Good morning on Thursday, March 25, 2021. I leave for Texas next week—my first trip in a whole year!
It’s International Waffle Day. It’s been a long time since I had one of these corrugated pancakes (I have no waffle iron, and restaurants have been closed). I suppose I should try chicken and waffles some time, as it’s a big dish in Chicago. Here’s a local version.
It’s also National Lobster Newburg Day (another dish I haven’t had), Pecan Day, Tolkien Reading Day (March 25 was the downfall of Sauron in Lord of the Rings), International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.
It’s Medal of Honor Day. marking the day in 1862 when the Great Locomotive Chase took place, with Union Soldiers commandeering a Confederate train and taking it north, damaging the railroad line as they went. Some of the surviving Union soldiers (the Confederates caught and shot some of them) were given the very first Medals of Honor, the highest award the military gives for bravery in combat.
Wine of the Day: I looked in vain for a vintage year on this bottle, which I bought Ceiling Cat knows when, but found via Google that it’s a “nonvintage” wine: a rarity in this price range. In fact, it’s a blend of wines from five vintages (2010, 2012, 2015, 2016, and 2017) and ten plots in the Southern Rhone, a great area for red wines. It’s mostly Grenache (85%), with 5% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre.
I wouldn’t have known this is a Rhone wine, as it tasted like a good, gutsy California grenache, with a nose of blackberries and cherries. It really was the perfect accompaniment to my weekly rare T-bone (while others bought toilet paper during the initial lockdown, I loaded up my freezer with steaks). Powerful and tasty, but not overly tannic, I would have liked to taste this puppy in five more years. Sadly, I had only one bottle.
News of the Day:
Talk about a squeaker: a Republican candidate for a House set in Iowa, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, won her election by just six votes out of a total of nearly 400,000. Her opponent, Democrat Rita Hart, says that 22 ballots were discarded by officials that would have given her the victory. Hart has appealed to the House to overturn the results. Sound familiar? The House, as per the law, is looking into the matter, with Republicans objecting strenuously.
Trouble in Israel: In yesterday’s election, Netanyahu’s right wing bloc fell short of the votes needed for him to form a government. He could still prevail with help from the Arab-Islamist Ra’am Party (get that, arguers that Israel is an “apartheid state”), but they want concessions for the Arab Israelis in return.
Five White House staffers were fired for past marijuana use, which seems unfair to me. After all, Kamala Harris has admitted to and endorsed recreational marijuana use. Here’s Jen Psaki’s rationale for the firing, which seems pretty thin. Of course, we don’t know all the details, but why did she play the “federal crime” card?
"It is still illegal federally" — Jen Psaki explains why past marijuana use resulted in a number of White House staffers losing their jobs pic.twitter.com/AkaoxqQKOC
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 24, 2021
A 1300-foot-long container ship, blinded by dust storms, ran aground in the Suez canal, wedging itself sideways and blocking the damn passage, creating a lineup of over 100 ships. So far efforts to free it have failed. 12% of world trade passes through the canal, and oil prices have already risen over the incident. And, as of this morning, it’s still stuck! Here’s an Instagram photo of one of the world’s longest ships wedged in tight:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 545,070, an increase of 1,591 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands at 2,758,100, an increase of about 9,400 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on March 25 includes:
- 1306 – Robert the Bruce becomes King of Scots (Scotland).
- 1584 – Sir Walter Raleigh is granted a patent to colonize Virginia.
- 1655 – Saturn‘s largest moon, Titan, is discovered by Christiaan Huygens.
Here’s a gif of Titan visualized with infrared light. It’s the only moon known to have a stable atmosphere (nitrogen) and standing liquid (hydrocarbon lakes), and it’s about 40% as wide as the Earth:
- 1807 – The Swansea and Mumbles Railway, then known as the Oystermouth Railway, becomes the first passenger-carrying railway in the world.
- 1811 – Percy Bysshe Shelley is expelled from the University of Oxford for publishing the pamphlet The Necessity of Atheism.
Here’s the pamphlet, on which no author appears. I’m not sure how Shelley was identified as the author.
This tragedy, due to a fire and to the exit doors being blocked, resulted in the deaths of 123 women and 23 men, mainly Italian and Jewish immigrants. Many of them leaped from the upper floors of the building to their deaths, as shown below:
This was an accusation of rape made up by a white woman against nine black adolescents, who were prosecuted and convicted. After a retrial, seven were convicted and five served prison sentences. There was no evidence of a rape, physical or otherwise. The last defendant died in 1989, and the Alabama legislature gave them all posthumous pardons in 2013.
A first edition, first printing of the poem will run you around $3,500:
- 1965 – Civil rights activists led by Martin Luther King Jr. successfully complete their 4-day 50-mile march from Selma to the capitol in Montgomery, Alabama.
Here’s part of King’s speech at the end of this final march:
If it may be said of the slavery era that the white man took the world and gave the Negro Jesus, then it may be said of the Reconstruction era that the southern aristocracy took the world and gave the poor white man Jim Crow. He gave him Jim Crow. And when his wrinkled stomach cried out for the food that his empty pockets could not provide, he ate Jim Crow, a psychological bird that told him that no matter how bad off he was, at least he was a white man, better than the black man. And he ate Jim Crow. And when his undernourished children cried out for the necessities that his low wages could not provide, he showed them the Jim Crow signs on the buses and in the stores, on the streets and in the public buildings.
- 1995 – WikiWikiWeb, the world’s first wiki, and part of the Portland Pattern Repository, is made public by Ward Cunningham.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1908 – David Lean, English director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1991)
Lean directed three of the most famous (and best) epic movies of our era, The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Lawrence of Arabia (1962), and Doctor Zhivago (1965). Here are the first ten minutes of “Lawrence”:
- 1918 – Howard Cosell, American soldier, journalist, and author (d. 1995)
- 1920 – Paul Scott, English author, poet, and playwright (d. 1978)
I implore you to read Scott’s four novels The Raj Quartet, and its Booker Prize-winning sequel, Staying On. If I can’t persuade you, perhaps Christopher Hitchens can. It’s one of the best modern novels, as you can consider all five volumes part of a single story.
- 1925 – Flannery O’Connor, American short story writer and novelist (d. 1964)
- 1934 – Gloria Steinem, American feminist activist, co-founded the Women’s Media Center
- 1942 – Aretha Franklin, American singer-songwriter and pianist (d. 2018)
Here’s Aretha’s famous turn in “The Blues Brothers”:
- 1965 – Sarah Jessica Parker, American actress, producer, and designer
- 1967 – Debi Thomas, American figure skater and physician
- 1982 – Danica Patrick, American race car driver
Those who became permanently quiescent on March 25 include:
- 1918 – Claude Debussy, French composer (b. 1862)
- 1931 – Ida B. Wells, American journalist and activist (b. 1862)
A Chicago resident for much of her life, Wells was perhaps the most famous black woman in America, and a well known activist, as well as one of the founders of the NAACP. Here’s a famous pamphlet she wrote:
- 1973 – Edward Steichen, Luxembourgian-American photographer, painter, and curator (b. 1879)
Here’s Steichen’s famous photo of Greta Garbo, taken in 1928:
- 2006 – Buck Owens, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1929)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn,
Hili: One has to look the truth in the eye.A: And what?Hili: Consume it.
Hili: Trzeba spojrzeć prawdzie w oczy.Ja: I co?Hili: Skonsumować.
And here is Szaron having a stretch:
From a conservative source via Luana, but I swear it’s pretty accurate. It’s from The Critical Theory Handbook of Journalism. Be sure to look at the whole chart:
— Jon Gabriel (@exjon) March 23, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I’d heard this first story before, but it still amazes me. The guy must have assumed that he’d die when he hit the ground.
He was subsequently captured and interviewed by the Gestapo, who were initially suspicious of his claim to have fallen without a parachute until the wreckage of the aircraft was examined. The Germans gave Alkemade a certificate testifying to the fact. pic.twitter.com/86XWF6ihFz
— Marina Amaral (@marinamaral2) March 24, 2021
A nice display of mutual sexual selection, especially the “cross the neck” manuever:
The dance of the European Shag. Plenty of courtship display going on between pairs on the Isle of May, beautiful to see pic.twitter.com/jQqrLPmP6g
— David Steel (@SteelySeabirder) March 23, 2021
Jaguar on the border! Will DHS let it in?
Breaking: Newly released footage shows a wild jaguar in Sonora, Mex. just 3 miles from the U.S.-Mexico border.
📽️Ganesh Marin, doctoral student at University of Arizona pic.twitter.com/Mtl0tHuc13
— Russ McSpadden (@PeccaryNotPig) March 23, 2021
This is ineffably sweet; sound up!
— Spotlight (@BBCSpotlight) March 23, 2021
All of us!:
Me too, vending machine. Me too. https://t.co/e2uv9FnSV3
— Elizabeth Tasker (@girlandkat) March 22, 2021
A sad map of where the US government stuck the Native Americans.
These kinds of maps are staggering even when you think you already know the history pic.twitter.com/IVn5MQpkUo
— Aaron Bady (@zunguzungu) March 21, 2021