Good morning on another day slogging through multiple troubles: racial and political division on top of a persistent pandemic. Yes, it’s Tuesday—the Cruelest Day—June 16, 2020, and National Fudge Day, commemorating the 19,128 false or misleading claims that Trump has made during his 1,226 days in office (h/t: Ginger K.) That works out to be 15.6 whoppers per day! (Actually, Fudge Day, celebrating the confectionary, is real, as are the figures reported by the Washington Post; the connection is mine.)
And of course if you’re a Joyce fan you’ll recognize this as Bloomsday, the day on which his novel Ulysses is set in 1904. Mrkgnao!
Finally, it’s been exactly a year since Grania died in Cork, Ireland. I’ll have a memoriam for her after this post, and, in her memory, I may not post anything else today.
News of the Day: We finally had some good news in the 6-3 Supreme Court decision yesterday, with Gorsuch and Roberts voting along with the liberal justices to prohibit employment discrimination against gay and transgender people. But of course there’s bad news. Among lots of other stuff is the news that yesterday North Korea blew up the building in Kaesong (near the border but in the DPRK) where North and South Korean officials used to discuss matters of mutual interest. This destruction reflects the deteriorating relationship between the two countries, and is not a good portent. But look what the DPRK said!:
Hours later, the North’s official news agency said “the liaison office was tragically ruined with a terrific explosion,” adding that the action reflected “the mind-set of the enraged people” of North Korea.
As if “the enraged people” ordered it destroyed ! Who do these clowns think they’re fooling? Well, they think they’re fooling the 26 million inhabitants of North Korea.
Stuff that happened on June 16 includes:
Here’s the famous opening of that speech, delivered after Lincoln had accepted the Republican nomination for the position of U.S. Senator from Illinois. The first sentence is in quotes because it comes from the Bible.
“A house divided against itself, cannot stand.”
I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave and half free.
I do not expect the Union to be dissolved — I do not expect the house to fall — but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other.
Either the opponents of slavery will arrest the further spread of it, and place it where the public mind shall rest in the belief that it is in the course of ultimate extinction; or its advocates will push it forward, till it shall become lawful in all the States, old as well as new — North as well as South
- 1871 – The Universities Tests Act 1871 allows students to enter the universities of Oxford, Cambridge and Durham without religious tests (except for those intending to study theology).
- 1884 – The first purpose-built roller coaster, LaMarcus Adna Thompson‘s “Switchback Railway“, opens in New York’s Coney Island amusement park.
Here’s a drawing and a video reconstruction of what would be considered a really tame roller coaster today:
- 1903 – Roald Amundsen leaves Oslo, Norway, to commence the first east–west navigation of the Northwest Passage.
- 1904 – Irish author James Joyce begins a relationship with Nora Barnacle and subsequently uses the date to set the actions for his novel Ulysses; this date is now traditionally called “Bloomsday“.
Here are Joyce and Nora:
Well, it was more than just “a relationship”: Wikipedia says this: “On 16 June 1904 they had their first outing together, walking to the Dublin suburb of Ringsend, where Nora masturbated him. This event was commemorated by providing the date for the action of Ulysses (as “Bloomsday“)
- 1944 – At age 14, George Junius Stinney, Jr. becomes the youngest person executed in the United States in the 20th century.
Stinney was accused of murdering two young white girls, and was convicted (by an all white jury, of course) in a bogus trial that lasted less than a day, with the jury deliberating only ten minutes. The only evidence against him were his two verbal confessions, which did not jibe. Below are his mug shots, and here’s the horrific account of his execution. He had a booster seat in the electric chair!
Standing 5 feet 1 inch tall and weighing just over 90 lbs, George Stinney was executed at the Central Correctional Institution in Columbia, South Carolina on June 16, 1944, at 7:30 p.m. At 7:25 pm, three police officers approached the cell where George was being held, then one officer entered and took him out of his cell. The officers escorted him to the execution room where they placed him in the electric chair, using a Bible he was carrying as a booster seat because George was so small. George was then restrained by his arms, legs, body to the chair. His father was allowed to approach George to say his final words to his son. An officer asked George if he had any last words to say, but George just shook his head. George Stinney could only whimper and take big deep breaths as one of the officers pulled a strap from the chair and placed it over his mouth, causing George to break into tears. They then placed the face mask over his face, which did not fit him, as George continued sobbing. When the lethal electricity was applied, the mask covering George’s face slipped off, revealing George’s burned scalp and tears streaming down his face, saliva dripping from his mouth. Stinney was declared dead after eight minutes. His teeth were smoking and he had one eye missing. He was buried in an unmarked grave in Sumter, South Carolina.
- 1961 – Rudolf Nureyev defects from the Soviet Union.
- 2010 – Bhutan becomes the first country to institute a total ban on tobacco.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1723 – Adam Smith, Scottish philosopher and economist (d. 1790)
- 1829 – Geronimo, American tribal leader (d. 1909)
- 1890 – Stan Laurel, English actor and comedian (d. 1965)
- 1902 – Barbara McClintock, American geneticist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1992)
- 1902 – George Gaylord Simpson, American paleontologist and author (d. 1984)
- 1909 – Archie Carr, American ecologist and zoologist (d. 1987)
- 1917 – Irving Penn, American photographer (d. 2009)
- 1938 – Joyce Carol Oates, American novelist, short story writer, critic, and poet
I met Joyce at the New Yorker Festival Cat versus Dog debate in 2014, and after the debate (Team Cat lost), we went to dinner at the Union Square cafe with her now-late husband Charlie Gross, a biologist. She’s a lovely woman, and we’ve kept in touch since then. Here’s a photo of Joyce (a cat lover) holding one of Anthony Hutcherson’s Bengal cats that I put in her arms in the Green Room. She was smitten, and later got a Bengal from Anthony (and I still have an offer of one from him).
And here’s one of her several children’s books (on cats, naturally) that she autographed for me. Cherie was the name of her real cat. I brought the book to New York expressly to get her autograph.
Here are the two Bengals Anthony brought for the debate (I had one on my lap for much of the evening:
- 1971 – Tupac Shakur, American rapper and producer (d. 1996)
Those who attained oblivion on June 16 include:
- 1939 – Chick Webb, American drummer and bandleader (b. 1905)
- 1977 – Wernher von Braun, German-American physicist and engineer (b. 1912)
- 2019 – Grania Spingies (b. 1970). South African financial consultant and Huge Friend of This Website.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s increasing girth has got her in trouble:
A: Are you stuck?Hili: Don’t worry, I will squeeze through soon.
Hili: Nie martw się, zaraz się przecisnę.
You are not going to believe it. I still don’t. We had to weigh tiny Szaron. Paulina was here and she went on the scale with Szaron and without him. The difference was 5.2 kg! We couldn’t believe it. She got her own scale from upstairs and we repeated the procedure. The result was the same. Then she grabbed Hili and it turned out that Hili’s weight was 5.4 kg. Such a tiny difference between them while when you look at them you could make three Szarons out of one Hili. We are all baffled.
A meme from Bruce Thiel:
From Jesus of The Day: What is “elegance” in urination?
From Titania. Does this person even know who Churchill was?
Why is everyone mocking this leader of a police advisory group for admitting that she hasn’t personally met Winston Churchill?
When you’ve met one straight white male, you’ve met them all. pic.twitter.com/JrNztTjvU2
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) June 15, 2020
From reader j.j. Spot the cat!
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) June 8, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Somebody please try this with their cat!
Exciting discovery! If you put a towel on a spinny chair and place a large fan in the right place you can make A FUNFAIR RIDE FOR A CAT pic.twitter.com/p8KJ03LAIn
— Tracy King (@tkingdot) June 15, 2020
Speaking of cats again, here’s a very large one:
I’m not saying our last cat was big, but here he is on Google Earth. pic.twitter.com/D0muiszPhe
— Malcolm McKenzie (@fourhourtarget) June 14, 2020
Live and learn:
English also has noun/verb pairs that are spelled alike & only distinguished by pronunciation. These nouns are stressed on the first syllable, verbs on the second.
For example: protest
/PRO-test/ = noun
/pro-TEST/ = verb
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) June 15, 2020
Surely the elephant must have been trained to do this. Or did he figure out to put the hat on its own head?
Sound up to hear the gorgeous call, which includes a trill:
Finally, a male wren decided to sing it’s dawn song next to me. For such a tiny bird it has an astonishing voice. Many of you will recognise the song from your own gardens or local parks, but may not know it was this tiny bird who delivers it. Stay safe. pic.twitter.com/sVZKz3ESlV
— Boro Barrister (@borobarrister) April 26, 2020
This can’t possibly be a real paper, but I wonder. . . .
— Unpaid Intern of S.H.I.E.L.D. (@Amanda_Kerri) April 24, 2020