Saturday is here already: due to the holiday, the week seems to have flown by. It’s November 28, 2020, and National French Toast Day (this is cultural appropriation in both name and object). I love French toast with sausages on the side and real maple syrup; my mom used to make it for me if I was a Good Boy. It’s also Turkey Leftover Day (this will go on for a week), Letter Writing Day (I can’t remember the last time I wrote a real letter, but we should do it more), and Red Planet Day, celebrating the launch of Mariner 4 in 1964, the first spacecraft to fly by Mars and give us close-up views of the planet.
News of the Day: I watched the news and read the NYT on Friday evening (as I write this), and it’s very grim. COVID-19 is making a huge comeback, and if I don’t miss my guess based on holiday travel data, in about two weeks we’ll see a huge spike.
Is there war impending in the Middle East? The top nuclear scientist of Iran, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, was assassinated yesterday in his car, shot by gunmen along the road he was traveling. He’s long been identified by both the U.S. and Israel as a key figure in Iran’s supposed covert program for developing nuclear weapons, and Iran blamed both countries for the killing. I doubt that there will be all-out war between Iran and Israel, but it’s unsettling, and I doubt Iran will do nothing in response.
Crikey, yesterday statues were defaced and toppled all over the U.S., and I’m not talking about Confederate statues, but those of respectable people. In Minneapolis, a statue of George Washington was toppled and defaced with the spray-painted words, “Genocidal maniac.” A statue of pioneers was also defaced. The Star-Tribune article mentions other vandalism that happened this week:
In Chicago, somebody tried to pull down a statue of President William McKinley in McKinley Park. The sculpture was also tagged with graffiti and the words “Land Back.” [JAC: This is the slogan for promoting giving land back to Native Americans.]
In Spokane, Wash., a statue of Abraham Lincoln was vandalized with red paint. In Portland, Ore., a monument in the city’s Lone Fir Cemetery, dedicated in 1903 to the veterans of the Civil War, Mexican, Spanish-American, and Indian wars, was tagged with anti-colonialism graffiti and its statue toppled and sprayed with red paint. Three people were arrested after protest-related vandalism damaging storefronts and spraying the words “Land Back” on buildings, Portland police said in a news release.
Here’s the photo of the toppled Washington in Minneapolis; you can read “Genocidal Maniac” on the left. What genocide did Washington commit? And a “maniac”?
I’ll pass along a reading recommendation from reader Ken. I’ve read the Brooks op-ed, which is good, but not yet the other one. The issue is distrust between the elites who determine what is “true”, and the others, who feel disenfranchised and empower themselves by embracing conspiracy theories. Ken’s note:
I don’t know whether you’ve had a chance to read David Brooks opinion piece in yesterday’s NYT “The Rotting of the Republican Mind.”It cites, and is largely based upon a longer piece from National Affairs by Jonathan Rauch, “The Constitution of Knowledge.” That essay deals in greater depth with the Right’s detachment from reality covered by Brooks’s piece, but, in the latter part, also addresses the problems caused on campus, and in the media, by the radical left. It is well worth the read.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 264,724, an increase of about 1,400 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,451,167, a big increase of about 11,600 over yesterday’s report.
Stuff that happened on November 28 includes this:
- 1520 – An expedition under the command of Ferdinand Magellan passes through the Strait of Magellan.
- 1582 – In Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway pay a £40 bond for their marriage licence.
Here’s the marriage record. Shakespeare was 18, Anne Hathaway 26, and pregnant with their first child:
- 1811 – Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, premieres at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.
- 1893 – Women’s suffrage in New Zealand concludes with the 1893 New Zealand general election.
A photo of that first vote from the New Zealand Herald:
What this means is that this was the election in which Kiwi women were first allowed to vote.
- 1895 – The first American automobile race takes place over the 54 miles from Chicago’s Jackson Park to Evanston, Illinois. Frank Duryea wins in approximately 10 hours.
Here’s Duryea’s winning vehicle. Average speed: 5.4 miles per hour (a marathon runner does way better than that!):
- 1919 – Lady Astor is elected as a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. She is the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. (Countess Markievicz, the first to be elected, refused to sit.)
Lady Astor served until 1945; here’s a photo:
- 1925 – The Grand Ole Opry begins broadcasting in Nashville, Tennessee, as the WSM Barn Dance.
- 1941 – In Germany, Mufti of Palestine met Adolf Hitler in November-28-1941, whose agents had to convince themselves he is not “pure arab” in blood. The nazi leader still refused to shake his hand or even drink coffee with him for considering Arabs inferior. They agreed on cooperation against Jews.
And here’s a photo of that meeting:
- 1958 – First successful flight of SM-65 Atlas; the first operational intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), developed by the United States and the first member of the Atlas rocket family.
- 1967 – The first pulsar (PSR B1919+21, in the constellation of Vulpecula) is discovered by two astronomers Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish.
- 1972 – Last executions in Paris: Claude Buffet and Roger Bontems are guillotined at La Santé Prison.
- 1980 – Iran–Iraq War: Operation Morvarid: The bulk of the Iraqi Navy is destroyed by the Iranian Navy in the Persian Gulf. (Commemorated in Iran as Navy Day.)
- 1990 – British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher resigns as leader of the Conservative Party and, therefore, as Prime Minister. She is succeeded in both positions by John Major.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1757 – William Blake, English poet and painter (d. 1827)
Like many artists, Blake couldn’t draw cats. Here’s his “Tyger”:
- 1820 – Friedrich Engels, German-English philosopher, economist, and journalist (d. 1895)
- 1904 – Nancy Mitford, English journalist and author (d. 1973)
- 1908 – Claude Lévi-Strauss, Belgian-French anthropologist and ethnologist (d. 2009)
- 1929 – Berry Gordy, Jr., American songwriter and producer, founded Motown Records
Gordy, now 91, is still with us, and is responsible for much of the great soul music of the Sixties and Seventies.
- 1962 – Jon Stewart, American comedian, actor, and television host
- 1987 – Karen Gillan, Scottish actress
Those whose lives were obliterated on November 28 include:
- 1680 – Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Italian sculptor and painter (b. 1598)
Part of Bernini’s interior for St. Peter’s Basilica:
- 1859 – Washington Irving, American short story writer, essayist, biographer, historian (b. 1783)
- 1939 – James Naismith, Canadian-American physician and educator, created basketball (b. 1861)
- 1954 – Enrico Fermi, Italian-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1901)
- 1960 – Richard Wright, American novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet (b. 1908)
- 1976 – Rosalind Russell, American actress and singer (b. 1907)
- 1994 – Jeffrey Dahmer, American serial killer (b. 1960)
- 1994 – Jerry Rubin, American businessman and activist (b. 1938)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili finds a reason to go on living:
Hili: In spite of everything.A: In spite of what?Hili: In spite of everything I’m curious what will happen next.
Hili: Mimo wszystko.Ja: Co mimo wszystko?Hili: Mimo wszystko jestem ciekawa co będzie dalej.
And in nearby Wloclawek, Mietek and Leon are on the prowl together (note that Mietek is now full grown!):
Leon: Let’s go back, there is nothing for us here.
A meme from Divy:
An great early New Year’s meme from Bruce. Better early than never!
Posted by Seth Andrews on Facebook:
Screenshot of a tweet sent in by Smith Powell. This is a good one:
From reader Barry, two tweets showing Jordan Peterson. The first I don’t think shows that he’s a “grifter”, he simply hadn’t thought through the issue when he pronounced judgment. The second is a bit reprehensible: a demonstration of confirmation bias by Peterson, who’s conversing with Matt Dillahunty.
here's that time jordan peterson claimed that without god it is impossible to produce art, and when challenged on this absurdity when it's pointed out there are atheist artists, peterson claims they're actually religious without knowing it. the audience literally laughs at him pic.twitter.com/c4PdVLWlb3
— ☀️👀 (@zei_squirrel) November 25, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. This first one is indeed a stunning time-lapse photos. It also shows that the birds leave the tree in horizontal flight:
Xavi Bou’s starlings leaving a pre-roost assembly tree in winter Catalonia. Truly one of the greatest bird photos I’ve ever seen – scientifically and artistically. Read a bit about in @GrantaMag pic.twitter.com/2sYWg2xJLG
— Tim Dee (@TimDee4) November 27, 2020
Here’s an Amazon comment on Matthew’s new book; the loon is apparently identified in the comment thread:
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) November 26, 2020
It wasn’t the cat!
ftr the tea towel was over it when the incident occurred pie is still a go
— Taylor Hatmaker (@tayhatmaker) November 27, 2020
Imagine what the staff had faced in the past!
Cat related sign of the day. pic.twitter.com/tqNYfzgvzW
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) November 27, 2020
Matthew channels Rudyard Kipling. Read about mosasaurs here.
And that, O Best Beloved, is how the Mosasaur was born. https://t.co/7svN1XCTCI
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) November 27, 2020