Sunday: Hili dialogue

Good morning on Ceiling Cat’s Day: Sunday, June 25, 2017. It’s National Strawberry Parfait Day, which leaves me cold, and World Vitligo Day. So it goes.

On this day in 1876, the Battle of the Little Bighorn took place, resulting in the death of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer and all his men. It was “Custer’s Last Stand.” In 1910, Stravinsky’s ballet “The Firebird” had its premiere in Paris, and on the same day, the U.S. Congress passed the Mann Act, prohibiting the interstate transport of women for immoral purposes. Many were prosecuted under this ambiguous statute, including, I believe, the famous geneticist Calvin Bridges. On June 24, 1940, France officially surrendered to Germany. And, something of note for Matthew and me, who are diehard Krazy Kat fans: on this day in 1944, the final strip of that comic was published, two months after its creator George Herriman died. It had run for 31 years. A concise summary of the “plot”, such as it was, from Wikipedia (this shows that Wikipedia really does have some stuff that’s both accurate and well written):

The strip focuses on the curious relationship between a guileless, carefree, simple-minded cat named Krazy of indeterminate gender (referred to as both “he” and “she”) and a short-tempered mouse named Ignatz. Krazy nurses an unrequited love for the mouse. However, Ignatz despises Krazy and constantly schemes to throw bricks at Krazy’s head, which Krazy interprets as a sign of affection, uttering grateful replies such as “Li’l dollink, allus f’etful”, or “Li’l ainjil”. A third principal character, Offisa Bull Pupp, often appears and tries to “protect” Krazy by thwarting Ignatz’ attempts and imprisoning him. Later on, Offisa Pupp falls in love with Krazy.

The graphics are unique and wonderful, based on the landscape of the American Southwest that Herriman often visited. Here’s that last strip, in which Offisa Pupp saves Krazy from drowning as Ignatz looks on. But did Krazy really survive his immersion? We’ll never know. Herriman knew his health was failing when he drew this:

If you haven’t seen Krazy Kat, check it out; you’ll either be entranced, like Matthew and me, or will be indifferent.

On this day in 1947, The Diary of Anne Frank was published; do visit the house in Amsterdam where the family hid from and then were captured by the Nazis. On June 25, 1948, the Berlin Airlift began, a day after the Soviet blockade of that city, and in 1978 the famous “rainbow flag” was flown for the first time at the Gay Pride parade in San Francisco. Here:

Finally, in 1993 Kim Campbell was sworn in as Canada’s first female Prime Minister.

Notables born on this day include Antoni Gaudi (1852), Walther Nernst (1864), Louis Mountbatten (1900), June Lockhart (1925; still alive at 92), Bert Hölldobler (1936; I know him), Carly Simon (1945), Anthony Bourdain (1956) and Ricky Gervais (1961). Those who died on this day include George Custer (see above), Thomas Eakins (1916), Johnny Mercer (1976), Michel Foucault (1984), Jacques Cousteau (1997), Lester Maddox, (2003), and Farrah Fawcett (2009). Eakins is, I think, an underrated painter; here’s one of his great paintings, “Max Schmitt in a single scull” (1871):

And his most famous work, “The Gross clinic” (1875):

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s gone down to the Vistula River, but she knows she could be home, and at her food bowl, in about three minutes:

A: You love wild nature.
Hili: Yes, but with a possibility of a quick return to civilisation.
 In Polish:
Ja: Kochasz dziką naturę.
Hili: Tak, z możliwością szybkiego powrotu do cywilizacji.

And from reader Laurie I got an email titled, “The weather’s cooled off and he’s back on the coffee.”  “He” is Theo, the London-dwelling, espresso-drinking cat. More:

. . . And characteristically hiding his eyes from you! 😂

His whole head is in the cup! 😂
Yes, that’s black espresso, Theo’s favorite tipple:

Theo’s latest doings are reported on Laurie’s site, A Classicist Writes, in a short post called “Theo’s being a jerk.


  1. John
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 6:35 am | Permalink

    Didn’t you get the memo? There’s a brown stripe on the pride flag now, or, some are trying to make it so. The identity politics rabbit hole never ends.

  2. Frank Bath
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    My wife and children went to the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam. I refused to enter the house of pain and hid out in a pub. As I expected all three were quiet and miserable when they left, albeit better informed.

    • Posted June 25, 2017 at 6:59 am | Permalink

      I think it’s good to experience a little pain now and then in the greater cause of understanding and empathy.

      • Posted June 25, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        I wept my eyes out at Anne Frank House…

      • Blue
        Posted June 25, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        Perhaps no pain, no gain is, Dr Coyne,
        helpful in very many aspects of
        current and historical life and lives.
        Toward / to forward one’s empathizing and
        one’s understanding of something.

        Not so, observationally and experientially,
        with USA’s and very many others of the World’s
        family law courts on the j u s t i c e of the
        decisionings in re the custody of
        birthed minor children. Not so. At all.


  3. rickflick
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Eakins did many paintings of rowing, a sport I’ve been associated with. The history is rich along the Hudson River where I live. Eakins painted near the Schuylkill River which empties into the Delaware at Philadelphia. The rower in the background is a self portrait.

  4. tubby
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 8:34 am | Permalink

    If you’re in or visiting Philadelphia, Eakins’ Gross Clinic is at Jefferson University’s Medical School. The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts has his dissection casts, though I’m not sure the general public can view them or if they are brought out of storage often. My teacher for elective anatomy was an anatomy and painting teacher at PAFA as well, so I had the opportunity to view them myself.

  5. Cheryl
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    Thank you for bringing back great memories of Krazy Kat. That one was lost to my chilhood. I’m going to go relive a part of that now.

  6. Jenny Haniver
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 11:35 am | Permalink

    Here’s a link to an extremely thought-provoking interview with Ronald Leopold, Director of the Anne Frank House

    Description of his talk: “Executive Director of the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, Ronald Leopold discusses moral dilemmas in the appropriation of Anne Frank in representing a wide range of social and political causes.”

    Once on the site, scroll down to the entry for May 25th.

  7. Ken Elliott
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Before now I was unaware of Eakins’ artwork. These two samples are quite brilliant. As a wanna-be artist I’m always amazed at the gifts some paint or ink slingers possess. Thank you for the introduction to this brilliant artist and his amazing work.

  8. ploubere
    Posted June 25, 2017 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure that Eakins is underrated, he is fairly well known and regarded, and is included in most art history books. He’s considered an important figure in realist American painting.

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