Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning: it’s Wednesday, January 11, 2017. It’s also National Hot Toddy Day, but it’s a bit late here since the temperature will rise above freezing today: up to 44°F (a tropical 7° C). But there will be rain, too. It’s also German Apples Day, or Tag den Deutschen Apfels, and perhaps a German reader can explain that one.

I’m feeling a bit under the weather, and posting will likely be light today. On this day in 1908, the Grand Canyon National Monument was created, and, in 1922, insulin was first used to treat a human patient. In 1946, the Republic of Albania was declared, with Enver Hoxha naming himself president. (Other infamous Albanians include Mother Teresa.) Finally, in 1949 the first regular television broadcasting began with station KDKA in Pittsburgh.

Notables born on this day include Nicolas Steno (1638; see WEIT), William James (1842), Calvin Bridges (1889; a fly geneticist and one of my heroes, see below) and Carroll Shelby (1929, this is for Stephen Barnard, who owns a replica Shelby Cobra). Here’s a picture of Stephen in his souped up car, in which I got a ride in 2015 (see photos and info here and here):


Here’s Calvin Bridges, a crack Drosophila geneticist in the T. H. Morgan lab (Morgan was the mentor of my Ph.D. advisor’s advisor, Th. Dobzhansky). His work was important in showing that chromosomes were the carriers of genes. He was also renowned for his strikingly good looks and his womanizing, and died at 49 from syphillis. I’m not sure what is going on in this photo with the tilted microscope:


Notables who died on this day include Francis Scot Key (1849), Thomas Hardy (1928), Alberto Giacometti (1966), Sir Edmund Hillary (2008), and David Nelson (2011). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is worried about the welfare of mice in winter, but not because she’s a humanitarian (mousitarian)?:

Hili: Are they going to survive this cataclysm?
A: Who?
Hili: What do you mean “who”? My mice.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy one przetrwają ten kataklizm?
Ja: Kto?
Hili: Jak to kto? Moje myszki.


  1. serendipitydawg
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    We are only just begining to get colder weather in northern England and it is still in excess of 7C. I guess it’s a matter of perpective.

    • serendipitydawg
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      “perspective”, duh!

      Looking at PCCe’s quoted temperatures for Chicago in recent days makes me shudder – we last had temperatures even vaguely close was in 2010 and then we only got down to -15C 🙂

      • Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:33 am | Permalink

        We (here in the Minneapolis area in Minnesota) are supposed to have -29°C (-20°F) on Friday morning, with a “high” temperature Friday of -14°C.

        Winter is real this year.

  2. Hempenstein
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    If that pic of Bridges wasn’t dated I would’ve guessed more like 1957.

  3. Julian Stone
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    I sincerely hope it’s not July

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Just a guess, but probably not driving the car at this time of year. I had a sports car once and must say, not good in the snow.

    • Stephen Barnard
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      We’ve just had the biggest snowstorm in living memory, so no, I’m not driving the car.

      • darrelle
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:19 am | Permalink

        Do you have a snowmobile? Or a dog sled?

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

          I have a CAT skid steer tractor with a snowblower attachment and a huge set of chains.

      • Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:26 am | Permalink

        How much did you get Stephen? Bragging rights, you know?! 🙂

        • Stephen Barnard
          Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:32 am | Permalink

          This is my back deck.

          • Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

            Wow! I hope you have plenty of food and reliable power! 🙂

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:52 am | Permalink

              Yes, but it’s a dry snow. Just kidding…

            • darrelle
              Posted January 11, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

              Looks like a winter wonderland. I miss real winters and snow. Haven’t lived any place that has those for a long time. Playing outside until frostbite threatens then inside for hot chocolate by the fire. Perhaps with a liberal dollop of Grand Marnier.

          • Stephen Barnard
            Posted January 11, 2017 at 9:30 am | Permalink

            Looks like I’m not going to Stanley today as planned.
            Screen Shot 2017-01-11 at 8.25.03 AM

            • Randall Schenck
              Posted January 11, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

              Appears you cannot get in or out of Stanley by road. Snowmobile is it. If you had that small airplane on skis ??

            • Posted January 11, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

              Yeah, I think they are telling you pretty clearly — just stay home! Hope the booze supply is good as well …

  5. David Coxill
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Don’t mention Mice to me ,on Monday one of my cats brought a live mouse indoors .Managed to get it off him and the ungrateful rodent bite me .
    Drew a spot of blood ,after i had washed my poor finger the mouse was dead by the time i had got it off the cat.

    • Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

      Isn’t mousing a feature in cats (rather than a bug)?

      • David Coxill
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 9:41 am | Permalink

        Yes but they take it too far ,one day they brought me 3 dead ones .

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:14 am | Permalink

          Better dead than alive and mortally injured and with the cat still toying with it…

          One of my cats brings mice he catches in the basement(!) upstairs to the kitchen, where he plays with them until they escape under either the oven or the fridge. A few days later I notice a godawful smell emanating from one of them and have to find a way to fish out the putrefying carcass…

    • eric
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 9:45 am | Permalink

      Ours likes to bring them in and play with them too. Sigh.

      Its kind of amazing to think our cat will actually put the entire mouse in her mouth, and then take it out again just for play. Still, I guess evolutionarily it makes sense. An adaptation of overwhelming pleasure at chasing and pouncing on them leads to a better mouser than merely a desire to eat them when you’re hungry. The ‘chasers’ will kill far more mice than the ‘eaters’ would, and so get more milk and support from the humans around them.

      • David Coxill
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        Hi ,the trouble is the mice get away ,i had to buy 2 humane mouse traps .
        Can’t use those that kill the mice ,anywhere i could put a trap the cats could put their paws .
        My niece said the first time her cat caught a mouse she made him watch her let it go .She said he hasen’t brought any more in .

        • eric
          Posted January 11, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

          Our cat’s mice don’t get away. I’ve had to euthanize them because the damage she’s done would otherwise mean a slow, painful death. Love the kittehs, but I can’t say that’s one of their more endearing traits.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

          Cat walks (stalks?) away, muttering under the fur “gnashm thrahm bashm useless hoomins”.

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:29 am | Permalink

    Calvin Bridges looks like he’s warming up to play West Coast jazz during the Fifties with Chet Baker and Stan Getz.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      The hair is pretty awesome.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

        Yeah, Chet Baker’s was, too.

        • darrelle
          Posted January 11, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

          They could be brothers. Or at least in the same gang.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:16 pm | Permalink

            Baker was Hollywood handsome in his youth (literally, in that he appeared as the romantic lead in a couple of movies). But dope and a dissolute lifestyle left him a hollow hulk. See here. He was a great trumpeter (probably second only to Miles when it comes to cool jazz) and a top-notch vocalist, too.

            • Stephen Barnard
              Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

              That’s a remarkable portrait. Any idea who made it?

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

                It is. I believe it’s a Richard Avedon.

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

        By the look of it, and to get his hair like that back then, he probably wore curlers to bed.

        There’s glamour, and then there’s reality.

  7. Randall Schenck
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Please also note: Clare Hollingworth has died at the age of 105. She was the reporter who first broke the story of WWII for the Daily Telegraph. German Tanks gathering at the Polish border in Sept. 1939.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted January 11, 2017 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

      A great journalist and a wonderful, formidable woman. I had the pleasure of meeting her in 1986 (l think) at an IISS conference in Kyoto. The keynote speaker was Kissinger, who mumbled his way through 20 minutes of boilerplate about East Asia. Ms Hollingworth’s views, expressed in discussions, were based on decades of experience and much more to the point. A life very well lived!

  8. Posted January 11, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the apple Jerry. What you mean to write is: Tag des deutschen Apfels, Apple’s Day: Genitiv or second case.

    It is just a promotion day for the German apple since people rather tend to eat Australien green apples and forget about those old types like Bühler von Boskop. Well, it is true; they don’t taste the same as I remember from my young years. Do you have any such experience with American apples? Do they still taste like you ate them at your grandmother’s?

    • Posted January 11, 2017 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Yes, we have the same experiences here. Good old varieties like Haralson, Jonathan, Fireside, are being replaced by sugary characterless (in my opinion) apples like Fuji, Honey Crisp, etc. (I will not mention evil imposters like the so-called “red delicious” (red disgusting IMO). Well, I guess I just mentioned it.)

      I love a good, crisp, tart Haralson.

      (I am not a lover of Granny Smiths (for eating) — too much of a good thing (crispness and tartness).)

      • darrelle
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        Red Delicious apples are truly evil. Every bad characteristic one could want in an apple has been perfected in the Red Delicious.

        I once had an apple called an Arkansas Black that was one of the best apples I’ve had. My wife picked it up from a roadside seller somewhere in North Carolina. The proprietor would ask what you like in an apple then pick a variety for you. Everyone got custom fitted with an apple. I wasn’t there but my wife told the proprietor my tastes and she selected the Arkansas Black for me. She was right on the money. I keep an eye out for them but have never come across them since.

        • John Taylor
          Posted January 11, 2017 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

          The Empire, a cross between the Red Delicious and the Macintosh, is a solid apple.

      • darrelle
        Posted January 11, 2017 at 11:00 am | Permalink

        The internet is all knowing. Here is some info on the Arkansas Black.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 13, 2017 at 12:21 am | Permalink

          Very interesting, thanks!

          • darrelle
            Posted January 13, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink


  9. Mobius
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    ZOMG, kewl car. The 60’s produced some really nice sports cars.

  10. loren russell
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Out of curiosity [and because I enjoy science here], what, in a nutshell, was involved in demonstrating chromosomes/chromatin as the genetic determinant. I presume fruitflies were involved.

    Of course I could look this up on Wikipedia, but I’d rather hear it from a member of the Drosophila dynasty!

  11. Joseph Stans
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    Has the good Professor seen the pictures of the two bald eagles in Philadelphia sharing a cat with their chick? I know cats are taken by owls so why not an eagle. Still I was disturbed

  12. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted January 11, 2017 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    and died at 49 from syphillis.

    In 1938 … one of the later victims.
    A reminder to keep one’s choice of mucosa-rubbing-partners to a select minority.

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