It’s the beginning of another lost week: Monday, May 25, 2020. It’s also Memorial Day, a day to remember and honor those who died serving in the American armed forces.
But it’s also a good day because it’s National Wine Day. To quote The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam in the great Fitzgerald translation, which repeatedly sings paeans to win:
The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life’s leaden Metal into Gold transmute.
This is the lovely version of that book I have, given to me by my Uncle Moe when I was very young. I note that it goes for only $66 at Primus Estate Books. I find it odd now that Uncle Moe, who owned a chain of car-accessory stores, would have given me this book when I was only 11, as it’s a celebration of nonbelief and hedonism, but Moe was a warm and life-loving Jewish raconteur.
It’s also Memorial Day (tomorrow will be a holiday in the U.S.), and, for you Douglas Adams fan, Towel Day:
Towel Day celebrates author Douglas Adams and his best-known work, the science-fiction series The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The day was first held on May 25, 2001, two weeks after Adams passed away on May 11, at the age of 49 from a heart attack. On the day, fans are to carry a towel to show their appreciation for the author and his books.
Why towels? It in Chapter 3 of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy:
“A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.”
This site lists today’s Towel Day events.
Today’s Google Doodle is an odd one: a monochrome gray version of the Google logo. When you click on it, you go to a list of articles about Memorial Day.
Mashable adds that the Doodle will change a bit later today:
All day long, Google’s logo on its homepage will be posted in gray. And starting at 3 p.m. locally, the official National Moment of Remembrance, the entire desktop version of the page will turn gray. Users will also be able to play “Taps,” the bugle call performed at Armed Forces memorials and funerals.
News of the Day: Depressing as usual. The New York Times now has online its “100,000 Deaths” cover, which involves a sample of 1,000 coronavirus victims with brief biographies. The story behind that cover is here.
Brazil is being horribly ravaged by the pandemic, and yesterday “President Trump” banned travelers from Brazil, save U.S. citizens, from entering our country.
Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll is 98,035 from the U.S., and about 345,000 worldwide.
Stuff that happened on May 25 include:
- 240 BC – First recorded perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet.
- 1521 – The Diet of Worms ends when Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, issues the Edict of Worms, declaring Martin Luther an outlaw.
I bet the delegates were really glad they could get back to eating normal food again!
- 1878 – Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore opens at the Opera Comique in London.
- 1895 – Playwright, poet, novelist and aesthete Oscar Wilde is convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons” and sentenced to serve two years in prison.
- 1925 – Scopes Trial: John T. Scopes is indicted for teaching Charles Darwin‘s theory of evolution in Tennessee.
Here’s Scopes during the “monkey trial”. Note that he was not indicted for teaching “Charles Darwin’s Theory of Evolution,” but for teaching human evolution, which was the illegality. It wasn’t illegal to teach evolution of nonhuman organisms.
- 1953 – The first public television station in the United States officially begins broadcasting as KUHT from the campus of the University of Houston.
- 1961 – Apollo program: U.S. President John F. Kennedy announces before a special joint session of the Congress his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the Moon” before the end of the decade.
Here’s a short video of Kennedy’s speech before Congress that day:
- 1977 – Star Wars is released in theaters.
- 1978 – The first bomb of a series of bombings orchestrated by the Unabomber detonates at Northwestern University resulting in minor injuries.
- 2001 – Erik Weihenmayer becomes the first blind person to reach the summit of Mount Everest, in the Himalayas, with Dr. Sherman Bull.
Here’s Weihenmayer atop Everest. He’s also climbed the Seven Summits: the highest summit on each continent. He’s been blind since age 13:
And here’s Oprah’s farewell on this day in 2011:
- 2012 – The SpaceX Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with the International Space Station.
- 2018 – Ireland votes to repeal the Eight Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland, prohibiting abortion in all but a few cases, choosing to replace it with the Thirty-Sixth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1803 – Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and philosopher (d. 1882). This is reader Laurie Sindoni’s favorite writer.
- 1865 – Pieter Zeeman, Dutch physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1943)
- 1887 – Padre Pio, Italian priest and saint (d. 1968)
Padre Pio is know for his stigmata: the appearance of crucifixion-like wounds in his hands. We don’t know how he did it, but I’d bet a lot that they were self-inflicted, as many have been found to be. Here’s the duplicitous padre and his wounds. (I think they’re in the wrong place for a crucifixion, as they would have put the nails through the wrists.)
- 1889 – Igor Sikorsky, Russian-American aircraft designer, founded Sikorsky Aircraft (d. 1972)
- 1969 – Anne Heche, American actress
Those who drew their last breath on May 25 include:
- 1805 – William Paley, English priest and philosopher (b. 1743)
- 1954 – Robert Capa, Hungarian photographer and journalist (b. 1913)
- 2003 – Sloan Wilson, American author and poet (b. 1920)
Capa was best known for his war photos, and was killed when stepping on a landmine in Indochina. Here’s one of his photos of refugees from the Spanish Civil war heading for France:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, today we have a “Spot the Hili” photo:
A: This picture is good for nothing.Hili: Why? Let them look for me.
Ja: To zdjęcie do niczego się nie nadaje.
Hili: Dlaczego? Niech mnie szukają.
Here’s a photo of the orphan duckling Sam, whom I had the great pleasure of taking care of for two days before he was given to a local wildlife center for rehabbing.
From Jesus of the Day: a children’s book:
Reader Paul says “This is a bit cruel, but it made me smile.” (The photo of Darwin, of course, is a fake.)
More religious insanity about the pandemic, this one posted by Phil Ferguson. I assume the photo is authentic. After all, an atheist couldn’t make something like this up:
Titania discusses the tweets of Clementine Ford, which we saw yesterday:
Online misogyny is out of control.
Whenever feminists point out that men are lowlife scum who deserve to die, we *always* get abuse for it.
Twitter needs to protect women from this kind of hate speech. pic.twitter.com/5Qqr1U5IBw
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) May 24, 2020
Two tweets from reader Barry, who adds that he was impressed with the first one because he’s “never seen such fierce competition for the Darwin award”. Sound up, please.
OMG The entire GOP is going for a Darwin Award, do I try to stop them or wish them luck?🤔 https://t.co/FD21fM6k1H
— Saint Brian The Godless (@AWorldOutOfMind) May 24, 2020
I’m not sure where this is, but if there’s a violation of every form of social distancing and mask wearing, it’s this one:
🎶Hello Darwin, my old friend…🎵 pic.twitter.com/QCcL4sK0IO
— booklover jim 🍀 (@goodoldcatchy) May 24, 2020
From Simon. Andrew Sullivan mocks the woke humanities. Be sure to read the whole quote in the original tweet.
Oof. Bit close to the bone for higher woke “education” today. https://t.co/rJM55tuEXN
— Andrew Sullivan (@sullydish) May 24, 2020
Tweets from Matthew, who says that this is “a dog tweet you can get behind”. I often feel just like this hound, but I keep silent. . . .
This dog is all of us pic.twitter.com/FRkO2uzBap
— Mia Sosa (@miasosaromance) May 22, 2020
Footy is back, but the geese may resist. Matthew explains this one: “CFA = City Football Academy, the area around the City ground in East Manchester where they train etc.” Look at those tiny velociraptors!
*David Attenborough voice*
“With the players back in training, the CFA’s other residents will need to get used to sharing the pitches once again”.
💙 💙 💙
— Manchester City (@ManCity) May 24, 2020
A beautiful morning scene from a location I don’t know. The ducklings emit their “I am lost” distress calls, but apparently find their parents. Sound up:
Good Saturday morning! Two minute video of the same scene as yesterday’s photo, slightly wider angle.
Watch 5 tiny ducklings dart past looking for mama duck and papa duck. They were swiftly reunited 😃 pic.twitter.com/1FpqPisVFx
— Nikon Photographer (@Astrid_Tontson) May 23, 2020
I may have posted this before, but who cares? A pot partly made by paw would be a valuable pot indeed!