Thursday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Happy Thursday, as it’s that day of the week, and also July 6, 2017.  It’s National Fried Chicken Day, one of the great contributions of America to world gastronomy. (I know other countries have equivalents, but I’m talking about good Southern fried chicken with biscuits, mashed potatoes, fresh tomatoes, collards, and all the trimmings).And in Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, Poland, and Russia, it’s a strange holiday that’s a hybrid between Christianity and paganism:  Kupala Night. People jump over bonfires and put flowers into rivers.

On July 6, 1189, Richard I, better known as “The Lionheart” became King of England. He reigned nearly 10 years, dying from an infected crossbow wound at the age of 41. On this day in 1415, Jan Hus was burned at the stake, and in 1535 Thomas More was beheaded for committing treason against Henry VIII. In 1885, Louis Pasteur successfully used his rabies vaccine on Joseph Meister, a boy bitten by a rabid dog. This is a bit of a bittersweet tale: as Wikipedia reports: “As an adult, Meister served as a caretaker at the Pasteur Institute until his death in 1940 at age 64. On 24 June 1940, ten days after the German army invaded Paris during World War II, Meister committed suicide with his gas furnace.” On this day in 1917, T. E. Lawrence (of Arabia) and his Arab troops captured the port city of Aqaba from the Ottomans after a surprise approach through the desert (you’ll remember that from the movie “Lawrence of Arabia.” What a great movie! Remember this bit?

In 1942, Anne Frank and her family went into hiding from the Germans in the “secret annexe” above her father’s office. Her father survived; the rest of the family died in the camps. On July 6, 1957, Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win the Wimbledon singles title. On that very same day, and not too far away, John Lennon met Paul McCartney for the first time at a music festival in Liverpool.

Notables born on this day include William Hooker (1785), Marc Chagall (1887), Frida Kahlo (1907), Nancy Reagan (1921), Bill Haley (1925), George W. Bush, Sylvester Stallone, and Peter Singer (all three in 1946), and Eva Green (1980). Those who died on this day include John Marshall (1835), Odilon Redon (1916), George Grosz (1959), Louis Armstrong (1971), and Roy Rogers (1998). A date on which two great artists were born and two died; here are paintings from all four. Do you discern a common theme?

Marc Chagall, Paris through the Window, 1913

Frida Kahlo, Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace and Hummingbird, 1940

George Groz, Costume design for deer and cat for the play “Methusalem”, 1922

Redon, The Artist’s Cat (1905)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Ms. Hili is instructing Andrzej about intellectual pursuits:

A: Independence of thought is not easy.
Hili: Follow the example of cats.
In Polish:
Ja: Niezależność myślenia nie jest łatwa.
Hili: Bierz przykład z kotów.

Leon’s keeping watch as his staff prepares the grounds for their future home; the wooden house has still not arrived from southern Poland. The house will be only a few miles from where Hili and her staff live.

Leon: Well, somebody has to supervise the progress of this work.

And in Winnipeg, Gus is being his usual cute self:

Finally, if you haven’t had enough cats, Matthew sent a tweet featuring the famous “Cat, watermelon, and sea” photo that’s become a meme:


  1. rickflick
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I enjoy the paintings. I’m sure you could extend this commonality using paintings and sculpture for a very long time. Taking a chronological, art-historical approach, you’d probably start with cat sculpture from ancient Egypt. I wonder if there has ever been a major gallery or museum show following this theme?

  2. W.Benson
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    George W. Bush, Sylvester Stallone, and Peter Singer all born on this day in 1946: astrology refuted.

    • JonLynnHarvey
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 11:41 am | Permalink

      My birthday, Feb. 4, is BOTH the day that in the 1820s, France abolished slavery in all her colonies, AND the day that the Southern Confederacy was formed in 1861.

  3. David Duncan
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Does Gus need to go on a diet?

  4. Posted July 6, 2017 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    ‘Aurence is one of my favorite movies.

    T.E. Lawrence’s book, Seven Pillars of Wisdom, is also excellent; but I recommend skipping the first approximately 100 pages and starting the read when he arrives in Jeddah. (Too much navel-gazing for me in that first section.)

    On the same subject, and even better, is Wilfred Thesiger’s Arabian Sands.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted July 6, 2017 at 10:30 am | Permalink

      I haven’t read Arabian Sands — now it’s on my list — but I have read Thesiger’s Marsh Arabs and The Empty Quarter, and highly recommend them.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted July 6, 2017 at 10:53 am | Permalink

        D’oh! Arabian Sands is about the Empty Quarter, so I did read that book, just didn’t realize it.

  5. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 11:43 am | Permalink

    At Tuesday’s festivities for the farthing of the moon of Julius, I struck up a conversation with a British fellow. I had to correct him on his confusion between Thomas More and Thomas Becket. Cheezus.

  6. Posted July 6, 2017 at 12:20 pm | Permalink

    Fried chicken – an example of a food which is the same and different everywhere there’s a version of it. (And I think there’s a version from everywhere where chicken is eaten.)

  7. rich lawler
    Posted July 6, 2017 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I did a search on your website for “cats museum” and didn’t find any hits.

    I can only presume you have already heard of this, but in case you haven’t, there is a Cats Museum in Montenegro:

%d bloggers like this: