Welcome to Sunday, February 7, 2021, National Fettucini Alfredo Day. (I had it last nigh! See below.) It is of course Super Bowl Sunday, which I’ll ignore, but that also means that it’s Super Chicken Wing Day. It’s also Ballet Day, National Periodic Table Day, Man Day (celebrating “all men” a week before Valentine’s Day), Rose Day, celebrating the start of “Valentine’s Week,” and “e day“, celebrating the second most famous irrational number. Since e is a constant roughly equal to 2.71828, today’s date in American writing, 2/7, is considered close enough.
First, though, here’s my sole tribute to the Super Bowl; a cake that somebody misspelled. (h/t: Stash Krod):
Wine of the Day: For an Italian dinner! A nice Prosecco to go with fettucini alfredo, which I made last night to coincide with today’s food holiday. This is considered a nonvintage bubbly, but was clearly from the 2018 vintage, the year stamped on the cork.
I have to praise myself for pairing this with cheese-laden pasta, as the wine was a wonderful complement. The bubbly, very slightly off-dry, cut the saltiness of the cheese with its distinctly fruity aroma and taste, redolent of apples and pears. In fact, the flavor was almost like champagne laced with apple cider. I like bubbly, which goes with food better than most people think, but it’s often overpriced. This beauty was about $15, and if you can find it for around that figure, snap it up. If you look it up online, you’ll find that it’s highly rated by Those Who Know.
News of the Day:
According to yahoo! News, Trump, banned from Twitter, has started posting on the Christian-owned, right-wing website Gab. (h/t: Divy):
In his first post to the site since January 8, Trump put up a letter addressed to Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin, who recently called on the former president to testify at his second impeachment hearing next week.
The letter, which Trump’s attorneys David Schoen and Bruce Castor Jr signed, read: “We are in receipt of your latest public relations stunt. Your letter only confirms what is known to everyone: you cannot prove your allegations against the 45th President of the United States, who is now a private citizen.”
Speaking of Tr-mp, and I hope I’ll stop soon, Biden has intimated that Trump will not receive the usual intelligence briefings that ex-Presidents get. However, Joe backed off a bit and said he’d let intelligence experts decide the issue. Seriously, though, is there any rationale for letting this unhinged man, who has dealings overseas, have access to classified information? Biden should assure that Trump is out of the loop—forever.
Why is the Washington Post, to which I subscribe, having a “date lab,” in which two people describe their take on a date arranged on social media. The author of the latest one (no sparks between the pair) is Rich Juzwiak, described as “a senior writer at Jezebel and [who] writes Slate’s advice column ‘How to Do It’.” Why are they publishing this stuff?
The Supreme Court, divided three ways, overturned a California law that banned churches from holding indoor gatherings, but kept the ban on singing and chanting. That ban was a temporary one in response to the pandemic. It’s a divided court with the usual liberal wing, a right wing, and a centrist-right wing now:
The court’s order, based on challenges by two churches, exposed stark divisions among the justices over the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. Three liberal justices, as they have throughout the emergency, would have approved the most aggressive interventions to stem the spread of infections. [JAC: That would be Kagan, Breyer, and Sotomayor]/
Three of the most conservative justices [JAC: that would be Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch] viewed the state’s regulations as infringing on religious rights and would have granted the churches all they wished, or nearly so.
Chief Justice John Roberts sought to walk a middle path, and, along with Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, voted to set aside the ban on indoor worship while leaving intact the singing restriction.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 462,037, an increase of about 2,700 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The number of new cases is now falling, but we’re still likely to exceed half a million deaths within the month. The reported world death toll stands 2,321,726 , an increase of about 11,000 deaths over yesterday’s total—about 7.6 deaths per minute.
Stuff that happened on February 7 includes:
- 1497 – In Florence, Italy, supporters of Girolamo Savonarola burn cosmetics, art, and books, in a “Bonfire of the vanities“. Savonarola looks like a nasty piece of work, doesn’t he?
Savonarola was hanged and burned himself in 1498, the year this painting was made by Fra. Bartolomeo:
- 1819 – Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles leaves Singapore after just taking it over, leaving it in the hands of William Farquhar.
- 1898 – Dreyfus affair: Émile Zola is brought to trial for libel for publishing J’Accuse…!.
Here’s the front page that brought Zola to grief. Convicted, Zola fled to England but then returned and was exonerated after Dreyfus was.
Here’s the beloved Jiminy Cricket giving Pinocchio some moral advice:
- 1962 – The United States bans all Cuban imports and exports.
- 1974 – Grenada gains independence from the United Kingdom.
- 1986 – Twenty-eight years of one-family rule end in Haiti, when President Jean-Claude Duvalier flees the Caribbean nation.
- 1992 – The Maastricht Treaty is signed, leading to the creation of the European Union.
- 1995 – Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, is arrested in Islamabad, Pakistan.
Yousef was sent to the U.S., tried, convicted, and sentenced to life plus 240 years. He now resides in the ADX Florence “Supermax” prison in Colorado. Wikipedia notes, “He shares a cell block that is commonly referred to as ‘Bombers Row’ with Terry Nichols, Eric Rudolph, and Ted Kaczynski.” Here’s Yousef in his prison garb:
- 2013 – The U.S. state of Mississippi officially certifies the Thirteenth Amendment, becoming the last state to approve the abolition of slavery. The Thirteenth Amendment was formally ratified by Mississippi in 1995.
- 2014 – Scientists announce that the Happisburgh footprints in Norfolk, England, date back to more than 800,000 years ago, making them the oldest known hominid footprints outside Africa.
Here’s a short video about the footprints. They’re gone now: they were described when a new sediment layer was uncovered in May, 2013, and shortly thereafter were effaced and destroyed by the tides.
Notables born on this day include:
Fuseli was a strange man, at least judging by his paintings. He favored supernatural subjects and disliked women. A quote from Wikipedia:
The early feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, whose portrait he had painted, planned a trip with him to Paris, and pursued him determinedly, but after Sophia’s intervention the Fuselis’ door was closed to her forever. Fuseli later said “I hate clever women. They are only troublesome”.
Have a look at what’s perhaps his most famous work, “The Nightmare” (1781):
Here’s Dickens with his two daughters:
- 1867 – Laura Ingalls Wilder, American author (d. 1957)
- 1877 – G. H. Hardy, English mathematician and geneticist (d. 1947)
- 1885 – Sinclair Lewis, American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1951)
- 1904 – Ernest E. Debs, American politician (d. 2002)
- 1958 – Matt Ridley, English journalist, author, and politician
Those who shot their wad on February 7 were few, and include these two:
- 1999 – King Hussein of Jordan (b. 1935)
- 2001 – Anne Morrow Lindbergh, American author and pilot (b. 1906)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is conflating philosophy with food: “I eat, therefore I am.” Due to her corpulence, she no longer gets scraps of tenderloin.
Hili: I have consciousness.A: Consciousness of what?Hili: Consciousness of tenderloin in the fridge.
Hili: Mam świadomość.
Ja: Świadomość czego?
Hili: Świadomość polędwicy w lodówce.
From Stash Krod:
And from Facebook, a serious fashion dilemma:
Talk about pressure! Titania posts this video of a very young girl being told she’s actually a transgender boy. Sound up. (I can’t vouch for the authenticity of the video.)
We must abolish all oppressive stereotypes of what it means to be “male” or”female”.
But if a little girl wants to wear blue and play football she’s definitely a boy and should start taking hormone blockers immediately.pic.twitter.com/chHNEDYrHc
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) February 6, 2021
I may have put this tweet up before (h/t Woody), but if so, it is worth seeing again:
I collect ambiguous headlines. This one, on our President's health, is among the best. pic.twitter.com/G6YTMc9hNM
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) January 18, 2018
From Matthew: Planthopper pretending to be a weevil facing the other way. Again, I may have highlighted it before, but it’s an excellent example of mimicry. In the second series of photos, the planthopper’s real head is at the inconspicuous end, while the “fake head,” complete with faux eyespots, proboscis, and antennae, evolved to attract predators to go for the wrong end.
ヒロズアシブトウンカの仲間(Euybrachyidae Ancyra sp.)触覚見たいな方がお尻です。15-Jul-2017 Thailand pic.twitter.com/WKcng8mnua
— カオヤイ (@hayashi19511112) July 18, 2017
Sand from the Sahara desert blows onto the Pyrenees snowpack:
— Météo Pyrénées (@Meteo_Pyrenees) February 6, 2021
A great photo of male and female liverworts. (Sex is binary in this species!)
On a mole hill in Norfolk yesterday, this is the extraordinary liverwort Sphaerocarpos europaeus, showing a female plant beside a male plant. The green balloons house the female archegonia and sporophyte. The purplish tubes house the male antheridia. Stunning little thing! pic.twitter.com/lgO2NU5JMh
— Des Callaghan (@BryophyteSurvey) February 5, 2021
I hope this little fellow will be okay. He’ll probably be bitten by more flies than will his friends:
Tira is a male Zebra foal in Kenya born with pseudomelanism. No stripes. He's black with white polka dots. Look at him. pic.twitter.com/uNhRUKISlx
— The Geekiest Dino (@Geeky_dino) February 6, 2021
Sound up to hear the Martian wind!
The surface of Mars as seen by Curiosity Rover with the sound of the Martian winds captured by InSight lander. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS pic.twitter.com/Qseu1wxQCs
— Wonder of Science (@wonderofscience) February 5, 2021
This is an amazingly screwed-up meeting; not what I would have expected from the sensible and amiable Brits. As Matthew notes, “The U.K. is obsessed with this zoom meeting of a Parish council in a suburb of Manchester. Millions of views, loads of Twitter comments.” Matthew didn’t think I’d think it funny, but I did. Also sad.
Here’s the link https://t.co/QilUew5jOj
— Nicola Jaye (@mcrphotographer) February 5, 2021