Saturday: Hili dialogue

April 1, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Saturday and April Fools’ Day, as well as shabbos for Jewish cats. Don’t worry, I won’t try to fool you on April 1, 2023—or any other day.

Foodwise, it’s National Burrito Day (some say April 1, others April 6), but as I write this (on Friday afternoon), I plan to head for dinner to a local place for chiles rellenos, my go-to Mexican dish and the one I use to test the mettle of a kitchen in a Mexican restaurant I haven’t tried.

Below, a photo of that dish, which originated in Puebla, Mexico (I’ve had it there). I prefer it with just cheese inside, and if the cheese isn’t hot and gooey, forget it! And the peppers must be fresh and with a distinct vegetal flavor.

It’s these Food Months, too:

National Florida Tomato Month
National BLT Sandwich Month
National Soft Pretzel Month
National Soyfoods Month
National Grilled Cheese Month
National Garlic Month
April 12-18: National Egg Salad Week [a whole week for egg salad?]

It’s also International Firewalk Day, National Sourdough Bread Day, National Trombone Players Day, National Fun Day, the first day of Mathematics and Statistics Awareness Month, Lupus Alert Day, Boomer Bonus Days, honoring my g-g-g-generation, Edible Book Day, and Fossil Fools Day. For more about April Fools’ Day and its origins (it may go back to Chaucer), go here.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the April 1 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Trump is going to turn himself in to the law on Tuesday, and so the show begins But what’s almost as reprehensible as Trump’s behavior is the rush of big-name Republicans to condemn the indictment, as if somehow Trump was above the law. The best any Republicans can do is say, “no comment”.  From the NYT:

Even as top House Republicans, including Speaker Kevin McCarthy, rushed to condemn the indictment of Mr. Trump in a hush-money case, Mr. McConnell has avoided weighing in. But while Mr. McConnell represents only a sliver of the party, he’s not alone.

John Thune, the Senate’s No. 2 Republican, whose criticism of G.O.P. attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election had drawn Mr. Trump’s ire, has also remained mum about the former president’s indictment.

And a few others who say nothing, while the rest condemn the indictment:

Here are other high-profile Republicans who appear to be avoiding commenting on Mr. Trump’s prosecution:

  • Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota, an ally of the former president who has been discussed as a potential running mate for his 2024 White House run. A spokesman for Ms. Noem did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

  • Liz Cheney, one of Mr. Trump’s harshest critics in the Republican Party. The former Wyoming representative lost a primary last August to a Trump-backed challenger after voting to impeach Mr. Trump. A spokesman for Ms. Cheney said on Friday that she had no plans to comment about Mr. Trump’s impending arrest at this time.

  • Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor who is considering a 2024 run for president and recently vowed that he would never support Mr. Trump again. A spokesman for Mr. Christie highlighted a Fox News appearance by him before the indictment, during which Mr. Christie called the Manhattan district attorney’s investigation “partisan.” Mr. Christie is also set to appear on “This Week” on ABC on Sunday, the spokesman said.

  • Gov. Chris Sununu of New Hampshire, who is also flirting with a presidential run, appears to be keeping mum as well. His office did not immediately respond to a message on Friday.

  • Larry Hogan, another former G.O.P. governor who has criticized Mr. Trump in the past, also appeared to be abstaining. Mr. Hogan, from Maryland, announced this month that he would not run for president in 2024. A request for comment for Mr. Hogan was left on Friday with a representative for his super PAC.

*Meanwhile, over at his new mouthpiece Truth Social, Trump has shown his immaturity not just by upping the level of his tantrums, but by failing to spell correctly. In fact, he misspells the most important word in this “tweet”:

If you look up the word “hyperbole” in the dictionary, you’ll find Trump’s picture next to it.  Yesterday he said something like “this is the greatest political persecution in history.”  That just goes to show he knows nothing about world history.

*Over at The Free Press, Nellie Bowles has her weekly and snarky take on this news, called this week, “TGIF: Showndown Edition.” I’ll put up three items from it.

→ Differently fentanyl: The White House is pushing Congress to nix the term substance abuse from agency names like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Advocates want the agencies to instead use more “neutral” terms like substance use disorder that they say will decrease stigma. You see, there’s no such thing as abusing substances, just using them really enthusiastically!

This is part of a broader effort to rebrand addiction as a disease, much like obesity. Yes, the White House wants it to be the National Institute on Drug Use. Saying drug abuse is too mean. Who cares that record numbers of people are dying from overdoses—the White House needs to spend the next year making sure addicts don’t feel stigmatized by any words on info packets that might imply they have a problem.

→ Wait, you want the toddler killer prosecuted? A Bay Area county is up in arms as the region’s new prosecutor, Pamela Price, weighs a gentler treatment for a toddler’s killer. In a daytime gunfight between two rival gangs shooting it out on a major highway, someone accidentally shot and killed Jasper Wu, a toddler of Chinese descent riding in the backseat of a passing car. Now, the district attorney is accusing the Chinese communities of simply not understanding “transformative justice practices.”

I recommend reading her whole letter. It is an incredible document.

→ He would win from jail: Holy Rachel Maddow! The Resistance rises! Trump was officially indicted by a Manhattan grand jury on Thursday night. The crime for which he’s accused: using campaign funds to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels. We will monitor this situation closely. With his arrest, MSNBC and CNN are back, baby! The clink of his cuffs is also the sound of 1,000 new hires getting signed at The Washington Post. There were literal gasps among producers at Fox:

The big news to me is we are now a country where the opposition party spends years working to jail the last president—and might just succeed.

*Andrew Sullivan’s column this week, The Sunak-Starmer Re-Balancing Act“, is on British politics, in particular the general election. His take:

If you recall the last British general election, back in 2019, you may remember a — how to put this? — colorful contrast. The bumptious buffoon, Boris, for the Tories, and the anti-semitic socialist, Jeremy Corbyn, made a populist duo of sorts — both insurgents, both rebels, both darlings of the furthermost wings of their respective parties, both with bad hair, ill-fitting clothes, and bad teeth.

And now look, just three and a half years later: the diminutive, slickly-dressed technocrat, Rishi Sunak, and the boringly pudgy centrist, Keir Starmer. Both rose through the meritocratic ranks, won plaudits from their fellow partisans, wooed the Establishment, and both represent the inklings of the way British politics usually has been: no huge surprises, no massive polarizing divides, just a sharp but civil contest for the center.

I wrote recently of the promise of DeSantis and Biden in re-balancing American politics, toward a saner middle. I think something similar could be happening with Sunak and Starmer in my native land. Which is, I hasten to add, encouraging.

The basic politics remains starkly in Starmer’s favor. Labour’s lead in the opinion polls is almost 2-1. If Keir doesn’t become the next prime minister, I’ll be smacked right in the gob. After Boris’ endless lies and Liz Truss’ spontaneous combustion, the Tories have yet to recover meaningfully. They’ve been in power continuously since 2010, and it’s time for a change. Views of the economy are in the toilet. The Tory government seems like a dead parrot squawking. A new election will happen next year.

*Reporting a protest against the lenient rules of the Canadian Powerlifting Union on the participation of transgender women in women’s lifting, the National Review describes a stunt by a biological male weightlifter who decided to atually compete against women lifters by declaring he’s a woman  (h/t Bill):

A male Canadian powerlifting coach broke the Alberta women’s bench-press record over the weekend in an act of protest against the presiding organization’s extremely lenient trans-inclusion policy.

Avi Silverberg, who does not identify as transgender, participated in the 84+ kg category at the Canadian Powerlifting Union’s (CPU) “Heroes Classic.”

Silverberg bested transgender-identifying male competitor Anne Andres, who watched him from the audience.

The CPU hasn’t updated its gender-eligibility rules in about five years, Ontario-based female powerlifter April Hutchinson told National Review. Men need only to declare themselves women in order to join the women’s division and are not required to suppress their testosterone levels as a prerequisite for participation.

Many national and international governing bodies for other high-performance and niche sports require male participants to maintain testosterone levels within a specified limit and to have identified as trans for multiple years in order to compete against women. However, the CPU only requires that lifters present a passport listing the sex they’re seeking to compete against.

Hutchinson was supposed to face Andres — the same transgender-identifying man who Silverberg just defeated — in her weight class at the Vancouver national tournament in February, but refused to compete in an act of protest after watching Andres’s behavior on the circuit.

Since taking up women’s powerlifting in 2019, Andres has quickly risen through the ranks, securing a bronze medal at nationals and the Alberta 84+ kg bench press record, before Silverberg snatched it from him.

At the Western Canadian Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships last September, Andres bench pressed 270 lbs., defeating multiple women in the Women’s Raw 185+ Open.

This is the craziness of allowing unmodified biological men who simply declare themselves to be women to compete against biological women. In this case, the outcome was of course entirely predictable. As for the passport declaring that he’s a woman, Silverberg must have been able to get one simply by saying he’s a woman. He doesn’t even say he identifies as transgender. And this is why we need to either ban transgender women from women’s sports or have good data showing which surgical/chemical modifications level the playing field for trans women (something almost impossible to find out).

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, it looks as if Hili will never make it up with Baby Kulka:

A: Why did you hiss at Kulka again?
Hili: It’s my constitutional right.
In Polish:
Ja: Dlaczego znowu syczałaś na Kulkę?
Hili: Na mocy konstytucji.


From Stash Krod, an interpretation of the Second Amendment from a deceased Supreme Court Chief Justice:

From Jesus of the Day. It may take you a few seconds to get:

Also from Jesus of the Day:

A tweet from Masih:

An “inspirational tweet” from Barry:

A Caturday tweet sent by gravelinspector:


From Simon, who decries the scumbag for being arrogant on his own recording:

From Dom, showing how dramatically the life expectancy of Americans has declined in recent years.

From the Auschwitz Memorial; twin girls murdered at 14, perhaps as one of Mengele’s “twin” experiments:

Tweets from Matthew Cobb. First, an amazing cryptic moth:


This is true, and I’m gonna write about this paper very soon:

25 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili dialogue

  1. I think it was Sullivan who pointed out that in the UK we have a Pakistani and an Indian arguing over the partition of Great Britain. Churchill will be rolling in his grave!

    1. Forget Churchill. The great-nephew of Mountbatten of Burma (respectively Big-Ears the Third and the last Viceroy of India) would probably have a few qualms about it too – and know well enough to keep his fly-trap shut.
      I remember drilling a well with an Indian and a Pakistani mud logger on day versus night shifts, while India and Pakistan were threatening to lob nukes at each other ant the well was trying to do an Ocean Odyssey on us. That was a fraught week, with critical personnel unable to talk to each other, or even hand over at their posts, without rowing about the latest news. Much shuffling for me between workshop and galley at shift change.
      (Yes, they were both citizens of the respective countries, not the UK. They didn’t need work permits for offshore UK – but they couldn’t get residence or visitor visas and had to work 3 months on and 1 month off to stay legal, rotating to the Norwegian and Danish sectors before their leave came up.)

  2. Two hundred seventy five pounds doesn’t seem like much of a bench press for a 180 lb competitor at the national championship level.

    1. It isn’t. Silverberg benched 369 lbs, easily shattering the existing “women’s” record held by the trans athlete. More men need to mock these mediocre guys who get glee defeating women in such sports.

      In the link below, you can watch the record-breaking bench press. Just below that video is one of the trans athlete being a complete jackass in verbally mocking his female competitors.

  3. “At the Western Canadian Powerlifting and Bench Press Championships last September, Andres bench pressed 270 lbs….” From the rest of that article, I assume that was in the +84 kg weight class, which comes to about 185 pounds.

    If I’m reading this right, and the “actual” transgender person won a competition with that press, they were benching less than I did when I was 15 years old, 30 pounds lighter (155 pounds), and 5’6″, as I benched 285 at the time. And it’s not like I even regularly trained with weights! I was just an athlete in the gym seeing how much I could bench. It was just something I tried for the hell of it. Wow, the difference sure is obscenely stark.

    Doing a little searching, it seems that second place in the IPF world competition in the female +84 kg class was exactly what I benched at 15 years old, when I was 30 pounds lighter and had absolutely no weight training or desire to become a better lifter: “Mahailya Reeves won the +84-kilogram weight class very comfortably, since the girl closest to her trailed by 129.5 kilograms (285.5 pounds).”

    1. Yes carbon. You have confirmed what drove me to make comment 2 above. My memory of my own experience 50+ years ago was benching 315 when I was 20 y.o. In 181lb class. I did lift regularly but thought that with today’s real training methods, both men and women would have moved far beyond what we achieved in our unorganized training many years ago.

    2. I am just happy that a man mocked a man who was mocking women. If enough men start to do this, the movement to establish fair competition might actually succeed.

  4. On this day:
    [A good day for national air forces.]

    1873 – The White Star steamer SS Atlantic sinks off Nova Scotia, killing 547 in one of the worst marine disasters of the 19th century.

    1918 – The Royal Air Force is created by the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.

    1924 – Adolf Hitler is sentenced to five years imprisonment for his participation in the “Beer Hall Putsch” but spends only nine months in jail.

    1924 – The Royal Canadian Air Force is formed.

    1933 – The recently elected Nazis under Julius Streicher organize a one-day boycott of all Jewish-owned businesses in Germany, ushering in a series of anti-Semitic acts.

    1937 – The Royal New Zealand Air Force is formed as an independent service.

    1939 – Spanish Civil War: Generalísimo Francisco Franco of the Spanish State announces the end of the Spanish Civil War, when the last of the Republican forces surrender.

    1954 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorizes the creation of the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

    1960 – The TIROS-1 satellite transmits the first television picture from space.

    1969 – The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first operational fighter aircraft with Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing capabilities, enters service with the Royal Air Force.

    1970 – President Richard Nixon signs the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law.

    1973 – Project Tiger, a tiger conservation project, is launched in the Jim Corbett National Park, India.

    1976 – Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak found Apple Computer, Inc.

    1979 – Iran becomes an Islamic republic by a 99% vote, officially overthrowing the Shah.

    2001 – Same-sex marriage becomes legal in the Netherlands, the first contemporary country to allow it.

    2004 – Google launches its Email service Gmail.

    1578 – William Harvey, English physician and academic (d. 1657).

    1647 – John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester, English poet and courtier (d. 1680).

    1776 – Sophie Germain, French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (d. 1831).

    1815 – Otto von Bismarck, German lawyer and politician, 1st Chancellor of the German Empire (d. 1898).

    1868 – Edmond Rostand, French poet and playwright (d. 1918).

    1873 – Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1943).

    1929 – Milan Kundera, Czech-born novelist, poet, and playwright.

    1932 – Debbie Reynolds, American actress, singer, and dancer (d. 2016).

    1939 – Ali MacGraw, American model and actress.

    1946 – Ronnie Lane, English bass player, songwriter, and producer (d. 1997).

    1949 – Gil Scott-Heron, American singer-songwriter and author (d. 2011).

    There is no reason for him to be in a strange land, the Duck of Death holding him close, saying, Yes, today is the day, or No, not yet: [With apologies to Suzanne Hayes.]

    1580 – Alonso Mudarra, Spanish guitarist and composer (b. 1510).

    1917 – Scott Joplin, American pianist and composer (b. 1868).

    1976 – Max Ernst, German painter and sculptor (b. 1891).

    1984 – Marvin Gaye, American singer-songwriter (b. 1939).

    2020 – Marcus Clawrelius, our stoical toothless cat.

  5. The brief, yet quite informative video about how to Find Out has me in a quandary over the complexity of the behind the scenes mathematics used to formulate the quantities of the x and y axes. So current experience tells me I should try to move my efforts further from the point of origin.

    1. I take it as a vindication of the “bumper sticker” (meme?) I mentioned recently, that “if we knew what we were doing, we couldn’t call it ‘research’ “. Not knowing what you’re doing, but doing it anyway could be used as a description of “fucking about”, which the graph indicates, is necessary to find anything out.
      I find it moderately reassuring that the presenter had at least one previous take at the video – look at the not-quite-erased lines on the whiteboard.
      When are DEI and inclusivity pecksniffs going to tackle that mainstay of institutional racism, the whiteboard?

      1. I am not surprised that there would be fuckery about whiteboards, and not surprised that DEI recognizes the issue for the wrong reasons. As an instructor, I have also come to detest whiteboards and very much prefer good ‘ol chalk blackboards. But that is only bc whiteboards suck.

  6. the White House needs to spend the next year making sure addicts don’t feel stigmatized by any words on info packets that might imply they have a problem.

    Is there any truth in the argument that people are more likely to seek help for a drug problem if they don’t feel it is stigmatised?

    1. According to Standpoint Theory, authority is rooted in the perspective and knowledge of the people concerned — and this is what the people taking drugs have said.

      Next up is the new ad campaign, which will use such pithy and provocative slogans as “It’s No Big Deal,” “Lend Them a $100,” and “Lay Off, Will You? I Can Stop Whenever I Want.”

  7. Roald Dahl wrote a short story about the sounds plants make when they’re cut. “The Sound Machine” 1949. I remember reading it as a kid about being a little freaked out.

    1. Back in the 1970s, the Harvard Lampoon published a spoof article on “thinking plants.” One line has always stayed with me: “Grass has been shown to “laugh” when the lawn next door is mowed.”

    2. And here is a passage from Ian Fleming’s Moonraker, published in 1955. James Bond watches policewoman Gala Brand pick a flower:

      Triumphantly she found a bee orchis and picked it.

      “You wouldn’t do that if you knew that flowers scream when they are picked,” said Bond.

      Gala looked at him. “What do you mean?” she asked, suspecting a joke.

      “Didn’t you know?” He smiled at her reaction. “There’s an Indian called Professor Bhose, who’s written a treatise on the nervous system of flowers. He measured their reaction to pain. He even recorded the scream of a rose being picked. It must be one of the most heartrending sounds in the world. I heard something like it as you picked that flower.”

      “I don’t believe it,” she said, looking suspiciously at the torn root. “Anyway,” she said maliciously, “I wouldn’t have thought you were a person to get sentimental. Don’t people in your section of the Service make a business of killing? And not just flowers either. People.”

      “Flowers can’t shoot back,” said Bond.

      She looked at the orchis. “Now you’ve made me feel like a murderer. It’s very unkind of you. But,” she admitted reluctantly, “I shall have to find out about this Indian and if you’re right I shall never pick a flower again as long as I live. What am I to going to do with this one? You make me feel it’s bleeding all over my hands.”

      “Give it to me,” said Bond. “According to you, my hands are dripping with blood already. A little more won’t hurt.”

      She handed it to him and their hands touched. “You can stick it in the muzzle of your revolver,” she said to cover the flash of contact.

  8. I love the fact that a seaside resort in Lancashire is now a metric for low life-expectancy. For American readers, Lancashire occupies about 1/17th of an area the size of Wales.

    1. That’s helpful only to those of us residents of North America who know how big Wales is. We are vaguely aware on a good day that Wales is run by a prince.

  9. “The bumptious buffoon, Boris, for the Tories, and the anti-semitic socialist, Jeremy Corbyn . . . both with bad hair, ill-fitting clothes, and bad teeth . . . the diminutive . . . Rishi Sunak, and the boringly pudgy centrist, Keir Starmer.”

    Sullivan seems to have an obsession with physical appearance, which is not uncommon among human primates. What is the state of his own teeth, and hair for that matter? How wide a shadow does this bumptious bloivator himself cast? I cannot get a good feel for Sullivan’s own sartorial and dental status from listening to his podcast. It has never occurred to me until now that it could possibly be relevant to the substance of his opinions.

    How much taller/larger would Sunak have to be that it would never occur to Sullivan to describe him as “diminutive”? Regarding Starmer, is it possible to be “boringly” lean or “un-pudgy”? Being a good Christian, perhaps Sullivan will dress in sackcloth and ashes and ululate prayers beseeching a miracle from The Author of the Universe so that these benighted politicians might be delivered from what Sullivan avers ails them.

  10. There is an important error around the reference to “passports” in the linked National Review story about Ari Silverberg.

    The Canadian Powerlifting Union requires no documentation whatsoever for anyone wishing to compete in the female sex category. (If it gets any money from the Government of Canada it would have to toe that line.) The International Powerlifting Union, the CPU’s parent, does require a passport showing the sex/gender matching the category they want to compete in, but no other restriction. So because this was a CPU-sanctioned meet in Canada, Mr. Silverberg was good to go with just his own say-so.

    Mr. Silverberg has not competed since 2017 and has most recently been a coach. All his previous competition profiles say “M”. We don’t know what his Canadian passport says, if he has one.

    He was clearly trolling the CPU and giving the finger to the current women’s champion, a man called Anne Andres, whom the Ontario woman, April Hutchinson, refused to compete against.

    What seems unclear yet is whether the CPU will grant Mr. Silverberg the official record. The CPU might have to satisfy itself that he was really transgender. No one dares accuse him of faking, of course. That could land them in serious legal trouble, especially since if he is gender-fluid he might have been a woman only during the few seconds it took him to beat Mr. Andres’s record. The author of the story below seems hurt that someone would pretend to be transgender when he really wasn’t.

    I trust Mr. Silverberg will be a gentleman and will transfer any prizes he received from this meet to Ms. Hutchinson. He should insist that his record stands, though, to make it impossible for any obscure male lifter ever to make a women’s record again.

  11. To celebrate Burito day, a mnemonic to help anyone taking up music: “Good Buritos Don’t Fall Apart,” gives the notes on the lines of the Bass clef.

  12. [Prof. Cobb]: “Yes, plants scream when you cut them… “Sounds emitted by plants under stress are airborne and informative” out now in Cell.”

    My comment :

    “Listen… to what the flower people say..

    A- Ahhh-ahhh-ahhh-ahhhh”

    -Spinal Tap, ca. late 1960s (not sure which year) :

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