Saturday: Hili dialogue

October 29, 2022 • 6:30 am

Good day to you on Saturday, October 29, 2022, cat shabbos as well as National Oatmeal Day.

Don’t spurn oatmeal: when properly prepared with steel-cut oats and topped with cream, fruits, and maybe a bit of maple syrup, it’s a delight. The best I’ve had to make at home is McCann’s Steel Cut Irish Oatmeal, which has its own Wikipedia page. It comes in a lovely tin (below) and the company’s been around since 1800.  They take longer to cook than the rolled oats served in the U.S., but they’re worth it.

You have to cook them for about half an hour, but you can make a huge batch and store it for up to a week in the fridge, heating up portions day after day.

Recipe and more information here .

It’s also World Psoriasis Day, World Stroke Day (oy, what holidays), Hug a Sheep Day, and International Internet Day, celebrating the first computer-to-computer transmission:

It was on today’s date in 1969 that the first electronic message was sent from one computer to another. ARPANET, the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, was the precursor to the internet. Funded by the US Department of Defense, the network used packet switching to connect four terminals: UCLA, Stanford, University of California-Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah. Charley Kline, a student programmer at UCLA, under the supervision of Professor Leonard Kleinrock, transmitted a message from the SDS Sigma 7 Host computer in UCLA’s computer science department to the SDS 940 Host computer, manned by Bill Duvall, at Stanford. Kline attempted to send the word “login,” but the connection crashed after the first two letters, and only “L” and “O” were sent. These letters became the first data sent over the first long-distance computer network.

Last but not least, it’s NATIONAL CAT DAY. The first three readers to send me a picture of their moggy (one picture of one moggy) will have their cat featured just below. Be quick, and give one sentence about the cat that includes its name and preferred gender.

Violet. Female. From her staff in Boca Raton, Robin Branch:

From J. W.: Ophelia – The Big Boy Kitty with Girl Name.  (So embarrassing since my hubby is a Vet!)

From Lenora, her late cat Tashiko Akuma Pestini: “She was my Queen whom I loved greatly and served without grumbles. This was taken her last night before she crossed the Rainbow Bridge.:

Readers might wish to consult the Wikipedia page for October 29 and inform us about notable event, births, or deaths on this day.

Da Nooz:

*I just found out that an intruder broke into Nancy Pelosi’s home in San Francisco early yesterday morning, battered her husband with a hammer, and went looking for the Speaker of the House herself. Oy!

Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi, was violently assaulted by a man who broke into the couple’s home in San Francisco early Friday morning, the police said. The authorities took a suspect into custody, identifying him as David DePape, 42, and said they were seeking to determine a motive.

The details:

  • The San Francisco Police responded to a break-in at the Pelosi residence at 2:27 a.m. on Friday, Chief William Scott said in a news conference. The assailant pulled a hammer from Mr. Pelosi and “violently attacked” him in front of police officers, the chief said.

  • The intruder was in search of Speaker Pelosi, according to a person briefed on the attack, and confronted Mr. Pelosi in the couple’s home shouting: “Where is Nancy, where is Nancy?”

  • A spokesman for the speaker said in a statement on Friday afternoon that Mr. Pelosi, 82, had undergone surgery “to repair a skull fracture and serious injuries to his right arm and hands,” and said that his doctors expected “a full recovery.”

  • The suspect was also at a hospital, and will be charged with attempted homicide and other crimes, the authorities said. A person with the same name as the suspect posted a number of conspiracy theories on social media, although it could not be confirmed whether the posts were linked to the intruder.

  • Ms. Pelosi was in Washington, D.C., with her protective detail at the time of the break-in, the Capitol Police said.

This is what comes from the political divisiveness in America, and it’s part and parcel of the mindset that led to the Capitol insurrection of January 6. I’m glad her husband will recover, but imagine what would have happened if this homicidal moron had gotten hold of Pelosi herself!

*You might remember James Bennett, the NYT opinion page editor who was fired after he ran a column by Republican Senator Tom Cotton, a column asserting that states should send in troops to quell some of the violent rioting in the wake of George Floyd’s death This raised the hackles of woke Times staffers who complained that the column made them feel “unsafe”. Bennett had to go, and he was forced to “resign” by publisher A. G. Sulzberger.

Now, a new op-ed by Eric Wemple in the Washington Post argues “James Bennet was right.” Right about everything.  An excerpt:

“He set me on fire and threw me in the garbage and used my reverence for the institution against me,” Bennet recently told Ben Smith of Semafor. “This is why I was so bewildered for so long after I had what felt like all my colleagues treating me like an incompetent fascist.”

That might sound like the angst of a guy who’s still disgruntled at losing his job. And it is, for a compelling reason: Bennet is right. He’s right about Sulzberger, he’s right about the Cotton op-ed, and he’s right about the lessons that linger from his tumultuous final days at the Times.

His outburst in Semafor furnishes a toehold for reassessing one of the most consequential journalism fights in decades. To date, the lesson from the set-to — that publishing a senator arguing that federal troops could be deployed against rioters is unacceptable — will forever circumscribe what issues opinion sections are allowed to address. It’s also long past time to ask why more people who claim to uphold journalism and free expression — including, um, the Erik Wemple Blog — didn’t speak out then in Bennet’s defense.
When the column was published:

A backlash swiftly combusted, with Times staffers at the forefront of the critique. Nikole Hannah-Jones, creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project, tweeted that the paper should have done a news story to push back against Cotton’s ideas, as opposed to “simply giv[ing] over our platform to spew dangerous rhetoric.” Astead W. Herndon, a national politics reporter, made a similar point, tweeting that “if electeds want to make provocative arguments let them withstand the questions and context of a news story, not unvarnished and unchecked.” There were other persuasive broadsides against the decision to publish Cotton.

Many Times staffers, however, forwent the rigor of argumentation and tweeted out the following line — or something similar — to express their disgust: “Running this puts Black @NYTimes staff in danger.” The formulation came from the internal group Black@NYT and received the blessing of the NewsGuild of New York as “legally protected speech because it focused on workplace safety,” Smith, then the Times’s media columnist, reported at the time.

The “danger” tweets — along with a letter from Times employees slamming the op-ed — landed with impact. Although Sulzberger initially defended publication as furthering the “principle of openness to a range of opinions,” he bailed on that posture within hours. By the afternoon after publication, the paper had determined that the piece failed to “meet our standards,” according to a statement.

The column goes on to detail the fracas and the fast-stepping that invertebrate NYT publisher A. G. Sulzberger had to do to defuse the “harmful” article, winding up with a groveling “editor’s note” inserted two days after Cotton’s column ran.

.. . a more pathetic collection of 317 words would be difficult to assemble. In his recent comments, Bennet called the Times note a misguided effort “to mollify people.” But Bennet didn’t write the bloated, italicized nostra culpa, according to informed sources — it was a committee product headed by the standards desk, with extensive involvement from Sulzberger himself, sources say.

. . .The Twitter chain claiming “danger” to Times staffers suffered from the same journalistic failings leveled at the op-ed. It was an exercise in manipulative hyperbole brilliantly calibrated for immediate impact. “I actually knew what it meant to have a target on your back when you’re reporting for the New York Times,” Bennet told Smith — an apparent reference to his days reporting for the Times in the Middle East, where he narrowly escaped being kidnapped in 2004.

The Erik Wemple Blog has asked about 30 Times staffers whether they still believe their “danger” tweets and whether there was any merit in Bennet’s retort. Not one of them replied with an on-the-record defense. Such was the depth of conviction behind a central argument in l’affaire Cotton.

The paper is reprehensible, and it saddens me that I subscribe because so much of the rest of it is good. But Bennet was right to run the editorial, even if it was misguided. Cotton’s words made people think. But they also presaged the Era of the Fragile Activist, where the word “harm” came to mean simply “offense”.

*Yes, Nellie Bowles is back writing her weekly and snarky news summary for her partner Bari Weiss’s Substack column; this week’s is called “TGIF: Let this sink in edition“. Three items:

→ Let that sink in: When Elon Musk marched into Twitter on Wednesday to claim his new toy (the company, which he is officially buying today), he entered the building carrying a porcelain sink. Why? To make the joke: Let that sink in! A taunt to his detractors. Let it sink in that I own your favorite place. Let it sink in that Donald Trump is coming back to Twitter. Let it sink in that you’re not in charge anymore. Elon may be a madman—and none of us really know what he plans to do with Twitter—but he is the funniest CEO in America and his billionaire-level trolling is honestly inspirational to low-level trolls like me.

After Musk said he’d fire 75% of the company, its workers promptly signed a petition demanding (yes, demanding) that no one be fired. Musk just as promptly fired three top officials, including the CEO and the CFO.  Here’s his tweet:

You gotta hand it to the guy: he’s got moxie.

→ Rishi Sunak, a Hindu, becomes Britain’s new prime minister: It’s pretty great to see someone whose family came from a former British colony now become the head of state (actually that’s Charles III, but I refuse to learn more about British political structure, beyond obviously ordering Harry’s new memoir, whose title was announced Thursday . . . it’s called Spare). Because Sunak is a Tory, it’s still being considered a win for white supremacy since he is “a racial minority who is happy to enable white majoritarianism,” according to Al Jazeera. I’m thrilled for Sunak not because of his Indian heritage but because of his California one—he’s a Stanford bro— and I hope his reign outlasts all recently harvested iceberg lettuce. Also: It’s amazing to see scenes like a Tory MP this week casually saying Inshallah (one hopes in Arabic).

→ Native American is a state of mind: The woman known as Sacheen Littlefeather, the woman who famously accepted an Oscar on behalf of Marlon Brando for his role in “The Godfather,” made up her Native American status, according to her own sisters. The quotes are brutal: “It was more prestigious to be an American Indian than it was to be Hispanic in her mind,” said one of her sisters. Littlefeather appears to be the latest in a long line of those faking Native American heritage (our friend Nick Gillespie’s piece on the greatest hit “Fake Indians” here). I was wondering why this news wasn’t bigger, and I texted my friend about it. “Too big to fail,” she explained. And it’s true.

*I’m sad to announce the passing of the Killer, Jerry Lee Lewis, at 87 at his home in Mississippi. From the NYT:

Jerry Lee Lewis, the hard-driving rockabilly artist whose pounding boogie-woogie piano and bluesy, country-influenced vocals helped define the sound of rock ’n’ roll on hits like “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire,” and whose incendiary performing style expressed the essence of rock rebellion, died on Friday at his home in DeSoto County, Miss., south of Memphis. He was 87.

His death was announced by his publicist, Zach Farnum. No cause was given, but Mr. Lewis had been in poor health for some time.

Mr. Lewis was 21 in November 1956 when he walked into Sun Studio in Memphis and, presenting himself as a country singer who could play a mean piano, demanded an audition.

His timing was impeccable. Sun Records had sold Elvis Presley’s contract to RCA Records a year earlier and badly needed a new star to headline a roster that included Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison.

Mr. Lewis more than filled the bill. His first record, a juiced-up rendition of the Ray Price hit “Crazy Arms,” was a regional success. With “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” released in April 1957, he gave Sun the breakout hit it was looking for.

Although initially banned by many radio stations for being too suggestive, “Whole Lotta Shakin’” reached a nationwide audience after Mr. Lewis performed it on “The Steve Allen Show.” It rose to No. 3 on the pop charts and sold some six million copies worldwide, making it one of the biggest hits of the early rock ’n’ roll era.

Here’s the Killer performing my favorite of his songs; note that it contains the word “chicken” (I sometimes use that in rock quizzes). A great performance!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is kvetching again:

Hili: We have a flood.
A: A flood?
Hili: A flood of superfluous information.
In Polish:
Hili: Mamy powódź.
A: Jaka powódź?
Hili: Powódź zbędnych informacji.


From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe, a picture called “Something wicked this way comes”:

From Ant:

From Malcolm, cats in awkward situations:

From Tom, a cartoon from Dave Blazek:

Two from Masih. The protests continue in Iran:

This tweet is not a joke:

From Simon. It’s a good thing Larry wasn’t around at this time, or did he chance the fox away. Or is this the new Chief Minister for Hens of the Cabinet Office?

From Barry we have a novel defense among the many ways caterpillars protect themselves:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: Both sisters, Anne and Margot, died in Bergen-Belsen, probably of typhus.

And, ironically, Anne Frank’s best friend, who also survived the camps, died yesterday. The translation of the tweet below:

Hannah Pick-Goslar (right), born in Berlin in 1928, emigrated to Amsterdam with her family in 1933. There she becomes the best friend of Anne Frank (left). In 1943 Hannah was deported to Bergen-Belsen. She survived the Shoa. She died yesterday in Jerusalem at the age of 93.


Tweets from Matthew. I retweeted the bat tweet below. Didn’t medieval artists LOOK at the animals they painted?

What is going on here? Are they related? Is this real helping behavior of horseshoe crabs?

36 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. You gotta hand it to the guy: he’s got moxie.

    Actually, I don’t think I do. Elon Musk is a petulant man child who doesn’t think rules apply to him.

    He decided he wanted to buy a company whilst trashing it at the same time. Then he decided he didn’t want to buy the company whilst still trashing it. Then he found out that a binding contract is binding even on him so he grudgingly bought the company at a premium of about 30% over what it is worth. Now he’s lashing out because he didn’t get his own way. Firing all the top level executives is of no consequence because that’s common practice: you want your own management team, but telling the workforce that 75% of them will be fired (or maybe not) is pretty nasty. Musk has nothing but contempt for anybody who is poorer than him.

    As far as Rishi Sunk is concerned, I’m finding the obsession with his race that a few people in the USA have quite amusing. For the vast majority of people in the UK, it is a non issue. Nobody cares about the fact that Sunak’s ancestry is not Anglo-Saxon. A lot of people seem to think his extreme wealth disqualifies him from the role of PM and a lot of people think that him being a Conservative MP is the mark of Satan, but very few people are concerned about the colour of his skin.

    Personally, I don’t think any of that stuff is necessarily bad, but his decision to reappoint Suella Braverman to her post after she committed a serious offence by leaking restricted government documents and his decision to not take climate change seriously make me very concerned.

    1. telling the workforce that 75% of them will be fired (or maybe not) is pretty nasty. Musk has nothing but contempt for anybody who is poorer than him.

      A lot of analysts have suggested that the company has a bloated payroll, and given that many of the employees will be DEI consultants and the sort of woke moderators who ban accounts just because they “misgender” someone, perhaps a thorough clean-out is a good idea. There’s no point in him buying it unless he is going to change the ethos, and that surely means a turnover of people.

      1. It’s not the fact that he might have to slim down the company that is the problem, but the way he is going about it. Would you like to hear that you are being fired by Tweet – even if you worked there?

        1. I think you’re being hard on him. Given that he’s been talking to investors and banks about financing the deal, he had no choice but to outline his plans to them. And (given that absolutely everyone else is poorer than him) I don’t think he has “nothing but contempt” for every other human being on the planet.

          1. I think you’re being hard on him.

            No I’m not.

            Given that he’s been talking to investors and banks about financing the deal, he had no choice but to outline his plans to them.

            That would have been back in April, not a week or two ago, and their preferred medium is almost certainly not a public Tweet.

            I don’t think he has “nothing but contempt” for every other human being on the planet.

            given that absolutely everyone else is poorer than him

            I don’t know if that is the case. Most of his wealth is based on the value of his shares in Tesla. This is a paper value only, in the sense that he can’t sell even a small proportion of the shares without tanking the stock price. Now, I know that the wealth of many other alleged multi-billionaires is also based on stock holdings, but Tesla is unique in that it is grossly overvalued. Jeff Bezos could sell a lot of Amazon shares without seriously reducing the share price. It wouldn’t surprise me if, in terms of easily liquidated assets, Bezos is richer than Musk.

            I don’t think he has “nothing but contempt” for every other human being on the planet.

            That was hyperbole but I can only go by his actions and his actions do not bespeak a man with much empathy for the people who interact with him. Did he really have to Tweet to the world the he was going to fire three quarters of all Twitter employees? No. Did he really have to bully SpaceX employees into giving up Thanksgiving last year by falsely claiming SpaceX would go bankrupt if they didn’t? No. Did he have to swindle thousands of Tesla customers out of millions of dollars for the vapourware called “Full Self Driving”. No. What about calling a cave diver “pedo guy” just because the cave diver told him his submarine was no good?

            1. Did he really have to Tweet to the world the he was going to fire three quarters of all Twitter employees?

              He didn’t. There is no such Tweet. The “fire 75%” was a claim leaked from discussions with investors/banks, which were indeed continuing in the last week or so (the deal having been on/off for a while).

    2. I applaud the fact that Sunak’s race is a non-issue in the UK and look forward to the day when the race of a politician is equally as unremarkable in the USA.

    3. For the vast majority of people in the UK, it is a non issue. Nobody cares about the fact that Sunak’s ancestry is not Anglo-Saxon.

      I imagine the Muslims in the UK are not happy that a practicing Hindu is now the PM.

  2. That butterfly larva is phenomenal. Somehow it seems like something that could have appeared in Wallace & Gromit.

    Any other species with anything like that?

  3. Another Irish Oats suggestion (2 actually): Irish oats, also called steel cut oats, can be purchased in bulk at your local co-op for a fraction of the cost of a tin at the grocery store. Re cooking: Even simpler than using a crock pot, simply bring your water to a boil, dump in the oats, allow to come back to a boil and then shut off the heat, cover, and let sit overnight. In the morning you will have cooked oats that can be easily warmed in the microwave or on the stove.

  4. Notable science birthdays:

    1827, Marcellin Berthelot, chemist: Thomsen-Berthelot principal of thermochemistry

    1880, Abram Joffre, physicist, solid-state physics and electromagnetism

    1920, Baruj Benacerraf, immunologist, Nobel Prize for gene regulation in immune response

    1923, Carl Djerass, chemist, “father of the birth control pill”

    1952, Valeri Tokarev, cosmonaut

      1. The whole Pelosi thing needs to mature a few days, so enough information might be released for the rest of us to draw some sensible conclusions.
        The underwear claim, originating with KTVU, has since been withdrawn.

        The facts seem to be that the police were summoned by a call from Mr. Pelosi, and that the assailant was a “hemp artist” and also quite insane.

        Crazy people are not a particularly scarce commodity in SF. The big question I would like to see answered is about the security at the Pelosi residence. It makes sense that SS protection would move with the speaker, but surely there would be measures in place to detect and deter intruders.
        I would have assumed both that such things would be normal for wealthy people there, and that the SS would have made modifications to weak points, enabling them to do their job better, and to facilitate her access to secure briefings and materials when there.

  5. Thank you for featuring our Big Boy Ophelia. The back story is that a friend had rescued a pair of abandoned kittens and asked if we wanted them. She had done a big favor for us shortly before, so we said we would take them. She informed us that the tuxedo was a boy and the striped and white one was a girl. We didn’t bother to confirm! (That was a mistake….lol) Well, either she misspoke or I misheard, but within a few weeks it was becoming increasingly clear that we had a slight problem. By then, however, Ophelia and his sister, Whiskers, already knew their names. So we just kept them that way. Neither one has ever seemed to mind. 🙂

    Violet and Tashiko are beautiful. Thank you to their Highnesses for allowing the staff to submit their photos! That picture of Tashiko is especially precious. Sending hugs.

  6. The woman who “worried” about mis-gendering pets has got to be involved with selling the costumes. But hey, whatever sells.

  7. Ann Lesby … not a joke? From her Twitter bio … ‘ Author “Antiracist Fetus”. 1/8 Black, semitrans, neurodivergent, lesbian who dates men. “A national treasure.”-S.A. Tyre ‘

      1. Ann Lesby is indeed a parody account in the style of Titania.
        I would’ve thought that was obvious, but I suppose it is hard to tell these days.

  8. I’d say it doesn’t really matter whether the crabs are related. Helping behavior is selected for because it helps close relatives. But once it is there, the proximal trigger of the behavior may well be any conspecific in need who is physically close to or known to the potential helper. (I would not have expected helping behavior from horseshoe crabs, but very much to my surprise it does look like it.)

  9. Pliny the In-Between’s “Something Wicked This Way Comes” is very good. Though I hope it does not come to pass.

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