Tuesday: Hili dialogue

It’s Tuesday: the cruelest day, and August 20, 2019, and National Bacon Lover’s Day. I’m one of them, albeit a Jew—but shouldn’t the apostrophe be at the end of “Lovers”? After all, it’s not just one bacon lover’s day! It’s also National Lemonade Day, National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day, and World Mosquito Day. Apparently August 20 is the day Ronald Ross discovered that malaria was transmitted through the bite of female mosquitoes (that got him a Nobel Prize), and he declared the holiday. And it’s a Darwin holiday (see below)

Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) is having a small surgery (laparoscopic hernia surgery) on Friday morning, so posting may be a bit slow as I clear the decks for that and then recover afterwards (I’m told I’ll be up and around within a day). As always, I do my best. But please, do not send in stories of hernia operations (or any operations) gone wrong. I grow old. . . .

Stuff that happened on August 20 includes:

  • 1191 – Richard I of England initiates the Massacre at Ayyadieh, leaving 2,600–3,000 Muslim hostages dead.
  • 1858 – Charles Darwin first publishes his theory of evolution through natural selection in The Journal of the Proceedings of the Linnean Society of London, alongside Alfred Russel Wallace’s same theory.

Here’s the titles. Note all those fancy initials, but Wallace gets only an “Esq.”!

  • 1920 – The first commercial radio station, 8MK (now WWJ), begins operations in Detroit.
  • 1938 – Lou Gehrig hits his 23rd career grand slam, a record that stood for 75 years until it was broken by Alex Rodriguez.
  • 1940 – In Mexico City, exiled Russian revolutionary Leon Trotsky is fatally wounded with an ice axe by Ramón Mercader. He dies the next day.
  • 1940 – World War II: British Prime Minister Winston Churchill makes the fourth of his famous wartime speeches, containing the line “Never was so much owed by so many to so few”.

Here’s the famous part of that speech:

  • 1968 – Cold War: Warsaw Pact troops invade Czechoslovakia, crushing the Prague Spring. East German participation is limited to a few specialists due to memories of the recent war. Only Albania and Romania refuse to participate.
  • 1993 – After rounds of secret negotiations in Norway, the Oslo Accords are signed, followed by a public ceremony in Washington, D.C. the following month.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1833 – Benjamin Harrison, American general, lawyer, and politician, 23rd President of the United States (d. 1901)
  • 1881 – Edgar Guest, English-American poet and author (d. 1959)
  • 1886 – Paul Tillich, German-American philosopher and theologian (d. 1965)
  • 1890 – H. P. Lovecraft, American short story writer, editor, novelist (d. 1937)
  • 1905 – Jack Teagarden, American singer-songwriter and trombonist (d. 1964)
  • 1910 – Eero Saarinen, Finnish-American architect and furniture designer, designed the Gateway Arch (d. 1961)
  • 1941 – Slobodan Milošević, Serbian lawyer and politician, 1st President of Serbia (d. 2006)
  • 1944 – Rajiv Gandhi, Indian lawyer and politician, 6th Prime Minister of India (d. 1991)
  • 1948 – Robert Plant, English singer-songwriter
  • 1974 – Amy Adams, American actress and singer

Notables who “passed” on this day were few; they include:

  • 2001 – Fred Hoyle, English astronomer and author (b. 1915)
  • 2012 – Phyllis Diller, American actress and comedian (b. 1917)
  • 2017 – Jerry Lewis, American actor and comedian (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is playing Thomas Nagel:

Hili: I wonder what’s in a human mind?
A: Why?
Hili: I have the impression that you are thinking quite differently from cats.
In Polish:
Hili: Zastanawiam się, co się kryje w ludzkiej głowie?
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Mam wrażenie, że wy myślicie zupełnie inaczej niż koty.

From Jesus of the Day (I’m not 100% sure this is real):

Another from Jesus of the Day. “I’ll have what she’s having.”

From The Cat House on the Kings:

Grania sent me this tweet on December 3 of last year. RIP, my friend.

Reader gravelinspector sent a tweet, and though I’ve never seen the movie, I’m sure many of you will know what this refers to:

A famous tweet. Yes, it’s un-Presidential and uncharitable, but I still find it humorous (I think Trump has a comedian on his staff now):

From Nilou: un jeune tigre joue avec son chapeau. And an appropriate chapeau!

From reader Barry: Anthony Hopkins, actor and ailurophile:


Tweets from Matthew. This first came from Carolyn Porco; you can imagine who “Neil” is, and it isn’t Neil deGrasse Tyson:

A lovely statue with gemstone eyes, ca. 2500 BC:

Matthew added, “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what TikTok is.” Be sure to turn the sound up:



  1. Dominic
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    Maybe, there is an award for the Bacon lover of the Year, so this is the day for that particular award winner?!

    OR, maybe there is a person whose name is Mrs/Mr Bacon-Lover!

    It may interest you all to know –

    “The top five processed meats consumed by US adults in 2015-2016 were luncheon meat (mean intake=73.3 g/wk), sausage (45.5 g/wk), hot dog (17.5 g/wk), ham (17.5 g/wk), and bacon (8.6 g/wk), accounting for 39.3%, 24.4%, 9.4%, 9.4%, and 4.6%, respectively, of the total processed meat consumption in the United States.”

    Trends in Processed Meat, Unprocessed Red Meat, Poultry, and Fish Consumption in the United States, 1999-2016


  2. enl
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 6:51 am | Permalink

    When I saw Bacon Lover’s, my first thought was Francis…

    Somehow, I fear that, even in this company, this is a tad unusual.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:16 am | Permalink

      Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon modulo the Bacon-Erdos number

    • Dominic
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:43 am | Permalink

      You have two main Francises! The Great scientist, & the cruddy artist…

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:27 am | Permalink

      When I saw “Neil” not deGrasse Tyson, I thought Neil Young, Neil Simon, Neil Diamond, Neil Sedaka, who could it be? Oh, Neil Armstrong.

      • Saul Sorrell-Till
        Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:32 am | Permalink

        My vote for best Neil goes to Young. Going to the moon VS Tell Me Why/Cortez The Killer/Natural Beauty/Sugar Mountain/etc.? Sorry Armstrong, you lose.

        Incidentally, when I was teenager I bought The Matrix on video and watched it many times. My little sisters – eight and ten years younger than me – ended up watching it many times too, simply by proxy.
        And up until a few years ago they were convinced that the hero of the film is called ‘Neil’, not ‘Neo’.

        Thus the most iconic line in the film to them was always when Keanu Reeves asserts his identity after breaking free of a headlock and backflipping out of the way of a speeding subway train:

        …”my name…is NEIL!”.

        As soon as you rewatch it and imagine everyone’s calling him Neil the film becomes considerably funnier.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    1. Churchill: is it me or is there something like a lisp in his speech? If it can be called a flaw, I still love it.

    2. Darwin and Wallace’s papers : I am reminded of the Nobel Prize discussion: I think everyone agrees that Nobel Prize’s function is in large part to tell the audience around the world about the greatest advancements in science. This presents a flaw – advancements that pre-date the Prizes. If the Nobels are perceived as the most important sign of the most important advancements, by living scientists no less, where does that leave discoveries like Leeuwenhoek’s, or, – if it can be described as a discovery, and I think it can – evolution by natural selection? I don’t know the answer to that.

  4. daniaq
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    The selfie sign, if not true, should be.


  5. DrBrydon
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    In the screenshot of Darwin’s paper, it lists Hooker with the post-nominal letters V.P.R.S. I’ve tried several searches, but can’t find out what that is. Can anyone tell me?

    • Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:29 am | Permalink

      Matthew thinks it means “Vice President of the Royal Society”.

    • Historian
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:45 am | Permalink

      I googled the search term “V.P.R.S royal society.” The search resulted in the listing of several references to the royal society and individuals with V.P.R.S after their names. If they were all vice-presidents then that is what the initials stand for; if not, something else. There is a Wikipedia article that discusses several of the other initials.


    • enl
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:54 am | Permalink

      Very Proud (to be a member of the) Royal Society

      Venerable Personage (of the) Royal Society

      Very Proper Ranking Scientist

      I could go on, but fear that if I do, negative repercussions may follow

  6. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

    Note all those fancy initials, but Wallace gets only an “Esq.”!

    Jacob Rees-Mogg – imprecations be upon him – would approve.
    For those who have the benefit of not having to live in this particular mad house, after the first Johnson reshuffle this … organism was promoted as “Leader of the House (of Commons)” tasked with organising the timetabling of debates, votes etc. And his first course of action, so essential with the train-wreck of Brexit fast approaching, was an edict to his civil servants to use Imperial measures (not, of course, American measures), to use two spaces after a full stop, and to address males without a title as “Esquire” (abbreviated “Esq.”).
    Why would a civil servant waste time on addressing a person of either gender who didn’t have a title?
    Darwin’s “Alphabet Soup” (do you still/ again have this sludge in America?) denotes him a Fellow of (in order of precedence) the Royal, Linnean and Geological Societies (founded in 1660, 1788 and 1807, respectively – hence “precedence”).

  7. Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    “I think Trump has a comedian on his staff now.” As the tweet is complete sentences and spelled correctly, some adult wrote that.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      The tweet was very-mildly amusing. But the danger with giving Trump any credit at all, whatsoever, even if it’s backhanded and meagre, is that he’ll immediately use it to pat himself on the back.
      He’s both mind-bogglingly shameless and desperate for validation from the people who hate him.

      “Even Dog-Hating far-leftist professor Jerry Cone(who BEGGED me for the job of Press Secretary), of failing website ‘Why Is Evolution?'(stupid question), agrees with me about CRAZY Democrats who hate America.”

      • Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:28 am | Permalink

        LOL. Be careful, we don’t want to get Jerry on Trump’s radar.

        • Saul Sorrell-Till
          Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          Who knows how Trump’s radar operates? He’s got a nose for compliments like a pig has for truffles.

          • Saul Sorrell-Till
            Posted August 20, 2019 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

            …it doesn’t matter how qualified the compliment is, he’ll take it.

  8. gravelinspector-Aidan
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    WHOA! Puffer fish skeletons are AWESOME!!!

    They are. But in the process they also remind one that at least skin “denticles” and teeth share deep evolutionary connections, if not outright homology.

    Matthew added, “It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what TikTok is.”

    The Harlequin’s nemesis, surely?
    OK, I repent!

    • Posted August 21, 2019 at 5:50 am | Permalink

      Goodness, that takes me back. Harlan Ellison?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

        The one and only.

  9. Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    If it is “National Bacon Lovers’ Day” then is it also “World Mosquitoes Day”?

    But seriously, I always took these names as if being spoken to a crowd. You can make it personal as if speaking to each person in the audience individually or address them as a group. Either way works but with the usual subtle differences in attitude.

    Of course, you probably weren’t seriously asking this question anyway, right?

  10. Jenny Haniver
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    Does anyone know what the name of the piece is that Anthony Hopkins is playing?

    And where can I find a shirt like that?

    • Doug
      Posted August 20, 2019 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      The Hopkins quote reminds me of this Groucho Marx line:

      “Just give ma comfortable couch, a dog, a good book and a woman. Then if you can get the dog to go somewhere and read the book, I might have some fun.”

  11. Saul Sorrell-Till
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    That kitten shaped bookmark is _really_ lifelike.

  12. rickflick
    Posted August 20, 2019 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    I find Churchill’s love of interesting inversions in grammar and use of polysyllables very charming and vintage. Rather poetic. It certainly must have been soothing to the population to here is artful use of the English language.
    I can’t help comparing such speech to more modern style. Presidents typically use very folksy language that tries to include the least verbal parts of the society at the expense of English majors. Talking down is not too strong a criticism.
    Trump is, of course, as in many things, an outlier. I need not elaborate.

  13. Posted August 20, 2019 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Carolyn Porco’s Captain’s Log is a thing of breathtaking beauty.

  14. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    is it me, or am I starting to notice that Trump is frequently making a face for the cameras like Winston Churchill? I am certain this is not a mistake, the way Boris Johnson’s silly hair style is done deliberately as part of his show.

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