Welcome to Thursday, May 13, 2021: National Apple Pie Day, and you can’t get more American than that. It’s also National Fruit Cocktail Day, World Cocktail Day, International Hummus Day, Cough Drop Day, and Tulip Day.
News of the Day:
The violence continues to flare in Israel and Palestine, and now a sort of civil war has erupted in Israel, with Israeli Arabs attacking Israeli Jews and vice versa. Drivers are getting beat up on both sides, and it’s disgusting. From the NYT:
One of the most chilling incidents occurred in Bat Yam, a seaside suburb south of Tel Aviv, where dozens of Jewish extremists took turns beating and kicking an Arab motorcycle driver, even as his body lay motionless on the floor.
Another occurred in Acre, a northern coastal town, where an Arab mob beat a Jewish man with sticks and rocks, also leaving him in a critical condition.
Another 130 rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza last night.
The New York Times more or less replaced Bari Weiss with an Israel hater, Peter Beinart, who believes in a “one-state” solution to the Israel/Palestine problem. In a new column, he pushes the ludicrous “right of return” of Palestinians, which would inundate Israelis with over a million hostile Palestinians and lead to a mass genocide. This is wht the New York Times has become these days. Here’s a paragraph from Beinart’s latest, which just makes me laugh and sad at the same time. The man is an arrant idiot:
Perhaps American Jewish leaders fear that facing the crimes committed at Israel’s birth will leave Jews vulnerable. Once the Nakba [return] taboo is lifted, Palestinians will feel emboldened to seek revenge. But more often than not, honestly confronting the past has the opposite effect.
Yeah, right. Has Beinart seen what’s going on now in Israel between Israeli Arabs and Israeli Jews?
In a move that I consider boneheaded, Chicago’s tree House Animal Society has released 1,000 feral cats into Chicago’s streets to control rats. This has been since 2012, and they claim that the cats are spayed or neutered, and property owners take care of the moggies. I don’t believe them.
If you’re into mountain-climbing, you’ll want to read this NYT article on people who claim to have climbed all 14 8000-meter peaks in the world. It turns out that perhaps none of the 44 people making that claim have succeeded, mainly because a fair number of those mountains have “summits” that are virtually unattainable, so climbers often stop 5-20 meters below the high point.
Reader Jez called my attention to a pretty good Guardian column in which, celebrating their 200th anniversary, they list the best and worst typos that ever appeared in the paper.
The house in which most of James Joyce’s novelette “The Dead” takes place—a story I consider the finest piece of writing in English—is set to be renovated and become a hostel. This is a TRAVESTY!
It was in the upstairs rooms of the  Usher’s Island house that Joyce’s great-aunts ran, for a time, a small musical school. Their annual get-together each Jan. 6 — the Roman Catholic feast of the Epiphany, also known in Ireland as “Women’s Christmas” — was the model for “The Dead’s” haunted dinner party, which confronts Gabriel Conroy, Joyce’s fictional avatar, with the swooning mysteries of love and mortality.
The house was also a setting for John Huston’s 1987 movie adaptation of the story, his Oscar-nominated swan song.
A petition opposing this monstrous act has been signed by the likes of Edna O’Brien, Anne Enright, Sally Rooney, John Banville, Pat McCabe and Eoin McNamee. Other non-Irish signers were Richard Ford, Rachel Kushner, Michael Ondaatje, Salman Rushdie, Tobias Wolff and Ian McEwan. Here is 15 Usher’s Island:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 583,210 an increase of 629 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,346,556, an increase of about 13,800 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on May 13 includes:
- 1846 – Mexican–American War: The United States declares war on the Federal Republic of Mexico following a dispute over the American annexation of the Republic of Texas and a Mexican military incursion.
- 1888 – With the passage of the Lei Áurea (“Golden Law”), Empire of Brazil abolishes slavery.
- 1917 – Three children report the first apparition of Our Lady of Fátima in Fátima, Portugal.
Here are the three children who saw the apparition, as well as a newspaper report showing people gazing at the Sun to see the supposed Virgin:
- 1958 – Ben Carlin becomes the first (and only) person to circumnavigate the world by amphibious vehicle, having travelled over 17,000 kilometres (11,000 mi) by sea and 62,000 kilometres (39,000 mi) by land during a ten-year journey.
Here’s Carlin’s vehicle, “Half Safe”, arriving in Denmark in 1951:
- 1985 – Police bombed MOVE headquarters in Philadelphia, killing six adults and five children, and destroying the homes of 250 city residents.
- 1995 – Alison Hargreaves, a 33-year-old British mother, becomes the first woman to conquer Everest without oxygen or the help of sherpas.
Here’s Hargreaves, who died in a tragic fall after reaching the top of K2 at 33. Her son also died in a mountaineering accident on Nanga Parbat.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1842 – Arthur Sullivan, English composer (d. 1900)
- 1882 – Georges Braque, French painter and sculptor (d. 1963)
Here’s a Braque etching, “Black Cat”:
- 1914 – Joe Louis, American boxer (d. 1981)
- 1931 – Jim Jones, American cult leader, founder of the Peoples Temple (d. 1978)
He caused this. Religion poisons everything, including, literally, 918 people below.
- 1940 – Bruce Chatwin, English author (d. 1989)
- 1950 – Manning Marable, American author and academic (d. 2011)
Marable, whose work was handled by my own editor, won the Pulitzer Prize for his biography of Malcolm X (he died shortly thereafter of sarcodosis). Do read the book, it’s terrific.
- 1950 – Stevie Wonder, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and producer
- 1961 – Dennis Rodman, American basketball player, wrestler, and actor
- 1986 – Lena Dunham, American actress, director, and screenwriter
Those who were potted like plants on this day include:
- 1884 – Cyrus McCormick, American businessman, co-founded the International Harvester Company (b. 1809)
- 1916 – Sholem Aleichem, Ukrainian-American author and playwright (b. 1859)
Aleichem, whose stories about Tevye the Dairyman, led to the famous musical Fiddler on the Roof:
Now THIS (Nansen) is a Viking! He won the Nobel for peace for helping create the “stateless passport” to allow displaced people to cross borders:
- 1961 – Gary Cooper, American actor (b. 1901)
- 1977 – Mickey Spillane, American mobster (b. 1934)
- 2018 – Margot Kidder, Canadian-American actress (b. 1948)
- 2019 – Doris Day, American singer and actress (b. 1922)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili sets out on a journey whose destination and purpose are unclear.
Hili: We are going southwest.Szaron: But what for?Hili: To secure our sphere of influence.
Hili: Idziemy na południowy zachód.Szaron: Ale po co?Hili: Żeby zabezpieczyć naszą strefę wpływów.
Here’s a photo of Szaron:
A wedding invitation from Nicole. Is a child served like veal?
From Jesus of the Day:
Anita Sarkeesian is back with more stupid. I don’t think she has the slightest idea what she’s talking about, but wants to take the ideologically popular position.
Israel did not exist until 73 years ago when they were a settler colony that took over Palestine and have been violently maintaining their position ever since. If you don’t know this history here is a good primer to get you started: https://t.co/CoDp1yUkDj pic.twitter.com/cSLL17Aepe
— Anita Sarkeesian (@anitasarkeesian) May 11, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. There are lots of videos of this diligent and agile red squirrel. Note that in the third tweet below, it’s got nesting material in its mouth.
Thread of red squirrel loveliness. https://t.co/xvCsQn9W4M
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) May 12, 2021
Building the best 🐿️ pic.twitter.com/lc3YfFVVzA
— Col (@MKcol) May 12, 2021
Here’s a biological difference between the sexes. Lesson: have similar rather than disparate sex chromosomes:
— Royal Society Publishing (@RSocPublishing) May 11, 2021
This should freak you out good and proper.
Somehow, it's adorable and terrifying pic.twitter.com/zwvTWPN8yX
— r҉ustic cy͠be̸rpu̵nk (@cypnk) May 8, 2021
A very dreadful statue of Darwin:
I am going to leave this Darwin statue here, for no reason in particular: pic.twitter.com/Q6yczZ6Hfv
— Dr Franziska Kohlt 🦤 (@frankendodo) May 11, 2021
I agree with Matthew here. Living wage! (Matthew notes, “I am a Brit and I endorse this message.”
"THEN THE BUSINESS SHOULD NOT EXIST!" pic.twitter.com/De8L9fhViL
— Juul e Laal (@antifatwa) May 12, 2021