Good morning on Sunday, May 16, 2021: National Barbecue Day, one of America’s finest food holidays. It’s also World Baking Day, National Coquilles St. Jacques Day, National Mimosa Day, National Sea Monkey Day (brine shrimp; did you order them from comic books like I did?), Love a Tree Day, and Stepmother’s Day (only one stepmother is apparently being honored given the position of the apostrophe).
Wine of the Day: A seven-year-old Napa Valley Cabernet, which I see set me back about $30, a price I never thought I’d pay for a wine when I was younger. It was dark, rich, and dense, with the classic California cab notes of eucalyptus and herbs. I had it with pasta with “gravy”, as Tony Soprano would say, and it improved greatly over the hour I had it open. I expect that it will be better tomorrow, and has several years to go before its apogee. It was very good but not fantastic. Is it worth the money? Ask me tomorrow. By the way, there’s a good article in the NYT about the relationship between price and quality in wine. Best values: $15-$20.
News of the Day:
The CDC has removed its mask mandate for those who are fully vaccinated, though there’s nowhere I know of that would ask for proof, and both stores and states/cities are still wavering Two-thirds of Americans still haven’t been fully vaccinated, but 56% of adults have received at least one shot, which is pretty good. Things are still confusing, though: Starbucks kept its mandate and then reversed course 24 hours later.
The “progressive” left joined in criticizing Israel in the House of Representatives yesterday, as the American left in general is withdrawing support from Israel and transferring it to Palestine (see below). Israel also, after giving ample warning, leveled a building containing the offices of Al Jazeera and the AP (no journalists were injured), but allegedly did contain offices used by Hamas (see here).
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 585,281, an increase of 604 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,384,698, an increase of about 12,000 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on May 16 includes:
- 1568 – Mary, Queen of Scots, flees to England.
She remained in custody until executed in 1587.
- 1770 – The 14-year-old Marie Antoinette marries 15-year-old Louis-Auguste, who later becomes king of France.
- 1842 – The first major wagon train heading for the Pacific Northwest sets out on the Oregon Trail from Elm Grove, Missouri, with 100 pioneers.
- 1866 – The United States Congress establishes the nickel.
Here’s the first nickel. They were considered ugly, and banks would not accept more than 20 at a time:
- 1868 – The United States Senate fails to convict President Andrew Johnson by one vote.
- 1888 – Nikola Tesla delivers a lecture describing the equipment which will allow efficient generation and use of alternating currents to transmit electric power over long distances.
Here’s Tesla, who died several years after injuries sustained after being struck by a taxicab:
- 1918 – The Sedition Act of 1918 is passed by the U.S. Congress, making criticism of the government during wartime an imprisonable offense. It will be repealed less than two years later.
- 1929 – In Hollywood, the first Academy Awards ceremony takes place.
- 1943 – The Holocaust: The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising ends.
Here’s an iconic photo of the Jews in Warsaw surrendering to the Germans. Certainly most of these were sent to camps and killed:
And from Wikipedia: “A man leaps to his death from the top story window of an apartment block to avoid capture. 23-25 Niska Street.”:
- 1951 – The first regularly scheduled transatlantic flights begin between Idlewild Airport (now John F Kennedy International Airport) in New York City and Heathrow Airport in London, operated by El Al Israel Airlines.
- 1991 – Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom addresses a joint session of the United States Congress. She is the first British monarch to address the U.S. Congress.
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s Fonda’s famous “I’ll be there” soliloquy as Tom Joad in the movie The Grapes of Wrath (1940):
- 1919 – Liberace, American pianist and entertainer (d. 1987)
- 1929 – Adrienne Rich, American poet, essayist, and feminist (d. 2012)
- 1966 – Janet Jackson, American singer-songwriter, producer, dancer, and actress
Those who “fell asleep” on May 16 include:
- 1830 – Joseph Fourier, French mathematician and physicist (b. 1768)
- 1953 – Django Reinhardt, Belgian guitarist and composer (b. 1910)
The great Reinhardt, who played jazz guitar with only two fingers on the fretboard (he injured his hand in a fire), accompanied by the equally great Stéphane Grappelli:
- 1957 – Eliot Ness, American federal agent (b. 1903)
- 1984 – Andy Kaufman, American actor, comedian, and screenwriter (b. 1949)
- 2019 – I. M. Pei, Chinese-American architect (b. 1917)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili smells an alien creature:
Hili: Somebody was here.A: But who was it?Hili: An intruder.
Hili: Ktoś tu był.Ja: Ale kto?Hili: Jakiś intruz.
Here’s little Kulka up in the trees (photo by Paulina):
Matthew found this article on Twitter and adds that he doesn’t know the “date, source, or veracity”. Still, given the nature of Mt. Athos, it’s possible. Also, there’s some verification at Storypick, which says that the story appeared in an Athens newspaper on the 29th of October, 1938. Further story at Boldsky. Still, it’s hard to imagine.
A meme from Bruce:
From Nicole, and relevant to yesterday’s post on Caturday felids:
Apparently AOC has finally become an expert on geopolitics (top vs. bottom).
The non-expert in geopolitics strikes again. pic.twitter.com/Szyrf5FayE
— Emily Schrader – אמילי שריידר (@emilykschrader) May 15, 2021
Reader Gethyn, no slouch himself at Welsh poetry, sent a wonderful rendition of a famous poem by Dylan Thomas. I don’t know who the speaker is, so please enlighten me.
— Mr W-J (@lwilliamsjones) May 14, 2021
From Barry, the world’s most pampered iguana becomes an “influencer” (lord how I despise that word!):
If an iguana was an influencer — wait for Step 5 💅😂 pic.twitter.com/mDhtt6Mxeh
— The Dodo (@dodo) May 9, 2021
Tweets from Matthew.
I mentioned the "dirty" Exeter Book Riddles a few days ago & a bunch of people hadn't heard of them, so here goes a quick thread on Old English Sex Riddles. #MedievalTwitter
(BL, MS Harley 4399, f. 14) pic.twitter.com/zhOmqXw5fi
— Erik Wade (@erik_kaars) May 15, 2021
The "Obscene" Riddles are riddles that have a "real" solution (which isn't sexual) and a fake solution (which is). They try to trick you into guessing the sexual solution.
(It's more complicated than this, but that's the simple version).
Here's one. Can you guess the answer? pic.twitter.com/xiN4IJb7kk
— Erik Wade (@erik_kaars) May 15, 2021
The answer is “an onion”!
Try this one (answer below it):
The actual answer…..
….is a bellows! How could you possibly think anything else? You have a dirty mind!
— Erik Wade (@erik_kaars) May 15, 2021
As Matthew said about the sweet video below, “This will warm the cockles of your heart, although why the hell he has to work at 89 I dunno…” Maybe he likes the job!
89 year old Derlin delivering pizza to make ends meet, befriends couple and then 🥺
i needed this today 😭 pic.twitter.com/lgEsssWJrQ
— 𝕩 (@xsta_ce) May 14, 2021
This is me, since I just heard that Paris restaurants are opening at the end of May:
— Lloyd Legalist (@LloydLegalist) May 8, 2021
I didn’t get this at first, but Matthew told me it’s sort of a British usage, with “may” meaning “you are allowed to” or “you are permitted to”:
Well, that seems a fair trade-off. pic.twitter.com/lTPNPMyVzc
— (((David Bennun))) (@DavidBennun) August 5, 2020