Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

It’s March 13: not a Friday but a Tuesday. It’s also Chicken Noodle Soup Day. (Ecch: what about International Matzo Ball Soup Day?) It’s also National Elephant Day in Thailand.

I’m off to Madison today (see my events for the FFRF here), so posting will be light to almost nonexistent until Saturday. Grania, though, has agreed to do the Hili posts. Cheers for her!  As always, I’ll do my best. Please keep your emails to me infrequent until I return.

On this day in 1639, Harvard College was named after the preacher John Harvard. Fun fact: (Professor Ceiling Cat Emeritus went to the two oldest colleges in America: William & Mary, founded 1693, and Harvard College, founded 1636).  On this day in 1781, William Hershel discovered the planet of Uranus (no jokes, please!). On March 13, 1845, Mendelssohn’s Violin Concerto was premiered in Leipzig; Ferdinand David was the soloist. On this day in 1930, news of the discovery of Pluto (yes, a planet1) was sent to the Harvard College Observatory.

On March 13, 1943, the Nazis liquidated the Jewish ghetto in Kraków, sending some to the Lager in Plazów and killing many on the spot. On this day n 1991, the U.S. government announced that Exxon had agreed to pay a billion dollars to clean up the oil spill from the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska.  On this day in 1996, the Dunblane School Massacre took place in Scotland, with 16 children and one teacher shot by Thomas Watt Hamilton, who then committed suicide. This remains the deadliest mass shooting in UK history. Unlike the U.S., however, Scotland took action, passing two laws banning the possession of most handguns in Great Britain (Hamilton had used four legally obtained handguns in his slaughter). Now why can’t the U.S. respond like that? Yes, I know, the Second Amendment, interpreted so broadly as to be meaningless. Finally, on this day five years ago, Pope Francis was elected the 266th Infallible Head of the Catholic Church.

Notables born on March 13 include astronomer Percival Lowell (1855), whose work helped spur the discovery of Pluto, Hugh Walpole (1884), L. Ron Hubbard (1911), Edward O’Hare (1914; WWII pilot whose name remains on Chicago’s O’Hare Airport), and Neil Sedaka (1939). Sedaka sang what I consider the best of the doo-wop songs, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” (1962), a song he wrote and lip-synchs here on the Dick Clark show:

Those who died on March 13 include Shakespearian actor Richard Burbage (1619), Henry Shrapnel (1842, invented the explosive whose debris retains his name), Susan B. Anthony (1906), Clarence Darrow (1938), Bruno Bettelheim (1990), and Robert C. Baker, inventor of the vile chicken nugget (2006).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is trying to see if she really moves:

A: What on earth are you doing?
Hili: I’m trying to understand Zeno of Elea’s paradox of the arrow.
Nevetheless, she moves!
 In Polish:
Ja: Co ty tam wyprawiasz?
Hili: Próbuję zrozumieć paradoks Zenona z Elei.

In nearby Wloclawek, Leon sees no use for decoration. He wants noms!

Leon: And what would anybody do with such flowers? (In Polish: “I po co komu takie kwiaty?”):

And up in Winnipeg, Gus snoozes away. Staff Taskin said this: “The scene as I left for work today. What a life.”

Reader Merilee sent a timely rendition of a famous Peanuts cartoon:

Some tweets found by Grania.

The first tweet about Putin:

And the response:

This cat really wants to come in. Poor kitty!

And, more seriously, the women of Iran continue their protest against the hijab and other forms of repression. This one engages in the salacious and prohibited act of dancing:

I love it when regular people become comedians on Twitter:

I can’t vouch for the truth of this tweet, but here you go:

Tom Nichols got this letter after answering one of his readers. I sometimes get emails nearly this entitled:

Finally, Matthew found a cat who doesn’t like mail (I wish it could be trained to just reject junk mail):



  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    1693 – William and Mary
    1636 – Harvard College

    … the numerologist in me loves this for some reason….

    “Henry Shrapnel (1842, invented the explosive whose debris retains his name)”

    I did not know that

    • Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:14 am | Permalink

      Technically, he didn’t invent an explosive but a new kind of cannon shell filled with, not just gunpowder but also canister shot. The gunpowder wasn’t there to scatter the shot but simply to break open the shell casing and the shot would then scatter under their own momentum.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        BTW : shrapnel is also under the term “arms”

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 6:59 am | Permalink


  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    2nd Amendment may be the excuse but ignorance is the reason.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 13, 2018 at 7:41 am | Permalink

      “ […] the Second Amendment, interpreted so broadly as to be meaningless.”

      It’s not so much “broadly” as it is hermeneutic, Talmudic….

      Been reading David Deutsch – he talks about prophesy vs. prediction. I think that plays a role in this 2nd amendment hermeneutics… like the author of the 2nd amendment (need to look up when this was) was prophesizing … something.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 13, 2018 at 7:48 am | Permalink

        Wikipedia says:

        adopted on December 15, 1791

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:03 am | Permalink

          Well, even if you cannot interpret the phrase it has nothing to do with going forward with gun regulation. I don’t see anything in the bill of rights that says you cannot regulate any of these amendments. And yes, the amendments were adopted only after ratification by the states. My understanding of history tells me the second amendment was emphasizing militia because it made the anti-federalist feel good. They were very scared of this new federal govt. raising a standing army and James Madison was attempting to reduce this fear. Just showing that times do change. Not many fear the standing armies of today but they did 250 years ago.

          By the way…just heard Tillerson is out. Maybe Exon will take him back.

    • Warren Bailey
      Posted March 13, 2018 at 9:02 am | Permalink

      I’d refer you to Justice John Paul Stevens writings in his book “Six Amendments”

      The 2nd like all of the other amendments are addressing issues that the States either wanted clarified in the Constitution or added to it.

      The Law of Unintended Consequences apply to the 2nd in spades. The intention was that should the States wish then military arms could be generally held by the population so that they could be called out for militia duty because they generally hated and feared the other States and didn’t want to risk “the Militia” being restricted to those that the President wanted to call up. You can read the COTUS to see what it says about Militia

      BTW, if the US still used the Militia according to the original intent then when Bundy and his band of weirdo’s pulled shenanigans in Nevada and Oregon the President could have mustered the militia and stomped them flat like the did back during The Whiskey Rebellion and Shay’s Rebellion.

      It’s so stupid for anyone to say that the point of the 2nd is that the “militia” can rise up to depose tyrants..

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted March 13, 2018 at 9:11 am | Permalink


        But then they make arguments about

        1. Personal safety/defense
        2. _Ownership_

      • Posted March 13, 2018 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        Yes… interesting.

        • Doug
          Posted March 13, 2018 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

          The Second Amendment isn’t the only part of the Constitution that discusses militias.

          Article I, Section 8 lists the powers of Congress, including;

          “15. To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrection and repel invasions;

          16. To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the Militia and for governing such part of of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers and the authority of training the Militia to the discipline prescribed by Congress.”

          Congress has authority over the militia, and can use it to suppress insurrections. How can anyone who has read this believe that the purpose of the militias is to rebel against the government? The Constitution is like the Bible; people cite it without knowing what is actually in it.

  4. GBJames
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 7:14 am | Permalink


  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 7:28 am | Permalink

    Sedaka sang what I consider the best of the doo-wop songs, “Breaking Up is Hard to Do” (1962) …

    Sorry, boss, no disrespect, but that’s the most white-bread thing you’ve said on this site. If we’re goin’ with lip-synching doo-wop on American Bandstand, make mine Little Anthony & the Imperials’ “Tears on my Pillow.”

    • Dominic
      Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      white-bread = bland???

    • Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Let me backtrack. The VERY best of the doo-wop songs is clearly “Come go with me” by the Dell Vikings. I wrote my post before I had coffee.


      • Ken Kukec
        Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:42 am | Permalink

        Great tune. You’ve restored my faith. 🙂

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted March 13, 2018 at 10:43 am | Permalink

          Wait a minute…..You’ll Never Know, The Platter (1956)

      • Posted March 13, 2018 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

        What about Blue Moon by the Marcels?

        • Liz
          Posted March 13, 2018 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

          I was just thinking this. Also, Sh-Boom by The Crew-Cuts.

      • Frank
        Posted March 13, 2018 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

        If doo-wop is your bag then check out this link – you’ll be in doo-wop heaven :


  6. abram
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I figure it’s to protect their eye from the parrot.

    • Dominic
      Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      …or when you look aloft & a gull poops on your face!

    • mordacious1
      Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      Actually, they had to keep an eye out for British men-of-war.

  7. Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    Scotland took action, passing two laws banning the possession of most handguns in Great Britain

    Slightly pedantic but it wasn’t Scotland that took action, it was the government of the UK.

    Personally I think the new laws were more draconian than they needed to be, but on the other hand, it was the last school shooting anywhere in the UK and the last mass shooting of any sort bar the Cumbria shootings in the UK.

    There was opposition to the new rules at the time, but I don’t think anybody now would seriously argue for relaxing the rules, especially when we can see from the US example what the impact of having easily available guns is.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted March 13, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

      And yet reflecting on this result is something that many in the U.S. simply cannot do.

  8. John Dentinger
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 9:19 am | Permalink

    Ok, I have no choice but to weigh in on the “best doo-wop” issue, and my choice is yes, Little Anthony Gourdine & the I’s, with “Shimmy Shimmy Ko Ko Bop,” written by my buddy, Bob Smith!
    Or at least it’s the weirdest doo-wop song!

  9. Posted March 13, 2018 at 12:16 pm | Permalink

    The survivors of the Dunblane massacre have today sent a moving message of support to the survivors of the Parkland school shootings

  10. Posted March 13, 2018 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    I see a duck where usually a black d*g stands. I hope this is a good sign.

    • Mark R.
      Posted March 13, 2018 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I figured a fun trip to Madison and an FFRF chinwag kept the black dog at bay. 🙂

  11. bonetired
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    There is just, and I mean just, a possibility that the eye-patch story is actually true. It is said, and this might well be apocryphal, that during the Cold War RAF nuclear bomber pilots were issued with eye-patches which protected one eye from the flash of H bomb going off, so they could still fly the plane back to the cinder that would have the UK….

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted March 13, 2018 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

      RAF nuclear bomber pilot/co-pilot eye patches is true although probably unnecessary given the the high altitude the Avro Vulcan bomber flew at & the very low yield of the British nuclear fission weapon it carried. There would not have been other nuclear weapon flashes to worry about [say American], because the Vulcans would arrive first – a looong time before the B52s & we can forget about the US nuclear ICBMs as they were [we now know] absolutely useless in those early days [1960-65].

      I nice story which will warm your heart is that of Operation Skyshield II of 1961 where two squadrons of RAF Vulcans [one sqn flew from Scotland & the other sqn from Bermuda], playing some of the the Ruskies, ‘bombed’ various US mainland targets including Chicago. Only one Vulcan was detected by the defences. The Americans claimed for years that the RAF didn’t take part. 🙂

      Incidentally the North American shield is still an illusion to this day [everyone’s shields are in fact].

  12. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

    Goodness me. Will the Catholic church last long enough to have a 666th Pope?

    Also, although it was widely believed in the late Middle Ages that the Pope was inerrant, it didn’t become official until Vatican I said so in the 19th century? Was that retroactive? If not, does that make Francis only the 12th infallible Pope?

    A recent article in BroadStreet review of alleged infallibility states,
    “You may recall the old joke about the man who dies and goes to heaven, where he’s mystified to find the place divided by a high wall. When he asks what’s on the other side, an angel explains, “That’s where we put the Catholics. They think they’re the only ones up here.” If that joke were updated today, most Catholics would be on the same side of the wall with everyone else, asking the same question, and the angel would explain, “That’s where we put the popes. They think Catholics are the only ones up here— and they think they’re never wrong.””


    Much more seriously, why was the Catholic church such an ineffective bulwark against Naziism compared to the White Rose, Confessing Church, and the French Resistance??? Some infallibility!!!

  13. Michael Fisher
    Posted March 13, 2018 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Pirate eyepatches: taken from Wiki

    Rahmah ibn Jabir al-Jalahimah, once the most popular pirate in the Persian Gulf, was also the first to wear an eyepatch after losing an eye in battle. Although eyepatches have since become stereotypically associated with pirates, the source is unclear, and there is no historical evidence to suggest that their use was for any other reason than protecting and concealing the eye socket after the loss of an eye.

    Most historical depictions of seamen with eye patchs are of ex-sailors, rather than pirates.

    More recent medical texts have often referred to the eye patch as a “pirates patch” and writing in the Minnesota Academy of Sciences Journal in 1934, Charles Sheard of the Mayo foundation, pointed out that by “wearing a patch (The pirate’s patch) over one eye, it will keep the covered eye in a state of readiness and adaptation for night vision”. This technique was explored during WWII by institutes such as the United States Navy.

    I think the wearing of an eyepatch to preserve low light vision is ill advised on a sailing vessel! There’s stuff to bump into or trip over all over the shop & why would such a device be limited to pirate vessels? I can find no instance of sailing-era RN sailors doing such a silly, dangerous thing.

    Oooh argh!

  14. Posted March 13, 2018 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

    One more name will be added to the list of deaths tomorrow: Professor Stephen Hawking (14/3/2018 UK time)

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