It’s Cat Sabbath again: Saturday, May 29, 2021, and it’s National Biscuit Day, a celebration of one of America’s finest indigenous foodstuffs (I’m talking about Southern fluffy biscuits here, not the British equivalent of our “cookies”). It’s also International Coq au Vin Day, International Jazz Day, Paper Clip Day (they were patented in 1867 but not widely used until the 1890s), and World Digestive Health Day. It’s Oak Apple Day (or “Restoration Day”) in England, celebrating (?) the restoration of the English monarchy in 1660.
News of the Day:
The damn Republicans used the veto option to block an independent investigation of the Capitol invasion on January 6. What do they have to lose? It’s obvious: an objective evaluation of the President’s role in the issue, and of the GOP’s role in supporting Trump’s claim that the election was stolen. The Senate needed 60 votes to overcome the filibuster rule and launch the investigation, but only 6 Republicans defected from their party, making the vote on the investigation 54-35 (11 Senators, clearly including some Democrats, did not vote). From the NYT:
The six Republican senators who voted to advance debate on the commission included Ms. Collins, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Ms. Murkowski, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska. All but Mr. Portman had voted at an impeachment trial in February to find Mr. Trump guilty of inciting the insurrection.
A seventh Republican, Senator Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, missed the vote — one of 11 senators to do so — but said he would have voted to advance debate on the commission.
An unworkable Middle East peace proposal is offered by former Israeli Vice Prime Minister (and past peace negotiator) Tzipi Livni in her NYT op-ed, “There is a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” I wish! Livni at least says that we’ll get nowhere by trying to deal with Hamas, but good luck with that! Her solution is anodyne:
The cease-fire in Gaza provides a window of time we must use to change the long-term reality. An essential decision is to return to the vision of two states for two people, to strengthen the pragmatic forces and weaken the extremists and end the terror.
Well, yes, two states are the goal, but who gets East Jerusalem, or Area C of the West Bank? If we want any reasonable chance of peace, Hamas, whose goal is to eliminate Israel, cannot be part of the process. Well, that ain’t gonna happen. And that means that there’s no viable two-state solution, a conclusion that, when I came to it yesterday, broke my heart.
This is unbelievable but, if you believe the Guardian, true. I’ll give the report verbatim (h/t Jez):
In what can only be described as a comedy of errors, an Argentinian TV news channel delivered a stunning, if slightly flawed, scoop on Thursday night when it reported that William Shakespeare, “one of the most important writers in the English language” had died five months after receiving the Covid vaccine.
The gaffe of, well, Shakespearean proportions happened after Noelia Novillo, a newsreader on Canal 26, mixed up the Bard with William “Bill” Shakespeare, an 81-year-old Warwickshire man who became the second person in the world to get the Pfizer vaccine.
Here’s the messed-up t.v. report. No wonder he died: he was 400 years old!
Esto es increíble no puedo dejar de verlo pic.twitter.com/Ha8DUNuTYj
— Fato Gloro (@cruziisimo) May 28, 2021
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 593,583, an increase of 486 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,538,764, an increase of about 12,400 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on May 29 include:
- 1660 – English Restoration: Charles II is restored to the throne of England, Scotland and Ireland.
- 1886 – The pharmacist John Pemberton places his first advertisement for Coca-Cola, which appeared in The Atlanta Journal.
Here’s that ad:
The kola nut, from an evergreen tree (below) is no longer used in making any cola beverages:
- 1913 – Igor Stravinsky’s ballet score The Rite of Spring receives its premiere performance in Paris, France, provoking a riot.
- 1919 – Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity is tested (later confirmed) by Arthur Eddington and Andrew Claude de la Cherois Crommelin
- 1931 – Michele Schirru, a citizen of the United States, is executed by Italian military firing squad for intent to kill Benito Mussolini.
A tweet showing Schiurru, looking as if he was beat up during interrogation:
— Working Class History (@wrkclasshistory) May 29, 2020
Matthew sent this tweet appropriate to the day. Translated, it says, “79 years ago, on May 29, 1942, the 8th German ordinance required Jews in the occupied zone to wear the yellow star. Compulsory from June 7, the stars were distributed to the police station by the French police against a textile point on the ration card.”
Il y a 79 ans, le 29 mai 1942, la 8e ordonnance allemande imposait aux Juifs de zone occupée le port de l’étoile jaune.
Obligatoires dès le 7 juin, les étoiles ont été distribuées au commissariat, par la police française, contre un point textile sur la carte de rationnement. pic.twitter.com/2F8pr1IIQa
— Fondation Shoah (@Fondation_Shoah) May 29, 2021
- 1953 – Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay become the first people to reach the summit of Mount Everest, on Tenzing Norgay’s (adopted) 39th birthday.
- 1985 – Amputee Steve Fonyo completes cross-Canada marathon at Victoria, British Columbia, after 14 months.
- 1990 – The Russian parliament elects Boris Yeltsin as president of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic.
- 1999 – Space Shuttle Discovery completes the first docking with the International Space Station.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1736 – Patrick Henry, American lawyer and politician, 1st Governor of Virginia (d. 1799)
- 1874 – G. K. Chesterton, English essayist, poet, and playwright (d. 1936)
Here’s Chesterton, looking pretty much like I thought he would:
- 1903 – Bob Hope, English-American actor, singer, and producer (d. 2003)
- 1914 – Tenzing Norgay, Nepalese-Indian mountaineer (d. 1986)
- 1917 – John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States (d. 1963)
- 1932 – Paul R. Ehrlich, American biologist and author
Ehrlich is 89 today. Remember his prediction in The Population Bomb (1968) that overpopulation would lead to mass famine in the 1970s?
- 1955 – John Hinckley Jr., American attempted assassin of Ronald Reagan
Those who checked out on May 29 include:
- 1829 – Humphry Davy, English-Swiss chemist and academic (b. 1778)
- 1911 – W. S. Gilbert, English playwright and poet (b. 1836)
Gilbert is on the left, Sullivan on the right:
Fanny Brice, the original Funny Girl, in the 1910s or 1920s. She was Jewish and her real name was Fania Borach:
Berg, a mediocre catcher at best, but one of the rare Jewish baseball players, was nevertheless a fascinating man. From Wikipedia:
Although he played 15 seasons in the major leagues, almost entirely for four American League teams, Berg was never more than an average player and was better known for being “the brainiest guy in baseball.” Casey Stengel once described Berg as “the strangest man ever to play baseball”.
A graduate of Princeton University and Columbia Law School, Berg spoke several languages and regularly read ten newspapers a day. His reputation as an intellectual was fueled by his successful appearances as a contestant on the radio quiz show Information Please, in which he answered questions about the etymology of words and names from Greek and Latin, historical events in Europe and the Far East, and ongoing international conferences.
As a spy working for the government of the United States, Berg traveled to Yugoslavia to gather intelligence on resistance groups which the U.S. government was considering supporting. He was sent on a mission to Italy, where he interviewed various physicists concerning the Nazi German nuclear program. After the war, Berg was occasionally employed by the OSS’s successor, the Central Intelligence Agency. By the mid-1950s, he was unemployed. During the last two decades of his life, he had no work and lived with various siblings.
- 1979 – Mary Pickford, Canadian-American actress, producer, and screenwriter, co-founder of United Artists (b. 1892)
- 1998 – Barry Goldwater, American general, activist, and politician (b. 1909)
- 2010 – Dennis Hopper, American actor, director, and screenwriter (b. 1936)
- 2012 – Doc Watson, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1923)
Here’s Doc singing one of his famous songs, “Tennessee Stud”:
- 2017 – Manuel Noriega, Panamanian general and politician, Military Leader of Panama (b. 1934)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili gets asked if she wants a cat sausage. The answer is obvious.
Paulina: Do you want a sausage?Hili: Mhm.(Photo: Paulina R.)
Paulina: Chcesz taką kiełbaskę?Hili: Mhm.
From Bruce, a mockery of Marjorie Taylor Greene’s “gold star” comparison of masking with the Holocaust:
This meme came from Divy, who found it on Facebook.
The “two ark solution,” from Diana MacPherson. But why where only dinosaurian reptiles on the doomed ark? Why were the turtles and gators with the mammals?
From Abigail Shrier, showing truckling to the anti-Israel Palestinians. You can’t just send out a letter condemning anti-Semitism any more (h/t: Orli):
Chancellor of Rutgers condemns recent anti-semitic attacks — then apologizes for that condemnation, noting that condemning anti-Semitism failed "to communicate support for our Palestinian community members. We sincerely apologize for the hurt that this message has caused." https://t.co/Ngf1d40kSY pic.twitter.com/q4Xa88BPAI
— Abigail Shrier (@AbigailShrier) May 28, 2021
Mushbrain Marjorie Taylor Greene puts on her “really bad Mexican accent” in an accusation that the Democratic party is in collusion with the Mexican drug cartels. It’s amazing that she was elected, but then again, this is America.
My brain has no idea how to even begin to process this. pic.twitter.com/KwGVqrJLq7
— KevinlyFather 🇺🇲🇨🇦🇲🇼🇸🇿 (@KevinlyFather) May 28, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. The first is an unconscionable waste of government money:
Remember last year when Texas prisoner sued for soap and social distancing?
I got back records today showing how much the state spent fighting that lawsuit, and to avoid being forced to give people things like hand sanitizer during a pandemic:
— Keri Blakinger (@keribla) May 27, 2021
The gangland areas of Chicago in the old days. Click on this link to see an enlarged map.
"A Map of Chicago's Gangland," 1931
"Designed to inculcate the most important principles of piety and virtue in young persons and graphically portray the Evils and Sin of large cities."
— Rumsey Map Center (@rumseymapcenter) May 27, 2021
The cat’s knee, with extra bones for lagniappe!
These bones help the tendon or muscle slide smoothly over the joint. ~37% of humans also have a gastroc sesamoid bone, called a "fabella" or "little bean" in Latin (@MBerthaume & Bull 2019). Its function, if any, is unclear. Here’s an X-ray showing a fabella in a human knee. pic.twitter.com/2qqllc3Lbc
— 3D Anatomy Studios (@3DAnatomyStudio) May 27, 2021
Cryptic octopus reveals itself:
An Octopus cyenea decloacking pic.twitter.com/I4WfB1RyKN
— Keishu Asada (@CephWarden) May 27, 2021
Colorized century-old photos from Egypt:
Journey with me to Egypt 101 years ago. I've collected together 4 of my Egyptian enhancements, all taken in 1920. The pyramids at Giza, the Sphinx, a fez seller in Cairo and an Egyptian cobbler. All original colour, two years before Howard Carter's discovery of Tutankhamen's tomb pic.twitter.com/8LgveujOuh
— BabelColour (@StuartHumphryes) May 27, 2021