Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good day: it’s Thursday, February 8, 2018, and we’re expecting 6 to 10 inches of snow in Chicago, beginning this evening. Flights out of our two airports are already being preemptively canceled. It’s National “Potato Lovers” Day, and who isn’t? (But why the scare quotes around “Potato Lovers”? Don’t they really love potatoes?) It’s also Propose Day in India, the day during Valentine’s Week when you’re supposed to pop the question to your beloved.

News: Yesterday Bermuda became the first country in the world to repeal its same-sex marriage policy.  They’ll still allow domestic partnerships, but the new law is apparently a response to voters having turned down a gay marriage law in a recent referendum.

On this day in 1587, Mary, Queen of Scots, was beheaded on suspicion of having plotted to murder her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I.  A big day for me: on February 8, 1693, the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, my beloved alma mater, was granted a royal charter by King William III and Queen Mary II. I still wear my college ring with the royal seal on it (it’s the only US college that has such a seal). After Harvard, W&M is  the second oldest college in the U.S.  On this day in 1817, Los Heras crossed the Andes and, with his army and that of San Martin, began the liberation of Chile from Spain.  On February 8, 1915, D. W. Griffith’s racist film The Birth of a Nation had it premiere in Los Angeles.  On this day in 1924, the first state execution in the US using the gas chamber took place in Nevada. Of all the “official” means of execution in the U.S., this one (no longer used) was the most cruel.  (The electric chair is a close second.) On this day in 1952, Elizabeth II was proclaimed Queen of the UK. And she’s still on the throne, blocking Prince Charles, who will probably be king for just a short while.  Exactly 8 years later, Elizabeth issued an order that she and her family would henceforth be known as the House of Windsor, and her descendants would take the last name “Mountbatten-Windsor.”

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of the German painter Paula Modersohn-Becker (8 Feb. 1876 – 30 Nov. 1907), described by Wikipedia “one of the most important representatives of early expressionism. Her brief career was cut short by postpartum embolism at the age of 31. She is becoming recognized as the first female painter to paint nude self-portraits. She was an important member of the artistic movement of modernism at the start of the twentieth century.”

Here’s the Doodle:

Here’s her “Boy With a Cat”, painted in 1903. As usual, the artist got the cat all wrong). To see one of her nude self-portraits, go here. I do like her work.

Notables born on this day include Robert Burton (1577), John Ruskin (1819), William Tecumseh Sherman (1820), Jules Verne (1828), Dmitri Mendeleev (1834), Paula Modersohn-Becker (1876; see above), Elizabeth Bishop (1911), Lana Turner (1921), Jack Lemmon (1925), Neal Cassady (1926; my hero), James Dean (1931, could be described as a Neal Cassady with money), Ted Koppel (1940) and Brooke Adams (1949).

Here’s Neal Cassady (r) with Timothy Leary on THE BUS. Furthur!

Those who died on this day include Mary, Queen of Scots (1587; see above), Peter the Great (1725), Peter Kropotkin (1921), Connie Mack (1956), John von Neumann and Nobel Laureate Walter Bothe (both 1957), Del Shannon (1990), Iris Murdoch (1999) and Anna Nicole Smith (2007).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has “stage fright”. When I asked Malgorzata what this means, she responded this way:

Hili knows, of course, that she has a wide audience, both through Listy and through WEIT. So suddenly, when she was posing for the next photo, she announced that she was afraid how people would react on her dialogue.

The dialogue:

Hili: I have stage fright.
A: Why?
Hili: Because of the public at home and abroad.
In Polish:
Hili: Mam tremę.
Ja: Przed czym?
Hili: Przed publicznością w kraju i za granicą. ​

Here is a Facebook post sent by reader Taskin:

And an ancient baby bird preserved in amber; its lineage went extinct but the detail is remarkable, including the color of its feathers (brown):

Another tweet found by Dr. Cobb. Poor bandicoot!

An amazing panorama of Mars recently taken by the rover Curiosity:

Tweets found by Grania: look at that poor snow-covered bunny!:

And a nice kitten stretch with pink toes:

A flummoxed moggie:


  1. Posted February 8, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Put it this way, if a potato gal asked me on a date, I’d probably say yes, but I am not sure if I would’t like her rather than love her! I would if she were sweet! 🙂

    • Posted February 8, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      PS “I say, we will have no more marriages.”

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    “National ‘Potato Lovers’ Day” — That oughta be right up your Irish alley.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Personally, being of Irish extraction on my mother’s side, I prefer latkes to anything my matrilineal ancestors ever did to a spud.

  3. George
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 6:55 am | Permalink

    John Perry Barlow died yesterday. He was a lyricist for the Grateful Dead and “Internet Pioneer.”

    One of the songs he wrote was Cassidy. It was about Cassidy Law, the daughter of a member of the Dead’s road crew. It also alludes to the man called Cowboy Neal. Cassidy Law was named after him – spelled differently. Here is a video of the song put together as a tribute to Neal Cassady.

  4. Posted February 8, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Also the anniversary of the end of the Laki eruption in Iceland, 1783/4

  5. Posted February 8, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    // But why the scare quotes around “Potato Lovers”? Don’t they really love potatoes? //
    Yeah, lol. 🖤🖤🖤

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    That tweet from Robert Macfarlane with the bunny should provide more grist for the “snowclone” mill.

  7. W.Benson
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    OT: Today is also the day of the National Prayer Breakfast. Donald Trump, at this moment on CNN, makes me barf.

  8. Jake Sevins
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    PDF is number one when I type “how do i convert to” into Google. I guess they know me too well.

    Islam is 2nd, followed by mp3, “a number in excel” and finally, judaism.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      islam, mp3 in itunes, mp3, christianity, judaism, m4r, jpg, catholicism, buddhism

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

        scientific notation. (Guess I’ve needed help from time-to-time checking my exponents. 🙂 )

  9. Andy Lowry
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    This would be a great time to post a link to King Crimson’s “Neal and Jack and Me,” but I don’t have one. It’s probably on Youtube. It’s from the album _Beat_.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Oh, THATS what that title refers to

      Never knew!

    • George
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    • George
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:52 am | Permalink

      I prefer the Bob Weir/John Barlow tribute to Cowboy Neal (see above).

      Fare thee well now, let your life proceed by its own design
      Nothing to tell now, let the words be yours, I’m done with mine.

  10. Julian C
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:11 am | Permalink

    Gregorio de Las Heras (not “Los”) was subordinate to José de San Martín. He commanded the secondary force that crossed the Andes at Uspallata; the main force used the Los Patos pass.
    The crossing of the Andes was completed on February 8 — the operation started on January 19 and the mountain crossing itself on February 5. Total troops involved approximately 4000 soldiers and 1200 militia.
    This army defeated the Spanish at the battle of Chacabuco on February 13.

  11. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    I know her painting of Rilke, didn’t know she was a famous painter

    The PDF joke is great

  12. Posted February 8, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    That tweet about the bird trapped in amber doesn’t do the story justice! Here’s the linked story on New Scientist (with lots of cool pictures). “A 100-million-year-old chunk of amber found in Myanmar contains the head, neck, wing, tail and feet of a hatchling. It was just a few days old when it fell into a pool of sap oozing from a conifer tree.”

    “Opposite birds” — who knew?

    • busterggi
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      Sad that none of these made it through the KT event, wonder why?

  13. mikeyc
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 9:30 am | Permalink

    WRT to the Mars pan…anyone know what the mist (or fog…vapor?) in the foreground of the distant hills is made of? Frozen CO2? Could it be water evaporating off and from a frozen surface under the sun?

    • mikeyc
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 9:31 am | Permalink

      “evaporating off and condensing to a real earth-like fog from a frozen….


    • Steve Pollard
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      That is a terrific panorama.

      Apart from the “mist”, there are a number of what to my uninformed and ignorant eye look like the results of water activity.

      • Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:22 am | Permalink

        I agree. There is a lot of haze (probably dust and frozen CO2) but it sure looks like low lying fog and channeled hills. Fascinating. I note the sky is bluish (to my eye).

      • Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:38 am | Permalink

        They may well be – the open question as far as I know is whether they are results of current processes.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:23 am | Permalink

      It isn’t mist, fog nor vapour – the low res gif is removing a lot of detail & giving a ‘foggy’ effect

      Curiosity is in Gale Crater where visibility varies between 20miles [30km] in summer & 80 miles [130km] in winter – the difference is caused almost entirely by dust. The crater is only 5 degrees SOUTH of the equator & it’s been thoroughly baked for billions of years. There is nothing there in the way of frozen gases/liquids to cause an atmospheric fog during DAYLIGHT HOURS. At dawn frozen CO2 would sublimate straight to gas & clear very, very quickly.

      Here’s a 3D map of the crater with NORTH to the bottom of the image:

      The short yellow squiggle is the trek of Curiosity from landing [left end] to position approx now [right end]. She took a series of still photos, in winter for best visibility, looking NORTH [looking down the 3D Map], which were stitched together for the panorama. To aid geologists, colours in the image are white balanced so rocks appear the same colour as the same rocks would on Earth. The hills & sky are a lot more white than 99% of Mars images which are colour corrected entirely differently [I think most Martian images presented to us are redder than they would appear if we were there & looked with our Mk1 eyeballs]

      The nearest blue-grey hills are around 15 miles away & they are the crater rim hills – a mile high from bottom to top! The furthest blue hill peeping up behind the crater wall is well outside the crater at 50 miles distance – approx 35 miles beyond the crater wall. You can see that very hill in the 3D map – bottom edge 1/3 of the way across from right-bottom corner of map.

      At this link is a better version of the same panorama with commentary which pans a lot more to the right & you can see the crater wall is less blue-grey & more red as we go right – the commentator points out that hill I mentioned above:

      I believe the fogginess is an illusion due to our Earth expectations where we associate the bluing of distant objects with the effect of an atmosphere – an atmosphere that is around 180 times thicker on Earth than on Mars [Mars around 0.6% of Earth atmosphere]. The blue is also fooling us about distance & what sort of level of detail we can expect to see – that hill at 50 miles must be huge & we wouldn’t see it at all on Earth.

      That’s my opinion anyway & it’s non-expert big time 🙂

      • Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink


      • rickflick
        Posted February 8, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

        Thanks for the research. Good read.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 8, 2018 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

          Fun to find stuff out – much more useful than actually sending peeps to Mars! I wouldn’t go – ‘soil’ like gritty talcum powder, living underground for life, rationed air & water, no nature, no breeze on face, no kitties, no booze & no fish’n’chip shops. Musk & fans read too much golden era SciFi. 🙂

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted February 8, 2018 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

            Oh & I expect food would be entirely 3D printed for 1st generation settlers, no growing potatoes malarkey as per “The Martian” – it will taste crap like all processed food when one is used to stuff straight out of the ground or off the hoof. Long work days & no throwing an impromptu ‘sickie’ or you’d be shunned. Like living in a gossipy subterranean village full of curtain twitchers & busybodies.

            • rickflick
              Posted February 8, 2018 at 10:02 pm | Permalink

              Wow! You’ve stumbled onto the greatest sci-fi plot ever. You could make drama out of all those negatives. Except no kitties. Got to be kitties.

  14. Katiness Everdeen
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Hili’s cousin?

  15. Posted February 8, 2018 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    What governs toe-pad colour in cats?

  16. Posted February 8, 2018 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

    Jerry, the cats!!! They seem to find you!

  17. revelator60
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    Today is also the birthday of the great American film director King Vidor, whose films include The Big Parade (1925), The Crowd (1928), Show People (1928), Street Scene (1931), Our Daily Bread (1934), Stella Dallas (1937), the Kansas scenes from The Wizard of Oz (1939), An American Romance (1944), Duel in the Sun (1946), The Fountainhead (1949), Beyond the Forest (1949), and War and Peace (1956).

    Two other notes…

    * William III was likely the best British king of the 17th century, since he didn’t get involved in a Civil War (like Charles I), get deposed after trying to impose Catholicism (like James II), or loll around with mistresses and rule like a cynic (Charles II). Since his primary goal was fighting Louis XIV, he allowed parliament plenty of latitude.

    * The Birth of a Nation is not just a racist film but also the first great American feature film and the first blockbuster. It remains notorious where other racist films have faded from history because it’s still a gripping, extremely well made movie…and also a toxic one, which reflects the widely-held idea (of the time) that national unity could be achieved by throwing African Americans under a (metaphorical) bus. I watched the superb BFI Blu-Ray recently and wasn’t bored for a second, even when the film wasn’t being horrifying.

  18. Hempenstein
    Posted February 8, 2018 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    Convert to PDF – that would be Pasta Da Farian? (h/t Stash for that).

  19. Posted February 8, 2018 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

    The bandicoot broke my heart indeed. So cute, and looks just sleeping!

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