Monday: Hili dialogue

March 8, 2021 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Monday, March 8, 2021: National Peanut Cluster Day. It’s also Be Nasty Day (characterized as “On this day everyone has an excuse to be nasty by displaying these attributes to others in both word and action.”) and International Women’s Day.

Google has an animated Doodle for Women’s Day: click on screenshot to go to Google and play it:

News of the Day:

As I predicted when the second accuser came forward, Andrew Cuomo is approaching the state of “toast” as New York’s governor. Now other people associated with him have claimed he created a toxic workplace, and the head of New York’s state senate has said that it’s time for him to step down. That, combined with the accusation that his administration finagled nursing-home figures during the pandemic, means that we will soon be speaking of him in the past tense. (Remember, you’re hearing from the guy, moi, who called the election, down to the precise electoral vote count, before any of the media!)

Have you followed the big squabble about the British royals, with Harry and Meghan on one hand the the Queen and the Firm on the other? It’s even on the evening news, with H&M’s interview with Oprah scheduled for this evening, which, if you are a Royal watcher, promises some juicy tidbits. And, on the other side of the Pond, the Firm is investigating Markle for “bullying.” My response: SO FRICKING WHAT? Who cares whether this group of uninteresting people are squabbling among themselves.

If you must, here is a short abstract from the two-hour interview.

On my walk today, I noted significantly more people walking around without masks, many coming only one or two feet away from me as they pass (I am masked). In Florida, spring break is being celebrated by huge crowds without masks, who fought with the cops when the law came. I understand people are restive, but how hard is it to wear a mask for two more months or so? Apparently, too hard for these people in Idaho:

Demonized Smith College employee Jodi Shaw has done well in her GoFundMe campaign, with donations up to nearly $300,000—about twice her original goal. It’s a blow to the gut of Smith College, and I’m glad. Click on the screenshot to go to her GoFundMe page and see the updates:

Annoying language section: Two bits. First, the annoying phrase “getting shots into arms” is spreading, and has now become the au courant version of  “getting shots” or “getting vaccinated.” For crying out loud, who doesn’t know where on your body you get the shot? One reader objected to it last week, and now that I hear it all the time, it twists my shorts as well. What if the shot was given, as gamma globulin used to be, in the rump? Would they say, “companies are providing enough material to get 50 million shots in the butt by April?”

More: I always harp on the mis-placement of the word “only”, and tell everyone to learn how to use the word. Those who need to know is the company and advertisers of One A Day Multiple Vitamins, whose ad I heard tonight. It said this:

“You only get one body”

To wit:

NO! NO! NO! The correct usage is “You get only one body.” (If Pinker says otherwise, I don’t care!)

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 524,652, an increase of only 700 deaths over yesterday’s figure.  The reported world death toll stands at 2,606,590, an increase of about 5,400 deaths over yesterday’s total. These increases are slowing markedly!

Stuff that happened on March 8 includes:

  • 1010 – Ferdowsi completes his epic poem Shahnameh.
  • 1775 – An anonymous writer, thought by some to be Thomas Paine, publishes “African Slavery in America”, the first article in the American colonies calling for the emancipation of slaves and the abolition of slavery.

You can see the text of that article here.

  • 1782 – Gnadenhutten massacre: Ninety-six Native Americans in Gnadenhutten, Ohio, who had converted to Christianity, are killed by Pennsylvania militiamen in retaliation for raids carried out by other Indian tribes.

Good god!: read about the massacre on Wikipedia:

The next morning on March 8, the militia brought the Lenape to one of two “killing houses,” one for men and the other for women and children. The American militia tied the Indians, stunned them with mallet blows to the head, and killed them with fatal scalping cuts. In all, the militia murdered and scalped 28 men, 29 women, and 39 children. Two Indian boys, one of whom had been scalped, survived to tell of the massacre. The militia piled the bodies in the mission buildings and burned the village down. They also burned the other abandoned Moravian villages.

Here she is in her plane, with the caption:  Raymonde de Laroche in her Voisin aeroplane in 1909. A good photo for International Women’s Day:

Yes, Women’s Day was already a going thing back then, and women were protesting rationing.

Here are the highlights of the fight TRIGGER WARNING: Grown men punching each other for others’ entertainment

Here’s most of the speech (minus two minutes); note Reagan’s religiosity.  He mentions the “evil empire” at 4:19:

  • 2014 – In one of aviation’s greatest mysteries, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, carrying a total of 239 people, disappears en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The fate of the flight remains unknown
  • 2017 – The Azure Window, a natural arch on the Maltese island of Gozo, collapses in stormy weather.

Here’s the window before and after collapse; photo from Wikipedia:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1841 – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., American lawyer and jurist (d. 1935)
  • 1879 – Otto Hahn, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
  • 1931 – John McPhee, American author and educator

McPhee turns 90 today, and I’ve read his many books and New Yorker pieces with great pleasure. I noticed that he bears a strong resemblance to my paleobiology colleague David Jablonski, who’s quite a bit younger but still has a similar physiognamy:




  • 1947 – Carole Bayer Sager, American singer-songwriter and painter
  • 1948 – Jonathan Sacks, English rabbi, philosopher, and scholar (d. 2020)

Those whose time was up on March 8 include:

  • 1723 – Christopher Wren, English architect, designed St. Paul’s Cathedral (b. 1632)
  • 1869 – Hector Berlioz, French composer, conductor, and critic (b. 1803)
  • 1874 – Millard Fillmore, American lawyer and politician, 13th President of the United States (b. 1800)
  • 1930 – William Howard Taft, American politician, 27th President of the United States (b. 1857)
  • 1941 – Sherwood Anderson, American novelist and short story writer (b. 1876)
  • 1993 – Billy Eckstine, American trumpet player (b. 1914)
  • 1999 – Joe DiMaggio, American baseball player and coach (b. 1914)
  • 2016 – George Martin, English composer, conductor, and producer (b. 1926)

Martin was a great talent, called “The Fifth Beatle” because his production and advice truly helped the group achieve greatness. Here’s Martin in 1999 discussing the songs “I Want to Hold Your Hand” and “A Day in the Life” in 1999. The bit about the second song is especially fascinating.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hli rejoices at the coming of Spring:

Hili: Spring is coming.
A: How do you know?
Hili: The birds are looking tastier and tastier.
In Polish:
Hili: Idzie wiosna.
Ja: Skąd wiesz?
Hili: Ptaki wyglądają coraz smaczniej.

From Facebook: Bernie’s mittens make another appearance:

From Bruce:

From Facebook:

I retweeted a tweet I got from Matthew. The behavior of this fish is truly stunning:

Tulsi! Remember her?

From Jez and Lyn, who tell us us that these goats in Wales are probably wild, citing this link.

From Simon. I give this moggy a 9.8/10:

From Barry. OMG this dog is such a wimp! And I didn’t think a noise like that could come out of a dog!

From Ken: What is up with Mike Pence? He’s speaking to the Moonies and giving them fulsome praise. . .

Tweets from Matthew. This first one is almost too amazing to believe:

No, sound UP to hear the Big Raccoon Kerfuffle:

69 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Is it just me, or does the stub where the arch of the Azure Window broke off look like the profile of a yorkie?

  2. My response: SO FRICKING WHAT? Who cares whether this group of uninteresting people [the Royals] are squabbling among themselves.

    Keep that kinda talk up and you’ll never get a listing in Burke’s Peerage.

    1. Precisely. What a useless bunch of (expletive deleted)s!

      The old claim that at least they’re good for bringing in the tourists has been debunked by Joan Smith in her slim book “Down with the Royals” (2025).


        1. Spot on – all of the national morning shows spent their entire opening minutes with the Oprah interview – ridiculous. Local news focused on the idiot CU-Boulder students partying/rioting in the streets near campus, demonstrating that they are less bright than the mask-burning Idahoans, and considerably more violent.

      1. I have no interest in the royals, nor in boxing either. But, if they gave all the royals boxing gloves and let them go at each other, I might watch it.

    2. I tried to watch some of the interview, and came away with the feeling that Markle is just another narcissist.
      What I did see about her that I found interesting, is a compilation of her imitating Diana. Not just the outfits and accessories, but even her poses. So many times that it cannot be anything but deliberate.

      Also, the dress she chose for her interview was very close to one worn by Wallis Simpson at the time of Edward’s abdication.

      I am not sure that I would be comfortable with a partner who made a habit of imitating my mother.

    3. I get the Boston Globe emails. Their link to their Oprah interview story begins: “All that you don’t need to know about…’

  3. Of all the news in the world that could be shared, it seems the most important is what Harry and Meghan have endured, who Andrew Cuomo tried to kiss or feel up, and who Jeff Bezos’ ex married. Give me strength!

  4. “On this day everyone has an excuse to be nasty by displaying these attributes to others in both word and action.”

    Let me try :

    Dog God with a capital G
    Atheism is a religion
    Science is dogma too
    There are no absolute truths

    [ thinks to self : this isn’t working ]

    …. you know, it is difficult to be nasty.

  5. I agree that misplacing “only” is annoying. I’ve often mentioned that in my

    book reviews for The Observatory
    so much so that

    someone wrote in just to say that he agrees with me

    My other pet peeve: misplace hyphens in two-word adjectives. The classic example is a man eating shark and a man-eating herring. But think also of the difference between a high-school teacher and a high school teacher. Or look forward to meeting some naked eye observers at your next star party.

    And why to people hyphenated phrases like “well-known person”? Since “well” is an adverb, it can apply only 🙂 to the adjective “known”. No-one writes “very-heavy load”.

    For some reason, the links don’t seem to work. Here they are. They might not be clickable, but should be cut-and-passable,.

  6. only you get one body

    you only get one body

    you get only one body

    you get one only body

    you get one body only

    Only one of those is grammatically incorrect (even then, maybe not if body -> child) but all the others have subtly different meanings.

    1. I agree, though I take PCC(E)’s point here. Saying “You only get one body” seems to imply that you get nothing else at all, ever…which I suppose could be true from a certain point of view, but I suspect is not what the vitamin manufacturer is trying to imply.

      I had a similar feeling about the “I only had two donuts” issue last week: If someone asks you why you looks so pale, and what have you eaten today, it would be clear and perfectly okay (if not very healthy) to say, “I only had two donuts.” [Or, I suppose if a buffet of desserts had been gobbled down in quick order and an outraged individual who missed out was asking another person just how much of it they had greedily consumed, it might be a reasonable reply (though I don’t know if it would be reassuring or exculpating).]

      When people are speaking such phrases, there’s much less formality necessary, since tone of voice and emphasis can make the specific meaning clear. Perhaps the advertisers were trying to achieve an informal feeling, a conversational impression, as when one person might say to another “You only get ONE body” when trying to remind others to be have healthy habits.

    2. With enough $$$, they could sell it any version. Think different. Just do it. Have it your way. They aren’t going for grammar or subtle.

  7. … the annoying phrase “getting shots into arms” is spreading, and has now become the au courant version of “getting shots” or “getting vaccinated.” For crying out loud, who doesn’t know where on your body you get the shot?

    I think the trouble here is that “shots into arms” was probably meant initially to function as synecdoche (in which a part of something stands for the whole, here “arms” for “people”) — in the same way that baseball managers (who are a rich source of synecdoche and metonymy) might say “we’ve got some great arms on the pitching staff this season and some great legs on the base paths.”

    Problem is, “shots into arms” is also literally true, so loses any power it may have had as figurative language.

    1. I think the phrase reflects an understanding of the logistical process of ending the pandemic. We were laser focused on the development of the vaccines. We now have vaccines, but they are no good unless we get them into people, so we have to get ‘shots in arms’. If it was butts, I believe we would be saying butts.

      1. We might be. In either instance — arms or butts — the body part would be serving as synecdoche for “getting people vaccinated.”

        In a similar way to how “boots on the ground” serves as metonymy for transporting troops to the area where they are needed.

        1. My incredible 9th grade English teacher taught us about synechdoche and metonymy (from a great book called Sound and Sense) but I still get them confused.

      2. My understanding of “getting shots into arms” is that it refers to measuring real progress in vaccination, in opposition to looking at vaccine production or other measures. At the beginning of the process, logistics and decisions made by states caused a substantial lag between production and getting shots into arms. I think it is much better now but issues will continue to come up, like last week when the Detroit mayor decided to reject a shipment of J&J vaccine in favor of the “better” ones from Moderna and Pfizer. He’s since recanted.

        Speaking of vaccination, I got my 1st Moderna shot less than two weeks ago. Now the City of Long Beach is telling me that I need to make an immediate appointment for the 2nd shot. This is a much shorter interval between shots than the CDC’s recommended 28 days. I have inquired as to the discrepancy but have yet to hear back.

        1. “…make an immediate appointment…”

          Are you sure this means that the second shot must be given immediately? Couldn’t it mean that you need to book the appointment as soon as possible but the interval between first and second shot wouldn’t change? It makes sense that people would be urged not to wait until the last minute to book an appointment for a second shot.

          1. No, the email gives links to make an appointment for today, tomorrow, and the next day. I haven’t heard from them yet. I checked online and advice is to pass if it isn’t close to 28 days. I’m going to ignore the email. I suspect that I will be able to make an appointment at the same website where I made the first one when the time is right. I am still curious as to how they screwed this up.

    2. Thanks Ken, for the two new (to me) words: synecdoche and metonymy!
      The challenge now is to remember the meanings…

        1. The directorial debut for the great screenwriter Charlie Kaufman (Adaptation, Being John Malkovich, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind).

          The title, of course, is wordplay both on how the play-within-the-movie serves as synecdoche for its ever-expanding self and on the name of the city in upstate New York, Schenectady.

          Have you seen his latest, I’m Thinking of Ending Things, Merilee? I think he’s really coming into his own as a director.

          1. I’ve found I already have it ✔️ed on Netflix😻
            And WHEN did WP strip an “e” off the end of my name?😖

            1. The movie can be confusing at first, but by the end, the clues are all there to understand what’s going on. It’s the type of film that rewards multiple viewings.

              I was wondering about your name spelling myself.

              1. I’d say it’s less a movie that rewards multiple viewings and more a movie that demands them. You can’t even come close to comprehending the breadth of its themes, philosophy, and story without watching it at least twice.

              2. You referring to I’m Thinking of Ending Things or Synecdoche (or both), Beej?

              3. Oh, right, I was talking about Synecdoche. I haven’t seen the other yet, though I’m grateful to you for reminding me about it.

              4. I’m Thinking of Ending Things isn’t as sprawling or ambitious as Synecdoche, but I think Kaufman has a firmer hand on the directorial tiller.

                It’s also better on second viewing, once you’ve figured out what the hell is going on after thinking through the first viewing for a while.

          2. Thanks for the movie recommendations, Ken and Merilee.
            Unfortunately, Synecdoche is not available on Netflix in my part of the world, but luckily, I’m Thinking of Ending Things is…

        2. Whoops! Somehow I missed your comment. Glad someone else brought up this brilliant movie before I did. It’s almost impossible to believe that it’s a directorial debut. I can’t even imagine plotting out how to direct such an intricate masterpiece, but the mind of a genius is impossible for an idiot like me to understand.

    3. Speaking of synecdoche, have you seen Synecdoche? That movie blew my damn mind.

      Also, the etymology of the word is fascinating. It seems like something that would be a modern creation, but its roots are in Latin and it was used as early as the 15th century.

  8. To mark International Women’s Day, BBC Radio 4 just started a new series called “Rigorous History: Women vs Hollywood”. Today’s episode was about the first ever female filmmaker, Alice Guy-Blaché. She made her first film in 1896! One of the films mentioned was her 1906 short comedy Les Résultats du féminisme (The Consequences of Feminism) in which effeminate men do endless domestic tasks while being ordered around and groped by bossy women. You can see the full film (about 7 minutes) by clicking on the Play Media button on its Wikipedia page:ésultats_du_féminisme

        1. If they descend from domestic animals but are left to their own devices then they are feral. As goats are not native here – well not for thousands of years (ibex carving I think recently deciphered somewhere ?) it follows that any there are feral. Wild -grrrrr!

  9. Wow, Jablonski appears to be a striking example of Batesian mimicry. If found convincing by others (grant reviewers, readers of his work, etc.) his career stands to benefit significantly!

  10. “You only get one body” -is correct!! Both are fine. English is flexible.

    You only live twice…! QED!

    I’ll arm wrestle you over that!

    As for the royal farce, really who cares? Spoilt rich bastards.

      1. My guess is that Ian Fleming knew “you only live twice” was syntactically incorrect, but claimed poetic license for his title.

  11. Thank goodness Roy Orbison got it right. “The Lonely Only” would not only have been forgettable but also might have appealed to only fans of yodeling.

  12. Ceiling Cat, regarding the intrepid-cat video, you appear to have followed a random man on Twitter who added Bond music to the video.

    Only telling you in case you had intended to ‘like’ the video and accidentally followed him instead. Since you don’t usually use Twitter and are following no one else, people will wonder why you are following that one account.

    Makes no difference to me and is none of my business generally who you follow. It just looked like a glitch in the Matrix.


  13. One of my college classes included discussion this sample sentence:

    I hit him in the eye yesterday.

    You can insert “only” at any point and change the entire meaning of the sentence.

  14. 1971 – The Fight of the Century between Joe Frazier and Muhammad Ali commences. Frazier wins in 15 rounds.

    The best piece written about the Ali-Frazier “Fight of the Century” — and one of the best pieces ever written about boxing — was the essay Norman Mailer wrote about it for Life magazine. It can be accessed here (along with a bonus cover photograph of the fight taken by Frank Sinatra).

  15. I get why a lot of people don’t care about the Markle-Harry interview. As a citizen of a Commonwealth country, it does matter to me, as I see even more reason why we should do away with the monarchy. Unnamed members of that institution are bigoted and lacking in compassion and understanding towards a vulnerable mother-to-be who was clearly experiencing a mental and emotional crisis. The British tabloids should hang their heads in shame! I’m glad that duo flew the Cuckoo’s Nest.

    The Royal Institution should watch the series Bridgerton and not take themselves so seriously!

    1. I didn’t care enough to watch the interview but I am interested to know which side is “right”. The social dynamics of the situation are somewhat fascinating. Meghan Markle has everything on her side as she can hit all the cultural buttons. She can play a female version of “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?” and have many believing it. The monarchy, on the other hand, is pretty much bound by its rule of silence on family issues. Although I know nothing about the truth here, I imagine Markle arriving on the scene with unreasonable expectations, upset at not having them met, and exaggerating things to her own benefit because she can do so without much fear of contradiction. My wife believes her, though didn’t watch the interview either, so I can only talk about this here.

        1. So what exactly would drive her to consider suicide, as she claims? Many people have conflicts with their in-laws without considering suicide, especially when you have enough money not to have to live in close quarters with them. When it comes to royal relations, I just find it very hard to believe they were so mean to her that she wanted to take her own life. Is she suffering from some kind of mental illness and, if so, is she receiving treatment?

          In my life experiences I’ve always found when it comes to other’s relationships, you can’t at all believe a story told by only one side. People simply aren’t truthful in such situations. It’s also generally the case that there’s some blame to be given to both sides. It just doesn’t make sense that she did everything right and they did everything wrong.

          I find the Economist’s take to be believable:

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