Good morning on Tuesday, the Cruelest Day, July 14, 2020, Bastille Day and National Caviar Day. I’ve had the real thing (osetra) only once in my life and loved it, but that was an experience unlikely to be repeated on both moral and financial grounds. It’s also National Grand Marnier Day (cultural appropriation), National Mac and Cheese Day, and Shark Awareness Day.
News of the day: Although three federal executions were slated to occur this week, a federal judge blocked them pending resolution of legal challenges to the procedure of lethal injection.
Over in Poland, to the dismay of my friends there, far right-wing president Andrzej Duda narrowly won a second term—a term that will last five years. The country is in terrible hands, and terrible shape.
As Trump pushes hard to re-open schools no matter what, the two largest school districts in California—San Diego and Los Angeles—decided to go to online-only classes this fall. I’m starting to wonder if those colleges that will welcome students back to campus in September, like the University of Chicago, are making a mistake in view of the resurgence of the pandemic.
Trump retweeted this conspiracy-theory tweet from game-show host and conservative Chuck Wollery. Trump’s destroying the country with his madness on various issues, and we get crap like this (retweeted):
The most outrageous lies are the ones about Covid 19. Everyone is lying. The CDC, Media, Democrats, our Doctors, not all but most ,that we are told to trust. I think it's all about the election and keeping the economy from coming back, which is about the election. I'm sick of it.
— Chuck Woolery (@chuckwoolery) July 13, 2020
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 135,402, an increase of about 650 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 572,740, an increase of about 4,200 from yesterday.
Speaking of masks, I am running out of my favorite mask: the ear-loop surgical mask. Does anyone know where I can get some of these?
Stuff that happened on July 14 includes:
- 1789 – French Revolution: Citizens of Paris storm the Bastille.
- 1791 – The Priestley Riots drive Joseph Priestley, a supporter of the French Revolution, out of Birmingham, England.
Priestly was “theologically and politically controversial”, even though he was a well-known scientist (and discovered oxygen). The rioters burned his home to the ground, and he lost many valuable manuscripts and papers (he and his family managed to escape).
Here’s Doré’s famous picture of the Matterhorn disaster, caused by the snapping of a worn-out rope:
- 1874 – The Chicago Fire of 1874 burns down 47 acres of the city, destroying 812 buildings, killing 20, and resulting in the fire insurance industry demanding municipal reforms from Chicago’s city council.
- 1881 – Billy the Kid is shot and killed by Pat Garrett outside Fort Sumner.
Here’s Billy the Kid (real name Henry McCarty). He was only 21 when he was shot:
- 1933 – Gleichschaltung: In Germany, all political parties are outlawed except the Nazi Party.
- 1933 – The Nazi eugenics begins with the proclamation of the Law for the Prevention of Hereditarily Diseased Offspring that calls for the compulsory sterilization of any citizen who suffers from alleged genetic disorders.
- 1943 – In Diamond, Missouri, the George Washington Carver National Monument becomes the first United States National Monument in honor of an African American.
The park includes Carver’s boyhood home, a later home, and the family cemetery. Here’s where he was born:
- 1960 – Jane Goodall arrives at the Gombe Stream Reserve in present-day Tanzania to begin her famous study of chimpanzees in the wild.
Here’s Goodall in 1960, probably at Gombe:
- 1976 – Capital punishment is abolished in Canada.
- 2016 – A terrorist vehicular attack in Nice, France kills 86 civilians and injures over 400 others.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1862 – Gustav Klimt, Austrian painter and illustrator (d. 1918)
- 1910 – William Hanna, American animator, director, producer, and actor, co-founded Hanna-Barbera (d. 2001)
- 1912 – Woody Guthrie, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1967)
- 1913 – Gerald Ford, American commander, lawyer, and politician, 38th President of the United States (d. 2006)
- 1918 – Ingmar Bergman, Swedish director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2007)
- 1938 – Jerry Rubin, American activist, author, and businessman (d. 1994)
Here’s Gustav Klimt and his beloved kitty (artists favor cats over dogs):
Those who experienced decease on July 14 were few, and include:
- 1827 – Augustin-Jean Fresnel, French physicist and engineer, reviver of wave theory of light, inventor of catadioptric lighthouse lens (b. 1788)
- 1881 – Billy the Kid, American criminal (b. 1859)
- 1939 – Alphonse Mucha, Czech painter and illustrator (b. 1860)
Here’s one of Mucha’s great Art Nouveau posters, Salammbô (1896), with a photo of Mucha below it:
Hili: I’m entering the realm of the absurd.A: And where have you been?Hili: In the Valley of the Shadow of Nonsense.
Hili: Wkraczam w krainę absurdu.Ja: A gdzie byłaś?Hili: W dorzeczu niedorzecza.
From Jesus of the Day (I have a vague recollection that I may have posted this before):
A cartoon by Matt Handelsman, sent by reader Charles:
Also from Charles, some cat psychiatry:
A tweet from Titania, who shows once again how close wokeness comes to satire.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) July 13, 2020
— WCVB-TV Boston (@WCVB) July 13, 2020
From Simon, a cool video turned into a geeky science joke:
The experience you gain serving on many grant panels pic.twitter.com/LEwpML1Ln1
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) July 13, 2020
Tweets from Matthew, who says, “Click on the pic.”
Only in Wales would someone knit a hat for a postbox pic.twitter.com/qiSf3DrqOA
— Junior Senior (@Livinlarge571) July 11, 2020
This is ineffably sad. I didn’t know that declared fish extinctions were that rare, but this is apparently the first one in our time:
For the first time the IUCN Red List has officially declared a marine fish alive in modern times to be extinct.
— MBARI (@MBARI_News) July 13, 2020
This is one of those creatures that, even if you knew in advance how evolution worked, you’d never guess would evolve. And no, it’s not a man in a bird suit!
I love shoebills. They look so fake. They look like a disgruntled muppet. pic.twitter.com/ig1eAOcIFf
— Monique Pipkin (@MoniquePipkin) July 13, 2020
I think this is the second time that the Dean of Canterbury delivered his homily while a cat snarfed his milk:
And a wonderful comet photo:
Comet C/2020 F3 (NEOWISE) above @jodrellbank early today. Taken at an earlier time of night than my previous image to capture the comet against a darker sky. Just a few faint noctilucent clouds this time. https://t.co/QFKoJ6Q66S@UoMPhysics @UoMSciEng @OfficialUoM #cometneowise pic.twitter.com/uesMulAsaE
— Anthony Holloway (@aj_h) July 12, 2020