Top of the tail o’ the week to you: it’s Friday, April 24, 2020, or about 9 days until the Big Duckling Hatch. It’s also National Pigs in a Blanket Day. If you don’t know what they are—and they’re getting increasingly rarer—they’re a species of appetizer or snack food (often served while watching football on television) consisting of frozen roll dough wrapped around a miniature hot dog and baked. Some are pictured below. They are not edible.
It’s also St. Marks Eve, World Day for Laboratory Animals, established by PETA, Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day (note it, Cenk!), Arbor Day, and the National Day of Silence, which I haven’t seen many people adhere to:
Today we observe Day of Silence, a “student-led national event where folks take a vow of silence to highlight the silencing and erasure of LGBTQ people at school.” The day was created in 1996 by University of Virginia students who had to complete a class assignment on non-violent protests. They created Day of Silence and 150 students participated. The organizers took the event nationally the following year, and almost 100 colleges and universities took part. GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, & Straight Education Network) became the official sponsor of the day in 2001. The day has been observed in all 50 states and in countries around the globe, and over 10,000 students register for it each year.
News of the day: Very bad (what did you expect?). Deaths in the U.S from coronavirus have now topped 50,000 (50,372 as of this morning), with 183,652 worldwide. Here in Illinois, our governor extended the lockdown for another month, though he opened state parks and, with some restrictions, golf courses. That does me no good, and really, golf courses? The New York Times‘s “White House Memo” article paints a picture of a President on the verge of a meltdown, losing his only plus: a good economy:
And the Chief Moron continues to promote bogus cures–now ultraviolet light shined inside the body! Look at this (h/t: Matthew). No matter that it would wreak havoc on our DNA, probably causing all kinds of cancers.
When you are a few feet from the president and you do nothing but grimace when you should be jumping to your feet shouting "STOP THIS MADNESS" you are complicit and have blood on your hands.
— Jimmy_is_here (@jglishere) April 24, 2020
These daily briefings have to stop! This is all very depressing and it’s getting harder to write anything on this site what with the world and the U.S in such a dire state—and no good news on the horizon. Posting may become light, but, like Maru, I do my best.
Stuff that happened on April 24 includes:
- 1704 – The first regular newspaper in British Colonial America, The Boston News-Letter, is published.
- 1800 – The United States Library of Congress is established when President John Adams signs legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress”.
- 1885 – American sharpshooter Annie Oakley is hired by Nate Salsbury to be a part of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West.
You can see an 1894 Edison video of Oakley’s shooting prowess on the Wikipedia page. As that page adds:
Oakley never failed to delight her audiences, and her feats of marksmanship were truly incredible. At 30 paces she could split a playing card held edge-on, she hit dimes tossed into the air, she shot cigarettes from her husband’s lips, and, a playing card being thrown into the air, she riddled it before it touched the ground.
Here she is in her 20s:
- 1895 – Joshua Slocum, the first person to sail single-handedly around the world, sets sail from Boston, Massachusetts aboard the sloop “Spray”.
- 1914 – The Franck–Hertz experiment, a pillar of quantum mechanics, is presented to the German Physical Society.
That experiment showed that electrons colliding with atoms could lose only a specific and constant amount of energy.
- 1916 – Easter Rising: Irish rebels, led by Patrick Pearse and James Connolly, launch an uprising in Dublin against British rule and proclaim an Irish Republic.
14 of the ringleaders of the failed uprising (excepting Éamon de Valera) were executed, most on this spot at Kilmainham Gaol:
1916 – Ernest Shackleton and five men of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition launch a lifeboat from uninhabited Elephant Island in the Southern Ocean to organise a rescue for the crew of the sunken Endurance.
This story is perhaps the most famous and impressive in Antarctic exploring: Shakleton made it to South Georgia after 15 days, organized a rescue from Chile, and returned to rescue every man on the Endurance. But Shackleton had personally shot Mrs. Chippy, the ship’s cat.
- 1953 – Winston Churchill is knighted by Queen Elizabeth II.
- 1967 – Cosmonaut Vladimir Komarov dies in Soyuz 1 when its parachute fails to open. He is the first human to die during a space mission.
Wikipedia adds this: “In his diary, Nikolai Kamanin recorded that the Soyuz 1 capsule crashed into the ground at 30–40 m/s and that the remains of Komarov’s body were an irregular lump 30 cm in diameter and 80 cm long.”
- 1990 – STS-31: The Hubble Space Telescope is launched from the Space Shuttle Discovery.
- 2005 – Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger is inaugurated as the 265th Pope of the Catholic Church taking the name Pope Benedict XVI.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1815 – Anthony Trollope, English novelist, essayist, and short story writer (d. 1882)
- 1904 – Willem de Kooning, Dutch-American painter and educator (d. 1997)
Here’s a pretty lame de Kooning from 1987 called “The Cat’s Meow”. This was painted after he gave up drinking in 1978, and The Fix says that his paintings completed degenerated when he was sober:
- 1914 – Justin Wilson, American chef and author (d. 2001)
I used to be mesmerized by Wilson’s cooking show, in which he larded his instructions with Cajun stories, when I was a kid. It was so corny, and his jokes so lame, that I couldn’t stop watching, I gare-un-tee! Here’s a typical clip (you can stop watching at 2:20):
- 1934 – Shirley MacLaine, American actress, singer, and dancer
- 1942 – Barbra Streisand, American singer, actress, activist, and producer
Those who cashed in their chips on April 24 include:
- 1731 – Daniel Defoe, English journalist, novelist, and spy (b. 1660)
- 1947 – Willa Cather, American novelist, short story writer, and poet (b. 1873)
- 1974 – Bud Abbott, American comedian and producer (b. 1895)
- 2004 – Estée Lauder, American businesswoman, co-founded Estée Lauder Companies (b. 1906)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, editor Hili catches a mistake (there was such an error, but actually it was Malgorzata who caught it):
Hili: There is a typo.A: In which word?Hili: Hili, you wrote Hoili.
Hili: Tam jest literówka.
Ja: W którym słowie?
Hili: Hili, napisałeś Hoili.
Lagniappe: Szaron of the skinny tail:
Several readers have sent me this funny sign (misspelled, as is usual with these folks), but I wonder if it’s real:
This has gone somewhat viral. Bruce Thiel called it to my attention, and I did some googling. Patricia Felts is a MORTICIAN (see story here):
And a cartoon. I can’t remember where I got it except that it’s by political cartoonist Gary Varvel:
Philosopher/collaborator Maarten Boudry in Belgium sent a tweet of his new kitten (now a cat), Winston Purrchill. Poor Winston!
— Maarten Boudry (@mboudry) March 5, 2020
Both Andrew Doyle (aka Titania McGrath) and Douglas Murray took a crack at the hapless Wokester Emily Cousens, who doesn’t want Oxford to win the race for the coronavirus vaccine:
This brave article exposes how dangerous it would be if scientists at Oxford find a vaccine for Covid-19.
It would be a boost for the Tories and a dog whistle for nationalists.
(The author teaches Gender Studies, so she knows what she’s talking about.)https://t.co/94eyUAzse2
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) April 23, 2020
And from Murray, sent by reader Simon:
— Douglas Murray (@DouglasKMurray) April 23, 2020
From Barry. A curmudgeon goes after Trump’s response to the pandemic, spewing a most excellent rant.
Holy shit. This Guy For President 2020 pic.twitter.com/0Yf4NPOfaO
— Aaron Nagler (@AaronNagler) April 22, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. This “experiment” shows two things: 1. You know the answer before it starts; the cat obviously cannot get a treat farther away than the length of its leg, and 2. You don’t really need a hypothesis before you do an experiment:
An Entertaining Experiment to See How Far a Cat Will Reach Through a Hole In Order to Retrieve a Treat https://t.co/v0m6TKRNaX
— Jennifer Ouellette (@JenLucPiquant) April 23, 2020
Once again, the physics paper co-authored by a cat (second tweet):
Do you know the case of F D C Willard, who co-authored a paper on 3He magnetism with MSU theorist Jack Hetherington?
The initials stood for Felix Domesticus Chester, scion of Willard, both family pets. Chester was coopted for the avoidance of the first person singular. pic.twitter.com/pKgpIszrd4
— Roland Pease (@PeaseRoland) April 23, 2020
I didn’t know that post-eclosion monarch butterflies had to zip their proboscis together!
More Monarch trivia. When bflies eclose (emerge) from the chrysalis, the proboscis is in 2 halves, which must be "zipped" together to form a straw-like structure so it can eat. In my video yesterday, the constant coiling-uncoiling of the proboscis is the butterfly doing that. pic.twitter.com/UUbIRtSEnQ
— Tom J. Astle (@tjalamont) April 22, 2020
And the eclosion video to which he refers:
I’ve seen this happen so many times, and it’s never not a thrill. By the way, it’s a boy. pic.twitter.com/9x0uMizQOP
— Tom J. Astle (@tjalamont) April 21, 2020
Gary Larson doesn’t want people posting his Far Side cartoons, and I’ve alwys respected his wishes, but I can’t resist one violation to put up the oldie he posted yesterday, emailed me by several readers. It shows ME!