It is the Cat Sabbath: Saturday, February 27, 2021, and National Kahlua Day, celebrating the coffee-flavored liqueur. It’s also National Strawberry Day, National Protein Day, and International Polar Bear Day. Have a polar bear family from Svalbard:
News of the Day:
I expected this, but it still saddens me. After a report by the U.S. intelligence community found Saudi Crown prince Mohammed bin Salman guilty of “directly ordering” the murderer of journalist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, President Biden has decided to do nothing about it. During a Democratic presidential-candidate debate a while back, Biden asserted that he would take strong action if the Saudi government was found culpable. Like human rights advocates around the globe, I’m disappointed at Biden’s lame response.
Humor of the week: The GOP has made Trump into a golden calf to be worshiped. As the Guardian reports, the video below shows a gilded Trump
bust icon showing
. . . two men in suits pushing the kitsch monument through the corridors of the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida, where admirers snap photos of it.
The statue is larger than life, with a golden head and Trump’s trademark suit jacket with white shirt and red tie. Bizarrely, the disgraced ex-commander-in-chief also appears to be sporting stars-and-stripes shorts.
The video is below:
— William Turton (@WilliamTurton) February 26, 2021
Oy! (h/t Ken)
Reader Jez called my attention to a Guardian article reporting that a group of Russian diplomats stationed in North Korea had to leave the country on a hand-pushed cart. Granted, the distance traveled in the cart was only a kilometer, but still . . . .
North Korea’s borders have been closed for more than a year because of Covid, and they say they have no Covid cases, but do you believe them? At any rate, the final leg of the journal is shown in video in the tweet below. An excerpt:
“Since the borders have been closed for more than a year and passenger traffic has been stopped, it took a long and difficult journey to get home,” Russia’s foreign ministry said in a post on social media.
The group of eight, including a three-year-old child, travelled 32 hours by train and two hours by bus from the North Korean capital Pyongyang to reach the Russian border on Thursday, the foreign ministry added.
Как заявили в МИД, дипломаты 32 часа ехали на поезде, затем еще два часа на автобусе до границы и затем — километр пешком с помощью дрезины.
Видео: МИД России pic.twitter.com/K8UPWUrKev
— Новая Газета (@novaya_gazeta) February 25, 2021
Remember the legal contest between Oberlin College and Gibson’s Bakery, in which the latter received a huge settlement because of defamation by Oberlin, which called the bakery racist and tried to get it boycotted? I, like reader Jez (a realiable source of interesting tidbits), thought it was all over, but it’s still going on. As Jez reports:
I had foolishly thought that this was all settled back in 2019, but something someone posted on WEIT today reminded me about the case and I looked to see what the latest was. This is from June 2020 and it seems that appeals are still dragging on and that the NAACP is backing Oberlin College in its legal battle with Gibson’s Food Mart and Bakery.
Wikipedia now has an article on this, but it ends with the current appeal. What’s with the NAACP backing Oberlin?
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 510,373, an increase of about 2,200 deaths over yesterday’s figure The reported world death toll stands 2,531,050, an increase of about 10,000 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on February 27 includes:
- 1801 – Pursuant to the District of Columbia Organic Act of 1801, Washington, D.C. is placed under the jurisdiction of the U.S. Congress.
- 1812 – Poet Lord Byron gives his first address as a member of the House of Lords, in defense of Luddite violence against Industrialism in his home county of Nottinghamshire.
- 1860 – Abraham Lincoln makes a speech at Cooper Union in the city of New York that is largely responsible for his election to the Presidency.
I gave a talk on that very stage in October, 2006, and may have used the same lectern that Lincoln did!
- 1900 – The British Labour Party is founded.
- 1933 – Reichstag fire: Germany’s parliament building in Berlin, the Reichstag, is set on fire; Marinus van der Lubbe, a young Dutch Communist claims responsibility.
It’s likely that this was a Nazi operation, for after the Communists were accused, they were removed from Parliament, giving the Nazi Party a majority. Here’s a photo of the fire:
But it was Willard Libby who developed a method of dating artifacts using the isotope ratio; for this Libby won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1960.
- 1943 – In Berlin, the Gestapo arrest 1,800 Jewish men with German wives, leading to the Rosenstrasse protest.
This is amazing; the wives protested and the Nazis freed all the Jews married to German women, and never sent them to concentration camps.
- 1951 – The Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution, limiting Presidents to two terms, is ratified.
- 1964 – The Government of Italy asks for help to keep the Leaning Tower of Pisa from toppling over.
- 1991 – Gulf War: U.S. President George H. W. Bush announces that “Kuwait is liberated”.
“Mission Accomplished” (though that phrase referred to the less successful invasion of Iraq.
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s Terry, the leading serious as well as comic actress of her time. She’s 16 in this photo, and had married a 46 year old man, the first of her three husbands. She was especially famous for acting in Shakespeare plays.
- 1859 – Bertha Pappenheim, Austrian-German activist and author (d. 1936)
Pappenheim was the real “Anna O.,” considered the first patient in psychoanalysis. She was treated by Josef Breuer and her case analyzed by Sigmund Freud. She was not helped by the bogus treatment that is psychoanalysis. Here’s Pappenheim:
- 1886 – Hugo Black, American captain, jurist, and politician (d. 1971)
- 1897 – Marian Anderson, American singer (d. 1993)
In 1939, Anderson was famously refused an invitation by the Daughters of the American Revolution to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C. because she was black and the audience was to be integrated. Eleanor Roosevelt, furious, prevailed on her husband, FDR, to get Anderson to sing, appropriately, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Here’s a brief report on that famous incident:
- 1912 – Lawrence Durrell, Indian-French author, poet, and playwright (d. 1990)
- 1932 – Dame Elizabeth Taylor, English-American actress and humanitarian (d. 2011)
- 1934 – Ralph Nader, American lawyer, politician, and activist
- 1947 – Alan Guth, American physicist and cosmologist
- 1971 – Sara Blakely, American businesswoman, founded Spanx
- 1980 – Chelsea Clinton, American journalist and academic
Those who perished on on February 27 include:
- 1936 – Ivan Pavlov, Russian physiologist and physician, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1849)
How many jokes have been made about Pavlov’s salivating dogs! Here’s the man himself:
- 1968 – Frankie Lymon, American singer-songwriter (b. 1942)
Lymon helped write the song below, one of the finest specimens of doo-wop rock and roll. Lymon was 13 at the time. He died at 25 of a heroin overdose.
- 1993 – Lillian Gish, American actress (b. 1893).
She lived 100 years and had a career spanning 75 of them. She’s known as “The First Lady of American Cinema”:
- 2002 – Spike Milligan, Irish soldier, actor, comedian, and author (b. 1918)
- 2003 – Fred Rogers, American minister and television host (b. 1928)
- 2008 – William F. Buckley, Jr., American author and journalist, founded the National Review (b. 1925)v
- 2013 – Van Cliburn, American pianist (b. 1934)
- 2015 – Leonard Nimoy, American actor (b. 1931)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is joking around like Rodney Dangerfield:
Hili: I wanted to join a skeptics club.A: And?Hili: I was skeptical about whether it was a good idea.
Hili: Chciałam się zapisać do klubu sceptyków.Ja: I co?Hili: Byłam sceptyczna, czy to dobry pomysł.
And here’s an untitled photo of little Kulka, taken by Paulina. I love the moggy’s beautiful golden eyes.
From Merilee, an adorable treed-cat meme:
From reader Su, who says that this is good self-defense advice:
I found a tweet on my own!
I think the cat’s been on the sherry. pic.twitter.com/NCf6QB6LCR
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) February 26, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. He says of this one, “The future of the UK explained.”
Loyalism, but in a house share in Cork pic.twitter.com/WNDGegEzmA
— Tadhgín (@TadhgHickey) February 25, 2021
Oh dear, that is NOT a good boy!
— place where cat shouldn't be (@catshouldnt) February 25, 2021
Look at the sexual dimorphism in this bee species:
A Centris rhodopus pair, the female with red eyes and the male with green eyes, such cool bees! pic.twitter.com/9tP2jQ6EGq
— BeesInYourBackyard (@BeesBackyard) February 19, 2021
Here’s the rover Perseverance seen from orbit; I presume the circled feature is the skycrane or heat shield:
Perseverance imaged from orbit! pic.twitter.com/aLRoIJkAGM
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) February 19, 2021
Look at this beautiful bird sticking a landing. The takeoff is much easier:
Take off much easier. Barely had to flap its wings to take off, just zoomed off into the slipstream ✈️ pic.twitter.com/yPxBCSumlZ
— Robert E Fuller (@RobertEFuller) February 18, 2021
I don’t know much about these creatures, much less whether they can bounce:
Tree kangaroos are freaking wild. Evolution was like ‘okay we made these ones bounce real good on ground, how about up trees‽’ pic.twitter.com/UQ6UmG9axy
— Dr Mark D. Scherz (@MarkScherz) February 17, 2021
Ollie is Matthew’s cat who, several years ago, laid open my nose with a deft swipe of his paw. Here he’s lying in a greasy pizza box. When I asked Matthew if the cat at least got some pizza, Matthew responded, “He licked my plate.” No wonder the cat is grumpy!
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) February 26, 2021