Monday: Hili dialogue

February 10, 2020 • 6:45 am

Good morning on the start of a new week (unless you’re west of the International Date Line): Monday, February 10, 2020. It’s National Cream Cheese Brownie Day as well as National “Have a Brownie” Day, but for the life of me I can’t figure out the scare quotes. Are you only supposed to pretend you had a brownie? Or is “Have a Brownie” some kind of salacious euphemism?

It’s Valentine Week, the run-up to the Big Romantic Day, and today, as part of that, it’s Teddy Day, when you’re supposed to give your inamorata or inamorato a teddy bear. But I’m not giving away my beloved Toasty, whom I’ve had since the day I was born. Like me, he’s battered, his fur isn’t what it used to be, but he’s still standing (my mother made his overalls to cover his shame):

Toasty! (born 1949)

Finally, it’s Oatmeal Monday (also known as “Meal Monday”). As Wikipedia notes, this is an old tradition:

Meal Monday (also known as Oatmeal Monday) was a traditional holiday observed by the ancient universities of Scotland on the second Monday of February.

During the 17th century, Scottish university students lived in very basic accommodation and were required to bring their own fuel, firewood or peat, to maintain a fire.[2] Their diet was meagre too, largely consisting of oatmeal, which they would make into porridge. This lifestyle would remain typical until the late 19th century. Rev. James Sharp noted that as a student at the University of Edinburgh, “the liberal arts, sciences and theology were cultivated on oatmeal, with an occasional glass of beer on a Saturday night.”[3]

As the students’ country homes or farms were some distance from the city universities, an occasional long weekend was scheduled to permit them to replenish their supplies. Originally, and until as recently as 1885, these Meal Mondays would occur regularly; the University of Edinburgh had one on the first Monday of every month. However, by 1896  Edinburgh established just one official holiday, on the second Monday in February.

News of the Day: As most of you probably know (I didn’t watch the show), the Oscars last night were pretty much what everyone predicted, save the award of Best Picture to the South Korean film “Parasite,” the first ever Best Picture Oscar given to a film not in English. (The NYT story on the Oscars is largely about diversity, or the lack thereof, and we will hear much about that in the news today, though not from me.) Finally, Greg Mayer had an Oscar party last night, complete with a red carpet, and here’s his cat Peyton strutting her stuff. Look at her lovely fur outfit, designed by Mother Nature.

Stuff that happened on February 10 includes:

  • 1355 – The St Scholastica Day riot breaks out in Oxford, England, leaving 63 scholars and perhaps 30 locals dead in two days.

Read about the riot: it started with a quarrel about the quality of wine served in a local tavern, and wound up with mass carnage.

  • 1840 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom marries Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha.
  • 1933 – In round 13 of a boxing match at New York City’s Madison Square Garden, Primo Carnera knocks out Ernie Schaaf. Schaaf dies four days later. [You can see a video of the fatal exchange of blows here.]
  • 1940 – Tom and Jerry make their debut with Puss Gets the Boot.

Here’s Puss Gets the Boot.  Poor Jerry! But the rodent comes out all right (he had to—there were future cartoons!) Note: there’s a stereotyped black maid at the end who gives Tom the boot.

  • 1962 – Cold War: Captured American U2 spy-plane pilot Gary Powers is exchanged for captured Soviet spy Rudolf Abel.
  • 1962 – Roy Lichtenstein’s first solo exhibition opened, and it included Look Mickey, which featured his first employment of Ben-Day dots, speech balloons and comic imagery sourcing, all of which he is now known for.
  • 1996 – IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeats Garry Kasparov in chess for the first time.
  • 2007 – Then Illinois senator Barack Obama announces his candidacy for president in the 2008 elections, which he later goes on to win.

Here’s Warhol’s pathbreaking “painting” (I can’t abide his art), “Look Mickey”:

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1775 – Charles Lamb, English poet and essayist (d. 1834)
  • 1890 – Boris Pasternak, Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1960)
  • 1893 – Jimmy Durante, American actor, singer, and pianist (d. 1980)
  • 1893 – Bill Tilden, American tennis player and coach (d. 1953)
  • 1894 – Harold Macmillan, English captain and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1986)
  • 1898 – Bertolt Brecht, German director, playwright, and poet (d. 1956)
  • 1927 – Leontyne Price, American operatic soprano
  • 1929 – Jim Whittaker, American mountaineer
  • 1929 – Lou Whittaker, American mountaineer

The Whittakers are identical twins, and Jim was the first American expedition to summit Everest (1963). They’re still with us—at 91. Here they are. Which one is Jim?

  • 1950 – Mark Spitz, American swimmer
  • 1961 – George Stephanopoulos, American television journalist
  • 1967 – Laura Dern, American actress, director, and producer [n.b. she won as Oscar for Best Supporting Actress yesterday]

Those who kicked the bucket (see here for that phrase’s origin) on February 10 include:

  • 1879 – Honoré Daumier, French illustrator and painter (b. 1808)
  • 1912 – Joseph Lister, 1st Baron Lister, English surgeon and academic (b. 1827)
  • 1923 – Wilhelm Röntgen, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1845)
  • 1957 – Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author (b. 1867)
  • 2014 – Shirley Temple, American actress and diplomat (b. 1928)

Here’s a Daumier, “7 O’clock in the Morning”, which I guess was early for Daumier. He couldn’t draw cats very well. . . .

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows a strange concern for the mice, though perhaps she just doesn’t want to eat wet ones:

Hili: When it’s raining everything is wet.
A: Not you—you are at home.
Hili: Yes, but the mice are wet.
In Polish:
Hili: Kiedy pada deszcz, wszystko jest mokre.
Ja: Ty nie—bo jesteś w domu.
Hili: Tak, ale myszy mokną.

Reader Kurt posted this on Facebook:

Death by cephalopod, from Giphy:

A groaner from the Foundation for Homeless Cats:

Lagniappe: My friend Moto sent me this photo. I have no idea whether it’s real, but I submit it for your consideration. Frankly, I don’t think a cat would tolerate this:

Saturday’s Caturday felid post featured a kitten that had a cat-shaped mark on its nose. The description of that kitten was from 2017, and I tweeted a video.  The kitten did appear to be feral, with some scalp issues behind the ear, but when I tweeted the kitten video, the original poster replied (second tweet below). He/she adopted the kitten! And now, as an adult, it still has its mark. “Now. my cat.”

I was pretty appalled when Bernie started drawing lines about who could be a Democrat and who couldn’t, so I retweeted what he said. It’s just dumb to draw lines like this when we need every vote we can get!

From reader Kurt, who says that this sounds like a “laser blaster battle.” It’s certainly a weird sound!

A giant centipede from reader Barry. I’m not sure why this guy let it crawl up his arm given that centipedes are venomous. Oy!

A tweet from Heather Hastie. This poor kitty! Someone (and not the cat) has a job to do:

Tweets from Matthew: this white stag is stunningly beautiful:

Lovely cakes, but I about fainted when he cut the “hand” cake:

32 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. I have to take issue with Jerry’s opinion of Andy Warhol. Forty years ago, I would have scoffed at Warhol, derisively sneering “Soup cans?!?!?” I mellowed somewhat over the years. And then I saw the recent Warhol exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago. I am now a full blown fan. Seeing the totality of his work in context blew me away.

    The AIC had a nice touch for the closing of the show – a concert by John Cale who cofounded the Velvet Underground with Lou Reed. Warhol nominally produced their first album. Cale has done so much more since his Velvet days. He did play “Fear Is A Man’s Best Friend.” Unfortunately, he did not play MacBeth.

      1. Listen to Cale’s Paris 1919, produced by Chris Thomas. Featuring Lowell George and Richie Hayward of Little Feat and Wilton Felder of the Crusaders.

          1. You can find the entire album (originally released in 1973) on youtube if you want to get a taste. Around 2009, Cale performed the entire album with an orchestra which is also on youtube. Just search for cale paris 1919.

    1. I share PCC’s opinion of Warhol. Take that painting illustrated for example, what’s Warhol got that a thousand Disney illustrators haven’t got?


  2. I like your bear! Mine was named Mike and had originally been my mother’s, so he had a lot of miles on him when he arrived. She tucked him away somewhere after I outgrew his limited conversational skills and poor chess performance, and now he’s on display in her living room. His birthday would have to be in the late 30’s, I reckon.

    I’d like to see photos of all the readers’ bears sometime!

      1. Excellent! I’ve sent a request to Mom for a photo, and will forward it to you at your usual email if that’s the best route.

      2. Alas, my childhood bear is gone. I had two beloved stuffed toys, a Pooh Bear and a Piglet. FAO Schwartz in Shaker Heights sold a line of Winnie The Pooh animals that looked just like the original illustrations. At some point as I grew up, my mother gave Pooh and Piglet to my younger cousins. Pooh disappeared, but some years ago I got Piglet back. He is missing a leg and is generally well worn, but Piglet abides.

        1. Okay, photograph him for our contest! I have a stuffed Eeyore (my spirit animal), and I wanted the original because it’s much cuter than the Disney Eeyore and I was brought up on the original A. A. Milne books. I even added a pink ribbon to his tail to make it more authentic.

          It took me a long time to find an original-looking Eeyore on eBay. . .

  3. The sound of the ice dropped in the hole was quite unexpected (by me). There must be echos from sound waves bouncing around in there. Curiously it pings and whines like a distant gun fight in a Western movie. I guess I expected clunks.

    1. You get the same ‘powww’ effect from any percussive sound in a long pipe. If you can find e.g. a long culvert under an embankment, and bang the side of it, you’ll get the same. Presumably caused by the sound waves reflecting off the ends of the pipe.


  4. The Oscars have a different diversity problem: With the exception of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, I am uniformly uninterested in any of the pictures nominated.

  5. That is not a stag – it is a buck – it is a fallow deer, Dama dama & white bucks are not at all uncommon. Note the palmate antlers.

    Red deer males are stags.

  6. I was delighted to hear that Parasite won. I hope its commercial and critical success is a sign that American audiences are paying more attention to foreign films instead of shying away from subtitles.

    And in my unhumble opinion, Parasite was also the genuinely best picture among the nominees (my second choice would have been The Irishman). The film is a rare example of a socially conscious film on an important issue (the modern class divide) that is also a superb piece of entertainment. It’s a black comedy, satire, and nail-biting suspense thriller all in one. It also has a vitality mostly missing in American filmmaking, aside from films like Uncut Gems.

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