Top of the morning and middle of the week to you: it’s Wednesday, September 16, 2020, and Peach Pie Day. You’ll be lucky if you get some this week! It’s also National Guacamole Day, National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, World Play-Doh Day, National Collect Rocks Day, and Mexican Independence Day (“Cry of Dolores“; see below).
Don’t forget to vote for Clarence the Cat; you can vote once daily through Facebook. If Clarence wins, his vet bills will be paid off with the $5000 prize. There is a day and two-thirds left to bring this moggy over the top.
News of the day: For the first time in its 175-year history, Scientific American has endorsed a Presidential candidate. And you can bet it isn’t Trump. From the editorial (h/t Barry):
The evidence and the science show that Donald Trump has badly damaged the U.S. and its people—because he rejects evidence and science. The most devastating example is his dishonest and inept response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which cost more than 190,000 Americans their lives by the middle of September. He has also attacked environmental protections, medical care, and the researchers and public science agencies that help this country prepare for its greatest challenges. That is why we urge you to vote for Joe Biden, who is offering fact-based plans to protect our health, our economy and the environment. These and other proposals he has put forth can set the country back on course for a safer, more prosperous and more equitable future.
Here’s a misguided op-ed in the Washington Post by Danielle Pletka, senior fellow of the American Enterprise Institute: “I never considered voting for Trump in 2016. I may be forced to vote for him this year.” Forced? WHY? Her response:
I fear Trump’s erratic, personality-driven decision-making. His contempt for NATO is alarming, as is his delusion that he can manage rogue leaders. I don’t doubt that his eagerness to withdraw U.S. troops from their stability missions in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq will encourage conflict and terrorism. And I fret that his bizarrely isolationist attitude toward international trade will hurt the U.S. economy and splinter the global trading juggernaut that over the past half-century has brought the world amazing prosperity, lifting hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty.
But I fear the leftward lurch of the Democratic Party even more.
. . . With Donald Trump, I know what I am getting. He wears his sins on the outside. For good and ill, he runs his administration. I worry more about his incompetence and vacillation than I do about any dictatorial tendencies. On the other side, however, I am increasingly persuaded that what I see in Joe Biden — whom I first met in 1992, and whom I believe to be a decent person — would merely be the facade for an administration, fully backed by both houses of Congress, with an agenda that would seriously damage the nation.
And so it goes. But the Washington Post satirized that op-ed with another by Alexandra Petri, “I can’t believe you’re forcing me to vote for Trump, which I definitely didn’t already want to do.” What a burn! And some people thought this piece was serious.
Good news from reader Tom (click on screenshot to read more):
Below: a sad story about how a man intensely devoted to protecting Brazil’s reclusive indigenous tribes was mistakenly killed by a tribesman with a bamboo arrow:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 195,683, an increase of about 1300 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 934,444, an increase of about 6,500 deaths from yesterday. And we’re approaching a million deaths worldwide.
Stuff that happened on September 16 includes:
- 1620 – Pilgrims set sail from England on the Mayflower.
- 1810 – With the Grito de Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo begins Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain.
The “cry” is the ringing of the same bell sounded in Dolores, but now in Mexico city, and run by Mexico’s president.
- 1880 – The Cornell Daily Sun prints its first issue in Ithaca, New York. The Sun is the United States’ oldest, continuously-independent college daily.
- 1959 – The first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, is introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City.
I still remember the days before Xeroxing caught on, when we had to use mimeograph machines with their purple gel. Here’s the Xerox 914:
- 1961 – Typhoon Nancy, with possibly the strongest winds ever measured in a tropical cyclone, makes landfall in Osaka, Japan, killing 173 people.
- 1966 – The Metropolitan Opera House opens at Lincoln Center in New York City with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera Antony and Cleopatra.
- 1976 – Armenian champion swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan saves 20 people from a trolleybus that had fallen into a Yerevan reservoir.
Here’s a 7-minute video of Karapetyan’s heroic effort, and he is a hero by any definition. Injuries sustained in the multiple rescue ended his swimming career:
- 1992 – The trial of the deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega ends in the United States with a 40-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering.
Noriega died in 2017 under house arrest, after he’d been released from prison.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1858 – Bonar Law, Canadian-Scottish banker and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1923)
- 1925 – B.B. King, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer (d. 2015)
- 1950 – Henry Louis Gates Jr., American historian, scholar, and journalist
- 1952 – Mickey Rourke, American boxer and actor
- 1971 – Amy Poehler, American actress, comedian, and producer
- 1992 – Nick Jonas, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
Those who perished from this Earth on September 16 include:
- 1672 – Anne Bradstreet, English poet (b. 1612)
- 1911 – Edward Whymper, English-French mountaineer, explorer, and author (b. 1840)
Whymper and his party were the first to ascend the Matterhorn (1865), but four of the party of seven died on the descent when the rope broke. Here’s the famous painting of that incident by Gustav Doré:
- 1932 – Ronald Ross, Indian-English physician and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1857)
- 1980 – Jean Piaget, Swiss psychologist and philosopher (b. 1896)
- 2009 – Mary Travers, American singer-songwriter (b. 1936)
- 2013 – Patsy Swayze, American dancer and choreographer (b. 1927)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili repudiates kitten Kulka:
Hili: I hope she will not come closer to me.A: Why do you think she won’t?Hili: I hissed at her tellingly.
Hili: Mam nadzieję, że ona do mnie nie podejdzie.Ja: Dalczego tak sądzisz?Hili: Syczałam na nią wymownie.
Word has it that Hili rubbed up affectionately against Szaron yesterday—a real first. Apparently both Hili’s staff and Szaron were astonished, with Szaron standing in place for a long time afterwards. But today’s dialogue shows that Hili still doesn’t like kitten Kulka.
But Kulka and Szaron are still inseparable friends:
From Stash Krod:
From Pyers, referring to the UK’s new social-gathering restrictions:
From Titania. Have a look at some of those tweets!
I still cannot believe JK Rowling has written a novel which implies that trans people can be villains.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) September 15, 2020
This ferret is OUT COLD!
Ferret falling asleep 💤 pic.twitter.com/jS7bxKtjcn
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) September 14, 2020
A tweet from Steve Stewart-Williams (he gives good tweets), whose book I reviewed yesterday:
This just amazes me. How is it possible for a human being to do this? pic.twitter.com/rrO5Tcqowc
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) September 14, 2020
A tweet from Simon. Another army of runner ducks doing their work and getting food (they eat insects and snails that damage the crops). See here for more benefits of the ducks (h/t Grant).
DUCK ARMY: Drone footage captures 10,000 ducks “cleaning” rice paddies in Thailand. Farmers use the ducks to remove pests from the fields. pic.twitter.com/zwu5AqmAZk
— CBS News (@CBSNews) September 15, 2020
From Luana. Berkeley jumps the shark (well, the jump happened a while back, so this is another shark.
When someone tells you who they are, believe them. When our University of California law schools tell you that they stand for the terrible, racist, and cynical assumptions of Critical Race Theory, believe them. https://t.co/NnzvaKDgR7
— James Lindsay, thankful (@ConceptualJames) September 15, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. Sound up so you can hear the adorable moo-let:
The little moo he does 😁😁😁😁 pic.twitter.com/39s3hO4pG7
— The Feel Good Page ❤️ (@akkitwts) September 11, 2020
Here’s an eye-fooler. As Matthew explains, “The lines are black, the crosses are red (hence the pens – he’s just drawn this) but because of the way your retina is wired up you end up seeing a neon blur around the red cross. It isn’t there.”
— Akiyoshi Kitaoka (@AkiyoshiKitaoka) September 15, 2020
I’m not sure if moths get this kind of romantic name compared to other insects, but perhaps entomologists can weigh in. Sound up:
Entomologists when naming other insects vs entomologists when naming moths pic.twitter.com/XbIU2nTKJU
— Matt Morrow (@PoorMatty) September 14, 2020