Monday: Hili dialogue

March 6, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Monday, March 6, 2023, and this evening I fly to Poland, where two humans and three cats (and cherry pie!) await me. Posting will be light today, and there will be no reader’s wildlife feature (hold onto your photos until I return in 10 days). As always, I do my best.

It’s National Oreo Day, and there are many seasonal varieties that you can try. The best I’ve had was green-tea-cream-filled Oreos sent to me from Japan. I noticed that there are several online places where you can buy them:

It’s also National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day (meh), National Frozen Food Day, Alamo Day (the last day of the siege of the Alamo in 1836), and National Dentist’s Day (given the position of the apostrophe, which dentist are they celebrating?). Finally, it’s European Day of the Righteous, honoring “those who have stood up against crimes against humanity and totalitarianism with their own moral responsibility”, and Foundation Day  on Norfolk Island, marking the founding of that island in 1788. Founded as a penal settlement for the British, it’s now part of Australia (population ca. 2,188). It’s circled below:

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the March 6 Wikipedia page.

Wine of the Day: Looking for an inexpensive but tasty white outside your normal experience? How about this $16 white Bordeaux? I’ve found inexpensive whites from the region uneven, but this one, from the Sauternes region of Bordeaux, was well worth the price. Between light gold and straw colored, it was slightly off-dry but refreshing, with a nose, to me, of peaches and orange peel. Other reviews, like this one by Robert Parker, who rates it 90/100, also mention fruity flavors:

The 2019 Lune d’Argent comes skipping out of the glass with bright, cheery scents of lemon drops, key lime pie and fresh pink grapefruit with suggestions of mandarin peel, honeysuckle and wet pebbles. Medium-bodied, the palate bursts with vibrant citrus flavors and a racy backbone of freshness, finishing with a pretty perfume.

It’s ready to drink, and went well with my usual frugal dinner of chicken thighs (the best part of the pullet), green beans, and rice with plum sauce. I imagine it would pair well with almost any seafood or white meat. A bargain at the price!

Da Nooz:

*The Russians continue their attempt to encircle the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut, helped along by the privately owned paramilitary “Wagner troops,” which include men offered release from jail if they’d fight. The city isn’t yet completely surrounded, but my hopes aren’t high that it won’t be.

With their policy of executing on the spot troopers who attempt to retreat or surrender, and a disregard for losses that is shocking for modern warfare, Wagner’s disposable penal battalions have emerged as a unique threat to Ukrainian defenders, advancing at the time when the regular Russian military remains largely stalled.

No military in a democratic society can keep sending wave after wave of soldiers to near-certain death to gain another few hundred yards. Even Russia’s regular armed forces, known for their high tolerance of casualties, shy away from sending troops on clearly suicidal missions. Yet it is precisely such an approach that has allowed Wagner to come to the verge of capturing Bakhmut, at a cost that Ukrainian and Western officials estimate at tens of thousands of Russian casualties.

Ukraine is also suffering large casualties here that could sap its ability to mount a spring offensive with new weapons supplied by the U.S. and allies. President Volodymyr Zelensky has come under growing pressure to pull back from the eastern city, home to 70,000 people before the war, in what would be Kyiv’s first such significant retreat since last summer. Wagner, which began its assault on Bakhmut in July, keeps inching closer to the remaining two supply roads into the shrinking salient, as its men fight house to house on approaches to the city’s central neighborhoods.

Here’s where Bakhmut is:

The Wagner troops, in their relentless suicidal attacks, and willingness to kill fellow soldier who try to retreat or surrender, resemble the Japanese troops on Pacific islands during WWII:

At times, up to 18 human waves of Wagner troops have attacked a single trench in a 24-hour period, said Sr. Lt. Petro Horbatenko, a battalion commander in the Third Storm Brigade, one of the Ukrainian units on the Bakhmut front.

“A Wagner fighter doesn’t have an option to pull back. Their only chance of survival is to keep moving ahead,” he said. “And this tactic works. It’s a zombie war…They are throwing cannon fodder at us, aiming to cause maximum damage. We obviously can’t respond the same way because we don’t have as much personnel and we are sensitive to losses.”

And the US just anted up another $400 million in military aid to Ukraine, while Attorney General Merrick Garland took a side trip to the city of Lviv to meet with President Zelensky(y).

*Is there ever any good news from Republican states? Not Florida: a new WaPo article kills thee birds with one stone (yes, I know that’s an unapproved pharse) under the headline “Florida bills would ban gender studies, transgender pronouns, and tenure perks.” This involves both K-12 secondary schools and universities‚presumably not private schools and universities. Here are some of the new bills:

One of the bills put forward in the 2023 legislative session builds directly on the parental rights law: House Bill 1223 would expand the ban on gender and sexuality education to extend through eighth grade. That bill also says school staffers, contractors and students cannot be required to use pronouns that do not match the sex a person was assigned at birth.

Well, I’m not as opposed to the pronoun-usage provision, though using preferred pronouns is a simple matter of civility. But requiring their use may violate the First Amendment, so a bill that bans such a requirement may simply be unconstitutional. But I’m not a lawyer.

. . . Florida legislators have introduced two other pieces of similar legislation: the near-identical Senate bill filed by Yarborough and House Bill 1069, brought by Rep. Stan McClain (R-District 27). The latter bill requires that students in grades 6-12 be taught that “sex is determined by biology and reproductive function at birth.” It also grants parents greater power to read over and object to school instructional materials, as well as limit their child’s ability to explore the school library.

Sex is determined by gamete size or whether one has the biological equipment to produce large or small gametes. If they want to be biologically accurate, they should stipulate it that way. I haven’t read the bills, but I can understand why parents are concerned.  Finally, there’s this one:

Another bill on the table is House Bill 999, targeted to higher education and introduced by Rep. Alex Andrade (R-District 2), who did not respond to a request for comment. The bill outlaws spending on diversity, equity and inclusion programs, says a professor’s tenure can come under review at any time and gives boards of trustees — typically appointed by the governor or Board of Governors — control of faculty hiring and curriculum review.

It also eliminates college majors and minors in “Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, or Intersectionality.” It says colleges should offer general education courses that “promote the philosophical underpinnings of Western civilization and include studies of this nation’s historical documents” including the Constitution and the Federalist Papers.

A mixed bag. Until affirmative action is banned, as it will be, strangling DEI funding is a bad move, especially because even without affirmative action there should be some college bureaucrats to support diversity initiatives that don’t involve race-preferential hiring. I don’t in general like legislatures mandating school curricula, though they do have the right to do so. And I no longer care about tenure since I’m retired, but I think it’s a generally good thing in academia and it’s clear that it’s being used here as a political weapon, not to ensure quality education.

All in all, one can see these bills as a reaction to the spread of “progressivism” (i.e., wokeness in colleges), so the extreme Left is reaping what it sowed.

And more news:

The proposed laws have a high likelihood of passing in the State House, where GOP legislators make up a supermajority. Even before Gov. Ron DeSantis’s (R) landslide victory in November, very few Republicans pushed back against his policy proposals, instead crafting and passing bills that align with the governor’s mission to remake education in Florida from kindergarten through college.

*Conductor and author John Mauceri, who happened to be the musical adviser to the acclaimed film “Tár,” has a NYT op-ed called “The Fight Over ‘Tár’ Shows How Much We Conductors Hate One Another.” Remember that I loved that movie, though my cinemaphile nephew Stephen said it didn’t merit consideration as a “Golden Steve” winner. So why did this movie reveal internecine hatred among conductors?

Many of the complaints within the classical music community seem to grow out of a concern that if you write a fictional drama depicting unsavory characters (Lydia is accused of abusing a young female student — though that is never proved in the film), the segment of the moviegoing public who don’t generally attend classical concerts will be driven even further away.

But audiences are smarter than that. “Tár”was released on Oct. 7, 2022. That month streams of Mahler’s Symphony No. 5 — a work that looms large in the film as one Lydia has yet to record with a major orchestra — were up 150 percent from the previous month, according to data provided by Apple. Compared with the previous October, that number had more than tripled. Streaming of Mahler’s Fifth also jumped on Spotify after the release of the film. The “Tár”concept album on Deutsche Grammophon hit No. 1 on the Billboard classical charts. And you can count on it: When my friend Marin Alsop next conducts Mahler’s Fifth, the press will celebrate what surely will be a brilliant performance — and also refer to “Tár.”

But why the rancor?

Fiction or not, the sort of backstage backstabbing depicted in “Tár” is, alas, very real. We conductors do not generally like our colleagues, and we delight in denigrating one another — that is, until one of us dies. (I am now old enough for the younger set — 50 and under — to say nice things about me, which I find somewhat troubling.)

. . .There are many reasons for this. Conductors are competitors. But judging how “good” we are is complicated because we live in a world of opinions, not score cards. Critics respond to the ephemera of our performances with indelible printed words, and far more people read those words than attend our performances. We appear to be all-knowing, grandly wielding a stick and controlling the greatest expressions of humanity, but we are truly in charge only when we are permitted to be in charge.

And it is feminist by presenting

Not all conductors, it should be said, have come out against “Tár,” and especially not all women conductors. After all, the film features a female maestro leading one of the most prestigious orchestras in the world, with a female concertmaster and a female soloist playing the fiendishly difficult Elgar Cello concerto. . . One of the most arresting scenes revolves around a composition by a woman, Anna Thorvaldsdottir. The person who wrote the accompanying music to the film, Hildur Gudnadottir, is a woman. Natalie Murray Beale, who has conducted operas at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, trained Ms. Blanchett. Other successful women conductors have supported the film, including Alice Farnham and Simone Young.

In the end, conductors hate each other for the same reason that nominees for President hate each other: there are many people competing for a very limited number of glamorous and powerful positions.

*California is getting ready to propose some reparations for black people whose ancestors suffered under slavey and segregation. Reparations can take many forms from check to societal changes, but we have no idea what the state is going to do yet:

Nearly two years into the California reparations task force’s work, the group still has yet to make key decisions that will be at the heart of its final report recommending how the state should apologize and compensate Black residents for the harms caused by slavery and discrimination.

A vote possibly slated for this weekend on requirements for who would be eligible for payments and other remedies was delayed because of the absence of one of the committee’s nine members.

After two hours of intense debate, the task force voted unanimously Saturday in favor of an agency that would provide certain services to descendants of Black enslaved people while overseeing groups that provide other services. The vote followed one proposed by task force member Cheryl Grills at a prior meeting to recommend that this entity mainly serve as an oversight body.

Lawmakers passed legislation in 2020 creating the task force to assess how the legacy of slavery harmed African Americans long after its abolition through education, criminal justice and other disparities. The legislation directs the task force to study reparations proposals “with a special consideration for” the descendants of enslaved Black people living in California and is not meant to create a program in lieu of one from the federal government.

The federal government doesn’t have a program, and it probably won’t: a bill to simply study the question has been stuck in Congress since 1989. He’s how California has divided up the issue:

. . . The task force previously proposed the following time frames for the five harms, which begin either when the state was founded or when certain discriminatory policies were implemented: 1933 to 1977 for housing discrimination and homelessness, 1970 to 2020 for over-policing and mass incarceration, 1850 to 2020 for unjust property takings, 1900 to 2020 for health harms, and 1850 to 2020 for devaluation of Black-owned businesses.

The issue of reparations is perhaps the most difficult one to think about during the “racial reckoning,” and I haven’t written about it simply because I haven’t studied all the arguments for and against

*Food news of the week. The Washington Post describes a British woman on a mission from Ceiling Cat:

Frequently featured in shows such as the “Great British Bake Off” or nibbled alongside tea sipped with pinkies raised on “Downton Abbey,” scones are a sentimental piece of British life.

One British woman was so passionate about scones, and U.K. heritage sites, that she combined her love of the two, spending 10 years on a personal mission to visit 244 sites recognized by the National Trust, a century-old conservation charity, and sampling a scone at every location.

Sarah Merker, 49, delighted Britons and made national headlines on Wednesday when she completed what she called her decade-long “odyssey” and bit into her final scone — amid a backdrop of the ocean facing Giant’s Causeway, a historic site in Northern Ireland.

“It’s been absolutely unbelievable,” the global marketing executive from London told The Washington Post in an interview Saturday about her long journey and the attention it’s received. “I’m never, ever sick of scones.”

Merker’s journey began for a practical reason — she and her husband had joined the National Trust charity as annual members in 2013, and Merker set herself the project of visiting every site with catering facilities to ensure her membership would not go unused, like her gym membership.

However, over the years, her mission also took on emotional significance — her husband Peter died of cancer in 2018, and since the couple had enjoyed visiting the National Trust sites together, Merker also saw completing the journey as a way to pay tribute to him.

Apparently each National Trust site has a cafe, and those cafes have scones:

Throughout her journey, she wrote a personal blog detailing what she learned — as well as scoring the scones she tasted out of five. The blog was even turned into a book, highlighting scone recipes by National Trust chefs across the country — as well as eventually gaining her national news coverage.

“People equate the National Trust with the scone — it’s quaint and a bit old fashioned,” she joked, calling her journey a “double whammy of Britishness.”

I don’t care if it’s old-fashioned; I love scones with clotted cream and strawberry jam, and could eat a pile of them (they usually give you two):

Now if every National Trust site only had a pub, one that dispense Tim Taylor Landlord on draft. .

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili still doesn’t like Kulka:

Hili: What are you looking at me like that?
Kulka: I’m wondering what you are going to do now.
In Polish
Hili: Co tak na mnie patrzysz?
Kulka: Zastanawiam się, co teraz zrobisz.


From Now That’s Wild:

From Jean, a Roz Chast cartoon:

From mirandaga:

Reader Pradeep got the bot to write a poem (supposedly in my voice) about ducks! Not a bad job from ChatGPT:

Retweeted by Masih: Schoolgirls and women defiant as they get poisoned in their classrooms, apparently by gas:

From Malcolm. I wouldn’t have wanted to be the guy who manned this lighthouse before automation!

From Luana. This is at Yale Law School?

The pinned tweet of the Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. What does Larry want with his wallet, though?

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Professor Cobb. First, a Cat of Size:

This cat really wants that baguette. Sound up.

And Matthew’s third tweet of the day: a cat-smitten woman adopts a moggy and builds him a house. All ends well in DodoLand (watch to the end). Sound up!

38 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. In more news out of Florida, Mother Jones magazine reports this:

    “Earlier this week, Florida State Sen. Jason Brodeur introduced a bill that would require bloggers to register with the state government when they are paid to write about the governor and other political figures. After registering, bloggers would be forced to file monthly reports listing every one of their posts, how much they were paid for them, and where the money came from. Those who fail to do so could be fined up to $2,500 for each missing report.”

    I do not know what are the chances that this blatant assault on free speech and a free press will pass and become Florida law or whether it would withstand constitutional challenge, but it is indicative of how extreme and authoritarian some Republicans have become.

  2. I’ve been busy and must have missed that you were going to Poland. That’s great! I hope you have a wonderful time.

    1. Jerry mentioned this in a post a few days ago – the sweetener he uses doesn’t use the ingredient mentioned in the Nature article.

  3. On this day:
    632 – The Farewell Sermon (Khutbah, Khutbatul Wada’) of the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

    845 – The 42 Martyrs of Amorium are killed after refusing to convert to Islam.

    1665 – The first joint Secretary of the Royal Society, Henry Oldenburg, publishes the first issue of Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, the world’s longest-running scientific journal.

    1836 – Texas Revolution: Battle of the Alamo: After a thirteen-day siege by an army of 3,000 Mexican troops, the 187 Texas volunteers, including frontiersman Davy Crockett and colonel Jim Bowie, defending the Alamo are killed and the fort is captured.

    1857 – The Supreme Court of the United States rules 7–2 in the Dred Scott v. Sandford case that the Constitution does not confer citizenship on black people.

    1869 – Dmitri Mendeleev presents the first periodic table to the Russian Chemical Society.

    1943 – Norman Rockwell published Freedom from Want in The Saturday Evening Post with a matching essay by Carlos Bulosan as part of the Four Freedoms series.

    1951 – Cold War: The trial of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg begins.

    1964 – Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad officially gives boxing champion Cassius Clay the name Muhammad Ali.

    1967 – Cold War: Joseph Stalin’s daughter Svetlana Alliluyeva defects to the United States.

    1975 – For the first time the Zapruder film of the assassination of John F. Kennedy is shown in motion to a national TV audience by Robert J. Groden and Dick Gregory.

    1987 – The British ferry MS Herald of Free Enterprise capsizes in about 90 seconds, killing 193.

    1988 – Three Provisional Irish Republican Army volunteers are shot dead by the SAS in Gibraltar in Operation Flavius.

    1475 – Michelangelo, Italian painter and sculptor (d. 1564).

    1619 – Cyrano de Bergerac, French author and playwright (d. 1655).

    1806 – Elizabeth Barrett Browning, English-Italian poet and translator (d. 1861).

    1893 – Ella P. Stewart, pioneering Black American pharmacist (d. 1987).

    1906 – Lou Costello, American actor and comedian (d. 1959).

    1917 – Frankie Howerd, English comedian (d. 1992). [Titter ye not!]

    1923 – Wes Montgomery, American guitarist and songwriter (d. 1968).

    1927 – Gabriel García Márquez, Colombian journalist and author, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2014).

    1944 – Kiri Te Kanawa, New Zealand soprano and actress.

    1944 – Mary Wilson, American singer (d. 2021).

    1946 – David Gilmour, English singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1992 – Sam Bankman-Fried, American businessman. [Currently in deep doo doo, I believe…]

    Deader than a doornail:
    1888 – Louisa May Alcott, American novelist and poet (b. 1832).

    1932 – John Philip Sousa, American conductor and composer (b. 1854).

    1935 – Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., American colonel, lawyer, and jurist (b. 1841).

    1951 – Ivor Novello, Welsh singer-songwriter and actor (b. 1893).

    1961 – George Formby, English singer-songwriter and actor (b. 1904).

    1967 – Nelson Eddy, American actor and singer (b. 1901).

    1982 – Ayn Rand, Russian-American philosopher, author, and playwright (b. 1905).

    1986 – Georgia O’Keeffe, American painter (b. 1887).

    2005 – Tommy Vance, English radio host (b. 1943). [One of the first radio hosts in the United Kingdom to broadcast hard rock and heavy metal in the early 1980s, providing the only national radio forum for both bands and fans, The Friday Rock Show. His voice was heard by millions around the world announcing the Wembley Stadium acts at Live Aid in 1985.]

    2013 – Alvin Lee, English singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1944).

    2016 – Nancy Reagan, American actress, 42nd First Lady of the United States (b. 1921).

    1. Fun fact: Tommy Vance’s real name was Richard Anthony Crispian Francis Prew Hope-Weston. According to Wikipedia:

      Moving to Vancouver in pursuit of his first wife, Fern, in 1964, he joined KOL Seattle as its prime drive-time jock. The programme had originally been intended for another presenter who had pulled out of the deal at the last moment, the jingles and pre-launch publicity could not go to waste continuing under the name “Tommy Vance”, “The station asked if I would take the name as they had already made the jingles for him. I said, for that kind of money you can call me what you like, mate”.

    2. Ah, Dick Gregory! Haven’t thought of him in a long time. He performed at my college, and I brought one of his books for him to sign. I don’t remember his comedy routine in detail, but I do remember busting a gut laughing so hard at it. 🤣
      Also, since Jerry loves Kiri so much, I offer this on her birthday anniversary:

  4. Pensées:
    1. Norfolk Island Pines are often sold in shops as ‘living Christmas trees’ but have their needles sprayed with glitter that prevents transpiration, so most die quickly. We had one that survived and came to dominate our living room, which fortunately had a cathedral ceiling. It stayed with the house when we moved, and I believe the new owners did something horrible…
    2.Tár: Female conductors seem to be competing to claim the character is based on them and how dare they portray me that way? See Marin Alsop’s very vocal complaints. If the shoe fits…
    3. Scones. There’s a little knack to making them, but once you have it they are quick, easy and delicious still warm from the oven! Just like croissants and bagels, bought ones cannot compare unless you have the option of buying them as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Try it out, and a great starter recipe is from my friend John:
    4. Hope your trip is simple and easy, Jerry, and that you don’t get groped again.

    1. What a nice, simple, yet complete, “how to” video for scones! Will plan on it (the scones not the video) for next Sunday morning breakfast when kids and grandkids have spent the night. Thanks.

  5. Things don’t all seem to be rosy for the Wagner group in Bakhmut. According to the BBC:

    The head of Russia’s Wagner private army has said it is not getting the ammunition it needs from Moscow, as it seeks to gain control of Bakhmut.

    Russian troops – from Wagner and regular Russian forces – are trying to seize the eastern city from Ukraine.

    But Wagner boss Yevgeny Prigozhin has complained of a lack of ammunition, saying it could be “ordinary bureaucracy or a betrayal”.

    Relations between Wagner and Moscow seem increasingly tense.

  6. Re:reparations, is anybody thinking of asking the West and Centre African countries for some money? These are the heirs of the kingdoms who first started to enslave and sell weaker tribes’s members to greedy Arab and European merchants but nobody ever remembers this

    1. *California is getting ready to propose some reparations for black people whose ancestors suffered under slavey and segregation. Reparations can take many forms from check to societal changes” I will get behind attempts for legitimate and just reparations for black people AFTER there has been legitimate and just reparations for the 574 Federally Recognized US Indian Tribes.

      1. Are you going to give back the land your home sits on and go back to where your ancestors came from? Nothing’s stopping you. You don’t have to wait for the government to act for you. If not, why do you think someone else should be compelled to give back theirs?

  7. According to my daughter Ana, the argument about whether to pronounce scone with a long “o” ( “sk-OH-n) or a short one (“skonn”) is best resolved through compromise. Before you eat one it is pronounced the first way and afterwards “it’s skonn”. (This post isn’t working in writing and needs reading out loud…)

  8. Anybody wonder why only schoolgirls, not their teachers or other bystanders, are being affected by this mysterious gas blown on the winds? Fortunately none of the girls has been put forward as seriously injured. I”m sure they are sincerely frightened. There is a not trivial danger that people can be crushed in mass panics, though, especially in buildings with few exits. I do hope someone gets to the bottom of what’s happening here before someone is hurt.

  9. You can tell the duck poem is by a “fake” Jerry Coyne, because the real one has mentioned here several times that in mallards, only females make the loud calls.

  10. There is at least one pub owned by the National Trust – the Fleece at Bretforton which is near Evesham, Worcestershire.

  11. It looks to me as if those are Chinese green tea-filled Oreos, not Japanese – well, they’re labeled in Chinese and not Japanese.

  12. As there is a story about scones, I’ll post a silly limerick which came to me during a moment of boredom this week.

    There once was a linguist called John
    Who went to the store for a scone.
    But they only had scones
    So he gave out some groans
    Before finally purchasing one.

  13. Have a grand time in Poland…among other things, I’m sure you’ll be very busy giving fusses to all three cuties. Can’t wait for some photos of professor ceiling cat with couch cat.

    Re. the cherry pie(s)…since cherry season is far off, will they be made from cherries that have been canned from last season?

  14. To start your trip to Poland, try to pronounce the Polish word for “violin” correctly.
    Then try to spell it. This could fill up your air travel time on the way to Poland. Then follow it up with the Polish word for “everyone”. Then read The Onion’s old piece on Serbia’s troubles where an old Serbian woman thanks the US for its aerial drop of
    vowels, the absence of which were putting Serbia in danger of collapse.

  15. I predict reparations are going to happen, but they will never be intended as a final compensation for slavery. Germany has compensated some Nazi victims more than once, despite an understandable interest in a one-off payment (paying compensation for all damages caused during WW2 is never going to be possible). Similarly, Americans will probably settle on paying an appreciable sum of money with some terms and conditions, but decide after a while that the payment was insufficient. I wonder what the ripple effects on other countries will be.

    1. Commenting on an American political question only because you mentioned foreign countries.

      Speaking as a resident of one of those other countries, I am hoping that the social chaos and predation that will result from dumping 1.5 million dollars into the laps of every family of five will soundly deter all other countries from even thinking about it. The vicious, resentful squabbling between those considered eligible and those passed over for being not black enough (as some black activists have argued), and the violence incited by the passed over at the arbitrators of the cash dispensary will be entertaining to watch.

      From a safe distance.
      We have been paying

      1. Ignore the fragment, “We have been paying”. I have only a tiny window in which to type and I can’t always see random thought fragments that find their way to the keyboard that shouldn’t have.

  16. There’s even more to the Florida bill than what you noted here. It also bans student groups and clubs (if they funding from the school) from expressing views supposedly supportive of “critical race theory” and “gender studies” just like Professors, and even more bizarrely, bans professors from supporting “theoretical concepts” which is probably aimed at postmodernism, but could also be used by religious fundamentalists to target evolution (

  17. From John Mauceri’s op-ed about “Tar”:

    ” . . . a fictional drama about depicting unsavory characters (Lydia is accused of abusing a young female student – though that is never proved in the film).”

    Specifically what is the character of the above “abuse”? Why make such a point of saying it is “never proved,” especially if it is (only) verbal, as opposed to physical/sexual? Is Mauceri trying to protect this fictional character as if she were a real-life person? A crafty abuser strives to keep abuse from being subject to evidence and proof. Why couldn’t or shouldn’t the movie just as easily be written to prove the abuse? Or written to prove her not guilty of physical/sexual abuse, albeit perhaps a bullying verbal abuser?

    Is his saying this something of a “spoiler alert”? For which I am grateful to know before hand as opposed to not finding out until I’m in the middle of the movie, as the prospect of physical or sexual abuse, or even only bullying verbal abuse, is not a “carrot” to prompt me to see a movie. (But I gather some folks get into that.) Or, if I somehow unavoidably had to see it, I would be struggling mightily to resist rooting for someone to return the abuse in-kind.

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