Monday: Hili dialogue

May 16, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on the start of a new week, and of summer vacation for many college students (but not ours, who don’t graduate until June): it’s Monday, May 16, 2022: National Barbecue Day! Following only one day after National Buttermilk Biscuit Day, this is a splendid pair of days.  And here to whet your appetite are two photos of a meal from Coyne’s Pandemic Texas BBQ tour about a year ago: it’s the famous Black’s giant beef rib, complete with trimmings (including potato salad, pinto beans, raw onion, pickles and a jalapeño corn muffin) from Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, Texas: the BBQ capital of America. (But the best brisket in Texas is not in this town, though Black’s is up there for best BBQ beef rib in America).

*Another day, another mass shooting in America. This time a gunman shot six people yesterday at a church in Laguna Woods, California, killing one and wounding five.  Four of those five are in critical condition. A suspect and the putative weapon are in custody.

*The Buffalo terrorist, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who shot ten, is now suspected of strong racist motivation, making his attack a hate crime (remember, he’s still presumed innocent). Gendron not only started live-streaming the attack on the supermarket, but left behind a 180-page racist rant:

. . . the 180-page screed, which authorities are scrutinizing in connection with the massacre, leaves little doubt that the alleged perpetrator, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, belongs to a global fraternity fused by the Internet and fixated on the idea that White people are being intentionally replaced.

*The ruling parties of both Sweden and Finland have approved their countries’ decision to apply for NATO membership.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said their accession would be a “turning point for security” in Europe. “Their membership in NATO would increase our shared security, demonstrate that NATO’s door is open, and that aggression does not pay.”

“We’re now facing a fundamentally changed security environment in Europe,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said. “And when we navigate in this new environment, the fundamental question for us is: How do we best protect Sweden? And the Kremlin has shown that they are prepared to use violence to achieve their political objectives and that they don’t hesitate to take enormous risks.”

“Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is not only illegal and indefensible, it also undermines the European security order,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said. While the country’s “200-year-long standing policy of military nonalignment has served Sweden well,” the nation now faced a “fundamental change,” she said. “As a member of NATO, Sweden not only achieves more security, but also contributes to more security,” Linde said.

How do you like them apples, Vladimir? The fly in the ointment here is Turkish President Erdogan, who opposes the entry of both countries into NATO, and, since Turkey is itself in NATO, they could block membership. But Erdogan’s reason is risible:

“We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don’t hold positive views,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding it had been a mistake for NATO to accept Greece as a member in the past.

“As Turkey, we don’t want to repeat similar mistakes. Furthermore, Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organisations,” Erdogan said, without giving details.

“They are even members of the parliament in some countries. It is not possible for us to be in favour,” he added.

*Another heterodox (for the NYT) op-ed: “Let actors act,” by Pamela Paul, who makes the case that we need to stop vetting actors for ethnicity, sex, gender preference, and so on, and stop insisting that every role be played by someone of just the right characteristics:

Good actors are able to find a way to portray people who are not like themselves, whether on the surface or well below, which is what differentiates them from those of us who could barely remember our lines in a fourth-grade production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Acting is a feat of compassion and an act of generosity. Those capable of that kind of emotional ventriloquy enable audiences to find ourselves in the lives portrayed onscreen, no matter how little they may resemble our own.

Bravo to those actors who do that well. Bravo to the talented Adrian Lester, who makes you forget the color of his skin, his nationality and his religion — and gives himself over entirely to his performance. There is no reason for any actor to apologize for exercising and reveling in his craft.

Lester is a Brit who’s the son of two Jamaican parents; he was just nominated for a Tony Award for playing Emanuel Lehman, a German-born Jewish founder of the well known investment firm.

*Oddball news of the day from the Associated Press:

The owner of a rural English pub says he was asked to change the bar’s name by a fashion magazine because of the village where it’s located: Vogue.

Mark Graham, who runs the Star Inn at Vogue, said he received a letter from British Vogue publisher Conde Nast, saying the name could “cause problems” because members of the public might confuse the two businesses.

He said the letter from Sabine Vandenbroucke, chief operating officer of Conde Nast Britain, asked if he would change the name, adding: “Please reply within seven days or we will take remedial action.”

Graham stood his ground.

“There’s always too much a case of the big boys trying to stomp on the little boys, and as soon as I realized what they were trying to do, I went ‘you’re not having me, my handsome,’” he told broadcaster ITV.

Confuse the two businesses? Seriously? Somebody is going to go to the pub looking for fashion tips? If ever there was a case of “punching down,” this is it. Vogue finally admitted that it screwed up.

Mark, owner of the Star Inn at Vogue, Cornwall, with his wife Rachel ( Image: James Dadzitis / SWNS)

*A doctor from the Yale School of Medicine outlines the promises of a “nasal spray vaccine” for covid, which involves spraying the spike protein right into the nose. It’s not a cure-all, as we need to develop vaccines against a broader array of viruses (there’s still not one against the omicron variant), but it could be a substantial improvement in the prevention of infectin.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is eating her way through the phylogenetic tree:

A: What are you thinking about?
Hili: About a missing link.
A: Which one?
Hili: The one I ate.
In Polish:
Ja: Nad czym myślisz?
Hili: Nad brakującym ogniwem.
Ja: Którym?
Hili: Tym, które zjadłam.

And here’s a picture of Kulkawith a caption. It’s for the departed Karolina. Malgorzata explains:

“And a picture of Kulka, because Karolina is going to look for her”.
Explanation: Karolina was sad that she has to leave her beloved cats (especially Kulka) and Andrzej promised her to post pictures of them so she can see them on his Facebook page.

(In Polish: “Jeszcze Kulka, bo Karolina będzie jej szukać.”)

Yes, the visitors are gone. Paulina and her husband took Karolina and her mother to the Wroclawek station on the first step to Kyev (they’re home now). Here’s a photo of Karolina and Paulina at the train station, with this caption written by Adrzej and translated by Malgorzata. (Paulina and Mariusz got caught on the train to help Karolina and Natasza with their baggage, but the train it started as they were moving the luggage, and Paulina and Mariusz had to ride one stop. It took them four hours to get back!

Caption: Our girls are now safe at home. Natasza wrote from Kiev (and from there they drove home with her sister). It was not without adventures, because Paulina and Mariusz took them to the station and, wanting to help, they got into the train. (they didn’t have time to get out and had to go with them all the way to Kutno :)) Below is a photo of Paulina with Karolina at the station in Włoclawek.

They’re home!

Anna, a physical chemist, sent me this cover from the latest issue of Portal, the magazine of Potsdam University in Germany. She says it’s not satirical but serious:

Otters getting a treat (sound on):

From The Catspotting Society:

From Beth:

And another cat contribution, this time from Jean. It’s a New Yorker cartoon by Elizabeth McNair:

From Titania:

This kid fails the gum equivalent of “the Stanford marshmallow test” about delayed gratification:

From Gravelinspector. What twisted mind conceived this display?

Simon wonders whether this is tool use by a d*g. It really isn’t, but it is a very clever rearrangement of the environment.

From Barry, who wonders what the duck is doing in there. This guy makes funny and gonzo videos, so who knows?

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. Interspecies sport!

One of Matthew’s beloved optical illusions:

Oy gewalt!

37 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. “Acting is a feat of compassion and an act of generosity.”

    Jeez, I thought it was about learning the lines and not bumping into the furniture.

    1. I remember listening to a Charlie Sheen interview in which he said something like ‘I didn’t think I’d make it out of there alive.’ 🙂 He was talking about the shooting of Platoon. I know actors are put through some rough stuff to prepare them for their roles, but it can’t be that bad. I don’t think Alec Baldwin was on the set at any time. Maybe it was the lack of air conditioning.

      1. Think you mean Martin. He had a heart attack during the filming of Apocalypse.

        I happened to be at the newly reopened Casa Marina hotel in Key West circa the late Seventies, eating lunch at the patio overlooking the pool, while Martin Sheen was there with his family recovering from the shoot. He had a couple high-spirited teenage boys who were horsing around in the pool. Turned out later, it was Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez.

          1. My mistake, Chetiya. You said Platoon, and I was thinking Apocalypse Now. Charlie is the right Sheen.

            The filming of Platoon was no picnic, but Apocalypse was holy hell, with (among other things) a typhoon destroying most of the sets, not to mention Brando showing up about two tons too heavy to play a Special Forces colonel. 🙂

  2. Apologies if you have reported it previously (or a commenter has) but thought I’d mention that another irritation for Vladimir Putin this weekend was Ukraine winning the Eurovision Song Contest. The winner is elected by a combination of ‘expert’ jury votes and a public vote. Ukraine won a massive majority of the public votes to secure the win. Russia, of course was not allowed to participate. I believe the the Eurovision Song Contest was a big thing in Russia though before the current crisis so their exclusion and Ukraine’s success will definitely rankle!

    1. And the UK came second! It’s long been suspected that politics played more of a part in the Eurovision Song Contest than music and the Eastern countries tend to vote as a bloc against the Western countries. That appears not to have happened this year. Russia’s absence seems to have improved many things.

  3. Adrian Lester played the lead in the BBC TV series “Hustle” which I highly recommend for viewing (available on Britbox). He played the leader of a gang of confidence tricksters and each week, he’d he’d effectively play several roles. He’s a great actor.

      1. I think I saw Lester in National Theatre’s Lehman Brothers a couple of years ago, screened at the movies. Hope they’ll start the NT screenings again. I found Hustle on AppleTv here in Canada. Not on our BritBox. Thanks for the tip!

    1. Perhaps the pro-abortionists should include the MRI scan of a foetus among their banners. 🙁

  4. I’m mostly in the ‘let actors act’ club (roles where the race might be critical to the plot could be exceptions). But “a feat of compassion and an act of generosity?” Seriously? Uh no. It’s a skill and a job, and I admire the people who can do it well, but there is no need to valorize it. It’s not a public service or charity.

    The Erdogan thing is not surprising, but he’s also not the first to behave like that. Greece held up North Macedonia’s application for ~15 years, until the country changed it’s name. Doesn’t make Erdogan’s reasoning any less ridiculous, it just highlights the problem with a big alliance that requires unanimity to admit more members; it gives every member state potentially significant leverage over states that want to join, if they are mercenary enough to use it.

    1. My position on the acting thing is the opposite. That is, since a majority of them will be white and cis and so on, they could get most of the roles featuring those varieties people. I would like to see an effort for equity and inclusion in acting roles so that the public can seen them. I do not, however, care for the heavy-handed reactions from people in social media when that does not happen.

      I don’t understand why Erdogan is against Finland and Sweden. Is he trying to placate Putin for some reason?

        1. AIUI the ‘terrorism’ accusation relates to the presence of Kurdish political refugees in Sweden. They almost certainly use their speech and send money to support Kurdish independence in the mideast, and Erdogan (and Turkey more in general) considers this supporting terrorism.

          But nothing says it can’t be all three: he could not like how Kurds in these countries use their freedom, AND he’s using that to try and get concessions, AND he’s also looking to stay on Putin’s good side.

  5. The owner of a rural English pub says he was asked to change the bar’s name by a fashion magazine because of the village where it’s located: Vogue.

    For a second there, I thought the punch line would be that the pub’s manager was named “Anna Wintour” (a name I probably wouldn’t even know if Meryl Streep hadn’t played “Miranda Priestly,” a thinly veiled version of Wintour in The Devil Wears Prada)

    1. With “McDonald” being a common name in Scotland, there are lots of little, local, family-run cafes called “McDonald’s”. This doesn’t go down well with lawyers of a certain company.

    2. Isn’t there an issue that trade marks (whatever the American term is) need to be defended to be continued to be considered valid. That doesn’t necessarily mean “defended to the death”, but an exchange of stern lawyer’s letters – “Don’t infringe our marks” ; “That was never our intention ; will in future make sure to ensure differentiation between the businesses” – suffices as markers to maintain the level of defence.
      Every major brand also has a continual pipeline of counterfeit goods cases working their way through various jurisdictions, but a dozen such would not generate half the column inches that a case like this generates. Hell, the pub would probably get more from the free advertising than their lawyer’s letter would cost. If they didn’t have a lawyer “on retainer” for small matters like this already – things like “elf & safety”, licensing laws, supplier issues …

  6. Read yesterday that, as the Ukrainians are regaining territory, the Russians are not allowing the local forces from the breakaway Donbas to retreat into Russian territory. Perhaps they are better off staying part of Ukraine. Zelensky should hold out an olive branch.

    1. Those local (former?) Russian supporters in Donbas are certainly receiving a useful education from their experience.

      1. Maybe Putin will use barrier troops to shoot retreating ethnic Russians, the way Soviet commissars did Red Army troops during the Battle of Stalingrad.

        Seems like Putin’s style.

  7. Sorry to throw cold water on the dog escape video but it was clearly edited between the moving of the cage wall and the actual escape, leading me to believe that the dog didn’t plan it out as it appeared at first viewing. It moved the wall hoping it would give way but it only moved. Only later did it see the escape route.

  8. Other Swear Jar alternatives: Telling People About My Solar Panels…, Telling People About My Recent Cataract Surgery…, and Telling People About My Veganism… I’m guilty of the first two.

  9. “Payton Gendron belongs to a global fraternity fused by the Internet and fixated on the idea that White people are being intentionally replaced.”

    Unfortunately, advertising these days provides plenty of fuel for the “great replacement” conspiracy theory. Finding a commercial on TV that features a white male, regardless of the product being advertised, is like a game of “Where’s Waldo?” In the local Fred Meyer store (local being Central Oregon) every single poster ad features a Black consumer, though you could surveil the store for 24 hours and have trouble finding a live counterpart. I don’t buy that this is a conspiracy, however; it’s just virtue signaling run amok.

    1. In the world we grew up in (and I realize that you are a bit older than I, Gary, but consider us to have grown up in the same world, even if the past is a different country 🙂 ), precisely the opposite obtained: there was nary a non-white face to be found anywhere in advertising.

      1. “I realize that you are a bit older than I”

        That I am, Ken, and you’re right: there was hardly a non-white face on the radio and none at all on the crystal set. 😊

        1. I recall my older cousins having crystal sets when I was a little kid, Gary, but by the time I reached that age, transistor radios (particularly the Sony TR-63) had rendered them outmoded.

          Kids today, I suppose, would have no more idea what a crystal set is than a Parisian would a quarter-pounder. 🙂

  10. Jerry, You’ve probably addressed this before, but where do you get your “National This or That Day” pronouncements? Today I went to Bono’s BBQ, a fairly large BBQ chain and asked them what they were doing for National BBQ Day. Of course, they’d never heard of National BBQ Day. So who decides and how is it promulgated?

    1. I like the posts because I get to wish people happy national [something] day and criticize them for not having a bloody clue 🙂 ‘I can’t believe that I, a foreigner, have to tell you this’, is what I tell them 🙂

      Last year, I went to a hot dog place and told them it was National Hot Dog Day while buying one. Of course, I did not expect them to know and only said it in way of humour. They did not seem at all impressed 🙂 Every day is hot dog day for them.

      1. They might not want people to know about National Hot Dog Day as it might encourage people to buy a hot dog only one day a year. Ok, perhaps two if there’s a National Frankfurter Day.

  11. National BBQ Day? I sort of have that covered. I recently came across a recipe for pork confit, claimed to be better than smoking and roasting, and decided to try it out. My first attempt was good, and yesterday I tried it again.

    A 12ish pound pork butt. 1st cut into chunks and cured overnight with salt, sugar, smoked paprika, black pepper and sliced onions and shallots. Then I seasoned it with whole cumin and coriander seeds, toasted. Then into a large pot / Dutch oven with generous fresh thyme, lemon balm and whole garlic cloves, topped with the fat cap saved from processing the butt and then topped off with EVOO to supplement the pork fat. Into the oven, covered, low and slow. took about 4 hours.

    Drain the meat, save the fat and juice, pick out the thyme and lemon balm stems. Processed some of it to make a half dozen rillettes, but just mixed the bulk of it a bit to break it apart into a shredded pork consistency. Ready for just about anything. Very tasty. And the rillette is really good on my wife’s homemade herb bread.

    I’d say that the confit method does give better cooking results, but I’ve done a lot of smoking and get excellent results with that too. And of course with the confit you don’t get the bark or the smoke flavor. In summary, both are great techniques, just depends on what you’re in the mood for.

    1. Yum! Gonna save this. Where do you get the lemon balm? I wonder if this would work well in my InstantPot? I do make carnitas in it. Got somd great onion,garlic,ginger,cumin,turmeric, gochu pepper smells coming my way right now with the lentils I’m cooking😋

      1. Hi Merilee,

        I started growing my own herbs at home a couple of years ago. Lemon Balm, 3 or 4 types of Basil*, 2 types of Oregano, Thyme, Tarragon, Mint, several Rosemary, Parsley, Cilantro and Chives. I still don’t really know what I’m doing yet, some of it does great, some dies within a month. Cilantro is a pain in the ass in this climate, not much luck even from seeds. Lemon Balm is one of the easier ones. Wonderful smell, like lemon drop candies, though the taste is more subtle. Shines best in a fruit salad.

        * The house favorite so far is Thai Basil, though I’m partial to a Cinnamon Basil that I’d never heard of but had to try when I saw it at Lowes. This year I planted the Thai and Cinnamon, Purple and Sweet Basil. The first harvest I made lots of mozzarella caprese with all the different Basils so we could do a taste testing.

        1. Darrell, thanks for the reminder about lemon verbena. I’m planning on buying a bunch of herbs to plant on Thursday. My chives have already come up about 6 inches, and even survived the snow a couple of weeks ago. I have NEVER had any luck with cilantro- it goes to seed in about a week – but fortunately it’s very easy to find in stores, my thyme, rosemary, and oregano always does really well, and even lasts i side most of the winter. I’ve forgotten where you live. Florida? I’m near Toronto. I’ve got a pork butt in my freezer ready to cook later this week.😋 Off to live opera tonight and really good Greek food downtown.

          1. Really good Greek food sounds really good. Haven’t had any in ages.

            Yep, I’m in Florida. It’s supposed to be easy to grow stuff here, but it really doesn’t seem any easier to me compared to any place else I’ve lived.

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