It’s our first Hump Day in September: Wednesday, September 2, 2020, and National “Grits for Breakfast” Day. Why the scare quotes, though? Don’t be scared of grits!
You either love grits with breakfast or you hate them, and I’m in the first class—the right class. You can’t beat a good Southern breakfast of grits, fried eggs, country ham with red-eye gravy, strong coffee, and biscuits. Yes, there must be biscuits, and you mush up your grits with the runny egg and gravy. Here’s a photo of breakfast at the best place to get it in the South, the Loveless Cafe outside of Nashville. There’s one woman there whose only job is to make biscuits, for which the place is justly famous. In fact, everything is just a side dish to the main course of biscuits. Here are two photos I took when, at my request, my hosts at Vanderbilt took me there for breakfast when I was lecturing there in 2012:
The first course of biscuits! Homemade preserves, cherry, blackberry, and peach, comes alongside. As the biscuits arrive first, you have to be careful not too eat too many of them lest you have no appetite for the platter above:
It’s also World Coconut Day, National Blueberry Popsicle Day, and the 75th anniversary of Victory over Japan Day (or “VJ Day”), when World War II finally ended for the U.S. when the surrender documents were signed on the USS Missouri.
News of the Day: There’s a fair bit of news about Donald Trump’s mysterious visit to Walter Reed Hospital last November. It was reported by the White House as “the first part of a physical,” but the second part wasn’t completed, and there’s also a report that Pence was asked to stand by in case Trump had to be anesthetized for “a procedure.” That didn’t happen, apparently, but the state of the President’s health seems murky. Matthew says that videos like the one below may constitute evidence for “mini-strokes”, which, he adds, only the President has mentioned.
Watch this without laughing.
It’s not possible.
He’s the President of the Untied States of America… pic.twitter.com/UofWPJLiju
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) September 1, 2020
According to the Washington Post, a committee reporting to the mayor of Washington, D.C. has recommended wholesale renaming of buildings based on ideological impurities. To wit:
A committee reporting to D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser has recommended renaming dozens of public schools, parks and government buildings in the nation’s capital, after studying the historical namesakes’ connections to slavery and oppression.
The honorees whom the committee says should not have public works named for them include presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, William Henry Harrison, John Tyler, Zachary Taylor and Woodrow Wilson; Revolutionary leader Benjamin Franklin; inventor Alexander Graham Bell; and national anthem writer Francis Scott Key.
Here’s an article from yesterday’s New York Times by Harold Varmus, Nobel Laureate and former director of the NIH, and Rajiv Shah, President of the Rockefeller Foundation. Click on it, but if you can’t read it, it’s about testing, and criticizes the CDC’s new guidelines that fewer asymptomatic people should be tested (I think those guidelines were forced on the CDC by the Trump administration).
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 184,564, an increase of about 1100 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 856,214 849,779, a big increase of about 6500 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on September 2 include:
- 1666 – The Great Fire of London breaks out and burns for three days, destroying 10,000 buildings, including Old St Paul’s Cathedral.
- 1752 – Great Britain, along with its overseas possessions, adopts the Gregorian calendar.
- 1901 – Vice President of the United States Theodore Roosevelt utters the famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick” at the Minnesota State Fair.
- 1912 – Arthur Rose Eldred is awarded the first Eagle Scout award of the Boy Scouts of America.
Here’s Eldred (he also saved a child from drowning), the first of nearly two million Eagle Scouts:
- 1935 – The Labor Day Hurricane, the most intense hurricane to strike the United States, makes landfall at Long Key, Florida, killing at least 400.
This was the record in terms of the lowest pressure recorded in any US hurricane (892 mbar or 26.34 in Hg).
- 1945 – World War II: Combat ends in the Pacific Theater: The Japanese Instrument of Surrender is signed by Japan and the major warring powers aboard the battleship USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay.
- 1946 – The Interim Government of India is formed, headed by Jawaharlal Nehru as vice president with the powers of a Prime Minister.
- 1963 – CBS Evening News becomes U.S. network television’s first half-hour weeknight news broadcast, when the show is lengthened from 15 to 30 minutes.
- 1998 – Swissair Flight 111 crashes near Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia; all 229 people onboard are killed.
- 2013 – The Eastern span replacement of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opens at 10:15 PM at a cost of $6.4 billion, after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the old span.
The original cost estimate of the span was $250 million, so it cost more than 25 times the estimate.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1838 – Liliʻuokalani of Hawaii (d. 1917)
She was the only queen who ever ruled Hawaii, and did so for only two years. Here she is on the throne:
- 1946 – Billy Preston, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor (d. 2006)
- 1948 – Terry Bradshaw, American football player, sportscaster, and actor
- 1948 – Christa McAuliffe, American educator and astronaut (d. 1986)
- 1964 – Keanu Reeves, Lebanese-Canadian actor, singer, and producer
- 1966 – Salma Hayek, Mexican-American actress, director, and producer
Those whose metabolism ceased on September 2 include:
- 1910 – Henri Rousseau, French painter (b. 1844)
- 1964 – Alvin C. York, American colonel, Medal of Honor recipient (b. 1887)
- 1969 – Ho Chi Minh, Vietnamese politician, 1st President of Vietnam (b. 1890)
- 1973 – J. R. R. Tolkien, English novelist, short story writer, poet, and philologist (b. 1892)
Here’s Tolkien (photo from Tolkien Library):
- 2005 – Bob Denver, American actor (b. 1935)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is avoiding Szaron and Kulka (who often visit) by sleeping in the guest room:
A: Are you sleeping here? On this hard bench?Hili: Yes, because there are strange cats there.A: They are not strange cats.Hili: Everybody has his own definition.
Ja: Tu śpisz? Na tej twardej ławie?Hili: Tak, bo tam są obce koty.Ja: To nie są obce koty.Hili: Każdy ma swoją definicję.
In nearby Wloclawek, Leon and Mietek cuddle and have a chat (their staff are both teachers, and school in Poland opened yesterday):
Leon: They went to school. Finally we have a moment of quiet.
From Jesus of the Day: a real photo with the caption, “Meanwhile in Australia Angry Birds 2020 edition has started. View from a rear facing motorcycle helmet camera. Photo credit : Monique Newton.”
A cartoon sent by Woody. I’ve surely alluded to this before, but don’t remember posting a cartoon:
From Charles: A Mike Lukovich cartoon about the GOP Convention:
Singer Adele got accused big time of cultural appropriation when she wore her hair in “Bantu knots”—an African hairstyle—as well as a bikini top with the Jamaican flag on it. The occasion was the Notting Hill Carnival.
Here’s one of the Offended:
If 2020 couldn't get anymore bizarre, Adele is giving us Bantu knots and cultural appropriation that nobody asked for.
This officially marks all of the top white women in pop as problematic.
Hate to see it. pic.twitter.com/N9CqPqh7GX
— Ernest Owens (@MrErnestOwens) August 30, 2020
I’m on the side of Naomi Campbell (whose mother was born in Jamaica), Zoe Saldana, and Chelsea Handler, whose comments on Adele’s Instagram post are below. There’s no way that Adele is hurting anybody here, and she’s clearly appropriating black culture out of admiration. People really need to lighten up.
Tweets from Matthew: an excellent Beatles/beetles tweet:
— Moose Allain Ꙭ (@MooseAllain) August 31, 2020
Yesterday was the 81st anniversary of the start of WWII in Europe. Here’s a disturbing video of how the Nazis began their attack on Poland:
In the early hours of 1 September 1939 Germany's Luftwaffe started bombarding the Polish town of Wieluń. The attack is considered to be the first war crime committed by Nazi Germany in World War II. Bombs destroyed ca. 70 percent of the town's buildings. pic.twitter.com/GKD6BQxw0N
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 1, 2020
I didn’t look closely enough to see if the trig calculation is set up properly here, but I hope some reader will freeze the frame and let us know:
The unexpected Tom and Jerry trigonometry problem. When Jerry is about to be eaten by Tom, the woodpecker makes some quick trigonometric calculations and saved Jerry in a genius way. This is hilarious 😍 pic.twitter.com/oRbfU4SXEb
— Abakcus (@abakcus) August 30, 2020
To see what the Tweeter means by “the film,” you’ll have to turn the sound up (sorry!):
this – to me – is more important than the film pic.twitter.com/BmarHDvgDt
— crispin best (@crispinbest) August 27, 2020
And, like the awesome cat above, this Polish man nevertheless persisted:
Here's a man who refuses to sell his land to property developers, casually harvesting his crops in the middle of a housing estate in Poland. pic.twitter.com/0iUDepchDy
— Emma Szewczak (@EmmaSzewczak) August 26, 2020
Matthew said, “Wait until they come to the UK”, and helpfully provided a picture of UK outlets (below):
— Nancy (@SluggoIsLit) August 27, 2020