Wednesday: Hili dialogue

April 5, 2023 • 6:45 am

It’s Wednesday, a Hump day (“Giornato di gobba” in Italian), April 5, 2023, and National Raisin and Spice Bar Day. It may not be the best treat, but it sure beats Brussels sprouts!

It’s also Bell Bottoms Day, National Caramel Day, National Dandelion Day, International Day of Conscience, National Deep Dish Pizza Day (Chicago of course has the best, but our stuffed pizza is even better), and First Contact Day (International observance), explained on Wikipedia:

First Contact Day is an informal commemorative day observed annually on April 5 to celebrate the Star Trek media franchise, and was created by Ronald D. Moore, screenwriter of the 1996 film Star Trek: First Contact.  He chose the day based on his eldest son’s birthday. The day, however, is based on the fictional future history of events set to take place on April 5, 2063.  This is the day that Vulcans first made their presence known to humans.

Here’s a Giordano’s stuffed pizza, and it looks like the spinach version, which is quite good.  I can get one any time I like, as there’s a branch just a few blocks away:


Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the April 5 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Trump turned himself in to the New York authorities yesterday, was arraigned, and pleaded not guilty to nearly three dozen felony charges, one of which was a surprise.

Manhattan prosecutors on Tuesday accused Donald J. Trump of covering up a potential sex scandal during the 2016 presidential campaign, unveiling 34 felony charges that open a perilous chapter in the long public life of the billionaire businessman who rose to the presidency and now faces the prospect of a shameful criminal trial.

. . . Mr. Trump entered a not guilty plea during his arraignment, a surreal scene for a man who once occupied the Oval Office and is mounting a third run for the White House.

In a remarkable spectacle playing out before a divided nation, Mr. Trump’s 11-vehicle motorcade arrived just before 1:30 at the district attorney’s office, part of the towering Manhattan Criminal Courts Building. While in custody, he was fingerprinted like any felony defendant, but special accommodations were made for the former president: He spent only a short time in custody and he was not expected to be handcuffed or have his mug shot taken.

When Mr. Trump, visibly angry, entered the courtroom, he was accompanied by his legal adviser, Boris Epshteyn, and the lawyers handling this case, Todd W. Blanche, Susan R. Necheles and Joseph Tacopina. Mr. Trump declined to speak, despite aides indicating that he might.

The charges include filing false business records in the first degree, a low level felony that carries a maximum of four years in prison for each count, though if he is convicted a judge could sentence him to probation.

Most of the charges apparently involve Trump’s lawyer Michael Cohen paying Stormy Daniels $130,000 as hush money, and then Trump repaid Cohen by having the money record as a retainer for legal expenses. Thus the low-level felony charges of falsifying business expenses, which the Times says is a “novel application of the law.” Even if he’s convicted, he’ll probably get probation. But the big-deal cases are the other three that are hanging over Trump like the sword of Damocles. No wonder he’s angry, for he must wonder how as wonderful a man as he is could have been the subject of so much legal scrutiny.

BUT, there’s a surprise charge, too:

“Pundits have been speculating that Trump would be charged with lying about the hush money payments to illegally affect an election, and that theory rests on controversial legal issues and could be hard to prove,” said Rebecca Roiphe, a New York Law School professor and former state prosecutor.

“It turns out the indictment also includes a claim that Trump falsified records to commit a state tax crime,” she continued. “That’s a much simpler charge that avoids the potential pitfalls.”

. . .That prosecutors cited the possibility of planned false statements on tax filings struck some legal specialists as particularly significant, given the speculation over how bookkeeping fraud charges would rise to felonies.

“The reference to false tax filings may save the case from legal challenges that may arise if the felony charges are predicated only on federal and state election laws,” said Ryan Goodman, a law professor at New York University.

You can read the indictment here.

*After Turkey finally relented, Finland formally joined NATO yesterday, raising the number of members to 31. Putin must be fuming!

 Finland’s flag was raised on Tuesday afternoon at NATO headquarters, a deeply symbolic moment marking the Nordic nation’s official welcome into the group and the shifting power calculations as the West shores up its allegiances in response to the war in Ukraine.

President Sauli Niinisto of Finland attended the ceremony, on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s 74th anniversary, for the expansion of NATO, which represents a strategic defeat for President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who has made blocking NATO expansion a goal of his leadership.

NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, said that with Finland now “a full-fledged member, we are removing the room for miscalculation in Moscow about NATO’s readiness to protect Finland, and that makes Finland safer and stronger, and all of us safer.”

Mr. Niinisto stressed the significance of the moment for his country, saying, “It is a great day for Finland.” History has many important moments, he added, but “this is the day most historic to us and to our partners.” Russia tried to restrict Finland’s freedom of choice and “tried to create a sphere around them,” he said. “We are not a sphere.”

Finland got in when President Erdogan of Turkey dropped his country’s opposition to the entry. Now NATO’s border with Russia has doubled in size, and Finland has the ability to call up a large army quite quickly. But Sweden, which also wants to join NATO, is being blocked by Turkey as well (for a number of reasons) and also by Hungary, a running dog of Turkey on this issue. I want Sweden and Finland on board with us!

*The religious never stop trying to foist their faith on the rest of us. Reader Gregory sent me a link to an article reporting that Texas is considering a state law that would mandate the display of the Ten Commandments in every public-school classroom. And they could hire pastors! You can read the bill here.

The Texas state Senate Education Committee this week will take up a bill requiring the Ten Commandments to be installed in every public school classroom, and another that would allow schools to hire pastors or chaplains instead of counselors.

“A public elementary or secondary school shall display in a conspicuous place in each classroom of the school a durable poster or framed copy of the Ten Commandments,” reads SB 1515.

The bill is extremely specific, mandating the size of the poster (at least 16 x 20), and that it be readable from anywhere in the classroom: “in a size and typeface that is legible to a person with average vision from anywhere in the classroom in which the poster or framed copy is displayed.”

The bill also includes the complete text of the Ten Commandments, in the version ordained by its author, state Senator Phil King, a Republican.

Senator King’s bill goes as far as to mandate that if a school classroom does not have the Ten Commandments posted, it “must” accept a copy if anyone donates one, and any extras “must” be offered for donation to any other school. It can also use taxpayer funds to purchase a copy.

And of course there will be plenty of Texas parents and others who will be willing to donate copies of the commandments to schools. All of this, and the use of taxpayer funds to insert religious dogma into public schools, is palpably unconstitutional, though the Supreme Court has allowed a monument to the commandments to rest on the Texas state capitol grounds. What with this hyper-religious supreme court, nothing is ruled out these days.

*Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac died last November at age 79.  The cause of death wasn’t revealed then, but now it has been: according to, McVie was ill for a long time with cancer of an unknown etiology, and that caused the stroke that killed her (h/t Ginger K.):

As reported by The Blast, Christine McVie was diagnosed with “metastatic malignancy of unknown primary origin” prior to her death. The aggressive form of cancer had spread through her body and doctors were unable to pinpoint the original source. The cancer caused McVie to have an “ischaemic stroke,” which was the primary cause of her death, as well as a bilateral renal infarction. According to The Blast, an ischaemic stroke is “a blood clot [that] blocks or narrows an artery leading to the brain. A blood clot often forms in arteries damaged by the buildup of plaques (atherosclerosis).”

In June 2022, McVie revealed to Rolling Stone that she was suffering from health issues and was uncertain if she was up to a Fleetwood Mac reunion. “I don’t feel physically up for it,” she says. “I’m in quite bad health. I’ve got a chronic back problem which debilitates me. I stand up to play the piano, so I don’t know if I could actually physically do it. What’s that saying? The mind is willing, but the flesh is weak,” she shared.

Here’s Stevie Nick’s heartbreaking lament on the death of her best friend (click to read):

*The theft of a giant plastic spoon used to advertise an Arizona Dairy Queen went viral about a week ago. It’s just one of those things that captivate the Internet. Now, thank Ceiling Cat, the spoon has been recovered:

 A giant red spoon that was stolen from an Arizona Dairy Queen and sparked a mystery on social media was found Monday morning, and it’s partly thanks to Pokémon GO.

Michael Foster, 52, was playing the outdoor mobile game when he spotted the 15-foot (4.5-meter) spoon around 7 a.m. It was lying on the ground behind a fence that surrounds a Phoenix middle school baseball field, just 2 miles (3 kilometers) from the scene of the heist.

“The first thing I did was send a picture to my wife and I said, ‘It’s the spoon.’ She said call the police,” Foster told The Associated Press.

“I can confirm the Dairy Queen ‘red spoon’ was located and recovered this morning,” Sgt. Brian Bower said in an email Monday.

Detectives are continuing to search for the suspects who took the spoon, he added. Police are encouraging the public to submit any tips.

Here it is, thanks to the cops. No, not ACABs! (Caption from the AP):

(From the AP): (From AP): This photo provided by Michael Foster shows a Phoenix police officer strapping down a 15-foot red spoon to his police cruiser in Phoenix on Monday, April 3, 2023. Foster found the giant red spoon while playing Pokemon GO. It was stolen from an Arizona Dairy Queen on March 25 and sparked a mystery on social media. (Michael Foster via AP)

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Spring can’t come too soon for The Princess:

A: Hili, get up.
Hili: I’m still on winter time.
In Polish:
Ja: Hili, wstawaj.
Hili: Ja jeszcze jestem na zimowym czasie.


From Merilee, an April Fools joke cover from Scientific American:

A movie summary from Jesus of the Day:

From David:

God finally emitted a toot on Mastodon:


A tweet from Masih. The Google translation from Farsi is this:

Another video of government agents attacking people on Masuleh road on the 13th day of Badr. In this video, you can clearly see the image of officers firing in the air and throwing tear gas. Yesterday, Vido’s sender wrote in his message, the agents attacked the family who had turned on the music band, which caused an angry reaction from the people.  #Mehsa_Amini

Sound up.

From Barry, a biological discussion. I hadn’t considered happiness as a promoter of evolutionary change. . .

Look! There was an earthquake, yesterday and ducks predicted it. (via gravelinspector):

From the Auschwitz Mermorial, a two-year-old gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Professor Cobb. Note the paw twitching in the first one, and watch until the end:

Tennessee is getting redder and redder. . .   Read a fuller account here.

If you follow other sites on Twitter, follow this one (and send me the good tweets):

37 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. The Trump trial in New York will fade from memory when the federal and Georgia indictments ate handed down. The New York case doesn’t even have another hearing until December. The actual trial will not be until next year. It is quite possible that three or four trials involving Trump will be not be scheduled until the middle of election season in 2024. What will happen if the trials go on after Trump is nominated? Even worse, what will happen if he is convicted after winning the election – not likely, but surely not impossible? How will his cult react? Widespread violence cannot be precluded. Could Trump serve as president from jail? This all means that 2024 will be a year of chaos and danger. The resilience of American democracy will experience its greatest test since the Civil War.

        1. You don’t have to eat it with a knife and fork. You can pick up the pieces and eat them as you would a normal pizza, though they’re a bit messier. I often do that with this, and always when it’s cold (cold pizza is one of the best breakfast foods!).

        2. I’ve eaten a slice of Giordano’s by hand, if only out of necessity. You have to le it cool a bit, though. However you ear it, though, it’s worth the effort!

    1. I’ve never been to Chicago, yet I’m jonesing for that Giordano’s pie too! Actually, you can keep the spinach. I want sweet Italian sausage.

  2. I think that the three Tennessee legislators should be expelled. The safety of the legislature from physical intimidation is paramount if democracy is to have any meaning.

  3. I think you missed a major Da Nooz story – Brandon Johnson elected as Mayor of Chicago.

    Re: progressive politics… my wife and I spend 4 days in DC last week. Black folks handled our bags, checked us in and worked the hotel front desk; Latinas cleaned the rooms and provided clean towels and toiletries; Middle Easterners provided our Uber rides back & forth from DCA, Georgetown and Alexandria; folks from the full rainbow & immigrants cooked & served our food. But the folks strolling the cherry blossoms and Smithsonian offerings – while somewhat reflecting American demographics – were surely overindexed White, and anything (top notch restaurants, rooftop bars, shops) that required wealth/income privileges were 90+% White.

    I hate identity politics, but sometimes it just smacks you upside the head. And I don’t claim to know the proper policies / programs to fix, but progressive politics is a worthwhile & necessary action until we can hold up a mirror and see a true DEI reflection. It will be fascinating to see how this plays out in our hometown Chicago, and I’m much more interested in this (IRL) vs academia position papers or what is happening at Stanford.

    1. I suspect that this edition of “Hili” was written before the results were in. In even bigger news…. Janet Protasiewicz won the Wisconsin Supreme Court election… bigly, getting 57%. This allows us Wisconsinites to begin reversing the extremist politics we’ve had since Scott Walker rose to power. If we can get rid of the catastrophic gerrymandered districts national politics will also benefit.

      1. Yes, that is excellent news. It also means there won’t be any shenanigans in the 2024 election and abortion will remain legal in WI. Congrats!

    2. But isn’t that how immigration is supposed to work? Immigrants come in and do the jobs that the native-born of any race won’t do, as they always have. There are no white cab drivers because there are no white immigrants. They teach their children to value education and work as the price of success in a land where there are no religious, caste, or colour bars, unlike where they themselves came from. Then you will have Middle Easterners running the hotel chains and South Asians running trucking and logistics firms, (as you do now, in fact.). The children of Lebanese Uber drivers don’t become Uber drivers. Americans of Japanese ancestry aren’t subsistence farmers and fishermen, those of Chinese or Irish ancestry aren’t labouring to dig railway tunnels, those of Italian ancestry aren’t building steel mills and digging subways.

      But the children of black Amtrak porters are working as bellhops, and the indigenous still aren’t working at all. Why is that?

      The progressive politics you favour will make it harder for those striving immigrants to get ahead because the success of DEI is measured exclusively in terms of how it advances native-born black and indigenous people at the expense of everyone else.

      I don’t know how cosmopolitan a government town like DC really is, other than foreign diplomats and the servant class. But if you visit a real cosmopolitan city where the people you run into in public are residents, not diplomats and lobbyists, the well-heeled diversity at cultural events really does strike this kid from small-town Ontario.

      Cosmetic racial diversity has no intrinsic value and ought not to be an end. Means to achieve it as an end will produce perverse results.

  4. Trump turned himself in to the New York authorities yesterday, was arraigned, and pleaded not guilty to nearly three dozen felony charges …

    Don’t sweat it, Donald; they say your first indictment is the bitch of the bunch. By the time you get around to indictment number three or four — which sure looks to be where you’re headed, Don — it’s all old (MAGA) hat.

    I caught some of Trump’s remarks last night on the tube upon his return to Mar-a-Lago. He seems to be handling this adversity with his customary equanimity and grace.

    And in the meantime, Trump’s trial in the case brought against him by E. Jean Carroll starts in two weeks. It’s a civil libel case in name, but a rape case in essence. Ms. Carroll alleges that Trump sexually assaulted her while she was trying on clothes in the changing room at Bergdorf Goodman. The trial court has ruled that counsel for Ms. Carroll can call two other women to testify at trial about similar sexual assaults they endured by Trump. That should give the Donald a boost with suburban women voters, especially if Trump goes with his usual defense that the women in question were too ugly to rape — “Look at her. Not my type.”

    It also makes me wonder whether Melania will be sitting in the front row behind the courtroom rail at that trial as a show of support for her husband. Speaking of Melania, she seems to have gone as silent lately as the “s” at the end of “Illinois.”

      1. Illinoisan here. I’ve only come across “Illi-noise” used in 2 contexts: 1) People not from Illinois ignorant of how it should be pronounced and 2) People using it in jest or for effect, especially to point out that some people don’t know how to pronounce Illinois.

    1. Do you know if Trump’s DNA was taken during his arraignment? And if so, could prosecutors in Carroll’s case use it to compare with the purported Trump-stain on her dress?

      1. Some states take a swab of the defendant’s DNA for their database upon the defendant’s arrest; other states allow a defendant’s DNA sample to be taken for the database only upon the defendant’s conviction. I’m not familiar with New York’s practice in this regard.

        In any event, where the defendant’s DNA may have evidentiary value in the particular case, criminal or civil (which is to say, where there is DNA relating to the underlying incident to which the defendant’s DNA can be compared), opposing counsel can move the court to compel a defendant to submit to DNA swabbing.

  5. Trigger warning: it’s about Brussels sprouts. Jerry, I don’t have your animus about them, though they aren’t a favorite either. Just wanted to say that if you’re ever in England in January (unlikely), try them there. That’s when they are harvested fresh, go figure, and they are a whole nother animal. Divine! And I think it’s not only because they are fresh. I’ve had fresh ones here too–it’s no relation!

      1. I love them! I even love them raw. My wife uses a food processor to make Brussels Sprouts salad. Yummy and, like all brassica, good for the colon. I’ve even been known to grab a few and eat them leaving only the nub where they attach to the stalk. I know you’re wrenching at this point, but it can’t be as bad as the seasickness you experienced crossing the Drake Passage.

        I hope the above didn’t break the Roolz. I’m just trying to inject a little fun into today’s proceedings—which seem otherwise to be filled with bad news: Trump, the Ten Commandments, the lovely Christine McVie’s death, and more. Oy.

          1. From HMS Pinafore, extolling the nautical prowess of the warship’s captain:

            “. . . And he’s never never sick at sea.

            What, never? (No! Never!)
            What, never? (Well, hardly ever.)

            And he’s hardly ever sick at sea!”

        1. Why do you put Trump’s arrest under the bad news heading? I think it’s great news that we finally see some vestige of justice when it comes to the sordid “Individual 1.” And keep the indictments coming, please.

  6. On this day:
    1614 – In Virginia, Native American Pocahontas marries English colonist John Rolfe.

    1621 – The Mayflower sets sail from Plymouth, Massachusetts on a return trip to England.

    1792 – United States President George Washington exercises his authority to veto a bill, the first time this power is used in the United States.

    1951 – Cold War: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg are sentenced to death for spying for the Soviet Union.

    1992 – Peace protesters Suada Dilberovic and Olga Sučić are killed on the Vrbanja Bridge in Sarajevo, becoming the first casualties of the Bosnian War.

    1998 – In Japan, the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge opens to traffic, becoming the longest bridge span in the world.

    1588 – Thomas Hobbes, English philosopher (d. 1679).

    1827 – Joseph Lister, English surgeon and academic (d. 1912).

    1856 – Booker T. Washington, African-American educator, essayist and historian (d. 1915).

    1900 – Spencer Tracy, American actor (d. 1967).

    1908 – Bette Davis, American actress (d. 1989).

    1912 – John Le Mesurier, English actor (d. 1983).

    1916 – Gregory Peck, American actor, political activist, and producer (d. 2003).

    1917 – Robert Bloch, American author (d. 1994).

    1926 – Roger Corman, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter.

    1929 – Nigel Hawthorne, English actor and producer (d. 2001).

    1937 – Colin Powell, American general and politician, 65th United States Secretary of State (d. 2021).

    1941 – Dave Swarbrick, English singer-songwriter and fiddler (d. 2016).

    1942 – Peter Greenaway, Welsh director and screenwriter.

    1973 – Pharrell Williams, American singer, songwriter and rapper. [“Happy” birthday, Pharrell!]

    ‘Handsome enough’ is this Duck of Death, Who can snuff all these ‘brief candles,’ every fluttering soul sucking the air, from this hall: [With apologies to Anne Rice.]

    1967 – Hermann Joseph Muller, American geneticist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1890).

    1975 – Chiang Kai-shek, Chinese general and politician, 1st President of the Republic of China (b. 1887).

    1976 – Howard Hughes, American pilot, engineer, and director (b. 1905).

    1994 – Kurt Cobain, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1967).

    1997 – Allen Ginsberg, American poet (b. 1926).

    1998 – Cozy Powell, English drummer (b. 1947).

    2005 – Saul Bellow, Canadian-American novelist, essayist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1915).

    2008 – Charlton Heston, American actor, director, and political activist (b. 1923).

    2009 – I. J. Good, British mathematician (b. 1916).

    2012 – Jim Marshall, English businessman, founded Marshall Amplification (b. 1923).

    1. Nice to see Dave Swarbrick on your list, shortly on the heels of the birthday of Richard Thompson. I fell pretty deeply into the thrall of English folk rock thirty years ago and have never quite figured a way out. 🙂

  7. Maybe it’s time for a poll on Brussel sprouts: 1-Hate ’em, 2-Love ’em, 3-Take ’em or leave ’em.
    Personally I go for 2, lightly sprayed with avocado oil (we get our spray cans from Costco), lightly sprinkled w sea salt, then broiled.

  8. 2! Treat them like baby cabbage. If you like cabbage at all, you might like them cut up and stir-fried into a fried rice; a meat stir-fry; w/ chopped roasted chestnuts; or even with corned beef. The trick is to not overcook them, but remove from heat when they’re a pretty green colour, rather than olive green, and slightly al dente.

    But there’ll still be some who hate them, much like the cilantro-averse.

  9. I told my kids about the ducks predicting the earthquake and they replied that there’s a difference between “predicting” and ” detecting more quickly”. I can’t imagine where they get their pedantry from…

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