Saturday: Hili dialogue

May 14, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on a sunny Cat Sabbath, Saturday, May 14, 2022. It’s the day for cats to rest and employ dogs to do any work for them.

I will be involved in a complicated duck rescue this morning (a hen laid eggs on an enclosed patio in a dorm, and they have hatched), and posting beyond this may be nonexistent. Wish me luck.  Given the situation of aggressive drakes at the pond, we will probably take the babies for rehab.

It’s also a great food day: National Buttermilk Biscuit Day. The biscuit is one of the glories of American cuisine, and has no equivalent in other countries that I’m aware of (scones are NOT biscuits!). And it so happens that the best biscuits in the world reside just outside of Nashville, Tennessee at the Loveless Motel and Cafe (it’s no longer a motel), also the place to get the best breakfast in America. I kid you not: read my post about it here. They have a woman whose sole job is to make biscuits, and they are served, with coffee, as your first breakfast course along with three types of homemade fruit preserves. For many years the “Biscuit Lady” was Carol Fay Ellison, pictured below. She’s now departed but here’s her photo, and her recipe is still the one the cafe uses:

Their menu is here (with breakfast here), but you want to go for breakfast if you’re anywhere near Nashville. I asked for breakfast at the Loveless as my honorarium for speaking at Vanderbilt, and oy, was it good!

The first course (it’s easy to get filled up on biscuits and jam):

The main course: country ham, grits, fried eggs, redeye gravy, lots of hot coffee, and of course more biscuits! Southern cooking is the jewel in the crown of American gastronomy (I include BBQ). Save your breath if you want to say “I don’t like grits” or “this breakfast lacks color variety”.

The Loveless. Just a joint, really, but the Taj Mahal of breakfasts:

*Now that Finland has declared it will join (or ask firmly to join) NATO—and acceptance is a safe bet—Sweden is thinking about joining the Cool Kids’ Club:

Sweden’s suggestion that it could join NATO came a day after Finland’s leaders declared that the nation would join NATO. If Sweden does join the alliance, it would end more than 200 years of its neutrality and military nonalignment, and strengthen the mutual defense alliance that Mr. Putin has been seeking to contain.

Putin’s gonna go wild! What is he gonna do, invade Scandinavia?

*BUT, in a potential setback, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey, which is a member of NATO, has expressed doubts about Sweden and Finland joining. As it requires unanimous assent of existing members for a new country to join, this may be, as they say, “problematic”.

*The NYT has a good but depressing interactive article, “How America Lost One Million People” (you have to scroll down at the article. Here’s the opening screen with a million dots, each representing one American who died from the disease (click to enlarge).

*We’d better stop talking about Elon Musk and his acquisition of Twitter for 44 billion simoleons, as he seems to be getting cold feet. As the AP reports:

Tesla billionaire Elon Musk has put his plan to buy Twitter on what he called a temporary “hold,” raising fresh doubts about whether he’ll proceed with the $44 billion acquisition.

Musk tweeted early Friday that he wanted to pinpoint the number of spam and fake accounts on the social media platform. He has been vocal about his desire to clean up Twitter’s problem with “spam bots” that mimic real people, and he appeared to question whether Twitter was underreporting them.

But the company has disclosed in regulatory filings that its bot estimates might be low for at least two years, leading some analysts to believe that Musk could be raising the issue as a reason to back out of the purchase.

Here’s Musk’s tweet:

*Generous divers have spent an entire year cleaning up the shallows of Lake Tahoe, the beautiful blue alpine lake that straddles California and Nevada in the Sierra. They recovered TWELVE TONS of garbage, and GPS-mapped every piece in an effort to mitigate further environmental damage to what many saw as a “pristine” lake. From the AP:

The dozens of dives that concluded this week were part of a first-of-its-kind effort to learn more about the source and potential harm caused by plastics and other pollutants in the storied alpine lake on the California-Nevada line.

It’s also taken organizers on a journey through the history, folklore and development of the lake atop the Sierra Nevada that holds enough water to cover all of California 14 inches (36 centimeters) deep.

. ..The recovered debris mostly has consisted of things like bottles, tires, fishing gear and sunglasses.

But Colin West, founder of the nonprofit environmental group that launched the project, Clean Up the Lake, said there have been some surprises.

Divers think they spotted shipwreck planks near Dead Man’s Point, where tribal tales tell of a Loch-Ness-Monster-like creature — later dubbed “Tahoe Tessie″— living beneath Cave Rock.

They’ve also turned up a few “No Littering” signs, engine blocks, lamp posts, a diamond ring and “those funny, fake plastic owls that sit on boats to scare off birds,” West said.

“It’s shocking to see how much trash has accumulated under what appears to be such a pristine lake,” said Matt Levitt, founder and CEO of Tahoe Blue Vodka, which has contributed $100,000 to the cleanup.

A short video of the cleanup:

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s words were a bit enigmatic to me, so I asked Malgorzata. She responded, “It’s just semantics: ‘Everything is under control’ means ‘Everything is OK’. But Andrzej uses the literal meaning of the word “control” and asks who is controlling things. Hili understands his wordplay and answers that she will inform him when she knows herself.”

Hili: Everything under control.
A: Whose control?
Hili: I will tell you when I find out.
In Polish:
Hili: Wszystko pod kontrolą.
Ja: Czyją?
Hili: Jak się dowiem, to ci powiem.
And the guests from Kyiv, Karolina and her mother Natasza, are going back to Ukraine today. They are happy but somewhat fearful. A photo of Karolina with caption by Andrzej (translated by Malgorzata):

Caption:  Our guests retur home today. Joy and uncertainty.  (In Polish: Nasi goście wracają dziś do domu. Radość i niepewność.)

Kudos to Andrzej and Malgorzata for taking in the refugees, who will soon be with their families!

From Not Another Science Cat Page:

An oldie but a goodie:

From David:

From the Queen, who’s quite concerned about Twitter:

. . . and this one:

From Barry. Food prices rising as they are, this beaver is wise to stock up:

From Ginger K. (I’m “chaotic good”):

Tweets from Matthew, the first a supposed mimic. Well, one can speculate. First, see if it deters predators:

This is the favorite rodent of both Matthew and me:

Another wonderful ending in DodoLand!

Matthew says the amount of cultural relativistic justification in the followup thread is mind-boggling (“in some cultures it’s a mark of respect to use your teacher’s words”, etc).

I may have posted this before. So be it; it’s worth seeing again.

17 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. “I will be involved in a complicated duck rescue this morning (a hen laid eggs on an enclosed patio in a dorm, and they have hatched), and posting beyond this may be nonexistent. Wish me luck.”

    Great news!
    Good luck!

    1. Yes, best wishes for the duck rescue. Worrying news about the aggressive drakes at Botany Pond with the duckling season kicking off.

      1. After staying up all night worrying about this, I decided to take the newly hatched ducklings to rehab at Willowbrook rather than trying to move the whole family to Botany Pond (an effort that would probably fail anyway), as, once in the pond with those drakes, the family is doomed. The drakes will drive away the mother instantly, and we’ll have the brood to rescue, this time from the water where it’s much harder. This makes me very, very sad but I think it’s the best thing to do to save the life of the ducklings.

  2. I am to disconnected from the English speaking world to follow the latest trends of e-mail endings. I almost always end my work-related e-mails with “best regards” or sometimes “kind regards” and these are apparently evil?

    (I do not write private e-mails in English at all, so I never thought about how to end a private e-mail in English…)

  3. On the plagiarism tweet, my favourite reply is the one telling the story about a professor who read an essay in an anthology and thought it looked familiar. He realised (in order)

    a) a student of his had recently handed it in as their own work

    b) the essay had been written by himself

    c) he had given the student a B.

  4. (“in some cultures it’s a mark of respect to use your teacher’s words”, etc).”

    In ALL cultures, plagiarism is theft, but attribution is simple, and a compliment.

    So, stop making excuses.


    1. If I recall from kid TV when my daughter was young, “Ta ta for now” was Tigger’s goodbye on the TV “Winnie the Pooh”.

  5. They [Clean Up the Lake]’ve also turned up a few “No Littering” signs, engine blocks, lamp posts, a diamond ring and “those funny, fake plastic owls that sit on boats to scare off birds,” West said.

    Any sign so far of <a href=""Fredo?

    His remains may reside at the bottom of the Lake, but his soul no doubt made it to heaven, since he caught one in the back of the head while saying a “Hail Mary.”

    His brother Michael was never one for forgiving the sins of those who trespassed against him. (Just ask Tessio or all the wiseguys who got clipped during the baptismal montage near the end of the original.)

    1. I keep thinking, in some centuries or millennia from now, how much more the divers would have appreciated this treasure trunk of junk.

  6. Good luck to Karolina and Natasza on their trip back to Ukraine; no surprise that they are happy and fearful, but I’m sure the happiness outweighs the fear. Kudos to Andrzej and Malgorzata for their generous and gracious hospitality. And to think that so many regard atheists as cold-hearted sinners.

  7. Re Finland and Sweden potentially joining NATO.
    Putin has failed. His invasion of Ukraine (despite security assurances when Ukraine gave up it’s nukes) has had the opposite effect of what was wanted. Russia will have more NATO at it’s borders.
    Moreover, it appears Ukraine is actually winning this war and will kick Russia completely out of it’s territory by the end of the year. Again, Putin has failed.
    I have this suspicion Putin’s days as the dictator of Russia are numbered.
    The question is: how will his successors behave?

  8. The UK. government decided to place a tax on biscuits. This led to a dispute between the makers of Jaffa Cakes and the government over whether they were cakes or biscuits. The law decided that biscuits became soft when stale and cake became hard when stale. I eagerly await the results of your experiments with American breakfast biscuits.

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