Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s March 20, 2018, a Tuesday and the day when Spring begins this year: the vernal equinox. (Spring officially begins at 12:15 EDT in the U.S., and I will announce it on this site.) Here’s a celebratory tweet about Spring in Chicago (found by Matthew):

The photo is by Anthony Artense at NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day, is called “Chicagohenge: Equinox in an Aligned City”, and the explanation is this:

Sometimes, in a way, Chicago is like a modern Stonehenge. The way is east to west, and the time is today. Today, and every equinox, the Sun will set exactly to the west, everywhere on Earth. Therefore, today in Chicago, the Sun will set directly down the long equatorially-aligned grid of streets and buildings, an event dubbed #chicagohenge. Featured here is a Chicago Henge picture taken during the last equinox in mid-September of 2017 looking along part of Upper Wacker Drive. Many cities, though, have streets or other features that are well-aligned to Earth’s spin axis. Therefore, quite possibly, your favorite street may also run east – west. Tonight at sunset, with a quick glance, you can actually find out.

For some reason Winter has seemed interminable, though that shouldn’t be the case for someone of my age. (My theory, which is mine and which can be tested, is that time appears to go by more quickly as you age, for you see a span of time in relationship to how much time you’ve spent on Earth. My test: ask people of various ages to tell you when they think five minutes have passed, and ensure that they can’t count or look at a watch. Prediction: older people will judge that less time has passed.) It’s also National Ravioli Day as well as “The Great American Meatout,” celebrating the abnegation of carnivory. Finally, it’s a lovely holiday—World Sparrow Day—celebrating the beautiful but neglected House Sparrow (Passer domesticus).

On March 20, 1616, Sir Walter Raleigh was released from the Tower of London, having been imprisoned there for 13 years. On this day in 1852, Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin was published. On March 20, 1915, Albert Einstein published his general theory of relativity; 51 years later, Tunisia gained independence from France. On this day in 1985, Libby Riddles became the first woman to win the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, a grueling competition involving 1,135-miles of mushing and three weeks in the snow. Here’s Riddles’s victory and her induction into the Alaska Sports Hall of Fame:

You may remember the sarin attack on the Tokyo subway by the Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo, which killed 12 people, severely injured 50 and created temporary vision problems for nearly 1,000 others. That attack took place on March 20, 1995. 13 members of the cult are on death row, which is a long time  in Japan (you’re only informed you’re to be killed on the morning of execution). Finally, 15 years ago on this day, the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Poland invaded Iraq, an unwise decision that’s cost thousands of lives and billions of dollars.

Notables born on this day include the painter George Caleb Bingham (1811), Henrik Ibsen (1828), B. F. Skinner (1904), Ozzie Nelson (1906), Carl Reiner (1922; still alive at 96!), John Ehrlichman (1925), Fred “Mr.” Rogers (1928), the historian John Boswell, who lived across the hall from me during sophomore year at William & Mary, Bobby Orr (1948), Spike Lee (1957), and Holly Hunter (1958; where did she go?).

Here’s Bingham’s most famous painting, “Fur traders descending the Missouri” (1845). It’s at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Now, is that a fox or a cat in the prow? Why is it there?

Those who expired on March 20 include Henry IV of England (1413), Isaac Newton (1726), George Curzon (1925), Chet Huntley (1974), V. S. Pritchett (1997), and David Rockefeller (last year).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, there’s a long dialogue between Hili and Andrzej. I was a bit confused by it, and Malgorzata explained: “Hili is prepared to have something tasty which will better prepare her to meet whatever the future has in store for her.”

Hili: You can’t predict the future.
A: That’s right.
Hili: But you can prepare yourself for it.
A: What do you mean?
Hili: I’m already prepared. Is there anything tasty in the fridge?
In Polish:
Hili: Przyszłości nie można przewidzieć.
Ja: To prawda.
Hili: Ale można się do niej przygotować.
Ja: To znaczy?
Hili: Już jestem gotowa. Co jest smacznego w lodówce?

From Matthew: a captive killer whale uses bait to hunt birds. Aren’t they feeding it enough?

Matthew notes: “This is not a painting.”:

Cryptic felinity:

Be sure to enlarge the photos on this one:

From Grania, who says this is an interesting argument (I haven’t yet read it):

Check out the titles of these great bird paintings:

I missed this holiday two days ago, but St. Gertrude is indeed the patron saint of cats (see pictures here):




  1. Malgorzata
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    I should’ve asked Hili instead of giving my own interpretation. Hili says: “Of course,the next meal is the future”.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      Very nice photo of Hili today.

      I must report a sad event from the news this morning. The end of another species is here with the death of the last male Northern White Rhino.

      • Christopher
        Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:35 am | Permalink

        As a child, when reading about the book extinction of the Carolina parakeet, the thylacine, and the passenger pigeon, I asked myself why the people at the time let them go extinct when they had already noticed the decline in numbers and could have stepped in to save them with breeding programs. Now I know. Because people don’t care. WE knew this was happening, and did very little until it was well past being too late.

  2. Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    Lovely photo of the Chicago street, but surely not taken at the equinox.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

      Massimo has it wrong. That #chicagohenge picture was taken in mid-September, 2017 for the Autumn equinox looking along part of Upper Wacker Drive. What’s confused him is NASA has selected it as ‘Astronomy Picture of the Day’ for today.

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Holly Hunter?

    • Doug
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      Holly Hunger would be a good name for a vampire.

  4. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    “ask people of various ages to tell you when they think five minutes have passed, and ensure that they can’t count or look at a watch. Prediction: older people will judge that less time has passed.”

    That’s just ‘cos we’re getting slower.

    Eventually we come to a complete stop and somebody buries us. 😎


  5. Simon Hayward
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    Birthday boy Ibsen’s play “An Enemy of the People” is currently playing at the Goodman in Chicago, well worth a visit and still relevant 150 or so years after it was written.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      Read it in High School, and still think of it often.

  6. Robert Bray
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Regarding the Bingham picture, I’d venture that whatever the animal is, it’s there for painterly purposes.

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    That North/South-East/West grid is a mixed blessing, as several months of the year the late-rising/early-setting sun blinds drivers during rush-hour.

  8. Merilee
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    David Marcus makes some good points.

  9. Posted March 20, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

    Now there’s a use of a spy plane we can all get behind! 🙂

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Given Boswell’s outspokenness about his own homosexuality, I find his conversion from Episcopalianism to Roman Catholicism really really hard to understand.

  11. starskeptic
    Posted March 20, 2018 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    “T-Rex doesn’t want to be fed, he wants to hunt!”

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