Saturday: Hili dialogue

February 6, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on a freezing day in Chicago. Right now (6 a.m.), the temperature is 7°F, or -14°C, and Botany Pond is nearly frozen over. And here are the week’s predicted temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius, in that order. Both high and low temperatures are shown:

The highest high temperature for this week is only 23°F (-5°C), and it will be even colder as there will be wind chill.  Note three days have predictions of snow. OY!

It’s the Sabbath: Saturday, February 6, 2021, and National Chopsticks Day at Foodimentary. I use the utensils several times a week, but chopsticks are not food! It’s also International Pisco Sour Day (a good drink), Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, National Frozen Yogurt Day (wasn’t that yesterday as well?), Lame Duck Day, noting the day in when the Twentieth Amendment (dealing with when Presidential terms begin and end) was passed, and International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation. In California it’s a state holiday, Ronald Reagan Day: the Gipper was born on this day in 1911.

News of the Day:

Most important: WISDOM DID IT AGAIN! What a bird! 70 years old and with a new chick.  Matthew tells me that among mammals, only humans and orcas have menopause, and clearly albatrosses don’t, either.

Johnson & Johnson has requested emergency FDA approval of its Covid-19 vaccine, which is expected quickly. The vaccine has a 66% effectiveness against the virus, compared to 95% for the two mRNA jabs, but requires only a single dose and can be shipped and stored at refrigerator temperature. Anthony Fauci has advised Americans to get whatever vaccine is offered to them first.

In England, tests on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine show it to have between 75% and 85% effectiveness, depending on the Covid strain, and it’s very effective against the dreaded South African variant.

The New York Times has fired two big-name reporters after “scandals.” One of them, Donald McNeil, did not deserve to be fired and his treatment by the Times, who initially defended him, was shameful. More on that later. The paper is absolutely hopeless, mired in a wokeness so extreme it’s destroying its reputation.

Kamala Harris cast her first tie-breaking vote in the Senate, on an amendment proposed by Chuck Schumer to Biden’s $1.9 trillion stimulus package, which itself seems headed for approval. From the NYT:

But it was at 5:34 a.m., 95 minutes before the sun rose in Washington, that [Harris] broke the tie that mattered.

“On this vote, the yeas are 50, the nays are 50,” she said. “The Senate being equally divided, the vice president votes in the affirmative and the concurrent resolution as amended is adopted.”

There was no mistaking the weight of those words. They advanced a hugely impactful piece of legislation, of course. But they also signaled that for two years to come, the single most influential voice in the United States may be that of Ms. Harris declaring, in the stiltedly third-person language of Senate procedure, which way the vice president votes.

Shortly before heading to the floor to vote, Harris wrote a note to Dianne Feinstein for reaching her 9,000th Senate vote, a landmark that didn’t matter to San Francisco, who erased Feinstein’s name from a public school last week.

Has anybody heard from Trump? Reading the news, it’s as if he no longer exists, and that’s fine with me.

Stuff that happened on February 6 includes:

  • AD 60 – The earliest date for which the day of the week is known. A graffito in Pompeii identifies this day as a dies Solis (Sunday), by a system in which Sunday corresponds to the day of the week this day would have in modern reckoning: Wednesday.

I tried to find a photo of the “dies Solis” graffito, but failed. Readers can help if they wish.

  • 1819 – Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles founds Singapore.
  • 1820 – The first 86 African American immigrants sponsored by the American Colonization Society depart New York to start a settlement in present-day Liberia.
  • 1840 – Signing of the Treaty of Waitangi, establishing New Zealand as a British colony.

The treaty (below) was signed by both British and Māori representatives, but the text, in both languages, differs, and that led to arguments about land and governance, which led to the subsequent New Zealand Wars of 1845-1872.

  • 1843 – The first minstrel show in the United States, The Virginia Minstrels, opens (Bowery Amphitheatre in New York City).
  • 1862 – American Civil War: Forces under the command of Ulysses S. Grant and Andrew H. Foote give the Union its first victory of the war, capturing Fort Henry, Tennessee in the Battle of Fort Henry.
  • 1918 – British women over the age of 30 who meet minimum property qualifications, get the right to vote when Representation of the People Act 1918 is passed by Parliament.
  • 1952 – Elizabeth II becomes Queen of the United Kingdom and her other Realms and Territories and Head of the Commonwealth upon the death of her father, George VI. At the exact moment of succession, she was in a tree house at the Treetops Hotel in Kenya.

For the royal lovers among you (most of our British readers seem to approve of retaining the Royal Family), here’s a photo of Elizabeth after her coronation:

Photo: Central Press/Getty Images
  • 1958 – Eight Manchester United F.C. players and 15 other passengers are killed in the Munich air disaster.
  • 1978 – The Blizzard of 1978, one of the worst Nor’easters in New England history, hit the region, with sustained winds of 65 mph and snowfall of four inches an hour.

I remember this well, as I lived in Cambridge, MA at the time. The snow, after it was plowed, was still at the level of the tops of parked cars. Everything came to a standstill, and students were doing downhill skiing on the huge piles of plowed snow in Harvard Square. I have photos, but they’re in slides.

Here’s a video of that contest:

  • 1998 – Washington National Airport is renamed Ronald Reagan National Airport.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1756 – Aaron Burr, American colonel and politician, 3rd Vice President of the United States (d. 1836)
  • 1895 – Babe Ruth, American baseball player and coach (d. 1948)
  • 1911 – Ronald Reagan, American actor and politician, 40th President of the United States (d. 2004)
  • 1912 – Eva Braun, German wife of Adolf Hitler (d. 1945)

Here’s Eva and H*tler. Both of them loved dogs.  They were married as the Russians closed in on the Hitler Bunker, and committed suicide one day later. Hitler had his dog, Blondi, poisoned with cyanide and her puppies shot. Since this photo is from 1942, the German Shepherd is Blondi.

  • 1913 – Mary Leakey, English-Kenyan archaeologist and anthropologist (d. 1996)
  • 1940 – Tom Brokaw, American journalist and author
  • 1945 – Bob Marley, Jamaican singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1981)
  • 1946 – Kate McGarrigle, Canadian musician and singer-songwriter (d. 2010)
  • 1966 – Rick Astley, English singer-songwriter

Astley’s greatest achievement was this.

Those who began playing the harp on February 6 include:

  • 1783 – Capability Brown, English gardener and architect (b. 1716)
  • 1804 – Joseph Priestley, English chemist and theologian (b. 1733)
  • 1865 – Isabella Beeton, English author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (b. 1836)
  • 1918 – Gustav Klimt, Austrian painter and illustrator (b. 1862)

Here’s Klimt with his kitty:

  • 1991 – Salvador Luria, Italian biologist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1912)
  • 1991 – Danny Thomas, American actor, producer, and humanitarian (b. 1914)
  • 1993 – Arthur Ashe, American tennis player and sportscaster (b. 1943)
  • 2002 – Max Perutz, Austrian-English biologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1914)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, sick of winter, is doing an experiment.

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m trying to see whether I can hibernate.
In Polish:
Ja: Co robisz?
Hili: Sprawdzam czy umiem hibernować.

And here’s a lovely head shot of Szaron by Paulina;

A great meme from Irena:

From Facebook:

From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe:

From Luana: McWhorter vs. Kendi. Kendi’s statement is sufficient for his followers to label him a transphobe, but you can be sure that nobody is going to call him for it.  That is known as a double standard.

A relevant tweet from Barry:

From Ken: Trump resigned from the Screen Actors Guild after they scheduled a disciplinary hearing (he had bit parts in some movies), but, in the letter, pretends not to care. Their response to his resignation is great.


From Merilee: a tweet that encompasses all important memes of the last year (sound up):

Tweets from Matthew. #NotMyCat

Honey buzzards (Pernis apivorus) aren’t really buzzards but, as you can see, are more closely related to kites.  They feed on the larvae and nests of wasps and hornets, and are the only known predator on the Asian Giant Hornet. Wikipedia says this about them:

[The honey buzzard] spends large amounts of time on the forest floor excavating wasp nests. It is equipped with long toes and claws adapted to raking and digging, and scale-like feathering on its head, thought to be a defence against the stings of its victims. Honey buzzards are thought to have a chemical deterrent in their feathers that protects them from wasp attacks.

The tweet above seems to have disappeared but I found the photograph on reddit, though without attribution:

Ricky Gervais may be splenetic and dolorous, but he’s a softie when it comes to his cat Pickle:

A couple of magnificent animal poos:

23 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. Has anybody heard from Trump? Reading the news, it’s as if he no longer exists …

    He’s disappeared from the telescreen, rumored to be living in a fortified compound at Mar-a-Lago, and saving all the tweets he continues to write but is prohibited by the Deep State from sending, to be bound in a book, The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism, to be circulated secretly hand-to-hand among his faithful.

  2. Looks chilly in chicago. I had one winter in the midwest (East Lansing, MI) and saw sub zero highs, 36 inches of snow in 24 hours on top of a two foot base (base was halfway up the drift fences already), and the first weather-closure of Michigan State University in its history. As with your experience in Cambridge, the snow had drifted up to second floor dorm windows and totally covered the windward side of one-story buildings. We were able to shovel a path from the front door of the dorm and somewhere i had a picture of several of us standing on the sidewalk with snow higher than our heads on either side of us….i moved back to Virginia to finish my schooling soon after!

    1. I have never lived anywhere with temperature extremes quite like Chicago. As hot and humid as Florida in the summer and as brutally cold as Montana in the winter.

  3. “Has anybody heard from Trump? Reading the news, it’s as if he no longer exists, and that’s fine with me.”
    I think that he is in hiding, dreaming that he will not face prosecution for inciting the Capitol invasion, When the situation resolves he’ll be back nastier than ever.

  4. I am just waiting to hear welcome news about investigations and charges against Trump from New York and from several other causes as well.
    My schadenfreude feels are locked and loaded!

  5. “Has anybody heard from Trump? Reading the news, it’s as if he no longer exists, and that’s fine with me.”

    He’s waiting for the “loser” stink to leave him. May it never.

    Seriously though, I bet he really misses Twitter. Sure, he can communicate using other media but they will sit between him and his audience, adding their own interpretation of his words and putting them in context. That doesn’t work for him as he counts on the gullibility of his supporters. Perhaps he’s also waiting for his vindication in the form of a dismissal from his second impeachment, which he is sure to get in the coming weeks.

    His silence is eerie though.

    1. It wouldn’t surprise me in the slightest if somebody on his staff has set up a fake Twitter server and redirected all traffic from his phone to to the fake server so he’s still tweeting away but oblivious to the fact that nobody is listening.

      1. Do you mean making Trump believe he’s actually still tweeting to the world? I like that idea but we know he watches CNN sometimes so he’d figure out that no one was seeing his tweets.

        I believe he tried tweeting with a different account but that really won’t work either. No one could be sure if it was really him writing the tweets. If he announced his new Twitter account through some other channel, Twitter would immediately cancel the account.

        Trump’s cancelling on Twitter is one act of cancel culture I can get behind. I hope it continues. I worry that if he really does run in 2024, or take some other prominent societal role, Twitter will be under great pressure to let him back on.

    2. It is blissfully serene with tRump silenced on twitter. But, as a matter of principle, I think his account should be restored, although moderated for lies and incitements.

    3. Not being able to tweet? The Screen Actors Guild throws you out? Your letterhead is a poor b&w ripoff of his real one? Even the Golf whatever it is doesn’t want him? I thought stuff like that only happened to losers.

  6. Has anybody heard from T*****?

    Stephen Colbert on his A Late Show no longer mentions him by name and stars out the name when it appears in print.

  7. Those temperatures are for me totally incompatible with life. How do you cope and I just can’t imagine what the homeless do? How on earth did people live prior to central heating as though temps would be a mass culling event.

  8. ” . . . in the stiltedly third-person language of Senate procedure . . . .”

    If I hadn’t known this piece was in the NY Times, the above reportorial opinionating/bloviating would be sufficient evidence of that. Perhaps the reporter prefers that Senate procedural verbiage be liberally peppered with the linguistic likes of “kind of,” “sort of,” and “like.” More and more frequently I hear PhDs in podcasts employ these locutions ad nauseam. They should be tied to a chair and made to listen to themselves. I gather that so far editors don’t let them get by with employing them in writing. When I’ve heard all I can stand, I listen to Hitch.

  9. Re: Blondi and Hitler. Sometimes I look at my little Aussie Shepherd and think “You know… Hitler’s dog Blondi loved him just as much as Aussie loves me.”
    There’s video of their affection at the Eagle’s Nest which is a little stomach turning.

    But you see ….Prof Catman – it doesn’t cheapen it – it makes the dog’s love for the human all the more special. 🙂 And if my world was closing in because I’d wrecked a continent and killed tens of millions and I was in my bunker I certainly wouldn’t kill Aussie.


    And HERE is my little guy! We’re “WEIT-famous” and we’re having a relax –

  10. Nearly choked on my coffee when I read “most of our British readers seem to approve of retaining the Royal Family”. I sincerely hope this is not the case and would be surprised if readers of this blog were not a more enlightened bunch, although I have no data to support this claim.
    Speaking personally, this reader is proud to be a Republican. And I’m not just saying that to confuse American readers…

  11. Big surprise to me: Sunday, Sonntag, etc., have a Latin origin! I thought they were of Germanic origin since in the romance languages we say domenica, dimanche, domingo, dumengia, diumenge, etc.

    1. No, they are Germanic. What makes you say that they have a Latin origin? I’m referring to the words, which are definitely Germanic words. As to the association of the days of the week with the planets, that is influenced by Latin.

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