It’s formally the beginning of the week, but Sunday, (e.g., today: May 23, 2021) is actually perceived as the tail end of the week. It’s National Taffy Day (I don’t like the stuff), as well as World Turtle Day, Lucky Penny Day, and World Crohn’s and Colitis Day. More on some readers’ turtles soon.
If you’re interested in Darwin, or how the woke are trying to bring him to heel and indict him for, among other things, inciting genocide, read the piece I wrote yesterday about an attempt to smear Darwin.
Wine of the Day: Port is usually reserved for the colder months, but I had this bottle hanging around and stood it up vertically a week ago to allow the sediment to fall. (There was a heavy sediment in this one; I lost about a glass through decanting.) And if you want a vintage-style port without paying $75 and holding it for 15 years, this is the one for you (I think I paid about $25 for this bottle). It was an absolutely spectacular wine, heavy with alcohol (18.5%) and deeply rich with flavor, with tons of ripe cherry fruit and no “heat”. It is a dark garnet color and slides down the throat like velvet. It is, literally, a lip-smacking wine. LBV Port is, of course, sweet, as it should be.
Port is still an underrated wine in the U.S., though the Brits know its worth. There are many types, with vintage at the top (and the best), but there are also many bargains like tawnies and these LBV styles. If you want a nice evening tipple with your book, see if you can get hold of this one. (For genuine vintage ports, Graham’s, also with a sweet profile, is my favorite.)
I expect this bottle, put under vacuum, will last me a week.
News of the Day:
It’s mercifully quiet this weekend so far; the cease-fire in Israel and Gaza is still holding. So, after the first piece, there’s some news without gravitas.
According to the Washington Post, Black Lives Matter has officially allied itself with Palestine:
Black Lives Matter, which has grown into a potent political force amid a national reckoning on race, has responded forcefully to the violence in the Mideast to extend its reach into foreign policy, pressing the Democratic Party to adopt a dramatically different approach to the long-standing Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Whatever the aftermath of the violence in the region, it has starkly changed the Israeli-Palestinian debate in the United States, shifting it for many liberals from a tangled dispute over ancient, often-confusing claims to the far more familiar turf of police brutality and racial conflict.
“We understand that the liberation of Black people in the United States is tied to the liberation of Black people all over the world, and tied to the liberation of oppressed people all over the world,” said Melina Abdullah, co-founder of the Los Angeles chapter of Black Lives Matter. “Being in solidarity with the Palestinian people is something that’s been part of our work as Black Lives Matter for almost as long as we’ve been an organization.”
There were no words about the oppression of women, Jews, gays, apostates and nonbelievers by the Palestinians, as those forms of oppression don’t matter. What a shame that the erstwhile alliance between African-Americans and Jews, important in the Civil Rights marches and activities of the Sixties, is a thing of the past.
Ok, now to the persiflage:
First, a number of candy companies are hopping mad because purveyors of “edibles” containing cannabis are making products resembling commercial candies. Take a look, for instance of real Skittles (above) and the dope-containing Skittles (below):
Or real Starburst Fruit Chews versus the kind that can get you baked:
This being America, lawsuits are underway.
America’s great gymnast Simone Biles landed a “Yurchenko double pike” in training and it’s amazing. If she lands it in competition in the Olympics, it will be a first. Have a look:
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) May 21, 2021
Simone Biles just did THAT. 🤯
— #TokyoOlympics (@NBCOlympics) May 21, 2021
More COVID news. The Guardian reports that well known Dutch scientist Elizabeth Bik is subject to a lawsuit by another “scientist” who published a shoddy study purporting to show that hydroxychloroquine was an effective treatment for the virus. She pointed out the paper’s errors online, and now the guy who published the paper, Dr Didier Raoult, has sued her for “harassment”:
The legal complaint alleges harassment over Bik exposing data errors on PubPeer, and extortion because she has a Patreon account where people can donate to her work. She has responded to Raoult’s calls on Twitter to declare who is funding her by sharing links to her Patreon.
This suit unconscionable. The Guardian adds:
The case, filed with the French state prosecutor by controversial infectious diseases physician Dr Didier Raoult, has prompted hundreds of scientists from across the world to publish an open letter calling for science whistleblowers to be protected.
You can sign a petition against the persecution of Bik’s rightful criticisms here.
he case, filed with the French state prosecutor by controversial infectious diseases physician Dr Didier Raoult, has prompted hundreds of scientists from across the world to publish an open letter calling for science whistleblowers to be protected
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 589,328, an increase of 578 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,469.436, an increase of about 10,500 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on May 23 includes:
- 1430 – Joan of Arc is captured by the Burgundians while leading an army to raise the Siege of Compiègne.
- 1533 – The marriage of King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon is declared null and void.
- 1618 – The Second Defenestration of Prague precipitates the Thirty Years’ War.
Two men were defenestrated, but both survived the 70-foot (21-meter) drop out the window, most likely because they landed on a dung heap. Here’s a woodcut of that famous incident:
- 1701 – After being convicted of piracy and of murdering William Moore, Captain William Kidd is hanged in London.
The rope broke on the first try, but they gave him no mercy and hanged him again. He was then gibbeted (see below):
- 1844 – Declaration of the Báb the evening before the 23rd: A merchant of Shiraz announces that he is a Prophet and founds a religious movement that would later be brutally crushed by the Persian government. He is considered to be a forerunner of the Baháʼí Faith; Baháʼís celebrate the day as a holy day.
- 1992 – Italy’s most prominent anti-mafia judge Giovanni Falcone, his wife and three body guards are killed by the Corleonesi clan with a half-ton bomb near Capaci, Sicily. His friend and colleague Paolo Borsellino will be assassinated less than two months later, making 1992 a turning point in the history of Italian Mafia prosecutions.
The explosion site: this is what happens when you go after the Mafia. Falcone was a brave man:
- 1998 – The Good Friday Agreement is accepted in a referendum in Northern Ireland with roughly 75% voting yes.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1707 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist, physician, and zoologist (d. 1778)
Here’s Linnaeus’s country house in Sweden, which I photographed upon visiting Uppsala in 2006:
- 1891 – Pär Lagerkvist, Swedish novelist, playwright, and poet, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1974)
- 1974 – Jewel, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, actress, and poet
Those who found Eternal Rest on May 23 include:
- 1701 – William Kidd, Scottish pirate (b. 1645)
- 1906 – Henrik Ibsen, Norwegian director, playwright, and poet (b. 1828)
- 1934 – Bonnie Parker, American criminal (b. 1910)
- 1934 – Clyde Barrow, American criminal (b. 1909)
Bonnie and Clyde, before and after:
- 1937 – John D. Rockefeller, American businessman and philanthropist, founded the Standard Oil Company and Rockefeller University (b. 1839)
- 1945 – Heinrich Himmler, German commander and politician, Reich Minister of the Interior (b. 1900)
When captured by the allies, SS head Himmler bit into a cyanide capsule and died within 15 minutes. The aftermath (sorry for so much death today!):
Here’s Nash; he and his wife were killed in a car crash on the New Jersey Turnpike.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Little Kulka is taunting Hili.
Hili: Do not provoke me.Kulka: And what would you do to me if I did?(Photo: Paulina R.)
Hili: Nie prowokuj.Kulka: A co mi zrobisz?(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)
Cat linguistics via Brian Leiter:
From somewhere on Facebook:
A tweet from reader Ken, who adds this about the first tweet: “Among the multitude of things this woman doesn’t know diddly-squat about is the difference between gold stars and yellow badges. She appears to be getting her talking points directly from QAnon conspiracists.”
The second tweet is equally insane:
It is a bit alarming that there is literally no difference between the things said by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and the arguments made by QAnon conspiracy theorist DeAnna Lorraine. https://t.co/dBlyoz8I8S pic.twitter.com/PMbivtyScO
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) May 21, 2021
From Barry. You go, rat!
Who ever said New York was dead?
It’s back, baby! 🍕🐀 pic.twitter.com/kHx2kuSIUq
— Mauricio Martínez (@martinezmau) May 20, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. The first one sends you to the mother lode of optical illusions (143 of them!). Unfortunately, I don’t know what the one in the tweet represents. There is a Darwin Illusion (here), and I’ve put another one below.
— Kevin Mitchell (@WiringTheBrain) May 22, 2021
Poor mismatched kitty!
— Cherie (@sweetrhythms) May 21, 2021
Two tweets showing some unknown animal. Matthew first commented, “I have no fricking idea what this weirdo is except that it’s some kind of arthropod. There’s a linked vid in the next tweet which doesn’t help. But then he realized, as I guessed, that it was a soft-shelled turtle. It’s thus appropriate for Turtle Day. Look how fast it is!
Much fast very zoom pic.twitter.com/3yLDqxUSoP
— Audrey Baetz (@Fish_Baetz) May 21, 2021
I think this is that errant walrus in Wales that the Egg Man is trying to drive away:
– I am the egg man
– I am the walrus pic.twitter.com/EpEByL4rDU
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) May 20, 2021