Good morning on Thursday, November 12, 2020: National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day. And indeed, it should be a federal crime to put fish on pizza—especially the malodorous anchovy. It’s also National French Dip Day (the Chicago version is the Italian Beef), Chicken Soup for the Soul Day (meh, unless there’s matzoh balls), Happy Hour Day, and World Pneumonia Day.
News of the Day:
First, for a nice break, go to this NYT article to hear the choices of “most wonderful songs by sopranos” from 16 writers, artists, critics, and singers. Those choosing include Renée Fleming, who names a Strauss song sung by Leontyne Price. There are click-on recordings of each person’s choice.
On January 5, Georgia’s two Senate seats will be decided in runoff elections. This is a crucial one for the Democrats, as if they win both seats, the Senate will be in a 50:50 tie, giving VP-elect Kamala Harris the tiebreaking vote in the Senate. Since Democrats hold the House, this would give Biden enormous power to effect legislative change. If Republicans win just one of the two, it will be 51-49 in favor of the GOP, and since parties tend to vote as blocs now, we’d be in a legislative stalemate that would last at least two years. We need Stacey Abrams, who was criticial in winning Georgia for Biden/Harris, to work extra hard in the next six weeks!
In other news, Franco is still dead, and President-eject Donald Trump has still not conceded the election. Some of his top aides suspect that a concession will never be forthcoming:
“Do not expect him to concede,” one top aide said. More likely, the aide said, “he’ll say something like, ‘We can’t trust the results, but I’m not contesting them.’”
Another adviser said that after the legal battles and recounts, the closest the president is likely to get to a concession is, “he’ll acknowledge the results and that we’ll never know how accurate they are.”
“But we’re not there yet,” the adviser said.
Multiple sources, including CNN and PBS, report that the coronavirus is coming back in the U.S. in a big way. More than 140,000 new cases were reported yesterday, and that’s a record. As far as hospitalizations go, CNN says this:
The COVID Tracking Project, a volunteer organization that compiles data on coronavirus cases, said the number as of Tuesday was 61,694. That’s 2,024 more people than were hospitalized on April 15, the previous record.
In the first ten days of November, more than a million people were infected, and, even though about 1,400 new deaths were reported deaths are reported this morning, Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation predicts another 110,000 deaths in the U.S. in the next two months.
New restrictions have been imposed in many states, including New York, and in Illinois, one of the most compliant states, we’ve been told to stay home and avoid all nonessential trips.
And let’s not forget that although America’s lost the most people, the world total is nearly six times larger. Yesterday Britain passed 50,000 deaths from the virus: the first country in Europe to reach this toll.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 241,689, a big increase of about 1,400 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,290,986, a big increase of about 9,800 over yesterday’s report.
Stuff that happened on November 12 includes:
- 1912 – The frozen bodies of Robert Scott and his men are found on the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
Here are the five men of Scott’s party who made it to the pole: a month after Amundsen’s team had beaten them there. None of these guys made it back.
- 1927 – Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in undisputed control of the Soviet Union.
Trotsky’s real name was Lev Davidovich Bronstein, and he was Jewish. Here’s a Wikipedia photo labeled: “Leon Trotsky speaks from the Armoured Train during the Russian Civil War in 1920.” He was clearly the model for Strelnikov in the movie “Dr. Zhivago.”
Here’s a picture of Trotsky’s desk, where he was murdered in 1940 by an agent of Stalin, who buried the adze of an ice axe in Trotsky’s skull. The desk and entire house are exactly as they were in 1940. (I took this photo in 2012). You must visit it if you’re in Mexico City; the house is a walled compound, as Lev was clearly expecting Stalin to come after him. It’s only a few blocks from Frida Kahlo’s house (the two were said to be lovers), and you can’t do better than visit them both in one day:
- 1936 – In California, the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opens to traffic.
- 1948 – In Tokyo, the International Military Tribunal for the Far East sentences seven Japanese military and government officials, including General Hideki Tojo, to death for their roles in World War II.
- 1954 – Ellis Island ceased operations.
- 1958 – A team of rock climbers led by Warren Harding completes the first ascent of The Nose on El Capitan in Yosemite Valley.
It took them 45 days to make the ascent going up and down and fixing ropes. Now it can be done in a day, and without ropes of any sort. Here’s the route on The Nose:
- 1961 – Terry Jo Duperrault is the sole survivor of a series of brutal murders aboard the Ketch Bluebelle.
- 1969 – Vietnam War: Independent investigative journalist Seymour Hersh breaks the story of the My Lai Massacre.
- 1970 – The Oregon Highway Division attempts to destroy a rotting beached Sperm whale with explosives, leading to the now infamous “exploding whale” incident.
Here’s the famous news report given at the link. What a disaster!
- 1980 – The NASA space probe Voyager I makes its closest approach to Saturn and takes the first images of its rings.
- 2003 – Shanghai Transrapid sets a new world speed record (501 kilometres per hour (311 mph)) for commercial railway systems, which remains the fastest for unmodified commercial rail vehicles.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1840 – Auguste Rodin, French sculptor and illustrator, created The Thinker (d. 1917)
- 1866 – Sun Yat-sen, Chinese physician and politician, 1st President of the Republic of China (d. 1925)
- 1929 – Grace Kelly, American actress, later Princess Grace of Monaco (d. 1982)
- 1934 – Charles Manson, American cult leader (d. 2017)
- 1944 – Booker T. Jones, American pianist, saxophonist, songwriter, and producer
- 1945 – Neil Young, Canadian singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
Young is 75 today. Here’s one of his best recorded concerts: his appearance on the BBC in 1971, when he was 25 or 26. That was half a century ago. This is a fantastic video.
- 1970 – Tonya Harding, American figure skater
- 1982 – Anne Hathaway, American actress
Those who kicked the bucket on November 12 include:
- 1916 – Percival Lowell, American astronomer, mathematician, and author (b. 1855)
- 1981 – William Holden, American actor (b. 1918)
- 1993 – H. R. Haldeman, American diplomat, 4th White House Chief of Staff (b. 1926)
- 1994 – Wilma Rudolph, American sprinter and educator (b. 1940)
Rudolph, who overcame polio as a child, won three gold medals in track and field at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Here’s some video. Sadly, she died at 54 from brain cancer:
- 2018 – Stan Lee, American comic book writer, editor, and publisher (b. 1922)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili bemoans the lack of prey:
Hili: The more I look the more I don’t see any mice.A: Maybe they are eating breakfast in their burrows?
Hili: Im bardziej patrzę, tym bardziej żadnej myszy nie widać.Ja: Może śniadanie w norkach jedzą?
And here’s Kitten Kulka, with the caption, “Kulka is getting more similar to Hili.” But I noticed that Kulka has gold eyes, while Hili’s are green.
Two loons from reader Ken. Remember the Tea-Party conservative Michele Bachmann, Minnesota Congresswoman from 2001-2007. Here she is channeling Paula White, asking Jesus to dispel all kinds of delusions, including Joe Biden as President. But she forgot to call for angels from Africa!
Former congresswoman Michele Bachmann calls on God to "smash the delusion, Father, that Joe Biden is our president. He is not." pic.twitter.com/gqoFP97ipT
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) November 9, 2020
A tweet from Andrée. Sound up!
— The Dodo (@dodo) November 10, 2020
Here’s a Texas televangelist laughing in tongues at the idea that Joe Biden was elected President.
Televangelist Kenneth Copeland laughs at the media for declaring that Joe Biden has won the election and will become president. pic.twitter.com/ARHqmsEbo7
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) November 8, 2020
From Luana. The Woke are nosing around in the dictionaries again. . .
They changed the definition of bigot. pic.twitter.com/U9c69hgHtf
— Chad Felix Greene (@chadfelixg) November 8, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. It’s definitely worth following the “Crap Wildlife Photography” group on Facebook. There are dozens of wonderful animals shots like these:
— #WOMENSART (@womensart1) November 11, 2020
It’s well worth watching this 3-minute cat video. Sound up.
When she jumps over the other cat 😹 pic.twitter.com/iwM2kuI5MK
— The Dodo (@dodo) November 11, 2020
I’ve always been fascinated by the developmental change in the patterns of tapirs. When they’re born, they look like watermelons:
The baby above is a Malayan tapir. When they grow up, they’re patterned like the one below. You can say that the baby pattern camouflages it, and that’s very likely, but why does it change? Is the adult pattern cryptic for a larger individual? I have no idea.
Cat wins! Cat wins! But I can’t figure out why it didn’t become dinner.
The most entertaining thing I’ve seen so far this year…
A cat and fox playing cat and mouse in my garden. The cat seems to be winning! 🐱 🦊 🏃🏽♂️ pic.twitter.com/eU05ckUloE
— Liam Dutton – Weatherman (@liamdutton) January 1, 2019