Friday: Hili dialogue

From Etsy


And do this (just cut and paste from #2; h/t Matthew):


It’s Friday, February 14, 2020, and, of course Valentine’s Day, a Catholic and Anglican holiday, originally the Feast Day of Saint Valentine, reputed to have been a martyr. Here’s a meme that combines his religious  and secular significance:

And one account of his connection with Valentine’s Day cards (from Wikipedia):

[Roman Emperor] Claudius took a liking to him until Valentinus tried to convince Claudius to embrace Christianity, whereupon Claudius refused and condemned Valentinus to death, commanding that Valentinus either renounce his faith or he would be beaten with clubs and beheaded. Valentinus refused and Claudius’ command was executed outside the Flaminian Gate February 14, 269. Saint Valentine is said to have ministered to the faithful amidst the persecution of Christians in the Roman Empire. An embellishment to this account states that before his execution, Saint Valentine wrote a note to [Roman judge] Asterius’s daughter signed “from your Valentine”, which is said to have “inspired today’s romantic missives”.

And there’s a special extraterrestrial Valentine’s Day Google Doodle today. Clicking on it (screenshot below) takes you to a bunch of information about the holiday. About the Doodle itself, C|Net reports:

Love is in the air, as it always is the closer we get to Valentine’s Day. But this year, it’s also in outer space, with our extraterrestrial friends.

Indeed, for Google, the day we celebrate love and romance is “out of this world,” and the tech giant is celebrating that theme this year with a Valentine’s Day Doodle that features a pair of adorable aliens exchanging celestial sweet nothings.

The site also explains how to send extraterrestrial Valentine GIFS to your sweetie, but that’s rather cheap-ass, isn’t it?  Anyway, here’s today’s Doodle:


Did you get a treat or present for your inamorata(o)? It’s not too late to buy some nice chocolates or goodies, which nearly everyone appreciates. In honor of the holiday, and as one suggestion, it’s National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day.

It’s also these holidays: Frederick Douglass Day, celebrating the great man’s birthday (or what is thought to be his birthday) in 1818; Library Lovers Day; and  Read to Your Child Day. 

Finally, it’s bloody freezing in Chicago today: on my walk to work the temperature was -1° F (-18° C ), and with the wind it was -14° F (-25° C ). This is the first time this winter we’ve gone into negative Fahrenheit temperatures.

Lots of stuff happened on February 14; it includes:

  • 1349 – Several hundred Jews are burned to death by mobs while the remaining Jews are forcibly removed from Strasbourg.
  • 1556 – Thomas Cranmer is declared a heretic.
  • 1556 – Coronation of Akbar.
  • 1779 – James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.
  • 1849 – In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.
  • 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray.
  • 1920 – The League of Women Voters is founded in Chicago.
  • 1929 – Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone‘s gang, are murdered in Chicago. [JAC: you can see the photo here, but it’s bloody.]
  • 1945 – World War II: On the first day of the bombing of Dresden, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces begin fire-bombing Dresden.
  • 1966 – Australian currency is decimalized.
  • 1989 – Union Carbide agrees to pay $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal disaster.
  • 1989 – Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.
  • 1990 – The Voyager 1 spacecraft takes the photograph of planet Earth that later become famous as Pale Blue Dot.

The story of the “pale blue dot” photo is here, and reader Jon put together some notes:

For the thirtieth anniversary of the famous “Pale Blue Dot” image taken on February 14, 1990, by the Voyager 1 spacecraft, NASA used image processing software to remaster and “improve” the original. Carl Sagan, who was an imaging scientist on the mission, reportedly negotiated with NASA to have Voyager 1 turn around to take the photograph which was part of a series of 60 images that Voyager 1 snapped to produce what was called “Family Portrait of the Solar System.” Shortly after the images were made the cameras on Voyager were shut down to conserve power. Carl Sagan’s eponymous book was partly inspired by the spaceborne photograph and his reading from the book accompanied by the photograph on YouTube is still moving. [JAC: do click that last link and listen to Sagan. The guy was fricking eloquent!]

The original image (the dot is in a beam of sunlight):

The remastered image:


  • 2005 – YouTube is launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos.
  • 2018 – A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is one of the deadliest school massacres with 17 fatalities and 15 injuries.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1483 – Babur, Moghul emperor (d. 1530)
  • 1882 – John Barrymore, American actor (d. 1942)
  • 1894 – Jack Benny, American actor and producer (d. 1974)
  • 1913 – Jimmy Hoffa, American trade union leader (d. 1975)
  • 1951 – Terry Gross, American radio host and producer.

I listen to Gross along with the other NPR commentators, but never know what they look like. So I looked up Terry Gross, and here she is (of course they never look like you imagine they would):

Those who had their finale on February 14 include:

  • 1779 – James Cook, English captain, cartographer, and explorer (b. 1728)
  • 1891 – William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (b. 1820)
  • 1933 – Carl Correns, German botanist and geneticist (b. 1864)
  • 1943 – David Hilbert, Russian-German mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (b. 1862)
  • 1975 – Julian Huxley, English biologist and eugenicist, co-founded the World Wide Fund for Nature (b. 1887)
  • 1975 – P. G. Wodehouse, English novelist and playwright (b. 1881)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili doesn’t like her toy:

Hili: I will take care of this rainbow plague.
A: But it didn’t do anything to you.
Hili: But it is provoking.
In Polish:
Hili: Zaraz się zajmę tą tęczową zarazą.
Ja: Przecież nic ci nie zrobiła.
Hili: Ale prowokuje.

The Dover Public Library’s Facebook page is a real hoot; they have some wags for librarians there. Here’s one of their recent posts:

From Winnie: these fish have made a heart-shaped hole for Valentine’s Day:


An anti-campaign poster sent in by Meriliee. I have no idea where it’s from or if it’s real, but I’d like to think it’s genuine:

A photo from Laffn (note that the price went up):

From Jesus of the Day, we have Messi the house puma in a sweater. And yes, this is a real photo:

This is fricking adorable:


A tweet from reader Mary. I can’t recall if I’ve put this up before, but I grow old. Anyway, enjoy “Dueling Cats”:

From Dom. This is funny but also sad. They should have left some nuts at the base of the feeder!

Tweets from Matthew. The first one, from the reliable Steve Stewart-Williams, is sad but true:

African army ants (“driver ants”) on the move, retweeted by Matthew. Do enlarge the video so you can see the guards and all the other castes:

A good way to drive home the loss of species:

I retweeted this with an explanation (also provided by Dr. Cobb):



  1. rickflick
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    The Royal Institution formula doesn’t work in Firefox, but it does in Chrome. 😎

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 14, 2020 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

      On my Windows machine. With all four browsers I have: Waterfox Classic, Firefox, Chrome & Edge** – there’s no need to open a Google search page. Just cut/paste the formula into the browser address/search bar to get the Hearts animated graph.

      I am guessing it doesn’t work for you in Firefox probably because your default search engine is set to Bing**, Yandex, DuckDuckGo or some such.

      You might want to change search engine default to Google or open a Google search page to insert formula into.

      Also check you’ve not had a newly installed program change your default search or it’s added a sneaky extra search address bar.

      ** Settings to change Edge default from Bing couldn’t be more hidden – five/six layers down.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 14, 2020 at 10:20 pm | Permalink

        Bing is the thing. I’ve been trying to figure out how to blow it out of the water. Can you outline and approach? Every time my screen shuts down, it goes to a screen image and won’t let me out unless I reenter the code. That may be just my HP hardware? How annoying.

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 14, 2020 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

          Assuming your on Windows 10:

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted February 14, 2020 at 10:32 pm | Permalink

          Oops that’s browser. You needs search engine. Again assuming Windows

          Follow that but don’t select bing. 🙂

          • rickflick
            Posted February 14, 2020 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

            OK. I’ll check it out. Thanks Diana.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 14, 2020 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

          “Every time my screen shuts down, it goes to a screen image and won’t let me out unless I re-enter the code. That may be just my HP hardware?”

          ** Win 10 version? Look in “Settings” cog wheel > “System” > “About” [bottom].
          e.g. Mine is Windows 10 Home 1909 18363.657

          ** HP laptop? Make sure you have latest HP updates for your model [chip bios etc] – even if out of HP warranty.

          ** Do you have it set to sleep, hibernate or shut down when you [1] shut the lid or [2] don’t use for some mins?

          ** Are you referring to your WIN 10 MICROSOFT ACCOUNT ID [CLICK LINK]?

          ** Or are you referring to the login screen which requires you to pick your user account and enter your password [if required]? The only time I put in my ID is logging in after I switched off or rebooted. My ID is just four digits so I’ve left it so I have to log in [the feature can be turned off]

          • rickflick
            Posted February 15, 2020 at 9:15 am | Permalink

            Windows 10 Pro for Workstation 1903, 18362.657

            The system shuts down after 5 minutes or so and when I come back, I hit the space bar to restart, and I have to enter the 4 digits. The shutdown is desirable, but entering the 4 digits is unnecessary, since my home is secure. Entering 4 digits 20 times a day is annoying. Can one remove the security check? Thanks beaucoup Michael.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted February 15, 2020 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

      Hi Rick – I’ve been out all day. I’ll look at this tomorrow Sunday] but I have questions

      “Windows 10 Pro for Workstation 1903”
      That suggests a PC not a laptop. Model?
      If a laptop is it plugged in usually or on battery?
      When you say you hit the spacebar – your machine is coming out of what mode? [Look in Settings > System > Power & Sleep].

      Microsoft has gone security mad on “Pro” editions of Win 10 & this complicates things. MS are bossy buggers & not all things are possible as 1903 is more ‘locked down’, but I’m hopeful! Looking up how to fix this requires ignoring any advice older than 3 months. Ish.

      • rickflick
        Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

        Windows 10 Pro for Workstation 1903, 18362.657

        My system is a work station big-box-under-the-desk, not a laptop. I use it for video editing so it has lots of horsepower.

        Power & Sleep
        When plugged in, turn off after 10 min
        When plugged in, PC goes to sleep after 20 min

        So, this saves energy and is OK.
        But when I return form the latrine, power nap, or liquor store 😎 I have to hit the space bar to wake it up.
        Then I am prompted for the 4 digits. I assume the 4 digits are for security, but it’s just an annoying hindrance which I didn’t have with my previous system.

        So what’s a reader to do?
        I’m going to bite the bullet, don my spelunking helmet, and delve into the dark and dusty crevasses of the security area and see what I can find out.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

          Don’t try anything adventurous! I’ll get back tomorrow.

          I think there’s a fix where you set up a new account & do a bit of REG editing, but I must check – 1903 Home & Pro are different in significant ways.

          • rickflick
            Posted February 15, 2020 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

            Mighty decent of you old chum. I’ll look but not touch. 😎

  2. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    A photo [of a kissing booth] from Laffn (note that the price went up)

    Plainly a case of supply and demand: just one ass, many puckers.

  3. Hempenstein
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    It is also Valentine T McGillycuddy‘s birthday. Surgeon, surveyor, friend of American Natives (including tending Crazy Horse’s fatal wounds), Indian Agent, and bank president. He was also the first Surgeon General of South Dakota. In his later years he enlisted in WWI and treated patients from the 1918 flu panedmic in Alaska. Ashes entombed at the top of Black Elk Peak, with a plaque honoring him in Lakota.

    Among other tidbits, while still in South Dakota in 1889 he received a Sandhill Crane as a present from one of his friends from the Pine Ridge Agency, which he kept as a well-trained pet, and which was said to be the terror of any dog that went into the barn where he kept it.

    What a life!

    For anyone near or travelling through Rapid City SD, the mansion (by Dakota Territorial standards) that he built there is currently undergoing a loving and painstaking resurrection (from the bungalow that it had been converted into) by the townsfolk there.

  4. Nicholas K.
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    I recall gazing upon St. Valentine’s scapula (shoulder blade) in a church in Prague. Why it is there, or how it ended up there, I have no idea. There’s probably quite a story.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:16 am | Permalink

      I’ll be in Prague next weekend. I’ll have to look.

  5. DrBrydon
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    When I was a kid we lived about two blocks from where the Valentine’s Day Massacre happened. The site is a three-flat and small park now.

    That is an amusing sign, but one of the problems with politics right now is that Democrats can’t conceive that a Republican voter might have “any sense of human decency.” Not wrong, not misguided, just completely evil. It’s already hard enough on my white, male, Republican friends; with the declining birth-rate, they can’t get enough babies to eat.

  6. rickflick
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    I find the anti-campaign poster reflects very much my own feelings. I especially like –

    Republicans: Please use your walking time to reflect on how your family failed to impart to you any sense of human decency, and call your mother tonight to apologize for having no soul.

  7. Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I have always wondered how there could be a sunbeam in space. Turns out it just the optics of the camera. Duh.

  8. Nicolaas Stempels
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    For all clarity, that Emperor Claudius was not Claudius from the Julio-Claudian dynasty, known from “I, Claudius”, but Claudius Gothicus (Claudius II, honoured as Gothicus for his defeating the Goths), living 2 centuries later.

  9. Posted February 14, 2020 at 10:26 am | Permalink

    Terry Gross has an amazing voice and is a great interviewer.

    As she says of herself: “I am incredibly short.”

    • John Conoboy
      Posted February 14, 2020 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      I have listened to her for years, mostly on podcasts of her show. Finally got to see what she looked like a couple weeks ago on an episode of Henry Louis Gates’ PBS show Finding Your Roots, and she looks nothing like I imagined. Even now when I listen to the show and know what she looks like, I do not picture her as she really is.

  10. Roger
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    The lesser of two weevils.

    • DrBrydon
      Posted February 14, 2020 at 10:44 am | Permalink


  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

    The story of this Claudius emperor is of Claudius Gothicus in the late, dwindling empire not our more famous Julio Claudian emperor Claudius of the 1st C AD.

  12. darrelle
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    Not so sure about the remastering work on the Pale Blue Dot image. I like the original much better.

  13. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 2:54 pm | Permalink

    Try this to make some interesting Valentines themed structures from plain paper strips :

    • rickflick
      Posted February 14, 2020 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      They ARE unexpected!

  14. E.A. Blair
    Posted February 14, 2020 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    To celebrate Valentine’s Day, I will buy some flowers and place them on my late wife’s grave.

  15. Andrea Kenner
    Posted February 17, 2020 at 10:05 am | Permalink

    I loved the dueling cats. So cute!

  16. Posted February 17, 2020 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    So both you and Strong Bad have pointed out that radio hosts always look nothing like what they sound like. Great minds …? 🙂

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