Monday: Hili dialogue

Good morning! It’s Sunday, February 12, and you know what that means: it’s Darwin Day, marking 208 years since The Great Man was born in Shrewsbury, Shropshire in 1809. (Across the Atlantic, Abe Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky on the same day.) We’re celebrating this day with three–count them, three–food holidays: National Plum Pudding Day, National PB&J Day (peanut butter and jelly, my probable lunch), and National Biscotti Day. In the U.S., it’s also National Freedom to Marry Day.

Sadly, Google chose not to mark this day with a Doodle, which I can understand only as a sop to creationists (every Feb. 12 should be commemorated!). But they did mark it in 2014 with the Doodle shown below. Do you know what that diagram is? If you don’t I request—no, demand—that you read the short explanation at Darwin Online. (The sketch was made in 1837, the year after Darwin returned from his Beagle voyage.)

On this day in 1554, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded for treason. She had been Queen of England for nine days. In 1832, Ecuador annexed the Galápagos Islands—on Darwin’s 23rd birthday. On this day in 1909, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded, and the name remains unchanged despite the “CP” part no longer being acceptable. On February 12, 1974, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, was exiled from the Soviet Union, four years after he won the Nobel Prize for Literature (he was the graduation speaker when I got my Ph.D.) And, on this day in 2004, San Francisco, on orders of its mayor, began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, which explains today’s Freedom to Marry holiday.


Notables born on Darwin Day include Jan Swammerdam (1637), Abe Lincoln (1809), Tex Beneke (1914; he sang “Chattanooga Choo Choo”), Lorne Greene (1915), and Christina Ricci (1980). Those who died on Darwin Day include, beside Lady Jane Grey, Immanuel Kant (1804), Sal Mineo (1976), and Sid Caesar (2014).


Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is hungering for fowl:

Hili: These birds must be freezing.
A: There is nothing we can do about it.
Hili: We could let them inside.
In Polish:
Hili: Tym ptaszkom musi być zimno.
Ja: Nic na to nie można poradzić.
Hili: Można je wpuścić do domu.

Charles Darwin resting against pillar covered with vines.

And speaking of politics, here’s a chuckler from reader Susan H.:

And another from John W.: “When Ceiling Cat is displeased”:


  1. Posted February 12, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    What happened to Sunday?

    • Randy schenck
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

      How about 12.5

    • Posted February 12, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

      Oy! I woke up thinking it was Monday, and haven’t fixed it yet. Fixed now.

      • GBJames
        Posted February 12, 2017 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Is that what happens when you retire?

  2. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    “Were going to build the greatest dog park. And the cats are going to pay for it.”

    To which I would reply, good luck with that!


  3. Frank Bath
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I love Ceiling Cat calling down righteous lightning. (Photoshopped I hope.) Happy Darwin Day!

  4. dallos
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    National Freedom to Marry:

    “While most states set 18 as the minimum marriage age, exceptions in every state allow children younger than 18 to marry, typically with parental consent or judicial approval. How much younger? Laws in 27 states do not specify an age below which a child cannot marry.

    Unchained At Last, a nonprofit I founded to help women resist or escape forced marriage in the United States, spent the past year collecting marriage license data from 2000 to 2010, the most recent year for which most states were able to provide information. We learned that in 38 states, more than 167,000 children — almost all of them girls, some as young 12 — were married during that period, mostly to men 18 or older. Twelve states and the District of Columbia were unable to provide information on how many children had married there in that decade. Based on the correlation we identified between state population and child marriage, we estimated that the total number of children wed in America between 2000 and 2010 was nearly 248,000.”

    • rickflick
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      Congratulations on your efforts to improve the lives of women.

    • Cindy
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

      I was shocked to learn that at one time the age of consent in some US states was THE AGE OF 10

      WHAT THE…

      Horrifying. Thanks early feminists for fighting against legalised paedo…

      Oh my mobile but if you google “age of consent” you will find the horrifying info.

      • Cindy
        Posted February 12, 2017 at 9:07 am | Permalink

        As an addendum, I first heard about child marriage when reading an article on this website:

        God is the source of objective morality right? And if morality is objective then surely it is never-changing?

        From the website:

        To listen to the Church’s current views on the subject of sexual abuse of children, one could easily form the opinion that the Church has always been opposed to sexual activity below the age of 16, or even older. In fact when the Church had control of these matters the age of consent to sexual relations was 7 (though marriage contracts were voidable up to the age of 12 for a girl and 14 for a boy).

        Many Christian sources now claim that Christian child marriage was always very rare and restricted to great noble houses. We know that this is not true through several sources. Although child marriages were not always recorded, divorces were recorded by the courts – and since we know of countless thousands of child divorces, we can safely assume that there were more marriages than divorces by a significant factor. We also have have written evidence that contemporaries took child marriage for granted. In Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, Juliet was just 13. Her mother, who was 26 refers to her almost an old maid.

        I believe that Henry VIII’s grandmother was 12 when she was impregnated by Henry’s grandfather. She was rendered permanently infertile.

        P.S. Many of the hardcore pro-lifers that I have spoken with have zero issues with 9 year olds giving birth. They don’t even care if the girl suffers lifelong disability as a result. I find these people to be sick and sociopathic. Part of me wishes they could get a punch to the face. But no, that will only make victims of them. In fact, I think these sickos should have a platform on which to spew their sick fantasies, such that the rest of society can shoot their sick ideas down. Shame them, don’t punch them.

        • Blue
          Posted February 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          Child marriage, Ms Cindy / dallos / Ms Hastie, especially worldwide .that. which is .apparently. not touchable by society’s supposed outrage because it is ‘under religious auspices’ – types of condonements, is yet only one more example of that incitement – line as re immediate violence / re immediate violations upon another Human Being — — wherein, FLIP / REVERSE, how many little nine – year – / ten – year – old boys of the Humans are married off, religiously or not, to one phlegmy old woman with gout / married off to one of us (de)Human adults, that is ? ya’ know, worldwide ?

          Hence, one more “reason” for the continuation over nearly All of Time over All the World of there ‘needing to be’ (de)Human Beings. Only the one gender can be even so considered, religiously or not, as any kind of breathing being … … able to be excused, however heinously, as a penetrably marrying CHILD.

          References: i) Mr Mohandas K Gandhi in many sources re his own ‘condoned’ child marriage with Kasturbai Makhanji Kapadia and ii) former nun, then atheist & (repeatedly) tenure – denied philosophy professor, the late Dr Mary Daly’s GYN / Ecology, y1978,


        • ploubere
          Posted February 12, 2017 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for the link, Cindy, that is a horrifying list of child abuse, condoned by the church.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

      This is absolutely horrific! I hope this cause gets a lot more publicity.

      I certainly had no idea child marriage was still legal in the US. I knew it happened, but I thought the marriages weren’t legal – that they were only religiously sanctioned. I thought that the girls could be legally rescued if/when a child marriage was discovered.

  5. Randy schenck
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Always amazes how two of the most important men of the 19th century were born on the same day.

    My cats say they are not paying.

    • Posted February 12, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

      50 years and 10 months later, Darwin publishes Origin.

      6 months after that, Lincoln nominated for President.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted February 12, 2017 at 6:49 pm | Permalink

        Now that’s crazy. It is too bad Lincoln did not live to read it. Would have been great to hear his opinion of the book. His time from election to his death was consumed by war and he would have had no time to spend on such a new and powerful subject.

  6. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    “The lines with a crossed end are existing species or lineages and those without represent extinct species”

    What is the rationale to use “crossed lines”? A “crossed line” in the diagram produces three lines – are those lines branches?

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 7:17 am | Permalink

      Error : Not three – two lines ….

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted February 12, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        Error – one of them has three lines.. near the “D”

  7. Posted February 12, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

    love darwin

  8. Doug
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    The NAACP should change its name to the NAAPofC.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      Why is ‘persons of color’ OK (it sounds silly to me anyway) and ‘colored people’ not? It makes no sort of sense.

      (And that of course is leaving aside the point that *everybody* is some color or other. I’m a color – a sort of dingy mottled dirty-pinkish-brownish-beige, I suppose you’d call it. White it is not).


      • Cindy
        Posted February 12, 2017 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

        Speaking of ‘beige’…this video by Canadian comic Shaun Majunder has not proven to be very popular…

        Which is a shame. I really like Shaun but this was just baaad.

        A Wake Up Call For the Alt-Right The Future is Beige

        • Claudia Baker
          Posted February 12, 2017 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

          I kinda like it. Especially the way he sticks it to Trump & Bannon.

  9. Steve Barnes
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Yay – happy Darwin Day, Jerry and everyone.

    It’s been years since I’ve celebrated myth-based holidays or birthdays (they’re fine; just not really tethered to anything I find meaningful), and I’ve decided to start calling February 12 the first day of “Science Week” and posting some cool and scientific thing each day in social media circles.

    It would be so cool to see larger chunks of humanity thrust Darwin Day (or Science Week) into prominence – there really is so much to celebrate.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 8:09 am | Permalink

      “there really is so much to celebrate”

      Amen to that.

    • Posted February 12, 2017 at 11:06 am | Permalink

      And in honour of Charley-boy, my wife, Carol, and I took a walk around the Quarry, the Victorian Park that sits above the River Severn in the centre of Shrewsbury town. Imagine the British mainland’s longest river almost completely enclosing the winding Tudor and Georgian streets of Shrewsbury town centre. The Quarry forms one segment of that circle.

      From the synagogue-shaped late eighteenth-century Anglican church at the top of the hill, we looked through the dreich across the two pedestrian suspension bridges (one donated by the Shropshire Horticultural Society, 1922) and the hibernating Rowing Club up the other bank to the wide red-brick of Shropshire School, the cradle of ‘Private Eye’.

      We ambled down to The Dingle and ‘Queen Mum’s Garden’ and on past the Victorian bandstand. It was like being in 1913. Carol and I continued along the riverside walk and came upon ‘Darwin’s Island of Adventures’: which is not the Galapagos, but a kids’ playground. We sauntered on wind-chilled, passing by Town Walls, cooing at the river below and the fabulous rich Regency town-houses with a Catholic Cathedral in their back garden.

      Back to the car parked in Wyle Cop, one of Shrewsbury’s oldest roads: one of its newest is called, ‘Evolution Road’.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted February 12, 2017 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      There’s a weekly post on Twi**er (not sure who from) called ‘This Week in Science’ which has six advancements, discoveries etc from all branches of science.

  10. dougeast
    Posted February 12, 2017 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Visited Down House in 2015. Hallowed ground…

  11. Posted February 12, 2017 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    Relevant to one of the Days of today, as you will see.

    Many years ago, my sister and I went to my Dad’s office downtown in the small town where I grew up. Dad was busy with some paperwork and it was past lunch time for him. (And maybe we were a distraction.) He told us to go the the diner a few doors down and get him a sandwich. Money? Just go.

    I don’t remember how old I was — tall enough to see over the counter of the diner, but not much taller. I told the waitress that my dad wanted a sandwich.

    “What kind of sandwich?”

    Uh, uh, uh — I had no answer to that reasonable question. She suggested to I back and find out. No. Dad wanted a sandwich! She consulted with the owner, who came over and asked who my dad was. I gave his name.

    “Fix her a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to go,” instructed the owner. Money turned out to be no problem either, because (I realized later) Dad ran a tab there.

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