It’s Wednesday, or Hump Day: July 24, 2019, and National Tequila Day (I always worry about cultural appropriation on such days). It’s also National Tell an Old Joke Day, and so I will comply. It’s a Jewish joke, of course, and may be old, but I doubt that more than 1% of readers have heard it:
An elderly rabbi, having just retired from his duties in the congregation, finally decides to fulfill his lifelong fantasy–to taste pork.
He goes to a hotel in the Catskills in the off-season (not his usual one, mind you), enters the empty dining hall and sits down
at a table far in the corner. The waiter arrives, and the rabbi orders roast suckling pig.
As the rabbi is waiting, struggling with his conscience, a family from his congregation walks in! They immediately see the rabbi and, since no one should eat alone, they join him.
Shocked, the rabbi begins to sweat. At last, the waiter arrives with a huge domed platter. He lifts the lid to reveal-what else?–roast suckling pig, complete with an apple in its mouth.
The family gasp in shock and disgust, they quickly turned to the rabbi for any type of explanation.
“This place is amazing!” cries the rabbi. “You order a baked apple, and look what you get!”
I’ll be here all year, folks!
Stuff that happened on this day includes:
- 1567 – Mary, Queen of Scots, is forced to abdicate and replaced by her 1-year-old son James VI.
- 1847 – After 17 months of travel, Brigham Young leads 148 Mormon pioneers into Salt Lake Valley, resulting in the establishment of Salt Lake City.
- 1901 – O. Henry is released from prison in Columbus, Ohio, after serving three years for embezzlement from a bank.
- 1911 – Hiram Bingham III re-discovers Machu Picchu, “the Lost City of the Incas”.
- 1959 – At the opening of the American National Exhibition in Moscow, U.S. Vice President Richard Nixon and Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev have a “Kitchen Debate”.
- 1966 – Michael Pelkey makes the first BASE jump from El Capitan along with Brian Schubert. Both came out with broken bones. BASE jumping has now been banned from El Cap.
- 1974 – Watergate scandal: The United States Supreme Court unanimously ruled that President Richard Nixon did not have the authority to withhold subpoenaed White House tapes and they order him to surrender the tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor.
- 1987 – Hulda Crooks, at 91 years of age, climbed Mt. Fuji. Crooks became the oldest person to climb Japan’s highest peak.
Crooks was a tough old bird. Wikipedia adds this:
Affectionately known as “Grandma Whitney” she successfully scaled 14,505-foot (4,421 m) Mount Whitney 23 times between the ages of 65 and 91. She had climbed 97 other peaks during this period. In 1990, Day Needle, an Act of Congress renamed one of the peaks in the Whitney area Crooks Peak in her honor.
Here she is:
Here’s Machu Picchu in the overgrown state at which Bingham saw it 108 years ago today:
And in the restored state today. I’ve been there, and it’s one of the three most beautiful places I’ve visited on the planet (the other two are Mount Everest and the Taj Mahal in full moonlight):
Notables born on this day include:
- 1783 – Simón Bolívar, Venezuelan commander and politician, 2nd President of Venezuela (d. 1830)
- 1802 – Alexandre Dumas, French novelist and playwright (d. 1870)
- 1860 – Alphonse Mucha, Czech painter and illustrator (d. 1939)
- 1895 – Robert Graves, English poet, novelist, critic (d. 1985)
- 1897 – Amelia Earhart, American pilot and author (d. 1937)
- 1900 – Zelda Fitzgerald, American author and poet (d. 1948)
- 1920 – Bella Abzug, American lawyer and politician (d. 1998)
- 1949 – Michael Richards, American actor and comedian
- 1951 – Lynda Carter, American actress
- 1969 – Jennifer Lopez, American actress, singer, and dancer
I featured Alphone Mucha ten days ago, as he was born on July 14. Today he’s featured again as he died on July 24. Here’s one of his beautiful Art Nouveau posters from the Daily Art site; you can see 12 others at the link and still others at his Wikipedia page. These original posters are now worth tens of thousands of dollars:
Notables who expired on July 24 were few, they include:
- 1862 – Martin Van Buren, American lawyer and politician, 8th President of the United States (b. 1782)
- 1991 – Isaac Bashevis Singer, Polish-American novelist and short story writer, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
- 2007 – Albert Ellis, American psychologist and author (b. 1913)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is restless:
Hili: I’ve changed my plans.A: And where are you going to?Hili: I’m going to look out of the window on the east side.
Hili: Zmieniłam plany.
Ja: I co będziesz robić?
Hili: Popatrzę przez okno po wschodniej stronie domu.
Reader j.j. sent this, taken from Language Log, a fascinating site. I’m sure you don’t want a big order of the stuff, but Language Log explains the mistranslation:
Aussie humor from reader Merilee:
Grania’s sister has finally shut down her Skype account, which remained active (and call-able, though there was no answer) for a long time after she died. Now I see this, which is ineffably sad:
Here’s a tweet Grania sent me on November 23 of last year. Her email was called “Interesting thread”. (It is!)
There's been a lot of talk about the missionary killed by the natives of North Sentinel Island. They're probably so aggressive because of this weirdo, Maurice Vidal Portman. So here's a big thread about this creep and some facts from my decade-long obsession with the island. pic.twitter.com/rfOVjfU2ZY
— Respectable Lawyer (@RespectableLaw) November 23, 2018
From reader Barry: Mango and Ponzu are inseparable! (Sound up, please.)
This parrot jumps on her favorite cat's back whenever she wants to go for a walk with him 💚 pic.twitter.com/bjPltuDdrW
— The Dodo (@dodo) July 22, 2019
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. Look at that bat climb!
This little bat found its way into the visitor centre at Hanningfield Reservoir by mistake, so was rescued and put onto a tree to find its way back to the bat box. Look at it go! 🦇🦇 @WildlifeTrusts pic.twitter.com/0eFjTszZos
— Essex Wildlife Trust (@EssexWildlife) July 11, 2019
I’m not sure what’s going on here; perhaps someone can explain.
Four tweets from Matthew. Both he and I have always been fascinated with the unusual markings of baby tapirs, which changed drastically as they get older. It must be the case that this pattern is adaptive in a little one, but not in a big one:
So, a baby tapir has been born…
And here he is testing out his tiny trunk for the first time 😍 pic.twitter.com/FFcsjN32KX
— Chester Zoo (@chesterzoo) July 23, 2019
It’s hot in Europe!
Problem solved (well, at least identified):
“I couldn’t breathe when I slept so I installed a camera” pic.twitter.com/DDhP0OweoW
— Space Cadet (@stluis_htx) July 22, 2019
Baby skunks imprinted on a human (I once had one of these):
— feline (@yagirlbaylo) July 21, 2019