It’s Tuesday, the Cruelest Day, July 7, 2020—National Strawberry Sundae Day. It’s also World Chocolate Day, National Macaroni Day, and, in honor of Anthony Bourdain, who loved these bars, National Dive Bar Day.
News of the Day: Absolutely dreadful! It was a deadly weekend in Chicago. During the holiday weekend, 87 people were shot in my city, 17 of them fatally. The deaths included a seven-year-old girl, shot through the forehead when she was playing outside. Police (soon to be defunded) do have one suspect.
Amy Cooper, who called the cops on a black birdwatcher, falsely claiming that she was threatened, has been charged with “falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.” She faces up a year in jail.
Elizabeth Rosenthal has a depressing piece in the NYT about the possible high—and prohibitive for many—costs of a Covid-19 vaccine—should we ever get one. And, of course, coronavirus is on the rampage again, with the rolling seven-day averages of new cases in the US hitting a new high for the 28th (!) day in a row
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 130,332, an increase of about 400 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 537,763, an increase of about 3700 from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on July 7 includes:
- 1534 – Jacques Cartier makes his first contact with aboriginal peoples in what is now Canada.
- 1865 – Four conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln are hanged.
- 1911 – The United States, UK, Japan, and Russia sign the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911 banning open-water seal hunting, the first international treaty to address wildlife preservation issues.
- 1928 – Sliced bread is sold for the first time (on the inventor’s 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.
Here’s a 2½-minute video about the advent of sliced bread. A common saying in America, nearly a century after this innovation, is “the greatest thing since sliced bread.”
- 1937 – The Peel Commission Report recommends the partition of Palestine, which was the first formal recommendation for partition in the history of Palestine.
- 1944 – World War II: Largest Banzai charge of the Pacific War at the Battle of Saipan.
Wikipedia gives some details. First, the name of “banzai” came from this:
This term came from the Japanese cry “Tennōheika Banzai” (天皇陛下万歳, “Long live His Majesty the Emperor”), shortened to banzai, specifically referring to a tactic used by Japanese soldiers during the Pacific War.
It was considered a form of honorable suicide, since the expectation was that all the soldiers would die. And that’s pretty much what happened in the Battle of Saipan:
The largest banzai charge of the war took place during the Battle of Saipan. General Yoshitsugu Saitō gathered almost 4,300 Japanese soldiers, walking wounded and some civilians, many unarmed and ordered the charge. On July 7, 1944, it slammed directly into the Army’s 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 105th Infantry Regiment, who would lose almost 2,000 men in the 15 hour pitched battle. In the end, U.S. Army and Marine lines would hold, and almost all the Japanese soldiers taking part in the charge would be killed.
- 1953 – Ernesto “Che” Guevara sets out on a trip through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador.
Here’s Che, a handsome lad, two years before that journey. He was executed in Bolivia at age 39.
- 1954 – Elvis Presley makes his radio debut when WHBQ Memphis played his first recording for Sun Records, “That’s All Right”.
- 1980 – Institution of sharia law in Iran.
- 1981 – US President Ronald Reagan appoints Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.
- 1985 – Boris Becker becomes the youngest player ever to win Wimbledon at age 17.
- 1992 – The New York Court of Appeals rules that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.
Despite this, I’ve never seen a topless woman in New York City, so it can’t be any laws that are keeping them covered.
- 2005 – A series of four explosions occurs on London’s transport system, killing 56 people, including four suicide bombers, and injuring over 700 others.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1861 – Nettie Stevens, American geneticist (d. 1912)
Stevens was an important scientist in the early days of classical genetics, contributing to the discovery, which she made in mealworms, that sex was associated with sex chromosomes. Here she is at the scope:
- 1902 – Ted Radcliffe, American baseball player and manager (d. 2005)
I met Ted “Double Duty” Radcliffe when I went to Gladys’s, a Southern restaurant in Chicago’s Bronzeville where whites didn’t go much. But I was glad I did. Not only was the food great (biscuits! country ham! grits!), but I got to sit next to a very old guy who began regaling me with baseball stories. It turned out, as the cashier told me, that he was the famous Ted Radcliffe, who got his nickname this way:
Damon Runyon coined the nickname “Double Duty” because Radcliffe played as a catcher and as a pitcher in the successive games of a 1932 Negro League World Series doubleheader between the Pittsburgh Crawfords and the Monroe Monarchs. In the first of the two games at Yankee Stadium, Radcliffe caught the pitcher Satchel Paige for a shutout and then pitched a shutout in the second game. Runyon wrote that Radcliffe “was worth the price of two admissions.” Radcliffe considered his year with the 1932 Pittsburgh Crawfords to be one of the highlights of his career. The Crawfords beat the Monarchs 5–1 in the best-of-nine series.
Double Duty died at age 103. Like many great black players, he could not play in the major leagues, but spent his career in the Negro League (yes, that was its name). Here’s his baseball card:
And other great Negro League player, who actually got to pitch for a short stint in the majors, making his debut at the age of 42:
- 1906 – Satchel Paige, American baseball player and coach (d. 1982)
Ronan Farrow’s real name is Satchel Ronan O’Sullivan Farrow, and his dad Woody naming him after the great pitcher.
- 1940 – Ringo Starr, English singer-songwriter, drummer, and actor
- 1949 – Shelley Duvall, American actress, writer, and producer
- 1986 – Ana Kasparian, American journalist and producer
I haven’t watched The Young Turks (where Kasparian is a host) for a long while. How’s the show doing?
Those who perished on July 7 were few, and include these two:
- 1930 – Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer (b. 1859)
- 1950 – Fats Navarro, American trumpet player and composer (b. 1923)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, I’m told that Hili’s request is because “she has hopes that in the garden real living mice would be fooled and come to the pad.”
Hili: Is this a mouse pad?A: Yes.Hili: Could you lay it out in the garden, please?
Hili: Czy to jest podkładka pod mysz?Ja: Tak.Hili: Czy możesz ją wyłożyć w ogrodzie?
A cartoon from Jean. Cats will be cats. . .
Posted on my Facebook page by Laurie Ann. Unfair to atheists!
From Jesus of the Day. The description is at least accurate:
A tweet from Simon. The talented Trump-syncher does a presser Q&A with Trump on masks:
How to mask pic.twitter.com/Mm8IBTrNxd
— Sarah Cooper (@sarahcpr) July 6, 2020
From Titania. Somehow I don’t thinks this list is fake. I always thought that if I were a student and was asked for my personal pronoun, I’d say, “Your majesty!”
For all you boomers who are confused by modern gender pronouns, I’ve compiled this handy list to prove how simple it is.
LEARN 👏 THEM 👏 ALL 👏 pic.twitter.com/mRY6L1NjdS
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) August 20, 2019
Tweets from Matthew. I tried durian in Singapore, and had a reaction similar to that of these moggies. It tastes like old sweaty socks, though I’ve never tasted them.
Cats smelling Durian 😁😁 pic.twitter.com/Z0CdlUOuaC
— Daniel Probst (@skepteis) July 5, 2020
From Matthew via Dom: a fantastic shot in indoor bowls:
still my favorite clip of the year pic.twitter.com/fJOW7fxSSs
— Nate Tice (@Nate_Tice) July 5, 2020
Okay, I’m not sure if this is real, but it’s cute. And the response is lovely!
And the response:
The owner only took cash so the deer came back with four bucks.
— Tim Allard (@piersallard) July 4, 2020
That reminds me of an old joke. “Why are deer nuts like Beer Nuts?” Answer: “They’re both under a buck.” I’ll be here all year, folks!
A cat caught planning a murder?
Perfectly normal cat behaviour of the day. pic.twitter.com/RZMUZQOrRQ
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) July 6, 2020
What a beautiful bird! I wonder if this mutant has trouble catching prey at night given its visibility:
Leucistic Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus)🐦🦜🕊️🦉🎵❤️ pic.twitter.com/JPo1juGyJK
— World birds (@worldbirds32) July 6, 2020