Good morning on a balmy Saturday in Chicago. It’s February 11, 2017: one day before Darwin’s birthday (and also Abe Lincoln’s; both were born on the same day in 1809), and three days before Valentine’s Day. To stay out of the doghouse, buy your cards and gifts now. It’s National Peppermint Patty Day, but the object of celebration is the candy, not the cartoon character:
It’s also Inventors’ Day in the U.S., so you should invent something.
On this day in 1826, the University of London was founded, and in 1858 Bernadette Soubirous had her first vision—there were 18 in all—of the Virgin Mary in Lourdes, France, which is still waiting for Jesus’s mother to heal amputees. Here’s Bernadette (now Saint Bernadette), who was 14 when she first thought she saw Mary:
On this day in 1978, China lifted its ban on works by Aristotle, William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens—authors whose idea surely would have subverted Communism. Finally, on February 11, 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from prison in Cape Town, ending 27 years of forced confinement.
Notable people born on this day include Thomas Edison (1847), Leo Szilard (1898), Patrick Leigh Fermor (1915; his travel books, relatively unknown today, are superb), Anthony Flew (1923), Paul Bocuse (1926), Burt Reynolds (1936), and Sarah Palin (1964). Those who died on this day include René Descartes (1650; no horse jokes, please), Sergei Eisenstein (1948), Sylvia Plath (1963), Eleanor Powell (1982), Paul Feyerabend (1994), Whitney Houston (2012), and Bob Simon (2015). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is complaining about the snow, while Andrzej points out that that’s not much of a snowfall for Poland:
Hili: We will be buried under this snow.A: This is a joke—not snow.Hili: Don’t scare me.
Hili: Zasypie nas ten śnieg.
Ja: To są kpiny, a nie śnieg.
Hili: Nie strasz mnie.