Saturday: Hili dialogue (Groundhog Day prognostication live!)

As this goes to press, Punxsutawney Phil, the prognosticating groundhog (Marmota monax), is about to predict the weather. See the video below; I’m putting this up early so you can watch live (if you’re awake).

It’s Caturday Saturday, February 2, 2019, Groundhog Day, and National Tater Tot Day, celebrating those nuggets of grated and deep-fried spuds. I’m sure these could be used in a variety of good dishes, so don’t spurn them! Doesn’t this photo make you hungry? Dress ’em up with some cheese, put on some hot sauce, and you’re good to go.

In other news, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is toast after a right-wing website published (with apparent approval) this photos of him from his 1984 medical-school yearbook. He admits he’s one of the two figures (a KKK member and someone in blackface), but won’t say which one, has apologized, but hasn’t yet resigned. I’m betting he will. And this is 1984–not 1922! Clueless git. . .

On this day in 1536, the Spanish explorer and conquistador founded Buenos Aires, Argentina.  In 1653, the city of New Amsterdam (now New York City) was incorporated. And on February 2, 1709, after four years and four months marooned (actually self grounded because he didn’t want to continue sailing on a leaky vessel) on Más a Terra island in the Pacific Ocean, Scottish sailor Alexander Selkirk was finally rescued after four years and four months of solitude. (His story, of course, became Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe.)  Barely a dozen years after he was rescued, Selkirk was at sea again, and died in 1721 of yellow fever. Here’s what Wikipedia says about how he survived in his solitude, taking only  a musket, a hatchet, a knife, a cooking pot, a Bible, bedding and some clothes from his ship:

At first, Selkirk remained along the shoreline of Juan Fernández. During this time he ate spiny lobsters and scanned the ocean daily for rescue, suffering all the while from loneliness, misery and remorse. Hordes of raucous sea lions, gathered on the beach for the mating season, eventually drove him to the island’s interior. Once inland, his way of life took a turn for the better. More foods were available there: feral goats—introduced by earlier sailors—provided him with meat and milk, while wild turnips, cabbage leaves and dried pepper berries offered him variety and spice. Rats would attack him at night, but he was able to sleep soundly and in safety by domesticating and living near feral cats.

Selkirk proved resourceful in using materials that he found on the island: he forged a new knife out of barrel hoops left on the beach, he built two huts out of pepper trees, one of which he used for cooking and the other for sleeping, and he employed his musket to hunt goats and his knife to clean their carcasses. As his gunpowder dwindled, he had to chase prey on foot. During one such chase he was badly injured when he tumbled from a cliff, lying helpless and unable to move for about a day. His prey had cushioned his fall, probably sparing him a broken back.

Childhood lessons learned from his father, a tanner, now served him well. For example, when his clothes wore out, he made new ones from hair-covered goatskins using a nail for sewing. As his shoes became unusable, he had no need to replace them, since his toughened, calloused feet made protection unnecessary. He sang psalms and read from the Bible, finding it a comfort in his situation and a prop for his English.

During his sojourn on the island two vessels came to anchor. Unfortunately for Selkirk, both were Spanish. As a Scotsman and a privateer, he would have faced a grim fate if captured and therefore did his best to hide himself. Once he was spotted and chased by a group of Spanish sailors from one of the ships. His pursuers urinated beneath the tree in which he was hiding but failed to notice him. The would-be captors then gave up and sailed away.

It’s Groundhog Day, and in about an hour Punxsutawney Phil will give the year’s prognostication. I will report on it. The first Groundhog Day, however, was observed on February 2, 1887.  The ceremonies have already begun in Punxsutawney, and here’s the livestream:

Well, Phil did NOT see his shadow, so the rodential prediction is an early spring this year. Hard to believe, but his handlers say he’s never been wrong!

On this day in 1901, Queen Victoria was buried (with a lock of John Brown’s hair in her clenched hand, concealed from the family). She’s buried beside Prince Albert in Frogmore Mausoleum at Windsor Great Park. 21 years later, Ulysses was published by James Joyce.

On this day in 1925, diphtheria serum was carried by dogsled to Nome, Alaska in the famous 5.5-day Serum run to Nome. This inspired  the Iditarod race which is still run today.  On this day in 1990, South African President F. W. de Klerk announced that the African National Congress was unbanned and promised to release Nelson Mandela. Finally, on February 2, 2005, the Government of Canada introduced the Civil Marriage Act, which became law in July, legalizing same-sex marriage.

Notables born on this day include Hamnet Shakespeare (1585; William’s only son), Fritz Kreisler (1875), James Joyce (1882), Jascha Heifetz (1901), Ayn Rand (1905), James Dickey (1923), Stan Getz (1927), Tom Smothers (1937), Graham Nash (1942), Christie Brinkley (1954), and Shakira (1977). I can’t resist putting up this Shakira song with Wyclef Jean; it’s a fantastic live performance:

Those who bought the farm on February 2 include Dmitri Mendeleev (1907), Boris Karloff (1969), Bertrand Russell (1970), Imre Lakatos (1974), Sid Vicious (1979), Gene Kelly (1996), and Philip Seymour Hoffman (2014).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is sleeping in the firewood basket.

Cyrus: Cats have bizarre customs.
Hili: Dogs are always applying stereotypes.
In Polish:
Cyrus: Koty mają przedziwne obyczaje.
Hili: Psy wszystko stereotypizują.

A tweet I found. Look at those goat papillae!

From reader Nilou, a tweet that speaks to my newfound love of Muscovy ducks(Cairina moschata). They’re a wild species and not a mallard, but like mallards they’ve been domesticated. I befriended one in Hawaii, and although many see these creatures as ugly, I love them, as they are friendly and sweet. Here’s a fine pair:

From reader Gethyn:

From reader Simon, but let’s face it: this is not a normal cat!

Tweets from Matthew. Look at this weenie! (Well, he’s stalwart about the cold. . . )

A lovely and largely unstudied lacewing (order Neuroptera):

Chickens encounter snow, perhaps for the first time:

Tweets from Grania. This first one is hard to believe, but seeing is believing:

A nice three-minute video of cats versus the world. I’m told, though, that you shouldn’t tease cats with laser pointers as they never get the satisfaction of the catch:

Seriously, this is news?




  1. Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:23 am | Permalink

    I LOVE GROUNDHOG DAY! When the film came out, I refused to see it, as I deemed it blasphemous 😹

    • Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:31 am | Permalink

      Blasphemous? Why?

      • Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:33 am | Permalink

        Feigned indignation really; a decades- long joke between my and another groundhog lover; called GERRI.

    • davidintoronto
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      It’s an enjoyable little film. Indeed, it sometimes ranks in various “top 100 comedies of all time” lists.

      And though Groundhog Day didn’t originate the “time loop” conceit (familiar in sci-fi and fantasy stories), it arguably made it mainstream. Thus, TV Tropes has decided it deserves “trope maker” status.

      • Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:19 am | Permalink

        I eventually acquiesced in the end. And it is a lovely film = )

        • BJ
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:30 am | Permalink

          And it happens to be one of only a handful where Andie MacDowell fits her role. She’s not the most versatile actress, but she’s charming in this little gem.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:09 am | Permalink

            I tend to think of Groundhog Day as one half of a duology along with another Harold Ramis high-concept comedy featuring Ms. MacDowell, Multiplicity.

            • BJ
              Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink

              I just looked her up to give my memory a jolt. Google always shows you the last three tweets of a person’s Twitter account. MacDowell is a bit of a nutter/”spiritual”/Hollywood activist type. Here’s the first tweet that showed up, from eight minutes ago:

              “Did you know that being socially active is one of the best ways to improve your #brainhealth & that #depression effects your memory #exercise #fish #sunlight #laugh #nature #positive relationships #support be with people that see your kindness, potential & help you grow.. 1 life”

              Oy vey! Nice switcheroo of “affect” and “effect” there as well.

              Anyway, She was also perfectly cast in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:16 am | Permalink

                I thought she was pretty good in the first thing I recall seeing her in (and S. Soderbergh’s first film), Sex, Lies, and Videotape, as Peter Gallagher’s neglected wife.

          • Posted February 2, 2019 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

            We don’t see Andie MacDowell enough, IMHO. Just saw here recently though in “The Last Laugh” with Chevy Chase and Richard Dreyfuss on Netflix. It was a cute little film. I see on IMDB that she’s going to appear in a TV serial version of “Four Weddings and a Funeral”. And, last but not least, “Groundhog Day” is certainly in my top 10 list of comedies.

      • Posted February 2, 2019 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        IMO Groundhog Day the film would easily make any top 100 best comedies – probably the top 100 best films.

        it arguably made it mainstream

        I don’t think there’s any argument about it. The phrase “groundhog day” has entered the language to mean pretty much what the film portrays or real life repetitions of events.

        IMO Groundhog Day the film would easily make any top 100 best comedies – probably the top 100 best films.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

          I swear it flashes through my mind every weekday morning when I flip on the office lights, saying to myself “here we go again, just like Bill Murray.”

  2. chrism
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:37 am | Permalink

    I like goats a great deal, and have happy memories of hand-milking by hurricane lamp in west Wales. But I never knew about those buccal papillae, and feel rather sorry for the mothers who had to suckle such monsters – though maybe they are less developed in the kids?
    In a related thought, I expect The Young Man From Nantucket never knew how lucky he was to select a pig and not a goat to take into the thicket.

  3. Hunt
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    I don’t think people should be accountable for stupid stuff they did 35 years ago. Actually I think that’s one of the major errors of our era: the denial that we and society are all works in progress. This is one reason regressives (both left and right) have gained such traction these days.

    Also I think a lot of times these stupid displays are just ways for people to act out the insanity of the culture we exist in. Think Al Franken’s silly/stupid posing next to the sleeping journalist.

    This absolutism is a one-way ticket to disaster.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      Most thoroughly agreed. Specially when the stupid stuff was, presumably, at some party. Don’t young people have a right to do dumb things in their free time without it being dredged up and used against them – in completely different contexts – decades later?

      If Northam had a history of bigotry that would be relevant, but dressing up in bad-taste clothes at a party isn’t it.


    • BJ
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:26 am | Permalink

      I agree with this sentiment in general. I hate this so much. I especially don’t like it when it’s about something done when somebody was very young.

      However, I do think this instance is particularly egregious. As Jerry said, it was 1984, so it’s not like this is a case of someone doing something that was morally acceptable at the time, but has since been judged immoral. On the other hand, I’m sure he was young and stupid, and being young and stupid often comes with doing “outrageous” or transgressive things.

      Still, to have this be your picture for a yearbook is incredibly idiotic. I would understand if it was a candid photo snapped at a Halloween party, where he and his friend were being intentionally politically incorrect and transgressive (after all, that’s part of what Halloween’s about, or what it used to be about before social justice got its hooks into it). But this is one of his yearbook pictures. The implications of this particular scenario are rather different from most of these “look what this person did X years ago!” situations.

      • BJ
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

        So, I guess I’m rather agnostic on this one. I’m OK with him being punished for this and I’m OK with him not being punished. I must say, though, that if he hasn’t demonstrated any bigotry since then, I don’t think he should lose his career over this.

        • yazikus
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:23 am | Permalink

          I’m sympathetic to a point, but in this case he was already in medical school. He was not a child. That lack of judgement (should I wear this costume? Should I pose for this picture) is concerning. And later, his lack of judgement when running for public office (have I done anything I ought to bring out up front? Have I done anything that might make me ineligible for public office?) is even more concerning. I don’t think he should be put in jail, but I think he ought to have not run for Governor without bringing it up on his own. Either he thought it was nbd, or he thought it was a big enough deal to try to hide/not mention it. Both are bad plays.

          • BJ
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

            I think it’s reasonable that he didn’t remember it, and so did not bring it up to his campaign advisers. My parents certainly don’t remember a lot of things they did when they were 24.

            But now he’s saying it wasn’t him at all in the photo, so, if it turns out he’s lying about that, he needs to resign. My whole defense of him (possibly) remaining was if he has been clean of racism in the 34 years since, made a heartfelt apology, and made amends by volunteering at some programs or something.

          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

            I don’t know about the US, but in the UK medical students are (or were) notorious for getting up to all manner of pranks.

            (As were engineering students where I was, in NZ).

            ‘He was not a child’ is irrelevant.


      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:37 am | Permalink

        Dafuq is wrong with this med school putting that picture in its year book in 1984? Dafuq kinda med school even has a yearbook?

        • Blue
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

          +1 … … well, exactly, Mr Kukec.

          I want my physicians – in – training to be adults, to be adulting.

          At their very, very … … l e a s t.


        • BJ
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:36 am | Permalink

          Maybe it’s run by Joni Mitchell or Ted Danson?

    • Jim batterson
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      I know that we will get beat up for this but i agree with hunt. I do not knowwhen the governor’s growth ocurred…he voted for w which he soon called a big mistake and became a democratic state senator in virginia. He grew up on the rural eastern shore of virginia, didundergraduate degree at virginia military institute, and graduated from medical school at eastern virginia medical school in norfolk, virginia. I think it important to recognize his growth and the person he became during his service to all humanity since those early days … as an army medical officer, pediatric neurosurgeon, bills he has sponsored and supported as a state senator, lt governor and governor. You know, one of those bills returns the right to vote to felons after they complete their incarceration…growrg and hope. Our governor clearly did some stupid things many years ago, but he apparently grew out of them and has provided nothing but an extremely positive force for virginia for at least the past dozen years i have known him…a positive influence that i suggest started years earlier. If we lose the al frankens and ralph northams, we are much the worse off for it. Just the view of a cranky old man who grew up in much the same social milieu in eastern virginia as ralph.

      • Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

        I tend to agree with these calls for understanding and forgiveness if the repentance is real, but I am just predicting what’s going to happen. The mob does not forgive things like this, and if it didn’t forgive Democrat Al Franken, well . . . this is much worse.

        • chrism
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

          Another thing to remember is that who among didn’t do something stupid when we were young? It is an expected part of adolescence to be unwise and reckless. We don’t hold a youth’s criminal record against him all his life, we expunge it. Why not extend the same consideration to non-criminal stupidities?
          Anyway, I’m old and wise enough now to know that if I grew up in a racist area, in a racist era, surrounded by racists, I would probably not be as pure as the driven snow myself. If Northam had that kind of a start and has managed to divest himself of those attitudes and become a useful person with a valued career in the military, in medicine and in politics, I think we ought to be congratulating him rather than placing faggots (bundles of sticks, right?) around the stake in readiness for his purification.

          • Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

            He was not an adolescent. This was his yearbook from medical school, not from high school. He was in his 20s.

          • jahigginbotham
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

            I suspect a lot of people who didn’t do anything stupid when they were young probably never did anything very smart/helpful either.

        • Ken Kukec
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:34 am | Permalink

          I’m all for forgiveness and reconciliation. But Gov. Northam’s still gotta go-go. No way can he be an effective chief executive of VA after this. Time to take the high road by stepping aside and letting the Lt. Gov. take the reins.

          • Historian
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

            What you are saying is that Northam should accede to the climate of the times, although the frenzy for him to resign may not be morally right. As I mention in my comment below, Robert Byrd started out as a KKK member and segregationist. But, he changed. Wikipedia states: “For the 2003–2004 session, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) rated Byrd’s voting record as being 100% in line with the NAACP’s position on the thirty-three Senate bills they evaluated.” In 2004, the NAACP certainly knew of his past, but still supported him for his sterling voting record on issues they cared about. The organization was concerned for what Byrd was doing currently for them, not attitudes he held decades before. The prior frenzy over Al Franken and now Northam reflects the sad mindset that people cannot be forgiven for actions they now regret. There is a madness running throughout the land that does not bode well for our political system or civil society in general.

            • BJ
              Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:51 am | Permalink

              Well said. Forgiveness seems to no longer exist, and I attribute a great deal of that to social media and the regular media that has followed its lead. The public square is now the entire world, and the shaming never ends now. In the past, if you did something wrong, you were shamed for a little while by your peers and then forgiven. Now, you are shamed by everyone, everywhere, forever.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:30 am | Permalink

                Politics is about running the government, not a platform for personal redemption. Northam can no longer function effectively as VA governor, in my view, so he should step aside for the good of his state (and for the good of his party; let the Republicans be the party of the Steve Kings and Ron DeSantises).

                Northam wants to expiate his sins by using his post-resignation notoriety to do some good, to promote racial reconciliation, bless his heart. I’ll wish him well.

              • BJ
                Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:41 am | Permalink

                I’m not talking about Northam here anymore, as I already expressed my thoughts on him. I’m just talking about the general state of shaming and lack of forgiveness in our current times. However:

                “Northam can no longer function effectively as VA governor, in my view, so he should step aside for the good of his state (and for the good of his party…”

                I don’t think that’s true at all. I think he can make a heartfelt apology, perhaps create some programs and volunteer at some others as further repentance, and the majority of people in his state will think he can still govern effectively.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 2, 2019 at 11:06 am | Permalink

                That ain’t gonna happen, bubba. Northam’s a “Dead Pol Walkin’!”

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 2, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

                Jesus Christ. This dumb fuck Northam just came out and said, nevermind, it isn’t really me in that blackface/Klan yearbook photo.

          • Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:45 pm | Permalink

            There is nothing sadder than someone who is toast but refuses to believe it. Northam is just prolonging the pain. He now has gone from someone with fatal youthful indiscretions to some who looks and acts like a fool, or thinks the people are fools. We already have enough of those.

            • Ken Kukec
              Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:51 am | Permalink

              I kept wishing Northam was giving his press conference at the Apollo Theater in Harlem, so Sandman Sims could’ve come out with his hook and dragged him from the stage.

              It seemed it would never end.

              • Merilee
                Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:33 am | Permalink


      • Historian
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Northam was about 24 when the picture was taken, so he wasn’t a kid. Moreover, the picture was not in an undergraduate yearbook, but one from medical school, making the posting beyond stupidity. Some blame must be attributed to the editors of the yearbook. What kind of idiots would allow such a picture to be printed in a medical school yearbook?

        Notwithstanding what I stated above, I have mixed feelings about whether he should resign, coming down on the side that he should stay. The incident took place 35 years ago. Many of those who have called for his resignation undoubtedly consider themselves good Christians. What happened to the concept of redemption? Needing to be politically correct, they seem to have forgotten this. It appears that Northam is a political progressive. He has called for the removal of Confederate statues even though his ancestors owned slaves and fought in the Civil War. Through his deeds, I think he redeemed himself.

        Some have criticized Northam for not revealing the yearbook picture prior to his running for political office and simultaneously apologizing and asking for forgiveness. Maybe he should have (if he remembered the picture), but then he would have had no political career. So, my conclusion is that the attacks on Northam represent a herd mentality. I hope he stays on, but I agree that he is more likely to go.

        What is also strange is that the late Senator Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia) was a member of the KKK in his youth and an arch segregationist. He later repudiated these youthful indiscretions and became a revered member of the Senate. That wouldn’t happen today.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:59 am | Permalink

        “I do not know when the governor’s growth ocurred [sic] …”

        It would be one thing if Northam had gotten in front of this during his campaign (even if only generally speaking) by admitting he’d done some ignorant, puerile, insensitive nonsense back in his schooldays — especially if he had then taken the opportunity to explain how and why he’d had an epiphany about such matters.

        He didn’t. He got outed (by a far-right group, apparently in response to Virginia’s liberal abortion statute) and his statement after it happened struck me as a rather calculated effort to cling to office.

        I feel some sympathy for the guy, being called to account for a dumb act 35 years ago. But he’s still gotta go.

        • BJ
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:42 am | Permalink

          I think your reasoning is rather strange. I understand if you think he should no longer have his position after this, but I’m baffled by the idea that it would be OK if he just told everybody about it before it came out. I think most people his age don’t realize that things like this will eventually get out, and I would be $100 that he didn’t even remember it.

          My parents wouldn’t remember stupid things they did in 1984, nor understand that such things would easily be found by internet sleuths if my parents were ever in a position of high public office. Furthermore, I imagine that, if Northam did remember this, he would have told his campaign about it, and they would have advised him to do exactly as you said.

          I don’t think he remembered this, nor thought it would ever be found even if he did. People his age often don’t understand the internet or remember single incidents that had no impact on them from 35 years ago.

          • Ken Kukec
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

            Jeez, Beej, I’m not suggesting he shoulda kicked off his campaign by flashing that yearbook pic. But were I advising him, I’d’ve told him to make a general statement about some painfully embarrassing, racially insensitive moments in his past.

            Hell, done right, it could’ve been used as much as a sword as a shield. He was running against an always-Trumper. During a debate, he could’ve said something like this:

            “I understand where this asshole at the other lectern is coming from, and the painful journey my state has been through since its Jim Crow past. During my schooldays I engaged in racially insensitive conduct that causes me great pain today and for which I feel great shame and sorrow. But I have come to understand why that conduct was WRONG. [Stick racially enlightened anecdote here.] And I vow that, if elected, I will do everything in my power to make up for it by promoting fairness and dignity and harmony among people of all races.”

            (Might wanna clean up the language in the first sentence some, but otherwise that’d be the gist of it.) Id’a written it out and made the dumb bastard memorize it, until he could spring it with feigned spontaneity.

            When he was asked about it later, he could say he does’t want to cause any more pain to his potential constituents by recounting the details. This way he’d’ve been inoculated if this yearbook picture (or, god knows, whatever else might be out there) came out later.

            • BJ
              Posted February 2, 2019 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

              “Jeez, Beej, I’m not suggesting he shoulda kicked off his campaign by flashing that yearbook pic. But were I advising him, I’d’ve told him to make a general statement about some painfully embarrassing, racially insensitive moments in his past.”

              Well, that was actually part of my point (though I didn’t make it clear): anyone running for a position as high as governor is vetted and given thorough questionnaires and interviews regarding anything that could prove damaging. I find it completely reasonable that he simply didn’t remember this ever happened.

              However, he’s now saying it’s not him in the picture. If it turns out he’s lying about that, he has to go.

              • Ken Kukec
                Posted February 2, 2019 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

                Did you see his presser? It was cringe- inducing, an embarrassment to our race — the human race, that is. He says he never saw the picture before yesterday, that he doesn’t know how it got on his yearbook page.

                He also says, that same year, he did put on blackface — but only a little! — to win a dance contest he went to as Michael Jackson. (Guess he was getting darker as Michael was getting lighter?)

                He also talked about his devotion to God and the Virginia Military Institute’s honor code — so, obvs, he lying. 🙂

            • Merilee
              Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

              Also, BJ, I’m a little bemused by your comment about “people his age”. I’m about 10 years older than ol’ Ralphie and I sure as hell know how the internet works.

        • Nicolaas Stempels
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:46 am | Permalink

          Yeah, Maajid Nawaz is a good example of someone who did ‘get in front’. And therefore nobody is reproaching him anything about his past

      • yazikus
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        If we lose the al frankens and ralph northams, we are much the worse off for it.

        I don’t know that this is true at all. These men are not magical unicorns, they are employees of the public running for high offices against many well-qualified competitors. Those competitors surely contain a few who could do just as much good, without the groping and the racist cosplay.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Agreed. It is amazing how many instant judges we have today. It is almost scary how quick they are to pass judgment on just about anything. If I was to be hung today for something I did or said 35 or 40 years ago. I hate to tell them but it isn’t a perfect world much as they might try to make it. It is also interesting that nearly all African Americans that were asked about this, immediately said he should resign. And most of this group likely thought O.J. was innocent.

  4. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:53 am | Permalink

    Laminar flow just means, essentially, very smooth flow.

    The irregular shape of the water jet is caused by surface tension pulling the flow back in – it would ‘like’ to be a circular jet, but as it starts out non-circular, the furthest parts of flow get pulled back in towards the centre while other parts get displaced out.

    Since the flow leaving the faucet is absolutely steady, the profile of the changes in shape undergone by the jet also remains steady.

    Eventually after a few inches turbulence creeps in and the jet becomes messy, somewhere down out of shot.


    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      The irregular shape is because there’s two almost circular cross-sectioned threads of laminar flow water created in the tap mouth by the shape of the mouth & the water velocity – in effect there’s two tap mouths at low water speeds. the apparent thinning & widening of the flow is due to the point of view where one thread passes in front of the other therefore appearing to have thinner waists. The two threads are in a spiral around a mutual centre.

    • Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:36 am | Permalink

      The gif showed up on reddit a few weeks ago. Someone said it was due to its oscillations matching the shutter speed.


      • Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:38 am | Permalink

        I see you’ve addressed that below. Whoops.


  5. BJ
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:17 am | Permalink

    “He admits he’s one of the two figures (a KKK member and someone in blackface), but won’t say which one…”

    Wait a second. Is this dumb fuck still trying to figure out which of the two is worse?

    • yazikus
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:28 am | Permalink

      I think so! And apparently he’s not resigning either. His judgement is highly questionable.

      • BJ
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

        Now he says it’s not him in the photo! This is becoming absurd. I said in an above discussion that I did not think he should resign, so long as he has been a good person since and apologizes and makes amends. But if he now denies it was him and it comes out that he’s lying, he has to go.

  6. Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    The “laminar flow” video is actually an illusion caused by optical strobing.

    • Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Correction: acoustic strobing

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

        Read your link Stephen you’ll see it’s a real effect – not to do with strobing

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

          I agree with Michael. It’s steady flow. No strobing.

          For this effect, it needs to exit the faucet with a very uniform velocity (no turbulence!).
          I think the faucet is probably from a water tank with a very low head (pressure) on it. How does this help? – because reducing the supply pressure through a faucet (throttling) will generally create a lot of turbulence in the flow and unless this is all damped out by the time it reaches the exit, you won’t get a nice clean jet like this.

          I don’t know whether the fact the water is cold (see the snow in the background) facilitates it – viscosity at 5 deg C is double that at 25 deg C, so it probably does. And surface tension is also slightly increased at low temperatures.


          • infiniteimprobabilit
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

            Re your statement below –
            “I’m pretty sure the two threads have an air gap between them in places.”

            I disagree. If the two ‘threads’ were to split there would be no surface tension effect pulling them back together.

            And if there was a ‘split’ the rebound of the water from the thin connecting film between the two main ‘threads’ would tend to drive them further apart, and also some of it would break up into separate drops.


            • Michael Fisher
              Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

              You are right. Anyway here is a better quality, longer YT video with audio:

              While filming in the central Alps valley of Val Camonica, Italian photographer Dario Bonzi captured remarkable footage of mountain water flowing out of a pipe that appeared to be completely frozen. Despite the illusion, Bonzi demonstrated several times that the water was indeed not frozen by placing his hands into directly the stream. This incredible phenomenon is caused by streamline (laminar) flow, which states that when low velocity liquid flows in parallel layers without lateral mixing or other interruptions, its presentation is very orderly and very still.

          • Michael Fisher
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:10 pm | Permalink

            Agree with all that. There are kits available to produce laminar flow water ~ the two elements are a head of gravity fed water & a tube filled with tiny pipes [home made versions use drinking straws compacted together], but these kits usually produce water at too high a velocity for this spiral thread effect to occur.

  7. Michael Fisher
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Shakira: Live autotune on the high notes

    Cat with orange ball: A demo of poor close up vision in felines I suppose

    Laminar water flow: Real – not a camera fps illusion. It’s two threads of laminar flow water kind of orbiting each other. I’m pretty sure the two threads have an air gap between them in places.

    Self reported dick length: FIVE AUTHORS on this silly paper “Social Desirability and Young Men’s Self-Reports of Penis Size”. Only 166 YOUNG men in the pencil & paper study & their real erect dick length wasn’t measured! The self reported size is compared with an ASSUMED average of 5.36 inches from someone else’s study of a much larger [ahem] sample. I also wondered about the males in the group being young – blood pressure & all that – the 5.36 inches baseline may have been from a wider range of ages, but no time to check.

    I’m surprised at 5.36 inches. Genuinely that seems very short, but I have no comparisons…

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      Sorry to hear about that.

      I know, I know, just could not help it.

    • Neil Wolfe
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:46 am | Permalink

      From the”Ladies Man” SNL skit:
      Caller #2: Inferior. You know. I’m concerned about the size of my penis.

      Leon: Oh-h-h, okay, yeah, now that’s alright, don’t worry. The Ladies Man is here to help you. Now, um, medically speaking, just how dinky is your wang?

      Caller #2: That’s not very medical.. Uh, two-and-a-half to three inches.

      Leon: Oh, yeah, that is small. Yeah, uh, you know, I was not expecting you to say anything under ten or eleven inches.

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:26 am | Permalink

      Shakira: She was singing, too? 🙂

      • Merilee
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:28 am | Permalink

        We dance to that song in my Zumba class. Got a ways to go to duplicate her moves🙀

        • Christopher
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:53 am | Permalink

          My son got in trouble at school when he was about 12 for dancing like Shakira. Another student told on him because he was “nasty”. This was of course years before people thought it cute to teach toddlers how to twerk, but at the same time as it was considered acceptable for 5yr old girls to be dressed in sweat pants with Pink or Juicy written across their butts.

          • Merilee
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

            A few high school boys joined our noontime class one day (mostly middle-aged women). They had a lot of fun and I thought they were good sports. Too bad your son got into trouble. Sounds like fun. I never thought Shakira’s Hips Don’t Lie was particularly “twerky”. More cumbia. (But then I’ve never watched the whole thing…)

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

        Listening with your eyes

    • Nicolaas Stempels
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:01 am | Permalink

      It also depends on whether it is measured from above or the bottom, I guess.
      Professionally I have seen quite a few erect penises (when working in urology), and 5.36 inches (about 14 cm) appears a bit below average indeed.
      If we want to know what the real size is males would want, we only have to look at the kotekas (penis shields) of the Papuas: about half a meter. 🙂

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

        LOL kotekas. One must measure from the balls side.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:53 am | Permalink

        5.36 inches. Umm.

        That is of course, circumference.


  8. Kieran
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:46 am | Permalink

    Cats and boxes

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      The one in the middle cardboard apartment top floor – little devil. 🙂

      • Merilee
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:29 am | Permalink

        Like my Carmen Dingle…

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 4:29 pm | Permalink

          Aren’t you a calming influence on crazy cat?

  9. Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Shakira, !que vive la cumbia de Colombia!

  10. Ruthann L. Richards
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Pro laser pointers for cats! That’s one of the ways some of my cats get their exercise (all are strictly indoors). I vary that with fishing pole toys and loose toys like balls where they obviously catch the “prey.”

  11. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    In light of the great scientific contribution made in his tweet, I propose we substitute “degen” for “johnson” as a term for the male member. 🙂

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      “degen” for short ones & “degenerate” for longer?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:22 am | Permalink

        I think “drain the degen” has promise.

  12. Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    Don’t think he should resign. But he should not run for office again after his term expires. Retirement from public service will be permanent.

    Sunny here. Six more weeks of winter.

    I am in Atlanta. Fans here from Boston laughed at us all week for being concerned over lies in the twenties and a possible two inch snowfall. They can laugh as long as they kept spending money. It has been a fun week. Looking forward to watching the game on tv.

    • Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Lows not lies.

  13. Blue
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Ah, no, in re “born on this day include
    Hamnet Shakespeare (1585; William’s only
    son)” cuz a l l that Mr Shakespeare
    contributed to this bearing was a
    spermatozoan so to not even acknowledge
    a mama ? one bulldozing ?

    That, then, is a spermatozoan … … exalted.

    Cuz at where is the mention of mother.
    Who did a l l The Work of growing and bearing
    and, quite likely then as well, of nurturing
    and upbringing, let alone, of bulldozing and
    bathing and … … keeping the kiddo … …
    alive. Of .wanting. to keep the child alive.


    • BJ
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:48 am | Permalink

      His wife wasn’t famous. When we talk about the child of, say, Charlotte Bronte, I doubt we’d mention her not famous husband. This isn’t a sexism thing, it’s a child-of-a-famous-person thing.

      • Blue
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:51 am | Permalink

        in re “His wife wasn’t famous,” you happen
        to know this how ? To you she was not.
        Self – identified thinking. Only.

        To the babe she grew and raised up and to
        others of her time she so was. As famous
        as a person can be: growing another one.

        To be lectured upon mothering ? on sexism
        never mentioned by me ? on one’s worthiness
        on one’s worthiness or importance of
        being just even mentioned ? lectured by you ?
        Your choice, o’course.

        Onto me ? .That. is not happening.


        • Blue
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 11:01 am | Permalink

          You looked up, did you, the legal or even
          just the religious mawwiage of her,
          the woman who did a l l of The Work of making
          Mr Hamnet Shakespeare ? in order to use the
          word ‘wife’ you know this to be true cited at
          where with evidence ?

          Or did you not ? Just, again, a thinking
          ya’ happened to have ? whether useful,
          important or true. or not.

          The binding to importance or to spermatozoan
          exaltation or to worthiness of … … “legal” mawwiage ? to “wife” – having ?

          Has zero to do with human beings who are its female ones capable of:
          m a k i n g more human beings.
          Squat to do with that b i o l o g y.
          I have evidence.


        • Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

          All I know about his wife is that she was older than him, it appeared to have been a shotgun marriage, and it (the marriage) is thought to have been unhappy.
          I am not sure why Shakespeare’s wife is expected to be more famous (or outstanding in any way) than any other woman on the planet.

        • BJ
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

          Who is lecturing you? I disagreed with you. The last time I politely disagreed with you you did the same thing, except you also accused me of “trying to shut [you] up for eons.”

          People can disagree with you, Blue. I’m sorry it makes you angry when they do.

          • Blue
            Posted February 2, 2019 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

            There ya’ go with the self – identifying
            thinking. Only. You are not in the least
            … … sorry. Actually. For realz.

            But I do not care. What you are or are not
            sorry about in reality means squat to me.

            What is meaningful ? Acknowledgement of
            for what is real: the woman births. Bears.
            Has “borne”. And, acknowledgement of that ?she, not he, birthed two babies on this day,
            not one. THAT is what is for realz.
            Ms Judith and Mr Hamnet ? Those two ?
            In reality ? Those are .her. babies.
            Not his.

            Not until .she. says that they can be his
            are they his. Not until .she. says so.

            As with the same in re the abortion matter.
            As with of what matter some seem to approve:
            kidnapping newborns out of hospitals cuz the
            kidnapper disapproves of the birthing mother.

            So what that there were two exalted
            spermatozoa involved by one man. Just cuz
            it was Shakespeare who was involved with
            Ms Hathaway does not even, for realz
            evidence, mean that those of his caused
            diploid cells inside Ms Hathaway. Maybe
            they were of someone else’s two.
            You know, do you ? Basic science. Basic biology.


            • BJ
              Posted February 2, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

              But Ms. Hathaway wasn’t famous. I ask again: if we were talking about Charlotte Bronte’s son, would we mention he was the “son of Charlotte Bronte and [insert name of not-at-all-famous father here]”? And would you care if he wasn’t mentioned?

              And, again, people can disagree with you. It is not some sort of insult or lecture. I politely disagreed with your comment.

            • BJ
              Posted February 2, 2019 at 3:16 pm | Permalink

              You have a weird way of seeing children as only belonging to mothers. I don’t think I should continue talking to you. You have placed so many meanings, imputed so many motives to me, involved so many unrelated ideas to a simple disagreeing comment (not to mention the insane amount of insults you’ve repeatedly thrown at me for having the temerity to disagree with you) that this is not in any way a conversation. Feel free to continue this strange actual lecture on your own. I won’t be reading.

              • Posted February 3, 2019 at 11:21 am | Permalink

                I think this is the right thing to do in the situation.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 5:14 pm | Permalink

        There’s a series of David Mitchell (UK comedian) programmes “hamming” up on Shakespeare’s personal life, including substantial chunks from Mrs Shakespeare at home in Stratford. I accidentally caught half an episode not long ago, and I’d missed it previously because it had an un-arrestingly meaningless name of “Upstart Crow”. Now I’ve got a mental flag to actually record it when it’s next broadcast.
        Mitchell is sometimes worth watching, and on 15 minute’s acquaintance this is probably worth the effort. It’s probably on iPlayer or DVD or something.

    • Blue
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

      Ms Judith was, as well, born this day.
      Ms Judith was a twin. Ms Hathaway bulldozed out
      this day … … twins: Ms Judith and Mr Hamnet.


  14. Jenny Haniver
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    There is a venerable history of “penis panics”

    • BJ
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:10 am | Permalink

      Hilarious! Thank you for my first laugh of the morning. Number 5 is truly special. Now the Jews are stealing penises too! When will they stop? Must they possess everything on this Earth? Even our precious penises?

    • BJ
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      Wait, it all makes sense now…

      The Zionist Jewish conspirators are stealing penises to build a penis bomb so they can hit Tehran with it and sully the virtue of their women by forcing them to accidentally touch the penises! How did we not see this?!? Open your eyes, sheeple!

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

        Jaffar Abbas, the journalist credited with reporting on the Sudanese penis thefts is taken as expressing himself seriously — as in that was his theory. He is a satirist, and I’d aver that what he wrote is satire that was misreported as sincere. It certainly reads like satire to me.

        Those who reported his words neglected to check out his background. It’s like the doofus blokes tweeting to excoriate Titania McGrath because they can’t recognize satire.

        Especially in this day and age, I think it’s too easy for us in the West (myself included)to forget that there are Muslim satirists and that satire in the Arab world has a venerable lineage. One of the most biting satires I know was written by an Egyptian in the 17th century, “Brains Confounded by the Ode of Abu Shaduf Expounded” by Yusuf al-Shirbini — he rips everybody and everything to shreds (at least from a modern point of view), though he set about to defend Orthodox Islam.

        • BJ
          Posted February 2, 2019 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

          Thanks for this information. I had no idea.

          It’s still a funny article, though, so thanks for posting it!

  15. rustybrown
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    Couldn’t post on previous thread. Comments closed?

    • Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:38 pm | Permalink

      They are closed after a certain period – I think, 2 months.

  16. Christopher
    Posted February 2, 2019 at 10:50 am | Permalink

    When I read about some sort of social faux pas I try to keep in mind the book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson. I try to avoid jumping on the reactionary bandwagons or dogpile of shame. I admit that my problem with this is, if I understand this correctly, he still hasn’t admitted which moron he was in the picture. I could accept his staying in office a bit more if he would be open and honest, admit which one he is, apologize unconditionally, and discuss what helped him change from being an ignorant bigot to who he claims to be today. As it stands now, I think he should resign.

  17. Posted February 2, 2019 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Twitter has hidden the picture of cats drinking milk from the gutter, and warned that it is “sensitive material”; how dumb are their algorithms or human monitors!?!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

      Greg Twitter hasn’t hidden it. The hidden image of spilt milk is You Had One Job’s own fault, all the images he tweets are like that. There is a setting in Twitter s/he has checked/ticked that reads “Mark media I tweet as containing material that may be sensitive” – he should uncheck/untick that box.

  18. Posted February 2, 2019 at 1:58 pm | Permalink

    I think that Gov. Northam should resign. My opinion is that a person able to put such a photo in his medical school yearbook is not qualified to rule others (and I wouldn’t want him as my doctor, either). And it would be unjust to let him keep his job, when humble ordinary people have been fired for less.

    To those who say that he has reformed himself: I think he looked reformed, because he has faced no major crisis so far; but he faces such a crisis now, and refuses to admit which of the two morons he was, and Ken even said that he is trying now to say that he was neither (I guess some evil men made a conspiracy to sneak this forged photo in the yearbook).

    My opinion cemented when I read that, during his 2017 campaign, he had an add saying basically that those who stand up to hate should not vote for his Republican rival.

    It is curious for me to compare the understanding to this empowered adult, on one hand, and on the other, the condemnation of some high school kids (a decade younger than Northam was when he put the photo) who were called on this very site “arrogant jerks”, “deplorables” and many other names, and expected to change only to worse in the years to come – all this for wearing MAGA hats.

    • rustybrown
      Posted February 2, 2019 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I agree with you. I’m a bit ambivalent about the Northram affair because I’m instinctively against a “gotcha” culture that combs through someone’s past looking for indiscretions. In this case however he was a full grown man, nearly 25 years old, and not only dressed up in the offending garb but thought it so important and indicative of his character as to select it for inclusion on his yearbook page. Also, was 1984. Anyone who was an adult in 1984 knows this was not OK for the time. His pathetic equivocating is only making matters worse, and reveals him to be a scumbag up to the present moment.

      Would love to see the reaction around here if it were a prominent Republican caught displaying such blatant racism. As you point out, a few days ago many here were roasting a fifteen year old for merely wearing a political slogan and smiling.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 12:59 am | Permalink

        My reaction would be exactly the same and if you equate fancy dress with racism, I don’t.

        And if you followed the Covington College thread most here on this site were NOT unilaterally blaming the MAGA kid.


        • rustybrown
          Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

          I said “many”, not “most”. I don’t understand what you mean by “equate fancy dress with racism”. Are you saying wearing blackface and a KKK costume is not racist?

      • rustybrown
        Posted February 3, 2019 at 9:52 am | Permalink

        I said “many”, not “most”. I don’t understand what you mean by “equate fancy dress with racism”. Are you saying wearing blackface and a KKK costume is not racist?

  19. Posted February 4, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    I appreciate that things like “context” and “intention” are less than fashionable at the moment, but I think a little bit of history might help some of the younger readers understand some of what is going on.
    In the UK there was show called the “Black and White Minstrel Show”. (see here for a flavor
    It was every bit as racially insensitive as it appears, was hugely popular (21m viewers in a country of 50m) and on every saturday night prime time.
    It ended in 1978. A musical version played in the West End of London until 1988.
    I assume that America was going through similar periods of self-examination and coming to realize that such depictions of fellow humans were hugely patronising (at best) and started to remove them from the culture.
    Your governor was right in the middle of this period.
    I was a kid at the time but I dont recall any of the people (any old enough, at any rate) now calling for his head protesting at the B&W Minstrel show or its mutliple similar examples at the time. Maybe they did. Maybe they didnt. But to reach into that time, pick one person whose behavior can now be identified as suspect, and single them out for sacrifice is as close to literal scape-goating as I can find: Putting all the blame on one individual to expiate all others sins.
    Anyone thinking what I have offered here is an excuse for the behavior, needs to go back and re-read what I said and keep re-reading until that feeling goes away.

  20. Posted February 4, 2019 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    The governor should resign, and moreover, his party should tell him so too.

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