Welcome to the Cruelest Day of the Week: Tuesday, May 4, 2021: National Hoagie Day. Why is a big fat submarine sandwich called a “hoagie”? There are many theories, but nobody knows for sure. It’s also National Candied Orange Peel Day (I love the stuff!), National Orange Juice Day, Bird Day, World Give Day, International Respect for Chickens Day, National Teacher Day, National Weather Observers Day, and World Naked Gardening Day:
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) celebrates the life of HIsaye Yamomoto (1921-2011), who wrote about the experience of Japanese immigrants to the U.S. This is part of the celebration of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month.
Wine of the Day: Below you can read my go-to wine critic, Robert Parker, reviewing the 2013 vintage of Bootleg Proprietary Red, which is now unavailable but the estimated price is $37, and I must have paid somewhere around $25 at my wine store Vin Chicago (I don’t remember acquiring it), which must have been close to the price it sold for at Costco. (Don’t turn up your nose at all Costco wines!) Parker gave it a 94, an excellent score, but I haven’t yet cracked it (it’s Monday evening). My own evaluation follows his, but of course I am now conditioned to find what he found! You don’t often find Cabernet blended with Petite Syrah, much less Zinfandel!
I was in the mood for a big, good wine because it was a long, hard day on the duck pond. I will have this with chicken breast, rice, and green beans. First, the review:
The 2013 Proprietary Red from Bootleg is a major sleeper of not only the vintage, but in its entire concept. There are just over 8,000 cases of this wine, which has been culled from KJ vineyards on Atlas Peak, Oakville, Mt. Veeder, Rutherford and Spring Mountain. The wine is a blend of 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Petite Sirah, 21% Zinfandel, 12% Merlot, and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot. That’s like throwing in the entire kitchen sink, but the result is a stunningly delicious, complex, big-time, sexy style of wine with a deep, opaque purple color, a beautiful nose of blackberries and blueberries, with some lavender Provençal herbs, licorice and a touch of espresso. The wine has a fabulous texture, a plush, full-bodied mouthfeel, and beautiful purity and depth. It’s something that could only be made in California, given the blend, but it is off-the-charts in terms of its hedonistic appeal. At the same time, it is complex enough to satisfy the intellectual senses as well. Drink it over the next 5-6 years. A big-time winner.
Let us now see if it’s over the hill . . . .
Answer: NO! The wine, deep purple, is gutsy, fruity, and a pure delight to drink. No, I can’t identify any of the grapes in it (I thought I’d be able to detect the Zin), but the various varietals have melded into pure, fruity pleasure. I’d say this wine hasn’t peaked, but has at least five more years. If you see it and can get it for a decent price, do so. No airing needed, ready to drink right out of the bottle. I can’t tell if there’s a sediment, as I’m pouring gently and haven’t come near the bottom. If you want a heavy, fruity, and yet easy-drinking wine to accompany hearty food, this is your baby. I’m looking forward to another two glasses this evening.
News of the Day:
This is unthinkable: after 27 years of marriage, Bill and Melinda Gates are getting divorced. Here’s their announcement on Twitter (h/t Simon):
— Bill Gates (@BillGates) May 3, 2021
Apparently this is not a surprise for some, but there are questions about what will happen to the couple’s pathbreaking foundation:
Mr. and Ms. Gates have faced relationship struggles over the past several years, two people close to them said. There were several times when the relationship neared collapse, but they worked to keep it together, the people said. Mr. Gates decided to step down from the boards of Microsoft and Berkshire Hathaway, in part, so he could spend more time with his family, these people said.
. . . Even so, the divorce will create new questions about the fate of the Gates fortune, much of which has not yet been donated to the Gates Foundation.
Late last night a subway overpass collapsed in Mexico City, killing at least 23 people and injuring “dozens” (70 are in the hospital). Here’s one photo of the wreckage:
Opponents of “anti-racism education” won a victory, with voters repudiating a proposed school antiracist curriculum. However, this happened in Texas, so the Left can fob off the defeat on Republicans or on Southern racists. And indeed, that seems to be the case:
On one side, progressives argued that curriculum and disciplinary changes were needed to make all children feel safe and welcome in Carroll, a mostly white but quickly diversifying school district. On the other, conservatives in Southlake rejected the school diversity plan as an effort to indoctrinate students with a far-left ideology that, according to some, would institutionalize discrimination against white children and those with conservative Christian values.
Joe Biden has done a dramatic turnabout on immigration. After announcing he’ll keep the number of immigrants to the U.S. capped at 15,000 per year, and after facing criticism for that, he’s upped the limit over fourfold—to 62,500.
The Biden administration announced that it will try to ban the manufacture and sale of menthol cigarettes. Why? It’s not that they are more dangerous per se than regular cigarettes, it’s that the idea is that people get hooked more easily on them. It’s also going to be harder on African-Americans. As Eugene Robinson, an African-AmericanWaPo columnist and Pulitzer winner, notes:
Making it illegal to make or sell Newports, Kools and other such brands will have a massively disparate impact on African American smokers, nearly 85 percent of whom smoke menthols. By contrast, only around 30 percent of White smokers and 35 percent of Hispanic smokers choose menthol-flavored varieties. Black smokers have every right to feel targeted by the planned prohibition.
Public health experts can reasonably argue that the pending rule targets African Americans in the best possible way. The real disparate impact, so this thinking goes, is in the way tobacco companies have aggressively marketed menthol cigarettes in Black communities over the decades. I understand all of that. But I can’t rush to cheer a new policy that puts a terribly unhealthy — but perfectly legal — practice enjoyed so disproportionately by African Americans on the wrong side of the law.
What do you think?
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 577,378, an increase of 733 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,228,000, an increase of about 10,600 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on May 4 includes:
- 1626 – Dutch explorer Peter Minuit arrives in New Netherland (present day Manhattan Island) aboard the See Meeuw.
Imagine! A boat named after a cat!
- 1776 – Rhode Island becomes the first American colony to renounce allegiance to King George III.
- 1814 – Emperor Napoleon arrives at Portoferraio on the island of Elba to begin his exile.
- 1886 – Haymarket affair: A bomb is thrown at policemen trying to break up a labor rally in Chicago, United States, killing eight and wounding 60. The police fire into the crowd.
- 1904 – The United States begins construction of the Panama Canal.
Here are the locks under construction in 1913:
Here’s Capone’s mugshot. Suffering from syphillis in the brain, Capone was released from prison in 1939, retired to Florida, and died of a stroke in 1947:
This camp practiced “extermination through labor”:
The Neuengamme concentration camp was run under the SS practice of “extermination through labour” (German: Vernichtung durch Arbeit). Prisoners worked for 10–12 hours per day and were killed both due to the inhumane conditions in the camp as well as active violence from the guards. 42,900 prisoners died from difficult slave labour combined with insufficient nutrition, extremely unhygienic conditions contributing to widespread disease, and arbitrary brutal punishments from the guards.Although hospitals existed in the camp, medicine was scarce and entrance into the hospital was almost always a death sentence. In 1942, a typhus epidemic entreated the SS to allow former doctors imprisoned in the camp to work at the camp hospitals; prior to this reversal, the hospital staff comprised almost no former medical professionals. The hospitals were also used as a place to murder large groups of weakened Soviet prisoners via lethal injection.
Here are the sleeping quarters for the prisoners; I suspect there were at least three per tier, including on the ground:
Because this is a fairly recent book and because the first print run was 50,000 copies, you can pick up a first edition for the paltry sum of $5000-$17,000, with the higher prices for signed editions.
Here’s a photo of some Freedom Riders being beaten up by segregationists. The Wikipedia caption is “A mob of white people beat Freedom Riders in Birmingham. This picture was reclaimed by the FBI from a local journalist who also was beaten and whose camera was smashed.”
- 1970 – Vietnam War: Kent State shootings: The Ohio National Guard, sent to Kent State University after disturbances in the city of Kent the weekend before, opens fire killing four unarmed students and wounding nine others. The students were protesting the Cambodian Campaign of the United States and South Vietnam.
- 1979 – Margaret Thatcher becomes the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.
- 1989 – Iran–Contra affair: Former White House aide Oliver North is convicted of three crimes and acquitted of nine other charges; the convictions are later overturned on appeal.
- 1998 – A federal judge in Sacramento, California, gives “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski four life sentences plus 30 years after Kaczynski accepts a plea agreement sparing him from the death penalty.
Kaczynski, who killed three and injured 23, now sits in Supermax prison ADX Florence, the toughest prison in the U.S. He will never get out. Here’s his mugshot:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1825 – Thomas Henry Huxley, English biologist, anatomist, and academic (d. 1895)
Huxley, aka “Darwin’s Bulldog,” with a sketch of a gorilla skull, taken about 1870.
- 1852 – Alice Liddell, English model (d. 1934)
Liddell was of course the recipient of and model for the story Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Here’s a photo of Alice taken by Carroll in 1858, when she was six or seven:
- 1855 – Greyfriars Bobby, faithful dog (d. 1872)
Here’s a print of what is thought to be that faithful dog, who is supposed to have sat by the grave of his deceased master for FOURTEEN YEARS. The story has been challenged, but still appeals to people from around the world, including me, who come to Edinburgh to visit the grave of Bobby and his staff (and heft a pint at the nearby tavern). Here’s what purports to be a photo of Bobby along with his actual collar:
- 1922 – Eugenie Clark, American biologist and academic (d. 2015)
- 1929 – Audrey Hepburn, Belgian-British actress and humanitarian (d. 1993)
- 1941 – George Will, American journalist and author
Those who flatlined on May 4 include:
Stevens, whose work was undervalued because she was a woman in what was then a man’s field, never got a real job at a university. I have read old papers in which she’s acknowledged as “Miss Stevens”, even though she had a Ph.D. Here she is:
- 1975 – Moe Howard, American actor, singer, and screenwriter (b. 1897)
- 2013 – Christian de Duve, English-Belgian cytologist and biochemist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1917)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being very pompous:
Hili: Behind this bush a different reality is hidden.A: Slightly different.
Hili: Za tym krzakiem ukrywa się inna rzeczywistość.
Ja: Nieznacznie inna.
And here’s little Kulka in the trees, photographed by Paulina:
From Stash Krod. If there’s any sign that would make you wear a mask, this is the one. From Meanwhile in Canada:
A tweet from Dom. These otters have found a FEAST!
A pretty amazing sight! Otters wrestling a large Conger Eel. Shetland Islands. pic.twitter.com/SM9PcDgqOq
— John Moncrieff (@mostlyotters) May 3, 2021
A tweet from Barry. It’s really moving!
Italian firefighter saves small kitten and then cries his heart out ❤️ pic.twitter.com/iE6Y0GazIx
— Madeyousmile (@Thund3rB0lt) May 2, 2021
A tweet from Simon, who says the second one looks like a cat, but I think the third one looks like a duck!
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) April 27, 2021
Titania presents a deep philosophical discussion:
The next time someone complains that Twitter is full of culture warriors spouting nonsense, just show them this exchange to prove that it can actually be an effective forum for amplifying progressive values and educating the masses. pic.twitter.com/2XjxaeWgf1
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) May 3, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I don’t know who Mr. Fantastic is, but he doesn’t know much biology:
Even before we realised the cataclysmic end of the non-avian dinosaurs, Mr Fantastic’s grasp of evolutionary biology was poor. pic.twitter.com/CGEbIQCEzv
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) May 3, 2021
This is a true cat lover! Sound up.
Girl who's allergic to cats can't stop adopting them 💛 pic.twitter.com/gQyGC5PnE1
— The Dodo (@dodo) May 3, 2021
A geometrid moth caterpillar with “tentacles”. What is it trying to mimic, if anything? See thread for Matthew’s answer:
Here's a video of the caterpillar. What do you think it is trying to mimic?https://t.co/LQGHabJlfK
— Gil Wizen (@wizentrop) May 3, 2021
Finally, this has to be the tweet of the month, even though it’s only May 4.
I don’t wanna be touched. pic.twitter.com/yD5Wf80o82
— Meredith Bull (@meredithbull) May 2, 2021