Good morning on Saturday, May 23, 2020: National Taffy Day, a mediocre confection that’s death to those with fillings. It’s also World Turtle Day, Declaration of the Báb Day for those of the Bahá’í faith, and Red Nose Day.
News of the Day: Things are opening up in much of the U.S. (but not Chicago), and Memorial Day Weekend will see crowds in many places—and perhaps a resurgence of the pandemic. Meanwhile, there’s an article by Timothy Egan in today’s New York Times titled “Bill Gates is the Most Interesting Man in the World.” Despite excoriation from conspiracy theorists, anti-vaxers, and other loons, he is one of the world’s great philanthropists, and a model of how a billionaire should respond during the pandemic.
The official death toll for the pandemic stands at 96,370 in the U.S. and about 338,000 worldwide. We’ll break 100,000 in a day or two, one of the estimates that people poo-pooed because it seemed too high.
Here are the results of the poll from two days ago on whether the plea bargain for Lori Laughlin and Massimo Giannulli was appropriate:
The result? Most people thought the punishment (two months in jail for Loughlin and five for Giannulli, plus community service and fines) was too light:
Stuff that happened on May 23 includes:
- 1430 – Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to raise the Siege of Compiègne.
- 1498 – Girolamo Savonarola is burned at the stake in Florence, Italy.
- 1533 – The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void.
She was one of Henry’s wives that wasn’t executed; Henry spurned her because he became enamored of Ann Boleyn and because Catherine failed to produce a male heir (that was, of course, due to the wrong sperm from Henry hiself.)
- 1701 – After being convicted of piracy and of murdering William Moore, Captain William Kidd is hanged in London.
After one unsuccessful attempt to hang him (the rope broke), Kidd was successfully executed, gibbeted, and hung over the Thames for three years. Here’s a drawing of his fate:
- 1829 – Accordion patent granted to Cyrill Demian in Vienna, Austrian Empire.
- 1844 – Declaration of the Báb the evening before the 23rd: A merchant of Shiraz announces that he is a Prophet and founds a religious movement that would later be brutally crushed by the Persian government. He is considered to be a forerunner of the Bahá’í Faith; Bahá’ís celebrate the day as a holy day.
- 1934 – Infamous American bank robbers Bonnie and Clyde are ambushed by police and killed in Bienville Parish, Louisiana.
Here’s a short video documentary of the ambush and its aftermath, as well as a photograph of the notorious pair. The parts leading up to the ambush itself are re-enactments:
- 1945 – World War II: Heinrich Himmler, head of the Schutzstaffel, commits suicide while in Allied custody.
- 1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with roughly 75% voting yes.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1707 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist (d. 1778)
- 1883 – Douglas Fairbanks, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1939)
- 1891 – Pär Lagerkvist, Swedish novelist, playwright, and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974)
- 1910 – Artie Shaw, American clarinet player, composer, and bandleader (d. 2004)
- 1925 – Joshua Lederberg, American biologist and geneticist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2008)
- 1951 – Anatoly Karpov, Russian chess player
- 1974 – Jewel, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actress, and poet
If you have 45 minutes to spare and like big band jazz (I do!), here’s a video about Shaw’s band, featuring many greats.
Those who made their final exit on May 23 include:
- 1701 – William Kidd, Scottish pirate (b. 1645) [see above]
- 1868 – Kit Carson, American general (b. 1809)
- 1906 – Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian director, playwright, and poet (b. 1828)
- 1934 – Clyde Barrow, American criminal (b. 1909) (and of course Bonnie Parker)
- 1937 – John D. Rockefeller, American businessman and philanthropist, founded the Standard Oil Company and Rockefeller University (b. 1839)
- 1945 – Heinrich Himmler, German commander and politician, Reich Minister of the Interior (b. 1900)
- 2002 – Sam Snead, American golfer and journalist (b. 1912)
- 2015 – Anne Meara, American actress, comedian and playwright (b. 1929)
- 2017 – Roger Moore, English actor (b. 1927)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is not finding a proper meal outside (she needs a mouse):
Hili: Grass, a tulip, dandelions and no meat.A: Enjoy what you have.Hili: Hypocrite.
Hili: Trawa, tulipan, mlecze, żadnego mięsa.
Ja: Ciesz się tym co masz.
And the handsome Szaron, who now at least can coexist with Hili:
To complete the roster of Polish cats, here are Leon and Mietek. It’s possible that their new home (close to Dobrzyn) will finally be built:
From Laurie Ann, who posted it on my Facebook page.
From Jesus of the Day:
From Bad Cat Clothing:
Two double tweets from Simon. In the first two, Sarah Cooper does the very best lip-synching of Trump’s moronic remarks. Each of his gaffes tops the last one!
I tested very positively (alt take) pic.twitter.com/krywW3vDjl
— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) May 21, 2020
WTF? Bringing the country back with . . . Asians? And a recap of the per capita:
Many per capitas pic.twitter.com/iU4nTMgVKL
— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) May 21, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Cat turns off owner’s alarm clock—among other perfidies. This is the worst morning cat ever! (Sound up, please.)
Hidden camera shows cat turning off dad’s alarm 😹 pic.twitter.com/FIqXT61jD9
— The Dodo (@dodo) May 22, 2020
This is very good!:
Schrödinger's dumpster: pic.twitter.com/a9ZANa7HUy
— Richard Feynman (@ProfFeynman) May 21, 2020
Now here’s a biological problem:
A newborn Western Diamondback Rattlesnake resting in coils of an adult who is not its mother after its likely-first meal. Within meters, other females rest, some still quite pregnant. These complex social interactions, even within such well-studied animal, are poorly understood. pic.twitter.com/zYVibeKNdl
— Bryan D. Hughes (@rattlesnakeguy) May 22, 2020
A science geek gets excited over a fly (as did I). It’s a beautiful metallic color, and what’s with the alternating rows of ommatidia (the “unit” of a compound eye)?
The fruits of chasing Condylostylus long-legged flies around the backyard the past few days. Can't get over those compound eyes and the alternating rows of green/orange ommatidia towards the bottom. Close up crop from 6-shot handheld stack w/reversed 28mm, body shots Laowa 100mm pic.twitter.com/YJSxMXkXQm
— Thomas Shahan (@ThomasShahan) May 21, 2020
Good Lord, I had no idea! Watch the linked video to learn about the “Cannonball Run”:
I just found out people have been illegally speedrunning the width of the united states in heavily modified vehicles in under 27 hours, averaging speeds at least as high as 107mph all the way from manhattan to redondo beach. what the living fuckhttps://t.co/HJpJq3psWX
— John Paul Zigterman (@facebookvillain) May 20, 2020
Answer: I don’t cut my sandwiches!
How do you cut your sandwiches – like a normal person (left), or like an absolute weirdo (right)? pic.twitter.com/t5s1ag8H8V
— James 💗💜💙 (@jamesisfine) May 21, 2020