Welcome to Wednesday, also known as Mittwoch (“mid-week”) in German. It’s August 12, 2020, and National Julienne Fries Day, which are the kind of fries you get at McDonald’s. I prefer curly fries or waffle fries, but there’s no such thing as a bad fry (unless they’re a day old and become soggy and tough). It’s also Vinyl Record Day, World Elephant Day, World Calligraphy Day (does anybody write any more?), Baseball Fans Day (I feel bad for them this year), and International Youth Day, a UN holiday.
I’m getting my car emissions-tested today, which is a long drive and perhaps a wait in line, so bear with me if posting is lighter than usual.
News of the Day:Joe Biden, as you all know, selected Senator Kamala Harris to be his running mate. My guess is that Biden, at 77, will be a one-term President, leapfrogging Harris to the front of the line in 2024. As is befitting the times, Biden announced his choice in a tweet:
I have the great honor to announce that I’ve picked @KamalaHarris — a fearless fighter for the little guy, and one of the country’s finest public servants — as my running mate.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) August 11, 2020
There was some discussion of this in the last post yesterday, but feel free to continue it below.
In a breathtaking display of hubris, Russia has approved a vaccine for Covid-19, before Phase 3 clinical trials, involving tests on thousands of people, have been completed. This represents a cutting of corners that could endanger people, not only through a vaccine that might not work, but may have serious side effects. But this is a scientific endeavor, not—as many perceive—a race for national prestige, so I do hope that when proper trials are done, the vaccine proves safe and effective.
Carmen Best, Seattle’s first black police chief (and a woman), resigned after the City Council, in an ill-advised move to placate the far Left, voted to “defund” the city’s police department by cutting the budget by $3 million and trimming 100 officers. The kneejerk cutting of police forces throughout the U.S., a move opposed by most citizens, qualifies as the Bad Idea of the Year.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 164,462, an increase of about 1400 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 740,846, an increase of about 6000 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on August 12 includes:
- 1492 – Christopher Columbus arrives in the Canary Islands on his first voyage to the New World.
- 1851 – Isaac Singer is granted a patent for his sewing machine.
- 1865 – Joseph Lister, British surgeon and scientist, performs 1st antiseptic surgery.
Here’s a short video documenting that first history-making operation:
This is the only quagga ever photographed alive, not the last quagga. Caption from Wikipedia:
- 1944 – Nazi German troops end the week-long Wola massacre, during which time at least 40,000 people are killed indiscriminately or in mass executions.
- 1950 – Korean War: Bloody Gulch massacre: 75 American POWs are massacred by North Korean Army.
- 1964 – South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country’s racist policies.
- 1981 – The IBM Personal Computer is released.
- 1990 – Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton found to date, is discovered by Sue Hendrickson in South Dakota.
Here’s Sue, back on display at Chicago’s Field Museum after a work-up and reassembly. Look at those tiny arms!
- 1994 – Major League Baseball players go on strike, forcing the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1831 – Helena Blavatsky, Russian theosophist and scholar (d. 1891)
- 1860 – Klara Hitler, Austrian mother of Adolf Hitler (d. 1907)
Here’s Hitler’s mom, who looks more like Hitler than did his dad Alois:
- 1866 – Jacinto Benavente, Spanish playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1954)
- 1880 – Christy Mathewson, American baseball player and manager (d. 1925)
- 1881 – Cecil B. DeMille, American director and producer (d. 1959)
- 1925 – Norris McWhirter, Scottish publisher and activist co-founded the Guinness World Records (d. 2004)
- 1925 – Ross McWhirter, Scottish publisher and activist, co-founded the Guinness World Records (d. 1975)
- 1949 – Mark Knopfler, Scottish-English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
Here’s Knopfler demonstrating the guitar riffs from “Sultans of Swing”, Dire Straits’s best song by far. The playing starts at 1:57:
Those who passed away on August 12 include:
- 1865 – William Jackson Hooker, English botanist and academic (b. 1785)
- 1982 – Henry Fonda, American actor (b. 1905)
- 1989 – William Shockley, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)
- 1992 – John Cage, American composer and theorist (b. 1912)
- 2000 – Loretta Young, American actress (b. 1913)
- 2009 – Les Paul, American guitarist and songwriter (b. 1915)
- 2014 – Lauren Bacall, American model, actress, and singer (b. 1924)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, it looks as if Hili hasn’t warmed up to Szaron:
Szaron: What are you thinking about?Hili: Whether not to go a bit further away because it’s terribly crowded here.
Szaron: Nad czym myślisz?Hili: Czy nie pójść kawałek dalej, bo tu jest straszny tłok.
Here’s a photo of Paulina with the two BFF’s Szaron and kitten Kulka:
From Jesus of the Day. I had this exact struggle at the grocery store on Saturday, and believe me, it took a long time to get the damn plastic bag open.
From Bad Cat Clothing:
I tweeted again! The good news is that the otter was saved.
Otter escapes orca by leaping into a boat. A very close call!https://t.co/Pp5yxsYG9l
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) August 10, 2020
A tweet from Barry. And here we have that wonder of wonders: a cat that eats cabbage (or lettuce):
Bloody healthy eating… pic.twitter.com/VCwdjCyFYm
— Meriel (@MerielMyers) August 9, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. This first one is fricking amazing!
Wow wow wow. Just an hour ago, astronomers announced the discovery of a star in our Milky Way Galaxy moving at 8% of the speed of light!
I believe this is the fastest star ever discovered – moving at 24,000 kilometres EVERY SECOND!https://t.co/7IDaAT0sZX
— Bryan Gaensler 📡🧲 (@SciBry) August 11, 2020
Each square has its own video and sound; turn sound up and click on the squares:
THIS. IS. PERFECT. pic.twitter.com/KFGgOhS1KN
— Spence, Todd (@Todd_Spence) August 11, 2020
This cat not only sings for his supper, but plays piano for it:
Dinner time is 2 hours from now pic.twitter.com/apG7l19uRD
— MASTER OF SONG STYLE 🎙 (@IAmKateNyx) August 4, 2020
The problem with this is that you lose a year of life:
See y’all in 2021 ✌🏼 pic.twitter.com/oTUbhY0n9N
— Your Favorite Virgo 🐻 (@themindoftrav_) August 10, 2020
The elephant’s clearly trying to scare away the rhino. My only question is why it balances the branch on its forehead.
Tool use of the day. pic.twitter.com/OrccNJuE2K
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) August 11, 2020
I apologize to the world for all Americans like this:
Anti-masker in Tucson, AZ throws a tantrum and has to be carried out by his own son pic.twitter.com/ggo4I968aL
— Fifty Shades of Whey (@davenewworld_2) August 11, 2020