Welcome to another work week: it’s Monday, October 26, 2020: National Mincemeat Pie Day, celebrating a pie that was once a main course but now, sans meat, is a dessert. It’s Texas Chicken Fried Steak Day, a worthy Southern dish, and one indigenous to America (it’s not a schnitzel). Here’s one photographed at Hoover’s in Austin:
News of the Day:
In a rare Sunday session, the Senate voted, as we all knew, to advance the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court to a final vote. That vote will be today. Yesterday’s vote was 51-48, pretty much along party lines, but with two Republicans—Susan Collins and Murkowski—voting against the advancement. Murkowski, however, will support Barrett in the vote tomorrow.
And Mitch “Beelzebub” McConnell said this, all but saying that Trump is going to lose in a week, but gloating nonetheless about the Supreme Court:
“We made an important contribution to the future of this country,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Sunday, praising Barrett as a “stellar nominee” in every respect. “A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about this for a long time to come.”
The election is a week from tomorrow, and I suspect most of us have already voted. I’ve made about $400 worth of bets on Biden, and he hasn’t lost a beat since the debates. Here’s FiveThirtyEight‘s latest forecast and prediction of the electoral votes. Biden, of course, is in blue:
Do you feel better?
In response to Anthony Fauci’s suggestion that perhaps America needs a national mask mandate, and to new local mask regulations, yahoos throughout America are emitting howls of rage. On the evening news I saw a mask-burning ceremony, with the primates yelping as they torched masks, and you can read about this activity, most prominent in Florida, here.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 225,156, an increase of about 300 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,159,667, an increase of about 4,300 over yesterday’s report.
Stuff that happened on October 26 includes:
- 1825 – The Erie Canal opens, allowing direct passage from the Hudson River to Lake Erie.
- 1863 – The Football Association is founded.
- 1944 – World War II: The Battle of Leyte Gulf ends with an overwhelming American victory.
- 1958 – Pan American Airways makes the first commercial flight of the Boeing 707 from New York City to Paris.
The 707 was the first jet Boeing ever made. Here’s a flight on the last one used in passenger service, by Saha Air in Iran:
- 1967 – Mohammad Reza Pahlavi crowns himself Emperor of Iran.
- 1977 – Ali Maow Maalin, the last natural case of smallpox, develops a rash in Somalia. The World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention consider this date to be the anniversary of the eradication of smallpox, the most spectacular success of vaccination.
Here’s a photo of perhaps the last human to ever get smallpox; the Wikipedia caption is “Ali Maow Maalin (1954–2013), the last person to be naturally infected with Variola minor smallpox in October 1977, photographed in 1977, while the smallpox scabbing was still evident.”
Maalin, who spent much of his later life volunteering to give polio vaccines to children, died in 2013 of malaria:
- 1999 – Britain’s House of Lords votes to end the right of most hereditary peers to vote in Britain’s upper chamber of Parliament.
- 2002 – Approximately 50 Chechen terrorists and 150 hostages die when Russian special forces troops storm a theater building in Moscow, which had been occupied by the terrorists during a musical performance three days before.
Here’s an AP video of that horrific attack:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1874 – Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, American philanthropist, founded the Museum of Modern Art (d. 1948)
- 1902 – Beryl Markham, Kenyan horse trainer and author (d. 1986)
I recently reread Markham’s famous autobiography of her flying days in Africa, West with the Night. Well worth a read; here’s a photo of her and her plane:
- 1906 – Primo Carnera, Italian boxer and actor (d. 1967)
- 1916 – François Mitterrand, French lawyer and politician, 21st President of France (d. 1996)
- 1951 – Julian Schnabel, American painter, director, and screenwriter
Those who perished on October 26 include:
- 1764 – William Hogarth, English painter and engraver (b. 1697)
- 1902 – Elizabeth Cady Stanton, American activist (b. 1815)
- 1952 – Hattie McDaniel, American actress and singer (b. 1895)
McDaniel, of course, was the first African-American to win an Oscar—for best supporting actress (she played “Mammy”) in the 1939 film Gone With the Wind. Here’s a video of McDaniel accepting her Oscar; the presenter was Fay Bainter, who also got an Oscar for Jezebel. Note her hopes that she “will always be a credit to [her] race.” Curiously, McDaniel’s Oscar statue, which would be worth a fortune now, has disappeared.
- 1972 – Igor Sikorsky, Ukrainian-American engineer and academic, founded Sikorsky Aircraft (b. 1889)
Here’s a treat: photos of Matthew and I with our teddy bears, which we both still have. Matthew creatively named his bear “Teddy”:
Voila. You can see my mum replaced the leather patches on his paws, which fell apart, and also apparently embroidered a new nose and moth on him. He is still enucleated, but it doesn’t look too bad. He still smells of his stuffing, but that doesn’t bring back any Proustian memories sadly. I think the cloth the trousers are made out of came from a pair of my trousers I had when I was little.
My photo, taken just a few moments ago. I’m not yet caffeinated, and it shows. Anyway, meet Toasty, the bear I’ve had my entire life. My mother, too had to repeatedly fix him, including making him clothes and putting in new eyes. He’s sadly depilated now, and his overalls cover his shame.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is on Andrzej’s desk, trying to carry out her duties as editor of Listy:
A: Could you sleep somewhere else?Hili: No, because you would keep saying that I’m neglecting my duties.
Ja: Czy możesz spać w innym miejscu?Hili: Nie, bo znowu będziesz mówił, że lekceważę moje obowiązki.
Leon and Elzbieta have a selfie. The caption: “Saturday afternoon on the porch.”
And Paulina took four wonderful pictures of Kitten Kulka disporting herself:
From Bird and Moon, a great site and source of natural-history graphics by Rosemary Mosco. This goes for mallards, too!
Reader Charles sent a Mike Lukovich cartoon:
From Jesus of the Day:
From Paul via Carolyn Porco (sound up):
Now THAT'S how it's done!
— Carolyn Porco (@carolynporco) October 25, 2020
From Barry. Be sure to click on the embedded link (this one)!
After eight months of this pandemic, we finally found President Trump's plan to beat COVID-19. https://t.co/KO4g328Uvr
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) October 23, 2020
From Luana, a Nobel Laureate reports that he’s been deplatformed, probably because he favors the unfavored “herd immunity” solution to the pandemic. Still, he wasn’t even going to talk about the virus in his scheduled lecture:
My keynote uninvited from https://t.co/KhepqykXW8
“… too many calls by other speakers threatening to quit if you were there. They all complained about your COVID claims”.
Computational biology & biodesign are based on my work. Time to cancel them & me.
New Dark Age Cometh.
— Michael Levitt (@MLevitt_NP2013) October 18, 2020
Tweets from Matthew, who must be feeling Pandemic Malaise:
Aren’t we all, in the long run? https://t.co/vgCp2DbeNn
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) October 25, 2020
The ballot is supposed to be SECRET!
“Who you voting f—
Don’t you dare!
I hate you so much.” pic.twitter.com/iTbPZhtMdW
— Duncan Jones (@ManMadeMoon) October 25, 2020
A “bait ball” isn’t something created by humans, but a big, dense school of fish:
“A feeding frenzy only meters from a deserted beach along the Ningaloo Coast. Sharks of all sizes & species descended one of the many bait balls scattered along the beach this day.” #sharks #saveoursharks #MimsPR
🎥 Video & quote by: Alex Kydd pic.twitter.com/gjHUSQYc2Y
— Ariana Hanaity 🦈 (@ArianaHanaityPR) October 25, 2020
As I said when I retweeted this, it’s likely that in our lifetime we’ll see the last camp survivor pass away.
Three Jewish men who arrived at Auschwitz the same day. They were tattooed ten numbers apart. 73 years later they were reunited as part of the last eye witness project. May we never forget
#neverforget #Auschwitz pic.twitter.com/dVY6Nnv214
— Joseph steimetz (@JosephSteimetz) October 25, 2020
The anti-Trump conservative tweeted this yesterday:
One year ago today. https://t.co/BDIG553mOS
— Bill Kristol (@BillKristol) October 25, 2020