It’s Tuesday, the Cruelest Day: May 26, 2020, a double food holiday: National Blueberry Cheesecake Day and National Cherry Dessert Day. It’s also World Redhead Day, National Paper Airplane Day, and Sally Ride Day, honoring America’s first woman in space, born on this day in 1951. In Australia it’s National Sorry Day, a day of apology for the treatment of indigenous people.
News of the Day: As the nation begins re-opening, the news shows scenes of people blatantly violating social-distancing regulations still in place, crowding together in bars and pools. We shall see if, as many predict, there will be a second wave of infection (sometimes it seems as if people are hoping for a resurgence, perhaps to justify their own quarantining). A 23-year-old University of Connecticut student went on a rampage, killing two people and kidnapping one before releasing him. There’s no explanation for his behavior, but Peter Manfredonia is the subject of a huge manhunt.
In the “make a virtue of necessity” department, this NYT article argues that it’s a great thing that colleges have gone online, and it’s so much cheaper to educate remotely. While there are a few good points in the piece, it says very little about the quality of online education. College has become a product, with the cheapest degree the most desirable.
Today’s reported Covid-19 death toll is 99,462 in the U.S., and will exceed 100,000 by tomorrow; the worldwide toll is now about 346,000.
Stuff that happened on May 26 includes:
This is an infamous case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that blacks could not be U.S. citizens. Scott, a slave, was eventually set free by one of his “owners”, but shortly thereafter died of tuberculosis. Here he is:
- 1868 – The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson ends with his acquittal by one vote.
- 1896 – Nicholas II becomes the last Tsar of Imperial Russia.
- 1923 – The first 24 Hours of Le Mans was held and has since been run annually in June.
This is the longest continually run car race in the world. Here’s an image of the cars in the first (1923) competition:
I became an atheist when I listened to this album for the first time, and the deconversion, such as it was, was virtually instantaneous. Read about the incident in the Chicago Tribune. When I visited my sister and her husband in 2012, I recovered the album among the possessions removed from my parents’ place after my mother died. Here’s the very instrument of my deconversion!
- 1998 – The Supreme Court of the United States rules that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, is mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.
- 1998 – The first “National Sorry Day” was held in Australia, and reconciliation events were held nationally, and attended by over a million people.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1886 – Al Jolson, American singer and actor (d. 1950)
- 1895 – Dorothea Lange, American photographer and journalist (d. 1965)
- 1907 – John Wayne, American actor, singer, director, and producer (d. 1979)
- 1912 – Jay Silverheels, Canadian-American actor (d. 1980)
- 1926 – Miles Davis, American trumpet player, composer, and bandleader (d. 1991)
- 1928 – Jack Kevorkian, American pathologist, author, and assisted suicide activist (d. 2011)
- 1940 – Levon Helm, American singer-songwriter, drummer, producer, and actor (d. 2012)
- 1947 – Carol O’Connell, American author and painter
- 1948 – Stevie Nicks, American singer-songwriter
In honor of Stevie Nicks’s 72nd birthday, I show once again what I think is the best impromptu rock video ever made. It was in 1981 in the Rolling Stone offices, and Stevie Was being made up for a photoshoot when the music for her song “Wild Heart” came on. She couldn’t resist singing, interrupting the makeup assistant, and was joined by Lori, her sister in law. I could listen to this rendition forever, and it’s certainly better than the live version.
- 1949 – Jeremy Corbyn, British journalist and politician
- 1951 – Sally Ride, American physicist and astronaut, founded Sally Ride Science (d. 2012)
- 1966 – Helena Bonham Carter, English actress
Those who breathed their last on May 26 include:
- 1703 – Samuel Pepys, English politician (b. 1633)
- 1914 – Jacob August Riis, Danish-American journalist, photographer, and reformer (b. 1849)
- 1933 – Jimmie Rodgers, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1897)
- 1976 – Martin Heidegger, German philosopher and academic (b. 1889)
- 2010 – Art Linkletter, Canadian-American radio and television host (b. 1912)
- 2017 – Zbigniew Brzezinski, Polish-born American politician (b. 1928)
Here’s Jimmie Rodgers, the Great Yodeler, one of the first country singers popular across the U.S. He died at only 35 of tuberculosis. Here he performs “Blue Yodel #1”:
Meawhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej woke up Editor Hili this morning. Time to get to work!
A: Time to get up, our readers are waiting.Hili: Go to sleep; while we’re sleeping we don’t make mistakes.
Ja: Pora wstawać, czytelnicy czekają.
Hili: Śpij, śpiąc nie popełniamy błędów.
From Jeremy: a jigsaw puzzle. His comment:
I am a former Molecular Biologist turned Computer Scientist (the money was better), lover of cats, and a fellow Atheist. I found this puzzle in my basement with the kid’s toys and immediately thought of you. Enjoy!
A “Quarantine Barbie” from Jesus of the Day.Note the roots:
From Bruce Thiel. At least in Illinois this is true: the “dispensaries” are considered essential services.
Do NOT call these people “pigs”. And read the Mediaite story here. Eight ducklings saved from a storm drain, and a quote:
“The mother immediately went to them, and together she and her nine babies — the family fully reunited — walked back into the grass,” added the statement. “A small act amid the enormity of the ongoing health crisis, perhaps, but for one mother duck and her tiny babies, it made all the difference in the world.”
— Mass State Police (@MassStatePolice) May 24, 2020
Two tweets from reader Ken. First, another Big Lie from the White House Press Secretary. What a dumbass!
WATCH: Kayleigh McEnany: Obama rushed off to golf after Daniel Pearl was beheaded.
Pearl was killed in 2002. Obama was a state senator. pic.twitter.com/5QkFRgjoR4
— Yashar Ali 🐘 (@yashar) March 28, 2017
Here’s a pot/kettle tweet from Donald Trump six years ago:
President Obama has a major meeting on the N.Y.C. Ebola outbreak, with people flying in from all over the country, but decided to play golf!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 24, 2014
Tweets from Matthew. This first one was my life last week, and it’s so true (it’s a 7-tweet thread):
Me: "I'm going to get so much writing done today!"
Random Baby Duckling: "Nope."
A thread. 1/7 pic.twitter.com/zYMbURy2RJ
— Jacqueline Antonovich (@jackiantonovich) May 25, 2020
And it has a happy ending:
In conclusion, my child is upset that we aren't going to raise a duckling, foxes are assholes (but I get it), and I will do anything, including driving an hour into the mountains to save a duck, in order to avoid writing and answering emails. The end. 6/7
— Jacqueline Antonovich (@jackiantonovich) May 25, 2020
I think she means, “I will do anything, including driving into the mountains for an hour, to save a duckling. Screw the writing and emails.”
Matthew’s using his legal bragging rights here (it is a very good book).
Brag time. Just got a mail from the co-author of the textbook I used as an undergrad 45 years ago. He said of my The Idea of the Brain:
“A truly terrific work and a wonderful read. The best book produced in my lifetime on the brain.” 😃😲
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) May 25, 2020
I didn’t know this quote, but it seems to be true:
“Lord, Make me chaste, but not just yet.”
– Saint Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430) pic.twitter.com/idM6wcixd3
— Whores of Yore (@WhoresofYore) May 25, 2020
I’ve posted a lot of photos of leucistic animals before, but never a badger. This thing doesn’t even look like a badger:
A leucistic badger! 😍
Leucism is the partial loss of pigmentation, which can make the animal have white or patchily coloured skin, fur or feathers, but the pigment cells in the eyes are not affected which is seen in albinism. #Springwatch 📹 Mark O'Neil on Facebook pic.twitter.com/QsJefoubbh
— BBC Springwatch (@BBCSpringwatch) May 25, 2020