Sunday: Hili dialogue

February 5, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Sunday, February 5, 2023:  National Frozen Yogurt Day (I mistakenly said yesterday was Frozen Yogurt Day, but it was really National Homemade Soup Day).

But today is World Nutella Day, National Chocolate Fondue Day, California Western Monarch Day, Dump Your Significant Jerk Day, but also National Shower with a Friend Day, National Fart Day, and, in Denmark, it’s Crown Princess Mary’s birthday. Here she is, turning 51 today.  Some day, perhaps, she’ll be Queen of Denmark, though she was born of Scottish parents and raised in Australia. From Wikipedia:

Mary has been named one of the world’s most fashionable people in Vanity Fair‘s annual International Best-Dressed List and has posed and given interviews for magazines including Vogue Australia (where she used pieces of foreign designers, such as Hugo Boss, Prada, Louis Vuitton or Gaultier, and Danish designers, like Malene Birger and Georg Jensen), Dansk (Danish Magazine, dedicated to Danish fashion) and German Vogue (where she was photographed between pieces of Danish modern art in Amalienborg Palace).

It’s also [Johan Ludvig] Runeberg’s Birthday, celebrating the national poet of Finland, who wrote in Swedish. This is all very confusing!

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the February 5 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*The NYT reports a horrible fact that compounds the enormity that was the apparent murder of Tyre Nichols in Memphis, and may well have contributed to his death:

The two emergency medical technicians who first arrived to treat Tyre Nichols after he was severely beaten by Memphis police officers did not provide any care for 19 minutes after getting to the scene, a regulatory agency concluded on Friday as it voted to suspend their licenses.

Members of the Tennessee Emergency Medical Services Board voted unanimously to suspend the licenses of the E.M.T.s, Robert Long and JaMichael Sandridge, who could be seen on video largely standing around as Mr. Nichols, 29, writhed in pain on the ground.

In the case of the E.M.T.s, the emergency medical services board found that for 19 minutes, neither had taken Mr. Nichols’s vital signs, conducted an examination of him, or administered oxygen. Mr. Sandridge, who, as an advanced E.M.T., was also authorized to administer an IV line and perform cardiac monitoring, did not do so, the board found. Mr. Nichols died three days after the Jan. 7 beating.

. . .Dennis Rowe, an ambulance service operator on the board, said there was “every reason to believe” that the E.M.T.s’ inaction “may have contributed to the demise of that patient.”

The suspension is temporary, and there will be a later hearing to determine if the two will be permanently barred in the state from acting as EMTs. I suppose licensing is state by state, but I hope that if they apply to work in other states, the licensing board will know about this.

*Here’s the ending of Andrew Sullivan’s latest piece on the tendency of the American Mainstream Media to force every story into a preexisting ideologican narrative. I summarized his piece in the Nooz yesterday, but couldn’t resist adding his conclusion:

We live in the freest, most multiracial democracy in the history of the planet. Of course traditional prejudices linger, ebb and flow, and the past has helped define the present. But they do not come near to definitively describing the infinitely fascinating interactions between all of us, in every possible combination, our shared humanity, the cross-racial friendships and marriages, our individual personalities, our different upbringings. They cannot account for the extraordinary changes since the 1960s. The transcendence of race and sex and orientation happens all around us every day — and reducing our entire world to these allegedly irreconcilable abstractions of “hate” is a pathological distraction from reality.

And reality is so much more interesting than the dogma the MSM now brings to almost every story, almost every time. You don’t have to ignore racism’s enduring effect in society. But you can see the world in a lens other than the neo-Marxist vision of permanent, zero-sum group-warfare in which some groups are always the oppressor and some the oppressed.

Journalists used to do this — searching for truth rather than enforcing pre-existing narratives, alert to the surprising “specific” more than the predictable “structural” and “systemic”; and be alert to the twists and turns of this diverse culture, rather than constantly returning to history to insist it’s always repeating itself. And you know what? Readers were interested, rather than bored, engaged rather than condescended to — and the press thrived.

Now look at it. The US media has the lowest credibility — 26 percent — of 46 nations, according to a 2022 study by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. And “moral clarity” journalists seem intent on driving it even lower.

This is one of the best pieces I’ve read from Sullivan this year.

*The U.S. finally got some cojones (sorry, for I have used a harmful word) and shot down the Chinese spy balloon:

U.S. fighter aircraft, acting on an order from President Biden, downed a Chinese surveillance balloon off the South Carolina coast on Saturday, the Pentagon said, ending what senior administration officials contend was an audacious attempt by Beijing to collect intelligence on sensitive American military sites.

Biden had authorized the takedown on Wednesday “as soon as the mission could be accomplished without undue risk to American lives under the balloon’s path,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement confirming the operation.

The balloon was brought down over the Atlantic Ocean shortly after the Federal Aviation Administration ordered ground stops for all flights in and out of Wilmington, N.C., Myrtle Beach, S.C., and Charleston, S.C. The agency, which had said the action was to “support the Department of Defense in a national security effort,” lifted the order at 3:20 p.m., allowing normal flight activity to resume.

But wait! There are at least two more balloons!

The discovery of this balloon and others — the presence of a second craft loitering over Latin America was disclosed on Friday, and officials say there is likely a third operating near U.S. interests elsewhere — is highly embarrassing to the Chinese. One official, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity citing the matter’s sensitivity, said that Beijing was “freaked” by the incident.

“They’re in a very tough place,” this person said. “And they have very few cards to play right now.”

Could there be 99 Luftballons? I couldn’t find any video to embed, but you can see a 4.5-minute video of the balloon going down on a Fox News site. The commentators take the government to task for not shooting the balloon down earlier, as, they say, it was surely tracked as it crossed the northern Pacific ocean and could have been taken down safely. However, the WaPo adds:

Without elaborating, officials have insisted that the administration had taken steps to thwart the craft’s ability to collect information that would undermine U.S. national security.

“We took very early action to make sure those sites don’t show anything that anybody would find interesting,” one defense official said.

What the U.S. wants to do now is recover the balloon and find out what technology the Chinese used here. That may be hard as it appears to have landed and sunk in the Atlantic Ocean. The Chinese may be embarrassed, but although this may increase U.S./Chinese tension, it’s not going to bring on a war or anything. After all, we do the same thing to them.

*Speaking of China, the Wall Street Journal reports that the Chinese are helping Russia pursue its war with Ukraine.

China is providing technology that Moscow’s military needs to prosecute the Kremlin’s war in Ukraine despite an international cordon of sanctions and export controls, according to a Wall Street Journal review of Russian customs data.

The customs records show Chinese state-owned defense companies shipping navigation equipment, jamming technology and fighter-jet parts to sanctioned Russian government-owned defense companies.

Those are but a handful of tens of thousands of shipments of dual-use goods—products that have both commercial and military applications—that Russia imported following its invasion last year, according to the customs records provided to the Journal by C4ADS, a Washington-based nonprofit that specializes in identifying national-security threats. Most of the dual-use shipments were from China, the records show.

. . . The Journal analyzed more than 84,000 shipments recorded by Russia’s customs office in the period after the West launched the economic pressure campaign that focused on commodities the Biden administration red-flagged as critical to the Russian military. The official Russian customs records, which C4ADS said might not include all records, detail each shipment into the country, providing dates, shippers, recipients, purchasers, addresses and product descriptions.

A Demand for ChipsRussia’s imports of computer chips and chip components are nearing pre-war averages.Chip importsSource: Russia Federal Customs Service via C4ADS, U.N. ComtradeNote: Imports under tariff code 8541. Monthly average is from 2014 to 2021
April 2022MayJuneJulyAug.Sept.Oct.102030$40millionTotalFrom ChinaMonthly average

The Journal also identified from the records more than a dozen Russian and Chinese companies targeted by the U.S. under the Russia pressure campaign, as well as all other sanctions programs.

Industry and government officials said the data offers substantial evidence of how Russia is able to sidestep the centerpiece of the West’s response to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

A new Axis of Evil!

*According to the Associated Press, Mexico supplies 92% of America’s avocados, and it’s a lucrative business given their price in supermarkets. And now, just like the demand for turkeys peaks at Thanksgiving, so the demand for avocados peaks during the Superbowl, as Americans of Size dig into big bowls of guacamole during the game.  There’s big bucks to be made, but the Mexican growers and wholesalers face a dangerous trek from tree to game—so dangerous that they need a police escort for a 40-mile drive:

It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl.

It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. The roads are so dangerous — beset by drug cartels, common criminals, and extortion and kidnap gangs — that state police provide escorts for the trucks brave enough to face the 40-mile (60-kilometer) trip to packing and shipping plants in the city of Uruapan.

Truck driver Jesús Quintero starts early in the morning, gathering crates of avocados picked the day before in orchards around Santa Ana, before he takes them to a weighing station. Then he joins up with other trucks waiting for a convoy of blue-and-white state police trucks — they recently changed their name to Civil Guard — to start out for Uruapan.

“It is more peaceful now with the patrol trucks accompanying us, because this is a very dangerous area,” Quintero said while waiting for the convoy to pull out.

With hundreds of 22-pound (10-kilogram) crates of the dark green fruit aboard his 10-ton truck, Quintero’s load represents a small fortune in these parts. Avocados sell for as much as $2.50 apiece in the United States, so a single crate holding 40 is worth $100, while an average truck load is worth as much as $80,000 to $100,000.

The imports were halted for a while last year when a U.S. inspector was threatened (all imported fruits have to be vetted), and that cost growers big time. Now things are resuming. When you dip your chips into a bowl of green mush a week from today, give thanks to the federales who ensure safe shipments!

*Some idiot committed a copycat crime by cutting open a cage containing a Eurasian eagle-owl (Bubo bubo) named Flaco—in captivity for a decade—in the Central Park Zoo. The owl escaped and is now flying aimlessly around Manhattan. So far attempts to capture Flaco have failed. It’s cold there, and he probably doesn’t know how to hunt, so people fear that Flaco will die unless he’s recaptured. I bet it’s a copy of the animal releases (and a vulture murder) in Texas.  I hope they lock the miscreant up and throw away the key! Here’s a news report about the owlnapping.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili seems to be developing an eating disorder

A: This is Szaron’s bowl.
Hili: I’m just checking whether his food is better.
I always use Malgorzata’s translations of Andrzej’s dialogues, but Facebook translates the Polish as well, and I thought I’d put up today’s version:
In Polish:
Ja: To jest miseczka Szarona.
Hili: Ja tylko sprawdzam, czy jego chrupki nie są lepsze.

And a photo of Szaron:


From Jesus of the Day:

From Elsie, a Mike Lukovich cartoon about Florida schools (published in the Chicago Tribune):

Also from Jesus of the Day:

From Masih. The ability of Iranian women to overcome their oppression always amazes me. Look at this!

From Malcolm. A quokka, the world’s happiest-looking animal, chows down on a beet. The population (in Australia only) is small and listed as “vulnerable”, so please help them. It would be a tragedy if these happy creatures were to go extinct.

From Barry, ducks and a patient kitten, along with the d*g tweet that I can’t get rid of (I showed it the other day, but I haven’t learned how to separate linked tweets).

From Athayde, a segment apparently from BBC’s “question time”. He says, “The word ‘woman’ has been banned from Scotland.”  Have a look at the comments in the thread following this post:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a boy gassed at age four:

Tweets from Matthew. First, a beetle named after the lovely and talented Kate, one of my favorite actors.  But what about a frog named after ME???

There are three tweets by Ashby in this thread, all showing why the endeavor is ludicrous, and then he answers questions and goes after the dodo enthusiasts:

The caption makes this tweet:

32 thoughts on “Sunday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1852 – The New Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg, Russia, one of the largest and oldest museums in the world, opens to the public.

    1869 – The largest alluvial gold nugget in history, called the “Welcome Stranger”, is found in Moliagul, Victoria, Australia.

    1885 – King Leopold II of Belgium establishes the Congo as a personal possession. [Colonialism on steroids…]

    1907 – Belgian chemist Leo Baekeland announces the creation of Bakelite, the world’s first synthetic plastic.

    1918 – Stephen W. Thompson shoots down a German airplane; this is the first aerial victory by the U.S. military.

    1919 – Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith launch United Artists.

    1924 – The Royal Greenwich Observatory begins broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal.

    1958 – A hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb is lost by the US Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia, never to be recovered.

    1840 – Hiram Maxim, American engineer, invented the Maxim gun (d. 1916).

    1878 – André Citroën, French engineer and businessman, founded Citroën (d. 1935).

    1935 – Alex Harvey, Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1982). [We had the anniversary of his death just yesterday.]

    1941 – Barrett Strong, American soul singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 2023). [Died last week. He co-wrote together, “I Heard It Through the Grapevine”, “War”, “Just My Imagination (Running Away with Me)”, and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”.]

    1946 – Charlotte Rampling, English actress.

    1948 – Christopher Guest, American actor and director.

    1964 – Duff McKagan, American singer-songwriter, bass player, and producer.

    1969 – Michael Sheen, Welsh actor and director.

    1985 – Cristiano Ronaldo, Portuguese footballer. [Considered to be the world’s greatest footballer – by himself…!]

    Took the big nap:
    1941 – Banjo Paterson, Australian journalist, author, and poet (b. 1864).

    1993 – Joseph L. Mankiewicz, American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1909). [Won both the Academy Award for Best Director and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in consecutive years for A Letter to Three Wives (1949) and All About Eve (1950), the latter of which was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won six.]

    2020 – Kirk Douglas, American actor (b. 1916).

    2021 – Christopher Plummer, Canadian actor (b. 1929).

  2. Re your comment about the EMT’s and state licensing boards… we had a similar occurrence with a police officer hired by one of our local municipalities. He resigned 2 days after being sworn in as the borough’s sole member of their police department after it came to light his culpability in the shooting death of Tamir Rice in 2014.

  3. No offense to the professor and his frog, but I hate the naming of species after people, especially pop culture people. Who the f@&! is going to remember who Kate Winslet is in a hundred years? Or Beyoncé or just as annoying, Star Wars characters or whatever. Names should be descriptive, about species traits or locations and be useful, not just show off some juvenile nonsense that the person who described it was interested in. But clearly I am in the minority. Most seem fro find some sort of feeble minded, infantile joy in knowing an insect is named after the fat-assed Kardashian.

  4. The word that Jenny Gilruth, the Scottish Nationalist Party MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) couldn’t say was “man”. Instead, she deflected and repeatedly refused to say whether she thought the double rapist was a man or a woman, saying “that individual is a rapist” and unwittingly appearing to suggest that “rapist” is a new gender category. One of the Twitter comments joked that we need to add R to LGBTQIAP+ now…

    The ratio on that Twitter thread suggest that the vast majority of people have more sense than the Scottish government and its prison service.

      1. I think it’s dying out, literally, Don. The antifa who shot and wounded a police officer in Atlanta was described as using “them” and “it” pronouns. Tucker Carlson couldn’t resist a smirk on reporting that the police fired back and “it” is now dead.

        1. Carlson has two modes — the smirk and the furrowed brow. Either way, the intent is to maintain Nana & Grandpa in a state of high dudgeon.

  5. There is nothing odd about a national poet of Finland writing in Swedish. Finland has two official languages, There is a Swedish-speaking population and a Finnish-speaking population. It is complicated (historically) but not really odd.

    1. Runeberg is a Swedish name, so presumably he was a Swedish-speaking Finn. But two further aspects to that – the market is something like 2.5x more Swedish-speaking people v Finnish. Also, I wonder if Swedish lends itself more to poetry. Is there much in the way of Finnish poetry? (I have no idea, altho I was quite pleased when my DNA came back 1/8 Finnish.) Also, I think historically Finland was much poorer and so it may be that in general they had less time for things like poetry.

  6. The only problem I have with that otherwise lovely lunar eclipse photo is that there’s only one turtle. As everyone knows, it’s turtles all the way down.

    1. No, Jared, that myth is obsolete. it’s only one. According to the indigenous creation story we are required to give obeisance to here in Canada, North America actually is a turtle, or was, until the Creator changed it into rocks and trees and water. And made the tar sands from leftover dinosaurs. The more elaborate land acknowledgements actually refer to our being guests on Turtle Island, and you know what happens to guests on an island who have overstayed their welcome.

      The photo is obviously faked though. Everyone knows it’s a terrestrial turtle we ride around on, not a sea turtle.

    1. Really. Everyone from all over the world wants to move there, and it sure can’t be for the welfare state.

      1. According to the Human Freedom Index for 2021, a report put together by the Cato Institute in D.C. and the Fraser Institute in Vancouver, America isn’t even in the top 10. Canada is tied with Finland for 6th! America is 15th.

        I think people want to come to America because it’s seen as an easy place to make money. Perhaps it’s the easiest place to make money? Who knows? Though that doesn’t necessarily translate to “freedom.” Especially if you’re a woman living in the average red state. If the chart is broken down, for “economic freedom” the U.S. is at 7, but if we’re talking “personal freedom” we fall to an abysmal 24. Probably thanks to SCOTUS.

        1. The statement was “freest multiracial country” and yes I meant economic freedom, the freedom that attracts high-quality immigrants whether currently poor or wealthy. Countries freer than the U.S. are mostly not multiracial and are mostly hostile to immigration of other races with high bars against citizenship. They also lack the economic breadth of diverse ways to make money. If someone is going to come halfway around the world, I sure as heck he hopes to make enough money to make the move worthwhile and not just for free healthcare for himself and his frail parents. I also hope a potential immigrant doesn’t worry too much that a women in the average red state can’t have an abortion. That is actually not very important to most immigrants, as our own polling suggests.

      2. No they don’t. Sure, some people from failed states in Latin America want to move there, but that’s not setting the bar very high.

        And those who do do so primarily because they hope for a financially better life, not because of freedom or democracy.

        Remember when Trump tried to recruit Norwegians to move to the States?

        1. Countries like Norway stopped being an important source of immigrants to the new world once they got rich. Immigrants have always come from Trump’s shit-hole countries or from the shit-hole classes of more up-market countries like England and France. That’s why people emigrate: in search of a better life. They don’t come over from the comfortable classes of rich countries to help you abolish the Electoral College. Free speech is a powerful draw but seeking a better life is why everyone emigrates. Why wouldn’t you want those people?

          The only reason to worry that immigration to North America now will be less of a good deal for us than in the past is that the welfare state may attract the wrong sort. But that can be managed.

    1. My nomination for best use of “99 Luftballoons” in a film goes to Boogie Nights, where it plays as part of a mix-tape with “Sister Christian” and “Jessie’s Girl” during the drug ripoff gone bad (inspired by the real-life l’affaire Wonderland involving porn actor John Holmes and Los Angeles hoodlum Eddie Nash):

  7. Nunchucks was a good groaner.

    And what do the Iranian bastards use to shoot out these poor women’s eyes? It can’t be a high powered rifle…some type of bb-gun or something? Ghastly, but they still show beautiful smiles. I hope courage like this eventually destroys the benighted regime.

    1. What worried me about the plight of those women besides the obvious is that apparently if an eye is damaged beyond repair it must be removed. Otherwise, the body mounts an immune reaction vs. the lens proteins (which otherwise have not been seen by the immune systerm) and antibodies are produced that attack the good eye, leading in a year or two to blindness in that eye (so I’m told by a neurobiologist colleague). I hope to hell that isn’t the ultimate objective and that someone over there knows about that.

  8. “After all, we do the same thing to them.”

    That’s one theme in the spin efforts, but it’s not true. Undoubtedly we eavesdrop on them from Taiwan. And we do have spy satellites lawfully present in outer space. But we don’t violate China’s territorial sovereignty.

    1. Well, we do when we have spies in China, and really, the height of atmosphere above a country is purely subjective when it comes to “territory”. There is no widespread agreement how high above the land “sovereigny” applies.

      I’m not an apologist for China and not trying to “spin” anything. We spy on them, they spy on us, most of that spying is illegal, but this isn’t worth quibbling about.

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