Monday: Hili dialogue

January 9, 2023 • 6:45 am

Top o’ the week to you on a gray Monday. January 9, 2023. It’s  In exactly a month I’ll be in Peru and then the Galápagos, lecturing on an alumni cruise! It’s National Apricot Day, celebrating a fruit I never eat fresh. It’s best eaten inside a Sachertorte:


It’s also National Guten-Free Day, National Static Electricity Appreciation Day, National Clean Off Your Desk Day, Play God Day, and Non-Resident Indian Day, honoring those Indians who have left their natal land and made their mark elsewhere. Here’s a photo from Wikipedia’s “static electricity” entry demonstrating the phenomenon:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the January 9 Wikipedia page.

Wine of the Day: Thank Ceiling Cat I am drinking wine again! Imagine having insomnia that is persistent AND your doctor says to stay away from alcohol, one of my great pleasures of life. I could make the case that not having wine with dinner made me depressed, and that exacerbated the insomnia (ergo one was a causative factor), but in truth the insomnia was already going away when I decided to see if a drink would worsen it. It didn’t, and I’m pretty much back to normal.

At any rate, this lovely viognier set me back all of $14, and although there are very few reviews on the internet, they’re all positive (here’s one). Viognier is a hard-to-grow white grape, the only one permitted in the Condrieus of France. At its very best, as in Chateau Grillet (I’ve tried it once), it has a fantastic perfume of flowers and fruit, and the wines aren’t cheap. But this one still has some viognier character in the nose of apricots and pears. It’s by no means over the hill, with a lovely light golden color and a gutsy flavor that is only slightly off dry. I imagine this would go with most non-red-meaty things; I had it with roast chicken, green peppers, and rice, simply because the wine was at hand and I wanted to try it.  Affordable viogniers aren’t easy to find (and when they are they’re usually mediocre), so if you come across this one, or find another tasty one, stock up!

Da Nooz:

*One of my Brazilian friends call the last election a contest between an incompetent and a criminal (the incompetent won). Actually, I know little about Brazilian politics except ex-President Bolsonaro was on the far right and, like Trump, he did not go gentle into defeat. Now all hell is breaking loose in Brazil. In a remarkable parallel to our January 6 insurrection, Bolsonaro supporters are storming government buildings in the capital Brasilia:

Thousands of radical backers of Brazil’s far-right ex-president Jair Bolsonaro breached and vandalized the presidential office building, congress and the Supreme Court on Sunday, and sought to enter other halls of power, in scenes that hauntingly evoked the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former president Donald Trump.

The attack came a week after the inauguration of Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, who defeated Bolsonaro in a runoff election in October.

Images on Globo TV showed protesters roaming the halls and standing near smashed glass cases in the Planalto Palace, the office of the president. Thousands of others wearing the national soccer shirt — now a symbol of the far right — and waving the Brazilian flag milled about the massive square outside in a part of the Brasilia capital that is similar to Washington’s National Mall.

In a manner similar to Trump, Bolsonaro has fueled discontent among his base since his loss to the newly-inaugurated leftist, stepping down while refusing to officially concede.

Thousands of Bolsonaristas have camped out at military headquarters across Latin America’s largest country, demanding military intervention to reinstate Bolsonaro, who last week flew to Florida instead of attending a ceremony in the capital of Brasilia where outgoing presidents traditionally hand over the sash of power.

Military police officers attempted to stop the demonstrators with tear gas and other weapons but appeared far outnumbered. The group is inside the Palácio do Planalto, the official building where the president works.

Another Brazilian friend who, living in America, went home for the holidays, worried that the country would be in so much turmoil that they couldn’t leave. Fortunately, the family managed to get back to the U.S. before this started. There’s no word about people leaving the country, though.

*Martin Sherman worked for years for the Israeli defense establishment, which is enough to make mushbrain progressive stop their ears before hearing what he has to say, but fortunately I’m not one of those. Although the man can’t write at all, the point he makes in the Israel National News is a good one. The title is “Palestine: the perverse—and perplexing—paradox“, and the subtitle is “Why do professed liberals persist in support for an entity that would comprise the utter negation of all the values they allegedly cherish?”

It’s a very good question, and one I often ask myself. Here’s the question restarted in the piece:

. . . support for the two-state formula—i.e. the establishment of a Palestinian state west of the Jordan river alongside Israel—became the sine-non-qua for access into “polite company”. Indeed, it was considered an indispensable credential for anyone aspiring to be part of “bon-ton” liberal circles. Daring individuals with the temerity to question the prudence of the idea had to brace themselves for grave consequences to their personal and professional standing that almost always resulted from such recalcitrant resistance to the dictates of political correctness.

But vindictiveness aside, liberal support is not only decidedly perverse, but equally paradoxical and perplexing as well. After all, there is virtually no doubt that any future Palestinian state will be the embodiment of values that are the diametric antithesis of those to which Left-leaning, progressive liberals profess to subscribe.

Indeed, there is little reason to doubt that a prospective Palestinian state, in any conceivably plausible configuration, will be anything but what most other Arab states are, in some form or another: A homophobic, misogynistic Muslim majority tyranny—whose hallmarks would be gender discrimination against girls/women, persecution of homosexuals, religious intolerance against non-Muslims and oppression of political dissidents.

Accordingly, it is a decidedly baffling conundrum why so-called “progressives,” who purportedly cherish liberal values of societal diversity, religious freedom, and individual liberty, would cling so doggedly to support for a Palestinian state that would, in all likelihood, comprise the utter negation of everything to which they claim to hold dear. Yet impervious to past precedents and future probabilities, they adhere resolutely to their defective dogma.

. . . This perverse—and perplexing—paradox is something that has not been adequately addressed in the public discourse on the Middle East. Indeed, it is rarely—if ever—fully articulated. The time has come to do so.

That’s horrible prose, but the question is good. And the answer is that progressives support Palestine because they see them as oppressed people of color, while the other side, is, well, Jews. I used to favor a two-state solution, but now I’m not so sure. It’s clear that what Palestinians want, as well as American progressives, isn’t a Palestinian state beside a Jewish one. They want the whole mishigass: no more Israel and a Palestine “from the river to the sea.” Given that, and given that a Palestine that owns the West Bank will simply use it to lob missiles at Israel across the street, I don’t think a good solution can be found. Not, at least, until those who are pro-Palestinian give up the idea of getting rid of Israel completely.

*I guess I can’t call Biden “Uncle Joe” any more, even though it was always a term of affection, because the neuronally deprived think I’m mocking him. So I’ll just say “President Biden” has at last visited the southern border and he made the hard decision. But it was the right one:

President Biden’s Irish ancestors escaped the Famine on coffin ships. Vice President Harris’s parents were scholars from India and Jamaica. And Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas came to the United States as a baby when his family fled Cuba.

All three leaders stood before television cameras in Washington this week to announce that some migrants would get new opportunities to pursue similar dreams in the United States and that others would face swift removal to border cities in Mexico.

It was a deflating and lonely moment for a president who had promised to leave President Donald Trump’s harsh immigration policies in the dustbin of history. Instead, Biden’s administration will continue to expel people who cross the border illegally amid record numbers of apprehensions — a move to the centerthat could threaten support from liberal groups if he seeksasecond term. The plans drew immediate outrage from Democratic and Republican lawmakers, who themselves have failed for decades to create a functioning immigration system.

“I’m left with only one choice,” Biden said Thursday, “to act on my own.”

And his new plan:

Under those new measures, up to 30,000 migrants from Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba and Haiti will be allowed to enter the United States on “parole” each month if they have financial sponsors here and pass background checks. Separately, migrants may schedule appointments to seek asylum at official border crossings via an app called “CBP One” instead of attempting illegal entry.

As many as 30,000 migrants a month will be expelled to Mexico under Title 42 if they cross into the United States illegally or enter Mexico or Panama without authorization, although humanitarian exceptions will be made, officials said.

Progressives who want open borders can’t win, but what puzzles me is that even centrist Democrats, much less Republicans, could oppose such a move. Is their failure to act going to manifest as opposition to immigration reform?That’s just immature petulance.

*In the NYT, Pamela Paul asks the question we all want answered: “Why has American fallen for Harry and Meghan?

First, here’s why the pair like the U.S.:

It’s because they chose America. Apparently, it’s better to be a celebrity in the United States than fifth in line for the throne in the United Kingdom. Though Harry and Meghan are now without royal stipend, they’ve got a sizable inheritance in a country where the rich grow richer and where royalty, without the baggage of being a tax burden, are treated with less skepticism. Having initially decamped to Vancouver Island in a bid for privacy, they soon fled to Los Angeles in a bid for — what’s the opposite of privacy? As Harry says in the documentary, he’d “outgrown” his environment and “this was the most obvious place to come.”

The fact that the Sussexes ditched a country they characterize as anti-immigrant, overrun with racists and burdened by the legacy of colonialism makes Americans feel better about their own country, which also (whoops) might be described as anti-immigrant, overrun with racists and burdened by the legacy of colonialism. But Harry and Meghan see America as a haven.

In other words, they get to be royalty in America without the duties and restrictions. Now, why does American like them? (I don’t, and clearly Paul doesn’t either (I was worried). This is where she gets snarky:

It’s because they’re fighting for change. Call them martyrs, call them revolutionaries, call them anti-establishment or simply changemakers. Now thoroughly enlightened re: the old order’s ills, Harry and Meghan are taking a stand against colonialism, racism and oppression of all stripes, jetting around the world, occasionally in a friend’s private plane, in their campaign against injustice. As the website for their organization Archewell (“Leading the way with compassion”) proclaims: “Each of us can change our communities. All of us can change the world.”

Many people in Britain, across the Commonwealth and in America did, in fact, see the interracial couple’s union as a sign of positive change — but perhaps no one more so than the couple themselves. In a run-up interview to promote her podcast last year, Meghan recalled a South African man who compared the joy at her royal wedding to the celebrations when Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. But, according to the Sussexes’ narrative, they became too popular, threatening the monarchy. As Harry put it, they were “stealing the limelight” or “doing the job better than someone who was born to do this.”

The series goes a step further in its anti-institutional fervor, tying the couple’s personal travails to a reckoning with British colonialism, the mistreatment of Princess Diana and the Black Lives Matter movement. One of the documentary’s sympathetic talking heads refers to the pair as “symbols of social justice” and says the hate directed toward them was “a way to signal to the rest of us to stand down.” According to this version of events, the palace has pushed back against the couple because, as Harry explains, “if you speak truth to power, that’s how they respond.”

. . .Harry and Meghan have outdone Princess Diana’s collaborations with the press by taking full control. They are our first reality-TV royals. And in America, while it’s wrong for someone else to invade your privacy, it’s perfectly fine — even applauded — to exploit your own.

The Sussexes are accessible. They’re fun! Meghan is just a “working mom.” Harry is a romping millennial dad. These celebrities — they’re just like us! — can tell us all about themselves via their own artisanal media empire.

Yes, it goes on, with a snark so subtle that you might think Paul shares in America’s adoration of this self-promoting pair. I was worried, because I’ve agreed with nearly everything Paul writes, and if she were to love the royals-in-exile, well, I’d be really depressed.

And a new article: more lucrative whining. Maybe Harry’s right, but can they just shut up about it for a while?

The 38-year-old prince offered up what the U.K. news special called “unprecedented detail on life in and outside of the royal family,” in an exclusive interview with broadcaster Tom Bradby, on ITV in Britain.

Repeatedly, Harry railed against his brother and father, who, he charged, essentially forced him and Meghan away.

“At the moment I don’t recognize them, as they don’t recognize me,” Harry said.

Harry said he loved his brother, the heir to the throne, but that William was always competitive, often against him, in “a sibling rivalry” that continues today.

Yadda yadda yadda.  Curious that this coincides with his new book, eh?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is out of sorts and out of focus:

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m looking at a moderate climate. It’s the last thing that is still moderate.
In Polish:
Ja: Co robisz?
Hili: Oglądam umiarkowany klimat. To ostatnia rzecz, która jest jeszcze umiarkowana.
And a photo of Baby Kulka:


From Merilee, the variety of cat play:

From Nicole, a captcha image that was good until last Saturday:

From Malcolm, another episode of cats behaving oddly:

From Titania:

From Masih:

From Barry; a very romantic courtship between bald eagles:

From Malcolm, a cat-shaped strawberry:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a girl dead at 11:

Tweets from Professor Cobb. The first one shows a rehab beaver building a dam inside with human stuff. If you read on, you’ll see that it will eventually be released in the wild. This is just dam practice:

This is truly the shot of a lifetime. To read about weather sprites, go here.

Lovely leaping deer:

I’m adding this song because I heard it yesterday and had forgotten it. It’s simple but could easily have been a Beatles song, but writing credits go to John and Yoko, and it appeared on Lennon’s solo “Imagine” album in 1971. The recorded version is here.  It was in fact written earlier and considered for Beatles albums but never used on one. George Harrison plays guitar in this demo and on the final version, and you can see him invent the guitar accompaniment.

Judging by the clothing, I think this recording was made the same day. I think the guy with the sunglasses is Phil Spector:

19 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. Did anyone know (I did not):

    Duck sauce is made from apricot. The Ah-So brand lists “apricots and/or peaches” as the first ingredient.

    Now we know.

    Looking forward to a Peru travelogue!

  2. On this day:
    1349 – The Jewish population of Basel, believed by the residents to be the cause of the ongoing Black Death, is rounded up and incinerated.

    1431 – The trial of Joan of Arc begins in Rouen.

    1793 – Jean-Pierre Blanchard becomes the first person to fly in a balloon in the United States.

    1799 – British Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger introduces an income tax of two shillings to the pound to raise funds for Great Britain’s war effort in the Napoleonic Wars.

    1806 – Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson receives a state funeral and is interred in St Paul’s Cathedral.

    1839 – The French Academy of Sciences announces the Daguerreotype photography process.

    1909 – Ernest Shackleton, leading the Nimrod Expedition to the South Pole, plants the British flag 97 nautical miles (180 km; 112 mi) from the South Pole, the farthest anyone had ever reached at that time.

    1918 – Battle of Bear Valley: The last battle of the American Indian Wars.

    1992 – The first discoveries of extrasolar planets are announced by astronomers Aleksander Wolszczan and Dale Frail. They discovered two planets orbiting the pulsar PSR 1257+12.

    1859 – Carrie Chapman Catt, American activist, founded the League of Women Voters and International Alliance of Women (d. 1947).

    1908 – Simone de Beauvoir, French philosopher and author (d. 1986).

    1913 – Richard Nixon, American commander, lawyer, and politician, 37th President of the United States (d. 1994).

    1941 – Joan Baez, American singer-songwriter, guitarist and activist.

    1944 – Jimmy Page, English guitarist, songwriter, and producer.

    1951 – Crystal Gayle, American singer-songwriter and producer.

    Their “metabolic processes are now ‘istory”:
    1848 – Caroline Herschel, German-English astronomer (b. 1750).

    1923 – Katherine Mansfield, New Zealand novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1888).

    1961 – Emily Greene Balch, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1867).

    1995 – Peter Cook, English actor and screenwriter (b. 1937).

  3. Sometimes I miss The Tower, and having annoying members of the Family sent there to think about their errors.
    At this stage, Harry’s whining is simply making all the other members of the Royal Family look better and better. He is hardly a walking advertisement for the success of treatment offered by his therapist, but to be fair, borderline personality disorder isn’t easy to treat.
    Private family sorrows apart, he has made a major mistake in publishing his “kill number” – which basically paints a target on his back, and in his family members. And apart from the risk of vengeful terrorists, it just isn’t done. My grandfather was in the trenches of the Western front 1914-1918, and didn’t talk about his “kill number.” My father served 1939-1944 (a butterfly bomb shortened his war) and never spoke of his “kill number.” He impresses no one with puerile boasting of this kind.

    1. The little I’ve seen (“The Firm” are hard to avoid entirely), the “combatant” kill number was what he boasted about. Which raises the very obvious question of how many non-combatants he killed. I bet he won’t be boasting about that.

  4. Their “metabolic processes are now ‘istory”:
    […]1995 – Peter Cook, English actor and screenwriter (b. 1937).

    That sounds like a Derek (+/- Clive) line.

  5. I look at the TMZ website regularly in an attempt to maintain someone knowledge of popular culture. TMZ does weekly polls about its stories, and Harry and Meghan always come out badly by a large margin for their antics. Granted these are internet polls, but they do say something about how one segment of the population views things. I wonder if America, as opposed to the American press, has really embraced them?

    With regard to Israel, I think one has to go deeper than Progressives support Palestine because they are persecuted. They don’t support Uyghurs in China. I think it is part of a larger, anti-Western project. Israel represents the most successful Western country in the Mideast, and is thus part of the Marxist oppressor class, and would be even without Palestinians. As for the supposedly liberal values of Progressives, their actions speak louder than their words.

  6. “Play God Day”

    Reminds me of the one I heard from a senior prosecutor while doing an internship with the US Justice Dept. during the summer between 2L and 3L:

    St. Peter goes down to the gates of hell, tells Satan he wants to see Sigmund Freud.

    Freud comes to the gates, asks St. Pete, “What’s up this time?”

    “It’s the Big Guy.”

    “The Big Guy? God?”


    “What’s the problem?”

    “He’s having delusions he’s a federal district judge.”

    1. Reminds me of my favorite Trump joke.

      Bush, Obama and Trump go to a job interview with God…

      God asks Bush: “What do you believe in?”
      Bush answers: “I believe in the free market, and the strong American nation!”
      “Very well”, says God. “Come sit to my right.”

      Next, God asks Obama: “What do you believe in?”
      Obama answers: “I believe in the power of democracy, and equal rights for all.”
      “Good”, says God. “You shall sit to my left.”

      Finally, God asks Trump: “What do you believe in?”

      Trump answers: “I believe you’re sitting in my chair.”

      1. Trump would have to fight that over with the surgeon who arrived at the same time and would beg to differ.

    1. Well I have to know that he is the second son of King Charles and his former wife Diana and that he married an American actress named Meghan Markle, but I’ll respect your wishes.

      1. There you had to go and exercise the nuclear option. We could’ve just held this threat over Clyde’s head.

  7. Turns out I like the unfinished and nascent Lennon session better than the finished studio recording.

  8. For some reason, Harry and Meghan don’t irk me. Charles and Camilla irk me, as does Prince Perv and others.

    I hope Meghan and Harry find peace and happiness in their new home, and that their children grow up to be well-adjusted and nice people.

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