Friday: Hili dialogue

Well, we’re all one week closer to the Rainbow Bridge again: it’s Friday, July 7, 2017, or 7/7, a date that will live in infamy (see below). On a lighter note, it’s Strawberry Sundae Day as well as the first day of Tanabata, the Japanese Star Festival.

On July 7, 1916, the New Zealand Labour Party was founded. Exactly 12 years later, pre-sliced bread was sold for the first time on the 48th birthday of the inventor, Otto Frederick Rohwedder; his bread-slicing machine was sold to a bakery in Chillicothe, Missouri, whose lucky residents were the first to buy the bread. Today in America we still use the phrase, “It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread.” On this day in 1953, the Argentinian Ernesto “Che” Guevara began one of his several trips through South America, visiting Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador. This is not the trip described in the movie “The Motorcycle Diaries,” but was his third perambulation in South America, all of which helped convince him of the evils of capitalism.  here he is (middle) in 1953:

On July 7, 1980, sharia law was instituted in Iran, and not without some Iranian protest. Five years later, at the age of only 17, Boris Becker became the youngest player ever to win a Wimbledon title. And, of course, on this day in 2005—the day of “7/7”—four terrorists detonated four bombs on London transport (buses and the Underground), killing 56 people and wounding 700 others. It was the first Islamist suicide bombing in Britain, but sadly not the last.

Somehow this made me think of this section of Christopher Smart’s great poem “Jubilate Agno”—part of the longer bit extracted and called “For I will consider my cat Jeoffry” (do read the bit at the link, which is the best poetry ever written about cats). I love the penultimate line about “brisking about the life”.

For having consider’d God and himself he will consider his neighbour.
For if he meets another cat he will kiss her in kindness.
For when he takes his prey he plays with it to give it a chance.
For one mouse in seven escapes by his dallying.
For when his day’s work is done his business more properly begins.
For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.
For he counteracts the powers of darkness by his electrical skin and glaring eyes.
For he counteracts the Devil, who is death, by brisking about the life.
For in his morning orisons he loves the sun and the sun loves him.

Notables born in this day include Gustav Mahler (1860), Satchel Paige (1906), Ringo Starr (1940), and Michelle Kwan (1980). Those who died on this day include Arthur Conan Doyle (1930), Fats Navarro (1950), and all the victims of the 7/7 attack.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has joined the Perpetually Offended. Just to be sure I understood this, I asked Malgorzata, who answered, “Everybody is so easily offended these days so Hili thought she will be as well. She didn’t have any reason but on the principle that there always must be something you can be offended about she just was offended.”

A: We have to talk.
Hili: Talk to Cyrus, I’m offended.
A: Why?
Hili: Out of principle.
In Polish:
Ja: Musimy porozmawiać.
Hili: Porozmawiaj z Cyrusem, bo ja jestem obrażona.
Ja: Dlaczego?
Hili: Dla zasady.

As lagniappe, we have a tweet found by Heather Hastie


  1. Posted July 7, 2017 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    Clarity corner: Boris Becker first won Wimbledon in 1985.

    • Posted July 7, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

      You are correct, sir; I’ve fixed it. Thanks.

      • Posted July 7, 2017 at 8:48 am | Permalink

        A pleasure. I saw Boris Becker play on an outside court at Wimbledon that year. Frankly, I can’t be totally sure who his opponent was – possibly Matt Anger, of the US (6-0, 6-1, 6-3 in the second round, as I recall it was a comprehensive drubbing and the young German’s serve was positively terrifying).

  2. Linda Calhoun
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 6:46 am | Permalink

    “For he keeps the Lord’s watch in the night against the adversary.”

    By hogging the bed?


  3. rickflick
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 6:50 am | Permalink

    Parakeets and infants in high chairs do that swipe thing too. They seem to take great pleasure in the impact on the floor and on you. 🙂

  4. MKray
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    My favorite cat poem is by Irish Monnk: Pangur Ban:
    I and Pangur Bán, my cat
    ‘Tis a like task we are at;
    Hunting mice is his delight
    Hunting words I sit all night.
    Better far than praise of men
    ‘Tis to sit with book and pen;
    Pangur bears me no ill will,
    He too plies his simple skill.
    ‘Tis a merry thing to see
    At our tasks how glad are we,
    When at home we sit and find
    Entertainment to our mind.
    Oftentimes a mouse will stray
    In the hero Pangur’s way:
    Oftentimes my keen thought set
    Takes a meaning in its net.
    ‘Gainst the wall he sets his eye
    Full and fierce and sharp and sly;
    ‘Gainst the wall of knowledge I
    All my little wisdom try.
    When a mouse darts from its den,
    O how glad is Pangur then!
    O what gladness do I prove
    When I solve the doubts I love!
    So in peace our tasks we ply,
    Pangur Bán, my cat, and I;
    In our arts we find our bliss,
    I have mine and he has his.
    Practice every day has made
    Pangur perfect in his trade;
    I get wisdom day and night
    Turning darkness into light.

    Translated by Robin Flower

    • bric
      Posted July 7, 2017 at 9:13 am | Permalink

      Set by Samuel Barber, sung by the wonderful Leontyne Price:

  5. DrBeydon
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 7:43 am | Permalink

    That gif is one of my favorites. “Fuck this thing in particular.”

    Reminds me of a joke or cartoon I saw recently: We know the world isn’t flat, because, if it were, cats would have knocked everything off by now.

    • claudia baker
      Posted July 7, 2017 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      I love it too. “Fuck this thing in particular” is now my new favourite line. (Besides ffs)

  6. busterggi
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 8:06 am | Permalink

    What was the “greatest thing” BEFORE sliced bread?

    • DrBrydon
      Posted July 7, 2017 at 8:50 am | Permalink

      Presumably the knife.

  7. Blue
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    O Ms Hastie: thank YOU for that tweet. Again.
    I have liked that wee gif ever since first seeing it
    some few months back.

    “Fuck this thing in particular” is so, so apt
    … … upon this particular morning !

    Mz Gemma Gillian got in to something and
    conducted that exact maneuver. For me to right it
    will take at least some better part of one of
    my weekend days !

    “Just fuck ’em all.” — Mr Andy Dufresne


    • rickflick
      Posted July 7, 2017 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Ah, WOLFIE.

  8. W.Benson
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 9:09 am | Permalink

    When I read of Ernesto Guevara and Fidel Castro, although I do not necessarily share their views of economics, I tend to think of a recently celebrated but mostly unread document that begins:
    “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
    “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. [I think the Americans confiscated much British property]. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”

  9. bric
    Posted July 7, 2017 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Benjamin Britten’s setting of ‘my cat Jeffery’ from Rejoice in the Lamb

  10. Posted July 7, 2017 at 10:31 am | Permalink

    As it turns out, yesterday, on the eve of Tanabata, Orihime came to me and Misa, and took the Western form of her name, “Vega.” Or in other words, Baihu has a three- to four-week-old baby sister….



  11. Posted July 7, 2017 at 1:19 pm | Permalink

    Presliced bread – I may have mentioned this another time, but I find it amazing that people I know and knew are older! (Like my grandparents.)

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