”, a crime for which the death penalty ought to be reinstated. Militant state control of citizens’ thoughts is a small price to pay to enforce a tolerant society.

Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a bear who craves a nightly swim:

We all know Trump’s Panglossian view of the pandemic, even now he says he predicted everything. The more he says, the more I despise him. For example, see below:

Tweets from Matthew:

Yes, the Earth has been slowing down over time. In the Devonian, we can tell that there were 400 days per year, and that’s exactly in line with the rate calculated from physics and this bivalve:

Try your hand at this:

I hope this cheers you up:

The thread below this tweet shows a similarly aberrant lower jaw of a sperm whale. It was apparently somewhat functional, as it’s from an adult. I guess it could open and close, and that was sufficient for survival:

Poor eel:

33 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. We all know Trump’s Panglossian view of the pandemic, even now he says he predicted everything. The more he says, the more I despise him.

    Hate to say this, because you know what deep, abiding admiration and respect I have for Our President, but I can’t help but have this vague, nagging feeling that he may not be a fount of 100% accurate and consistent information.

    There, I’ve finally got it out in the open.

      1. He’s constantly playing a character called “Donald Trump”; we have but hints of the mass of seething insecurities that lie behind the curtain at the core of the man.

    1. Let us recall that Earl Warren was a Republican — appointed to the Court by Dwight Eisenhower, a former GOP governor of California, Thomas Dewey’s running-mate in the 1948 presidential election.

      They sure ain’t making Republicans like Earl Warren anymore. We could use a few right about now.

  2. Two digs at oatmeal biscuits in two days! Here in the UK Hobnobs are regularly voted as amongst the most popular.

    They are of interest in that they evolved fairly recently (1985). Most species seem to date back to Edwardian or Victorian times.

    Apparently they were ‘released’ into Canada in 2012. I don’t know what their impact on Canada’s indigenous biscuits has been (or if, indeed, Canada has any).

    1. There are Hobnobs, and there are other oatmeal biscuits. These two things are not necessarily the same.

      There are also chocolate Hobnobs.

  3. Yes, even when Trump stops calling the pandemic a HOAX he remains the opposite of leadership. Always the first xenopobic in charge he continues to call it a Chinese virus even after being told it is wrong. Calling it covid-19 is just too hard.

    1. It is a Chinese virus, but not -the- Chinese virus.
      I have to assume that the experts who brief him are specific in their terminology.
      The virus and the disease have different names.
      The virus is “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2”.
      The disease is “COVID-19”.

      However, it seems clear that Trump is making a point with his use of “Chinese Virus”, probably the same way he uses derogatory nicknames for his opponents.

      Also, my understanding of the timeline of events is that China had the means and opportunity to tremendously reduce the present global effects.

      The first known case was reported 12/16/20. As late as 1/14, the Chinese were claiming, and had convinced the WHO, that human to human transmission was unlikely. But by that time, they had already completed sequencing the disease, and had reprimanded doctors who had made public mention of the spread.
      Knowing these things, the Chinese government allowed 40,000 families to share a giant pre-new year’s banquet on 1/18 in Wuhan. Officials began to quarantine the province on 1/23, but 5,000,000 had already left, either traveling for the spring holidays or just fleeing.
      The man who brought the disease to Washington left Wuhan on, I believe, 1/15. At that time, the CCP official claim was that the potential for human to human transmission was at most limited. But they certainly knew better.

      1. No, it’s not a fucking Chinese virus. It’s a virus that as far as we know originated in the nation Westerners call China. Even if all the facts you state are true does nothing to help the overall situation and calling it a Chinese virus is ignorant at this point and quite frankly dangerous in a xenophobic world.

        1. If I were to find that I was the victim of tick-borne disease from the bite of one of those creatures, the doc would look at my symptoms and travel history, and might decide that it was one of the following:
          Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
          Lyme Disease
          Alkhurma Hemorrhagic Fever
          Crimean-Congo Hemorrhagic fever
          Kyasanur Forest disease
          Bourbon virus
          Colorado Tick Fever
          Powassan virus
          Rickettsia helvetica

          Those tick-borne diseases, and a huge number of others, are named for places, usually the place where the disease was first identified.
          Are those names now offensive? or are we only to be offended by names that the government of the PRC insists are racist?

          I think “Wuhan Coronavirus” is still in general use, including unofficially inside China. In Taiwan, that is the name used.
          There are seven corona viruses. None of them are called Covid-19.

          1. You completely missed my point. Trump et al. are using “China virus” as a disparaging and xenophobic moniker. He even said he started saying “China virus” after China wrongly blamed America’s military for creating/dispersing the virus; it was his demented way of payback. Hell, I’ve heard anecdotes where people are saying they can’t get it because they’re not Chinese.

  4. The coronavirus has accelerated the pace of our changing world. How things will end up is unknown. As an example of this, Playboy Magazine is suspending print production, going all digital, to the end of the year and probably forever. For baby boomers, this is a cosmic event and illustrates that despite the deepest desires of the Trump cult, we will never be going back to the 1950s.

  5. “I’ve always known … I’ve always taken [coronavirus] seriously.”

    All Trump’s previous statements downplaying the seriousness of the risk are, thus, disappeared down the memory hole.

    Oceania Donald Trump has always been at war with Eastasia coronavirus.

    1. “disappeared down the memory hole”

      With just a few hundred thousand dollars in advertising, you can often jog peoples memories at just about the right time to influence an election. The video tape never forgets.

    2. That is why campaign commercials need to follow the example of a side-by-side clip with a date, first one showing Trump bragging about shutting down the pandemic team, then the second dated on, where he doesn’t know anything about it. All campaign ads must follow that format, because only those of us anti-trumpers remember this stuff in detail. Most Americans don’t pay that much attention, so we must present this carefully. Otherwise, it’s preaching to the choir that would never vote for him anyway.

  6. How much time was spent putting up all those dominoes do you think. Although black and white showed more animation stripe exhibited more training. Ie. Banging on the bell. Interesting display. I wonder how the ordinary house cat would react.

  7. What strikes me in the Lumière films is how hats (particularly boaters) were ‘de rigeur’ at the time.
    What changed?

    1. Legend his it anyway that, in the US of A, hat-wearing among men declined precipitously after JFK doffed his chapeau before his inaugural address on a cold January afternoon in 1961. In any event, Kennedy himself was rarely seen in public wearing a hat of any kind after that day, and many American men seem to have followed suit.

      1. I remember my father had a fedora in the closet shelf for years. He may have only worn in 2 or 3 times. Remember the skinny ties of the 60s? If only we could go back. 😉

      2. My (no doubt highly fallible) memory of the UK in the 50s insists that hats for men were already on the way out. Certainly my Dad never wore one to go to work.

        Headscarves for women, on the other hand, were de rigueur well into the 60s. No grown woman would leave the house without one.

        That society has changed. Societies do.

          1. Everyone should wear hats, at least when outdoors.
            That is only my personal opinion, but it is a strongly held one. Those of us with a military background were taught to always do so, except under specific conditions. The habit tends to stick.

  8. The deformed lower jaw of that sperm whale gives us food for thouht about how they feed. Stunning the prey with sound and slurping them up? Is there anything known there?
    IIRC they once caught a sperm whale with a missing lower jaw, wound healed and whale in good condition.

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