Friday: Hili dialogue

Well, it’s Friday, October 27, 2017, and precisely the 300th day of the year. What better way to celebrate by having a spud on National Potato Day? More important, in the UK it’s Black Cat Appreciation Day. Matthew sent the official tweet from Cats Protection:

By the way, this is one difference between UK and American English: in the U.S. it would be called “Cat Protection”, with a singular.  Similarly, a cocktail party in the U.S. would be called a “drink party” (though it isn’t, it’s a “cocktail party”) rather than the UK “drinks party.”

In honor of Black Cat Appreciation Day, here’s a beloved black cat from the U.K. (London, to be precise): Theo, staffed by readers Gethyn and Laurie. As you may remember, Theo loves to drink espresso. (On her website A Classicist Writes, Laurie put up a special post this morning, “It’s National Black Cat Day!“, dedicated to yours truly and featuring other photos of Theo.


To see dozens—to be exact, 6 dozen—of our readers’ black cats, have a look at the post “Halloween Black Cat Parade” from two years ago. Maybe we’ll do another this year, so get your black cat photos ready (don’t send them yet, and make sure I haven’t posted them before_.

On this day in 1682, William Penn founded the city of Philadelphia in what was then the Colonial American Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. In 1904, the first segment of the New York City subway opened, now the biggest underground system in the U.S. On October 27, 1936, Wallis Simpson got a divorce decree from her husband, freeing her to marry King Edward VIII of the UK. That of course led to his abdication from the throne for having married a two-time divorcée, and the couple lived afterwards as the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. On this day in 1992, the U.S. sailor Allen R. Schindler, Jr. was murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay; that eventually led to a new policy in the military, the famous “Don’t ask, don’t tell” practice. Finally, on this day in 1997, there was a global stock market crash, with the Dow dropping 554 points from about 7700, or roughly 7%. But Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus) just kept investing periodically as usual, and of course now the Dow is at about 23,400. If you’re investing, such “dollar cost” averaging is what I recommend.

Notables born on this day include  Niccolò Paganini (1782), Theodore Roosevelt (1858), Dylan Thomas, one of my favorite poets (1914), Nanette Fabray (1920, still alive), Roy Lichtenstein (1923), H. R. Haldeman (1926), Sylvia Plath (1932), John Cleese (1939), Carrie Snodgrass (1945; as Neil Young’s partner for a time, she was featured in his song “A Man Needs a Maid”: “I fell in love with the actress; she was playing a part that I could understand.”), and Darwin-basher A. N. Wilson (1950).

And here’s a lovely painting of our favorite animal by Roy Lichtenstein: “Laughing Cat” (1961)

Those who died on October 27 include the Mughal emperor Aksbar (1605), Aussie criminal Squizzy Taylor (1927; I like the name), physicists Lise Meitner (1968) and David Bohm (1992), and Lou Reed (2013).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has had her preprandial reading and is off for noms:

Hili: I will just have a brush with great literature and off I go.
A: Where to?
Hili: To the kitchen.
In Polish:
Hili: Jeszcze tylko otrę się o wielką literaturę i spadam.
Ja: Dokąd?
Hili: Do kuchni.

Yesterday in Winnipeg, Gus’s staff member Taskin had nearly finished knitting a new shawl when Gus decided it belonged to him. The data:

I finished knitting my shawl and was literally sewing in the last loose ends when this happened.
Taskin needs to learn that all shawls must be white.
Here are two tw**ts stolen from Heather Hastie. The first is a cat rescuer:

Two tweets from Dr. Cobb, who is wasting time when he’s supposed to be writing his new book:

And a superb natural history illustrator.  Be sure to turn up the volume:

Finally, here’s a brave Iranian woman who has doffed her required hijab in public (ignore the stuff about her being small and cute; I don’t know why “My Stealthy Freedom” put that in there). People threaten to call the morality police, and she just laughs at them: “Bring it on!”


  1. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 6:33 am | Permalink


  2. Posted October 27, 2017 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Seeing the head hair of a woman just consumes me with uncontrollable lust.

    • Frank Bath
      Posted October 27, 2017 at 7:03 am | Permalink

      You are clearly a religious nut – Iranian variety. 🙂

      • Posted October 27, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink

        I worked in Iran for a year (pre-revolution) and it has obviously affected me until my dying day.

  3. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 7:10 am | Permalink

    The girl in Iran has a lot of guts. Very much unlike our so-called president who continues to do nothing on the drug problem with his speech yesterday. What a joke.

    • W.Benson
      Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:55 am | Permalink

      Apparently nothing happened that kept this woman from posting her video on Twi**er. I hope this means that Iran isn’t as severe as many claim and/or things are loosening up with respect to using the hijab. The consequences would have been much more dramatic, I fear, if a woman had tried something like this with Clinton’s, Bush’s, Obama’s, Trump’s (and I suspect even Netanyahu’s) good good friends in Saudi Arabia.

  4. Ken Kukec
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    On this day in 1992, the U.S. sailor Allen R. Schindler, Jr. was murdered by shipmate Terry M. Helvey for being gay …

    I believe that incident also served as an inspiration for Tom Wolfe’s novella Ambush at Fort Bragg, about a network tv sting exposé of three soldiers accused of beating a gay fellow green beret to death. There’s a great audio version of that story read by Edward Norton.

    • BJ
      Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      I wonder what incident inspired him to write The Kingdom of Speech. Perhaps he met a preacher in some Louisiana backwater bar?

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:40 am | Permalink

        Who knows what hubris lurks in the hearts of the clever and coruscating contrarians? (Not I.)

        I haven’t read that book, but understand it to be a mess. I did, however, enjoy his earlier essay on the topic “Sorry, But Your Soul Just Died.”

  5. Craw
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    I have been feeding a feral black cat for 4 years but now have not seen her in 2 weeks. 😦

    • Ken Kukec
      Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:47 am | Permalink

      So you’ve joined Jerry among the jilted?

  6. E.A. Blair
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Last evening, Heather also posted “…a tweet from @catsnkittys directed me to a post where an Aussie artist Rachel Aslett has matched a whole lot of internet cat pics with old pin-up girls pics.”

    She posted a slideshow of 25 of the pics. The site that hosted the originals has nearly a hundred altogether.

  7. W.Benson
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    At my house, every day is Black Cat Appreciation day.

    • David Coxill
      Posted October 27, 2017 at 8:54 am | Permalink

      I have got 4 cats ,2 are black from the same litter ,don’t appreciate the 2 Mice and the little Wren the smallest one brought in yesterday .

      Always loved cats but this is one thing i dis like about them ,i know Mice and small song birds are liable to be eaten by something ,just wish it wasn’t my cats doing it.

  8. Draken
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    I think ‘tiny and cute’ refers to the dog we never get to see. It’s a subtitle that ended up on the still.

    • Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:08 am | Permalink

      Well, she is referring to a d*g and you know how JC feels about them.

    • Posted October 27, 2017 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

      Yup.. I speak Farsi. She is talking about her dog. How the culture is against women and they even despise dogs.

  9. Anna
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    Wow, that is a beautiful shawl, Taskin! The colours, the texture, everything. Nicely done. No wonder Gus took possession of it.

    • Jenny Haniver
      Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:24 am | Permalink

      I concur. And snow white Gus looks splendid against the colors.

    • Taskin
      Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:33 am | Permalink

      Thanks! I’m happy with how it turned out 🙂
      I need a new project now.

  10. Taskin
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink

    Theo looks very distinguished, great pic!

  11. Jenny Haniver
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    Awhile back, PCC(E) had a post about writers reading their own work (I’m thinking particularly of poets here). I believe he said that he generally didn’t think they were up to the job. I generally prefer to hear them reading their own works, especially Dylan Thomas. I don’t want to hear anybody but Dylan Thomas read Dylan Thomas, so to mark his birthday, here’s his famous poem about death, “Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night” (after all, we’re born to die, but I will still rage against the dying of the light; none of that half in love with easeful death stuff for me).

  12. Posted October 27, 2017 at 10:55 am | Permalink

    She is very brave. Wish more people could watch and listen: “Our culture is ruined as well”.

  13. Posted October 27, 2017 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    The black cat … Theo(!) … dude, you did it! You found god! Now you are no longer an atheist! :o(

  14. Liz
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    My great-grandmother and great-great grandmother recorded the history of their family from memories and what was passed down in a document my mom has. “The first Knights came to this country by boat from England with William Penn. For one year they lived in tents and caves along the Delaware river while Penn was having land surveyed. They called it Philadelphia and the streets in the inner city go straight from river to river. The first Isacc Knight was born in a cave on the Delaware. The Knights were Quakers.”

    • Blue
      Posted October 28, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

      Oooo, very, very cooool, Ms Liz, the document
      done up / put down by your Righteous Ancestors ! What a darling thing to have !


  15. Posted October 27, 2017 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    I’m ready with my black cat pics!

  16. xray
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    If my memory is right, the stock market crash was 1987, not 1997.

  17. John Frum
    Posted October 27, 2017 at 11:02 pm | Permalink

    What is the topic for Matthews next book?
    I have read ‘Eleven days in August’ and ‘Life’s greatest secrets, both fantastic books.
    One thing from the Eleven days book which has stayed with me was the Parisians having picnics on the river during occupation like nothing had happened and the Nazis coming along and shooting at them.

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