Monday: Darwin Day Hili dialogue

Top of the morning to all: it’s Monday, February 12, 2018—National PB&J Day. I’ll surely observe that, as it’s pretty much what I have for lunch every day. It’s also Lincoln’s birthday, observed as a public holiday in six states, including mine. We’ll see if the mail is delivered today. And, though it’s not an official holiday anywhere, it’s also Charles Darwin’s birthday: he and Lincoln were born on the very same day in 1809.

Today’s Google Doodle (it should be Darwin!) shows animal Olympic snowboarding; click 0n the screenshot to see the animation (does this event even exist?):

On this day in 1554, a year after she was Queen for just nine days, Lady Jane Grey was beheaded for treason. And, as is appropriate for Darwin’s birthday, Ecuador took control of the Galápagos Islands in 1832—a year after Darwin started the Beagle voyage.  On February 12, 1924, George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” premiered in New York; Paul Whitman’s band played, and Gershwin was on the piano. On this day in 1974, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who had received the Nobel Prize for literature four years before, was exiled from the Soviet Union. I heard him give the commencement address at Harvard when I got my Ph.D.  On this day in 1994, one of Munch’s versions of “The Scream” was stolen from Norway’s National Gallery; it was recovered several months later. On this day in 1999, Bill Clinton was acquitted by the Senate in his impeachment trial. I sometimes wonder what the outcome would be were he tried today.  Finally, on February 12, 2004, San Francisco, by the mayor’s directive, began issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples.

This version of “The Scream”, from London’s National Gallery, was also stolen but never recovered:

Notables born on this day include Jan Swammerdam (1637, one of the heroes of Matthew’s book The Egg and Sperm Race), Cotton Mather (1663), Charles Darwin (1809, ♥), and of course Abe Lincoln (same year), Anna Pavlova (1881), Lorne Greene (1915), Julian Schwinger (1918) and Christina Ricci (1980). Those who died on February 12 include Lady Jane Grey (1554; see above), Immanuel Kant (1804), Grant Wood (1942), Sal Mineo (1976), Eubie Blake (1983), Charles M. Schulz (2000) and Sid Caesar (2014).

Here’s Grant Wood’s most famous painting, “American Gothic” (1942), which resides in Chicago’s Art Institute. And here are Wood’s models, Nan Wood Graham and Dr. B.H. McKeeby.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, there’s another confusing dialogue. I asked Malgorzata what it meant:

Hili is sure that making her happy is the one overreaching wish of Andrzej. So she is fullfiling his wishes by allowing him to fill the bowl containing her soft food (which she likes best).

The dialogue:

Hili: I will fulfil your three wishes.
A: What wishes are those?
Hili: I will alllow you to fill the first bowl to the right.
A: I can guess the rest.
In Polish:
​ Hili: Spełnię twoje trzy życzenia.
Ja: Jakie?
Hili: Pozwolę ci napełnić pierwszą miseczkę z prawej…
Ja: Reszty się domyślam. ​

A cartoon from reader Laurie. Is Maru the descendant of this cat?

Some tweets from Matthew, our inveterate Twitter Inspector:

Here’s a sad but true fact. As Matthew says,  “See if you can work out who it’s about without seeing the thread”:

A cat counted in the 1911 UK census! Enlarged photo below it.

Poor Peter wasn’t counted!

This is a fantastic idea!

Geese on parade at the Ghent Festival. How orderly they are!

Dr. Cobb loves optical illusions, and this is a good one. The square, of course, doesn’t change color:





  1. George
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    There will be mail deliveries today. Not a federal holiday. No mail next Monday, Feb 19, President’s Day – the holiday that replaced Lincoln and Washington’s birthdays.

    No love today for Ray Manzarek (1939, died 5/20/13) of The Doors. A native of Chicago’s south side, graduate of St. Rita High School and DePaul University. For some reason, The Doors did not have a bass player. They used session musicians on their albums but when they played concerts, Manzarek played the bass parts on a Fender Rhodes Piano Bass.

  2. George
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 6:54 am | Permalink

    Would this be a Darwin Award winner on Charles’ birthday?
    Big cat poacher is mauled to death and EATEN by the pride of lions he was hunting with only his head remaining at South African game reserve

  3. Posted February 12, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    Peanut butter tastes so utterly vile to me that I wonder how people can have it near to them, let alone eat the stuff! Yet I like marzipan and I know even the smell of this disgusts some.

    I would have thought that anything edible and safe would have a “good” taste? (And only dangerous things would smell or taste bad) Just through natural selection.

    Taste is weird.

    • GBJames
      Posted February 12, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      Marzipan? People eat that stuff?

      • darrelle
        Posted February 12, 2018 at 7:33 am | Permalink

        Who knew?

      • rickflick
        Posted February 12, 2018 at 9:06 am | Permalink

        I’ve been using it for window putty for years. Who knew?

        • Lurker111
          Posted February 13, 2018 at 9:15 am | Permalink

          The ants around your house must love you! 🙂

          • rickflick
            Posted February 13, 2018 at 10:19 am | Permalink

            Kills ’em dead.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 12, 2018 at 9:35 am | Permalink

      Nah. Imagine a diet without the chilli pepper! Domesticated by us at least five times & such a painful potent irritant that we are the only mammal that eats it. Many spices are pretty unpleasant irritants until we chuck them in a pot & cook.

      Then there’s beer – nearly all kids think it smells horrid.

      Who were the geniuses that figured out the food value of the cocoa bean & the coffee seed?

      Rhubarb, rhubarb, rhubarb

      • rickflick
        Posted February 12, 2018 at 9:59 am | Permalink

        Our guide in Africa told us, if you are lost and hungry, the safe thing is to eat only what the monkeys eat. Put another way – your next irritant could be your last.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 12, 2018 at 10:11 am | Permalink

          I bow to your African guide, s/he knows monkeys have yet to ‘discover’ fire**

          ** But there is Kanzi the pygmy chimp, so maybe our cousins will join us soon on TV cookery programmes.

    • Richard Bond
      Posted February 12, 2018 at 10:27 am | Permalink

      Peanut butter is wonderful…as bait in mouse traps.

      • Nobody Special
        Posted February 12, 2018 at 11:58 am | Permalink

        Peanut butter and mature cheddar cheese sandwiches….heaven.

        • Posted February 13, 2018 at 7:45 am | Permalink

          I have to try that tonight!

          • darrelle
            Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

            So . . . how was it?

            • Posted February 16, 2018 at 11:35 am | Permalink

              Disappointing – neither one thing nor the other. I’ll stick to slicing a banana down the middle and filling it with peanut butter.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 12, 2018 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

        You did see the “How Small a Hole…” experiment didn’t you?

  4. Hempenstein
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    Happy Birthday Charles // I’d never seen the actual models // great toon // it seems to always be a black dog.

  5. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    I’ve said this before – look for peanut butter *powder* – try it out – way way less fat, flavor is still there.

    I got “PB2”, not sure where… a typical (?) grocery store

  6. Jon Mummaw
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    Snowboard racing I think the doodle illustrates the olympic event called boardercross (snowboard cross).

  7. thompjs
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    PCC(E) we are so much alike (except you are smarter) — PB&J, BBQ, Bourbon…

  8. darrelle
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Those geese crack me up.

    A long time ago I spent a summer repelling off of tall buildings doing repairs that couldn’t be reached any other way. One building I worked on was the Peabody hotel in Orlando. They have a troop of ducks, naturally called The Peabody Ducks, that are a signature of the hotel. They have their own room and are pampered like royalty. Every morning they roll out the red carpet and escort the ducks, with all due dignity, from their suite to their fountain in the main lobby of the hotel. And of course in the evening they escort them back. I’d try to catch it at least once a day while I was working there.

    Alas, it looks like the Peabody Orlando is no more. But all is not lost. It looks like they’ve moved to Memphis. Here is a clip of a morning procession at the Peabody Memphis.

  9. Jake Sevins
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    It’s somewhat of a stretch to credit Semmelweis as “saving more lives than any other physician in the history of humanity.” Although his discovery (washing ones hands after touching a corpse, circa 1847) was incredibly effective at reducing maternal mortality in Viennese maternity wards, most physicians rejected his ideas and refused to adopt his hand-washing practice. This rejection was, of course, not his fault, but it greatly reduced the impact of his discovery. Several years later, and after his death, the germ theory of disease was discovered by Pasteur (around 1861) and eventually displaced the miasma theory of disease.

    In sum, Semmelweis saved some thousands of lives in the clinics that followed his teachings, between 1847 and the 1860’s. I would rank Dr. Jonas Salk’s impact as much higher, however.

    It’s shocking to me to consider how recent this all was: 150 years ago doctors were still bloodletting and purging bowels to balance the humors… 150 years ago.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 12, 2018 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Dr. Leonard McCoy would be disgusted by current surgical practice – “…cutting and butchering! Jim, I’ve never seen anything so barbaric!”

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted February 12, 2018 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

        McCoy said that when visiting earth in the fourth movie about dialysis. He gave a woman waiting in a corridor something that completely cured her. 🙂

        • rickflick
          Posted February 13, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

          …at least she was feeling no pain. 😎

    • Posted February 12, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

      It wasn’t Semmelweis’s success in his clinic that was important nor does the fact that his findings had to be championed by others undermine the significance. Semmelweis is given the accolade because he was right and he was the first to know it. As great as Salk’s impact was it pales in comparison to understanding that many infectious diseases are spread though direct human contact and that simply washing your hands greatly reduces the risk of infection. That basic understanding has saved hundreds of millions of lives; I don’t think it was hyperbole for Dr. Heeps to say that’s more than all other medical advances put together. Semmelweis was the first to show it empirically and to put it into practice.

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted February 13, 2018 at 6:24 am | Permalink

        But critically he failed to convince the medical profession to change its practices. He certainly deserves credit for being correct but I think it was the work of Pasteur and Lister that really brought about the universal change in practices that greatly reduced infection rates in child-birth and surgery. If Pasteur was aware of Semmelweiss’ work then it would be fair to credit him with the saving of millions of lives due to antiseptic practices but I am not sure this is the case.
        What is undeniable is that Semmelweiss was denied the credit that should have been due to him and countless women died because of the arrogance, intransigence and refusal to accept clear evidence of a problem by the medical establishment of the time.

  10. Craw
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Semmelweiss I suppose but I think Lister and Osler deserve the mentioned plaudits.

  11. Posted February 12, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    It was the Paul Whiteman band, not Whitman. A piano roll was made by Gershwin and has been used to record “His” version of the rhapsody, much faster than more recent ones. You can listen to it here.

    The geese made me think of the Orlando Peabody also. The video is a nice ad for the FNAC, a huge French chain of electronics and book stores.

  12. Posted February 12, 2018 at 12:19 pm | Permalink

    I guess this is one time we should tolerate goose-stepping in a parade!

  13. Posted February 12, 2018 at 6:48 pm | Permalink

    Awww… black poochie doesn’t look happy today. There, there. Things will look up tomorrow.

  14. Dale Franzwa
    Posted February 12, 2018 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes, snow boarding is an Olympic sport. I just watched Shawn White qualify for the final event. Absolutely amazing what that guy can do on a snow board. He’s at the top of the list with a 98.50 qualifying score. Finals are tomorrow.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 13, 2018 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      Yes indeed. I’ll tell you though, it was really exciting earlier in the evening watching the women’s Halfpipe finals and the women’s Nordic Regular Hill Ski Jump finals.

      On her 1st run on the Halfpipe Chloe Kim earned a 93.75. On her final run, even though she already had the gold medal, she threw down a 98.25!

      In 2006 the Olympic committee denied a petition to add Women’s Ski Jump to the Olympics, but they finally acquiesced in 2014. Now the women are nearly on par with the men. The gold medalist last night, Maren Lundby, jumped 110 meters and there were several other jumps over 100 meters!

      • Posted February 13, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

        I wonder if ski jump might actually be a sport where women might wind up doing better than men on average – they *are* lighter on average.

        • darrelle
          Posted February 13, 2018 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

          I’ve wondered that too. It seems that in the right wind conditions lighter might be an advantage.

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