Wednesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue):

It’s the first day of February, 2017, which means it’s simultaneously Canned Food Month, National Chocolate Lovers Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Snack Food Month and National Potato Lovers Month. What a month! And today in particular is National Baked Alaska Day and National Dark Chocolate Day. I happen to love Baked Alaska, a truly retro dessert, but I haven’t had it for decades. Finally, it’s the beginning of Black History Month and National Bird-Feeding Month. To celebrate Black History Month, today’s Google Doodle honors African-American sculptor Edmonia Lewis. Google says this about her (her Wikipedia page is here):

Edmonia Lewis wasn’t afraid to reshape convention. As the first woman of African American and Native American heritage to achieve international fame as a sculptor, Lewis is known for incorporating African American and Native American cultural themes into her Neoclassical style sculpture.

. . . Today’s Doodle art depicts Lewis sculpting one of her most famous works, The Death of Cleopatra, which is on display at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C. Her realistic portrayal of Cleopatra’s death received acclaim from critics, who called it “the most remarkable piece of sculpture in the American section” of the show. The vibrant colors of the Google letters also pay tribute to Lewis’s Native American roots – her Native American name was Wildfire.


Here’s the work and a picture of Lewis:


The Death of Cleopatra, by Edmonia Lewis

Picture 215

Lewis (1844-1907)

On this day in 1865, Abe Lincoln signed the Thirteenth Amendment to Constitution, prohibiting slavery. In 1918, Russia adopted the Gregorian calendar. On February 1, 1960, black students staged first of the Greensboro sit-ins at a lunch counter in North Carolina—brave demonstrations that helped catalyze the civil right movement. In 1968, Eddie Adams took the famous video of Viet Cong officer Nguyễn Văn Lém being executed on the street by by South Vietnamese National Police Chief Nguyễn Ngọc Loan (see link for the photo). On this day in 1979, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned to Iran after many years of exile, signaling the beginning of a theocracy that is still in force. Finally, on this day in 2002, Wall Street Journal writer Daniel Pearl was beheaded in Pakistan after being kidnapped by terrorists a week earlier.

Notables born on this day include Clark Gable (1901), Langston Hughes (1902), and Andrew Breitbart (1969; oy!). Those who died on this day include Mary Shelley (1851), Piet Mondrian (1944), Buster Keaton (1966), and the seven members of the space shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated on re-entry (2003). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is amusing herself with the cat pastime of Looking at Nothing:

A: What’s there?
Hili: Actually I don’t know, maybe a ghost of a spider.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tam jest?
Hili: Właśnie nie wiem, chyba duch pająka.

Also, Leon is hiking in the mountains of southern Poland, and has asked his staff for solace:

Leon: Now I’m starting, protect me!

(In Polish: No to ruszam, asekuruj mnie!)


Lagnaippe: Reader Taskin sent some photos under the rubric “How to tell it’s winter.” I don’t know how cats can lie on radiators; my radiators get WAY hot!






  1. rickflick
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I always loved Buster Keaton.

    Best of Buster Keaton’s stunts:

    • mfdempsey1946
      Posted February 1, 2017 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      I agree wholeheartedly. To me, Buster Keaton was the premier artist of the US silent screen.

  2. bric
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    Also botd in 1918 the wonderful Scottish author Muriel Spark (who wrote a lot more than Miss Brodie)

  3. Steven in Tokyo
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    May I ask: what is it about that sculpture of Cleopatra that invokes African American and Native American cultural themes? I can’t see any connection.

    • Alpha Neil
      Posted February 1, 2017 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      Oh no! Google is celebrating cultural appropriation!

    • Posted February 1, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      I don’t think it’s that particular sculpture that embodies those themes. Have a look at her other works.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted February 1, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

      Are people of African and Native American ancestry bound to study only subjects or express themselves in an ethnically relevant manner? And certainly they have been accused of cultural appropriation when they do — this looong before Caucasians were accused of cultural appropriation, and the consequences were a lot more serious than the ruffled feathers of whites who get bent out of shape when so accused. Not only that, but in the past, they were prevented from studying subjects that weren’t “culturally appropriate” or should I say subjects that weren’t deemed intellectually appropriate, since the possession of the capacity of abstract intellection was seen as the preserve of Caucasians; thus the rise of industrial colleges for blacks and Indians. Alas, this might return under the new regime.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted February 1, 2017 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

        Of course, when blacks are accused of cultural appropriation, it’s simply called aping.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 1, 2017 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

      @Steven in Tokyo

      If you’d asked why Edmonia Lewis is ‘GoogleDoodled’ today [1st Feb] given that it’s not a notable day in her life you’d see the connection more clearly.

      As JAC alludes to in the above post it’s National Freedom Day today in the US – the anniversary of when Lincoln submitted the 13th amendment – which called for abolition of slavery – to the state legislatures.

      The Cleopatra sculpture is not what G is celebrating today – that sculpture was chosen because it’s the one by which she became most well-known. Perhaps the connection would have been clearer had G chosen her “Forever Free” sculpture which commemorated the abolition of slavery – but the Cleopatra is a much finer work in my opinion. Interestingly she portrayed her female subjects [such as the fictional Minnehaha] as white Caucasians.

      • bric
        Posted February 1, 2017 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        Well Cleopatra was a white Caucasian

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 1, 2017 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

          Maybe, but that’s irrelevant to my point – she portrayed ALL her female subjects as white Caucasian

          • bric
            Posted February 1, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

            You are right, sorry for my haste

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Some think 1968 was a very bad year in America. I’m not so sure. 2016 could, after some time, be considered worse and certainly self-inflicted.

  5. eric
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    I vaguely recall some cat expert claiming that one reason cats love to sit in boxes is because human houses are about 10 degrees colder than they like it. So the radiator thing isn’t too surprising, if they like their air temperature in the 80s rather than 60s-70s.

  6. Reginald Selkirk
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I don’t know how cats can lie on radiators; my radiators get WAY hot!

    There are different kinds of radiators and heating systems. Some use steam; these get much hotter than those which use hot water.

    The home I grew up in had gravity-fed hot water radiators. Very even heating with no clanging of pipes. We didn’t have housecats, and we used to lie on them ourselves.

  7. Kevin
    Posted February 1, 2017 at 9:39 am | Permalink

    The cat in the iguana/lizard cage is brilliant.

    Our cats will find the tiles in the house that have hot water under them.

  8. RossR
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 6:01 am | Permalink

    My father worked for the electricity board, and one day in the 1950s he brought home an experimental underfloor heating – simply a carpet underlay wired like an electric blanket. I still remember when our cat discovered it. He walked into the room, paused, lay down, got up, walked further, lay down, … He looked as though he couldn’t believe his paws. After a very long initial test – lying on the carpet all day – he had to go and cool off at the side where the underlay didn’t reach.

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