Well, another damn work week is upon us. Greetings, brothers and sisters, comrades, ladies and gentlemen: it’s Monday, August 24, 2020: National Peach Pie Day, a summer treat I haven’t had for years. It’s also National Waffle Day, National Lobster Thermidor Day, National Peanut Butter Day, and National Eskimo Pie Day. You might be aware that “Eskimo Pies” are being renamed because the name is considered racist. I don’t think a replacement name has yet been chosen, but “Inuit Pies” are probably not it.
Speaking of lobsters, here’s a joke:
A man walks into a bar carrying a large lobster and orders a double scotch. The barman pours him a drink and remarks “That’s a good-sized lobster you have there.”
“Do you like lobsters?” asks the man, who obviously has had several scotches prior to arriving at this bar.
“I love them.” replies the barman.
“Well, here. Take it.” The drunken sod passed the lobster to the barman.
“Thank you very much.” he said. “I’ll take it home for dinner.”
“No, no, no.” said the drunk. “He’s already had his dinner. Why don’t you take him to see a movie or something?”
It’s also National Compliment Day, which brings up another food-related joke:
A man goes into one of those Seattle fern bars and orders a drink. As he nurses his white wine, a peanut jumps out of the bowl on the table, runs up to him and says, “Nice turtleneck, buddy” and proceeds out the door.
“Whoa”, thinks the man with the wine.
A minute later, another goober runs by and yells, “Great haircut, pal”, and strides out the door.
“Hey bartender”, calls out the patron, “What’s with these peanuts?”
“Oh, they’re complimentary snacks, sir”.
I’ll be here all year, folks. (I just discovered that the last three holidays are actually on January 24, but I’d already put down the jokes, so grin and bear it.
News of the Day: In our poll yesterday on Trump and his dark mutterings about mail-in voting, readers were overwhelmingly of the opinion that he would try to hold on to the Presidency in defeat. Here’s the poll as of 4:30 a.m. today (the ungodly hour when I arose:
I am not that pessimistic, so if one reader wants to bet me $50 that Trump will not concede defeat if he loses, and will continue to fight for his office, I’ll take that bet! (We’ll need a neutral third party to set down the rules.)
I’m not sure why this is touted as Big News, but I’ve seen it everywhere: Donald Trump’s sister, Maryanne Trump Barry, was secretly recorded by her niece, Mary L. Trump, disparaging the Donald. Mary Trump (also the President’s niece), has published a new book, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World’s Most Dangerous Man. It’s unethical, though I think in some places legal, to record somebody without telling them (there are 15 hours of these tapes!), but at any rate Barry was recorded as saying stuff like this:
“His goddamned tweet and the lying, oh, my God,” she says in one of the recordings posted by the newspaper. “I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying.”
Is that really “news”? We already knew all that.
This is not news but cool: a very famous “selective attention test,” which takes just a minute. Take it here and answer the questions(s).
The latest college to experience a Covid-19 outbreak is Georgia Tech, which so far has recorded 251 cases, with 33 new cases recorded on Saturday, including 17 in one fraternity house. That house is now on lockdown. As Neil Young sang in “Ohio”, “How many more?” CNN has an article on “The simple reason why colleges are reopening,” and the answer is what you might expect: it’s the dosh, Jake. The piece gives many ways that the influx of money into universities is reduced when students learn virtually and don’t show up on campus.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 176,694, an increase of about 450 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 808,243, an increase of about 4,300 deaths from yesterday. The death toll worldwide is creeping towards a million.
Stuff that happened on August 24 include:
- 410 – The Visigoths under king Alaric I begin to pillage Rome.
- 1349 – Six thousand Jews are killed in Mainz after being blamed for the bubonic plague.
- 1662 – The Act of Uniformity requires England to accept the Book of Common Prayer.
- 1682 – William Penn receives the area that is now the state of Delaware, and adds it to his colony of Pennsylvania.
- 1814 – British troops invade Washington, D.C. and during the Burning of Washington the White House, the Capitol and many other buildings are set ablaze.
- 1909 – Workers start pouring concrete for the Panama Canal.
- 1932 – Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly across the United States non-stop (from Los Angeles to Newark, New Jersey).
Here’s Earhart’s Lockheed Vega 5B, in which she flew across the US (that flight took ) as well as across the Atlantic. The trans-US flight took 19 hours and 5 minutes. You can see this plane in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum in northern Virginia:
This is a video of her departure that May on her solo flight across the Atlantic in the same plane. It took her 15 hours to fly from Newfoundland to Londonderry. She was the first woman to do that solo flight, and the first person since Lindbergh’s 1927 flight, which took 33.5 hours.
- 1941 – Adolf Hitler orders the cessation of Nazi Germany’s systematic T4 euthanasia program of the mentally ill and the handicapped due to protests, although killings continue for the remainder of the war.
- 1967 – Led by Abbie Hoffman, the Youth International Party temporarily disrupts trading at the New York Stock Exchange by throwing dollar bills from the viewing gallery, causing trading to cease as brokers scramble to grab them.
Here’s a short video about Hoffman and the incident, designed to draw attention to his cause (protesting the Vietnam war):
- 1981 – Mark David Chapman is sentenced to 20 years to life in prison for murdering John Lennon.
- 1989 – Cincinnati Reds manager Pete Rose is banned from baseball for gambling by Commissioner A. Bartlett Giamatti.
- 2006 – The International Astronomical Union (IAU) redefines the term “planet” such that Pluto is now considered a dwarf planet.
That’s sizeism! It is a planet, not a “dwarf” planet!
Notables born on this day include:
Weddell’s Seal (Leptonychotes weddellii), which I saw in Antarctica, is named after him, since his expedition was the first to discover the species. It has this amazing habit of gnawing holes in sea ice, as it lives on the ice and has to have a way to fish, to surface, and to breathe when underwater. As you can imagine, this wears down its teeth seriously, and many seals have abscesses:
- 1872 – Max Beerbohm, English essayist, parodist, and caricaturist (d. 1956)
- 1898 – Malcolm Cowley, American novelist, poet, literary critic (d. 1989)
- 1929 – Yasser Arafat, Egyptian-Palestinian engineer and politician, 1st President of the Palestinian National Authority (d. 2004)
- 1950 – Tim D. White, American paleoanthropologist and academic
- 1955 – Mike Huckabee, American minister and politician, 44th Governor of Arkansas
- 1957 – Stephen Fry, English actor, journalist, producer, and screenwriter
- 1960 – Cal Ripken, Jr., American baseball player and coach
- 1965 – Marlee Matlin, American actress and producer
- 1973 – Dave Chappelle, American comedian, actor, producer and screenwriter
Here’s Chappelle’s recounting of the Jussie Smollett incident in Chicago, in which Chappell dubs him “The French actor Juicy Smulliet” (note: n-word!)
Those who began resting in peace on August 24 include:
- 1943 – Simone Weil, French philosopher and activist (b. 1909)
- 2004 – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, Swiss-American psychiatrist and academic (b. 1926)
- 2013 – Julie Harris, American actress (b. 1925)
- 2018 – Robin Leach, English entertainment reporter and writer (b. 1941)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has become so cynical that she even suspects the weather report is “fake news”:
A: They are forecasting a heat wave for tomorrow.Hili: Probably they are being paid to say so.
Ja: Zapowiadają na jutro upał.Hili: Pewnie im za to płacą.
Andrzej took four photos of Szaron and Kulka; Malgorzata explains:
Here is a series of pictures of Szaron eating from a bowl in the kitchen and Kulka trying to fit into a tiny space under the kitchen shelves:
I’m told that Kulka weighs almost a kilo now (2.2 pounds!).
And Matthew sent in this picture of his three cats lounging in the garden. His notes:
Harry at 12 o’clock, Pepper at 4 o’clock, Ollie at 8 o’clock . Harry is nearly 6. Ollie and Pepper are 13 and are brothers. They all have fleas at the mo.
From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe:
From Jesus of the Day, we have Ceiling Cat!
Titania’s back in action (actually, I approve of Ben and Jerry’s social-conscience activism):
Fantastic to see that @benandjerrys has an “Activism Manager”.
But why haven’t they commented on FGM, the war in Yemen or the ongoing debates over Ethiopia’s ethnic federalist system?
Until these purveyors of ice cream break their silence, such problems cannot be resolved. 🤐 pic.twitter.com/aRialgp22d
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) August 23, 2020
I found this (I think), but after I retweeted it I read that you’re not supposed to pick up sloths because it stresses them out. Still, I think that’s better than being run over by a car!
Animals are grateful when they feel Your humanity towards her .. pic.twitter.com/C8DD4hmjSU
— ℓυşţ мαη (@almalah1411) August 21, 2020
From reader Simon (a scientist), who likes this site because it uses videos and photos as metaphors for doing science:
Giving a talk without slides https://t.co/lHdXF8LBlW
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) August 23, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Remember “Gladly the cross-eyed bear”? Here’s Gladly the cross-eyed cat, natty in pinstripes:
Head massage 🙄😅 pic.twitter.com/Cyn7ihAGJA
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) August 23, 2020
This is amazing, but also kind of sad:
Check out the Labidus army ant death spiral. https://t.co/fERMV6Y3ja
— Alex Wild (@Myrmecos) August 23, 2020
There’s nothing cuter in the world of waterfowl than a mother merganser giving her babies a ride:
Common Merganser (Mergus merganser)🐦🦜🕊️🎵🦆🐤❤️🐤 pic.twitter.com/q8JPpb24Aq
— World birds (@worldbirds32) June 8, 2020
I had no idea these planes existed until Matthew sent me this tweet. Kudos to the skillful pilots who fly them.
— Maz Jovanovich (@maz_jovanovich) August 22, 2020
Something else I was unaware of. The plants are parasites on underground fungi: they do not photosynthesize and so produce none of their own nutrients.
Fairy lanterns (Thismia; Thismiaceae, Dioscoreales) are believed to be extremely rare and narrowly endemic plants. Despite that, many new Thismia populations have been recently discovered in Borneo. https://t.co/9l0uU310TF pic.twitter.com/0PfvWnA3Cq
— Sofía Martínez-Villalpando (@sofiabiologista) August 23, 2020