Tuesday: Hili dialogue

February 7, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the cruelest day: Tuesday, February 7, 2023: National Fettuccini Alfredo Day. And by Ceiling Cat, I think I’ll make somet tonight. The Trader Joe sauce in a jar is just the ticket! I like to add peas to mine just to get some veggies in there. Here is the dish desnudo (the portion is way too small!):


It’s also National Periodic Table Day, Ballet Day, Rose Day, National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and “e” Day, after the irrational number 2.718281828459. . . . .  It’s 2/7, and those are the first two digits.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the February 7 Wikipedia page.

Wine of the Day: This wine is made entirely from a grape I’ve never had before: the Godello grape, grown and vinified mainly in Galicia, the part of western Spain known for its excellent whites. This one was from the 2020 vintage and cost me $31. Even at that price it was a great deal, for it’s a superb white. (I had it with chicken thighs, rice, black beans, onions, and yogurt.) It was a very gutsy white, light golden in color, with a lot of stuffing—an 14.5% alcohol, very high for a white wine. It had a pronounced flavor of blended fruits (I detected Granny Smith apples and honeydew melon) and mineral overtones. I suspect that this is a wine best drunk young.  Here’s a review by Jeb Dunnuck:

All Godello aged 10 months in a mix of neutral oak and tank, the 2020 Cuvée de O Godello is fabulous stuff, offering a clean, juicy, medium-bodied, impeccably balanced profile as well as notes of crushed citrus, guava, mint, and even a touch of minerality. I love its texture, it has both richness and freshness, and it will be incredibly versatile on the dinner table as well. It’s a great value in impeccably made dry white wine.

Agreed: even at a tad over $30, it’s a great value. If you see it, buy it and take it to a friend’s house to accompany a special meal.

Da Nooz:

*There’s a short obituary for Heather Hastie (TOO short) in the Waikato Times. Here it is (h/t Diana MacPherson):

HASTIE, Heather Mary:
Passed away at Atawhai Assisi Home, Matangi, on Saturday, 4th February 2023, aged 59 years. Much loved eldest daughter of Judith and the late Alister Hastie, sister and sister-in-law of Brenda and Rob, Doug and Kuni, and Fiona and Pete. Awesome aunty of Hamish, Jessica, Yvette, Jack, Natsuki and Isla.
Sadly missed by us all.
A Service for Heather will be held at Taumarunui Funeral Services Chapel, 34 Huia St, on Thursday, 9th February at 2.30pm, followed by interment at the Taumarunui Cemetery. Communications to 10 House Ave, Taumarunui 3920.
Taumarunui Funeral Services
Members of the Funeral Directors Association of NZ

*A monster earthquake centered in southern Turkey has killed over 3,600 people and injured 13,000. The death toll is likely to reach 4,000 or more:

 A 7.8-magnitude earthquake in southern Turkey early Monday killed more than 3,600 people there and in neighboring Syria, officials said, as rescuers searched flattened buildings in frigid weather for survivors. The earthquake — felt as far away as Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Egypt — occurred in Kahramanmaras province, north of Gaziantep, near the Syrian border.

Rescue efforts are ongoing, and the number of people killed, injured and displaced probably will climb.

The initial quake was followed by dozens of powerful aftershocks, including a 7.5-magnitude earthquake in the same fault zone of south-central Turkey on Monday afternoon. Most of the damage is in southern Turkey and northern and central Syria.

The never-ending war in Syria is hindering rescue efforts there. It may be the largest quake ever reported in that area, which happens to sit on a fault line. Here’s the Washington Post‘s map of the devastated area:

*Over at the NYT, Tom Friedman says that “Year two of the Ukraine War is going to get scary.” Why? Because Putin absolutely refuses to lose.

Putin, it’s now clear, has decided to double down, mobilizing in recent months possibly as many as 500,000 fresh soldiers for a new push on the war’s first anniversary. Mass matters in war — even if that mass contains a large number of mercenaries, convicts and untrained conscripts.

Putin is basically saying to Biden: I can’t afford to lose this war and I will pay any price and bear any burden to ensure that I come away with a slice of Ukraine that can justify my losses. How about you, Joe? How about your European friends? Are you ready to pay any price and bear any burden to uphold your “liberal order”?

This is going to get scary. And because we have had nearly a generation without a Great Power war, a lot of people have forgotten what made this long era of Great Power peace possible.

. . . I argued in my 1999 book Somebody needs to keep the order and enforce the rules.. . . That has been the United States, and I believe that role is going to be tested now more than any time since the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Are we still up for it?

He then quotes historian Robert Kagan, author of “The Ghost at the Feast: America and the Collapse of World Order, 1900-1941”.

“So it’s not so surprising today that so many conservative Republicans have a soft spot for Putin, whom they see as a leader of the global anti-liberal crusade. Perhaps it is worth reminding Kevin McCarthy that the Republicans were destroyed politically by their opposition to World War II and were only able to resurrect themselves by electing an internationalist Dwight Eisenhower in 1952.”

There are also many voices on the left, though, who are legitimately asking: Is it really worth risking World War III to drive Russia all the way out of Eastern Ukraine? Haven’t we hurt Putin so badly by now that he won’t be trying something like Ukraine again soon? Time for a dirty deal?

. . . “Any negotiation that leaves Russian forces in place on Ukrainian soil will only be a temporary truce before Putin’s next attempt,” he said. “Putin is in the process of completely militarizing Russian society, much as Stalin did during World War II. He is in it for the long haul, and he is counting on the United States and the West to grow weary at the prospect of a long conflict — as both the left and right isolationists at the Quincy Institute and in Congress have already indicated they are.

Is he right? I’m not weary—not yet. I predicted Putin would win, was elated when he didn’t seem to be winning, but I can’t see him staying in power without a piece of Ukraine.

*I can’t get a read on whether readers here want Joe Biden to run for a second term (I don’t; he’s too old), but apparently, according to a recent poll, most Democrats don’t, either:

A majority of Democrats now think one term is plenty for President Joe Biden, despite his insistence that he plans to seek reelection in 2024.

That’s according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that shows just 37% of Democrats say they want him to seek a second term, down from 52% in the weeks before last year’s midterm elections.

While Biden has trumpeted his legislative victories and ability to govern, the poll suggests relatively few U.S. adults give him high marks on either. Follow-up interviews with poll respondents suggest that many believe the 80-year-old’s age is a liability, with people focused on his coughing, his gait, his gaffes and the possibility that the world’s most stressful job would be better suited for someone younger.

“I, honestly, think that he would be too old,” said Sarah Overman, 37, a Democrat who works in education in Raleigh, North Carolina. “We could use someone younger in the office.”

As the president gives his State of the Union address Tuesday, he has a chance to confront fundamental doubts about his competence to govern. Biden has previously leaned heavily on his track record to say that he’s more than up to the task. When asked if he can handle the office’s responsibilities at his age, the president has often responded as if he’s accepting a dare: “Watch me.”

I have watched, and, frankly, I’m a little scared at what I see. I still like Mayor Peter, who doesn’t pull any punches and is full of energy, but one thing’s for sure, Kamala Harris is not going to be a Presidential candidate. She’s not entitled to the slot simply because she was VP, and she, who was tasked with the immigration issue, hasn’t done squat.

Here’s a graph showing that, as expected, support for Biden’s candidacy has dropped in all age groups but more among younger folks:

*The website Bad Mathematics, whose motto is “So much crap, so little time,” has a post on “The Nature of Decolonizing Mathematics,” which goes after a terrible ideological paper written by Rachel Crowell and published in Nature (of course), as well as an editorial from the same issue. I went after that paper before, but author “marty” does a much more thorough job.

Beyond this, Crowell has some amazing lines. To begin,

Maths is built on a modern history of elevating the achievements of one group of people: white men. …

No. Modern maths, well into the 20th century was, by and large, the achievement of white men. It is what it is.

This means that the accomplishments of people of other genders and races have often been pushed aside, preventing maths from being a level playing field.

How many “other genders” are we talking about here? If you’re claiming it’s more than one, you need to bone up on your maths.

Crowell mentions a few mathematicians, seeming to claim, without evidence, that they have been “pushed aside”, and that they are somehow comparable to Cantor and Gauss and Poincaré. It is no reflection on the fine mathematicians she names, but this is embarrassing.

As to the difficulties of decolonisation, Crowell writes,

Sometimes it’s even challenging for mathematicians and other researchers to imagine how to decolonize a quantitative subject such as maths, because they’re not used to identifying how their curriculum might be affected by colonialist or racist mindsets.

Crowell provides no examples or evidence for such colonialist and racist mindsets, nor how they affect any curriculum.

Finally, hilariously, Crowell quotes John Parker, head of mathematical sciences at Durham University, on the awkward start to Durham’s decolonisation program, largely authored by a white guy. This and other aspects were criticised, and Durham responded:

Durham’s senior mathematicians felt that their curriculum-reform process had to be led by the students, because otherwise “we’re in the awful situation of deciding for ourselves what’s best for them”, Crossman says. That, Parker adds, would be at odds with the concept of decolonization, because colonization “was some group of people thinking they knew best for some other group of people”.

Yep, there are foolish teachers out there who somehow imagine they might know what’s best for their students. And such foolish practice is obviously comparable to colonisation.

The willingness of so many properly smart academics to put aside their critical faculties, to buy so completely into this nonsense, is as clear a sign as any of the insanity of our times.

*This is why you should never leave your kid alone with your devices:

A Michigan man says he was left with a $1,000 bill after his 6-year-old son ordered a virtual smorgasbord of food from several restaurants last weekend, leading to a string of unexpected deliveries — and maybe a starring role in an ad campaign.

Keith Stonehouse said the food piled up quickly at his Detroit-area home Saturday night after he let his son, Mason, use his cellphone to play a game before bed. He said the youngster instead used his father’s Grubhub account to order food from one restaurant after another.

The boy’s mother, Kristin Stonehouse, told The Associated Press on Thursday that Grubhub has reached out to the family and offered them a $1,000 gift card. The company also is considering using the family in an online promotional campaign, she said. Grubhub officials did not immediately respond to a message from the AP seeking comment.

Keith Stonehouse said he was alone with his son while his wife was at the movies when Mason ordered jumbo shrimp, salads, shawarma and chicken pita sandwiches, chili cheese fries and other foods that one Grubhub driver after another delivered to their Chesterfield Township home.

“This was like something out of a ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit,” Keith Stonehouse told MLive.com.

He added: “I don’t really find it funny yet, but I can laugh with people a little bit. It’s a lot of money and it kind of came out of nowhere.”

Keith Stonehouse said his son ordered food from so many different places that Chase Bank sent him a fraud alert declining a $439 order from Happy’s Pizza. But Mason’s $183 order of jumbo shrimp from the same restaurant went through and arrived at the family’s house.

Stonehouse said it took the arrival of a few orders of food for him to realize what was going on. By that time, there was nothing he could do to stop the orders from coming.

What I want to know, of course, is who ate all the damn food.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, all three cats are together, but Hili dislikes Kulka the most:

Hili: She is provoking me.
A: What with?
Hili: Her presence.
In Polish:
Hili: Ona mnie prowokuje.
Ja: Czym?
Hili: Swoją obecnością.


From Barry, another Instagram video of cats acting weird:

From Tom, a Wiley Miller cartoon:

From America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy:

From Masih:  I’ve heard that the Iranian cops, using rubber bullets, deliberately aim at the eyes of protestors, but I can’t vouch for it:

Bethany Hamilton is known not just for her surfing abilities, but because she continued to compete after a shark bit off one of her arms at the shoulder when Bethany was just 13. She’s got guts, and she shows them in this announcement. If you want to see some gender-activist craziness, look at the comments where people say that Bethany has “weaponized her trauma” as a transphobe.

From Luana, who says, “Would you go to this doctor?”

From Malcolm, who says, “Brilliant work by a cockatoo”:

From Barry, an amazing photo, one of the best I’ve seen lately:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, an infant gassed at six months with his slightly older sister:

Tweets from Matthew. Don’t forget to move the mouse around to get a complete all-around view of a site:

Eels are your friends! (except for the morays):

A eel-themed parody, written by Malcolm Higgins, of this old Dean Martin song:

when you’re diving at night, and your feet feel the bite,
that’s a moray
when your hand’s in the cave, suddenly you’ll need saved,
that’s a moray
when you blubber and scream, but you have a bad dream
that’s amore
when he hits all your fingers, with teeth that are stingers,
a moray…

Don’t miss the end of this one!

38 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1497 – In Florence, Italy, supporters of Girolamo Savonarola burn cosmetics, art, and books, in a “Bonfire of the vanities”.

    1898 – Dreyfus affair: Émile Zola is brought to trial for libel for publishing J’Accuse…!

    1940 – The second full-length animated Walt Disney film, Pinocchio, premieres.

    1962 – The United States bans all Cuban imports and exports.

    1979 – Pluto moves inside Neptune’s orbit for the first time since either was discovered.

    1984 – Space Shuttle program: STS-41-B Mission: Astronauts Bruce McCandless II and Robert L. Stewart make the first untethered space walk using the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU).

    1991 – The Troubles: The Provisional IRA launches a mortar attack on 10 Downing Street in London, the headquarters of the British government.

    1992 – The Maastricht Treaty is signed, leading to the creation of the European Union.

    2009 – Bushfires in Victoria leave 173 dead in the worst natural disaster in Australia’s history.

    2013 – The U.S. state of Mississippi officially certifies the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment was formally ratified by Mississippi in 1995.

    2014 – Scientists announce that the Happisburgh footprints in Norfolk, England, date back to more than 800,000 years ago, making them the oldest known hominid footprints outside Africa.

    1812 – Charles Dickens, English novelist and critic (d. 1870).

    1825 – Karl Möbius, German zoologist and ecologist (d. 1908).

    1867 – Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author (d. 1957).

    1908 – Buster Crabbe, American swimmer and actor (d. 1983).

    1922 – Hattie Jacques, English actress (d. 1980).

    1946 – Pete Postlethwaite, English actor (d. 2011).

    1965 – Chris Rock, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter.

    Snuffed it:
    1871 – Henry E. Steinway, German-American businessman, founded Steinway & Sons (b. 1797).

    1979 – Josef Mengele, German SS officer and physician (b. 1911).

    2017 – Hans Rosling, Swedish academic (b. 1948).

    2019 – Albert Finney, English actor (b. 1936).

    2020 – Li Wenliang, Chinese ophthalmologist who initially warned about COVID-19 (b. 1986).

    1. 1979-pluto moves inside Neptune’s orbit…. This event was my first recognition that Pluto was an odd one among the nine planets, what with its more severe orbital eccentricity and orbital plane tilted well more than the other eight planets. I had never noticed these characteristics in my preceding decades of reading about the planets.

      1. I remember reading that in my Little Golden Book of the Planets, which, I am delighted to discover in contributing to my gradchildren’s library, is still in print.

  2. I’m cool with risking WW3… Russia’s a problem we’re going to have to deal with sooner or later so best rip that bandaid off now (and as I’m probably younger than the median reader of this site I’ve probably got more to lose).

    1. Actually, insofar that the result could be death, I think we all have the exact same amount to lose. If the results are short of death, then I’d say we oldsters have more to loose, starting with families and children. Before blithely talking about risking Word War 3, let’s think about how we would go about winning it, because it’s not obvious that we could.

    2. You possibly also have less experience of how rarely wars solve problems and leave the world or the region they occur in a better place than before. Russia is a “problem” that Western nations have fought wars against many times before without “solving” it. Including the unbloody victory from 1986-1990, when the “problem” was supposed to have been solved forever and ever and reign of everlasting world peace was supposed to have begun.

      1. Well, I fell a lot less at risk of nuclear obliteration than I did in the 70s and 80s growing up next to a naval air station and a nuclear power plant.

        I don’t think Russia has any allies that would actively go to war to support them. There may be countries like Iran that supply them with arms, but other than Belarus I don’t think any country is likely to feed bodies to Putin’s meat grinder. So I think full on world war is extremely unlikely, less than the risk to European stability an security if he’s allowed to win.

        Plus, I knew a guy on MH17, so screw that guy.

  3. Algebra has roots dating back to 1000+ BCE, including fractions.
    Pythagorean theorem 600 BCE.
    Euclidean geometry 300 BCE.

    Sure, modern curriculums can be more inclusive by offering international examples of mathematical applications and problems to be solved. But many math concepts predate colonialism.

  4. Those ballplayers from Christian Life International look like they couldn’t find their wife’s or girlfriend’s with a female anatomy diagram, a surgical headlamp, and a speculum.

    1. Not sure why that gratuitous insult, Ken, but If you think a speculum would help in finding a clitoris you are very much looking in the wrong place.

  5. Crowell provides no examples or evidence for such colonialist and racist mindsets, nor how they affect any curriculum.

    When you are in the grip of an ideology you already know the answer so no evidence is required.

  6. Oh, the harms perpetrated by math. Crazy.

    I agree that Putin is doubling down. He needs to be able to score at least some land in the Donbas in order to declare victory and avoid embarrassment. 2023 will be a dangerous year.

    I heard three different commentators tell reporters yesterday that Biden’s State of the Union speech will be about “completing the job.” That is a hint to me that he may not run for re-election. If he’s planning to complete the job in the next two years, he may be signaling that he will vacate the role in 2024. We’ll see.

  7. Very sad to hear of Heather’s death. I always liked to read her input to this site and the articles at her own site, and enjoyed exchanging comments with her. She was smart, tolerant and a decent human being. My sincere condolences to her family and close friends.

  8. I agree that the Ukraine / Russia war is one of the most serious issues of our time since the Cuban Missile Crisis. I think it would have been a massive failure, and a tragedy, for the West to have not pulled together and supported Ukraine and for Putin to have been successful with his plans. Putin has been getting away with murder for decades, sometimes literally, and the West has allowed him to do so.

    I am doubtful that Russia’s 500,000 new recruits will be near the problem that number suggests. I have doubts that the number is even reasonably accurate. Even if it is, Russia couldn’t keep the troops they’ve already burned through supplied with adequate equipment or food and they aren’t likely to get better at doing so. They’re likely to get worse at it. Russia at it’s recent best had a GDP on par with Italy and all of their institutions, including or especially military procurement, are thoroughly corrupt. Where do people think Russia is going to get the resources to buy or make the equipment it would take to train, move, field, and then support in prolonged combat operations, 500K more soldiers?

    My prediction is only a fraction of that number will make it to the battlefields and they won’t be equipped or perform any better than Russian forces have to date. Almost certainly worse. Meanwhile, the training and equipment of Ukrainian forces continues to steadily increase.

    1. Related – war that is – the Turks were about to launch into Syrian/Iraqui Kurdish areas in another offensive. Perhaps the earthquake will stop that.

  9. Tom Friedman: “Somebody needs to keep the order and enforce the rules.. . . That has been the United States”

    I keep marveling at US foreign policy buffs’ lack of self awareness — or assumption that their readers are stupid, or maybe they themselves really are this delusional and believe their own propaganda. There was a chance at a better world after 1990, but the credibility of the rules and of Western exhortazions to abide by them has suffered enormously because of US politics
    Post 1990, the US fought 2 wars of aggression in violation of international law (Kosovo and Iraq), justified both if them with lies, and refused to have US soldiers be subject to international tribunals and courts of law set up with US help to deal with lesser nations. They used torture, and had their allies (e g the puppet government in Afghanistan) use torture, kidnapped people and held them in secret prisons without due process, extrajudicially assassinated thousands of people with drones in countries they were not even at war with, meddled in other countries’ politics whenever an election there did not bring the desired pro-Western result (happened all over the ex-eastern bloc), financed and armed countless evil militias, helped the Saudis in their catastrophic Yemen campaign, and far from keeping order, were a major destabilizer in the Middle East/North Africa and Sahel.
    Only Somalia and to some degree Bosnia (both under Clinton –Bosnia did have a geopolitical side, though) and the first Iraq war (Bush 1) can be said to have been honorable attempts to keep order, help victims and enforce rules. Everything else was hegemonic chess board games using people in other countries as so many geopolitical pawns.

  10. Hans Rosling, the Swedish scientist who died on this day in 2017, was the founder of the website gapminder.org.

    “Gapminder identifies systematic misconceptions about important global trends and proportions and uses reliable data to develop easy to understand teaching materials to rid people of their misconceptions. Gapminder is an independent Swedish foundation with no political, religious, or economic affiliations.”

    For a sample of Rosling’s work, I recommend these two short talks given by him about 10 years ago:


  11. So many wonderful videos of animals in today’s fare, but I want to make another comment on one of the sad human news items,
    the pics of eye damage of Iranian protesters. French police suppressed the month long yellow vest protests in France, and eye damage from rubber bullets was common (many dozens of cases of lost eyesight known), some limbs were also lost, and several people killed. (examples: https://desarmons.net/2019/01/04/recensement-provisoire-des-blesses-graves-des-manifestations-du-mois-de-decembre-2018/)
    This was no big deal (if mentioned at all) for the mainstream media, while similar behavior from Turkish police at the Gezi protests 2013 had provoked the same journalists to outrage.
    France and several other European countries (Greece, Spain) had protests that came close to a popular uprising in the decade after the financial crisis, and laws were tightened to allow better repression (e g., ley mordaza in Spain, https://www.europarl.europa.eu/doceo/document/E-8-2015-006729_EN.html). I personally witnessed some of the police repression of protesters and later saw the misleading state media coverage of what I witnessed in my city Frankfurt and haven’t quite gotten my trust back.
    We here in Western/West central Europe are far from being Iran or Putin’s Russia yet, but things have been going downhill. This includes free speech. Lots of new laws that lend themselves to abuse.

  12. I’ve always found the willingness to embrace real or potential military conflict to be much more vigorous in those who never wore a uniform than in those who have.

    That said, set aside the many perceived pros and cons of US involvement in Ukraine. Regardless of where one stands, does anyone else find the intimate embrace in recent years between neoconservatives and many on the Left to be somewhat jarring? I, at least, find it jarring. Strange bedfellows and all that.

  13. He is in it for the long haul,

    Putin is 70 years old and is suffering from cancer and Parkinson’s disease so he is most assuredly not in it for the long haul.

    Although he is far more likely to fall out of a window than to die of natural causes.

  14. Can’t help but notice the jerk complaining about Professionalism still uses MD at the end of his name. Unless it stand for Major Dickhead, I’m pretty sure that’s an indicator of a profession.

    1. I think he’s really a she, Christopher. People with beards who use they/them almost always are these days. I don’t understand the rant though, unless it’s steroid rage. Chase Strangio was going on like that a few months ago.

      Everyone who has a medical licence has to show they are capable of being governed by professional norms. For her to decry professionalism is to raise concern that she is not governable. But then she works in Portland, Oregon, so maybe it’s different there.

      1. Funny. I had actually tried to avoid any all pronouns, not to be woke, but also not to support the prick’s identity politics. I did use “dickhead”, but that can be for anyone as far as I’m concerned, as can “cunt” and “asshole”. I’m very open and inclusive in my insults and disdain for much of humanity.

  15. I’ll also add, since the edit button has disappeared again, that Salman Rushdie’s new novel, Victory City, was released today. I’m looking forward to picking it up on my way home. And if anyone missed it, the recent New Yorker interview/article is well worth a read.

  16. We make chicken fettuccini alfredo and add artichoke hearts along with chili flakes and garlic about twice a month. The artichoke heart idea we stole from an Italian restaurant

  17. I find it strange myself, and I am at least one of those… unlike some of those Leftists though I also want to crush the Middle East (so maybe I am a neocon?)…

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