Good morning on Wednesday, June 17, 2020: National Apple Strudel Day (yes, cultural appropriation; strudel is not an American “national” invention). It’s also National Eat Your Vegetables Day, World Croc Day (the reptile, not the shoe), Global Garbage Man Day (shouldn’t that be “Garbage Person”?), and an international holiday: World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought.
News of the day:
Over in Austria, as reported by (!) the New York Times, a man has been fined 500 Euros for, well, here’s the headline (h/t: Ken):
A summary (my emphasis):
The Oesterreich newspaper reported that the fine stemmed from an incident on June 5 and that the offender was fined for “offending public decency.”
City police wrote on Twitter that “of course no one is reported for accidentally ‘letting one go.’” They added that the man had behaved “provocatively and uncooperatively” during an encounter with officers that preceded the incident.
He got up from a park bench, looked at officers and “let go a massive intestinal wind apparently with full intent,” they said. “And our colleagues don’t like to be farted at so much.”
Police noted that the decision could be appealed.
All the news that’s fit to print! In fact, I can barely stand to read the New York Times any longer, as it’s blurred the distinction between news and editorial views, and is totally obsessed with identity politics—not just in news and op-eds, but in food, books, and every section.
But I will mention in passing, and with distress, that the coronavirus is on the uptick in many American states as they re-open, in particular Florida, Texas and Arizona, which have set records for new cases reported in a single day—all over 2300.
Stuff that happened on June 17 includes:
- 1579 – Sir Francis Drake claims a land he calls Nova Albion (modern California) for England.
- 1631 – Mumtaz Mahal dies during childbirth. Her husband, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan I, will spend the next 17 years building her mausoleum, the Taj Mahal.
I’ve visited the Taj several times, and it’s always worth seeing, no matter how many tourists. Views of the beautiful building often show the whole thing, but the sculpture and inlay of semi-precious stones in the marble, including calligraphy from the Qur’an, is stunning. Here are two photos:
There are 26 Qur’anic verses inlaid in the marble, with the calligraphy in onyx:
Here’s part of the statue in Paris before it was shipped to New York and assembled:
- 1922 – Portuguese naval aviators Gago Coutinho and Sacadura Cabral complete the first aerial crossing of the South Atlantic.
Well, the trip was in stages, took 18 days, and used three different biplanes. Here’s the route with the stops:
- 1933 – Union Station massacre: In Kansas City, Missouri, four FBI agents and captured fugitive Frank Nash are gunned down by gangsters attempting to free Nash.
- 1939 – Last public guillotining in France: Eugen Weidmann, a convicted murderer, is executed in Versailles outside the Saint-Pierre prison.
But private guillotinings went on. As Wikipedia notes:
On June 17, 1939, Weidmann was beheaded outside the prison Saint-Pierre in Versailles. The “hysterical behaviour” by spectators was so scandalous that French President Albert Lebrun immediately banned all future public executions. Executions by guillotine continued out of public view until the last such execution, of Hamida Djandoubi on September 10, 1977.
Unknown to authorities, film of the execution was shot from a private apartment adjacent to the prison. British actor Christopher Lee (then seventeen years old) also witnessed the event.
You can see the video here if you wish.
- 1940 – World War II: RMS Lancastria is attacked and sunk by the Luftwaffe near Saint-Nazaire, France. At least 3,000 are killed in Britain’s worst maritime disaster.
And a banner day for secularism:
- 1963 – The United States Supreme Court rules 8–1 in Abington School District v. Schempp against requiring the reciting of Bible verses and the Lord’s Prayer in public schools.
- 1987 – With the death of the last individual of the species, the dusky seaside sparrow becomes extinct.
This was not a species, but a subspecies of the seaside sparrow, Ammodramus maritimus nigrescens. The last known individual was in captivity, and died at, of all places, Walt Disney World Resort. Here’s one of the final individuals:
- 1991 – Apartheid: The South African Parliament repeals the Population Registration Act which required racial classification of all South Africans at birth.
- 1994 – Following a televised low-speed highway chase, O. J. Simpson is arrested for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.
Do you remember watching that chase on live television? Here’s a report with video:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1882 – Igor Stravinsky, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (d. 1971)
- 1920 – François Jacob, French biologist and geneticist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2013)
- 1943 – Newt Gingrich, American historian and politician, 58th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
- 1943 – Barry Manilow, American singer-songwriter and producer
- 1980 – Venus Williams, American tennis player
Those who made their exeunt from the mortal coil on June 17 were few, and include:
- 1631 – Mumtaz Mahal, Mughal princess (b. 1593) [JAC: see above]
- 1898 – Edward Burne-Jones, English soldier and painter (b. 1833)
- 2008 – Cyd Charisse, American actress and dancer (b. 1922)
Burne-Jones is perhaps the best known of the pre-Raphaelite painters. Here’s one of his works, “The Briar Wood (1874-8), from The Faringdon Collection Trust:
Meanwhle in Dobrzyn, Hili is showing off again:
Hili: We cats are very creative.A: I’ve noticed.
Hili: My, koty, jesteśmy bardzo kreatywne.
From Stephen Barnard:
From Stash Krod (and his cat Qbit):
From Jesus of the Day:
From Titania: it’s been argued that people of color aren’t really bona fide PoCs if they don’t have the proper opinions (cf. Glenn Loury):
NOTE TO FELLOW ACTIVISTS
While it is crucial that we amplify the opinions of people of colour, can we *please* ensure in advance that said people of colour hold the opinions we want to be amplified?
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) June 16, 2020
Here’s the full picture from the tweet above; click on the screenshot to read the tut-tutting:
From Simon, a nerd science tweet (CRISPR is of course a way of editing genes to your specification):
Totally irresponsible, risky and unnecessary use of CRISPR https://t.co/mQRtZ5ny60
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) June 16, 2020
From reader Barry, who says “I hope they give that cat a break.”
Poor Kitty, what do you think he did?? pic.twitter.com/VXlV0ELJA3
— Hear Me Roar (@Stop_Trump20) June 15, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. First, a sociological result that may be correct, but it’s just so wrong!
— Rolf Degen (@DegenRolf) June 13, 2020
But wait! There’s more cat stuff! From ZeFrank!
— Thomas R. Holtz, Jr. 🦖💕 (he/him) (@TomHoltzPaleo) June 16, 2020
This is a damn MILLIPEDE! Run!
Living in what is now northeastern North America and Scotland around 315 to 299 million years ago, Arthropleura reached 2.4 meters in length and was the largest known land invertebrates of all time https://t.co/2ilIfeiJKZ pic.twitter.com/ccrsCIe99t
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) June 16, 2020
A sunfish convention:
HOLY GUACAMOLA: A large school of sunfish (Mola Mola) was seen on a field trip at Breakwater Cove in Monterey over the weekend. #monterey #montereybay @MontereyAq @HopkinsMarine pic.twitter.com/RrBVowETLD
— KSBW Action News 8 (@ksbw) June 15, 2020