Well, we’ve almost made it through July: it’s July 31, 2020, and so on to August. It’s National Cotton Candy Day (I believe it’s called “candy floss’ in the UK), as well as Shredded Wheat Day, National Avocado Day, National Raspberry Cake Day, and National Talk in an Elevator Day (canceled this year).
Today’s colorful Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates Filipino artist Pactica Abad (1946-2004), famous for her stitched and padded canvases. She’s pictured below the Doodle with one of her works:
News of the Day: For a lift, read Helen Macdonald’s nice essay on swifts—birds that almost never touch down—in the New York Times. Macdonald wrote the excellent bestseller H is for Hawk.
Or, if you want to get angry, read the first tweet below, in which “President” Trump intimates that he might try to delay the election, something he’s not legally entitled to do, because of the phantom possibility of fake “voting by mail.” I also watched, for the first time in months, Trump’s “press conference” on the coronairus. It was full of lies and braggadocio, and was hard to watch. If you listen to the deranged head of the government, you’d think that the U.S. was the best country on Earth in dealing with the coronavirus.
You’ve probably heard that Herman Cain, who challenged Mitt Romney for the 2012 GOP candidacy, died of Covid-19 after attending Trump’s campaign rally in Tulsa on June 20. He didn’t wear a mask, but it’s not clear whether he contracted the virus at the rally.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 152,431, an increase of about 1200 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 673,583, an increase of about 6400 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on July 31 include:
- 1492 – The Jews are expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree takes effect.
- 1588 – The Spanish Armada is spotted off the coast of England.
- 1658 – Aurangzeb is proclaimed Mughal emperor of India.
- 1703 – Daniel Defoe is placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet, but is pelted with flowers.
- 1777 – The U.S. Second Continental Congress passes a resolution that the services of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette “be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States.”
- 1790 – The first U.S. patent is issued, to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.
Here’s that patent:
- 1941 – The Holocaust: Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring, orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question.”
- 1970 – Black Tot Day: The last day of the officially sanctioned rum ration in the Royal Navy.
The rum ration was . Here’s the “grog tub” of HMS Cavalier. Although the tot was abolished fifty years ago today (it had gone down to 1/8 of a pint), Wikipedia says it’s still issued sporadically: “Today, a tot (totty) of rum is still issued on special occasions, using an order to “splice the mainbrace“, which may only be given by the Queen, a member of the royal family or, on certain occasions, the admiralty board in the UK
- 1971 – Apollo program: Apollo 15 astronauts become the first to ride in a lunar rover.
- 2006 – Fidel Castro hands over power to his brother, Raúl.
- 2012 – Michael Phelps breaks the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the most medals won at the Olympics.
Phelps won a total of 29 medals; Latynina’s record was 18. Phelps won 13 gold medals in individual events and ten gold medals in team events, so his fully-decorated torso looks like this (he also won 3 silver and 2 bronze events). Phelps is now an eloquent activist for awareness and treatment of mental illness.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1800 – Friedrich Wöhler, German chemist and academic (d. 1882)
- 1867 – S. S. Kresge, American businessman, founded Kmart (d. 1966)
- 1912 – Milton Friedman, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2006)
- 1919 – Primo Levi, Italian chemist and author (d. 1987)
Levi, a great writer, was imprisoned in Auschwitz for a year in 1944-1945 before he was liberated. He committed suicide (though some say his death was due to a fall) in 1987. Here he is in the 1950s.
- 1951 – Evonne Goolagong Cawley, Australian tennis player
- 1965 – J. K. Rowling, English author and film producer
Those who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on July 31 include:
- 1784 – Denis Diderot, French philosopher and critic (b. 1713)
- 1886 – Franz Liszt, Hungarian pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1811)
- 1944 – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, French pilot and poet (b. 1900)
- 1966 – Bud Powell, American pianist (b. 1924)
- 2012 – Gore Vidal, American novelist, screenwriter, and critic (b. 1925)
- 2017 – Jeanne Moreau, French actress (b. 1928)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Elzbieta has brought treats for the cats, though Szaron is wary:
Szaron: What is it?Hili: It’s scrumptious, try it, and it’s from a good hand. You need not be afraid.
Szaron: Co to jest?Hili: Pyszne, spróbuj i z dobrej ręki, możesz się nie bać.
Some bonus pictures of the kitten Kulka.
Caption from Andrzej: A break in my work to pursue Kulka. (In Polish: Przerwa w pracy na pogoń za Kulką.)
Three cat memes today! Your cat wants you to know this:
I tweeted, but Matthew sent me the original Trump tweet:
Trump's already starting to try to invalidate an election he almost certainly will lose. As CNN reports, he has no authority to delay an election, whose date is by law set by congress. Plus there's no evidence that mail voting is rife with fraud.https://t.co/peGo34LIi2 https://t.co/lfx9s5oAxv
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) July 30, 2020
A tweet I found on Titania’s site:
From reader Doug, an exploding meteor (see more here):
Guys, we just saw one of the craziest things we have ever seen in our lives and I managed to capture some of it. A meteor for the ages! pic.twitter.com/kPIchIPREV
— Amber Coffman (@Amber_Coffman) July 29, 2020
More insanity from Trump, via reader Ken. This isn’t even a dog whistle—it’s a locomotive whistle!
I am happy to inform all of the people living their Suburban Lifestyle Dream that you will no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood…
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 29, 2020
From reader Barry, a great video of various animals loving on humans. We’ve seen some of these before. I like the big cat ones best, but look at the expression on the face of that horse!
From Simon: a good way to shame a clumsy golfer. Sound up!
Possibly the best thing I’ve ever seen. Can’t. Stop. Laughing… https://t.co/4q52xC0FG2
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) July 29, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. I’m not sure why anyone would WANT tires like this, but I’m sure they could do a better job 60 years later:
Glowing tyres. In 1958 Goodyear created translucent "neothane" tyres that had 18 light bulbs embedded in them. Sadly, they performed poorly in wet conditions and tended to melt when drivers braked too heavily. After ten years of development, they were shelved. pic.twitter.com/vpou83JbZ3
— ewan morrison (@MrEwanMorrison) July 15, 2020
Morning chums, & as I've just sold a print of it, thought I'd share this, done for @robinince's 2009 Lessons & Carols for Godless People, being the backdrop for @RichardDawkins set, tho I'm told when he did his soundcheck he looked at the size of Adam's cock & bridled somewhat pic.twitter.com/HfVFnwf47u
— Martin Rowson (@MartinRowson) July 17, 2020