Tuesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning; it’s Tuesday, April 10, 2018—the 100th day of the year—and I’ll be leaving for Florida and Southern New Mexico on Friday. If any readers are in NM (south of Albuquerque) between April 19 and 26 and want to say hi, email me; I’m traveling but am not sure of my schedule.  It’ll be a few degrees above freezing in Chicago today, climbing into the fifties (Fahrenheit) by Friday, but the Cubs opener yesterday was SNOWED OUT! They’ll play it today.

It’s National Cinnamon Roll Day (I love ’em!), and National Siblings Day, celebrating those with whom you share 25% to 50% of your genes (or 0% if your siblings are adopted).

On this day in 837 (AD), Halley’s Comet appeared, making its closest approach to Earth (5.1 million km or 3.2 million miles). On April 10, the first copyright law, the “Statute of Anne“, came into effect in Great Britain.  On this day in 1865, one day after surrendering to Grant at Appomattox, Robert E. Lee addressed his troops for the last time. Exactly 11 years, later, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) was founded in New York City.  And it was on April 10, 1912, that the RMS Titanic took off from Southampton on its maiden voyage—and its last voyage.  On April 10, 1925, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, was published in New York by Scribners. I don’t know if it’s read in high school any more, but it was a staple of our English classes, and remains one of my favorite books. On this day in 1963, 129 U.S. sailors died when the nuclear submarine USS Thresher sank at sea. Here’s a reconstruction of what people think happened:

On this day in 1970, Paul McCartney quit the Beatles. All great things must come to and end. And, on this day twenty years ago, the Good Friday Agreement was signed in Northern Ireland.

Notables born on this day include William Booth (1829, he founded the Salvation Army), Joseph Pulitzer (1847), Omar Sharif (1932), and Paul Theroux (1941). Those who expired on April 10 include Kahil Gibran (1931), Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1955), Evelyn Waugh (1966), Walker Evans (1975), and Dixie Carter (2010). Today’s Google Doodle honors the life of Omar Sharif, who would have been 86 today (he died in 2015, and his real name was Michel Dimitri Chalhoub.  You will remember him as Ali from Lawrence of Arabia, and as Zhivago from Doctor Zhivago.  He was one of the world’s best contract bridge players, and smoked 100 cigarettes a day.

Walker Evans is another of my favorite photographers, and took many pictures of people hit hard during the Depression and the Dust Bowl. Here’s his  “Sharecropper’s family, Hale County, Alabama”, photographed in 1935:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is up to no good:

 A: Have mercy on this curtain.
Hili: It provoked me.
In Polish:

Some tweets from Grania, including a kindle of twitching kittens:

This truly is a spectacular photograph, and the caption tells how it was made:

A wonderful story about the adoption of a feral cat (sound on!):

Paleolithic cave art in Greece (Crete):

And the movie “Aliens”, compressed into just one minute:

Matthew found a guy who did what I was unable to do: rear my botfly out to an adult (mine died in the pupal stage). Look at that beautiful fly!



  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    It’s kind of hard to imagine why the photographer in an open cockpit airplane would need to hang our of the plane on ropes to take pictures. Oh well, too early for thinking much.

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      Maybe to avoid getting the wings of his airplane in the picture.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:29 am | Permalink

        Maybe, but I’ve taken pictures out of an open cockpit plane and generally the lower wing getting in the way is overcome by simply banking the plane to the left or right. Much easier than hanging out on a rope. Also, hanging on a rope at 60 miles an hour would make it very hard to hold a camera still and shoot photos.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          I doubt he was fully outside the plane. I think most likely he was leaning out a long way (‘hanging out’) and the rope was a safety precaution in case he overbalanced.


        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted April 10, 2018 at 6:37 pm | Permalink

          Also, hanging on a rope at 60 miles an hour would make it very hard to hold a camera still and shoot photos.

          Good point. Emulsions in 1920 would probably have been relatively slow too, worsening the effects of camera shake.
          The caption doesn’t actually claim that he was hanging out of the cockpit to take this photo, just that he did it sometimes.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted April 10, 2018 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      He worked in a standing position from the rear cockpit of a two-seater with a pilot in the front seat. He was a tall man – so when he stood up the open cockpit rim was at mid-thigh, the top wing was in front of him at eye level & the trailing edge of the bottom wing was below in line with him.

      He stood up to reduce the vibration from the airplane, took his pic in a 90 degree direction to line of flight & sat down to change plates.

  2. glen1davidson
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    The whole Thresher animation is confusing. From a bit of web searching, apparently a pipe broke (soldered, not welded), flooding some sections and shorting out electronics, and taking on water meant that it was getting heavy in the aft section. Apparently the reactor was out, presumably due to the shorting of electronics, and then the ballast tanks couldn’t have the water blown out to lighten the sub due to the freezing shown in the animation. So it sank.

    One thing they did subsequently was to make it possible to make power using the residual heat remaining in the reactor, etc., even though the reaction itself was no longer occurring (emergency restart commencing, but taking a few minutes, at least). If they’d had the power, they could have surfaced despite being heavy with water.

    Glen Davidson

  3. Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I raised my bot fly to adulthood as well. The trick is to give the emerged larva some dryish material to dig into and bury itself in order to pupate in peace. It takes several weeks for the pupa to transform into an adult.

    • Christopher
      Posted April 10, 2018 at 11:27 am | Permalink

      I once had a poor box turtle who was afflicted with at least a half dozen of those wee bastards. I don’t begrudge them their evolutionary lifestyle but it made her poor life miserable for a few weeks. She spent much of the time submerged in her water dish, which gave her some relief, I guess.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted April 10, 2018 at 6:47 pm | Permalink

      On the subject of head-mounted insect larvae, I came across this podcast recently of a palaeontologist who also found himself infested in West Africa with a “Tumbu fly maggot” of fairly similar habits.
      As I recall, it’s about 10 minutes into the podcast, which can be downloaded.
      You biologists who have hosted insect larvae should form a club of moderate exclusiveness. Maybe hold joint meetings with the Entomophagy Club?

  4. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Apropos of the recent thread on declining religious attendance and most religious people getting it from being raised that way, here’s a great example of same – a Phoenix teenager who had to be tased by his Mom to get up for church on Easter Sunday.


    (Link thanks to Loweringthebar.net)


    • Randall Schenck
      Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Well, get me to the church on time…

  5. David Duncan
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    “Today’s Google Doodle honors the life of Omar Sharif, who would have been 86 today (he died in 2015, and his real name was Michel Dimitri Chalhoub. You will remember him as Ali from Lawrence of Arabia, and as Zhivago from Doctor Zhivago.”

    Ive never seen him in LofA but thought he was great in The Night of the Generals.

  6. Hempenstein
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Best thing about that botfly, as I understand it, is that even with a partner it would be unable to reproduce without the presence of a mosquito, and I suppose mosquitoes of the appropriate species are unavailable where it hatched out.

  7. Posted April 10, 2018 at 10:15 am | Permalink

    Cubs snowed out, while the White Sox got their game in (but lost.) What a difference a lake effect makes.

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    I really liked the recent film of “Gatsby” partly because I thought Toby MacGuire was perfect as Nick Carroway. I was not as crazy about the Robert Redford/Mia Farrow version.

    A terrific analysis of Gatsby is in the book “Reading Lolita in Tehran”.


    One of the Austin Powers films has a clever joke about “the militant wing of the Salvation Army”.

  9. starskeptic
    Posted April 10, 2018 at 7:42 pm | Permalink

    On this day in 1970, Paul McCartney told an empty room that he’d had enough…

  10. jaxkayaker
    Posted April 11, 2018 at 7:32 am | Permalink

    I wonder what happened to the sharecropper family in the photo.

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