Tuesday: Hili dialogue

March 16, 2021 • 6:30 am

Posting will be light today as I must go to the dentist to get fitted with a crown for my recent implant. Bear with me; I may start a discussion thread.

Good morning on the cruelest day: Tuesday, March 16, 2021: National Artichoke Heart Day. It’s also Curlew DayLips Appreciation Day, Day of the Book Smugglers (in Lithuana; read about it), and National Panda Day.

Here’s the public presentation of 23 baby pandas in 2016 at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, a place I visited some years ago. Is there anything cuter than this?

Wine of the Day:

This Brunello di Montalcino, made solely of Sangiovese grapes, was a super wine, though perhaps too elegant to accompany a cheesy/oniony/green peppery leftover stuffed pizza. Curiously, it had the “black olive” aroma I associate with Rhone reds, but there is no Sangiovese in Rhones. Dark garnet in color, and a wee bit off dry, it would have gone better with, say, lamb than with a pedestrian pizza. If there was one flaw, it was that the finish wasn’t too long. Still, this was an excellent wine and has at least several years until it peaks.

News of the Day:

So much for Pope Francis as a liberal reformer of the Vatican. He decreed yesterday that Catholic priests cannot bless same-sex unions because that would be blessing SIN. This is the same Pope who, eight years ago, responded to questions about homosexuality by saying, “Who am I to judge?” Well, he has judged—and negatively. Catholicism’s “new tolerance” has reached its limits. I wonder what Andrew Sullivan would say.

Here’s a relevant tweet sent by Matthew:

Here’s a brave teacher from Loudon County, Virginia, standing up loudly against the infiltration of Critical Race Theory into her schools.

Thousands of unaccompanied migrant children have recently entered the U.S. from Mexico, coming, no doubt, because Biden promised to make the immigration process more humane. I truly don’t know what to make of this, because although I wanted immigration reform, I didn’t think it would lead to so many unaccompanied kids being sequestered in shelters in the U.S. And won’t they grow up without their real parents? How does this happen? Do parents just give up their kids at the border?

The NYT has an interesting interview with documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, Would he make his classic series, “The Civil War” (my favorite t.v. documentary of all time) differently in light of the present Zeitgeist? Was Shelby Foote a Confederate sympathizer? And why was Burns so changed by the early death of his mother?

“Shots in arms,” as they say. And a lot of them:

Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 535,227, an increase of just {well, “just” may not be a good word) 751 deaths over yesterday’s figure—a very low number.  The reported world death toll stands at 2,673,558, an increase of about about 7,400 deaths over yesterday’s total. 

Stuff that happened on March 16 includes:

Most of them killed themselves after setting the tower ablaze; about 150 perished; this was much like Masada.

Here’s what’s described as “The only known photo of the team, taken in 1863 when the club was still known as Forest F.C.”

Well, here’s Goddard and his rocket taken on that day:

(From Wikipedia) Robert Goddard, bundled against the cold weather of March 16, 1926, holds the launching frame of his most notable invention — the first liquid-fueled rocket.
  • 1935 – Adolf Hitler orders Germany to rearm herself in violation of the Treaty of Versailles. Conscription is reintroduced to form the Wehrmacht.
  • 1945 – World War II: The Battle of Iwo Jima ended, but small pockets of Japanese resistance persisted.
  • 1968 – Vietnam War: My Lai Massacre occurs; between 347 and 500 Vietnamese villagers (men, women, and children) are killed by American troops.
  • 1978 – Supertanker Amoco Cadiz splits in two after running aground on the Portsall Rocks, three miles off the coast of Brittany, resulting in the largest oil spill in history at that time.

Number of barrels spilled: 1.6 million!  Here’s a photo of the broken up ship leaking oil.

  • 1985 – Associated Press newsman Terry Anderson is taken hostage in Beirut. He is released on December 4, 1991.
  • 1988 – Iran–Contra affair: Lieutenant Colonel Oliver North and Vice Admiral John Poindexter are indicted on charges of conspiracy to defraud the United States.
  • 1995 – Mississippi formally ratifies the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment was officially ratified in 1865.

Here’s the official amendment from the National Archives, signed by Abraham Lincoln, whose statue is being pulled down throughout the U.S.:

Notables born on this day include:

This woman astronomer is where Brian Cox’s female cat got her name. To wit:

  • 1751 – James Madison, American academic and politician, 4th President of the United States (d. 1836)
  • 1774 – Matthew Flinders, English navigator and cartographer (d. 1814)

Flinders’s cat was famous: “Australia holds a large collection of statues erected in Flinders’ honour. In his native England, the first statue of Flinders was erected on 16 March 2006 (his birthday) in his hometown of Donington. The statue also depicts his beloved cat Trim, who accompanied him on his voyages ”

Trim has his own Wikipedia page, and appears more than once with Flinders. Here are two statues:

  • 1906 – Henny Youngman, English-American violinist and comedian (d. 1998)
  • 1911 – Josef Mengele, German physician and captain (d. 1979)
  • 1920 – Traudl Junge, German secretary (d. 2002)

Junge, born Traudl Humps (what a name!) was Hitler’s private secretary right to the end. She escaped the Russians but then was arrested and interrogated for five months before being released. Here she is with her husband, Hans Junge, who happened to be Hitler’s household manager:

  • 1926 – Jerry Lewis, American actor and comedian (d. 2017)
  • 1943 – Ursula Goodenough, American biologist, zoologist, and author

Ursula is one of our readers, so happy birthday to her! Here’s a photo of her with the Dalai Lama in Dharmasala, India:

  • 1950 – Kate Nelligan, Canadian actress
  • 1953 – Isabelle Huppert, French actress

Those who went to the Great Beyond on March 16 were few, and include:

  • AD 37 – Tiberius, Roman emperor (b. 42 BC)
  • 1898 – Aubrey Beardsley, English author and illustrator (b. 1872)

Beardsley was a great illustrator, and died of tuberculosis at only 25. Here’s one of his cat drawings:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is impatient for warmer weather:

Hili: Things are going in the right direction.
A: And that means?
Hili: In the direction of summer.
In Polish:
Hili: Sprawy idą we właściwym kierunku.
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: W kierunku lata.

A few pictures of Szaron and Kulka playing.

The caption from Andzej: “Paulina dragged herself from her intellectual work and grabbed the camera.”

(In Polish: “Paulina oderwała się od pracy intelektualnej i złapała się za aparat fotograficzny.”

From Mark:

From Facebook:

From Bruce. This is a terrific idea and I think someone should try it with their cat.

A new chapter (part 16) in “Titania Educates”

From Barry, an adorable cat tweet. Look at that agitated kitten!

From Dom: a lovely Roman mosaic of two parrots that are recognizable species (see below)

Tweets from Matthew. Now here’s a bird I didn’t know existed: a flightless bird (it can glide) of the tropical forest. Its closest relatives are a mystery. Sound up.

Check out Spain, Italy, and France!  I like Iceland, too.

This isn’t really a first (there have been several sightings of walruses around Ireland), but it’s pretty unusual. I hope this one will be all right.

16 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. The map showing the names of Donald Duck’s nephews was interesting, but it was the ones in Romania, Albania, and Azerbaijan that I found surprising.

  2. For those wondering why the first ever FA Cup final was held at The Oval, the first ever secretary of the FA, Charles Alcock, was also at the same time the secretary of Surrey County Cricket Club, whose HQ The Oval is.

  3. I now have my first dental implant. Did not realize it would take so long.

    “Do parents just give up their kids at the border.” No, that was Donald Trump’s job. Things that come to mind – desperation, despair, misery & fear. I doubt many of us want to know what goes on in central America, just don’t show it to me. The problems have to be addressed at the origin just like immigration problems all over the world. We know a lot more about causing the problem than curing it.

  4. According to the Wikipedia articles on “portsall rocks” and “Amoco Cadiz”, the grounding was not due to bad piloting, but rather a mechanical problem that left the tanker adrift in a storm. Both articles read like a drama of continuing attempts to save the ship during the gale even after it first grounded. All new information to me.

  5. I was delighted to find the kagu is a real bird. One if my favorite novels is “The Worm Ouroboros”, a fantasy story first published by E.R. Eddison in 1922. It takes place on a fantasy version of the planet Mercury and is filled with fantastic races and mythical animals such as hippogriffs. Early in the narrative, a prince (The Red Foliot) holds a banquet at which various beasts dance for his guests. The kagu is the first performer and is described thus:

    Somewhat like a heron she was, but stouter, and shorter of leg, and her beak shorter and thicker than the heron’s; and so long and delicate was her pale gray plumage that hard it was to say whether it were hair or feathers.

    I can’t see this as a coincidence. Eddison was a British public servant and Old Norse scholar. I wonder if he researched obscure animals for his book, or if he just ran across the kagu somewhere?

    1. Eddison may well have been aware of the kagu. According to Wikipedia (I know…),

      The species was not discovered by Europeans until the French colonisation of New Caledonia in 1852 and was not described until a specimen was taken to the Colonial Exhibition in Paris in 1860. This led to a surge in scientific interest in the species, which resulted in many birds being trapped for museums and zoos. The species was also trapped for food and was considered a delicacy by European colonisers. It was also fashionable to own kagus as pets. A campaign was run from 1977–1982 to phase out the pet trade in kagus.


  6. The other cats Szaron & Kulka are having lots of fun. I wish our two cats got along like that.

  7. The truth about the border children and their lack of parents predates anything Donald Trump may or may have not done. Those children are likely for the most part to be victims of human traffickers who were to be sold off for a variety of uses. In other words, slaves.

  8. Apparently now, the consensus for the kagu’s phylogenetic relationships is to a tropical American relative, the sunbittern which in turn are related to tropicbirds (Phaethontiformes).


    Maybe it’s a case of a seabird deciding to crash course on a large island and become flightless to avoid other seabird competition?

    1. I’ve recently discovered wines made from the Sangiovese grapes. I was wondering if they age like the wines from the Bordeaux regions?

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