Monday: Hili dialogue

Well, the weekend is over, though Grania tells me that today, March 19, 2018, is a “bank holiday” in Ireland, marking St. Paddy’s Day. It’s also National Oatmeal Cookie Day, the WORST of all possible cookies. I can’t think of a cookie I’d like to eat less. Over in Poland, everyone’s celebrating Kashubian Unity Day.  And remember, Spring arrives in two days.

On this day in 1649, the House of Commons in England wisely passed an act getting rid of the House of Lords, deeming it “useless and dangerous to the people of England”. So why is it back again? On this day in 1895, Auguste and Louis Lumière recorded the first real movies on their cinematograph, which, unlike Edison’s invention, had a projector.  On March 19, 1918, the U.S. Congress established our four time zones as well as the much hated Daylight Saving Time. On this day in 1943, at the Chicago Central Railyard, Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, second in command of the Chicago Outfit (Mafia) after Al Capone, put three bullets in his head. Facing indictment and possibly ill with cancer, he decided to do himself in. On March 19, 1954, a great record was set: Willie Mosconi ran (pocketed) 526 consecutive pool balls during an exhibition in Springfield Ohio. That record remains unbroken to this day. Here’s a description of the event by Dick Hatfield:

You can see Moscone’s only recorded “how to” video here. On this day in 1962, Bob Dylan released his first album, Bob Dylan, on the Columbia label. Finally, the Falklands war began on March 19, 1982, as Argentinian forces landed on South Georgia Island.

Notables born on March 19 include David Livingstone (1813), Wyatt Earp (1848), entomologist William Morton Wheeler (1865), Earl Warren (1891), Frédéric Joliot-Curie (1900), Albert Speer (1905), Adolf Eichmann (1906), Lennie Tristano (1919), Philip Roth (1933), Ursula Andress (1936), Glenn Close (1947), Harvey Weinstein (1952), and Bruce Willis (1955). Those who expired on this day include Arthur Balfour (1930), Edgar Rice Burroughs (1950), photographer Garry Winogrand (1984), Louis de Broglie (1987), Willem de Kooning (1997), John DeLorean (2005), and Arthur C Clarke (2008).

Here’s de Kooning’s “The Cat’s Meow” (1987). Can you see a cat in there?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is concerned with string theory, as a cat should be:

Hili: What do you think about the string theory?
A: Fascinating, but I don’t understand much of it.
Hili: We are in the same boat there.
In Polish:
Hili: Co myślisz o teorii strun?
Ja: Fascynująca, ale mało z tego rozumiem.
Hili: To siedzimy w tej samej łodzi.

A Gary Larson cartoon sent by reader Taskin:

And some tweets from Matthew:

Look at this amazing frog!

And a tame bird of some sort (species, please?)

Just another reason why Sweden is better than America:

Cat versus dog in a chess match. The referee must have spotted some cheating!

From Grania: a new Denisovan fossil I didn’t know about:

An optical illusion created before your eyes (Matthew also found this):

. . . and treat time for guinea pigs:

52 Comments

  1. David Campbell
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The tame bird is a Canada Jay.

    • Dominic
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      One mark for that – but next time, for two marks, please put the Latin binomial!
      😉
      Perisoreus canadensis

      • Dominic
        Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        …I would have got zero!

    • JohnnieCanuck
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

      Canada Jay, whiskey jack, camp robber, grey jay, gray jay aka Perisoreus canadensis, this is the official National Bird of Canada.

      They are bold little beggars and thieves who show no fear of humans, yet stay away from cities. Cross country skiers will quickly be accosted for their trail mix, upon venturing into the woods.

      • Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Yes, and they do not have to be tame to exhibit this behavior.

        I’m a little surprised that Jerry didn’t encounter them during his time in Banff a couple years back at a conference.

  2. Stephen Barnard
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Gray Jay

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Perisoreus canadensis

  3. Dominic
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:34 am | Permalink

    Kashubian Day –
    “Another, newer, feature is the competition to better the world record for the number of people simultaneously playing the accordion”
    Thank goodness I avoided that! 🙂

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    Willie Mosconi made the fancy shot for Paul Newman in The Hustler. Jackie Gleason, who played “Minnesota Fats” in the film, and who had been something of a pool hustler himself on the streets of New York in his youth, made all his own shots.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    I like to play chess like that.

    To play pool like Willie Mosconi is an art and science at the same time.

  6. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    “On this day in 1649, the House of Commons in England wisely passed an act getting rid of the House of Lords, deeming it “useless and dangerous to the people of England”. So why is it back again?”

    Is that a rhetorical question?

    1649 was the year King Charles 1 was executed by Cromwell. One could be a bit sceptical of the opinions of the Rump Parliament. After a decade of the puritanical Commonwealth presided over by Cromwell (who it seems suffered from the same disease that afflicted Napoleon – power corrupts etc) the English decided the Commonwealth was even more useless and dangerous and swung back to the old regime, King, House of Lords and all.

    (That’s an oversimplification of course. Google ‘Restoration’).

    One could equally ask why you rebels need a Senate or a President when you have a Congress…

    cr

    • Sarah
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:17 am | Permalink

      Clearly the President-and-Congress system and the Constitutional-Monarchy-and-Parliament system are two different species that have evolved from a common ancestor.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        I’d say yes.

        Point I was making is that two separate governing bodies is a good thing to have. Checks-and-balances, that sort of thing. If you have just one governing body it’s too easy for it to be controlled by one powerful figure and become a de facto dictatorship.

        cr

        • Sarah
          Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

          And I would add that it is best not to have the executive and legislative functions of the government in the same hands. But there you go–divergent evolution.

          • Frank Bath
            Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

            The Lords is the UK’s second chamber and is clearly a nonsense as set up. (It’s greatest virtue is that it is largely non-party so doesn’t automatically follow the follies of The House of Commons.) Unfortunately we seem to be unable to decide what to replace it with, or whether a second is needed at all.

            • Sarah
              Posted March 19, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

              A bicameral legislature always seems a good idea to me, and the Lords do discuss things even if they haven’t much real power.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

              I’d strongly recommend having a second chamber. You need something to put the brakes on.

              Here in NZ we have only one, and (under first-past-the-post, which tends to result in a 2-party system) if you had a strong prime minister who controlled his party, such as Robert Muldoon, we had a virtual dictatorship. Fortunately, despite being nominally a conservative party, his internal policies were largely socialist (i.e. social security etc). Didn’t stop him being widely hated by the time he lost power.

              We still don’t have a second chamber but now we have MMP (proportional representation) which results in coalitions, which do buffer things considerably.

              cr

            • Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:53 am | Permalink

              We definitely do need a second chamber. The ideal set up would be somewhat like it is now with a large non partizan contingent and members who are not professional politicians – at least not until they join the HoL – but also more democratic.

              I think the reason why we have failed to reform it so far is that nobody has figured out an acceptable way to make it democratic without making it a copy of the House of Commons.

      • Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        I’d say that is a matter of historical record, the common ancestor being the British system of the 18th century. The British system being gradually evolved and the American system being more like a punctuated equilibrium (punctuated by an armed rebellion).

  7. Terry Sheldon
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    With all due respect to the illustrious taste buds of PCCE, I must respectfully disagree on the merits of the oatmeal cookie. They are not only delicious (especially when including raisins) but richer in fiber than your average cookie!

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

      I will second that…

    • Posted March 19, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      +1

    • Terry Sheldon
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Unaccountably, I forgot to mention oatmeal scotchies (butterscotch chips), which are among the best cookies ever devised!

    • Posted March 19, 2018 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      I agree. Oatmeal cookies are (or can be) very good.

  8. Nobody Special
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1943, at the Chicago Central Railyard, Frank “The Enforcer” Nitti, second in command of the Chicago Outfit (Mafia) after Al Capone, put three bullets in his head. Facing indictment and possibly ill with cancer, he decided to do himself in.
    How? Three bullets in his own head sounds like an ‘assisted suicide’ to me.

    • busterggi
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

      Don’t it though – but this was Chicago and Ralphie “Bottles” Capone (Al’s brother) was running things at the time.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Yeah, the wording gives the wrong impression. Capone lost his boss position with The Outfit when he was jailed in 1932 & Nitti was the new boss from then on [a better boss too] until 1943.

      Nitti reportedly decided to kill himself & so he got seriously drunk & walked out alone to his local railyard.

      His 1st shot missed & put a hole in his fedora
      His 2nd shot entered his right jaw & exited the top of his head
      His 3rd shot entered behind his right ear & was found inside his skull up the top

      Even though there were rail worker witnesses I’m betting the story is partly or completely bullshit – more likely his associates smoked him before his Grand Jury appearance the next day. He was ‘wobbly’ about being locked up & thus a potential rat.

      Scuse the argot. Probably wrong for the era. 🙂

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 19, 2018 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

        Yeah, the Chicago Outfit’s never been shy about clipping guys at the top of the mob administration. You could ask Johnny Roselli or “Momo” Giancana, but, whoops, they’re dead.

        • David Coxill
          Posted March 19, 2018 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

          Is that why the mob do not offer a pension plan to it’s members ?

          • Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

            Sounds like they’ve got s petty effective pension plan.

  9. Merilee
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    One of my favorite Larsons!

  10. glen1davidson
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Glass frogs on a date: Girl. Your liver looks most lovely tonight. Boy. Thank you, and your heart is looking very healthy. Girl. Your expanding stomach makes you look satisfied with the food.

    Glen Davidson

  11. Jarle Georg Tveitan
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Good news from Sweden, but sadly, even though they said that, some faith-based schools will still be exempt.

  12. BJ
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    I own twelve The Far Side books. Gary Larson is, by far, my favorite cartoonist.

    • Taz
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      A few years ago I treated myself to “The Complete Far Side” and “The Complete Calvin and Hobbes”, both nice hard-bound box sets.

      • Posted March 19, 2018 at 1:05 pm | Permalink

        Ah, the classics of literature! There’s nothing better. 🙂

      • BJ
        Posted March 19, 2018 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

        I have six Calvin and Hobbes collections as well. You have impeccable taste.

  13. Posted March 19, 2018 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    I don’t see a cat in the de Kooning either. Of course, “cat’s meow” is a phrase that means, according to Google, “an excellent person or thing” so perhaps there’s no cat to be seen. Even if we take it literally, we won’t see the cat but perhaps hear him or her.

    • Posted March 19, 2018 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      I can sort of see a cat, its left eye looking out at us. Of course, I have a good imagination.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:36 am | Permalink

      This is very late de Kooning when he was around 83yo & his best decade as far as I’m concerned. He’d given up the booze, starting on the road to dementia & I think this lead him to strip down his motion on the canvas, to reduce his palette & he was already long past his heavy, overly busy layering technique [he came out of an action painting tradition].

      What we have is more like a few frames of an MGM Tom & Jerry cartoon combined or graffiti art. His titles aren’t always meant to inform the viewer – just for fun. If he’d called it “Milly” or “Bonzo the Dog” I’m sure I could find elements to justify those alternative titles. So I admit I can see ‘catness’ in motion & ‘catness’ in sound, but he could be taking the piss as artists love to do. 🙂

  14. Jenny Haniver
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    That optical illusion is very cool.

  15. David Duncan
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    “On this day in 1649, the House of Commons in England wisely passed an act getting rid of the House of Lords, deeming it “useless and dangerous to the people of England”. So why is it back again?”

    A house of review is sometimes useful. I’ll bet American liberals are glad they have the Senate to provide a brake on some of the crazier antics of Trump and the House Republicans. Cromwell and his sidekicks got rid of the Lords and then proceeded to purge MPs who didn’t agree with them. Charles I was held up to ridicule as “this man against whom the Lord hath witnessed, but the Lord was soon witnessing against the Puritans.

    And, of course, the trial and execution of Charles I was completely illegal.

    • David Duncan
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 11:17 am | Permalink

      “this man against whom the Lord hath witnessed,

      Sigh, forgot the ending quote.

    • Sarah
      Posted March 19, 2018 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      It was certainly illegal according to Charles! But then, the king was no longer making the laws.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

        The king didn’t make the laws before. Parliament – the House of Commons – proposed a law, the House of Lords kicked it around a bit, and finally the king gave his Royal Assent. He could in theory veto it but in practice his power was limited.

        When I saw “1649” something went bzzt! in my brain and I guessed what the scenario was even before I googled it. That was about the time of the English Civil War. The Parliament that dispensed with the House of Lords was the Rump Parliament, so-called because it was what was left after the New Model Army forcibly expelled those members who wanted a negotiated settlement with the King (rather than charging him with treason). You could call it a puppet government. I don’t think ‘wise’ is an appropriate adjective to use in the context of anything it did. [g]

        So then they ended up with Cromwell as Lord Protector – for life. Gee whiz, why didn’t he just call himself God? (I hate Puritans).

        cr

        • Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

          The king didn’t make the laws before. Parliament – the House of Commons – proposed a law, the House of Lords kicked it around a bit, and finally the king gave his Royal Assent. He could in theory veto it but in practice his power was limited.

          What?

          Prior to the English Civil War, the monarch was very definitely in charge. He or she frequently vetoed bills and more importantly had the power to dissolve and recall parliament at will. Pretty much the only reason they needed parliament was to raise extra taxes for war and such like. Charles I managed to rule England for eleven years without calling a parliament.

          • Sarah
            Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

            infiniteimprobabilit is thinking of a much later Parliament!

        • Sarah
          Posted March 20, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

          What really died the death then, besides Charles I, was the doctrine of the Divine Right of kings–at least in Britain. Charles argued that he couldn’t very well commit treason against himself, but Parliament argued against royal supremacy. And yes, when you’ve just lost a civil war you’re not in a strong legal position.

  16. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 19, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

    THe worst individual cookies I have ever had was actually an oatmeal raisin cookie although overall it is actually my favorite (when served at stage play theatres). I bought this horrifically revolting monstrosity at a popular chain, TOGOs.
    It was loaded up with about 4 times the sugar as I am used to which made a qualitative not simply quantitative difference. It was also too hard. ORCs should be soft.
    Had this been my first oatmeal raisin cookie I might feel differently. (I’ve also never bought them at grocery stores, only those baked especially as a theatre snack.)
    Nonetheless, it is overall my favorite cookie.

    • Posted March 19, 2018 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

      It’s because it’s our favorite cookie that it is so mortifying when we get a bad one. Having too much sugar is a common fault, I find. Another is too much cinnamon.

  17. Posted March 19, 2018 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    Man, remind me never to play even a casual game of eightball with that guy.

    And Speer and Eichmann shared a birthday? That must have been one Nazi-rific bash. 😐

  18. rtarbinar
    Posted March 22, 2018 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Interesting. I had to scroll down to the comments to figure out the optical illusion. Having come up empty, I scrolled back up and there it was. I guess my brain was stuck in 2d mode.


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