Welcome to Ceiling Cat’s Day: Sunday, August 16, 2020: National Rum Day. It’s also National Bratwurst Day (make mine with grilled onions (or kraut) and mustard), God’s Preeminence Day (WTF?), National Airborne Day, and Tell a Joke Day. Okay, so here’s a joke, and you have to tell one in the comments:
Two cows were standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, “I was artificially inseminated this morning.”
“I don’t believe you,” said Dolly.
“It’s true–no bull!”
I’ll be here all year, folks.
News of the Day: Donald Trump’s younger brother, Robert Trump, died yesterday in a New York hospital at age 71. Details of what killed him haven’t been reported, but he was apparently ill for some time.
I don’t blame students and parents who feel they are being robbed by having to pay full or nearly full college tuition when there are no live classes and, often, no resident students on campus. Harvard, for example, which will have no live classes this semester, is still charging $49,653 for tuition. There will be some students in residence (40% of the total population), and the total cost including room, board, and fees is $72,391. (One-fifth of the entering students have deferred entry rather than face virtual “learning”, and I don’t blame them.) No wonder parents are rebelling and demanding hefty tuition refunds throughout the U.S., as reported by the NY Times. Although the University of Chicago is still set to open with some live classes and live students on campus, I wouldn’t bet that this will happen.
The well known song by the Band, “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” is being criticized for glorifying the Confederacy (see also here), has been called “racist”, and has been rewritten to denigrate the Confederacy for one performance. But to me Robbie Robertson’s song describes the suffering of a poor white Southern farmer from war’s depredations, and never for a minute did I think it glorified the Confederacy. Listen for yourself. I just did, and I can’t see what the fracas is about.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 169,394, an increase of about 1000 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 770,308,, an increase of about 6400 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on August 16 includes:
- 1792 – Maximilien de Robespierre presents the petition of the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, which demanded the formation of a revolutionary tribunal.
- 1858 – U.S. President James Buchanan inaugurates the new transatlantic telegraph cable by exchanging greetings with Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom. However, a weak signal forces a shutdown of the service in a few weeks.
- 1896 – Skookum Jim Mason, George Carmack and Dawson Charlie discover gold in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada, setting off the Klondike Gold Rush.
So eager were prospectors to get rich (most of course didn’t), that they schlepped stuff over snow-covered passes. Here’s a photo from Wikipedia of “Klondikers carrying supplies ascending the Chilkoot Pass, 1898″:
- 1920 – Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit on the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day. Chapman was the second player to die from injuries sustained in a Major League Baseball game, the first being Doc Powers in 1909.
- 1930 – The first color sound cartoon, Fiddlesticks, is released by Ub Iwerks.
Here’s “Fiddlesticks”, starring Flip the Frog:
- 1960 – Joseph Kittinger parachutes from a balloon over New Mexico at 102,800 feet (31,300 m), setting three records that held until 2012: High-altitude jump, free fall, and highest speed by a human without an aircraft.
Here’s a three-minute documentary about the jump:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1924 – Fess Parker, American actor (d. 2010)
- 1946 – Lesley Ann Warren, American actress
- 1958 – Madonna, American singer-songwriter, producer, actress, and director
- 1967 – Mark Coyne, Australian rugby league player
Those who took up residence on their cloud on August 16 include:
- 1678 – Andrew Marvell, English poet and author (b. 1621)
- 1705 – Jacob Bernoulli, Swiss mathematician and theorist (b. 1654)
- 1733 – Matthew Tindal, English philosopher and author (b. 1657)
- 1899 – Robert Bunsen, German chemist and academic (b. 1811)
Yes, he invented the Bunsen burners. You could do worse than be immortalized (well, till the Sun burns us up) in the name of a chemistry-la fixture.
- 1938 – Robert Johnson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1911)
And here’s Johnson’s most famous song, “Crossroad,” sung by him. Johnson died at 27; the cause is unclear, but he may have been poisoned.
- 1948 – Babe Ruth, American baseball player and coach (b. 1895)
- 1956 – Bela Lugosi, Hungarian-American actor (b. 1882)
- 1973 – Selman Waksman, Ukrainian-American biochemist and microbiologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1888)
- 1977 – Elvis Presley, American singer, guitarist, and actor (b. 1935)
- 1997 – Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistani musician and Qawwali singer (b. 1948)
I was lucky enough to see Nusrat (I always think of “muskrat” when I read it) in concert in Chicago. (He died at 48 from obesity-related issues.) He was about two hours late, and didn’t care. But his qawwali performance was terrific. Here’s an example:
- 2002 – Abu Nidal, Palestinian terrorist leader (b. 1937)
- 2018 – Aretha Franklin, American singer-songwriter (b. 1942)
- 2019 – Peter Fonda, American actor, director, and screenwriter. (b. 1940)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili was photographed hissing at Szaron. She just can’t bring herself to be friendly to the new cat, who is a sweet and loving boy. Hili is the cat equivalent of Honey, who cannot tolerate other ducks (except her own brood).
A: Why are you so enraged?Hili: I’m not enraged, I’m just instructing Szaron to mind his own business.
Ja: Czemu jesteś taka wściekła?Hili: Nie jestem wściekła, tylko pouczam Szarona, żeby pilnował swoich spraw.
Here are some pictures of Kulka and her BFF Szaron taken by Andrzej, who calls the set “Poranne igraszki” (“Morning fun”). Have a gander, for Kulka won’t remain an adorable kitten forever!
From Jesus of the Day:
Also from Jesus of the Day. Oy!
From Stash Krod. I think these are inevitable. . .
What’s up with Titania’s Twitter account? When you go there, you see the notice below, but you can still access her tweets. The last one, though, was four days ago.
“Unusual activity from this account”? What does that mean?
A tweet from reader Al. One of these books is not like the others. And somebody doesn’t know the books they’re trying to sell! Ever weirder, this bookstore, at Cal Poly, has left the tweet up. Could the display be an inside joke?
From Simon. Is the duck really making that rhythm? (Sound up, of course.)
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) August 15, 2020
From Barry. Look at the expression on that cat’s face!!!
That cat is definitely plotting his owners death. pic.twitter.com/HQbEZcFtDf
— Betty (@BettyB919) August 15, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. The first one is a cliffhanger, but ends well (for the mammal):
"You have to ask yourself one question, do I feel lucky? Well do you punk?"
Great pictures by Mark Strachan to FB, Weasel vs. Grey Heron in Scotland.
Oh! You're all dying to know. The Weasel…
… got AWAY! pic.twitter.com/6kARIvypb0
— Paul Tout (🇬🇧/🇮🇪 in 🇮🇹 nr 🇸🇮 & 🇭🇷) (@adriawildlife) August 12, 2020
This is a CATERPILLAR, and looks as if it has a fake head to throw off predators (check out the video in the second tweet):
— mouuuusa (@muakbno) August 15, 2020
Feeling low? You might want to skip this Zach Weinersmith cartoon:
— SMBC Comics (@SMBCComics) August 14, 2020
A mating ritual in ciliates!
Is this love?
Awesome example of synchronized swimming during courtship before conjugation.
🔬Stentor auricula, a marine ciliate, #protists🔬
Specimens from coasts of Cantabria.
Video by @rmartinledo pic.twitter.com/2osTebGoRv
— Rafael Martín-Ledo (@rmartinledo) July 11, 2020