Good morning on Monday, July 13, 2020: National French Fry Day. Its also Beans ‘n’ Franks Day (a good combination), National Beef Tallow Day (?), and Barbershop Music Appreciation Day. Here’s are a panoply of barbershop quartets for your delectation; a form of music that, I believe, is uniquely American. These are the finalists in the 2016 Barbershop Quartet International Contest.
News of the Day: The football team The Washington Redskins will retire its name today for obvious reasons. There have been years of controversy over the name, and no replacement name has been announced.
If you’re a humanities student whose college is offering mostly remote learning, this unconvincing article tells you how to make a virtue of necessity. If you’re a science student, fuhgeddaboutit.
Florida set a new Covid record on Sunday: 15,300 new cases were reported in that state, with six Dade County hospitals having their ICUs full. And yet masks still aren’t required, and the beaches and businesses remain open. Not to mention that Disney World is open. Here’s the graph of new cases over time, and it’s grim:
So much for Trump’s statement about the virus: “It dies very quickly in the sun.”
The Washington Post reports that the White House is beginning to push Anthony Fauci out the door, trying to discredit him based on earlier statements he made that, though based on the best science at the time, have proved to be wrong in light of later developments.
In recent days, the 79-year-old scientist and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has found himself directly in the president’s crosshairs. During a Fox News interview Thursday with Sean Hannity, Trump said Fauci “is a nice man, but he’s made a lot of mistakes.” And when Greta Van Susteren asked him last week about Fauci’s assessment that the country was not in a good place, Trump said flatly: “I disagree with him.”
Fauci no longer briefs Trump and is “never in the Oval [Office] anymore,” said a senior administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
If you don’t think Trump is the greatest danger faced by our nation, this amounts to him trying to discredit a man whose mission is to save American lives. One might think, indeed, that Trump doesn’t really care if Americans die, so long as it doesn’t make him look bad.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 134,796, an increase of about 220 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 568,571, an increase of about 4,000 from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on July 13 include:
- 1793 – Journalist and French revolutionary Jean-Paul Marat is assassinated in his bathtub by Charlotte Corday, a member of the opposing political faction.
Here’s a very famous painting: “The Death of Marat” by Jacques-Louis David (1793):
- 1863 – New York City draft riots: In New York City, opponents of conscription begin three days of rioting which will be later regarded as the worst in United States history.
This was a race riot, conducted mostly by the Irish attacking blacks, fearing that they would take their jobs. About 120 people were killed; ironically, nearly all of them were Irish.
- 1956 – The Dartmouth workshop is the first conference on artificial intelligence.
- 1973 – Watergate scandal: Alexander Butterfield reveals the existence of a secret Oval Office taping system to investigators for the Senate Watergate Committee.
Here’s Butterfield’s bombshell revelation. (You can see how nervous he is.) The rest was history:
- 1977 – New York City: Amidst a period of financial and social turmoil experiences an electrical blackout lasting nearly 24 hours that leads to widespread fires and looting.
- 1985 – The Live Aid benefit concert takes place in London and Philadelphia, as well as other venues such as Moscow and Sydney.
- 1985 – Vice President George H. W. Bush becomes the Acting President for the day when President Ronald Reagan undergoes surgery to remove polyps from his colon.
- 2016 – Prime Minister of the United Kingdom David Cameron resigns, and is succeeded by Theresa May.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1821 – Nathan Bedford Forrest, American general and first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan (d. 1877)
At the end of his life, Forrest decried white supremacy though insisting he’d never been a member of the Klan.
- 1894 – Isaac Babel, Russian short story writer, journalist, and playwright (d. 1940)
- 1903 – Kenneth Clark, English historian and author (d. 1983)
- 1940 – Paul Prudhomme, American chef and author (d. 2015)
- 1940 – Patrick Stewart, English actor, director, and producer
Note that Sir Patrick is 80 today.
- 1942 – Harrison Ford, American actor and producer
- 1942 – Roger McGuinn, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- 1946 – Cheech Marin, American actor and comedian
Those who made their final exit on July 13 include:
- 1890 – John C. Frémont, American general and politician, 5th Territorial Governor of Arizona (b. 1813)
- 1945 – Alla Nazimova, Russian-American actress, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1879)
- 1951 – Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian-American composer and painter (b. 1874)
- 1954 – Frida Kahlo, Mexican painter and educator (b. 1907)
Here’s what appears to be the only voice recording of Kahlo (a hero of mine), made in 1953 or 1954. Click on the screenshot to go to the audio:
- 1960 – Joy Davidman, American-English poet and author (b. 1915)
- 2006 – Red Buttons, American actor (b. 1919)
Real name: Aaron Chwatt, the son of Jewish immigrants
- 2014 – Nadine Gordimer, South African novelist, short story writer, and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1923)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s cleaning herself in the workspace:
Hili: Hygiene is important.A: But why do you have to do it on my desk?
Hili: Higiena jest ważna.Ja: Ale dlaczego musisz to robić na moim biurku?
From Stash Krod:
From Laurie Ann:
From Nicole: “Tip of the day. If you are pouring concrete by a pond that has ducks, it’s not a good idea to let the whole crew go to lunch at the same time.”
I would definitely keep that driveway!
A tweet from reader Barry. This is like a tank having fun:
Have you seen a baby armadillo play? pic.twitter.com/R4g5iwxFnx
— Erin Moon ❤️ (@erinmoon72) July 12, 2020
From Heather Hastie, who says, “This kid’s being brought up properly.” Indeed!
— Dax Cat #ambassacat (@Dax_Cat) July 4, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. These two species, in different families, are evolutionarily diverged by about 150 million years, roughly the time separating humans from kangaroos. Yet the two fish can still hybridize and produce vigorous hybrids!
Bizarre!! Inadvertent captive hybridization of Russian #sturgeon and American #paddlefish.
Intermediate morphology and high survival.
First cross of two families: Acipenseridae and Polyodontidae#openaccess -> https://t.co/s8XzZak9F3 pic.twitter.com/9jAdxHD7Pz
— JD Schooley (@DirtyDog650) July 10, 2020
This amazing fact is true of any vacuum, but read the tweet’s thread to see why it works this way:
If you touch two CLEAN blocks of the same metal together in space, they weld!
Atoms in solid metals move a bit. Touch two clean surfaces together, and the atoms can't tell they're in different blocks so they become one group of atoms, ie ONE SOLID.
(Gif: https://t.co/8YZxHWYoZP) pic.twitter.com/WAfv3VwhnX
— Sophia Gad-Nasr (@Astropartigirl) July 10, 2020
The lovely cats of Ephesus:
— Flora 🏺 (@flaroh) July 11, 2020
Oh, my god. pic.twitter.com/KkTLX8pEi6
— Michaelf 🎄 (@michaelcollado) July 10, 2020
Please tell me what’s going on in Tewkesbury:
— Caroline (@Caz_Loz) July 11, 2020
How chickens swim (hint: not as well as ducks (and look at that poor bat!):
Chicken swimming… 🐓 pic.twitter.com/kIfI00iw8Y
— Pulp Librarian (@PulpLibrarian) July 11, 2020