Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Yes, it’s Halloween: October 31, 2018. Sadly, I’m too old to go trick-or-treating, though I’d love to. But here’s an Archaopteryx pumpkin for the holiday: (h/t: Grania):

It’s National Caramel Apple Day, a treat designed to remove all your dental work. Here are all the Halloween-ish celebrations today:

Grania sent another tweet for Samhan. Turnip carving!

On this day in 1922, Benito Mussolini became the Prime Minister of Italy. And exactly one year later, as Wikipedia reports, it was “The first of 160 consecutive days of 100° Fahrenheit at Marble Bar, Western Australia. By mean maximum temperatures it is the second hottest place in Australia, behind only Wyndham, Western Australia.”  Why does anyone live in these places?

On October 31, 1941, Mount Rushmore was completed after 14 years of work. Can you name the Presidents carved on it? (See here for the answer.) On this day in 1961, Stalin’s body was taken out of Lenin Mausoleum, to be buried where he couldn’t be seen. On this day in 1984, Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her Sikh security guards. This caused widespread rioting in northern India, leading to the murder of 3000 Sikhs.

On October 31, 1999, boater Jesse Martin returned to Melbourne after 11 months of circumnavigating the world by himself, unassisted and without stopping. He left Melbourne at age 16 and returned at age 18: a remarkable feat, especially for one so young. Finally, Wikipedia reports this surely inaccurate data for October 31, 2011: “The global population of humans reaches seven billion. This day is now recognized by the United Nations as the Day of Seven Billion.”

Here’s a short documentary of Martin’s voyage:

Notables born on this day include Meindert Hobbema (1638), John Keats (1795), Vallabhbhai Patel (1875), Chiang Kai-shek (1887), Ethel Waters (1896), Helmut Newton (1920), Dan Rather (1931), and Jane Pauley and John Candy (both 1950, Candy died in 1994).

Speaking of Patel, a new NY Times piece reveals that a huge statue of the man—twice as high as the Statue of Liberty—was just unveiled in Gujurat, India. (You should know about Patel: he was India’s first deputy Prime Minister, a father of the democratic India that came into being in 1947, and a leader of the Congress Party, as well as a great unifier of that great nation). Here are some photos of the 597-foot (182 meter) statue, the tallest in the world:

And a tweet from India’s divisive and theocratic Prime Minister Modhi; Patel would be appalled by Modhi’s behavior, but the tweet shows the statue:

Those who died on October 31 include Egon Schiele (1918), Harry Houdini (1926; died on Halloween), Indira Gandhi (1984, see above), and Studs Terkel (2008).

Schiele is one of my very favorite painters, and it’s sad that he died so young. Here’s a 1911 painting, “Agony, the Death Struggle”, which of course Schiele went through when he died of influenza at age 28 (during the great Spanish Flu epidemic; the same one that killed my paternal grandmother). His wife had died three days before him.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is playing ostrich in Andrzej’s chair:

Hili: I hope you cannot see me.
A: No, it’s you who cannot see me.

Some from Matthew. This first one is a very odd caterpillar, or rather two (I think). Any identification help from readers would be appreciated.

Back on more solid ground, here’s a poke in the eye of the anti-progressivists who are always kvetching at Pinker:

Yet another medieval manuscript besmirched by cat prints:

What a lovely idea for a parade! But notice the third painting. . . .

The Voyager probe has its own Twitter account!

Tweets from Grania.

This one is translated as “A group of Chloropidae on the leaves of Camellia, dense .”  Well, yes indeed. Chlorophidae is a family of small flies.

This video is both sad and unbearably sweet at the same time:

What is going on here? Well, Happy Halloween, anyway:

Philomena reads her new book for the public, as only Philomena can:

I love transparent animals. But where are the organs in this elver?

Finally, this is one of many great cat tweets from the Bodega Cats site. This kitten clearly knows what it wants: FUSSES!


  1. kieran
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    My mother used to carve a turnip back in 80’s when we didn’t have pumpkins in Ireland.

    Now 95% of pumpkins grown in Ireland and the UK are carved but nothing is done with the pumpkin flesh which is discarded.

    • darrelle
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      Typical carving size pumpkins aren’t good to eat and usually aren’t used for eating. Pumpkin varieties intended for eating are much more modest in size.

  2. Sarah
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Sailing around the world was nothing compared to going from age 16 to 18 in 11 months. How did he do that?

    • Frank Bath
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:24 am | Permalink

      It’s probably one of those International Dateline things.

    • Dave
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      I see in Wiki that it took him 328 days to complete; he departed at 16 and returned at 18. That’s just not possible. The wiki article does not give his date of departure, although that would calculate to December 8th, 1998. His bday being Aug 26, 1981, he’d have been 17 at departure. It’s an error in the wiki article, and I assume WEiT just went with what was there.

      • Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:46 am | Permalink

        Yes, I noticed that but couldn’t be arsed to calculate it!

      • enl
        Posted October 31, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        Odd. I have never before known there to be an error on Wikipedia……

        (don’t slip in the sarcasm. It is dripping on the floor)

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted October 31, 2018 at 9:07 am | Permalink

          But, like the World According to Pinker, it gets better over time.

        • Posted October 31, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

          I have edited bits where I know they are wrong, in compliance with their rules, & I suspect at least one WEIT reader will correct that…

  3. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, and the Roosevelt known as Teddy. Haven’t been there myself, but I’ve watched Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint escape James Mason’s thugs on those faces a time or two.

  4. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    That caterpillar! What a monstrosity.

    Someone on the Twitter thread suggested ‘Monkey slug caterpillar’ but it isn’t that, though it has some similarity.

    I’d love to know just what it is.


    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 9:05 am | Permalink

      I’d love to know, too. Doing a Google Image Search is recursive; those are the only photos of the beastie that show up.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

    On the other hand, that statue of Patel would make an awesome finale to an Indian remake of Planet of the Apes. “You blew it up! Damn you!”

  6. Harrison
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    For anyone who missed it, yesterday a comically inept conspiracy to smear Bob Mueller fell apart before it even got off the ground, and Twitter has dubbed it Morongate.

  7. rickflick
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    Cat prints in a manuscript suggest a close relationship with the writer. More common perhaps are prints in clay or mortar. This one dates to the Roman era in London:


  8. scruffycookie
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

    The third painting in the parade is the awful restoration of “Ecce Homo” or as it’s colloquially known “Monkey Jesus”. LOL! People are so clever!

    • Mark R.
      Posted October 31, 2018 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

      Thanks, I was wondering what that one was.

      • scruffycookie
        Posted November 1, 2018 at 11:33 am | Permalink

        You are very welcome. ☺

  9. Void
    Posted October 31, 2018 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    The Indian prime minister’s name I’ve only ever seen spelled as Modi. Also calling him theocratic is absolutely unfair I think. There is nothing he has done in the now about four years in power which makes him anything close to taking more religious actions in terms of government policy in comparison to previous leaders let alone international standards (he would be considered left of center and nonreligious in pretty much the entire middle east and most of India’s neighbors). I’d say US politicians engage in far more religious rhetoric and actually enact a lot of policy motivated by and intended to support religious goals (including indirect support to evangelical and other christian organization with the goal of converting and changing self identities of hindus). So he is barely showing signs of religious conservatism (often I notice being careful to always engage in inclusive rhetoric and meeting all stripes of religious leaders, probably because he rightly suspects he would be torn to shreds in the english and international media otherwise). By this standard, a whole of lot of US leaders would be theocratic and neighbouring Pakistani leaders would be off the chart (about whom there is often no such focus, though they have always engaged in far more explicit religious rhetoric and outright hatred). Similarly, he is not very divisive, his party won very large vote shares for a multi-party system and compared to recent governments (I remember it resulted in the Congress party being decimates with its lowest share of seats since independence I think).

    This might be the impression one gets from the Indian english press and intelligentsia, but in terms of talking about going easy on Islam and engaging in identity politics by the left, which has been discussed by posters here, the Indian left takes the cake (there were several allusions to the second coming of Hitler if Modi was elected in the run-up to his win). I think a lot of this has to do with this being a small group (the english media never really had conservative and liberal camps in India, they were mostly all connected to and organizationally owned by the same families, only after Modi’s win was there a formation of a different camp) who were holdovers from the colonial period and never got over the frankly hinduphobic colonial attitudes and education resources (as was done for other parts of the world or black and native history in the US). There really isn’t a very strong organized and most of all sophisticated Hindu institutional voice (with attendant apologetics or power) in the english medium when compared to islam or christianity, and being overtly hindu was/is often looked down as being backward and unfashionable in many such circles though they don’t hold the same contempt for christians or muslims.

    I know this may sound unlikely and I can give no definitive proof of course, but I used to have these same attitudes I described and I slowly changed them after interacting with and learning about other parts of the world and the power and perception of other religions. The selective contempt of one religion was something which hinted at the bias initially. But this tied into the uncle tom (or gunga din for indian context) like inferiority complex based interpretation of history in my opinion often common among the english educated classes. Either way, in terms of actually putting in the hours and corruption, even the opposition cannot say much about Modi and there is evidence to suggest he govt. is making large strides in actually improving the lot of poor people (you can look at statements by international development and business organizations and leaders). So I don’t think there is much strong evidence of him making things worse than previous governments and he might be making things better and would probably be regarded as a normal and possibly hopeful leader in any other country or religion but the hysterical overreaction from the Indian leftist elite reminds more of the worse cases of campus hysterics in the US.

  10. Dale Franzwa
    Posted November 1, 2018 at 12:31 am | Permalink

    Today is the day Freddy Geas is alleged to have brutally killed Whitey Bulger. Jerry, I hope you will devote a post to this story. Here is the problem, Geas is already in prison for life where he is free to continue murdering without further punishment. Or is he? I see two possibilities:

    Try him again for Bulger’s murder and sentence him to: (1) Death but unlimited appeals keep him alive for the rest of his life. (2) A second life sentence but in isolation for 23 hours a day.

    Is one fate better than the other? If so why?

    Suppose you are operating under the Norwegian criminal justice system where the death penalty doesn’t exist. Of course, you keep re-sentencing him every 21 yrs (I don’t know if Norway has an “isolation ward” alternative or how that would work).

    In this case, which system (US or Norway) in your opinion is better?

    At minimum, I should think a post on this topic would generate a lot of discussion.

  11. Posted November 11, 2018 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    The transparent eel larva is amazing!

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