Good morning on the weekly Hump Day: Wednesday, December 2, 2020. Remember that Coynezaa, your proprietor’s personal holiday, begins in only 23 days, and lasts until December 30.
It’s National Fritters Day, and there are few appetizers or side dishes better than a nice corn fritter, especially with syrup. There are other kinds of fritters, but corn is the king:
It’s also Business of Popping Corn Day, Choose Women Wednesday (Biden did!), Safety Razor Day, International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, and Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting Day (watch for owls!).
News of the Day:
Good news for Britain! Yesterday the government gave emergency authorization for distribution of the Pfizer vaccine, and Brits could begin getting vaccinated (healthcare workers first, of course) as early as next week. They beat the U.S., but this is a race in which nobody loses, and I urge my friends across the pond to get their jabs as soon as they can. In the U.S., a September Pew poll showed that only 51% of all American adults would “definitely” or “probably” take the Covid-19 shot. I think that’s a foolish decision given that the vaccination will be FDA approved. (Of course, we don’t know the very long-term consequences of the shot, but I, for one, would be glad to risk them.)
More trouble for the Trump administration, potentially involving the Orange Man himself: the Justice Department is investigating a pay-for-pardons sceme in which undisclosed person may have funneled money to the White House “or related political committees” in return for pardons. Of course pardons can come only from the President. Stay tuned.
Speaking of the Justice Department, its head—attorney general William Barr—severely undercut his close buddy, President-Eject Trump, by affirming that his department found no evidence of voter fraud that would have changed the election results. And Mitch “666” McConnell tacitly admitted that Trump lost:
“After the first of the year, there is likely to be a discussion about some additional package of some size next year, depending upon what the new administration wants to pursue,” Mr. McConnell said at a news conference.
According to the NYT and witnesses who were on the spot, four men appeared to remove the famous and enigmatic metal monolith in the Utah deserts. We still don’t know who they are, nor whether they had anything to do with the monolith’s erection. Nobody is being charged with a crime. Here’s two NYT photos of the removal:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 270,627, a big increase of about 2,600 from yesterday’s figure, representing about 1.8 people dying per minute. The world death toll is 1,488,734, another big increase of about 13,000 over yesterday’s report—about nine deaths per minute.
Stuff that happened on December 2 includes:
- 1697 – St Paul’s Cathedral is consecrated in London.
- 1763 – Dedication of the Touro Synagogue, in Newport, Rhode Island, the first synagogue in what will become the United States.
The synagogue still stands—the oldest in North America. Here are the exterior and interior.
As depicted by Jacques-Louis David:
- 1823 – Monroe Doctrine: In a State of the Union message, U.S. President James Monroe proclaims American neutrality in future European conflicts, and warns European powers not to interfere in the Americas.
- 1859 – Militant abolitionist leader John Brown is hanged for his October 16 raid on Harpers Ferry, West Virginia.
- 1865 – Alabama ratifies 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, followed by North Carolina then Georgia, and U.S. slaves were legally free within two weeks
- 1867 – At Tremont Temple in Boston, British author Charles Dickens gives his first public reading in the United States.
Here’s Dickens in New York on that American tour:
- 1908 – Puyi becomes Emperor of China at the age of two.
Here he is as a young Emperor; his exploits were depicted in Bertolucci’s film, “The Last Emperor”. Puyi, after being imprisoned for ten years, was freed and died in 1967:
- 1942 – World War II: During the Manhattan Project, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiates the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
- 1956 – The Granma reaches the shores of Cuba’s Oriente Province. Fidel Castro, Che Guevara and 80 other members of the 26th of July Movement disembark to initiate the Cuban Revolution.
- 1961 – In a nationally broadcast speech, Cuban leader Fidel Castro declares that he is a Marxist–Leninist and that Cuba is going to adopt Communism.
- 1970 – The United States Environmental Protection Agency begins operations.
- 1976 – Fidel Castro becomes President of Cuba, replacing Osvaldo Dorticós Torrado.
- 1988 – Benazir Bhutto is sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islam-dominated state.
- 1993 – Colombian drug lord Pablo Escobar is shot and killed in Medellín.
Escobar grinning in a 1976 mugshot. He was worth $30 billion at his death (a lot more in today’s dollars). He kept hippos at his estate outside Medellín, and 40 of their descendants live in nearby rivers.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1859 – Georges Seurat, French painter (d. 1891)
- 1923 – Maria Callas, American-Greek soprano and actress (d. 1977)
Here’s La Callas singing my favorite (and many people’s favorite) opera aria, Puccini’s “O Mio Babbino Caro“. This is in Paris—I believe in 1965. I still think Dame Kiri’s version is better (especially the recorded one).
- 1930 – Gary Becker, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2014)
- 1931 – Edwin Meese, American colonel, lawyer, and politician, 75th United States Attorney General
- 1946 – Gianni Versace, Italian fashion designer, founded Versace (d. 1997)
- 1981 – Britney Spears, American singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress
Those who became kaput on December 2 include:
- 1547 – Hernán Cortés, Spanish general and explorer (b. 1485)
- 1594 – Gerardus Mercator, Flemish mathematician, cartographer, and philosopher (b. 1512)
- 1859 – John Brown, American abolitionist (b. 1800)
- 1985 – Philip Larkin, English poet, author, and librarian (b. 1922)
- 1986 – Desi Arnaz, Cuban-American actor, singer, businessman, and television producer (b. 1917)
Educational note: Ricky Ricardo never said, “Lucy, you got some ‘splaining to do!”
- 1990 – Aaron Copland, American composer and conductor (b. 1900)
- 1999 – Charlie Byrd, American guitarist (b. 1925)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili gets her picture taken:
Hili: Did you fall?A: No, I’ve lain down on the floor to take your picture.
Hili: Upadłeś?Ja: Nie, położyłem się na podłodze, żeby ci zrobić zdjęcie.
From Jesus of the Day:
From Titania, a guy who says he “has a little list”. I couldn’t find this on his Twitter feed, so maybe he deleted the 15-tweet list, because I bet John McWhorter would have been on it.
Thank you Rod for compiling a list of black people who have the wrong opinions.
If you see any black people attempting to think for themselves, please get in touch so that we can defeat racism once and for all. pic.twitter.com/cSVBlD6bD5
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) December 1, 2020
From reader Barry. Now here’s a bear that really enjoys his noms!
Meet willie. This is how he enjoyed his thanksgiving dinner.
( The Wild Animal Sanctuary ) pic.twitter.com/o94y1N8DwL
— Nature and Animals (@_NatureAnimals) December 1, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. I like this first one—not fake news!
— Michael Spicer (@MrMichaelSpicer) November 28, 2020
There’s never any end to the new and exciting stuff that happens in evolutionary biology.
Ten years ago if you asked a scientist how insects got their wings, they'd say "I dunno maybe centipedes can tell us?"
— Amanda Pampuro (@Bright_lamp) December 1, 2020
One of Matthew’s beloved illusions:
Spinning circles are actually stationary. pic.twitter.com/0gY6m77z7T
— 📷 Alan Downes 🎥 (@alan_downes_) November 30, 2020
A new genre of Christian rock! (It started with “Angels are coming from Africa right now. . . .”) Sound must be on to hear a guitar-accompanied Copeland expelling the coronavirus:
I have this playing in an endless loop. So should you …
Evangelist Kenneth Copeland with Andre Antunes on guitar pic.twitter.com/scKvW4mr7M
— Sony Kapoor (@SonyKapoor) December 1, 2020
Table tennis is much improved!
Due to Coronavirus restrictions, the World Table Tennis Championships look slightly different this year.
📹: Imgur user OctopussSevenTwo pic.twitter.com/BsfbvRdvlE
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) December 1, 2020
. . . and an ostrich cat:
Hide and Seek Level: Expert
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) November 30, 2020