Top o’ the morning to you on this top o’ the week: Monday, May 11, 2021. Unfortunately, once again it seems to be National Liver and Onions Day, a dish I and many others despise but that some people actually like. One of those was my dad, and so we were occasionally subject as kids to my mother cooking this malodorous dish. It’s National Shrimp Day, too, but offset that with the fact that it’s also National Lipid Day, and shrimps are loaded with lipids. It’s Golden Spike Day, celebrating the linking of the U.S. Transcontinental Railroad, and National Clean up Your Room Day (mine is clean, and every morning I make my bed, which, Konda-like, I see as a key to getting the day started right).
I have not yet fed the ducks and ducklings this morning and am in fact afraid to go down to the pond for fear of what I’ll find. But I will; our motto is “no duckling left behind”.
Wine of the Day: As you can see from the purchase price I wrote on the label, this Argentinian chardonnay was about $23. At that price, it’s a terrific value if it doesn’t exceed your psychological price limits. Slightly off-dry, and blessedly not overoaked like many California chards, this rich and luscious wine is redolent with apples and pears (malic acid?), and is just a delight on the palate: it goes down like velvet, and has a lovely light gold color. I don’t know if it’s available, but if you can find this vintage, buy it. (I don’t know about other vintages.)
News of the Day:
More than 80 schoolgirls, victims of a school attack by what seems to be the Taliban, were buried in a mass grave yesterday. It was heartbreaking to see the ceremony on the news with the wailing families and the bodies of children who never had a chance to live, but there was one heartening thing: many parents wrote “Education” on the ground in the local language.
Medina Spirit, the horse who just won the Kentucky Derby, has failed a drug test. According to the NYT:
The drug found in Medina Spirit’s system was betamethasone, a corticosteroid injected into joints to reduce pain and swelling. In a news conference Sunday morning outside his barn at Churchill Downs, Mr. Baffert said neither he nor anyone else on his team had administered the drug to Medina Spirit. He insisted the colt had not been treated with it.
The trainer, Bob Baffert, has had his horses fail drug tests five times in five years, so it’s suspicious, though Baffert strenuously denies the charges. It’s unclear whether Medina Spirit will be allowed to run in the Preakness.
The Washington Post reports that a rare calico lobster appeared at a Red Lobster (it’s not red!), destined for dinner, but was saved. (Photo below.)
Employees at a Red Lobster in Manassas, Va., discovered the creature on April 25 as part of a shipment from Maine. Recognizing the unique animal, the Virginia restaurant contacted the company. Red Lobster then contacted a zoo that had rescued a different rare lobster from one of its restaurants last summer.
“Calico-colored lobsters like Freckles are so rare, it was almost unbelievable that we received one,” the company said in a statement sent to The Washington Post. “We are so proud of our employees for recognizing that Freckles was so special — and for reaching out so we could make arrangements for rescue.”
After contacting the zoo, the company was put in touch with the Virginia Living Museum, which has a science center, zoo and aquarium in Newport News. It sent a rescue team to Manassas on April 29 to retrieve Freckles.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 581,302, an increase of 667 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,307,496, an increase of about 9,400 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on May 11 include:
- 1497 – Amerigo Vespucci allegedly leaves Cádiz for his first voyage to the New World.
- 1503 – Christopher Columbus visits the Cayman Islands and names them Las Tortugas after the numerous turtles there.
- 1534 – Jacques Cartier visits Newfoundland.
- 1773 – The Parliament of Great Britain passes the Tea Act, designed to save the British East India Company by reducing taxes on its tea and granting it the right to sell tea directly to North America. The legislation leads to the Boston Tea Party.
- 1774 – Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette become King and Queen of France.
- 1869 – The First Transcontinental Railroad, linking the eastern and western United States, is completed at Promontory Summit, Utah with the golden spike.
Here’s a photo of the Golden Spike Ceremony with the Wikipedia caption below it:
Here’s the golden spike itself now in on display at the Cantor Arts Museum at Stanford University:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1838 – John Wilkes Booth, American actor, assassin of Abraham Lincoln (d. 1865)
- 1899 – Fred Astaire, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 1987)
I love to show this dance number by Astaire and Rita Hayworth, “The Shorty George”. She matched him step for step. The movie is “You Were Never Lovelier” (1942). Xavier Cugat is the bandleader. Did you know that Rita Hayworth was such a great dancer?
- 1909 – Maybelle Carter, American autoharp player (d. 1978)
Here’s mother Maybelle on a guitar, doing her most famous song, “Wildwood Flower.”
- 1946 – Donovan, Scottish singer-songwriter
- 1957 – Sid Vicious, English singer and bass player (d. 1979)
- 1960 – Bono, Irish singer-songwriter, musician and activist
Those whose existence was obliterated on May 11 include:
- 1818 – Paul Revere, American engraver and soldier (b. 1735)
- 1977 – Joan Crawford, American actress (year of birth disputed)
- 1990 – Walker Percy, American novelist and essayist (b. 1916)
- 1994 – John Wayne Gacy, American serial killer (b. 1942)
- 2012 – Carroll Shelby, American race car driver and designer (b. 1923)
Here’s Shelby with his famous Cobra:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wonders whether critical race theory might be less divisive if it were applied to different species (“CST”):
A: What are you thinking about?Hili: About a critical race theory of canaries.
Ja: Nad czym myślisz?Hili: Nad krytyczną teorią ras kanarków.
And we have some photos (of Kulka) from yesterday.
“A few of Paulina’s pictures for this Sunday” (In Polish: “Kilka zdjęć Pauliny na niedzielę dzisiejszą.”)
A tweet from Bruce:
From Stash Krod. I love this contest:
A tweet from Ginger K. Bo, the Obama’s family dog, died two days ago:
Today our family lost a true friend and loyal companion. For more than a decade, Bo was a constant, gentle presence in our lives—happy to see us on our good days, our bad days, and everyday in between. pic.twitter.com/qKMNojiu9V
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 8, 2021
“Our world is not divided by race, color, gender, or religion. Our world is divided into wise people and fools. And fools divide themselves by race, color, gender, or religion.” -Mohamad Safa
— Mark J. Perry (@Mark_J_Perry) May 6, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. First: lanternflies (actually planthoppers or “true bugs”—hemipterans, not dipterans).
— 佐藤マメコ (@mamekosato1) May 9, 2021
A talented elephant playing cricket:
Have you seen an elephant playing cricket? Well he is better than many international players.
— Gannuprem (@Gannuuprem) May 8, 2021
As Paul Crowley shows, trees are not monophyletic (i.e., all sharing a common ancestor). The tree “phenotype” with wood and leaves has evolved multiple times independently.
Had vaguely assumed that trees shared a common ancestor. I could not have been more wrong. "Being a tree" has evolved many, *many* more times than "being a crab" has, and we can cause it in the lab. Beautiful post by @eukaryotetweets https://t.co/y1armhOzW5
— Paul Crowley (@ciphergoth) May 8, 2021
I don’t often read comments on my tweets, but when I do I discover this truth that Matthew imparted to me:
— Adam Roberts (@arrroberts) May 9, 2021
Matthew says this is “Iggy Pop” and his bird. Well, I don’t know from Iggy Pop, so I’ll take his word for it:
— Sleaford Mods (@sleafordmods) May 7, 2021
How many takes did each of these scenes take?
— Too Satisfied (@TooSatisfied) May 5, 2021