Wednesday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Valentine’s Day: Wednesday, February 14, 2018. I hope you got sufficient goodies for your inamorata or inamorato. And so the food day is also St. Valentine’s Day, but it should be Chocolate Day. For those of us without valentines, well, we should have a treat.

Matthew offers readers this card, which he says is “droll and creepy”:

Grania proffers a nicer valentine, with kitties. :

And here is mine:

There was a St. Valentine, of course, but the man is obscure. Wikipedia says this about him:

Saint Valentine (Italian: San Valentino, Latin: Valentinus), officially Saint Valentine of Rome, is a widely recognized 3rd-century Roman saint commemorated on February 14 and since the High Middle Ages is associated with a tradition of courtly love.

All that is reliably known of the saint commemorated on February 14 is his name and that he was martyred and buried at a cemetery on the Via Flaminia close to the Ponte Milvio to the north of Rome on that day. It is uncertain whether St. Valentine is two different Saints. Several different martyrologies have been added to later hagiographies that are unreliable.

Because so little is reliably known of him, in 1969 the Catholic Church removed his name from the General Roman Calendar, leaving his liturgical celebration to local calendars.[3] The Roman Catholic Church continues to recognize him as a saint, listing him as such in the February 14 entry in the Roman Martyrology, and authorizing liturgical veneration of him on February 14 in any place where that day is not devoted to some other obligatory celebration in accordance with the rule that on such a day the Mass may be that of any saint listed in the Martyrology for that day.

The Google Doodle (click on screenshot) has an animated pair of animated waterfowl for Valentine’s Day:

On February 14, 1556, the third Mughal Emperor, Akbar, was crowned. On this day in 1779, Captain James Cook was killed by Hawaiians on the Big Island.  And on this day in 1849, James Knox Polk became the first U.S. President to have his picture taken. Here’s that photo, taken by Matthew Brady:

On this day in 1876, Alexander Graham Bell applied for a patent for the telephone, and so did Elisha Gray—on the very same morning. Circumstances resulted in Bell’s getting the patent, but it was a complicated mess (see here). On February 2, 1912, Arizona was admitted as the 48th state of the U.S., and the last one contiguous with the other states.  And, of course, it was on this day, in 1929, that the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre took place in Chicago. Engineered by Al Capone, his thugs, disguised as cops, machine-gunned six members of a rival gang in a garage. On this day in 1966, Australian currency was decimalized, and in 1989 this was the day on which Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeni issued his fatwa urging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses. 

On Valentine’s Day of 1990, the Voyager 1 spacecraft snapped what became the famous Pale Blue Dot photo, showing us the insignificance of our planet in the vastness of space. The photo has over 640,000 pixels, and the dot of Earth (visible in the yellow band that is one of the reflections off the camera) occupies less than one pixel:

(From Wikipedia): Seen from about 6 billion kilometers, Earth appears as a tiny dot (the blueish-white speck approximately halfway down the brown band to the right) within the darkness of deep space

Finally, it was exactly 13 years ago that a group of college students launched YouTube, enabling all of us to see cat videos.

Notables born on this day include Mughal emperor Babur (1483), John Barrymore (1882), Jack Benny (1894), Jimmy Hoffa (1913), Florence Henderson (1934), Michael Bloomberg (1942), Carl Bernstein (1944), Terry Gross (1951), and Renée Fleming (1959). Those who expired on this day include James Cook (1779; see above), William Tecumseh Sherman (1891), Carl Correns, one of the “rediscoverers” of Mendel’s work (1933), David Hilbert (1943), Julian Huxley (1975), P. G. Wodehouse (1975), and George Shearing (2011; you’ll remember that in On the Road Kerouac describes the jazz pianist as “the great God Shearing.”

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is on the bookshelves behind Malgorzata’s desk:

Hili: Do I look like a Ceiling Cat?
A: Yes, like an almighty Ceiling Cat.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy wyglądam jak Kot Sufitowy?
Ja: Tak, jak wszechmocny Kot Sufitowy.

Heather Hastie called my attention to a special Valentine’s Day episode of Simon’s Cat. Sadly, Simon’s Cat attempt at amour and a Valentine present come to naught.


From Grania we learn a useful new word, especially for you potential Otherkins out there:

The first appearance of Winnie the Pooh was 94 years ago yesterday:

A wind map:

Matthew found this, and I have to say that that video is plenty scary!

Evidence of prehistoric play in humans:

“Oh, dear” is right!




  1. chrism
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    That baloney – its, its – it is! Two corpora cavernosa surmounting a corpus spongiosum. Well, thanks, Jerry and Matthew!

  2. busterggi
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Did we learn nothing from engineering raptors that can open doors?

  3. Doug
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    “The belief that one has become a cat.” No, it refers to one who identifies as a cat.

    • David Coxill
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

      There was an American Indian man a few years ago who had lots of surgery to look like a cat.For some reason some of the surgery was not carried out by a Dr .

      I thought he looked great ,most attempts i have seen of body modification make me feel sick .

      I did hear he committed suicide following treatment for cancer .

  4. Historian
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    John K. Polk may have been the first president to have his picture while in office, but we do have photographs of earlier presidents taken after leaving office. Go to Google images and search for John Quincy Adams, John Tyler, and Andrew Jackson.

  5. Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:15 am | Permalink

    Before his coronation was the third Mughal Emperor an admiral?

  6. darrelle
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    That Pale Blue Dot image always conjures up a memory of Carl describing it, and always brings a lump to my throat.

    And, if it’s to be baloney I prefer mortadella with pistachios.

  7. Hempenstein
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    Is it a requirement that the dog be black?

  8. Teresa Carson
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    When I clicked on the link to see the Valentine you had posted on Twitter, Twitter indicated that your tweet might contain sensitive material. I guess someone doesn’t like kitties. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • darrelle
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

      Jerry has been officially tagged by Twitter as a “Disturber Of The Peace” because, well, reality doesn’t sit well with some folks.

  9. Posted February 14, 2018 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    For robot creepiness and a good movie, I can recommend Ex Machina.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      I was rooting for the robot the whole time.

  10. Posted February 14, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I like the robot video

  11. Jiten
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

    Why is it scary a robot opening doors? There are plenty of people with bad intentions who are already opening doors.

  12. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    A far more significant mover and shaker in promoting the ideal of courtly love was Eleanor of Aquitaine, and contemporary French writers like Chrétien de Troyes. In later centuries, Geoffrey Chaucer and Thomas Malory carried on the traditions.

    A major inspiration of all of these was the ancient Greek writer Ovid, while St. Valentine is merely a convenient pious figure-head.

    Feb 14th should probably be called Troubadour day.

  13. Steve Pollard
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

    As well as being Valentine’s Day, today is the first day of Lent. No prizes for guessing which one most of us will be celebrating. But it did inspire the acting Bishop of London to compose the following verse (which is not bad, for a Bishop):

    Roses are red,
    Violets are blue,
    Lent starts today –
    No chocolates for you.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 14, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

      No chocolates?!? That right there is the most compelling evidence I’ve seen yet that Christianity is WRONG!

  14. Dave B
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    “For those of us without valentines, well, we should have a treat”

    Given the numerous pics of mouthwatering yummies you regularly provide, I sense that you don’t deprive yourself of life’s treats.

    And that is the way it should be.

  15. Mark R.
    Posted February 14, 2018 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    I’d like to say Happy 200th Birthday to Frederick Douglas.

  16. Michael Day
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    Terrifying Robot-Dog #1: “Here, let me get the door for you.”

    TR-D #2: “Thanks! Nice articulating appendage.”

    TR-D #1: “Thank you; it’s intelligently designed!”

    • busterggi
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      And the designer is demonstrably not a deity.

  17. Andrea Kenner
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Rare 1843 photo of former president John Quincy Adams found.

    • rickflick
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:44 pm | Permalink

      I didn’t know this was a “newly surfaced Adams daguerreotype”. The best known is an exposure made in the same studio probably at the same time, and currently housed at the MET. This one looks sharper and clearer, although the newly surfaced one catches him in a dreamier state of mind:

      • rickflick
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:46 pm | Permalink

        It’s also interesting to note that the two photos are mirror images. This undoubtedly has to do with the way they were either initially printed or later copied.

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