Did you remember to set your clocks forward? The time changed at 2 a.m. this morning. This will be posted at 6:30 a.m. Chicago time, or 7:30 a.m. Eastern time.
So a dark good morning on Sunday, March 14, 2021: National Potato Chip Day. And it’s Pi Day, of course, being 3/14 in American notation. Here’s Larry Shaw, a physicist at the San Francisco Exploratorium, who started Pi Day in 1988.
Other holidays include Celebrate Scientists Day, honoring the most famous modern scientist, who was born on this day in 1879; Genius Day, also celebrating Einstein; Science Education Day; National Save a Spider Day; Learn About Butterflies Day; and Moth-er Day, celebrating moths. Finally, as Wikipedia tells us, it’s “White Day in Japan and other parts of Asia, a day “on which men give gifts to women; complementary to Valentine’s Day.
Lagniappe: A lovely photo from My Modern Met: It was taken by Daniel Kordan in Russia. To wit:
There are some landscape images that are so enchanting you’d think they were out of a storybook. Such is the case with a photo by renowned photographer Daniel Kordan. In 2016, he was leading a photography workshop in Kamchatka, Russia, when the Klyuchevskaya volcano was in the midst of an eruption. While the lava alone is a spectacular sight, it was made even more magical with a meteor that is barreling above it. And best of all, Kordan was in the right place at the right time to serendipitously record it all.
Wine of the Day: I chose this Bordeaux to accompany my first commercial pizza since the pandemic started last year. And oy, was it a good choice! It was gutsy and jammy and thick, and that heft was needed to counteract Chicago’s gutsiest pizza. (All the vintages from 2016-2019 are rated very highly, so pick this up if you want a treat.)
Dark purple and redolent of raspberry jam, this wine has years to go, and certainly had the stuffing to go with one of Chicago’s specialities. a stuffed “Giordano’s Special” stuffed pizza from the eponymous local chain. Stuffed pizza happens to be my favorite pizza, though Pecksniffs claim that it’s “not real pizza.” Well, screw the semantic argument; it is good, whatever you call it. And don’t try arguing with me in the comments.
Stuffed pizza consists of a bottom crust, then, in this case, layered with homemade sausage, then a ton of cheese, and then a layer of mushroom, onions, and green peppers. Finally a top crust is put on, covered with tomato sauce, and the whole schmear baked for 45 minutes. I got a big one, which will provide me with a total of five meals (two slices per meal):
Side view of a slice:
After that pizza and a good Bordeaux, I’m a happy man. Well, at least a complacent one.
News of the Day:
Should student debt be canceled? Biden says, well, maybe up to $10,000, but Elizabeth Warren wants $50,000 wiped out, which will cost the rest of us taxpayers a trillion bucks. I lean towards Biden’s side, but also feel that it’s unfair to those who paid off their debts or will incur debt in the future. See all the pros and cons in this NYT editorial.
The U.S. Capitol is still surrounded by a high perimeter fence, and security has been beefed up with extra D.C. police, Capitol Police, and even the National Guard. Lawmakers are upset at the gamut they have to run to get to work, but people are still afraid of another assault. Who knows when things will get back to normal, especially since Trump is still alive and his minions aren’t dying off soon. I wonder if citizens can even visit the Capitol now (I used to go fairly often as a child when I lived across the river in Arlington).
Let nobody claim that Charlie Hebdo has good taste. As the Guardian reports:
French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has sparked outrage with a cartoon depiction of Queen Elizabeth kneeling on the neck of Meghan Markle, echoing the death of George Floyd.
The controversial publication’s cartoon comes after the Duchess of Sussex, and her husband, Prince Harry, told US interviewer Oprah Winfrey of apparent racism within the royal family, though they did not criticise the Queen. But Markle said courtiers refused her permission to leave Kensington Palace on occasion and that she once only left twice in four months, leading her to experience severe loneliness and suicidal ideations.
In the cartoon, published on Saturday and titled “Why Meghan quit”, the Duchess of Sussex is depicted saying, “Because I couldn’t breathe any more”.
Of course the Guardian didn’t have the guts to show the cartoon, but reader Jez, who sent me the link, also sent me a separate link to the image:
Good thing the Royal Family isn’t into beheading!
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 533,904, an increase of 1,846 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands at 2,660,516, an increase of about about 7,100 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on March 14 includes:
- 1757 – Admiral Sir John Byng is executed by firing squad aboard HMS Monarch for breach of the Articles of War.
Byng, who failed to relieve the British garrison at Minorca against the French, was convicted for “failing to do his utmost” against the enemy. He was shot on a ship, with the depiction below. The firing squad appears perilously close to Byng, and their rifles are super big!
Here’s Whitney’s drawing that accompanied his patent. This, of course, revolutionized cotton processing in the American South.
- 1885 – The Mikado, a light opera by W. S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan, receives its first public performance at the Savoy Theatre in London.
- 1931 – Alam Ara, India’s first talking film, is released.
Sadly, the film has been completely lost. All we have is a poster for the movie:
- 1942 – Anne Miller becomes the first American patient to be treated with penicillin, under the care of Orvan Hess and John Bumstead.
Here’s Miller, inches away from death when her doctors learned about penicillin from Reader’s Digest. They got some, gave it to her, and within a day she was nearly cured. She lived to be 90.
- 1943 – The liquidation of the Kraków Ghetto is completed.
Here’s a photo of the “selection” on the railroad platform at Birkenau, the camp next to Auschwitz. Nazi doctors and SS men separated the arrivals into two columns, one of which would be gassed immediately. The selection took place 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. Most of the Jews in Kraków died in this way. Photos like this one affect me profoundly. It’s hard to imagine the confusion, the uncertainty, and the duplicity that ended in the gas chambers, only a few steps from the platform.
- 1964 – Jack Ruby is convicted of killing Lee Harvey Oswald, the assumed assassin of John F. Kennedy.
- 1967 – The body of U.S. President John F. Kennedy is moved to a permanent burial place at Arlington National Cemetery.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1804 – Johann Strauss I, Austrian composer and conductor (d. 1849)
- 1836 – Isabella Beeton, English author of Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (d. 1865)
- 1854 – Paul Ehrlich, German physician and biologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1915)
- 1863 – Casey Jones, American engineer (d. 1900)
Jones, a locomotive engineer, stayed on his train, trying to slow it as it rear-ended another train. He was the only fatality, and that gave rise to the legend. Here he is in his cab:
- 1879 – Albert Einstein, German-American physicist, engineer, and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1955)
- 1923 – Diane Arbus, American photographer (d. 1971)
Of course I must show something of Arbus. Here’s a nice 14-minute documentary of her life, and it shows a lot of her photos. Afflicted with depression, she killed herself at 48.
- 1933 – Michael Caine, English actor and author
- 1948 – Billy Crystal, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
- 1997 – Simone Biles, American gymnast
Those who gave up the ghost on March 14 include:
- 1883 – Karl Marx, German philosopher and theorist (b. 1818)
- 1975 – Susan Hayward, American actress (b. 1917)
- 1976 – Busby Berkeley, American director and choreographer (b. 1895)
Here’s a two-minute film that shows Berkeley’s inimitable style:
- 2018 – Stephen Hawking, English physicist and author (b. 1942)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is too lazy to bother with climbing today.
Hili: I have to change my plans.A: What were your plans?Hili: To climb a tree, but I don’t know whether there is any sense to it.
Hili: Muszę zmienić plany.Ja: A co planowałaś?Hili: Wdrapać się na drzewo, ale nie wiem, czy to ma sens.
From Philosophy Matters. Oy! “Now it is our turn to study statistical mechanics.”
A tweet from Simon. Nichols was good on this one!
I wish they had thought to do this pic.twitter.com/w5cNOeYDiE
— Tom Nichols (@RadioFreeTom) March 12, 2021
A tweet from Barry, who said, “‘I’ll have just one.’ He lied.”
OK, I'll have one more, but just one.
"We rescue ALL animals, though dogs need us the most. But we rescue cats, bunnies, rats, snakes, small exotics, eleflumps, bears, big cats, wildlife, sea life, primates…"-@ElayneBoosler#tailsofjoy
— Elayne Boosler's Rescue Dog, Ralph (@BooslerS) March 12, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. What a thing to find on your roof!
Fox sleeping on sky light pic.twitter.com/1uueXfPHhW
— dominic dyer (@domdyer70) March 11, 2021
They don’t wear masks for nothing!
Half of the people with raccoon profile pics are saying “yes, that is exactly right” and the other half are saying “how dare you, how dare you divulge our secrets.” pic.twitter.com/x3V8Dpn1Mt
— Thinkwert (@Thinkwert) March 12, 2021
I like the “I do appreciate your being round” statement:
The Beetles pic.twitter.com/JuG0HmyU7o
— Moose Allain Ꙭ (@MooseAllain) March 13, 2021
Duck species are known to hybridize widely, though the interspecific hybrids are usually either physiologically or behaviorally sterile (the latter means that the intermediate appearance of a hybrid makes it unlikely to be attractive to an opposite-sex individual of either parental species). But I never knew that mallards could successfully produce hybrids with a wood duck.
mallards will mate with pretty much any species we refer to as a "duck." this is bad for the less common species in their genus, and also makes some extremely messed up looking ducks. so here's a thread of mallard hybrids.
first up: mallard x black duckhttps://t.co/WBgUcyfsNf
— its me ryan (@RyanFMandelbaum) March 10, 2021
Wood ducks and mallards last had a common ancestor about 20 million years ago. This is like getting a viable hybrid between a human and an orangutan (15 million years of divergence)!
mallard and…. wood duck? what the hell? (Anas platyrhynchos x Aix sponsa) https://t.co/JsIdcAdO20
— its me ryan (@RyanFMandelbaum) March 10, 2021
And this makes no sense at all, but hey, it’s the Internet!
Just in case you've been waiting for me to post a clip of a cat looking out of a bus window with the theme from The Thomas Crown Affair.
📹: Imgur user ARussianAndHisBike pic.twitter.com/1UgpsdwKcB
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) March 11, 2021