Sunday: Hili dialogue

March 22, 2020 • 6:45 am

It’s Sunday, March 22, 2020, and a lousy food holiday: World Water Day. It’s also National Bavarian Crêpes Day, described as “a delicious, very thin pancake-like dessert, typically made from wheat flour or buckwheat flour, then filled, rolled and then often topped with a glaze, fruit, chocolate or whipped cream.” I’ve never had them.

Finally, it’s National Buzzard Day (remember: a buzzard is not a vulture), and, as I said, World Water Day, a UN holiday celebrating the importance of freshwater and the need to buy as much of it as you can in plastic bottles (only kidding about the last bit).

Yesterday at 5 p.m. the City of Chicago, and the rest of Illinois, went on “lockdown”, with no gatherings permitted, most stores closed except for pharmacies, banks, and grocery stores, as well as restaurants. Fortunately, my favorite wine store is still open, but for curbside pickup only. You have to order online, show up at the store, calling when you arrive, and then popping your trunk so that they can put the wine cases in while keeping the “social distance”.. It’s onerous, but worth it for vino. And, of course, I can feed my ducks!

Here are Honey and Dorothy, who are inseparable (Dorothy may be her offspring from last year, but who knows?). By now you should be able to recognize which one is Honey. Can you?

Stuff that happened on March 22 includes:

  • 1622 – Jamestown massacre: Algonquians kill 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Virginia, a third of the colony’s population, during the Second Anglo-Powhatan War.
  • 1638 – Anne Hutchinson is expelled from Massachusetts Bay Colony for religious dissent.
  • 1765 – The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act that introduces a tax to be levied directly on its American colonies.
  • 1872 – Illinois becomes the first state to require gender equality in employment.
  • 1916 – The last Emperor of ChinaYuan Shikai, abdicates the throne and the Republic of China is restored.

This is confusing because Wikipedia also says that Pu Yi (protagonist of the movie “The Last Emperor”) was the real last Emperor of China, becoming emperor at age two and reigning briefly in 1917.  This is another example of where Wikipedia needs correction. We all await that when Greg publishes his definitive post, “What’s the matter with Wikipedia?”

  • 1943 – World War II: the entire village of Khatyn (in what is the present-day Republic of Belarus) is burnt alive by Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118.
  • 1945 – The Arab League is founded when a charter is adopted in Cairo, Egypt.
  • 1960 – Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes receive the first patent for a laser.

Here’s part of that patent. Shawlow won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1981, along with two others (not Townes) for using lasers to determine the energy levels of atoms:

The deadline for ratification was in 1979, with 4 states needed for ratification. But three states rescinded their assent, and the deadline was extended to 1982. That deadline expired without any more states signing on, but since then three more states (Virginia, Nevada, and Illinois) have voted to ratify the ERA. Because of the revocations and debates about their legality, the ERA remains in limbo, which is a damn travesty, if you ask me.

Here’s an ABC news report of Wallenda’s fall (note: don’t watch if you don’t want to see him fall off the rope). He was 73 when he died, and said that the only time he ever felt alive was on the high wire.

  • 1995 – Cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov returns to earth after setting a record of 438 days in space.
  • 1997 – Tara Lipinski, aged 14 years and nine months, becomes the youngest women’s World Figure Skating Champion.

I remember watching this, and now Lipinski (a skating commentator for television) is 37.  Here’s her prize-winning performancein 1997:

  • 2016 – Three suicide bombers kill 32 people and injure 316 in the 2016 Brussels bombings at the airport and at the Maelbeek/Maalbeek metro station.
  • 2017 – A terrorist attack in London near the Houses of Parliament leaves four people dead and at least 20 injured.
  • 2019 – Robert S. Mueller III delivers his report on the Russian government’s influence on the election of Donald Trump in the 2016 United States presidential election.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s a van Dyck portrat of James Stuart, the Duke of Richmond and Lennox with his cat. This was painted some time between 1633 and 1635:


  • 1785 – Adam Sedgwick, English scientist (d. 1873)
  • 1887 – Chico Marx, American actor (d. 1961)
  • 1930 – Derek Bok, American lawyer and academic
  • 1930 – Stephen Sondheim, American composer and songwriter
  • 1948 – Andrew Lloyd Webber, English composer and director
  • 1976 – Reese Witherspoon, American actress and producer

Those who became kaput on March 22 include:

  • 1758 – Jonathan Edwards, English minister, theologian, and philosopher (b. 1703)
  • 1978 – Karl Wallenda, German-American acrobat and tightrope walker, founded The Flying Wallendas (b. 1905) [see above]
  • 1994 – Walter Lantz, American animator, director, and producer (b. 1899)
  • 2001 – William Hanna, American animator, director, producer, and voice actor, co-founded Hanna-Barbera (b. 1910)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, spring has begun and, unfortunately, Hili is watching the birds:

Hili: The birds have started to build their nests.
A: How do you know?
Hili: They are flying around with grass in their beaks.
In Polish:
Hili: Ptaki zaczęły budować gniazda.
Ja: Skąd wiesz?
Hili: Fruwają z trawą w dziobach.

Here’s the latest photo of Szaron, who is getting ever tamer. (And yesterday a feral black cat showed up, ate some food, and fled.)

From Merilee:

From the Celts Facebook page, a thrifty Scot (h/t: Moto). The goods are conveniently located, too:

From Stash Krod:

Titania has a new poem about the pandemic, and it disses science. She can’t help it, being woke:

Two tweets from Heather Hastie via Ann German. This first video has had wide circulation, so I didn’t post it earlier. But I suppose I should put it somewhere, as it’s good. So here it is for the record:

This, too, is brilliant. Does anybody recognize what they’re playing?

Tweets from Matthew. This first one is a strong contender for TWEET OF THE YEAR:

Steve Martin plays the banjo to ease the pain of self-isolation:

Religion not only poisons everything, but also infects everything:

Now this must be worth a lot: a watch set into an emerald!

Perhaps we’ve heard these so often that we’ve become inured to their beauty. Sound on, please.

An unexpected spandrel of the pandemic:


21 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. I’d be willing to bet that Dorothy is the duckling that hung around by herself at the end of the fledge last year. Never underestimate the value to animals of a reliable food source. Even though the others picked on her, she survived and thrived.

    Steve Martin is a wonderful musician. I first saw him play in 1974, and I’ve been a fan ever since. He was part of the best concert I ever went to, in the outdoor amphitheater at the Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, under a full moon, with fresh-squeezed orange juice being served as refreshment. The whole experience was pure magic.


  2. I did NOT see the Titanic movie. I don’t like to look at tragic disasters. But I’d heard that the band played Nearer My God To Thee as the Titanic was sinking. Which is why it would be in the movie.

    I’d heard that the band was commended for trying to lessen panic among the passengers.

    1. The playing of Nearer my God to Thee was reported in the newspapers in the aftermath of the sinking, but the claim was later denied by some survivors, who said that the band played upbeat tunes instead.

  3. I had to look up what caused the puritans to oust Hutchinson. Was it because she advocated Socratic rationality, science, and humanism? No. Hutchinson began to accuse the local ministers of preaching a covenant of works rather than a covenant of grace. Basically she wanted to trade one lunacy for another. That’s all it took. What a ratty bunch!

  4. Just on the Yuan Shi Kai anomaly, since pedantry must continue, otherwise the corona virus wins: Pu Yi was the last emperor in the line of the Manchu/Qing dynasty. The empire was then declared over and Sun Yat Sen, the long time leader of a democratic reform movement, took charge.

    But he was manoeuvresd out of office by warlords, the chief of whom, the Yuan Shi Kai guy, named himself president and then emperor. But he died immediately thereafter. He’d never really been recognized as emperor so whether he or Pu Yi was the last one is a metaphysical issue!

    1. Re “What’s the matter with Wikipedia?”, the actual article is reasonable clear that Yuan Shikai was not the last emperor of China. The problem seems to be that list articles – such as things that happened on a particular date – aren’t on the radar of the editors who are involved in the main articles that the list links to. In general, Wikipedia is much more reliable than hitherto – and if you spot something that’s wrong / contradictory it is easy enough to either correct it yourself or flag up the problem on the article’s talk page so that someone else will. I have done that now over at

  5. I guess if the Muslims choose to put their faith in Islam rather than science, that’s their choice. It will be a painful error in judgment but the faithists will no doubt find a twisted and torturous route to justify the unnecessary suffering. They’d be better off looking to older gods. Might I suggest Asclepius and Hygieia? I am certainly praying for the earthly return of Asclepius in the form of A. purpurascens, A. incarnata, A. tuberosa, and A. syriaca. Somehow I feel like my prayers will be answered before theirs will.

  6. That coronavirus video is hilarious. And classic.

    I’m not sure of its origin, but I’d guess British or Australian. Not American (‘arsehole’ not ‘asshole’), and the presenter has an accent closer to British than ‘murican or Aussie. But the reference to the Aussie toilet paper wars and Murdoch’s newspapers tend to point to our neighbours across the Tasman.

    It’s brilliant, anyway.


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