Monday: Hili dialogue

March 7, 2022 • 6:30 am

Well, the mass PCR testing of all crew and passengers yesterday turned up at least one case of covid-19 infection, which is a huge deal for our ship. It was a passenger, not crew, and since all PAX were PCR tested the day they flew to Punta Arenas to board the ship, this person must have had the virus but not yet developed enough of it to get into the nasal passages.

The infection means that we are no longer a “green ship” but a “red ship”. We have the plague! That means that there will be no lessening of social distancing (i.e., no live audience during lecturing), the spas and gym will be closed (no harm to me there), as will the public bathrooms, and, worst of all, we can’t visit the Falklands, as they won’t accept a ship with Covid on board. That bums me out because I so liked the place—especially the long hikes to the penguin rookeries, the black-browed albatross colony, and the trip to see the king penguins. I will see no large penguins with orange coloration on this trip.

This means that the expedition leader has to find something else for us to do during those extra three or four days, and I’m not sure what that would be. One of my friends aboard, a scientist down here to monitor algae on the snow, says that perhaps they’ll take us around to the east side of the Antarctic peninsula, where I’ve never been. I suppose I can look forward to new places if they come up with some good destinations. In fact, we’re going to one this afternoon (see below):

Where we are: We have left the South Shetland Islands and are now cruising along the Antarctic Peninsula, which I can see out my port cabin window. As I said, the covid case has forced the Expedition Leader (“Tomski”) to confect a new plan to use up the three days that we’d normally spend in the Falklands. Today we’re scheduled to visit Almirante Brown Base, or simply Brown Base, an Argentine naval station that was recently closed. It has penguins—gentoos, which our team leader called “the cockroaches of the Antarctic” because they’re so numerous and because they displace other species of penguins.

Our location and trail over the last few day. As you see, we visited the South Shetlands and are now of the Antarctic Peninsula.

We are at 64.5° south latitude, and we’re told that on this trip we won’t cross the Antarctic Circle, which lies at 66.3° south.

The view from my balcony at 6:20 a.m.  Antarctica! A large iceberg went by a few minutes ago.

And a sea mammal surfaced twice; I have no idea whether it’s a seal, a fin whale, or what:

Our goal: Brown Station in Paradise Harbor (photo from Wikipedia)

And from Wikipedia:

Thanks to its location on the Antarctica continent along the beautiful Paradise Harbor and to its relatively mild weather, Brown Station is a popular excursion destination for tourist expedition ships visiting Antarctica. In addition to visiting gentoo penguins, tourists may climb to a viewpoint 84 m (276 ft) above the station. Rather than walking down the steep slope, many visitors use the human bobsled course. All those visitors sledding downhill have created a ditch a few feet deep that makes for excellent sledding.

The course; hiking up on the left and sliding down on the right. You don’t use sleds; you slide down on your butt. It should be fun, but of course my main interest is penguins.

So, good morning on a cold (0°C) Antarctic morning: Monday, March 7, 2022: National Cereal Day. I had oatmeal instead, and it’s marvelous to have a leisurely breakfast as the landscape and icebergs go by. That’s the daily schedule by my plate; I prefer the printed one, which you can pick up on your way to breakfast, than the electronic one.

The news from Ukraine gets worse: This NYT headline shows how insanely bellicose Putin is (click on screenshot to read):

So we’re avoiding military conflict but trying to deter Putin by peaceful means, and yet the autocratic loon says that those sanctions are still equivalent to a “declaration of war.” What he apparently wants is to take over whatever territory he fancies, and nobody can stop him, whether by fighting or by sanctions, without his regarding it as a “declaration of war.” The man is spoiling for totalier Krieg, I tell you.

President Vladimir V. Putin warned on Saturday that crippling economic sanctions imposed by the West were “akin to a declaration of war,” as the Russian military pummeled civilian targets and continued shelling near the first protected routes intended to allow besieged Ukrainians to flee, apparently violating a cease-fire that had been agreed to only hours earlier.

In the meantime, here’s a picture from the NYT not of collateral damage, but deliberate targeting, or so it says (caption from the NYT). Read more about this incident here, and be aware that there’s a graphic video:

Russian forces fired on evacuees, killing a mother and two children outside Kyiv. A photojournalist for The Times witnessed the attack and Ukrainian soldiers trying to save the father. Lynsey Addario for The New York Times

Firing on evacuees is of course a war crime. There are more than a few of us, I think, who have dreams of Putin in the dock in the Hague. But of course he’d never set foot out of Russia to allow that to happen.

The antiwar protests in Russia continue: the BBC News aboard just informed us that 4,300 protesters were arrested across Russia yesterday. They’re very brave, as they face long prison sentences for doing this. More and more—what with the bellicosity, the elimination of freedom of the press, the suppression of protests, and the insanity of the leader—the Russian administration is coming to resemble that of Nazi Germany.

I wonder if the humor and cleverness of the Ukrainians are promoted by the traits of Zelensky, a former comedian. Matthew sent this:

*An article to read: an op-ed in the NYT by Emma Camp, a senior at the University of Virginia: “I came to college eager to debate. I found self-censorship instead.

I went to college to learn from my professors and peers. I welcomed an environment that champions intellectual diversity and rigorous disagreement. Instead, my college experience has been defined by strict ideological conformity. Students of all political persuasions hold back — in class discussions, in friendly conversations, on social media — from saying what we really think. Even as a liberal who has attended abortion rights protests and written about standing up to racism, I sometimes feel afraid to fully speak my mind.

In the classroom, backlash for unpopular opinions is so commonplace that many students have stopped voicing them, sometimes fearing lower grades if they don’t censor themselves. According to a 2021 survey administered by College Pulse of over 37,000 students at 159 colleges, 80 percent of students self-censor at least some of the time. Forty-eight percent of undergraduate students described themselves as “somewhat uncomfortable” or “very uncomfortable” with expressing their views on a controversial topic during classroom discussions. At U.V.A., 57 percent of those surveyed feel that way.

This is precisely why departments and official units of colleges and universities should not make any official or quasi-official statements about politics, ideology, or morality. It chills speech. And that is why the University of Chicago abides by The Kalven Report—at least it’s supposed to, but even some of our departments can’t resist making Wokeish statements to signal their virtue. But I’d object just as strongly if they made right-wing statements. Departments and universities should just shut up about those issues, or they’ll breed a generation of speech-wary students—as they already have.

If you wish to contribute notable events, births, or deaths that happened on this day, please go to the Wikipedia page for March 7 and, if you find something interesting, please put it in the comments.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili saw a bird catch a mouse in the garden:

Hili: This bird has stolen my mouse.
A: What do you mean ‘your mouse’?
Hili: All mice in our garden are mine.
In Polish:
Hili: Ten ptak ukradł moją mysz?
Ja: Jak to twoją mysz?
Hili: Wszystkie myszy w naszym ogrodzie są moje.

And Szaron looking out the window:

From Masih. No wonder Putin’s always talking to someone thirty feet away at the other end of a table!

From Ginger K.: This kid is not only adorable, but fiendishly clever!

Tweets from Matthew. His interpretation of this salticid (jumping spider) courtship:

Yes two males, then the female turns up and one of the male slopes off (probably sensible, she looks hungry)

A new Russian joke (second tweet)

They are so hopeful, but, I fear, so doomed:

So many “good morning” greetings from Ukraine!

Have a look at the tweet below and see what you make of it.

Here’s Matthew’s explanation:

Ah, Putin gave a 2 hour rant to a group of bemused trainee air hostesses (they won’t be busy for a while…). The Twitter version of his video was compressed, and that often produces glitches. In this case, it looked like Putin’s hand was passing through the microphone, which led to a lot of excited chatter about the vid being faked (it isn’t). Zelensky, being a clever comedian, took the piss.

Here’s the vid – the faces on the poor women, trapped with him. He just rambled, no one ate anything (mind you, would you?!)

More on the microphone stuff from Matthew:

. . . and here’s a cranky conspiracy vid [sound up]:


Getting ready for the famous Abbey Road shot. Paul hasn’t yet taken off his sandals:

I understand that giant anteaters (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) enjoy their baths, and can even swim across wide rivers:

28 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. That’s a real shame about the positive test result on board – it just goes to show that even with all the best precautions there are no guarantees.

    From the department of “You couldn’t make it up”:

    Vladimir Putin’s decision to invade Ukraine has prompted demonstrations around the world, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets to condemn the war.

    But anger towards the Russian leader has also ensnared an unlikely casualty: a French-Canadian delicacy of potato fries, cheese curds and gravy.

    Poutine, the famous dish, shares its name – in French – with the maligned Russian president. And as Putin becomes the target of protest, so too has one restaurant that sells the dish.

    Maison de la Poutine, with restaurants in both Paris and Toulouse, said it has received insults and threats following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.


    “People, please stop confusing Putin and poutine,” tweeted one user. “One is a dangerous and unwholesome mix of greasy, lumpy and congealed ingredients, the other is a delicious food.”

    1. I’ve been waiting to see a labelled pic of Putin, followed by one of Trump with the label of Putin’s Putain, or something of that sort. (Or maybe what little I learned of French outside the classroom 50+ yrs ago doesn’t apply?) Or I just don’t get around the interweb enough (no twatter, no dick-dock, etc).

    2. On the news over the weekend was a piece about how Russian restaurants and businesses in the U.S. are being boycotted by customers. Many are, of course, owned by people who are not actually Russian including folks from Ukraine and Armenia. Also read a piece that described a bartender pouring out bottles of Stolichnaya vodka. Stolichnaya is made in Latvia, a NATO country.

  2. Oh that is rotten luck!

    Those oo gent penguins – how mean to see off the other penguins.

    Russian to his grandfather – “What did you do in the Great Patriotic Special Military Operation?”

  3. On this day:

    1965 – Bloody Sunday: A group of 600 civil rights marchers is brutally attacked by state and local police in Selma, Alabama.

    1989 – Iran and the United Kingdom break diplomatic relations after a fight over Salman Rushdie and his controversial novel, The Satanic Verses.

    People born on 7th March include:

    1872 – Piet Mondrian, Dutch-American painter (d. 1944)

    1875 – Maurice Ravel, French pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1937)

    1. Ravel orchestrated Mussorgsky’s Pictures at an Exhibition, which includes the piece “The Great Gates of Kiev” (sorry, Kyiv).
      It occurred to me to play it in support of Ukraine, but Mussorgsky was Russian, damn it.

      1. Didn’t see a smiley. Why does it matter that he was Russian? That‘s like people canceling War and Peace because it was written by a Russian (yes, has happened).

        1. Context, timing, sensitivity, is all. War and Peace is not specifically about Ukraine, but even so now would not be the time to arrange for readings of it in Ukraine bookshops.

  4. Sorry to hear about the covid. Too bad they cannot come up with a better name than “red ship”. As if you suddenly turned Russian or Republican.

    1936 the prelude to WWII with the reoccupation of the Rhineland. Actually the prelude to WWII was WWI. Negotiating is sometimes the wrong thing to do. That is why FDR declared we would not do that in WWII. I think maybe Putin – the bastard from Moscow is past negotiations. Is bastard too harsh a term? I am not negotiating.

      1. Not only is “bastard” the right word for Putin, but — as you Brits might say — Putin is “a right bastard.”

  5. Sorry to hear about the Covid positive. Given the low risk involved it is silly that an OT entirely dependent on tourism and subsidies does not have an easier regime.

    Regarding the pics of the dead family. The NYT is selective in showing pics of dead people. It stopped showing pics of 9/11 victims because it was disrespectful. I never showed pics of dead GIs in Irak because it was unpatriotic, it even stopped showing pics of caskets because it was traumatic – pics of tead desecrated US contractors in same war were shown though, as they were only contractors.

    I was in the US reading NYT everyday in the 2000s – the first time dead people were shown in a pic after 9/11 was victims of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, and yes, they were Black.
    NYT will never show pics of dead Americans on US soil. Especially not children, it hurts too much.

    But Ukrainians dead kids are OK. So much for fairly reporting the news.

  6. And a sea mammal surfaced twice; I have no idea whether it’s a seal, a fin whale, or what

    Clearly a human with a snorkel.

    Two notable birthdays

    1792 – John Herschel, English mathematician and astronomer (d. 1871)

    1952 – Viv Richards, Antiguan cricketer and footballer

    Viv Richards would be the greatest batsman ever if it were not for Donald Bradman. I’m not sure why Wikipedia bothered to note that he also played football.

    1. Thank you!

      Richards was a great batsman and was ahead of his time. I think his innings in the 1979 WC final compared to the Boycott-Brearley partnership in the England reply showed how far ahead he was at the time.

      He played in a great team and was on a series-losing side just once — versus Australia in 75-76.

      Also on this day: In 1987, the more sedate Sunil Gavaskar became the first to get past 10,000 test runs.

  7. The self-proclaimed “stable genius” has a plan, I see:

    In a speech to Republican donors in New Orleans, Donald Trump said the US should put the Chinese flag on F-22 jets and “bomb the shit out of Russia” in retribution for its invasion of Ukraine. […] “And then we say, ‘China did it, we didn’t do it, China did it,’ and then they start fighting with each other and we sit back and watch.”

    1. Not everybody is as stupid as Donald Tr*mp – fortunately.

      For starters, the only country in the World that has F-22 fighters is the USA so just painting Chinese flags on them isn’t going to fool anybody.

      Secondly, if you want to “bomb the shit out of Russia”, the F-22 is probably not the aircraft to do it with.

    2. I think execution of the stable genius’s plan would also constitute an international war crime.

      Trump’s a real tough guy on Russia now that he no longer has any power to do anything. Some of us are old enough to remember when, as president, he met alone with Putin for two hours in Helsinki, seized his own translator’s notes after the meeting, failed to give a readout of the meeting to anyone in his administration, then slunk onto the stage like a whipped dog for a joint press conference at which he took Putin’s word regarding Russian (non-)interference in the 2016 election over the US intelligence community’s contrary findings.

      1. Tough Guy also withdrew our troops from northern Syria without discussing it with our allies or even our generals, ceding control of the region to Assad and Putin. Also, unrelated to any conflict he spoke at one point about pulling our troops out of Germany. I have no doubt that his response to Putin’s actions, if he had been reelected, would’ve been to move US troops *out* of Europe instead of *into* it.

        1. Indeed, and it was Trump’s plan and timetable to withdraw from Afghanistan that Biden inherited of course

  8. I read this article last night about the various ways the war in Ukraine might end. Looks like Putin is going with the escalate the whole works thing. Something that could bring it into Europe more fully.

    I also saw that photo of the family killed with covers over the bodies and just their suitcase standing in this Wall Street Journal article. It’s sad. I looked up that suburb of Kyiv (Irpin) on Google Maps in Street View and it could be any European or Western city. Very sad to see it destroyed by shelling.

  9. Some of the information I’m getting from television news today it seems the Russian army is not doing well. With as many as 200,000 in country they are continuing to have lots of problems. The moral is very poor and the food and supplies seem to be messed up. Many Russian planes have been shot down. Overall indications are the Russians are having big problems coordinating between units and many do not seem to know what they are suppose to be doing. Meanwhile the Ukrainian resistance has been very good. I saw C-17s flying into western Ukraine with loads of supplies for the soldiers.

  10. “And that is why the University of Chicago abides by The Kalven Report—at least it’s supposed to . . . .”

    The Chronicle of Higher Education has an interview with FIRE:

    CHE: “It is worth mentioning, right, that you’re not just a First Amendment organization — you’re also involved with speech cases at private colleges where the First Amendment doesn’t apply . . . And you rank universities, including private universities, according to the extent to which you perceive them to be friendly to free speech. So there is a focus beyond the First Amendment.”

    FIRE: “Yes, especially with universities that promise free speech. At private universities you don’t have the First Amendment to fall back on, but you are relying on the promises that the institution makes. So if it holds itself out as saying, “We protect free speech, and free speech is a value of ours,” then when the going gets tough they sell you out . . . .”

    Would have been a fine time for FIRE to have mentioned the University of Chicago.

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