Sunday: Hili dialogue

Good morning: it’s March 25, 2018, and, luckily, the snow missed Chicago yesterday. I hope that’s the last threat of snow we have before summer. It’s International Waffle Day, too, and I could use one, topped with butter and real maple syrup. Alas, this isn’t in the offing: I had two pieces of cinnamon toast and a latte. Finally, it’s Tolkien Reading Day, so read some Tolkien.

On March 25, 1306, Robert the Bruce became the King of Scotland.  On this day in 1655, Dutch scientist Christiaan Huygens discovered Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. In 1807, the Slave Trade Act became a law in Britain, abolishing slave trading throughout the British Empire. On this day in 1811, poet Percy Bysshe Shelley was expelled from Oxford for writing his pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism (a quote from that pamphlet is the frontispiece of Faith Versus Fact).  On this day in 1911, the disastrous Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire occurred in New York City. Escape from the burning garment sweatshop was difficult because some of the exit doors were locked. As Wikipedia notes:

The fire caused the deaths of 146 garment workers – 123 women and 23 men – who died from the fire, smoke inhalation, or falling or jumping to their deaths. Most of the victims were recent Italian and Jewish immigrant women aged 16 to 23; of the victims whose ages are known, the oldest victim was 43-year-old Providenza Panno, and the youngest were 14-year-olds Kate Leone and “Sara” Rosaria Maltese.

63 of the victims jumped to their deaths. As a result, New York State reformed its labor laws, began installing sprinklers, making sure there were fire exits, and so on.

On this day in 1931, the nine Scottsboro Boys, a group of black youth riding a train, were arrested in Alabama and charged with rape. They were almost surely not guilty, yet all but one served prison time. It was a huge case, touching on issues of endemic racism (the accusers were two white women, there was no physical evidence of rape, and the conviction were of course brought in by an all white jury).  Finally, on this day in 1969, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, on their honeymoon in Amsterdam, held their first Bed-In for Peace at the local Hilton, which lasted 7 days. Remember this?:

Notables born on March 25 include Simon Flexner (1863), Gutzon Borglum (1867; he designed the Mount Rushmore monument), Howard Cosell (1918), author Paul Scott (1920), Flannery O’Connor (1925), Gloria Steinem (1934), Elton John (1947), Sarah Jessica Parker (1965), and Danica Patrick (1981). Those who expired on this day include Claude Debussy (1918), Viola Liuzzo (1965), photographer Edward Steichen (1973), and Buck Owens (2006).

Here is Steichen’s “Nude with Cat’ (1902-1903):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili contemplates a quote from Winnie the Pooh. If you can’t read the framed quote, here it is:

Pooh looked at his two paws. He knew that one of them was the right, and he knew that when you had decided which one of them was the right, then the other one was the left, but he never could remember how to begin.

The dialogue:

Hili: I like this quotation.
A: Why?
Hili: It reminds me that we always have to make our own decisions.
In Polish:
Hili: Lubię ten cytat!
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Uświadamia mi, że decyzja należy zawsze do nas.

Reader cesar sent a photo, which reminds me of Eliot’s poem The Hollow Men: “This is the way the world ends. Not with a man but a cat.”:

Matthew found this tweet of an amazing dust storm approaching a ship:

Now why on earth would they do this? Seriously??!?!

Metamorphoisis from a caterpillar to an adult moth or butterfly is an amazing process, and its evolutionary origins are still obscure:

The story of Dusty and Otter in three minutes. DUCKS! Look at their “duck mansion”! These ducks live in paradise, even getting tucked in every night. (I’m going to try feeding tomatoes to my ducks.)

I’m not sure what a Guillermo del Toro monster is, but here you go:

Grania loves cross-species friendships, and here are four:

And a cat playing an organ:

Finally, Matthew sent baby ferrets. LOOK AT THEM!



  1. Serendipitydawg
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Kudos to Visit Avebury for a great joke!

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Of course! A few days early for April 1st, of course.

      What immediately occurred to me is, that stone is a fibreglass/polystyrene(styrofoam) replica. It has to be, if it was real it would just squash the trailer flat.


      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:49 am | Permalink

        If you visit the circle you will see that erosion has necked the stones in at the bottom, visible in the stone on the right of the picture. From the flat bottom of the stone “in” the trailer, I suspect that the trailer is actually just parked in front of the stone and some wag saw it as a stone in a trailer and posted accordingly 🙂

        I can’t remember the precise details, having not been down that way for many years, but I think the stones extend several feet into the ground and are not simply placed on the surface.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          You are so worng! Here’s the vid from which the still was taken:

          Avebury is best because there’s a pub close by & of course because of the classic Children of the Stones documentary of my youth

          • Hempenstein
            Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

            Fake rock.

          • Serendipitydawg
            Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

            I stand corrected; definitely a fake rock though, that trailer wouldn’t survive a real rock of that size. I guess they have been doing a bit of gap filling with some replicas… there eas a real erosion problem when we visited (ca 20 yrs ago).

            I definitely agree that Avebury is best; the monument is around the entire village and it is a very attractive area with good walks and the pub (natch!)

            You can clearly see the necking of the stones on that video; I can’t remember if we had a guide when we visited but someone showed me a reconstruction of the original stones and they were big. Thousands of years of erosion have rendered them no less impressive – as you can see above from the height of the stone relative the height of the worker. There is some parallax but nevertheless.

            • Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

              “…definitely a fake rock though, that trailer wouldn’t survive a real rock of that size.” That, and well-done satire certainly is not dea.

          • gravelinspector-Aidan
            Posted March 25, 2018 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

            Check the presenter’s names.

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted March 25, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

              Yeah I know
              Why is your olw wearing a 70s knitted tank top?

              • gravelinspector-Aidan
                Posted March 27, 2018 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

                It’s a 1930s prediction of what passes for 1970s fashion. Or whenever Christopher Tolkien was young enough to be scared by it.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 2:44 pm | Permalink

          but I think the stones extend several feet into the ground and are not simply placed on the surface.

          Pretty much all of the stone “circles” were constructed by digging through the soil to expose the bedrock, then digging a pit into that of the correct size and shape to receive the base of the intended stone, then levering the stone upright into it (yes, for a big trilithon with a tipping ramp, that could be a year or several later than digging the “socket”), chocking the bottom with wedging stones to keep the stone upright, and then finally putting the soil back in place and landscaping it.
          Building a stone circle took a lot of planning. Don’t underestimate the people who did this.
          When Stonehenge was excavated in segments in the 1930s and 1950s, these sockets were found in abundance without stones in them, where the stones had either been moved in prehistory, or toppled, broken up into lintels, and carted away. Some of the sockets could be assigned by shape to stones that were now elsewhere in the structure, proving that, in prehistory, the structure had been remodelled in several occasions.

      • Serendipitydawg
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

        I should add that the circle at Avebury was actually more impressive to me than Stonehenge. That has very big vertical stones with lintels but is only around 50 metres or so in diameter, whereas the original Avebury circle was around 400 or 500 metres. The stones are considerably eroded but even what remains would have presented a considerable challenge to move and install. 🙂

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

        This weekend is clock-change from GMT to BST. The evening is an hour later tonight.

        t has to be, if it was real it would just squash the trailer flat.

        Certainly over the weight limit, and it would flatten the tyres. Sarsens tend to be pretty “slabby”, so I’d estimate it at a bit over a cubic metre, and mass around 2.5 tonnes to sarsen.
        The orange restraining strap is more like a half-tonne working load. It’s a plastic fake – probably glass fibre reinforced plastic, because that’s cheap and effective for theatrical props such as this model of a Stonehenge trilithon.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      I suspected an Onion satire or an April Fool’s Joke right away. My undergrad alma mater’s student newspaper ran fake news stories in its April 1st issue every year.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    In the duck story what kind of duck is that white one with the crown of feathers on the head?

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    Pooh quote :

    The House At Pooh Corner
    Chapter VII in which Tigger is Unbounced
    p.119 of Dutton, 1988 re-design

  4. glen1davidson
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    To be fair, everybody would push the red button.

    The cat just wouldn’t worry and dither before pushing it. Sniff a little, and bam!

    Glen Davidson

    • Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      The office supply store STAPLES used to sell a similar button that tied in with an advertising campaign. It says “easy” on top; when pushed it says “That was easy.”

  5. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    I’m not sure what a Guillermo del Toro monster is

    Pan’s Labyrinth, Hellboy, Pacific Rim, The Shape of Water, …(I’ll admit I forgot Devil’s Backbone, but that is likely because I have only read about it and as opposed to SOW a time ago – SOW is Oscar’s nominated.)

    “Guillermo Del Toro is one of fantasy cinema’s great modern directors. From acclaimed Spanish language movies such as The Devil’s Backbone and Pan’s Labyrinth to high profile Hollywood blockbusters like Pacific Rim and Hellboy films, Del Toro’s gift for imaginative, exciting, scary, and often deeply moving cinema is unrivalled. He’s also delivered some of the most memorable monsters of recent times too.”

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:59 am | Permalink

      I’m very thankful that Del Toro’s films weren’t around when I was a kid. Ever since I saw Alien when I was eight Giger’s xenomorph has figured in my nightmares pretty heavily. But the pale man from Pan’s Labyrinth might have messed me up even worse.

      Some people are just completely comfortable in that world of monsters and horrific things – they find them beautiful in the same way other people find cats and sunsets beautiful. I think Del Toro’s one of those people; Giger was another.

  6. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:44 am | Permalink


    The Crested duck’s origins are uncertain. The most credible possibility is that crested runner ducks (Bali ducks) were brought to Holland on ships and crossed with local ducks (The Domestic Duck – C&M Ashton P. 50). The crest found on these ducks does occur in Mallards and their derivatives from time to time though as a mutation so it is possible that they were bred from sports of common ducks. It is through selection, crested ducks have been created.

    The mutation causes a lethal allele combination when two crested ducks are mated together, causing on average 25% of the embryos to die in the shell and there are quite frequently other health problems in the young that hatch such as twisted necks. From the offspring there will be some crest-less ducks too. If a Crested duck is mated to a crest-less duck, some of the offspring will have crests and no lethal allele combination, leading to dead embryos.

    The Crested duck was admitted to the American Standard of perfection in 1874 and to the British Standard in 1910.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      Thanks for that additional information. I saw one of these crested ducks in a pond here in the city and then forgot about until this story. It’s mate was not crested, which is a good thing…

  7. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    As John said, Christ, you know it ain’t easy:

    • BJ
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I guess this is a fine place to slot in the comment I was going to post.

      John and Yoko’s “bed-ins” were the ultimate in luxury slacktivism. “Sitting in bed all day and getting tons of press while doing it? And everybody will think we’re promoting peace through some new kind of performance art? It’s brilliant!” It’s 1969’s equivalent of tweeting your support for something while taking a shit.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 25, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

        John was down with the movement. He & Yoko raised a lot of money and drew a lot of attention for a lot of cause, labor and prison reform, in addition to the anti-war movement. the “bed-in” was their way of turning the paparazzi culture in on itself.

        Give peace a chance, is all I am saying. 🙂

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted March 25, 2018 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          Let me add that John put a lot on the line for his anti-war activism. He and George risked the Beatles’ popularity by being among the first pop stars to speak out against the war, during one of the lads’ early tours of the US. He also put his green card on the line, by earning the enmity of Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover.

          • BJ
            Posted March 25, 2018 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

            Guess I spoke too soon. I didn’t know all that.

            But it is a good symbol of slacktivism, so let’s pretend that I was right anyway. You can make an apologetic post glorifying my wisdom now.

    • Larry Smith
      Posted March 25, 2018 at 11:13 am | Permalink

      I liked seeing the wordplay in the sign in the window reading “Hair Peace” (hairpiece). Little throwaway jokes and puns like that were typical Lennon.

  8. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted March 25, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Finally, it’s Tolkien Reading Day, so read some Tolkien.

    I changed my avatar for a Tolkein sketch. I’d known he did his own maps, but didn’t know he also did the original cover for the Hobbit (with the stylised mountains); so when I saw his Wol, I just knew it was going into my pictures collection.
    A better artist than me, that’s for certain.

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