Wednesday: Hili dialogue

March 30, 2022 • 7:00 am

Where we are now: The ship’s real-time map shows that, as expected, we’re proceeding north up the coast of South America, heading for a docking on Valparaiso on April 3.

The first map shows our detour to Puerto Natales and return:

I see nothing out my window save the snotgreen sea , as I’m on the port side and we’re heading north. On the starboard, however, here comes the Sun over the coastal hills:

If you want to help out with “this day in history”, go to the Wikipedia page for March 30 and give us your favorite notable events, births, and deaths.

Good morning on a Hump Day (“Hari Punuk”, as they say in Indonesian): Wednesday, March 30, 2022, and National Hot Chicken Day. We’re not talking about heat as in degrees Fahrenheit or Celsius, but degree of spiciness, for “Hot Chicken” made with hot peppers is a speciality of the Southern US, particularly from Nashville, Tennessee. It comes in degrees of spiciness, and the hottest variety will burn out your oral mucosa. Beware of fiery, bright red chicken unless you’ve worked your way up to it (it is a form of masochism!):

The New York Times headline has changed in the last hour. First it was that progress was being made in negotiations between Ukraine and Russia; now it looks worse (click on screenshot to read):

And the NYT news summary:

A day after peace talks yielded hope for an easing of Russia’s assault on Ukraine, local officials reported new attacks on Wednesday on the outskirts of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, two areas where Russia had vowed to sharply reduce combat operations.

The continuing attacks signaled that Moscow was in no hurry to end its war, now five weeks old, despite claims that it would de-escalate its operations after hours of talks on Tuesday with Ukrainian representatives in Istanbul.

The “talks” between Ukraine and Russia, such as they are, are reported to be pretty much stalemated: this is what we must hang our hopes on:

[The Kremlin’s] spokesman, Dmitri Peskov, told reporters that although Ukraine’s proposals were “a positive factor,” reaching a deal would still take a lot of work.

We’re talking weeks or months here, and time translates into lives lost.

*Shades of Rose Mary Woods!  Logs of White House calls from the fateful day of January 6 show a seven-hour hiatus when Trump wasn’t communicating by phone. Ironically, one of the reporters on this Washington Post story is Bob Woodward, who helped bring down Nixon during Watergate (remember the gaps in the White House recordings?) The evidence comes from White House records turned over to the House by the National Archives.

Internal White House records from the day of the attack on the U.S. Capitol that were turned over to the House select committee show a gap in President Donald Trump’s phone logs of seven hours and 37 minutes, including the period when the building was being violently assaulted, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post and CBS News.

The lack of an official White House notation of any calls placed to or by Trump for 457 minutes on Jan. 6, 2021 — from 11:17 a.m. to 6:54 p.m. — means the committee has no record of his phone conversations as his supporters descended on the Capitol, battled overwhelmed police and forcibly entered the building, prompting lawmakers and Vice President Mike Pence to flee for safety.

. . .The House panel is now investigating whether Trump communicated that day through back channels, phones of aides or personal disposable phones, known as “burner phones,” according to two people with knowledge of the probe, who, like others interviewed for this report, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive information. The committee is also scrutinizing whether it received the full logs from that day.

One lawmaker on the panel said the committee is investigating a “possible coverup” of the official White House record from that day. Another person close to the committee said the large gap in the records is of “intense interest” to some lawmakers on the committee, many of whom have reviewed copies of the documents. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss internal committee deliberations.

I tell you, this means big, big trouble for the Trumpster; perhaps even conspiracy charges. LOCK HIM UP!

*If you’re 50 or older, or have an underlying medical condition that puts you at risk of severe covid, you’re now eligible for a SECOND booster (Moderna and Pfizer boosters only, but the fourth shot also recommended to those who first got the J&J vaccine).

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it would update its vaccine guidance to reflect the F.D.A.’s action. While she did not outright recommend a second booster for everyone now eligible, Dr. Rochelle P Walensky, the C.D.C.’s director, said the option for the added dose “is especially important for those 65 and older and those 50 and older with underlying medical conditions that increase their risk for severe disease.”

Dr. Marks [head of the FDA’s vaccine division]went a bit farther, saying those 50 and older who got their first booster more than four months ago, “should seriously consider getting another.”

However, my own doctor says the study supporting this conclusion was flawed, and he didn’t recommend my getting a second booster at present. Make your own decision!

You can read the FDA update here.

I’m late today, so I’ll just add this report from the Associated Press that there are monkeys loose in Florida! They live around the Fort Lauderdale airport:

The United States has no native monkeys, but the smallish vervets have roamed Dania Beach since the late 1940s after a dozen brought from West Africa fled a now long-closed breeding facility and roadside zoo. Today, 40 descendants are broken into four troops living within 1,500 acres (600 hectares) around the airport. Florida also has a few colonies of escaped macaques and squirrel monkeys.

A photo:

But the U.S. does have native monkeys. They’re called “humans.”

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrezej and squabbling again:

Hili: And what are you doing?
A: Taking a picture.
Hili: Do something wiser instead.
In Polish:
Hili: I co ty robisz?
Ja: Zdjęcie.
Hili: Zrób lepiej coś mądrego.

And a photo of little Kulka. Don’t you just want to rub her tummy?

The meme below is from Simon, who says, “I’m guessing from the label that he won’t be worrying about punctuation-just punches.”  Remember what happened at the Oscars?

From Merilee: Acme, Inc. fails again!

From Facebook. If you have an old teapot, you should repurpose it as an exaptation:

A tweet from God. I think things started going wrong when he created primates:

Even though I don’t “follow” anyone formally on Twitter, they’ve started sending me selections of tweets based on whose tweets I look at. Here’s one example

Titania has two tweets in her continuing series of things that are discovered to be racist. You can challenge yourself by trying to guess the reasons these things have been demonized; thumbs-up emojis, steam trains, and carrying babies mystified me. But you can track down the articles to find out.


Reader Peter tells us that this Tweeter has a number of hints for Ukrainians about simple ways to sabotage the Russian invasion. Have a look at the thread:

Tweets from Matthew. The Ukrainians who said “nuts” survived!

This is brave and sad at the same time:

Okay, I’m going to have to check this out. But who was Trump’s Rose Mary Woods?

48 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I doubt anything will happen to Trump over the missing logs, but if they discover Trump’s workaround some underling heads might roll. It seems sad but true that DOJ is shy about prosecuting a former president for giving illegal orders while being perfectly happy to go after the people who carried them out.

    this is what we must hang our hopes on:

    I would not hang any hope on Russian statements at all; they are clearly lying, using peace-promoting public statements merely as part of the cover they use to continue the war.

    Ukraine should (IMO) condition any further negotiation on Russia actually behaving the way it says it will. Demand that the order be “you say you’ll withdraw from area” -> “you actually do it” -> “we negotiate”; not “you say you’ll withdraw from area” -> “we negotiate” -> … because in the latter case, the actual withdraw never happens.

    1. Indeed:

      Volodymyr Zelenskiy has dismissed Russia’s pledge to drastically cut back its military activity in northern Ukraine, saying “Ukrainians are not naive people” and vowing to continue defensive military efforts.

      Zelenskiy said in a video address early on Wednesday: “Ukrainians have already learned during these 34 days of invasion and over the past eight years of the war in Donbas that only a concrete result can be trusted.”
      Ukraine’s president said that while there had been “positive” signals from the latest talks, “they do not drown out the explosions of Russian shells”. “The enemy is still in our territory,” he said. “The shelling of our cities continues. Mariupol is blocked. Missile and airstrikes do not stop. This is the reality. These are the facts.”

  2. On this day:
    1818 – Physicist Augustin Fresnel reads a memoir on optical rotation to the French Academy of Sciences, reporting that when polarized light is “depolarized” by a Fresnel rhomb, its properties are preserved in any subsequent passage through an optically-rotating crystal or liquid.

    1842 – Ether anesthesia is used for the first time, in an operation by the American surgeon Dr. Crawford Long.

    1861 – Discovery of the chemical elements: Sir William Crookes announces his discovery of thallium.

    1867 – Alaska is purchased from Russia for $7.2 million, about 2-cent/acre ($4.19/km2), by United States Secretary of State William H. Seward.

    1870 – Texas is readmitted to the United States Congress following Reconstruction.

    1939 – The Heinkel He 100 fighter sets a world airspeed record of 463 mph (745 km/h).

    1949 – Cold War: A riot breaks out in Austurvöllur square in Reykjavík, when Iceland joins NATO.

    1981 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan is shot in the chest outside a Washington, D.C., hotel by John Hinckley, Jr.; three others are wounded in the same incident.

    1746 – Francisco Goya, Spanish-French painter and sculptor (d. 1828.

    1853 – Vincent van Gogh, Dutch-French painter and illustrator (d. 1890).

    1894 – Sergey Ilyushin, Russian engineer, founded Ilyushin Aircraft Company (d. 1977).

    1914 – Sonny Boy Williamson I, American singer-songwriter and harmonica player (d. 1948)

    1926 – Ingvar Kamprad, Swedish businessman, founded IKEA (d. 2018)

    1928 – Tom Sharpe, English-Spanish author and educator (d. 2013)

    1937 – Warren Beatty, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter

    1945 – Eric Clapton, English guitarist and singer-songwriter

    1962 – MC Hammer, American rapper and actor

    1964 – Tracy Chapman, American singer-songwriter and guitarist

    1968 – Celine Dion, Canadian singer-songwriter

    Those who discovered that they were immortally challenged:
    1783 – William Hunter, Scottish anatomist and physician (b. 1718)

    1949 – Friedrich Bergius, German chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1884)

    1986 – James Cagney, American actor and dancer (b. 1899)

    2004 – Alistair Cooke, English-American journalist and author (b. 1908)

    2020 – Bill Withers, American singer-songwriter (b. 1938)

    2021 – G. Gordon Liddy, chief operative in the Watergate scandal (b. 1930)

    1. Among those born was Stefan Banach, Polish mathematician (1892).

      According to pencils, on this day in 1858, Hymen Lipman of Philadelphia patented pencils with erasers stuck on top. I don’t think I’ve ever found the damn things useful. But they are all over the place now.

  3. I tell you, this means big, big trouble for the Trumpster. . . .

    We’ve been hearing this for years now, and they’ve all turned out to be damp squibs. It’s almost as if he’s not evil incarnate, but just a normal person.

    1. Sure, just like any normal person whose company (and its CFO) are under indictment in New York, whose 2016 campaign staff and While House advisors (many of them) have been indicted, convicted, (and pardoned), whose charitable foundation was shut down for fraud, who had five of his cabinet members referred for Justice Department criminal investigation by Inspectors General offices, and whose his family members and closest allies are now busy pleading their self-incrimination privilege all over town.

      And, like any normal person, he just asked a war criminal whom the United States is currently engaged in a de facto proxy war against to turn over political dirt on the president of the United States (based on an unfounded conspiracy theory).

      Donald Trump’s depravity and narcissism know no bounds.

      1. First thought in response to Doc B: “Sure, he’s normal. Idi Amin, Putin, Saddam Hussein normal.”
        Second thought: “No, he’s not an actual dictatorial murderer, he just likes to play at one…”
        Third thought: “…thank goodness he never reached that level of cajones and competence.”

    2. DrBrydon, I have to tell you, if you consider Donald Trump a normal person, you have an exceedingly low standard for normal people.

      1. I’d love to get an essay from DrBrydon on this subject. He or she often hints that Trump is not as crazy and evil as most of us think, let’s hear the case. I suspect it would be good for a few laughs.

        1. It does seem popular these days to classify people as perfectly good or perfectly bad, like fairies in Peter Pan. Humans in reality are very rarely so one dimensional.

          So, the hate/rage that Trump inspires seems sort of cultish from those not strongly affiliated with a political party, as does the devotion from the other side.

          1. That was pretty close to the mark, I thought, speaking as a disinterested foreigner. Not totally disinterested I suppose, since Canada as a trading nation has always done better when union-inspired protectionism, in all its guises, is on the wane in the United States. But that is so narrow a focus, and irrelevant to the decisions that American voters must make, I hesitate to bring it up except to confess where my bias might leak through when I ill-advisedly open my mouth.

    1. Interesting. The comments made by Maher in the video exactly expressed my thoughts. Rock classed the situation out with dignity and intelligence. Now Smith will likely be a jerk forever in my eyes – not that it matters. I suspected his over the top emotion in that peculiar acceptance speech was a considered plan to compensate and gain sympathy after behaving like an arsehole.

      1. If you can access the NY Times:

        Is one supposed to accept with good cheer any and every insulting and embarrassing and shaming comment and action directed toward one? Are there no “Da Roolz” in this most enviable “Amuricun Exceptionalism” mass pop culture? If anyone says to me, “Don’t be so defensive!,” I’ll say, “Don’t be so offensive!” Don’t expect me and me alone to keep my mouth shut in order to Keep The Peace and pretend that everything is hunky-dory.

        I condemn Will Smith’s assault of Rock. But, apparently it is not enough for Chris Rock to be grateful that he has won the tonsorial genetic lottery. He has to go after someone less fortunate in that regard. Jada Pinkett-Smith sat there rolling her eyes, crest-fallen.

        Have the Academy pooh-bahs voiced the first syllable of mild crticism of Rock about his remark? Will those courageous souls state for the record whether they enthusicastically endorse giving comedic grief to someone with alopecia in front of millions of viewers? Also, they say they are going to launch an investigation. By all means do so, but this is not an internal matter. Whether or not Rock wishes to file civil charges, is it not for the local attorney general to investigate whether to file criminal charges of assault and battery?

        NY Times critic Wesley Morris can’t be bothered to mention Jada Pinkett-Smith’s alopecia, or address the appropriateness of her being rudely singled out by Rock before millions on account of that ailment, but is good to make a connection to and “praise” Demi Moore’s “G.I. Jane” as “crypto-feminist trash” of 25 years ago.

        Where does His Excellency Bill Maher draw the line? Well, alopecia is OK but leukemia is not. I remember reading an interview of the comedy duo Key and Peel(e?). They averred that any topic was subject to comedy? Really? How about an infant with two cancerous eyeballs that would have to be removed in order for the infant to survive? (A real event I read about.) How about a bed- or wheelchair-bound quadraplegic? Or someone afflicted with cerebral palsy or Parkinson’s or ALS?

        1. The fact that Jada Pinkett-Smith is a public figure and has told the world about her alopecia struggles means she should accept that some people may make jokes. It still is a bad joke and Chris Rock shouldn’t have said it but the Smith family should have shrugged it off with a laugh and let the fans do whatever defending is required. Instead Will Smith gave a silly performative slap, sending the terrible message to his audience that violence is acceptable if someone makes a joke about your wife.

  4. … there are monkeys loose in Florida!

    There are rhesus monkeys in the lower Florida Keys, about 20 miles north of Key West, on Louis Key, an island disconnected by land or bridge from any of the other islands in the Keys. It was originally a commercial breeding colony, but hasn’t been used for that purpose in decades, although the descendants of that colony continue to inhabit the island.

    1. But the U.S. does have native monkeys. They’re called “humans.”

      Well, technically we’re native apes, right? I’ve just noticed that German, a language I speak moderately well, doesn’t distinguish between apes and monkeys. They’re both ‘der Affe’. And Spanish has both ‘mono’ and ‘mico’, although I don’t know the subtleties of how they’re used. Do other languages make the distinction?

      1. In Polish, we use the same word, malpa, for monkey and ape. To refer specifically to an ape instead of monkey, you literally say “human-like monkey” (malpa czlekoksztaltna).

  5. “I tell you, this means big, big trouble for the Trumpster; perhaps even conspiracy charges. LOCK HIM UP!”

    The only thing that consistently challenges my resolute atheism is the sneaking suspicion that Trump has made a pact with the devil years ago to avoid any adverse consequences — at least in this life. I’m beginning to believe that this old joke is actually a true story:

    The devil appeared to Trump many years ago and said he had a proposition for him. “How would you like to be one of the wealthiest and most powerful men in the world, completely above the law and free to do whatever you want — grab pussies, lie incessantly, extort leaders of third world countries, anything at all,” the devil asked him.

    “And what do I need to do to make that happen?” Trump asked.

    “What I would need from you, Mr. Trump, as the patriarch of your family, is to agree to give me your soul, the souls of your children, the souls of your grandchildren, and the souls of your great-grandchildren,” the devil replied.

    Trump mulled over the proposition for a few minutes, and then turned to the devil and said: “Oh sure, that all sounds good, but I wasn’t born yesterday. What’s the catch?”

    1. I thought that was a great joke, so I told it to someone at the office…he didn’t get it until I pointed out the reason the punchline is funny. Then he liked it, but it was definitely a dissected frog by that point. sigh

  6. … The House panel is now investigating whether Trump communicated that day through back channels, phones of aides or personal disposable phones, known as “burner phones” …

    Chrissake, burner phones? So the 45th president of the United States was carrying on like the corner boys slinging dope on The Wire?

    Despite the 457-minute gap in the White House Jan. 6, 2021, call log, we know Trump spoke by telephone to several people during this time, including, among others, his chief of staff (“I guess they [the rioters] care more about the election than you do, Mark”) and at least two Republican senators (Tommy Tuberville and Mike Lee, whom Trump called by mistake while trying to reach Tuberville), who were hiding out from the mob that stormed the Capitol.

      1. John Bolton is a stone-cold crazy war hawk, and a shameless self-promoter, but a bullshitter, he’s not.

    1. The coverage of this gap on MSM seems to avoid the obvious question. Did they really use alternate means to communicate during the insurrection or is it just a gap in the call logs because they tossed them or failed to give them to the appropriate party? I’m guessing it’s the latter, making all this talk about burner phones moot. Using burner phones would take planning and discipline, not traits normally used to describe the Trump White House. On the other hand, erasing call logs can be done after the fact and it was likely standard practice to hide certain calls during Trump’s entire four years in office.

  7. I have to stop eating or drinking when I read Hili. She made me choke on my cereal today. She is very funny when she’s being imperious and snarky. It looks like there is a single verb in Polish for “to take a picture.” Or maybe Polish is a language that often compounds and packs different ideas and words into one word?

      1. Oh my gosh! Of course! What an idiot! Thank you. I am so glad I kept my marveling about that limited to here and didn’t do it in front of my sarcastic teenage children.

  8. Regarding boosters:

    I had two shots (AZ and Pfizer) and over 6 months after the last shot I got the recommended booster in December, just as Omicron was taking over.

    The problem is, only about 5 days after getting the booster my son brought COVID home from school and I (and the rest of family) was infected.

    So I’ve been left with the question: Did getting COVID 5 days after the booster nullify the effects of the booster? I have no idea whether to consider myself having had 3 shots (a booster) or if I should consider my booster nullified and I should get another shot.

    I’m sure plenty of people were in the same situation of getting covid shortly after a booster (or other) shot, especially when everyone was getting omicron so fast. (Though I don’t know if I had omicron or Delta). Yet having scoured the web for months I haven’t found ANYTHING addressing this.

    The usual response is “well you were at least double vaxxed and now had COVID so you should be good.” Except for all the info coming out about waning immunity even from having covid. And the way experts like Eric Topol keep pushing evidence for why you really should get a booster EVEN if you had covid.

    It’s amazing to me that given the gazillion bits of information flowing through the internet on covid, this issue of getting covid shortly after a vaccine shot, and what that means for the vaccine shot, doesn’t seem addressed. Yet there must be so many of us in this quandary.

    *Had to get that outta my system*

    1. Is there a downside with getting the 4th booster? I haven’t read anything negative… If I was in your shoes, I’d just get the 4th and be done with it for now.

    2. Nobody knows. Happened to me, too. I don’t think about it much now that masks have stopped. I suppose if I had chronic health conditions I’d look into getting a fourth booster. But I’ve developed tinnitus (started before I got infected) and now they’re wondering if the vaccines cause it. I now wear industrial ear protectors when I practise piano….but that’s OK because I’m not worth listening to anyway. (And maybe it was amplified rock music as a teenager — I’m open-minded about it.) Funny how quickly you go from scoffing at people who think vaccines are dangerous to thinking, “Well, maybe there’s something to it”, as soon as you get a possible side-effect yourself. Especially now that the danger is pretty well over for healthy people. Pawn lost to save the Queen, I guess.

      If you need a piece of paper that says you’ve had three shots to cross a border or something, show it and you are good to go. Travel while you can. The worry warts are already forecasting the dire sixth wave this spring, which they will blame on the end of mask mandates.

      1. Leslie,

        I actually had my Tinnitus flare up to a crazy degree about a month after my second vaccination.
        It hasn’t gone down since then!

        I’m very mindful of our natural inclination to look for a cause “Hey, this changed, what did I do differently recently that might have caused it? Well…I got vaccinated…maybe that’s the cause!”

        On the other hand, as you say there are indeed some scientists investigating the possible connection between vaccines and reports of tinnitus. And, yeah, it’s interesting what this does to one’s attitude. You couldn’t meet someone more pro vaccine than I’ve been (and still am). On the other hand, if I’m deciding “whether I want or need another vaccine” my experience with the tinnitus is in the back of my mind as in “I’m not sure if I could take it if my tinnitus got any louder…do I want to take the chance it’s related to the vaccines?”

        And then I think about mandates or the idea of being “forced” to take a vaccine, no matter what worry you may have about it, and I can empathize with that worry.

        But in the case of tinnitus: it seems there is actually more evidence for people developing tinnitus from having covid than there is from the vaccine, so that’s something I’d have to include in the decision.

        My inclination is to hold off on getting vaccinated some time SOON again unless or until there’s a good consensus/argument/evidence for the benefits vs risk in light of a current covid situation.

        1. The fact that your tinnitus only flared up after the SECOND vaccination is a good sign the two things have nothing to do with each other. A tiny percentage of those who have received the vaccination or have caught COVID have reported tinnitus or hearing loss. I suspect that’s something close to the normal frequency. Tinnitus and hearing loss obviously correlate with age.

          I suffer mild tinnitus as I’ve gotten older — I’ll be 70 in 3 weeks. One thing that really sets it off is eating salty food. You probably know that already. Still, changes in ones diet can have that effect without one making the connection so I thought it worth mentioning.

        2. It’s weird about the tinnitus. I only started to notice it in the summer. For practising scales and other stuff that is annoying to listen to, like working up a piece I’ve never seen before, I use an electric keyboard with headphones, (volume low) which also block out external sound– not just earbuds. It was during quiet pauses that I first noticed the ringing, thought, oh crap, blamed it on diligent practising on a traditional acoustic piano the past 5 years. I don’t use loud power tools or lawn mowers or motorcycles and never liked rock music really really loud the way some contemporaries did. (Remember the stereo wattage arms race? 🙂 ). Playing the piano actually hurt for a while. It’s a Yamaha U1 upright — a grand was too rich for my blood — and does fill the house with sound. Through the ear protectors I can hear well enough to adjust technique for sound quality but it certainly does interfere with the experience. The middle pedal on modern uprights inserts a leather strip between the hammers and the strings but this interferes with the tactile feedback. I do use it though when my wife is watching Netflix. A piano immerses you in sound so that some gets to the inner ear through the bones in the skull, making me worried that I’m still damaging my hair cells, just not enough to stop. My hearing itself seems fine — I can hear sibilant sounds in conversation — although I suppose there is some high-frequency loss by the time you get tinnitus. Thoughts of Beethoven creep into my mind (unheard.)

          I don’t doubt that this is the same story told by every person who notices recent tinnitus going back to the year dot and if it turns out there is no statistical connection to vaccination I will accept that. (And if there is, I’ll accept that, too.) Like everything, the risk from natural infection is much higher. Still, the beta error on negative studies is disappointingly large. Satisfying yourself that vaccination doesn’t cause tinnitus is, in principle, like proving that ivermectin doesn’t cure Covid. How small an effect size do you not want to miss?

          I wouldn’t even have brought this up if there were still some convinceable refuseniks who might decide against vaccination because of this little tale. Our two- and three- dose uptake figures have been flat since New Year’s so I doubt if I’m changing any minds in the wrong direction now.

          Good point about the mandates — I hadn’t thought of that. I was probably writing something somewhere about the state’s right to compel vaccination “if necessary” while my ears were ringing.

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