Wednesday: Hili dialogue

August 23, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on a Hump Day (“Jou boss” in Haitian Creole): Wednesday, August 23, 2023, and a good day: National Cuban Sandwich Day. As Wikipedia notes, “its origin is murky”, but this culturally appropriated puppy is one good sandwich. As Tasting Table says (photo below):

If you’re a pork lover, no sandwich can compete with the almighty Cubano. Roast pork layered with ham (yes, that’s two kinds of pig), Swiss cheese, pickles and yellow mustard makes for an addictive combo on its own, but when you heat it up, it becomes a pressed sandwich like no other. The sweet ham and crusty bread become addictive when smothered with tangy mustard and loaded with pickles.

Wouldn’t you like to dig into this?

It’s also Buttered Corn Day, National Cheap Flight Day, Hug Your Sweetheart Day, National Sponge Cake DayEuropean Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism or Black Ribbon Day (European Union and other countries), and International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the August 23 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

I still haven’t recovered from jet lag, and perhaps have some insomnia on top of that, so until I’m sleeping better, we’ll curtail or shorten the Nooz. I’ll just put up a sign I saw at the University Church, a woke church a block away from my department. It expresses several impossible aspirations, most notably the first thing it “seeks” to do. What does it mean to make religion as intelligent as science, given that one is based on evidence and the other on dogma, superstition, and revelation?

*Tonight is the Republican Presidential-Candidate debate, with eight hopeless candidates debating each other in the absence of the distant front-runner, Donald Tr*mp. The NYT offers nine hints about what will shape this debate (I won’t recount them), but give this information:

Eight candidates will appear onstage for the first Republican debate on Wednesday. But much of the focus will be on one person who won’t be there, Donald J. Trump.

The dynamic has left his opponents preparing for an unusual scenario: debating among themselves while the front-runner with a commanding lead is entirely absent.

Still, for Mr. Trump’s rivals, the debate provides the biggest audience of the race to date, and their first chance to not only make an impression but to make the race a true contest.

Senator Mitt Romney, a Republican who ran the presidential debate gantlet twice and is his party’s most prominent elected Trump antagonist, offered this advice: “The key for them is not to focus on each other but the person who’s at the top. You gotta punch up.”

Yet even the most viral moment could quickly be swept away in a wave of Trump-driven news. “In 99 out of 100 futures,” said Newt Gingrich, the former Republican presidential candidate and House speaker, “Donald Trump is the Republican nominee and he doesn’t even breathe heavy.”

But the eight candidates have a shot to present Republican voters with an alternative. How they make their case could make the 2024 primary a contest and not a coronation.

The only thing of interest (I won’t be watching) is how much the candidates will go after Trump rather than each other? (It’s a given in these things that the candidates don’t gain by offering a positive platform of their own. One of the NYT’s “nine things to watch” is “Will Christie turn his firepower on DeSantis?”  Yawn. . . . .

*And from the Washington Post, a lot of states have passed bill banning the sale of real estate to Chinese people.

In Washington, the White House and federal lawmakers are pursuing ways to constrain Chinese-owned businesses like TikTok amid a bipartisan push to limit China’s reach.

Now state legislators have embraced a novel, locally focused tactic aimed at China’s domestic investments: restrictions on Chinese land ownership.

Lawmakers in 33 states have introduced 81 bills this year that would prohibit the Chinese government, some China-based businesses and many Chinese citizens from buying agricultural land or property near military bases, according to a Washington Post analysis of data compiled by Asian Pacific American Justice, an advocacy group. A dozen of the bills are now law in states such as Alabama, Idaho and Virginia.

Most passed in Republican-dominated legislatures, but some found bipartisan support as sponsors argued they address a national security threat.The Chinese government could set up spy operations on land purchased near military bases, the bills’ backerssay, and the nation’s food supply could be threatened if hostile foreign entities acquire too much agricultural land.

This, of course, all derives from the Chinese spy balloon, which scared the bejeezus out of these lawmakers.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is anxious to steal Kulka’s treat (if he got one):

Hili: She arrived.
Szaron: Who?
Hili: Paulina. We have to know whether she bought something for Kulka.
In Polish:
Hili: Przyjechała.
Szaron: Kto?
Hili: Paulina. Trzeba się dowiedzieć, co kupiła dla Kulki.
There’s also a picture of baby Hili eleven years ago today:



From Simon, who hates QR codes (as do I), a Dave Blazek cartoon:

From Irena, a little known fact:

A groaner from Merilee:

From Masih. Sepideh Qolian, an Iranian activist, has already spent over 4 years in Tehran’s notorious Evin Prison, and now faces two more years for chanting anti-government slogans outside the prison immediately after her release. She was rearrested. It takes a very special kind of bravery to voluntarily subject yourself to that prison, a place where she was previously tortured.

A mandatory video—for many New Yorkers. Note that you are assigned “gender” (actually sex) at birth. Also, it says “no matter how you identify, you should be believed and accepted.” I’m down with the “accepted” part, but not so much with “believed.”

From Blue, a duck that likes to be repeatedly tossed into the water:

From Barry, who wants to know what I think of this.  I do agree that civil liberties depend on data, and Sam gives a good example of that.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, two posts. First, one who survived:

And one who didn’t: a young girl gassed upon arrival, age 3:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb, who wants to know what this weird head morphology is “for”. We both agree that it evolved to help prevent heat loss from the bill:

Sir Nils Olav III has been promoted!!!!

Two views of a remarkable moth. I have no idea why the antennae are so long, nor does Wikipedia offer any clues.

26 thoughts on “Wednesday: Hili dialogue

  1. I may have noted this before here, and others have said the same thing elsewhere. I continue to object to the idea of “sex assigned at birth”. It’s not “assigned”, it’s observed. In the same way that weight is an observation of a measurement, not an arbitrary assignment of a number.

  2. If they actually had a political debate which they will not. Instead they will take shots at each other or Trump. How do 8 people standing on a stage have a debate? Not possible. How about they all get one issue to discuss. That would be — Do the republicans have a party or is it just a cult?

    Happy Birthday Hili……

    1. Of course they will be desperately trying to go viral in a positive way, and not in a foot-in-mouth negative way. Also what at least some are doing is trying to get Trump to notice them as a VP prospect.

      1. Ramaswami and Haley are definitely vying for the VP nod. I wonder if MAGA cult members who are xtians (a huge majority) would vote for a hindi. And I can’t imagine Trump would choose a woman; he’s dismissive of women, if not outright hostile, esp. if the woman is perceived as strong or threatening. Though Haley is nothing if not obsequious, so who knows.

        Either way, as I recently heard a pundit say: “Trump already won the debate.”

  3. On this day:
    79 – Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

    1305 – Sir William Wallace is executed for high treason at Smithfield, London.

    1382 – Siege of Moscow: The Golden Horde led by Tokhtamysh lays siege to the capital of the Grand Duchy of Moscow.

    1572 – French Wars of Religion: Mob violence against thousands of Huguenots in Paris results in the St. Bartholomew’s Day massacre.

    1775 – American Revolutionary War: King George III delivers his Proclamation of Rebellion to the Court of St James’s stating that the American colonies have proceeded to a state of open and avowed rebellion.

    1831 – Nat Turner’s rebellion of enslaved Virginians is suppressed.

    1839 – The United Kingdom captures Hong Kong as a base as it prepares for the First Opium War with Qing China.

    1898 – The Southern Cross Expedition, the first British venture of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, departs from London.

    1923 – Captain Lowell Smith and Lieutenant John P. Richter perform the first mid-air refueling on De Havilland DH-4B, setting an endurance flight record of 37 hours.

    1929 – Hebron Massacre during the 1929 Palestine riots: Arab attacks on the Jewish community in Hebron in the British Mandate of Palestine occur, continuing until the next day, resulting in the death of 65–68 Jews and the remaining Jews being forced to leave the city.

    1939 – World War II: Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union sign the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. In a secret protocol to the pact, Poland, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Romania are divided into German and Soviet “spheres of influence”.

    1942 – World War II: Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.

    1944 – Freckleton air disaster: A United States Army Air Forces B-24 Liberator bomber crashes into a school in Freckleton, England, killing 61 people.

    1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.

    1970 – Organized by Mexican American labor union leader César Chávez, the Salad Bowl strike, the largest farm worker strike in U.S. history, begins.

    1973 – A bank robbery gone wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, turns into a hostage crisis; over the next five days the hostages begin to sympathise with their captors, leading to the term “Stockholm syndrome”.

    1989 – Singing Revolution: Two million people from Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania stand on the Vilnius–Tallinn road, holding hands.

    1990 – West and East Germany announce that they will reunite on October 3.

    1991 – The World Wide Web is opened to the public.

    1994 – Eugene Bullard, the only African American pilot in World War I, is posthumously commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.

    2006 – Natascha Kampusch, who had been abducted at the age of ten, escapes from her captor Wolfgang Přiklopil, after eight years of captivity.

    2007 – The skeletal remains of Russia’s last royal family members Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia, and his sister Grand Duchess Anastasia are discovered near Yekaterinburg, Russia.

    2011 – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is overthrown after the National Transitional Council forces take control of Bab al-Azizia compound during the Libyan Civil War.

    1768 – Astley Cooper, British surgeon and anatomist (d. 1841).

    1769 – Georges Cuvier, French biologist and academic (d. 1832).

    1847 – Sarah Frances Whiting, American physicist and astronomer (d. 1927).

    1852 – Arnold Toynbee, English economist and historian (d. 1883).

    1890 – Harry Frank Guggenheim, American businessman and publisher, co-founded Newsday (d. 1971).

    1900 – Malvina Reynolds, American singer-songwriter and activist (d. 1978).

    1912 – Gene Kelly, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1996).

    1917 – Tex Williams, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1985).

    1946 – Keith Moon, English drummer, songwriter, and producer (d. 1978).

    1947 – Willy Russell, English playwright and composer.

    1947 – Linda Thompson, English folk-rock singer-songwriter.

    1949 – Shelley Long, American actress.

    1949 – Rick Springfield, Australian-American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor.

    1959 – Edwyn Collins, Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist.

    1962 – Shaun Ryder, English singer-songwriter and actor.

    1970 – River Phoenix, American actor (d. 1993).

    1975 – Eliza Carthy, English folk musician.

    1978 – Kobe Bryant, American basketball player and businessman (d. 2020).

    Codename: “Operation Certain Death”? Yes, I think I have just the fellows.
    1806 – Charles-Augustin de Coulomb, French physicist and engineer (b. 1736).

    1813 – Alexander Wilson, Scottish-American poet, ornithologist, and illustrator (b. 1766).

    1926 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor (b. 1895).

    1949 – Helen Churchill Candee, American geographer, journalist, and author (b. 1858).

    1960 – Oscar Hammerstein II, American director, producer, and composer (b. 1895).

    1982 – Stanford Moore, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1913).

    1989 – R. D. Laing, Scottish psychiatrist and author (b. 1927).

    1990 – David Rose, American pianist and composer (b. 1910).

    1996 – Margaret Tucker, Australian author and activist (b. 1904).

    1997 – John Kendrew, English biochemist and crystallographer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1917).

    1999 – Norman Wexler, American screenwriter (b. 1926). [Best known for Saturday Night Fever, Serpico, and Joe.]

    2006 – Maynard Ferguson, Canadian trumpet player and bandleader (b. 1928).

    2012 – Jerry Nelson, American puppeteer and voice actor (b. 1934). [On Sesame Street, Nelson’s longest-running character was Count von Count, the counting vampire who takes delight in counting anything (and everything) he can.]

    2021 – Elizabeth Blackadder, Scottish painter and printmaker (b. 1931).

    1. On this day in 1861, Rose O’Neal Greenhow was placed under house arrest for being a spy for the Confederacy in the American Civil War. She was apprehended by the newly established intelligence service headed by Allan Pinkerton.
      Before the Civil War, in 1850, he founded the Pinkerton Detective Agency. Dashiell Hammett worked at this agency in the early 1900s.

  4. [ reads sign ..]

    “A Community of Transformation”

    Well, the game is up right there – that’s Communism.

    Perpetual transformation of society by “man” (Marx’s word) to reach Utopia.

    I think this sign was up before – and I hear Orwell chiding me to pay attention to what is right under one’s “nose” – so not a bad idea, to repost things occasionally.

  5. We don’t tolerate a diversity of opinion because the stakes are too high.

    This is the justification for the worst repressions in History. The Inquisition said, We can’t tolerate heresy because it jeopardizes means immortal souls, and there is nothing more important. The Communists said heterodox thought (even unspoken) will prevent the creation of the Socialist State. The Nazis said Jews jeopardize the Aryan race merely by existing. Even now, the Climillerites are saying that anti-global warming sentiment jeopardizes the planet and should be suppressed. The stakes are always too high for someone.

    Perfect knowledge, especially of the efficacy of a new vaccine, such as Sam fantasies about, doesn’t exist. More importantly, the government has sacrificed the trust of the people because they responded in a panic to Covid and then suppressed conflicting data. Frankly, I find that a much more likely nightmare in the future than Sam’s scenario. Sam premises perfect knowledge and the non-existence of personal liberty and limited government. He’s wrong about both.

    1. I’d say informed consent ought to be necessary – that would materialize from a doctor (as in M.D.).

      I think a scenario where doctors’ notes are given out would make clear the origins of vaccine refusal – such that all patients would know more about the decision making, and steer clear of quacks, could be mapped with morbidity, etc.

  6. Jesus, that NYT article makes tonight’s Republican debate sound even more boring than I imagined (as if that’s possible). I’ll be watching, but will keep the mute button and a book close at hand. (I’ll keep the picture on in the corner, just to look over occasionally to see if any fisticuffs seem imminent.)

  7. 79 – Mount Vesuvius begins stirring, on the feast day of Vulcan, the Roman god of fire.

    It’s most likely that the eruption of Vesuvius in 79 was in October, not August. There’s a lot of evidence for the later date in that autumnal fruit were found in Pompeii and the wine harvest had happened.

    The August date comes from a letter Pliny the Younger sent to Titus but it is now believed that that is a transcription error.

  8. It seems that Wagner boss Prigozhin has died in a plane crash. Now why does the shortness of his life after the abortive coup not surprise anyone?

    1. Last I read, he was in Africa. Is that where the plane crashed? Anyway, if true, it’s no surprise he’s dead.

        1. I don’t think you would accidently shoot down an Embraer Business Jet. Why not just go out a window?

            1. Yes. I did not mean to imply he would fall out a window on the plane. Why take out 9 other people to get this one guy? Putin does not care. The other question might be who was crazy enough to get on the plane with him. I would have been real sick that day.

  9. Yes, I’d like that Cuban sandwich please. I wish they were available around these parts, but they’re not too hard to make…there are a lot of recipes on the googles.

    Re. QR codes. I think they’re great when used for returning Amazon purchases at UPS, but I hate when restaurants use them for the menu. It’s a mixed bag.

  10. I don’t think the Spectacled Eider beak covering evolved because it warms the beak. I think this evolved under selective pressure from females or as a species-specific signal. Many eider species have very unusual and distinctive species-specific bill decorations; this is probably just another example. It’s worth noting that many tropical birds (who don’t need to keep their beaks warm) also have head extensions that cover the bills, usually best developed in the males but also present in the females. Examples include the Andean Cock of the Rock, some species of African turacaos (many of these have strikingly eider-like patterns on their beaks), and some quetzal species:

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