Sunday: Hili dialogue

It’s Sunday, February 9, 2020, and it’s both National Bagels and Lox Day and National Pizza Day. That’s a tough choice! Further, it’s Chocolate Day, Read in the Bathtub Day, and Man Day, celebrating men! In Malta it’s People’s Sunday, celebrating the days when longen folk to goon on pilgrimages.

Stuff that happened on February 9 include:

  • 1775 – American Revolutionary War: The British Parliament declares Massachusetts in rebellion.
  • 1825 – After no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes in the US presidential election of 1824, the United States House of Representatives elects John Quincy Adams as President of the United States.
  • 1895 – William G. Morgan creates a game called Mintonette, which soon comes to be referred to as volleyball.
  • 1950 – Second Red Scare: US Senator Joseph McCarthy accuses the United States Department of State of being filled with Communists.
  • 1964 – The Beatles make their first appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, performing before a “record-busting” audience of 73 million viewers across the USA.

Here’s that appearance, with the boys singing “I want to hold your hand.” The best was yet to come.

  • 1971 – Satchel Paige becomes the first Negro League player to be voted into the USA’s Baseball Hall of Fame.

Here’s a video celebrating his election, and giving just a brief idea of his speed. What a pity baseball was segregated until 1947!

  • 1996 – Copernicium is discovered, by Sigurd Hofmann, Victor Ninov et al.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1773 – William Henry Harrison, American general and politician, 9th President of the United States (d. 1841)
  • 1874 – Amy Lowell, American poet, critic, and educator (d. 1925)
  • 1910 – Jacques Monod, French biochemist and geneticist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1976)
  • 1914 – Ernest Tubb, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1984)
  • 1928 – Roger Mudd, American journalist [Still with us at 91.]
  • 1930 – Garner Ted Armstrong, American evangelist and author (d. 2003)
  • 1942 – Carole King, American singer-songwriter and pianist
  • 1943 – Joe Pesci, American actor

Here’s a whole half-hour old-time country show starring Tubb:

Those who popped off on February 9 include:

Here are some photos I took in July, 2011 of Dostoyevsky’s apartment, which is now a museum of sorts in St. Petersburg. I was the only visitor, and wrote about my visit (with more photos than those shown below) here. The indented captions are from my post of nine years ago.

The building where Dostoyevsky had his apartment:

The plaque on the building, which helped me find it:

The apartment is a small warren of rooms, the most famous being  his study, where he would write all night and smoke.  The couch behind his desk—the desk where he wrote The Brothers Karamazov—was where he often slept. Note the clock.

Here is Dostoyevsky’s hat, the only item of clothing recovered from his “estate”.

Beside the desk is an autographed portrait of Dostoyevsky, which my erstwhile colleague Ilya Ruvinsky translated as follows:

“To my kind Anya from me. F. Dostevsky. 14 June/80 y(ear)”.
The word used for “kind” is a bit unusual in such a context. It is not “dear” for example. I assume “Anya” refers to his wife A. N. Snitkina [Anya Grigovrevna].

To me the most poignant item in the museum is this: a box of Dostoyevsky’s cigarettes signed by his daughter.  Fyodor loved to smoke, even though his doctors forbade it because of his emphysema. On the day he died, his daughter Lyubov wrote on the bottom of the box, “January 28, 1881. Papa died.” She was 12.

Update: The date written is the Julian date, for that calendar was in effect in Russia in 1881. When I converted it to the Gregorian calendar, which Russia adopted in 1918, I got February 9—the date now listed as the day he died. [I note a “9/2” on the case, but am not sure if somewhat wrote that later].

The great man’s death mask.

Others who died on this day include:

  • 1966 – Sophie Tucker, Russian-born American singer (b. 1884)
  • 1981 – Bill Haley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1925)
  • 1995 – J. William Fulbright, American lawyer and politician (b. 1905)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili isn’t having much luck hunting:

Hili: What time is it?
A: Why do you ask?
Hili: I have an impression that the mice have all gone for lunch.
In Polish:
Hili: Która godzina?
Ja: Czemu pytasz?
Hili: Mam wrażenie, że wszystkie myszy poszły na lunch.

From the Laffn page:

From Wild and Wonderful: a hummingbird nest built on a peach. I hope the chick fledges before the peach rots, but I’m not hopeful. . .

From Jesus of the Day:

Not all people, of course, but I know some like this, as we all do.

Her Highness speaks (ironically). But have a look at the article she’s indirectly mocking; it’s about the most ludicrous display of leftist petulance I’ve seen:

Two scary videos from reader cesar:

From reader Kurt. Well, I suspect that iPhone is toast, but it’s a nice whale, anyway:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a slightly bowdlerized duck poem. Lord love a duck!

This is circular, not oval, and it’s not moving:

How lovely to hold a piece of (geological) history:




  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 7:03 am | Permalink


  2. sted24
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    On the illusion: if you tip your head 45 deg to the left or right, the circularity becomes apparent.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 7:35 am | Permalink

    What’s happening is I’m forming associations between the presented items – so the following year, I’ll see Dostoyevsky and think “ah! It’s pizza day! And the watermelon!”

  4. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 7:39 am | Permalink's_Day

    Also not to be confused with

    … which cites “man day”, etc.

  5. Jim batterson
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    In addition to being a scientist and Nobel laureate, jacques monod was a citizen soldier in the french resistance as recounted by sean B carroll in his excellent 2013 book on monod and camus: “brave genius – a scientist, a philosopher, and their daring adventures from the french resistance to the nobel prize”.

  6. rickflick
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    A chunk of KT boundary would be nice to have on my shelf. It’s a nice reminder of how lucky we are to be here.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 9, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      You can buy a reasonably sized rock chunk for $250 or dubious ‘soil samples’ for $20 – eBay & such. I’d be investing in wine for-consumption-of myself! 🙂

      • rickflick
        Posted February 9, 2020 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        So, if I bought a chunk for $250 I’d still have to have it tested for, what, 2,500? I’ll take your suggestion and invest in nectar of the gods. BTW, my homemade wine is beginning to taste mature. It’s now 2 month old Syrah with enough tannin to age 5 years. Stop by in another 20 months.

    • Posted February 9, 2020 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      I can’t believe they’ve renamed the K-T boundary. First Pluto and now this!

      • Nicolaas Stempels
        Posted February 9, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

        Just be stubborn and keep calling it K-T.
        K-Pg doesn’t sound as good, so we might even win in the long run. Katie vs Kaypeejee…

  7. Roger
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    “The main thing I was aware of when we did the first Ed Sullivan Show was that we rehearsed all afternoon. TV had such bad sound equipment – it still has today, usually, but then it was really bad – that we would tape our rehearsals and then go up and mess with the dials in the control booth. We got it all set with the engineer there, and then we went off for a break.

    “The story has it that while we were out, the cleaner came in to clean the room and the console, thought, ‘What are all these chalk marks?’ and wiped them all off. So our plans just went out the window. We had a real hasty time trying to get the sound right.”

    –Ringo Starr

    • DrBrydon
      Posted February 9, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      I remember a similar story that was told about Warren Beatty and Bonnie and Clyde. Beatty had apparently been impressed by the sound work on Shane with its very loud gun shots. He spoke to the director, George Stevens, to learn how to do it. Beatty was sitting at the premiere of Bonnie and Clyde, and when the first shot rang out, they were nice and loud, but after that they seemed muffled. He ran up to the projection booth, and the projectionist told him that he had a sound problem. The gun shots were way too loud, and he had to keep manually turning down the sound to compensate….

  8. GBJames
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    I suspect the iPhone survived.

  9. C.
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Anyone who wishes to learn a little about Copernicium would do well to visit Period Videos on YouTube. Anyone with an interest in chemistry who hasn’t checked out Sir Martyn Poliakoff and the gang from U of Nottingham is really missing out.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted February 9, 2020 at 9:09 am | Permalink


      Periodic Videos is great – recently saw the one on … As?… non stop interesting stuff. Brady Haran is the mastermind, I think. His other videos are great too – Numberphile being my favorite- I still need to get into Sixty Symbols. Started into Computerphile recently

      • C.
        Posted February 9, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

        Dang! I just realized I was autocorrected to Period rather than Periodic Videos!

        And yes, Numberphile is phantastic! So is the podcast, with great in-depth interviews, although it is far too infrequent. It led me to read Cliff Stoll’s books, scour the internet for all his videos, and now I own one of his Klein Bottles, a Klein Bottle hat, and a möbius scarf, plus my recent acquisition of Matt Parker’s two books, Humble Pi and Things to Make and Do in the Fourth Dimension. Objectivity is also fun, but Haran has also done a biblical video series, which I haven’t watched. I dunno if he is religious or not. James Grime, who is not religious, said it was a good series simply because it was about things he didn’t know much about but with all the science videos to watch, I really haven’t seen much reason to search them out.

  10. DrBrydon
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

    I didn’t realize Bill Haley died that late. I knew he was an alcoholic, but I thought he’d died in the 60s.

    • Posted February 9, 2020 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      I saw Haley perform from up close in the mid sixties. He did not appear to be in good health then. Could have been the alcohol.

  11. Posted February 9, 2020 at 9:57 am | Permalink

    I have yet to come around to Cretaceous-Paleogene rather than Cretaceous-Tertiary. Old neurons.

  12. Hempenstein
    Posted February 9, 2020 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Cool that the Texas Troubador, Ernest Tubb, made the list. In her infant period, my daughter had colic and I’d get her to go to sleep by waltzing her to the sounds of an ET album.

    Another Story, Another Time, Another Place is one of my favorites.

    But Walking the Floor Over You is probably more well-known and was particularly fitting back then.

  13. Posted February 9, 2020 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    That was a nice beluga whale! Every time I see one of those, I am reminded that they are said to have the world’s worst breath. Perhaps retrieving the phone wasn’t worth the smelly experience. Has any reader experienced their breath first-hand? Is it really that bad or is it just fake news?

  14. Posted February 9, 2020 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    The beluga is saying, “So where’s my fish?!”

  15. Posted February 10, 2020 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Pizza vs. bagel and lox: well, one could have lox as a topping on pizza! (It does work if one uses good cheese to keep the lox from drying out.)

%d bloggers like this: