It’s May 2, 2020, perhaps one day from D-Day (Duckling Day). I’d dearly love to see the ducklings jump, but there’s only a narrow window for that, and I’d have to be on the spot. I will try, checking the nests every half hour or so starting tomorrow. Fingers crossed that all the babies make it safely to the pond!
News of the Day: It’s dire, of course. The reported death toll from coronavirus in the U.S. stands at 65,605, but, as Andrew Sullivan noted yesterday, this is likely to be a severe underestimate (he posits that the ultimate toll may be, as Fauci estimated in March, between 100,000 and 200,000). Worldwide, the reported death toll now stands at about 239,000. As I feared, the pandemic is beginning to ravage India.
Anthony Fauci has been blocked by the White House from testifying before Congress. CNN reports:
“The Appropriations Committee sought Dr. Anthony Fauci as a witness at next week’s Labor-HHS-Education Subcommittee hearing on COVID-19 response. We have been informed by an administration official that the White House has blocked Dr. Fauci from testifying,” House Appropriations Committee spokesman Evan Hollander said in a statement Friday.
The New York Times has a sad, heartbreaking story of long-time couples dying of coronavirus within days of each other. Finally, Kim Jong-un appears to have reappeared at a factory opening, but the report has not been confirmed.
Stuff that happened on May 2 includes:
- 1536 – Anne Boleyn, Queen of England, is arrested and imprisoned on charges of adultery, incest, treason and witchcraft.
- 1559 – John Knox returns from exile to Scotland to become the leader of the nascent Scottish Reformation.
- 1611 – The King James Version of the Bible is published for the first time in London, England, by printer Robert Barker.
Here’s that first translation. I still like this version the best, although of course our take is heavily affected by the group of translators, or “God’s Secretaries” (an excellent book, by the way):
- 1920 – The first game of the Negro National League baseball is played in Indianapolis.
- 1945 – World War II: A death march from Dachau to the Austrian border is halted by the segregated, all-Nisei 522nd Field Artillery Battalion of the U.S. Army in southern Bavaria, saving several hundred prisoners.
- 1952 – A De Havilland Comet makes the first jetliner flight with fare-paying passengers, from London to Johannesburg.
Here’s a Pathé video of that first trip; there were a lot of stops back then!
- 1955 – Tennessee Williams wins the Pulitzer Prize for Drama for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.
- 1964 – First ascent of Shishapangma, the fourteenth highest mountain in the world and the lowest of the Eight-thousanders.
Here’s Shishapangma; it’s the big mountain at the extreme left:
- 1986 – Chernobyl disaster: The City of Chernobyl is evacuated six days after the disaster.
- 2000 – President Bill Clinton announces that accurate GPS access would no longer be restricted to the United States military.
- 2011 – Osama bin Laden, the suspected mastermind behind the September 11 attacks and the FBI’s most wanted man, is killed by the United States special forces in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
- 2012 – A pastel version of The Scream, by Norwegian painter Edvard Munch, sells for $120 million in a New York City auction, setting a new world record for a work of art at auction.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1729 – Catherine the Great of Russia (d. 1796)
- 1860 – Theodor Herzl, Austro-Hungarian Zionist philosopher, journalist and author (d. 1904)
- 1892 – Manfred von Richthofen, German captain and pilot (d. 1918)
- 1895 – Lorenz Hart, American playwright and lyricist (d. 1943)
- 1903 – Benjamin Spock, American rower, pediatrician, and author (d. 1998)
- 1921 – B. B. Lal, Indian archaeologist
- 1921 – Satyajit Ray, Indian director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1992)
- 1946 – Lesley Gore, American singer-songwriter (d. 2015)
- 1969 – Brian Lara, Trinidadian cricketer
- 1975 – David Beckham, English footballer, coach, and model
Here’s a short documentary of the life of Brian Lara, one of the best cricket players of history. Can you spot the cat?
Those who handed in their dinner pails on May 2 include:
- 1519 – Leonardo da Vinci, Italian painter, sculptor, and architect (b. 1452)
- 1957 – Joseph McCarthy, American captain, lawyer, judge, and politician (b. 1908)
- 1972 – J. Edgar Hoover, American 1st director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (b. 1895)
- 2011 – Osama bin Laden, Saudi Arabian terrorist, founder of Al-Qaeda (b. 1957)
- 2014 – Efrem Zimbalist, Jr., American actor (b. 1918)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, the cherry orchard is in glorious full bloom, and Hili and her staff are enjoying their walkies:
Hili: This are the best walks during a year.A: I think so too.
Hili: To są najlepsze spacery w roku.
Ja: Też tak uważam.
Leon: Let’s look deep into the future now.
From reader Barry:
A Facebook meme. If you don’t get it, you’re too young (go here).
Titania addresses the pandemic, but this tweet doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
Now so-called medical “experts” are claiming that POGs (People Of Girth) are at greater risk during this pandemic.
Maybe that’s because you keep fat-shaming them with trash like this. pic.twitter.com/420GH72v4o
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) May 1, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. He loves Laurel and Hardy, and here Laurel, despite his promises, gets into Big Mischief:
Stan bottling the wine. pic.twitter.com/waFbO3ll3V
— Laurel and Hardy (@Stan_And_Ollie) May 1, 2020
Cat on a hot tin roof! Fortunately, it was rescued:
This cat's dad spent days trying to get her off their roof 🙀 pic.twitter.com/T2NuC7dej1
— The Dodo (@dodo) May 1, 2020
Needy ducks don’t want their staff to go away. The playful mallard (the domestic variety “Pekin”) in the second video is a drake, as you can tell from its inability to quack properly:
— Michael Skvarla (@mskvarla36) May 1, 2020
Two denizens of the American Southwest: tumbleweed and tornadoes:
— Matt M. McKnight (@mattmillsphoto) April 30, 2020
More documentation of humanity as a virus for animals. Sadly, when the pandemic’s over, these lovely animals will retreat to their refuge:
❤️ As sea pollution levels have dropped (no pleasure boats, no freighters, etc.), dolphins have returned to the waters around Malta after being absent for years.
These were filmed off Gozo but they have also reappeared in even the busy harbor near my home. pic.twitter.com/3XcF8Px7ty
— Gregory Bufithis 🇬🇷 🌊 (@GregBufithis) April 28, 2020