Welcome to Sunday, June 13, 2021: Cupcake Lover’s Day (again, the apostrophe implies that only a single lover of cupcakes is being honored). It’s also National Children’s Day, Weed Your Garden Day, World Softball Day, and Race Unity Day.
Wine of the Day: I wanted a good heavy red to go with my weekly steak, and I had a hankering for my first love: the Rhones. Lord knows when I bought this bottle, but the price is written on the label along with the advice “decant”, meaning the wine store guy probably told me that this would have a sediment. Well, it had better, being an 11-year-old southern Rhone.
I just looked up my favorite wine guy’s assessment of this wine, which is this:
The powerful, rich 2010 Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee Anonyme reveals an off-the-chart level of extract, lots of glycerin (nearly 16% natural alcohol) and copious black cherry, blueberry, forest floor, lavender and graphite characteristics. This full-throttle red requires 3-4 years of cellaring and should keep for two decades.
News of the Day:
Yes, there were three mass shootings on Friday night in three separate states, with two killed and at least 30 injured.
Austin, Texas: 14 wounded, two critically
Savannah, Georgia: one killed and seven wounded
Chicago, Illinois: one killed, nine wounded
As Neil Young sang in “Ohio,” “How many more?” Or to quote Bob Dylan, “How many deaths will it take till we know that too many people have died.”
CNN reports that a scuba diver got swallowed by a humpback whale and spent 30 seconds in the whale’s mouth before the leviathan spit him out! Michael Packard, a lobster diver, was ingested about 45 feet down before the whale realized it had bit on something it couldn’t chew. This situation seems to be a first, though there wasn’t really any danger of Packard being swallowed since the throat of humpbacks are too narrow to accommodate humans. (h/t: Bill, who adds, “I’m sure those in the Abrahamic tradition will use this story as affirmation of the story of Jonah.”)
An op-ed by Timothy Egan in the NYT, “Biden may be the calm between two storms“, warns of Democratic wokeness sabotaging our chances of governing the country by losing elections in 2022 or 2024. The message: stay on positive accomplishments like economics and vaccination, and stay away from defunding the police and forcing schools to teach CRT.
Bad idea of the year department: An old plantation in North Carolina tweeted this, canceling the Juneteenth event meant, as reader Ken says, “commemorate the hardships that Emancipation visited upon plantation owners and returning Confederate soldiers.” OY! You can read more about this misstep, and the troubles ahead for Latta Plantation, here.
This morning Latta Plantation removed this Juneteenth event from their online calendar and Facebook page after FB commenters let them know just how awful of an idea it was. pic.twitter.com/8pj8OyuyCr
— Ryan Pitkin (@pitkin_ryan) June 11, 2021
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 599,678, an increase of 384 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We will pass 600,000 deaths by tomorrow or Tuesday. The reported world death toll is now 3,811,523, an increase of about 9,700 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on June 13 includes:
- 1525 – Martin Luther marries Katharina von Bora, against the celibacy rule decreed by the Roman Catholic Church for priests and nuns.
Here’s a portrait of “Die Luterin”, as von Bora was called, painted during her lifetime by Lucas von Cranach the Elder. She helped Luther develop important elements of his new doctrine, and they even had kids (are there any Luthers left?)
- 1774 – Rhode Island becomes the first of Britain’s North American colonies to ban the importation of slaves.
- 1893 – Grover Cleveland notices a rough spot in his mouth and on July 1 undergoes secret, successful surgery to remove a large, cancerous portion of his jaw; the operation was not revealed to the public until 1917, nine years after the president’s death.
Here’s the last known photograph of Cleveland, taken the year before he died (1907). Note, though, that Wikipedia says it was not a cancer but a benign epithelioma. Fix it, Wikipedia!
- 1898 – Yukon Territory is formed, with Dawson chosen as its capital.
- 1927 – Aviator Charles Lindbergh receives a ticker tape parade down 5th Avenue in New York City.
Here’s a film of that parade, though the sound cuts out after about five seconds (it resumes after a minute):
- 1967 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson nominates Solicitor-General Thurgood Marshall to become the first black justice on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Here’s Marshall in 1957. As a lawyer, he’d successfully argued the case of Brown v. Board of Education, which eliminated segergation in public schools, before the Supreme Court.
Here’s the Times’s front-page article about the papers:
- 1997 – A jury sentences Timothy McVeigh to death for his part in the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1831 – James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish physicist and mathematician (d. 1879)
- 1865 – W. B. Yeats, Irish poet and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1939)
Here’s Yeats (one of my favorite poets) as a young man; there’s no date for this photo. Irish poets learn your trade!
- 1897 – Paavo Nurmi, Finnish runner and coach (d. 1973)
- 1918 – Ben Johnson, American actor and stuntman (d. 1996)
I will keep showing this scene from The Last Picture Show with Ben Johnson starring as Sam the Lion. This is his Soliloquy at the Water Tank, just as good as any soliloquy of Shakespeare. (Johnson won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for this role).
Those who “passed” on June 13 include:
- 1986 – Benny Goodman, American clarinet player, songwriter, and bandleader (b. 1909)
- 2010 – Jimmy Dean, American singer and businessman, founded Jimmy Dean Foods (b. 1928)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is impatiently waiting on the windowsill to come inside (Andrzej has to go out and carry her in; she refuses to walk in on her own!)
Hili: Could you let me inside?A: Wait. I will just finish this sentence.Hili: You always have excuses.
Hili: Czy możesz wpuścić mnie do domu?Ja: Zaczekaj, tylko dokończę to zdanie.Hili: Zawsze masz jakieś wymówki.
A groaner from Nicole:
This tweet was sent to me by reader Jay (I retweeted it; do read the article), who adds “Twitter is now hiding links to the article as ‘potentially sensitive content.'” What the hell?
An article well worth reading about the dangers of injecting ideology into science, something that's happening with increasing frequency. From the Journal of Physical Chemistry. https://t.co/LaEVlbthXv
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) June 12, 2021
Two tweets from Ginger K. The first is via our friend Masih, showing the natural reaction to being forced to cover your head for school.
This little girl was forced to wear hijab to go to school in Iran. Her mum told me she still didn’t get used to it & still hates it.
I myself like millions of Iranian girls was forced from the age of 7 to wear hijab. But nobody wants to hear our stories in the 21st century.Why? pic.twitter.com/ewgMY8lyfg
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) June 3, 2021
And some science:
— 🇦🇺 Pink Heretic (@pinkheretic) June 5, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This quote comes from a contrarian “scientific” journal:
— Neuroskeptic (@Neuro_Skeptic) June 12, 2021
This is a modern day ripoff of Winsor McCay’s fabulous cartoon strip Dream of the Rarebit Fiend:
Last night I had a dream I was babysitting Stephen J Gould's pet weasel and he had a locked room containing only a pair of miniature shoes. My conclusion is that I shouldn't eat blue cheese before bedtime.
— Resolute Reader (@resolutereader) June 12, 2021
Matthew tweeted one of his beloved optical illusions:
Zoom in. The “yellow” lines are all white. https://t.co/Gok2eRIGBo
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) June 12, 2021
I’m curious about whether a plane will even start after 435 days of inactivity.
A Delta pilot parked a plane in the desert at the height of the pandemic and left a note in the cockpit . Another pilot found it 435 days later.
"If you are here to pick it up then the light must be at the end of the tunnel."https://t.co/MEONWeifIa pic.twitter.com/ft1yAVZsjR
— Sam Sweeney (@SweeneyABC) June 11, 2021
This isn’t exactly true. For instance, you can swap “rectangular” with “green” or “little” with “old” without changing the meaning:
Things native English speakers know, but don't know we know: pic.twitter.com/Ex0Ui9oBSL
— Matthew Anderson (@MattAndersonNYT) September 3, 2016