It’s nominally my day off, Saturday, October 24, 2020: National Bologna Day. It’s also World Tripe Day (I tried it once, couldn’t stand it), Food Day, National Good and Plenty Day (celebrating the candy said to be “the oldest branded candy in the United States”), National Pit Bull Awareness Day (“awareness” may be a double entendre), World Polio Day (celebrating the birthday of Jonas Salk in 1914), and United Nations Day, the anniversary of the 1945 Charter of the United Nations.
News of the Day: CBS News “Speaking Frankly” show created a 26-minute show, “How ‘cancel culture’ changed these three lives forever.” You might give it a look; it’s amazing that a mainstream t.v. network tackled the issue. One of the three “cancelees” is TNT’s Cenk Uygur, but he’s hardly been “canceled.” He lost his run for Congress, but that’s about it. Another is Bret Weinstein, who argues that his platform is actually much larger than before, though of course the social-justice mobs cost him his job. (h/t Barry)
The Guardian reports that the U.S., in conjunction with a passel of other “pro-life” nations, has signed a “Geneva Consensus Declaration” (see statement here) that puts our government squarely against abortion and in bed with a bunch of repressive and misogynistic regimes. From the report (h/t: Jószef):
The US has today [Oct 22]signed an anti-abortion declaration with a group of about 30 largely illiberal or authoritarian governments, after the failure of an effort to expand the conservative coalition.
The “Geneva Consensus Declaration” calls on states to promote women’s rights and health – but without access to abortion – and is part of a campaign by Trump administration, led by secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to reorient US foreign policy in a more socially conservative direction, even at the expense of alienating traditional western allies.
The “core supporters” of the declaration are Brazil, Egypt, Hungary, Indonesia and Uganda, and the 27 other signatories include Belarus (where security forces are currently trying to suppress a women-led protest movement), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Sudan, South Sudan, Libya.
Most of the signatories are among the 20 worst countries to be a woman according to the Women, Peace and Security Index established by Georgetown University.
A NYT op-ed by a research librarian, who decided to edit the Wikipedia entry on “Sichuan pepper” from the ground up, revealed how shoddy a source Wikipedia can be, supporting Greg Mayer’s thesis that the site is nearly useless. I disagree, but I have found plenty of errors. One day I’m going to go through the “Evolution” entry and see how accurate it is.
Yesterday set the record for new cases of Covid-19 since the pandemic began: at least 82,600 infections reported. The last record, on July 17, was 76,533. It’s going to be, literally and figuratively, a long, dark winter.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 223,948, a big increase of 1,900 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,150,140, a big increase of about 6,400 over yesterday’s report.
Lots of stuff happened on October 24 and includes:
Here’s a picture I took of the Cathedral from the main square two years ago. Sadly, the day was overcast, so the full glory of the stained-glass windows was muted:
- 1795 – Poland is completely consumed by Russia, Prussia and Austria.
- 1857 – Sheffield F.C., the world’s oldest association football club still in operation, is founded in England.
- 1861 – The first transcontinental telegraph line across the United States is completed.
- 1901 – Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Taylor went over on her 63rd birthday—and survived! Here she is with her barrel and her cat (the cat didn’t go over with her):
- 1926 – Harry Houdini‘s last performance takes place at the Garrick Theatre in Detroit.
That night before the show, an admirer, testing Houdini’s stomach muscles, punched him repeatedly in the stomach. This may have caused the ruptured appendix from which Houdini died seven days later. (Houdini was born into a Jewish family and was named Erik Weisz.). Here’s a Wikipedia photo labeled “Heavyweight boxer Jack Dempsey mock-punching Houdini (held back by lightweight boxer Benny Leonard)”. Houdini was small: only 5’6″.
- 1929 – “Black Thursday” on the New York Stock Exchange.
- 1945 – The United Nations Charter comes into effect.
- 1946 – A camera on board the V-2 No. 13 rocket takes the first photograph of earth from outer space.
This is a V2 launched by the U.S. over White Sands Missile Range. The photo, below, was taken at an altitude of 65 miles—five times higher than any photograph previously taken:
- 1947 – Famed animator Walt Disney testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee, naming Disney employees he believes to be communists.
Here’s part of Disney’s testimony. Sort of erodes his grandfatherly image, doesn’t it?
- 1949 – The cornerstone of the United Nations Headquarters is laid.
- 1975 – In Iceland, 90% of women take part in a national strike, refusing to work in protest of gender inequality.
- 1980 – The government of Poland legalizes the Solidarity trade union.
- 1992 – The Toronto Blue Jays become the first Major League Baseball team based outside the United States to win the World Series.
- 2002 – Police arrest spree killers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, ending the Beltway sniper attacks in the area around Washington, D.C.
- 2004 – Arsenal Football Club loses to Manchester United, ending a row of unbeaten matches at 49 matches, which is the record in the Premier League.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1632 – Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Dutch biologist and microbiologist (d. 1723)
- 1923 – Denise Levertov, British-born American poet (d. 1997)
- 1926 – Y. A. Tittle, American football player (d. 2017)
- 1930 – The Big Bopper, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1959)
The Big Bopper (real name Jiles Perry Richardson, Jr.) in a plane crash with Ritchie Valens and Buddy Holly on February 3, 1959—The Day the Music Died. He was 28. His most famous song was, of course, “Chantilly Lace.” Here’s the B.B. singing it (or rather lip-synching it) on Dick Clark’s show:
- 1936 – Bill Wyman, English singer-songwriter, bass player, and producer (The Rolling Stones and Bill Wyman’s Rhythm Kings)
- 1985 – Wayne Rooney, English footballer
- 1986 – Drake, Canadian rapper and actor
- 1989 – PewDiePie, Swedish YouTuber
Those who began playing the harp on October 24 include:
- 1601 – Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer and alchemist (b. 1546)
- 1852 – Daniel Webster, American lawyer and politician, 14th United States Secretary of State (b. 1782)
- 1945 – Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian soldier and politician, Minister President of Norway (b. 1887)
Quisling, a Nazi collaborator, was executed on this day for collaborating with the Nazis when he was head of occupied Norway. He was so detested that “quisling” is a well-known term for “traitor.” Here he is during his trial:
- 1958 – G. E. Moore, English philosopher and academic (b. 1873)
Two famous and courageous people who helped integrate America died on this date: Rosa Parks and Jackie Robinson.
- 1972 – Jackie Robinson, American baseball player and sportscaster (b. 1919)
Here’s a short video of the great Robinson:
- 2005 – Rosa Parks, American civil rights activist (b. 1913)
- 2016 – Bobby Vee, American pop singer (b. 1943)
- 2017 – Fats Domino, American pianist and singer-songwriter (b. 1928)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is pondering feline identity politics:
A: What are you thinking about?Hili: I’m checking cat privileges.A: And:Hili: They are still there.
Ja: Nad czym myślisz?Hili: Sprawdzam kocie przywileje.Ja: I co?Hili: Trzymają się.
From Fat Cat Art:
From Jesus of the Day: a bromide with a twist:
From Old Guys Drinking Beer:
Titania on the return of segregation:
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) October 23, 2020
Maarten Boudry, who conferred on me PHILOSOPHY CRED, sent a tweet of his cat Winston Purrchill playing the piano:
— Maarten Boudry (@mboudry) September 22, 2020
This tweet was sent me by both Matthew and reader Charles. Can you guess why the antennae are so elaborate and long? (Don’t ask me!)
"Male Callirhipid beetle displays his extravagant feelers which are over half the length of his body. Sarawak, Malaysia, Borneo. D850 | 100mm f/2.8 micro | ISO 100 | Shutter 1/250s | Aperture f/11 | three external flashes with custom diffusers." 📸Chien Lee Wildlife Photography pic.twitter.com/6hnBHNkTUl
— Sofía Martínez-Villalpando (@sofiabiologista) October 19, 2020
Reader Barry says, “Awww, this is a nice kitty.” It also appears to be a leucistic kitty:
That feels good!!!! Maybe I'll eat you later. 🤔🤣🤣🤣 pic.twitter.com/em71sxFRu5
— Dave M (@SpotTheLoon2010) October 21, 2020
Tweets from Matthew: I cannot imagine Trump doing this, at least with any sincerity. Be sure to put the sound up.
I had never seen this clip before today, and now I’m sitting here wiping tears from my face. Joe Biden is a good man, and he is our only hope to heal and restore the soul of our nation. pic.twitter.com/l7IuFx75QV
— Michelle Kinney (@MichelleKinney) October 21, 2020
Somewhere along the line, mantids with a mutation or mutations creating fake bird poop on their exoskeleton left more offspring than those lacking the poop pattern.
Gorgeous mantis whose leaf butt is complete with fake bird poop pic.twitter.com/3L4R8C91ty
— Digital Naturalism (@HikingHack) October 23, 2020
And look at that tail!
Happy #InternationalSnowLeopardDay!!! I’m honored to learn and work alongside passionate biologists to safeguard a future for these beautiful cats.
— Imogene Cancellare (@biologistimo) October 23, 2019
This is just plain weird:
My new fridge came with a noise description. pic.twitter.com/3FfNpD3PML
— Mildly Interesting (@interest_mild) October 20, 2020