Where I am now: writing on my laptop in bed at the Santiago Airport Holiday Inn. It was a nightmare getting here from the ship: TONS of paperwork to disembark and then, in the heat, a packed, un-airconditioned bus with a crazy driver who first got us stuck in a traffic jam and then GOT LOST and had to get out and ask directions. Then he let all the crew off about a 15-minute hike in the heat from the hotel, with many of them had havingbeen on the ship for months and trying to haul tons of luggage. What should have been a 1.5 hour trip maximum took about four, and I’m still recovering after quaffing tons of water. (Once again my thirst was slaked within seconds.)
My lovely view of Terminal 1:
(I’ve recovered after breakfast.)
See how much I can kvetch when I just came back from a fantastic month in Antarctica? It should have chilled me out literally and figuratively, but here I am back in the rat race of documents, schedules, and airports, and the anxiety is already seeping back into my psyche.
A cordon bleu or schnitzel cordon bleu is a dish of meat wrapped around cheese (or with cheese filling), then breaded and pan-fried or deep-fried. Veal or pork cordon bleu is made of veal or pork pounded thin and wrapped around a slice of ham and a slice of cheese, breaded, and then pan fried or baked. For chicken cordon bleu chicken breast is used instead of veal. Ham cordon bleu is ham stuffed with mushrooms and cheese
And what does the name mean?
The French term cordon bleu is translated as “blue ribbon”. According to Larousse Gastronomique cordon bleu “was originally a wide blue ribbon worn by members of the highest order of knighthood, L’Ordre des chevaliers du Saint-Esprit, instituted by Henri III of France in 1578. By extension, the term has since been applied to food preparation to a very high standard and by outstanding cooks. The analogy no doubt arose from the similarity between the sash worn by the knights and the ribbons (generally blue) of a cook’s apron.”
I’ve never had any dish of this type. Here’s chicken cordon bleu:
And for a couple more days I’ll ask readers to help me out by going to the Wikipedia page for April 4 and singling out in the comments any notable events, births, or deaths.
*Here’s today’s banner headline (online) from the New York Times. Click to read:
The top news:
As the world reacted in horror to images of dead bodies lying in the streets of Kyiv’s suburbs — some with their hands bound — President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine called on Western leaders to take tougher steps to ensure that the killings blamed on retreating Russian forces were the “last manifestation of such evil on earth.”
The photos of civilians, who Ukrainian officials said had been executed, prompted some European leaders to demand further sanctions against Russia, potentially including a cutoff of Russian gas. But European Union nations remained divided on Monday over such a drastic step, underscoring the bloc’s dependence on Russian energy, even as some Western allies said that Russia had committed war crimes.
Russia denies executing civilians, and these incidents have not been absolutely confirmed, but I doubt that the Ukrainians would fake these executions. That would involve shooting their fellow citizen in the head and then binding their hands! Here’s one example:
In Bucha, bodies lay in yards and roadways days after Russian troops withdrew from the area. A mother described burying her daughter under plastic sheeting and boards after Russian forces shot her. At a mass grave, a pile of excavated dirt lay nearby to pile onto bodies, as shoes and body parts protruded from a thin layer of earth.
And nobody can claim that these civilians were executed because they were acting as soldiers, bearing weapons, firing at Russians, and therefore “available” to be shot. That doesn’t fly because these people had been captured, and even if they were apprehended in combat they should at worst be POWs. Plus some of them are children. This is the sign not of war, but of genocide.
*The EU, dependent on Russian gas, is still reluctant to tighten the sanctions further by cutting off that gas, but it’s very strange that the EU would still do business with a regime that is involved in genocide of Ukrainians.
*I would have thought that Biden’s handling of the war in Ukraine would have boosted his popularity, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. An op-ed in the Washington Post frets about the Prez’s low approval rating and why it remains so low (41%!):
Democrats who hoped that the strong monthly job numbers and the war in Ukraine would buoy Biden’s poll numbers have been thoroughly disappointed. After a brief rise in early March, the president’s approval rating sits at a lowly 41 percent in the RealClearPolitics average. The party’s chances of holding the Senate rest on a knife edge at best, and the prospects of a Democratic House next year grow dimmer by the day.
“I’m not quite sure what the disconnect is between the accomplishments,” [Hillary] Clinton told NBC’s Chuck Todd, “… and some of the polling.” But the answer is clear: In a new Harvard CAPS-Harris poll, the top two issues for Americans were inflation (32 percent) and the economy (27 percent). Bloomberg economists estimate that inflation will cost households an extra $5,200 this year. And as I noted last fall, though the administration may be proud of its achievements, many Democrats and most independents think Biden has accomplished little as president.
And he’ll accomplish even less if the Democrats lose big in the midterms. The author, James Downie, recommends that the Dems adopt the tactics that Amazon workers used in Staten Island to successfully unionize:
Like those Amazon workers, Democrats cannot be afraid to fight. Just because a handful of moderate holdouts have derailed key parts of Biden’s legislative agenda doesn’t mean the struggle is over. While a president has no boss to “antagonize,” Democrats can take on other people’s bosses — both proverbial and literal. Building on the president’s “billionaire minimum income tax” with executive actions to lower drug prices, strengthen overtime, boost worker protections and tackle student debt will provide immediate relief to millions and reinvigorate unmotivated voters.
Well, I’d like to hear what James Carville has to say.
*Former basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has an eponymous Substack site, and it’s a good one, ranging thoughtfully over a range of topics. The man is a polymath: the next thing you know he’ll be making breakfast foods: “Kareem of Wheat.” But seriously, folks, his pieces are well worth a look, and one of the best is his take on Slapgate, called “Will Smith did a bad, bad thing.” (h/t: Richard) An excerpt:
Some have romanticized Smith’s actions as that of a loving husband defending his wife. Comedian Tiffany Haddish, who starred in the movie Girls Trip with Pinkett Smith, praised Smith’s actions: “[F]or me, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen because it made me believe that there are still men out there that love and care about their women, their wives.”
Actually, it was the opposite. Smith’s slap was also a slap to women. If Rock had physically attacked Pinkett Smith, Smith’s intervention would have been welcome. Or if he’d remained in his seat and yelled his post-slap threat, that would have been unnecessary, but understandable. But by hitting Rock, he announced that his wife was incapable of defending herself—against words. From everything I’d seen of Pinkett Smith over the years, she’s a very capable, tough, smart woman who can single-handedly take on a lame joke at the Academy Awards show.
This patronizing, paternal attitude infantilizes women and reduces them to helpless damsels needing a Big Strong Man to defend their honor lest they swoon from the vapors. . . .
*Reader Malcolm recommends we read the post by David Lat at Original Jurisdiction: “Is free speech in American Law schools a lost cause?” There’s no firm prognostication, but Lat says this:
One final thought: I can’t believe I’m having to write a defense of a free-speech regime in which people listen respectfully to the other side, even when they find the other side’s views abhorrent, as opposed to a free-speech regime where “freedom” belongs to whoever can yell the loudest. You would have expected—and hoped—that law students, as future lawyers, would understand the value of the former and the problems with the latter.
When these law students become lawyers, and many of them have to go to court or a negotiating table, they will have to listen to the other side—whether they like it or not, and no matter how “offensive,” “triggering,” or “violent” they find the views of the other side to be. Shouting down opposing counsel, then claiming that you’re just engaging in your own form of “free speech” or “zealous advocacy,” will not fly in the world beyond Yale Law School.
*And another op-ed article for your delectation, with the link sent by several readers. From Microsoft News via Newsweek: “Scientific institutions are going woke—and hemorrhaging credibility.” This is not news to many of us immersed in academic science, but people might be startled at the degree to which ideology has infused science. The piece is a bit exaggerated (for example, I don’t think that the fulminating wokeness of science is the reason people are resistant to science like covid advice, but there’s certainly truth it it:
This phenomenon is called institutional capture, which refers to what happens when organizations get caught in a moral puritanical movement and lose sight of their primary missions—as places of knowledge, objective learning, and the free exchange of ideas.
And then these same organizations are befuddled when the public doesn’t trust them on critical issues such as vaccines or climate change.
Part of the issue is that scientific institutions are signaling allegiance with progressive culture war causes. This not only turns off half the population on the other side of these debates (as well as many on the center), but it makes these organizations appear ideological rather than neutral. They appear untrustworthy—or even nuts.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili muses on how the war puts things in perspective:
Hili: I wonder.A: What about?Hili: What were we worried about before the war?
Hili: Zastanawiam się.Ja: Nad czym?Hili: Czym martwiliśmy się przed wojną?
And here is Karolina cuddling an unhappy Kulka, with a caption and the explanation:
Caption: “Today there is an Advent retreat in school and Karolina stayed at home, for she would as soon sit in a Polish Mass as in a Turkish sermon.”
Some takes on Slapgate sent by Divy:
And a cat toy (for staff, actually), sent by Nicole:
From Jesus of the Day:
Here are the top recent searches on this website. The answer to the second question is “YES!”
I don’t know which of the cakes in the second tweet below is the most amazing, but I have to say that the oyster cake is truly remarkable. I have no idea what that first tweet is about, but I couldn’t embed the second without the first (I’ll have to learn to do that some day):
I literally make cakes like this for a living so this really speaks to me 😂😂 pic.twitter.com/507k4uXcEr
— Natalie Sideserf (@NatalieSideserf) July 10, 2020
As I mentioned earlier, for some reason I get a small selection of tweets sent to me daily in my Gmail account. I don’t know how this happened, but there’s some good ones. Here’s one:
Corgi walking down the stairs.. pic.twitter.com/R1hrf6RxIJ
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) April 2, 2022
And here’s another (I really AM sick of long threads). If you often have a lot to say, get a website!
THREAD: Why I’ve had enough of threads. 1/84 🧵 https://t.co/KhebTcPmoz
— Conor Rogers (@conorjrogers) April 2, 2022
And yet another:
— B. 📚🐾🇺🇦🌻🇺🇦🌻🇺🇦 (@ebvwilkerson) April 2, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. Go to the reddit video for full appreciation:
Important duck information: https://t.co/6oWqGJ1oUu
— Dr Dave Hone (@Dave_Hone) April 3, 2022
Ukrainian soldiers and their cats (there’s some other animal in there, too):
— Illia Ponomarenko 🇺🇦 (@IAPonomarenko) April 3, 2022
Well, I’ll be! Did you know there were gastropods with two shells?
Translation of the tweet below from Google:
One of the shellfish in Okayama prefecture that must not be forgotten is the snail Tamanomidorigai, which has a bivalve-like shell but is actually a snail. In 1959, Professor Shiro Kawaguchi (at that time) of the Tamano Seaside Experiment Station, Okayama University, surprised the world by reporting raw shellfish for the first time. It has antennae, eyes, and radula, and the fetal shell at the top of the shell is rolled, so it is a clear snail. It grows on Iwazuta in the tide zone. …
Malacological mind blown. A bivalve gastropod! I had no idea. Guys, molluscs are really waaay cooler than most of you think. https://t.co/G3qqV0sWSg
— Menno Schilthuizen (@schilthuizen) April 3, 2022
Would you put this in your home?:
(not satanic) pic.twitter.com/zTrRcyNmFd
— Dustin Growick 🦖 (@DustinGrowick) April 3, 2022