Saturday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Saturday, March 14, 2020: National Potato Chip Day.  Since it’s 3/14 in U.S. dating, it’s also Pi Day, and various pizza chains are offering $3.14 discounts on their pies. Ergo, it’s a good day for celebrating nature and science, so it’s also Learn About Butterflies Day, National Save a Spider Day, and Science Education Day.

And, if you’re alert at 1:59 pm, at 26 seconds after that minute it will be 3/14 1:59:26:

Finally, it’s Celebrate Scientists Day, held on the day in March when Albert Einstein was born in 1879.

I hesitate to even add this, but because it’s listed as a holiday on Wikipedia, I will: It’s this day. OY!

Stuff that happened on March 14 includes:

Remember—tomorrow is the Ides of March!

Here’s the original patent. While it facilitated the growth of cotton in the American South, it also facilitated the growth of slavery as demand for cotton workers grew rapidly:

  • 1885 – The Mikado, a light opera by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, receives its first public performance in London.
  • 1900 – The Gold Standard Act is ratified, placing United States currency on the gold standard.
  • 1931 – Alam Ara, India’s first talking film, is released.

Sadly, this first Indian talkie has been completely lost, but here’s a short documentary about it, including some photos:

  • 1942 – Orvan Hess and John Bumstead became the first in the United States successfully to treat a patient, Anne Miller, using penicillin.

Here’s a report about Miller’s treatment taken from the NYT (via Wikipedia). She had a streptococcal infection, but, as you see below, was saved (her obituary in the NYT is here).

“Doctors had done everything possible, both surgically and medically,” Dr. Hess said in a 1998 interview with Katie Krauss, the editor of Yale-New Haven Magazine and one of the many babies Dr. Hess delivered. “I went to see her and knew she was dying.”

Dr. Hess went to talk to her internist, Dr. Bumstead, and found him asleep in the library. “While I was waiting for him to wake up,” Dr. Hess said, “I sat and read the latest Reader’s Digest, in which there was an article called ‘Germ Killers From Earth’, about the use of soil bacteria to kill streptococcal infection in animals.”

He asked Dr. Bumstead, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had something like this gramicidin mentioned in the Reader’s Digest?” This prompted Dr. Bumstead to speak with some colleagues who were studying penicillin and to obtain some for the patient, Anne Miller. The day after her first injection, Mrs. Miller’s fever broke. She lived to be 90 years old, dying in 1999.

— New York Times
And here’s Miller with Alexander Fleming, who first noticed the bactericidal properties of penicillin:
  • 1964 – A jury in Dallas finds Jack Ruby guilty of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, the assumed assassin of John F. Kennedy.
  • 1967 – The body of U.S. President John F. Kennedy is moved to a permanent burial place at Arlington National Cemetery
  • 1982 – The South African government bombs the headquarters of the African National Congress in London.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 1836 – Isabella Beeton, English author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (d. 1865)
  • 1854 – Paul Ehrlich, German physician and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1915)
  • 1863 – Casey Jones, American engineer (d. 1900)
  • 1879 – Albert Einstein, German-American physicist, engineer, and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1955)
  • 1887 – Sylvia Beach, American-French publisher, founded Shakespeare and Company (d. 1962)
  • 1923 – Diane Arbus, American photographer (d. 1971)
  • 1933 – Michael Caine, English actor and author
  • 1948 – Billy Crystal, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
  • 1997 – Simone Biles, American gymnast

Here’s Arbus on the prowl with her camera:

Those who perished on March 14, 2020 include:

  • 1883 – Karl Marx, German philosopher and theorist (b. 1818)
  • 1932 – George Eastman, American inventor and businessman, founded Eastman Kodak (b. 1854)
  • 1969 – Ben Shahn, Lithuanian-American painter, illustrator, and educator (b. 1898)
  • 1976 – Busby Berkeley, American director and choreographer (b. 1895)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is doing her job as editor of Listy:

Hili: We have to rethink the ending of this article.
A: What do you suggest?
Hili: A stronger punch line.
In Polish:
Hili: Musimy przemyśleć inne zakończenie tego artykułu.
Ja: A co proponujesz?
Hili: Mocniejszą pointę.


From Noah’s Ark Veterinary Service:

And speaking of cats and toilet paper:

From the Dover Public Library Site:

I don’t know if this photo, from Jesus of the Day, is Photoshopped; I hope not:

A tweet retweeted by Titania; Vaughn has a potential cure for coronavirus (maybe this works only for women):

Reader cesar says, correctly that this is “a great twitter thread from Yale’s Dr. Nicholas Christakis on how China has reduced coronavirus transmission.” There are 26 tweets in the thread that starts with this one:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a quack (and not from a duck):


Well, I’ll be. . .

An angry mom takes down a stupid gun-loving Congressman (he’s a Republican, of course). Seriously, WTF? Do we need these weapons?

This is like something out of a nightmare.

I retweeted this, which Matthew sent me, and added a remark:


  1. Historian
    Posted March 14, 2020 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Is Kenneth Copeland more loathsome than Trump? It’s hard to tell. At least, the Catholic Church has sense enough to realize that God needs a boost in fighting the virus by suspending masses in the churches.

    • GBJames
      Posted March 14, 2020 at 10:53 am | Permalink

      Mormons, too, have suspended services worldwide. Even these folk can recognize that when it matters, science trumps faith.

      Sorry for using that word.

  2. rickflick
    Posted March 14, 2020 at 7:51 am | Permalink

    It is ironic that Dr. Hess was prompted by coincidentally reading the Reader’s Digest about penicillin. A general interest magazine. You would have thought there would be plenty of news about it circulating in GP journals. That was a lucky baby. As a boy I was given penicillin a number of time for scrapes and cuts that infected my whole body. I’m not sure, but I think I might have actually died. Thanks Dr. Fleming.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted March 14, 2020 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Here’s a new pi puzzle I haven’t tried yet : make this equation work : pi pi pi pi = 7
    from Presh Talwakar:

    … besides that, Brady Haran’s Numberphile channel has interesting videos on pi – too many to list.

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:19 am | Permalink

      This is an interesting and amusing puzzle – a hint : use a famous formula by Paul Dirac. I admit I couldn’t solve this – it’s very interesting though.

  4. Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:14 am | Permalink

    Since you brought up Covid-19, how do fellow readers feel about the elbow bump? Surely there are safer ways to greet than bumping the very elbows that people cough or sneeze into! The crook of the elbow is not that removed from the funny bone!

    I much prefer the Vulcan greeting, and there’s Namaste (although we might be accused of cultural appropriation) or a straightforward raised palm to say Hi, and there’s the fun toe/foot bump. What’s wrong with the Agent Orange still shaking hands? What an idiot.

    • boudiccadylis
      Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Sorry but the raised hand hi might be considered another appropriation.

      • Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:32 am | Permalink

        Of course I don’t mean palm raised up very high (like Heil). Heaven forbid! I was thinking more about chest height. (Again risk of accusations of cultural appropriation from Native Americans?).

        • merilee
          Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink


          • Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:55 am | Permalink

            That’s what I was thinking. It’s a good one to use.

            • merilee
              Posted March 14, 2020 at 10:35 am | Permalink

              Without throwing in Kemosabe..

              • Posted March 14, 2020 at 4:39 pm | Permalink

                Def. not. I value my life. 🙂

              • merilee
                Posted March 14, 2020 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

                😂Didn’t The Far Side have a piece about Kemosabe meaning “horse’s ass?”

              • Posted March 15, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

                I didn’t know that, or at least I don’t remember. I’ve been forgetting a lot of stuff over recent years.

              • merilee
                Posted March 15, 2020 at 5:29 pm | Permalink

                Hope this works.

              • Posted March 15, 2020 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

                “What the hey?!’ is right!

              • merilee
                Posted March 15, 2020 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, loved the”What the hey?” That’s about as close as Larson ever comes to swearing. And love The Lone Ranger’s teeth, or lack thereof.

              • merilee
                Posted March 15, 2020 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

                Yeah, loved the”What the hey?” That’s about as close as Larson ever comes to swearing. And love The Lone Ranger’s teeth, or lack thereof.

  5. merilee
    Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:24 am | Permalink

    Bumping hips/bums.

    • Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      That’s also cute, between good girlfriends. However, I wouldn’t want to do that with guys or strangers or Sumo wrestlers.

      • Posted March 14, 2020 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Now that I think about, with good guy friends, yes.

        • merilee
          Posted March 14, 2020 at 10:34 am | Permalink

          But most likely not between guy friends🤓

          • rickflick
            Posted March 14, 2020 at 11:14 am | Permalink

            There could be gay guy friends. 😎

            • merilee
              Posted March 14, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

              Of course

          • Posted March 14, 2020 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

            Unless they’re into that sort of thing. Equal opportunity and all, eh. 🙂

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted March 14, 2020 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      And for any youngsters that need a demo:

      • merilee
        Posted March 14, 2020 at 12:27 pm | Permalink


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