Monday: Hili dialogue

May 23, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good morning on Monday, May 23, 2022: National Taffy Day. It’s also World Turtle Day.

Wine of the Day: This is the first bottle I’ve cracked since my bout of gastroenteritis. My tummy is okay, but until today I had lost my usual craving for wine. This was a great bottle to start with: a quality Bordeaux from St. Emilion that cost only $22.50.

I have only one bottle, but wish I’d bought more. Though drinking a good Bordeaux just 4 years after the vintage could be seen as infanticide, this wine is ripe, round, luscious, and fully ready to drink (I had it with chicken, rice, and tomatoes). It’s 100% merlot, unlike most Bordeaux that are mostly Cabernet, and this probably accounts for its fruitiness and ripeness. I loved it and should have bought a case. The experts agree; here’s Jeb Dunnuck’s review (94/100):

Emerging from the talents of Denis Durantou, the 100% Merlot 2018 Saintayme should be snatched up by readers who want a brilliant, delicious Bordeaux to enjoy over the coming decade. Terrific notes of black cherries, kirsch, flowery incense, cedarwood, and tobacco all define the bouquet, and it’s medium to full-bodied and beautifully balanced, with silky tannins and a ripe, hedonistic, yet balanced style that’s a joy to drink.

James Suckling thinks that one shouldn’t drink this until 2024, but I disagree. This puppy is ready now, and will only get more expensive. If you see it, buy a lot! Hold onto some if you want, but do essay it now.

Things that happened on May 23 include:

Joan was burned at the stake, but not for heresy or dressing in men’s clothes, for she agreed to don female dress in return for a sentence of life in prison.  A few days later, though, she was found in men’s clothing, saying that voices had told her to don male apparel again (she may well have been a schizophrenic). She was then burned as a “relapsed heretic”.

The 1928 French movie The Passion of Joan of Arc is in my view the best silent movie ever made. Renée Jeanne Falconetti’s performance as Joan is unforgettable; it was her last performance.  You can watch the whole movie for free here, but the subtitles are in French.

Here’s the car after the attack with the bodies still in the front seat (it had 112 bullet holes, about 25% of which struck the pair).

And the death scene from Arthur Penn’s excellent eponymous movie, with Faye Dunaway as Bonnie and Warren Beatty as Clyde.  (TRIGGER WARNING: triggers pulled and violence). In reality, although the “bait’  was standing the road, (a relative of a gang member whose family they were headed to visit), the law opened fire while Clyde was still driving.

There’s a good cinematic analysis of this final scene here.

  • 1945 – World War II: Heinrich Himmler, head of the Schutzstaffel, commits suicide while in Allied custody.
  • 1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with roughly 75% voting yes.

DA NOOZ: Not much is happening

*Mitt Romney has an op-ed in the NYT called “We must prepare for Putin’s worst weapons.” He notes the saber-rattling that Putin has done broaching the possibility of using either tactical or general nuclear weapons, and has heard suggestions that we shouldn’t corner Putin because he might be driven to use nukes. But Romney properly rejects that:

The right answer is to continue to give Ukraine all the support it needs to defend itself and to win. Its military successes may force Mr. Putin to exit Ukraine or to agree to a cease-fire acceptable to the Ukrainian people. Perhaps his control of Russian media would enable him to spin a loss into a face-saving narrative at home. These are the outcomes he would be smart to take. But if a cornered and delusional Mr. Putin were to instead use a nuclear weapon — whether via a tactical strike or by weaponizing one of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants — we would have several options.

What are the options? Here he’s a little thin on the options, though he avers that they don’t necessarily involve our use of retalitaory nukes. Better, he thinks, to mobilize world opinion against Russia for an unimaginable transgression, and turn those countries who don’t side with us into pariahs.

I don’t think that will work with China.

*The Wall Street Journal raises a distinct possibility that I hadn’t much thought of: a looming recession could really hurt the Democrats this fall (and in 2024), since voters tend to blame economic woes on the current administration.And these aren’t distant woes, either. Have you bought gas or groceries lately?

The Federal Reserve’s efforts to slow inflation are raising the possibility of higher unemployment, a slower-growing economy and a recession, prospects that could create new headaches for the Biden administration.

As the country heads into midterm-election season, much of the political discussion has centered around solid economic growth and robust employment versus the damaging impact of inflation. More recently, warnings about the prospect of an economic downturn—which could come in 2023 according to some estimates—have complicated the economic picture in a new way.

Mr. Biden and his advisers are already grappling with inflation trending near a four-decade high, wavering consumer confidence and headwinds posed by Russia’s war in Ukraine. Republicans lay blame for surging prices on the administration, saying it stoked inflation with pandemic-related stimulus then failed to counter it as prices rose. They have lambasted Mr. Biden and Democratic lawmakers ahead of this fall’s midterm elections that will decide which party controls Congress.

*And another op-ed in the NYT, this time “My lunch with President Biden” by Thomas Friedman. My first question, of course, is “what did he eat?” That’s answered quickly. It was largely off the record but. . .

I can, though, tell you two things — what I ate and how I felt after. I ate a tuna salad sandwich with tomato on whole wheat bread, with a bowl of mixed fruit and a chocolate milkshake for dessert that was so good it should have been against the law.

Not a bad lunch—especially the chocolate shake. Friedman tries to dispel notions and Biden is losing it by touting his accomplishments, foremost of which is putting NATO back together and cobbled a solid alliance against Russia after it invaded Ukraine.

It has been the best performance of alliance management and consolidation since another president whom I covered and admired — who also was said to be incapable of putting two sentences together: George H.W. Bush. Bush helped manage the collapse of the Soviet Union and the reunification of Germany, without firing a shot or the loss of a single American life.

But there’s a down side:

Alas, though, I left our lunch with a full stomach but a heavy heart.

Biden didn’t say it in so many words, but he didn’t have to. I could hear it between the lines: He’s worried that while he has reunited the West, he may not be able to reunite America.

It’s clearly his priority, above any Build Back Better provision. And he knows that’s why he was elected. . .

It’s true. Remember how often Biden spoke during his campaign about re-uniting America and “reaching across the aisle”? Well, some of the failure is his fault (he’s capitulated too much to the far Left), but much of it isn’t. The country is just too polarized.

*The rapid proliferation of monkeypox virus throughout the West has baffled scientists, as there’s no cause yet known. (The disease kills 10% of its victims, but smallpox vaccine confers some immunity, though most of us got our smallpox vaccines decades ago. I suspect it’s a new mutation, but we don’t know. From the Associated Press:

Scientists who have monitored numerous outbreaks of monkeypox in Africa say they are baffled by the disease’s recent spread in Europe and North America.

Cases of the smallpox-related disease have previously been seen only among people with links to central and West Africa. But in the past week, Britain, Spain, Portugal, Italy, U.S., Sweden and Canada all reported infections, mostly in young men who hadn’t previously traveled to Africa.

There are about 80 confirmed cases worldwide and 50 more suspected ones, the World Health Organization said. France, Germany, Belgium and Australia reported their first cases Friday.

“I’m stunned by this. Every day I wake up and there are more countries infected,” said Oyewale Tomori, a virologist who formerly headed the Nigerian Academy of Science and who sits on several WHO advisory boards.

“This is not the kind of spread we’ve seen in West Africa, so there may be something new happening in the West,” he said.

It’s possible that the disease can be sexually transmitted:

On Friday, Britain’s Health Security Agency reported 11 new monkeypox cases, saying “a notable proportion” of the infections in the U.K. and Europe have been in young men with no history of travel to Africa and who were gay, bisexual or had sex with men.

*Again at the NYT, Reverend Tish Harrison Warren agonizes about we should mourn a million Americans killed by covid. One suggestion is “if life give you lemons, make lemonade.” That is, prepare better for the next epidemic:

We can continue to promote vaccines and persuade those who are skeptical of them. We can enact limited but more effective masking policies. We can install better indoor ventilation systems and ensure workers have robust sick leave. We can make sure that Evusheld and other lifesaving drugs are widely available, and we can follow suggestions to protect older people and the immunocompromised.

Well, there’s an original thought! But she adds that there’s “emotional work to be done” so we can “heal as a nation.” She suggests this:

We need an official national day of mourning and reflection in response to Covid-19. We need places of worship and civic organizations of all stripes to join in with services of memorial and lament, moments of silence, or ceremonies of remembrance. We, as a people, are tired. We are broken. We have shouldered much grief. There needs to be ritualized and intentional space to acknowledge this together.

My response: no we don’t.  I grieve for those who lost family to covid, but no, we are not tired or broken, an we will move on, just as we moved on from the nearly 700,000 Americans killed by the Spanish flu in 1918. The problem with Warren is she has no idea that some people would prefer to grieve alone instead of in some national ritual. It was a virus, not a terrorist attack.

How long are they going to let the good Reverend dispense bromides at the same time she promotes Jesus?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is unusually needy:

A: Is there something I can do for you?
Hili: Yes, you can pet me.
In Polish:
Ja: Czy jest coś, co mogę dla ciebie zrobić?
Hili: Tak, możesz mnie pogłaskać.
Today is also Karolina’s eighth birthday, and Andrzej sent her special wishes to Kyiv with a picture of Kulka on Facebook:


Andrzej: Happy birthday to you, Karolina!
In Polish: Wszystkiego najlepszego, Karolinko!

An old one from xkcd:

From Stephen:

From Facebook (needless to say, the gay people in the first photo are not in Palestine). Alternate title: “Turkeys for Thanksgiving”.

Titania is on another Twitter break. She has nothing to say, but that’s okay.

Barry supposes this device would be great for grabbing feral cats:

From Ken, who captions this, “Where the hard Right wants to go post-Roe. Talk about enforcing your religious morality on others!

From Simon, a kid who wants to jazz up his Little League game:

From Peter, Genesis reinterpreted through a feline lens:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:

Tweets from Matthew. This paper hasn’t yet been formally review, but it’s a meta-analysis of many experiments. And there’s no support that weakened belief in free will has long-term effects on eroding people’s morality or increasing cheating.. So much for the “little people” argument for free will! (But let’s see if it’s published.)

From the abstract:

“In a metaanalysis including 145 experiments (95 unpublished), we show that exposing individuals to antifree will manipulations decreases belief in free will and increases belief in determinism. However, we could not find evidence for downstream consequences. Our findings have important theoretical implications for research on free will beliefs and contribute to the discussion of whether reducing people’s belief in free will has social consequences.”

Matthew told me that because I’d read the Bible carefully I’d remember this verse. But I didn’t. However, it is true; see for yourself here.

The Bible should be banned from schools as a salacious work:

. . . and a very needy cat. If it says “the content is sensitive”, it’s NOT!


22 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Combining your Jacky Eubanks post with the concluding verses of your Ezekiel post, we get what the candidate has in store for us: “And the company shall stone them with stones, and dispatch them with their swords; they shall slay their sons and their daughters, and burn up their houses with fire. Thus will I cause lewdness to cease out of the land, that all women may be taught not to do after your lewdness.”

  2. Renée Jeanne Falconetti’s performance as Joan [of Arc] is unforgettable; it was her last performance.

    I was watching a documentary on the silent era the other day, and it turns out Mlle. Falconetti’s performance in Carl Theodor Dryer’s TPoJoA was one of only two by her on film (and the only one of note, though she was an accomplished stage actress). Falconetti suffered from mental health problems herself. Dryer allegedly put her through living hell on the set to elicit the performance.

  3. … the death scene from Arthur Penn’s excellent eponymous movie, with Faye Dunaway as Bonnie and Warren Beatty as Clyde.

    It was Pauline Kael’s controversial, heterodox review of Bonnie and Clyde for The New Yorker that essentially made her national reputation, revived the movie after a shaky box office and critical start, and kick-started what’s come to be known as the Easy Rider/Raging Bull era of American films.

  4. … some of the failure is his [Joe Biden’s] fault (he’s capitulated too much to the far Left), but much of it isn’t.

    It’s entirely possible to criticize the “Build Back Better” bill as being too ambitious, given the Democrat’s slender majority in congress (especially the 50-50 split in the senate — even counting Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema as “Democrats” — and the continued existence of the filibuster), but which of the programs comprised by the BBB bill would you characterize as “capitulat[ions] … to the far Left”?

    Hell, if Joe Biden came out for apple pie, Republicans would claim the apples were wormy. Fifty-seven members of the House (and 11 members of the senate) — all Republicans, including the usual vonces in the so-called QAnon caucus — voted against the Biden’s recent $40 billion aid package to Ukraine, many of them in doing so bitching that the money should go for baby formula. Then, many of the same characters turned around and voted against Biden’s subsequent bill to help alleviate the baby formula crisis.

      1. Yiddish for a small, annoying person — someone like a bedbug. I first came across it in David Mamet’s 2001 movie The Heist.

        Fits the Madison Cawthorn/Lauren Boebert/Marjorie Taylor Greene/Paul Gosar/Matt Gaetz types, doncha think?

        1. Thanks, Ken. I had googled unsuccessfully. You are a veritable living goyish yiddish dictionary!
          What a fine pack of eejits you mentioned. At least Madison is toast.

        2. PS re: Madison, how can walking through an airport with a loaded gun TWICE be only a possible misdemeanor?

  5. Of course, some TRAs are now claiming that Joan of Arc (actually, her name was Jeanne Darc, not Jeanne D’Arc, so the “of Arc” is a mistranslation) was trans.

    1. Aw, darn. There goes my favourite Dad joke.
      What’s the difference between Noah’s ark and Joan of Arc?
      One was made of wood, the other was Maid of Orleans.

  6. I was listening to an ‘educational’ program on Catholic radio about the abortion issue. They explained words like ‘gametes’ and ‘conception’. Apparently, it all had to do with ‘marital acts’ and things that were ‘released during the marital embrace’. Hot stuff! Whatever happened to good old sermons? I was driving, and the moment I arrived at my destination, I washed out my ears.

  7. The KJV rendition of Ezekiel 23:20 is less graphic: “For she doted upon their paramours, whose flesh is as the flesh of asses, and whose issue is like the issue of horses”.

  8. I doubt the cat grabber would be very effective against anything but the most docile cat. A smart house cat would run at the first sight of some strange apparatus coming their way.

  9. > We need an official national day of mourning and reflection in response to Covid-19

    No, absolutely not. We humans need a global day. This is does not affect a single country. It is a global phenomenon. If anything, we are seeing how some groups used it to push national sovereignty, when we should have been coming together as a species, learning collectively, and looking for worldwide solutions. I am no more interested in the US narrative than I am in the Uruguayan narrative. Humanity has a lot to learn from the experience – and if anything, it should remind us that tribalism is not the answer.

    1. Count me out. I think most of us just want to forget about it and get on with winning our lives back, just like our grandparents did after the Spanish flu finally petered out. Dance the Charleston. Learn to smoke. Drink heroically. Screw your brains out. And they had a lot of orphans to care for. This time, teenagers and young adults lost two precious years of experience on the mating game that they won’t get back because the rules are different when you’re 18 compared to when you’re 16. Ditto college students who have never attended a live lecture or a seminar. Or new workers who’ve received in-person training or mentoring. (Except meatpackers and Amazon warehouse workers!)

      You’re not going to find any of them sitting around weeping about the number of people who died in Swedish nursing homes.

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