Monday: Hili dialogue

August 8, 2022 • 6:30 am

It’s time to get back to work on Monday, August 8, 2022: National Rice Pudding Day. At last it’s arrived: a celebration of my favorite dessert! The best version I ever had was at the famous bistro L’Ami Jean in Paris, where you’d get a huge bowl of the stuff, with garnishes on the side, and could help yourself to as much as you want. That was one of the main reasons I went there, but the food was also great.

Here WAS their rice pudding/. I am stupefied:

You could even add extra whipped cream! Here’s my first portion (I’d usually have three or so.)

Alas, this is no more. After Adam Gopnik wrote an article about the restaurant (mentioning the pudding) in The New Yorker,  the place went downhill. Food quality dropped, as did portion size, and if you ordered rice pudding you got a smallish individual portion with a wee bit of garnish on top.  I don’t blame Adam, though, as the place was already well known to foodies, both French and Anglophones. But I will never go there again.

It’s also National Zucchini Day, National Frozen Custard Day, Scottish Wildcat Day (I’m still not sure if this is a real species or just feral cats), Happiness Happens Day (from the Secret Society of Happy People), and, best of all, International Cat Day!

Stuff that happened on August 9 includes:

Before the iconic photo:

Matthew sent this tweet marking this day in 1975:

Serves them right!

  • 1990 – Iraq occupies Kuwait and the state is annexed to Iraq. This would lead to the Gulf War shortly afterward.
  • 2004 – A tour bus belonging to the Dave Matthews Band dumps approximately 800 pounds of human waste onto a boat full of passengers.

Da Nooz:

*Huzzah! The Senate passed the climate/tax/prescription drug bill, after pulling an all-nighter on Saturday night and debating until yesterday afternoon. First, I always wondered how aged folk like me could debate all night. The NYT explains(adding that they eat a lot of junk food):

The vote-a-rama (yes, it is actually called that), a familiar but reviled ritual for the octogenarians and elders who make up the Senate, began late Saturday night and stretched into Sunday morning. It was a final chance for Republicans to try to derail Democrats’ top legislative priority — or at least to lob political attacks against them on its path to passage — and a test of Democratic resolve to preserve their delicate compromise.

It was also the ultimate display of senatorial weirdness and dysfunction — a time-consuming exercise that has little impact on policy but keeps senators up through the night, ending only when they run out of steam for offering more amendments. They were still at it midmorning on Sunday after about 12 hours, with no certain indication of when they would finish.

Anyway, the Senators’ vote was 50-50, with no Republicans in favor and with Kamala Harris breaking the tie to achieve 51-50. A squeaker, but Manchin and Sinema were on the side of the angels. The provisions:

The measure, large elements of which appeared dead just weeks ago amid Democratic divisions, would inject nearly $400 billion into climate and energy programs. Altogether, the bill could allow the United States to cut greenhouse gas emissions about 40 percent below 2005 levels by the end of the decade.

It would achieve Democrats’ longstanding goal of slashing prescription drug costs by allowing Medicare for the first time to negotiate the prices of medicines directly and capping the amount that recipients pay out of pocket for drugs each year at $2,000. The measure also would extend larger premium subsidies for health coverage for low- and middle-income people under the Affordable Care Act for three years.

And it would be paid for by substantial tax increases, mostly on large corporations, including establishing a 15 percent corporate minimum tax and imposing a new tax on company stock buybacks.

This may not help Biden become the Democratic candidate in 2024, but it will surely help the Democrats win.

*And, in case you were wondering, here are the latest update of Five-Thirty-Eight‘s prognostications for the midterm election. The Senate is pretty even, but Dems take it in most simulations:

But the House looks dire:

If this transpires, we’ll be in the legislative doldrums, but worse than before because the House won’t be able to pass anything, not even a “reconciliation” bill. .

*The Washington Post‘s Sunday magazine has a photo essay on what’s happened to Afghanistan since the Taliban took over. It’s as some of us expected (those who actually believedthat the Taliban would be less theocratic and would empower women were suckers:

Gone were Western-looking clothes, the cleanshaven bureaucrats and hip youngsters in their skinny jeans and cool haircuts. Men now wore traditionalclothing — the shalwar kameez — and they were growing beards. Women were seen less often in public since many had lost their jobs, especially in the public sector. The Ministry of Women’s Affairs was shut down, and its building now housed the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice — the religious police who enforce the Taliban version of sharia law.

Those are the guys who beat women who aren’t sufficiently covered.  And of course women can’t go to college, despite the Taliban’s promises. Religion poisons everything.

*At the same time that primaries in the U.S. are being won by candidates who have an endorsement from Trump, it’s not clear, according to the Wall Street Journal, whether a Trump run for the Presidency in 2024 will get much enthusiasm from his fellow Republicans.

Congressional Republicans tout former President Donald Trump’s success in cutting taxes and transforming the Supreme Court, and cheer his America First approach to foreign affairs and ability to motivate Republican voters.

But as Mr. Trump weighs a new campaign for the White House in 2024, many GOP lawmakers aren’t ready to throw their support behind him. In interviews with nearly three dozen Republican lawmakers who were asked whether Mr. Trump should run, many deflected the question, saying that Mr. Trump’s decision is up to him without endorsing the idea.

Only four affirmatively said that they wanted Mr. Trump to try for another term, while three others said they hope he stays out, citing what they see as his divisive style of politics, his age, and the rise of other promising Republicans interested in the White House.

“I think we need a new generation of leadership,” said Rep. Chris Jacobs (R., N.Y.), who is retiring after this term. His was the most pro-Trump congressional district in New York state in 2020. “I support a lot of Donald Trump’s policies. And I think that they benefit this nation. But I think it’s time to move on.”

Here is my dream, which is mine: Ukraine beats the crap out of Russia, the Dems take the Presidency, House, and Senate in 2024, and Trump goes to jail for fomenting sedition. Oh, and Elizabeth Holmes also gets a couple years of jail time, too.

*Over at the Atlantic, Ibram X. Kendi excoriates the government for sexism and racism, saying that there’s a double standard when treating the violence caused by street gangs and the “violence” (he means “unwanted sexual contact”) caused by college fraternities. To do this, he, citing dubious statistics, incomparable statistics, and to say this:

The fraternity may be as violent as the gang. Collegiate America may be as dangerous for women as urban America. If sexual violence is a violent crime, then the fraternity of today may be committing as many violent crimes as the gang of the 1990s that spooked fearful Americans into tough-on-crime policies.

. . . Fraternities and sexual violence have taken over our colleges. And yet, has Congress ever seriously considered steering billions to thwart sexual violence, to clean up the toxic masculinity poisoning fraternities and campus life?

He decries the fairness in campus sexual misconduct hearings promoted by Betsy DeVos (one of the few good things the Trump administration did), and says that America goes too hard on gangs and too soft on fraternities.

This double standard is both racist and elitist. After all, the stereotypical gang boy is poor and non-white. The stereotypical frat man is elite and white. And the double standard is sexist, as well. A blinding toxicity of masculinity prevents some Americans from truly caring about the typical victim of sexual assault on college campuses in the way they care about the victim of urban violence.

I’m not sure why the Atlantic allowed such a shoddy and poorly written piece in their august pages, except that the author is Ibram Kendi. In response to Kendi’s article, “What’s the difference between a frat and a gang?”, one Twitter wag responded:

(h/t Luana)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron make plans.

Szaron Where were you walking?
Hili: To and fro.
Szaron: I will go there as well.

In Polish:
Szaron: Gdzie chodziłaś?
Hili: Tam i siam.
Szaron: Ja tam też pójdę.

And a lovely picture of Szaron kissing Andrzej:

Finally, a big announcement: Leon turns eight today! Hard to believe; I knew him as a kitten. Elzbieta has written birthday greetings to her cat, and Malgorzata translated them:

Dignified, eight years old honoree, inseparable companion of everyday life, emphatic nurse with an exceptionally strong personality, exceptional intelligence, a gloomy gaze but with an all-embracing heart.

In Polish:

Dostojny, ośmioletni jubilat, nieodłączny towarzysz codzienności, empatyczny pielęgniarz o wyjątkowo silnej osobowości, nieprzeciętnej inteligencji, ponurym wejrzeniu,ale wszechogarniającym sercu🎂😻

Happy birthday, Leon!


From Seth Andrews:

Here from reader Divy is a photo of Jango watching a photo of Jango watching a photo of Jango watching his photo on this website.

From reader Tom, two cartoons by Dave Coverly:

The Tweet of God:

From Simon, who says, “I thought this was cool – nuclei in purple, membranes in white. Vellutini’s website gives more info.”

From Athayde. I wonder if the mother in the second tweet is humoring the kitten with its giant leap into the air.

From the Auschwitz Memorial; a survivor of three camps passes away.

Tweets from Matthew. Here’s a building giving you the raspberry:

Is this for real? Are those testicles or kidneys?

And the world’s most beautiful tarantula. I would have thought the color was artificially enhanced, but the person’s arm shows that it’s real:

44 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. “… But I will never go there again.”

    Hell, I’m never going to Chipotle again – or is it just my local Chipotle ain’t the way it used to be? No complimentary chips!? Bogus.

    Ooo, hey look! The edit button is here today! Hello, edit button!
    [ save ]

  2. Those people on the boat were lucky, it could easily have been a load of Dave Mathews Band cds ruining their evening…

    1. I had several housemates in college who were obsessed with DMB so I can sympathize with the boat passengers.

      1. i feel a little bad dumping on Dave Mathews there, his music doesn’t really arouse strong passions in me either way, but when someone gives you a wide-open goal like that, i’m afraid you just have to take it!

    1. Many years ago, I worked in the Fine Arts Building on Michigan Ave in Chicago. On the first floor was a restaurant called Artists’ Cafe, which had mountain oysters on the menu. I had ’em from time to time, not bad.

      1. I’ve had them too. They were called Rocky Mountain oysters…just tasted like fried food, but not discernable. Had a dipping sauce of some sort, too iirc.

        1. Had then from the concession stand at the Colorado Rockies ballpark in Denver. Rather bland, I thought. Been to all the major league ballparks, Colorado was the only place to offer them.

    2. The ones shown on that pizza are rooster testicles.
      It is said testicles are rich in testosterone (surprise!) and that they have aphrodisiac properties.
      In Spain, after a bull fight, one can eat bull’s testicles too.
      All kinds of testicles are eaten in different parts of the world, as the mention of ‘Rocky Mountain oysters’ earlier is testimony to.
      I’m not sure about the aphrodisiac properties though.

    3. I love kidneys but I would baulk at eating testicles. Rationally, I’m not sure why. It’s just another organ and it’s not as if the function should be a problem. After all, kidneys are responsible for producing urine.

  3. I think you mean “… and says that America goes too hard on gangs and too soft (not hard) on fraternities.” No?

  4. It’s really a pity that Kendi wrongly compares apples and oranges in his article, reaching ridiculous conclusions, because a well written and properly substantiated piece highlighting the widespread problems with racism, misogyny and violence in fraternities, including the likelihood that rich white kids are likely treated more mildly than poor minority kids commiting comparable crimes, could have been a welcome contribution.

    1. Yes. Instead, he chose to overstate his point so much it becomes a reductio ad absurdum and puts everyone off except the true believers for whom reality no longer matters. Same with the republican nutcases on the other side. Progress on so many issues is hindered by extremist absolutists.

  5. Here is my dream, which is mine: Ukraine beats the crap out of Russia

    BBC Radio 4’s The World at One has just been discussing a report by the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), which claims that Russia is rapidly running out of precision weaponry and communications equipment that it cannot replace because of a shortage of specialised computer chips needed to manufacture them. This could obviously be to Ukraine’s advantage.

    Compatible chips are only available from Western countries or their allies and Russian spies are desperately trying to source them by setting up civilian front companies. RUSI is calling for loopholes to be closed in order to close down Russia’s ability to obtain the chips, saying that the time window for doing so is limited.

    The story hasn’t made it on to the Beeb’s website yet.

    1. And so much is due to sheer Ukrainian toughness. I don’t know how much longer they can hang in there, but wow!!

    2. I fear that might mean nothing more that lacking precision/communication, the bombing/shelling will get even more destructive for civilians, and the risk that the Russians will use tactical nuclear weapons rises. Both Putin and the West have burnt all bridges. I hope I’m wrong.

  6. Anyway, the Senators’ vote was 50-50, with no Republicans in favor and with Kamala Harris breaking the tie to achieve 51-50.

    Thank God the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, which allows the US senate to employ the reconciliation process to bypass the filibuster and pass budgetary bills by simple majority vote.

  7. I have the same dream! I get the Atlantic, but the Kendi issue has yet to arrive. I’ll read the article then but I won’t like it. I don’t like anything he writes. Finally, that is one beautiful tarantula! I wonder if the ones that are kept as pets sleep with their owners, like cats. Probably not.

  8. When I was a kid, we occasionally had rice pudding as dessert with Sunday dinner. It was always made with short-grain rice and creamy milk, with nutmeg grated on top before it was baked in the oven. When it came out of the oven, there was a skin on the top of the open dish, and my brother and I would insist on having some of the skin with our serving. It was sweet and crispy and full of the wonderful flavour of nutmeg. A very happy memory from long ago.

  9. Happy birthday, Leon! And many happy years ahead. Perhaps we could have a photo of the lovely Mietek sometime soon? And the photo of Szaron and Andrzej is wonderful. Who was it who recently commented on this website that cats don’t bond with their staff???

  10. “(I’m still not sure if this is a real species or just feral cats)”

    True scottish wildcats are genetically and phenotypically distinctive from domestic cats. The latter were, I believe, domesticated from a North African race of Felix sylvestris and introduced to Britain about 3000 years ago whilst the Scottish Wildcat was present in late glacial/early post glacial Britain (according to the Handbook of Mammals of the British Isles). Although distinctive the two inter-breed readily producing fertile offspring so presumably should be considered the same species. This is in fact the principal problem for the Scottish Wildcat as they increasingly come into contact and breed with wild-living domestic cats with the result that there are ever fewer pure wildcats left. Conservation efforts for the species are focused on neutering domestic cats in areas where wildcats are potentially present.

    It would not be fair however, to refer to the ‘pure’ scottish wildcat as ‘just feral cats’ as they are present as a wild species that arrived here under its own steam following the ice age.

  11. Give me a break.I bet on them being some insect larvae, full of fat and protein from somewhere. Kidneys as food feature big in Ulysses by the way, and they are eaten in some countries despite the persistence of what I would guess is urine (at least it is sterile). I doubt whole kidneys would be served on a pizza, so i am betting on larvae. This doesnt make them taste better though.. At a workplace when I was young an associate passed around lovely chocolates in a box. Mine had a nice soft crispy interior that tasted like hazelnuts. After all the girls in the office had eaten theirs, the guy revealed that they were chocolate covered insect larvae. I thought this was hilarious but the others didn’t. Food is just culture. I passed up the hormigas (candied ants) in the Bucaramonga (Colombia) airport. These ants are a favorite snack on holidays there. I would have tried a sample but they only offered them by the box. I think they are leaf cutter ants. And where is this from:
    “and there’s lovely rice pudding for dinner tonight”? Winnie the Pooh? Nice recipe but I prefer creme brûlée.

    1. Take him seriously they do, though, because he successfully rebranded himself, new African-sounding name and all, as THE anti-racist prophet. In his book, How to Be an Anti-Racist, one sees that he began as an out-and-out racist, then changed his name and reappeared as a quasi-religious leader to be beyond reproach, a kind of modern-day Moses come down from on high. But, as you correctly point out, he is now really a crypto-racist.

    2. Kendi is not, in my view, an intellectual midget by any means. Like you, I may disagree with him on many issues and point to shortcomings in his methodology, but “intellectual midget” is an unfitting ad hominem. He is highly intelligent and often insightful. Unfortunately, methodological issues and his strong ideological slant do often lead him to conclusions that are rather dubious.

      1. If you write an article that can be dismantled in one sentence, that does not appear very insightful to me.
        McWorther appears to disagree with you, Jared.
        On the Glenn Loury show, John McWorther called him “not the sharpest knife in the drawer”, “he has dumb ideas”, “I don’t think he’s the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree” and “A preacher walking around promulgating undercooked simplistic ideas”. His Kendi critique starts at 30:37. Loury calls him “a lightweight” near the end (49:53).

        1. No doubt, many people will disagree with me. And that’s fine. But providing an expanded list of more or less entertaining ad hominem slights doesn’t really do all that much to advance the discussion of the question, now does it?

          1. Yes and no, of course John McWorther is much more elaborate in his criticism.
            So yes, you are correct: I just cited some invectives out of context, my bad.
            And no, McWorther’s criticism is quite a bit deeper than these ad hominem invectives.
            Just watch the video for context, it is a great discussion at any rate, you will not regret wasting you time.

            On the other hand, one could indeed argue that Kendi is pretty clever by monetising white guilt and black entitlement (as Loury and Mc Worther call it).

            1. Indeed, and much of the criticism by McWorther and others I share, and have myself occasionally expressed. (See above, at #5, for example.) This is a worthwhile discussion; inspired, in fact, by Kendi. Hurling epithets at Kendi is not. It just sets up or exacerbates we vs. them camps.
              I don’t know Kendi personally, so I don’t know, but I doubt his (primary) motivation is the monetization of the issues. His track record and publication list do not seem to suggest such, to me, but it would be difficult to ascertain the truth of the claim. Again, seems more of an unsubstantiated, and in my view doubtful invective than anything else.

  12. That may be the first academic paper to use the term “global warming” but it might possibly not be. I have an old issue of Popular Mechanics from November 1959 (obviously not an academic journal). It contains this brief article clip:

    “Is Carbon Dioxide Warming the Earth?
    Civilization is adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at a much higher rate than had been supposed, and this may be havirg an effect on the earth’s climate. Dr. Bert Bolin of the University of Stockholm, Sweden, reports that the burning of coal, oil and gas is adding carbon dioxide to the atmosphere at the rate of one half of one percent a year and that a 25-percent increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will have occurred by the year 2000. It is suspected that the earth has warmed up by two or three degrees in the last 50 years, and it is possible that the increase in carbon dioxide is responsible. The gas acts like the glass of a greenhouse to keep heat from escaping into space while allowing the sun’s rays to pass. Dr. Bolin suggests that further studies should be made regarding the increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and its possible effects on future climate.“

    Popular Mechanics says Dr. Bolin “reports”, so possibly he published an academic paper. Even if this was just a speculation and didn’t use the term global warming, it’s seems pretty insightful for 1959.

    1. Interesting. Thanks for the comment and quote. It’s amazing that in less than 75 years, it’s come from a very good speculation to a lot worse than Bolin could ever have imagined. 75 years ago was the first “warning”! Now it’s a fact of life, and a hard fact to deal with…as long as you accept reality, that is.

    2. [ begin quote]

      “Hint to Coal Consumers.
      A Swedish professor, Svante Arrhenius, has evolved a now theory of the extinction of the human race. He holds that the combustion of coal by civilized man is gradually warming the atmosphere so that in the course of a few cycles of 10,000 years the earth will be baked in a temperature close to the boiling point. He bases his theory on the accumulation of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, which acts as a glass in concentrating and refracting the heat of the sun.”

      The Selma Morning Times
      Selma, Alabama (U.S.)
      Wed., October 15, 1902

      This 1902 article attributes to Swedish Nobel laureate (for chemistry) Svante Arrhenius […]
      [ end quote]


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