Welcome to Tuesday, May 18, 2021: National Cheese Souffle Day. It’s also I Love Reese’s Day (their peanut butter cups are one of America’s finest commercial candies), International Museum Day, World AIDS Vaccine Day, National Stress Awareness Day, and Dinosaur Day.
In honor of Dinosaur Day, here’s a greeting to Matthew featuring his favorite flavor of dinosaur, a stegosaur:
Posting may be light today as I have errands outside the University.
News of the Day:
According to the NYT, Joe Biden has finally called for a cease-fire in the battle between Israel and the Palestinian Territories. He did this in a phone call to Netanyahu. I wonder if he also called representatives of Hamas? But never mind; whether a cease-fire works, and it’s badly needed, will depend on each side ceasing to attack the other. In the meantime, Israel continues to target Hamas’s network of underground tunnels.
Have a look at Bret Stephens’s column on the dispute, “If the left got its wish for Israel,” assuming that the agenda of “progressive” Democrats were fulfilled. It’s stuff like this that puts the kibosh on my hopes for a two-state solution:
. . . a Hamas administration in the West Bank wouldn’t take long to duplicate the formula that paid such dividends for it in Gaza: the complete militarization of the territory, putting every Israeli at immediate risk of rocket attack.
In this it would be greatly assisted by Iran, especially if rising oil prices and the potential lifting of economic sanctions as part of a new nuclear deal replenish Tehran’s coffers and its appetite for regional adventures. Jordan, too, would be at risk if a radical Palestinian state turns its sights on a fractious Hashemite regime.
And what about peace? A Hamas government would likely renege on any agreement with a Jewish state that does not honor the “right of return” of the descendants of Palestinian refugees. Anti-Zionist groups such as Jewish Voice for Peace would make the Palestinian case in the United States while the Tucker Carlson wing of the Republican Party would call for sharp restrictions on immigration.
As for Israelis, they would eventually emerge from the morass, at a terrible cost in blood, because they have no other choice. When they did, they could be sure the progressive wing of the Democratic Party would be quick to denounce them for having the temerity to survive.
I vaguely recalled that Peter Yarrow, of the famed folk group Peter, Paul, and Mary, had been convicted of child molestation, but didn’t know that President Jimmy Carter, of all people, surreptitiously pardoned Yarrow, who served only a few months in jail, for molesting a 14 year old girl. According to the Washington Post, thia was “perhaps the only [pardon] in U.S. history wiping away a conviction for a sexual offense against a child. (Yarrow, now 83, is still alive.) Now another putative victim appeared just a few months ago.
A tiger that had been missing in Houston for a week was finally found and given a good home at a sanctuary. From the video below it appears to be a young cat, and was illegally owned (or taken care of) from a city resident who has been arrested.
— Houston Police (@houstonpolice) May 16, 2021
According to the BBC, a croquet match has decided how a river’s name should be pronounced. The River Nene flows through both Northamptonshire, where it’s called the “Nen”, Cambridgeshire, where it’s pronounced “Neen”. Northampton won a croquet match, and so both areas have to call the river the “Nen.” (h/t: Jez)
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 585,897, an increase of 613 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,405,658, an increase of about 11,300 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on May 18 include:
- 1096 – First Crusade: Around 800 Jews are massacred in Worms, Germany
- 1756 – The Seven Years’ War begins when Great Britain declares war on France.
- 1804 – Napoleon Bonaparte is proclaimed Emperor of the French by the French Senate.
- 1860 – Abraham Lincoln wins the Republican Party presidential nomination over William H. Seward, who later becomes the United States Secretary of State.
Here’s a photo taken of Lincoln in 1860 which, coincidentally, happens to have been snapped by Matthew Brady, born on this day in 1822 (see below):
- 1896 – The United States Supreme Court rules in Plessy v. Ferguson that the “separate but equal” doctrine is constitutional.
Sadly, no photos exist of Homer Plessy, an “octaroon” (one eighth-black) who, as the Rosa Parks of his day, boarded a whites-only train car and was expelled. The case went up to the Supreme Court, where Plessy lost.
There are arguments about whether this was really the first full-length Indian film (the cameraman was British and the film processed in London), but you can judge. There are no videos I could find, but here’s a poster for the movie at the time it came out (May 25, 1912 in the Times of India):
Ah, Sister Aimee. If you don’t know about her and her phony disappearance, as well as her many followers, read at least the Wikipedia bio. Here she is in full splendor at her L.A. temple:
Here’s Cochran in her F86, talking to her pal Chuck Yeager, who also broke the sound barrier, but bearing a penis:
- 1980 – Mount St. Helens erupts in Washington, United States, killing 57 people and causing $3 billion in damage.
Here’s a photo of the eruption taken at 8:32 a.m. on that day:
- 1994 – Israeli troops finish withdrawing from the Gaza Strip, ceding the area to the Palestinian National Authority to govern.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1048 – Omar Khayyám, Persian mathematician, astronomer, and poet (d. 1131)
- 1822 – Mathew Brady, American photographer and journalist (d. 1896)
Here’s another Brady photo, and you surely recognize the subject:
- 1872 – Bertrand Russell, British mathematician, historian, and philosopher, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1970)
Here’s Russell at Trinity College in 1893:
- 1912 – Perry Como, American singer and television host (d. 2001)
- 1944 – W. G. Sebald, German novelist, essayist, and poet (d. 2001)
Those who crossed the Great Divide on May 18 include:
- 1909 – George Meredith, English novelist and poet (b. 1828)
- 1911 – Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor (b. 1860)
Here’s Mahler’s grave in the Ginzing Cemetery in Vienna:
- 1995 – Elizabeth Montgomery, American actress (b. 1933)
- 2015 – Raymond Gosling, English physicist and academic (b. 1926)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Szaron are having an unpleasant chinwag (they are getting along much better now, though):
Szaron: Did you hear that the starlings have chicks already?Hili: Yes, but all the nests are inaccessible.(Photo Paulina R.)
Szaron: Słyszałaś, że szpaki mają już pisklęta?Hili: Tak, ale wszystkie gniazda są niedostępne.(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)
From reader John, some great advice:
From Jesus of the Day: I think this Scout has a case for defamation:
Stephen Fry is going to be on “The Simpsons”:
Thank you for your charming hospitality, Springfield. Had the best time imaginable. I believe that for British viewers the episode “drops” (why does that usage distress me so much?) on @SkyUK in two Sundays’ time https://t.co/6HcCBhHBWG
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) May 16, 2021
From reader Barry, who says, “This cat is too weird for me. I don’t think I would enjoy its company. It’s too high-strung.” I disagree; I love this cat!
Imagine if this was your cat … wait til you see her favorite toy 🙃 pic.twitter.com/ldg2sEcrRk
— The Dodo (@dodo) May 10, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This one will warm your heart.
Rescued baby cow's first friend was a dog just his size — now he weighs 900 pounds more than her, so he gets down on the ground to play 💜
— The Dodo (@dodo) May 17, 2021
A 20-shilling ticket to see Dylan (and boo him if you were so inclined):
May 17 1966 – Bob Dylan's electric set at the Free Trade Hall, Manchester, was heckled with a cry of “Judas”. pic.twitter.com/a16oyUjnJB
— ManchesterHist (@McrHistory) May 17, 2021
What a fantastic creature!
Greedy bugger. And quite astonishing. https://t.co/Z4KmvUolML
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) May 17, 2021
Just a worn-out chair:
Whatever this chair is going through,
I can relate… pic.twitter.com/cHbPexQhed
— Deserted Places 🏰 (@Desertedpicx) May 16, 2021
If squirrels were religious, their god would be an enormous acorn, existing outside of space and time.
Favorite sculpture in Toronto so far pic.twitter.com/z4kv0s0idg
— Helen Tran (@helen_chem) May 16, 2021
What’s the problem with this cat?
Complete your food …. pic.twitter.com/5h7yLCdm1t
— flymingo (@flymingo3) May 15, 2021