Already the “work week” is drawing to an end: it’s Thursday, July 9, 2020: National Sugar Cookie Day. It’s also the day honoring the Martyrdom of the Báb (a day for adherents to the Baháʼí Faith; see below), well as National No Bra Day. I’ve heard that the pandemic has greatly reduced the use of this garment, as many women (and men) spend more time at home, but when I was in college, the brassiere was a garment largely unknown. (That was the Sixties.)
News of the Day: Everything is bad—very bad. For the first time since 2003, the Federal government is resuming executions, with three men slated to die in the Indiana Federal pen next week in lethal injection. I oppose all capital punishment. Last night, the state of Texas, which executes with alacrity, put to death another man, Billy Wardlow. Here’s a tweet:
As the state is about to execute Billy Wardlow, I keep re-reading his last letter to me.
"Thank you… for showing me that I have worth, too – no matter what others might say or think," he wrote. "You gave me back my humanity."
He'll never actually get to read the story. pic.twitter.com/PUGmMh5IOE
— Keri Blakinger (@keribla) July 8, 2020
The pandemic continues to rage, with the U.S. setting another one-day record for cases (the fifth in nine days): 59,000 infections reported in a single day! Remember when Trump said it would go away in the warm weather? Cases are surging in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with health officials blaming the Trump rally. Many Americans abjure masks and social-distancing, of course, claiming that it’s their “rights and freedoms” at stake. But since when have those factors outweighed public health. For example, you wouldn’t be allowed to smoke in a Wal-Mart. Doesn’t that infringe on your “freedom” as well? But I rant.
In the meantime, Trump and his minions are demanding that schools open this fall, the CDC and virus be damned. Many officials, including the governor of Illinois, are wary. The “President” is also threatening to cut funding for schools that don’t open, despite the inability of many schools to adhere to the 6-foot-distancing rule. In fact, just this morning the CDC has refused, over Trump’s objections, to revise its standards for reopening schools.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 132,237, an increase of about 1000 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 549,166, an increase of about 5300 from yesterday.
A bright spot: the latest anti-Trump (and anti-Republican) ad from The Lincoln Project, a group of Repubs and ex-Repubs set on defeating Trump this year (h/t: Gregory):
A report from the Moscow Times says wild boars are taking over the parks of Moscow. I love it! (h/t: Jeff). And Usain Bolt has named his new daughter:
Olympia Lightning Bolt ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/Ovo5PzVQAt
— Usain St. Leo Bolt (@usainbolt) July 7, 2020
Finally, my hair continues to grow, showing that I’m still alive. But I badly need a haircut, and am a bit wary of one. Here I am five minutes ago; as the song goes, “I’m a hairy guy.”
Stuff that happened on July 9 includes:
- 1540 – King Henry VIII of England annuls his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.
- 1762 – Catherine the Great becomes Empress of Russia following the coup against her husband, Peter III.
- 1776 – George Washington orders the Declaration of Independence to be read out to members of the Continental Army in Manhattan, while thousands of British troops on Staten Island prepare for the Battle of Long Island.
- 1789 – In Versailles, the National Assembly reconstitutes itself as the National Constituent Assembly and begins preparations for a French constitution.
- 1850 – U.S. President Zachary Taylor dies after eating raw fruit and iced milk; he is succeeded in office by Vice President Millard Fillmore.
Raw fruit and iced milk shouldn’t kill you, but Taylor apparently got a stomach ailment like dysentery. And the milk may have been tainted; as Wikipedia notes, “The identity and source of Taylor’s illness are the subject of historical speculation, although it is known that several of his cabinet members had come down with a similar illness.”
Taylor was in office a mere fifteen months.
Here’s a photo of a 1905 Wimbledon Match, with the Wikipedia caption, “Culver Pictures”
- 1893 – Daniel Hale Williams, American heart surgeon, performs the first successful open-heart surgery in United States without anesthesia.
- 1896 – William Jennings Bryan delivers his Cross of Gold speech advocating bimetallism at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Bryan won the nomination, but lost the election to William McKinley
- 1918 – In Nashville, Tennessee, an inbound local train collides with an outbound express, killing 101 and injuring 171 people, making it the deadliest rail accident in United States history.
Here’s a picture of that wreck:
- 1922 – Johnny Weissmuller swims the 100 meters freestyle in 58.6 seconds breaking the world swimming record and the ‘minute barrier’.
- 1986 – The New Zealand Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act legalising homosexuality in New Zealand.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1819 – Elias Howe, American inventor, invented the sewing machine (d. 1867)
- 1927 – Ed Ames, American singer and actor
- 1933 – Oliver Sacks, English-American neurologist, author, and academic (d. 2015)
- 1937 – David Hockney, English painter and photographer
- 1947 – O. J. Simpson, American football player and actor
- 1964 – Courtney Love, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress
Here’s a famous clip of Ed Ames teaching Johnny Carson to throw a tomahawk. Carson does one of his classic double-take, adding “Welcome to frontier bris” (circumcision), and telling Ames, “I didn’t even know you were Jewish.” (Hear Ed McMahon talk about this incident here, calling it the “biggest laugh ever on television”)
Those whose meter stopped running on July 9 include:
Here’s van Eyck’s most famous painting, the Arnofini Portrait (1434). Note that there is a d*g but not cat, perhaps because van Eyck, like many artists of his time, couldn’t draw cats.
In fact the d*g, like many cats that artists attempted to draw in that period, looks a bit human as well:
- 1797 – Edmund Burke, Irish-English philosopher, academic, and politician (b. 1729)
- 1850 – Báb, Persian religious leader, founded Bábism (b. 1819)
- 1856 – Amedeo Avogadro, Italian chemist and academic (b. 1776)
- 1974 – Earl Warren, American jurist and politician, 14th Chief Justice of the United States (b. 1891)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili went missing for a while. As Malgorzata wrote me: “Hili was inside the wardrobe. We were looking for her for quite a long time.”
Hili: What are you looking for here?A: You.
Hili: Czego tu szukasz?Ja: Ciebie.
A lovely cat photo, in the style of Maxfield Parrish, from reader Reese, who says, “A picture of one of my cousin’s two cats on her balcony in Colorado. I thought you might find it cheerful, or poignant, or something . . .”
A meme from reader Charles:
Another Covid-19 meme from Nicole:
A tweet from Titania on Critical Theory, enhanced by her reading the passage on the video:
The great thing about Critical Theory is that you don’t need to have a substantial argument at all.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) July 8, 2020
From Simon. The cat could also bribe his way into college by pretending it’s a coxswain:
Studying hard so he doesn't have to cheat on the SAT. pic.twitter.com/6hsTt91JBs
— Lorenzo The Cat (@LorenzoTheCat) July 7, 2020
From Barry. LOOK AT THE SIZE OF THAT BUNNY (be sure to watch the video):
What are you feeding that rabbit? pic.twitter.com/spzSzeEVze
— jamie (@gnuman1979) July 5, 2020
From Heather Hastie. Kitty see, kitty do:
— Cats and Kittens (@catsnkittys) July 5, 2020
Tweets from Matthew with a short video. Be sure to also watch Adrian Smith’s 7-minute video at the link.
These are treehoppers launching into flight. Filmed at 4,300 & 3,200fps.
THESE LITTLE DUDES WERE RIGHT IN MY BACKYARD!
I’ve been getting to know & filming my -hopper neighbors this past month. Made a video about them here: https://t.co/xlLBUmDM1Y
More hoppers in the thread 👇! pic.twitter.com/EFbnKMNrDJ
— Adrian Smith (@DrAdrianSmith) July 8, 2020
The wonders of sexual selection! These are Laysan albatross (Phoebastria immutabilis), the most famous of which is Wisdom, the oldest confirmed wild bird in the world. She’s about 66, has flown over three million miles, and is still producing chicks! Here we have a would-be Wisdom; can you guess which is the female and which the male?
— World birds (@worldbirds32) March 21, 2020
A beef from God. When I saw this, I was reminded of Delos McKown’s famous quote: “The invisible and the nonexistent look very much alike.” (The original tweet has somehow magically disappeared.)
When I saw this, I immediately wanted a pair of New York “dirty dogs” with mustard and kraut:
Hotdog seller, New York in 1963, a glorious Kodachrome by Evelyn Hofer. I love this photograph. pic.twitter.com/EVaH4g0AHi
— Davenant 📸 (@MarcDavenant) July 8, 2020