Monday: Hili dialogue

March 1, 2021 • 6:30 am

It’s March: the month that entering like a lion and will supposedly exit like a lamb. In fact, it’s Monday, March 1, 2021:  National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day (note that the apostrophe implies that only  a single lover of peanut butter is being honored). And it’s also these food months:

National Fresh Celery Month
National Noodle Month
National Flour Month
National Frozen Food Month
National Nutrition Month
National Peanut Month
National Sauce Month
National Caffeine Awareness Month

I’m aware of it, and am starting the month right with a latte with two shots of espresso; this photo was taken about an hour before Hili is posted:

And. . . it’s also National Fruit Compote Day, National Horse Protection Day, National Pig Day, Self-injury Awareness Day, Zero Discrimination Day, and World Compliment Day. Here’s my compliment to the readers:

News of the Day:

OMG, last night I watched some excerpts of Trump’s speech at CPAC—the first speech he’s given since the President-Eject was helicoptered out of the White House. I’d more or less been able to forget about him, which was a blessing, but tonight I had to hear him puff out his chest, demonize his opponents, and continue to claim that the election was rigged. He called out, by name, every Republican in the House and the Senate who voted to impeach him (with special vitriol reserved for Liz Cheney), demanded their ousters, and even intimated that he might run for President again, saying  “I may even decide to beat them for a third time.” That of course is a claim that he won last November.

Finally, he went after Joe Biden by name, a violation of the unspoken Presidential rule that you don’t criticize your successors, at least until they’ve had a year or so to govern. But what else do you expect of that horrid orange man?

What was even worse was the crowds of people who adore him, were cheering on his words (not wearing masks, of course), and who had their picture taken next to the “Golden Trump” statue. Some people interviewed went on the record saying they want Trump to be President again. It’s all a painful reminder of how deeply divided this nation is, and of the nightmare that was our last “President.”

The Golden Trump, by the way, was made in Mexico. I wonder if Trump made the Mexicans pay for it. . .

On a happier note, astronauts Kate Rubins and Victor Glover went outside the International Space Station yesterday—for a bit over seven hours! They were installing upgrades to the ISS’s solar panels. Both astronauts had done spacewalks before, but this time Rubins had a high-definition camera affixed to her helmet, so you could get a good idea of what an astronaut actually sees in an EVA. Below is the entire video of the walk (scroll through it), and below that a comparison of the new high-definition video with the old style of video:

It’s BUTTERGATE in Canada! As the BBC reports, a tsunami of kvetching has swept over Canada, with our northern neighbors complaining that all of a sudden their butter has gotten hard to spread, even at room temperature. If this is true—and some people say it’s just confirmation bias—the most likely theory is that butter producers upped the production of milk during the pandemic by feeding cows with noms containing palm oil, a substance that yields butter with a higher melting point.  Palm oil is not good for you! A quote:

“A Buttergate is not what the industry needs, or what Canadians deserve,” wrote Sylvain Charlebois, senior director at Dalhousie University’s Agri-Food Analytics Lab, in a widely published opinion piece this week that argues most of the country’s butter has definitely gotten harder.

Mr Charlebois said that palm fat is a legal ingredient in dairy cow feed, but research shows palm oil can increase heart disease risk in people.

Its production also harms the environment, he said, making it an “ethically questionable” practice for the dairy industry, which Mr Charlebois notes is heavily reliant on the Canadian government and, by extension, taxpayers.

It would break my heart if the polite and environmentally-conscious Canadians were using palm oil.

Finally,  today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 512,979, an increase of about 1,100 deaths over yesterday’s figure.  The reported world death toll stands at 2,544,226,, an increase of about 5,500 over yesterday’s total.

Stuff that happened on March 1 includes:

Good was hanged, Osborne died in jail, and Tituba, thought to be a slave from South America, and then was “freed” before being sold to someone else.

  • 1790 – The first United States census is authorized.
  • 1805 – Justice Samuel Chase is acquitted at the end of his impeachment trial by the U.S. Senate.
  • 1872 – Yellowstone National Park is established as the world’s first national park.
  • 1893 – Electrical engineer Nikola Tesla gives the first public demonstration of radio in St. Louis, Missouri.
  • 1896 – Henri Becquerel discovers radioactive decay.

Here’s one of Becquerel’s photographic plates showing the effect of exposure to radiation (caption from Wikipedia). He won the 1903 Nobel Prize in Physics along with Pierre and Marie Curie.

Image of Becquerel’s photographic plate which has been fogged by exposure to radiation from a uranium salt. The shadow of a metal Maltese Cross placed between the plate and the uranium salt is clearly visible.

Here’s the encrypted text of the telegram sent by the German Foreign Office to the German ambassador in Mexico on January 17, 1917, saying that if Mexico formed a military alliance with Germany, it would stand to gain Texas, Arizona, and New Mexico should war break out. The telegram was intercepted and decoded by the Brits. When its contents were revealed, it helped stoke American fever for the war, which was declared by the U.S. later in the year. Here’s the original typescript of the cable, part of the British decoding, and the English translation:

  • 1950 – Cold War: Klaus Fuchs is convicted of spying for the Soviet Union by disclosing top secret atomic bomb data.
  • 1953 – Soviet Premier Joseph Stalin suffers a stroke and collapses; he dies four days later.
  • 1954 – Armed Puerto Rican nationalists attack the United States Capitol building, injuring five Representatives.
  • 1974 – Watergate scandal: Seven are indicted for their role in the Watergate break-in and charged with conspiracy to obstruct justice.
  • 1981 – Provisional Irish Republican Army member Bobby Sands begins his hunger strike in HM Prison Maze.

After 66 days of refusing food, Sands died on May 5, becoming a martyr for the IRA. Here’s a memorial mural to him that still stands in Belfast:

  • 1998 – Titanic became the first film to gross over $1 billion worldwide.
  • 2005 – In Roper v. Simmons, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the execution of juveniles found guilty of murder is unconstitutional.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1810 – Frédéric Chopin, Polish pianist and composer (d. 1849)
  • 1880 – Lytton Strachey, British writer and critic (d. 1932)

I’m fascinated by Strachey for some reason, and quite like his books Eminent Victorians and Queen Victoria. He died at 51 of stomach cancer, and his platonic love Dora Carrington committed suicide two months later. (It’s worth seeing the movie about them, “Carrington“.) Here’s Strachey in either 1911 or 1912; the photo was taken by fellow Bloomsbury-ite Lady Ottoline Morrell. He looks a bit like a well-groomed Rasputin:

  • 1904 – Glenn Miller, American trombonist, composer, and bandleader (d. 1944)

Here’s Miller (on trombone) leading his orchestra in their signature song “In the Mood” (Tex Beneke plays the sax solo at 1:02). Miller joined the Army during World War II, though he was overage, and formed bands for the military. His plane disappeared in 1944 when he was flying over the English Channel; he was only 40 years old.

  • 1914 – Harry Caray, American sportscaster (d. 1998)


  • 1914 – Ralph Ellison, American novelist and literary critic (d. 1994)

Ellison’s book Invisible Man is a classic of modern American literature and, along with Richard Wright’s Native Son, one of the two best American novels about racism. Here’s Ellison:

  • 1927 – Harry Belafonte, American singer-songwriter and actor
  • 1994 – Justin Bieber, Canadian singer-songwriter

Those who bought the farm on March 1 include:

  • 1991 – Edwin H. Land, American scientist and businessman, co-founded the Polaroid Corporation (b. 1909)
  • 2012 – Andrew Breitbart, American journalist and publisher (b. 1969)
  • 2015 – Minnie Miñoso, Cuban-American baseball player and coach (b. 1922)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is kvetching:

Hili: The world is not always friendly.
A: You have the least reason to complain .
Hili: But I do it better than others.
In Polish:
Hili: Świat nie zawsze jest przyjazny.
Ja: Ty masz najmniej powodów do narzekania.
Hili: Ale ja robię to lepiej niż inni.

And here’s little Kulka at the window, asking to come in:

From Divy:

From reader Charles, who says that the astronauts returning from the Moon had to fill out customs declarations, and this is the one for the three astronauts on the Apollo 11 mission. According to, this is for real:

Buzz Aldrin also filled out an expense report for ground transportation to and from Cape Kennedy from Houston, a grand total of $33.31 (the equivalent of about $270 in 2015 dollars). On the round trip from Florida to the Moon he apparently incurred no expenses.

Tweets from Matthew. There are more photos and explanations of this bizarre cloud in the thread:

Since 2012, the British Government has raised the rent on the Geological and Linnean Society buildings, the latter where Darwin and Wallace’s papers on evolution were first presented in 1858. These places are HISTORICAL, and I’m wondering why the deuce the British Government has to charge rent in the first place.

Well, people have started using the free MyHeritage “Deep Nostalgia” AI program to animate old photos and paintings. Matthew says, “Choose your best/worst from this very long thread.”

Well, you can do it for yourself and freak everyone out. Here are two of the ones I like:

Here’s an ad for MyHeritage with an AI Abe Lincoln. But I don’t think that Lincoln sounded like that; I think he had a wee bit of a Southern accent; after all, he was born in Kentucky.

Matthew sent me this tweet that he retweeted with the addition, “Now why did we end up with Neanderthal genes?” That was clever, but I had to add my own caption.

There’s a loincloth now, says Matthew, but there didn’t used to be. Is this equipment really deserving of laughter?

We’ll be seeing real video of Mars soon (I hope) instead of collations of photos:

32 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Today is also St David’s Day in Wales: Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!
    P.S. Those deepfake animations are creepy, but at least Queen Victoria is finally amused.

  2. On the subject of the Linnean society et al, the article says this:

    For its part, the government argues that the societies housed at Burlington are still paying rents that fall well below market rates for central London. However, it has also insisted that it is sympathetic to their position and has claimed that the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government is now exploring solutions that could still deliver value for taxpayers while helping the societies to remain at Burlington House.

    As a UK tax payer, I think the best value the government could deliver to me is to give the buildings to the respective societies.

  3. What I didn’t hear from Donald Trump yesterday, or from any of the other CPAC speakers I was monitoring this week, was word one acknowledging that there had been an attack on the Capitol on January 6th.

    The incident has, it seems, been disappeared down the right-wing memory hole.

    1. And when an aging former president/celebrity can’t come up with new material for the most prestigious Republican event of the year, it’s just sad.

      1. Although I have no desire to be fair to Donald Trump, it could be that it is too early to introduce any new direction. The 2022 and 2024 elections are just too far away. His goal right now is to hold Republicans in his thrall, something which all commentators seem to agree that he did at CPAC. He kept the Big Lie going, basically reinforcing it as a litmus test for allegiance, and he named and shamed his enemies. He realizes that momentum and timing are very important in politics. Still, the Golden Calf statue of Trump has to be a mistake.

  4. … a tsunami of kvetching has swept over Canada, with our northern neighbors complaining that all of a sudden their butter has gotten hard to spread, even at room temperature.

    I’m shocked — there’s someplace in the Great White North that actually gets up to room temperature in the winter? 🙂

  5. When Disney cast the voice for “Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln”, they chose the old character actor Royal Dano, who also played him the “Omnibus” teleplay “Mr. Lincoln.” I would also say that the Lincoln in the ad looks too pale, as Lincoln was well-known to be swarthy. Finally, the way his mouth looks seems unnatural; independent of the rest of his face.

    1. The voice in the Lincoln vid above sounds to me like actor Peter Coyote (or at least someone doing a pretty good Peter Coyote impression).

      Coyote does a lot of voice-over narration for documentaries.

  6. 2005 – In Roper v. Simmons, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the execution of juveniles found guilty of murder is unconstitutional.

    A 5-4 decision, with O’Connor, Scalia, Rehnquist, and current Court-member Clarence Thomas dissenting.

    Roper overruled Stanford v. Kentucky, in which the High Court had held 16 years earlier, also by a 5-4 margin, that the 8th Amendment allowed executions of 16-year-olds. (The death sentence upheld against young Mr. Stanford in 1989 was later commuted to life in prison by the Kentucky governor.)

  7. There was once – and probably still is a quack whose name I thankfully can’t remember, who touted the restorative properties of coconut oil, which I always equated with palm oil. But looking just now, it turns out that they are not. Coconut oil has a much lower smoke point, for starts, and there are apparently some good things that can be said for palm oil, too, but maybe not for what happens after passage thru a cow.

    And as far as environmentally-conscious Canadians, I thought so, too, but I have a friend in Vancouver who could show you places there that would dispel that notion.

  8. There was once – and probably still is a quack whose name I thankfully can’t remember, who touted the restorative properties of coconut oil, which I always equated with palm oil. But looking just now, it turns out that they are not. Coconut oil has a much lower smoke point, for starts, and there are apparently some good things that can be said for palm oil, too, but maybe not for what happens after passage thru a cow.

    And as far as environmentally-conscious Canadians, I thought so, too, but I have a friend in Vancouver who could show you places there that would dispel that notion.

  9. The Royal Astronomical Society has its headquarters in Burlington House too, and it is a wonderful resource for members who live or work in or near London. The Library is second to none for old and rare volumes, especially since the U.K. government shut down the Royal Greenwich Observatory back in 1998. The learned societies share meeting spaces, so I have often been to one of the RAS monthly meetings in the excellent lecture theatre which belongs to the Geological Society. It would be a great shame if the U.K. government forced these societies out of Burlington House. I shall write to my MP, much good may it do, as he is a Boris Johnson toady.

    1. The Royal Society (formerly Institute) of Chemistry is based there too. I recall taking some of my materials there for fluorescence analysis, which we couldn’t do at the Poly where I then worked. Yes, the home of all these historic societies is should absolutely be safeguarded for the longer term.

  10. Weirdly, in the first photo of people looking at the Neanderthal at the Natural History Museum they appear to be holding wine glasses.

  11. Justin Bieber actually plays drums really well. Search YouTube for examples.

    Though he might write music and it is sitting on a shelf somewhere, usually a committee of 10-15 people “write” things for Bieber to sing and a likely a computer to perform – while yet another team probably records or produces it, while yet another team markets and sells it, and so on. The teams might not notice that his songs sound in a substantial way note-for-note/chord-for-chord like the song Goin Home written years ago by genuine musicians in Toto.

  12. I watched the Trump speech for a little while. It was hard to take. One of the most interesting takeaways from CPAC is that, according to their poll, only 68% of attendees want him to run again! Basically, a lot of them are hoping he’ll die first or be thrown in jail and no longer be able to run.

  13. The Linnean Society/Burlington House stories are not quite correct. A few years ago I had the honor to speak there, and was duly awed by the paintings of Darwin and Wallace on the walls. I mentioned to our host that I was very excited to be speaking about evolution in the same hall where Darwin had first spoke publicaly about it, but she told me that no, in fact this was a common misconception but Darwin did not delivery his famous announcement here. Darwin had given it in the previous location of the Linnean Society. Just now I checked the internet to see if I was remembering correctly, and I found this on the Linnean Society’s home page:

    “The Linnean Society has been in Burlington Courtyard since 1856. Initially, it was located in Old Burlington House (now the Royal Academy), before moving across the courtyard to New Burlington House in 1873.”

    So yes, Darwin gave his presentation in the Burlington House complex, but no, he did not give it in today’s Linnean Society building. Regardless, obviously the whole complex has immense historic and scientfic value and should be kept as it is.

    The Linnean Society also keeps Linneas’ original collections in the basement of their space in New Burlington House. This is an amazing collection, including the type specimens of a vast number of species of plants and animals. I was shocked to see that he had pressed not only plants but also FISH!!! These were quite gross, mounted on thick paper stained by two-century-old fish guts and fish oils….There was also a handwritten classification of mythical creatures.

    1. Actually, Darwin never presented it to the Linnean Society at all; he was home at Down House, distraught over the death from scarlet fever of his young son. His and Wallace’s papers were presented by Lyell and Hooker.

  14. Back in 1985, a friend of mine dressed up as “Fernando” for Hallowe’en. He pitied Billy Crystal by the end of the night, as everyone kept coming up to him saying “You look maaaarvellous!” thinking they were being original. Apparerntly it was so annoying that I’d be surprised if Billy didn’t hate the character or wished he hadn’t come up with it.

  15. With all the new technology: colorizing old photos, animating them, making them say whatever you wish…. How will anyone be able to keep track of basic history— who lived in what era? With the new software that can create, animate, and change the appearance of virtual persons in an instant? How will we know who is real online?

    BTW, that animate-your-photo site crashed before I could get my results. People do read this site! 😀

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