Monday is with us again: it’s March 26, 2018, and National Nougat Day, one of the few confections I don’t like. And it’s Purple Day in Canada and the U.S., designed to raise awareness of epilepsy. For those of you who haven’t yet demonized Richard Dawkins, he’s 77 today (see below).
In this day in 1484, William Caxton, who had the first printing press in England and was the first Brit to sell printed books, printed his own translation of Aesop’s Fables. Here’s a rare version of that book from the Bodleian Library at Oxford. You might recognize at least one of the fables:
On this day in 1812, the political cartoon shown below appeared in the Boston Gazette, giving rise to the term “gerrymander” to describe oddly-shaped political districts designed to help a certain party or candidate win elections. The description from Wikipedia is under the cartoon:
On March 26, 1830, the Book of Mormon was first printed, in Palmyra, New York. And on this day in 1934, the UK driving test was instituted to get a driver’s license. Licenses had been issued since 1903, but no driving test had been required. On this day in 1942, the first female prisoners arrived at Auschwitz concentration camp near Krakow, Poland. On March 26, 1971, East Pakistan declared independence from Pakistan, forming Bangladesh; and the Bangladeshi wars of liberation began. On this day in 1979, Anwar al-Sadat, Menachem Begin and Jimmy Carter signed the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty at the White House in Washington, D. C. Finally, on March 26, 1997, the bodies of 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate cult were found in Southern California, all having committed suicide expecting the next “stage of life.” Wikipedia offers this bizarre description, and I’ve put in a not-too-gruesome photo:
The members took phenobarbital mixed with apple sauce and washed down with vodka. Additionally, they secured plastic bags around their heads after ingesting the mix to induce asphyxiation. Authorities found the dead lying neatly in their own bunk beds, faces and torsos covered by a square purple cloth. Each member carried a five-dollar bill and three quarters in their pockets: the five dollar bill was to cover vagrancy fines while members were out on jobs, while the quarters were to make phone calls. All 39 were dressed in identical black shirts and sweat pants, brand new black-and-white Nike Decades athletic shoes, and armband patches reading “Heaven’s Gate Away Team” (one of many instances of the group’s use of the Star Trek fictional universe’s nomenclature). The adherents, between the ages of 26 and 72, are believed to have died in three groups over three successive days, with remaining participants cleaning up after each prior group’s deaths. Fifteen members died on March 24, fifteen more on March 25, and nine on March 26. Leader Applewhite was the third to last member to die; two people remained after him and were the only ones found without bags over their heads. Among the dead was Thomas Nichols, brother of the actress Nichelle Nichols, who is best known for her role as Uhura in the original Star Trek television series.
It’s beyond me how people can believe in this stuff!
Notables born on this day include A. E Houseman (1859), Joseph Campbell (1904), Tennessee Williams (1911), Sandra Day O’Connor (1930), Gregory Corso (1930; I once saw him in San Francisco’s City Lights Bookstore), Leonard Nimoy (1931), Richard Dawkins (1941), Erica Jong (1942), Diana Ross (1944), Steven Tyler (1948), and Keira Knightley (1985). Those who fell from their perch on this day include John Winthrop (1649), Walt Whitman (1892), Cecil Rhodes (1902), Sarah Bernhardt (1923), Edmund Muskie (1996), Daniel Patrick Moynihan (2003), and Geraldine Ferraro (2011).
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the weather has improved, and Hili has issued an order about Listy:
Hili: From today on, editorial meetings will be conducted in the fresh air.Cyrus: I agree.
Hili: Od dziś zebrania redakcyjne będą na świeżym powietrzu.
Leon: I’m going to rest a bit. These Sunday treks are long. (In Polish: “Odpocznę, długie są te niedzielne szlaki.”)
A cool tweet sent by Matthew, showing ice patches on a comet!:
— Ronald Drimmel (@rdrimmel) March 25, 2018
Were I this person I’d get an inoculation against Lyme disease:
This is my leg AND THOSE ARE ALL TICKS 💀 pic.twitter.com/UwUrmVirvy
— Alicia Brunner (@AliciaBrunner) March 24, 2018
Pluto versus Australia:
If you know the rabbit/duck illusion, here’s life imitating art:
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) March 25, 2018
And a gutsy woman!
— Sukie 😘 #WearTheMask (@FroggyBottomPnd) March 24, 2018
Matthew is writing (and struggling with) his next book on the brain, and had a strange moment (yes, it’s another Cobb):
This book seems to have fallen through a time warp and to be discussing the book I am writing. pic.twitter.com/bGp6ff377g
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) March 25, 2018
A strange book:
Ok, I really wasn't looking for this, honest. But crikey there are some whackos out there… pic.twitter.com/KoTCzoj9gz
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) March 25, 2018
Grania calls our attention to a new policy of Skype, which appears to ban not only offensive language, but the erotic purposes for which many separated paramours use the application:
— Jonathan Corbett (@_JonCorbett) March 25, 2018