We’re at week’s end, as it’s Friday, March 19, 2021: National Oatmeal Cookie Day (my most unfaorite cookie, but still better than no cookie at all). It’s also National Chocolate Caramel Day, National Poultry Day, Certified Nurses Day, and Let’s Laugh Day. In honor of the last one, here’s a joke.
Sam gets a telephone call from a doctor. The doctor says: “About this medical test I did on you: I have some good news and some bad news.”
Sam asks for the good news first.
“The good news is that you have 24 hours to live,” says the doctor.
Horrified, Sam asked: “If that is the good news, then what is the bad news??”
“I couldn’t reach you yesterday.”
I’ll be here all year, folks.
Wine of the Day: I’m on a week of meatless meals, and today had a dinner of black beans and rice mixed with a little thick Greek yogurt for creaminess. WIth a simple meal like that you want a fruity white wine, and a good Riesling fills the bill.
Of the five grades of quality Riesling, Kabinett is the driest, though this one tasted a bit sweeter, almost like the next sweetest wine: a Spätlese. But that’s fine, as people don’t appreciate that a slightly sweet wine can be a great companion to food. It depends on the food, of course. I’ve found that foie gras and Sauternes (an exceedingly sweet wine) are a great pairing, and the French realized this long ago, so often proffer a glass of sauternes when you get foie gras with toasted baguette.
This wine was excellent: low in alcohol (about 9%), with a light straw color, an apple-y flavor, and a short but good finish. German wine labels put some people off but they’re easy. The maker, Dönhoff, is at the top, then the village (Niederhäuser), then the vineyard (Klamm), and then the grape and the grade of the wine (Riesling Kabinett: riesling, of course, and the driest grade). Elsewhere on the bottle it says this wine is from the winemaking region calIed Nahe.
I think it’s the label “confusion” that puts a lot of people off a very good and often very affordable wine. Drink more Riesling!
News of the Day:
Some good news: the House of Representatives passed two gun bills this week that will strengthen the rules on background checks for purchasing firearms. Although 80% of Americans support these measures, the Senate is unlikely to pass them given the filibuster rules and Republican opposition.
Robert Aaron Long, who killed eight people, six of them Asians, is being touted widely as an example of a xenophobe motivated by hatred of Asians. This is not yet clear, as the suspect himself denied it, and it may be sex-related. Long was a customer at both spas, and these businesses often provide sex on the side. He had also spent time in rehab for “sex addiction”, and, as a religious person, battled with his own impulses and his church’s prohibition of extramarital sex.
Others aren’t so quick draw conclusions about racism:
On NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Christopher A. Wray, the F.B.I. director, said that “while the motive remains still under investigation at the moment, it does not appear that the motive was racially motivated. But I really would defer to the state and local investigation on that for now.”
The rush to judgment (HuffPo is determined to judge this a racist act—even if the shooter simply preferred to have sex with Asian women, still considered a form of racism— when we have no information, makes me feel that people want this to be a hate crime, and I don’t really understand that. The killing is already reprehensible, and should be deplored, but we should hold off on ascribing motivations until the investigation is complete. There’s no doubt, however, that genuine hate crimes committed on Asians are rising.
Absolutely Predictable Department: The mayor of Lyon, France, a city where I’ve spent some time feeding on the city’s meaty and copious cuisine, announced that school lunches for 29,000 elementary-school students would no longer include meat. Well, the reaction was guaranteed:
Not so, thundered Gérald Darmanin, the interior minister. He tweeted that dropping meat was an “unacceptable insult to French farmers and butchers” that betrays “an elitist and moralist” attitude. Julien Denormandie, the agriculture minister, called the mayor’s embrace of the meatless lunch “shameful from a social point of view” and “aberrational from a nutritional point of view.”
I’m not that upset, as the kids will get plenty of meat elsewhere. But the fracas is funny.
Remember the hilarious “Soup Nazi” episode of Seinfeld? I didn’t watch it often, but that was good. Well, it’s not good any more: a restaurant run by a Chinese-American in Everett, Washington, named “The Soup Nazi Kitchen” was vandalized so often because of the name that the owner renamed it. Was it so wrong to call a guy the “soup Nazi”? I’m a (cultural) Jew, and it doesn’t bother me. (h/t: Neil).
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. 539,128 is, an increase of 1,549 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands at 2,704,440, an increase of about about 10,500 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on March 19 includes:
- 1284 – The Statute of Rhuddlan incorporates the Principality of Wales into England.
- 1649 – The House of Commons of England passes an act abolishing the House of Lords, declaring it “useless and dangerous to the people of England”.
- 1895 – Auguste and Louis Lumière record their first footage using their newly patented cinematograph.
Here is some of that footage:
- 1943 – Frank Nitti, the Chicago Outfit Boss after Al Capone, commits suicide at the Chicago Central Railyard.
He was drunk, and had to shoot himself in the head three times to finish the job (he completely missed the first time). Nitti was about to face a grand jury indictment for extortion. Here’s a headline from the time.
- 1945 – World War II: Adolf Hitler issues his “Nero Decree” ordering all industries, military installations, shops, transportation facilities, and communications facilities in Germany to be destroyed.
- 1979 – The United States House of Representatives begins broadcasting its day-to-day business via the cable television network C-SPAN.
- 1982 – Falklands War: Argentinian forces land on South Georgia Island, precipitating war with the United Kingdom.
- 2008 – GRB 080319B: A cosmic burst that is the farthest object visible to the naked eye is briefly observed.
Here’s a double image of the burst, with X-ray visualization on the left and a UV image on the right. The burst was visible for about 30 seconds, and it was about 2.9 million light years away.
- 2018 – The last male northern white rhinoceros, Sudan, dies, ensuring a chance of extinction for the species.
This is one of two subspecies of the white rhino (Ceratotherium simum ). Here’s a photo of one of them while it still lived:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1813 – David Livingstone, Scottish missionary and explorer (d. 1873)
Livingstone died in Africa at 60 of malaria and dysentery. Here’s a photo from 1864:
- 1848 – Wyatt Earp, American police officer (d. 1929)
- 1891 – Earl Warren, American lieutenant, jurist, and politician, 14th Chief Justice of the United States (d. 1974)
- 1894 – Moms Mabley, American comedian and singer (d. 1975)
- 1905 – Albert Speer, German architect and politician (d. 1981)
- 1906 – Adolf Eichmann, German SS officer (d. 1962)
- 1933 – Philip Roth, American novelist (d. 2018)
Here’s a snippet of a BBC interview from 2009 in which Roth discusses his life and work:
- 1952 – Harvey Weinstein, American director and producer
- 1955 – Bruce Willis, German-American actor and producer
Those whose metabolism ground to a halt on March 19 include:
- 1930 – Arthur Balfour, Scottish-English politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (b. 1848)
- 1950 – Edgar Rice Burroughs, American soldier and author (b. 1875)
- 1950 – Norman Haworth, English chemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1883)
- 1984 – Garry Winogrand, American photographer (b. 1928)
Winograd was a great street photographer. Here’s an untitled specimen of his work from the 1970s:
- 1987 – Louis de Broglie, French physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1892)
- 1997 – Willem de Kooning, Dutch-American painter and educator (b. 1904)
- 2005 – John DeLorean, American engineer and businessman, founded the DeLorean Motor Company (b. 1925)
DeLorean was a car designer, and of course his most famous car was the DMC DeLorean with gull-wing doors. It was not a success.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn,
Szaron: I have a feeling that she is ignoring me.Hili: I think I will have to accept him.
Szaron: Mam wrażenie, że ona mnie ignoruje.Hili: Chyba trzeba go będzie zaakceptować.
And here’s Szaron catching forty winks:
From Barry. There’s nothing more alert than an alert cat!
— Nina 🆘 (@NinaLS_) March 17, 2021
Another video turned into an academic meme by Oded Rechavi. This was sent by Simon, who is guilty of tweeting about his new paper just this week!
Tweeting your paper pic.twitter.com/lywQNoetR4
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) March 17, 2021
Reader Ken has a long explanation for this tweet:
Eugene Vindman, whose career was torpedoed by Donald Trump for no reason other than that his twin brother, purple-heart recipient Alexander, gave truthful testimony, under subpoena, to the House Intelligence Committee regarding Trump’s perfect “do-me-a-favor-though” phone call with Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, has finally received his well-deserved promotion to full-bird colonel:
Grateful for the trust & confidence @USArmy & JAG Corps placed in me w/promotion to Colonel. I look forward to continuing my service to the @USArmy & the Nation. Thx to the many fellow Americans who supported me & @AVindman. Congrats to fellow selects for COL. #HereRightMatters pic.twitter.com/2qlP0Vpei7
— Yevgeny (Eugene) Vindman (@YVindman) March 16, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Nope, not a walking stick; in fact, it’s in a different order of insects altogether. There’s a hint, but first look at the picture and guess.
While this may seem like a walking stick – you'll want to use those big eyes of yours to check it out a little closer.
Hint: The back legs
Jumping Stick (Grasshopper) from the Amazon Rainforest
Waita Lodge – Cuyabeno – Ecuador https://t.co/HnNmFuOogk pic.twitter.com/hkC0L5luxn
— 🐞 Nancy Miorelli 🐞 (@SciBugs) March 18, 2021
This is a lovely video. I presume the fish in that compartment are bait fish.
Oh this is so beautiful. A complete cleanser. Watch until the end. One of my favourite animals 🥰@duppyhammer @fauxpaschick @lightacandleOTM @GJSSONGWRITER @suzerian @PoetLiggett @Phyllida1234 @mschin01 @MattTheWatchman @dips_nk and everyone else! 😂 pic.twitter.com/wLbmSNZNWs
— FishGirls23 💙 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 #3.5% (@FishGirls23) March 16, 2021
Another attentive cat video:
My cat staring down a blue tit on the bird feeder while playing her own Alfred Hitchcock-style theme tune of suspense is probably the best thing I’ve seen all year… 🎹 🔈 pic.twitter.com/wTMW7stVMv
— Library Cat (@edinlibrarycat) March 16, 2021
Turn the sound up! This is a possum sea shanty!
Okay this is single handedly the best piece of content to ever be made.
Sound ON pic.twitter.com/jcvqaQQk5W
— Rob N Roll (@thegallowboob) March 17, 2021
I agree with the caption. I ain’t getting into one of those cars.
ok i'm never getting into a self-driving tesla pic.twitter.com/yeHx3MzyQr
— Bes D. Socialist (@besf0rt) March 17, 2021