Good morning brothers and sisters, ladies and gentlemen, comrades, and those who don’t fit those categories: it’s Thursday, September 3, 2020, and it’s a good food holiday: National Baby Back Ribs Day. Now you’re talking! But, as a hardcore Chicagoan, I prefer rib tips. I haven’t had these since the pandemic started (I patronize only one joint, which certainly cannot permit social distancing as the “waiting corridor” is about three feet across), and it’s been a long, rib-less dry spell.
It’s also National Welsh Rarebit Day, immortalized in Winsor McCay’s wonderful comic, “Dream of the Rarebit Fiend“, in which people had weird, psychedelic dreams after consuming rarebit before bed. Google the images for the strip’s title to see some of the comics, amazing for their time. Below is a 1906 movie made of the cartoon, with the caption:
A short, silent film starring John P. Brawn as the titular fiend, who having gorged himself on Welsh Rarebit — melted cheese on toast — stumbles to bed via a rather hallucinatory encounter with a lamp post and falls into a troubled sleep. Inaugurated by a trio of pickaxe-wielding demons, his subsequent cheese-fuelled dream involves an inelegant flight through his window and over an urban nightscape, finally ending with a skewering by his pyjamas on a weather vane. The film features some pioneering special effects including a fully spinning sky and the aforementioned demons.
From CNN: Russian dissident Alexey Nvalny, who became ill last month when flying from Siberia to Moscow, was poisoned with a “Novichok” nerve agent, a group of chemicals developed by the Soviets in the Seventies. He’s recovering in a Berlin hospital, and should be okay, though they’ve put him in a coma. Despite condemnation from several world leaders, Trump has said virtually nothing about it, probably because of the Putin connection.
The UPI reports that a California judge has barred any use of the SAT and ACT standardized tests for admissions to the University of California. Previously it was up to the individual UC schools whether to require it, but now it’s prohibited to submit the scores or consider them. You can read the decision here. Earlier this year, though, the UC Faculty Senate voted to keep the ACT and SAT as admissions requirements, though the University administration overruled its own report.
And it looks as if the Russians are meddling with the elections again, this time spreading disinformation about Biden’s physical and mental health. Trump, of course, echoes the Russian claims, probably spurred on by the interference.
Tempest in a Teapot Department: According to the Washington Post, Nancy Pelosi is facing criticism because on Monday she went into a hair salon in San Francisco (these are officially closed) and got her hair done by an independent stylist. It’s not clear whether this was legal or not .(Pelosi says it was, but it appears that what she did was legal in some places in California but not San Francisco. Now she says it was a “setup”). But she also seemed to be a bit slipshod about wearing a mask. Granted, it’s not a huge deal, but for the Speaker of the House it’s bad optics, and played into Trump’s hands. Here’s one of several things he tweeted about it, in this case a retweet:
On the left: Nancy Pelosi today shaming Americans, saying "you must wear your mask."
— Trump War Room (@TrumpWarRoom) September 1, 2020
Crazy Nancy Pelosi is being decimated for having a beauty parlor opened, when all others are closed, and for not wearing a Mask – despite constantly lecturing everyone else. We will almost certainly take back the House, and send Nancy packing!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 2, 2020
“Crazy” Nancy Pelosi? How dignified of the President! And I wouldn’t bet on the GOP taking back the House. They may even lose the Senate.
I am not getting my hopes up, but the CDC is telling health officials to prepare for distribution of a Covid-19 vaccine by November. Apparently, even though no vaccine has passed Phase 3 trials, the vaccine may be rolled out for select groups without passing those trials if preliminary results are auspicious. Well, fingers crossed.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 185,638, an increase of about 1100 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 862,331, a very large jump of about 12,500 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on September 3 include:
- 301 – San Marino, one of the smallest nations in the world and the world’s oldest republic still in existence, is founded by Saint Marinus.
- 1189 – Richard I of England (a.k.a. Richard “the Lionheart”) is crowned at Westminster.
- 1658 – The death of Oliver Cromwell; Richard Cromwell becomes Lord Protector of England.
- 1777 – American Revolutionary War: During the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, the Flag of the United States is flown in battle for the first time.
- 1838 – Future abolitionist Frederick Douglass escapes from slavery.
- 1875 – The first official game of polo is played in Argentina after being introduced by British ranchers.
- 1895 – John Brallier becomes the first openly professional American football player, when he was paid US$10 by David Berry, to play for the Latrobe Athletic Association in a 12–0 win over the Jeanette Athletic Association.
- 1935 – Sir Malcolm Campbell reaches a speed of 304.331 miles per hour on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, becoming the first person to drive an automobile over 300 mph.
- 1941 – The Holocaust: Karl Fritzsch, deputy camp commandant of the Auschwitz concentration camp, experiments with the use of Zyklon B in the gassing of Soviet POWs.
Fritzsch disappeared after the war and his fate is unknown, though the most credible reports are that he committed suicide.
- 1944 – Holocaust: Diarist Anne Frank and her family are placed on the last transport train from the Westerbork transit camp to the Auschwitz concentration camp, arriving three days later.
- 1967 – Dagen H in Sweden: Traffic changes from driving on the left to driving on the right overnight.
This always fascinates me; the switch was made between 1 and 6 a.m. on that day, and then everybody had to drive on the other side. How this was done is detailed (but not sufficiently) in the Wikipedia article on Dagen H. There were lots of things to consider, including changing the side of buses on which the doors were placed. Curiously, there was a reduction of accidents right after Dagen H, probably because people were being careful, but the rate soon returned to normal.
Here’s a photo from Wikipedia showing some apparent confusion, labeled, “Kungsgatan, Stockholm, on Dagen H., 3 September 1967, during the night Sweden had changed from left-side traffic to right-side traffic.”
Notables born on this day include:
- 1856 – Louis Sullivan, American architect and educator, designed the Carson, Pirie, Scott and Company Building (d. 1924)
- 1869 – Fritz Pregl, Slovenian chemist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1930)
- 1907 – Loren Eiseley, American anthropologist, philosopher, and author (d. 1977)
- 1929 – Whitey Bulger, American organized crime boss (d. 2018)
- 1942 – Al Jardine, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- 1963 – Malcolm Gladwell, Canadian journalist, essayist, and critic
- 2010 – Tanitoluwa Adewumi, Nigerian-American chess player.
This is an amazing story. Wikipedia reports: “Tanitoluwa Emmanuel Adewumi (born September 3, 2010) is a Nigerian-born chess player who lives in New York City. He won the 2019 K-3 New York State chess championship at the age of eight, after playing the game for only a year, while living with his refugee family in a homeless shelter in Manhattan.”
And here’s a picture of the prodigy with his dad:
Those whose pull date was September 3 include:
- 1883 – Ivan Turgenev, Russian author and playwright (b. 1818)
- 1962 – E. E. Cummings, American poet and playwright (b. 1894)
- 1986 – Beryl Markham, English-Kenyan pilot, horse trainer, and author (b. 1902)
Markham, author of the must-read book West With the Night, was the first person (not just woman) to fly solo across the Atlantic from Britain to North America. Unconventional and independent, Markham is the aerial version of Karen Blixen, both writing beautifully about Kenya in colonial British times (the two were friends). Here’s a photo of Markham ca. 1930:
- 1991 – Frank Capra, Italian-American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1897)
- 2001 – Pauline Kael, American film critic and author (b. 1919)
- 2012 – Sun Myung Moon, Korean religious leader and businessman, founded the Unification Church (b. 1920)
- 2017 – Walter Becker, American musician, songwriter, and record producer (b. 1950)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili doesn’t need her walkies:
Hili: Where are you going?A: To the river.Hili: I’ve already been there, let’s go home.
Hili: Gdzie idziecie?Ja: Nad rzekę.Hili: Ja już tam byłam, chodźmy do domu.
From Scott, a cartoon by Andrews McMeel:
Someone sent me this Trumpian “Yo Semite” shirt from the National Museum of American Jewish History. There was no note inside, so if you’re the generous person who did this, email me so I can thank you.
Titania’s new book is out. A tweet from her alter ego:
Just a few of the illustrations from MY FIRST LITTLE BOOK OF INTERSECTIONAL ACTIVISM by @TitaniaMcGrath.
Out this week!
Amazon UK 🇬🇧 https://t.co/ntrupwlVOU
— Andrew Doyle (@andrewdoyle_com) September 2, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Quokkas are among the world’s cutest animals, and there’s even a section in the Wikipedia article on them called “quokka selfies“:
In the mid-2010s, quokkas earned a reputation on the internet as “the world’s happiest animals” and symbols of positivity due to their beaming smiles. Many photos of smiling quokkas have since gone viral, and the “quokka selfie” has become a popular social media trend, with celebrities such as Chris Hemsworth, Shawn Mendes, Margot Robbie and Roger Federer participating. Tourist numbers to Rottnest Island have subsequently increased.
Noting the popularity of smiling quokkas, the fact-checking website Snopes confirmed in 2020 that the animal exists, saying it had received questions from readers who thought it “was simply too cute to be real”.
The island of Rottnest near Perth, Australia is the primary home of the quokka, a type of marsupial. Quokkas have round, compact bodies that are 40-54 cm (16-21 in.) in length. They are covered with short, coarse brown-grey fur and have small rounded ears and a black nose. pic.twitter.com/HePVkqfTmh
— Sofía Martínez-Villalpando (@sofiabiologista) September 2, 2020
Here’s a good quokka selfie:
— Diana Peck (@castaliaandco) March 6, 2015
A vitally important culinary/political issue (“boneless chicken wings” are made from the breast meat)
🐔 Ander Christensen, a Nebraska resident, made a passionate plea to the Lincoln City Council to rename boneless chicken wings because they are not in fact wings from a chicken. WATCH –>> https://t.co/p9GWTgMiDO pic.twitter.com/PJbCUMQqSx
— NBC10 Philadelphia (@NBCPhiladelphia) September 2, 2020
More idiocy from our “President”:
Trump did a photo-op in front of a Kenosha business with its owner. "A day earlier would have saved his store,” said Trump.
But it wasn't the real owner, who had refused to join the photo-op. So Trump just pretended a prior owner was still in charge. https://t.co/JLXfDmhLSz pic.twitter.com/wddktkxXJl
— Don Moynihan (@donmoyn) September 2, 2020
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
–Jeremiah 8:20, King James Version
— Rabih Alameddine (@rabihalameddine) September 2, 2020
Look at that octopus hang on for dear life. All ends well!
I may have posted this before. Mathophiles may be able to figure out how this works:
OMG 😱 If you divide 1 by 998,001 you get all three-digit numbers from 000 to 999 in order, except for 998. pic.twitter.com/b66rRNfrCc
— Math Lady Hazel 🇦🇷 (@mathladyhazel) August 26, 2020