Thursday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on this chilly Thursday, September 29, 2016.  It’s National Coffee Day, and I’m about to celebrate with my usual morning tipple: a large latte made on my own espresso machine with beans freshly ground in my own burr grinder. I could not live without either the equipment or the libation! On this day in history, the first U.S. Congress adjourned in 1789, and, in 1941, the Babi Yar massacre began in Kiev, with the Nazis and their minions shooting nearly 34,000 Jews in a ravine.

Notables born on this day include Miguel de Cervantes (1537),  Caravaggio (1571; in my estimation one of the ten greatest painters of all time), who painted this:


The Calling of St. Matthew by Caravaggio. ca. 1599.

. . . .  (continuing with today’s births), Françoise Boucher (1703), Horatio Nelson (1758), Trofim Lysenko (1898), Michelangelo Antonioni (1912), Jerry Lee Lewis (1935), Lech Wałęsa (1943; Malgorzata informs me that he was “born in a village close to Dobrzyn and his first job as a mechanic with agricultural machinery was in our Dobrzyn”), Ann Bancroft (1955; wait? she’s younger than I am??!). Those who died on this day include Winslow Homer (1910), Rudolf Diesel (1913, inventor of the eponymous engine), Carson McCullers (1967), W. H. Auden (1973), Casey Stengel (1975), and Tony Curtis (2010). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej is distributing treats to the animals, inciting some intermammalian competition:

Cyrus: You’ve got more.
Hili: Because you ate yours quicker.


In Polish:
Cyrus: Ty masz więcej.
Hili: Bo ty swoje szybciej zjadłeś.
Out in Idaho, we have both a cat and d*g photograph from the estimable Stephen Barnard. First the moggie, then the d*ggie:
You don’t get many cat photos from me. (I like cats.) This is a barn cat on my neighbors’ place. There are two, but the other  one is seldom seen. They’re essentially wild, living on mice, voles, and  the unreliable charity of my neighbors, who feed them just enough so they won’t molest the chickens. They aren’t approachable. Neither has a name.
These cats must get very cold in winter, and that (and their unreliable food source) makes me sad.
Here’s Hitch (honorary cat) enjoying a marrow bone in the sunshine. Life is good. Taken through the spotting scope.


  1. Dominic
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I went to Babi Yar when I went to the USSR in 1981. Murder on such a scale is hard to take in.

    • Dominic
      Posted September 29, 2016 at 6:45 am | Permalink

      The memorial I recall is it seems the one put up in 1976 to the Russians killed there… Do not search for images unless you have a strong stomach as the images that survive are raw, showing the brutality…

  2. Dominic
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 6:39 am | Permalink

    There’s a Google doodle for the Biro!

    • Christopher
      Posted September 29, 2016 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      and for those outside the UK, a biro is what the US calls a ball point pen.

      Is it still called a biro in Oz, or New Zealand?

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted September 29, 2016 at 3:07 pm | Permalink

        Yes, we mostly call it a biro.

  3. GBJames
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    National Coffee Day follows immediately after National Drink Beer Day? I can’t wait for tomorrow!

    • Derek Freyberg
      Posted September 29, 2016 at 8:24 am | Permalink

      National Rush to the Bathroom Day?

  4. Christopher
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I”m having a mix of Cafe du Monde chicory coffee with some of my usual dark roast. I was having a weird craving for chicory coffee.

    I’m not a coffee snob by any means. I won’t argue about this prep vs. that, this nation’s bean vs. another, or whatever else (like wine snobs, this kinda gets on my nerves, knowing that it is very easy to confuse these beverage hipsters with a proper double blind test) I do have a reasonable bar of expectations and preferences. I prefer the dark roasts, whole bean so I can grind it myself, and get shade grown, organic, rainforest certified, or fair trade for an easing of the conscience. Even so, a thin cup of Folgers or Maxwell House is still better than no cup at all. Many a night class at the local community college were passed over a paper cup of vending machine coffee that tasted like it had been made from burnt popcorn kernels.

    • Posted September 29, 2016 at 7:22 am | Permalink

      Agreed. And I love chicory coffee.

    • darrelle
      Posted September 29, 2016 at 7:30 am | Permalink

      I am not a coffee drinker, except on occasion I might guzzle a cup or two at the gym if I need a boost.

      As I think I might have mentioned here before, the coffee at my gym tastes almost exactly like a well used ashtray smells.

      Someone here suggested I try a good cup of espresso. I have to admit, it was much better. I think I still prefer my coffee prepared like Häagen-Dazs coffee ice cream though.

  5. RobM
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 7:21 am | Permalink

    You weren’t by any chance thinking of Anne Bancroft (Mrs Robinson, wife of Mel Brooks, etc)? Born in 1931, and sadly died in 2005.

    • Doug
      Posted September 29, 2016 at 8:03 am | Permalink

      The Ann Bancroft who was born today is an explorer. According to Wikipedia, her accomplishments include:

      1986–Was part of an expedition that reached the North Pole on dog sled, making her the first woman to reach the Pole by sled;

      1993–Was part of the first all-female expedition to reach the South Pole by skis;

      2001–She and Norwegian Liv Arensen become the first women to cross Antarctica on skis.

      I admit that I never heard of her until I saw this 10 minutes ago.

  6. darrelle
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    The barn cats’ situation is worrisome, but the one in this picture looks very healthy.

    My mother has many stray cats in the area she lives in. In addition to feeding them and occasionally being able to catch one and take it to a local vet who treats strays, during the cold season she creates shelters for them including cover, blankets and heat lamps.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted September 29, 2016 at 7:46 am | Permalink

      Your mother is a great person. There is no better work than this.

      • darrelle
        Posted September 29, 2016 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

        Thank you Randy. I’ve always thought so too, but then I’m a bit biased of course.

  7. Billy Bl.
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Cats don’t need names. Dogs do because they’re so needy. All cats to me are either “kitty” or “puss” (or “Kitty” or “Puss” if you prefer), depending on the situation (don’t ask me how my brain decides which is appropriate for a situation), even both of mine. They don’t seem to care.

  8. Mike
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 8:52 am | Permalink

    All art is subjective, but I would put Caravaggio in the top 5, fantastic play of light and shadow, and a bit of a lad who wasn’t averse to the odd brawl.

  9. Marilyn
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    Ann Bancroft was born Sept. 17, 1931

    • mordacious1
      Posted September 29, 2016 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      No, that was Anne Bancroft.🙂

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted September 29, 2016 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Ann Bancroft the Arctic explorer was born today and is younger than JAC.

    AnnE Bancroft of “Miracle Worker” and “Mrs. Robinson” fame is older than JAC.

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