Tuesday: Hili dialogue

April 4, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to the Cruelest Day: Tuesday, April 4, 2023, and National Cordon Bleu Day. (This refers to breaded, fried meat stuffed with ham and cheese.)  Here’s chicken cordon bleu (literally means “blue ribbon”); sadly, it’s sharing plate space with the world’s worst vegetable.

It’s also International Carrot Day, Tell a Lie Day, Vitamin C Day, and World Rat Day.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the April 4 Wikipedia page.’

Wine of the Day:  I haven’t been eating my weekly t-bone or strip steak as often—perhaps once every ten days—but I always a good red wine with it (and rice and a veggie). The wine below, a gutsy red from northwest Spain’s 2019 vintage, and made mostly from the Mencía grape, proved to be a great bargain at $19. It was dark purple with the barnyard smell I associate with burgundy and also the black-olive aroma I associate with Rhones. It was moderately tannic with a flavor of blackberries and tar (in a good way!)—a perfect accompaniment for a steak. Lots of stuffing in this one. Robert Parker, my wine guru, rates it 94/100 and says this:

The nose of the 2019 Ultreia Saint Jacques is nothing short of spectacular. It shows the varietal character and the juicy and round style of the Valtuille vineyards. It’s harmonious, clean and expressive. They are using more and more stems with long macerations, malolactic in tanks and aging in 30% oak vats (he purchased from Alion) and 70% of the wine in used 225-liter oak barrels for one year. Best After 2022.

Jancis Robinson, another reliable guide to wine, has a long page of analysis, all of it laudatory, including this:

We have tasting notes on the last five vintages of Ultreia Saint Jacques as well as on the 2008. The wine has never been scored less than 16 and the last two vintages, 2019 and 2020, achieved scores of 17, even though this is a wine that can be found for under €9 a bottle in Spain and for just $14.39 in the US. It has been so successful that production is now about 400,000 bottles a year and he has built a special cellar devoted to producing it. (Ultreia Godello is its white stablemate.)

‘Saint Jacques is by far the most important wine I make’, says Pérez. About 85% of the old vines that supply it are grown on clay with the rest on sand. The wine is fermented in traditional oak vats, some bought from world-famous Vega Sicilia in Ribera del Duero, and all but about 20% of the grapes are fermented as whole bunches. The must is kept in contact with the skins for a full two months before the wine is pressed into neutral barrels, where it’s aged for a further 10 months. Most of the grapes are the local Mencía but some field blends go into the blend so there are small proportions of Alicante Bouschet, Trousseau/Bastardo, Palomino and other varieties.

This wine will age for some time. I’m told it’s widely available, and if you can get it below $20, buy a couple of bottles!

Da Nooz:

*Trump left for NYC yesterday, and as you read this, he should be ensconced in his suite at the NYC Trump Tower, getting ready to turn himself in. The Secret Service is going all cattywumpus trying to ensure the Orange Man is kept secure, while the NYC police and mayor are worried that a January-6-like riot won’t break out.  It’s not likely:

News cameras tracked his motorcade and then his plane as it took off in Florida, carrying Mr. Trump and a phalanx of nearly a dozen aides, as well as his son Eric Trump. The former president’s team continued to make final plans for his arrest on Tuesday while also trying to maximize his surrender for political benefit. Officials in New York, meanwhile, were bracing for the circuslike atmosphere that expected protests might bring.

The Trump campaign on Sunday scheduled a prime-time news conference at Mar-a-Lago on Tuesday night, just hours after Mr. Trump is expected to turn himself in. The campaign has also been using his indictment in fund-raising appeals, and said it had raised $7 million since the news became public, though financial records corroborating the claim will not be available for weeks.

The planning reflects Mr. Trump’s belief that the indictment will ultimately bolster his standing in his third bid for the G.O.P. presidential nomination, with Republicans who had been considering alternatives rallying to his side. His recent polling has been among the strongest of his 2024 campaign.

It’s unbelievable that this circus may actually help his campaign, but, as he said, he could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and would get off scot-free. I even heard on the radio that they take a mugshot of him, he may put it on mugs and sell them to raise money. The money for this man is pouring in faster than ever.

*Meanwhile, things look as if they’ll be pretty peaceful in NYT today:

Former President Donald J. Trump’s expected appearance on Tuesday in a Manhattan court is a volatile moment for the country with an unpredictable outcome, but law enforcement officials have not yet seen indications of a disruptive, organized backlash akin to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.

The New York City Police Department, state law enforcement agencies, the Secret Service and the U.S. Marshals Service have all been coordinating efforts, while increasing intelligence gathering and mobilization. The police, for instance, sent a stand-ready order to about 35,000 officers, a force larger and better trained than some national armies.

Even as Mr. Trump’s coming arraignment reflects a different set of circumstances, the response is informed by lessons learned from the Capitol riot and from the challenges posed by the nationwide protests against police violence in 2020. They include the need to deploy forces quickly when threats pop up on social media, and the importance of sharing intelligence among agencies in real time, officials have said.

“At the moment, they are not seeing those threats, and the department has a lot of experience coordinating with the Secret Service and the court system, so that effort is not terribly concerning,” said Kenneth Corey, who retired late last year as chief of department, the highest-ranking uniformed officer in the department.

*This is a surprise: Russia is now making preparations to defend Crimea, which it illegally annexed from Ukraine in 2014. Here’s a map of Crimea (in red) with Ukraine to the North and Russia to the west. As you see, it’s connected to both countries, giving Ukraine access to Crimea from the north.

Bogged down and incompetent, the Russian forces are worried that Ukraine is going to try to take back Crimea, and so are planning. We know because there are trenches:

With Ukrainian leaders vowing to retake all of their territory occupied by Russia, Moscow has readied elaborate defenses, especially in Crimea, the peninsula it annexed illegally in 2014, which is now one of the most fortified in the war zone.

After weeks of digging, the area around the small town of Medvedivka, near a crossing to mainland Ukraine, is webbed with an elaborate trench system stretching several miles. The passages are cut into the earth at angles to give soldiers a broader range of fire. Nearby are other fortifications, including deep ditches designed to trap tanks and heavy vehicles.

Satellite images provided to The Washington Post by Maxar, a commercial space technology company, show that Russia has built dozens of similar defenses.

“The Russian military, apparently, understands that Crimea will have to be defended in the near future,” said Ian Matveev, a Russian military analyst.

The defenses have sprung up fast, ahead ofan expectedspring offensive by Ukraine. In just a few weeks, Russia built miles of fortifications near Vitino, a town on Crimea’s western coast — even though analysts say an amphibious assault is unlikely.

The BTM-3, a Soviet-era trenching machine, digs as fast as half a mile per hour, even when the ground is frozen. The U.S. Army once marveled at these machines, writing in an internal 1980 report that nothing comparable existed in the United States, Europe or Japan.

The Post has a huge enlargement of the area made with satellite photos, and it’s too large to reproduce here. I’ll just show the trenches (the wiggly lines in the photo below) and some of the armamentarium. The minimap of the area is to the left; it’s the bottleneck where Crimea joins Ukraine:

Tanks, vehicles, and other war materials a bit to the south.

The future of Crimea is a fraught subject. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has pledged to return it to his country’s control, but Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed never to give it up.

. . . Though Russia has built defenses elsewhere, the scale in Crimea stands out. “For Putin, Crimea is just a sacred cow,” Matveev said. “If something happens, troops will be immediately sent to this line of defense.”

*I haven’t written anything about the Russians’ seizing and incarceration of a Wall Street Journal reporter, accusing him of spying (almost certainly not true), but it sure looks like a Britney Griner style way of both getting a bargaining chip for a prisoner exchange and a way to get back at the U.S. Now, however, U.S. allies are standing by us in a show of solidarity meant to intimidate the Russians back:

European governments and the chief of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization denounced the arrest of Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich and demanded his release, while a senior Russian diplomat said the investigation in the reporter’s case was ongoing and declined to state when he would be permitted visits from lawyers and U.S. diplomats.

Mr. Gershkovich, 31 years old, was arrested Wednesday in the Russian city of Yekaterinburg. Russian authorities have accused Mr. Gershkovich of espionage, which the Journal and the Biden administration deny. He is currently being held at a jail in Moscow run by Russia’s Federal Security Service, or FSB.

“Journalism is not a crime,” German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said in a tweet. “Russia must release Evan Gershkovich immediately. His arrest is totally unacceptable. Journalists must not become the plaything of perfidious political maneuvers and the arbitrariness of the Kremlin.”

A spokesman for U.K. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said Monday, “We stand shoulder to shoulder with the United States, who are leading on the efforts to get Mr. Gershkovich free. We fully support the democratic principles that are in play here.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said he expected Mr. Gershkovich’s detention to be raised at this week’s meetings of alliance foreign ministers in Brussels.

“His arrest is of great concern,” Mr. Stoltenberg said. “It is important to respect freedom of the press, the rights of journalists and the rights to ask questions and to do their jobs.”

The European Union said it condemned Russia’s detention of Mr. Gershkovich and urged authorities there to deal with the case in a way that results in his release.

I bet Russia didn’t expect this show of solidarity, just like it didn’t expect the solidarity of NATO members, including the U.S., when it invaded Ukraine. Now we have two sides in Europe: Russia on one and everybody else on the other. But why is Turkey allowing Finland to join NATO but still blocking Sweden?

*The teacher in Virginia who was shot and seriously injured by one of her SIX YEAR OLD STUDENTS with a handgun is now suing the school district big time. And she probably will win a lot, too, as the school repeatedly ignored warnings that the kid was not only a threat, but was packing heat:

 A Virginia teacher who was shot and seriously wounded by her 6-year-old student filed a lawsuit Monday seeking $40 million in damages from school officials, accusing them of gross negligence and of ignoring multiple warnings the day of the shooting that the boy was armed and in a “violent mood.”

Virginia teacher who was shot and seriously wounded by her 6-year-old student filed a lawsuit Monday seeking $40 million in damages from school officials, accusing them of gross negligence and of ignoring multiple warnings the day of the shooting that the boy was armed and in a “violent mood.”

Abby Zwerner, a first-grade teacher at Richneck Elementary School in Newport News, was shot in the hand and chest on Jan. 6 as she sat at a reading table in her classroom. The 25-year-old teacher spent nearly two weeks in the hospital and required four surgeries.

The shooting sent shock waves through the military shipbuilding community and the country, with many wondering how a child so young could gain access to a gun and shoot his teacher.

The lawsuit names as defendants the Newport News School Board, former Superintendent George Parker III, former Richneck principal Briana Foster-Newton and former Richneck assistant principal Ebony Parker.

. . . Foster-Newton’s attorney, Pamela Branch, has said she was unaware of reports that the boy had a gun at school on the day of the shooting.

And the article recounts the boy’s history of bullying, making threats, and severe behavior problems.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is in great pain. Look at that face!

Hili: Do you know how I suffer?
A: I do not.
Hili: You see, total lack of empathy, and a mouse just escaped from me into its hole.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy ty wiesz jak ja cierpię?
Ja: Nie wiem.
Hili: No właśnie, kompletny brak empatii, a mnie przed chwilą myszka uciekła do norki.

And a photo of Baby Kulka:


From Jesus of the Day:

From America’s Cultural Decline into Idiocy:

From Fat Cat Art:

Posted yesterday by Masih:

Biology from Barry:

From Rosemary we have a video of New Zealand’s new Prime Minister, Chris Hipkins, who’s also responsible for the big push to make indigenous “ways of knowing” coequal with science in NZ. Here he finds himself unable to define “woman.”

From Malcolm, quenching red-hot steel with oil and other fluids:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a woman who died at twenty:

Tweets from Matthew. My first question is whether the hind flippers are actually atavistic limbs that appear due to a developmental accident. Do they contain bones?

Hyrax calls for backup; it ends up with nobody hurt (the way I like it):

Caught at 8336 meters, or over five miles down:

35 thoughts on “Tuesday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1581 – Francis Drake is knighted by Queen Elizabeth I for completing a circumnavigation of the world.

    1796 – Georges Cuvier delivers the first paleontological lecture.

    1818 – The United States Congress, affirming the Second Continental Congress, adopts the flag of the United States with 13 red and white stripes and one star for each state (20 at that time).

    1841 – William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia, becoming the first President of the United States to die in office, and setting the record for the briefest administration. Vice President John Tyler succeeds Harrison as President.

    1887 – Argonia, Kansas elects Susanna M. Salter as the first female mayor in the United States.

    1949 – Cold War: Twelve nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. [Finland, NATO’s 31st member officially joins today.]

    1958 – The CND peace symbol is displayed in public for the first time in London.

    1964 – The Beatles occupy the top five positions on the Billboard Hot 100 pop chart.

    1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated by James Earl Ray at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.

    1969 – Dr. Denton Cooley implants the first temporary artificial heart.

    1973 – The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City are officially dedicated.

    1984 – President Ronald Reagan calls for an international ban on chemical weapons.

    1640 – Gaspar Sanz, Spanish guitarist, composer, and priest (d. 1710).

    1648 – Grinling Gibbons, Dutch-English sculptor (d. 1721).

    1785 – Bettina von Arnim, German author, illustrator, and composer (d. 1859).

    1802 – Dorothea Dix, American nurse and activist (d. 1887).

    1868 – Philippa Fawcett, English mathematician and educator (d. 1948).

    1869 – Mary Colter, American architect, designed the Desert View Watchtower (d. 1958).

    1913 – Muddy Waters, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1983).

    1923 – Peter Vaughan, English actor (d. 2016).

    1928 – Maya Angelou, American memoirist and poet (d. 2014).

    1932 – Anthony Perkins, American actor (d. 1992).

    1939 – Hugh Masekela, South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, and singer (d. 2018).

    1946 – Dave Hill, English guitarist.

    1952 – Gary Moore, Northern Irish singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2011).

    1965 – Robert Downey Jr., American actor, producer, and screenwriter.

    1973 – David Blaine, American magician and producer.

    1979 – Heath Ledger, Australian actor (d. 2008).

    You’re not a woman,” he said finally. “You’re the Duck of Death with red hair!”: [With apologies to Jeaniene Frost.]

    1617 – John Napier, Scottish mathematician, physicist, and astronomer (b. 1550).

    1774 – Oliver Goldsmith, Irish novelist, playwright and poet (b. 1728).

    1863 – Ludwig Emil Grimm, German painter and engraver (b. 1790).

    1923 – John Venn, English mathematician and philosopher, created the Venn diagram (b. 1834).

    1929 – Karl Benz, German engineer and businessman, founded Mercedes-Benz (b. 1844).

    1931 – André Michelin, French businessman, co-founded the Michelin Tyre Company (b. 1853).

    1968 – Martin Luther King Jr., American minister and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (assassinated) (b. 1929).

    1976 – Harry Nyquist, Swedish engineer and theorist (b. 1889).

    1979 – Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistani lawyer and politician, 4th President of Pakistan (b. 1928). [Executed after a military coup led by his appointed army chief General Zia-ul-Haq.]

    1983 – Gloria Swanson, American actress (b. 1899).

    1995 – Kenny Everett, English radio and television host (b. 1944).

    2007 – Karen Spärck Jones, English computer scientist and academic (b. 1935). [Responsible for the concept of inverse document frequency (IDF), a technology that underlies most modern search engines.]

    2013 – Roger Ebert, American journalist, critic, and screenwriter (b. 1942). [In 1975, Ebert became the first film critic to win the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism.]

  2. Ditto on the world’s worst vegetable. No amount of powerful seasoning can hide the wretched taste 😅

      1. I still pretty much agree that rutabagas are the worst, but once in Finland I had something made out of them that was pretty good. Grated rutabaga and cheese baked on some sort of bread that I’ve forgotten the details of. I tried to replicate it once and failed.
        Also in Sweden there’s rotmos (mashed roots) that’s (I think) mashed potatoes, rutabaga and parsnips that isn’t that bad. Conclusion: rutabagas need dilution.

      2. I love sprouts too! Something that I’ve learned to appreciate. Seasoned with olive oil, Maldon salt, and pepper, I love munching on the stray leaves while they await the oven. Also love them very thinly sliced raw in a salad. I tend to love bitter greens too. And cilantro, which I might as well confess to as well while I’m at it 😉

        1. I love them roasted the way you describe and afterwards I like to drizzle them with a high-end balsamic vinegar. You know, the type of balsamic that is thick like molasses. Adding bacon is also delicious.

            1. That photo shows exactly why sprouts can taste horrible: there are far too many of the outer leaves left on. Shops do this to sell fewer for the same weight. Take them off!!!

          1. The best Brussels sprouts are sautéed in duck fat. (Sorry, Honey.)

            But then, everything tastes great sautéed in duck fat.

      3. Brussels sprouts are my favorite vegetable. I’ve always said if I’m on death row I’d request them as part of my last meal. I even like them cold like finger food, with seasonings. They are grown on the central coast of California and back in the 1980s and 1990s there was a yearly Brussels Sprouts Festival held on the Santa Cruz Boardwalk. I went one year but I’m not that interested in tasting sprouts with chocolate and other strange delicacies. I did try the ice cream but the sprouts taste was weak.

    1. I’m just the opposite. I not only adore brussels sprouts when they’re nicely roasted (yum!), I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’ll even gobble them up when they’re boiled to a mush.

      I dimly recall reading somewhere that supertasters are most apt to dislike brussels sprouts. Perhaps many of you sprout-haters are supertasters. That would certainly be consistent with Jerry’s ability to enjoy the nuances of fine wines–something I lack.

    1. “Properly prepared” meaning start boiling them in sept to serve at Christmas? That seems to be my childhood memory of the noxious balls of yuck. People keep telling me that there are better ways to do it – roasting in bacon fat is a popular 21st century option with some family members (my kids) who never had to cope with the childhood trauma – but I still can’t get past the taste (or perhaps it’s just the memory of the taste)

    2. Cooking brussels sprouts: steam briefly in a little water with a CLOVE, pour off water, sauté in butter. Rutabagas: great in a pot roast with carrots, onion etc. Or boil peeled rutabagas and potatoes till soft, then mash together with butter and heavy cream: delicious! The Irish make colcannon this way with regular cabbage. I think kale is worse than brussels sprouts…bitter and tough and dry. Or make rutabaga pancakes by grating them with onion, adding some egg and milk and/or flour. Worst veggie: iceberg lettuce. Or maybe lima beans (except white butter beans which are mild and great in soup). PS: an article on Taiji without mentioning the brutal Japanese slaughter of dolphins that they do there all the time?????

      1. Is that a clove or a clove of garlic? My mom used to cook cabbage with a clove but I’ve never heard of brussels sprouts with cloves?

        There is a kale brussels sprouts hybrid called kalettes, but I’ve never tried them.

  3. Re Crimea. One of the first things the Russians did after the 2022 invasion was to blow up the dam in the canal that carries water from the Dnipro river to supply Crimea. Presumably if they are planning to defend the peninsula absent troops guarding the canal – which seems impractical – Ukraine would be in a position to shut off the water supply again. This won’t render Crimea uninhabitable but will certainly make it less attractive in the long term – and screws up local agriculture. Resupply would have to be by ferry since the bridge from Russia is clearly vulnerable.

  4. With Türkiye v Sweden I gather is has something to do with a feeling that Sweden is harboring what Türkiye considers terrorists, but don’t know any further details, in case someone else does.

    1. The reason is a right-wing Swedish protester burned a Qur’an in front of the Turkish embassy in Stockholm. Erdogan doesn’t appreciate free expression.

  5. My friend and I were this morning discussing the possibility that Donald Trump has jumped the shark?

  6. Rock hyraxes will leap up and grab the sandwich out of your hand, as I once experienced on a Mt. Kenya hike. I would not tangle with them!

    1. They can give a nasty bite, even inadvertently. I saw a young boy at a safari lodge with a badly bleeding hand after feeding one.

  7. After following the snail fish story , there was a link to the below. And I mean below, it is the deepest wreak ever found to date. And what a story of fighting to the death. There are picture of the ship. An escort destroyer outnumber and out gunned but they took the battle to the Japanese navy.
    A BBC report.
    “The USS Samuel B Roberts went down during the Battle Off Samar in the Philippine Sea in October 1944. It lies in 6,895m (22,621ft) of water.”

    I have to say when asked a lot of people cannot define a women correctly in the slippery slopes of today’s interpretation.
    I would have fired back if I couldn’t “my mother was women” she died at 96.

    1. Several small warships in the task force known as Taffy 3 went to the bottom in that famous battle fighting to the death against vastly heavier Japanese battleships and cruisers. The skipper of what is now the second-deepest wreck, USS Johnston, received the Medal of Honor posthumously. He was seen to enter the sea from his last command post on the fantail of his ruined destroyer as she sank but was never seen again.

      The efforts of Taffy 3 against impossible odds convinced the much stronger Japanese force to break off its mission to molest the American invasion force disembarking its troops and equipment on Leyte.

      The story has been told many times, quite movingly by naval Youtuber Drachinifel.

  8. On the question of dolphin hind “fins”, We know that some whales have non-functional, vestigial limb bones in the pelvic area that are not connected to any other bones. But any good creationist will tell you that these bones are there to support the sex organs. Following this reasoning these dolphin fins are there as a precaution so that in the freakish event of the dolphin’s testes and ovaries falling out of the sexual opening, the “fins” are there to push them back in again. I mean isn’t it obvious?!!! (If you find the thought of testes accidentally falling out of the ends of penises a bit bizarre, in the creationist world extremely bizarre events like virgin births, people walking on water and talking snakes are encountered quite commonly.)

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