Good morning on Monday, March 22, 2021: One week until I fly to Austin and begin the Great Barbecue Quest. Posting will be light this week as I prepare my innards and outards. It’s World Water Day, as well as National Bavarian Crêpes Day, and National Goof-off Day.
In honor of Goof-of day, here’s Maynard G. Krebs, the biggest goof-off in the history of television. “WORK???!!!!”
News of the Day:
The two biggest items of news, at least on television, are 1) Overcrowding in Florida and 2) Overcrowding at the border. In Florida, the kids on spring break are going wild, running drunk and rampant in the streets, and fighting with the cops. As a result, the Mayor set an 8 pm curfew that will hold until April 13. Even so, crowds refused to disperse and the cops had to fire “pepper balls” at them.
Speaking of which, Europe is not faring well with the coronavirus: outbreaks have forced both France and Poland to institute new lockdowns.
In Poland, non-essential shops, hotels, cultural and sporting facilities are now closed for three weeks.
Malgorzata reports this about Poland:
There are not enough ambulances to take people to the hospitals and then there are queues of ambulances in front of the hospitals who cannot process the patients quick enough. Some already died in ambulances, waiting. Sometimes fire brigades are used to transport sick people instead of ambulances, because all ambulances are already in use.
And in France, the lockdown will last at least a month, with restaurants and cafes closed.
The new restrictions are not be as strict as the previous lockdown, with people allowed to exercise outdoors.
Non-essential businesses are shut, but schools remain open, along with hairdressers if they follow a “particular sanitary protocol”.
There go my plans to visit Paris and Dobrzyn! And restive citizens are now holding public protests against lockdowns in the UK, France, and Germany.
Immigrants and would-be immigrants continue to accumulate at the U.S.’s border with Mexico, many from Central America. Although DHS chief Alejandro Mayorkas has declared firmly that “the border is closed”, that is not the case, at least according to the NBC Evening News, which reported that only about 5-10% of families crossing the border have been sent back. And Press Secretary Jen Psaki slipped up and told the truth, using a euphemism:
For weeks, Biden administration officials have scrupulously avoided using the word “crisis” to describe the migrant surge on the southern border.
But White House press secretary Jen Psaki did exactly that during a press briefing Thursday.
“There have been expectations set outside of, unrelated to, any vaccine doses or requests for them, that they would be partners in dealing with the crisis on the border,” Psaki said.
Later, when another reporter asked her about her use of the term “crisis,” she immediately reverted to “challenges” — the word the White House has been using when repeatedly pressed on the most accurate way to refer to the growing problem.
According to CNN and other venues, and in light of the accusations by Meghan Markle that a member of the Royal Family made a racist remark, the Windsors are thinking of appointing a “diversity czar.” Will there be mandatory instruction on unconscious bias as well?
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. 541,937, an increase of just 444 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands at 2,728,634, an increase of about about 5,600 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on March 22 includes:
- 1508 – Ferdinand II of Aragon commissions Amerigo Vespucci chief navigator of the Spanish Empire.
- 1622 – Jamestown massacre: Algonquians kill 347 English settlers around Jamestown, Virginia, a third of the colony’s population, during the Second Anglo-Powhatan War..
- 1765 – The British Parliament passes the Stamp Act that introduces a tax to be levied directly on its American colonies.
This was a tax, to be paid on British currency, on all paper used in the colonies, which had to be imported from Britain. It’s the levy that inspired the anti-British slogan “No taxation without representation.” And had the Brits not levied it, we’d all be eating chips instead of French fries.
- 1784 – The Emerald Buddha is moved with great ceremony to its current location in Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand.
The Buddha, about 66 cm (26 inches) tall, is made of jasper, not emerald, but is cloaked in gold. Buddha’s decorations change with the seasons, too (see caption below):
- 1794 – The Slave Trade Act of 1794 bans the export of slaves from the United States, and prohibits American citizens from outfitting a ship for the purpose of importing slaves.
- 1895 – Before the Société pour L’Encouragement à l’Industrie, brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière demonstrate movie film technology publicly for the first time.
As Wikipedia notes of this day, “Their screening of a single film on 22 March 1895 for around 200 members of the “Society for the Development of the National Industry” in Paris was probably the first presentation of projected film.” Here are the brothers, Auguste on the left and Louis on the right:
- 1933 – Cullen–Harrison Act: President Franklin Roosevelt signs an amendment to the Volstead Act, legalizing the manufacture and sale of “3.2 beer” (3.2% alcohol by weight, approximately 4% alcohol by volume) and light wines.
This Act was signed before Prohibition was formally repealed (December, 1933), and caused great rejoicing. (Previously, beer had an upper limit of 0.5% alcohol.) Here’s some of that rejoicing:
- 1943 – World War II: The entire village of Khatyn (in what is the present-day Republic of Belarus) is burnt alive by Schutzmannschaft Battalion 118.
- 1960 – Arthur Leonard Schawlow and Charles Hard Townes receive the first patent for a laser.
Here’s part of that patent application; both men won a Nobel Prize for their work:
- 1972 – The United States Congress sends the Equal Rights Amendment to the states for ratification.
- 1972 – In Eisenstadt v. Baird, the United States Supreme Court decides that unmarried persons have the right to possess contraceptives.
- 1992 – Fall of communism in Albania: The Democratic Party of Albania wins a decisive majority in the parliamentary election.
- 1997 – Tara Lipinski, aged 14 years and nine months, becomes the youngest women’s World Figure Skating Champion.
Lipinski was also the youngest woman to win an Olympic gold medal in skating, and the first woman to complete a triple loop (twice in a row) in competition. Here’s that first triple loop:
- 2017 – A terrorist attack in London near the Houses of Parliament leaves four people dead and at least 20 injured.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1599 – Anthony van Dyck, Flemish-English painter and etcher (d. 1641)
Here’s a van Dyck with a big cat: “St. Jerome” (ca. 1620):
- 1785 – Adam Sedgwick, English scientist (d. 1873)
- 1887 – Chico Marx, American actor (d. 1961)
Perhaps you know that Chico was an very good piano player, and showed off his talents in several Marx Brothers films. Here’s a montage, but first a note from Wikipedia:
Groucho Marx once said that Chico never practiced the pieces he played. Instead, before performances he soaked his fingers in hot water. He was known for ‘shooting’ the keys of the piano. He played passages with his thumb up and index finger straight, like a gun, as part of the act. Other examples of his keyboard flamboyance are found in A Night at the Opera (1935), where he plays the piano for a group of delighted children, and A Night in Casablanca (1946), where he performs a rendition of “The Beer Barrel Polka”.
- 1912 – Karl Malden, American actor (d. 2009)
- 1923 – Marcel Marceau, French mime and actor (d. 2007)
- 1930 – Stephen Sondheim, American composer and songwriter
- 1955 – Lena Olin, Swedish actress
- 1976 – Reese Witherspoon, American actress and producer
Those who took the Dirt Nap on March 22 include:
Edwards was a hellfire preacher, determined to bring people to Jesus by scaring the hell out of them. Here’s part of his famous 1741 sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God“:
The God that holds you over the pit of hell, much as one holds a spider, or some loathsome insect over the fire, abhors you, and is dreadfully provoked: his wrath towards you burns like fire; he looks upon you as worthy of nothing else, but to be cast into the fire; he is of purer eyes than to bear to have you in his sight; you are ten thousand times more abominable in his eyes, than the most hateful venomous serpent is in ours. You have offended him infinitely more than ever a stubborn rebel did his prince; and yet it is nothing but his hand that holds you from falling into the fire every moment. It is to be ascribed to nothing else, that you did not go to hell the last night; that you were suffered to awake again in this world, after you closed your eyes to sleep.
- 1832 – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German novelist, poet, playwright, and diplomat (b. 1749)
- 1978 – Karl Wallenda, German-American acrobat and tightrope walker, founded The Flying Wallendas (b. 1905)
- 1994 – Walter Lantz, American animator, director, and producer (b. 1899)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is moving slowly:
Hili: Everything is waking up to life.A: It’s very nice.Hili: Yes, but I’m sleepy.
Hili: Wszystko budzi się do życia.Ja: To bardzo sympatyczne.Hili: Tak, ale mnie się spać chce.
And here’s little Kulka, alert and bouncy as ever:
From Stash Krod:
From Mark, a photo from some English class or department:
I’m not a huge fan ot d*gs, but I certainly don’t want them to suffer, get hurt, or die. Thus I’m heartened by this tweet from reader Ken, showing a human chain saving a canid. How great is this?
— Vala Afshar (@ValaAfshar) March 20, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This vole may be okay in the winter, but it’s toast when Spring comes. This makes me sad, but Matthew reminded me that the raptors gotta eat, too. That didn’t make me feel better. . .
found a leucistic vole today! increased predation is believed to be the reason leucism is rare in rodents – I could see it from over 15 feet away, so it would be very easy for the hawks! pic.twitter.com/gKUjB3UPQw
— Ellen E Brandell (@EllenEBrandell) March 21, 2021
I didn’t know that this species even existed. But, sure enough, it does. Isn’t it lovely? But habitat loss has given it a “vulnerable” status.
Here's a curiosity. A marbled duck (or marbled teal) hanging out with all the usual wildfowl in Dulwich Park. In the wild you might see it in Spain or north Africa. This one has probably escaped from a wildfowl collection somewhere. An advert for the attraction of the monochrome. pic.twitter.com/OiFsWoxCsU
— Lev Parikian (@LevParikian) March 21, 2021
Well, sort of. . . .
— Cats That Heal Your Depression (@Catshealdeprsn) March 20, 2021
Oy! is the appropriate phrase here:
for World Poetry Day via James Sheard pic.twitter.com/cu044h6bq2
— Ian Duhig (@ianduhig) March 21, 2021
This is the walrus seen off Ireland the other day. It’s going in the wrong direction!
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) March 21, 2021
What is up with this cat?
Overstimulating puddle of the day. pic.twitter.com/ljenjbmFbX
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) March 14, 2020
This is an interesting eight-tweet thread that gives two explanations for why amphorae are pointed.
1/8 I'm often asked "Why do amphorae have pointed bases?" and as a potter who has now made hundreds of them, I have to say that it's something that I have thought about a lot. For a start they'd be a lot easier to make if they had a flat base. As it is you start throwing from.. pic.twitter.com/Sk67JtvSaL
— Graham Taylor (@Pottedhistory) March 19, 2021