Saturday: Hili dialogue

It’s Saturday, March 17, 2018, and we’re nearing the beginning of Spring. It’s St. Patrick’s Day! As always, they’ll be dyeing the Chicago River Green, but it’s raining and sleeting, and so the celebrants will have to hie to the pub, which they’d do anyway. Naturally, today’s official food holiday is “National Eat Like the Irish Day.” That, I suppose, means potatoes, shepherd’s pie, cabbage, and Guinness (I won’t touch the malodorous drisheen).

Today’s Google Doodle also celebrates the holiday, with the Doodle explained:

In today’s Doodle, Irish artist Ross Stewart celebrates his homeland’s rich history and heritage.

Standing in for the Google “L” is a tall stone that pays homage to Ireland’s earliest form of writing: ogham. The edge is marked with a series of ancient carvings, each group representing a letter of the ogham alphabet. See if you can read what it says (hint: it goes left to right, bottom to top!).

Meanwhile, a determined stonemason is hard at work against a backdrop of peaceful greens and blues. In the foreground, a sprinkling of native wildflowers rounds out Stewart’s ode to the isle’s vast, natural beauty – sheepish onlooker included.

Not much happened on St. Paddy’s Day in world history.  On this day in 1959, Tenzing Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama, fled Tibet for India, a perilous journey over mountain passes. He and his retinue now live in Dharamshala, India. Exactly a decade later, Golda Meir became Israel’s first female Prime Minister. And on this day in 1973, AP photographer Slava Veder took a photo that won the Pulitzer Prize: Burst of Joy.  It shows an American Air Force officer, a former North Vietnamese prisoner, being reunited with his family:

Sadly, the photo isn’t all it appears to be. As Wikipedia reports, this wasn’t exactly a burst of joy:

Despite outward appearances, the reunion was an unhappy one for Stirm. Three days before he arrived in the United States, the same day he was released from captivity, Stirm received a Dear John letter from his wife Loretta informing him that their marriage was over. Stirm later learned that Loretta had been with other men throughout his captivity, receiving marriage proposals from three of them. In 1974, the Stirms divorced and Loretta remarried, but Lt Col Stirm was still ordered by the courts to provide her with 43% of his military retirement pay once he retired from the Air Force. Stirm was later promoted to full Colonel and retired from the Air Force in 1977.

After Burst of Joy was announced as the winner of the Pulitzer Prize, all of the family members depicted in the picture received copies. They all display it prominently in their homes, except the Stirm patriarch, who says he cannot bring himself to display the picture, given the betrayal he suffered from his wife on the home front.

How sad!

Finally, on March 17, 1992, a referendum in South Africa to end apartheid passed: 68.7% to 31.2%.

Notables born on this day include Roger B. Taney (1777), Lawrence “I may be some time” Oates (1880), Bobby Jones (1902), Nat King Cole (1919), Rudolf Nureyev (1938), Paul Kantner (1941), John Sebastian (1944), Mia Hamm (1972) and Katie Ledecky (1997). Those who passed away on this day include Daniel Bernouilli (1782), Robert Chambers (1871), Irène Joliot-Curie (1956), Amos Alonzo Stagg (1965), Louis Kahn (1974), and Helen Hayes (1993).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the animals are olfacting:

Cyrus: I think we’ve sniffed everything.
Hili: I still have to check whether anybody peed on my favorite acacia.
In Polish:
Cyrus: Chyba obwąchaliśmy już wszystko.
Hili: Muszę jeszcze sprawdzić, czy nikt nie obsikał mojej ulubionej akacji.

Among cat aficionados, when a cat is sitting with all paws underneath it or tucked in front, like this, it’s said to be “tugging”, after the fanciful resemblance between such a cat and a tugboat. Here’s Gus tugging in Winnipeg, with staff Taskin calling the photo “Afternoon blanket tug from Gus”:

Matthew sent an optical illusion, but for the life of me I can’t see any wobbling (oh, now I can!):

These tweets are from Grania. One good thing about the Internet, which redeems the trolls, pedants, and obnoxious gits, are the many people with a sense of humor:

The “only”, though, should be after the words “costs”.

This woman had the right idea:

More humor from random individuals, but how true it is!:

Cyclone Gita, which affected the South Pacific in February:

And a feather-horned beetle (Rhipicera femorata) from Australia:

Finally, three gifs collected by reader Su (her captions):

 Kitten goes the distance in the small dog bronc-riding competition:
Meerkat really dozes off.
Squirrel foodie enjoying a… something.


  1. chrism
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve never tried the Irish version of a Blood pudding and it’s many years since I was last in Cork. But I’d kill for some good English black pudding. In fact, I may have to, as it can’t be bought anywhere I’ve found in NS. All I need is a pig….

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

      Charcuterie Ratinaud, Halifax probably has boudin, which is similarly wonderful!

    • David Coxill
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:55 am | Permalink

      I had some in my breakfast yesterday .There is a cafe at Danesford on the Kidderminister road outside of Bridgnorth ,at bit on the dry side.

    • John Conoboy
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      The black and white puddings (why do they call them pudding?) are great, but only if you cook them in the grease after first frying up the rashers (bacon). It also helps if you are still a bit drumk.

  2. jaxkayaker
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Note that “Weasels ripped my flesh”, a headline on the Men’s Life cover, is the name of a Frank Zappa album. Maybe this magazine cover is whence the album title came.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    St. Paddy’s day was my mom’s feast day, her being a lass named “Patricia” born a couple days later, and she always marked the occasion by cooking corned beef and cabbage. The Boston-Irish clan I married into celebrated the day the same way, though they called the dish “New England boiled dinner.”

  4. glen1davidson
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    The physicist says to the exorcist: First we assume a spherical demon…

    Not exactly spherical, but you know….

    Glen Davidson

  5. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    That Man’s Life cover has induced me to look for more covers of that magazine. Every one is absolutely ridiculous and worthy of printing and ironically hanging somewhere.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted March 17, 2018 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

      I note that one of the articles is ‘Can women justify their need for extra-marital relations’. I bet there’s a lot of hypocrisy, anecdotes rather than data, and misogyny in that one! (Not that I’m saying infidelity is okay of course.)

      • Posted March 17, 2018 at 10:23 pm | Permalink

        But can men justify their need for extra-marital relations?

        • Heather Hastie
          Posted March 18, 2018 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

          I’m not sure “need” is the right word, man or woman. When most people get married they promise fidelity. Assuming they’re getting married because they want to, and they mean it when they promise to be faithful, that’s what they should do. If that changes, maybe they shouldn’t be married anymore.

  6. David Harper
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    In my wife’s family, Gus’s posture is known as a cat-loaf. Also as pawtucket.

  7. Posted March 17, 2018 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    I had to enlarge the image to make it “wobble.”

  8. Barney
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Looks to me like evil costs 0.39 cents. Would it be bad to demand 100 lemons for 39 cents?

  9. Becky
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    Did Gus’ staff make that beautiful blanket?

  10. John Conoboy
    Posted March 17, 2018 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    Today is also Saint Gertrude’s day. She is the patron saint of cats.

  11. nicky
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 1:58 am | Permalink

    Looking at these covers of Man’s Life , Heather H. will be pleased to note that the trope “Foreign girls make better wives and lovers” is not a recent one.

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