Friday: Hili dialogue

Good morning: It’s a snowy February 9, 2018, and a Friday. Chicago has several inches of snow already, and it’s still coming down. It’s a soft snow, neither wet nor slushy.  Here’s a view from Twitter:

And from my walk to work, here’s Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House in snow:

Lots of rabbits live around the Robie House. These tracks in the snow nearby looked like rabbit tracks to me, but could they be from something else?

It’s also National Pizza Day, Some cats like that comestible; others don’t:

News: Congress passed a budget bill early this morning after the government briefly shut down for 6 hours due to the bill being blocked by Rand Paul. As the New York Times reported, “The Senate finally passed the measure, 71 to 28, shortly before 2 a.m. The House followed suit around 5:30 a.m., voting 240 to 186 for the bill.” This is not the final bill, but a temporary one that needs fleshing out to prevent another shutdown in September. This one includes a huge spending increase but no provisions about immigration.

I’m supposed to go to Sam Harris/Lawrence Krauss’s “Celebration of Science and Reason” tomorrow evening at the Chicago Theater, moderated by Matt Dillahunty, as well as joining them for dinner, but I have serious doubts about whether, given the snow and flight cancellations, they can fly in today. We shall see.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the Winter Olympics with an animation of animals doing winter sports. Click on the screenshot to go to the site:

Finally, I recommend Heather Hastie’s thoughtful and tweet-filled post on sex discrimination, “Treating women as equals—why is it so difficult?

Not much happened in history today. On February 9, 1825, Congress elected John Quincy Adams the sixth President of the United States after no candidate got a majority of the electoral votes. On this day in 1861, Jefferson Davis was elected President of the Confederate States of America by the Confederate Convention in Montgomery, Alabama. Ironically, 94 years later, that city sparked the Civil Rights Movement with the famous Montgomery Bus Boycott. On this day in 1895, William G. Morgan created the game of volleyball, then known as Mintonette.  On February 9, 1942, the U.S. restored Daylight Savings Time as a way to give war workers longer days while conserving electric power. In 1964, The Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show to a television audience of 73 million American viewers; I was one of them. And, in 1986, Halley’s comet last appeared in our inner solar system. Some of you will be around to see it again, but probably not me.

Notables born on this day include William Henry Harrison (1773), Amy Lowell (1874), Carmen “Fruit Hat” Miranda and Dean Rusk (both 1909), Roger Mudd (1928; he’s alive and turns 90 today), J. M. Coetzee (1940), Carole King (1942), Alice Walker (1944), and Mia Farrow (1945). Deaths on February 9 were thin on the ground (or should I say “thin in the ground”?): Fyodor Dostoevsky (1881), Percy Faith (1976), and J. William Fulbright (1995).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili, already rotund, is angling for more noms:

Hili: Do I see correctly?
A: Yes, you do. Malgorzata is in the kitchen.
 In Polish:
Hili: Czy ja dobrze widzę?
Ja: Dobrze widzisz, Małgorzata jest w kuchni.

Grania sent a tweet: spider eyes:

Some from Matthew. First, a snow Drosophila. AWESOME!

Spot the grasshopper!

I haven’t looked this up yet, but the tracing of migration by both genes and yams, giving concordant results, is wonderful:

Young octopuses hatching. It’s amazing the way they change color the instant they emerge from the egg; it’s likely an adaptation to hide them from predators.

Matthew found this video of a freaky planktonic worm:

And Indian elephants hightailing it to see a new orphan in their reserve:

And the best news: Sirocco, ambassador for all kakapos and a senior parrot (he’s 20), has been found after his radio collar died two years ago! Be sure to see the photo and very famous video at the link.

Finally, here’s a Kliban cartoon sent by Diane G, who notes the similarity between cats and potato chips:



  1. BobTerrace
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    November 9th???

    • Posted February 9, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      I meant February, of course. The events given are correct, but I changed “November” to “February”.

  2. Posted February 9, 2018 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Here is the Yams article

    I am so jealous of your snow!


    • Posted February 9, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      Also –
      thanks to twitter -
      And – follow that turtle!

    • Posted February 9, 2018 at 6:51 am | Permalink

      Sweet potatoes! Doh! Yams are African…

      • Posted February 9, 2018 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Actually, there are apparently lots of different starchy plants called each. I heard it jokingly put like this: if you want to start a family conflict, go to an American thanksgiving meal with a large number of people from various parts of the US, and assert that something is a “yam”.

    • Posted February 9, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Thanks for the link!

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 9, 2018 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

      I really love kumara – the ones the Maori brought to New Zealand when they migrated here about 1300 CE. I’d have to think about it, but probably my favourite vege.

  3. George
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    There is around 4 to 5 inches of fresh snow on the ground where I am in the NW suburbs of Chicago. We may be up to a foot when this is all over. It actually snowed a bit every day this week and is supposed to snow some more on Saturday and Sunday. And we will still be below average, Chicago is not that snowy. We get on average of 36.7 inches of snow a year – less than New York, Boston and other east coast cities. We have been below average for three years. At one point we were officially in a drought. We made up for it with a lot of rain. We need this snow to have a nice green spring.

    Yesterday was funny as people were getting ready for the storm. We have not had a big snowstorm since 2015 and I think people miss it. I went to the grocery store around 2:30pm yesterday. The store was very busy and getting busier. People were excited about the storm. We need it to reaffirm our self image as Chicagoans. When I left the store, there were lines of cars in the turning lanes to get into the parking lots. There were lines at the gas station. The plows full of salt were idling at different locations ready for the snow to start falling. I talked to some of my neighbors who were getting their snowblowers ready. I think they will be disappointed if we do not get at least 10 inches of snow.

    • George
      Posted February 9, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

      Just remembered that in January and February of 2017, Chicago had no measurable snow. As in zero. None. Nada. Nicht.

      Still coming down.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 9, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

      So the city of Sandburg and Farrell and Bellow is gettin’ ready to flex its broad shoulders, is what you’re sayin’? 🙂

      • George
        Posted February 9, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        It was a weird vibe. I was at the deli counter, waiting my turn with many others. Everyone was talking to each other. They were all excited. Not dreading the snow. We miss it.

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 10, 2018 at 4:02 am | Permalink

        *Like* 🙂

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Yes, tis a rabbit track. I think you have to go to the cities to see rabbits. Another day another dollar lost in the stocks…

  5. neil
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    only 73 people watched the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show?

    • George
      Posted February 9, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      So PCC(e) lefy out “million.” There were about 1,000 who watched at my Catholic grade school, Which is to say everyone. All the nuns were horrified. All the kids were thrilled and delighted.

      • neil
        Posted February 9, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

        i put the smiley there to show i was jesting. i know what it’s like to type with Gruffalo Fingers…

        • neil
          Posted February 9, 2018 at 8:08 am | Permalink

          i guess, if there were only 73 viewers, wouldn’t that make the Beatles *less* popular than Jesus?

    • Posted February 9, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Was he really in the studio audience and it was only 73? Nah. (Awaiting confirmation.)

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 10, 2018 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        Thought he meant he was one of the TV audience…

    • Posted February 9, 2018 at 10:03 am | Permalink

      I fixed it, thanks.

    • XCellKen
      Posted February 9, 2018 at 10:09 am | Permalink

      I’m surprised the Ed Sullivan Show wasn’t immediately cancelled after such an anemic performance

    • Wayne Y Hoskisson
      Posted February 9, 2018 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

      I remember watching the Beatles on Ed Sullivan. It was on Sunday and thus the Sabbath Day so it was unusual my parents would allow watching a performance like the Beatles. It was not the first time the Beatles appeared on US tv. The Jack Paar show featured a film clip of the Beatles late in 1963 if I remember correctly. This was the Friday evening show after he left the Tonight Show. Jack Paar also showed other bands in the clip including The Undertakers (never caught on in the US). After Ed Sullivan, Paar showed another clip of the Beatles. I remember this because pop music had lost the soul of rock and roll. Bo Diddley, Little Richard, Buddy Holly, Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Dominoe, Chuck Berry faded away. Even Elvis was no longer doing songs like Hound Dog or Heart Break Hotel. The music was bland. The British invasion invigorated American rock and roll.

      The only real rock and roll in the US just prior to the British invasion was surfer music. Dick Dale was incredible. Jan and Dean, the Beachboys, the Trashmen had a few great hits.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 10, 2018 at 12:01 am | Permalink

        The Undertakers were a huge draw on Merseyside & should have gone places – The Beatles were fans before The Beatles existed as a band. Great vocalist, solid beat & they had that sax which was unusual then.

        Should have got themselves a good manager & a competent songwriter [they turned down Brian Epstein which was probably wise].

        Here they are:

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    “On November 9, 1942, the U.S. restored Daylight Savings Time as a way to give war workers longer days while conserving electric power.”

    Is THAT why?

    I feel like this is the first time I ever heard this – makes sense!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 10, 2018 at 5:55 am | Permalink

      … oh … “restored”….

      The plot thickens.

  7. Posted February 9, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Makes me happy that you have a dog picture at the end of these posts. How did this start happening??

    • Posted February 9, 2018 at 9:10 am | Permalink

      I, too, am curious. I’ve not seen the explanation.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 9, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

      Explanation: The guardian of ducks & squirrels gets occasional visits from the Black Dog** – though the current visit is the lengthiest I know of!

      ** Notable others: Winston Churchill & Samuel Johnson

  8. rickflick
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    If the quartz grass hopper found itself in shale or limestone, he’d be a goner.

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

    I’m loving the pics of the pooches. (Good boy!)

    Like the good professor, I’m nervous about all this unification talk and overtures between North and South Korea. It wasn’t so long ago at the last winter Olympics in Sochi that Russia ‘re-unified’ with Crimea, in a brazen and utterly abhorrent military operation. This was right on the heels of them ostensibly building up global goodwill and leaving everyone drunk on those feelings during the winter games. Then the hammer and sickle descended on Crimea with devastating might.
    South Korea better watch their backs and their borders.

  10. Jake Sevins
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    Halley’s Comet will return July 28, 2061. I’ll be 99 and Jerry will be 110 (ish). Maybe we’ll still be alive?! There’s a lot of time between now and then to figure out how to extend human life…

  11. David Coxill
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    I can relate to the cat cartoon,i started with one now i have four .Had Misha the first one two years today .

    I can’t stop visiting the RSPCA web page to see the cats for rehoming .

    According to Douglas Adams Kakapos not only have forgotten how to fly ,they have forgotten that they have forgotten .
    So sometimes they run up trees and take off and land with a thump .Don’t know if it is true about them trying to fly .

    In GB during the war there was double British Summer Time .

  12. Cate Plys
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    Hi Jerry–Re Sam Harris Saturday night: He mentioned on a podcast almost not making it to some other show, due to bad weather. So I was definitely wondering about this. Can you let us know when you hear if he’s definitely making it in or not?

  13. Hempenstein
    Posted February 9, 2018 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    How cool to pass Robie House every day, and great about Sirocco.

    Slowly working on the sweet potato piece in-between other stuff…

  14. Posted February 9, 2018 at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    The spider eyes look beautiful, the grasshopper looks awesome, the octopi are fascinating, and kakapos, as always, are cute.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 10, 2018 at 5:53 am | Permalink

      Octopodes or octopuses.

      The origin of the word octopus is Greek, not Latin.

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