Tuesday: Hili dialogue

January 14, 2020 • 6:30 am

It’s Tuesday, January 14, 2020, and it’s a great day for food, as it’s National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day. Below is my nephew Steven chowing down on half a pastrami sammy (rye, hot mustard) at the very Mecca of pastrami sandwiches, Katz’s Delicatessen on the lower East Side of New York city (I took him for a Lower East Side Jewish eating tour). There’s also a bowl of mixed kosher pickles on the table (make mine a garlic half sour). Note that he’s chosen a beer, while I’m drinking the best accompaniment to the sandwich: a Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Tonic (a celery-flavored soft drink that somehow superbly complements the pastrami).

Katz’s was founded in 1888.

Here’s an old picture from WWII, still in the front window, with some information from Wikipedia. I have to say that if there is a Jewish physiognomy, this guy has it:

During the peak of the Yiddish theater, the restaurant was frequently full of actors, singers and comedians from the many theaters on Second Avenue as well as the National Theater on Houston Street. During World War II, the two sons of the owners – Lenny Katz and Izzy Tarowsky – were both serving their country in the armed forces, and the family tradition of sending food to their sons became sealed as the company slogan “Send A Salami To Your Boy In The Army”.[6] The slogan was coined by Izzy’s mother Rose Tarowsky, whose son served in the South Pacific as a bomber pilot.

I could use a kosher salami. . .

And there’s a bunch of bizarre holidays today, including Caesarian Section Day, National Dress Up Your Pet Day, National Poetry at Work Day, Take a Missionary to Lunch Day, and last but not least, Feast of the Ass, a medieval holiday celebrating the fictional story of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph’s flight into Egypt. It’s also known as the Festum Asinorum. You can send this card!

News of the Day: Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are having a contretemps: the latest is Warren’s claim that Sanders told her last year that a woman could not win the Presidency in 2020. Sanders denies it. Cory Booker has dropped out of the race. And there is nobody I am really enthusiastic about as a Democratic candidate (but of course I’ll vote for whomever is nominated).  Also, the Oscar nominations are out, and there is loud grousing that they are not diverse enough. Every minority group I know of has complained about being “snubbed” a word you often see in this connection. Having not seen all the movies or actors touted as having been snubbed, like Jennifer Lopez in “Hustlers”, I reserve judgment.

Stuff that happened on January 14 includes:

  • 1539 – Spain annexes Cuba.
  • 1639 – The “Fundamental Orders”, the first written constitution that created a government, is adopted in Connecticut.
  • 1911 – Roald Amundsen’s South Pole expedition makes landfall on the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.
  • 1939 – Norway claims Queen Maud Land in Antarctica.

Queen Maud Land, desolate but fascinating, was named after Norway’s Queen (Amundsen also named a ship after her: the one he christened with ice). Although there are several national territorial claims in Antarctica, nobody respects them, and it’s the last continent where there really are no nations or colonies.  Read this article about Alex Honnold and other climbers scaling the peaks there in really cold weather.

  • 1943 – World War II: Franklin D. Roosevelt becomes the first President of the United States to travel by airplane while in office when he flies from Miami to Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill.
  • 1952 – NBC’s long-running morning news program Today debuts, with host Dave Garroway.
  • 1967 – Counterculture of the 1960s: The Human Be-In takes place in San Francisco, California’s Golden Gate Park, launching the Summer of Love.
  • 1973 – Elvis Presley’s concert Aloha from Hawaii is broadcast live via satellite, and sets the record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history.

Notables born on this day include:

  • 83 BC – Mark Antony, Roman general and politician (d. 30 BCE)
  • 1741 – Benedict Arnold, American-British general (d. 1801)
  • 1875 – Albert Schweitzer, French-Gabonese physician and philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1965)
  • 1896 – John Dos Passos, American novelist, poet, and playwright (d. 1970)
  • 1919 – Andy Rooney, American soldier, journalist, critic, and television personality (d. 2011)
  • 1925 – Yukio Mishima, Japanese author, poet, and playwright (d. 1970)
  • 1928 – Garry Winogrand, American photographer and author (d. 1984)

Winograd was one of America’s best “street photographers”, snapping spontaneously with a Leica. Here’s one of his best photos:

Two more people born on this day:

  • 1941 – Faye Dunaway, American actress and producer
  • 1961 – Rob Hall, New Zealand mountaineer (d. 1996)

Those who went Six Feet Under on January 14 include:

  • 1742 – Edmond Halley, English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist (b. 1656)
  • 1898 – Lewis Carroll, English novelist, poet, and mathematician (b. 1832)
  • 1957 – Humphrey Bogart, American actor (b. 1899)
  • 1977 – Anthony Eden, English soldier and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1897)
  • 1978 – Kurt Gödel, Austrian-American mathematician and philosopher (b. 1906)
  • 1984 – Ray Kroc, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1902)
  • 1986 – Donna Reed, American actress (b. 1921)
  • 2009 – Ricardo Montalbán, Mexican actor (b. 1920)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is dissing the stray black cat that comes around. I hadn’t heard much about him, but Malgorzata explains:

This black cat whom we tried to tame is here every day. (He gets fed every day – Andrzej is putting out food for him in the woodshed – but we never managed to tame him.) He is much smaller than Hili but Hili is afraid of him. She is a bit ashamed of being such a coward and so she invents horror stories about him. One of them is that he is a follower of the most deceitful ideology she knows: Marxism.

The dialogue:

Hili: A black cat!
A: Are you superstitious?
Hili: No, but I don’t like him; he is a Marxist.
In Polish:
Hili: Czarny kot.
Ja: Jesteś przesądna?
Hili: Nie, ale go nie lubię, to marksista.

We have a special treat today: a photo of one of Matthew’s cats (he has three). His note (sent yesterday morning): “This is Pepper right now watching “cat TV” – Youtube vids for cats, consisting of birds…”

When I asked if there was a monologue, Matthew quotes his wife: “According to Lauren, who took the pic, Pepper was thinking ‘Why is that bird so big?’”

A meme from reader Laurie:

Another cat meme from Facebook. I hope you get it.

Titania takes on cultural appropriation:

Speaking of Titania, the Lancet, a respected British medical journal, has apparently gone woke as well:

Yes, this really is a seal face viewed upside down:


[Edit from Matthew. This image has been photoshopped. This was pointed out in the thread, but the 41 Strange account seems to be more interested in clicks than in veracity:

An absolutely gorgeous frog:


Here’s a video of that frog:

A tweet from reader Barry. Who on earth would own a d*g like this?:

Tweets from Matthew. First, an owl gets a rude awakening:

Oy! But this is nature, red in mandible and claw. Look at the tweet below this one, too:

And have a look at the thread following this tweet:


43 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. Wikipedia on Aloha from Hawaii

    “ The concert took place at the Honolulu International Center (HIC) in Honolulu (now known as the Neal S. Blaisdell Center) and aired in over 40 countries across Asia and Europe (who received the telecast the next day, also in primetime). Despite the satellite innovation, NBC did not broadcast an edited version of the concert in the United States until April 4, 1973 because the concert took place the same day as Super Bowl VII. The decision paid off handsomely for the network, attracting 51 percent of the television viewing audience to become NBC’s highest rated program of the year.[2] The show was the most expensive entertainment special at the time, costing $2.5 million.[1]”

  2. I do get it, as the meaning is quite obvious. Cats are so curious that they will travel to remote places with little to no oxygen, even Mars, without a spacesuit and even robots cannot save them despite their best efforts to warm them up with a laser beam. Robots do not realize the lack of oxygen is the real problem because they do not breath.

  3. We have this little woodpecker that pecks at our shingles during ladybug season. At first I could have sworn it was a baby blue jay but it seemed oddly persistent for a blue jay. Shoo it away and it flies off into the tree for a while and in no time it’s right back where it was before. So I googled it and it turns out there are indeed species of little woodpeckers with no red on them that look kinda sorta like baby blue jays.

      1. In the fall we get zillions of ladybugs all over the siding everywhere. Presumably that’s what my little %$&%)%$# was after I guess. Cutest little bugger though.

      2. A couple of days ago I awoke to a thumping on the vinyl window frame outside the bedroom. It was a flicker. I chased him off and he came back a couple of times before leaving. Seems that there was a small bit of a wasps nest still adhering to the frame and it must have had something edible inside.

    1. When I was in graduate school, my boss Dick Lewontin used as an example of a developmental constraint the assertion that “all woodpeckers have red in them.” It didn’t take much work by me to show he was wrong!

  4. 1973 – Elvis Presley’s concert Aloha from Hawaii is broadcast live via satellite, and sets the record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history.

    Mebbe so, but it was his ’68 Comeback Special that put the King back on the musical map. By 1973, Elvis was deep into his final decadent phase.

  5. “What is certain is that if Jules Guesde the black cat in Andrzej’s woodshed is a Marxist, then I myself am not a Marxist.”

    — Karl Marx

  6. Saturday was hot pastrami day for me. Not kosher, though, as I put cheese on it. I really missed out, though, because I forgot to pick up some cream soda. Pastrami is one of those things, like cake, that I realize I could eat all the time, but for some reason don’t.

    1. Pace, but I’m a purist and the very thought of cheese on a pastrami sandwich (even havarti or swiss) makes my toes curl.

      With the price of an authentic pastrami sandwich pushing 20 bucks on the West Coast, they’ve become, as my lapsus calami of the word “sandwich” revealed, “sandwishes. One can’t stint on pastrami sandwiches, the meat must be piled high, no namby-pamby half-sandwich, or one with a reduced amount of pastrami. Now, except for special occasions I can only wish for one.

    1. Oh me me me

      Even when the staff has long since died, the cats inquire the dead staff’s soul to get up and get some cat food.

    2. And before it became a ‘cartoon’ it was just a painting “Cats playing ouija” RYTA’S ART WORLD – from Russian-born folk/primitive artist Margaryta Yermolayeva now residing near Ann Arbor, Michigan. She likes neo-surreal & fantasy style witches, magic, cats, Hallowe’en & all that guff.

  7. I don’t know of any data that could support the contention that the Academy Awards are racist. But I have thought that some affirmative action in them would make it a bit more relevant.

    1. It reminded me of Ricky Gervais’bit on not doing an In Memoriam segment at the Golden Globes because it wasn’t diverse enough.

    2. I’ve no idea if racism played any role in its omission, but I thought The Last Black Man in San Francisco deserved nominations at the least for best original screenplay, and for Jonathan Majors for best supporting actor for his performance in it.

      1. All Academy awards and Golden globes have this tension now over this issue. I was rather despondent that Eddie Murphy did not win a golden globe for Dolomite is my name. I have no way to weigh the merits of the different nominees, but I just felt sad about it.

  8. My impression of the Sanders/Warren dustup is that Warren has weaponized something Sanders said in a private conversation. If so, that’s a pretty low blow. The knives are definitely out!

      1. Yes, I was aware of that. If he did say it in a private conversation, I think he’s well within his rights to lie about it now.

        BTW, I am not particularly in favor of either one to win the nomination though, if one did, I certainly would vote for them in the general election.

        1. Americans have been so brainwashed into thinking socialism and communism are the same thing that I don’t think Sanders or Warren would be good opponents…just think of the fun Russian trolls will have with them, let alone Trump and his vicious lies and distortions. Even though they are both democratic socialists, the average American doesn’t know what that means. It won’t be hard for Trump et al. to brand these two Senators as socialist commies that will raise your taxes, give all the money to minorities and force white people to live on the streets.

        2. I too would vote for either of them if forced to, but I believe neither (Sanders in particular) have any chance of being our next president.

    1. I have no idea what was actually said during their private conversation, but I can imagine that Sanders might have said something about Trump employing particular lines of unfair attack against a woman opponent, which might have been construed as Bernie’s implying that a woman would have more difficulty in defeating Trump.

      I’ll be surprised if we see a major rift between Warren and Sanders in tonight’s debate.

      1. That a woman will find it difficult to win the presidency seems like an arguable position though I hope it isn’t true. Clinton proved in 2016 that a women candidate can’t count on all women to vote for her though she acted as if she did. As you say, Trump is particularly nasty when it comes to women. I am just not sure if that helps or hurts the woman’s prospects.

  9. The dog biting his owner while he pets him reminds me of my cat, Brio. He’s a very affectionate cat but if I pet him too long he starts to bite very hard. I know he does it from an excess of pleasure because he is purring very loudly and shows no interest in getting away from me.

  10. Katz’s is well know to many who have never been to Manhattan as the setting for the famous orgasm scene in the film “When Harry Met Sally”. One of the great one-liners in film history has to be the woman at the next table after witnessing Sally’s fake orgasm: “I’ll have what she’s having”.

    1. It sounds profoundly revolting. Utterly stomach turning.
      I shall try to find a source. Get a sixpack, and make sure that at least one tin (bottle) makes it to Mum, who is responsible for celery making it onto my extremely short list of foods I won’t even consider trying (again).
      Dr. Brown Cel-Ray Soda, 12-Ounce (Pack Of 4) (Grocery Product)
      Dr. Brown’s – £101.88
      ” OK, I’ll take that as a “No”. A very firm “No”. I guess most of that price is for gold-plated airfreight on Concorde, but even so … Nope.

      1. I just had a pastrami sandwich for lunch at a local deli. I sat at the counter and my head was just a couple of feet from several bottles of Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray Soda on display. I’ve never had any as it doesn’t sound that good though I’d be willing to try it. Just drank water this time.

  11. My dog Sparky really doesn’t like to be petted. He doesn’t go all crazy when you try it, though. I let ol’ Sparky decide what kind of interaction he wants.

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