Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning; it’s May 4, and Spring is pretty much here in Chicago after a terribly rainy weekend. It’s another triple food holiday: National Candied Orange Peel Day, National Homebrew Day, and National Hoagie Day. I like all of those, and love candied orange peel, on which you can find good deals on Amazon. It’s also Star Wars Day, and though many readers are fans, I must confess I’ve never seen any of the television episodes or movies.

On this day in 1886, the Haymarket Affair occurred in Chicago, with a bomb tossed into a group of police officers during a labor demonstration, killing one cop and wounding six; eight anarchists were convicted and four were hanged. It also brought crackdowns on immigrants and the labor movement. On May 4, 1904, the digging of the Panama Canal began, and in 1932 Al Capone began serving an 11-year prison sentence for evading federal taxes, the only crime they could pin on him. In 1953, Ernest Hemingway was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for his short novel The Old Man and the Sea, a book I think is overrated (I like his short stories and The Sun Also Rises  better). The next year he won the Nobel Prize for Literature, but didn’t accept it in person as he was suffering from the aftermath of a plane crash. On May 4, 1961, the “Freedom Riders” began their pro-civil-rights bus odyssey through the South. In 1979, Margaret Thatcher became Britain’s first woman Prime Minister, and in 1998 “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski received four life sentences plus 30 years in a plea deal (he’s still alive and in jail).

Notables born on this day include Alice Liddell (1852, the model for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland). Here’s her photo:

Alice lived to age 82.

Also born on this day were Eugenie Clark, shark biologist and my former colleague and Maryland (1922), Audrey Hepburn (1929), George Will (1941), and Randy Travis (1959). Those who died on this day Moe Howard of the Three Stooges (1975, real name Moses Harry Horwitz), Dom DeLuise (2009), and biologist Christian de Duve (2013). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is engaged in food-centered philosophy:

A: What are you thinking about?
Hili: About the problem of memory.
A: And?
Hili: Nothing, just that yesterday I had beef.
In Polish:
Ja: Nad czym myślisz?
Hili: Nad problemem pamięci.
Ja: I co?
Hili: Nic tylko wczorajsza wołowina.

Leon’s hiking in the woods near Wloclawek and bonding with his staff:

Leon: How many roads we passed together? How many paths we walked?

How many roads can a cat walk down before you call him a cat?

Spring is coming to Winnipeg, too, and Gus is hunting rodents, though he’s not allowed to get them. His staff’s notes:

Here are a few pics of mouse hunting this afternoon. Gus was certain there was a mouse behind these rocks and he spent a good portion of the day just staring at them. Good old Gus.


  1. Posted May 4, 2017 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Shouldn’t there be a heart after Audrey Hepburn?!
    Can we have some of your rain? An exceptionally dry winter & spring in the British Isles…

  2. Gemma Jillian
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 7:19 am | Permalink

    Today, too ? a Day of-in 2017!-a Day of Angering (for me, at least): morning news states it is USA’s National Day of Prayer.

    For ALL? Not only a WASTE but also dangerous.

  3. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

    “shark lady” was a favorite of mine for a period in 3rd grade or so. I think that was by Clark…

    • ThyroidPlanet
      Posted May 10, 2017 at 7:49 pm | Permalink

      Got it from the library today!

      It’s great to revisit this – it’s been decades!

  4. Randy schenck
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    Good to see all the cats back today. If all else fails there is always the cat.

  5. MKray
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    RE `I must confess I’ve never seen any of the television episodes or movies’: Not watching Star Wars is not something to confess! However, adults taking them seriously is another matter!

    • Randy schenck
      Posted May 4, 2017 at 8:21 am | Permalink

      I have never seen any of it either. However, with all the ads and commercials on them, I feel like I’ve seen them all a couple of times.

    • Posted May 4, 2017 at 9:12 am | Permalink

      You mean there are actually people out there who have not suffered Jar Jar Binks?

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted May 4, 2017 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      As much as I enjoy Star Wars in limited quantities, it is NOT the crossover sci-fi to recommend to anyone who doesn’t normally like sci-fi. (That accolade might belong to the TV series “Babylon 5” or to the movie “Minority Report”).

      Early after the first movie, actor Alec Guinness (who was actually IN Star Wars) said it “contains all the charm and merriment but none of the profundity of Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings”.

      In the early 1980s, there was a cartoon in PlayBoy of a guy and and a gal in bed with the guy saying “You’ve never tried that? Have you ever been a little bit curious? Tell me that again.” The gal replies, “I’ve never seen Star Wars.”

  6. Ken Kukec
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Agree with you about Papa’s writing. Among the novels, The Sun Also Rises stands head and shoulders above the later ones, although For Whom the Bell Tolls and A Farewell to Arms have their intermittent charms.

    It’s really the short stories on which Hemingway’s reputation depends, especially the ones from the Twenties (and a couple from the Thirties, like “A Clean, Well-Lighted Place” and “Snows of Kilimanjaro”). They still deliver a jolt, like a short, chopping punch to the gut.

    I’ve never been a big fan of his later stuff, except for the Paris memoir, A Moveable Feast, which relates to (and was probably writing in some form during) the Twenties anyway.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted May 4, 2017 at 9:58 am | Permalink

      I was just reading about “hi-low” books for adults, that is, books with a restricted vocabulary and sentence structure for adults whose reading skills are average or below, and found this reference to Hemingway: “Ernest Hemingway writes at about a 3rd grade reading level. He is well-known for his clear, straightforward writing style and short sentence structure, which is great for English language learners and many people have read it in school.”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 4, 2017 at 10:43 am | Permalink

        Hemingway certainly made a virtue of the short declarative sentence. He wouldn’t write a subordinate clause if he had a mouthful of “if.” 🙂

        I think it’s a mistake, though, to confuse the surface simplicity for a “restricted vocabulary and sentence structure.” See the “Iceberg Theory.”

        • Jenny Haniver
          Posted May 4, 2017 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

          I agree wholeheartedly re your caution not “to confuse the surface simplicity for a ‘restricted vocabulary and sentence such things a priori as evidence of plain simple-mindedness. I don’t do that with Hemingway. I have, though, unwittingly borrowed books from public libraries which have incredibly restricted vocabularies and sentence structure — they were shelved with other adult non-fiction books. These books (from major publishers) were not marked as appropriate for adults with low literacy, and I discovered this only in the reading, when my head began to hurt because everything was so dumbed down that it was discombobulating. To me, it was bait and switch. I suppose it’s yet another sin of elitism the SJWs would charge me with, but I think these books should either bear an identifying sticker or put on special shelves.

  7. jwthomas
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    It’s also the 47th anniversary of the killing of student demonstrators against the Vietnam War at Kent State and Jackson State universities by national guard troops.

    Too young to recall this?

    This should not be forgotten.

  8. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 4:18 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and let’s please not forget the shootings at Kent State University, 1970

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted May 4, 2017 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

      Sorry, didn’t catch that the gal/guy above me just mentioned this.

  9. Dale Franzwa
    Posted May 4, 2017 at 11:17 pm | Permalink

    My mother was named after Alice in Wonderland (my grandparents were entranced by the book). Once I was barely old enough to tackle reading a book, my mother gave me her copy of “Alice” to read. I enjoyed it very much and had to give a verbal “book report” to my mom.

    There is also an opera (of sorts) based on “Alice”. The story is told by a narrator with “illustrative” music to accompany the twists and turns of the plot. I once heard it on the radio but have never heard of any visual version.

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