Friday: Hili dialogue

November 17, 2023 • 6:45 am

Welcome to Friday, November 17, 2023, and National Bread Day.  I’ll have a crusty baguette, please.  An older one is below, when they used to be bigger. The average French adult eats half a baguette per day.

I am much cheered by the “Post a joke” thread yesterday, in which I asked readers to send in a good joke. There were 151 comments, most of them jokes and most of the jokes funny, with some hilarious. Thanks to all who contributed, and I urge you to read through the thread, as there are some good ones you’ll want in your armamentarium of humor.

It’s also International Students’ Day, Homemade Bread Day, National Baklava Day, celebrating the world’s finest pastry, International Happy Gose Day (celebrating the sour wheat beer), National Butter Day, and World Prematurity Day.

Here’s a plate of baklava and kataifi I had in Istanbul in 2008.  Do you think I overdid it?

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the November 17 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*This morning’s NYT reports that the paper’s reporters had been taken to a tunnel beneath Gaza’s Al-Shifa hospital, but of course the reporters, willing to believe body counts and attacks reported by Hamas, are very dubious when it comes to what the tunnel was. (I wish they’d just be equally dubious about both sides!):

Almost 48 hours after entering Gaza’s largest medical complex, the Israeli military escorted New York Times journalists through a landscape of wartime destruction Thursday night to a stone-and-concrete shaft on its grounds with a staircase descending into the earth — evidence, it said, of a Hamas military facility under the hospital.

But Col. Elad Tsury, commander of Israel’s Seventh Brigade, said Israeli forces, fearing booby traps, had not ventured down the shaft at the hospital, Al-Shifa. He said it had been discovered earlier in the day under a pile of sand on the northern perimeter of the complex.

In the darkness, it was unclear where the shaft led or how deep it went, although the military said it had sent a drone down at least several meters. Electrical wiring was visible inside, along with a metal staircase.

The controlled visit will not settle the question of whether Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that rules Gaza, has been using Al-Shifa Hospital to hide weapons and command centers, as Israel has said.

The claim is central to Israel’s defense of the death toll caused by its military campaign in Gaza, which has killed more than 11,000 people, according to Gazan health officials. Israeli officials say that the extreme loss of life has been caused in part by Hamas’s decision to hide its military fortifications and command centers inside civilian infrastructure like Al-Shifa.

And the body of a second hostage has been found. Note how the NYT tells the reader that if Israel doesn’t find a lot of tunnels, it’s cooked:

The Israeli military has said that Hamas used a vast maze of tunnels underneath the hospital as a secret base, but since announcing early Wednesday that its troops had entered the grounds, the military has yet to present public documentation of such an extensive network. As the international community increasingly demands protections for civilians in Gaza, Israel is under pressure to demonstrate that the hospital — and the tunnel network it said it concealed — were important enough military targets to justify the immense cost in Palestinian lives.

Colonel Tsury acknowledged the pressure on Israel to show evidence of Hamas activity at the hospital, but said it might be days before troops descended the shaft. He added that soldiers were methodically searching the complex and had discovered weapons, explosives and computers, as well as the body of an Israeli hostage in a nearby building. (The military announced on Friday that soldiers had found a second hostage’s body in a building near Al-Shifa.)

*(From yesterday evening). The IDF is in its second day searching Al-Shifa hospital (there’s still firing in the area), and has found plenty of evidence that it was used by Hamas, but not so far a smoking gun that it was Hamas headquarters.

A day after it took control of the Gaza Strip’s largest hospital, the Israeli military on Thursday afternoon was still searching the site that Israel has said concealed a secret Hamas base, and to bolster its case offered video of more weapons it said it had found there and what it described as a tunnel entrance.

The images presented by Israel from the hospital, Al-Shifa, in Gaza City, could not be independently verified, and still have not proven the existence of the sprawling Hamas operation that it said the hospital concealed.

But Israeli officials said the search was bound to be slow, citing the physical difficulties and the risks. They added that Hamas had plenty of warning that Israeli forces were coming and time to remove evidence. In an apparent attempt to rebuff skepticism of the evidence released thus far, Rear Adm. Daniel Hagari, the chief spokesman for the Israeli military, said Thursday evening at a news briefing that troops were searching the hospitals, building by building, sometimes while under fire.

“This is a complex activity that needs time in order to most importantly ensure our forces’ security, and then operational success,” he said. “In Shifa, Rantisi, Al-Quds and other hospitals, we are finding Hamas activity aboveground and underneath it. This is no coincidence — this is Hamas’s method.”

Since invading Gaza 20 days ago, Israel has presented Al-Shifa as one of its primary targets, saying it sits atop a network of subterranean fortifications installed by Hamas, the armed Palestinian group that controlled the entire territory until the invasion began. Hamas and the hospital leadership have denied the accusations.

You can almost see the glee in the eyes of the NYT editors that the evidence of Hamas activity isn’t yet overwhelming.  But we’ll have to see; it’s early days.

*In fact, they also found the body of one hostage and what appears to be a tunnel [see above; they’ve now found a second dead hostage]:

Israeli soldiers have recovered the body of one of the hostages kidnapped during the Hamas-led attack on Israel last month from a building next to the Al-Shifa Hospital complex in Gaza City, the Israeli military said on Thursday night.

The body of Yehudit Weiss, 65, a resident of Be’eri, a kibbutz near the border with Gaza, was found by troops who in recent days have taken control of much of the hospital, the largest in the Gaza Strip, and were searching within and beneath it. Israeli officials say the hospital complex hosts major Hamas facilities, some in underground bunkers, a claim rejected by Hamas and hospital officials.

The BBC adds that Weiss was a cancer patient, and I can see the scenario now: detractors will say she died of cancer after Hamas brought her to the hospital for treatment! At any rate, it’s sad. Her husband, Shmulik had been killed in the October 7 attack, and she died alone in the hands of Hamas.

There’s also evidence of at least one tunnel discovered on hospital grounds, first in this video below. . .

. . . and in a Guardian article that we have to take with a grain of salt because it appeared, mysteriously disappeared, and now is only archived.  From that version we had this:

The Israeli military said late on Thursday that it uncovered a Hamas tunnel shaft and a vehicle with weapons at Gaza’s al-Shifa hospital complex.
“In the Shifa hospital, IDF [Israel Defense Forces] troops found an operational tunnel shaft and a vehicle containing a large number of weapons,” the military said.
It made videos and photographs of the tunnel shaft and weapons public, but no independent verification was possible.

*The NYT reports that a movie critical of Israel has been canceled at Hunter College out of “safety concerns”. I haven’t seen it, but you don’t have to to realize that this is a violation of freedom of speech and an unconscionable suppression of people’s right to hear views they might not like. (Hunter College is a public school.)

Hunter College this week abruptly pulled a screening of a documentary film critical of Israel, creating a backlash from faculty members and students who have charged the New York school’s administration with undermining academic freedom.

The documentary, “Israelism,” investigates what it calls the uncritical love of the Jewish state inculcated in American Jews, through the stories of two young Jews who travel to Israel and the West Bank. There they encounter a different reality from the one they said they learned at their religious day schools and summer camps.

Since its release in February, “Israelism” has won several prizes, including sharing an audience award at the prominent San Francisco Jewish Film Festival. It has had dozens of screenings at universities and community spaces, including some sponsored by campus Jewish groups and Jewish studies departments.

The schedule included a screening at Hunter on Tuesday, organized by the school’s film and media department, which was to be followed by a conversation with one of the directors, Erin Axelman, and one of the film’s protagonists.

But that morning, Hunter’s interim president, Ann Kirschner, announced that the scheduled screening had been canceled because of safety concerns.

“The first priority of Hunter College is to ensure the safety of our learning community,” Kirschner said in a statement posted online. “We seek constructive dialogue that avoids targeting any students, faculty or staff based on their identity: the essence of bigotry. In the current climate, we seek to balance our commitment to free speech and academic freedom with the danger of antisemitic and divisive rhetoric.”

That is arrant bullpucky.  This is the “I believe in free speech but. . . .” argument, and it’s idiotic to say that you have to balance free speech and academic freedom against “antisemitic and divisive rhetoric”.  Free speech is essential for creating divisive rhetoric, even if it’s antisemitic, anti-Islamic, or whatever. As for “safety”, it’s up to Hunter to guarantee that there will be no violence. Just send in the campus cops or security. Hunter students have a right to see the film. (I note that there’s only one review and no rating on “Rotten Tomatoes.” President Kirschner needs a lesson in the First Amendment.

*Quelle horreur! The Washington Post reports that beloved music idol Buffy Sainte-Marie, whom I always thought was Canadian and has always represented herself as a Native American, is not only a U.S. American, but may not even be a Indigenous Person. Wikipedia says this:

Sainte-Marie was born at the New England Sanitarium and Hospital in Stoneham, Massachusetts, to parents Albert Santamaria and Winifred Irene Santamaria, née Kendrick. The Santamarias were an American couple from Wakefield, Massachusetts. Her father’s parents were born in Italy while her mother was of English ancestry.Her family changed their surname from Santamaria to Sainte-Marie due to anti-Italian sentiment following the Second World War.

So that’s not new, but what is are claims that she’s distorted her past. From the WaPo:

. . . a new report [from the CBC] hascast doubt on her claim to Indigenous ancestry, unleashing waves of emotions — shock,denial, grief, anger — among Indigenous people here and reviving fraught conversations about what it means to identify as Indigenous in Canada.

“It’s a little bit like an earthquake ripped through the Indigenous community,” said Jean Teillet, an Indigenous rights lawyer in British Columbia and the author of an 86-page report commissioned by the University of Saskatchewan on Indigenous identity fraud and how to detect and deter it.

Good said she’dheard whispers last year that Sainte-Marie might not actually be Indigenous but dismissed the idea as incredible. Then she saw the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. investigation.

“So many people are going to just feel so destroyed,” she thought.

. . . Sainte-Marie, 82, has said she was born on the Piapot First Nation in Saskatchewan and adoptedas an infant by a White family in Massachusetts. She has claimed she was reunited with members of her Piapot family as an adult and adopted into their community in accordance with Cree law

. . . The CBC based its investigation on public records and interviews, including with estranged family members. A Massachusetts birth certificate says she was born Beverly Jean Santamaria to Albert and Winifred Santamaria — the parents she said adopted her. They hadItalian and English ancestry.

The investigation documented shifting statements that Sainte-Marie hasprovided on her origins, including articles from early in her career in which she was described variously as American Indian, then Algonquin, then Mi’kmaq and then Cree — a sign, analysts said, that a person might be faking their identity.

The Elizabeth Warren of Canada—if she is from Canada! Oh well, she’s 82 and the years when it might have mattered more, when she’d perform dressed in Native American-style garb, are long gone. I found the CBC report that started all the fracas here. And Wikipedia, which seems convinced that she’s a fraud, shows what they say is her birth certificate (click to enlarge):

Here’s her best song, which I always thought was written by the guy who made it famous, Donovan. Nope, Buffy wrote “Universal Soldier.

*A $10 million baseball card? Yep, if it’s the rookie card for Babe Ruth. The Wall Street Journal discusses some very rare and valuable baseball cards. (I used to collect them when I was a kid, and I wish I had that collection now!) Author Jason Gay visited the displayed card (below) when it was up for sale (it’s not yet sold):

In the card, he looked young. He was young–19 years old. The card is from 1914, when Ruth wasn’t far removed from his time at St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys. He’s a rookie for his hometown Baltimore Orioles, then a minor league outfit with the International League. Everyone knows The Babe began as a pitcher, but it’s right there on the card, in all caps: RUTH PITCHER.

. . . But even I knew this Ruth card was valuable, extraordinary, worth a visit. If I wanted confirmation, I needed only to look at the armed guard sitting on a stool next to its display case. Other guards lurked around, I was told. This card was precious cargo, protected like a Picasso, making a brief pit stop at its former home, the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, before being auctioned off and sold to the highest bidder.

The auction began Wednesday. Within hours, bidding for the Babe rookie had hit $5.25 million. The sale, which is being run by Robert Edward Auctions and lasts through Dec. 3, has lofty expectations. That $5.25 million bid may be a speed bump on the way to eight figures.

Here it is. Note that he started his career as a pitcher, and he was a great pitcher. After that he moved to the outfield and became a legendary slugger. His superb performance in both pitching and batting is why many consider the Bambino the greatest baseball player of all time.

Here’s the card that holds the current record: the rookie card of Mickey Mantle, which must be very rare in this condition:

Could this Ruth rookie top the all-time amount paid for a baseball card, which was the $12.6 million last year for a close-to-flawless 1952 Mickey Mantle card?

“We think the record is within striking distance,” Brian Dwyer, the president of Robert Edward Auctions, told me at the Ruth Museum.

Phew. Here’s why the Ruth card–held for generations by its original owners, a Baltimore family, until it was sold privately in 2021 to an unknown buyer for an undisclosed amount–is such a big deal:

One, it’s the first known card depicting the towering lefty slugger. The card, which was part of a promotion by a local newspaper, the Baltimore News, is extremely scarce: There are only 10 of them known, and one hasn’t hit the market in more than a decade. This one is in good shape: it’s been given a grade of VG 3, the VG “very good,” from the grading agency SGC.

But also: It’s the Babe! This is a charismatic cultural figure with a reach far beyond sports; who once justified making a salary higher than President Hoover by saying, “Why not? I had a better year.”

One more famous rarity: a Honus Wagner card (it’s a family story that when Wagner was young he’d practice throwing baseballs against the side of my great-great (I don’t know how many greats)-grandmother’s outhouse; they both lived near Pittsburgh.

A major Ruth sale would place this card in a collectible trinity with the ’52 Mantle and another iconic card: the “T-206” Honus Wagner, which pops up for sale now and again. In 2011, a group of Baltimore-area nuns auctioned off a T-206 they’d received from the donation of an estate; that card sold for $262,000. More recently, a T-206 Wagner sold for $7.25 million.

Why are prices soaring? “This is an opportunity to park money away in something that historically has shown it’s not going to go down in value,” said Dwyer.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is thinking too much for a cat:

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m thinking, and it’s detrimental to my mental health.
In Polish:
Ja: Co robisz?
Hili: Myślę, a to nie jest dobre dla zdrowia psychicznego.


From Pati: (I feel like duck #2):

From a list of funny menu translations.  I’ll pass on the chicken.

From Stephen via All You Can Eat.  Although Archie McPhee is a funny-stuff store, I’m sure these are real. I’d eat one, but clams aren’t kosher (thank Ceiling Cat!). There’s a whole variety you can get, including gravy, sour cream and onion, mac and cheese, hot dog, pickle, and sardine. Oy!

From Masih, a nine-year old Iranian boy killed in a protest. His mom protected his body:

From Colin Wright, the distortion of biological sex (defined in all plants and animals as based on relative gamete size) to satisfy the needs of ideologues for nature to mirror their politics:

From Barry. Do dogs do “direct registering” too?

From Jez; I probably published this before, but it’s worth seeing again. This is one smart moggy!

From Orli, a real letter signed by real academics, which explicitly justifies the butchery of Hamas on October 7. Just read the highlighted bits.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, a boy gassed upon arrival, age 9:

TWO tweets from Matthew! I can hardly bear the joy! The first shows a snow leopard becoming aware of the observer:

Matthew says, “This is amazing on so many levels.” It truly is: it’s astounding what AI can do:

38 thoughts on “Friday: Hili dialogue

  1. On this day:
    1558 – Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.

    1603 – English explorer, writer and courtier Sir Walter Raleigh goes on trial for treason.

    1800 – The United States Congress holds its first session in Washington, D.C.

    1810 – Sweden declares war on its ally the United Kingdom to begin the Anglo-Swedish War, although no fighting ever takes place.

    1820 – Captain Nathaniel Palmer becomes the first American to see Antarctica. (The Palmer Peninsula is later named after him.)

    1869 – In Egypt, the Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean Sea with the Red Sea, is inaugurated.

    1894 – H. H. Holmes, one of the first modern serial killers, is arrested in Boston, Massachusetts.

    1903 – The Russian Social Democratic Labour Party splits into two groups: The Bolsheviks (Russian for “majority”) and Mensheviks (Russian for “minority”).

    1939 – Nine Czech students are executed as a response to anti-Nazi demonstrations prompted by the death of Jan Opletal. All Czech universities are shut down and more than 1,200 students sent to concentration camps. Since this event, International Students’ Day is celebrated in many countries, especially in the Czech Republic.

    1947 – The Screen Actors Guild implements an anti-Communist loyalty oath.

    1947 – American scientists John Bardeen and Walter Houser Brattain observe the basic principles of the transistor, a key element for the electronics revolution of the 20th century.

    1950 – United Nations Security Council Resolution 89 relating to the Palestine Question is adopted. [Since 2006, the UN has adopted 297 resolutions against Israel. That’s 297 out of a total of 761. Nearly 40% of all UN resolutions are against just one country: ]

    1967 – Vietnam War: Acting on optimistic reports that he had been given on November 13, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson tells the nation that, while much remained to be done, “We are inflicting greater losses than we’re taking…We are making progress.”

    1969 – Cold War: Negotiators from the Soviet Union and the United States meet in Helsinki, Finland to begin SALT I negotiations aimed at limiting the number of strategic weapons on both sides.

    1970 – Vietnam War: Lieutenant William Calley goes on trial for the My Lai Massacre.

    1970 – Luna programme: The Soviet Union lands Lunokhod 1 on Mare Imbrium (Sea of Rains) on the Moon. This is the first roving remote-controlled robot to land on another world and is released by the orbiting Luna 17 spacecraft.

    1973 – Watergate scandal: In Orlando, Florida, U.S. President Richard Nixon tells 400 Associated Press managing editors “I am not a crook.”

    1989 – Cold War: Velvet Revolution begins: In Czechoslovakia, a student demonstration in Prague is quelled by riot police. This sparks an uprising aimed at overthrowing the communist government (it succeeds on December 29).

    1997 – In Luxor, Egypt, 62 people are killed by six Islamic militants outside the Temple of Hatshepsut, known as Luxor massacre.

    2003 – Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s tenure as the governor of California began.

    2019 – The first known case of COVID-19 is traced to a 55-year-old man who had visited a market in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China.

    AD 9 – Vespasian, Roman emperor (d. 79).

    1749 – Nicolas Appert, French chef, invented canning (d. 1841).

    1790 – August Ferdinand Möbius, German mathematician and astronomer (d. 1868).

    1868 – Korbinian Brodmann, German neurologist and academic (d. 1918).

    1901 – Walter Hallstein, German academic and politician, first President of the European Commission (d. 1982).

    1901 – Lee Strasberg, Ukrainian-American actor and director (d. 1982).

    1906 – Soichiro Honda, Japanese engineer and businessman, co-founded the Honda Motor Company (d. 1991).

    1917 – Ruth Aaronson Bari, American mathematician (d. 2005).

    1925 – Rock Hudson, American actor (d. 1985).

    1927 – Fenella Fielding, English actress (d. 2018).

    1937 – Peter Cook, English comedian, actor, and screenwriter (d. 1995).

    1938 – Gordon Lightfoot, Canadian singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2023).

    1942 – Martin Scorsese, American director, producer, screenwriter, and actor.

    1943 – Lauren Hutton, American model and actress.

    1944 – Danny DeVito, American actor, director, and producer.

    1945 – Roland Joffé, English-French director, producer, and screenwriter.

    1946 – Martin Barre, English guitarist and songwriter.

    1947 – Rod Clements, British singer-songwriter, guitarist, and multi-instrumentalist.

    1951 – Jack Vettriano, Scottish painter and philanthropist.

    1954 – Chopper Read, Australian criminal and author (d. 2013).

    1958 – Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, American actress and singer.

    1960 – Jonathan Ross, English actor and talk show host.

    1966 – Jeff Buckley, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1997).

    1978 – Tom Ellis, Welsh actor.

    1978 – Rachel McAdams, Canadian actress.

    1981 – Sarah Harding, English singer, dancer, and actress (d. 2021).

    1986 – Greg Rutherford, English long jumper.

    Each day is a little life: every waking and rising a little birth, every fresh morning a little youth, every going to rest and sleep a little death:
    1776 – James Ferguson, Scottish astronomer and instrument maker (b. 1710).

    1796 – Catherine the Great, of Russia (b. 1729).

    1917 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator (b. 1840).

    1940 – Eric Gill, English sculptor and typeface designer (b. 1882). [Although the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography describes Gill as “the greatest artist-craftsman of the twentieth century: a letter-cutter and type designer of genius”, he is also a figure of considerable controversy following the revelations of his sexual abuse of two of his daughters and of his pet dog.]

    1959 – Heitor Villa-Lobos, Brazilian guitarist and composer (b. 1887).

    1968 – Mervyn Peake, English poet, author, and illustrator (b. 1911).

    1990 – Robert Hofstadter, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1915).

    1992 – Audre Lorde, American poet, essayist, memoirist, and activist (b. 1934).

    2013 – Doris Lessing, British novelist, poet, playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1919).

    1. Some day, perhaps, you might throw in the opening voice-over from the Doctor Who episode “Heaven Sent” as the death quote:
      “The Doctor : [voice over] As you come into this world, something else is also born. You begin your life, and it begins a journey towards you. It moves slowly, but it never stops. Wherever you go, whatever path you take, it will follow – never faster, never slower, always coming. You will run; it will walk. You will rest; it will not. One day, you will linger in the same place too long; you will sit too still or sleep too deep. And when, too late, you rise to go, you will notice a second shadow next to yours. Your life will then be over.”

    2. 1947 – The Screen Actors Guild implements an anti-Communist loyalty oath.

      Under new SAG president, and B-actor, Ronald Wilson Reagan.

    3. 1901 – Lee Strasberg, Ukrainian-American actor and director (d. 1982).

      Strasberg’s main claim to fame was as an acting teacher. He was the director of the celebrated Actors Studio and, with some other influential New York-based acting coaches, was responsible for adapting “the system” first developed by the Russian actor and teacher Konstantin Stanislavski (author of the influential book An Actor Prepares) into what came to be known as “The Method.”

      As his character Hyman Roth said, “This is the business we’ve chosen” 🙂 :

    4. “1558 – Elizabethan era begins: Queen Mary I of England dies and is succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth I of England.”
      I have just recently visited Hatfield House where Elizabeth 1 received the news of Mary’s death and she was now Queen. We stood in the hall at the very spot where she had her adviser William Cecil read the riot act to the lords of the land. The country “was threatened by grave internal divisions” at the time.
      She could not do what Elizabeth II could do, that was to marry and not lose her right to be the ruling Queen.
      From Britannica:
      “Elizabeth made it immediately clear that she intended to rule in more than name only and that she would not subordinate her judgment to that of any one individual or faction. Since her sister’s reign did not provide a satisfactory model for female authority,…” so she worked on a model for herself.

  2. I would be wary of trusting the authenticity of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s US birth certificate.

    The horror of white families grabbing Native babies was still ongoing during WWII.

    Also, I have a friend who adopted a baby as a newborn. His mother didn’t want him, and my friend was going to go through the adoption process, but the OB who delivered him said to my friend, “I’ll just put you down as the birth father on his birth certificate. It will save a lot of time and grief.” So my friend is listed as the birth father.


      1. The original published article included details of how the documents were located, and how they would be different if the child had been adopted. Plus, her family has known the story all along, and have mostly kept quiet because of legal threats by BSM.
        Birth father is normally assumed, or based on the words of the mother. Paternity can be tested, but usually is not. It is a lot harder to pretend that the mother is someone else, especially when the birth occurred at a hospital, and the certificate is signed by the doctor.

        “she does look like a Native American”. Yes, and the Spanish and Italian extras and character actors in the Sergio Leone films looked convincingly like Mestizos as well.

      2. Agree with Max. The birth certificate is numbered and dated in series with others issued to other parents & babies at the same time (not issued later when BSM was said to have been adopted). Signed by the doctor who delivered her. Family members interviewed by CBC say none of her adoption story is true. I know Jerry doesn’t like podcasts but Blocked & Reported did a good summary of the whole sordid tale. The original CBC story is worth a listen as well.

        My university is getting ready to hire about a dozen indigenous faculty members just for being indigenous. The first step announced is to develop a protocol for “onboarding” new indigenous members of the university. So far only indigenous people have been invited to contribute: they’re calling it a way to ensure that scarce resources are targeted only to indigenous people, but it’s clearly meant to be a Pretendian filter. Should be fun.

    1. The native children taken from their parents on Canada’s reserves were not “grabbed.” They were apprehended by child protection services when their families were too soaked in alcohol abuse to look after them without killing them. (The residential schools served in this role in the early years.) We’re not talking about just being drunk a lot. We are talking about mum and dad (or current boyfriend) leaving small children alone with no food in the house while they drove a hundred miles into town to go drinking for four days or until the money ran out. And many children were beaten by mothers and by men in the house. The claim that children were apprehended wholesale by busybody social workers because they were being fed traditional food instead of Kellogg’s corn flakes for breakfast is revisionist drivel.

      Other children were simply abandoned as foundlings. One of my aunts found two babies left in baskets on her farmhouse doorstep one morning around 1950. Being the good rural family they were — at that point childless — they adopted them, later having two children of their own around the same time her younger sister (my mother) had us. The boy I think, looking back on him with what were then a child’s eyes, probably had fetal alcohol syndrome. When he was a teenager he set fire to their barn, with animals inside, and then ran away. No idea what happened to him.

      The current nod to reconciliation and decolonization is to have native child welfare looked after by agencies based within native bands, outside provincial supervision. Pregnant native women who are drunk when they arrive in hospital in labour won’t automatically have their babies apprehended. The band will find some others in “the community” to “support” the family in their healing journey. We’ll see how that goes. Or maybe we won’t…..they don’t have to tell us.

      The native people on the reserve Buffy Sainte Marie supposedly comes from aren’t buying her story of being “scooped” as they call it, now that she has been outed as a pretendian. They “adopted” her “back” into the band after she became famous and useful to them. It sounded like a good deal at the time. But no one likes to be played for a fool.

      1. I think a lot of groups tend to take advantage of people’s ignorance about these issues. It is easier when the events are alleged to have taken place long ago in places that the target audience has never been.
        People are willing to believe that White people just routinely stole native children, or that schools abducted children in order to kill them and hide them in mass graves.
        In order to find such claims credible, one needs to have a completely false and manufactured view of the time and place in question. That view seems to be that peoples birth, movements and deaths did not generate reams of paperwork as they do now.

        I made the maddening mistake of reading the comments (not here) on the 10/7 Hamas massacre. They have similarly created a mythology about Israel from 1948 on.
        It seems entirely possible to me that some of the most outrageous barbarity of 10/7 was payback for fabricated claims that Israelis did those things to Arabs in the 40s. They led me to a rabbit hole of sourcing those claims. Once again, incidents were investigated, hearings held, and paperwork generated. Some of the people generating the most outrageous claims were perfectly able to consult the available documentation, but did not do so, or just ignored it, preferring to take at face value the propaganda from Arab activists.

        This from Jerusalem Report 1998, quoting the BBC-

        “I asked Dr. Khalidi how we should cover the story,” recalled Nusseibeh, now living in Amman. “He said, ‘We must make the most of this.’ So we wrote a press release stating that at Deir Yassin children were murdered, pregnant women were raped. All sorts of atrocities.”
        A Deir Yassin survivor identified as Abu Mahmud, said the villagers protested at the time. “We said, ‘There was no rape.’ [Khalidi] said, ‘We have to say this, so the Arab armies will come to liberate Palestine from the Jews.’”

        1. The good news is that it is possible to change someone’s mind. Leslie here was the one who helped the scales fall from my eyes about “remains of murdered children found in mass graves at Indian residential schools,” for which I’m grateful. In my case it wasn’t ignorance so much as overweening sympathy that kept me from getting there on my own.

    2. I don’t think there is any reasonable doubt about her European ancestry. Her constantly changing, mutually inconsistent stories about her ancestry reveal a pathological liar, and her latest responses to these charges sound evasive. It was reported that Buffy’s sister (who strongly and publicly refutes Buffy’s adaption claim) has been shown by DNA testing to be related to Buffy’s son. If this is true (I haven’t seen the test results reported directly), then the sister (who is clearly white) is Buffy’s biological sister, and Buffy was not adopted.

      “Beyond the verification of documentation and damning testimony from relatives, a DNA test confirmed that Saint-Marie’s sister was her biological sister and so Saint-Marie’s adoptive parents must be her biological parents. The test concluded that Saint-Marie’s blood sister had “almost no” Native DNA, the only DNA other Natives had that the sister had was foundational DNA common to all peoples across the planet. Sainte-Marie’s biological son, Sheldon Wolfchild, son of a Dakota father, has confirmed she is a “naturalized” Indigenous person, and is not Indigenous by birth.”

      There are also reports that Buffy used to be less dark-skinned than she appears to be now, leading to claims that she uses dark make-up.

      She threatened to sue her brother and charge him publicly with sexual abuse if he persisted in making public statements that Buffy was not adopted.

      An alleged Reddit post by her son:

  3. Continuing the thread here on SpaceX launch that was scheduled in a 2-hour window this morning starting at 0800 EST: launch has been rescheduled to a twenty-minute window starting at 0800 EST Saturday morning due to a faulty fin actuator that was discovered Thursday and needed to be replaced. Live Coverage at SpaceX usually begins approximately thirty minutes prior to scheduled launch. SpaceX url is

      1. Yeah. I hope this attempt makes it to re-entry so they can get some data on how well, or not, their heat shield tile system works. Re-entry is really the big tamale for being able to realize the main goal of this launch system.

        I’m sure they will eventually come up with a viable heat shield system that is relatively inexpensive and robust, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it takes a few iterations to get there.

        1. Well, these ARE still test flights, so assessment of thermal protection system should be a part of the system test. Shuttles were losing some tiles until the very end. One of our hypersonic branches was on call during each shuttle mission to run CFD simulations on math models with altered tile coverings to understand any safety issues that might arise, and if serious, recommend a space walk to fix the problem.

          1. Yes. That’s why I hope they make it to re-entry on this 2nd test flight. It will be the first time they get some real world data on the heat shield.

            The heat shield tile system on Starship is very different than what was used on STS, as no doubt you know very well. The tiles are much cheaper, much fewer shapes (understatement) and much cheaper to install.

            There is also a heat shield blanket under the tiles and it is thought (hoped?) that even if a few go missing the ship may survive.

  4. Attenborough was perfect. It won’t be long before AI will be writing, directing, and acting in films made in the style of great films of the 40s and 50s. Or extend modern franchises beyond anything we can conceive of. I can hardly wait…😳

  5. The part I like about the cat opening the door video is when the cat stops and thinks, “I’m being watch. Screw it, I’ll do it anyway.”

  6. Sorry if I am repeating myself, but the best way of dealing with the Hamas tunnels I’ve seen is the suggestion that Israel flood them with sea water. This could be done gradually to force Hamas above ground, while at the same time making the tunnels unusable, and probably forcing Hamas to leave a lot of weapons and equipment behind.

  7. In the city where I was born, Constanța, the best sweets were at a confectionary owned by a Turk, confiscated by the communists, but where the Turk still worked. His baklava was not at all like the baklava that I found these years in Istanbul and that can also be found in Bucharest. The aunt who raised me had a villa on Regina Maria Boulevard number 1 in Balchik, today in Bulgaria. And she prepared baklava just like the Turk from Constanța. Today’s baklavas seem to be made by a machine, by an automaton that has a monopoly on the business.

  8. I absolutely noticed how the press has been feigning skepticism about the IDF’s assertions that the hospital is being used for terrorist activities. Israel is being set up. If they don’t find armaments or tunnels in or under the hospital, the Israelis are lying and are they killing civilians without justification. It they do find armaments or tunnels in or under the hospital, they haven’t found enough of them to justify the numbers of civilian deaths. If they find huge caches of weapons, networks of tunnels, and a Hamas control bunker full of video displays, drone controllers, and the like, the press will *still* find a way to claim that the evidence wasn’t strong enough. Or, they will simply not report the discovery. Such is antisemitism. It morphs with the circumstances but it does not go away.

    1. I notice that the BBC is terrible in every respect concerning this conflict. All their news reports are slanted against Israel and are obviously pro Palestine it is just unbelievable that this continues day after day. I now go to the website daily just to confirm the bias.

      1. Like the man who was banging his head against the wall. A passer-by asked him, “Doesn’t that hurt?”
        “Sure does.”
        “Then why do you do it?”
        “Because it feels so good when I stop!”

  9. So Buffy St. Marie follows in the footsteps of Grey Owl, and self-identified as Indigenous? If people can self-identify gender, I don’t see why they can’t self-identify their ethnicity. I’m still waiting to hear a good argument why the former is acceptable, but the latter is not.

  10. For funny menus, read Malcolm Bradbury’s “Why come to Slaka?”, a book for tourists visiting a mysterious unfamiliar eastern European country. The section on restaurants includes these items: Vegetables and fruit: Rutti, Frutti. Bread, cake, pudding: Baki, Gati, Mushi. Soup with feet in: Kurbi churns. This book follows his novel “Rates of Exchange”, about an American professor who shows up in Slaka only to learn that
    the invitation he got was supposed to go to someone else. These two books are among the funniest books ever written and also happen to be brilliant writing as well as insightful social commentary on a country sort of like Bulgaria but nuttier.(Hint:
    Gati is Slaka for the French word gateau).

  11. Having Attenborough narrate your life is all fun and games until someone fabricates a video of “you” doing something truly horrific, with your voice “saying” things you never did.

    Next year’s election season could be “interesting”.

  12. 1) My beef with Buffy SM is not that she pretended to be indigenous but that her voice is quite mediocre. Since I have no musical talent or training at all, and I like some other singers with mediocre voices, this might well be bias – what do those with musical expertise think of her singing? Your expert opinion is welcome.

    2) My wife (mother tongue Cantonese, third language Chinese) tells me the translation of the chicken dish is literally accurate but that the dish is hot and spicy; the original Chinese applies to a woman who is rude, unreasonable and argumentative, so apparently, used as an idiom for the strong flavour of the dish.

  13. John Tooby has died.
    JOHN TOOBY (July 26, 1952-November 9, 2023) was the founder of the field of Evolutionary Psychology, co-director (with his wife, Leda Cosmides) of the Center for Evolutionary Psychology, and professor of anthropology at UC Santa Barbara. He received his PhD in biological anthropology from Harvard University in 1989 and was professor of anthropology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Tooby and Cosmides also co-founded and co-directed the UCSB Center for Evolutionary Psychology and jointly received the 2020 Jean Nicod Prize.

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