Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Wednesday February 15, 2017. It should be National Leftover Candy day, but it’s actually National Gumdrop Day and National Chewing Gum Day. It’s also National Flag Day of Canada, celebrating the adoption of its current flag in 1965:


O Canada!

And can somebody tell me why the hockey team is called the “Maple Leafs” rather than the “Maple Leaves”?

On this day in 1923, Greece became the last country in Europe to adopt the Gregorian calendar. In 1946 ENIAC, described by Wikipedia as “the first electronic general-purpose computer” was “formally dedicated” at The University of Pennsylvania—whatever it means to dedicate a computer. (Did they break a bottle of champagne on it?) On February 15, 1971, British coins became decimalized, and, in 2001, the journal Nature published the first draft of the human genome. A Nobel Prize has not been awarded for that achievement.

Notables born on this day include Galileo (1564) and Jeremy Bentham (1748). Bentham’s real mummified head and skeleton, the latter dressed up in his clothes and sitting in a chair (with a wax replica head), are still preserved at University College London; see photo below.


Jeremy Bentham’s head

Also born on this day were Susan B. Anthony (1820), Ernest Shackleton (1874), Art Spiegelmann (1948), and Matt Groening (1954). I highly recommend reading Spiegelmann’s Maus, a graphic novel using animals (mice, pigs and cats) to illustrate the Holocaust. It is a fantastic novel/artwork, and was the first such book to win a Pulitzer Prize (1992). This year is the 25th anniversary of the book, and you can buy a special edition at Amazon by clicking the screenshot below:

Those who died on this day include Nat King Cole (1965), Mike Bloomfield (1981), Richard Feynman (1988), Martha Gellhorn (1998), and Howard K. Smith (2002). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili insists that the loving she gets from everyone is merely her due (below she’s getting fusses from Marta, Elzbieta’s daughter):

Marta: Hili, admit that you’re spoiled by everybody.
Hili: I will not admit it.
In Polish:
Marta: Przyznaj, Hili, że jesteś przez wszystkich rozpuszczana.
Hili: Nie przyznam.

Out in frigid Winnipeg, Gus got a Valentine: a special arrangement of the crunchy, smelly dried shrimp that he loves so much. Here’s a video of him nomming his Valentine:

And here’s a new Simon’s Cat, just up yesterday for Valentine’s Day. It depicts the love between cat and staff:


  1. Dominic
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    Good old Jezzer! I do not suppose cats are Benthamite though…

  2. Mark Reaume
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    The Maple Leafs were named after the WW1 fighting unit the Maple Leaf Regiment. So the plural of the proper noun is Leafs instead of Leaves.

  3. Lee Beringsmith
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Canada adopted the maple leaf flag in 1965, not 2015. I remember being in high school and how cool I thought the new flag looked.

  4. Dave
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    I like the Canadian flag. It’s bold, emblematic and instantly recognizeable. Much better than all those dull, easily-confused tricolours that so many countries have opted for.

    • Craw
      Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      At the time of the adoption the Canadian government had a mini publicity blitz. The chief designer of the flag gave a talk to my cubs group.

      There was a lot of resistance at first, since the flag was so starkly simple, but it was accepted quickly and completely. Hard to imagine any other at this point.

      • Billy Bl.
        Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        My two favourite flags are the Canadian and Japanese flags, for their simplicity and symbolism.

    • Steve Pollard
      Posted February 15, 2017 at 10:22 am | Permalink

      I particularly admire those two angry, arguing silhouettes in the centre.

  5. finknottle
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    The flag of Canada was adopted in ’65, the year before Bobby Orr came down from Ontario to Boston

  6. S Blasko
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Canadian flag since 1965, not 2015

  7. Anna Wilson
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    I believe our flag was adopted in 1965, I remember the event of raising our new flag in elementary school. Also here is a link to a story why Leafs and not Leaves

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      ‘cos they haven’t left, they’re still here?

      Sorry ’bout that…


      • Anna Wilson
        Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

        Ha! Sad but true.

        • Gordon
          Posted February 16, 2017 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

          Thought it was to allow the joke re the hockey playoffs that it must be spring cos the Leafs are out

  8. GBJames
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I can’t believe you missed this one, Jerry!

    Happy John Frum Day, everyone!

  9. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Cripes, that shot of Jeremy Bentham gave me a shock! Thought I was looking in a mirror for a moment…

    But then I guess we all feel a bit like that in the mornings…


  10. Randy schenck
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    That Simon knows cats.

  11. rickflick
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:52 am | Permalink

    I thought Bantham looked a bit like Lawrence Krauss.

  12. busterggi
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Jeremy Bentham! I first heard of him in an issue of Gold-Key Comics Ripley’s Believe it or not. According to the comic his corpse jumped up at a meeting and beat the snot out of everyone attending as well as tearing up the furnishings. Believe it or not!

  13. George
    Posted February 15, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Roman Mars gave a Ted Talk on city flags. He really likes the Chicago flag. He starts with a shout out to the Canadian flag.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 15, 2017 at 11:40 am | Permalink

      That show must have been done before the replacement flag for Milwaukee was available. It hasn’t been officially adopted but you see it around and I fly one at my home.

      • George
        Posted February 15, 2017 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

        I liked the M Star but Sunrise Over the Lake, the winner, was a close second for me. I hope that Milwaukee officially adopts it. Mars started something with that video which is one of the most viewed Ted Talks ever. Some cities have already changed their flag. Others, including Pocatello, are in process.

        For Chicagoans, realizing how terrible most city flags is an eye opener. We have always taken our flag for granted.

        • GBJames
          Posted February 15, 2017 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

          The M Star was my favorite, too, although this one has grown on me. All of the finalists were far better than the official city flag. It astonished me how many people have responded hostilely to any change, however. Sigh.

  14. Posted February 15, 2017 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Somewhere in one of Pinker’s many books is a discussion of the “Leafs” vs. “Leaves” question. I forget which one, alas, or even what the supposed answer is.

    I do remember it is in a bigger context of weird grammar with sports teams names and that sort of thing.

    • Billy Bl.
      Posted February 15, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

      The Language Instinct. His argument was that the noun being pluralised was the Maple Leaf, one of Canada’s national symbols, not the unit of foliage. The best example he gave was “I’m sick of dealing with all the Mickey Mouses in this administration” (not Mickey Mice). The other sports example was the “Florida Marlins”, when “marlin” is the plural of “marlin”.

  15. Posted February 15, 2017 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    To add a bit more linguistic insight into the question of “leaves” vs. “leafs” (though, it’s mostly already been covered above): “Maple Leafs” is not only a proper noun but an exocentric compound — a compound word that derives its meaning from somewhere ‘outside’ of its internal constituents (the Maple Leafs aren’t leaves but people). As it happens, exocentric compounds ditch irregular pluralization for the regular variety; after all, the plural of sabre-tooth is decidedly *not* sabre-teeth!

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