Friday: Hili dialogue

Okay, we’re firmly into March now, and it’s March 2, 2018, National Banana Cream Pie Day. It’s also Texas Independence Day, celebrating the day in 1836 when settlers declared independence from Mexico and declared the Republic of Texas.

In India, the festival of Holi began yesterday evening and lasts until tonight; it’s a celebration of spring and general good feeling. In India—and in places on campus here—Indians throw permanent dyes and water on each other. If you’re wearing good clothes in India, don’t go outside!

On this day in 1657, the Great Fire of Meireki began in Edo (now Tokyo), lasting three days and killing over 100,000 people. On March 2, 1797, the Bank of England issued the first one- and two-pound banknotes, which would have been a lot of dosh in that time. (Reminder: the Darwin 10-pound note went out of circulation yesterday, so if you have any (and I have one), you’ll have to go to a bank and change them for the new tenners. The new ones bear the portrait of Jane Austen. Much as I love Austen, I’m sad to see Darwin go.  On March 2, 1859, the Great Slave Auction was held near Savannah, Georgia, lasting two days and selling 436 men, women, and children in a two-day period.  It was the largest slave auction in U.S. history, and I can only imagine the grief and misery it caused. The only saving grace: according to Wikipedia, no families were broken up. It’s hard to imagine a time when humans could sell other human beings like so much merchandise.  On this day in 1876, after the U.S. Presidential election, and only two days before inauguration, the Congress declared Rutherford B. Hayes the winner even though his opponent, Samuel Tilden, won the popular vote the preceding November. Sound familiar?

On this day in 1933, the movie King Kong opened at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Thirteen years later, Ho Chi Minh was elected the president of North Vietnam. On March 2, 1949, 2 months before I was conceived, the first nonstop around-the-world flight was completed as a B-50 Superfortress, Lucky Lady II, landed at Forth Worth, Texas. It took 94 hours and of course involved inflight refueling. On this day in 1956, Morocco gained independence from France. Four years later, Wilt Chamberlain set the still-extant record for scoring in a single NBA basketball game: 100 points even.  On May 2, 1983, compact discs, previously available only in Japan, were released for the first time in other countries, including the U.S. I remember this well—and now they’re almost obsolete! Finally, on this day in 1995, scientists at Fermilab announced the discovery of the top quark.

Here’s the trailer for the original King Kong:

Notables born on March 2 include Sam Houston (1793), Sholem Aleichem (1859), Moe Berg (1902), Dr. Seuss (1904), Desi Arnaz (1917), photographer Ernst Haas (1921), Michael Gorbachev and Tom Wolfe (both 1931), Lou Reed (1942), Karen Carpenter (1950, ♥), Laraine Newman (1952), and Daniel Craig (1968; he’s 50 today).  Those who fell asleep on this day include Horace Walpole (1797), D. H. Lawrence (1930), Howard Carter (1939), Philip K. Dick (1982), Serge Gainsbourg (1991), and Anita Morris (1994).

When I began taking tons of slides (Kodachrome 64) in graduate school, Ernst Haas was one of my photographic heroes; he was a pioneer of color street and nature photography. Here’s one of his photos from one of his books I own, The Creation:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is playing a latter-day Sherlock Holmes.

Hili: They promised warmer weather.
A: There is a high pressure coming from Russia.
Hili: This horrible Putin again!
In Polish:
Hili: Obiecywali ocieplenie.
Ja: Nadciągnął wyż znad Rosji.
Hili: Znów ten okropny Putin!

Grania sent some tweets, including the horizontal snow she saw two days ago in Cork:

And the scene in Cork this morning, where it’s still snowing, rendering Grania housebound, but working from home:

The Brits and Irish are such wusses when it comes to snow. This would be a light dusting in Chicago—no cause for concern or difficulty in driving—but in Cork it’s caused a huge slowdown:

Grania comments on the following video d*g tweet, “I know it’s d*gs but it’s hilarious.”  Indeed.

Kitten fertilizer:

From Matthew: A baby chimp is rescued from poachers and flown to safety. Make sure you turn the sound on:

Medieval snowball fight!

A novel emotional support animal:

From reader Barry, who says he can’t tell whether this cat is playing or it’s serious. I think they’re the same!


  1. Frank Bath
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    ‘The Brits and Irish are such wusses when it comes to snow’ You should see us in Summer when the sun shines. Absolutely flummoxed.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:47 am | Permalink

      Only mad dogs and Englishmen …

    • Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

      The reason we’re such wusses is because these kinds of conditions usually hit us at most for a couple of days a year. We therefore can’t be bothered with doing the investment necessary to carry on as normal.

      Nobody,, for example, has a set of winter tyres for their car – at least not down South where I live. Why bother when 99% of the time you don’t need them?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

        I’m sick & tyred of the way you guys spell. 🙂

        • claudia baker
          Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

          Now, now Ken. Honour your neighbours.

        • Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

          You should retyre…

      • Simon Hayward
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:00 am | Permalink

        FWIW most people in Chicago don’t bother with winter tyres (or indeed tires) either – our cars all have all seasons all year round which are fine here, the difference, as you note, is that since snow storms are a regular feature (and can feel like they occupy most of the year by the time winter finishes) when it snows there is a plough (plow) every quarter mile or so, and every inch of snow is met with an inch of salt – most of which ends up stuck to the outside of cars. Plus the place is flat – the nearest small hill is probably several hundred miles away (at least it feels like that – a “steep gradient” in Illinois would be a false flat in most places) so no ditches to land in.

        • Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          The salt is terrible for the environment. I am sure Greg could tell us what it does to amphibians for example…

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 4, 2018 at 3:31 am | Permalink

            Not to mention what it does to cars…

            the snow wouldn’t keep me off the roads but when they start spreading guaranteed corrosion all over the road, that would!


    • Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Well I am not wearing a coat!!!

    • David Coxill
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

      Piffle ,it is just that we don’t get bad weather often enough to get used to it ,or something like that.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:40 am | Permalink

      I believe that even Chicagoans would respect the 46 centimetres (note the spelling, KK! 🙂 ) recorded a few kilometres from me at my nearest weather station. Plus considerable drifting. Plus hills.

      • Richard Bond
        Posted March 3, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

        On a more serious note, I have just spoken to my nearest neighbour, a farmer, who has lost three ewes because of the snow. Sheep are not wusses.

  2. busterggi
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    “Forget it Jake, its the Great Wall of Chinatown.”

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that an evolutionary biologist gracing a ten-pound note is in want of replacement by a transitional 19th-century ironist.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Aaaaaaand a pile of Haas books is on the way (to me, from library).

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    On March 2, 1949, 2 months before I was conceived …

    You were a preemie?

  6. claudia baker
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    “On this day in 1876, after the U.S. Presidential election, and only two days before inauguration, the Congress declared Rutherford B. Hayes the winner even though his opponent, Samuel Tilden, won the popular vote the preceding November.”

    Hmm…let me guess. Rutherford, Republican, Tilden, Democrat? What a surprise.

    Is it just me, or do the Republicans seem to cheat a lot?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      It’s long past time we Yanks abandoned the abomination of the electoral college. It was imposed upon the nation to ensure the survival of the peculiar institution Jerry has juxtaposed it with above: chattel slavery.

  7. Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Actually you are dead right – in this ridiculous & totally pathetic country a little snow shower = ‘Adverse Conditions’…
    Perfect response for the snowflake generation.

    • Stuartg
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

      I agree.

      I’m in England at the moment and everyone is concerned about me driving around. The only problem I’ve had is the salt getting on the windscreen and reducing my vision.

      At home in NZ I’ve driven in much worse conditions than these, even though they barely even made the news.

      Perhaps “wusses” is an apt description?

      • David Coxill
        Posted March 2, 2018 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Step out outside and say that .

        Good that’s got rid of him.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted March 3, 2018 at 5:44 am | Permalink

      See my response above to comment #1.

  8. Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink


    I’ve seen frosts thicker than that.

  9. Posted March 2, 2018 at 9:49 am | Permalink

    The cat punching the trash can lid reminds me of my cat, Brio, when he witnessed my printer coming alive for the first time. He’s a full-grown cat and the punches he gave it were surprisingly forceful. I thought he might break its plastic panels. I’m guessing he thought there were mice zipping around inside.

  10. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1657, the Great Fire of Meireki began in Edo (now Tokyo), lasting three days and killing over 100,000 people.

    By coincidence I’m watching a programme by one of the less irritating presenters from “Top Gear” trying to get away from the Poisonous One by doing a vaguely sciencey programme on weather. Not a word of a mention of why, when he needed experts in making “fire tornadoes”, he had to bring them in from Japan.
    I wonder if the University of Dresden has a department of Fire Studies.

  11. Posted March 2, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I remember being in Pittsburgh (while at CMU) for a snow fall not much more than depicted above – people freaked out *there*, despite that being routine (once or so a year). Classes were cancelled, etc.

    I went in anyway (having lab space to work in I figured I should enjoy the quiet) and saw nobody around when one of the Scandinavian born postdocs in the department comes over and says “Hey, Keith, you’re Canadian, right?” I said, “Yes …” and he replied: “What is *with* these Americans and snow?” “I have no idea.” “I don’t either. See you later, I’m going skiing.”

    So a Scandnavian *planned to ski in Pittsburgh*, and yet to the city this snow was an utter shock. What’s wrong here?

    • Rod
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

      It boils down to a lack of resources to deal with the so-called snowfall. The township in Eastern Ontario to whom I pay my taxes probably has more ploughs, sanders etc. than many entire counties in Britain or parts of the “middle” US that are below the snow belt but above the South. There are also a ton of local guys with pickups with a blade on the front and a small hopper of sand in back that make a living doing driveways and parking lots.

  12. Posted March 2, 2018 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

    Wimps in snow:

    So, I hear people run down the Seattle metro area for he same thing: Snow brings the place to a halt. (I used to live in Seattle, for many years. I was raised in Minnesota; there were six inches of snow on the ground (parking lot) the first time I ever got behind the wheel of a car.)

    My response is generally: You have a challenge: Convince the voters of King, Pierce, and Snohomish Counties to pay for the required snow removal equipment, etc., that would be used, at most, once or twice per year. Many winters, there’s no snow at sea level.

    Right! Good luck with that.

    The contrast between Seattle (and County Cork, County Tipperary, etc.) and Chicago (or Minneapolis-St. Paul, where I live now) is pretty strong.

    1. The snow in places like Ireland and Seattle really is more slippery that the vast majority of Midwestern (USA) snow. I know this from extensive personal experience.

    2. And, those places are much more hilly. There are plenty of 20% grades in the Seattle area. Think you can drive those in snow? Even with chains? Lots of luck! There were many streets in the Seattle area that were simply impassable (except by snowmobile) in snow. regardless of your skill or chains or 4WD. And do you really want to even be on the road with people that never drive in snow, who haven’t a clue? I stay home!

  13. David Coxill
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    Is it true that there is a deleted scene from King Kong where a woman is phoning the police and saying “You Will Never Guess What’s Poking Through My Window “?

    • busterggi
      Posted March 2, 2018 at 8:54 pm | Permalink

      No but there is that phone recording of the night watchman at the ESB when Kong climbed the building.

  14. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted March 2, 2018 at 11:29 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to imagine a time when humans could sell other human beings like so much merchandise.

    Sadly, it is still that time.

    “”The situation is dire,” Mohammed Abdiker, the director of operation and emergencies for the International Organization for Migration, said in a statement after returning from Tripoli in April. “Some reports are truly horrifying and the latest reports of ‘slave markets’ for migrants can be added to a long list of outrages.”
    The auctions take place in a seemingly normal town in Libya filled with people leading regular lives. Children play in the street; people go to work, talk to friends and cook dinners for their families.
    But inside the slave auctions it’s like we’ve stepped back in time. The only thing missing is the shackles around the migrants’ wrists and ankles.”

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