Sunday: Hili dialogue

January 22, 2023 • 6:45 am

Greetings on Sunday, January 22, 2023: National Blonde Brownie Day, which is basically a brownie-like chocolate chip cookie without the cocoa used to make regular brownies. A blonde one:

It’s also National Hot Sauce Day, Chinese New Year, Roe v. Wade Day (the case was decided this day in 1973, but then rescinded in the Dobbs decision, Day of Unity of Ukraine (celebrating a unification on this day in 1922), and Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. Your cat has one question, and you know what it is: “When are you going to feed me?”

And it’s the beginning of the Year of the Rabbit (see above for New Year) in China, celebrated with this lovely Google Doodle (click to see where it goes):

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the January 22 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz

*Hot off the press: a shooting at a dance club in Monterey Park, California, killed ten people and wounded ten. As the L.A. Times noted, “The suspect is male and is at large. There is no known motive, nor a description of a suspect.”  The man used a semiautomatic weapon.  Another day, another mass shooting in America.

(Written before the above): There’s not much nooz from yesterday. Even the NYT front page fro Saturday afternoon was a snoozer, with the only real news about the failure to sniff out the person who leaked the Dobbs decision. So let us have persiflage.

*Kosher ham? It seems so! CTech reports that cultivated meat produced by culturing stem cells is kosher—even if it’s ham or bacon! Such was the decision of Israel’s head rabbi. At last: those who keep kosher can have ham! (My father used to call our Easter ham a “good kosher ham” when I was a kid.)

In a new halachic ruling published on Wednesday, the Chief Rabbi of Israel, David Lau, announced that the cultivated meat produced by Aleph Farms is kosher pareve, as in doesn’t include substances that contain dairy or meat ingredients. This, to the extent that the product – produced from stem cells – will be marked differently from animal meat produced by slaughter, to avoid an appearance that will create confusion among the public.
Lau made the decision after examining the production methods in the company’s laboratory and speaking with experts in the field.

But it’s even better: the food was declared “pareve“, which means that, officially, it’s made with neither meat nor milk so it can be eaten with either. And that means: JEWS CAN HAZ CHEESEBURGERS! (Kosher laws ordains that you can’t eat meat and dairy in the same meal.) Of course I don’t obey any of these foolish laws, but it makes me happy that some day a bearded Lubavitcher can tuck into a cheeseburger, or have bacon and eggs.

Now if the Jews would just decide whether Muscovy ducks can be kosher: a long-standing form of pilpul argument by Jews (regular ducks are kosher if prepared properly, but mallards are a different species from muscovies._

*Mo Dowd at the NYT has a column about lunching with the newly freed Nancy Pelosi, who couldn’t be happier now that she doesn’t have Speaker duties. I’ve always liked Pelosi, and I like the way she eats:

I was expecting King Lear, howling at the storm, but I found Gene Kelly, singing in the rain. Pelosi was not crying in her soup. She was basking as she scarfed down French fries, a truffle-butter roll and chocolate-covered macadamia nuts — all before the main course. She was literally in the pink, ablaze in a hot-pink pantsuit and matching Jimmy Choo stilettos, shooting the breeze about Broadway, music and sports. Showing off her four-inch heels, the 82-year-old said, “I highly recommend suede because it’s like a bedroom slipper.”

Fans dropped by our booth to thank Pelosi, and women in the restaurant gave me thumbs-ups, simply because I was sitting with her.

How did she get fries and macadama nuts before the main course? It’s a long piece, and Dowd, whom I’d stopped reading, has hit her stride again:

Even before Pelosi had a chance to turn over the gavel, the inmates had taken over the asylum. The madness includes scenes of the country teetering on the edge of financial default; Lauren Boebert and Marjorie Taylor Greene throwing down in the congressional ladies’ room; the backlash against giving spots on the Homeland Security and Oversight Committees to Greene — who said that if she had been running the Jan. 6 attack, “we would have won” and it would have been armed, and who blamed “space lasers” she said were controlled by a prominent Jewish family for a wildfire in California; and, of course, the fabulist follies of the Untalented Mr. Ripley, George Santos, the anti-drag queen/alleged former drag queen whose most recent nadir was getting accused of pilfering money from a disabled veteran’s dog.

While McCarthy tried to quell the chaos, Pelosi was busy ruminating on whether she should wear a blue and yellow sweater (Golden State Warriors colors) to take her teenage grandsons to the game against the Wizards that afternoon; they were also going to the White House Tuesday to watch the championship team be honored. When Alexandra complained that her kids would miss school if Mimi, as the boys call her, took them to the Warriors’ celebration, Mimi replied, “This is the White House with Steph Curry.” End of discussion.

. . .Pelosi’s accomplishments are stunning. Besides getting Obama’s health care bill passed, she saved the economy when she forced through the bank bailout in 2008. She shepherded the spending bill last year with a historic investment in climate change. She was that rare, courageous lawmaker who fought the Iraq invasion, while other top Democrats inexplicably went along with the tragic decision.

When I asked other women in journalism what they thought I should ask Pelosi, they all said the same thing: “How does she do it?”

There’s a lot more, and it’s well worth reading, but Dowd doesn’t tell us what Pelosi had for a main course, which of course is vital information. We do find out that Pelosi finished with a double espresso, which is also a good sign, and that her sweet tooth is famous. One more bit:

When a Fox News reporter asked Pelosi in the hall of Congress recently about how the president has handled the classified document kerfuffle, she nibbled on a cookie, indicating she couldn’t talk because her mouth was full. It evoked the days when Ronald Reagan would pretend he didn’t hear tough questions because of the whirring blades of Marine One.

*Speaking of ham, Reader Jez called my attention to an article at the BBC; here’s the whole thing, and there’s a 1.5-minute video of Ham the Duck and his scarf. (Note: a “binman” is what Americans call a “garbageman”.) Be sure to watch the video!

How a Chorley duck who chases bimen became a star.
A scarf-clad duck called Ham has won fans due to his mischievous exploits in his neighbourhood in Chorley, Lancashire.

He has become popular with neighbours and schoolchildren after popping over for the occasional visit.

According to his owner, even local binmen have made friends with the duck after being chased by him.

And there’s a longer story at the CBC: “Ham on the lam: this duck named after dinner won’t stop wandering off.

Taylor-Dugdal says she adopted Ham, along with his sister, from a farm in 2018.

She was there to pick up some rabbits, which she breeds, when she fell head over heels for the pair of Indian runner ducklings.

The farm’s owner told her the baby birds could one day end up on someone’s plate, so Taylor-Dugdal decided to spare them that grisly fate and make them pets instead.

“She was having me on. It was a joke,” Taylor-Dugdal said. “She just knew that I’d end up taking these ducks on.”

At first, Taylor-Dugdal says she was going to name the pair Cat and Dog. But instead, she decided to call them Ham and Pea, inspired by her dinner plans that night.

For the first couple years of his life, Ham was content to be a homebody with his sister, Taylor-Dugdal said. But something changed when Pea died in December of 2021. That’s when he started making his great escapes.

“We think he was looking for Pea originally,” she said. “And then he started to get the attention of the locals.”

And there’s nothing Ham loves more than attention — except, perhaps, for Rice Krispies.

“It’s his favourite treat. And there’s nothing wrong with a treat, every now and then, is there?” Taylor-Dugdal said.

Ham has become something of a regular in the neighbourhood. He’s befriends the local children, and has made a sport of chasing the neighbourhood cats.

He’ll waddle straight into people’s houses if they open the door for him, and charms onlookers with his collection of jaunty scarves, hand-knit for him by Taylor-Dugdal’s mother.

He doesn’t wander too far, but there’s plenty to get up to in the neighbourhood, which includes a pharmacy, a nursery and a pub.

“He’s trying to get into the nursery because he loves the children. He tried to get in the [pharmacy] when people have gone in for prescriptions,” Taylor-Dugdal said. “And he’s tried to get into the pub for an ice cold pint, I think. He’s naughty.”


A duck walks through an open gate.
Ham the duck returns from one of his adventures about town. (Hamtheduck/TikTok) JAC: Ham is a runner duck.

“He [once] stayed in for about a week and a half, and honestly, he was so miserable,” she said. “Then when he finally escaped, he came back happy as anything.”

Not to mention, the waterfowl’s wanderings have him somewhat famous. He has his own TikTok account, and he’s recently travelled all the way to London to make his first TV news appearance.

“He loved all the attention, all the cuddles. And they brought him a box of Rice Krispies,” she said. “He’s quite the celebrity down there.”

Now THAT’S what I call news: a scarf-wearing escapee duck who loves Rice Krispies and sneaks into pubs!

*As I’ve said before, Chicago’s lesbian black mayor, who’s truly intersectional, is up for re-election, and it’s not a sure bet. It’s not her race or sexual proclivities (Harold Washington, our first black mayor, was wildly popular) but the fact that she doesn’t do squat and comes across as uncaring and self aggrandizing. And crime continues to rise while she does nothing about it, and that’s a big deal in this city.  From the AP:

Lori Lightfoot made history as the first Black woman and first openly gay person to serve as Chicago mayor, sailing to victory four years ago as an outsider who vowed to rid City Hall of corruption and deliver a safer, more equitable city.

But her bid for a second term is very much in question amid concerns about continuing high crime in the nation’s third-largest city and accusations that she is overly hostile and sometimes flat-out mean — criticism she has dismissed as sexist and racist smears against a tough leader who is passionate about Chicago.

Ahead of a crowded Feb. 28 election, Lightfoot has been forced to go on the defensive in a heated race that has turned into both a personality contest and a policy debate.

“We have started to change Chicago around for the better,” Lightfoot said during a recent debate. “I want to finish the job that we have started.”

Ha! She never even started the job she started.

With nine candidates in the race, it is unlikely that anyone will exceed the 50% threshold needed to win the officially nonpartisan election outright. That means the winner is likely to be decided in an April 4 runoff between the top two vote-getters.

Were she to lose, Lightfoot would be the first Chicago mayor in decades to run for reelection and fail. And unlike her predecessors, Lightfoot doesn’t enjoy a fundraising advantage over her top rivals.

I doubt that I’ll vote for her. Pity that Harold Washington, who was way overweight, had a massive coronary while in office. That’s one reason why I worry about our Democratic governor, J. B. Pritzker, who’s on the right side of issues. He has Presidential ambitions, I think, but his arteries may impede them.

Here’s Lightfoot’s plan for stopping crime (h/t Luana):

*The NYT reports that, as reader David wrote, “There’s more horror from an already failed theocratic state.” The state is Pakistan, and the new horror is a strengthening of the blasphemy laws. Now you could spend life in prison for insulting the RELATIVES of Muhammad:

Pakistan’s blasphemy laws, which can already mean death for those deemed to have insulted Islam or the Prophet Muhammad, can now also be used to punish anyone convicted of insulting people who were connected to him.

The move this week by Parliament to further strengthen the nation’s strict blasphemy laws, which are often used to settle personal scores or persecute minorities, has raised concerns among rights activists about the prospect of an increase in such persecution, particularly of religious minorities, including Christians.

As Pakistani society has turned more conservative and religious in the past several decades, religion and display of religiosity in public life have become ever more pronounced.

Those convicted of insulting the Prophet Muhammad’s wives, companions or close relatives will now face 10 years in prison, a sentence that can be extended to life, along with a fine of 1 million rupees, roughly $4,500. It also makes the charge of blasphemy an offense for which bail is not possible.

“The punishment for disrespecting these sacred personalities was almost nill earlier,” said Abdul Akbar Chitrali, a lawmaker belonging to a religious political party and author of the bill.

Remember that blasphemy laws are widespread in Muslim states. Some Western countries have them, too, but almost never enforce them. This is also true of Israel, which has old laws on the books from the days of the British Mandate. But they’re never used; the only example I could find was this one: ironic, isn’t it?

The law is rarely enforced due to concerns of infringing civil liberties. However, one right-wing Jewish activist was sentenced to two years in prison after scattering leaflets in Hebron in 1997, which pictured Muhammed as a pig desecrating the Quran.

Tell me that Israel is an apartheid state after reading that! A Jew was sentenced to prison for insulting Muhammad—in Israel! Can you imagine a Pakistani or Palestinian court sentencing a Muslim to prison for insulting Jews?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili uses big words to show that she’s an intellectual:

Hili: Between micro-cosmos and macro-cosmos empty bowls happen.
A: This is something that can be remedied.
In Polish:
Hili: Między mikro i makrokosmosem zdarzają się puste miseczki.
Ja: To akurat można naprawić.
And there are four pictures of Kulka with Andrzej’s caption: “A sudden return of winter and Paulina grabbed her camera.” (In Polish: “Nagły powrót zimy, więc Paulina złapała się za aparat.”)


A Gary Larson Far Side cartoon from Facebook:

From Beth:

From Ducks in Public:

Over at Mastodon, God tries to cheer us up again:

From Masih; the Baloch are an Iranian ethnic group who apparently have joined the protests:

From Malcolm: a mid-air cat encounter:

From my fellow sex binary-ist Octavia Sheepshanks, a poem:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a boxer shot during the German evacuation of Auschwitz.

Tweets from Dr. Cobb.  People are jealous of this cat, who was “Worker of the Month.”  A nice tweet!

The Japanese translation: “Spot-billed duck chicks falling asleep”.  There are two species of spot-billed ducks in East Asia.

Sexual selection is EVERYWHERE:

21 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1506 – The first contingent of 150 Swiss Guards arrives at the Vatican.

    1905 – Bloody Sunday in Saint Petersburg, beginning of the 1905 revolution.

    1924 – Ramsay MacDonald becomes the first Labour Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

    1927 – Teddy Wakelam gives the first live radio commentary of a football match, between Arsenal F.C. and Sheffield United at Highbury.

    1946 – Creation of the Central Intelligence Group, forerunner of the Central Intelligence Agency.

    1957 – The New York City “Mad Bomber”, George P. Metesky, is arrested in Waterbury, Connecticut and charged with planting more than 30 bombs.

    1968 – Apollo 5 lifts off carrying the first Lunar module into space.

    1970 – The Boeing 747, the world’s first “jumbo jet”, enters commercial service for launch customer Pan American Airways with its maiden voyage from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport to London Heathrow Airport.

    1973 – The Supreme Court of the United States delivers its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.

    1984 – The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during a Super Bowl XVIII television commercial.

    2006 – Evo Morales is inaugurated as President of Bolivia, becoming the country’s first indigenous president.

    1552 – Walter Raleigh, English poet, soldier, courtier, and explorer (d. 1618).

    1561 – Francis Bacon, English philosopher and politician, Attorney General for England and Wales (d. 1626).

    1573 – John Donne, English poet and cleric in the Church of England, wrote the Holy Sonnets (d. 1631).

    1788 – Lord Byron, English poet and playwright (d. 1824).

    1875 – D. W. Griffith, American director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1948).

    1891 – Antonio Gramsci, Italian philosopher and politician (d. 1937).

    1898 – Sergei Eisenstein, Russian director and screenwriter (d. 1948).

    1920 – Alf Ramsey, English footballer and coach (d. 1999). [First and only manager of an England football team to win the World Cup.]

    1931 – Sam Cooke, American singer-songwriter (d. 1964).

    Tending towards a state of chemical equilibrium:
    1901 – Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom (b. 1819).

    1973 – Lyndon B. Johnson, American lieutenant and politician, 36th President of the United States (b. 1908).

    1994 – Telly Savalas, American actor (b. 1922). [It was the anniversary of his birth just yesterday.]

    2008 – Heath Ledger, Australian actor and director (b. 1979).

    2010 – Jean Simmons, English-American actress (b. 1929).

    2018 – Ursula K. Le Guin, American sci-fi and fantasy novelist (b. 1929).

    1. tRump, Biden, & Clinton all seem to struggle with the basics of national security. I cannot help but wonder who else is casually storing documents or emails around their houses or private laptops or smart phones or who knows what else. We need more than a special counsel to investigate individual idiots, we probably need government-wide investigations and oversight for this bi-partisan stupidity.

  2. When it comes to the Lori Lightfoots (Lightfeet?) of this world, there are only two choices: incompetency and malignity. Since she cannot fail to know that one of the major problems with robbery in her city is shoplifting (or perhaps looting is a better term for mobs ransacking stores) and another is car-jacking, both of which involve stealing goods and not money, she must know that her solution is not a solution. In this case, therefore, she must actively mean to do harm.

    1. After working in academics for a long time I’ve embraced Hanlon’s razor, “Never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by stupidity.”

      In that context, Dumas’ corollary, “I prefer rogues to imbeciles, because rogues sometimes rest,” may be helpful in deciding how to vote.

      Unfortunately there is Clark’s law, “Any sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice.”

  3. From the “Jesus Christ, What now!?” file: The British Museum has said don’t say Mummy. Apparently, it is dehumanizing. We should be saying “mummified person” or “mummified remains.” I guess they are scared of upsetting the mummies, and we’ve seen what that leads to.

  4. Our friends in Minot, North Dakota told us their daughter in kindergarten experienced her first Active Shooter Drill. They also said many parents send their kids to school with bulletproof backpacks. I still don’t know how to respond to them. Obviously safety is important, but it feels like a horrible norm to have to grow up with.

  5. Son of a gun — there is such a thing.

    You could tell them to make sure they buy at least Level 3 medium inserts, claimed to stop .223 rifle bullets, most commonly used at school shootings by outsiders. They cost hundreds of dollars and still won’t stop a .30-06 hunting bullet. The popular and affordable 3A’s are good against all handguns, says the company, such as would be brought in by other students to settle scores.

  6. Re: Lightfoot’s advice: “Don’t use cash!”

    I try to always have a fairly large sum of cash in my wallet (at least a hundred bucks), on the theory that if I’m ever robbed, the thugs will be happy to get such a large sum and will thus be less likely to hurt me or escalate. I’m being serious. It’s sad, I know.

    On a lighter note, did anyone else have to look up the meaning of “persiflage”? I did, and I’m glad I did. It’s a great word and I plan to use it every chance I get.

    1. I can’t remember who told me this, but when I moved from a rural-now-exurban part of missouri to KcMo, a guy, probably a coworker at one of the many low-wage jobs I had, told me to always keep some cash in my wallet so that if anyone were to mug me they would get a few bucks and would be less likely to hurt me than if I had nothing at all. That was hard to do, being perpetually broke, but thankfully I never had to experience that situation. What a world we live in.

  7. RE the Kosher Ham:
    There’s also New Zealand’s Mutton Ham, made with Lamb (or more traditionally the older Mutton) cured as ham. It’s terrific!

    1. In Sweden, the more or less same thing is called får fiol (sheep fiddle), and it is wonderful, as is the equivalent starting with a reindeer leg (rökt ren – smoked reindeer). In Stockholm the best place to find either is the Saluhall (an underground vendor’s arcade) beside the Konserthus (where Nobel Prizes are awarded) at Hötorget, where there’s a subway stop.

      Is reindeer Kosher?

  8. “[C]hocolate-covered macadamia nuts” are a waste of both, if you are inclusive enough to term the coating “chocolate”. Pelosi is clearly not a member of the tribe.
    [And how the duck do they know which men are bi?]

  9. There is no denying that Pelosi was effective. But a good case can be made that she is responsible, more than any other politician, for the massive federal debt the U.S. has racked up.

    As far as political careers go, Pelosi’s has been a clear success. Yet as journalists write hagiographic portraits of her career, one aspect of Pelosi’s legacy has received little attention: the massive federal debt accumulated since she ascended to leadership in Washington.

    When Pelosi became minority leader in 2003, the national debt stood at $6.2 trillion. When she turned over the speaker’s gavel, the national debt stood at $31.5 trillion. In other words, about 80 percent of the debt accumulated in all of U.S. history was accrued since Pelosi ascended to a leadership position in Congress.

    This does not mean, of course, that Pelosi is solely responsible for the debt crisis facing the United States. The list of those who deserve blame is long, and it includes members of both major political parties.

    That said, it’s difficult to find a single politician in either party who bears more responsibility than Pelosi.

    1. Why, exactly, do you care about the debt? The debt has been “a cataclysmic problem” for ever…seriously, I can’t remember a time when politicians (mainly the GOP only when Dems are in control) weren’t bitching about the debt. It is the largest political “meh” I know of. I don’t have kids, maybe that’s why I’m blasé about it. It’s really a non-issue as far as I can tell…a perpetual Chicken Little warning, yet at this point more of a Boy that Cried Wolf warning.

  10. From my fellow sex binary-ist Octavia Sheepshanks, a poem:

    I don’t know her (approximate) age, but I’m going to guess that she’s forgotten about the “Manacled Mormon” case, which was largely (well … significantly?) responsible for the law on rape being modified to include rape of a man by another person (male or female) and to include orifices other than vaginas as targets for rape.
    The expected number of women (binary sense) jailed in women’s (binary sense) prisons for rape is going to be significantly greater than zero. And if rape is in any sense “acceptable”, that >0 figure should also be acceptable.

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