Good morning on Thursday, May 6, 2021: National Crepe Suzette Day (overrated dessert). It’s also International No Diet Day, National Beverage Day, National No Homework Day (that’s been the case for over a year!), and National Nurses Day (like schoolteachers, nurses are one of the most underappreciated professions).
One of Honey’s ducklings disappeared yesterday. I don’t think it was the one I introduced yesterday, but how and why it disappeared is a mystery (this happened to one of Dorothy’s last year). Of course I am devastated. Every duckling life taken away is one fewer mallard that gets to live out its life in the wild, doing what it evolved to do. Send jokes or something.
News of the Day:
The oversight board appointed by Facebook upheld Trump’s being blocked from the platform, but must reconsider that decision within six months.
The board said it concluded that Trump’s posts on January 6, which praised the rioters, “severely violated” Facebook’s policies and “created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible.”
However, the board criticized Facebook for having made the suspension indefinite and said Facebook must review the decision and impose disciplinary actions such as a “time-bound period of suspension” or permanently disabling the account — sanctions consistent with Facebook’s policies.
Trump is still banned from Twitter and YouTube.
Is there a war impending in Ukraine? Russia still has 80,000 troops massed near the border of that smaller, beleaguered nation. This more than matches the nearly 30,000 NATO troops involved in exercises in Eastern Europe. While Ukraine is a U.S. ally, it’s not a member of NATO, although it’s seeking membership (the U.S. is not particularly supportive). Remember that in 2014 Russia annexed Crimea, which was part of Ukraine. Putin, I believe, is counting on the fact that nobody wants to go to war with Russia over a country like Ukraine.
Is Liz Cheney on the way out as a GOP House leader for opposing Donald Trump? The Republicans, still swearing a misguided and twisted fealty to Trump, want Cheney out of the way (she’s the third most powerful Republican in Congress). But she’s an anti-Trumper, largely because of Trump’s role in accusing the election of being “stolen”, which led to the January 6 attack on the Capitol. Read her outspoken op-ed in the Washington Post.
I am a conservative Republican, and the most conservative of conservative values is reverence for the rule of law. Each of us swears an oath before God to uphold our Constitution. The electoral college has spoken. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple Trump-appointed judges, have rejected the former president’s arguments, and refused to overturn election results. That is the rule of law; that is our constitutional system for resolving claims of election fraud.
. . . History is watching. Our children are watching. We must be brave enough to defend the basic principles that underpin and protect our freedom and our democratic process. I am committed to doing that, no matter what the short-term political consequences might be.
I cannot bear to think of Trump reappearing on the political scene, yet he’s making noises about running for President again in 2024. I can’t imagine that he could win if Biden just keeps doing what he’s doing, but then again I lost several hundred dollars betting against Trump’s win in 2016.
Covid continues to ravage India, with nearly 4,000 people dying of the virus yesterday and over 380,000 infected. Only 2.% of the population is fully vaccinated. Prime Minister Modi, an evil and manipulative man if ever there was one, and a man who cares nothing about his people, still resists ordering a nationwide lockdown.
Here’s India’s mortality-over-time plot
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 578,804, an increase of 701 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,257,603, an increase of about 14,600 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on May 6 include:
- 1536 – The Siege of Cuzco commences, in which Incan forces attempt to retake the city of Cuzco from the Spanish.
The siege against Pizarro’s forces was unsuccessful after ten months, and the Incas were pretty much done.
- 1682 – Louis XIV of France moves his court to the Palace of Versailles.
- 1757 – English poet Christopher Smart is admitted into St Luke’s Hospital for Lunatics in London, beginning his six-year confinement to mental asylums.
While institutionalized, Smart wrote a fragment of a longer poem, Jubilate Agno, which is the best cat poetry in history, “For I Will Consider My Cat Jeoffrey.”
- 1840 – The Penny Black postage stamp becomes valid for use in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
- 1877 – Chief Crazy Horse of the Oglala Lakota surrenders to United States troops in Nebraska.
There are no authenticated photos of Crazy Horse, but this one purports to be from 1877:
This act prohibited the immigration of Chinese laborers into the U.S., following an earlier law prohibiting the immigration of Chinese women. As Wikipedia notes, “the Chinese Exclusion Act was the first, and remains the only law to have been implemented, to prevent all members of a specific ethnic or national group from immigrating to the United States.” Here’s a racist political “ad” for “Magic Washer” which was to get rid of Chinese people:
Here’s a paorama of Paris from the top of the tower. I have to confess that I’ve never been up it:
- 1915 – Babe Ruth, then a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, hits his first major league home run.
- 1937 – Hindenburg disaster: The German zeppelin Hindenburg catches fire and is destroyed within a minute while attempting to dock at Lakehurst, New Jersey. Thirty-six people are killed.
Amazingly, many survived the crash. Here’s Pathé footage of the disaster:
A first edition and first printing of this classic will cost you around $20,000:
Here’s a historical tweet referring to this day in 1945, contributed by Matthew. See more information here.
This day in 1945, American and German soldiers fought side-by-side during the defence of Castle Itter, Austria, against an attacking force from the 17th SS Panzergrenadier Division.
— WWII Pictures (@WWIIpix) May 5, 2021
Once again, here’s a video of the race with Bannister’s narration. The current record is 3:43:15, set by Hicham El Guerrouj.
- 1994 – Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom and French President François Mitterrand officiate at the opening of the Channel Tunnel.
- 1998 – Kerry Wood strikes out 20 Houston Astros to tie the major league record held by Roger Clemens. He threw a one-hitter and did not walk a batter in his fifth career start.
- 1998 – Steve Jobs of Apple Inc. unveils the first iMac.
Here’s Jobs showing the first iMac (I have a three-year-old model):
Notables born on this day include:
I visited Freud’s digs in London and saw the famous couch. This, however, is not my photo. Note where Freud sat, and sometimes fell asleep during the patient’s narration:
- 1856 – Robert Peary, American admiral and explorer (d. 1920)
- 1895 – Rudolph Valentino, Italian actor (d. 1926)
- 1915 – Orson Welles, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1985)
- 1931 – Willie Mays, American baseball player and coach
Here’s “the Catch,” Willie Mays’s famous over-the-should catch during the 1954 World Series. It’s often regarded as the best outfield catch of all time, but I think there are many now that at least match it:
- 1953 – Tony Blair, British politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
- 1961 – George Clooney, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
Those who punched out on the Time Clock of Life on May 6 include:
- 1859 – Alexander von Humboldt, German geographer and explorer (b. 1769)
- 1862 – Henry David Thoreau, American essayist, poet, and philosopher (b. 1817)
- 1919 – L. Frank Baum, American novelist (b. 1856)
- 1992 – Marlene Dietrich, German-American actress and singer (b. 1901)
The move “The Blue Angel” (1930; made in both German and English) was what brought Dietrich to fame. It’s the story of how a showgirl made a fool of a professor, who eventually dies. Here’s the famous song from the movie, “Falling in Love Again“.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being nefarious and duplicitous.
A: What are you looking for?Hili: I’m looking to see whether there is a mouse here admiring a beautiful flower.
Ja: Czemu się tak przyglądasz?Hili: Patrzę, czy nie ma tu jakiejś myszy podziwiającej piękny kwiat.
From Barry, who notes that this may be Photoshopped.
From Rick. I’ve always wondered why cat rather than dogs are the stars of the Internet, and I have no idea. (But of course it’s the right way to go.)
From Bruce. The significance of the conch shell can be seen here.
All today’s tweets come from Matthew (I welcome readers sending me really good tweets).
A poor sheep gets bamboozled, and a cat massages a dog (which is just WRONG):
— Duchess of Figgsbury (@figgsbury) April 23, 2021
Yes, there’s vandalism and damage, but I would love to have been party to this:
Over the weekend ~15 California condors descended on my moms house and absolutely trashed her deck. They still haven’t left. It sucks but also this is unheard of, there’s only 160 of these birds flying free in the state and a flock of them decided to start a war with my mom 😭 pic.twitter.com/bZyHsN58Bk
— Seana Lyn (@SeanaLyn) May 5, 2021
Matthew sent me the Guardian article, and I found another tweet. This moth has a 25 cm wingspan (about ten inches) and lives at most a few days after eclosing. What a beauty!
The giant wood moth, the heaviest moth in the world. 😍!!
Note: They are harmless (unlike humans), so no "kill it with fire" comments. Thanks. pic.twitter.com/Awre40xzCy
— Nnedi Okorafor, PhD (@Nnedi) May 4, 2021
Goose parade! I think this is in the Netherlands:
The geese parade! 😅 pic.twitter.com/M1mzlSLSJj
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) May 2, 2021
Poor horses! Fortunately, this is highly curable:
This enterolith wasn't from my horse, but was at the vet hospital when my boy was in for something else. The vets know I'm a geologist & former vet tech, so they show me fascinating stuff like this. Surgery to remove enteroliths has a 90% survival rate, which is good news!
— Jess Phoenix 🌋 (@jessphoenix2018) May 2, 2021
A lovely turquoise Anolis; Matthew says that apparently they aren’t always this color.
One of the most beautifully colored anoles from Jamaica, Anolis grahami. pic.twitter.com/5y7C7R4t7m
— Jon Suh (@JonJSuh) April 25, 2019
I may have published this before, but if so, here it is again. Another geriatric fruit bat (remember Stadler?). For some reason I love these aged bats, perhaps because I empathize with them.
Meet Enzo! Enzo is a 29 year old Jamaican fruit bat, and as you can see, has suffered some hair loss in his old age. Join Enzo for a bit of lunch! 🦇 https://t.co/iN8hNlxXwX
— Bat World Sanctuary (@batworld) May 2, 2021