Saturday: Hili dialogue

March 5, 2022 • 6:30 am

Where are we now? In the South Shetland Islands, a group 120 km north of the Antarctic Peninsula (in both maps, the Amundsen is circled in red). Follow the ship at this link, clicking on the green “current position” bar at the lower left.

Our plan is to land at Yankee Harbour, an inlet of Greenwich Island, and an area with a large colony of gentoo penguins. I landed there in 2019, but will take new pictures.

More life, as reported by Wikipedia:

As well as mosses, lichens and algae, the flowering plants Antarctic hairgrass and Antarctic pearlwort occur. The site has been identified as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International because it supports a breeding colony of about 5000 pairs of gentoo penguins. Skuas, Wilson’s storm petrels and snowy sheathbills are also thought to nest there. Southern elephant seals, Weddell seals and Antarctic fur seals regularly haul out on the beaches.

Our transit across the Drake Passage; you can see the Antarctic Peninsula protruding from the bottom. Severa

The view from my balcony: our first land. These islands are technically not on the Antarctic mainland:

Welcome to my first Saturday from Antarctica: March 5, 2020: National Cheese Doodle Day, the worst snack in the history of the world. They taste like petroleum byproduct puffed up with air and dusted with artificial color and salt:

If readers wish to contribute to notable events or famous people who were born or died on this day, just go to this link for March 5 and put in the comments what resonates with you.  I like crowdsourcing this part of Hili while I’m on my trip!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows herself down with the lingo, exercising her “age privilege”, which goes with “position privilege”.

Kulka: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m exercising my privilege.
In Polish:
Kulka: Co tam robisz?
Hili: Korzystam z mojego przywileju.

From Divy:

From me, but definitely not like me:

From Jean, who says this is an “old favorite”:

The latest in the Russia boycotts, and this sounds almost a bit too far for me, for it makes Russian cats suffer. They can’t win any medals, and they surely don’t give a damn about Putin.  I wonder if a Russian Blue cat counts, even if not owned by a Russian living in Russia. . .

Another one I found: a baby giraffe gamboling with joy:

From Ginger K.: Food for thought (or anxiety):

Tweets from Matthew. I think I’ve seen variants of this first one before, but I love them all. No kid left behind!

Bad things are happening in Kyiv. This is, according to Matthew, an apartment block.

A very nice man!

Sound up, and when you hear the cheering remember that the Czechs had their own invasion by Russia in 1968. I do not think Zelensky will win, and I only hope the Russians don’t kill him. This is his moment in history.

And the famous moon-walking woodcock (remember, nobody knows why they walk this way):

I”m off to see penguins!

35 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. 1953 – Death of Joseph Stalin. No doubt there were those in the Soviet Union who thought “Our long national nightmare is over”, or something like that. These days it feels like it has never ended.

    1963 – Death of the great Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, and their pilot in a plane crash near Camden, TN. I grew up with country music and especially the Grand Ole Opry in our home. Patsy Cline was one of Dad’s favorites.

    1. And if you haven’t seen “Death of Stalin” you must. Probably the best bit of geopolitical black humour since Dr Strangelove.

      1. Director/screenwriter Armando Iannucci’s previous film, “In the Loop” (2009) is another must-see satire, this time on the lead-up to the Iraq War.

  2. On this day: You can’t escape mention of Russia-related stuff, it seems…

    1944 – World War II: The Red Army begins the Uman–Botoșani Offensive in the western Ukrainian SSR.

    1946 – Cold War: Winston Churchill coins the phrase “Iron Curtain” in his speech at Westminster College, Missouri.

    1953 – Joseph Stalin, the longest serving leader of the Soviet Union, dies at his Volynskoe dacha in Moscow after suffering a cerebral hemorrhage four days earlier.

    1. 1940 – Stalin (piss be upon him) and five top Soviet officials*) signed an order to murder Polish POWs and intelligentsia. These mass murders were carried out in April/May of the same year, mainly in Katyń.

      *) Voroshilov, Molotov, Mikoyan, Kalinin, Kaganovich (piss be upon them as well)

      1. Kalinin is the otherwise undistinguished nonentity after whom Kaliningrad was named. The Soviet Union was ‘awarded’ ownership of it in the Potsdam Agreement of 1945. As Konigsberg, it was the birthplace of Euler, Kant, Hilbert, ETA Hoffmann and Arendt. As Kaliningrad, it was ethnically cleansed of its native Germans and Poles. Maybe one day it might be Konigsberg again.

        1. I know, that nonentity was even the formal head of state of the Soviet Union, however a pretty powerless one. He couldn’t even get his wife out of the Gulag.

      1. Whenever I hear about the bridge, I immediately think of these lines from Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass:”

        “I heard him then, for I had just
        Completed my design
        To keep the Menai Bridge from rust
        By boiling it in wine.”

  3. It looks like there are fairly specific rules regarding human visitors’ behaviors on and around Yankee Harbor according to the Antarctic Treaty (number of ships and people at any one time, hours of exclusion to provide for wildlife resting, etc) Guidelines and pictures of island harbor and vicinity from wikipedia at
    I wonder how they are enforced and who has authority to enforce them.

  4. People today are more likely to have heard of the Boston strangler or Boston bomber than the Boston Massacre. This event in 1770 occurred 5 years before war with England broke out. Some may not know the British soldiers were tried in court for this and their lawyer was John Adams. The term American Revolution is a product of 19th or 20th century and it would be incorrect to think of the war in these terms when visiting the history. The creation of an American consolidation evolved from this war but as we say about history – don’t take your 21st century culture with you.

    1. In school in the 1960s we learned it as the (American, if necessary for context) War of Independence, in contradistinction to the the French Revolution.

  5. Keeping alive our host’s tradition of mentioning his namesakes, I see that among those born on this day is
    1993 – Joshua Coyne, American violinist and composer

  6. Where is Biden on the Ukrainian refugees? Nearly 500,000 are in Poland already. Biden needs to wake up and act.

    1. For some inexplicable reasons, these Ukranian refugees appear to be more welcome in Western Europe than the Syrian or Libyan ones.

      1. The Ukrainian nationals are exclusively women, children, and harmless old men like me, not shiftless young single men with Muslim grievances, no skills, and few of their own women to exercise some control over them. The foreign students from Africa, frequently male, are less welcome and at least the first couple of trainloads were advised to make themselves scarce and not linger for soup at the border. Just thought I’d mention some explicable reasons to add to the inexplicable ones.

  7. South Shetland Islands – I think on the northern hemisphere that should be approximately the same latitude as southern Finland. And Cape Horn must be around Copenhagen. It’s quite fascinating how much of a difference the Gulf Stream makes.

    1. Yes, and yet it was much harder for a human to demonstrably get to the North Pole, than it was to the South Pole. Trouble in the north with ice floes at sea level. But not only is the Antarctic Circle much colder than the Arctic Circle on average, but the South Pole is about 3,000 metres higher than the sea level North Pole. It can be almost shocking the first time you realize how quick the temperature drops with altitude. I don’t think Jerry’s previous jaunt went south of the Antarctic Circle—not much navigable sea there, e.g. under the Ross Ice Shelf and the other one over closer to him, called Ronning I think..

    1. Even in the media there is a sucker born every minute. Roger Stone’s career depends on it.

  8. With respect to the Woodcock’s odd behavior, the best explanation I’ve heard is that it is a signal to others (predators, mostly) that they’ve been spotted. Woodcocks are able to do something few birds can; they can take off almost vertically. Some ducks can do this too. The thinking is that the strut is communicating that the bird knows you are there and is prepared to fly off, so an attack is probably a waste of time. People have seen Woodcocks strutting like that while on pavement or rock, so they aren’t hunting. It’s also been claimed that they only do it when they know they are being watched. Many animals have the means to communicate to others that they are aware of the others presence. Sometimes its vocal, but often it’s a visual cue. Deer, for example, flash their white tails partly in order to stay together but also to make it clear that you’ve been spotted… so maybe think twice about trying to attack.

    To our host; best of luck with the weather, waves and assorted landings down there. Looking forward to more travelogue.

  9. Died on this day in 1982: John Belushi. 40 years!

    Died in 2013: Duane Gish, creationist, to dust returned.

  10. A plausible outcome in Ukraine has been spelled out by Anatol Lieven in the (paywalled) Guardian.
    “There is still the possibility of a diplomatic settlement that would bring an early end to this dreadful war and Russian military withdrawal while safeguarding the vital interests of Ukraine. Indeed, if the Russians are ever to withdraw, a diplomatic agreement on the terms of withdrawal will be necessary.
    …The West should back a peace agreement and Russian withdrawal by offering Russia the lifting of all new sanctions imposed on it. The offer to Ukraine should be a massive reconstruction package that will also help Ukraine to move towards the West economically and politically rather than militarily – just as Finland and Austria were able to do during the Cold War despite their neutral status.
    The demands by the Russian side are that Ukraine should sign a treaty of neutrality; engage in “demilitarisation” and “denazification”; and recognise Russian sovereignty over Crimea, which was seized back by Russia after the Ukrainian Revolution. These demands are a mixed bag of the acceptable, the unacceptable, and the undefined.

    …The option of neutrality for Ukraine has often been called “Finlandisation”, and perhaps the determined and unified Ukrainian response to Russian aggression over the past week has given a new meaning to that term in the case of Ukraine. For like the Finns in the “winter war” of 1939-40, the Ukrainians have also been abandoned militarily by the West, which has declared publicly and repeatedly that it has no intention of fighting to defend them.

    On the other hand, it seems that the extraordinary courage and resolution with which the Finns fought convinced Stalin that to rule Finland would be too much of a challenge. Finland became the only part of the former Russian Empire not to be incorporated in the USSR, and during the cold war, though neutral by treaty, was able to develop as a successful social market democracy. Similarly, we must hope that the courage and determination of the Ukrainians has convinced Putin that it will be impossible to run Ukraine as a Russian client state, and neutrality is the best deal he is going to get.

    President Volodymyr Zelensky has publicly hinted that a treaty of neutrality may be on offer; and he is right to do so. For two things have been made absolutely clear by this war: that Russia will fight to prevent Ukraine becoming a military ally of the West, and the West will not fight to defend Ukraine.

    …Ukraine has already lost Crimea, and cannot recover it, as Serbia cannot recover Kosovo, without a bloody and unending war that in this case Ukraine would almost certainly lose.”

    1. That would be a kinda face saving move, Ukraine recognises that the Crimea is Russian.
      After all, it was just ‘given’ to the Ukraine by Nikita Khrushchev, a Ukrainian himself, in the fifties, when Ukraine and Russia were still part of the USSR. After Stalin ‘deported’ the tartars, it was and has ever been overwhelmingly Russian. I think that would be a small loss for Ukraine, but a great ‘victory’ for Putin.
      The Donetsk and Luhansk areas are a more difficult question. Recognising those areas as Russian, is inviting trouble in the Baltic states (members of NATO), which have some substantial Russian minorities.

      1. Well, meanwhile Putin said in the Russian state TV that if the Ukrainians are continuing what they are doing [resisting him…] they endanger the existence of their country and that is only their fault. He won’t be satisfied with things like recognizing Crimea as part of Russia, after all that was the de facto state of things before he even started the war.

  11. “I don’t think Zelenski will win”
    That depends what you consider a ‘win’, I’d consider bogging down the Russian army in a kind of stalemate, or even a quagmire, a ‘win’, and the Ukrainians appear to be doing just that.
    Even if not really a ‘win’ for Ukraine and it’s people, it would in all probability prevent invasions of other (NATO) countries such as the Baltic states, and hence prevent WWIII. The West, nay, the world owes the Ukrainians and Zelenski a great debt.
    I find it ironic that a country where NATO cannot intervene militarily, is basically saving NATO from a hot war (at least up to now).

  12. Last week PCC (E) noted with curiosity a Russian arrow on a map coming from the west, Moldavia. Actually it was Transdneister, one of many Donetsk-like fake states the Russians established. I wrote an article about them for my column this week:

    I hope it gives my friends here some deeper context. Long done with being a lawyer, I write for Forbes, counterpunch and themoderatevoice, so a mix of left and right. 🙂

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