Well, September is right on our tail since it’s August 31, 2020. Tomorrow is what I’ll take to be the beginning of Autumn, though it doesn’t really start until September 21. It’s National Trail Mix Day (mine consisted of dried fruit, M&Ms, and peanuts), as well as Eat Outside Day (which is what you’re going to do if you go to a restaurant). It’s also National Matchmaker Day, and National Diatomaceous Earth Day (remember when you got a vial of the white stuff with your starter microscope kit?).
Posting may be light today as I have some extra-website writing to do. Bear with me.
News of the Day: First, the good news. Seth Goldstein, a retired engineer, has been making Rube Goldberg machines—if you’re a Brit, W. Heath Robinson machines—for a while, but he’s completed his masterpiece during the pandemic. Pictured below is the “Rube Goldberg exercise bike,” which not only gives you exercise, but also scratches your back and dispenses both drinks and cookies. Here’s a video:
Oh dear lord, another killing, this time in Portland with the victim apparently a Trump supporter, part of a caravan of right-wingers who cruised through the city, clashing with protestors. People are blaming it on Trump, but I pin it on guns and tribalism. People are getting killed on both the Right and Left, and I can’t stand any more shootings.
In the NYT, liberal Gail Collins and conservative Bret Stephens have their sporadic joint column, this time on “Joe Biden had better watch it,” describing the conventions and strategies Biden needs to adopt to win. (I’m still not worried.)
O Canada! A march in Montreal in favor of defunding the police (in CANADA!) ended with the protestors toppling a statue of the nation’s first prime minister, Sir John Macdonald. Macdonald created Canada’s “residential schools” program that took indigenous people from their families and sent them to horrible schools to deprogram them.
From the Reuters report:
“Whatever one might think of John A. Macdonald, destroying a monument in this way is unacceptable,” Quebec Premier François Legault said in a tweet. “We must fight racism, but destroying parts of our history is not the solution.”
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 182,986, an increase of about 300 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 845,984,, an increase of about 3,900 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on August 31 includes:
- 1422 – King Henry V of England dies of dysentery while in France. His son, Henry VI becomes King of England at the age of nine months.
Of course he didn’t govern then; a “regency council” did it. Henry VI was crowned King of England and France at age 7, but didn’t get any real power until he was 16.
- 1864 – During the American Civil War, Union forces led by General William T. Sherman launch an assault on Atlanta.
- 1888 – Mary Ann Nichols is murdered. She is the first of Jack the Ripper’s confirmed victims.
- 1897 – Thomas Edison patents the Kinetoscope, the first movie projector.
Here’s what an early Kinetoscope looked like. You’d peep in through the top, with the film moving inside:
- 1939 – Nazi Germany mounts a false flag attack on the Gleiwitz radio station, creating an excuse to attack Poland the following day, thus starting World War II in Europe.
That radio tower still stands—possibly the tallest wooden structure in the world (387 feet or 118m ). This is where WWII really began, and you can go see it in Gliwice, Poland:
- 1957 – The Federation of Malaya (now Malaysia) gains its independence from the United Kingdom.
- 1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales, her companion Dodi Fayed and driver Henri Paul die in a car crash in Paris.
- 2006 – Edvard Munch’s famous painting The Scream, stolen on August 22, 2004, is recovered in a raid by Norwegian police.
Notables born on this day include:
- AD 12 – Caligula, Roman emperor (d. 41)
- 1870 – Maria Montessori, Italian physician and educator (d. 1952)
- 1879 – Alma Mahler, Austrian-American composer and author (d. 1964)
- 1907 – William Shawn, American journalist (d. 1992)
- 1935 – Eldridge Cleaver, American activist and author (d. 1998)
Cleaver is now gone, but was once a leader in the Black Panther Party. His collection of essays, Soul on Ice, written when he was in Folsom State Prision, was something we all read in college. Here he is with his wife Kathleen (also famous for radicalism) and their child, photographed in exile in Algeria:
- 1945 – Van Morrison, Northern Irish singer-songwriter
- 1945 – Itzhak Perlman, Israeli-American violinist and conductor
Those who were ferried by Charon on this day include:
- 1654 – Ole Worm, Danish physician and historian (b. 1588)
- 1867 – Charles Baudelaire, French poet and critic (b. 1821)
- 1963 – Georges Braque, French painter and sculptor (b. 1882)
- 1973 – John Ford, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1894)
- 1979 – Sally Rand, American actress and dancer (b. 1904)
Rand was of course “the fan dancer”, teasing audiences with views of her in silhouette, supposedly nude (she usually wasn’t). Here’s a fan dance from the 1934 World’s Fair:
- 1997 – Dodi Fayed, Egyptian film producer (b. 1955)
- 1997 – Diana, Princess of Wales (b. 1961)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili gets some new noms, but is hardly grateful:
A: I bought a new treat for cats.Hili: Just in time because I would like to eat something.
Ja: Kupiłem nowy przysmak dla kotów.Hili: W samą porę, bo właśnie coś bym zjadła.
Here are two pictures of little Kulka, who now has a collar and is running all over the place. Here she’s standing on the jars that Hili used to stand on as a kitten:
And here’s Hili as a kitten standing on the jars. Don’t the two look similar?
A meme from Scott:
From Jesus of the Day:
Well, we haven’t heard from Dan Arel for a while, but his Twitter feed used to be good for a lot of laughs (he didn’t intend it, of course). It apparently still is. He doesn’t seem to have thought about white looters, and emitted the tweet that he later deleted. But someone saved it.
deleted, but the List comes for all, @danarel.
— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) August 30, 2020
From Barry who says. “Look at this thing. We need to find his spaceship pronto.”
(Parablepharis kuhlii asiatica) pic.twitter.com/MCTRxqOzwL
— ༺❆ᗙ Martin 🏳️🌈 ᗛ❆༻ Party time🍷 (@KlatuBaradaNiko) August 30, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. It’s parlous times to be a college professor. This one was really polite, but a disaffected student is trying to bring him down:
Reporting your professor to the administration for not having the right racial breakdown on the syllabus; instantly being granted an audience with the dean. pic.twitter.com/ldX9QOFNXi
— Jesse Singal (@jessesingal) August 30, 2020
As Matthew said, “Matte painting is a great skill.”
Charlie Chaplin might have looked like he was in danger of falling over a ledge in Modern Times, but the shot was actually achieved using a matte painting
(Animation from a making of documentary on the Criterion edition of Modern Times) pic.twitter.com/9nTl5T0qH9
— Silent Movie GIFs (@silentmoviegifs) August 26, 2020
A most excellent cartoon:
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) August 30, 2020
Andrew Hendry, whom I know, is an evolutionary biologist in Canada, a land where men are lumberjacks and the moose are big:
— Andrew Hendry (@EcoEvoEvoEco) August 29, 2020
A Galápagos marine iguana filmed underwater:
— Роман Федорцов (@rfedortsov) August 30, 2020
And some university censorship: