We’ve reached Caturday, March 21, 2020, National Crunchy Taco Day. There are a ton of holidays today: it’s also Maple Syrup Saturday, National French Bread Day (if that’s not cultural appropriation, I don’t know what is), National California Strawberry Day, National Corn Dog Day, National Flower Day, and National Healthy Fats Day. Finally, its also these holidays:
- World Down Syndrome Day (International)
- World Poetry Day (International)
- World Puppetry Day (International)
- International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (International)
- International Day of Forests (International), by proclamation of the United Nations General Assembly
In honor of the international nature of poetry, I’ll proffer a link to a great poem by Ezra Pound; his rendition in English of a verse written by the eighth-century Chinese poet Li Po, also known as Li Bai: “The River-Merchant’s Wife: a Letter.” I don’t think Pound could read Chinese, so his “translations” are probably poetic renditions of other people’s translations.
News of the Day: The lockdowns of American cities growing, and now include Chicago as of 5 p.m. today. Fortunately, thanks to our President and Provost, I’ll still be able to take walks and feed the ducks. Also, country singer Kenny Rogers died yesterday at 81.
Stuff that happened on March 21 includes:
Here’s one of a gazillion pieces of the True Cross; photo from Wikipedia labeled “Treasure Room, Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem. In center: the True Cross. Near the walls: holy relics.”
And a painting depicting the finding of the True Cross, supposedly discovered around 300 AD along with two other False Crosses. The painting was by the Florentine Agnolo Gaddi, and was made about 1380. What a
crock cross! It’s remarkably well preserved after being buried for 300 years, no?
- 1556 – On the day of his execution in Oxford, former Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas Cranmer deviates from the scripted sermon by renouncing the recantations he has made and adds, “And as for the pope, I refuse him, as Christ’s enemy, and Antichrist with all his false doctrine.”
- 1871 – Journalist Henry Morton Stanley begins his trek to find the missionary and explorer David Livingstone.
Livingston was found on November 10; and here’s the meeting. The famous words, “Dr. Livingtsone, I presume?” are apocryphal,
- 1925 – The Butler Act prohibits the teaching of human evolution in Tennessee.
This was of course the act that John Scopes was convicted of violating in the famous Monkey Trial. Note that the statute did not prohibit the teaching of evolution—something that many people get wrong, but the teaching of human evolution. Had Scopes simply taught evolution without mentioning humans, it’s doubtful that the trial would have taken place (Scopes volunteered himself as a test case).
- 1935 – Shah of Iran Reza Shah Pahlavi formally asks the international community to call Persia by its native name, Iran.
- 1946 – The Los Angeles Rams sign Kenny Washington, making him the first African American player in professional American football since 1933.
- 1952 – Alan Freed presents the Moondog Coronation Ball, the first rock and roll concert, in Cleveland, Ohio.
- 1963 – Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary (in California) closes.
- 1965 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. leads 3,200 people on the start of the third and finally successful civil rights march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama.
- 1986 – Debi Thomas became the first African American to win the World Figure Skating Championships
- 1999 – Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones become the first to circumnavigate the Earth in a hot air balloon.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1839 – Modest Mussorgsky, Russian pianist and composer (d. 1881). He was outlived by his arrogant brother, Immodest Mussorgsky.
- 1902 – Son House, American blues singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1988)
- 1910 – Julio Gallo, American businessman, co-founded E & J Gallo Winery (d. 1993)
- 1920 – Éric Rohmer, French director, film critic, journalist, novelist and screenwriter (d. 2010)
- 1932 – Walter Gilbert, American physicist and chemist, Nobel Prize laureate
Wally Gilbert ‘n’ me in Chicago discussing photography on May 30, 2013 (photo by Manyuan Long). After Wally retired, he took up artistic photography full time, but since I know a bit about it, we had some stuff to talk about. One of his photos is on the computer screen behind us.
- 1962 – Rosie O’Donnell, American actress, producer, and talk show host
- 1970 – Cenk Uygur, Turkish-American political activist
Cenk is 50 today. I don’t like him.
- 1980 – Ronaldinho, Brazilian footballer
Ronaldinho, now retired, was one of the greats of soccer, and a terrific ball handler. (Curiously, he’s now imprisoned for six months in Paraguay for entering the country using a false passport.) Here he demonstrates his pedal dexterity.
Those who “passed” on March 21 include:
- 1556 – Thomas Cranmer, English archbishop and saint (b. 1489)
- 1617 – Pocahontas, Algonquian Indigenous princess (b. c. 1595)
- 2017 – Chuck Barris, American game show host and producer (b. 1929)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Szaron appears in his first Hili dialogue. Hili is not letting him onto the veranda (but they still have peaceful relations).
Szaron: May I come in?Hili: Try.
Szaron: Czy mogę wejść?
Szaron is developing quite the personality, which right now seems to be skeptical:
Szaron: Most questions still remain without answers.
In nearby Wloclawek, Leon and Mietek have been silent for a while, as Elzbieta’s camera broke. Fortunately, here’s one recent photo of Leon and his staff on Elbieta’s FB page, though there’s no caption:
A gif from Nicole:
Predicted Aussie neologisms posted by Stash Krod:
From Pliny the In Between’s Far Corner Cafe (click to read text):
The Queen calls out Ilhan Omar:
Denying the coronavirus its right to a national identity post-migration is racist.
Disappointed in you, Ilhan. 😥 https://t.co/4LoMv8qRen
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) March 11, 2020
I retweeted this, but the original whistling-walrus tweet came from Matthew. Listen to it go!
This fact should make you a hit at the next cocktail party, if there were any cocktail parties happening now. https://t.co/4tgO4yyUiL
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) March 20, 2020
An excellent tweet from Simon, showing the necessity of science, and the futility of faith, during this pandemic:
— Travis Jerde,🌹🇩🇪🇳🇴 #KenoshaStrong (@ProfJerde) March 19, 2020
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. This first one breaks my heart:
In this city, the inhabitants of this city have escaped from bombing and And these stray cats were left alone in this city, These cats are suffering from hunger, ( Animals are suffering from war too) 😓😓😓😓 innocent souls😓 pic.twitter.com/VbpzMHSpVq
— Omar (@Omar18544048) March 18, 2020
And a surprising hoarder:
Tweets from Matthew. First, the director of the National Institutes of Health reacts to another Trumpism:
Fauci’s reaction when Trump refers to the “Deep State Department” pic.twitter.com/Svn4kv7Kt1
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) March 20, 2020
A black panther, which in this case is simply a leopard with a mutation giving it a dark coat. (In the New World, “black panthers” are jaguars that carry a similar mutation.)
This beautiful male #blackpanther was captured in southern Loisaba last month by the SDZG Leopard Conservation Program cameras!#panther #blackleopard@sdzglobal @Nature_Africa pic.twitter.com/TPRy5YLbdZ
— Loisaba Conservancy (@Loisaba) March 20, 2020
Watch this BBC segment and tell me if you don’t think the Brits produce the world’s best eccentrics. One of my favorite books when I was younger was Dame Edith Sitwell’s The English Eccentrics.
Have a lovely slice of silliness on us. Here's a Nationwide report from 1971 when they visited 88-year-old Alfred Tabb who kept "fit as a fiddle" on an impossibly small bicycle. pic.twitter.com/Nn6Gg3M3Uu
— BBC Archive (@BBCArchive) March 20, 2020
A cat plays Super Mario Bros 3!!
Cat plays Super Mario Bros 3, carefully reads the instructions, selects a chest, receives a Super Mushroom. pic.twitter.com/x8zAQw3trD
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) March 20, 2020