Monday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning! It’s November 28, 2016, and it’s National French Toast Day. Now there’s something I can get behind: when I was a lad, even into college age, my mom would sometimes make me French Toast (probably unknown in France) as a special treat. I remember pouring Mrs. Butterworth’s syrup over it from the lady-shaped bottle. It’s also the Feast Day of St. Herman of Alaska (!), a Russian Orthodox monk who ministered in what was then Russian territory. I know of no other saint from Alaska, but I’m probably wrong.

On this day in 1520, Ferdinand Magellan’s fleet sailed through the passage at South America’s tip now known as the Strait of Magellan. In 1582, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway paid a a £40 bond for their marriage license. The Royal Society of London was founded i 1660 was founded on this day, and, in 1967, astronomers Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish.discovered the first pulsar. Burnell, though she later accrued many honors, failed to receive the 1974 Nobel Prize along with Hewish, widely seen as an injustice (I agree).

Notables born on this day include Alberto Moravia (1907), Motown Founder Berry Gordy, Jr. (1929, and still with us at 87), Ed Harris (1950), and Jon Stewart (1962). Those who died on this day include Richard Wright (1960), Rosalind Russell (1976 ♥), and Leslie Nielsen (2010). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Cyrus are feeling neglected:

Hili: It’s very symptomatic.
Cyrus: What’s symptomatic?
Hili: That nobody pays any attention to us.
p1050115In Polish:
Hili: To jest bardzo symptomatyczne.
Cyrus: Co jest symptomatyczne?
Hili: To, że nikt na nas nie zwraca uwagi.
We have another Hili shot taken this morning, which is on Andrzej’s Facebook page. It snowed last night in Dobrzyn, and Hili was of course affronted when she went to the front door. When I asked why this photo wasn’t the basis of a Hili dialogue, Malogorzata responded, “She was speechless.”
And in Wloclawek, Leon, a bit of a narcissist, is checking out his fans (many of them here), and makes an enigmatic statement. The explanation is below the picture.

Leon: Which one here is my fan? I will give him nice results on the mock exam.


I asked Malgorzata what this was about, and she answered this way:

Oh, at the end of junior high in Poland, kids get a very difficult exam which is important for their further education. Teachers show the kids what’s waiting them and at the same time can check who needs more work in which field by giving them a mock exam structured exactly like the final exam, but just for the teacher and pupils— it has no bearing on their access to other schools (like the final, real exam does).

Leon is at Elzbieta’s laptop and fully intends to give his fans better results than the real ones they achieved on the test. Leon likes to have fans.


  1. Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:42 am | Permalink

    Reminds me of a joke I recently heard: the menu at a local cafe said they served breakfast at any time, so I asked for French toast in the Renaissance.

    • Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:03 am | Permalink

      Politically, it looks like Francois Hollande will be French toast next year, if not sooner.

  2. BobTerrace
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    Being a bit of a narcissist is it like being a little bit pregnant.

  3. Desnes Diev
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    “my mom would sometimes make me French Toast (probably unknown in France) as a special treat”

    It is known as “pain perdu / pain doré” (spoiled / golden bread).

  4. koseighty
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:08 am | Permalink

    We had two cats, litter mates, who rushed to the back door every day to go out.

    If, when we opened the door, the weather was not to their liking (snow, rain, etc.) they would rush through the house to the front door in the hopes that the weather would be better there.

  5. Randall Schenck
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    French toast was a breakfast thing when we were kids. Far from being any cook, I think it was bread dipped in egg and cooked like pancakes. Powered sugar added after. Something like that.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Never seen sugar being added and never added it myself. But having taught myself how to make it over a camping stove (as an alternative to washing away the fat from the sausages), that doesn’t say much.

  6. Michael Fuhr
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    In 1542, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway paid a a £40 bond for their marriage license.

    Shouldn’t that be 1582?

    • Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:13 am | Permalink

      Indeed! I’ve fixed it, thanks.

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:22 am | Permalink

      This seems to imply that you had to be wealthy to get married. From, “In 2015, the relative value of £40 0s 0d from 1582 ranges from £10,390.00 to £4,241,000.00”.

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it struck me as being damned expensive too. I don’t know what a “bond” was in wedding negotiations in the 16th century, but date-wise it long pre-dates bureaucratic involvement in marriage, and given the proliferation … sorry, the “evolutionary adaptive radiation” (*) of churches that was starting around then, you could probably get a marriage from a priest in a local debtor’s prison for a lot less. Even if you include the bribe to the guards so he could get a day-pass to attend your wedding.
        £10,390 would get you a pretty classy second-best bed even today. Paris Hilton would aspire to a bed like that.
        (*)See opportunity, apply boot.

  7. Erp
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway getting married in 1542 gives new meaning to the phrase ‘child marriage’. They were actually married in 1582. Also the £40 was a posted bond by two neighbors; it was only paid if it turned out that the couple could not have legally married (the sum was a very large amount by the standards of the time, several times the annual income of anyone in the working class).

    • rickflick
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:34 am | Permalink

      I found this interesting: In the Wiki article on Hathaway, it is pointed out that much speculation about a bad relationship between the two is not well justified. Shakespeare’s will, for example, states that Anne should receive the second best bed, which sounds rather an affront to Anne. However, the second best bed had a special significance. First, beds at the time were very expansive and valued possessions. Also, the first bed was normally reserved for guests, the second best being the bed the couple normally used.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

      a posted bond by two neighbors; it was only paid if it turned out that the couple could not have legally married

      Ah … and maybe that would have been an alternative to the “posting of the banns” for 6 weeks before the wedding and the “if any man know of good reason” bit of the ceremony. Hmmm. I wonder …

      Hathaway married Shakespeare in November 1582 while already pregnant with the couple’s first child, to whom she gave birth six months later.

      Strangely, I have not fallen off my chair in astonishment.

      Hathaway was 25 years old; Shakespeare was only 18.

      Still not fallen out of the chair. Could someone do a gravity check please? I’m getting a little worried.

      • Erp
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 8:47 pm | Permalink

        It was an alternative to saying the banns over three successive Sundays though it would still have to be said at the wedding itself. Also apparently banns could not be called during fasting seasons (Advent and Lent) so if Shakespeare and Hathaway went the banns route they would not have been able to marry until well into January (Advent starts 4 Sundays before Christmas).

  8. Claudia Baker
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    “she was speechless”

    Lol – that’s my cat exactly, when the snow comes. Goes to the door, I open it, gives me a look like: “What the f’n hell is going on here?!”

    Nothing I can do about it, I tell him. Except move to Florida.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

      So, if goldfish have memories with a 3-second half-life, the half-life of cat’s memories is on the order of 6 months?

      • Claudia Baker
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 2:38 pm | Permalink

        Yes, it would appear so. He always seems to be in shock at this time of year…

  9. Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

    Hm! An Alaska saint’s feast day. I hope he liked seal!

    As for “French Toast”, my grade 11 French teacher pointed out that it is sometimes (albeit very rarely) called (translated) “German bread” (usually “Golden bread”). The Germans call it “English bread”. And the circle is complete.

    That said, it was one of those things I associate with my mother, as she used to make it often, particularly for breakfast on weekends or when guests were staying.

  10. Heather Hastie
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    I’ve never had French Toast. It’s one of those things I want to try one day.

    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

      What’s holding you back? If you can slice bread and beat an egg, you can make French toast.

      For best results use a crusty French or Italian loaf, not too airy, sliced about 1 cm thick. Use one large egg for 3 slices of bread, beaten with a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of syrup, and maybe a splash of vanilla if that appeals to you. Arrange the bread in one layer in a shallow pie plate or baking dish, pour the egg mixture over, and turn each slice a couple of times to coat both sides thoroughly.

      I like to do this prep the night before and put the pan in the fridge to soak overnight. This yields a nice custardy texture throughout the bread, instead of a thin layer of egg over a dry interior.

      Cook slowly over medium-low heat in a nonstick skillet (or well-seasoned cast iron if you’re hard core) with a bit of clarified butter till just golden on each side.

      Serve with real maple syrup (please, not Mrs. Butterworth’s), or if that’s too hard to come by, honey or warm berry preserves make acceptable substitutes.

      • rickflick
        Posted November 28, 2016 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

        I always add a little milk while beaten the egg. It helps the egg soak into the bread without having to wait over night. 😎

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted November 29, 2016 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Thanks! I’ll give it a go sometime soon. 🙂

  11. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted November 28, 2016 at 2:48 pm | Permalink

    I didn’t know till I looked it up today, but there are two other Alaskan saints, Saint Innocent of Alaska (August 26, 1797 – March 31, 1879, O.S.), and Juvenaly of Alaska.

    As Alaska was once part of Russia, neither is too surprising.

    I’d be willing to bet a considerable sum that Sarah Palin has heard of none of these three.

%d bloggers like this: