August is approaching fast: it’s July 30, 2020, and National Cheesecake Day. I would kill for a piece of Junior’s cheesecake, with the only acceptable varieties being plain or cherry. Every year my mom used to send me one for my birthday. In fact, because I’m depressed (readership here is down again), and I’m peevish and need a treat. In fact, I just ordered one for myself (it’s $7 off for the rest of the day, which will save you half the cost of the two-day shipping).
News of the Day: In its series on religion and death, the New York Times has an informative interview with a Jain professor of philosophy at the University of North Texas, Pankaj Jain. (Many Jains are named Jain.) Jainism is one of the less pernicious religions as it’s nontheistic and preaches great compassion for all—including animals. But it’s still wonky since one of its tenets is reincarnation. Nevertheless, you should read it to learn about an interesting brand of faith.
For further proof that the New York Times is circling the drain, though, here’s one of yesterday’s op-eds (click on screenshot). This is exactly the kind of stuff that is published in HuffPo’s “Personal” section:
According to CNN, and the stats below, the U.S. passed 150,000 deaths from coronavirus yesterday. Remember when the figure “100,000-200,000 deaths” was unthinkable? Well, we’re going to surpass the high end of that, and before too long.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 151,194, an increase of about 1500 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 667,140, a big increase of about 8000 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on July 30 includes:
- 1419 – First Defenestration of Prague: A crowd of radical Hussites kill seven members of the Prague city council.
Yes, the councilors were literally tossed out the window to their deaths. Here’s a print:
- 1619 – In Jamestown, Virginia, the first Colonial European representative assembly in the Americas, the Virginia General Assembly, convenes for the first time.
- 1859 – First ascent of Grand Combin, one of the highest summits in the Alps.
- 1864 – American Civil War: Battle of the Crater: Union forces attempt to break Confederate lines at Petersburg, Virginia by exploding a large bomb under their trenches.
- 1932 – Premiere of Walt Disney‘s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short.
Here’s that award-winning cartoon, with a villain, anthropomorphic flowers (and everything else), and a sweet love story. Watch it!
The highway is s 7,821 km (4,860 miles) long. Here’s a photo of the official opening:
- 1965 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.
- 1966 – England defeats West Germany to win the 1966 FIFA World Cup at Wembley Stadium after extra time.
- 1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 15 Mission: David Scott and James Irwin on the Apollo Lunar Module Falcon land on the Moon with the first Lunar Rover.
- 1974 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon releases subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of the United States.
- 1975 – Jimmy Hoffa disappears from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, at about 2:30 p.m. He is never seen or heard from again.
- 2003 – In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.
Here’s a picture of the last edition of the old-style Beetle, along with some facts from Wikipedia:
. . . the final original Type 1 VW Beetle (No. 21,529,464) rolled off the production line at Puebla, Mexico, on 30 July 2003, 65 years after its original launch. This last Beetle, nicknamed El Rey (Spanish for “The King” after a legendary Mexican song by José Alfredo Jiménez) was delivered to the company’s museum in Wolfsburg, Germany.
To celebrate the occasion, Volkswagen marketed a final, special series of 3,000 Beetles marketed as “Última Edición” (Final Edition) in light blue (Aquarius Blue) or beige (Harvest Moon Beige). Each car included the 1.6 engine, whitewall tires, a CD player with four speakers, chrome bumpers, trim, hub caps and exterior mirrors, a Wolfsburg emblem above the front trunk’s handle, an all-cloth interior, chrome glove box badge, body coloured wheels, tinted glass, a rear parcel shelf, and VW Última Edición plaque.
A mariachi band serenaded production of the last car. In Mexico, there was an advertising campaign as a goodbye for the Beetle. In one of the ads was a very small parking space on the street, and many big cars tried to use it, but could not. After a while, a sign appears in that parking space saying: “Es increíble que un auto tan pequeño deje un vacío tan grande” (It is incredible that a car so small can leave such a large void). Another depicted the rear end of a 1954 Beetle (the year Volkswagen was established in Mexico) in the left side of the ad, reading “Erase una vez…” (Once upon a time…) and the last 2003 Beetle in the right side, reading “Fin” (The end). Other ads also had the same nostalgic tone.
The last Beetle. They’re sill making a similar version, though I don’t know anyone who owns one. If you do, weigh in below and tell us how it’s doing.
Here’s a specimen of the Última Edición:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1818 – Emily Brontë, English novelist and poet (d. 1848)
- 1857 – Thorstein Veblen, American economist and sociologist (d. 1929)
- 1863 – Henry Ford, American engineer and businessman, founded the Ford Motor Company (d. 1947)
- 1890 – Casey Stengel, American baseball player and manager (d. 1975)
- 1898 – Henry Moore, English sculptor and illustrator (d. 1986)
- 1936 – Buddy Guy, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- 1947 – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-American bodybuilder, actor, and politician, 38th Governor of California
- 1974 – Hilary Swank, American actress and producer
Those who bought the farm on July 30 include:
- 1718 – William Penn, English businessman and philosopher, founded the Province of Pennsylvania (b. 1644)
- 1771 – Thomas Gray, English poet (b. 1716)
- 1996 – Claudette Colbert, French-American actress (b. 1903)
- 1998 – Buffalo Bob Smith, American television host (b. 1917)
Here’s a ten-minute video of Buffalo Bob and the Howdy Doody show. If you remember this, you’re OLD!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron is so fed up with Hili rejecting his overtures of friendship that he’s resorted to prayer:
Hili: What are you doing?Szaron: I’m praying for you to stop being such a shrew.
Hili: Co ty robisz?Szaron: Modlę się, żebyś przestała być taką zołzą.
We have our first Kukla monologue today! The kitten speaks! Apparently she wants an editorial position.
Kulka: May I be helping, too?
From reader Ken:
Matthew spotted this piece in Private Eye. But why can men wear underpants?
Matthew is on a one-week Twitter-reading hiatus, so tweets from him may be thin on the ground.
A tweet from reader Simon. The cat takes a cue from Shania Twain: “That don’t impress me much.”
This is the best video of a seal trying to impress a cat that you’ll see all day. pic.twitter.com/j4RAzcyCO5
— socially distant steve (@IGotsSmarts) July 26, 2020
A tweet from reader Barry, noted in passing:
— José (@yoruguaenusa) July 29, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. This paper must be expensive!
Count how many craftsmen it takes to produce a piece of super 11×3.3-meter Xuan paper? Originally made in ancient China and used for both Chinese calligraphy and paintings, Xuan paper has been a UNESCO world intangible cultural heritage since 2009. pic.twitter.com/xavTv4Ii6E
— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) July 19, 2020
Same meaning, different countries, different phrases:
7. It’s a piece of cake (English)
6. It’s a little egg (Dutch)
5. It’s a roll with butter (Polish)
4. It’s papaya with sugar (Portuguese)
3. It’s simpler than a steamed turnip (Russian)
2. It’s as simple as beans (Hungarian)
1. It’s an easy wiener (Finnish)
— Adam Sharp (@AdamCSharp) July 20, 2020
Matthew notes helpfully that this isn’t true in French:
Odd has an odd number of letters.
Even has an even number of letters.
Prime has a prime number of letters.
— Chris Nho (@nhoskee) July 17, 2020
Two tweets about the Internet’s second favorite mammal:
Seriously love them whatever they are called. pic.twitter.com/o7s212WJBR
— Jane #YellowRose #CarpingOn (@janestevenson68) July 17, 2020
I may have posted this before, and if so, well, here it is again. It’s a cool piece of biology:
Black-chinned antbird (Hypocnemoides melanopogon)🐦
🦋 Gorgone macarena 🦋
A moth drinking the tears of a bird sleeping in the Amazon forest in Brazil, this behavior was reported for the first time in the third known case in the country and worldwide. pic.twitter.com/P1pSB8FZcU
— World birds (@worldbirds32) July 16, 2020
Ants detected on radar!
It's not raining in London, Kent or Sussex, but our radar says otherwise…📡
The radar is actually picking up a swarm of #flyingants across the southeast 🐜
— Met Office (@metoffice) July 17, 2020