It’s Saturday, April 4, 2020, and it’s both National Cordon Bleu Day (celebrating the dish of thinly pounded chicken filled with ham and cheese, then breaded and fried [I’ve never had one]) and International Carrot Day. Re the carrots, it’s also Vitamin C Day. Further, it’s Hug a Newsperson Day (right sentiment, wrong year), National Rat Day, and National DIY (do it yourself) Day. Now’s a good day to make that reusable face mask out of an old tee shirt that I highlighted yesterday.
News of the Day: Very bad, as usual. As the pandemic spreads around the world, the death toll in the U.S. has passed 7,000. The CDC recommends that we all wear cloth masks in public, which I’ll do whenever I’m not taking a solitary walk but going “in public”, like to a gas station or a store. Trump, however, says he won’t take the CDC’s advice. (I notice that during his press conference he also avoids “social distancing”.) Nine U.S. states still haven’t ordered stay-at-home regulations, including Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota; Wyoming, Utah, South Carolina, and Oklahoma have such orders in only parts of their state. As I recall, all of these states have Republican governors. Anthony Fauci says he can’t comprehend the holdouts, and he’s right.
I also predict that there will be no major league baseball played in the U.S. this year (the season’s now postponed), though some optimists think otherwise. They are almost certainly wrong, as is everyone who thinks this pandemic will be over soon and it will be business as usual by fall. I hope I’m wrong in this prediction, but I don’t think I will be.
Lots of stuff happened on April 4, including:
- 1147 – Moscow is mentioned for the first time in the historical record, when it is named as a meeting place for two princes.
- 1581 – Francis Drake is knighted for completing a circumnavigation of the world.
- 1796 – Georges Cuvier delivers the first paleontological lecture.
Cuvier is known as the Father of Paleontology, and Wikipedia says this about the lecture:
On 4 April 1796 he began to lecture at the École Centrale du Pantheon and, at the opening of the National Institute in April, he read his first paleontological paper, which subsequently was published in 1800 under the title Mémoires sur les espèces d’éléphants vivants et fossiles. In this paper, he analyzed skeletal remains of Indian and African elephants, as well as mammoth fossils, and a fossil skeleton known at that time as the ‘Ohio animal’.
- 1818 – The United States Congress, affirming the Second Continental Congress, adopts the flag of the United States with 13 red and white stripes and one star for each state (20 at that time).
- 1841 – William Henry Harrison dies of pneumonia, becoming the first President of the United States to die in office, and setting the record for the briefest administration. Vice President John Tyler succeeds Harrison as President.
- 1850 – Los Angeles is incorporated as a city.
Harrison was in office for exactly one month, taking up the Presidency on March 4.
- 1949 – Cold War: Twelve nations sign the North Atlantic Treaty creating the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
- 1958 – The CND peace symbol is displayed in public for the first time in London.
You must learn where the sign came from:
The symbol is a super-imposition of the semaphore signals for the letters “N” and “D”, taken to stand for “nuclear disarmament”. This observation was made as early as 5 April 1958 in the Manchester Guardian. In addition to this primary genesis, Holtom additionally cited as inspiration Goya’s Peasant Before the Firing Squad.
Here’s that painting, also called “The Third of May 1808”:
If you can name the top five you’re an expert! Here they are:
- 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr. is assassinated by James Earl Ray at a motel in Memphis, Tennessee.
- 1969 – Dr. Denton Cooley implants the first temporary artificial heart.
- 1973 – The Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City are officially dedicated.
- 1975 – Microsoft is founded as a partnership between Bill Gates and Paul Allen in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
- 1979 – Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan is executed.
- 1983 – Space Shuttle program: Space Shuttle Challenger makes its maiden voyage into space.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1802 – Dorothea Dix, American nurse and activist (d. 1887)
- 1895 – Arthur Murray, American dancer and educator (d. 1991)
- 1928 – Maya Angelou, American memoirist and poet (d. 2014)
- 1948 – Berry Oakley, American bass player (d. 1972)
- 1965 – Robert Downey Jr., American actor, producer, and screenwriter
- 1979 – Heath Ledger, Australian actor (d. 2008)
- 2012 – Grumpy Cat, American internet celebrity cat (d. 2019)
I never liked Grumpy Cat (real name “Tardar Sauce”) because his “grumpiness” was a developmental defect, probably based on a mutation (she lived only 7 years). But here she is, one last time:
This is the first cat I’ve seen commemorated on Wikipedia’s birthday lists.
Those who experienced mortality on April 4 include:
- 1617 – John Napier, Scottish mathematician, physicist, and astronomer (b. 1550)
- 1929 – Karl Benz, German engineer and businessman, founded Mercedes-Benz (b. 1844)
- 1958 – Johnny Stompanato, American soldier and bodyguard (b. 1925)
- 1968 – Martin Luther King Jr., American minister and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1929)
- 1983 – Gloria Swanson, American actress (b. 1899)
- 2013 – Roger Ebert, American journalist, critic, and screenwriter (b. 1942)
Meanwihile in Dobrzyn, today’s Hili dialogue needs an explanation, which Malgorzata has supplied:
There are problems in Polish agriculture that may lead to food shortages. And we have this huge garden with plenty of good soil on which only grass grows. So we found a gardener to dig a vegetable garden in one part of our yard. He will plant for us diverse vegetables, and beans are among them. Hili is full of enthusiasm and thinks that we should discard all flowers and just plant beans.
Hili: Everything is growing amazingly.A: Now the spring is real.Hili: Maybe, instead of flowers we should plant beans?
Hili: Niesłychanie to wszystko rośnie.
Ja: Wiosna w pełni.
Hili: A może zamiast kwiatków zasadzić fasolę?
Also in Dobrzyn, Szaron is baffled by the blinds (note that he’s got the cord in his mouth:
Szaron: How do they do it?
And let’s not forget about Kitten Mietek, was photographed (with a caption) by staff Elzbieta. Like his stepbrother Leon, Mietek has taken to the leash!
Caption: Mietek gets to know the world.
From Graham (I may have posted this a while back, but can’t recall):
And a gif from Twisted Sifter. Is this Proof of Ceiling Cat?
From The Queen’s continuing series on the pandemic:
I retweeted this tweet I got from Matthew and added some explanation and a link. The second tweet, with a video (sound on!), is the heartwarming one. Fricking Navy!
Captain Brett Crozier, who was relieved of his command of the carrier Theodore Roosevelt for alerting officials of a coronavirus outbreak on his ship (the email leaked), gets a rousing sendoff from his crew as he departs. He's a hero. https://t.co/17y48KRFLX https://t.co/dGChephT5U
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) April 3, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Have a look at this uber-weird tree!:
TIL about Napoleonaea angolensis, an African tree species with anemone-like flowers that grow out straight from its trunkhttps://t.co/4CYR5kAzip
— Gil Wizen (@wizentrop) April 3, 2020
A fun-loving croc:
Crocodiles have lived for around 240 million years, appearing 25 million years before the first dinosaurs and 100 million years before the first birds and mammals.
Over all those long years, they never once lost their sense of fun. pic.twitter.com/5ZVPkREFMq
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) September 1, 2019
And yet when I try to unlock my iPhone… https://t.co/mAZblAUwpt
— Gary Bainbridge (@Gary_Bainbridge) April 3, 2020
In the word of nature (sans H. sapiens), life goes on. . .
LOADS of worms being brought into the blackbird nest today. If you watch really closely, you will be able to see the beaks of the chicks! Watch this nest, live, on my website. https://t.co/AUv0cZO2wr @BBCSpringwatch pic.twitter.com/6hUibvHfQS
— WildlifeKate (@katemacrae) April 1, 2020
Matthew explains this cartoon from the Times Literary Supplement, “The picture contains images that are synonyms/images/phrases for sex. So – screw, roll in the hay, netflix and chill, sowing wild oats etc etc”. How many can you spot?
— Ella Baron (@EBaronCartoons) August 26, 2019
Nature is getting ever closer to humans as the humans retreat into their houses. Here’s an example:
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) March 27, 2020