The dire cold continues in Chicago: this morning (and on my walk to work) it is -2° F (-19° C). There are no ducks on Botany Pond, which is frozen over and covered with snow.
Today is the Sabbath for gentile cats: Sunday, February 14, 2021. And that means it’s VALENTINE’S DAY!! There’s a Google Doodle (click on screenshot):
A lovely kitty Tik Tok video Valentine from Amy Sedaris (h/t cesar)
And a Valentine’s Day mating ritual (h/t Matthew). The grebes are bonding!
Mating dance of the day; the hooded grebe. pic.twitter.com/dIoOLOi1NQ
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) February 21, 2019
This also means that it’s National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day (no hard centers for your sweetie!) It’s also Frederick Douglas Day (he was born on this day in 1818), National Ferris Wheel Day, National Organ Donor Day, and Race Relations Day. In India there’s a substitute for Valentine’s day today: Matru Pitru Poojan Diwas, or Parents’ Worship Day. You’re supposed to extol and worship your parents, giving them garlands. Here’s a Parents’ Worship Day video featuring a Ganesha-go-round:
Wine of the Day: Is there any wine aroma more alluring than that of a Cabernet Sauvignon? Well, yes, I’d put a good Rhone, with its black-olive notes, above it, as well as the honeyed nose of a Sauternes. But this wine, which may well have been given me by a reader (forgive me if I forgot), is the Italian equivalent of a Bordeaux from Pomerol, with 62% merlot, 23% cabernet sauvignon, 8% cabernet franc, 6% sangiovese (to give it an Italian twist) and 1% petit verdot.
I’d put it midway between a California cabernet blend (with its considerable stuffing) and a Pomerol (lacking the eucalyptus/mint aroma of a Californa cab but with elegance). I had it with one of my favorite meals, which can be prepared in five minutes: a hunk of good cheese (my recent favorite: 3-year-aged Tillamook cheddar), a crusty baguette, and ripe sliced tomatoes drenched in good Italian olive oil (excellent for dipping the odd pieces of bread). An excellent wine, like this one, should go with simple food: bread and cheese or a lamb chop. I’ll have the rest this evenng with my biweekly T-bone, and see if it’s improved after a day in the bottle.
News of the Day:
As predicted, Trump was acquitted in a very quick impeachment trial. Though a majority of Senators (57) voted for conviction, it wasn’t enough to get the 67 votes need to heave the bum out. The Republicans who voted for conviction included Richard Burr of North Carolina, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, Ben Sasse of Nebraska and Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania. They will face condemnation from other Republicans and perhaps rejection at election time. Indeed, Cassidy has already been condemned by the executive committee of Louisiana’s Republican Party. Trump called the whole affair a “witch hunt”, and, as the NYT reported:
He expressed no remorse for his actions, and strongly suggested that he planned to continue to be a force in politics for a long time to come.
“In the months ahead I have much to share with you, and I look forward to continuing our incredible journey together to achieve American greatness for all of our people,” Mr. Trump said.
God help us!
Want a cat filter in your Zoom talk? The Washington Post tell you how to turn it on.
Should you get a phone protection plan like AppleCare+? Nicole Nguyen at the Wall Street Journal says “definitely not”—unless you are “big time klutz” and drop your phone repeatedly. There’s a reason why the companies offer such plans, for they make a ton of money on them, as “incidents” are relatively few.
The Washington Post continues to report on the dumpster fire that is the New York Times. I don’t have the heart to write any more about l’affaire McNeil, but my conclusion is this: executive editor Dean Baquet has lost control of the paper, and should step down. But, given the phalanx of woke reporters, it may be hopeless. Why do I still subscribe? Because there is still some good stuff in there. But I feel like a hypocrite.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 484,074, an increase of about 3,400 deaths over yesterday’s figure We will surely exceed half a million deaths within the month. The reported world death toll stands 2,406,561, a big increase of about 10,700 deaths over yesterday’s total, or about 7.4 deaths per minute.
Stuff that happened on February 14 includes:
- 1349 – Several hundred Jews are burned to death by mobs while the remaining Jews are forcibly removed from Strasbourg.
- 1556 – Coronation of Akbar.
- 1779 – James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.
- 1849 – In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.
Here’s that first photo, taken by none other than Matthew Brady:
- 1852 – Great Ormond St Hospital for Sick Children, the first hospital in England to provide in-patient beds specifically for children, is founded in London.
- 1876 – Alexander Graham Bell applies for a patent for the telephone, as does Elisha Gray.
Here’s the patent drawing, with the patent granted, as you see, on March 7:
- 1899 – Voting machines are approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.
- 1912 – Arizona is admitted as the 48th and the last contiguous U.S. state.
- 1929 – Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone‘s gang, are murdered in Chicago.
The murder involved gangsters, probably from Al Capone’s outfit, dressed as policemen, shooting members of the rival gang of Bugs Moran. Here’s a famous photo of the aftermath (nobody was ever convicted):
- 1945 – World War II: On the first day of the bombing of Dresden, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces begin fire-bombing Dresden.
Here’s the aftermath of the bombing. Kurt Vonnegut was there (read Slaughterhouse Five):
- 1966 – Australian currency is decimalized.
- 1989 – Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.
- 1990 – The Voyager 1 spacecraft takes the photograph of planet Earth that later becomes famous as Pale Blue Dot.
- 2005 – YouTube is launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos.\
Here’s the first video ever put onto YouTube (on March 23):
- 2018 – A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is one of the deadliest school massacres with 17 fatalities and 15 injuries.
Three years after the deadliest high-school shooting in America, accused shooter Nikolas Cruz still has not been tried, for the prosecution demands the death penalty though Cruz has agreed to plead guilty under the assurance that he won’t be executed. (No motive has yet been established.) Here he is in prison garb:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1483 – Babur, Moghul emperor (d. 1530)
- 1855 – Frank Harris, Irish author and journalist (d. 1931)
- 1882 – John Barrymore, American actor (d. 1942)
- 1894 – Jack Benny, American actor and producer (d. 1974)
His real name was Benjamin Kubelsky, and he was, like nearly all comedians of that era, Jewish. Here’s Benny on the Ed Sullivan Show, poking fun at Ed:
- 1913 – Jimmy Hoffa, American trade union leader (d. 1975)
- 1934 – Florence Henderson, American actress and singer (d. 2016)
- 1942 – Michael Bloomberg, American businessman and politician, 108th Mayor of New York City
- 1944 – Carl Bernstein, American journalist and author
- 1951 – Terry Gross, American radio host and producer
Those who laid down their lives on February 14 include:
- 1779 – James Cook, English captain, cartographer, and explorer (b. 1728)
- 1891 – William Tecumseh Sherman, American general (b. 1820)
- 1933 – Carl Correns, German botanist and geneticist (b. 1864)
Correns was one of the three people who, in 1900, independently discovered Mendel’s work (can you name the other two?):
- 1943 – David Hilbert, Russian-German mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (b. 1862)
- 1975 – P. G. Wodehouse, English novelist and playwright (b. 1881)
- 1989 – James Bond, American ornithologist and zoologist (b. 1900)
Here’s the real James Bond, whose name Ian Fleming stole for his spy. Can you identify the birds?
- 2011 – George Shearing, English-American pianist and composer (b. 1919)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being fat-shamed!
Andrzej: I have the impression that you exercise too little.Hili: Speak for yourself.
Ja: Mam wrażenie, że się za mało ruszasz.Hili: Mów za siebie.
And here’s Szaron looking out the window:
From Stash Krod. Oh, the temptation!
From Titania; this was news to me about Rachel Dolezal’s difficulty getting employed. Since I defended her a while back, I’ve discovered she had a history of dubious activities before she resigned from the NAACP for pretending she was black.
Rachel Dolezal has been shunned and ridiculed ever since she came out as black.
What more evidence do you need that the US is systemically racist? https://t.co/jkRo2zb14D
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) February 13, 2021
From Barry, who notes, “This guy says he found the photo on Facebook. He doesn’t know who took it.”
Hunting owl imprint pic.twitter.com/flBfAEQ9W3
— Nat Moss (@natmoss) November 22, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. The fish is a member of the family Uranoscopidae, or “stargazers” because their eyes are atop their heads.
— John P. Friel, Ph.D. (@friel) February 12, 2021
Yes, Mitch “666” McConnell let people think he would vote to impeach Trump, but then didn’t. Instead, he gave a hypocritical post-vote speech decrying Trump. Jeff Tiedrich has made fun of it.
#BREAKING Paulie Walnuts has informed the boys at the Bada Bing that he is planning to vote to acquit Tony Soprano
— Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) February 13, 2021
More on the impeachment from Woody:
If I ever commit a major crime, I really hope the jury is made up of the people who helped me do it.
— Colin Mochrie (@colinmochrie) February 10, 2021
Yesterday’s earthquake in Japan (7.9 intensity) shows itself in the bath!:
— エルエル (@j1RNorOI4sezSR6) February 13, 2021
This isn’t really a fart but a massive expelling of water. Still . . .
Has there ever been a more powerful #echinoderm fart witnessed by mankind? Is this the greatest invertefart of all time? PS: I was behind the camera, but due to supreme scuba skills and impeccable nerves I escaped the intestinal tsunami in one piece. @echinoblog check it out. pic.twitter.com/KpOexOksBo
— Klaus Stiefel (@Pacificklaus) February 11, 2021
Eider ducks are awesome—and stalwart:
I had to visit the winter sea ducks again before they return north. The ocean waves were stupendous and made it challenging for the birds (and the photographer.) pic.twitter.com/GW4BEhM1n1
— Get To Know Nature (@GetToKnowNature) February 13, 2021
Finally, Adam Rutherford goes awry (second tweet), echoing Dan-el Padilla. I’m particularly surprised at Rutherford’s agreement, in the second tweet that scientific theory was “invented as a form of proof of white supremacy”. What the bloody hell does that mean? “All correct”? I don’t think so.
All correct. pic.twitter.com/NCGnUq0G5w
— Dr Adam Rutherford (@AdamRutherford) February 8, 2021
I still don’t understand why cats do this?
"fuck you and your phone, Sandra"
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) February 13, 2021