Welcome to Tuesday—the Cruelest Day—August 4, 2020. It’s National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and National White Wine Day (ditch the pinot grigio and try a nice sauvignon blanc, a viognier or a dry semillon instead). It is a dreary day, and I have come to work creeping like a snail unwillingly to school, though my hose are too wide for my shrunk shank. And I have no idea what I’ll write about today, if anything.
News of the Day: Once again the court have rejected Trump’s demands to keep his tax returns private, and the kicker is that the Manhattan District Attorney revealed that their criminal investigation of Trump actually goes beyond the original one: that he paid hush money to women who claimed he had sexual affairs with them. The probe has widened to “insurance and bank fraud.” Will Trump wind up in jail? Can he pardon himself in advance?
Trump has now gone after Deborah Birx, which, since he’s already dissed Fauci, means that he’s criticized the top two infectious disease specialists in his administration. I’m not sure Nancy Pelosi was justified in criticizing Birx just because she was a Trump appointee, but neither was Trump justified in being a loon this way:
So Crazy Nancy Pelosi said horrible things about Dr. Deborah Birx, going after her because she was too positive on the very good job we are doing on combatting the China Virus, including Vaccines & Therapeutics. In order to counter Nancy, Deborah took the bait & hit us. Pathetic!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 3, 2020
If Major League Baseball can’t get through a truncated season, even without fans and with the requirement of quarantine, what hope is there that colleges, with students whose livelihoods don’t depend on them remaining virus-free, will be able to re-open safely? My two predictions—that the 2020 baseball season will die and that colleges like mine that plan to re-open will have to change their minds—still stand.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 155,935, an increase of about 600 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 693,731, an increase of about 4200 deaths from yesterday.
And, since it’s Obama’s 59th birthday, here’s “A thought for today” from AWordADay (h/t: Rick):
Appealing to tribe, appealing to fear, pitting one group against another, telling people that order and security will be restored if it weren’t for those who don’t look like us or don’t sound like us or don’t pray like we do, that’s an old playbook. It’s as old as time. And in a healthy democracy it doesn’t work. Our antibodies kick in, and people of goodwill from across the political spectrum call out the bigots and the fearmongers, and work to compromise and get things done and promote the better angels of our nature.
-Barack Obama, 44th US President (b. 4 Aug 1961)
Stuff that happened on August 4 include:
- 1693 – Date traditionally ascribed to Dom Perignon’s invention of champagne; it is not clear whether he actually invented champagne, however he has been credited as an innovator who developed the techniques used to perfect sparkling wine.
- 1873 – American Indian Wars: While protecting a railroad survey party in Montana, the United States 7th Cavalry, under Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer clashes for the first time with the Cheyenne and Lakota people near the Tongue River; only one man on each side is killed.
- 1892 – The father and stepmother of Lizzie Borden are found murdered in their Fall River, Massachusetts home. She was tried and acquitted for the crimes a year later.
Lizzie, shown below, continued to live in Fall River though she was shunned. And she probably did the crime:
- 1914 – In response to the German invasion of Belgium, Belgium and the British Empire declare war on Germany. The United States declares its neutrality.
- 1944 – The Holocaust: A tip from a Dutch informer leads the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse, where they find and arrest Jewish diarist Anne Frank, her family, and four others.
The Anne Frank House is well worth a visit, but reserve well in advance; it’s jammed these days. Here’s a picture from the Museum site of a visitor viewing Anne’s diary—the original:
- 1964 – Civil rights movement: Civil rights workers Michael Schwerner, Andrew Goodman and James Chaney are found dead in Mississippi after disappearing on June 21.
- 1964 – Gulf of Tonkin incident: U.S. destroyers USS Maddox and USS Turner Joy falsely report coming under attack in the Gulf of Tonkin.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1792 – Percy Bysshe Shelley, English poet and playwright (d. 1822)
- 1901 – Louis Armstrong, American trumpet player and singer (d. 1971)
Here’s one of my favorite Armstrong Songs, “Potato Head Blues” (1927), performed by Louis and his Hot Seven. I believe it was in Manhattan that Woody Allen said that this song was one of the things that made life worth living. One of the first famous jazz solos is here.
- 1912 – Raoul Wallenberg, Swedish architect and diplomat (d. 1947)
Wallenberg, a Swedish diplomat, was famous for having saved the lives of thousands of Jews from the Nazis (he was one-sixteenth Jewish). He disappeared in 1945 and in all probability was captured by the Soviets and shot in Lubyanka Prison. He is one of the Righteous Among the Nations, which means Israel counted him as a non-Jew. Here’s a photo (he probably died in 1947 at age 35:
- 1955 – Billy Bob Thornton, American actor, director, and screenwriter
- 1961 – Barack Obama, American lawyer and politician, 44th President of the United States, Nobel Prize laureate [see quote above]
- 1962 – Roger Clemens, American baseball player and actor
- 1981 – Meghan Markle, American actress and humanitarian, and member of British Royal Family
Those who breathed their last on August 4 were few, and include these three:
- 1922 – Enver Pasha, Ottoman general and politician (b. 1881)
- 2014 – James Brady, American activist and politician, 15th White House Press Secretary (b. 1940)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili finds that her jaunt in nature isn’t all it’s cracked up to be!
Hili: Something is lacking here.A: What?Hili: I don’t know, maybe a bowl with something tasty..
Hili: Czegoś mi tu brakuje.Ja: Czego?Hili: Nie wiem, może miseczki z czymś smacznym.
On the other hand, Mietek the Kitten doesn’t want his food. (Isn’t he getting big?)
Mietek: Sprouts? Rather not.
From Jesus of the Day, a fabulous picture:
ARTIST: Tilly Melier
An ingenious idea from the Purrfect Feline Page:
From Fat Cat Art, we have “responsible social-distancing cats”:
From Titania, an ad from KFC in Trinidad that is remarkably, well, “tone deaf”. What on earth were they thinking?
What better way to commemorate the emancipation of slaves than by pointing out that the Black Power symbol resembles a fried chicken drumstick?
Thank you KFC Trinidad for this powerful gesture of solidarity. ✊🏾🐔 pic.twitter.com/u1iwn4xYsB
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) August 3, 2020
From Simon, we have a canid as a model organism:
Imagine your model organism could share your enthusiasm for the discoveries it enables https://t.co/RBrOpPpnxk
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) August 3, 2020
From reader Barry, a really lovely tweet of two mated storks celebrating, for one of them has just laid an egg. Be sure to turn the sound up:
This stork couple celebrates their first egg. Wait for it. Sound on…pic.twitter.com/6AJ6cZqQ1U
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) July 31, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. First, one of Matthew’s beloved optical illusions:
The upper two hearts are the same as the lower two hearts. https://t.co/Z3orof8U0W
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) August 3, 2020
To give the penguins something to do when the Shedd Aquarium was closed during the pandemic, they let them run around in the Field Museum across the street:
— Field Museum (@FieldMuseum) July 8, 2020
This is a fricking amazing mini-tornado (I’m sure there’s a fancy name for it):
— Michael Marz (@MichaelMarz1) July 9, 2020
One of the bittersweet heartwarmers that takes our minds off the pandemic:
I'm not crying, you're crying! 😭❤ pic.twitter.com/Cw7utQFM4f
— The Female Lead (@the_female_lead) July 10, 2020
Too much time on his hands. . . .
I am having an absolute meltdown pic.twitter.com/2I1OeaWYNj
— Elamin Abdelmahmoud (@elamin88) July 7, 2020