Saturday: Hili dialogue

July 13, 2019 • 6:45 am

It’s Saturday, July 13, 2019, and National French Fry Day. Perhaps, given that the Belgians might well have invented the dish, with antecedents to that effect dating back to 1680, they should be called “Belgian fries.” Either is better than “freedom fries”, though.

I counted only six big ducks in Katie’s brood today; perhaps two more have flown away. I was told that, according to my posts last year, Honey’s brood began departing at the end of July. (I thought it was later.)

It’s also Embrace Your Geekness Day.  I’ll leave it to you to decide how to celebrate given that I think the term “geek” is a pejorative for any number of pursuits, many of which are admirable.

Stuff that happened on this day include these events:

  • 1793 – Journalist and French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat is assassinated in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday, a member of the opposing political faction.
  • 1863 – New York City draft riots: In New York City, opponents of conscription begin three days of rioting which will be later regarded as the worst in United States history.
  • 1956 – The Dartmouth workshop is the first conference on artificial intelligence.
  • 1973 – Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of the “Nixon tapes” to the special Senate committee investigating the Watergate break-in.
  • 1977 – New York City: Amidst a period of financial and social turmoil experiences an electrical blackout lasting nearly 24 hours that leads to widespread fires and looting.

Note that when police aren’t available, as in the Montreal Police Strike of 1969, order breaks down completely. So much for the misguided demand to get rid of the cops!

  • 1985 – The Live Aid benefit concert takes place in London and Philadelphia, as well as other venues such as Moscow and Sydney.
  • 2016 – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron resigns, and is succeeded by Theresa May.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 100 BC – Julius Caesar, Roman general and statesman (d. 44 BC) [JAC: Wikipedia gives his birth date as “12 or 13 July”.]
  • 1894 – Isaac Babel, Russian short story writer, journalist, and playwright (d. 1940)
  • 1903 – Kenneth Clark, English historian and author (d. 1983)
  • 1940 – Paul Prudhomme, American chef and author (d. 2015)
  • 1940 – Patrick Stewart, English actor, director, and producer

Those who “passed” on this day include:

  • 1626 – Robert Sidney, 1st Earl of Leicester, English politician (b. 1563)
  • 1793 – Jean-Paul Marat, French physician and theorist (b. 1743)
  • 1893 – Young Man Afraid of His Horses, American tribal chief (b. 1836)
  • 1945 – Alla Nazimova, Russian-American actress, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1879)
  • 1946 – Alfred Stieglitz, American photographer and curator (b. 1864)
  • 1951 – Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian-American composer and painter (b. 1874)
  • 1954 – Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter and educator (b. 1907)
  • 2014 – Nadine Gordimer, South African novelist, short story writer, and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1923)

Kahlo is, of course, one of my favorite modern painters, and I always put up a picture of her with a cat (or a jaguar) on her birthday or deathday. Today I’ll feature her with parrots in her painting Me and My Parrots (Yo y mis pericos), 1941:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is nosing around, and I don’t think she’s looking for cherries:

Hili: I’m not needed here. I think I will go to the orchard.
A: And what will you do there?
Hili: I will check what’s under the trees.
In Polish:
Hili: Nic tu po mnie, chyba pójdę do sadu.
Ja: I co tam będiesz robić?
Hili: Zobaczę kto chodzi pod drzewami.

The photo below is, as HuffPo would say, “genius”:

From Laurie, who posted this on my Facebook page:

A tweet sent by reader Su. It would be easier for the cat if the floor weren’t so slippery!

From Nilou. Is this a basilisk lizard? If so, I’ve seen one of these run across a stream in Central America, where they’re sometimes known as “Jesus Christ lizards”. (Yes, they can run across water.)

I found this tweet that Grania sent me on August 20 of last year. Her email header was “to read”, meaning that I should read it.

Tweets from Matthew. It so happens that this is very close to the rate at which your fingernails grow, which is about 3.5 mm a month (that’s also the rate at which the continents move due to continental drift):

In fact, this big orange cat has interposed itself into many works of Internet art, all the way from Da Vinci to Dali:

Have a look at all the photos in this thread: they’re all good but the second one below, with the red-winged blackbird blowing frost rings, is one of the best animal photos I’ve ever seen:

Turn the sound up to hear this owl make a funny sneeze. It honks!


14 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. How about “free Belgio-Franco fries”. That way you would get both Belgium and France, plus the fries would be free! Everyone loves free fries.

    1. I can see you haven’t lived in Belgium. Calling the fries ‘Belgio-Franco’ or ‘Franco-Belge’ will open a can of worms in Belgium, since more than half the population speaks Flemish (and related southern Dutch dialects/languages (I even shudder by daring to call them dialects)), they would feel alienated. It has not been establishesd whether it was frenach speaking Belgians or Flemish speaking Belgian who invewnted the fries.
      To complicate matters, I’m sure the ‘fries’ were invented well before there actually was a ‘Belgium’, I’d guess during the ‘Austrian Netherlands’ period (via the Hapsburgers from Spain).

  2. The Draft riots in New York should have taught a lesson but it did not. If a country is going to require service it should include all or do not do it. What the individuals can do would be determined later. Voluntary service is only marginally better and creates many undesirable side affects.

  3. On Grania’s buried tweet, unearthed today:

    I have read the Atlantic article. Only a few conservatives seemed to care about its analysis a year ago; and who among them cares now? I do not understand what a ‘conservative’ is in terms of civic behavior, and I would very much like to hear a statement of conservative principles. Just what do conservatives wish to conserve, why, and how?

    At least for its intellectuals, classical conservatism was as rational as classical liberalism. Both were philosophical, in dialogue with one another, starting from the question, ‘what is the case with the world?’ and proceeding to try to answer through observation, reasoning, testing, refining, and so on, until a basis of truth was set down for political life, indeed for every kind of life. This was a necessary process for a democratic polity’s foundation and health. And the arguments were largely secular.

    As a left-liberal, I am frighteningly aware of the irrationality of the so-called woke fokes. They are destroyers who are ultimately self-destroyers. At the same time, conservatives are also ‘so-called’: they and their beliefs would be unrecognizable to the best-known conservatives of one and two generations ago, while an 18th century classical conservative like Edmund Burke would find them of another species, and vice versa.

    But we needn’t look so far back in history. I was struck by the words of Barry Goldwater, as quoted in Seidel’s ‘The Founding Myth:’

    ‘If and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] Party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. but these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise’ (p 262).

    ‘If and when’ have become ‘now and now.’

    1. You ask what conservative principles are today. Many would consider George Will the most influential conservative thinker today. He is written a book discussing these principles. Andrew Sullivan, another conservative, has reviewed it somewhat critically in the NYT. Sullivan summarizes Will’s conception of conservatism thusly:


      Conservatism for Will is the defense of an a priori truth asserted as “self-evident” by the founding fathers: that all men are created equal, and each has a “natural right” to do as he pleases with himself and his own property, and any government is tasked purely for the maintenance of such freedom. It is rooted in an 18th-century idea (overwhelmingly Locke’s) that Will takes to be an eternal truth about humankind, a truth that was, for a while at least, the basis of a novus ordo seclorum that gave us the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution itself. This self-evident truth was made manifest in a completely new world, where a dream took hold: “of a fresh start of a sort hitherto unimaginable — of an uncircumscribed future that Americans would be uniquely free to shape by choices not constrained by the viscosity of history. So the last and greatest dream was nothing less than perfect freedom, a state of nature on a continent that seemed to be a blank canvas on which to work.”


      Sullivan, British by origin, thinks that celebrating a revolution is a rather odd understanding of conservatism, but there it is. Will has left the Republican Party because he loathes Trump. It seems me that he would find the Libertarian Party congenial. Sullivan details Will’s distaste for the current Republican Party by noting “their values are domination; gut-thinking; cultishness; recklessness; fundamentalism; and the preference for raw power over letting things be.”

      I do not share Will’s never-to-happen dream of returning to the days of true conservative principles as defined by him. But, I do give him credit for refusing to kowtow to Trump as so many of his former colleagues have.

      1. Appreciate comments of both Robert Bray and Historian. Good review/summary of Conservatism for an outsider. Obviously they have all strayed from their roots.

  4. Cops take industrial action & crooks benefit, but did WEITists know that less fewer folks die during doctor’s strikes?

    More info & the reason why is given HERE [but I hope you’ll form your own reasoned hypothesis before looking!]

    1. Yes, I would think a strike of such short duration would not mean much. Better to look here in the U.S. at thousands who do not go to a doctor at all because they cannot afford it. Or, even if they go they cannot afford the medicines they should take.

    2. Less fewer folks? 🙂
      The reason given in the article is the obvious one (I guessed the same). They also stress that emergencies continue to be treated during these strikes.

  5. Someone just told me it’s National Barbershop Quartet day and National Skinny-dipping Day, too.

    Not sure I can find a pair of tenors and a bass to harmonize with on such short notice. But I know I beach where I can take a nekkid dip. BRB.

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