Monday: Hili dialogue

September 11, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023: 22 years from the demise of the Twin Towers.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, I suspect the “previous excuses” came from me.

Hili: Do you really not have a cat?
Sarah: I can’t. I’m travelling a lot.
Hili: I’ve heard such excuses before.
(Photo: Sarah Lawson)
In Polish:
Hili: Naprawdę nie masz kota?Sarah: Nie mogę, dużo podróżuję. Hili: Słyszałam takie wykręty.
(Zdjęcie S.L.)

Da Nooz (truncated):

Here’s the upper-left corner of today’s NYT, where the reader’s attention is naturally drawn. More and more this section is becoming a tabloid, or at least having nothing to do with real news but rather with clickbait:

My reaction (from reader Kamil):

*In a NYT op-ed, Democrat Michael Bloomberg suggests “How Biden and Congress should fix the immigration crisis in our cities.” It’s not a call for restricted immigration at all—that “fix” isn’t even mentioned, though his views on it should have been included—but for a rationale and humane way of treating immigrants:

For starters, current federal law prevents asylum seekers who have already been admitted into the United States from immediately working. The process of receiving a work authorization can take a year or longer. In the meantime, how are asylum seekers expected to pay rent and feed themselves and their families? This amounts to state-enforced poverty and vagrancy — against people who have shown extraordinary fortitude and grit in journeying here, often at great risk, for the opportunity to work and build a better life.

In New York City, denying people the ability to work is especially taxing because of a 1981 legal settlement, in which the city agreed to provide shelter to all homeless residents seeking it. That agreement was never intended to be a blanket guarantee of housing for an unprecedented flow of refugees, but that is what it has become.

The city has done an admirable job of finding, in short order, shelter for the more than 100,000 asylum seekers who have arrived since last spring. Currently, the city is housing about 60,000 in some 200 sites, which has forced it to take over more than 140 hotels. According to the Mayor’s Office, the cost to taxpayers, at $383 a night, is running into billions of dollars a year. The New York City mayor, Eric Adams, has been pleading for months, to little avail, for federal support to deal with a flood of asylum seekers.

New York is hardly alone. Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington, Denver and other cities are also experiencing an influx of asylum seekers who have no housing and no means of legally earning money. Meanwhile, the federal government is failing to provide the resources necessary to hear asylum cases in anything approaching an expeditious fashion. It can take six or seven years for an applicant’s case to be resolved.

Think about it: We have a system that essentially allows an unlimited number of people to cross our borders, forbids them from working, offers them free housing, and grants them seven years of residency before ruling on whether they can legally stay. It would be hard to devise a more backward and self-defeating system.

Indeed. Kamala Harris was supposed to be in charge of the fix, but what has she done? You know the answer to that. (She could even have urged Biden to do the fix, but she has too few neurons.)

*In a Quillette piece that will surely inspire a lot of discussion (and rancor), “Academia’s missing men,” Lawrence Krauss argues that parity has now been reached in the treatment of women and men in academics, though women haven’t yet made up the gap produced by the disproportionate number of senior academic men who were hired decades ago. Have a look at his statistics and see if we need to continue academic affirmative action for women, or, as Krauss urges, to “take our thumb off the scales.”

*WSJ op-eds are almost 100% conservative but are still worth scanning. Here’s one which rings true, about an issue we read about two days ago, “Democrats start to panic about Biden.” And it’s true: they are and they should. Why? From the WSJ:

• His age and decline. The press has tried to cover for Mr. Biden, but voters trust their own eyes. Some 73% of registered voters in the latest Wall Street Journal poll say Mr. Biden is too old to run for President. Mr. Biden turns 81 in two months, and aging can accelerate at any moment. The White House will attempt to repeat a Rose Garden version of the 2020 Wilmington basement strategy, but it may not work.

• Vice President Kamala Harris. Mr. Biden chose her as his running mate in 2020 to meet his party’s identity politics demands. But it has backfired as she has shown little capacity to be Commander in Chief and is often embarrassing in interviews. Everyone knows a vote for Mr. Biden in 2024 is probably a vote for President Harris, and Republicans will make the point through Election Day if she stays on the ticket.

• Hunter Biden and the family business. House Republicans have already exposed enough details to confirm the President’s son’s use of the Biden name—“the brand,” as business partner Devon Archer put it—to enrich the family. The press can say there’s no evidence that Joe Biden received a check, but Democrats don’t know what remains to be uncovered.

Mr. Trump will be relentless in prosecuting all of this politically, and the danger for Democrats is that the Biden family influence-peddling will end up neutralizing Mr. Trump’s indictments as a liability. That’s what he did to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

• The economy. The economy has rebounded this year, and third-quarter growth has been strong, but a slowdown is expected in the months ahead. Despite falling inflation, real incomes are still a long way from recovering from the price increases of the last 30 months. If unemployment rises to 5% or 6%, there will be political damage to Democrats and not much ability to counter it.

• The spreading migrant mess. Has there ever been a bigger self-inflicted policy wound than the Biden Administration’s refusal to deter and stop the migrant flood at the U.S.-Mexico border? Mr. Biden refuses to challenge his progressive base on asylum law, and the damage has spread far and wide. Elected Democratic officials are crying for help. Former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, a Biden supporter, is warning Democrats that this will damage the party in 2024 if they don’t act. [See above for what Bloomberg really suggests.]

*The U.S. (Tennis) open has become bedeviled by the odor of weed. The AP report has a cool simile that I’ll highlight.

 It’s become a stink at the U.S. Open: a pungent marijuana smell that wafted over an outer court, clouded the concentration of one of the world’s top players and left the impression there’s no place left to escape the unofficial scent of the city.

While the exact source of the smell remained a mystery Tuesday, one thing was clear: Court 17, where eighth-seeded Maria Sakkari complained about an overwhelming whiff of pot during her first-round loss, has become notorious among players in recent years for its distinctive, unmistakable odor.

Court 17 definitely smells like Snoop Dogg’s living room,” said Alexander Zverev, the tournament’s 12th-seeded man who won his opening match on the court Tuesday. “Oh my God, it’s everywhere. The whole court smells like weed.”

Stung by stories in the wake of Sakkari’s match Monday that made it appear the U.S. Open’s stands are the sporting equivalent of a Phish concert, the United States Tennis Association conducted its own investigation, of sorts, to weed out the source of the smell.

Spokesman Chris Widmaier said the USTA questioned officials and reviewed video of the midday match and found “no evidence” anyone was smoking pot in the stands of Court 17, leading to speculation it may have come from Corona Park just outside the gates of the intimate stadium court.

From the Absurd Sign Project:

From Jesus of the Day, titled, “Smol SQUEE found a warms.”

From Stash Krod, a Doug Savage cartoon:

A woman films her hijab-less and skirt-wearing daughter for Masih:

More gender mishigass from Luana:


Titania is back tweeting again (about time!), and she has three. Here’s one, with a link to her latest article:

From Malcolm; I guess this cat’s job is trying to stay on the laptop.

From the Auschwitz Memorial, one that I retweeted:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. Yes, this could inspire children’s books—so long that the authors are cats:

Yes, it’s ok to laugh—afterwards:

Was the cat named STELLLLAAAAAAA!?

Sunday: Hili dialogue

September 10, 2023 • 6:45 am

Greetings from sunny (and secular) Tel Aviv on a non-Sabbath day: Sunday, September 10, 2023.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn,  Sarah is visiting and Hili is sleeping in Andrzej’s chair at his computer.

Sarah: Do you like this place?
Hili: This is my chair to which Andrzej lays claim.
(Photo: Sarah Lawson)
In Polish:
Sarah: Lubisz to  miejsce?Hili: To mój fotel, do którego Andrzej zgłasza pretensje.
(Zdjęcie Sarah Lawson)

Short nooz:

*You’ve surely heard of the powerful earthquake in the High Atlas Mountains of Morocco that devastated Marrakesh, one of my favorite cities in Morocco, though increasingly despoiled by tourism. But tourism is irrelevant to the damage (which includes of course places other than the city), and especially to the huge death toll:

Thousands of Moroccans slept outdoors for a second night Saturday into Sunday after the worst earthquake in a century flattened homes across central and southern parts of the country, killing at least 2,000 people and setting off a huge rescue effort in remote mountain areas.

The extent of the damage and number of casualties after Friday’s magnitude 6.8 earthquake remained unclear because the hardest-hit communities were in the Atlas Mountains, where the few roads appeared to be blocked by debris, and where phone service and electricity had been knocked out. Most homes in that area are made of mud bricks, a traditional construction method that is highly vulnerable to earthquakes and heavy rains.

Here’s a NYT map of the quake’s intensity (click to enlarge). Marrakesh is in the “strong” zone at the top (labeled):

You can see a series of poignant and disturbing photos of the aftermath here.

*In the WaPo, J. Harvie Wilkinson III, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, explains that although he had significant legal difficulties with RBG, he will still affix and send letters bearing a new postage stamp in her honor. This is a heartening testimony to respecting the honor of one’s opponent and lauding the good things they did:

There was much to like and admire about Justice Ginsburg: The personal gestures of kindness arriving at just the right times. The improbability of such a soft-spoken figure wielding such a large influence on the law. Her courage despite multiple bouts with cancer. Her mastery of the judicial craft. “Get it right and keep it tight,” she would say. Nobody did it better.

She had been my friend. She chose several of my law clerks to clerk for her, and each of them adored her. I had learned at dinners to lean over so I could hear what she was saying. I had come to understand that the long pauses in conversation were not terminations, but intermissions between insights.

But using the stamp on my personal correspondence? No way. I summoned no end of excuses. That she had intruded inadvisedly in the 2016 election. That she claimed for the Constitution an all-but-definitive word on abortion. That she was too quick to exile the slightest religious expression from the public square. That she would too easily displace representative government and the votes and voices of millions with the superior wisdom of just five justices of the court.

The gap was just too great. Affixing portraiture to a letter shows the warm and admiring view of the sender for the person on the stamp. My friends would laugh, seeing it as wildly incongruous or as some kind of heehaw from which we would all derive a merry chuckle. Safer just to let it be.

Safer, maybe, but in the end, not right. Being true to oneself should not mean being untrue to someone else. Death does not erase differences. Nor should it. Historical debates are often the most heated. Witness the one raging over whether the founders of our nation should be judged by our contemporary standards or in the context of their times.

But if not an eraser, death may yet be a benign enabler, allowing us to see others in the round and to render differences so large in life less consequential afterward. What comes through to me in the stamp is not a stand on abortion or judicial activism, but ineffable kindness and a lifetime spent promoting the full dignity of women, and doing so in the belief that the law in all its majesty lights the best path toward that end.

So yes, I will use the stamp — if I can find it.

. . . I hope that, in the future, it will not take mortality and a postage stamp to remind us that simply having different views and leading a different life make no one less of an American than any other. . .

The soon-to-be-issued stamp. Buy ’em after October 2:

*Soon all new iPhones will have to be equipped with the USB-C charging port instead of its proprietary “Lightning” port, which forces you to buy Apple cables. Why? Because a guy from Malta is forcing Apple to abide by EU regulations.

Last year, the EU passed a law that would require new hand-held electronic devices to be equipped with USB-C ports by next year. Most phones, laptops and other popular gadgets already use the port that makes it easy to charge all your devices with one cord. But not the iPhone! It uses Apple’s proprietary Lightning port—and now Europe’s regulators have essentially banned that technology. They say the common charger is common sense and this one law will simplify our lives in a small but meaningful way.

That was the case Agius Saliba made when he stood in front of the European Parliament last year. He reached into a box that he’d schlepped from his home in Malta and pulled out a mess of tangled cables—the kind of electronic spaghetti you might recognize from your own junk drawer. But that was the past, he said. In his other hand was the future. He was holding a single USB-C charger.

“Today,” he said, “we are replacing this pile of chargers with just…this.”

And this is why Apple is expected to unveil a notable change to the iPhone next week, phasing out Lightning connectors after more than a decade and switching to USB-C. That is the only way it could keep shipping iPhones to Europe under the regulations that Agius Saliba helped write.

“If Apple wants to market their products and sell their products within our internal market,” he told the EU legislature last year, “they have to abide by our rules.” He put it another way in a Facebook post: “I’m not going to let Apple do what they want!”

Yay for Saliba, who took on Apple, and won! Here’s a WSJ photo and caption of the Lightning and the standard cable (used by most other phones):

*Joe Biden continues to coddle one of the world’s worst human rights violators: Saudi crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, oppressor and murderer of political opponents (journalist Jamal Khashoggi).

The Saudi crown prince once vilified by President Joe Biden has been elevated from a fist bump to a hearty handshake.

Biden warmly greeted Saudi Arabia’s de facto leader, Mohammed bin Salman, after they appeared together along with several other leaders at the Group of 20 summit Saturday in New Delhi. The leaders had gathered to announce an ambitious plan to build a rail and shipping corridor linking India with the Middle East and Europe.

Biden smiled and shook hands with the crown prince, who is often referred to by his initials MBS, as the announcement wrapped up. This year’s G20 host, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Mod i, quickly draped his own hand over their hands.

The cordial greeting was a sharp contrast to the last time Biden and the crown prince met, just over a year ago, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. During that encounter, Biden awkwardly greeted the crown prince with a fist bump, a moment roundly criticized by human rights activists, who were already upset at Biden’s decision to meet with the Saudi leader.

Bin Salman has been harshly criticized for his human rights violations. U.S. intelligence officials determined that the prince approved the 2018 murder of the U.S.-based writer Jamal Khashoggi, who was a tough critic of the kingdom’s ruling family,

Fred Ryan, who was publisher of The Washington Post at the time of last year’s Biden-Prince Mohammed meeting, said the fist bump “projected a level of intimacy and comfort that delivers to MBS the unwarranted redemption he has been desperately seeking.” Khashoggi was a contributor for the newspaper.

Biden refused to speak to Prince Mohammed at the start of his administration. As a presidential candidate in 2020, Biden said he wanted to make the Saudis “pay the price, and make them in fact the pariah that they are.”

Well, Biden has done no such thing. The Saudis are no longer pariahs to the U.S., if they ever were.

Some memes, and forgive me if I forgot who sent them:

A Far Side cartoon from Gary Larson:


A cartoon from Jimmy Craig:

Three tweets from Masih. First, two protestors who lost an eye:

And a mother who lost a son (sound up):

A chill chinchilla:

From Barry, a David Attenborough imitation (sound up):

Three tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, I haven’t seen a better catch, including Willie Mays’s vaunted one;

Listen to this elephant squeal and then play drums:

Not a philosopher but a wag:


Saturday: Hili dialogue (and other stuff)

September 9, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good Caturday to you on this Saturday, Sepember 9, 2023, and shabbos for all Israeli cats. Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a sensible question for Andrzej:

Hili: When did cats domesticate humans?
A: As soon as humans stopped drifting from place to place.
In Polish:
Hili: Kiedy ludzie zostali udomowieni przez koty?Ja: Jak tylko ludzie przestali się włóczyć z miejsca na miejsce.

Brief Nooz:

*In his Weekly Dish column, Andrew Sullivan argues that “It’s time for Biden to leave the stage.” Alas, ’tis true, but who will enter left? A few excerpts:

Every time you see Biden walk, he seems, well, in his eighties: he’s slow, careful, stilted. Every time you hear him speak, he’s also just a little off, eyes now barely visible in the ancient, botoxed, fillered face, words often slurred, a ghostly white mane peeking over his collar in the back, occasionally rallying to the point, or strangely loud-whispering. My old friend Joe Klein wrote this week:

He seemed so old. His eyes were slits, he turned the pages of his very prepared remarks haltingly. He slurred his words, slightly. His physical condition overwhelmed the message. He assayed passion in a few closing sentences about the racist murders in Jacksonville, but it wasn’t passion that came across — it was the attempt to convey passion.

This is the man the Democratic Party says will be fully able to function as president for five more years through the age of 86. No one rooted in human reality believes it, or should believe it.

In the latest brutal polling, 49 percent of Democrats say Biden is too old for reelection. An additional 20 percent said their “biggest concern” is either: his “mental competence, sharpness, senility,” his “health,” his “stamina” or his “risk of dying.” So in fact, nearly 70 percent of his own party thinks his age is a serious concern. Overall, only one in four Americans believe he has the “stamina and sharpness” to serve as president, and 67 percent of his own party want someone else to run in 2024.

. . . Yes, Trump is almost as old as Biden. But he has the energy and stamina and obsessiveness of the truly mentally ill. I started to read his interview this week with Hugh Hewitt, and yes, it was a festival of delusion and lies and occasional decent points. But what struck me also was the zeal, untempered by time, the persistent, angry passion, the untiring drive to regain power. He is not what he was, and, appearances to the contrary, is mortal. But up against Biden, he seems like raw energy.

But then the obvious question arises:

“But who else?” the Democrats say. I don’t know. But that’s what primaries are for. Harris is an obvious non-starter, which goes a long way to explaining why we’re stuck where we are. But there’s no reason she couldn’t throw her hat in the ring (and Biden should stay strictly neutral). RFK Jr is another non-starter, but look how he far he gone despite being completely bonkers. Even Marianne Williamson has polled as high as nine percent. There are plenty of popular Dem governors — Polis, Shapiro, Newsom, Whitmer, Pritzker, and Moore come to mind. Senators Warren, Klobuchar or Booker could run again, as could Buttigieg. Others will emerge. Yes, there’s a risk in Biden pulling an LBJ. But there’s a risk with him in staying in place, as all the energy propels Trump back to power.

This is wishful thinking. Whitmer or Mayor Pete appeal to me (Pritker, unhealthily obese, runs the chance of dying in office, and he’s too woke). There is no Democratic candidate that can, at least now, credibly challenge Trump.  Biden did his part, says Sullivan, in saving us from Trump:

Biden was elected as a means to check Trump; the logic of his presidency was always that the old man would get us back to normal; and that argument makes much more sense for a one-term presidency. And what an atmosphere-changing gesture than relinquishing power voluntarily when so many are clinging to it with arthritic fingers.

If we elect Biden (and I will vote for him if he runs), we face the serious possibility of either a President with crippling dementia or, perhaps worse, President Kamala Harris, a do-nothing disaster.  I don’t know what the solution is, but finding some dark-horse Democratic candidate seems like a bad one.

BTW, here, from FiveThirtyEight, is a plot of Biden’s approval ratings over the past several years:

*Donald Trump plays Jesus Christ again. Yes, he’s always pretended to be America’s savior, but it’s getting worse, according to this NYT piece. For with indictments comes martyrdom.

Appearing at a large-scale event for the first time since he stood for a mug shot in Georgia late last month, Mr. Trump acknowledged that his circumstances had changed. Yet he referred to the four criminal cases against him proudly — and as an applause line.

“I’m being indicted for you,” Mr. Trump, the front-runner in the G.O.P. presidential primary race, said to the audience. “That’s not part of the job description,” he added, “but I’m being indicted for you.”

Hallelujah! He’s taken on our sins: he’s being indicted so we don’t have to be!

Mr. Trump, too, marveled that his poll numbers in the primary had seemed to rise after his indictments. “I’m the only person in the history of politics who has been indicted whose poll numbers went up,” he said.

Still, polls have shown that a majority of Americans believe his criminal cases were warranted, and some Republicans worry that the 91 total charges against him could hurt him in the general election. Mr. Trump’s legal issues could also create logistical and financial challenges that could make it difficult for him to campaign effectively.

But, as Andrew Sullivan noted above, everyone still regards Trump as an extremely formidable candidate for next year’s election.

*The Washington Post reports that the Biden administration apparently violated the Constitution by censoring some companies from publishing political material, particularly on Covid. But the ruling Federal Appellate Court, a conservative one covering Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi, also cut back restrictions imposed by a lower court.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit on Friday ruled that the Biden White House, top government health officials and the FBI likely violated the First Amendment by improperly influencing tech companies’ decisions to remove or suppress posts on the coronavirus and elections.

The decision was likely to be seen as victory for conservatives who’ve long argued that social media platforms’ content moderation efforts restrict their free speech rights. But some advocates also said the ruling was an improvement over a temporary injunction U.S. District Judge Terry A. Doughty issued July 4.

. . . Doughty’s decision had affected a wide range of government departments and agencies, and imposed 10 specific prohibitions on government officials. The appeals court threw out nine of those and modified the 10th to limit it to efforts to “coerce or significantly encourage social-media companies to remove, delete, suppress, or reduce, including through altering their algorithms, posted social-media content containing protected free speech.”

The 5th Circuit panel also limited the government institutions affected by its ruling to the White House, the surgeon general’s office, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the FBI. It removed restrictions Doughty had imposed on the departments of State, Homeland Security and Health and Human Services and on agencies including the U.S. Census Bureau, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The 5th Circuit found that those agencies had not coerced the social media companies to moderate their sites.

*Speaking of agéd political candidates, Nellie Bowles’s weekly news report at The Free Press, “TGIF: Free the elders!“, deals with the issue. As usual, I’ll steal three items.

→ You choose between old or crooked: You’ll be shocked to know that a lot of Americans associate Biden with the words old, outdated, aging, and Trump with corrupt, criminal, crooked. And they associate Nellie Bowles with smarttalented,and prettier in person. Weird!

About three-quarters of voters in fact think Biden is too old to run, according to the WSJ, and his support among minority voters continues to erode.How do Republicans do against Biden in a matchup? Biden and Trump are tied neck and neck. But Nikki Haley is beating Biden handily! Haley hive rise up! Now, this poll also says Mike Pence would win, and I know for a fact that only seven people would vote for Mike Pence, so make of it what you will.

Anyway, we all know how the Republican primary will work: all these men and Nikki Haley will fight for months in elaborate televised debates, each dutifully reported on and parsed for meaning, and it won’t matter because Trump’s getting the nom. But just for fun, just to live the lie for a little longer:

Nikki Fricking Haley! My kishkes!

→ Mr. Adams, this is a Sanctuary City: Mayor Eric Adams said this week that the migrant crisis will “destroy” New York City. With estimates that the city’s services for migrants could cost about $12 billion over three years, Adams said: “I’m gonna tell you something, New Yorkers, never in my life have I had a problem that I didn’t see an ending to. I don’t see an ending to this.” Watch it here.

The American left has never come up with a solution to the very basic conundrum that they want open borders but also robust social services. Up until now, the conflict has never come to a head because folks could just point at Trump or at Southern politicians and talk about how racist those Republicans are to enforce the border. But now it’s Biden. And now immigrants are coming en masse to New York City, asking about those robust social services. And now someone actually has to do the math.

→ Salman Rushdie’s attacker getting treated with kid gloves: Sure, a crazy jihadi ran onstage and stabbed Salman Rushdie, who lost an eye. But have you considered that the Biden administration really wants to make a deal with Iran? And so maybe Rushdie is being a little dramatic—did he really need both eyes? This is a real quote from Jason Schmidt, the district attorney overseeing the case, arguing that some of the prosecution depends on Biden’s Iran agenda:

The U.S. Attorney’s Office, I know, they are engaged in their own investigation and, you know, potential prosecution, and they’ve been looking at this as well. I do think it does have political considerations and recognizing, for instance, that the Biden government is trying to negotiate with Iran now to kind of bring them back into a nuclear treaty. I understand that there’s a lot of considerations here that, you know, that are way outside my paygrade.

The obsession with Iran, with pleasing them and with turning them into an ally, is one of the creepiest and most underreported stories of this White House.

Amen to that. A bad misstep on not just Biden’s administration, but Obama’s as well.

*Your Caturday felid was sent by Anna from Melbourne, and is a video from Tommy Brennan called: “AI David Attenborough narrates a documentary about my cat.”

There’s a demonstration against the government in Tel Aviv tonight, with rumors that there may be violence. Despite that, I still want to do, as it’s part of my education in Israel.

Friday: Hili Dialogue

September 8, 2023 • 6:45 am

As you read this, I’ll either be in Tel Aviv or on my way there. I’ll be staying in Israel’s “second city” for a week, and then, saying farewell to Anna and Jay, who are going back to he U.S., I’ll be returning to Jerusalem for another week.  I may even get some beach time in, as our hotel is across from the Mediterranean.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron discuss rationality:

Szaron: Are cats rational?
Hili: Yes, occasionally.
When I asked whether Hili thought she was rational, Malgorzata replied:

She thinks of herself as way over any normal cat. Of course, she is always rational. She is telling Szaron how it is with other cats.

In Polish:
Szaron: Czy koty są racjnalne?Hili: Chwilami tak.

Lagniappe: Here’s FIRE’s new ad for the upcoming football season. It’s long, so I wonder if it will air, but I like it (h/t Luana):

Thursday: Hili dialogue

September 7, 2023 • 6:45 am

I’s nearly 2 pm in Jerusalem, and I’ve spent half the day having a “strategic tour” of Jerusalem: sites important in the defense of Israel after Independence, and seeing the Palestinian parts of the city and near the city (i.e., “area A”, where it is unsafe safe for me to go and illegal for my Israeli friends to go.  And yet it’s only 5:45 a.m. in Chicago, so there’s plenty of time for me to post a truncated Hili dialogue. In a few hours I’ll have a post on our trip yeserday to Masada and the Dead Sea.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, is it Hili or the butterfly who is drunk?

A: What do you see there?
Hili: A drunken butterfly.
In Polish:
A: Co ty widzisz?
Hili: Pijanego motyla.
Oh, and read this short article from Nature (click on screenshot):

And a reconstruction:

(From Nature): Fujianvenator prodigiosus, a bird-like dinosaur discovered near Nanping in China, had unusually long legs and did not seem equipped for flight (artist’s impression).Credit: Mr. Chuang Zhao

It’s still a theropod dinosaur, and you can read the original article here (but be quick before it’s paywalled).

Tuesday: Hili dialogue

September 5, 2023 • 6:45 am

We’re visiting the Old City today, including the Dome of the Rock, the Western Wall, the Via Dolorosa, and other sites of touristic and mythical interest, so I have no time to prepare a Hili dialogue for today, and perhaps not even a picture-and-text account of our trip.  So just enjoy the Hili dialogue, and I’ll catch up when I can.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili puts in a bid for some raw meat:

Hili: Do you want to spoil all this meat in the oven?
A: No, I cut out a piece for you.
In Polish:
Hili: Czy to całe mięso chcesz zniszczyć w piekarniku?
A: Nie, odkroiłem kawałek dla ciebie.
One photo from today: a soldier praying at the Western Wall:

Monday: Hili dialogue

September 4, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on Monday, September 4, 2023, and National Macademia Nut Day, celebrating what I think is the world’s best nut (cashews and pistachios tie for second place). Two fun macadamia facts: although now grown widely, it was indigenous to Australia. Second, it has a very hard shell: the hardest of all nuts. Wikipedia says this:

The shell material is five times harder than hazelnut shells and has mechanical properties similar to aluminum. It has a Vickers hardness of 35. [That’s not too far from iron.]

It’s also Labor Day, a federal holiday in the U.S., Eat an Extra Dessert Day (yes!), National Wildlife DayNewspaper Carrier Day, and, in South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, Toothfish Day.

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

Da Nooz:

*The annual Burning Man festival in Nevada should be called “Drowning Man” this year. The weather is abysmal, and somebody died.

More than 70,000 Burning Man attendees are unable to drive to or leave the event in Black Rock City, Nev., after hours of wind and rain turned the festival’s desert campgrounds into sticky mud.

“Due to heavy rain, the gate and airport in and out of Black Rock City at the Burning Man event will remain closed,” the Burning Man Project said in a statement Saturday morning. “No driving is permitted until the playa surface dries up, with the exception of emergency vehicles. Participants are encouraged to conserve food, water, and fuel, and shelter in a warm, safe space. We will keep the community informed on a regular basis.” The gate was still shut early Sunday morning, organizers said.

Local authorities are also looking into a death at the event. In an emailed statement late Saturday, Pershing County Sheriff Jerry Allen said the sheriff’s office was “investigating a death which occurred during this rain event,” adding that the family had been notified.

. . . Each year since 1986, tens of thousands of Burning Man participants, called Burners, gather in Black Rock City, a temporary desert city that is built and torn down on a dry lake bed that was once Lake Lahontan in northern Nevada. Burners are expected to be self-sustaining, which means they must supply their own food, water and shelter for the event.

And an escapee tweeted below. Burning Man is this generation’s Woodstock, and though I have no desire to go, I don’t criticize it, either. It’s a pity that it was rained out. There was rain at Woodstock, too, but it wasn’t in the desert and so wasn’t canceled.

*The overly capitalistic Wall Street Journal discusses whether you need to buy the new iPhone 15 (I have a 13, which I got only because my old 5S didn’t support my network). Apparently some misguided souls buy a new iPhone each year, which is ludicrous. They last for YEARS, especially if you get the batteries replaced–far cheaper than buying a new phone.

Their advice is if your phone supports IOS17 and just needs a new battery, just get the battery changed. Mine does support IOS17 but I haven’t downloaded it yet. I don’t see the need.

Whether or not you buy one of the new iPhone 15 models expected at Apple’s Sept. 12 event depends on three factors: the condition of your current phone, the compatibility of the imminent iOS 17 update, and the next phone’s new features. If your iPhone is two or three years old and works fine, you can probably get another year or two out of it.

Don’t upgrade if…

You just need a fresh battery. The iPhone’s lithium-ion batteries decay over time. After about two years—technically 500 complete charge cycles, though temperature can also affect longevity—your battery life won’t last as long and performance may slow. Apps might take longer to launch. The screen might seem laggy while scrolling.

My phone is about two years old and still has 95% of its battery power. Learn how to conserve battery life (various websites will tell you how to charge it optimally). Of course, if you’re on the phone 24/7, you’ll need a new battery sooner. But they’re not expensive!

If this is you, a fresh battery, not a new phone, may do the trick. It could keep the phone running longer and speed things up.

If your battery’s maximum capacity is below 80%, Apple says it should be replaced. An Apple-certified replacement costs much less than a new phone, usually $89. If you bought AppleCare+ coverage, battery replacements are included. To assess, check battery health in Settings > Battery > Battery Health & Charging.

Only the screen needs repair. Cracked screens are not OK. But if your iPhone is otherwise fully functional, check the price of a replacement display. It might be a better deal than a replacement phone, and it can increase your current phone’s trade-in value. The iPhone XR is the oldest model that supports iOS 17. Apple values one with a cracked screen at $55, while one with a good screen fetches $150.

Upgrade only if your device needs serious repairs or your phone doesn’t support IOS 17 (nearly all models around do.)

*The NYT claims in an op-ed called “Yiddish is having a moment“, by Ilan Stavans, that the Eastern European hybrid language is undergoing some kind of resurgence. (Stavans is an consultant to the Oxford English Dictionary and a Yiddish expert.) But I read the piece more as Yiddish having a death rattle:

Yiddish has been experiencing something of a revival. Online courses mean that anyone from Buenos Aires to Melbourne might learn to speak it. There are new translations of long-forgotten works and literary classics. A Broadway staging of “Fiddler on the Roof” was performed in Yiddish. And streaming platforms like Netflix have released series, including “Shtisel,” “Unorthodox” and “Rough Diamonds,” fully or partially in Yiddish.

Before World War II, approximately 13 million Jews, both secular and religious, spoke Yiddish. Today it is estimated that there are about a quarter of a million speakers in the United States, about the same number in Israel and roughly another 100,000 in the rest of the world. Nowadays the vast majority of those who speak the language are ultra-Orthodox. They aren’t multilingual, as secular Yiddish speakers always were.

This next part is like New Yorker writing: it sounds good but it’s hogwash:

Hebrew, which officially became the national language of the state of Israel in 1948, is spoken by about nine million people around the world. For some, the language symbolizes far-right Israeli militarism.

Give me a break! He had to throw that in there, didn’t he, ignoring the fact that many Hebrew-speaking Israelis are left wing and opposed to the present government (as this week’s rioting demonstrates)?

In contrast, Yiddish represents exile — a longing for home. It was the backbone of the Jewish labor movement in the United States, and the feminist Emma Goldman championed women’s equality and free love in Yiddish. Abraham Cahan, the feisty, commanding editor in chief of Forverts — The Forward, the left-leaning Yiddish daily in New York at the turn of the century — saw the language as a tool for educating Jewish immigrants about their rights.

That’s because the most of the immigrants at that time were Yiddish-speaking Ashkenazi Jews.

Given everything Yiddish has gone through — how it was a tool of cross-border continuity, how it was pushed to the crematories by the Nazis, how after the Shoah it thrived in some diasporas but was pushed aside in others — its sheer endurance is nothing short of miraculous.

Yet nostalgia alone cannot push a revival beyond its narrow means. It continues to be a language without a homeland, without an army, a flag, a post office or a central bank, the language of a small, dispersed people. Its speakers may be few, but as my maternal grandmother used to say, words should be weighted, not counted.

More hogwash. I find Yiddish far more colorful and interesting than Hebrew, but that’s my opinion. And I don’t know what he means by words being “weighed”. Does that mean that writing in Yiddish (and I don’t mean literature) has been far more important than writing in Hebrew?

But I would go so far as to say that every educated American should have an armamentarium of Yiddish words in their vocabulary, just because they’re fun to use (Wikipedia has a very good list of Yiddish words used in English). You probably already do, for the word “glitch,” meaning a foul-up or small mistake, comes from Yiddish.

*I’m heading to Tel Aviv on Friday, and CNN reports that there have been violent riots there involving, of all things, the Eritrean government. That’s because most of the Africans seeking asylum in Israel are from Eritrea. An excerpt:

Dozens of people were injured in Tel Aviv on Saturday as hundreds of Eritrean government supporters and opponents clashed with each other and with Israeli police, authorities in Israel said.

Israel’s Magen David Adom (MDA) emergency service said more than 114 people had been treated for injuries, including dozens of police officers. Eight of the injuries were serious, MDA said in a statement.

Israeli Police later said 49 officers had been injured and 39 people were arrested. Police who felt threatened fired live ammunition while extricating themselves from crowds, they said. It was not immediately clear if any of the day’s injuries were from the police live fire.

Videos on social media showed Eritrean government supporters clashing with anti-government protesters.

Eritreans make up the majority of African asylum seekers in Israel.

Israeli police fired stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowd, while some protesters hurled stones at police and set fire to trash bins.

According to the BBC, Netanyahu now wants all Eritreans seeking asylum sent back to their dysfunctional country:

Israel is considering tough steps including the immediate deportation of Eritrean asylum seekers involved in riots in Tel Aviv on Saturday.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said “a red line” had been crossed.

He also ordered a new plan to remove all African migrants that he described as “illegal infiltrators”.

Saturday’s unprecedented disorder began after activists opposed to the Eritrean government said that they had asked Israeli authorities to cancel an event organised by their country’s embassy.

They broke through a police barricade around the venue, which was then vandalised.

I hoped to see some peaceful antigovernment demonstrations here, just to get a sense of what’s going on in Israel. But I have no appetite for violent demonstrations, and hope that they’re over by Friday.

*Norway has built a monument to and unfortunate walrus named Freya, who was seen swimming along the coasts of several European countries last year until, after jumping on (and sinking) several moored boats, and attracting huge crowds, was deliberately shot by Norwegian marksmen on the grounds of “public safety”. That decision was cruel and unconscionable, as she never hurt any human.

It’s been just over a year since an orphaned walrus who swam into the hearts of thousands of Norwegians last summer ended up being killed by Norwegian authorities. A new, privately financed memorial to the walrus called Freya has helped fill her absence this summer.

The large bronze replica of Freya rests at the end of a breakwater at Frognerkilen in Oslo, just across the harbour from some of Norway’s monuments to Arctic exploration at Bygdøy (far left). The scupture was unveiled late last spring and steadily draws small groups of Freya’s fans, often paying tribute by laying down flowers or handwritten messages.

. . .The memorial created by sculptor Astri Tonoian also includes a message of its own that refers to “the sins” tied to how humans confront something new or unknown. The plaque notes how Freya’s death at the hands of Norway’s fisheries directorate “raised important ethical questions” about human relations to, and knowledge of, nature.

Experts believe Freya was separated from her mother in the Arctic waters off Northern Norway, forcing the young but large walrus to try to find her own way. She first started appearing in boat harbours along the Norwegian coast, then as far south as the Netherlands before making a major splash in the popular coastal town of Kragerø. Then she continued swimming up the coast to Oslo.

The monument to Freya:

Poor walrus! I still get steamed when I think about their shooting her.

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili mourns the end of summer:

A: What are you doing?
Hili: I’m analysing the coming end of summer.
In Polish:
A: Co ty robisz?
Hili: Analizuję zbliżający się koniec lata.


From Merilee: a worthy cat charity and a cartoon by Scott Metzger:

From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe, a cartoon called “Probate”:

From reader David, a grammar Nazi cartoon by Mike Osresh:

A tweet from Masih. The Iranian theocracy just can’t stop blinding protestors. And yet they are extraordinarily sanguine about their loss of sight.

From Malcolm: Kitten tries to catch a sunbeam

From Simon, a new twist on an old meme. Note, the material is NOT sensitive!

From the Auschwitz Memorial, the most iconic people to die in the camp:

Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, a palindrome of the Loch Ness Monster, which reads the same backwards and forwards:

Cat reverses direction on a narrow ledge:

The Nature paper suggests that the population of modern H. sapiens went through a bottleneck of nearly 1300 individuals.  This tweeter (a human evolutionary geneticist suggests that one shouldn’t accept that conclusion, and in the thread gives some reasons why:

Sunday: Hili dialogue

September 3, 2023 • 6:45 am

Good morning on Sunday, September 3, and greetings from Jerusalem, site of all kinds of mythical miracles. But it’s still ancient and beautiful, even if Jesus didn’t get resurrected here. Today I’ll do a bit of touring and get taken for lunch (hummus, I hope!).  The sightseeing, however, will begin in earnest tomorrow.  My jet lag enabled me to sleep 9 hours last night: a paradise.

It’s National Baby Back Ribs Day, a Chicago speciality. There are many famous places to get rib tips (pork, of course), often accompanied by hot links (big fat sausages). But the best, Uncle J’s on 47th Street, is now closed. No other place, including the reputed Lem’s and Leon’s, comes close. Here: mourn what is no more. Its closing broke my heart.

My usual order was a large tips with mild sauce; it was good for two meals.

It’s also National Skyscraper Day, National Welsh Rarebit Day, Merchant Navy Day Min the UK, and the Feast of San Marino and the Republic, celebrates the foundation of the Republic of San Marino in 301.

Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the September 3 Wikipedia page.

Da Nooz:

*Obituaries first: Jimmy Buffett, the original Parrothead, died on Friday at only 76.  It was announced on his website this way:

From the NYT:

Jimmy Buffett, the singer, songwriter, author, sailor and entrepreneur whose roguish brand of island escapism on hits like “Margaritaville” and “Cheeseburger in Paradise” made him something of a latter-day folk hero, especially among his devoted following of so-called Parrot Heads, died on Friday. He was 76.

His death was announced in a statement on his website. The statement did not say where he died or specify a cause. Mr. Buffett had rescheduled a series of concerts this spring, saying that he had been hospitalized, although he offered no details.

Peopled with pirates, smugglers, beach bums and barflies, Mr. Buffett’s genial, self-deprecating songs conjured a world of sun, salt water and nonstop parties animated by the calypso country-rock of his limber Coral Reefer Band. His live shows abounded with singalong anthems and festive tropical iconography, making him a perennial draw on the summer concert circuit, where he built an ardent fan base akin to the Grateful Dead’s Deadheads.

But my favorite song of his—by far—isn’t mentioned until later in the article, and although it was his first big hit (1974), who remembers it now. Here’s the original video, which I believe shows Buffett’s wife and his own pickup truck.

Although he had only one top-ten single (“Margaritaville, which I’m not that keen on), he was wildly popular, and his net worth this year, according to Forbes (in the article) was a billion dollars!

*A sad but true headline from the WSJ: “Trump is top choice for nearly 60% of GOP voters, WSJ poll shows.” Oy, my kishkes!

Donald Trump has expanded his dominating lead for the Republican presidential nomination, a new Wall Street Journal poll shows, as GOP primary voters overwhelmingly see his four criminal prosecutions as lacking merit and about half say the indictments fuel their support for him.

The new survey finds that what was once a two-man race for the nomination has collapsed into a lopsided contest in which Trump, for now, has no formidable challenger. The former president is the top choice of 59% of GOP primary voters, up 11 percentage points since April, when the Journal tested a slightly different field of potential and declared candidates.

Trump’s lead over his top rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, has nearly doubled since April to 46 percentage points. At 13% support, DeSantis is barely ahead of the rest of the field, none of whom has broken out of single-digit support.

Look and weep:

. . . and here’s the sick part:

The poll highlights one of the remarkable features of the 2024 primary race: Criminal prosecutions that in past eras might have sunk a candidate have only strengthened the leading contender. Two of Trump’s indictments involve his efforts to remain in power after his 2020 loss, which included repeated false claims of widespread election irregularities.

Asked about the indictments of Trump, more than 60% of Republican primary voters said each was politically motivated and without merit. Some 78% said Trump’s actions after the 2020 election were legitimate efforts to ensure an accurate vote, while 16% said Trump had illegally tried to block Congress from certifying an election he had lost. About half, or 48%, said the indictments made them more likely to vote for Trump in 2024, while 16% said they made them less likely to support him for a second term.

*My Chicago colleague, political scientist John Mearsheimer, who’s well known but heterodox, has written a Substack post called “Bound to lose: Ukraine’s 2023 offensive.” He thinks Ukraine will lose the war, as I recall, but here’s some of what he said in his recent essay (I’ve omitted the footnotes, and h/t: cesar):

It is now clear that Ukraine’s eagerly anticipated counteroffensive has been a colossal failure.  After three months, the Ukrainian army has made little progress pushing back the Russians. Indeed, it has yet to get beyond the so-called “grey zone,” the heavily contested strip of land that lies in front of the first main line of Russian defenses. The New York Times reports that “In the first two weeks of the counteroffensive, as much as 20 percent of the weaponry Ukraine sent to the battlefield was damaged or destroyed, according to U.S. and European officials. The toll included some of the formidable Western fighting machines — tanks and armored personnel carriers — that the Ukrainians were counting on to beat back the Russians.” According to virtually all accounts of the fighting, Ukrainian troops have suffered enormous casualties. All nine of the vaunted brigades that NATO armed and trained for the counteroffensive have been badly chewed up on the battlefield.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive was doomed to fail from the start. A look at the lineup of forces on both sides and what the Ukrainian army was trying to do, coupled with an understanding of the history of conventional land war, make it clear that there was virtually no chance the attacking Ukrainian forces could defeat Russia’s defending forces and achieve their political goals.

Read the piece if you want to get depressed. A bit more:

. . . many in the West will argue that the time is now ripe for diplomacy. The failed counteroffensive shows that Ukraine cannot prevail on the battlefield, so the argument will go, and thus it makes sense to reach a peace agreement with Russia, even if Kyiv and the West must make concessions. After all, the situation will only get worse for Ukraine if the war continues.

Regrettably, there is no diplomatic solution in sight. There are irreconcilable differences between the two sides over security guarantees for Ukraine and territory, which stand in the way of a meaningful peace agreement. For understandable reasons, Ukraine is deeply committed to getting back all the land it has lost to Russia, which includes Crimea and the Donetsk, Kherson, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia oblasts. But Moscow has already annexed those territories and made it clear that it has no intention of returning them to Kyiv.

The other unresolvable issue concerns Ukraine’s relationship with the West. For understandable reasons, Ukraine insists that it needs a security guarantee, which can only come from the US and NATO. Russia, on the other hand, insists that Ukraine must be neutral and must end its security relationship with the West. In fact, that issue was the main cause of the present war, even if American and European foreign policy elites refuse to believe it.[62] Moscow was unwilling to tolerate Ukraine joining NATO. It is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to see how both sides can be satisfied on either the territorial or neutrality issue.

*A guest essay in the NYT by two physicists shows us that no, it’s not “the end of science” (regardless of what the chest-thumping John Horgan maintains): “The story of our universe may be starting to unravel.” Whaaaa?

Not long after the James Webb Space Telescope began beaming back from outer space its stunning images of planets and nebulae last year, astronomers, though dazzled, had to admit that something was amiss. Eight months later, based in part on what the telescope has revealed, it’s beginning to look as if we may need to rethink key features of the origin and development of the universe.

Launched at the end of 2021 as a joint project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Canadian Space Agency, the Webb, a tool with unmatched powers of observation, is on an exciting mission to look back in time, in effect, at the first stars and galaxies. But one of the Webb’s first major findings was exciting in an uncomfortable sense: It discovered the existence of fully formed galaxies far earlier than should have been possible according to the so-called standard model of cosmology.

According to the standard model, which is the basis for essentially all research in the field, there is a fixed and precise sequence of events that followed the Big Bang: First, the force of gravity pulled together denser regions in the cooling cosmic gas, which grew to become stars and black holes; then, the force of gravity pulled together the stars into galaxies.

. . . The Webb data, though, revealed that some very large galaxies formed really fast, in too short a time, at least according to the standard model. This was no minor discrepancy. The finding is akin to parents and their children appearing in a story when the grandparents are still children themselves.

Take the matter of how fast the universe is expanding. This is a foundational fact in cosmological science — the so-called Hubble constant — yet scientists have not been able to settle on a number. There are two main ways to calculate it: One involves measurements of the early universe (such as the sort that the Webb is providing); the other involves measurements of nearby stars in the modern universe. Despite decades of effort, these two methods continue to yield different answers.

At first, scientists expected this discrepancy to resolve as the data got better. But the problem has stubbornly persisted even as the data have gotten far more precise. And now new data from the Webb have exacerbated the problem. This trend suggests a flaw in the model, not in the data.

Two serious issues with the standard model of cosmology would be concerning enough. But the model has already been patched up numerous times over the past half century to better conform with the best available data — alterations that may well be necessary and correct, but which, in light of the problems we are now confronting, could strike a skeptic as a bit too convenient.

And we still don’t know what dark matter or dark energy is. I’m not a physicist, and so can’t judge how serious these problems are. Physicists should weigh in below.

*Finally, you’ve surely read about the Nebraska man who was given a ticket for transporting a huge Watusi bull with giant horns (named Howdy Doody)in the front seat of his car.  Here’s a video:

Now the WaPo defends this, as will all right-thinking people, in a piece called, “The Watusi bull riding shotgun is what makes America great.” (I hope Trump doesn’t coopt this MAGA trope!” An excerpt:

The nation’s unseemly recent obsession with politics and cultural strife has been an unhappy distraction from the great American pastime of wacky undertakings. Policy brings out the worst in us. The mystic chords of our better angels are strummed by episodes of loony brilliance: a man who takes flight in a lawn chair lifted by balloons; another who makes a modern Stonehenge from half-buried Cadillacs; some person who paints a monumental likeness of the Mona Lisa on the side of an isolated barn. As a boy, I was entranced by billboards advertising the World’s Largest Prairie Dog on the remote plains of western Kansas, and felt mixed disappointment and admiration when, old enough to drive at last, I pulled off to discover a weather-beaten statue some eight or 10 feet high.

In this grand tradition comes Lee Meyer. By now, there’s a good chance you’ve met him on the internet. “Full grown bull riding shotgun” is what you call clickbait, but unlike most things fitting that description, the bull in the car is even better than the tease. He is an adult male of the Watusi breed, known for their almost comically enormous horns. In the viral video, the bull appears blissful riding down the highway in the retired police cruiser that his human friend has modified to contain his tonnage. The license plate reads: “Boy & Dog.”

. . . A sedan with half the roof and windshield sliced away to make space for a large animal stall, containing a monstrous beast with a cheerful disposition, is exactly the sort of parade feature that keeps America daffy and great. Let other nations goose-step. We’ll take the shiny fire engine with little kids tossing candy from it, and the girls in braces twirling batons, and the grown men driving figure eights in tiny cars, and the eccentric neighbor who enjoys taking his pet bull for a ride.

There are, as of this writing, 1485 comments on this piece!

Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron are on the prowl:

Szaron: We have to check the northern part of the orchard.
Hili: Try to convince me because my motivation is weak.
In Polish:
Szaron: Trzeba sprawdzić północne krańce sadu.
Hili: Spróbuj mnie przekonać, bo mam słabą motywację.

First, see this Facebook video on Jesus of the Day.

And another from that site:

Two examples of confusing English from The Absurd Sign Project 2.0:

And another:

Three from Masih. First, a hijabless Iranian woman gets tear gas sprayed in her face by the cops.  We need to hear more about this from Western feminist vehicles like Teen Vogue, a shamless apologetic for Islamist oppression of women.

Sound up:

Two more. Dancing in the streets in Iran could be a capital crime. Sound up.

In hospital before he died.  There is no excuse for treating protestors this way, but it’s not rare:

From Malcolm. I wouldn’t think a McDonald’s sign would be tasteless, but this one is. McCrispy!

From Luana, whose humor is always political:

From the Auschwitz Memorial, an entire family extirpated:

From Matthew: a cat brings presents to its girlfriend (sound up):

Look at the snout on this mole!:

A BBC reporter gives a lousy simulacrum of the supermoon!

Saturday: Hili dialogue

September 2, 2023 • 5:17 am

PCC(E) is in Israel, recovering from his journey.

Meanwhile, in Dobrzyn, Hili is contemplating the changing seasons:

Hili: We are entering into a season of falling apples.
A: Does it scare you?
Hili: No, but I’m checking whether anybody is sitting under the tree.
In Polish:
Hili: Znów wkraczamy w sezon spadania jabłek.
Ja: Straszą cię?
Hili: Nie, ale sprawdzam czy nikt nie siedzi pod drzewem.