Good morning on Thursday May 14, 2020, and National Buttermilk Biscuit Day. I tell you, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, that American indigenous food doesn’t get better than that. A plate of biscuits with country ham (preferably with red-eye gravy), preserves, along with fried eggs and grits, washed down with strong, dark coffee, is surely America’s greatest contribution to the breakfast genre. (And don’t diss grits, for if you do you haven’t eaten them properly.) LOOK AT THESE!
It’s International Dylan Thomas Day, celebrating one of my favorite poets. The date was chosen because the first reading of his great “play for voices”, Under MIlk Wood, took place on May 14, 1953, at the 92nd Street Y in New York City. It’s also Dance Like A Chicken Day, whatever that means. Actually, it started with ducks, as the link notes:
Dance Like a Chicken Day is dedicated to the “Chicken Dance” song and the dance that accompanies it. Werner Thomas, an accordion player from Davos, Switzerland, wrote the song in about 1955. He refined it over the next few years and added a dance to go with it. Originally titled “Der Ententanz,” meaning “The Duck Dance,” the accompanying dance was inspired by Swiss skiers that Thomas had seen while playing his accordion at resorts. He thought the skiers descending the slopes resembled ducks. He was reminded of the beaks of ducks, their flapping wings, and waddling feet, and brought together these elements when creating the dance.
Here’s the delightful “Ententanz” (“Duck Dance”):
So I declare it “Dance Like a Duck Day”.
News of the Day: Well, Trump, defying Anthony Fauci’s advice (and that of nearly every health expert), is urging the country to open up schools soon, and criticized Fauci’s testimony before the Senatre. Truly, Trump is worried about his own re-election, not the pandemic. In Wisconsin, the conservative state Supreme Court overturned the (Democratic) governor’s extension of the stay-at-home order, and there is no appeal of that court’s decision.
Obama tweeted an implicit criticism of Trump’s coronavirus policy (below), whereupon Mitch O’Connell, the Senate majority leader, pronounced that Obama “should have kept his mouth shut” and called Obama “classless” for criticizing the administration. That’s a laugh—as if Trump is the epitome of class!
Despite all the time that’s been lost, we can still make real progress against the virus, protect people from the economic fallout, and more safely approach something closer to normal if we start making better policy decisions now.https://t.co/pfokyI8GiB
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 13, 2020
And as for the saddest data, confirmed coronavirus deaths in the U.S. now stand at 84,763, while the worldwide toll is about 297,000.
Stuff that happened on May 14 includes:
- 1607 – Jamestown, Virginia is settled as an English colony.
- 1643 – Four-year-old Louis XIV becomes King of France upon the death of his father, Louis XIII.
- 1796 – Edward Jenner administers the first smallpox inoculation.
- 1800 – The 6th United States Congress recesses, and the process of moving the U.S. Government from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., begins the following day.
- 1804 – William Clark and 42 men depart from Camp Dubois to join Meriwether Lewis at St. Charles, Missouri, marking the beginning of the Lewis and Clark Expedition‘s historic journey up the Missouri River.
- 1870 – The first game of rugby in New Zealand is played in Nelson between Nelson College and the Nelson Rugby Football Club
- 1878 – The last witchcraft trial held in the United States begins in Salem, Massachusetts, after Lucretia Brown, an adherent of Christian Science, accused Daniel Spofford of attempting to harm her through his mental powers.
The case was dismissed.
- 1925 – Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway is published.
- 1939 – Lina Medina becomes the youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five.
- 1948 – Israel is declared to be an independent state and a provisional government is established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.
- 1961 – Civil rights movement: A white mob twice attacks a Freedom Riders bus near Anniston, Alabama, before fire-bombing the bus and attacking the civil rights protesters who flee the burning vehicle.
Here’s the burning bus; the police offered almost no help. Fortunately, nobody inside the bus was hurt.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1727 – Thomas Gainsborough, English painter (d. 1788)
- 1885 – Otto Klemperer, German composer and conductor (d. 1973)
- 1897 – Sidney Bechet, American saxophonist, clarinet player, and composer (d. 1959)
Here’s Bechet playing “I’ve found a new baby” just the year before he died.
- 1897 – Ed Ricketts, American biologist and ecologist (d. 1948)
Ricketts’, marine biologist and companion and muse of John Steinbeck, died at only 50 when his car was hit by a train. His lab still exists at 800 Cannery Row in Monterey, California, but sadly is closed. It really should be turned into a museum. Here’s a photo I took of it in September of 2018:
- 1899 – Charlotte Auerbach, German-Jewish Scottish folklorist, geneticist, and zoologist. (d.1994)
- 1944 – George Lucas, American director, producer, and screenwriter, founded Lucasfilm
- 1952 – David Byrne, Scottish singer-songwriter, producer, and actor
- 1969 – Cate Blanchett, Australian actress
- 1984 – Mark Zuckerberg, American computer programmer and businessman, co-founded Facebook
Those who relinquished existence on May 14 include:
- 1919 – Henry J. Heinz, American businessman, founded the H. J. Heinz Company (b. 1844)
- 1940 – Emma Goldman, Lithuanian author and activist (b. 1869)
- 1959 – Sidney Bechet, American saxophonist, clarinet player, and composer (b. 1897)
Bechet died on his birthday.
- 1987 – Rita Hayworth, American actress and dancer (b. 1918)
- 1993 – William Randolph Hearst, Jr., American journalist and publisher (b. 1908)
- 1998 – Frank Sinatra, American singer and actor (b. 1915)
- 2015 – B.B. King, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (b. 1925)
- 2018 – Tom Wolfe, American author (b. 1931)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has taken to sleeping on Andrzej’s desk, which impedes the work of Listy:
A; Your new habit makes my work more difficult.Hili: Nobody promised you an easy life.
Ja: Twój nowy obyczaj utrudnia mi pracę.
Hili: Nikt ci nie obiecywał łatwego życia.
A quarantine meme from Bruce Thiel:
Two from Jesus of the Day:
OF COURSE HE HAS!
Last year I followed the fracas about structural racism in the “knitting community”, and found it unbelievably authoritarian. Now it’s hiking. Read the Sierra Club article in the first tweet, and then the Vox article in the second tweet below:
Knitting is also obviously racist, but didn’t quite make the Top Ten. https://t.co/DHw7T2yJDX
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) May 13, 2020
Two tweets from Simon. Are these women serious?
— Jason Regis Fate 🌑 (@JasonRFate) May 2, 2020
“PI” is the “Principal Investigator” on a grant: almost always the head of a laboratory:
When the PI has a favorite student pic.twitter.com/IsZ6AG8CQS
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) May 11, 2020
A tweet from Heather Hastie. I can’t believe they can train a dog to do this!
— Chris1878 (@chriswatson187) May 6, 2020
Three tweets from Matthew. The first is a sleuth of bears, which is what you call a group of them:
Somebody made a good academic profile for a cat, Professor Pinto Bean Tran:
i spent a lot of time making this pic.twitter.com/3nL99rVvSt
— 🥀🥀🥀 (@jjacindattran) May 12, 2020
This leap of a bobcat in Florida is stunning. I couldn’t believe it made it!
Leaps and bounds. pic.twitter.com/qUWRPWqFeq
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) May 13, 2020