Good morning on Saturday, May 16, 2020. It’s National Barbecue Day, celebrating a style of cooking found around the world but reaches its apogee in America, specifically at the City Market in Luling, Texas. It’s also National Mimosa Day (the drink, not the tree), National Coquilles St. Jacques Day (national? it’s a French dish!), and National Piercing Day.
News of the day: Still bad and will be for a while. Yesterday the House voted to send a $3 trillion relief package to state and local governments, but the Senate will not pass it. The House also will be voting remotely for a while—the first time in history this has happened. Finally, the Chief Moron promised to have a coronavirus vaccine available at the end of the year. Good luck, Donald! Perhaps it’s possible, but most experts think otherwise. I hope so, but Trump has always proceeded on wishful thinking.
The official death toll from Covid-19 now stands at 88,237 in the U.S. (predicted to exceed 100,000 by June 1), and roughly 300,000 in the world.
On the brighter side, Sylvia Goldscholl of New Jersey survived the coronavirus. She also weathered the 1918 Spanish Influenza epidemic. Goldscholl, who lives in a nursing home, is 108—the oldest survivor of the cornavirus in America.
And, with the duckling ramp empty of turtles this morning, most of the ducks followed Honey up the ramp. A screenshot from PondCam with one climbing up. They are peripatetic little buggers!
Stuff that happened on May includes:
- 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England.
- 1770 – The 14-year-old Marie Antoinette marries 15-year-old Louis-Auguste, who later becomes king of France.
- 1866 – The United States Congress establishes the nickel
Here’s that first nickel. Curiously, the Mint also struck “half dimes” with the same value, a coin that wasn’t abolished until 1873:
- 1888 – Nikola Tesla delivers a lecture describing the equipment which will allow efficient generation and use of alternating currents to transmit electric power over long distances.
- 1920 – In Rome, Pope Benedict XV canonizes Joan of Arc.
It was a tough battle to make Joan a saint; as Wikipedia notes:
However, the path to sainthood did not go smoothly. On 20 August 1902, the papal consistory rejected adding Joan to the Calendar of saints, citing: she launched the assault on Paris on the birthday of Mary, mother of Jesus; her capture (“proof” her claim that she was sent by God was false); her attempts to escape from prison; her abjure after being threatened with death; and doubts of her purity. On 17 November 1903, the Sacred Congregation of Rites met to discuss Joan’s cause at the behest of Pope Pius X. A decree proclaiming Joan’s heroic virtue was issued on 6 January 1904 by Cardinal Serafino Cretoni, and Pius proclaimed her venerable on 8 January.The Decree of the Three Miracles was issued on 13 December 1908, and The Decree of Beatification was read five days later, which was issued formally by the Congregation of Rites on 24 January 1909.
Purity? Do you have to be a virgin to be a saint? Catholics, answer me here?
- 1929 – In Hollywood, the first Academy Awards ceremony takes place.
- 1951 – The first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights begin between Idlewild Airport (now John F Kennedy International Airport) in New York City and Heathrow Airport in London, operated by El Al Israel Airlines.
- 1991 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom addresses a joint session of the United States Congress. She is the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.
Notables born on this day were few, and include:
- 1905 – Henry Fonda, American actor (d. 1982)
- 1919 – Liberace, American pianist and entertainer (d. 1987)
- 1950 – Georg Bednorz, German physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate
Those who gave up the ghost on this day include:
- 1830 – Joseph Fourier, French mathematician and physicist (b. 1768)
- 1953 – Django Reinhardt, Belgian guitarist and composer (b. 1910)
Django is one of my jazz heroes. A Romani, he was badly injured in a fire as a youth, and could use only two fingers for effective jazz guitar: the index and middle fingers on his left hand. His pinky and ring finger were used to help make chords. You can see that in the video below. Despite that, he was the best and swingingest jazz guitarist in history, especially when paired with his pal, jazz violinist Stéphane Grappelli.
Listen to that two-fingered player swing!
- 1955 – James Agee, American novelist, screenwriter, and critic(b. 1909)
- 1957 – Eliot Ness, American federal agent (b. 1903)
Eliot Ness was, of course, played on television in “The Untouchables” by the handsome Robert Stack. But he looked nothing like Stack; here’s the real Ness:
- 1984 – Andy Kaufman, American actor, comedian, and screenwriter (b. 1949)
- 1990 – Sammy Davis Jr., American singer, dancer, and actor (b. 1925)
- 2019 – I. M. Pei, Chinese-American architect (b.1917)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows an unusual solicitude for mice. I don’t think it’s a gesture of compassion, though.
Hili: I’m wondering.A: What about?Hili: Shouldn’t we put out bowls of water for the mice?
Hili: Zastanawiam się.
Ja: Nad czym?
Hili: Czy nie powinno się wystawiać myszom miseczek z wodą?
Leon: Where did Mietek the celebrity disappear to?
A bonus photo of all of Matthew’s cats. In order from left to right: Ollie, Pepper, and Harry. Ollie was the miscreant who laid my nose open with a deft swipe of his claw:
Two pandemic memes from Bruce Thiel:
From Jesus of the Day:
A scene from After Life that moved one viewer. I really must see this series!
Day 2 – A show you wish more people were watching. #30DayTVShowChallenge
Even though many people watch this show, I'd still pick …
— Brigid Presecky (@brigidpresecky) May 15, 2020
From pyers, who says, “A goose has laid her eggs in the main booking hall of York Station in the UK. I suspect that the lockdown and the lack of passengers has helped a lot but ….”
Well, watch the video. That’s a golden goose; I only hope they find a way to transport it to suitable habitat.
— London North Eastern Railway (@LNER) May 7, 2020
From Simon. Jacinda Ardern has handled the pandemic in her country (New Zealand) perhaps better than any other national leader.
This superb video has now clocked past 3 million views.
It’s a brutal 3-minute summary of New Zealand’s success vs the UK’s failure. Keep sharing it.pic.twitter.com/ABZ6sXbI96
— Dr Mike Galsworthy (@mikegalsworthy) May 13, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. First, a palindrome:
You can’t get more atmospheric than this short video. What a graceful bird!
Good morning 🤗 a couple of minutes with a swan. pic.twitter.com/i6BTojbVxz
— Nikon Photographer (@Astrid_Tontson) May 15, 2020
There are no words. This would be hilarious if the man didn’t run the country.
Slurring, impaired, nonsensical & sociopathic- Trump does a Dementia Tour de Force saying- “Doctors running into death just like soldiers running into bullets"..”it's a beautiful thing to see."
He’s a wreck my friends. He must be removed to beat COVID-19.
— Tom Joseph (@TomJChicago) May 14, 2020
I’m told that if you draw a circle or square on the ground, a cat will enter it. Well, this supports that theory:
These stray cats were spotted occupying the circle marks intended for the implementation of social distancing protocols in front of a store in Brgy. Holy Spirit, Quezon City on Sunday amid enhanced community quarantine. pic.twitter.com/EqOORqCJMa
— The Philippine Star (@PhilippineStar) May 13, 2020
A heartwarmer (read the story at The Dodo). A stray mama cat and all her babies are rescued and adopted:
"[She] started calling to them to come out and see me" ❤️️ https://t.co/y2jE2GOtsb
— The Dodo (@dodo) May 13, 2020