We’re into the weekend, and fall is coming on strong, as: it’s Saturday, September 12, 2020, National Chocolate Milkshake Day. It’s also International Drive Your Studebaker Day (does anybody have one?), National Iguana Awareness Day, Aunt’s Day (which aunt?), Video Games Day, and National Day of Encouragement, whatever that’s for.
News of the Day: Don’t forget to vote for Clarence to pay off his vet bills. Vote here; it’s free. He’s in first place, and we must keep him there. There are 5.5 days left, and you can vote for free once every 24 hours. Do it for Ceiling Cat!
Regular news: After the UAE voted to normalize relations with Israel, Bahrain just announced it is doing the same. I hope this is the beginning of a trend.
Reader Ken sent a link to a New Hampshire Union-Leader article reporting that a woman in Exeter voted topless:
The unidentified woman cast the bare-breasted ballot after showing up at the Talbot Gymnasium polls wearing a shirt with images of President Donald Trump and the late Sen. John McCain and the legend “McCain Hero/Trump Zero.”
Town Moderator Paul Scafidi told the woman, who appeared to be about 60, that she would have to remove the shirt or cover it up because of laws against electioneering inside polling places — though Trump’s name wasn’t on Tuesday’s state primary ballot.
When the woman, who was wearing a mask, pointed out someone wearing a shirt with an American flag, she was told that was different.
“She said, ‘You want me to take my shirt off? That’s what you want?’” Scafidi recalled.
He told the woman it was her choice, and before he could say anything more, the shirt was gone. She was not wearing a bra.
She was not arrested.
The Washington Post reports that a group of students at Miami University of Ohio were having an unmasked beer-drinking gathering on the front porch of a house. A police check revealed that several had Covid-19, but they apparently didn’t care. Six students were cited (a civil violation) and fined $500 each. But is that enough to deter others? As somebody said, a university rule that depends on 100% voluntary compliance will never be properly obeyed. I’m worried about my own school opening up in a couple of weeks (part virtual learning, part “real” learning).
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 192,853, an increase of about 1,200 deaths over yesterday’s report. We’ll soon hit the dreaded 200,000 mark that nobody thought possible. The world death toll now stands at 913,780, an increase of about 3,700 deaths from yesterday. And here we’re approaching a million deaths.
Stuff that happened on September 12 includes:
- 1609 – Henry Hudson begins his exploration of the Hudson River while aboard the Halve Maen.
- 1846 – Elizabeth Barrett elopes with Robert Browning.
- 1910 – Premiere performance of Gustav Mahler’s Symphony No. 8 in Munich (with a chorus of 852 singers and an orchestra of 171 players. Mahler’s rehearsal assistant conductor was Bruno Walter).
- 1933 – Leó Szilárd, waiting for a red light on Southampton Row in Bloomsbury, conceives the idea of the nuclear chain reaction.
Here’s Szilard (right) at the University of Chicago, where the first self-sustaining fission reaction took place in the gym, Stagg Field. That gym is no more, but there’s a Henry Moore sculpture on the site:
- 1938 – Adolf Hitler demands autonomy and self-determination for the Germans of the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.
- 1940 – Cave paintings are discovered in Lascaux, France.
- 1952 – Strange occurrences, including a monster sighting, take place in Flatwoods, West Virginia.
Now this is a weird one. Three boys saw a UFO and a weird being that looked like this:
After investigating the case in 2000, Joe Nickell of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry concluded that the bright light in the sky reported by the witnesses on September 12 was most likely a meteor, that the pulsating red light was likely an aircraft navigation/hazard beacon, and that the creature described by witnesses closely resembled an owl. Nickell suggested that witnesses’ perceptions were distorted by their heightened state of anxiety. Nickell’s conclusions are shared by a number of other investigators, including those of the Air Force.
The night of the September 12 sighting, a meteor had been observed across three states—Maryland, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. According to Nickell, three flashing red aircraft beacons were also visible from the area of the sightings, which could account for descriptions of a pulsating red light and red tint on the face of the supposed monster.
How could they mistake an owl for a being twice as big as a human?
- 1953 – U.S. Senator and future President John Fitzgerald Kennedy marries Jacqueline Lee Bouvier at St. Mary’s Church in Newport, Rhode Island.
A photo of the wedding:
- 1959 – Bonanza premieres, the first regularly scheduled TV program presented in color.
Hoss: Pass the potatoes, Little Joe.
- 1962 – President Kennedy delivers his “We choose to go to the Moon” speech at Rice University.
Here’s Kennedy’s famous statement, and of course we were on the Moon in less than a decade. That’s remarkable!
- 1984 – Dwight Gooden sets the baseball record for strikeouts in a season by a rookie with 276, previously set by Herb Score with 246 in 1954. Gooden’s 276 strikeouts that season, pitched in 218 innings, set the current record.
- 2011 – The National September 11 Memorial & Museum in New York City opens to the public.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1852 – H. H. Asquith, English lawyer and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1928)
- 1880 – H. L. Mencken, American journalist and critic (d. 1956)
The great man:
- 1888 – Maurice Chevalier, French actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1972)
- 1898 – Ben Shahn, Lithuanian-American painter and photographer (d. 1969)
- 1913 – Jesse Owens, American sprinter and long jumper (d. 1980)
- 1931 – George Jones, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 2013)
- 1944 – Barry White, American singer-songwriter (d. 2003)
Here’s Barry White in a famous scene from the t.v. show Ally McBeal, in which a big fan of Barry gets a special birthday present:
- 1981 – Jennifer Hudson, American singer and actress
- 1986 – Emmy Rossum, American singer and actress
Those who began pining for the fjords on September 12 include:
- 1660 – Jacob Cats, Dutch poet, jurist, and politician (b. 1577)
- 1977 – Steve Biko, South African activist (b. 1946)
- 1992 – Anthony Perkins, American actor, singer, and director (b. 1932)
- 1993 – Raymond Burr, Canadian-American actor and director (b. 1917)
- 2003 – Johnny Cash, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor (b. 1932)
- 2008 – David Foster Wallace, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1962)
- 2009 – Norman Borlaug, American agronomist and humanitarian, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1914)
- 2014 – Ian Paisley, Northern Irish evangelical pastor (Free Presbyterian Church) and politician, 2nd First Minister of Northern Ireland (b. 1926)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili prepares to edit Listy:
Hili: We have to mobilize our whole strength to work.A: How?Hili: First, it’s best to take a nap.
Hili: Musimy zmobilizować wszystkie siły do pracy.Ja: Jak?Hili: Najlepiej najpierw się przespać.
And nearby, at the site of their future home, Leon and Mietek are juiced about the weekend:
Leon: The weekend has started, which means there are plenty of things to do.
Two photos of kitten Kulka As Malgorzata said, “In a few months we will have trouble telling Kulka and Hili apart.”
From reader Pliny the in Between’s Far Corner Cafe:
From Jesus of the Day:
All tweets today are from Matthew, who fortunately is not on one of his sporadic holidays from Twitter.
First, chicken training. I’m not sure if this chicken is encountering the situation for the first time here, but even if not, it’s still a good example of “active learning”:
Since I’m reflecting on training memories, I was pretty devastated that we couldn’t run our chicken training classes this year due to covid. We ran these for the first time last year (inspired by @HazelSJ @peta_taylor) to teach @unimelb undergrads about the science of learning pic.twitter.com/PrKxqsDpDY
— Your Animal Welfare Science (@YAWScience) September 10, 2020
Boris Johnson has threatened to field “covid marshals” to enforce quarantine rules. This swan would be a great one, for it knows how a mask should be worn.
Some covid marshals are swanshttps://t.co/S76d4Oj3L4
— James Felton (@JimMFelton) September 11, 2020
I yearn to be back on my Rollerblades again, but I can’t find ones with a stiff boot rather than a soft shoe. It was great exercise, and, importantly, fun exercise. But I never got to do this:
A four horse race with only one genuine horse and no defined course. pic.twitter.com/qFKlRAQTlG
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) September 11, 2020
Okay, some enterprising reader needs to find out more about this:
In the 1870s, Belgian postal workers from the city of Liège attempted to train 37 cats to deliver the post. They were not successful.
— Quite Interesting (@qikipedia) September 11, 2020
This is a hydrozoan:
What in the world, who knows the name of this beauty? 🤔🤔🤔
By @snorkeldownunder pic.twitter.com/kex7oEdlYh
— MaduroDive (@MaduroDive) February 26, 2020
Back to politics and the banality of evil:
Just crazy. Trumps lawyer – a speaker at the RNC — was collaborating with an “active Russian agent” to try to influence our presidential election. On a normal boring day before the Trump era, this would be a giant national story and scandal. But today, it barely registers. https://t.co/VKa41JBQ6c
— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) September 11, 2020
Matthew, knowing me, sent me this tweet with the note, “This will trigger you terribly BUT IT ALL TURNS OUT OK.”
Make sure to watch until the end… pic.twitter.com/IhYIqFrFz9
— Guy Hutchinson (@GuyHutchinson) September 10, 2020
As Johnny Carson used to say, “I did not know that.”
Later called spintriae (from a Greek slang word referring to male prostitutes), they were stamped on one side with depictions of a variety of sex acts and on the other with numbers from 1 to 16. And not one contemporary record mentions them or explains what they were used for. pic.twitter.com/6Gg7XQNzVZ
— David Thomas Moore (@dtmooreeditor) September 9, 2020