Monday: Hili dialogue

January 20, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Monday, January 20, 2020, and, sadly, my time in Cambridge is waning: I fly back to Chicago in two days. It’s National Cheese Lover’s Day, and once again they misplaced the apostrophe, implying that this day celebrates only a single cheese lover. Who is this person? I suspect it’s the well-known Käsefresser Elise Katzenellenbogen, a woman of German ancestry who lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (It’s also National Buttercrunch Day.)

All Americans know that today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, celebrating the birthday of the great civil rights leader (he was actually born on January 15, 1929, but the federal holiday is designated as the third Monday in January). Few people will be working in the U.S. today, and there will be no postal deliveries as government employees (including Senators) aren’t working. Today’s Google Doodle (with a link to relevant sites; click on the screenshot) marks the occasion. (More information on this Doodle is here.)

Finally, it’s Penguin Awareness Day, so give a thought to these threatened species (global warming will do them all in). Here’s a picture of a chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) I took in Antarctica:

Here’s a tweet sent by Matthew (the hashtag #PenguinAwarenessDay will take you to many more lovely penguin tweets). My friends and I are going to the refurbished New England Aquarium this morning to celebrate the penguins.

Exactly one year from today it will be Inauguration Day, when the next President and Vice-President are sworn in. We’re all biting our nails lest the Orange Man be re-elected. The countdown to that moment is here (days, hours, minutes, and seconds!).

News of the Day: This link gives a scathing review at Ars Technica of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new Goop show on Netflix, which is even worse than you can imagine. A summary:

In so many ways, the goop lab with Gwyneth Paltrow is exactly what you’d expect based on what we already know about the Goop brand. The series provides a platform for junk science, gibberish, and unproven health claims from snake-oil-salesmen guests. It’s a platform on which respected, trained medical experts are not considered the authorities on health and medical topics; where logic and critical thinking are enemies of open-mindedness; where anecdotes about undefined health improvements are considered evidence for specific medical treatment claims; where the subjective experiences of a few select individuals are equivalent to the results of randomized, controlled clinical trials; and where promoting unproven, potentially dangerous health claims is a means to empower women.

Stuff that happened on January 20 includes:

  • 1649 – Charles I of England goes on trial for treason and other “high crimes”.
  • 1783 – The Kingdom of Great Britain signed preliminary articles of peace with France, setting the stage to the official end of hostilities in the American Revolutionary War later that year.
  • 1788 – The third and main part of First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip decides that Port Jackson is a more suitable location for a colony.
  • 1921 – The first Constitution of Turkey is adopted, making fundamental changes in the source and exercise of sovereignty by consecrating the principle of national sovereignty.
  • 1929 – The first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, In Old Arizona, is released.

Here’s a clip from that movie, or, if you want to watch the whole thing, go here.

  • 1937 – Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner are sworn in for their second terms as U.S. President and U.S. Vice President; it is the first time a Presidential Inauguration takes place on January 20 since the 20th Amendment changed the dates of presidential terms.
  • 1942 – World War II: At the Wannsee Conference held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, senior Nazi German officials discuss the implementation of the “Final Solution to the Jewish question“.
  • 1961 – John F. Kennedy is inaugurated the 35th President of the United States of America, becoming the second youngest man to take the office, and the first Catholic.

What went for JFK went for every other President since FDR; all since 1937 were inaugurated on this day.

  • 1986 – In the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1888 – Lead Belly, American folk/blues musician and songwriter (d. 1949)

Here’s Lead Belly, in a rare video, singing the standard he made popular, “Goodnight, Irene”:

  • 1906 – Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate (d. 1975)
  • 1910 – Joy Adamson, Austria-born Kenyan painter and author (d. 1980)

Adamson, of course, wrote the immensely popular book Born Free. Here’s a half-hour documentary about her and her lions, particularly the famous Elsa.

  • 1930 – Buzz Aldrin, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut
  • 1946 – David Lynch, American director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1953 – Jeffrey Epstein, American financier and convicted sex offender (d. 2019)
  • 1956 – Bill Maher, American comedian, political commentator, media critic, television host, and producer
  • 1967 – Kellyanne Conway, American political strategist and pundit
  • 1972 – Nikki Haley, American accountant and politician, 116th Governor of South Carolina

Those who perished on January 20 include:

  • 1779 – David Garrick, English actor, producer, playwright, and manager (b. 1717)
  • 1900 – John Ruskin, English painter and critic (b. 1819)
  • 1947 – Josh Gibson, American baseball player (b. 1911)
  • 1984 – Johnny Weissmuller, American swimmer and actor (b. 1904)
  • 1993 – Audrey Hepburn, British actress and humanitarian activist (b. 1929)
  • 1996 – Gerry Mulligan, American saxophonist and composer (b. 1927)
  • 2005 – Miriam Rothschild, English zoologist, entomologist, and author (b. 1908)
  • 2018 – Paul Bocuse, French chef (b. 1926)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili had an adventure. As Malgorzata tells it:

The picture is taken by Paulina [the upstairs lodger]. Hili is on the outside window sill upstairs. She climbed on the verandah’s roof and jumped on our lodgers window. We got her back that evening at 11:30 p.m.
Hili: I know it’s late, but you are not going to sleep yet, right?
Paulina: Of course not, please come in.
Hili: And you haven’t eaten supper either?
In Polish:
Hili: Ja wiem, że jest już poźno, ale chyba nie idziecie jeszcze spać?
Paulina: Ależ nie, proszę, wejdź.
Hili: A kolacji też jeszcze nie jedliście?

From Wild and Wonderful, a rare albino koala:

From Jesus of the Day. If only . . .

A cartoon from Elizabeth Pich and Jonathan Kunz’s series War and Peace, found on Bored Panda by Su Gould:

Titania says “It’s denunciation time!” You might have heard about this kerfuffle (the video is here).

Sent by both Heather Hastie and Barry: A lazy (but smart) bird bums a ride:

And another sent by Heather:

Tweets from Matthew. If you want to see more torrent ducks, watch the excellent PBS Nature show on ducks, “An Original DUCKumentary” (it’s free online).

Catlike, but not a cat (i.e., not in the family Felidae but in an extinct family, and in the suborder Feliformia with other “catlike carnivores,” including hyenas and mongooses).

This is so true: funny but very sad:

A biology lesson with emojis:

An appeal Matthew forwarded to me:





24 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. That black cat cartoon is channelling (ripping off!) Stewie from Family Guy…

    I do not understand the twitter in a nutshell thing as I cannot see what they are arguing about. I tweet articles of interest to people I know or follow, & avoid controversial opinions as no one cares what I think.

    For example, this interesting article –
    Direct evidence for eudicot pollen-feeding in a Cretaceous stinging wasp (Angiospermae; Hymenoptera, Aculeata) preserved in Burmese amber
    & this –
    Using Nutritional Geometry to Explore How Social Insects Navigate Nutritional Landscapes

    1. I do not know exactly what he said, but Fox is another of those rich-boy well-connected actors. There are altogether too many of them. Of course they do not ‘make it’ without help & having the family name…

        1. Fox was called a white privileged male. He replied he was born white and the accuser was being racist. On YouTube.

      1. PCC(E) kindly posted a youtube clip of the exchange that you can watch.

        A woman in the audience said the Markle thing is racism. Fox disagreed. She tried to shut him down by calling him a white privileged male. He pointed out that was racist.

    2. I do not understand the twitter in a nutshell thing as I cannot see what they are arguing about.

      A person made a joke on Twitter about how there are a lot of people on Twitter who do not have a sense of humour. Somebody without a sense of humour writes a critical response. Although, it is possible the person responding was being ironic.

    1. Stan what now? Hoody doody lavski who? (I’m method acting that I’m an old timer comedy relief sidekick that doesn’t have google.)

      1. Played by Al Pacino. Because Al Pacino says “hoody doody” at least once in every movie he’s in. So this would be his first western. (Unless you count Dick Tracy.)

  2. Of all the Fellini movies mentioned I’ve only heard of 8 1/2. An then I didn’t see it.
    Loved the extinct cats stripes.
    I believe the first woman to speak in the movie to be a long term character actor.

  3. I love Fellini. He somehow composes views of unreality that click. He actually used to put ads in the newspaper asking for odd looking extras to fill his scenes. Costumes were important. A lot of his ideas came from his very active dream life. He worked with a scenarist to assemble loose plots, but the magic was in the strange visuals. He’s probably in the top 2 or 3 directors of all time.

    1. Long legs mean you need a long neck, too, I think. At the very least, an animal’s neck should be long enough to allow its mouth to reach water (`cepting elephants). Depending on whether the animal is a grazer or a browser would influence how long the length ‘needs’ to be to collect food.

      Long-necked extinct sea-going reptiles such as the plesiosaurs were another kettle of fish.

      As for birds, here is one observation about neck length. “Cervical count in birds is strongly related to phylogeny, with only some specialists having an exceptional number of vertebrae in the neck. In contrast with mammals, the length of the cervical vertebral column increases as body size increases and, thus, body size does not constrain neck length in birds.”

      1. @grasshopper As you know, longer legged creatures don’t have more leg bones, instead they have longer bones so that their feet still touch the ground [ 🙂 ]. So why should necks be any different?

        Giraffes have seven neck vertebrae just like us – but each can be approx 10 inches long – it looks to me as if it’s easier in mammals to reprogram for bone length rather than bone numbers. Giraffes also have uber-tongues [18″] which are like hands in utility for grasping & cleaning & perhaps lapping water [my guess]

        Perhaps for reptiles, dinos & avians reprogramming [errors] in repeat bone unit numbers is easier than in mammals. Insects seem to be good at adding/removing ‘units’ too.

        My theory: being in the womb & live birth ‘cleans up’ any hopeful monsters with extra vertebrae – egg environment more benign & can tolerate more ‘mistakes’ [complete wild guess]

        1. Sounds like a plausible wild goose guess. Also, maybe mammals tend to be more constrained in design by there ground locomotion. One too many vertebra in a goose probably isn’t going to be fatal. In a wolf, it could lead, at least, to serious strain and headaches.

          1. But then how do you account for sauropods with up to 19 cervical vertebrae?

            I found this which suggests the reason for the mammal near global [two exceptions] restriction to seven is ‘EvoDevo’:

            As a rule all mammals have the same number of vertebrae in their necks regardless of whether they are a giraffe, a mouse, or a human. […] Birds, reptiles & amphibians have varying number of vertebrae in their necks, swans have 22-25, but mammals, regardless of size of animal or the animal’s neck, only have seven. Aberrant neck vertebrae are usually correlated with an increase in risk of stillbirth, childhood cancer & neuronal problems in mammals. These pleiotropic events are often associated with physical problems, such as thoracic outlet syndrome, due to misplaced or crushed nerves, muscles & blood vessels.

            READ ON HERE

    2. Birds: More neck bones = greater flexibility = better feather grooming & easier to keep head/eyes stable during flight manoeuvres. [my synthesis of various info from birdy web pages – also relates to ‘head bobbing’]

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