It is a humpish sort of day, suitable for camels or Quasimodo: it’s May 26 2021: National Blueberry Cheesecake Day (make mine either plain or cherry, though). But it’s also National Cherry Dessert Day, Paper Airplane Day, Sally Ride Day (honoring her birthday on this day in 1951), World Redhead Day, and, in Australia, National Sorry Day, a day of apology for the mistreatment of indigenous people.
Today’s Google Doodle (click on screenshot) is an animated swing-dancing game celebrating the famed Savoy Ballroom, in which you can test your rhythm, individually or in a two-person game, for four swing songs. I haven’t played the game, so no guarantees.
This video explains the video, the Savoy Ballroom, and the game:
News of the Day:
According to the Washington Post, Manhattan’s district attorney has convened a grand jury to evaluate the possibility of criminal charges against Donald Trump and his business associates.
The move indicates that District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr.’s investigation of the former president and his business has reached an advanced stage after more than two years. It suggests, too, that Vance believes he has found evidence of a crime — if not by Trump then by someone potentially close to him or by his company.
Is anybody betting that the Orange Man will be wearing an orange onesie in jail? Remember, there is no Presidential pardon for state charges, even if Biden had the unlikely inclination to intervene.
More about grand juries from the AP: Madison Smith, a Kansas woman who accused a man of raping her convened her own grand jury when local prosecutors declined to bring rape charges. It turns out that, at least in Kansas, citizens can impanel a grand jury if they present a petition signed by hundreds of citizens. Smith was persistent and succeeded:
The process of seeking a grand jury wasn’t easy. Smith had to stand in a parking lot telling her story over and over again to strangers to collect hundreds of signatures, and then do it again when the first petition was rejected on a technicality.
The accused had already pleaded guilty to aggravated battery and was given two years’ probation. I believe that, at least in Kansas (a few other states have such procedures), this is the first time the citizen-impaneling procedure has been used in a case of sexual assault.
Down in Texas, the state legislature just approved a bill that allows anyone over 21 to buy and carry a handgun in pubic places without a permit and without training. The governor says he’ll sign the bill.
From the BBC, an article titled, “Miss, what’s a duck?” reveals the deep and sad ignorance of British children who get little exposure to nature. Here’s part of the sad report:
When school teacher Kim Leathley took her class on a trip to the local aquarium, she was asked an unusual question.
“Miss? What’s that?” said a nine-year-old boy, pointing towards the waves, as they walked along Blackpool promenade.
It turned out he’d never seen the sea before.
A surprise, given the school is in the middle of Blackpool and only a few streets from the seafront.
Other teachers have had similar experiences over the years on school trips outside the city, she explains. A 10-year-old once asked what a duck was, while a pupil – spotting cows in the field – said: “Look at those horses.”
Speaking of ducks (and we should), a California man was arrested for firing his gun to protect his pet duck. According to the BBC, the man fired into the air as a dog leapt his fence went after his duck. The duck survived, but with a broken leg. In my view, that man should get a medal, not a charge of reckless endangerment! (h/t: Matthew)
Over at the Atlantic, Matti Friedman has an article about how Americans’ attempts to see commonalities between themselves and Israel has distorted our view of what’s happening. Read “Israel’s Problems are not like America’s.”
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 590,628, an increase of about 700 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,500,840, an increase of about 12,650 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on May 26 includes:
- 1293 – An earthquake strikes Kamakura, Kanagawa, Japan, killing about 23,000.
- 1857 – Dred Scott is emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners.
Scott had lost a Supreme Court case, 7-2, which said that African-Americans had no right to citizenship in the U.S. Sadly, after he was freed, he died about 15 months later of tuberculosis. A photo:
- 1868 – The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson ends with his acquittal by one vote.
- 1896 – Nicholas II becomes the last Tsar of Imperial Russia.
Here are the final resting places in St. Petersburg of the Tsar and his family, shot by the Bolsheviks. I took this in 2011. Nicholas’s resting place is to the left in the center.
A first edition, first printing of this puppy will run you around $40,000 U.S.:
- 1923 – The first 24 Hours of Le Mans was held and has since been run annually in June.
- 1927 – The last Ford Model T rolls off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles.
Here are some model Ts on Ford’s famous assembly line:
- 1940 – World War II: Operation Dynamo: In northern France, Allied forces begin a massive evacuation from Dunkirk, France.
It was successful. Here are some British troops lined up on the Dunkirk beaches, awaiting evacuation:
Here’s Abbey Road Two Studio, where most of the tracks of Sgt. Pepper (54 years old today) were recorded:
- 1998 – The Supreme Court of the United States rules in New Jersey v. New York that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, is mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.
- 1998 – The first “National Sorry Day” was held in Australia, and reconciliation events were held nationally, and attended by over a million people.
Notables born on this day include:
Lange was most famous for her images of the Great Depression in the U.S. Here are two of them. First, a family moves with its belongings:
“Migrant mother” (1936), perhaps her most famous image:
- 1907 – John Wayne, American actor, director, and producer (d. 1979)
- 1920 – Peggy Lee, American singer-songwriter and actress (d. 2002)
Here’s Lee singing “Why Don’t You Do Right” with the Benny Goodman Orchestra in 1943. I love this video! Her singing is lovely and understated, and Goodman plays some sweet licorice stick.
- 1926 – Miles Davis, American trumpet player, composer, and bandleader (d. 1991)
- 1928 – Jack Kevorkian, American pathologist, author, and assisted suicide activist (d. 2011)
- 1940 – Levon Helm, American singer-songwriter, drummer, producer, and actor (d. 2012)
- 1948 – Stevie Nicks, American singer-songwriter
Here’s the best Stevie Nicks video ever, recorded spontaneously as she was being made up for a Rolling Stone shoot. Voilà: “Wild Heart.” This may be the best spontaneous rock song ever, and is infinitely better than the recorded version. You won’t regret listening to this.
- 1949 – Jeremy Corbyn, British journalist and politician
- 1951 – Sally Ride, American physicist and astronaut, founded Sally Ride Science (d. 2012)
Those who went belly up on May 26 include:
Here’s one of Riis’s photos. Wikipedia caption: “Bandit’s Roost (1888) by Jacob Riis, from How the Other Half Lives. This image is Bandit’s Roost at 59½ Mulberry Street, considered the most crime-ridden, dangerous part of New York City.” Would you walk down this street? Talk about “Gangs of New York”!
- 1943 – Edsel Ford, American businessman (b. 1893)
- 1976 – Martin Heidegger, German philosopher and academic (b. 1889)
- 2008 – Sydney Pollack, American actor, director, and screenwriter (b. 1934)
- 2010 – Art Linkletter, Canadian-American radio and television host (b. 1912)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili doesn’t understand the prevalence of annoying insects (has she considered evolution?):
Hili: I can find no justification.Paulina: What for?Hili: Neither for mosquitos nor for any flies.(Picture: Paulina R.)
Hili: Nie znajduję żadnego usprawiedliwienia.Paulina: Dla kogo?Hili: Ani dla komarów, ani dla innych muszek.(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)
Little Kulka is intense, as usual:
A meme from Bruce:
From Nicole, a plaint that I’ve sometimes had:
A bad joke from Jesus of the Day:
From Titania. Shoot me NOW!
If you have a white male child, you have already failed as a parent.pic.twitter.com/pyBI3fll0q
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) May 25, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. The first is a science experiment: “How ducklings’ feet sound on different floors.” Awesome!
For science: Wie Entenkükenfüßchen auf verschiedenen Böden klingen pic.twitter.com/gUv1BoMAcA
— Karolin Schwarz (@raeuberhose) May 6, 2021
If they start opening beers we’re all doomed:
Haha – I always thought that honeybees are nowhere near as smart as our tool-using bumblebees, but this is pretty good 😉 https://t.co/oODQiw6W36
— Lars Chittka (@LChittka) May 25, 2021
I don’t think these ducks are particularly spoiled, do you?
I have raised the most spoiled and entitled ducks ever known to man. pic.twitter.com/xVB14Nr5Nu
— Angela King (@EnnoFarm) May 24, 2021
A nice optical illusion, and no, it does not expand! Click on it to enlarge the picture.
A black hole appears to expand. (Fujiwara's illusion) pic.twitter.com/MjzLoawoAC
— Akiyoshi Kitaoka (@AkiyoshiKitaoka) May 25, 2021
ARRESTED!???? This guy deserves a medal!
— CBS Sacramento CBS13 (@CBSSacramento) May 25, 2021
This really is excellent even if it is the New Woke Times. Excellent graphics:
This is the most brilliant marriage I have ever seen of reporting, writing, history, graphics, 3d computerized images, and it tells an immensely important story. Congrats, @nytimes, Yuliya Parshina-Kottas, Anjali Singhvi and the rest of the team. https://t.co/j8SWwzF1JK
— Kurt "Masks Save Lives" Eichenwald (@kurteichenwald) May 24, 2021
There are more pictures in this thread of quail walking alongside a gopher snake. Matthew’s take: “I reckon they are ensuring it leaves. Safety in numbers and intimidating to snake.”
After the quail encountered the snake, several males were following it, getting quite close to its head. pic.twitter.com/sEB4DufxiX
— Wendy (@geococcyxcal) May 21, 2021