Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s SATURDAY, March 10, 2018: my sort-of day off! It’s National Ranch Dressing Day, a condiment that didn’t exist when I was younger, as it was invented only in 1954, but is now everywhere (I like it). It’s also National Mario Day, but I’ve never played a video game, so that’s above my pay grade.

Remember, if you’re in the U.S., to set your clock FORWARD before you go to bed tonight, as Daylight Savings Time begins at 2 a.m. Sunday. This cartoon, from Off the Mark by Mark Parisis, shows how one clever moggie solves the “lost sleep” issue (h/t: Diane G):

Heather Hastie has a new post out with a good analysis of the proposed King Jong-un/Donald Trump summit and the horrendously haphazard way it was arranged.

Not much happened on this day in history. On March 10, 1804, there was a formal ceremony transferring ownership of the Louisiana Territory from France to the U.S. What a bargain—we really scammed the French! On this day in 1865, as the Civil War drew to a close, Amy Spain, an American slave, was hung for theft. This is thought to be the last execution of a female slave in America. On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell successfully tested the telephone. In 1959, fearful that the Dalai Lama would be abducted by the Chinese, thousands of Tibetans surrounded the Potala, his palace, to keep him safe. This eventually led to bloody rebellion and the flight of the Dalai Lama to India, where he still lives.  On March 10, 1977, astronomers discovered the rings of Uranus (no jokes, please!). I didn’t know until now it had rings. Here is a diagram:

Finally, on this day in 2000, the Nasdaq Composite index peaked at 5132.52, which was the end of the dot-com boom.

Notables born on this day are early jazz musician Bix Beiderbecke (1903), Clare Booth Luce (also 1903), James Earl Ray (1928), Sharon Stone (1958), Robin Thicke (1977), and Carrie Underwood (1983). Those who expired on March 10 include Harriet Tubman (1913), Mikhail Bulgakov (1940), Wilber Scoville (1942; invented the units of pepper hotness), Zelda Fitzgerald and Jan Masaryk (both 1948), Andy Gibb and Lloyd Bridges (both 1988), and Anita Brookner (2016).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is trying to tell Andrzej something. Guess what it is?!

Hili: Semantics of body language.
A: What do you want to say?
Hili: Look carefully at what I’m telling you.
In Polish:
Hili: Semantyka mowy ciała.
Ja: Co chcesz przez to powiedzieć?
Hili: Patrz uważnie co do ciebie mówię.
I don’t own alligator polo shirts, as they’re pricey, but Lacoste is temporarily swapping the alligator for other animals. The explanation:

Lacoste has collaborated with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), in an effort to bring more awareness to endangered species. Meaning that the crocodile will be switched out for varies types of animals that are on the endangered list and need more awareness.

Get yours now: they’ll be collectors items:


Matthew sent a hugely viral “selfie” of penguins investigating a camera left on the ice (longer version is here; h/t Jane):

Have a look at what Americans have left on the Moon:

If you’re eating breakfast, skip this next tweet, also sent by Dr. Cobb:

Matthew sent this:

But here’s a related one that appeared on the Facebook page of a friend:

Can you spot the crocodile bites?

. . . and you might want to see this article to see if any critics changed their minds. Sadly, I’ve never seen “The Big Lebowski”.



  1. Alan Clark
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Jupiter and Neptune also have rings, as do the Kuiper Belt objects Haumea and Chariklo.

    • Posted March 12, 2018 at 11:59 am | Permalink

      Indeed – I read as a kid a book that it put it something like

      “although Saturn has the most prominent and best known, all four gas giants have rings”. (At the time, Kuiper belt objects were not known – Pluto was still regarded as a planet.)

  2. BobTerrace
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Louisiana purchase is a bargain? I suggest we give Loiusiana back to France and throw in Alabama and Mississippi as a bonus, in liew of what became all the other states.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      If you are talking politically I’ll go along with your finding. However, this mostly turned out to be the bread basket of the country. Believe it or don’t, good farm land in Iowa will run you 6 to 8 thousand an acre. More corn, more pigs than anywhere on earth. I am pretty sure we paid less than a dollar for it then. Actually, I think we stole California from Mexico so that was a better deal.

    • David Coxill
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 7:52 am | Permalink

      What would have happened if the French didn’t sell that piece of land ,would there have been a war over it ?

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted March 10, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

        You may be right. Wars were in fashion back then too.

      • glen1davidson
        Posted March 10, 2018 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

        The reason the US wanted to buy New Orleans was because Napoleon took over the Spanish territory of Louisiana, which included the important transportation artery, the Mississippi River. The Spanish got Tuscany in return, but the Spanish deal was done under duress as well. While the Spanish had been largely absentee landlords, Napoleon did have plans, including sending a large force to the territory, and growing food for France in the territory.

        If the US could buy New Orleans, they’d control access to the Mississippi from the ocean, so while France would retain most of the Louisiana Territory, they’d have to deal with America at both ends of the Mississippi (not that the origin would matter much at that time). Whether France would sell New Orleans for $10 million and not control access to their territory is a good question, but presumably the US thought they had to try something, and would ally with Britain if the French wouldn’t agree.

        But Napoleon surprised the Americans by not only being willing to sell New Orleans, he’d sell them the entire territory. Maybe the American threat was part of it, but maybe it was mainly because Europe mattered to him a lot more. Wars are costly, and presumably he knew there could be more war in Europe, as indeed there was. Rather than sending forces to Louisiana Territory, he’d just sell it to the Americans.

        The French had taken over the Louisiana Territory by threat, and the Americans felt threatened by the French actions. Meanwhile, there was the threat that the US would side with the UK if the French wouldn’t sell New Orleans to the US. And Napoleon decided to take the money instead.

        Glen Davidson

        • David Coxill
          Posted March 10, 2018 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

          While we are on the subject of America buying land ,what would have happened if the Czar had not sold Alaska to America ?

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted March 11, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

            Sarah Palin would be Russian?

            (I’m not sure what to make of that…)


            • Posted March 12, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

              There are some famous “test sentences” for theories of truth for subjunctive conditionals, IIRC – things like:

              “If Reagan had been born in Moscow, he would have been a communist.”

              In some of these approaches one is somehow supposed to imagine “the closest world” to the actual one but where Reagan was born in Moscow and see that he was a communist follows. I think this is a fools errand, but a lot of folks seem to think otherwise.

              (For one thing, “Reagan had been born in Moscow” is not even English.)

          • Posted March 12, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

            Some interesting counterfactual Cold War stories to tell there, for sure. (And no doubt a whole wack of really unrealistically weird ones.)

        • Diane G.
          Posted March 10, 2018 at 10:33 pm | Permalink

          Thanks, Glen, very interesting.

  3. glen1davidson
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    Uranus was passing in front of a bright star, and researchers wanted to study the atmosphere of Uranus as it did so (the light of the star would go through the atmosphere just as the star was being eclipsed, and again as it reappeared). The rings blocked the light five times before Uranus itself blocked the starlight, then five times after, so they concluded that there must be rings around Uranus.

    They couldn’t directly see the rings from the earth at that time, although Hubble has photographed them since then.

    Glen Davidson

  4. Historian
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Lloyd Bridges died in 1998, not 1988.

  5. Christopher
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    Bianca? Rosalind? Belinda? Whoever the astronomer was that chose those names for the moons of Uranus should have to forfeit their science degrees and go back to the humanities. Moons should sound cool, like Enceladus or Titan, rather than sounding like you named them after the people that work down at your local charity shop. Might was well have kept calling Uranus by its original name! “Ladies and gentlemen welcome to the planet George. Be sure to stop off at the gift count on moon Portia, as we have some delightful local made jams for sale. All proceeds benefit our local village green preservation society.” At least naming a moon “Puck” is a bit erm, cheeky…

    • davidintoronto
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      It was the prerogative of John Herschel (son of William) to name the moons of Uranus. And instead of going Greek/Roman, he decided on magical characters from Shakespeare and Alexander Pope.

  6. Posted March 10, 2018 at 7:25 am | Permalink

    Is there a reason to care about Trump having an affair (or more than one affair) with a porn star years before he became president?
    Seems to me it is just tabloid-level news. And yet mainstream news keeps flogging it.

    • Historian
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 7:39 am | Permalink

      Yes, it is tabloid level news. But it illustrates the hypocrisy of the religious right, which would have decimated Obama if had engaged in such behavior. Plus, there may have been some illegalities involved in how Stormy Daniels was paid off.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      It’s not so much the having – that is between him and his wife to work on. It is the lying that goes to this person’s character or lack thereof. Look at what happened to Hart just back in the 80s. All of our character has slipped a bit.

    • Posted March 10, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      I think we should latch onto anything that might serve to get Trump out of office sooner.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Trump’s having boned a porn star is a tacky matter between him and his wife, as far as I’m concerned.

      His having paid hush money about it in the days leading up to the 2016 election, and his lying about it now, is a matter worthy of concern by the US citizenry.

      • Hempenstein
        Posted March 10, 2018 at 9:42 am | Permalink

        Plus, it’s great to watch the religious wingnuts twist and turn to exonerate him, further illuminating their hypocrisy.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 10, 2018 at 11:37 am | Permalink

          If Obama had been banging Stormy Daniels right after Michelle gave birth, and if he’d’ve had a thuggish Cohen-like lawyer silence her right before the 2008 election, that story would’ve led on Fox News every night for eight years.

          • Posted March 10, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

            True but Obama presented as virtuous. Trump, on the other hand, established himself during his whole adult life as a bona fide sleazeball. Further evidence of his sleaze is simply business as usual, perhaps even reassuring to those willing to elect him to the highest office in the land.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

      “Just imagine going back in time even three years ago and showing people this headline.”

      I got the feeling the tweeter meant that 3 years ago the concept of “Pres. Trump” would have been beyond imagination, let alone the current tawdriness keeping the news cycle going now.

  7. David Coxill
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    F Scot Fitzgerald ,other wise known as the prisoner of Zelda

  8. RGT
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Oh, how I love penguins!!

  9. Posted March 10, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    I like the Arizona-bound cat cartoon!

    Arizona does not change to Daylight Saving Time when the rest of the United States does. However, within Arizona, the Navajo Nation does move clocks ahead to Saving. However, within the Navajo borders, the Hopi Reservation does not change its clocks.

    However, living on a ranch in Hopi country, there is a family where the mother works on the Navajo Reserve, so that household moves its clock.

    This results in a situation where a family’s clock is ahead of their neighbours’ clocks that are behind a surrounding community that is ahead of a state that is behind a country that moves ahead.

    • Diane G.
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

      *head asplode*

  10. Posted March 10, 2018 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    The simple answer is not to change the clocks tonight but to wait until the morning. That way,, you don’t lose an hour’s sleep, you lose an hour of awake time on Sunday.

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Dang, boss, never seeing Lebowski is like never seeing Citizen Kane or Casablanca or The Godfather — or never seeing The Last Picture Show or Five Easy Pieces or Days of Heaven.

    Hie thee to Netflix and savor one of the great American comedies, one ranking with Chaplin and Keaton and Sturges.

    • ploubere
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

      I’ll second that.

  12. alexandra Moffat
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    As best as I can tell, Lacoste is sold out of the animal polos…..

  13. Posted March 10, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    At the risk of being seen as ordering you around, you’ve got to see The Big Lebowski. In fact, this reminds me to see it again as it’s been a while.

  14. Hempenstein
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    At the end those penguins clearly conclude that they have no idea what that thing is.

  15. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 9:43 am | Permalink

    Doggone! [must be duck related]

  16. Posted March 10, 2018 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    Can anyone explain why the Daylight Saving Time is asymmetric? 15 weeks till the summer solstice, then 20 weeks till the clocks change back. We have the same issue (but different dates – BST starts 25 March and ends 28 October, an even bigger disparity) here in the UK.

    • ploubere
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      A matter of convenience, it seems. Per Wikipedia:
      By the Energy Policy Act of 2005, daylight saving time (DST) was extended in the United States beginning in 2007.[10] As from that year, DST begins on the second Sunday of March and ends on the first Sunday of November. In years when April 1 falls on Monday through Wednesday, these changes result in a DST period that is five weeks longer; in all other years the DST period is instead four weeks longer.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 10, 2018 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

      It’s partly bloody Europe Colin – more exactly it’s UK & Ireland.

      It is my guess that it is to do with critical work practises such as cows milking [they can’t read clocks it seems] & seasonal work where you want to be picking your mushrooms when there’s still dew on the ground. For some reason most people are absolutely wedded to start/finish work times as governed by the clock rather than available daylight.

      There’s also a cultural thing going on I think – we mark winter starting as around Halloween so that when we put clocks back too rather than mid-September

      One solution would be for daylight sensitive jobs to adjust the start/finish times as per the sun, but our civilisation is so fucked that schools have to have fixed hours throughout the year, because parents have fixed hours of work throughout the year, because bosses like their workers to be there slaving when it suits the bosses. The bosses of course finish at 3pm to miss the traffic [if they happen not to be at the golf course that day]. Bastards.

      Here’s some dates for London, 2018: Days distance from solstice / Date / Length of daylight hrs,mins

      -128 days, Feb 13th: 09 hrs 53 mins daylight
      -95 days, Mar 18th, 12 hrs 2 mins daylight [ALMOST OFFICIAL SPRING EQUINOX]
      -88 days, Mar 25th: 12 hrs 30 mins daylight [EUROPE CLOCKS FORWARD]

      zero day, June 21st: 16 hrs 38 mins daylight [SUMMER SOLSTICE]

      +88 days, Sep 17th: 12 hrs 32 mins daylight
      +96 days, Sep 25th: 12 hrs 01 min daylight [ALMOST OFFICIAL AUTUMN EQUINOX]
      +129 days, Oct 28th: 09 hrs 54 mins [EUROPE CLOCKS BACK]

      As you can see the changing of the clocks isn’t rational – we put the clocks forward when there’s 12 hours 30 mins of daylight, but we don’t put them back on Sept 17th when there’s the same amount of daylight. Instead we wait six more weeks & put the clocks back on the 28th October. This is because of various EU-wide directives over the past 37 years. As it stands now European Summer Time [depending on the year] lasts 30 or 31 weeks, but it wasn’t always so!

      Starting in 1981 the European Community began issuing directives requiring member states to legislate particular start and end dates for Summer Time. Since 1981 each directive has specified a transition time of 01:00 UTC and a start date of the last Sunday in March, BUT THE END DATES HAVE DIFFERED

      Successive Directives laid down two dates for the end:
      ** One on the last Sunday in September applied by the continental Member States, and the other on the fourth Sunday in October for the United Kingdom and Ireland.
      ** In 1996 the end date was changed to the fourth Sunday in October for all countries.
      ** In 1998 the end date was adjusted to be the last Sunday in October

      In ‘Europe’** everyone changes their clock simultaneously irrespective of their time zone. However the bloody minded Yanks change clock at the SAME local time [except when they don’t]. ** Europe’ excludes Iceland, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Turkey & Russia

      P.S. I hope I get no annoyingly picky replies to this post! I remember the last time 🙂

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 11, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        “One solution would be for daylight sensitive jobs to adjust the start/finish times as per the sun, but our civilisation is so fucked that schools have to have fixed hours throughout the year, because parents have fixed hours of work throughout the year, because bosses like their workers to be there slaving when it suits the bosses.”

        I quite agree, I could never understand why working hours couldn’t just change to suit the seasons instead of fooling around with Time.

        ‘Daylight Saving Time’ screws up all manner of things like tide tables, clocks and camera settings, and of course it right royally screws up global communications i.e. trying to work out what time it is in UK before phoning from e.g. NZ, which is complicated not only by UK British Summer Time but by NZ Daylight Saving Time as well. (We should be 12 hours ahead of Greenwich – except when we’re 11 or 13. It’s a frickin’ nightmare.)


  17. Diane G.
    Posted March 10, 2018 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Great find of Cosell with both OJ and Bruce Jenner.

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