Welcome to Tuesday, May 12, 2020, National Nutty Fudge Day (sounds like a holiday named after Jerry Lewis). Kudos to nurses on International Nurses’ Day (with the apostrophe properly placed), Odometer Day, and Limerick Day. I’ve written only one limerick in my life, and it’s a geeky one, addressed to a professor who thought that genetics was the be-all and end-all of evolution, and natural selection was trivial:
“The giraffe,” said the prof with great gall,
“Causes me no amazement at all.
“Why, the gene for the neck is repeated, by heck.
“And that’s why the damn thing’s so tall!”
News of the Day: Well, it could be worse, but there’s a lot of room for it to be better! States are starting to reopen businesses, but Anthony Fauci (in quarantine himself) will issue a stern warning about the consequences of reopening too soon. Likewise, Paul Krugman’s new column says that reopening the economy too early could plunge us into a depression.
Confirmed deaths from coronavirus in the U.S. are 81,491; in the world the toll is about 286,000.
Finally, I no longer have to wear my van Gogh turban, and my ear is healing nicely.
Stuff that happened on May 12 include:
- 1846 – The Donner Party of pioneers departs Independence, Missouri for California, on what will become a year-long journey of hardship and cannibalism.
- 1926 – The Italian-built airship Norge becomes the first vessel to fly over the North Pole. [JAC: Roald Amundsen was in charge.]
Here’s the Norge, which has the confirmed record as Admiral Byrd’s flight has been subject to doubt. And, just as Roald Amundsen got to the South Pole before Scott, he got to the North Pole when Byrd apparently didn’t.
- 1932 – Ten weeks after his abduction, Charles Jr., the infant son of Charles Lindbergh, is found dead near Hopewell, New Jersey, just a few miles from the Lindberghs’ home.
It’s hard to imagine how big a story this was back then: Lindberg was a national hero and the nation hungry for any good news. The accused kidnapper, Bruno Hauptmann, was convicted and executed, though it’s still not clear whether he was the perp. Here’s a wanted poster from back then:
- 1937 – The Duke and Duchess of York are crowned as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Westminster Abbey.
- 2002 – Former US President Jimmy Carter arrives in Cuba for a five-day visit with Fidel Castro, becoming the first President of the United States, in or out of office, to visit the island since Castro’s 1959 revolution.
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s Lear’s illustration for his famous whimsical poem The Owl and the Pussy-Cat:
. . . They dined on mince and slices of quince,
Which they ate with a runcible spoon;
And hand in hand, on the edge of the sand,
They danced by the light of the moon,
They danced by the light of the moon.
A runcible spoon is what we call a “spork” these days.
- 1828 – Dante Gabriel Rossetti, English poet and painter (d. 1882)
- 1907 – Katharine Hepburn, American actress (d. 2003)
Hepburn won FOUR Oscars for “Best Actress”. Can you name any or all of the movies that brought her the awards? She was also nominated eight additional times but didn’t win. I think that’s a record for both, but can’t be arsed to look it up. Here’s a scene from her first Oscar-winning role:
- 1918 – Julius Rosenberg, American spy (d. 1953)
- 1925 – Yogi Berra, American baseball player, coach, and manager (d. 2015)
- 1928 – Burt Bacharach, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer
- 1948 – Steve Winwood, English singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist
- 1966 – Deborah Kara Unger, Canadian actress
Finally, a great video of Winwood and Clapton playing “Crossroads” at the Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2007, accompanied by Derek Trucks and Doyle Bramhall.
Those who crossed the River Styx on May 12 include:
- 1864 – J. E. B. Stuart, American general (b. 1833)
- 1925 – Amy Lowell, American poet and critic (b. 1874)
- 2001 – Perry Como, American singer and television host (b. 1912)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej wants a lusher lawn, though this one looks fine. The cherries could also use a bit more rain:
Hili: The grass is greener after rain.A: But there’s still too little of it.
Hili: Po deszczu trawa jest zieleńsza.
Ja: Ciągle go za mało.
Szaron: And there is still too little in my bowl!
Another good quarantine meme from Bruce Thiel:
From Jesus of the Day:
Another from Jesus of the Day. Free cats, too!
A tweet from Simon: Discretion is the better part of valor, especially with bushed up cats!
A conference outside your field https://t.co/wHfcA1nj3a
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) May 10, 2020
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. I love the cat winding around the chair back:
A rapping kittie, bored to tears:
— Titmouse (@Titmousie) May 4, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. First, a lovely encounter of the moose kind:
Always Moove for a Moose
Gros Morne, NL 🇨🇦
📹 grosmorneadventures pic.twitter.com/wFIXqGN1jP
— Kelly Canuck🍁 (@KellyCanuckTO) May 11, 2020
I’ve never seen a fly do this:
I'm finding this so funny to watch!
The fly just backs off, like "No thanks" 😂 pic.twitter.com/zyEBvToRkq
— Sophie Bagshaw (@bagshawsophie) May 11, 2020
Matthew said, “Brian Cox retweeted this so it went mini-viral, with some people getting cross with me…”. Oy, Twitter is toxic!
This species is unique among all the birds in only having one leg. Scientists are still unsure why. https://t.co/paDnH2e1UH
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) May 10, 2020
From erstwhile ISS commander Chris Hadfield. Looks like La Earhart is about to go diving:
— Chris Hadfield (@Cmdr_Hadfield) May 12, 2020