Saturday: Hili dialogue

I am worried because for the first time in many years I have not been sent a Hili dialogue. I fear that something is wrong in Dobrzyn, and I hope it’s only that the power is down, which happens sometimes.  I notice that Andrzej posted one several hours ago on his Facebook page, and I’ll use that, but the English translation is from Facebook, not Malgorzata, so it’s wonky. Perhaps a Polish reader can weigh in.

UPDATE: For some reason I’m not receiving Malgorzata’s emails. I’ll try to sort this out, but things are ok in Dobrzyn, and Malgorzata has sent an English translation

Good morning: it’s a frigid Saturday (February 3, 2018) in Chicago and we may get up to six inches of snow. It’s National Carrot Cake Day: the only cake or pie I like that’s made with a vegetable. (I can’t stand rhubarb pie or rhubarb in anything.) In Japan it’s Setsubun: a festival that marks the day before Spring begins (in February?).

The Google Doodle today honors the natal day of Elizabeth Blackwell (born February 3 1821, died 1910): the first woman to get her medical degree in the U.S.  Her parents moved to the U.S. from England when she was eleven, and she got her MD in, as you might expect, an unusual way. Wikipedia notes this:

In October 1847, Blackwell was accepted as a medical student by Hobart College, then called Geneva Medical College, located in upstate New York. Her acceptance was a near-accident. The dean and faculty, usually responsible for evaluating an applicant for matriculation, were not able to make a decision due to the special nature of Blackwell’s case. They put the issue up to a vote by the 150 male students of the class with the stipulation that if one student objected, Blackwell would be turned away. The young men voted unanimously to accept her.

Those were the bad old days! She continued her studies in Europe after graduation and then returned to America where, as you might expect in that era, she didn’t get many patients.  She did found London’s first medical school for women as well as New York’s Infirmary for Women and Children, and, retiring from medicine, was active in social and medical reform. (She also wanted to be a surgeon, but gave up that dream after she accidentally squirted some solution containing infectious conjunctivitis bacteria into her eye, and had to have her eye removed.) The Doodle is below, followed by a photo of Blackwell, a woman pioneer who persisted:

On this day in 1690, the colony of Massachusetts issued the first paper currency used in America. Two Constitutional amendments were passed on this day: the Fifteenth in 1870, guaranteeing the right to vote to all citizens regardless of race—but only males. It took another 50 years for women to get the right to vote. The Sixteenth Amendment was passed on February 3, 1913, imposing the hated Income Tax on us all.   On this day in 1933, Hitler announced the German policy of “Lebensraum” (“living space”), which would extend Germany and its culture into Eastern Europe. And on a February 3 there was trouble on the African island where I used to work. As Wikipedia notes, on this day in 1953, “The Batepá massacre occurred in São Tomé when the colonial administration and Portuguese landowners unleashed a wave of violence against the native creoles known as forros.” I had no idea that had happened.  February 3, 1959 was also The Day the Music Died: rock musicians Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and The Big Bopper (J. P. Richardson) were killed in a plane crash in Iowa.  Finally, on this day in 1966, the Soviet Union’s spacecraft Luna 9 became the first such craft to make a soft landing on the Moon and send back photos. 

Here’s a short documentary on The Day the Music Died:

Notables born on February 3 include Felix Mendelssohn (1809), Elizabeth Blackwell (1821; see above), Gertrude Stein (1874), Norman Rockwell (1894), Pretty Boy Floyd (1904), James Michener (1907), Simone Weil (1909), Henry “The Maneuver” Heimlich (1920), Morgan Fairchild (1950), and Eric Lander (1957). Those who fell asleep on this day include John of Gaunt (1399), Woodrow Wilson (1924), the Big Bopper, Buddy Holly, and Ritchie Valens (1959; see above), John Cassavetes (1989), evolutionary biologist Ernst Mayr (2005, one of my scientific heroes; died at 100), and Maria Schneider (2011).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being solipsistic again:

Hili: Take your shadow away.
A: Why?
Hili: Nobody will recognize me.

In Polish:

Hili: Zabierz swój cień.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Bo nikt mnie nie pozna.

A tweet found by Grania: Look at that beautiful cat!! Ear tufts!

A bad pun:

And another one from Grania, celebrating #NoHijabDay:

An illusion from Matthew. Apparently the spirals that look yellow are exactly the same color as those that look “cyan” (greeny) but the illusion of yellow comes from the white stripes. Look from a few feet away. I didn’t see the illusion at first, but Matthew explained:

The green striped spirals have white stripes in them but they look yellowish. If you enlarge you can see that those stripes are not different from the stripes in the cyan striped spirals

The yellow is not “illusory,” then: it’s cyan with white stripes.

And a similar one; the yellow stripes are not “actually white”, but black with white stripes.

More from Matthew: that tiny beetle larva crawling on the millipede’s head will actually KILL that millipede and eat some of it. Ain’t nature wonderful?


  1. Malgorzata
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    There must be some problem with my post going to Chicago – there is no problem in Dobrzyn. I’ve sent my translation three times but it obviously never arrived. Here it is:

    Hili: Take your shadow away.
    A: Why?
    Hili: Nobody will recognize me.

    Jerry, I got all your mails asking what happened and I answered them. I don’t know what the problem is.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      Glad to know all are ok

    • Posted February 3, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      Oy! I don’t have any idea what happened. Your emails aren’t in my junk folder or spam folder, either.

      • Posted February 3, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Meanwhile, in a subterranean room in Ft. Meade MD, NSA operatives are poring over the Hili dialogues, trying to decipher. They just know something subversive is going on, but they don’t know what.

      • Posted February 5, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Email is what they call an “unreliable protocol” if I recall correctly. That means it can take an arbitrary long period of time to know whether or not delivery succeeded or not.

  2. George
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    “Zabierz swój cień” does literally mean “Take your shadow.” I think Malgorzata would translate it as “Stop casting your shadow on me” or something like that. The next two lines are OK.

    • George
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 6:40 am | Permalink

      So Malgorzata went literal on me. I Thought she might be a bit more poetic. I guess Hili was not feeling very artistic today.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Sounds like the au courant translation might be “quit throwing shade on”?

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Just a wild guess but maybe something wrong at the server taking their outgoing mail. Otherwise you would think a message would come back showing the email was refused?

    I’m the same way about rhubarb. Maybe the Mathew nose science involved here.

  4. Janet
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Not a fan of pumpkin pie? I think pumpkin is a vegetable.

  5. Jim batterson
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Even the rhubarb pie at the old no name restaraunt on the pier in boston? “Ice the rhubarb!”

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Amen to rhubarb. Quickest way to ruin a nice strawberry pie. I used to say there were two things I didn’t eat – rhubarb and rutabagas, but then in Finland I had grated carrots, rutabag & cheese baked on a pie crust that was pretty good, so now it’s 100% no to rhubarb only.

    Besides, it’s full of oxalic acid, and kidney stones are calcium oxalate, so for many the stuff should probably be avoided just on that basis.

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I’m kinda meh on rhubarb pie myself, but I do like the bebop-a-rebop.

    • George
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

      I do not like straight up rhubarb pie but nothing is better than strawberry rhubarb pie.

  8. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    1870, guaranteeing the right to vote to all citizens regardless of race—but only males. It took another 50 years for women to get the right to vote.

    Took another 95 years, until passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, for black folk in the Jim Crow south actually to get that right — to overcome the poll taxes and literacy tests and White-Citizen-Council intimidation that had kept them from exercising the franchise for nigh onto a century.

    • George
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      The Republicans are still very busy trying to deny the rights of blacks and other minorities to vote.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

      Good information and now it’s all happening again with voter ID requirement, fewer places to vote so you can’t get there if you are on foot and poor. But never mind, all of these people will be gone or voted out next time around.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        Or disabled. Long lines at voting booths make it impossible for the majority who are disabled (those not in a wheelchair).

        Also, I remember one area using the excuse of no disabled toilets to close down a voting booth altogether.

        I don’t know if it’s the same in the US, but in NZ the main way plenty of voting locations are made available is every public school is used. Primary, intermediate, high school, and university. Takes care of most districts.

        • Diane G.
          Posted February 4, 2018 at 4:18 am | Permalink

          It varies, at least by state, possibly by precincts within a state. I’ve lived in 7 states, have voted in schools, churches, town halls, fire stations, and I might be forgetting a few other venues. Here in MI I’ve voted in both schools and churches.

          • Heather Hastie
            Posted February 4, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

            I don’t think churches are allowed to be voting places here. I don’t remember voting anywhere except schools, a sports pavilion, or government offices. I know community advice bureaux do it too, and public libraries. I don’t think fire stations do it here either. I would think that would be a problem if there’s a fire.

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 6, 2018 at 3:29 am | Permalink

              You’re right! I was thinking of a sort of combined fire-station/town hall building in a small town here in SW MI. We were voting in the town hall part of it.

              Hmm, a little action next door might have made the waiting-in-line a bit more interesting…

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      And once the Roberts Court rolled back the Voting Rights Act in the 2013 Shelby County case, it was only a matter of months before Republicans began infringing their franchise through voter suppression laws and ruthless gerrymandering.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Understand the disgusting gerrymandering accomplished in Pennsylvania and maybe Wisconsin is under heavy attack and has been determined to be unconstitutional. Should be seeing more on this soon.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 3, 2018 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          The Wisconsin case is pending in SCOTUS, and the Court recently granted cert in additional cases from Maryland and Texas.

          In Pennsylvania, the PA supreme court ruled the gerrymandering illegal under its state constitution, meaning that should be a final, unappealable order regardless what the US Supreme Court rules in the other cases.

          In Pennsylvania, Democrats won half the votes cast for congress, but wound up with just five of PA’s 18 seats in the House.

  9. Christopher
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    So Jessica Seinfeld’s cookbook Deceptivly Delicious, where she teaches parents how to hide various vegetables in everyday foods to trick their kids into eating healthier is an abomination in your opinion? Even though it’s a fruit, what about avocado chocolate pudding?

    And let me state for the record that I am in the pro-rhubarb camp. I can’t understand the negativity towards it. For me it was love at first bite.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      I’m a rhubarbarian too if it’s served hot with English custard. I have to say though that the rest of your comment does PCC[e] a disservice! This is what the Prof. wrote:

      “…National Carrot Cake Day: the only cake or pie I like that’s made with a vegetable. (I can’t stand rhubarb pie or rhubarb in anything.)

      THAT book IS an abomination! I have many cookbooks & I’ll not have that crap book in the house! ‘Hiding’ mushed up veg in burgers or brownies to overcome the fads of a child is a simply a bad idea. And how do you leap to a discussion of avocado when you acknowledge it’s not a vegetable in your comment.

      PS The fleshy fruit Avocado is botanically speaking a berry – as is the banana

  10. rickflick
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:47 am | Permalink

    I found the color illusion unbelievable so I downloaded the picture and changed the white strips to black. Still the illusion of yellow persisted. But I selected a green segment from each section and placed them together. They are the same.

    Detail green

  11. JoanL
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Not a rhubarb fan either, but I did like a pumpkin rhubarb pie made with sliced (like apples) pumpkin and mashed rhubarb. Wish I could find a recipe.

  12. Jenny Haniver
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    With the blue and black spirals I find that if I flick the touchpad on my macbook so that the image moves up and down a bit on the screen, I also get the illusion that the inner area is spinning. But this doesn’t happen with the other one.

  13. BJ
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink

    “Look at that beautiful cat!! Ear tufts!”

    Well, now I have to post this:

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      I think that little tufted, whiskered kitty is the cutest.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I hope they’re not extensions. 😎

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted February 3, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

        Ha Ha!

  14. loren russell
    Posted February 3, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Phengodid fooodies rate millipede-head pudding with five glows!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 3, 2018 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      ***** !

  15. Posted February 3, 2018 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

    The black d*ggies seem to reflect melancholia, PCC(E). These are dark days indeed.

  16. Posted February 5, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    One can take issue with the philosophy of colour used to explain those illusions. Saying that the lines are “really” this colour or that *really* means “of the same reflectance profile, etc. Only in *some* philosophies of colour are these thereby the same colour. (I for one think they aren’t, since I put surround into the parameters for a relational account.)

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