It’s Tuesday, April 13, 2021: National Peach Cobbler Day (a dessert on offer at some of the BBQ restaurants I visited in Texas). It’s also Scrabble Day (celebrating the 1899 birthday of the game’s inventor, Alfred Butts), and Thomas Jefferson Day (he was born April 13, 1743).
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) marks the 151st anniversary of the opening of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, showing some of the items on display.
News of the Day:
There’s been another shooting of a black man by a Minnesota cop; this time a 20 year old named Daunte Wright was killed by a single shot from a cop (the cop’s race was unspecified, but of course is vital in cases like this). Wright was pulled over for an expired registration when the incident took place. Apparently bodycam footage shows that the cop mistook her (it was a woman) gun for a taser. I’m not sure how that’s possible, but there will be an investigation. According to the NYT, “protests, violence, and looting” broke out in a suburb north of Minneapolis. Joe Biden reacted with the proper restraint and condemnation of violent protest::
President Biden said he had watched the body-camera footage, which he described as “fairly graphic.”
“The question is: Was it an accident? Was it intentional? That remains to be determined by a full-blown investigation,” Mr. Biden said at the White House.
“In the meantime,” he added, “I want to make it clear again: There is absolutely no justification — none — for looting, no justification for violence.”
Wright’s mother has also called for calm.
Speaking of police killings, there’s an op-ed in the WaPo called “How toxic masculinity helped kill George Floyd.” The argument for that motivation or cause is, shall we say, extremely thin (if you hold it sideways, it disappears). The editorial is ludicrous and should not have been published. It shows that the Post is not just woke, but woke to the point of losing any semblance of journalistic standards.
The lockdown has eased in England, as shops, hairdressers, and PUBS have reopened after a Johnson-imposed lockdown. I’ve missed my trips to the UK and especially those great, well-kept pints of real ale. Oh for a Taylor’s Landlord!
The BBC reports that a deaf sheepdog in Norfolk named Peggy has learned to respond to hand signals and body language instead of whistles and calls. The link gives more information, but I’ve put a video below. (There’s a similar situation with a deaf dog named Gus, though he transitioned from sheep to goats.) [h/t: Jez]
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 562,007, an increase of just 476 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll stands at 2,961,025, an increase of about 10,200 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on April 13 includes:
- 1204 – Constantinople falls to the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade, temporarily ending the Byzantine Empire.
- 1861 – American Civil War: Fort Sumter surrenders to Confederate forces.
- 1870 – The New York City Metropolitan Museum of Art is founded. [See above]
- 1873 – The Colfax massacre, in which more than 60 black men are murdered, takes place.
Some details from Wikipedia:
The Colfax massacre, sometimes referred to by the euphemism Colfax riot, occurred on Easter Sunday, April 13, 1873, in Colfax, Louisiana, the seat of Grant Parish. An estimated 62-153 black militia men were killed while surrendering to a mob of former Confederate soldiers, members of the Ku Klux Klan and the White League. Three white men also died in the confrontation.
In the wake of the contested 1872 election for governor of Louisiana and local offices, a group of white Democrats armed with rifles and a small cannon, overpowered Republican freedmen and state militia (also black) occupying the Grant Parish courthouse in Colfax. Most of the freedmen were killed after surrendering; nearly 50 were killed later that night after being held as prisoners for several hours. Estimates of the number of dead have varied, ranging from 62 to 153; three whites died but the number of black victims was difficult to determine because many bodies were thrown into the Red River or removed for burial, possibly at mass graves.
- 1919 – Jallianwala Bagh massacre: British Indian Army troops lead by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer killed approx 379-1000 unarmed demonstrators including men and women in Amritsar, India; and approximately 1,500 injured.
Here’s a picture from the time: “All native men were forced to crawl the Kucha Kurrichhan on their hands and knees as punishment, 1919″. This was also ordered by General Dyer before the massacre because a group of Indians had assaulted a female missionary on that street. Dyer was a nasty piece of work.
This is another massacre of the innocents, one that gave considerable leverage to the Indian independence movement. Dyer was removed from duty but not otherwise punished. To some, he was even a hero! Here’s a re-creation of the massacre from the movie “Gandhi”:
- 1943 – The Jefferson Memorial is dedicated in Washington, D.C., on the 200th anniversary of President Thomas Jefferson’s birth.
- 1958 – American pianist Van Cliburn is awarded first prize at the inaugural International Tchaikovsky Competition in Moscow.
Here’s a report on his prize (you can see his whole performance here):
- 1964 – At the Academy Awards, Sidney Poitier becomes the first African-American male to win the Best Actor award for the 1963 film Lilies of the Field.
Here’s Poitier’s award, presented by Anne Bancroft. Poitier is still alive at 94.
- 1976 – The United States Treasury Department reintroduces the two-dollar bill as a Federal Reserve Note on Thomas Jefferson’s 233rd birthday as part of the United States Bicentennial celebration.
- 1997 – Tiger Woods becomes the youngest golfer to win the Masters Tournament.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1519 – Catherine de’ Medici, Italian-French wife of Henry II of France (d. 1589)
- 1570 – Guy Fawkes, English soldier, planned the Gunpowder Plot (probable; d. 1606)
- 1743 – Thomas Jefferson, American lawyer and politician, 3rd President of the United States (d. 1826)
- 1866 – Butch Cassidy, American criminal (d. 1908
Here’s Cassidy (seated, right) with a bunch of his thuggish associates, the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang. Harry Longabaugh, “the “Sundance Kid”, is seated on the extreme left:
- 1906 – Samuel Beckett, Irish novelist, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1989)
- 1909 – Eudora Welty, American short story writer and novelist (d. 2001)
- 1919 – Madalyn Murray O’Hair, American activist, founded American Atheists (d. 1995)
- 1924 – Jack T. Chick, American author, illustrator, and publisher (d. 2016)
Many of us read and enjoyed Chick’s over-the-top Christian pamphlets, especially the ones about evolution. Here’s a few frames from his famous “Big Daddy” strip, in which a Christian student dismantles his evolution-teaching professor:
- 1939 – Seamus Heaney, Irish poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2013)
Those who went to a greater glory on April 13 include:
- 1917 – Diamond Jim Brady, American businessman and philanthropist (b. 1856).
This financier and businessman was known for his power as a trencherman. Here’s an account of his meals from Wikipedia:
Brady’s enormous appetite was as legendary as his wealth, though modern experts believe it was greatly exaggerated. It was not unusual, according to the legend, for Brady to eat enough food for ten people at a sitting. George Rector, owner of a favorite restaurant, described Brady as “the best 25 customers I ever had”. For breakfast, he would eat “vast quantities of hominy, eggs, cornbread, muffins, flapjacks, chops, fried potatoes, beefsteak, washing it all down with a gallon of fresh orange juice”. A mid-morning snack would consist of “two or three dozen clams or Lynnhaven oysters”. Luncheon would consist of “shellfish…two or three deviled crabs, a brace of boiled lobsters, a joint of beef, and an enormous salad”. He would also include a dessert of “several pieces of homemade pie” and more orange juice. Brady would take afternoon tea, which consisted of “another platter of seafood, accompanied by two or three bottles of lemon soda”. Dinner was the main meal of the day, taken at Rector’s Restaurant. It usually comprised “two or three dozens oysters, six crabs, and two bowls of green turtle soup. Then in sumptuous procession came six or seven lobsters, two canvasback ducks, a double portion of terrapin, sirloin steak, vegetables, and for dessert a platter of French pastries.” Brady would even include two pounds of chocolate candy to finish off the meal.
I’m in awe!
- 1956 – Emil Nolde, Danish-German painter and educator (b. 1867)
Here’s a fine cat painting by Nolde:
- 1993 – Wallace Stegner, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1909)
- 2006 – Muriel Spark, Scottish novelist, poet, and critic (b. 1918)
If you haven’t read any Spark, I recommend The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, which was made into a movie starring Maggie Smith, who won the Best Actress Oscar for her performance.
- 2015 – Günter Grass, German novelist, poet, playwright, and illustrator, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1927)
Likewise, Grass’s early novels, especially The Tin Drum, Cat and Mouse, and Dog Years, are terrific.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata explains the dialogue:
Old people are grumpy, pessimistic and fearful. The fact that both Andrzej and Hili find the situation (in the world) terrifying may be a sign that they are both old and not a verdict on the state of the world.
Hili: All this horrifies me.A: Me too.Hili: We are getting old.
Hili: Przeraża mnie to wszystko.Ja: Mnie też.Hili: Starzejemy się.
An optical illusion from Jesus of the Day:
Titania finds more examples of opposite actions that are both racist:
UPDATE FOR WHITE PEOPLE ⚠️
Attraction to black people is racist.
Attraction to mixed race people is fetishising their proximity to whiteness.
Marrying a black person is minority sex slavery.
BUT only sleeping with other whites is sexual racism.
This really isn’t difficult. pic.twitter.com/qTDvR4xyam
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) April 12, 2021
This was on the news last night. Michael Fisher, once a master sergeant in the Marine Corps, gives the first salute to his newly-commissioned son, Second Lieutenant Triston Fisher, who followed in his dad’s footsteps to become a jarhead. It’s a moving moment, and dad calls his son “sir,” for a Second Lt. outranks a Master Sergeant.
.@USMC Master Sgt. Michael Fisher gives his son his first salute upon commissioning as a second lieutenant. A significant moment if you look at the racial diversity within the officer corps of the U.S. military. pic.twitter.com/qXpxOlZ528
— James LaPorta (@JimLaPorta) March 30, 2021
Reader Barry says this about the tweet below:
“Not your favorite mammal, …but his reaction to what he sees on the television screen fascinates me. Why does the dog react this way? It seems to ‘know’ that Darth Vader is a menacing character. Is the dog reacting to the heavy breathing? Is it because Vader is dressed in black and towers over everyone? Is it the music? I’d love to hear from a dog specialist and ask what’s going on, how it is that a dog can have such a reaction to a two-dimensional moving image with music. Amazing.”
Good boy is seeing Darth Vader for the first time… pic.twitter.com/KMDvY8mBBG
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) April 8, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I read this Crick anecdote somewhere before. The guy had moxie—and principles!
Crick would be hounded by today’s media. Here he is taking the piss out of Churchill in 1961. He had resigned from Churchill College because they had decided to build a chapel. Winston Churchill wrote expressing dismay, and Crick replied comparing the chapel to a brothel. pic.twitter.com/xJsWJOLgY5
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) April 12, 2021
Look at that head stabilization!
Sea legs of the day. pic.twitter.com/eXsDm7wZKC
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) January 7, 2020
Two people with futuristic cat carriers. I’ve seen these devices on the Internet, but never in person:
I truly wonder whether this memorandum is for real:
I am absolutely obsessed with this memorandum from the US assistant secretary of state from April 1985 about Gorbachev's birthmark pic.twitter.com/K0CniHyp8h
— Gabrielle Cornish (@gcornish91) March 12, 2021
There is no insect funnier-looking than this one!
The ridiculous appearance of the bee-grabber belies its sinister habits: before injecting eggs into their abdomens victims are rendered helpless with laughter. Myopa sp. (probably M.pellucida). Topsham garden @NHM_Diptera pic.twitter.com/zpic9a5b6l
— Tim Worfolk (@TimWorfolk) April 9, 2021