Wednesday: Hili dialogue

It’s August 30, 2017, and summer draws to a close, bringing near the dreaded “back to sch**l time” (it’s already started in many places).  I’m taking a lot of the day off as a Mental Health Day, as I’ve been working too hard and need to have some fun—or at least the absence of work. I hope to obtain some good ethnic noms. Posting may be light today, and will surely wane a bit as I prepare for my trip to Poland. But then think of all the pies you’ll see, as well as the live adventures of Hili, when I get to cuddle her!

It’s National Toasted Marshmallow Day, and I like mine burnt to a crisp, attained by lighting the whole thing on fire and waiting till it’s ashen—crisp on the outside and gooey inside.  This isn’t nearly charred enough for me:

It’s also International Day of the Disappeared, calling attention to those who have been imprisoned or killed in secret by their governments.

On this day in history, not a lot happened. On August 30, 1835, the city of Melbourne was founded, famous for being the erstwhile home of atheist philosopher Russell “Brother” Blackford. On this day in 1909, the Burgess Shale fossils were found by Charles Doolittle Walcott in the Canadian Rockies. These were, famously, the subject of Steve Gould’s book Wonderful Life, which wrongly claimed that many of the species belonged to phyla that went extinct, so what we have now is a contingent product of extinction. Simon Conway Morris’s work later corrected that, placing many of these phyla in extant groups, so Gould’s idea of “contingency” based on those fossils was largely incorrect. Here are two of them:

The lobopod animal Hallucigenia (top, size = 2 cm) and the armoured slug-like animal Wiwaxia (bottom, size = 3 cm). Hallucigenia possesses rows of spines on the back of its body while Wiwaxia developed a body armour of small, overlapping scales and blades. Both traits may have evolved as a defensive mechanism against predators. © SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION – NATIONAL MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY (TOP); © ROYAL ONTARIO MUSEUM (BOTTOM). PHOTOS: JEAN-BERNARD CARON. Source is here.

On this day in 1945, the British Army liberated Hong Kong from Japan. And on August 30, 1967, Thurgood Marshall was confirmed as the first African-American Justice of the United States Supreme Court. Sadly, the black Justice we have now, the Silent Conservative Clarence Thomas is far from being Marshall’s equal.

Notables born on this day include Jacques-Louis David (1748), Mary Shelley (1797), Jacobus Henricus van ‘t Hoff (1852), Ernest Rutherford (1871), Theodor Svedberg (1884), Huey Long (1893), Fred MacMurray (1908), Ted Williams (1918), Kitty Wells (1919), Warren Buffett (1930), Robert “R.” Crumb (1943), Molly Ivins (1944) and Lewis Black (1948).

Here’s Lewis Black on religion:

And R. Crumb’s “Mr. Natural”, an icon of my college years (I still have my collection of Zap Comics, and perhaps they’re worth something now).

Those who died on this day include Jean Seberg (1979), Glenn Ford (2006), Seamus Heaney (2013) and Oliver Sacks (2015). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili was startled by an animal, but discovered it was only an innocuous hare:

Hili: Everything is clear.
A: What is clear?
Hili: It’s a hare, I don’t have to be afraid.
In Polish:
Hili: Wszystko jasne.
Ja: Co jest jasne?
Hili: To jest zając, nie muszę się go bać.

And out in Winnipeg, Gus naps in the garden during the “cat days of summer”:

A great tw**t found by Dr. Cobb. Look at that weevil!

A funny tw**t found by Dr. Cobb:

A scary tw**t found by Dr. Cobb:


  1. GBJames
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    Interesting collection this morning!

    As an aside… There’s a better use for marshmallows than eating them, or at least that’s what I told my kids when we were camping.

    Around the evening campfire… toss them directly into the fire and watch them burn. It is very similar to watching a lava flow.

    • Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      No, I’d eat them when they were burnt black: that’s the way I like them!

      • GBJames
        Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        You wouldn’t say that after letting them flow!

  2. steve oberski
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    Continuing with the wasp theme, I recommend “The Wasp Factory” by Iain Banks.

    • Posted August 31, 2017 at 5:16 am | Permalink

      A challenging read, but a good one.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted August 31, 2017 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

      I’m a huge Banks fan and have read most of his oeuvre (with and without the “M.”) more than once, but I have to say this one left me feeling cheated at the end.

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    So PCC enjoys eating ashes…

    Love Lewis Black on religion, politics, anything.

    Heard some complaining the mayor of Houston should have evacuated the city. Amazing lack of reality. Maybe Houston is the new Syria.

  4. busterggi
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    Who doesn’t find the Burgess assembly amazing?

    Will the wasp-doll be getting its own movie soon?

  5. Posted August 30, 2017 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    R. Crumb! Hurray! My favorite R. Crumb image:

  6. Gregory Kusnick
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 11:56 am | Permalink

    Conway Morris’s reclassification of the Burgess Shale fauna into existing phyla may have kicked the evidentiary props from under Gould’s argument for contingency, but that doesn’t entail that the idea of contingency is necessarily incorrect.

    Indeed, previously you’ve argued against Conway Morris’s idea of human inevitability, which seems to imply that you find the idea of evolutionary contingency at least somewhat plausible.

  7. Mark R.
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

    If you have Zap Comix #’s 0, 1, or 2 from 1967 in good condition, they’re easily worth thousands of dollars. #1 in near mint sells for around 4k. It all depends on the condition though.

  8. George
    Posted August 30, 2017 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    Sto lat, Malgorzata.

    Facebook says it is her birthday. I hope Hili was nice to his translator.

  9. Mike
    Posted August 31, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    Love Lewis Black.

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