Sunday: Hili dialogue

It’s Sunday, March 18, 2018, just a few days until Spring, which starts Tuesday, March 20 at 11:16 a.m.. It’s also National Sloppy Joe Day, but didn’t we just have one of these?

On this day in AD 37, the Roman Senate annulled the will of Tiberius and proclaimed Caligula emperor. Big mistake: the emperor was an evil man, most probably insane. As Wikipedia notes, “Once, at some games at which [Caligula] was presiding, he ordered his guards to throw an entire section of the audience into the arena during the intermission to be eaten by the wild beasts because there were no prisoners to be used and he was bored.” In 1892, former Governor General of Canada Lord Stanley donated a silver challenge cup for Canada’s best hockey team: ergo the Stanley cup. On this day in 1922, Mohandas Gandhi was sentenced to six years in prison for “sedition”: non-cooperation with the British. He served two years before he was released for good to undergo an operation for appendicitis.

On March 18, 1965, the Russian cosmonaut Alexey Leonov exited his spacecraft Voshkod 2 for 12 minutes, becoming the first person to walk in space. Here’s part of that walk on video:

On March 18, 1967, the supertanker Torrey Canyon ran aground off Cornwall in England, spilling its cargo of 120,000 tons of crude oil. On this day in 1990, the inhabitants of the GDR, East Germany, had their first democratic elections after communism fell in that country.  And on the very same day, the biggest and most valuable art theft in US history took place, with 12 paintings, worth in toto about $500 million, were stolen from the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. This is still the greatest single theft of property in world history. Here are two of the stolen works, none of which were ever recovered:

“The Concert” by Johannes Vermeer, one of only 34 of his known works:

. . . and Rembrandt’s only seascape, “The Storm on the Sea of Gaililee”. Such lovely paintings; somewhere an oligarch sits and admires them, all to himself. If you know where they are, there’s a $5 million reward.

Notables born on this day include John C. Calhoun (1782), Grover Cleveland (1837), Nikolia Rimsky-Korsakov (1844), Neville “Peace in Our Time” Chamberlain (1869), Edgar Cayce (1877), Wilfred Own (1893), John Updike (1932), F. W. de Klerk (1936), Wilson Pickett (1941), my old friend and collaborator, the genticist (Dame) Linda Partridge (1950), Ben Cohen (1951, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream), and Adam Levine (1979). Those who fell asleep on this day include Laurence Sterne (1768), Johnny Appleseed (1845), John Phillips (2001), Natasha Richardson (2009), and Chuck Berry (last year).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, a large male cat has shown up, and it’s possible that Hili has a boyfriend! The new cat appears to hang out with Hili in the garden, and then jumps on the windowsill to look at her when she comes in. I have named this cat “Ignatz.” Here he is; Hili, never having had a boyfriend, is understandably wary:

Hili: Do we defend the territory or invite him in?
Cyrus: He looks like a nice guy.
Hili: I wouldn’t trust him.
In Polish:
Hili: Bronimy terytorium, czy zapraszamy do środka?
Cyrus: Wygląda na miłego kolegę.
Hili: Ja bym mu nie ufała.

Here’s a contribution from reader Keith, who writes:

I saw this sign in my vet’s office.  This proves that cat owners are twice as smart as dog owners.  The cat owner’s head is twice as large!

From Matthew: a 100th-anniversary movie clip:

I didn’t know that pangolins were, errr, this pulchritudinous. (Matthew notes, “Not sure why this is surprising but it’s been around for a while.”)

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this, but if it’s true then it’s also very sad:

An ant bridge breaks but is repaired. All that information in such a tiny brain!

Two animal tweets, also from Dr. Cobb:

Check out the pictures of that guillemot-strewn cliff:

This wonderful painting is 3.5 millennia old!

A sciurid weather station:



  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    Good old Caligula. Notice how history repeats?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 18, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      The second time as farce, as one of the Marx brothers said.

    • Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      I sometimes wonder how much of the bad stuff about Caligula (and Nero) is really true. Our chief sources are people who were writing in the times of slightly later emperors and may have a coloured version of events depending on propaganda etc.

  2. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    “Once, at some games at which [Caligula] was presiding, he ordered his guards to throw an entire section of the audience into the arena during the intermission to be eaten by the wild beasts because there were no prisoners to be used and he was bored.”

    Well, since the audience was presumably there voluntarily looking to see people eaten, whereas any putative prisoners would not have been, one can only see this as rough justice. [vbeg]


  3. rickflick
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    I see that Leonov and his crew almost died on that record breaking flight in 1965. Curious Droid has the story:

  4. philfinn7
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I have actually seen a pangolin in the wild, here in Singapore. It was *very* early in the morning and quite dark. No nipples were in evidence.

  5. Christopher
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    What, no national sloppy gender-neutral sandwich day?!

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    That pangolin — “il y a du monde au balcon!

  7. David Duncan
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    “The cat owner’s head is twice as large!”

    Eight times as large. 2**3

  8. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    You forgot the “e” in Owen.

  9. glen1davidson
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Just kill Caligula, and you’re not going to have to deal with the crazy any more. Oh, except when his nephew Nero takes the throne in a few years–granted, probably not as bad as Caligula, but still.

    I see that the ant bridge didn’t so much break, as it was deliberately broken.

    Glen Davidson

  10. Posted March 18, 2018 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    But is that a metric squirrel or an Imperial squirrel?

  11. DrBrydon
    Posted March 18, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    Keaton was a master.

%d bloggers like this: