Monday: Hili dialogue

April 24, 2023 • 6:45 am

Top o’ the week to you: it’s Monday, April 24, 2023, and National Pigs in a Blanket Day. If you’re not American, you may not know what this Fifties-style snack is, so here are some.

In Chicago, you would not offer the alternative of catsup with the PiBs.

I’m quite under the weather today as I got a very bad cold during my travels (don’t worry, I did an antigen test and I’m covid negative), but have a wicked sore throat, coughs, and malaise. It’s the first cold I’ve had since the pandemic started; I attribute that to my scrupulous handwashing. I suspect I got my cold crowded in the Métro or in airplanes.  All of which is to say that you shouldn’t expect much posting today. I even lack the energy to put up a readers’ wildlife post. As always, I do my best.

It’s Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (someone tell Cenk Uygur), World Meningitis DayFashion Revolution Day, and World Day for Laboratory Animals. Here’s a statue at the University in St. Petersburg in honor of all the cats used in laboratory experiments at the school. It’s actually kind of sad, and I shouldn’t be smiling. (This was at a scientific meeting in 2011, and a colleague took the picture with my camera.)

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the April 24 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*I’m not sure if this is a glitch by a Chinese official, but it’s caused a lot of consternation in Europe.

France, Ukraine and the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania expressed dismay after China’s ambassador in Paris questioned the sovereignty of former Soviet countries like Ukraine.

Asked about his position on whether Crimea is part of Ukraine or not, Chinese ambassador Lu Shaye said in an interview aired on French television on Friday that historically it was part of Russia and had been offered to Ukraine by former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev.

“These ex-USSR countries don’t have actual status in international law because there is no international agreement to materialize their sovereign status,” Shaye added.

France responded on Sunday by stating its “full solidarity” with all the allied countries affected, which it said had acquired their independence “after decades of oppression”.

“On Ukraine specifically, it was internationally recognized within borders including Crimea in 1991 by the entire international community, including China,” a foreign ministry spokesperson said.

The spokesperson added that China will have to clarify whether these comments reflect its position or not.

The three Baltic states and Ukraine, all formerly part of the Soviet Union, reacted along the same lines as France.

Unless China claims that its ambassador to France misspoke, there will be big trouble, for China will have to claim that Russia is actually fighting against Russia instead of Ukraeine.

*In the face of Congressional inaction on immigration reform, Biden has taken it upon himself to greatly expand the number of legal immigrants into the U.S. He’s done this through executive order:

Amid a protracted stalemate in Congress over immigration, President Biden has opened a back door to allow hundreds of thousands of new immigrants into the country, significantly expanding the use of humanitarian parole programs for people escaping war and political turmoil around the world.

The measures, introduced over the past year to offer refuge to people fleeing Ukraine, Haiti and Latin America, offer immigrants the opportunity to fly to the United States and quickly secure work authorization, provided they have a private sponsor to take responsibility for them.

As of mid-April, some 300,000 Ukrainians had arrived in the United States under various programs — a number greater than all the people from around the world admitted through the official U.S. refugee program in the last five years.

By the end of 2023, about 360,000 Venezuelans, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians are expected to gain admission through a similar private sponsorship initiative introduced in January to stem unauthorized crossings at the southern border — more people than were issued immigrant visas from these countries in the last 15 years combined.

The Biden administration has also greatly expanded the number of people who are in the United States with what is known as temporary protected status, a program former President Donald J. Trump had sought to terminate. About 670,000 people from 16 countries have had their protections extended or become newly eligible since Mr. Biden took office, according to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

All told, these temporary humanitarian programs could become the largest expansion of legal immigration in decades.

While this is better than willy-nilly immigration, much of it people seeking economic benefits rather than fleeing persecution, ,we’re talking millions of people here. And these orders can be overturned by the courts. I suppose Biden acted because Congress won’t, and in my view that’s largely due to Democrats who can’t bear restrictions, and want in effect open borders. Best that this be done by the legislature than by Presidential fiat.

*As a lifelong feeder, I couldn’t resist reading this NYT piece: “The secret to ordering the best thing on the menu“.  “Oh boy!” I said. “What are these big secrets? The main one is “eat out of the box”, and don’t necessarily go for the restaurant’s specialities:

This. . . order is an example of how I like to approach restaurants: Live life on the edge of the menu. Take a flier on the oatmeal cream pie at a crab shack, the vegan risotto at a steakhouse, the quesadillas at an underground Champagne bar. Just because a restaurant is known for one thing doesn’t mean you can’t order something else. If it looks good to you, get it. Often you’ll be rewarded for your transgression.

When I was a graduate student, before big exam days, I would hole up in my apartment subsisting on Frosted Flakes and Cheez-Its, then emerge from the shadows to treat myself to what I called Brain Dinner at my local brick-oven pizzeria, Buca, which has since closed. But I wouldn’t go for a pepperoni pie or even a Hawaiian. My order would be a salmon dish: a gently salted center-cut fillet, roasted until crisp at the edges but pink and tender on the inside. It came with a relish of red onion, olives and capers and a trio of summer vegetables: eggplant, zucchini and squash. The blazing heat of a brick oven, it turned out, meant great pizza but even better salmon and vegetables. You can’t really recreate that kind of flavor at home, what the Koreans might call bulmat, or fire taste.

. . . Sometimes the oddity on a menu might be the chef’s passion project, which is reason enough to order it. Newcomers to the New Orleans favorite Pêche Seafood Grill might not know that the restaurant goes heavy on the vegetables, but you have to know to order them. When I visited the city for a friend’s wedding in January, my eyes gravitated toward the citrus-glazed turnips. They seemed so unassuming, maybe even out of place, on the otherwise flashy menu of raw-bar staples like oysters varying in plumpness and brininess; a nutty, almost creamy royal red Gulf shrimp dish that stains your fingers with a crab roe sauce; and the beloved steak tartare with smoked-oyster aioli on toast, which landed on nearly every table in the dining room. Who knew that the star of my seafood lunch would be a side dish of turnips?

. . . .and that’s about it. Not all that useful advice. I’ve tried it, and it sometimes works, but when a restaurant is known for something, the odds are that it’s something good. 

*A prognostication by the Wall Street Journal is that the 2024 Presidential election will feature the same leads as 2020’s: Biden vs. Trump (it’s likely that Harris will remain as Biden’s VP candidate, but Pence is surely toast). This is not a choice most Democrats want, but voting for Trump is out of the question:

President Biden is expected to announce his re-election campaign this week, putting to rest questions of whether he will seek a second term as the nation’s first octogenarian president. At the same time, polls show former President Donald Trump with a substantial lead in the Republican presidential field despite facing criminal charges in New York and the potential for more legal problems on the horizon.

While the race for the White House remains in an early stage and presidential campaigns can shift quickly, the start of the 2024 cycle shows that a rematch between Messrs. Biden and Trump is a distinct possibility, one that would play out before a divided nation as the two parties uneasily share control of the levers of power in Washington.

. . .Mr. Biden is expected to open his re-election bid with a video announcement. Advisers are considering a Tuesday launch to coincide with the fourth anniversary of his entry into the Democratic primaries in 2019. Mr. Biden is scheduled to address the North America’s Building Trades Unions that day, allowing him to highlight his $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure law before an audience of union members who have backed both Democrats and Republicans in the past.

Mr. Trump is planning a response to the announcement, aides said, and he has said the president is vulnerable on a range of issues, from immigration to inflation.

. . .A Wall Street Journal poll released last week found Mr. Biden at 48% and Mr. Trump at 45% in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup, a lead within the poll’s margin of error. In testing a potential field of 12 competitors for the Republican presidential nomination, the poll found that Mr. Trump had the support of 48% of GOP primary voters, followed by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis at 24%. No other Republican candidate was in double digits.

While Mr. Biden faces minor opposition in the Democratic primaries, polls show that the public holds deep reservations about his presidency. In the six Wall Street Journal surveys dating to late 2021, an average of 43% of voters have said they approve of Mr. Biden’s job performance, while an average of 48% said they approved of how Mr. Trump handled the job when he was president.

I’m not sure if Trump has officially announced his candidacy, but he’s been acting as if he has since, well, since he lost. And the poll showing 48% for Biden and 45% for Trump in a head-to-head contest scares the bejeesus out of me, not only because it makes me doubt the sanity of half of America, but because Trump could even win. The world would think we were insane! All we can hope for is that Trump somehow gets disqualified between now and then by some kind of criminal conviction, but, barring that, the man and his supporters seem completely impervious to the three investigations that Trump is undergoing. The only operative word is “OY!”

*If you’re French or a wine lover, you’ll know that the term “Champaagne” is reserved by French (and now EU) law only for wines produced in the right part of France and in the right way. (That’s why you won’t find any U.S. sparkling wines, no matter how pricey, described as “champagne.”

This puts the EU in conflict with the Molson Coors Brewing Company of America, which markets Miller High Life beer, described in “the champagne of bottle beers” and the “champagne of beers” since 1969.

That won’t fly in Europe, and so, when a shipment of 2,352 cans of Miller High Life arrived in Belgium destined for Germany (why would Germans want this stuff?), the cans were immediately crushed by customs.

Charles Goemaere, the managing director of the Comité Champagne, said the destruction of the beers “confirms the importance that the European Union attaches to designations of origin and rewards the determination of the Champagne producers to protect their designation.”

Molson Coors Beverage Co. said it “respects local restrictions” around the word Champagne.

“But we remain proud of Miller High Life, its nickname and its Milwaukee, Wisconsin provenance,” the company said. “We invite our friends in Europe to the U.S. any time to toast the High Life together.”

Belgian customs said the destruction of the cans was paid for by the Comité Champagne. According to their joint statement, it was carried out “with the utmost respect for environmental concerns by ensuring that the entire batch, both contents and container, was recycled in an environmentally responsible manner.”

Don’t try ordering a Millers anywhere in the EU. But why on earth would you want to?

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is dong srs cat bzns:

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m sorting bank statements.
In Polish:
Ja: Co ty robisz?
Hili: Segreguję wyciągi z banku.

From Nicole:

A Gary Larson Far Side cartoon:

And a cartoon on consciousness, sent by smipowell and created by Zach Weinersmith.  It’s homunculi all the way down!

Two tweets Masih showing more brutality towards peaceful Iranian protestors. The first physical, the second verbal.

Titania tweeted; the occasion is the death of Barry Humphries (aka “Dame Edna”).

From Barry: a dog rights a duckling:

From the Auschwitz Memorial: a 13-year-old boy gassed upon arrival:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, a newly-hatched duckling conks out to catch some Zs:

A happy squirrel:

Way before “civilizations” started, there was art, and the urge to reproduce what you saw in nature. Here’s a good one:

34 thoughts on “Monday: Hili dialogue

  1. I don’t know if the Chinese ambassador spoke out of turn or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he expressed the actual Chinese view of the matter. After all they occupied Tibet on the pretext that it was historically part of China and threaten Taiwan on the same basis. To my mind, one of the primary reasons for the US to support Ukraine is concern that Russia holds the same view, and, if let to itself, will engage on revanchist wars against the former territories of the USSR and the Russia Empire.

    1. According to the BBC:

      China has distanced itself from the remarks of one of its envoys who questioned the sovereignty of Ukraine and other former Soviet countries.

      Paris ambassador Lu Shaye’s comments last week caused widespread outrage, leading on calls to Beijing to clarify.

      On Monday, China’s foreign ministry said it respected the independence of all post-Soviet republics.

      1. Thank you for the link. I had only read this information in German news and I am glad that the international press has now also picked up on the fact that the Chinese ambassador has been reprimanded.

    2. If the ambassador survives in his post it can be assumed he was voicing official policy as a trial balloon and a veiled threat. If he disappears the contrary cannot be assumed. He might be a pawn lost to the game.

  2. My immediate thought upon reading about the Miller beer kerfuffle in Europe was similar to your’s….why would any European want a mass produced American beer, given what they have locally? Then I thought why would anyone in the U.S., other than for nostalgia of their first beers as teens, drink Millers when we have so many excellent craft brews here in U.S. these days? I often think about my father who died young at 53 in 1970, and like much of his generation drank beer and smoked cigars, but was limited to beers like Millers and cigars like Roi Tan. How he would love today’s selection of quality craft beers and cigars on offer to his grandchildren’s generation.

    Sorry you are down , but at least it’s a virus that should be gone in a week to ten days as opposed to the dreaded covid. Thanks for testing and hope you pop back soon.

    1. You can buy Millers in the UK (although they don’t call it the “champagne of beers” here – we’re not that stupid). You can buy Budweiser here. The thing I don’t understand is why anybody would want to.

  3. On this day:
    1183 BC – Traditional reckoning of the Fall of Troy marking the end of the legendary Trojan War, given by chief librarian of the Library of Alexandria Eratosthenes, among others.

    1800 – The United States Library of Congress is established when President John Adams signs legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress”.

    1895 – Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail single-handedly around the world, sets sail from Boston, Massachusetts aboard the sloop “Spray”.

    1914 – The Franck–Hertz experiment, a pillar of quantum mechanics, is presented to the German Physical Society.

    1915 – The arrest of 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders in Istanbul marks the beginning of the Armenian genocide.
    1916 – Easter Rising: Irish rebels, led by Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, launch an uprising in Dublin against British rule and proclaim an Irish Republic.

    1916 – Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launch a lifeboat from uninhabited Elephant Island in the Southern Ocean to organise a rescue for the crew of the sunken Endurance.

    1918 – World War I: First tank-to-tank combat, during the second Battle of Villers-Bretonneux. Three British Mark IVs meet three German A7Vs.

    1932 – Benny Rothman leads the mass trespass of Kinder Scout, leading to substantial legal reforms in the United Kingdom.

    1933 – Nazi Germany begins its persecution of Jehovah’s Witnesses by shutting down the Watch Tower Society office in Magdeburg.

    1967 – Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when its parachute fails to open. He is the first human to die during a space mission.

    1980 – Eight U.S. servicemen die in Operation Eagle Claw as they attempt to end the Iran hostage crisis.

    1990 – STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery.

    2011 – WikiLeaks starts publishing the Guantanamo Bay files leak.

    2013 – A building collapses near Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 1,129 people and injuring 2,500 others.

    1620 – John Graunt, English demographer and statistician (d. 1674). [Graunt was one of the first demographers, and perhaps the first epidemiologist, though by profession he was a haberdasher. He was bankrupted later in life by losses suffered during Great Fire of London and the discrimination he faced following his conversion to Catholicism.]

    1815 – Anthony Trollope, English novelist, essayist, and short story writer (d. 1882).

    1880 – Gideon Sundback, Swedish-American engineer and businessman, developed the zipper (d. 1954).

    1905 – Robert Penn Warren, American novelist, poet, and literary critic (d. 1989).

    1906 – William Joyce, American-born Irish-British Nazi propaganda broadcaster (d. 1946).

    1924 – Clement Freud, German-English radio host, academic, and politician (d. 2009).

    1931 – Bridget Riley, English painter and illustrator.

    1941 – John Williams, Australian-English guitarist and composer.

    1942 – Barbra Streisand, American singer, actress, activist, and producer.

    Death is a black camel, which kneels at the gates of all: [Abd-el-Kader]

    1731 – Daniel Defoe, English journalist, novelist, and spy (b. 1660).

    1947 – Willa Cather, American novelist, short story writer, and poet (b. 1873).

    1970 – Otis Spann, American singer and pianist (b. 1930).

    1974 – Bud Abbott, American comedian and producer (b. 1895).

    1986 – Wallis Simpson, American socialite, Duchess of Windsor (b. 1896). [ “The woman I love” who King Edward VIII gave up the British throne for.]

    1993 – Oliver Tambo, South African lawyer and activist (b. 1917).

    2017 – Robert Pirsig, American author and philosopher (b. 1928).

    1. 1967 – Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when its parachute fails to open. He is the first human to die during a space mission.

      During a pre-launch test of the Apollo 1 command module, US astronauts “Gus” Grissom, Ed White, and Roger Chaffee were killed in a fire on the launch pad at Cape Kennedy on January 27, 1967.

      1. Indeed. I don’t know how far off the launch pad, if at all, you need to be for it to quantify as a space mission.

        IIRC, the Apollo 1 crew died during a pre-launch test, but Jim our resident expert will know better.

        1. Noting the day of death of the former Duchess of Windsor, we should bear in mind that Wallis Simpson was presumably Homer Simpson’s grandmother.

          1. Also, i should have written that many safety design changes were made to the apollo capsulesas a result of the post-fire investigation. For example, all subsequent missions moved from the pure oxygen capsule environment that allowed the fire to spread so quickly to a safer oxygen/nitrogen atmosphere and the ingress/egress hatch was redesigned to give quicker access to theastronauts. The pad fire ocurred about three weeks before the scheduled mission. The burned out capsule and all related hardware was stored in a special container with a nitrogen atmosphere at my field center, Nasa Langley Research Center in Hampton Va. it was still at Langley in 2008 when I retired and assume but do not know for sure, it is still being preserved there.

  4. Titania tweeted; the occasion is the death of Barry Humphries (aka “Dame Edna”).

    Dad spent a (likely drunken) taxi ride around central London with him when they filmed The Adventures of Barry McKenzie in the early ’70s. Humphries was in full-on Aunt Edna mode, “My dear, I feel absolutely fucked!”, which bamboozled the poor cabbie. Sadly, Dad, who is 92 in a couple of weeks, won’t remember it. Ah well.

  5. IRT “dogs are better than humans,” I think of what mark Twain wrote:
    “Heaven is by favor; if it were by merit your dog would go in and you would stay out. Of all the creatures ever made (man) is the most detestable. Of the entire brood, he is the only one… that possesses malice. He is the only creature that inflicts pain for sport, knowing it to be pain.”

    1. Well, most men don’t. Twain (if quoted accurately) was writing satire And most men don’t eat animals by ripping their tracheas out and tearing their still living bodies apart tp get at the heart and liver. Men don’t kill this way precisely because they know it causes pain. Torturing animals or people for sport is universally loathed more than misgendering them…or at least it used to be.

      I always wonder what people who endorse sentiments like Twain’s really believe. If we don’t deserve to survive on account of our sins, why not mass suicide now? Why wait for Climate Armageddon? By the time that happens in 2200 or so, there’ll be that many more of us to get rid of.

  6. I’m not sure if Trump has officially announced his candidacy …

    Trump made his official announcement regarding his 2024 presidential candidacy on November 15, 2022, shortly after Republicans underperformed in the 2022 midterms. Despite his rush to announce his candidacy so early, Trump did not hold any official campaign events for months, unless one wants to count his breaking bread ketchup packets at Mar-a-Lago on November 22, 2022, with Kanye West and Holocaust-denying white nationalist Nick Fuentes.

  7. What Americans apparently call pigs in blankets we British would call sausage rolls. Our pigs in blankets are sausages wrapped in a strip of bacon, served with our Christmas turkey (and on almost no other occasion).

    Two nations divided by a single language. Again.

    1. If you’ve never eaten a hot dog wrapped in a doughy triangle of Pillsbury crescent roll, you could be forgiven thinking they were similar to sausage rolls from a good Scottish bakery.. Trust me there is no comparison.

  8. I’m not worried about a Biden / Trump rematch, and I have no confidence in polls nowadays. Especially since they can’t seem to poll young people, and that’s who will make sure Trump is never elected POTUS again. Women also know that it is Trump who is ultimately responsible for overturning Roe v. Wade- that alone is a political liability that I doubt can be overcome. At the same time, the GOP cheats, relies on ends justifying means to win, and is OK with political violence- that’s the wild card.

    1. Maybe so but women may actually feel politically homeless since the democrats don’t support women’s safety and spaces. Mens feelings seem to trump women’s concerns and violations but abortion rights is also another assault on our rights. I suggest they will be between a rock and a hard place and may choose not to vote since that is an option in the USA. Dunno 🤷‍♀️

      1. Anecdotally, since the Dobbs decision, every instance the right to abortion appears on the ballot, whether in red Kansas, purple Wisconsin or blue Michigan, the people vote in favor of abortion access. I’m not a woman, but every woman I know who is center or left leaning doesn’t conflate the trans culture wars with the abortion wars, especially to the point that they wouldn’t vote. Who knows?

      2. One approach to the dilemma, Kelcey, is to observe that abortion ought not to affect your vote in the federal election because
        1) you are using permanent contraception of one sort or another, or
        2) you or your daughters can travel easily to a friendly state or Mexico, or
        3) you realize that abortion isn’t really a federal issue anymore anyway.

        The GOP is finding that at state-level contests, abortion does matter and it’s hurting them (yes!), but nationally? Mifepristone will get ironed out somehow. Neither a nation-wide abortion ban nor a nation-wide over-rule of state abortion laws is ever going to get through Congress. And if the former ever did, well, you can fall back on the first two reasons not to worry. Voting Democrat[ic] federally is striking a symbolic blow of solidarity for unhappily pregnant women whose position you will improve not one iota but all women, including you, will be harmed for the reasons you mention. A lot of young voters who are fixing to keep Donald Trump out of the White House seem to like abortion but only as a package with trans ideology and some other foolish things.

        If abortion is the only thing that matters to you, then yes, vote Democrat and you will get the other consequences good and hard, maybe even national Reparations under President Newsom. But if you can’t bring yourself to vote GOP for all the excellent reasons chronicled here at great length, then by all means do stay home. That’s what they are fervently hoping you will do.

    2. Not being American, I suppose it’s none of my business to be worried, but when the choice is Trump or Biden, and the unofficial title is Leader of the Free World, is this the best that the US, a long-established republic with long-established political parties, can do? Really? (Not that I can relax or boast when I look at the two front-runners in this year’s elections in my own country.)

  9. The Hubble Space Telescope. I would have sold my mum to work on that project. I might have needed a brain transplant as well. It would be nice to retrieve some of it for a history museum.

Leave a Reply