Wednesday: Hili dialogue (and Leon monologue)

Good morning all; it’s July 19. 2017, and the 200th day of the year. It’s also National Daiquiri Day, though if we’re talking tropical drinks, I much prefer the mojito—especially as served at the Versailles restaurant in Miami, strong and adorned with a spike of sugar cane. Be sure to button your shirt from the bottom up today, and every day, so you don’t misbutton! That is one of Coyne’s Four Rules of Life.

It’s not a great day for either historical events or notable births and deaths. On July 19, 1553, Lady Jane Grey, after ruling as Queen of England for only nine days, was replaced by Mary I; this is surely the shortest tenure of any British Queen. And, on this day in 1848, the two-day Women’s Rights Convention opened in Seneca Falls, New York; it was the world’s first women’s rights meeting. On July 19, 1903, the first Tour de France bicycle race ended; the winner was Maurice Garin. And on this day in 1979, the Sandanista rebels toppled the Somoza government in Nicaragua.

Notables born on this day include Edgar Degas (1834), Herbert Marcuse (1898), and tennis great Ilie Năstase (1946).

In honor of Degas, a very great painter (and sculptor), we have one of his paintings “L’Absinthe” (1875-1876; I couldn’t find one in which there was a cat). I love the way the greenish-white absinthe pops out. When first exhibited painting was reviled by critics and the public alike for showing a degraded milieu of society; in those days, I guess, paintings were supposed to be morally uplifting. Wikipedia says this about the work:

The scene is a representation of the increasing social isolation occurring in Paris during its stage of rapid growth. The models used in the painting are an actress, Ellen Andrée, and a bohemian painter and printmaker, Marcellin Desboutin. The café where they are taking their refreshment is the Café de la Nouvelle-Athènes in Paris.

The café was a meeting place for artists like Matisse and van Gogh, and Erik Satie sometimes played the café piano.  It was also where the fifteen-year-0ld Maurice Ravel was introduced to Satie. The cafe was demolished in 2004, and what a pity!

But wait! Reader Roger found this version, probably never displayed:

Only one person died today whom I want to note: Aung San, the Burmese general and politician whose daughter was Aung San Suu Kyi. He was assassinated in 1947. Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili Marches with Science:

Hili: What is a narrative?
A: It’s a story you are not allowed to doubt.
Hili: And a theory?
A: With a theory it’s just the opposite: it’s strong when it grapples with doubts.
Hili: Cats do not have narratives.
 In Polish:
Hili: Co to jest narracja?
Ja: To opowieść, w którą nie wolno wątpić.
Hili: A teoria?
Ja: A teoria wręcz odwrotnie, jest mocna kiedy uczciwie zmaga się z wątpliwościami.
Hili: Koty nie mają narracji.

Leon is still roaming about the land surrounding his future home, busy with Important Cat Stuff:

Leon: I will check whether mice are feeding on beetroots.



  1. Posted July 19, 2017 at 6:57 am | Permalink

    ah – absinthe makes the heart grow fonder…
    Also the birthday of Queen Victoria’s Nazi grandson – the sometime Duke of Albany…,_Duke_of_Saxe-Coburg_and_Gotha
    grandfather of Karl XVI Gustaf of Sweden…

    AND the birthday of Samuel Colt – ‘peacemaker’ indeed!

  2. bric
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 7:01 am | Permalink

    I’ve always understood the rule for buttons is sometimes, always, never from the top down; it’s as imprinted on me as much as Tom Ford’d rule ‘Gentlemen don’t wear shorts to town’.

    Puts on tin hat

  3. Randy schenck
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 7:04 am | Permalink

    The fence that Leon is walking on looks very interesting. Kind of a weave. Button the shirt from the bottom up…never tried that.

  4. Graham Head
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 7:09 am | Permalink

    Năstase not so great these days following his comments about Serena Williams.

  5. Ken Kukec
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 7:56 am | Permalink

    Mojitos and daiquiris — weren’t those Papa’s favorite drinks at the Hotel Floridita in old Havana?

    The Versailles is one of my favorite restaurants, a throwback to a different era on Calle Ocho in Little Havana.

  6. dabertini
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 8:16 am | Permalink

    Legend has it that maurice garin was born in Italy and sold to a French chimney sweep for a wheel of cheese. For the love of PCC(e), one can hope it was a very large wheel of comte.

  7. rickflick
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 11:01 am | Permalink

    Degas is a big favorite of mine. He produced some quite amazing and unexpected compositions. Note the space at the bottom of L’Absinthe.
    Here’s an even more dramatic example:

  8. John Conoboy
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 11:44 am | Permalink

    In Louisiana, they have drive-through daquiri/liquor stores. I don’t understand why they feature daquiris.

  9. Leigh
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    I’m sorry, but in light of yesterday’s discussion of how men and women perceive each other, I have to comment. The irony of the juxtaposition makes me giggle…kinda like that English diary that notes nothing much happened today, July 4, 1776.

    “It’s not a great day for either historical events or notable births and deaths … on this day in 1848, the two-day Women’s Rights Convention opened in Seneca Falls…”

    My feeling is that this is one of those dates that everyone should know, but most people do not. It is a momentous event in the history of our country, but it is not a typical part of school curricula. Elizabeth Cady Stanton is not a familiar name for most people. That she was involved (although not to the extent she would have wished, being a woman) in the founding of the Republican Party demonstrates just how far from its roots that party has strayed. Should we be surprised that women are frustrated?

  10. JonLynnHarvey
    Posted July 19, 2017 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    I wonder if this the cafe where Ravel temporarily mislaid one of his manuscripts.

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