Good morning on Cat Sabbath: Saturday, March 20, 2021: National Ravioli Day.
And I bet you’ve forgotten that today is the first day of Spring! Google celebrates with a gif of a flowery, bouncy hedgehog that links to that information (click on screenshot below). The season starts at 5:37 Eastern U.S. time, so will have been in progress for two hours when this post goes up.
And some Spring tweets from Matthew. Remember, the Earth is tilted on its axis as it goes around the Sun, and the equinoxes are those two days on which the sun is directly above the Equator.
On the #Equinox day, like #today, everyone visiting the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in the capital city of Kerala, will see the setting sun aligning through each of the window openings in almost five-minute intervals [read more: https://t.co/sIPmUXdpg5] pic.twitter.com/r8f3JE0nAy
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) March 20, 2021
It’s also Great American Meatout Day, French Language Day, Bibliomania Day, World Sparrow Day, National Corndog Day, National Bock Beer Day, National Ravioli Day, Maple Syrup Saturday, International Earth Day, and Atheist Pride Day.
News of the Day:
The troubles in Myanmar are mounting with people out in the street protesting the new military dictatorship, with nine killed yesterday alone and 233 in the last six weeks. The U.S. has imposed sanctions on the country, freezing $1 billion of the generals’ money in the U.S. Former leader Aung San Suu Kyi remains under arrest.
The New York Times has an editors’ editorial on violence against Asian-Americans that implicitly argues that the diagnosis of a sex-related crime is dubious, and that surely it must be of a piece with other racist violence against Asians. The paper has published one article on the killer’s motivations and sixteen about the incident implying it was motivated by animus towards Asians (see post later today). A quote from the article:
After eight people — including six people of Asian descent and seven women — were shot to death in Georgia this week, a deputy sheriff chalked the killings up to the suspect’s confessed “sex addiction,” adding that “yesterday was a really bad day” for the alleged shooter. That diagnosis was met with the skepticism it deserved: The same deputy promoted the sale of anti-Asian T-shirts that referred to the coronavirus as an import from “Chy-na.”
Well, we shall see.
I wouldn’t have believe this had the BBC not reported it, but the sea shanty “Wellerman” has reached #1 on the UK pop charts. The singer, Nathan Evans, was a postie, but he was offered a record deal and is no longer delivering mail. The official video is below, but I have to say that the original a cappella version (second video) is much better. (h/t: Jez)
The hit version:
The original version:
Uncle Joe tripped three times while climbing the stairs to board Air Force One (video below). This worried me, and I hope it was due to the wind. Here’s a video.
Now here’s a clickbait headline from the BBC (click on screenshot, h/t: Jez):
A sushi joint in Taiwan had a deal in which, if you legally changed your name to one containing the word “salmon” (in Japanese), you could get an all-you-can-eat sushi meal for yourself and five friends. Dozens of people availed themselves of this offer, changing their names back after the freebie meal. The government pleaded for people not to waste their time creating paperwork (it’s only $3 to get a name change), but it didn’t avail:
According to the newspaper, one student in Taichung said she had changed her name to “Kuo Salmon Rice Bowl” but planned to change it back the next day.
Other salmon-themed names included “Salmon Prince,” “Meteor Salmon King” and “Salmon Fried Rice”, according to AFP news agency.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. 540,717, and increase of 1,510 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands at 2,714,737, an increase of about about 10,300 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on March 20 includes:
- 1616 – Sir Walter Raleigh is freed from the Tower of London after 13 years of imprisonment. For the time Raleigh’s imprisonment was pretty cushy. He was able to write, and a photo of his cell is below. However, he lived for only a year after being freed, and was beheaded in 1617.
- 1815 – After escaping from Elba, Napoleon enters Paris with a regular army of 140,000 and a volunteer force of around 200,000, beginning his “Hundred Days” rule.
- 1852 – Harriet Beecher Stowe‘s Uncle Tom’s Cabin is published.
A first edition of this book will cost you about $22,000:
But according to NASA, the paper was published in November, and the paper below says 25 November 1915. Caption to the photo below:
“Einstein’s general relativity equations were first published on November 25, 1915 in the Proceedings of the Royal Prussian Academy of Science. Having trouble reading the page? It’s in German! The title translates to: ‘The field equations of gravitation.’” Credit: Proceedings of the Royal Prussian Academy of Sciences, Berlin
- 1923 – The Arts Club of Chicago hosts the opening of Pablo Picasso’s first United States showing, entitled Original Drawings by Pablo Picasso, becoming an early proponent of modern art in the United States.
- 1942 – World War II: General Douglas MacArthur, at Terowie, South Australia, makes his famous speech regarding the fall of the Philippines, in which he says: “I came out of Bataan and I shall return”.
- 1985 – Libby Riddles becomes the first woman to win the 1,135-mile Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.
Here’s Riddles after her win:
- 1985 – Canadian paraplegic athlete and humanitarian Rick Hansen begins his circumnavigation of the globe in a wheelchair in the name of spinal cord injury medical research.
He made it; it took him 26 months of traveling, wheeling about eight hours a day.
- 1995 – The Japanese cult Aum Shinrikyo carries out a sarin gas attack on the Tokyo subway, killing 13 and wounding over 6,200 people.
Thirteen people were executed for this crime (Japan is one of only a handful of First World countries to have the death penalty.) Execution is by hanging, and prisoners are informed of the execution date only on that very morning.
- 2003 – Invasion of Iraq: In the early hours of the morning, the United States and three other countries (the UK, Australia and Poland) begin military operations in Iraq.
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s Ibsen. What a pair of mutton chops!
- 1904 – B. F. Skinner, American psychologist and author (d. 1990)
- 1908 – Michael Redgrave, English actor and director (d. 1985)
- 1922 – Carl Reiner, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2020)
- 1925 – John Ehrlichman, American lawyer, 12th White House Counsel (d. 1999)
- 1928 – Fred Rogers, American television host and producer (d. 2003)
- 1940 – Mary Ellen Mark, American photographer and journalist (d. 2015)
Mark was a “street photographer” who specialized in difficult subjects, including the mentally ill and the homeless. Here’s one of her most famous photos, taken in Turkey:
- 1947 – John Boswell, American historian, philologist, and academic (d. 1994)
As I’ve said before, John (he was known as “Jeb”) lived across the hall from me when I was a sophomore at William and Mary and he was a senior. He went on to a distinguished career as a historian at Yale, and died of AIDS at only 47. Here’s a memoriam from William and Mary.
- 1957 – Spike Lee, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
- 1958 – Holly Hunter, American actress and producer
Those whose perished from the earth on March 20 include:
- 1974 – Chet Huntley, American journalist (b. 1911)
- 2020 – Kenny Rogers, American singer (b. 1938)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili celebrates an unusual season in Poland. Malgorzata explains:
We have an additional season in Poland: “przedwiośnie”, which means more or less “just before spring”. It was historically a season of scarcity and hunger. Scarcity and hunger disappeared, but the name of this “fifth season” exists until today.
Hili: The trees are still naked. It was called “pre-spring” in the past.A: It’s called the same now.Hili: Yes, but now we have full refrigerators.
Hili: Drzewa jeszcze gołe, dawniej to się nazywało przedwiośnie.Ja: Teraz to się też tak nazywa.Hili: Tak, ale teraz mamy pełne lodówki.
Shhhh! Kulka is resting:
From Jesus of the Day. Won’t a photo do as well?
From Bruce, a satisfied d*g:
From Barry: Remember “his master’s voice”, the old ad for RCA phonographs? (one is below). I didn’t know there was a video of its making, shown in the first tweet:
I never considered there'd be outtakes of the "His Master's Voice" promo shoot IN 1901 but now I can't stop laughing. pic.twitter.com/myQK2DliGS
— Mark Greenmantle 🛩️🇦🇺 (@MarkGreenmantle) March 14, 2021
Here’s one of the old ads:
From Simon. Sloths are like us!
If you’ve already seen a sloth on a boat playing with the water today just keep on scrolling…pic.twitter.com/5Z3zL4kl0L
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) March 17, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I had trouble understanding this one, but once you get it it’s a good joke.
A priest, a pastor and a rabbit walked in to blood donation clinic.
The nursed asked the rabbit: "What is your blood type?"
"I am probably a type O" said the rabbit.
— Lucy (@LMBD1418) March 18, 2021
What a letter!
My 18 year old Dad's letters home from WWII – compkete with a diagram of getting run over by a tank in a fox hole
"Don't worry, it did not hurt me"
— Sylvia McLain (@DrSylviaMcLain) March 19, 2021
A bit of a salacious tweet, but it apparently doesn’t violate “community standards”:
Ten More Historical Euphemisms for Cunnilingus pic.twitter.com/HJkfKUIC8c
— Whores of Yore (@WhoresofYore) March 19, 2021
Okay, is this for real?
I’m creased with this cat cam footage pic.twitter.com/xSyTTXTIe3
— 🐿Septic Peg🐿 (@PegSeptic) March 19, 2021
I wrote about this miniature chameleon before, but yesterday was Taxonomist Appreciation Day, so let’s see the adorable reptile again:
A tautonym is an interesting quirk (well, interesting to us anyway) of taxonomy and binomial nomenclature – and triple tautonyms can even occur!
We've collated a few tautonyms here: https://t.co/9gUKsr7R5j
— BBC Wildlife (@WildlifeMag) March 19, 2021
This is the arachnid equivalent of “how should a giraffe wear a tie?”:
— Kumi Taguchi | 田口久実 (@kumitaguchi) March 17, 2021