Good morning on Sunday, March 28, 2021: National Black Forest Cake Day. It’s also the beginning of Passover, Serfs Emancipation Day in Tibet, National Hot Tub Day, and, most important, Respect Your Cat Day. Remember, though you must respect your cat, your cat will not respect you.
News of the Day:
The damn container ship Ever Given is still stuck in the Suez Canal, and they’re contemplating offloading some of the TWENTY THOUSAND CONTAINERS to lighten it. But that has to be done very carefully lest it capsize. Over 300 cargo ships are in the queue behind it, and despite workers having freed the rudder and dredged 18 meters near the bow, there’s still no guess as when it will be freed, though prognostications are a week or so. And this is grim:
With the ship sagging in the middle, its bow and stern both caught in positions for which it was not designed, the hull is vulnerable to stress and cracks, both experts said.
Oy! Other reports say that huge numbers of sheep (and possibly cattle) are stranded on the waiting ships, and they could run out of food and water.
A pathetic photo of dredging:
And there’s still trouble in Myanmar, with soldiers and police firing into crowds and brutally beating protestors calling for democracy. Over 110 people were killed yesterday, and local diplomats from many countries, including the U.S., are condemning the violence. But the junta doesn’t care.
Over at the NYT, Frank Bruni has written one of his more forgettable columns, claiming that America is reluctant to give up its guns because the phrase “gun control”. That, he argues, smacks of repression, and we need a new term that emphasizes “gun safety.” Is the man nuts? Does he think the NRA will be gulled by new euphemisms to allow us to pry weapons from their warm, living hands?
The AP reports that there’s a rash of corvid thefts, with rapacious ravens plundering the groceries of shoppers in an Anchorage, Alaska Costco. They even went for short ribs. An excerpt:
Rick Sinnott, a former wildlife biologist with the state Department of Fish and Game, said hundreds of ravens fly to Anchorage in the winter for food. After winter turns to spring, most of the ravens leave, Sinnott said.
But before they do, the ravens stick around to pluck assorted meats, fruits and vegetables.
“For years, decades, they’ve watched people in parking lots of grocery stores with all this food,” Sinnott said. “They know what a piece of fruit looks like in a grocery cart because they’ve seen it on the ground or seen it in a garbage can.”
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 548,377, an increase of “just” 777 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands a 2,790,890, an increase of about 9,900 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on March 28 includes:
- 193 – After assassinating the Roman Emperor Pertinax, his Praetorian Guards auction off the throne to Didius Julianus.
Five men claimed the title of emperor that year! Three were killed.
- 1842 – First concert of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Otto Nicolai.
- 1871 – The Paris Commune is formally established in Paris. The government served from March 18 to May 21.
Here’s a barricade erected by the Communards on March 18:
The Communards lost, and many were executed:
- 1939 – Spanish Civil War: Generalissimo Francisco Franco conquers Madrid after a three-year siege.
- 1959 – The State Council of the People’s Republic of China dissolves the government of Tibet.
- 1978 – The US Supreme Court hands down 5–3 decision in Stump v. Sparkman, a controversial case involving involuntary sterilization and judicial immunity.
In this case, the court ruled that judge who ordered a 15 year old to get a tubal ligation could not be sued since he was performing a judicial function. (The girl was told she was having her appendix removed.)
1990 – United States President George H. W. Bush posthumously awards Jesse Owens the Congressional Gold Medal.
Notables born on this day include:
Bartolomeo: “Christ with the Four Evangelists”
- 1483 – Raphael, Italian painter and architect (d. 1520)
Here’s a great Raphael (caption below):
Gorky in 1906:
- 1892 – Corneille Heymans, Belgian physiologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
- 1905 – Marlin Perkins, American zoologist and television host (d. 1986)
- 1914 – Edmund Muskie, American lieutenant, lawyer, and politician, 58th United States Secretary of State (d. 1996)
- 1936 – Mario Vargas Llosa, Peruvian writer, politician, journalist and essayist, Nobel Prize laureate
- 1942 – Daniel Dennett, American philosopher and academic
Dan is 79 today. Here’s a photo of him standing in front of Norman Rockwell’s painting, “Freedom of Speech”. Stockbridge, MA. October 25, 2012
- 1986 – Lady Gaga, American singer-songwriter, dancer, producer, and actress
Those who went the way of the dinosaurs on March 28 include:
Ironically, it was this Mussorgsky who achieved fame despite his name, while his twin, Immodest Mussorgsky, languished in obscurity.
- 1941 – Virginia Woolf, English novelist, essayist, short story writer, and critic (b. 1882)
- 1943 – Sergei Rachmaninoff, Russian pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1873)
- 1953 – Jim Thorpe, American football player and coach (b. 1887)
- 1969 – Dwight D. Eisenhower, American general and politician, 34th President of the United States (b. 1890)
- 1977 – Eric Shipton, Sri Lankan-English mountaineer and explorer (b. 1907)
- 1985 – Marc Chagall, Russian-French painter and poet (b. 1887)
Chagall did a number of paintings including cats (see them all here). Here’s one:
. . . and the Trapp Family. Wikipedia caption: “Trapp Family Singers preparing for a concert in Boston in 1941. Maria is the third from left, with a dark suit. The director is probably Franz Wasner.”
- 2000 – Anthony Powell, English soldier and author (b. 1905)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is offended:
A: Kulka criticized your picture from yesterday.Hili: Youth today lacks both taste and culture.
Ja: Kulka skrytykowała twoje wczorajsze zdjęcie.Hili: Dzisiejsza młodzież nie ma ani gustu ani kultury.`
And little Kulka:
From Jesus of the Day, a new example of sexual selection in humans:
Andrew Doyle, on an interview show, discusses what he’s trying to do with Titania’s tweets:
(A segment that will stand the test of time.) #FreeSpeech
Not a left wing or a right wing monopoly, it’s everybody’s business to ensure it’s kept.
— @THE1STP0WER (Kris 🌞) (@ATHE1STP0WER) March 27, 2021
From Barry: John Cleese vs some clerics:
It is quite difficult to get The Bible into Tibet. Debating Life of Brian in 1979 on The BBC. pic.twitter.com/CmdQgd7lIr
— The Unnamed Artist (@JohnCleese) March 23, 2021
From Mayor Pete, now Secretary Peter. Inequity among pedestrians:
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) March 24, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This is a diopsid fly, soon after it “eclosed” (hatched from the pupal case), pumping up its big eyestalks with air.
Les mouches Diopsidae connaissent une métamorphose assez spectaculaire ; elles inhalent de l'air et l'injectent dans leurs pédoncules, afin de les allonger 😲#animals #naturelovers #animaux #science #wildlife #biologie #biology #SVT #insectes #insects #entomology #entomologie pic.twitter.com/5Y5yW9P8mk
— Big Bang Science Communication (@BigBangSciCom) March 26, 2021
The marvels of cephalopod camouflage:
An Octopus cyanea decloaking and recloaking pic.twitter.com/7i3hjGjvdq
— Keishu Asada (@CephWarden) March 25, 2021
Quolls: carnivorous marsupials from Australia and New Guinea—and cute!
Quantitative = “There are 2 quolls”
Qualitative = “The quolls are different colour morphs”
Quollitative = Any data whatsoever relating to quolls pic.twitter.com/7aryBsFh5E
— Dr David Hamilton (@davidghamilton1) March 22, 2021
It still surprises me that these great songs involved laying down a vocal track atop prerecorded melody:
Shiver me timbers, these isolated vocals from Something are something else. Paul's harmonising is astonishing: you can't put a cigarette-paper between their voices. Totally in simpatico; a synergy that began I suppose all those years ago on the school bus. Incredible & beautiful. pic.twitter.com/MMcHUdyPQw
— Julian Dutton 🎭📚⛵️⚓️🎟️🇬🇧 (@JulianDutton1) March 21, 2021
This first tweet is one of the year’s best. And look at that pervy cat!
y’all mean to tell me this cat looks like a perv? pic.twitter.com/YMyv0XqBtF
— the last surviving vengaboy (@hog_mild) March 22, 2021