Good morning on a cooler Friday, August 28, 2020: National Chop Suey Day, a dreadful Chinese-American concoction, unknown in China, that, in the version I was served as a child has canned crispy noodles and CELERY. Oh, and a gooey sauce made with lots of cornstarch. No thank you! This is pretty much what I remember eating as a kid (but with canned crispy noodles on top):
I do, however, approve of National Cherry Turnovers Day and especially Red Wine Day, but no so much of National Bow Tie Day. I think the last time I wore a bow tie was when I was about four years old.
Today’s Google Doodle takes you through the main story points of The Count of Monte Cristo, a classic tale of betrayal and revenge, while celebrating its author, Alexandre Dumas. The animated slideshow uses a graphic novel style to harken back to the heydey of newspaper comics, just as The Count of Monte Cristo was originally published in a newspaper.
News of the Day: Hurricane Laura did serious damage to southern Louisiana the last two days, but fortunately, though the winds were high and damaging, the storm surge (influx of water inland) was not as severe as expected. The death toll as of last evening was four.
As expected, the Trump campaign, as evidenced in his acceptance speech last night from the White House, is casting itself as the party of law and order, and the Democrats as the party of anarchy. (Several readers have pointed out that rioting and looting would play into Trump’s hands, no matter who’s doing it.) Here’s a quote from his speech:
“Your vote will decide whether we protect law-abiding Americans, or whether we give free rein to violent anarchists, agitators and criminals who threaten our citizens,” . . . “and this election will decide whether we will defend the American way of life, or whether we allow a radical movement to completely dismantle and destroy it. That won’t happen.”
In a good response, Biden claimed that what we’re experiencing now is “Trump’s America”, not a country under Biden’s administration. Still, I’m worried that Trump will get a bump from the widespread rioting these days. Were the protests peaceful, Trump wouldn’t be able to make the statement above.
Confusingly, the CDC has walked back its new recommendation not to test people asymptomatic for covid-19—a change apparently mandated the other day by the Trump administration. Now, although those new guidelines remain on the CDC website, the director, Robert Redfield, tried to “clarify” the change by saying, “testing may be considered for all close contacts of confirmed or probable Covid-19 patients.” Considered? What about “recommended”? His further explanation didn’t make things clearer:
“Testing is meant to drive actions and achieve specific public health objectives,” Dr. Redfield wrote. “Everyone who needs a Covid-19 test, can get a test. Everyone who wants a test does not necessarily need a test; the key is to engage the needed public health community in the decision with the appropriate follow-up action.”
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 180,728, an increase of about 1100 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 830,859, an increase of about 6,000 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on August 28 include:
- 1789 – William Herschel discovers a new moon of Saturn: Enceladus.
- 1845 – The first issue of Scientific American magazine is published.
This is still the oldest continuously published magazine in the U.S.
- 1867 – The United States takes possession of the (at this point unoccupied) Midway Atoll.
- 1879 – Cetshwayo, last king of the Zulus, is captured by the British.
The Zulus were ruthless in warfare; here’s an excerpt from Wikipedia about Cetswayo’s methods:
As he conquered a tribe, he enrolled its remnants in his army, so that they might in their turn help to conquer others. He armed his regiments with the short stabbing assegai, instead of the throwing assegai which they had been accustomed to use, and kept them subject to an iron discipline. If a man was observed to show the slightest hesitation about coming to close quarters with the enemy, he was executed as soon as the fight was over. If a regiment had the misfortune to be defeated, whether by its own fault or not, it would on its return to headquarters find that a goodly proportion of the wives and children belonging to it had been beaten to death by Chaka’s orders, and that he was waiting their arrival to complete his vengeance by dashing out their brains. The result was, that though Chaka’s armies were occasionally annihilated, they were rarely defeated, and they never ran away.
Here he is in 1882 with the caption, “”Photographed by Alex. Bassano, 25, Old Bond Street”. Cetswayo visited England that year:
- 1943 – Denmark in World War II: German authorities demand that Danish authorities crack down on acts of resistance. The next day, martial law is imposed on Denmark.
- 1955 – Black teenager Emmett Till is brutally murdered in Mississippi, galvanizing the nascent civil rights movement.
Till’s mother insisted that he be given an open-casket memorial to show how he’d been brutalized by the murderers. You can see that photograph at this link, but it’s really too gruesome and depressing for me to put up.
- 1957 – U.S. Senator Strom Thurmond begins a filibuster to prevent the Senate from voting on Civil Rights Act of 1957; he stopped speaking 24 hours and 18 minutes later, the longest filibuster ever conducted by a single Senator.
- 1963 – March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom: The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. gives his I Have a Dream speech.
It’s good for us to hear this speech at least once a year, though the modern civil rights movement seems to have repudiated part of his perordation.
- 1988 – Ramstein air show disaster: Three aircraft of the Frecce Tricolori demonstration team collide and the wreckage falls into the crowd. Seventy-five are killed and 346 seriously injured.
- 1990 – Iraq declares Kuwait to be its newest province.
- 2003 – In “one of the most complicated and bizarre crimes in the annals of the FBI“, Brian Wells dies after becoming involved in a complex plot involving a bank robbery, a scavenger hunt, and a homemade explosive device.
This is a truly bizarre crime, and I was fascinated (and horrified) to read about it.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1749 – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German novelist, poet, playwright, and diplomat (d. 1832)
- 1774 – Elizabeth Ann Seton, American nun and saint, co-founded the Sisters of Charity Federation in the Vincentian-Setonian Tradition (d. 1821)
- 1833 – Edward Burne-Jones, English artist of the Pre-Raphaelite movement (d. 1898)
- 1903 – Bruno Bettelheim, Austrian-American psychologist and author (d. 1990)
- 1908 – Roger Tory Peterson, American ornithologist and author (d. 1996)
- 1925 – Donald O’Connor, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 2003)
O’Connor was a movie polymath. Here’s his famous “Make ‘Em Laugh” sequence from the 1952 movie “Singing in the Rain”:
- 1954 – George M. Church, American geneticist, chemist, and engineer
- 1965 – Shania Twain, Canadian singer-songwriter
- 1969 – Sheryl Sandberg, CEO of Facebook and Founder of Leanin.org
- 1969 – Jack Black, American actor and comedian
- 1982 – LeAnn Rimes, American singer-songwriter and actress
Those whose existence ended on August 28 include:
Just remember, when a theologian tells you that Augustine thought the Bible could be seen as a series of metaphors, that he also thought it was literally true, so you can’t get out of literalism by citing Augustine The Hippo (see pp. 57-58 of Faith Versus Fact.)
- 1784 – Junípero Serra, Spanish priest and missionary (b. 1713)
- 1903 – Frederick Law Olmsted, American journalist and architect, co-designed Central Park (b. 1822)
- 1987 – John Huston, Irish actor, director, and screenwriter (b. 1906)
- 2012 – Shulamith Firestone, Canadian-American activist and author (b. 1945)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s lurking in “my” bedroom on the first floor. She’s irritated because she doesn’t like Szaron and Kulka hanging about, and takes it out on Andrzej:
A: I thought you were in the kitchen.Hili: Sometimes I have a feeling that you think too much.
Ja: Myślałem, że jesteś w kuchni.Hili: Czasem mam wrażenie, że za dużo myślisz.
Malgorzata took some pictures of Kitten Kulka when she jumped onto Andrzej as he was working:
From Bad Cat Clothing:
A groaner from Barry:
From Jesus of the Day:
From Luana: bad reporting, deliberately downplaying violence) from CNN. It’s this kind of stuff, as I noted above, that plays right into Trump’s hands.
This isn’t a news report. This is disinformation and propaganda. How low they must regard their audience if they sincerely believe that people watching will not notice. pic.twitter.com/N583u7hMpa
— Inaya Folarin Iman (@InayaFolarin) August 27, 2020
Also from Luana. Apparently the fire was set deliberately, though it hasn’t been deemed a “hate crime.”
From Dom: THE WOLVERINES ARE BACK!
Wolverines Return to Mount Rainier National Park After More Than 100 Years, News Release: https://t.co/qmCkTDsFAU
Video of three wolverines at the end of a snowfield then running through a meadow into a forest. Credit: Travis Harris -kl pic.twitter.com/ALwJoAOmTG
— MountRainierNPS (@MountRainierNPS) August 20, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. In the first one, at least the cockatoo didn’t injure the intruding pigeon.
"i don't fucking think so, Terry"
📹: Reddit user Amanbbi pic.twitter.com/nYFZ91sI3O
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) August 27, 2020
A clever thing to do with cloud photos:
Galway Clouds pic.twitter.com/N2ZAIfgNyt
— ✏️__Chris Judge (@chrisjudge) August 23, 2020
Don’t forget that sponges are animals:
Look at this absolute unit pic.twitter.com/KVArNdxeks
— Ferris Jabr (@ferrisjabr) November 22, 2019
A liquid cat. Matthew says that for this one, “sound OFF!”
This is a swallow, and the tweet is very poetic and moving:
Beyond imagining that this tiny shard of life, two days from the nest and less than six weeks from the oviduct, might (barring more attempts to migrate through my kitchen) be flying over @TimDee4 and Africa’s farthest shore. Fly safe, fly wild. pic.twitter.com/KDJ3d5uwnj
— Nick Acheson 🦆🐝🦗🌼🚲 (@themarshtit) August 26, 2020