Welcome to Ceiling Cat’s Day: Sunday, August 23, 2020: National Cuban Sandwich Day. And a good sandwich it is too, with ham, cheese, pickles, roast pork, and mustard, grilled until hot and gooey. If you haven’t tried one, try to find one in your area (easy if it’s Miami). Here’s a nice specimen:
It’s also Buttered Corn Day (a simple but wonderful treat), National Sponge Cake Day, and, on the non-food front, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition.
Finally, it’s Valentino Day, celebrating the matinee idol who died on this day in 1926 at only 31 years old. He was so handsome, in fact, that we named a drake hanging out at Botany Pond after him. Meet the gorgeous Rudolph:
News of the Day: According to the Washington Post, student university newspapers are beginning to blame administrators for current and future infections. And who could blame them? It’s the administrators who have to make the hard decisions about whether and how to reopen campuses. If they guess wrong, they’re screwed. What I don’t understand is why the administrators can’t blame the students as well, as unsafe student gatherings, in violation of guidelines, have already caused some campus outbreaks and premature “closures”.
I don’t really understand why universities with basically the same data make very different decisions about whether to have residential students or live classes. My own view is that I can’t see how any regular college can open with resident students, even if all classes are virtual, and not have a substantial risk of a Covid-19 outbreak. Are the students supposed to stay away from each other for the whole semester? If so, why even set foot on campus, especially if you don’t get to go to class?
A WaPo editorial caught my eye because of its title: “Joe Biden’s overtly religious campaign.” What? I haven’t heard him say much about God, though he’s a pious Catholic It turns out, according to the author’s description, Biden’s campaign isn’t even covertly religious, it’s metaphorically religious:
Which is to say: Joe Biden is running the most overtly religious campaign since Jimmy Carter in 1976. It is as clear as a large-print Bible. He’s offering himself as Father Joe and Joe the father: a devout, humble man of decency who sees and hears, we are told, all of the people, from his own family to all of the souls in our country, which itself has a “soul” that he is pledging to save for us.
That op-ed is clickbait, and should have been spiked. The author needs to learn the meaning of “overt”.
Meanwhile, California is on fire, but if you’re an American you’ll already know that. It’s grim.
Statewide fire map for Saturday, August 22. Thank you to all who are firefighting and keeping the public safe around the clock. pic.twitter.com/h5EBtpAl8x
— Cal OES (@Cal_OES) August 22, 2020
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 176,248, an increase of about 1,000 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 803,991, an increase of about 4,500 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on August 23 includes:
This was the prelude to the Big Blow that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, probably some time in October (dates are uncertain as we have only one eyewitness account). Here are some plaster casts of some of the victims in situ, made by pouring plaster into the hollows made when the ash-covered bodies decayed.
- 1305 – Sir William Wallace is executed for high treason at Smithfield, London.
- 1775 – American Revolutionary War: King George III delivers his Proclamation of Rebellion to the Court of St James’s stating that the American colonies have proceeded to a state of open and avowed rebellion.
- 1831 – Nat Turner’s slave rebellion is suppressed.
- 1927 – Italian anarchists Sacco and Vanzetti are executed after a lengthy, controversial trial.
- 1942 – World War II: Beginning of the Battle of Stalingrad.
- 1966 – Lunar Orbiter 1 takes the first photograph of Earth from orbit around the Moon.
- 1973 – A bank robbery gone wrong in Stockholm, Sweden, turns into a hostage crisis; over the next five days the hostages begin to sympathise with their captors, leading to the term “Stockholm syndrome“.
Here’s a photograph of three of the four hostages, and the captor, Jan-Erik Olsson, taken by police through a hole drilled in the wall. Olsson served ten years in prison for the act.
- 1990 – West and East Germany announce that they will reunite on October 3.
- 1991 – The World Wide Web is opened to the public.
- 1994 – Eugene Bullard, the only African American pilot in World War I, is posthumously commissioned as Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
Here’s Bullard in his uniform as a corporal (photo from U.S. Air Force):
- 2007 – The skeletal remains of Russia’s last royal family members Alexei Nikolaevich, Tsarevich of Russia, and his sister Grand Duchess Anastasia are discovered near Yekaterinburg, Russia.
- 2011 – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi is overthrown after the National Transitional Council forces take control of Bab al-Azizia compound during the Libyan Civil War.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1769 – Georges Cuvier, French biologist and academic (d. 1832)
- 1852 – Arnold Toynbee, English economist and historian (d. 1883)
- 1912 – Gene Kelly, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1996)
- 1940 – Galen Rowell, American mountaineer and photographer (d. 2002)
As I’ve said before, Rowell, who died young in a plane crash, is my favorite “mountain photographer”. Here’s one of his photos, “Split rock and cloud, Eastern Sierra (California, 1976)”
- 1970 – River Phoenix, American actor (d. 1993)
- 1977 – Jared Fogle, former spokesperson for chain restaurant Subway
Fogle’s now in prison for pederasty.
- 1978 – Kobe Bryant, American basketball player and businessman (d. 2020)
Those who became ex persons on this day include:
- 634 – Abu Bakr, Arabian caliph (b. 573)
- 1305 – William Wallace, Scottish rebel commander (b. 1272)
- 1926 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor (b. 1895)
- 1927 – Nicola Sacco, Italian anarchist convicted of murder (b. 1891)
- 1927 – Bartolomeo Vanzetti, Italian anarchist convicted of murder (b. 1888)
- 1960 – Oscar Hammerstein II, American director, producer, and composer (b. 1895)
- 1982 – Stanford Moore, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1913)
- 1995 – Alfred Eisenstaedt, German-American photographer and journalist (b. 1898)
Here’s one of Eisenstaedt’s photos:
- 2019 – David Koch, American engineer, businessman, and philanthropist (b. 1940)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has questions:
Ja: Dni są coraz krótsze.Hili: Ciekawe jak to tłumaczą płaskoziemcy?
In nearby Wloclawek, Kitten Mietek is all grown up, and shows that he’s an adult cat:
Mietek: Somewhere around here is my snack.
From reader Beth:
From reader Charles. Protip: vet your skywriter if you want to declare your love before the world.
You’ll have to be of “a certain age” to get this, but I got it instantly:
From reader Barry. I distinctly remember posting this somewhere, but it could have been a repost on Twitter. At any rate, enjoy it again if you’ve seen it. The foxes are very, well, “fluffy”—certainly pets or domesticated canids:
Thirty seconds of foxes laughing is the start to your weekend that you didn't know you needed. 🔊
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) August 21, 2020
From Simon. It’s truly pathetic that they put silhouettes or stuffed animals in the seats at baseball stadiums to make it look like there are spectators. At least they don’t get hurt when the ball hits them.
Lifeless stare after impact. Definitely concussed, if not worse. Almost unBEARable to watch. https://t.co/J6r6DKkIV6
— Scott Lincicome (@scottlincicome) August 21, 2020
From reader Ken, who calls it “Donald Trump, marine biologist”:
Today in off-prompter vs. on-prompter… pic.twitter.com/TrnxSBO8mR
— The Recount (@therecount) August 20, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. These disses of Trump by Republicans look powerful, but some of them are probably the usual dissing during political campaigns. Still . . . .
this is a pretty wild compilation pic.twitter.com/M3qO7RDN03
— Adam Parkhomenko (@AdamParkhomenko) August 21, 2020
I nominate this for Tweet of the Year up to now. What lovely people to give their pool over to a duck family, and to feed them (note the mealworms!) and build them a duck ramp. Folks after my own heart!
This duck mom's been raising her babies in a woman's pool for the past 2 months 💗 pic.twitter.com/1sgkUvj4SQ
— The Dodo (@dodo) August 22, 2020
Absolutely beautiful drone footage. Somebody knows how to fly this one!
Someone told drone racers about the great outdoors. I'm not sorry. Iceland. pic.twitter.com/6P7KTgsdrz
— Frostbit Desert Frogger (@BT0731) August 22, 2020
Nature is both grim and wonderful, though I’m a bit unsure about why the wasp protects the eggs. Does the silk keep them from being eaten? And I didn’t know that wasps could even spin silk.
Video footage of a Brazilian eurytomid wasp that apparently spins silk over stink bug eggs to protect its own eggs inside: https://t.co/fMGUFhfjHc @MikeGates17 (sorry, still no specimens collected as far as I know)
— Charley Eiseman (@CSEiseman) August 22, 2020
I knew what was going to happen here because I saw something just like this (with the addition of a gazillion surfacing seals) on a whale-watching trip with Bruce Lyon near Santa Cruz. Everybody hangs around hoping for a fish.
Taken by David Minihane off Castletownbere on Monday. Just wait for it…… pic.twitter.com/naumi7E7Xn
— Cork Beo (@corkbeo) August 22, 2020