Tuesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning! It’s Tuesday (the cruelest day), February 7, 2017, and it’s National Fettuccine Alfredo Day, also known as Thrombosis on a Plate (noodles, butter, and Parmesan cheese). Why the name? Wikipedia says this: “Alfredo Di Lelio invented the “fettuccine al triplo burro [butter]” (later named ‘fettuccine all’Alfredo’ or ‘fettuccine Alfredo’) in 1892 in a restaurant run by his mother Angelina in piazza Rosa in Rome.” It became famous because of its elaborate preparation at the table:

[The fettuccine] are seasoned with plenty of butter and fat parmesan, not aged, so that, in a ritual of extraordinary theatricality, the owner mixes the pasta and lifts it high to serve it, the white threads of cheese gilded with butter and the bright yellow of the ribbons of egg pasta offering an eyeful for the customer; at the end of the ceremony, the guest of honor is presented the golden cutlery and the serving dish, where the blond fettuccine roll around in the pale gold of the seasonings. It’s worth seeing the whole ceremony. The owner, son of old Alfredo and looking exactly like him, … bends over the great skein of fettuccine, fixes it intensely, his eyes half-closed, and dives into mixing it, waving the golden cutlery with grand gestures, like an orchestra conductor, with his sinister upwards-pointing twirled moustache dancing up and down, pinkies in the air, a rapt gaze, flailing elbows.

Did that make you hungry?


It’s also Independence Day on Grenada, celebrating its freedom from Britain in 1974. On this day in 1898, Émile Zola was brought to trial for libel for publishing J’accuse, a defense of Alfred Dreyfus. Zola was found guilty, but fled to England for 17 months. On February 7, 1938, the game Monopoly was invented, and it’s still going strong. Five years later to the day, the Disney film Pinocchio opened. On Febraruy 7, 1990, the Central Committee of the Soviet Union agreed to relinquish power, leading to the dissolving of the Soviet Union. Finally—and this is unbelievable—it was on this day in 2013 that Mississippi officially certified the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the final state to approve the abolition of slavery (the state had ratified the Amendment in 1995). (If you doubt that, go here.) It had, of course, become law long before that, as only 3/4 of the states need ratify an amendment before it goes into force.

Notables born on this day include Charles Dickens (1812), Laura Ingalls Wilder (“Little House on the Prairie,” 1867), G. H. Hardy (1877), Sinclair Lewis (1885), Dock Boggs (1898, an Appalachian folk singer, songwriter, and banjo player whose recordings are mesmerizing; listen to his version of “Oh Death” here), and Matt Ridley (1958). Those who died on this day include Josef Mengele (1979; escaped justice), King Hussein of Jordan (1999), and Anne Morrow Lindbergh (2001). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is flummoxed by what humans consider noms:

Hili: Interesting, what is she doing there?
Cyrus: It looks as if she is slicing an onion.
Hili: Humanity always astounds me.
In Polish:
Hili: Ciekawe co ona tam robi?
Cyrus: Wygląda jakby kroiła cebulę.
Hili: Ludzkość zawsze mnie zdumiewała.

Leon, now back in Wloclawek from his vacation, is still enjoying outdoor adventure.

Leon: Do you think that a cat’s life is so easy?



  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Leon, we know that it is tough…at least for the staff.

    Why so hungry before breakfast? Must be something I read. And Mississippi, always at the forefront of progress in the dark ages.

    • Billy Bl.
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      What would Yoknapatawpha County be without slavery?

  2. dabertini
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:02 am | Permalink

    “Zola was found guilty, but fled to France for 17 months.”

    I don’t think that would have worked out well for Emilio. Now I could be wrong but I think he fled to England.

    • Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      Yes, I fixed that. One makes errors before 5 a.m.

    • bric
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 2:40 pm | Permalink

      Yes he stayed at the Queens Hotel near the Crystal Palace (there’s a blue plaque)

  3. Dominic
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:14 am | Permalink

    I note that the Grenadans (Grenades?!) also celebrate Invasion Day! https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_of_Grenada

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:44 am | Permalink

      I’ll swear the WEIT email I got said ‘GrAnada’ but I see PCC caught it before I could make some smartass comment about the Peninsular War or Gibraltar…



    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

      They’d be called Grenadans, I suppose. But not Grenadines, which are small islands. Most of the Grenadines are in St Vincent and the Grenadines (sounds like a 70’s pop group), but some of the Grenadines are in Grenada and hence not in ‘St Vincent and the Grenadines’ at all. What people from the Grenadines are called I can’t imagine.

      The French for Grenada is Grenade, by the way. I don’t think that helps, though.


      • Dominic
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

        🙂 It DOES help!
        I’ll drink a toast to Grenadines, with… grenadine!

  4. darrelle
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    Fettuccine Alfredo done well is a very good thing indeed. I do something at home that is sort of a cross between Alfredo and Carbonara, but not quite either, that is always popular with family and friends.

    I always found Monopoly dreadfully boring. I hated the hours long family games we sometimes played growing up.

    Even as a kid I found Pinocchio creepy. But, most fairy tales from past eras are pretty creepy by modern standards. When my kids were toddlers I picked up a nice leather bound edition of Grimm’s Fairy Tales I found on a bargain table. I thought it would be great to read them old stories like that. I picked a story, started reading quickly came to stuff I didn’t think was appropriate, stop, pick another story, same thing, stop, pick another story . . .

    I eventually decided they could read it themselves when they were older if they wanted to.

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted February 7, 2017 at 7:51 am | Permalink

      With pinocchio I always found his acting quite wooden. Sorry, I had to get that in.

      • darrelle
        Posted February 7, 2017 at 12:30 pm | Permalink

        Made me chuckle. I tried to come up with something witty in return, but I got nothin.

  5. Walt Jones
    Posted February 7, 2017 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    The comedian Stephen Wright thinks it’s unfair that only one company can make Monopoly.

  6. Posted February 7, 2017 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Hm, I did have cheese pasta of a sort (and mixed vegetables and tofu) …

    As for Mississippi, *wow*.

  7. Posted February 9, 2017 at 3:19 am | Permalink


    With reference to your article I have the pleasure to tell you the history of my grandfather Alfredo Di Lelio, who is the creator of “Fettuccine all’Alfredo” (“Fettuccine Alfredo”) in 1908 in the “trattoria” run by his mother Angelina in Rome, Piazza Rosa (Piazza disappeared in 1910 following the construction of the Galleria Colonna / Sordi). This “trattoria” of Piazza Rosa has become the “birthplace of fettuccine all’Alfredo”.
    More specifically, as is well known to many people who love the “fettuccine all’Alfredo”, this famous dish in the world was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio concerned about the lack of appetite of his wife Ines, who was pregnant with my father Armando (born February 26, 1908).
    Alfredo di Lelio opened his restaurant “Alfredo” in 1914 in Rome and in 1943, during the war, he sold the restaurant to others outside his family.
    In 1950 Alfredo Di Lelio decided to reopen with his son Armando his restaurant in Piazza Augusto Imperatore n.30 “Il Vero Alfredo” (“Alfredo di Roma”), whose fame in the world has been strengthened by his nephew Alfredo and that now managed by me, with the famous “gold cutlery” (fork and spoon gold) donated in 1927 by two well-known American actors Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (in gratitude for the hospitality).
    See also the website of “Il Vero Alfredo” .
    I must clarify that other restaurants “Alfredo” in Rome do not belong and are out of my brand “Il Vero Alfredo – Alfredo di Roma”.
    I inform you that the restaurant “Il Vero Alfredo –Alfredo di Roma” is in the registry of “Historic Shops of Excellence” of the City of Rome Capitale.
    Best regards Ines Di Lelio

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