Tuesday: Hili dialogue

November 29, 2022 • 6:45 am

Good morning on the Cruelest Day: Tuesday, November 29, 2022: National Chocolates Day (note the plural). I will recommend once again See’s Candies as the source of the best American chocolates, regardless of price; they’re better than overprice brands like Godiva. Look at this box!

It’s also National Lemon Creme Pie Day (what is “creme”?), Giving Tuesday (you’re supposed to give to others after the frenzy of materialism on Black Friday and Cyber Monday), Throw out Your Leftovers Day, and, in Liberia, William Tubman’s Birthday (Tubman, President of country from 1944-1971, has been called “the father of modern Liberia”). 

Today’s footie-themed Google Doodle (click on screenshot) leads to the daily schedule of the World Cup in Qatar. Today Ecuador plays Sengal, Netherlands plays Qatar, Wales plays England,  and Iran plays the U.S. (see below for more on that).

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the November 29 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The protests against lockdowns in China, which have become protests against the government, but this has caused anxiety among the protestors, who know very well what happens to protestors, especially political ones, in China. Here’s the ambivalence at a large protest in Beijing:

“We don’t want lockdowns, we want freedom!” the protesters shouted as they wound westward through one of the city’s neatly manicured embassy districts, where a Four Seasons hotel stands alongside humble shops selling traditional breakfast crepes. “Freedom of the press! Freedom of publishing!”

It was an extraordinary scene, rarely seen anywhere in China, let alone the capital, under Xi Jinping, the country’s authoritarian leader. But the elation of the moment was laced with anxiety about what, exactly, was happening. When some people began shouting explicitly political slogans, others urged them to remain more narrowly focused on opposing Covid controls. Even what to call the event depended on who and when you asked — was it a protest? Or just a vigil?

The uncertainty mirrored the broader uncertainty of this moment, a potential turning point for not only China’s zero Covid strategy but also Mr. Xi’s rigid grip on the country he leads. In recent days, protests have erupted across China, from western Urumqi, where the fire broke out, to Shanghai in the east. The excesses of the coronavirus restrictions have united people like no other cause in decades. But in a country where dissent is quickly smothered, and most people have never had the chance to protest, many were unsure what to ask for, let alone what could actually happen.

I doubt that Xi is in danger. This is not like the protests in Iran, where the government has a lot more to lose by coming down hard on the protestors. Ergo I think the Iranian government is in much more peril than the one in China—but I’m a biologist, not a pundit. What do I know?

*You may have heard the Trump pulled yet another boner by hosting a dinner attended not only by the anti-Semitic Kanye West, but West’s guest, white supremacist Nick Fuentes, who’s also an anti-Semite. Talk about optics—there’s even an account of the dinner in Wikipedia! Here’s what it says in part:

In late November 2022, Fuentes and Kanye West (who had recently announced his own candidacy for the 2024 presidential election) visited Trump at Mar-a-Lago. West said that Trump was “really impressed with Nick Fuentes”.  Trump released a statement that after contacting him earlier in the week to arrange the visit, West “unexpectedly showed up with three of his friends, whom I knew nothing about”, with whom Trump dined, and that “the dinner was quick and uneventful”. Trump refused to repudiate Fuentes or the meeting.

According to reporter Hugo Lowell:

Donald Trump repeatedly refused to disavow the outspoken antisemite and white supremacist Nick Fuentes after they spoke over dinner at his Mar-a-Lago resort, rejecting the advice from advisers over fears he might alienate a section of his base, two people familiar with the situation said. The former US president was urged publicly and privately to denounce Fuentes in the aftermath of the dinner, which included the performer Ye, previously known as Kanye West, who has also recently been propagating antisemitic remarks.

It’s so bad that even the conservative Wall Street Journal’s editors wrote an op-ed yesterday: “Donald Trump’s Bad Dinner Guests.” An excerpt:

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is barely two weeks old, and already it has his trademarks of bad company and bad judgment. Both were on display Tuesday evening when he hosted the rapper Kanye West (who now goes by Ye) and some comrades for dinner at Mar-a-Lago. One of the hangers-on was 24-year-old Nick Fuentes, a white nationalist who mocks the Holocaust.

Mr. Trump claims that Mr. West had asked to see him and brought along Mr. Fuentes. The former President says he didn’t know who Mr. Fuentes is, but both Mr. West and Mr. Fuentes have said since the meeting that Mr. Trump was impressed with Mr. Fuentes’s political insight. That may be because sources on hand for the dinner have leaked to reporters that Mr. Fuentes flattered Mr. Trump. Nothing goes further at Mar-a-Lago than flattery.

Others have lambasted Mr. Trump for hosting Mr. Fuentes, including David Friedman, who was ambassador to Israel during the Trump Presidency. Mr. Trump’s failure to vet visitors is an example of his usual lack of organization and discipline, especially given that Mr. West has also been spreading anti-Semitic conspiracy theories.

But worse is that Mr. Trump hasn’t admitted his mistake in hosting the men or distanced himself from the odious views of Mr. Fuentes. Instead Mr. Trump portrays himself as an innocent who was taken advantage of by Mr. West. This is also all-too-typical of Mr. Trump’s behavior as President. He usually ducked responsibility and never did manage to denounce the Proud Boys, the Oath Keepers, or others who have resorted to divisive racial politics, or even violence as on Jan. 6, 2021.

If the Trumpster’s lost the Wall Street Journal, he’s lost the nomination.

*Here are yesterday’s World Cup results. Brazil’s victory over Switzerland takes that favored team into the knockout round, and Portugal’s victory over Uruguay does the same.

Below is a video of the highlights of Brazil’s win over Switzerland. Brazil’s one goal is at 3:51, after an earlier Brazilian goal was nullified after an offside call.

Casemiro scored the 83rd-minute winner as Brazil clinched its spot in the knockout round with a 1-0 victory over Switzerland at Stadium 974 in Doha, Qatar.

The strike capped a clever combination as Vinícius Júnior collected the ball on the left flank and picked out Rodrygo, whose one-time flick at the top of the box fell into the path of Casemiro. Hitting a one-time half-volley, the Manchester United midfielder fired past Swiss keeper Yann Sommer to give Brazil the late lead.

Brazil triumphed despite missing star forward Neymar and defender Danilo with ankle injuries. Both players are expected to miss the rest of the group stage.

And here are  5 minutes of highlights of Portugal’s victory over Uruguay. The greedy diva Ronaldo acted as if he headed the ball into the net for the first goal, but the tape showed he never touched the ball. That was at 2:04 below—you can see his perfidy clearly. The second goal for Portugal is a penalty score at 4:35.

Bruno Fernandes scored a pair of goals to help Portugal avenge its round of 16 loss to Uruguay in the 2018 World Cup and clinch a spot in the knockout stage with a 2-0 win at Lusail Stadium.

Fernandes, who had two assists in his team’s 3-2 win over Ghana Thursday, gave Portugal the lead in the 54th minute. The Manchester United midfielder sent a cross into the box that sailed just over the head of leaping teammate Cristiano Ronaldo, who was originally credited with the goal, and into the back of the net. Fernandes put the game away by converting a penalty in the 93rd minute after a VAR review determined Uruguay’s José María Giménez had committed a handball in the box.

I have no predictions now, but maybe we’ll have a contest at a later stage.

*Meanwhile, today sees a politically fraught match: Iran plays the United States. Things are different now as Americans are starting to realize how odious the Iranian theocracy really is. And, as I reported yesterday, the Iranians are ticked off at U.S. soccer for its social media post that showed the Iranian flag missing its crucial symbol of religious authority.

When players representing Iran and the United States take the field at the World Cup in Qatar on Tuesday, millions of fans will be dissecting every move — not just passes, fouls and headers, but also whether the Iranian players sing the national anthem, celebrate any goals or speak about the protests shaking their country.

The game has become yet another front line in the conflict between the two longtime geopolitical foes as Iran battles protests at home in one of the most significant challenges the Islamic Republic has faced since the 1979 revolution that brought it to power. And this time, it is all playing out under the glaring lights of the most watched event in the world.

. . . Now the main question is what Team Melli, as Iran’s squad is affectionately known to fans around the world, will do with its next turn on the field: Please the government that sponsors it by keeping strictly to sports, or win the hearts of the opposition on the streets. Whatever it does, winning or holding the United States to a draw, either of which will advance them to the next round, will put Iran’s domestic strife in front of a huge global audience for at least a few days longer.

“This is why U.S.A. versus Iran is going to be the most significant and politically charged match in the history of the World Cup,” said Omid Djalili, an Iranian-British actor and comedian who has closely tracked the team, combining a fan’s passion with an activist’s fervor.

He insisted this was no hyperbole: “The further they get in the tournament, the more interest there will be in these protests,” he said of the Iranians. “The regime can spin this any way they want — the globe will see what’s going on.”

My prediction: the U.S. will win. The Iranians will then go home, with players who mouthed but did not sing their national anthem facing punishment.

*Finally, Mauna Loa, the world’s largest volcano, and forming the Big Island of Hawaii, has started erupting, and the state is telling island residents to prepare for debris and ashfall.

The eruption of Mauna Loa wasn’t immediately threatening towns, but officials told residents to be ready for worse.

Many weren’t living there when Mauna Loa last erupted 38 years ago. The U.S. Geological Survey warned the roughly 200,000 people on the Big Island that an eruption “can be very dynamic, and the location and advance of lava flows can change rapidly.”

A lava flow could even reach the town of Hilo, one of my favorite places on the Big Island:

An eruption from the northeast could send lava toward the county seat of Hilo or other towns in East Hawaii but it could take the lava weeks or months to reach populated areas. It’s possible the eruption may later shift to a rift zone on the southwest flank. Lava emerging from this area could reach nearby communities in hours or days.

“We don’t want to try and second-guess the volcano,” Hon said. “We have to let it actually show us what it’s going to do and then we inform people of what is happening ASAP.”

This is nature dwarfing and overpowering humans again. Mauna Loa built the island, and is still building it since the Big Island is the youngest one, the latest bit of crust to move over the volcano-producing fissure. Good luck, Hawaii!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s on the windowsill looking in at Malgorzata and Andrzej working.

A: What are you doing here?
Hili: I’m supervising.
In Polish:
Ja: Co tu robisz?
Hili: Nadzoruję.


From Jesus of the Day:

Another cheated-on girlfriend takes revenge:

From Malcolm: the Guinness-certified World’s Oldest Cat

God is still writing poetry over at Mastodon; maybe he’s becoming a full-time poet.

From Masih. So much for the hijab being a “choice”! Sound up.

Richard Dawkins on transgender Jesus:

All is can say about this tweet, sent by reader Malcolm, is “OMG!”. Be sure to watch the time-lapse video:

From Jeremy:

From the Auschwitz Memorial:  The boy murdered because, though he could have been sent to the camp, he asked to stay with his sister, who was gassed upon arrival.

Tweets from Matthew. First, sexual selection in action.

The answer, for two of the photos, is in the thread:

Here’s a real moth lover (a form of Lepidopterist):


12 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I have no predictions now, but maybe we’ll have a contest at a later stage.

    If you are talking about the competition you announced the other day, I predicted the result in the final would be. I don’t think anybody else responded.

    Brazil 1
    France 2

    1. At present only 5 teams have already qualified for the last 16: (group order) the Netherlands (2 wins and a draw), Senegal (2 wins and a loss), France (2 wins), Brazil (2 wins) and Portugal (2 wins), Since both France and Brazil are in, you are still in the race too.
      [The matches in group B, between England and Wales, and Iran and the US will determine 2 more tonight. Wales’ chances are slim: they need a big win over England as well as a US win over Iran. The other three still have a good chance.
      Group C being played tomorrow is also still wide open.]

  2. I have been very close to where the left hand pair of photos were taken – my grandfather served there for a time in WW1.

  3. The U.S. should win this game…this is the best squad we have ever sent to the World Cup. Thanks to many of our players now plying their trade in top leagues around the world, and the improvement in the standard of MLS, we finally have a level of technical ability on the ball to live with the top tier nations, and this team in particular is bursting with athleticism and pace (with the exception of our centerbacks).

    We should win and then do some damage in the knockout rounds. But I’m nervous, as we’ve only scored one goal in two games thus far, and Iran has showed they can be quite dangerous going forward.

    It’s a big moment for U.S. football, hope they don’t blow it.

  4. this is Trinity, the college of Newton,

    I don’t know if Isaac Newton is the best choice here, having dabbled in alchemy and spending a great deal of time trying to discover hidden messages within the Bible.

    Newton’s scientific work may have been of lesser personal importance to him, as he placed emphasis on rediscovering the wisdom of the ancients.

    After purchasing and studying Newton’s alchemical works, Keynes, for example, opined in 1942 at the tercentenary of Newton’s birth that “Newton was not the first of the age of reason, he was the last of the magicians.”

  5. That Trump will once again escape damage by not denouncing people like Fuentes is a good example of what is deeply wrong in the Republican party.

    1. As conservative columnist David Frum points out in his piece about this in The Atlantic, in authoritarian regimes like today’s Republican Party, the leader does not lose power for doing bad things. The leader is acknowledged to have done bad things only once his grip on power begins to slip.

      Frum takes the criticism of Trump’s dinner with Fuentes by some Republicans — however tepid most of that criticism may be — as a sign that Trump’s power is on the wane. But, as Frum points out, if Trump wins some primaries and looks to be heading for the 2024 GOP nomination, all the GOP lackeys offering some tepid criticism now will be right back on board with him.

  6. Oh, that moth sheet! I must try this next summer. I expect I can learn a lot about it at local mothing events during National Moth Week (which will be July 22–30, so mark your calendar before you forget).

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