Sunday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

It’s Ceiling Cat’s Day: Sunday, August 12, 2018, and a day for napping, eating, and lying in the sun. It’s National Julienne Fries Day, which on account of their thinness are a perversion of fries (or chips). In the UK it’s the “Glorious Twelfth,” marking the opening of the Red Grouse shooting season—a bird better left unshot.

Today’s Google Doodle is a gif that celebrates the life and work of Cantinflas, the stage name of the actor, producer, and screenwriter Mario Fortino Alfonso Moreno Reyes, who starred in innumerable movies and plays in Mexico and the US (he won a Golden Globe for his performance in Around the World in Eighty Days.) Cantinflas was born on this day in 1911 and died in 1993. The gif shows the variety of his role:

On this day in 1851, Isaac Singer was given a patent for his sewing machine. The rest is history. And on August 12, 1865, Joseph Lister performed his first antiseptic treatment of a patient—a boy with a compound fracture of the leg—and found that the fracture healed without infection. The rest is history. On this day in 1883, the very last quagga died at a zoo in Amsterdam.  Once thought to be a distinct species, the quagga is now formally recognized as a subspecies of the Plains Zebra, with the quagga’s designation being Equus quagga quagga. Here’s one in the London Zoo, photographed in 1870: the only picture of a living quagga:

On August 12, 1914, World War I further expanded as the UK declared war on Austria-Hungary, with the countries of the British Empire following along. On this day in 1950, in the Bloody Gulch Massacre, North Korean soldiers massacred 75 American prisoners of war, a Geneva Convention no-no. On this day in 1953, according to Wikipedia, occurred “the first testing of a real thermonuclear weapon (not test devices): The Soviet atomic bomb project continues with the detonation of “RDS-6s” (Joe 4), the first Soviet thermonuclear bomb.” On August 12, 1990, the famous T. rex fossil “Sue”, now in Chicago’s Field Museum, was discovered in South Dakota by Sue Hendrickson.  Finally, on this day in 1994, Major League Baseball players went on strike, resulting in the cancellation of the rest of the season and of the 1994 World Series.

Notables born on this day include Helena Blavatsky (1831), Klara Hitler (1860, Adolf’s mom), Christy Mathewson (1880), Erwin Schrödinger (1887, Nobel Laureate), Cantinflas (1911; see above), Norris and Ross McWhirter of Guinness World Record Fame (1925, twins), Buck Owens (1929) and mountaineer Rick Ridgeway (1949).

Here’s a clip of Cantinflas in a Mexican movie (English subtitles) in which he discusses his indolence and justifies it with theology:


Those who died on August 12 include Charles Martel (1295), William Blake (1827), William Jackson Hooker (1865), Thomas Mann (1955), Ian Fleming (1964), Henry Fonda (1982), William Shockley (1989, Nobel Laureate and miscreant), John Cage (1992), Les Paul (2009), and Lauren Bacall (2014).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili learns some natural history:

Hili: Are there wild kangaroos in Poland?
A: No.
Hili: Maybe it was a hare.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy w Polsce są dzikie kangury?
Ja: Nie ma.
Hili: Może to był zając.
Leon: Don’t you think that the greenery highlights the color of my eyes?
Tweets from Grania. She says this probably isn’t humility, but misplaced altruism:

All I can say is: Good Lord!

A nice political cartoon:

More on the Canada/Saudi Arabia squabble later today:


There’s nothing more romantic or mesmerizing than fireflies on a summer night:

From Heather Hastie:  triple turtle rescue! (sound and video on). This is what our trash causes in the oceans.  What nice divers!

A cat plays fetch:

I found this creepy tweet, but wanted to throw it in here as it appears to be the Charles Manson of Nature [UPDATE: see comments below; this appears to be a bogus report, as I should have guessed!]

Finally, a cartoon sent from Heather Hastie which shares my take on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (see my post yesterday), and throws in Bernie Sanders—for whom I voted in the primaries—to boot.


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 7:00 am | Permalink

    “Once thought to be a distinct species, the quagga is now formally recognized as a subspecies of the Plains Zebra, with the quagga’s designation being Equus quagga quagga. ”

    this is an interesting section of the Wikipedia article on Zebras:

    … and I still have a question, .. tricky to formulate : wondering the taxonomic names – have they changed significantly at some point? There’s that name “quagga” in all of the zebras… The Quagga that went extinct – was there a change to the taxonomic status as a consequence of the extinction?

    • John W.
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

      Not as a consequence of extinction, but as a consequence of synonymy. Originally the quagga and the plains zebra were considered to be two separate species (named Equus quagga and Equus burchelli, respectively). Later it was determined that the quagga population was not a fully distinct species, but rather just another subspecies within the complex of plains zebra subspecies. As species-level identifiers, E. quagga and E. burchelli were deemed to be synonyms. Because the quagga was named first, by rule of priority the whole (quagga/plains) complex now came to be named Equus quagga.

      • Paul Matthews
        Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:25 am | Permalink

        Yes, well explained. The precedence rule of scientific names makes some sense, but it drives me crazy sometimes. It also applies to genera (indicated by the first part of the two-part scientific name, e.g., Equus for zebras and horses). A genus (singular of genera) contains very closely related species. The American Redstart (Setophaga ruticilla) a kind of wood warbler, was formerly considered special enough to deserve its own genus (Setophaga) but was later determined to be just a distinctive member of the large Dendroica genus, which contained many species. Because Setophaga was coined before Dendroica (in the scientific descriptions of the species) all the Dendroica species were transferred to Setophaga rather than the redstart simply being moved to Dendroica. A lot had been written about Dendroica warlers (using that term) and it all became, well not obsolete exactly but … confusing.

        • Torbjörn Larsson
          Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

          And rangeomorphs became Petalonamae animals. Well, at least the fronds are in there…

          • ThyroidPlanet
            Posted August 12, 2018 at 3:20 pm | Permalink


            Yes they are.

            I mean … is. It is.

            You know what I mean.

      • ThyroidPlanet
        Posted August 12, 2018 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

        Thanks to all who helped on this question.

        I understand now.

        Does anyone know the year any of these things – species, taxonomy- was finalized?

        My fun relevant fact is : Kipling refers to “the quagga” in Just So Stories, which is from around 1910. I’ll find out a bit more later.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:05 am | Permalink

      I see a better [than mine] answer by John W. has appeared, mine, but I’m gonna click “Post Comment” anyway on my feeble effort, because I spent so much time constructing the bloody thing 🙂

      I may be missing the point in your question. Forgive me I am! You write:

      There’s that name “quagga” in all of the zebras…

      From the Wiki link you posted you can see that’s strictly incorrect “quagga” is used informally by some peoples as their colloquial name for all zebras, but in classification terms only plains zebras have “quagga” in their name as per below:
      In subgenus: Hippotigris
      All plains zebras are Equus quagga x
      All mountain zebras are Equus zebra x
      In subgenus: Dolichohippus
      There’s a loner species called Equus grevyi

      The extinct Quagga was originally classified as a distinct species, Equus quagga, in 1778 by Dutch naturalist Pieter Boddaert. Later it’s status changed & it was moved as a sub-species into the plains zebras & it’s name became Equus quagga quagga – so – rather confusingly – all plains zebra sub-species now have the extinct Quagga’s species name Equus quagga as their species name. I gather what I’ve written is a simplification & slightly incorrect – the sub-species shown in your link go to individual Wiki pages where you can ponder the name changes each has undergone! 🙂
      It seems all is not settled in the world of zebra classification.

      Your question:

      “The Quagga that went extinct – was there a change to the taxonomic status as a consequence of the extinction?”

      No. Why do you think there might be a change in taxonomic status when a species goes extinct?

  2. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    The Florida man raping alligators is a fake ‘satirical’ story created by a site called Huzlers. The guy in the pic is actually a 49-year-old man named Robert Prosser who was arrested in Ohio in 2010 for growing marijuana at his home. SNOPES

    The last, unfinished name in the death list – I take it to be Les Paul

    Leon looks stunning. He has some colouration that boy.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:40 am | Permalink

      I was wondering if he would catch some kind of virus from having repeated sex with alligators. Gatoraids for example*

      *I’m really sorry.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

        Really, really sorry.

        • David Coxill
          Posted August 12, 2018 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

          I hope so.

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        On this Sabbath the blessed Ceiling Cat will probably forgive you if you offer up a nicely presented rodent. I’ve never seen or consumed Gatorade, but looking it up it’s hugely popular in the scamming sports drink market. The wiki on the stuff has a section on the “Gatorade Shower”, which turned out to be less interesting than the words suggested.

        • Merilee
          Posted August 12, 2018 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          Gatorade ain’t all that bad for taking on long hikes in very hot deserty conditions, Michael. Keeps ya from passing out.

          • mikeyc
            Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

            Water is even better for that. Doesn’t cost nearly as much and tastes a helluva lot better to boot.

            • Merilee
              Posted August 12, 2018 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

              According to my doctor, a mixture of the two is best for keeping you from getting dehydrated.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted August 12, 2018 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

            I’m prepared to be persuaded Merilee – did your doc say why a half&half of Gatorade & water is better than water alone?

            I have read that 2% of body weight is the amount of water you can lose safely without damaging the heart. I assume that’s losses via breathing & sweating. I don’t know how the breathing/sweating loss ratio changes with climate & activity, but I assume the most immediate replacements required are water & salt. The other losses do not need quick attention & can wait until meal times.

            I’m 140lbs [63 kilos] & I would need to sweat 2 pints [say 1.2 litres] without replacement before I start to get in trouble. I am guessing that a salt tablet before I set out for a long, hot walk will serve me well in the UK. A glass of water or fizzy pop if I’m out a long time.

            Sports drinks contain water, electrolytes, sugar, vitamins & antioxidants & I’m unconvinced that even heavily exercising athletes need anything more than water & salt during their routine. BUT I COULD EASILY BE WAY BEHIND THE SCIENCE. Does anyone here know the science? I’d love to know how far off I am.

            • mikeyc
              Posted August 12, 2018 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

              Even athletes rarely need to replace electrolytes – this, like “carbohydrate loading”, is one of many sports myths sports medicine has debunked in recent years. A loss of electrolytes is not even associated with cramping as studies have shown that athletes with and without electrolyte replacement suffer (or not) from cramps.

              About the only time electrolyte imbalances could be life threatening is with extreme dehydration coupled with extreme effort. Essentially, electrolytes are most important to companies that make sports drinks.

              For all but a few, even in the desert or while out on a run on a hot day, water is the best thing to use for hydration; it should always be your first choice.

              FTR, I follow this field somewhat because in my younger days I was a competitive runner/cyclist.

              • mikeyc
                Posted August 12, 2018 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

                Having said that, after competition recovery for the competitive athlete, especially one who needs to maintain a training regime or has another race/event upcoming, can involve complex recovery salt (electrolyte) re-hydration which may or may not include carbs and protein. They really do help in recovery.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted August 12, 2018 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

                Thanks Mikey – sounds right to me. In the ’80s an insane friend of mine [Bloor] used to run the insaner than insane Yorkshire Dales Three Peaks Race [Pen-y-ghent, Ingleborough & Whernside] – 37.4 kilometres with 1,600 metres of ascent & descent. I think his times were around 3 hours.

                You had to carry a compass, map, whistle, waterproofs & emergency food [chocolate bar] & there were three water points. Some runners put their own drinks at the water points pre-race, but I recall most runners just drank water.

              • Merilee
                Posted August 12, 2018 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

                You may both be right, but I have found that a little bit of (usually previously frozen) Gatorade seems to help with my energy levels on really long hikes, to supplement a s**tload of water in my Camelback. I always rinse my mouth with water after the swigs of GA because it’s apparently great at stripping off tooth enamel. All this is fairly academic to me now as I no longer have the energy for the 6-7 hour Utah desert treks…

  3. Sarah
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Charles Martel in the 13th century?? Isn’t this a few centuries late?

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      There’s two or more famous Charles Martels

      Charles Martel d’Anjou I is the one for today & 1295 is correct for him

      • Sarah
        Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:30 am | Permalink

        Oh well. THAT Charles Martel. Not THE Charles Martel.

  4. David Coxill
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Hi doc ,when the 12th of August falls on a Sunday they don’t start shooting until the next day ,how they manage to contain themselves is a mystery .

  5. David Coxill
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Re the cartoon ,the Democrats could rebrand themselves as Social- Democrats .

    • Sarah
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      That would confirm the Republicans’ worst fears and give them a landslide the next time around.

      • David Coxill
        Posted August 12, 2018 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Sorry ,forgot about that .

        • Sarah
          Posted August 12, 2018 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

          Actually, not “worst fears”–more like “suspicions”, and they would be happy about it because the landslide would be in the bag, to mix a few metaphors.

  6. Dave
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Jerry, if you ever fancy a change of scene from Chicago, your dream job has just been advertised……

    • Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      Yes, I got that from several readers who thought it my be my dream retirement job. And indeed it would be if I didn’t want to do so much traveling. A professional cat farmer has to stay close to his crop.

  7. freiner
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Years ago I was driving with a visiting friend around northeastern Pennsylvania. I knew he was a deep baseball lover whose appreciation covered the whole history of the game. I pulled over at Factoryville to show him the state historical marker at the birthplace of Christy Mathewson. It was as if I had revealed to him a piece of the true cross; I thought he was going to get out and kiss the ground (come to think of it, maybe he did). I could have driven him down to Lewisburg to see Mathewson’s grave but I didn’t think his heart would have taken it. He certainly felt, as Dave Frishberg put it, “you were great Matty.”

  8. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:31 am | Permalink

    Those who died on August 12 include […] John Cage (1992),

    Sorry, but I’ll snap that low-hanging fruit : “a moment’s silence please …”

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      I always get John Cage, the famous minimalist composer, mixed up with Johnny Cage, the fictional martial artist/Hollywood movie superstar from the Mortal Kombat game series who gets sucked into another dimension and has to fight a monster with six arms by kicking its head off.

      Seriously though, didn’t the guy who did the Neighbours theme tune ‘cover’ 4:33, and then get sued by Cage? Something like that. It’s surely too crazy for me to have dreamt it.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 18, 2018 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

        Hmmm. It took a few seconds for the braincell, unsupported by Goocle, to dredge up that the theme fr Neighbours was done by some non-entity composer who turned up on late-80s “panel” shows with irritating frequency, and I think a name of Tony Hatch. Of a cover version of 4’33” … silence from the aforementioned braincell.
        Well, I know how little I know about music. So I succumbed to Googling it, and “Tony Hatch” is right for the Neighbours connection, but no hint of 4’33”.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted August 18, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

          It was Mike Batt not Tony Hatch & it was a publicity stunt. I hate Batt’s music more than Hatch – although Hatch committed crimes against humanity with the Neighbours tune & the Crossroads theme he is saved because he wrote Downtown for Petula Clark which I adore! Here’s the story behind the Cage ‘court case’ SOURCE:- “The Wombles song creator reputedly paid a six-figure sum to American composer John Cage after including a section of his silent track, 4’33”, on an album.

          The pair were interviewed on the steps of the High Court in 2002 apparently after agreeing a settlement.

          Earlier the Southampton-born composer admitted on Twitter that the whole thing had been a “great scam”.

          The issue hit the headlines when the Southampton-born composer included a blank track – titled A One Minute Silence – on an album he made with The Planets.
          ‘Lot of fun’

          After the album had topped the classical charts, John Cage’s publishers lodged a claim for royalties.

          Mr Batt, who also penned the hit Bright Eyes, said they had no real claim but he and the publisher decided to use opportunity to publicise the issue of copyright.

          Mr Batt wrote on Twitter: “I agreed to pay a donation to the John Cage trust, so long as they accepted it on the steps of the High Court to give the impression that it was a settlement out of court in front of the press.

          “Everyone from Reuters to The Times and BBC TV turned up. It was a great scam.

          “The guy from the other side rather naughtily told Reuters it was a six-figure sum, under pressure of interrogation, and so they all printed it cost me £100k. In fact it was £1,000 – a donation.

          “There was no court case, no serious litigation, just a lot of fun between us, and lots of press coverage”

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted August 18, 2018 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

        Here’s the Fast Show’s Jazz version [not the whole piece though]:-

    • freiner
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 8:52 am | Permalink


    • ChrisS
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      Yes, Cage’s 4’33”:

      I can’t remember the last time I didn’t hear that.

    • mikeyc
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      Can’t even see the headline behind the pay wall

  9. Merilee
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink


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

    A friend of mine had a cat that would play fetch with a ball made of crushed aluminum foil. I threw the ball around the house from my spot on the couch and the cat would immediately fetch it, walk slowly back, jump up on the couch and drop the ball right next to my hand ready for me to throw it again. I tired of the game before the cat did. There was no eagerness or tail-wagging as with a dog, just a quiet diligence.

    • mikeyc
      Posted August 12, 2018 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

      That’s because the cat thought you were playing. He was just obliging your little game, though since he’s a cat he had far better things to do.

  11. Torbjörn Larsson
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    Canada stands alone

    Not quite, as it belatedly turned out.

    Canada contacted EU’s representative for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini and we (EU) asked Saudi Arabia for explanations and repeated some of “what he said”:

    “BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The European Union has asked Saudi Arabia to shed light on the arrests and charges facing women human rights activists, saying that the detainees should be granted due process to defend themselves.”

    “Earlier on Saturday, Mogherini spoke to Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on the phone, with both sides agreeing to intensify their cooperation in human rights as well as other areas.”

  12. grasshopper
    Posted August 12, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    What is the link between Isaac Singer and Jean Luc Picard? Both said “Make it sew”.

  13. Posted October 7, 2018 at 12:04 pm | Permalink

    It is a shame that the whole free world does not support Canada.
    The pufferfish and the last cartoon impressed me!

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