Good morning on Thursday, April 30, 2020, which puts us about three or four days from D-Day (Duckling Day). Fingers crossed! It’s both and National Raisin Day and National Oatmeal Cookie Day. The latter often contain the formers, but I see the whole enterprise of making these unpalatable cookies as failed attempt to replicate chocolate-chip cookies.
It’s also Bugs Bunny Day (the sarcastic rabbit, then named “Happy Rabbit,” made his cartoon debut on this day in 1938), National Mr. Potato Head Day (this was the first toy ever advertised on television—on this day in 1952; did you ever have one? I did.), Hairstyle Appreciation Day (not this year!), International Jazz Day, a UNESCO holiday, Honesty Day, and, of course, Walpurgis Night. Finally, it’s Captain Tom Moore’s 100th birthday. Read about him below: he’s raised over $39 million for the NHS by using his walker to go back and forth in his yard.
Here’s an early cartoon in which Bugs Bunny, looking very different as Happy Rabbit, appears. Notice that Elmer Fudd is already in full character. But Bugs (who appears 42 seconds in) is not yet neotenous, having a long, pointy face. You can see his evolution, which parallels that of Mickey Mouse, below the video:
The evolution of Bugs Bunny:
. . . and of Mickey Mouse. Notice how in both cases the head gets larger while the feet get larger. Steve Gould wrote about this with respect to Mickey, claiming that the character became more like a young animal, like a puppy or kitten (or human baby), to appeal to the public’s love of young-animal appearance:
Today’s Google Doodle is another lockdown game, one in which you can play the theramin. Click on the screenshot:
News of the Day: What do you think? Coronavirus deaths have reached 61,504 in the U.S. and about 228,000 worldwide. Several things happened yesterday, including a promising test of an antiviral drug. T
In Illinois, too, two Republican lawmakers have brought suit against Governor Pritzker, claiming that he does not have the authority to lock down the state (he does). One suit, at least, was a personal suit, claiming that the lawmaker was personally injured. A judge has ruled in favor of the lawmaker, exempting him from the restrictions, but the state attorney general has appealed.
The New York Times has a news summary where you can click on these links.
- The stock market rallied after promising news about an antiviral drug.
- Experts say rushing a vaccine is risky despite Trump’s desires.
- The Los Angeles mayor says all residents can now get tested.
- Florida will begin reopening, but hard-hit regions will remain shut.
- Louisiana lawmakers consider overriding the governor’s stay-at-home order.
- Meatpacking plants are now ‘critical infrastructure,’ but that means little.
- The economy shrank 4.8 percent, and the worst is yet to come.
Stuff that happened on April 30 includes:
- 1492 – Spain gives Christopher Columbus his commission of exploration.
- 1789 – On the balcony of Federal Hall on Wall Street in New York City, George Washington takes the oath of office to become the first elected President of the United States.
- 1803 – Louisiana Purchase: The United States purchases the Louisiana Territory from France for $15 million, more than doubling the size of the young nation.
- 1897 – J. J. Thomson of the Cavendish Laboratory announces his discovery of the electron as a subatomic particle, over 1,800 times smaller than a proton (in the atomic nucleus), at a lecture at the Royal Institution in London.
- 1905 – Albert Einstein completes his doctoral thesis at the University of Zurich.
- 1927 – Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford become the first celebrities to leave their footprints in concrete at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood.
Here are the two great stars, along with the owner of the theater, Sid Grauman:
- 1938 – The animated cartoon short Porky’s Hare Hunt debuts in movie theaters, introducing Happy Rabbit, an early version of Bugs Bunny. [See above]
- 1945 – World War II: Führerbunker: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun commit suicide after being married for less than 40 hours. Soviet soldiers raise the Victory Banner over the Reichstag building.
- 1966 – The Church of Satan is formed in The Black House, San Francisco.
- 1973 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon announces that White House Counsel John Dean has been fired and that other top aides, most notably H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman, have resigned.
- 1993 – CERN announces World Wide Web protocols will be free.
- 2008 – Two skeletal remains found near Yekaterinburg, Russia are confirmed by Russian scientists to be the remains of Alexei and Anastasia, two of the children of the last Tsar of Russia, whose entire family was executed at Yekaterinburg by the Bolsheviks.
All of the remains have, I think, been retrieved. Here’s a photo I took of their tombs at the Fortress of Peter and Paul in St. Petersburg (August 2011), along with pictures of the executed family:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1651 – Jean-Baptiste de La Salle, French priest and saint (d. 1719)
- 1777 – Carl Friedrich Gauss, German mathematician and physicist (d. 1855)
- 1877 – Alice B. Toklas, American memoirist (d. 1967)
- 1916 – Claude Shannon, American mathematician and engineer (d. 2001)
- 1920 – Tom Moore, British army officer and fundraiser.
Moore is 100 today, and reader Jeremy reminded me of his birthday. His great action, of course, was raising tons of money for the NHS and its Covid-19 staff by walking around his yard on a walker. Jeremy gave this information:
- 1926 – Cloris Leachman, American actress and comedian
- 1945 – Annie Dillard, American novelist, essayist, and poet
- 1985 – Gal Gadot, Israeli actress and model
Those whose life petered out on April 30 include:
- 1865 – Robert FitzRoy, English admiral, meteorologist, and politician, 2nd Governor of New Zealand (b. 1805)
FitzRoy, depressed and impecunious, committed suicide by slitting his throat with a razor. He was, of course, the captain of HMS Beagle during Darwin’s voyage. Curiously, FitzRoy’s predecessor also committed suicide while on the previous voyage of that ship.
Here, from The Met, is Manet’s “Cats” (etching on paper; 1838-1839):
- 1900 – Casey Jones, American engineer (b. 1863)
- 1936 – A. E. Housman, English poet and scholar (b. 1859)
- 1983 – George Balanchine, Russian dancer and choreographer (b. 1904)
- 2016 – Harry Kroto, English chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1939)
Meanwhile in Dobzyn, Hili has a case of confirmation bias:
Hili: Is this the ray of hope?A: No, it’s the flash of the camera.
Hili: Czy to jest światło nadziei?
Ja: Nie, odbłysk flesza.
And nearby, Elzbieta shares her sandwich with Leon:
Leon: Give me a bite to eat!
And Mietek is all grown up and wanting to hunt.
Mietek: What a pheasant!
From Jesus of the Day. Cats! You can’t live without them, and you can’t live without them. . .
From reader Barry. This is one honking big shark, and why is the woman swimming so close to it? Reader Barry notes that she got into trouble for doing this.
Good news from reader Simon: Trump lost his “virus bounce” and is back to an approval rating ten points lower than his disapproval rating.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) April 28, 2020
A tweet from Heather Hastie:
— George Conway (@gtconway3d) September 5, 2019
Matthew’s tweets. He suggested I try this, and, shaggy as I am, I’m willing to think about it!
Getting a hair cut during lockdown https://t.co/8jEXzAzvRm
— Darwin Award 🔞 (@AwardsDarwin) April 29, 2020
Battling harvestmen, grappling with their chelicerae:
In this new paper, we also describe the fighting behaviour of these amazing New Zealand harvestmen, Forsteropsalis pureora
— Erin Powell, Ph.D. (@erincpow) April 28, 2020
An amazingly melodic duck:
— wendy (@sirthisiswendy) April 26, 2020
This is by far the best boredom-dispeller to come from the lockdowns. It’s the Fine Arts Game!
— CARAA (@CARAA_Center) April 27, 2020