Sunday: Hili dialogue

If you hurry, you can watch the Groundhog Day ceremonies live here (see below as well).  Punxsutawney Phil the Groundhog (Marmota monax) will come out any second.

It’s over now. It was overcast and so Phil did not see his shadow, ergo we’re going to have an early Spring. (Perhaps that means that the ducks will arrive early!). PETA has protested this ceremony because it’s cruel to the groundhog, and I suppose they have somewhat of a point. However, how else will we know what the weather will be?

Back to business: It’s Sunday, February 2, 2020, and in Chicago we’re predicted to see sun for the first time in 11 days, nearly a record for this city, which is 12 sunless days in a row. (Does this mean that we won’t have an early Spring, or does Phil predict the weather all over America based on cloud conditions in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania?) The high temperature, too, will be warm: 51° F or 11°C.

Note too that today’s date is a palindrome, no matter whether you write your dates American or European style!:

It’s National Tater Tot Day, celebrating a food made from mooshed and extruded potato bits that are seasoned and deep fried. Tots were invented in 1953, and Americans eat 70 million pounds of them a year (it’s been ages since I’ve had one). You can think of them as chunky bits of latkes, and they look like this:

Some people make them into casseroles!

It’s also California Kiwi Fruit Day, Crêpe Day (cultural appropriation, don’t eat), Hedgehog Day (Heather Hastie’s favorite animal), and World Leprosy Day.

And of course it’s Super Bowl Sunday, when Americans will forgather before their televisions to watch the San Francisco and the Kansas City Chiefs fight for the football title, and of course eat piles of unhealthy food. Many chicken wings will be consumed, making it also Super Chicken Wing Day. (Wings were never eaten when I was a kid.) I don’t know if I’ll watch any of the game—even the famous Kitten Bowl.

Interestingly, today Super Bowl Sunday coincides with Groundhog Day, celebrated every February 2 in the U.S and Canada. Following a Pennsylvania Dutch superstitition, if the famous groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow because it’s sunny, there will be six more weeks of winter. If it’s overcast and the large rodent doesn’t see his shadow, we’ll have an early spring. You can see the livestream here on the Visit Pennsylvania site, but it may be over by the time I post this (it’s scheduled for 6:25 Chicago time).

Stuff that happened on February 2 includes:

  • 1653 – New Amsterdam (later renamed The City of New York) is incorporated.
  • 1709 – Alexander Selkirk is rescued after being shipwrecked on a desert island, inspiring Daniel Defoe’s adventure book Robinson Crusoe.
  • 1887 – In Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania the first Groundhog Day is observed.
  • 1901 – Funeral of Queen Victoria.
  • 1922 – Ulysses by James Joyce is published.
  • 1925 – Serum run to Nome: Dog sleds reach Nome, Alaska with diphtheria serum, inspiring the Iditarod race.
  • 1943 – World War II: The Battle of Stalingrad comes to an end when Soviet troops accept the surrender of the last German troops in the city.
  • 1990 – Apartheid: F. W. de Klerk announces the unbanning of the African National Congress and promises to release Nelson Mandela.
  • 2004 – Swiss tennis player Roger Federer becomes the No. 1 ranked men’s singles player, a position he will hold for a record 237 weeks.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1585 – Hamnet Shakespeare, William Shakespeare’s only son (baptised; d. 1596)
  • 1882 – James Joyce, Irish novelist, short story writer, and poet (d. 1941)

A relevant tweet with a photo (h/t: Matthew):

  • 1901 – Jascha Heifetz, Lithuanian-born American violinist and educator (d. 1987)
  • 1905 – Ayn Rand, Russian-born American novelist and philosopher (d. 1982)
  • 1927 – Stan Getz, American saxophonist (d. 1991)
  • 1937 – Tom Smothers, American comedian, actor, and activist
  • 1942 – Graham Nash, English-American singer-songwriter and guitarist
  • 1977 – Shakira, Colombian singer-songwriter, producer, and actress

Those who began pushing up daisies on February 2 include:

  • 1907 – Dmitri Mendeleev, Russian chemist and academic (b. 1834)
  • 1969 – Boris Karloff, English actor (b. 1887)
  • 1970 – Bertrand Russell, English mathematician and philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1872)
  • 1974 – Imre Lakatos, Hungarian-English mathematician and philosopher (b. 1922)
  • 1979 – Sid Vicious, English singer and bass player (b. 1957)
  • 1992 – Bert Parks, American actor, singer, television personality; Miss America telecast presenter (b. 1914)
  • 1996 – Gene Kelly, American actor, singer, dancer, and director (b. 1912)
  • 2014 – Philip Seymour Hoffman, American actor, director, and producer (b. 1967)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s walkies weren’t up to snuff:

Hili: I’m disappointed.
A: What with?
Hili: I didn’t meet anybody familiar on my walk.
In Polish:
Hili: Jestem zawiedziona.
Ja: Czym?
Hili: Nie spotkałam na spacerze nikogo znajomego.

A meme from Facebook:

From Jesus of the Day:

Stephen Barnard posted this gif. The raccoon wants bigger noms, though.

Titania uses woke logic:

And the rest of the tweets come from Matthew (other contributors have been absent). First, I’m sad to inform you that Matthew’s mum died two days ago. What with that and Brexit and other things on his mind, he cheered himself up with this tweet:

I retweeted this one saying that it could happen only in America:

A good demonstration of wealth inequality, but what I want to know is: Did the people who answered the question get pie???  And look at the woman at the end who literally eats the rich!

The first consequence of Brexit:

This is what’s known in the trade as a “groaner”:

Another one of Matthew’s beloved illusions. Make sure you watch until the end when they stick the pen to the “Ames window”:

There’s finally a Groucho emoji! Mathew also notes that this tweet is followed by “a great thread of Grouchoiana.”



  1. Linda Calhoun
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I missed Caturday Felid yesterday. Did you decide to stop doing it?


    • Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:47 am | Permalink

      OMG I forgot! I’ll have to put it up today. We have had one-day delays before. . .

      • Linda Calhoun
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        “OMG I forgot!”

        I’m glad that’s all it was. (Just turned 70, did you? Where’d you leave your glasses? Why did you just walk into this room?)

        I worried about you all day yesterday when I didn’t see it.

        Looking forward to it today.


      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

        Omg you’ve never missed it! Damn if you were in NZ you could say it was Saturday elsewhere.

  2. notsecurelyanchored
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    Is it permissible to post on my own facebook page the tweets you post here, with attribution, of course? Because after last week’s Washington, I want to share Matthew’s encouraging words about beetles beetling away.

    • Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

      Tweets are public so you can post them anywhere. But Matthew found it, so you can give him any credit.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Very sad to hear about Prof. Cobb’s mum. I am encouraged by his beetle tw337. Best wishes, Prof. Cobb and family.

    • Liz
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      +1 Very sorry to hear this.

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    Matt Parker’s piece on the date :

    • C.
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:37 am | Permalink

      Great video. I love how his mind works, and frequently I find out how my own mind doesn’t work because of him. Just finished his book, Humble Pi. More people need to be aware of his Stand Up Maths site, and Numberphile of course. And then while you’re at it, might as well watch Sixty Symbols, Objectivity, Periodic Videos, and Singing Banana! In a world full of unboxing videos and idiot influencers, these are a breath a fresh air indeed.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 3, 2020 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

        Yep, Matt Parker’s on my list (or at least my inscrutable Youtube algorithm), along with Steve Mould who often devises illuminating physical demonstrations of curious phenomena (and sometimes collaborates with Matt).


  5. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    Wiarton Willie concurs with Phil.

  6. Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    I do note that the new olive emoji does not have a pimento in it. Not sure how folks will put up with that…

  7. rickflick
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    I was sure there’d be a pattern online for an Ames Window. If I had grandchildren, I’d build one myself.

    • Saul Sorrell-Till
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      I was thinking, ‘well that’s pretty cool, but not as cool as I was expec-‘

      …then he put the pen through the window…

      ‘ooooooh sheeeeit my brain has a head rush’

      I think I’m actually going to make one of these, so thanks for the link :).

  8. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    The map on the 50€ bill includes most of Europe, not just the European Union. No need for corrections.

  9. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    You’ve heard of New England – behold: New Europe.

    • Pierluigi Ballabeni
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Europe has not changed its geography, the EU has. I am citizen of a European country that does not belong to the EU and that is not less European than any EU country.

  10. Pierluigi Ballabeni
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    There is a wild type Drosophila melanogaster emoji now? 🙂

    Finally we have a fondue emoji. Now we need a technology that allows sending the smell of molten cheese.

  11. Roger
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    There was a movie with Bill Murray in it about today but I can’t remember the name of it. I will program my android to send a signal to itself so that maybe we can remember the name of the movie in the next loop.

    • Mark R.
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

      Movie was aptly named Groundhog Day…and a good movie it was. But I have a feeling you knew that and the joke is on me. 🙂

      • Roger
        Posted February 2, 2020 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

        Thank you I will program that into my android’s positronic brain.

    • Roger
      Posted February 3, 2020 at 7:32 am | Permalink

      This is what I was on about by the way in case everyone is thinking I’m completely out of my mind.

  12. Vita206
    Posted February 2, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    Today is an historic day…hasn’t happen in 900 some years… 02-02-2020… palindrome marvels!!

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 2, 2020 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

      It’s the 33rd day of a leap year so there’s ___ days left?


      I saw that on Matt Parker’s video -which he apparently made this morning in his living room.

  13. Posted February 2, 2020 at 11:14 pm | Permalink

    Wishing Prof. Cobb and his family sincere condolences on the loss of their loved one.

  14. Posted February 3, 2020 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    I’ve got that song from Groundhog Day – the one playing in the background during the ceremony – playing in my head now. Ironically, it seems to be on an infinite loop.

  15. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    Those gun-rights activists in Frankfort, looking *exactly* like ISIS… I’d be so tempted to hide behind a statue and scream “Allahu Akbar! FIRE!” and listen to the carnage breaking out.

    What, me, malicious? 😎


  16. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted February 3, 2020 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    That Ames Window demo is extraordinary. As PCC says, the last bit of the clip with the pen and the window going in ‘opposite’ directions is amazing.


  17. Posted February 4, 2020 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    On the Ames window – there’s something so PBS about that clip …

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