Thursday: Hili dialogue

It’s now Thursday, February 15, 2018, and National Gumdrop Day. I like only the fruit-flavored ones, and abhor the “spicy” ones. And on Vanatu it’s John Frum Day, honoring the Cargo Cult figure who, sadly, has never returned to the islands.

The death toll in the Florida school shooting remains at 17 but could rise; and the accused killer, a former student expelled for bringing knives to school, is in custody. This tweet from Grania shows the sad history of Trump and his cronies in bed with the gun lobby:

Here’s the New York Times’s graphic, divided by months, of school shootings in the U.S. over the past four years. Light dots are the injured, dark ones the dead (click to enlarge):


On this day in 1898, the battleship USS Maine exploded and sank in Havana Harbor, Cuba, killing 274 people and precipitating the Spanish-American War.  On February 15, 1923, Greece became the last country in Europe to adopt the Gregorian calendar.  And February 15, 1925, in the famous serum run to Nome (Alaska) a group of dogsled mushers brought a second batch of diphtheria toxin to that afflicted city, covering 674 miles (1085 km) in only five and a half days and staving off an epidemic.  The 20 mushers and 100 dogs who brought the serum—the only way to get to Nome in those pre-bushplane days—were heroes. (Read the link!)  On this day in 1942, Singapore surrendered to the Japanese, with 80,000 Indian, UK, and Australians soldiers becoming prisoners of war. In 1965, the flag of Canada was changed on this day from the “Red Ensign” to the Maple Leaf Banner, and that’s why today is “National Canada Flag Day”. Here are the old and new flags (I definitely like the new one better, and it doesn’t contain the Union Jack):

On this day in 1992, Serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer was sentenced to life in prison. Two years later he was beaten to death by a fellow inmate.  Finally, on this day in 2001, the first draft of the human genome was published in Nature (as I recall, Ventner’s team published in Science at the same time, but I can’t be arsed to look it up).

Notables born on this day include Galileo Galilei (1564), Susan B. Anthony (1820), Ernest Shackleton (1874), Art Spiegelman (1948), and Matt Groening (1954). Those who died on February 15 include Nat King Cole (1965), Ethel Merman (1984), and Richard Feynman (1988).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is up to cat mischief:

Hili: Which dust cloth shall I throw down first?
A: None of them.
Hili: You must be joking.
In Polish:
Hili: Którą ścierkę zrzucić najpierw?
Ja: Żadną.
Hili: Chyba żartujesz.


Up in Winnipeg, Gus got a special treat yesterday. Staff Taskin reports:

Gus got some shrimp treats for his special Valentine present. They are his favourites!

Reader Barry found a cat who doesn’t want anyone to touch its Valentine candy:

From Grania: a cat sets a jailed d*g free:

A funny zoo sign. Is that a llama?

The kedis of Turkey:

From Matthew, a distressing case of cervid appropriation. This must be an elk (Cervus canadensis) rather than the Scottish red deer (Cervus elpaphus), though they’ve been considered members of the same species.

The collateral damage of winter:

You call that a paw? Now THIS is a paw!

Finally, one from reader Blue, showing a well trained moggie:


  1. Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    good post.

  2. Mark Shields
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    The cervid on the shortbread is a white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus).

    • Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      OMG that’s even worse!!!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

      What are the clues in the tin picture that tells you it’s a white-tailed deer Mark?

      • Mark Shields
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

        The shape of the antlers. The main beam curves forward and all of the smaller spikes arise from it. Mule deer have bifurcating antlers.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:41 pm | Permalink

          Thanks Mark

        • Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

          Right on.

  3. Laurance
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Bad news, bad news and more bad news. I feel bludgeoned. Shooting shooting shooting. And that this bad news is, as usual, accompanied by prayers. People just don’t see that those prayers aren’t doing a d@mn thing. There are people in our Tuesday book club who truly believe that prayer works and has measurable effects.

    I can’t do a damn thing about these shootings and useless prayers. I think I’ll get on with my day and see if I can do something nice today, something that may make someone happy.

    • Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      There are people in our Tuesday book club who truly believe that prayer works and has measurable effects.

      I bet there’s a strong correlation such that, worldwide, nations with more praying have more shootings.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:45 am | Permalink

        Hmm. You may be right, but if there were such a dataset somewhere, I’d look carefully for outliers in both shooting count and prayers. While America probably scores highly for both, how reliable/ comparable would prayer figures for (e.g.) Afghanistan be, or both prayer and shooting figures for China? R² does not tell all.
        (Been thinking too much about Sadistics recenty.)

  4. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:06 am | Permalink

    We provide all the losers, the mentally disturbed and all the rest with the tools to do this damage and then sit here and do nothing to prevent such actions. How clever we are?

  5. George
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    Two of the stories PCC(e) writes about today are in a way related to the latest mass shooting in the US. It is about truth. Somehow, the NRA has convinced people that we cannot do anything about mass shootings. The only right that is sacrosanct in the US is to bear arms. We have limits on speech and other fundamental rights but don’t you dare come for my guns. A right that is proscribed in the constitution ( a well regulated militia) that somehow a conservative Supreme Court has massively reinterpreted in recent years.

    The other stories are the USS Maine and the serum run. The explosion aboard the Maine led to the Spanish-American War and the expansion of the US empire (Philippines, Cuba, etc). It turns out that Spain did not attack the Maine. The explosion was cause by coal dust in the coal bunkers on the Maine.

    The hero dog of the Nome serum run was Balto. There is a statue of him in Central Park in New York. The real hero dog was Togo. But Balto led the last leg and got all of the glory.

    We really do not care about truth in this country.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Do not care about truth you say. I assume by we you mean more than that mouse in your pocket? Donald Trump and his followers do not care at all and in fact would prefer a lie. However some of us attempt to stay with the truth and know how important it can be.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      I don’t know. There was certainly some tension between Seppala & Kaasen because of the popular attention focused on Kassen & Balto and Kaasen seemed to be a glory seeker, but Seppala and Togo received a good deal of public attention and acclaim as well. And though the statue is modeled on Balto it wears Togo’s colors and is dedicated in writing to all of the sled dogs.

      There are all the other dogs and mushers that really are the unsung heroes. Or at least unspecified heroes. A number of the dogs died in the effort of mushing through blizzard conditions at temperatures of -60 to -70 F, but no one remembers there names.

  6. E.A. Blair
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    Todsy is also I Want Butterscotch Day.

    • E.A. Blair
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

      Typo apology – “Today”.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:24 am | Permalink

        I bet Todsy likes butterscotch as much as anyone. 😎

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Tomorrow is also “I want butterscotch day”, and always has been and always will be. For all values of “tomorrow”.

  7. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 8:32 am | Permalink

    I am impressed by how many National Whatever Days you have!!!

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:54 am | Permalink

      They’re all celebrated on National Advertising Campaign Day.
      I’m going to regret typing that. There probably is one. [Goggles] Phew!

  8. darrelle
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Regarding the Serum Run, to give an idea of the magnitude of the achievement of those mushers & their dogs, the same route they ran, from Nenana to Nome, was run regularly for mail deliveries and it normally took 25 days! And they did that in the worst winter conditions in 20 years and record low temperatures! Using a plane was considered but the temperatures were too low for the planes available at that time, among other problems.

  9. David Duncan
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 9:51 am | Permalink



  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    This song by Malvina Reynolds was originally a war protest song, but seems apropos of the school shootings. It was best known in performances by Pete Seeger and the trio Peter, Paul, and Mary, However, it seems apropos regarding the school shootings.

    “Where Have all the Flowers Gone?” performed by Pete Seeger

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:10 am | Permalink

      OMG, here’s a performance of the song by 1930s Swedish film star Marlene Dietrich in Sweden 1963

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted February 16, 2018 at 6:21 am | Permalink

        Swedish film star???

    • nicky
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Lovely version, like that ‘undercooled’ banjo.

    • darrelle
      Posted February 15, 2018 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

      I like the Kingston Trio’s cover of the song.

  11. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted February 15, 2018 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    The collateral damage of winter:

    That trampoline is going to have more collateral damage in the near future. About a metre – maybe more – of the suspension springs have detached. That’s going to unzip in the fairly near future.

  12. Posted February 15, 2018 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Flag of (La) Canada: Perhaps the best flag design in the world. I’ve always loved it. I never really knew the old flag.

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