It’s Wednesday, April 1, 2020—April Fools’ Day—and I’m guessing that people are too dispirited to post April Fool’s jokes, for fooling people doesn’t seem so funny now. I predict we’ll see a paucity of such humor today.
First, the food months. April is National Florida Tomato Month, National BLT Sandwich Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soyfoods Month, National Grilled Cheese Month, and National Garlic Month. April 1 is National Soylent Green Day as well as National Sourdough Bread Day. Curiously, Soylent Green is not a real food, but a cracker from the 1973 dystopian movie of the same name (there is a Soylent food company but it doesn’t make “Green”). Soylent Green was made of PEOPLE, and today’s link suggests an April Fool’s joke.
It’s also Boomer Bonus Day, in which we Boomers (aka “seniors”) are supposed to get special prices on goods. Too bad everything’s closed. It’s also International Fun at Work Day (have fun at home!), National One Cent Day (celebrating the useless penny), and Edible Book Day. That’s right: today’s the day that people make books that can be eaten. Here’s one:
Finally, it’s National Atheist’s Day, with the poor placement of the apostrophe suggesting that it’s celebrating only a single atheist. People really should proofread their stuff.
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) goes to a bunch of information about its subject: Dame Jean Macnamara (1899-1968), described by Wikipedia as “an Australian medical doctor and scientist, best known for her contributions to children’s health and welfare.” Her research showed that there was more than one strain of polio, a fact that apparently helped in the development of Jonas Salk’s polio vaccine.
News of the Day: It’s too depressing to recount. Just read the front page of any good newspaper. More than 1,000 have died in New York City alone, with the state’s death toll increasing by over 30% per day. And healthcare workers everywhere are being struck down. Here are some more depressing data posted by a physician/scientist:
For context, US deaths
World War I: 116,516
World War II: 405,000
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) March 31, 2020
As for April Fool’s Day, here’s the Chicago Tribune‘s April Fool’s issue from 114 years ago (h/t Matthew)
— David Bressan (@David_Bressan) March 31, 2020
Stuff that happened on April 1 includes:
Here’s one reference for that #2 above. Oy, is that evidence weak, and, of course, it comes straight from Scripture. Reading my new book on the shroud of Turin, I find that there were many relics of the Last Supper circulating around Europe in the Middle Ages, including plates from that meal and some Last Supper bread. (Other relics include the True Cross, nails that supposedly affixed Jesus thereto, and, weirdly, some of Mary’s breast milk.)
- 1789 – In New York City, the United States House of Representatives achieves its first quorum and elects Frederick Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania as its first Speaker.
- 1854 – Charles Dickens’ novel Hard Times begins serialisation in his magazine Household Words.
- 1867 – Singapore becomes a British crown colony.
- 1918 – The Royal Air Force is created by the merger of the Royal Flying Corps and the Royal Naval Air Service.
- 1924 – Adolf Hitler is sentenced to five years imprisonment for his participation in the “Beer Hall Putsch” but spends only nine months in jail.
- 1960 – The TIROS-1 satellite transmits the first television picture from space.
Here’s a NASA documentary showing some of the weather satellite’s pictures:
- 1969 – The Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the first operational fighter aircraft with Vertical/Short Takeoff and Landing capabilities, enters service with the Royal Air Force.
Here’s a takeoff of a Harrier; I’m not sure if they’re still being used:
- 1970 – President Richard Nixon signs the Public Health Cigarette Smoking Act into law, requiring the Surgeon General’s warnings on tobacco products and banning cigarette advertising on television and radio in the United States, effective 1 January 1971.
- 1976 – Apple Inc. is formed by Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, and Ronald Wayne in Cupertino, California, USA.
- 1979 – Iran becomes an Islamic republic by a 99% vote, officially overthrowing the Shah.
- 1999 – Nunavut is established as a Canadian territory carved out of the eastern part of the Northwest Territories.
- 2001 – Same-sex marriage becomes legal in the Netherlands, the first contemporary country to allow it.
- 2004 – Google announces Gmail to the public.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1578 – William Harvey, English physician and academic (d. 1657)
- 1815 – Otto von Bismarck, German lawyer and politician, 1st Chancellor of the German Empire (d. 1898)
- 1873 – Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1943)
- 1885 – Wallace Beery, American actor (d. 1949)
- 1885 – Clementine Churchill, English wife of Winston Churchill (d. 1977)
- 1932 – Debbie Reynolds, Scottish-Irish American actress, singer, and dancer (d. 2016)
- 1939 – Ali MacGraw, American model and actress
- 1947 – Francine Prose, American novelist, short story writer, and critic
- 1950 – Samuel Alito, American lawyer and jurist
- 1955 – Terry Nichols, American criminal
- 1961 – Susan Boyle, Scottish singer
- 1973 – Rachel Maddow, American journalist and author
Remember when Susan Boyle stunned the audience and judges of “Britain’s Got Talent” in 2009? Everybody laughed at her at the beginning, but the snickers turned to shock and then to tears. Here’s her song: talk about feel-good moments! Since then she’s sold over 25 million records. I just watched it again, and I must have something in my eye.
Those who succumbed on this day include:
- 1914 – Rube Waddell, American baseball player (b. 1876)
- 1917 – Scott Joplin, American pianist and composer (b. 1868)
- 1976 – Max Ernst, German painter and sculptor (b. 1891)
- 1984 – Marvin Gaye, American singer-songwriter (b. 1939)
- 2017 – Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Soviet and Russian poet and writer (b. 1932)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Editor Hili is impeding progress:
Malgorzata: Can you please vacate my chair?Hili: Not now, maybe later.
Małgorzata: Czy możesz zwolnić mój fotel?
Hili: Nie teraz, może później.
In nearby Wloclawek, where Leon’s staff Elzbieta (a teacher) is teaching remotely, Leon is also learning that way. Here he learns about snails:
Leon: Distant education. We are managing.
From Margaret Morgan on Facebook:
Posted by Angus Calder on Facebook:
From Barry, evidence that prayer is not only futile, but harmful:
From Titania. She forgot the additional good news, for the woke, that more men than women are afflicted:
Here’s a handy breakdown of coronavirus cases by gender.
According to these statistics, non-binary people are totally immune.
FINALLY some good news. 👍🌈 pic.twitter.com/myj1mUSjGe
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) March 31, 2020
Two tweets from reader Barry (be sure to play the video to see the nunchucks).
if this bear gets out, we're all fucked pic.twitter.com/kl9TYdELFK
— 𝙸𝙽𝚃. 𝙽𝙰𝚃𝙴 𝚁𝚄𝙴𝙶𝙶𝙴𝚁 – 𝙿𝚁𝙴𝚂𝙴𝙽𝚃🏚 (@NateRuegger) March 30, 2020
And a bunch of future patients:
Tweets from Matthew. About the first one he says, “Thread in which GG kicks the ass of the New York Times and rightly so. The UK press has same problem: political journos out of their depth.” The thread is here.
This is journalistic malpractice. If we don't have scale-up of testing, we will be in lock-down for months & months. There is no debate on this, why frame it like there is one? Next: Trump says earth flat, scientists say otherwise. @jmartNYT & @maggieNYT https://t.co/T8OFxwITef
— Gregg Gonsalves (@gregggonsalves) March 31, 2020
Crikey, these otters are bellicose!
Today I learned that otter gang wars are a thing. This otter feud has been going on since 2015. 🤯
— Earthling (@ziyatong) March 31, 2020
A sizable brood! I hope Honey has as many this year:
checked the Mallard nest I have been watching since early March on my walk this morning – 14 ducklings have hatched, Devon pic.twitter.com/Sa76xvehXu
— John Walters (@JWentomologist) March 31, 2020
As Matthew points out in his retweet, this shark has been around the block:
Ulp. The beast has been in a few tussles, by the look of it. https://t.co/h5Dqxnn18W
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) March 31, 2020