Sunday: Hili dialogue

April 3, 2022 • 6:30 am

Where we are now: The ship’s real-time map shows us where we should be: at the docks in Valparaiso, the port for Santiago. I was awake when we pulled up alongside the pier at 5:30 or so, and docking was surprisingly smooth:

The passengers will begin leaving the ship at about 8 a.m., and, as crew, we leave last: a bit before noon.  Then to the airport hotel to cool our heels. I have a PCR test tomorrow morning and my flight leaves tomorrow evening, arriving in Houston about 5:30 a.m. Tuesday morning

The harbor at Valparaiso; it seems that half the Chilean Navy is here:

And its fabled hills. I spent four or five days in this town in 2019, waiting for our late ship to arrive.

Rabbit at rest: A panorama of the docks; we’re moored next to a bunch of cargo containers.

Greetings on a Santiago Sunday: it’s, April 3, 2022, National Chocolate Mousse Day, an estimable dessert when made properly, as at Chez Denise in Paris.

If you want to help out with “this day in history”, go to the Wikipedia page for April 3 and give us your favorite notable events, births, and deaths.

Before you read the news below, take today’s New York Times news quiz, with eleven questions. I got eight, and failed the pop-culture and sports questions, as well as the Coors question.

*The NYT “big story”, which was a banner headline last night, says that Russian troops seem to have given up trying to take Kyiv. An especially horrifying report involves evidence (not yet verified by the media) that the Russians executed some civilians directly. Click screenshot to read:

However, it is a banner in the Washington Post (click to read):

The major news from the NYT:

As Russian troops retreated from areas outside Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, they left behind devastation that is only now becoming clear. Civilians have emerged from basement shelters to clamor for bread distributed by the Ukrainian soldiers retaking territory. The husks of destroyed tanks clutter roads. Mines and booby traps have been hidden amid the wreckage. Bodies lay uncollected in streets littered with debris.

The dead include civilians, some of whom Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of executing. Footage posted by Ukraine’s Defense Ministry and photographs from The New York Times and Agence France-Presse showed the bodies of men in civilian clothes on the streets of Bucha, a town northwest of Kyiv. In one photo, three people were seen lying on a roadside beside a pile of wooden pallets, blood darkening the ground beside them, one with white cloth binding his hands.

It’s not clear if the Russians will renew their assault on Ukraine’s capital or have retreated and regrouped for a fresh attack, but what is clear is that much of the city is in ruins and the assault continues in the eastern part of the country, with missile attacks on Odesa. This picture of people grabbing for loaves of bread in Kyiv, given (uncredited) in the NYT, shows how desperate the situation is:

Despite reports that Zelensky and Putin would meet for peace talks in Istanbul, that appears to be b.s.:

Russia’s chief negotiator in peace talks, Vladimir Medinsky, rejected a Ukrainian counterpart’s suggestion that Presidents Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine and Vladimir V. Putin of Russia could soon hold direct talks. Mr. Medinsky said the two sides remained far apart on the status of Crimea and the eastern Donbas region, both of which are claimed by Russia. Russia says the status of Crimea, which it annexed in 2014, is settled, while Ukraine has proposed a 15-year negotiation process.

And, the “evacuation” of Mariupol by the Red Cross, scheduled for yesterday, once again failed as the relief convoy didn’t reach the city. It’s clear that the Russians don’t want this to happen, but the Red Cross will try again today.

From the Post, discussing Russia’s withdrawal from around Kyiv:

The shift reflects a recognition in Moscow that Russia can no longer accomplish its original goals, analysts say. After making initial gains, its forces have stalled on most of the fronts they advanced on, and they have meanwhile suffered huge losses in terms of equipment and soldiers.

*Remember Oberlin College’s battle with Gibson’s Bakery, with the court ruling that Oberlin, after repeatedly libeling the bakery by accusing it of racism, awarded $50 million in damages? That seems ages ago, and it was (see my posts here), and one of the bakery’s owners has since died, but there’s good news for Oberlin now. According to the Wall Street Journal, an appeals court has upheld the huge fine on the College, which has been having severe financial troubles:

A unanimous three-judge panel of the Ohio Court of Appeals handed down a long-awaited decision Thursday in the case of Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College. The court dismissed all of Oberlin’s appellate claims and confirmed the jury’s finding that the college, a small private liberal arts institution in rural Ohio, was liable for libel, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and intentional interference with a business relationship. It then upheld the trial jury’s award to Gibson’s Bakery of $11.1 million in compensatory damages, $33.2 million in punitive damages and $6.3 million in attorneys’ fees.

The appellate judges held that while the trial court had properly found that “the student chants and verbal protests about the Gibsons being racists were protected by the First Amendment,” what separated Oberlin and placed it in a financial vise was the active, irresponsible and defamatory actions of several of its senior administrators. Rather than try to resolve the matter early on or use the resulting guilty pleas as a lesson, Oberlin actively sought to punish Gibson’s Bakery for having a different perspective, for standing by the arrest of the three Oberlin students, and for exercising its right of legal redress.

If I know Oberlin, they’ll further bankrupt the school by appealing higher up (if they can under the law). They’ve already had to put $36 million in escrow, and will eat up more in lawyers’ fees if they pursue this case. It’s time for them to cut their losses.

*The Washington Post gives a number of suggestions (with illustrations) about how to sleep on a plane. They don’t show the best way, which is to have an entire row of seats to yourself and lie down on them. Barring that, and when I have an aisle seat (my favorite), my own position is “The Risky Business,” which does get your legs bumped by people walking by and by passing carts.

*How can you resist reading an article, like this one in the NYT, called “I got lost in a Tokyo station and found the perfect comfort food”?

Kakuni translates to “square simmered” in Japanese. It’s pork belly cooked in a trinity that’s largely synonymous with the country’s cuisine: sugar, sake and soy sauce. The most expensive ingredient is time. But cooking kakuni is wildly simple: After frying your pork lightly for color, you simmer the meat until it’s soft to the touch, rendering most of the fat. This allows the base ensemble to imbue your meal with silky, molten flavor. For all of its simplicity, the dish is wildly consoling. You’re just as likely to find it chalked across the menu board of a bar as in the weeknight rotation of somebody’s home.

. . .Before my first bites of kakuni, my interactions with pork belly were seldom and sporadic: It generally wasn’t my cut of choice. I didn’t eat much bacon as a kid. I hadn’t yet fallen in love with Korean barbecue. Among the Jamaican pork dishes I grew up on, thicker cuts were generally used. And the same was true of the many banh mi I’d wolfed down across Houston, and of the backyard cookouts I’d been privy to in Texas: Great care was taken to avoid the pig’s fattiness. I didn’t know what I was missing.

So I took one bite. And then another. Each chew felt like strumming an entirely new set of chords: velvety and heartening, heightened by its directness. Then it was gone.

A photo and its caption from the article. Be sure to have plenty of rice and cold beer on hand!

Chris Simpson for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Sophia Pappas.

*Finally, the Theranos/Elizabeth Holmes saga has been made into an 8-hour Huli miniseries called “The Dropout”. Reviews are generally positive, with Rotten Tomatoes giving it a critics score of 89%.  Amanda Seyfried is particularly singled out for her portrayal of Holmes, even getting that voice accurate. Here’s a trailer, though. I can’t watch it as I’m still on the ship:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron are protective:

Szaron: Do you see this crow?
Hili: I do; she probably thinks that it’s her garden.
In Polish:
Szaron: Widzisz tę wronę?
Hili: Widzę, pewnie myśli, że to jej ogród.
Here’s Karolina kuddling Kulka:

A cat meme from Barry, which is true:

A news sign photographed by Dom. How did this happen?

From Anna:

An Scottish search-and-rescue dog named Skye retires and gets a well-deserved award (retweeted by Ricky Gervais; sound on):

From Simon: An April Fool’s tweet, but one from New Jersey’s real governor:

From Barry, another April Fool’s tweet:

And one more:

Tweets from Matthew. Yes, the story is well known of Darwin’s orchid and the later discovery of the moth he predicted could pollinate it. Now, though, it’s even more interesting: the linked paper shows (for a fee if you don’t have library access!) that male moths (but not females) can respond to bat sonar by jamming it, stymying the predator. Why not the female moths? I don’t want to pay for the paper when I can get it free in Chicago. A minimum of $10, and it goes higher: highway robbery!

I think I’ve posted this one before, which Matthew called “light hearted relief” from the war. It is. If you’ve seen it, well, here it is again:

I’m always amazed by how much stuff these creatures can pack into their cheek pouches.

The best for last: Mother duckling, helped by staff, walks her 10 ducklings, who hatched in the enclosed courtyard of a hospital, though the maternity ward of a hospital to “freedom”. I’ve put the Facebook video below, though I can’t tell whether “freedom” involves what it should: a safe pond or lake (I can’t see the video on the ship).


38 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. Regarding the alleged Russian war crimes in Ukraine, I have an assessment from Sergej Sumlenny, former Head of the Heinrich-Böll-Foundation in Kiev from 2015-2021.

    – Russia planned to easy-take Kyiv within 3 days, following by capitulation of Ukraine;
    – Russian army units were followed by thousands of riot police;
    – Russian army purchased 45,000 body bags and brought mobile crematories;
    – I am sure they planned mass executions for Ukraine.

    1. I can’t read those Russian documents, but if true (and I have no reason to think it’s not), that is pretty damaging.
      It means a genocide was planned, and that those massacres were probably not just some revenge actions by defeated troops on civilians (which would by themselves already constitute a war crime).

  2. On this day:
    1721 – Robert Walpole becomes, in effect, the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, though he himself denied that title.

    1865 – American Civil War: Union forces capture Richmond, Virginia, the capital of the Confederate States of America.

    1888 – The first of eleven unsolved brutal murders of women committed in or near the impoverished Whitechapel district in the East End of London, occurs.

    1895 – The trial in the libel case brought by Oscar Wilde begins, eventually resulting in his imprisonment on charges of homosexuality.

    1948 – Cold War: U.S. President Harry S. Truman signs the Marshall Plan, authorizing $5 billion in aid for 16 countries.

    1955 – The American Civil Liberties Union announces it will defend Allen Ginsberg’s book Howl against obscenity charges.

    1973 – Martin Cooper of Motorola makes the first handheld mobile phone call to Joel S. Engel of Bell Labs.

    2016 – The Panama Papers, a leak of legal documents, reveals information on 214,488 offshore companies.

    1778 – Pierre Bretonneau, French doctor who performed the first successful tracheotomy (d. 1862)

    1783 – Washington Irving, American short story writer, essayist, biographer, historian (d. 1859)

    1791 – Anne Lister, English diarist, mountaineer, and traveller (d.1840)

    1807 – Mary Carpenter, English educational and social reformer (d. 1877) – Abolitionist and the first woman to have a paper published by the Statistical Society of London.

    1880 – Otto Weininger, Jewish-Austrian philosopher and author (d. 1903) – A strong influence on Ludwig Wittgenstein, August Strindberg, and James Joyce.

    1909 – Stanislaw Ulam, Polish-American mathematician and academic (d. 1984)

    1922 – Doris Day, American singer and actress (d. 2019)

    1924 – Marlon Brando, American actor and director (d. 2004)

    1934 – Jane Goodall, English primatologist and anthropologist

    1949 – Richard Thompson, English singer-songwriter and guitarist

    1958 – Alec Baldwin, American actor, comedian, producer and television host

    1961 – Eddie Murphy, American actor and comedian

    Those for whom “everything was beautiful and nothing hurt”:
    1882 – Jesse James, American criminal and outlaw (b. 1847)

    1950 – Kurt Weill, German-American composer and pianist (b. 1900)

    1991 – Graham Greene, English novelist, playwright, and critic (b. 1904)

    2014 – Arthur “Guitar Boogie” Smith, American guitarist, fiddler, and composer (b. 1921)

        1. Thank you! I read William Goldman’s screenplay of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid before I watched the film. I was struck by its economy and humour and I enjoyed listening to Sorkin talk about it.

    1. 1955 – The American Civil Liberties Union announces it will defend Allen Ginsberg’s book Howl against obscenity charges.

      “Howl” is actually a 112-line poem. It was published in a short book along with a collection of Ginsberg’s other verse.

      1. For the world is a mountain
        of shit: if it’s going to
        be moved at all, it’s got
        to be taken by handfuls.

      2. For the world is a mountain
        of shit : if it’s going to
        be moved at all, it’s got
        to be taken by handfuls.

  3. Rabbit at rest …

    Goin’ with an allusion to one of Updike’s H. Angstrom novels, eh, Jerry? The last of the tetralogy (not counting the in memoriam novella published about a decade later).

  4. “….but there’s good news for Oberlin now.”?? I don’t understand. It appears the rulings have gone against Oberlin which would be bad news for them…and good news for the little guy independent bakery in its fight with woke college administrators who piled on using other people’s money for a court fight. Or is my aging mind just confused?

    1. I found the first sentence confusing: “*Remember Oberlin College’s battle with Gibson’s Bakery, with the court ruling that Oberlin, after repeatedly libeling the bakery by accusing it of racism, awarded $50 million in damages? “

  5. If I know Oberlin, they’ll further bankrupt the school by appealing higher up (if they can under the law).

    Oberlin can still seek rehearing by the three judge panel that decided the case or rehearing from all the active judges on Ohio’s Ninth District Court of Appeals sitting en banc. Failing that, the school can seek discretionary review from the Ohio Supreme Court.

    If the Ohio Supremes decline to hear the case or if that court affirms the appellate decision, Oberlin’s final recourse would be to seek a writ of certiorari from the US Supreme Court. To do so, it would have to raise a federal issue rather than an issue of Ohio state law — in this instance, presumably an issue arising under the First Amendment. (This was how The New York Times got the defamation judgment awarded against it by Alabama courts before SCOTUS in New York Times v. Sullivan.)

    Review before SCOTUS on certiorari is discretionary, too, with the Court granting review of something fewer than a 100 cases a year, out of over 10,000 annual petitions for certiorari. From what I know of the Oberlin case, it doesn’t appear to present a particularly compelling case for consideration by SCOTUS.

    In the meantime, the interest on the trial judgment keeps mounting.

    1. Thanks ken. Always good to have your expertise….though often depressing! In the continuous monetizing of everything, maybe we will see a business opportunity for bonding college vice presidents against any potential legal costs or judgements as a part of their employment contracts. This will allow them to take a Trumpian approach to any perceived slight and with no skin in the game just wait for their perceived enemy to die.

      1. I confess mystification here, Jim. This a case where a woke liberal college defamed as racist a bakery that had the temerity to call the cops on shoplifters who happened to be students of the college and now has to pay a large damage award……and it’s somehow about….Trump???

        1. In the successful efforts of the rich and the fake rich, as well as by the bureaucrats, who can and do waste money not their own by getting into the public purse or into the rich donors’ purse (e.g. private colleges’ endowments), in order to behave as though they are untouchable by the law, is not Trumpelthinskin the best known example by far right now, especially in the context of the U.S.?

        2. No. Not about Trump, but rather the process of running out the clock on paying the piper on a legal decision through endless appeals as being described by an adjective: “Trumpian”

  6. I’ve been watching “The Dropout” and have just one more episode to go. At first, I didn’t like Seyfried’s performance but now I realize that she was playing Elizabeth Holmes as she was in her early days and I was only familiar with the person she became later. Overall, I find the show enjoyable. These are despicable people. The “win at all costs” attitude is excellently portrayed, as is the investors’ willingness to turn a blind eye to what was going on. As with all dramatizations of real-life events, I would be interested to know how accurate it is. These things tend to take big liberties with the truth for the sake of telling a good story.

  7. I forgot to say that I took a particular liking to ‘Meow, meow-meow, meeeow’ from yesterday. And I like today’s Hamlet thing. Regarding cats and drugs: I don’t have a cat, but I have been asked to look after other people’s cats from time to time. And adult cats seem perennially zonked.

  8. That kakuni sounds really good, I’ve already found some recipes on Internet.
    I’m definitely going to try my hand at it. Thanks for the tip.

  9. The best way to sleep on a plane:
    1. Commit a lucrative crime, such as robbing a bank (or owning one)
    2. Book a seat in First Class (or, if the airline likes euphemisms, Business Class)
    3. Lie down and sleep like a baby.

    Otherwise it is impossible to sleep (decently) on a plane. I came closest when I got a seat in the emergency exit row and was able to stretch my legs. The pandemic was also in full swing, so the seat next to me was empty.

    1. I never fly without sleeping pills anymore. The only time I regretted it was when I was about to pass out and got a last-minute bump to Business Class on an intercontinental Emirates flight. I wish I could describe how luxurious it was. Heck, I wish I could remember how luxurious it was.

  10. Fortunately for the world, the Stop The War Coalition has discovered the solution to the problems posed by Russia’s attack on Ukraine, as well as all other knotty problems. It recently announced this solution ahead of its “Peace Summit” in June, which will presumably work at implementing it. To wit:

    It has often been said that NATO is the means by which the US makes Europe pay for its wars and its attempts at global military hegemony. That is more so the case than ever, and it brings with it ever greater dangers of nuclear annihilation. …if you can, please join us for the Peace Summit in Madrid in June: the demand for the abolition of NATO and nuclear weapons has to be at the heart of our work.”

      1. The graphic on the material publicising the event showed Crimea as part of Russia, so the whole thing sounds like something Vlad would love…

      2. Interested? Heck, up to 1991 his KGB was funding it and providing a speakers’ bureau Now I think they’ve shifted their focus to climate conferences.

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