Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning on a chilly (in Chicago) February 2, 2017; it’s 17° F (-8° C) here, with wind on top of that. It’s National Tater Tot Day in America, and in case you don’t know what these reconstitution nuggets of potato mush are, they look like this:


Actually, they’re not THAT bad. . .

It’s also Groundhog Day in the US: if Punxsutawney Phil doesn’t see his shadow (i.e., if it’s cloudy), we’ll have an early spring.


From Non Sequitur by Wiley Miller

On this day in 1653, New Amsterdam, now known as New York, was incorporated as a town, and in 1874 the first Groundhog Day was celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania.  In 1901, this was the day of Queen Victoria’s funeral, and in 1922 James Joyce’s Ulysses was published. Can anyone remember what noise the cat made in the fourth chapter? Finally, on this day in 1990, significant steps were taken toward ending apartheid and restoring democracy to South Africa, as President F. W. de Klerk announced the unbanning of the African National Congress and promised to release Nelson Mandela from prison.

Notables born on this day include James Joyce (1882, so his great work was published on his 40th birthday), Jascha Heifetz (1901), Ayn Rand (1905), Stan Getz (1927), Graham Nash (1942) and Christie Brinkley, the Uptown Girl (1954). Those who died on this day include Dmitri Mendeleev (1907), Boris Karloff(1969), Bertrand Russell (1970), Sid Vicious (1979) and Gene Kelly (1996). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Cyrus the Kind once again makes a great sacrifice at the behest of the Princess.

Hili: Admit that you are not especially comfortable with me here.
Cyrus: I admit it.
In Polish:
Hili: Przyznaj, że nie jest ci tu ze mną specjalnie wygodnie.
Cyrus: Przyznaję.

Leon is still hiking in Southern Poland, but apparently became alarmed when he heard a cat meowing plaintively (you can see it in the second and third photos):

Leon: Do you hear? A baby is shouting for help!


  1. bric
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 6:40 am | Permalink

    A quote for the times –

    — I just wanted to say, he said. Ireland, they say, has the honour of being the only country which never persecuted the jews. Do you know that? No. And do you know why?
    He frowned sternly on the bright air.
    — Why, sir? Stephen asked, beginning to smile.
    — Because she never let them in, Mr Deasy said solemnly.
    A coughball of laughter leaped from his throat dragging after it a rattling chain of phlegm. He turned back quickly, coughing, laughing, his lifted arms waving to the air.
    — She never let them in, he cried again through his laughter as he stamped on gaitered feet over the gravel of the path. That’s why.
    On his wise shoulders through the checkerwork of leaves the sun flung spangles, dancing coins.

    Ulysses Ch. 2: Nestor

    • Rick
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

      How about this one (that was pointed out to me during the primaries) as another “Ulysses” quote for the times? It’s from near the end of “Oxen of the Sun” (chapter 14):

      “Trumpery insanity.”

  2. bric
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    And isn’t this the best cat?

    — Mrkgnao! the cat said loudly.
    She blinked up out of her avid shameclosing eyes, mewing plaintively and long, showing him her milkwhite teeth. He watched the dark eyeslits narrowing with greed till her eyes were green stones. Then he went to the dresser, took the jug Hanlon’s milkman had just filled for him, poured warmbubbled milk on a saucer and set it slowly on the floor.
    — Gurrhr! she cried, running to lap.

    Ulysses Ch. 4: Calypso

  3. bric
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Oh it’s too good. Somebody stop me!

    I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
    Ulysses Ch.18: Penelope. Last lines

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:23 am | Permalink

      Sadly, I first encountered that one in a corny Rodney Dangerfield movie (Back to School).

      • ploubere
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 11:34 pm | Permalink

        Sadly, I know the movie.

  4. veroxitatis
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Aren’t these potato croquettes to anyone other than Bush jun.?

    • HaggisForBrains
      Posted February 3, 2017 at 6:11 am | Permalink

      Agreed. Perhaps a USian thing?

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 6:52 am | Permalink

    Foodies, or at least some of them, seem to have this strange fascination with tater tots. As you say, they’re not that bad, though I still don’t get what the big deal is.

    Guess today’s a good day to watch Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Oh, hell, any day’s a good day to watch Groundhog Day.

    • Mark Sturtevant
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      I do favor tater tots, in part because they are not nearly as common as french fries. French fries as a side dish are likely unnoticed. A dime a dozen. Tater tots? Ever so slightly a Special Occasion.

      • Posted February 3, 2017 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        And like anything potato, they can be topped with chili sauce or something a bit more exciting.

  6. thompjs
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    Last weekend I had Tater Tot Casserole

    Tater Tots, homemade Cream of Mushroom, and some cheese.

    Some guys here in Houston that are trying to open their own BBQ place made it.

  7. Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    Do Hili and Cyrus lie together for the warmth, companionship, or because they’re too lazy to move?

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Isaiah says it’s so “a little child shall lead them” (11:6), but you know that guy can’t be trusted.

  8. Jon Mummaw
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I think the point of Groundhog Day is that it’s really an astronomical holiday; the first cross-quarter day, transmogrified into an excuse to party a bit in the middle of winter.

  9. Billy Bl.
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:18 am | Permalink

    We have Wiarton Willie in Canada. Snow is in the forecast for today, so spring should come early there. I’m a few thousand kilometres from Wiarton, and it’s 24 below with clear skies. Darn.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Notice though, here in the U.S. Phil generally sees his shadow so 6 more weeks. Considering it’s the beginning of Feb. it’s a pretty good bet.

  10. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    There are likely a thousand ways to cook with the potato. One of the truly super foods. What noise was the cat making? Whatever it was, I’m sure one of our cats has made it.

  11. rickflick
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Bertrand Russell was a hero as I came of age in the 60s.

    “Why I am not a Christian” was helpful as I was a closet atheist.

    “A History of Western Philosophy” was a fun read.


    To conquer fear is the beginning of wisdom.

    The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt.

    Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

      Hear! Hear! I read everything I could of Sir Bertram Russell in the ’60s. An education. I struggled to a standstill with the philosophical works though.

      • Frank Bath
        Posted February 2, 2017 at 10:04 am | Permalink

        Bertrand of course.

  12. Art
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    38 years ago this day my soon-to-be-wife and I got married, as it was the only day we both had off from work for a while. We didn’t realize it was Groundhog Day until later. I tell everyone I picked the day on purpose so I would never forget our anniversary. It works…!

  13. busterggi
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    Gotta have Tots tonight – not the little kid kind.

  14. Heather Hastie
    Posted February 2, 2017 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Why does someone need a groundhog to decide whether they can see a shadow?

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