Monday: Hili dialogue

It’s May 8, 2017, a dreary Monday. There is some good news, though: Macron beat Le Pen by a substantial margin, defeating the Right and ensuring, at least for a time, that the European Union will remain. It was doomed without France.

More good news: the subscribers to this site (WordPress hasn’t yet realized it’s not a “blog”) are inching up toward 50,000, at which point I can die a happy man. (Note Satan’s number). You don’t want me to die unhappy, do you?

Everything that happened on this day was actually listed in yesterday’s post, an egregious error that I will attribute to the post being written (as usual) before 5 am. My apologies. But today is National Coconut Cream Pie Day, undoubtedly due to the machinations of Big Coconut.

All I’ll add is something I heard on the news yesterday: due to high housing costs in San Francisco, a family of four in that city making $105,000 per year is considered “low income”, a level $40,000 higher than in Chicago. Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, I’m not sure whether Hili, up in the trees in the orchard, is checking the cherry blossoms or checking the birds. But the weather so far predicts Many Pies for Me!

A: What are you watching so carefully?
Hili: I’m checking whether the flowers are already pollinated.
In Polish:
Ja: Czemu się tak przyglądasz?
Hili: Sprawdzam, czy te kwiaty są już zapylone.
And here’s a tweet showing sandwiches for sale in London 45 years ago (the year after I graduated from college). I always thought that someone could get rich in Britain by selling big, heavily stuffed submarine sandwiches (like Subway, but better). Why do the Brits consider a sandwich to be two slices of bread with a 2 mm thick filling? That’s not a meal! And sometimes they even put “sweetcorn” on them. Corn—on a sandwich!

And the obligatory kitten tw**t, much needed on Monday:


  1. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted May 8, 2017 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    666 is not Satan/The Beast number – you’ll have to find the QI where they explain it.

    • Nobody Special
      Posted May 8, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

      616 is the No. of the beast; 666 is its fax No.

    • serendipitydawg
      Posted May 8, 2017 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

      Even Wikipedia has caught up:

      In critical editions of the Greek text, such as the Novum Testamentum Graece, it is noted that 616 is a variant. In the oldest preserved manuscript as of 2017, as well as other ancient sources like Codex Ephraemi Rescriptus, the Number of the Beast is 616.

      Oxford University has a pic of the MS.

  2. Frank Bath
    Posted May 8, 2017 at 6:44 am | Permalink

    I spring to the defence of the British sandwich. All sandwiches are ours – see Lord Sandwich.
    45 years ago our sandwiches were cheap tummy fillers for the industrial and office worker, which by and large supplemented meals. We were not wealthy Americans.
    Now we have ‘Pret a Manger’, founded by two Brits, on every street selling well stuffed sandwiches and more. And their imitators. Lovely.
    Subway have opened over here but are considered to be rather down market!

    • David Coxill
      Posted May 8, 2017 at 7:20 am | Permalink

      When i was a motorcycle courier in that London 1988 to 97 ,there was a small chain of sandwich shops called Benjis (i think) ,they were great value for money ,but they had some strange combinations of fillings .
      The one on Cannon st was always full of those traders with their bright coloured jackets .
      There must be a sandwich thingy (meme) going around ,that PZ Meyers had a post about sandwiches last week.

    • Posted May 8, 2017 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Who invented the sandwich has no bearing on its present quality!

      • Nobody Special
        Posted May 8, 2017 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

        How very dare you, PCC(E)? That’s appropriation is what that is!

        Not really, it’s just a bit of bread and a filling or two. Have at it.
        In my opinion, a couple of doorstops cut from a freshly baked loaf, plenty of butter, thickly cut rare roast beef and a huge dollop of English mustard is The One.

      • Posted May 8, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

        Indeed – a great example of where the originators have been surpassed by innovations by others.

    • Posted May 8, 2017 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      The quick food we ate almost exclusively when in London recently was the hot samosas for sale in the little corner shops in the tube stations. Loved them!

      Outside of London, we carried bread, cheese, charcuterie, olives, etc. and picnicked on the hood (bonnet) of the rental (hire) car.

      Food has really improved in the UK in the last 25 years! 🙂

      • Mike
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 6:42 am | Permalink

        It was a cause of some irritation for me 50yrs ago ,when as a member of HM Forces I found out that visiting US Troops received extra pay for eating our food, it still irritates me now,when I think of it. The bloody gall.!

        • Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:22 am | Permalink

          OK, that IS ridiculous! Nothing wrong with traditional English food, in my opinion. I can’t really enjoy kidneys (e.g. steak and kidney pie) especially when I was the only one who would prepare the kidneys. But, aside from that, yum.

          Oh, and fish and chips! Heaven!

          We stayed (for part of our time in London) in Kensington and we had a wide range of wonderful food within short walking distance. It was great.

  3. Colin McLachlan
    Posted May 8, 2017 at 7:07 am | Permalink

    You don’t want me to die unhappy, do you?

    We don’t want you to die, period!

    • Posted May 8, 2017 at 7:35 am | Permalink

      I won’t threaten to off myself when we get 50,000 readers, but I’d be a happy man!

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted May 8, 2017 at 9:57 am | Permalink

      As Woody said, I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work; I want to achieve immortality by not dying.

  4. Randy schenck
    Posted May 8, 2017 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    I saw that same news piece on San Francisco and the cost of housing. I would have retired in the bay area were it not for the price of that housing. It is insane.

    I agree with Frank on the Sandwich thing in Britain. Wasn’t it Elton John who said, he would rather have ham in my sandwich than cheese. Here in the colonies we would have both.

    • David Coxill
      Posted May 8, 2017 at 7:23 am | Permalink

      Once stopped for a sandwich near Mono lake ,asked for a chicken sandwich ,started to ordered another sandwich for by brother when the guy stopped me and asked what else i wanted on mine .

      • Frank Bath
        Posted May 8, 2017 at 7:38 am | Permalink


        • Randy schenck
          Posted May 8, 2017 at 8:01 am | Permalink

          That’s good. I could never get past a fish and chips shop to worry about sandwiches.

  5. Posted May 8, 2017 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I always thought that someone could get rich in Britain by selling big, heavily stuffed submarine sandwiches (like Subway, but better).

    There is no shortage of sandwich shops in Britain that do exactly that now (at least not in the cities). We even have Subway but they were quite late to the party.

    I think you’ll find a similar transformation has occurred in coffee shops in Britain since 1972. Back then, except in up market establishments, you would have had the equivalent of a spam sandwich (Luncheon meat – third from the left – is to spam what ball point pen is to biro) which is a cup of warm water poured on instant coffee granules.

    • Posted May 8, 2017 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      I was right, then! The Brits have finally discovered what a good sandwich really is. All I can say is that even on my recent visits, I found the sandwiches in many places thin and unsatisfying.

      Now if they’d just discover the wonders of jams other than orange marmalade! 🙂

      • Steve Pollard
        Posted May 8, 2017 at 10:48 am | Permalink

        I cannot let that comment pass unchallenged! We not only have a great range of jams available from commercial producers (and have done for many years), but any farm shop or farmer’s market worth its salt will have an equally wide and tasty range of artisan products.

        I am still eating the raspberry jam and damson jam I made last autumn.

        Jam-making is supposed to be one of the hobbies of the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn. Many feel that the best service he could render his country is to concentrate on his jam-making and give up the day job.

        • Adrian
          Posted May 8, 2017 at 1:42 pm | Permalink

          How dare you malign our marmalades, PCC(E)!

          At the moment I have seven varieties in my cupboard, Ginger, Lime and Lemon, Dundee thick cut, Seville Orange. Four Fruits (orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit), Orange and Grapefruit and Orange and Whisky. All artisan and bought at Jumble sales, food fairs etc.

          They are the kings of the preserve world.

          • Posted May 8, 2017 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

            I love marmalade (I only buy real UK marmalade) and lemon curd and its cousins. But I think PCC(E) is making an appeal for variety (non-citrus-flavored) in preserves.

            • Posted May 8, 2017 at 7:09 pm | Permalink

              Indeed, given that England makes such great jams and preserves.

              • Adrian
                Posted May 9, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

                In that case I offer Marrow and Ginger, Rhubarb, Gooseberry, Crab Apple Jelly, Apple and Blackberry and Red Cherry (not the Black variety).

                Delicious on hot buttered crumpets or pikelets (I favour this one).

      • serendipitydawg
        Posted May 8, 2017 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

        Bullace is worth looking for – even from cultivated Bullace. Pain to make but easily the most delicious preserve I have tasted.

      • Posted May 8, 2017 at 5:05 pm | Permalink

        I should clarify. There are two kinds of sandwich shops: those that sell prepackaged sandwiches made with two slices of normal bread and sandwich shops that make your sandwich to order on whatever kind of bread you like. The latter is usually a better experience.

        However, even the traditional British sandwich has improved over the years. But, in my opinion, one on its own is not intended to be a meal by itself. You would normally eat it with a packet of crisps (chips in the US) or fruit or a slice of cake or, best of all, another sandwich.

  6. darrelle
    Posted May 8, 2017 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    About 6 or so years ago while on vacation with the family we came across an English sandwich shop in Disney Village called Earl Of Sandwich. The place claimed to have been founded and owned by a direct descendant of the Earl of Sandwich himself. I don’t know how accurate that is, but the sandwiches were good. Not great, but good.

    In their early days, the early ’80s, Subway was an excellent sandwich shop. Unfortunately they got big and things went straight downhill. The final nail in the coffin for me was when I ordered a tuna sub (double meat, melted provolone, bacon, lettuce, tomato, onion, black olives, pickles, jalapenos) and the tuna was only available mixed with no fat mayo! They no longer even offered the option to get your tuna with regular mayo! WTF! Have you ever had low fat mayo? What the hell is it anyway? Mayo is fat. Low fat mayo is disgusting and I bet it is also bad for you.

    The best sub type sandwich I’ve ever come across is the Italian from V&S sandwich shops in the Reading, PA area during the ’70s. We always looked forward to eating that sandwich as much as we did to seeing the family we were in Reading to visit.

    • Posted May 9, 2017 at 7:31 am | Permalink

      Indeed, non-fat mayo is an oxymoron. And horrible. (Like non-fat 1/2 and 1//2.) Rather like non-gaseous air. Or silent music.

      My favorite sub is Da Bronx from New York Sub Shop, with everything (peppers, Italian dressing, lettuce, tomatoes, etc.). Yum! (I’m sure New Yorkers will consider this cultural appropriation! 🙂 )

      • darrelle
        Posted May 9, 2017 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

        You are probably good as long as you don’t eat it with a knife and fork.

        I think it’s funny that their vegetarian sub is called the Brooklyn.

  7. Posted May 8, 2017 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    It’s also V-E Day, the day in 1945 when the German armed forces made a general surrender to Allied forces, ending World War II in Europe.

    • Randy schenck
      Posted May 8, 2017 at 9:11 am | Permalink

      Yes, 72 years ago to end the worst world war that lasted roughly 5 and a half years in Europe. Not that one war could be any better than another.

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 8, 2017 at 8:58 pm | Permalink

        You mean the war after the war-to-end-all-wars?

    • Posted May 8, 2017 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

      When a friend and I were cycling (push bikes) through France 25 years ago, many times around 8-May were we stopped by people old enough to remember WWII and they would shake our hands (often with tears in their eyes) and tell us thanks — simply as Americans, for the help the USA provided the Allies in WWII.

      It was very touching to me. I’ll never forget the faces of some of the men — obviously veterans of that war — either regular soldiers or Resistance.

  8. Posted May 8, 2017 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    The apple tree I planted in Norfolk was blooming two weeks ago!

  9. Posted May 8, 2017 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    In Getting Even, Woody Allen had a short story, originally in the New Yorker, entitled “Yes, but can the steam engine do this?”, in which he imagined the invention of the sandwich by the Earl of Sandwich as one of the great intellectual and material accomplishments of the Enlightenment. It’s pretty good!

  10. Ann German
    Posted May 8, 2017 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

    The sandwich photo got me into Rob Baker’s site, and I found this WONDERFUL clip of Chaplin doing the “roll dance” – WATCH!!

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