Thursday: Hili dialogue

April 7, 2022 • 7:45 am

Welcome to a chilly Thursday: April 7, 2022. It’s National Beer Day. And Wikipedia gives us the annual beer consumption per year (I don’t know if they counted just adults or everyone, but I don’t think it matters much for the ranking. The Czechs take top billing, while the U.S. is number 20. The article lists 61 countries, with Indonesia weighing in at a pathetic consumption of 0.7 liters of beer per person per year. I could drink the average Lithuanian’s yearly consumption of beer during one dinner! But oy, those Czechs:  140 liters per person per year; that’s nearly twice the annual consumption of the US and 1.4 times the consumption of Germany.

Stuff that happened on April 7 includes (I’m truncating this section from now on as it’s time-consuming):

  • 451 – Attila the Hun sacks the town of Metz and attacks other cities in Gaul.
  • 1141 – Empress Matilda becomes the first female ruler of England, adopting the title ‘Lady of the English’.
  • 1724 – Premiere performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s St John Passion, BWV 245, at St. Nicholas Church, Leipzig.
  • 1805 – German composer Ludwig van Beethoven premieres his Third Symphony, at the Theater an der Wien in Vienna.

Two great pieces of music premiered on this day. Here’s a portrait of Beethoven painted in 1820 when he was still alive, so this is surely what he looked like:

Portrait by Joseph Karl Stieler, 1820
  • 1922 – Teapot Dome scandal: United States Secretary of the Interior Albert B. Fall leases federal petroleum reserves to private oil companies on excessively generous terms.
  • 1940 – Booker T. Washington becomes the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.

Here it is (it doesn’t show the M.G.s):

  • 1943 – The Holocaust in Ukraine: In Terebovlia, Germans order 1,100 Jews to undress and march through the city to the nearby village of Plebanivka, where they are shot and buried in ditches.

The Ukraine (and the Jews) don’t get a break. Out of thousands of Jews who lived in that town before the war, only 50-60 survived.

  • 1955 – Winston Churchill resigns as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom amid indications of failing health.
  • 1968 – Two-time Formula One British champion Jim Clark dies in an accident during a Formula Two race in Hockenheim.

Here’s a short bio of one of the greatest drivers of all time, and, by all accounts, a truly nice human being. Many consider him the best racing driver of all time.

For an excellent movie about this massacre, see the 2004 movie “Hotel Rwanda“.  It’s a very, very good film.  Over half a million people were killed in a bit more than three months. Here’s the trailer.

  • 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic: China ends its lockdown in Wuhan.
  • 2020 – COVID-19 pandemic: Acting Secretary of the Navy Thomas Modly resigns for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic on USS Theodore Roosevelt and the dismissal of Brett Crozier.
  • 2021 – COVID-19 pandemic: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announces that the SARS-CoV-2 Alpha variant has become the dominant strain of COVID-19 in the United States.

Notables born on this day include:

Here’s a portrait though he’s not one of my favorite poets:

  • 1897 – Walter Winchell, American journalist and radio host (d. 1972)
  • 1915 – Billie Holiday, American singer-songwriter and actress (d. 1959)

Greatest jazz singer ever, male or female. Here she is wearing her customary gardenia. She died at only 44

CIRCA 1939: Jazz singer Billie Holiday poses for a portrait in circa 1939 with a flower in her hair. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
  • 1929 – Joe Gallo, American gangster (d. 1972)
  • 1931 – Daniel Ellsberg, American activist and author
  • 1954 – Jackie Chan, Hong Kong martial artist, actor, stuntman, director, producer, and screenwriter.

I’ve never seen a Jackie Chan movie, but here are 6 minutes of highlight fight scenes:

Those who kicked the bucket on April 7 include:

  • 1614 – El Greco, Greek-Spanish painter and sculptor (b. 1541)

El Greco painted elongated figures. Some historians have attributed this to a case of astigmatism, asserting that he painted the way he actually saw people.  Explain in the comments why this can’t possibly be true:

Barnum (below) is often credited with saying “There’s a sucker born every minute,” but there’s no record that he ever said that.

  • 1947 – Henry Ford, American engineer and businessman, founded the Ford Motor Company (b. 1863)
  • 1968 – Edwin Baker, Canadian co-founder of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) (b. 1893)
  • 1968 – Jim Clark, Scottish race car driver (b. 1936)
  • 1972 – Joe Gallo, American gangster (b. 1929)
  • 2020 – John Prine, American country folk singer-songwriter (b. 1946)

I was never a big fan of Prine, though many were. In fact, this is the only song he wrote that I really like:

I don’t have time to reprise the news reports today, but presumably you can see the major news for yourself. Here’s the NYT headlines (click to read):

And the NYT’s headlines:

As Ukrainian leaders stepped up their demands on Western allies to provide further support, NATO foreign ministers were meeting in Brussels on Thursday to discuss expanding military aid to Ukraine, and the European Union was considering yet another round of sanctions on Russia, including a possible ban on Russian coal.

Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian foreign minister, who was also in Brussels, said his agenda for the NATO meeting contained only three items: “Weapons, weapons and weapons.”

Ukraine has said that more military supplies from Western countries are needed to save lives and defeat Russian forces, which have pulled back from most of northern Ukraine but are believed to be refocusing for a fuller offensive against the east and south. But the NATO allies’ discussions were expected to focus on how to help Ukraine without entangling the alliance in direct combat with Russian forces.

Meanwhile, Mariupol still has not been evacuated by the Red Cross despite repeated Russian promises that a humanitarian convey would be let through

*The NYT has video footage of an armored Russian vehicle shooting at an unarmed bicyclist in Bucha, Ukraine. Although you can’t tell from the video what happened to the cyclist. Evidence collected after the fact strongly suggested he was killed. It’s not just Putin who should face war-crimes charges, unless these soldiers argue that they “were just following orders.”

*To match that, the Russians are using a new type of land mine in Ukraine that is brutal. The POM-3 mines are launched by rockets, and fall to earth. You don’t have to step on them to trigger them: a human walking nearby can detoate the mine, which can throw lethal fragments up to 50 feet away. This is not only barbaric, but will make the job of clearing unexploded mines unbelievably harder.

*The Washington Post reports that both of Putin’s adult daughters, Katerina Vladimirovna Tikhonova and Maria Vladimirovna Vorontsova, are to be sanctioned as well.  What’s not clear is whether they are his daughters, as nobody at the Kremlin, including Putin, has admitted that they’re his offspring.  Nor have they. But the U.S. suspects that some of Putin’s wealth is hidden among his relatives, like these two daughters. An excerpt:

Identified by the U.S. Treasury Department as Putin’s children, both women appear to work with and benefit from the Russian state apparatus. According to the department, Tikhonova is a tech executive whose work supports the Russian government and the country’s defense industry, and Vorontsova leads state-funded genetics research programs that have received billions of dollars from the Kremlin and are personally overseen by Putin.

Here is a photo and caption of the two from the Indian Express:

(From Indian Express): Russian President Vladimir Putin has two children, Maria and Katerina, from his marriage to Lyudmila Putina, a former Aeroflot steward whom he divorced in 2013. (Reuters)

*Matthew sent me a link to a piece on the BBC News with a really wonderful finding: a fossil has been found of a dinosaur that was probably killed by the famous asteroid strike, with its death due directly to the strike on the death the object hit Earth!

Scientists have presented a stunningly preserved leg of a dinosaur.

The limb, complete with skin, is just one of a series of remarkable finds emerging from the Tanis fossil site in the US State of North Dakota.

But it’s not just their exquisite condition that’s turning heads – it’s what these ancient specimens purport to represent.

The claim is the Tanis creatures were killed and entombed on the actual day a giant asteroid struck Earth.

The day 66 million years ago when the reign of the dinosaurs ended and the rise of mammals began.

Very few dinosaur remains have been found in the rocks that record even the final few thousand years before the impact. To have a specimen from the cataclysm itself would be extraordinary.

. . .Along with that leg, there are fish that breathed in impact debris as it rained down from the sky.

We see a fossil turtle that was skewered by a wooden stake; the remains of small mammals and the burrows they made; skin from a horned triceratops; the embryo of a flying pterosaur inside its egg; and what appears to be a fragment from the asteroid impactor itself.

“We’ve got so many details with this site that tell us what happened moment by moment, it’s almost like watching it play out in the movies. You look at the rock column, you look at the fossils there, and it brings you back to that day,” says Robert DePalma, the University of Manchester, UK, graduate student who leads the Tanis dig.

I don’t think this finding has been reviewed in a scientific journal, but will be presented on a show by David Attenborough. And some scientists think that the other findings implying death on the Day of Impact, like early fish with particles stuck in their gills, could have resulted from the post-impact fallout.  So right now we have a suggestive but not conclusive hypothesis, but not one that’s passed formal scientific review. It’s pretty clear that the impact had a major influence on the death of the dinosaurs, but the excitement is about Death on the Day of Impact, not the causal influence of the impact itself on extinction.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is hungry. That is “dog bites man” news.

Hili: The bowls are empty.
A: So what can I do?
Hili: Fill them up.
In Polish:
Hili: Miseczki są puste.
Ja: Co mam zrobić?
Hili: Napełnić.


From Jesus of the Day. Another problem with poor grammar and punctuation:

From Facebook:

Umm. . . is this a good idea? That damn cat will be walking or running around underneath your bed all night. (from Beth):

From Masih:

From Geth, who says “The eyes follow you around the room.” (He is half the staff of two black cat sisters.)

Look at the speed of that color change! The most amazing this is that the pigment cells are caused by the squid’s perception of its environment, and yet are instantaneous:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, detailing a successful escape from the camp on this day in 1944:

Tweets from Matthew. Translation of the first one: “There was a giant salamander.” Indeed! This is in a river near Hiroshima, Japan. I don’t think this is a radiation-produced mutant!

This is depressing but true: read the NYT story here.

These are free-swimming marine gastropods (molluscs):

A parrot trying (successfully) to be a cat. Be sure to watch till the end:

I have NO idea what’s going on here but I’m pretty sure that bird doesn’t eat mustelids. Maybe the stoat-like creature’s just practicing it’s “play dead” behavior.


38 thoughts on “Thursday: Hili dialogue

  1. “140 liters per person per day; ”
    As I read the chart, that is 140 liters per person per year. Not day.

    1. Thirsty people, the Czechs!

      The Brits came lower than I would have expected in the table. My old local in Kent, The Little Gem in Aylesford, had a poem on the wall:

      A pint in the morning is good for the sight
      Forty or fifty between that and night
      Go to bed sober
      Sleep without sin
      Get up in the morn’
      And attack it ag’in

      1. The Brits came lower than I would have expected in the table

        Ah, but remember, they are only counting beer here. I vaguely recall from years ago that, if you measure average # of servings of alcohol (of any form), Portugal ranks near the top at just around 3/day/adult.

    2. The Czech number is from 2020; the others, 2019. I think something happened in 2020 that might have affected beer consumption.

  2. My dad told a story about his involvement in the liberation of Czechoslovakia during WWII. He was a sergeant and was among a group sent to secure a number of establishments including a brewery. (I know, what was Patton thinking?) Anyway, his platoon was making sure there were no Jerries skulking about when they encountered a large room filled with barrels. It was perceived to be their duty to make sure no Nazi chemicals were in those barrels. A smiling old guy came in, shaking hands and trying to dissuade the GIs from sampling the barrel contents. Everyone was giving the old guy short shrift and there was some shoving going on. My dad collared a PFC from Cleveland to try to find out what the old guy was carrying on about.
    “He says we’re drinking the shit beer that they keep out here for the Germans. He’ll show us where the good stuff is if we settle down.”

  3. Presumably any visual impediment El Greco had affected how he saw his paintings too. If he painted them in normal proportions he would see them in the same way he say thnormally proportioned subjects of those paintings?

    1. That assumes that the effect varies linearly with distance. I’m not sure if that is the case.

      On the other hand, the lamb looks properly proportioned and the man’s right hand is elongated, even though it is horizontal.

    2. Wikipedia says “the physician Arturo Perera, however, attributed this style to the use of marijuana”. I don’t think that is the conventional viewpoint!

  4. I’m guessing that the designer of the under-bed cat labyrinth has never had cats. Or at least, has never had to deal with hairballs (or worse) left under the bed by a cat.

    1. I have a bed with a pedestal with drawers which I use to store my bed linen. A while ago, my cats found a way to get under the bed and into the drawers from behind, where they formed the habit of sleeping among the sheets and pillowcases. When I went to change the bedding, everything was full of cat hair. It took me two days to launder everything, and I then started storing all the bedding in plastic zipper bags. It eliminated the problem in two ways: it kept everything from gathering hair, and the cats decided that plastic bags weren’t as snuggly as the sheets and abandoned their underbed adventures.

    2. Years ago when we only had a few cats instead of our current 16, one of our wily ones would wake us a mere quarter hour before the alarm was set to go off by propelling herself under the bed on her back clawing into the fabric underside of the box springs. Scritch scratch scritch scratch. It was astonishingly annoying and amazing how her movements were so strongly transmitted through the springs and mattress to our backs. Impossible to ignore. We would lean over the side of the bed and see her leering at us upside-down with red eyes! Scamp.

      I’m not sure this under-bed labyrinth arrangement would have been helpful. It might have just become a series of catacombs for catnip mice.

  5. We’re gonna hafta part ways on John Prine, boss. I dig him the most. I’ve been listening to him a lot since he died of complications of COVID-19 two years ago. Right now, one of my favorite tunes of his is “Lake Marie.” (He performed a version of it during the same “Austin City Limits” session as the video of “Angel From Montgomery” posted above.)

    And don’t tell me dude couldn’t rock; here’s an earlier version where he’s got his band sizzlin’ at the end, like Italian sausages on the grill, even lifting a couple licks from “Louie, Louie”:

    1. John Prine was a brilliant songwriter and story teller, in my view. Such a great loss to the dreaded COVID. For a real treat, check out his duets with Iris DeMent.

      1. Prine’s duet with Iris DeMent on “In Spite of Ourselves” was the only song of his that I could bring myself to post on the day he died. All his other songs that came readily to mind just seemed too sad under the circumstances.

  6. > is this a good idea?

    Not a good idea in most climates. One of my parents’ four cats expresses her love by pooping in places people love to be: usually the bathtub or the couch. Imagine dealing with kitty stinkers under the bed. If I had a cat labyrinth, though, I’d be sure to put down two or three fleece blankets in some of the larger areas – to keep the kitties warm and happy, not poop-free.

  7. I was at the Hockenheim to watch Jim Clark race. He was fantastic until he was on the back straight. I heard later a couple of boys thought they could run across the track, Mr. Clark saw them, and swerved to miss them, and crashed out of sight of the stands.

    He was a fun driver to watch.

    1. According to Wikipedia:

      Thus, under Nuremberg Principle IV, “defense of superior orders” is not a defense for war crimes, although it might be a mitigating factor that could influence a sentencing authority to lessen the penalty. Nuremberg Principle IV states:

      The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.

  8. I believe that the Indian Express used two photos of the same Putin daughter, Katerina, taken at different times in her life. Katerina was into gymnastic dancing as a young woman and you can see her dance partner in one of the photos. The other photo is more current and shows her as an adult.
    Putin’s other daughter, Maria, is not shown. I can’t figure out how to attach a photo here but you should be able to see her photo here:
    The daughters together here:

    I’m not sure I added these links correctly. If they don’t work, just Google images of Putin’s daughters.

  9. That’s an octopus in the colour-change video, not a squid.
    And those weaselly little creatures in the video with the hornbill are some sort of mongoose – can’t be sure of the species, there are a lot of them in Africa.

      1. Interesting link, thanks. The journal could have used a proofreader, though: “The birds wait in tress around the termite mound where the monogooses are sleeping for them to emerge”…!

  10. That cat maze looks way too easy. On the way in, light coming through would show you that hole in the middle. And after you go through that, light coming through would show you the exit hole

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