Friday: Hili dialogue

It’s Friday at last—February 1, 2019—and I’m glad that the frigid week is nearly over.  It’s National Cake Pop Day, a recent confectionary innovation that’s okay for kids but not substantive enough for those with larger sweet tooths (teeth?) And it’s the beginning of Black History Month.

Further, as I’m told by the ex-Muslims of North America, it’s #NoHijabDay (see also the site #freefromhijab), emphasizing that nobody should be forced to wear a garment designed to prevent men from  committing uncontrollable acts of lust if they see a woman’s hair. Here’s a young girl who doesn’t want to cover up, but is forced to:

And another:

It’s now a balmy 8°F (-13°C) outside, but the weather will warm up today, with prognostications of nearly 17°F (-8°C) today and a serious warming-up (above freezing) during the weekend. But it snowed last night and everything is again draped in white. Here are today’s Chicago temperatures in Fahrenheit and Celsius over the day, and, below each plot for today, the predictions for the week: warmer, but with snow and rain.



I nearly froze going downtown yesterday, to no avail as the Global Entry office was closed, but I couldn’t find that out by phone. Even soap bubbles froze, but that’s expected.

Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life of Sojourner Truth (ca. 1797-1883), born a slave who became a free woman, an abolitionist, and a woman’s rights activist. (There doesn’t seem to be anything about her life connected with the first day of February.) On the February 1 page of Wikipedia it says this:

February 1st, 2019 – A Google Doodle was featured in honour of Sojourner Truth. The doodle was showcased in Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Switzerland, Israel, Ireland and Germany

The Doodle:

Update: yesterday Steve Pinker responded here to a Guardian article claiming that the people of the world are getting less poor. Here’s another critique of the Guardian piece by Oliver Wiseman at CapX (yes, a libertarian site).

On this day in 1865, President Abraham Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, prohibiting slavery. A fitting start to Black History Month. On February 1, 1884, the first volume of the Oxford English Dictionary was published (“A to Ant”).  In 1893, Thomas Edison finished building the first motion picture studio, the “Black Maria” in West Orange, New Jersey. And in 1896 Puccini’s opera La Bohème premiered in Turin, with the orchestra conducted by Arturo Toscanini.

On February 1, 1918, Russia and Estonia adopted the Gregorian Calendar. On this day in 1960, four black students staged the first lunch counter sit-in at a Woolworth’s store in Greensboro, North Carolina. The protest expanded quickly, and soon most of the stores were desegregated.

Here are the four courageous students; the caption from Wikipedia says, “The Greensboro Four: (left to right) David RichmondFranklin McCainEzell Blair, Jr., and Joseph McNeil.”

On this day in 1964, the Beatles had their first #1 hit in the U.S. Do you know the song? It’s here.  On February 1, 1979, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran. The rest is history, and theocratic oppression. Finally, it was on this day in 2003 that the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated during reentry, killing all seven astronauts aboard: Michael P. Anderson, David M. Brown, Kapana Chawla, Laurel Clark, Rick Husband, William C. McCool, and Ilan Ramon.

Notables born on this day include Hugo von Hofmannsthal (1874), Clark Gable (1901), Langston Hughes (1902), S. J. Perelman (1904), Boris Yeltsin (1931), Don Everly (1937), Jessica Savitch (1947), and Andrew Breitbart (1969).

Those who died on February 1 include Mary Shelley (1851), Piet Mondrian (1944), Hedda Hopper and Buster Keaton (1966), Werner Heisenberg (1976), the crew of the Space Shuttle Columbia (2003; see above), and Ed Koch (2013).

This painting is cited as an “original Mondrian,” and it may well be, but I have my doubts:

Composition with red, blue, black, yellow and gray”

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is demanding selfies with Andrzej:

Hili: Come, we will take another selfie.
A: You are becoming addicted.
In Polish:
Hili: Chodź zrobimy sobie jeszcze jedno selfie.
Ja: Wpadasz w złe nałogi.

A tweet from Heather Hastie showing that cats, like electrons, have a dual nature. For cats it’s that they’re simultaneously solid and liquid:

Tweets from Grania.  The first one shows how cold it is in Chicago, as Lake Michigan rarely freezes so far from shore:

The eternal mystery of cats: why on earth do they knock things off tables? I’ve never seen a scientific explanation of this.

Why we shouldn’t be afraid of AI. (Note: I’m aware this is probably a spoof.)


Trump given five Pinocchios by his own Department of Homeland Security. When will the embarrassment end?

Yes, they are indeed setting the train tracks on fire in Chicago, and my subway yesterday was held up by one of these fires. Watch this video:

Grania says that this is “possibly the funniest Titania ever.” If you peruse Twitter, you should be following her/hir/them/it:

Tweets from Matthew. I had no idea Google Maps were so detailed!

Look at that foot! I’ll leave it up to the readers to find out if a cassowary has ever killed a human.

This is a fly. A mantisfly. It likes its prey shaken, not stirred.

This fact should make you a big hit at cocktail parties.



  1. Serendipitydawg
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I can’t navigate to the cat as in the video, however, Google maps shows this nearby, so cats should not be a surprise. I am guessing there may be one or two feral cats in the area 😀

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    First hit I recall the lads from Liverpool having on this side of the pond was “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”

    I think “Love Me Do” was their original hit in Blighty.

  3. E.A. Blair
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    If I were a cassowary
    On the plains neaar Timbuktu,
    I would eat a missionary,
    Cassock, bell and hymn-book, too.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Oops – “near” not “neaar”.

  4. freiner
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    “Sweet tooths (teeth?)”
    Now here’s something to sink one’s teeth (tooths?) into. I think that since “sweet tooth” refers to a person’s overall taste for sweets (a single entity), “sweet tooths” would be more appropriate when referring to the similar taste possessed by any number of other individuals. Saying “those with larger sweet teeth” would suggest individuals with more than one overall taste for sweets. Or, maybe not.
    I forego any comment on implants or dentures.

  5. CAS
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I find that the more liberal Muslims deny that the requirement for women to cover up is in the Quran. Their problem is that the Quran is the true word of Allah, so they must deny that it is there. Unfortunately, it is and it clearly meant to prevent sexual assault.

    Quran: Yusif Ali translation Ch 33 Verse 59. O Prophet! Tell thy wives and daughters, and the believing women, that they should cast their outer garments over their persons (when abroad): that is most convenient, that they should be known (as such) and not molested. And Allah is Oft- Forgiving, Most Merciful.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:42 pm | Permalink

      “cast their outer garments over their persons”

      That is not exactly comprehensive and categorical, is it? I’m sure it is open to interpretation just how revealing an ‘outer garment’ over ‘their person’ should be.

      This is clearly an ‘outer garment’ worn over ‘her person’:

      Come to that, a 3″ sash (with or without ‘Miss Azerbaijan’ printed on it) could certainly be interpreted as a ‘outer garment’ if one wished to. After all, if a tiny yarmulke suffices to cover one’s head… (yeah, I know, different religion…)


  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:35 am | Permalink

    Trump given five Pinocchios by his own Department of Homeland Security.

    Looks like that tweet came from the (Democratically controlled) House Committee on Homeland Security.

    Secretary of Homeland Security Kristjen Nielsen wjouldn’t have the chjutzpah to contradict Dear Leadjer.

    • max blancke
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:05 am | Permalink

      The house is part is the “resistance” these days, so they are pretty much only about opposing anything the executive branch does.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Trump couldn’t get squat through congress (excepting the budget-busting fat-cat tax cut) even when Republicans controlled both houses.

        But, yeah, it’s good to see the House of Representatives finally fulfilling its constitutional obligation to provide some oversight of the abuses by the executive branch under Donald Trump.

      • Mark R.
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        Damn straight and about time!

  7. David Coxill
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    What a brave stubborn girl ,hopes she grows up to be a brave stubborn woman .

    • Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:57 am | Permalink

      And let’s hope that she will live to be free in her country!

  8. Bruce Lyon
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Yes, cassowarys have killed people. I recall one one case where a person (tourist I think) got too close to a nesting male (or male with chicks) and the bird eviscerated the poor person by kicking him in the gut. Wikipedia indicates that there are many records of the bird killing native people and Googling revealed a few stories reporting deaths. They have very powerful feet and kick and slash at the victim.

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 9:44 am | Permalink

      I think there is only one documented case of a cassowary killing a human, in 1926. Which is somewhat surprising since they are not only well armed, but reputed to have a grumpy disposition.
      It is said that ostriches kill about 7 people annually in South Africa. I’m not sure about these numbers, but since they are bred for meat and skin (feathers are past) on a serious scale, there is much more contact between humans and ostriches than between humans and cassowaries.

  9. Jenny Haniver
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Titania McGrath is priceless!

  10. Jenny Haniver
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Rasputin’s daughter lived rather close to the first college I attended, but I didn’t know it until years later. Had I known she was so close, I’d have looked her up.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      Rasputin the Riveter? 🙂

      • mikeyc
        Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

        Ah jeez. I figured you’d make that pun. I didn’t dare.

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted February 1, 2019 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

          But, to both of you, to be proper, I think it is “Rasputina the Riveter”

          Gotta find her memoirs.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

            I think almost all Russian female names end in ‘a’. It’s a grammatical rule.

            (But I don’t speak Russian).


  11. Graham Martin-Royle
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    Points heaters are used on railways world wide, we have them here in the UK.

    • David Coxill
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

      Because of all that wrong type of snow we have over here .

  12. mikeyc
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Personally I think all cats are deeply skeptical of Sir Issac Newton and his “theories of motion”. Silly humans. They are engaged in a worldwide testing campaign looking for the violations of those laws they know must occur.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

      Yep, my conclusion too.

      After all, cats reason, they can personally defy the ‘laws of physics’ as is evidenced by numerous Youtube videos.

      Sooner or latter a kitteh will push a remote off a table and it won’t fall.


      • Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        I have noticed watching my young nephews that they seem to like throwing things *downwards*. I wonder if this is similar.

  13. Posted February 1, 2019 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Beautiful frozen bubbles!

  14. jeff Kessen
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    My cat knocks off the table only things that I “put” before her (outside of food, ofcourse). As if to say,”Human, this is of no immediate use to me”—kind of like the haughty Johnsonian retort, “Give us no more of this”.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    “Yes, they are indeed setting the train tracks on fire in Chicago,”

    Well, presumably to keep the points (turnouts) from freezing up?

    Meanwhile, in Wellington NZ last week, they had to suspend traffic on a couple of lines because the ‘overhead’ (electric wires) had expanded so much in the heat that they were sagging below allowable clearances.

    Which is a different issue from ‘heat restrictions’ which are speed limits imposed when the rails get so hot in the sun that there is a chance they could buckle in front of a train.


  16. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted February 1, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

    electrons, have a dual nature.

    That was *a century ago* before relativistic quantum field theory showed their one nature: quanta of the electron field.

    I get that people refer to nearly 5 decades old Big Bang cosmology instead of modern inflationary LCDM cosmology. But when they refer to physics of 4 or more generations back I get somewhat miffed.

    • Posted February 4, 2019 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      Or in layman’s terms: electrons are neither particle nor wave – those are categories which don’t apply.

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