Hili is late today because Professor Ceiling Cat, chronically sleep deprived, overslept by more than an hour. But welcome to Cat Sabbath: Saturday, February 13, 2021, and National Italian Food Day. Remember that cats weren’t made for the Sabbath, but Sabbath for the cats.
Remember too tomorrow is Valentine’s Day, so be sure to get your significant other a treat. Today, however, is Galentine’s Day, celebrating female-female friendship (I don’t think there’s a similar holiday for men.). Apropos, it’s Kiss Day.
Other food holidays include National Tortellini Day, National Crab Rangoon Day, and National Cheddar Day, declared so by Oregon’s Tillamook Creamery in 2019. If you go to a Costco, be sure to buy the large brick of Tilamook three-year-old aged cheddar: a real bargain. Finally, it’s World Radio Day. You can listen to all the world’s radios at the awesome site Radio Garden. This is one of the most fantastic places on the Internet. I like to rotate the globe eastward and hear some Indian music.
News of the Day:
Trump’s defense rested after using only 3 hours of the 16 allotted. Their defense appears to be “Democrats did it too!” and “It was free speech: Trump wasn’t inciting anybody.” To be sure, I sort of share Andrew Sullivan’s take in his latest website post, “Convict him.”
I’ll be honest and confess I don’t quite buy the case that president Trump directly incited a ransacking of the Capitol, and I wish the House had stepped back some more and pursued a broader charge of dereliction of duty and violation of his oath of office. Nonetheless, Trump did directly encourage his mob to march toward the Capitol building, and to rally menacingly outside of it, in order to pressure the Senate and, in particular, Mike Pence, to overturn the clear and legal results of last November’s election. And he was definitely aware of the violent proclivities of his loyal mob, summoned to DC on that specific day. At times, the House managers showed how his speech was echoed instantly in the crowd as it went along, and how instrumental it was in justifying their more violent aspirations.
But direct incitement is the criterion for violating the First Amendment. However, I’m not quite sure whether adherence to that Amendment would be grounds for exclupating him in this case, as there seem to be no legal standards for conviction save a 2/3 vote. At any rate, “dereliction of duty” is broad enough for me to cover the present indictment. And so I share Sullivan’s conclusion “Marginalize him. Stigmatize him. Convict him.”
But even if he’s found not guilty, as will surely happen, Trump’s trouble are just beginning. Many sites report (the New Woker is one) that his financial empire is crumbling, partly because of the pandemic, partly because firms and banks have backed away from him since The Incitement. Will we finally see him live—in a courtroom?
Scotland’s been hit with a ton of snow this winter. According to the Guardian, the stalwart Scots are not only bearing it with equanimity, but having a high old time naming “gritters” (trucks that spread salt and ash) and snowplows, many after musicians and bands. Samples: Spreadie Van Halen, Skid Vicious, and Gritallica. And the Scottish government has set up a website so the public can track these vehicles: “Trunk Road Gritter Tracker.” Here’s a screenshot with the names of the gritters (h/t Jez):
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 480,683, a big increase of about 4,500 deaths over yesterday’s figure We will likely exceed half a million deaths within the month. The reported world death toll stands 2,395,885, a big increase of about 15,400 deaths over yesterday’s total, or about 10.7 deaths per minute.
Stuff that happened on February 13 includes:
- 1503 – Challenge of Barletta: Tournament between 13 Italian and 13 French knights near Barletta.
- 1542 – Catherine Howard, the fifth wife of Henry VIII of England, is executed for adultery.
In this case the adultery seems to have been real; Howard wrote a love letter to Thomas Culpepper, a courtier of Henry’s, after she was married to the king. It’s smoking hot! Here’s the letter (the only one that survives from Howard) and you can see the transcription here:
A partial transcript (she was apparently fond of run-on sentences); the letter is signed “yours as long as life endures, Katheryn”:
That which doth comfortly me very much when I think of it, and when I think again that you shall depart from me again it makes my heart die to think what fortune I have that I cannot be always in your company. It my trust is always in you that you will be as you have promised me, and in that hope I trust upon still, praying you that you will come when my Lady Rochford is here for then I shall be best at leisure to be at your commandment, thanking you for that you have promised me to be so good unto that poor fellow my man which is one of the griefs that I do feel to depart from him for then I do know no one that I dare trust to send to you, and therefore I pray you take him to be with you that I may sometime hear from you one thing.
Such was love in the sixteenth century. It is fairly certain, though, that Howard and Culpepper did make the Beast with Two Backs.
- 1633 – Galileo Galilei arrives in Rome for his trial before the Inquisition.
- 1689 – William and Mary are proclaimed co-rulers of England.
- 1861 – Italian unification: The Siege of Gaeta ends with the capitulation of the defending fortress, effectively bringing an end of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
- 1935 – A jury in Flemington, New Jersey finds Bruno Hauptmann guilty of the 1932 kidnapping and murder of the Lindbergh baby, the son of Charles Lindbergh.
This was one of the biggest stories of that decade. Hauptman was electrouted on April 3, 1936. Here’s Lindbergh testifying at his trial:
- 1954 – Frank Selvy becomes the only NCAA Division I basketball player ever to score 100 points in a single game.
- 1955 – Israel obtains four of the seven Dead Sea Scrolls.
- 1960 – Black college students stage the first of the Nashville sit-ins at three lunch counters in Nashville, Tennessee.
Here’s a photo of one of the sit ins, and a second photo of a protestor being attacked:
What a bunch of morons. Look at the expression of glee on the bespectacled woman!
- 1961 – An allegedly 500,000-year-old rock is discovered near Olancha, California, US, that appears to anachronistically encase a spark plug.
You may have heard of this, especially if you read creationist paper. Some of the crazy theories around this include these (from Wikipedia):
- An ancient advanced civilization (such as Atlantis);
- Prehistoric ancient astronauts;
- Human time travelers from the future leaving or losing the artifact during a visit to the past.
Here’s a photo; the spark plug is a Champion plug from the 1920s. The scientific explanation is that “the spark plug became encased in a concretion composed of iron derived from the rusting spark plug. Iron and steel artifacts rapidly form iron-oxide concretions as they rust in the ground.”
- 1967 – American researchers discover the Madrid Codices by Leonardo da Vinci in the National Library of Spain.
- 1990 – German reunification: An agreement is reached on a two-stage plan to reunite Germany.
- 2017 – Kim Jong-nam, brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un, is assassinated at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
Here’s a video of the murder; of course the Dear Leader ordered it:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1766 – Thomas Robert Malthus, English economist and scholar (d. 1834)
- 1891 – Grant Wood, American painter and academic (d. 1942)
- 1910 – William Shockley, English-American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
- 1919 – Tennessee Ernie Ford, American singer and actor (d. 1991)
- 1923 – Chuck Yeager, American general and pilot; first test pilot to break the sound barrier (d. 2020)
Here’s Yeager in the cockpit of his Bell X-1 (the plane in which he broke the sound barrier), which he named “Glamorous Glennis” after his wife:
- 1943 – Elaine Pagels, American theologian and academic
Those whose lives were effaced on February 13 include:
- 1542 – Catherine Howard, English wife of Henry VIII of England (executed; b. 1521) [see above]
- 1571 – Benvenuto Cellini, Italian painter and sculptor (b. 1500)
Here’s one of Cellini’s masterpieces: Perseus with the Head of Medea (1545-1554). As Wikipedia notes, “The sculpture is thought to be the first statue since the classical age where the base included a figurative sculpture forming an integral part of the work.”
- 1728 – Cotton Mather, American minister and author (b. 1663)
- 1883 – Richard Wagner, German composer (b. 1813)
- 1958 – Georges Rouault, French painter and illustrator (b. 1871)
- 2002 – Waylon Jennings, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1937)
- 2016 – Antonin Scalia, American lawyer and judge, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States (b. 1936)
Hard to believe it’s the fifth anniversary of Scalia’s death. He was, as many know, a good buddy of his court opponent RBG.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is welcomed upstairs as she’s learned to climb up the veranda and lurk at Paulina’s second-floor window. (Photo by Paulina).
Paulina: Would you like to come in for a snack?Hili: With pleasure!
Paulina: Wejdziesz na przekąskę?Hili: Chętnie!
And here’s a picture of Szaron’s eye with a Polish caption that, Malgorzata says, is impossible to translate into English. Polish-speaking readers are welcome to try. (Photo by Paulina).
Polish caption: Oko czekające na zaopatrzność.
Another cat/lawyer meme from Jean:
Also from Jean; clearly the Bernie memes haven’t been fully supplanted by the cat/lawyer memes:
Titania has always been eerily prescient (I’ve already shown the first tweet; the one you should look at now is the second):
On 15 October 2018, I argued that Winston Churchill was worse than the Nazis.
On 11 February 2021, Churchill College at Cambridge University concurred. pic.twitter.com/card68B6xh
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) February 12, 2021
From Luana: The UK, lobbied by gender activists, is considering ditching recording sex in the March census in favor of “gender self-identification”. Some academics are pushing back.
Story in the Times by @mikewadejourno "Plans to ignore biological sex when collecting census data in favour of self-defined gender threaten to undermine robust statistics in a move that is creating “deep-seated alarm” among leading academics." https://t.co/2jAL8YdWcL
— Professor Alice Sullivan (@ProfAliceS) February 11, 2021
From Barry, who noted, “This will be the first time in your life you will say ‘Good dog!’ and mean it”:
Your Uber is here, sir.
"I have always put my own money into #tailsofjoy. For years, every time a dog walked by, my husband would say, 'There goes our beach house'."-@ElayneBooslerhttps://t.co/TxkYe1EHBb is 100% volunteer, so 100% goes to rescue!🐶😺
📹IG funny.animals.clips pic.twitter.com/51N2ue4qad
— Elayne Boosler's Rescue Dog, Ralph (@BooslerS) February 10, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This first video is stunning:
So, if you ever wanted to know what it looks like when a spacecraft enters orbit around another planet…
..watch this video.
— Prof. Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) February 12, 2021
Wild canid 1, wild felid 0. This isn’t right!
Here's a fun interspecies interaction for #FelidFriday. Bobcat and coyote on a carcass. While sometimes bobcats dominate coyotes at carcasses, this bobcat appears to be impatiently waiting for a chance to dig in. 😺🦊🎥: Red Cliff Wildlife & Forestry 2019 pic.twitter.com/iixsJZtohQ
— Jen Feltner 😺🐺🐻🦌🐾 (@jafeltner) February 12, 2021
A poor costumed kitty celebrates the Lunar New Year:
happy lunar new year 🥳🧧❤️🎉🎇 pic.twitter.com/gBcN5Wvlbs
— ⋰ (@MOlTIEMOlTIE) February 12, 2021
And a cat is bested by an obstreperous rat:
Well well, how the turntables…
📹: Imgur user Chingelmarie pic.twitter.com/kHWvi0OkxO
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) February 11, 2021
Finally, this should show you how small viruses are:
A British mathematician has calculated every single COVID-19 particle circling the world at the moment could fit inside a single 330ml Coke can.https://t.co/UlH0D8xXgS
— Sky News Australia (@SkyNewsAust) February 10, 2021