Saturday: Hili dialogue

February 11, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Saturday, February 11, 2023, and National Peppermint Patty Day. No, not this one:

But this one (and yes, it’s called “Peppermint Pattie,” lacking the “y”.  According to Wikipedia, York Peppermint Patties used to be made in Reading, Pennsylvania but are now made in Mexico.

It’s also White Shirt Day, Get Out Your Guitar Day, Global Movie Day, the UN’s International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Promise Day, Satisfied Staying Single Day, Inventors’ Day, and the Catholic Feast day of Our Lady of Lourdes, for it was on this day in 1858 that Bernadette Soubirous first claimed to see the apparition of Mary in Lourdes. This explains the other Catholic designation of this day: World Day of the Sick.

Here’s Bernadette Soubirous in 1858, the year she had her first vision of Mary. Soubirous was 14:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the February 11 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*For crying out loud, the military shot down an unidentified object over Alaska just yesterday, less than a week after The Chinese Balloon bit the dust. This time we don’t know what the thing is, but if it was shot down it’s likely to have looked nefarious. We have no idea yet where it came from or what it was.

The Pentagon shot down an unidentified object over frozen waters around Alaska on Friday at the order of President Biden, according to U.S. officials, less than a week after a U.S. fighter jet brought down a Chinese spy balloon over the Atlantic.

John Kirby, a White House spokesman, confirmed the incident at a news conference on Friday.

U.S. officials said they could not immediately confirm whether the object was a balloon, but it was traveling at an altitude that made it a potential threat to civilian aircraft.

Republicans had called the Biden administration weak for not shooting down the Chinese spy balloon as it hovered over Montana last week, a step that Pentagon generals had advised against for fear that debris could hurt people on the ground.

On Friday, Mr. Kirby said that Mr. Biden ordered the unidentified object near Alaska downed “out of an abundance of caution.”

Also, out of fear that he’d be criticized by members of both parties for being too timorous! At any rate, it was traveling at 40,000 feet and was umanned (or “unpersonned”?).

A U.S. official said there were “no affirmative indications of military threat” to people on the ground from the object. Officials said they could not confirm whether there was any surveillance equipment on the object that was shot down.

A recovery effort on the debris will be made, Mr. Kirby said. He said the object was “roughly the size of a small car” — much smaller than the spy balloon that had a payload the size of multiple buses

Multiple buses? I hadn’t heard that! The Wall Street Journal adds that the object landed on the ice in Alaska, which should make recovery a piece of cake. In fact, I bet they already have it. Stay tuned.

*I can’t be arsed to read and distill the real Nooz this evening (I write most of the Hili posts the evening before they go up), so here’s some light news that should cheer you up. The World’s Oldest Living Mouse has just been certified:

 A tiny California mouse now has a big title after winning a Guinness World record for longevity.

A Pacific pocket mouse named Pat — after “Star Trek” actor Patrick Stewart — received the Guinness approval Wednesday as the oldest living mouse in human care at the ripe age of 9 years and 209 days, the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance announced after a certification ceremony.

Pat was born at the at the San Diego Zoo Safari Park on July 14, 2013, under a conservation breeding program, the alliance said.

The Pacific pocket mouse, which weighs as much as three pennies, is the smallest mouse species in North America and gets its name from cheek pouches the animals use to carry food and nesting materials, the wildlife alliance said.

The mouse once had a range stretching from Los Angeles south to the Tijuana River Valley but the population plunged after 1932 because of human encroachment and habitat destruction, the alliance said.

The mouse was thought to be extinct for 20 years until tiny, isolated populations were rediscovered in 1994 in Dana Point in Orange County but the species remains endangered, the alliance said.

And the mouse is still alive!

Only about 150 of these endangered creatures (Perognathus longimembris pacificus, a California endemic subspecies) are left in the wild, and here’s how big they are (from Wikipedia). It’s amazing that such a tiny rodent can live nine years—but that’s in captivity, of course. And note that the Latin trinomial indicates that this is a subspecies of the Little Pocket Mouse, P. longimembris, which is more widely distributed in the American Southwest and Mexico

Photograph of adult Pacific pocket mouse (perognathus longimembris pacificus) taken in 1996 in the Oscar One Training Area on Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California.

And here’s the Methuselah of Mice, named Sir Patrick Stewart (an odd name given that the mouse is fully furred). Caption from the AP:

This Jan. 10, 2023, photo provided by the San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance shows a Pacific pocket mouse named Sir Patrick Stewart. (Ken Bohn/San Diego Zoo Wildlife Alliance via AP)

*More and more bad stuff keeps coming out about George Santos, but I haven’t seen anything to top this Washington Post headline (click to read the story). How could you NOT read it?

It was after dark when George A. Santos approached the farmer in Pennsylvania’s Amish country looking to buy at least eight puppies.

He promised a wire transfer of more than $5,000 but it never appeared, the farmer said in an interview. He said Santos ended up writing a smaller check — and driving off with four golden retrievers.

“Something inside me said I just cannot trust him,” the farmer told The Washington Post, speaking on the condition of anonymity to protect his privacy.

The check bounced.

The farmer, who has not previously spoken to the media, said he called police following the encounter in 2017. It took nearly two years for the authorities to locate Santos back home in New York, but he was eventually charged with theft by deception, according to a brief mention in The Star, a local newspaper in York County. In May 2021, the paper reported, the case was dismissed under a provision of Pennsylvania law that allows misdemeanor charges to be dropped when a prosecutor consents and “satisfaction has been made to the aggrieved person.”

Indeed, the farmer said he was finally paid for his four dogs. In his handwritten bank ledger, he wrote: “George Santos reimburse bad ck.”
A man who stole puppies is still sitting in Congress! What is this country coming to? Here’s the Washington Post’s copy of the bounced puppy check, clearly saying “puppies.”

Lock him up!

*Don’t forget to have a look at Nellie Bowles’s patented and snarky take on the news on Bari Weiss’s substack; this week’s is called “TGIF: Real Housewives of the SOTU.” Here are three of her reports:

→ Don’t shoot the spy balloon, it’s my friend: The culture war came for the spy balloon. And for some godforsaken reason, the American Left decided they are pro-spy balloon, or at least spy balloon-agnostic. Here’s MSNBC’s Chris Hayes: “Digging real real deep to try to get myself to care about the Chinese spy balloon and coming up empty.”

The strangest take came from Bill Kristol, who has become truly Twitter-brained: “If the balloon had anti-black history messages stenciled on it, or if it were dropping anti-trans pamphlets down to earth, or if it were broadcasting denunciations of wokeness non-stop, MAGA would be pro-balloon. They’d be welcoming the balloon. They’d be worshiping the balloon.”

Listen, Chris, Bill, my buddies, I know you’re angry that we all saw the spy balloon and thought, “Let’s get rid of that spy balloon.” But I promise you: The Chinese Communist Party has other ways to spy on us (TikTok, for example). At least try to pretend in public that you’re not rooting for the CCP!

→ Any news about the Jews? Surely people are talking about a different minority this week—maybe Gypsies, maybe the Kurds? Nope, still Jews. Joe Rogan’s podcast blasts through our home (the baby can fall asleep only to the sounds of a bro, very close to a microphone, explaining crypto). Well, this week Rogan started talking about Ilhan Omar, the progressive congresswoman from Minnesota, and how she doesn’t need to apologize for her past antisemitic comments at all. He said this: “The idea that Jews are not into money is ridiculous. That’s like saying Italians aren’t into pizza.” His interlocutor Krystal Ball didn’t call him out, but she did segue seamlessly from Jews loving money right into Israeli politics.

→ Kamala puff piece gone horribly wrong: Kamala Harris, America’s absent stepmom, the border czar who didn’t really feel like doing border stuff, can’t catch a break. When The New York Times went to profile her, the Kamala team gave them a list of friends to call.It didn’t go well, or as the reporters wrote: “Even some Democrats whom her own advisers referred reporters to for supportive quotes confided privately that they had lost hope in her.”

I love an eccentric San Franciscan with wacky politics and wacky shoes, and I think Kamala should come home. As someone who couldn’t cut it on the East Coast, I want to tell you that it’s okay, Madame Vice President. I also don’t want to march along the border! I’m writing this in my pajamas. Come back west and we can go on a hike and have an afternoon at the med spa. This is what we’re meant for.

Check out the shoes.

*Bowles also wrote about Biden’s SOTU address, callng it a “nice job.” Andrew Sullivan was even more lavish with the praise in his weekly Substack column:

Perhaps most important was Biden’s decorum and cheerfulness — in contrast to the GOP’s aggressive surliness. He was the smiling cat to Marjorie Taylor Greene’s version of a scowling Real Housewife. He was playful. He toyed with the Republican rabble like a restaurant reviewer toying with his food. And here’s something that is perhaps the perfectly not-Trump passage:

Some Republicans — some Republicans want Medicare and Social Security to sunset.  I’m not saying it’s a majority — other Republicans say — I’m not saying it’s a majority of you.  I don’t even think it’s a significant — but it’s being proposed by individuals. I’m not — politely not naming them, but it’s being proposed by some of you.

Why is this not-Trump? It’s sophisticated and irrefutable, as opposed to crude and wrong. He is both bashing the GOP over the head with a big club, and showing he’s being fair, by acknowledging it isn’t all of them. As they heckled and booed, he merrily bantered. The faux-politeness was very old-school and reassuring that normalcy was returning. This was a reboot of the Clinton-Gingrich dynamic. Which was primarily good for Clinton.

He’s always faulted Biden for being too woke (and I have to say that Uncle Joe has turned out woker than I expected), but adds that Biden hid that stuff in his address as part of a re-election strategy:

And by highlighting the hideous police murder of Tyre Nichols, Biden was also able to call for reform without any white-black connotations. Defund the police? “White supremacy”? Not a word. Fast-tracking children with gender dysphoria into medicalization? Crickets. Just this: “Let’s also pass the bipartisan Equality Act to ensure LGBTQ Americans, especially transgender young people, can live with safety and dignity.” Pretty much interest-group boilerplate.

The strategy is obvious: don’t mention the woke shit. Even though it’s at full tilt in his administration’s policies to socially re-engineer America, better not to engage at all. Just keep the focus on the economy, on America First populist themes, and on a return to normalcy, i.e. all the popular Trump stuff and none of the cray-cray. And when the GOP talks about nothing other than wokeness, because they remain an incoherent mess on policy as a whole, it makes them seem a bit nutty and lacking in perspective. When Sarah Huckabee Sanders is your opponent, it’s an easy Biden win. When he’s talking jobs and she’s talking CRT, he’s gonna win.

Sullivan then judges Biden against what may be his opponent in next year’s campaign: Ron DeSantis:

Up against DeSantis? Not so sure. DeSantis can talk policy and wokeness, has a record of governing decisiveness, and makes Biden look very old. And this is where Biden is eschewing the Clinton model. Bill knew that he needed to inoculate himself firmly against the left to regain the center — and so ramped up immigration control, passed a tough crime bill, and came out swinging against marriage equality. But Biden’s party is far further left than Clinton’s, and although Biden’s talk has changed quite a lot, he has yet to do anything that would provide a clear clash with the far left. Maybe he fears he would break his party. Maybe he just doesn’t want to go there. Or maybe that too is shifting. . . 

Sullivan’s judgment in the end:

But this week was Biden at his best. He reassured reluctant supporters like yours truly. The whole event felt familiar, his good cheer infectious, and his emphases smart. Whether he can keep this up, and adjust his policies toward the center more, we’ll just have to see.

Against Trump, he’s a decent bet. Against DeSantis, it’s iffier. Against mortality, it’s just a question of when.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili makes a witticism:

Hili: All options are on the table.
A: You are on the table.
Hili: Together with all my options
In Polish:
Hili: Wszystkie opcje są na stole.
Ja: Ty jesteś na stole.
Hili: Razem z moimi opcjami.
And there is a picture of Kulka with the caption: “The last photo from this series taken by Paulina.” (“Ostatnie z tej serii zdjęć zrobionych przez Paulinę”.)


From The Cat House on the

From Cole & Marmalade:

From America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy. One wonders. . .

A Chicago squirrel hit the jackpot, nabbing a whole bagel! Now if it was a truly Jewish squirrel, it would also have a schmear. Photo by Jean Greenberg:

From Masih, with the Farsi translation below:

This is the picture of the dance and passion of life of one of the martyrs of the Iranian revolution: #یلدا_آقافضلی . (her name, I presume, which I translated as Yalda Aghafazli  A young protester girl who died suspiciously immediately after being released from prison. He [she?] happily said to his [her?] friend: “It was written on the file that the accused did not express remorse and I was like, ‘Yes, exactly.'”

Reader Amy sent several tweets about Jerry the Cat, who apparently is staff at the de Havilland Aircraft Museum in London Colney, Hertfordshire, England. I have four tweets and will feature one per day. Isn’t Jerry a lovely cat? “Recons” below should be “reckons”.

Here’s the Museum where Jerry lives and works:

From Simon; read the acknowledgments of this scientific paper (on the right side):

From Ruth, who says, “I found these pictures of a cat and a dog comforting each other after escaping from the rubble of a house destroyed in the earthquake in Turkey/Syria (picture supposedly from Syria) very moving.  The Twitter account is of a small leftist newspaper, of which there are a lot in Turkey. Can’t vouch for the correctness of the picture desciption.

From the Auschwitz Museum: a teacher and mentor of children, who died after 6 months in Auschwitz

Tweets from Matthew, amazing camouflage, with a spider looking like a piece of wood. (Translation: “It looks like a piece of wood, but it’s a camouflaged spider! A harmless ‘Epicadus stelloides’, from the crab spider family (Thomisidae). You need to be very attentive not to go unnoticed by such a beautiful and camouflaged animal!”

Ducks are everywhere!

This is a huge group of midge larvae that stay together right after hatching:

8 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. According to the NY Times, the Santos story is even more bizarre: he wrote not just one, but a bunch of bad checks, totaling over $15K, for puppies in Pennsylvania, then showed up with a bunch of puppies at an adoption event on Staten Island. He later claimed his checkbook had been stolen, and got the charges expunged. The lawyer who did this for him now regrets it.


      1. Never take a check as a legal fee to represent a paperhanger.

        Unconscionable conmen make some of the worst clients; they see their lawyer as just another mark.

        1. I believe you. I’ve read somewhere or another that Trump is an unconscionable conman and that he isn’t the best of clients. 😉

  2. On this day:
    660 BC – Traditional date for the foundation of Japan by Emperor Jimmu.

    55 – The death under mysterious circumstances of Tiberius Claudius Caesar Britannicus, heir to the Roman Empire, on the eve of his coming of age clears the way for Nero to become Emperor.

    1534 – Henry VIII of England is recognized as supreme head of the Church of England.

    1794 – First session of United States Senate opens to the public.

    1812 – Massachusetts governor Elbridge Gerry is accused of “gerrymandering” for the first time.

    1826 – University College London is founded as University of London.

    1858 – Bernadette Soubirous’s first vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary occurs in Lourdes, France.

    1938 – BBC Television produces the world’s first ever science fiction television programme, an adaptation of a section of the Karel Čapek play R.U.R., that coined the term “robot”.

    1979 – The Iranian Revolution establishes an Islamic theocracy under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. [That’s currently going well…]

    1990 – Nelson Mandela is released from Victor Verster Prison outside Cape Town, South Africa after 27 years as a political prisoner.

    2020 – COVID-19 pandemic: The World Health Organization officially names the coronavirus outbreak as COVID-19, with the virus being designated SARS-CoV-2.

    1800 – Henry Fox Talbot, English photographer and politician, invented the calotype (d. 1877).

    1847 – Thomas Edison, American engineer and businessman, developed the light bulb and phonograph (d. 1931).

    1915 – Patrick Leigh Fermor, English soldier, author, and scholar (d. 2011).

    1926 – Leslie Nielsen, Canadian-American actor and producer (d. 2010).

    1935 – Gene Vincent, American singer and guitarist (d. 1971).

    1936 – Burt Reynolds, American actor and director (d. 2018).

    1962 – Sheryl Crow, American singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1964 – Sarah Palin, American politician, 9th Governor of Alaska.

    1974 – Alex Jones, American radio show host and conspiracy theorist. [Still hasn’t coughed up for his misdeeds, I presume?]

    Taken out of production:
    1650 – René Descartes, French mathematician and philosopher (b. 1596).

    1862 – Elizabeth Siddal, English poet and artist’s model (b. 1829).

    1868 – Léon Foucault, French physicist and academic (b. 1819).

    1931 – Charles Algernon Parsons, English-Irish engineer, invented the steam turbine (b. 1854).

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

    1963 – Sylvia Plath, American poet, novelist, and short story writer (b. 1932).

    1986 – Frank Herbert, American journalist and author (b. 1920).

    2000 – Lord Kitchner, Trinidadian singer (b. 1922).

    2000 – Roger Vadim, French director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1928).

    2006 – Peter Benchley, American author and screenwriter (b. 1940).

    2012 – Whitney Houston, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress (b. 1963).

  3. I hope that the caption on Kulka’s picture just means just the last of a series such as “Kulka in the snow” and not the last of pictures of Kulka by Pauline in general. I have enjoyed her contributions very much.

  4. The strategy is obvious: don’t mention the woke shit. Even though it’s at full tilt in his administration’s policies to socially re-engineer America, better not to engage at all. Just keep the focus on the economy, on America First populist themes, and on a return to normalcy, i.e. all the popular Trump stuff and none of the cray-cray.

    The Dems lost me when they started saying they wanted to “fundamentally transform” America. Not make it better with incremental improvements, but “fundamentally transform” it.

    It is pretty clear that Biden is continuing along these lines but is just not forthcoming about it.

  5. Mice in the genus Peromyscus have been recorded to live nearly as long in captivity. The absence of predators does a mouse body good.

    As for Santos, what a piece of work. Was this a way for him to make it seem like he “rescued” puppies? The Amish are notorious for running puppy mills, so I can’t say I feel bad for the farmers getting stiffed though, personally.

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