Welcome to Sunday, June 27, 2021: National Orange Blossom Day. While it celebrates the flower, the “Orange Blossom” is also a drink made with gin, vermouth, and fresh orange juice. It’s also National Indian Pudding Day (the best pudding ever; try it!), National Bingo Day, National Ice Cream Cake Day, Helen Keller Day (celebrating her birth on this day in 1880), Industrial Workers of the World Day, National HIV Testing Day, National PTSD Awareness Day, and, a bit north, Canadian Multiculturalism Day.
Today’s Google Doodle is a gif that honors Tommy Kono (1930-2016), a medalist in three Olympics who set world records in four different body weight classes (click on screenshot):
News of the Day:
It’s more than five months since Joe Biden moved into the White House, and there is still not a sign of a cat in their home.
According to the Washington Post, an engineer warned in 2018 that the Florida condo which collapsed last week was an accident waiting to happen. (h/t: Randy)
The engineer, Frank P. Morabito, said in a structural survey report that waterproofing had failed below the pool deck and entrance drive, allowing damaging leaks.
“Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” Morabito wrote. He said a “major error” had been made in the construction of the building, when waterproofing was laid on a flat slab rather than a sloped surface, to allow water to run off.
There were other problems too. But it’s premature to diagnose the cause or causes: it could even have been a sinkhole. At any rate, four people are dead, they have found other body parts in the wreckage, but no more survivors have turned up. 159 people remain unaccounted for, and it was heartbreaking to see the friends and relatives on last night’s news waiting an agonizing wait, hoping against hope that a “miracle” could happen but knowing in their hearts that things look grim.
A sad chapter in Canadian history has become even sadder with the discovery of the unmarked graves of hundreds of Indigenous “First Nations” children who likely died in the care of “residential schools” designed to take the Indigenous culture out of the children. Doesn’t this sound familiar?
From the 1880s through the 1990s, the Canadian government forcibly removed at least 150,000 Indigenous children like Mr. Thomas from their homes and sent them to residential schools designed to sever them from their culture and assimilate them into Western ways — a system that a National Truth and Reconciliation Commission in 2008 called “cultural genocide.” At the schools, which were mostly run by the Catholic Church, sexual, physical and emotional abuse and violence were commonplace. Thousands of children went missing.
Abuse, sheer indifference, and racism on this scale is unthinkable, and yet it happened; I’m sure many families lost their children and didn’t even know about it.
And an op-ed from the NYT: “What Jewish students need from University leaders right now.” It recounts the epidemic of demonization, abuse, and physical attacks on Jewish students in American colleges. Remember, these are nearly all American Jews, not Israelis. Of course all students are free to criticize Jews, Israel, and so on, but it’s not beyond a school’s mission to state that the kind of bullying and racism mentioned above seriously impedes the school’s mission to teach. I never thought I’d see the day when a wave of anti-Semitism swept over America.
Insanity of the week: Reader Ginger K. reports, via the Philly Voice, that a bunch of loons invaded a Home Depot in Pennsylvania to have an exorcism for dead trees made into lumber. What were they trying to excorcise? Tree sprites?:
A police report from Dickson City in Lackawanna County raised eyebrows this week for its bizarre description of an incident that happened Monday.
“3:26pm: Commerce Blvd. @ Home Depot for disorderly people having an exorcism in the lumber isle (sic) for the dead trees,” authorities wrote. “They were escorted out of the building.”
A call placed to Dickson City police elicited a chuckle from one officer.
“There were two people hanging out in the lumber department doing their little exorcism thing,” the officer said. “Some people at the store started picking up that something was happening that was not necessarily normal. Police were called to the store and they were escorted out of the building.”
Here’s your apartheid nation: Israel brought 35 children from diverse places, including the West Bank and Gaza, as well as to their hospitals for free treatment for heart disease. Of course the Israel haters will call this the medical equivalent of “pinkwashing.” But why would they treat their enemies for free? Could it be they have a sense of ethics? Nawww. . . .this is Israel, the most evilest country in the world.
“It is our mission to bring children from developing countries and places where they can’t get or can’t afford life-saving treatments. Over half of the children whose lives are being saved in Israel are from the Palestinian Authority and Gaza. Doctors in Israel volunteer their time to conduct the heart surgeries,” Tamar Shapira, deputy executive director of SACH [Save a Child’s Heart] told The Algemeiner in an interview. “For us they are little ambassadors. We tell a different story of Israel which is not political.”
Founded 25 years ago and backed by South African-born philanthropist Morris Kahn, SACH has saved the lives of more than 5,800 children, the group says, with Israeli doctors providing open-heart surgery, life-saving catheterization and other care to children from 62 countries.
The NYT reports that the Manhattan district attorney has informed the Trump organization that it could face criminal charges as early as next week. The DA has been building a case for a while against the chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, but the announcement that the organization itself could face charges is new, and involves financial improprieties including failure to report emoluments. What I don’t understand (I’m not a lawyer) is how they can charge a company and yet Trump himself may not face any criminal charges. What happens if the company is convicted? Does it go to jail? Or just get fined? I’m still curious about whether the Orange Man will one day be wearing an orange jump suit.
It rained like hell in Chicago yesterday; we face chances of rain daily for a week. And Seattle may break its all-time heat record of 108°F (42.2°C) as the Pacific Northwest and Idaho face an unprecedented heat wave. Let’s hope that Stephen Barnard stays cool.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 603,500, an increase of 307 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,933,756,,, an increase of about 7,700 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on June 27 includes:
- 1743 – In the Battle of Dettingen, George II becomes the last reigning British monarch to participate in a battle.
- 1844 – Joseph Smith, founder of the Latter Day Saint movement, and his brother Hyrum Smith, are killed by a mob at the Carthage, Illinois jail.
- 1898 – The first solo circumnavigation of the globe is completed by Joshua Slocum from Briar Island, Nova Scotia.
The 37-foot “gaff rigged” oyster boat in which Slocum sailed around the world: “the Spray”. It took him three years and two months:
- 1941 – Romanian authorities launch one of the most violent pogroms in Jewish history in the city of Iași, resulting in the murder of at least 13,266 Jews.
Here are the city’s Jews being rounded up, and the second photo shows some of the 8,000 Jews sent by train to the camps. Of these, nearly 80% died en route, and their bodies are being thrown out of the train. Before the pogram, in 1930, there were nearly 36,000 Jews living in Iași. Now there are 300-600.
- 1950 – The United States decides to send troops to fight in the Korean War.
- 1954 – The FIFA World Cup quarterfinal match between Hungary and Brazil, highly anticipated to be exciting, instead turns violent, with three players ejected and further fighting continuing after the game.
I couldn’t find a good video of this violent match, but highlights are below:
- 1976 – Air France Flight 139 (Tel Aviv–Athens-Paris) is hijacked en route to Paris by the PLO and redirected to Entebbe, Uganda.
Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine hijacked the plane to Uganda, where the hijackers were supported by the odious dictator Idi Amin. The hijackers let the non-Israeli passengers go, but kept the Israelis under guard. After diplomatic efforts to resolve the situation failed, commandos of the Israeli Defense Forces plotted an elaborate scheme to rescue the hostages.
Wikipedia’s “Operation Entebbe” article has all the details. It was a very successful rescue:
The entire operation lasted 53 minutes – of which the assault lasted only 30 minutes. All seven hijackers present, and between 33 and 45 Ugandan soldiers, were killed. Eleven Soviet-built MiG-17 and MiG-21 fighter planes of the Uganda Army Air Force were destroyed on the ground at Entebbe Airport. Out of the 106 hostages, three were killed, one was left in Uganda (74-year-old Dora Bloch), and approximately 10 were wounded. The 102 rescued hostages were flown to Israel via Nairobi, Kenya, shortly after the raid.
Here are the happy survivors returning to Israel:
- 2007 – Tony Blair resigns as British Prime Minister, a position he had held since 1997. His Chancellor, Gordon Brown succeeds him.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1869 – Emma Goldman, Lithuanian-Canadian philosopher and activist (d. 1940)
Here’s Goldman, a great orator, preaching at Peter Kropotkin’s funeral procession in 1921.
- 1869 – Hans Spemann, German embryologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1941)
- 1880 – Helen Keller, American author, academic, and activist (d. 1968) [see above]
- 1913 – Willie Mosconi, American pool player (d. 1993)
Here are some trick shots by Willie Mosconi:
- 1930 – Ross Perot, American businessman and politician (d. 2019)
- 1975 – Tobey Maguire, American actor
Those who croaked on June 27 include:
- 1839 – Ranjit Singh, founder of the Sikh Empire (b. 1780)
- 1957 – Hermann Buhl, Austrian soldier and mountaineer (b. 1924)
Buhl was perhaps the greatest mountaineer of his time, and one of the best of all time. His solo ascent of Nanga Parbat is an unmatched achievement; Wikipedia says this:
1953 German–Austrian Nanga Parbat expedition – First ascent of Nanga Parbat, 8126 m (26,660 ft) (solo and without bottled oxygen). On the way back from the summit he was forced to stand erect on a rock ledge for the entire night at 8000 m altitude, in order to survive until the following morning. [JAC: 31 men had died on that mountain before Buhl was the first to reach the summit.]
Here’s Buhl, frostbitten, after 41 hours on the mountain alone. It’s an iconic photo of an iconic climber. He died at age 31 when he stepped through a cornice on Chogolisa and fell 900 feet. His body is still in the ice.
And here’s Nanga Parbat, also called “the killer mountain”:
- 1989 – A. J. Ayer, English philosopher and academic (b. 1910)
- 2001 – Jack Lemmon, American actor (b. 1925)
- 2005 – Shelby Foote, American historian and author (b. 1917)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Malgorzata explains today’s Hili dialogue: “Hili’s face shows a bit of disgust and a bit of resignation. History taught her that humans can behave in disgusting ways (and often do it) and that one Polish cat cannot change it, hence—resignation and acknowledgement of the futility of her struggles.”
This is a wonderful portrait of Hili, taken by Andrzej.
Hili: I’m drawing conclusions from history.A: I can see it.
Hili: Wyciągam wnioski z historii.Ja: Właśnie widzę.
And Mietek is weary of riding in the car.
Mietek: Traveling is exhausting.
From Jesus of the Day, an adorable attempt at camouflage:
Stevie Nicks in front of a Fleetwood Mac poster in Amsterdam, 1977 pic.twitter.com/QhSmrhOxsf
— Classic Rock In Pics (@crockpics) June 19, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I love these enhanced and colorized old films, which really bring the past back to life:
A summers day 1899. Filmed in Étretat and Le Tréport in Normandy France possibly by Georges Méliès
Enhanced and courised by Glamourdaze on YouTube. pic.twitter.com/avC2xqJQxd
— Historygirl (@janeyellene) June 26, 2021
As Matthew notes, “Pics of horse in France that visits patients in palliative care to cheer them up.” Have a look at the article for more photos. The horse is said to be able to detect tumors and cancers, and stops by the rooms of only those so afflicted:
Récemment on a publié ce très chouette reportage photos sur un cheval qui vient voir les malades et, croyez-moi, cela remontait le moral.https://t.co/TsSddfhpDE
— Matthieu Suc (@MatthieuSuc) June 26, 2021
A cute but dumb idea:
The mosquito lands on the salt, thinking it's sugar. They get thirsty for water, but the cap has rum in it.
The mosquito gets drunk, trips on the stick and bangs its head on the rock. pic.twitter.com/rLfHmbmtna
— Critical Jake Theory (@jakecoco) June 25, 2021
If Duncan is the black cat, it looks as if he both starts and finishes stuff:
Fafhrd thinks he's a Hard Boy and tries to start stuff.
Duncan never starts stuff. He finishes it, though. pic.twitter.com/npEmT5Fcoj
— Wijktory Kjittens! (@kjittens) June 25, 2021
— Earthling (@ziyatong) June 24, 2021
I haven’t read this paper, but the researchers use modern DNA from 26 populations to show a rapid evolution of virus-interacting-proteins (VIPs) that occurred 25,000 years ago, suggesting a coronavirus epidemic in East Asia at that time.
We report evidence of a 25,000 years old coronavirus epidemic in East Asia based on the analysis of host genomes. We then worked with @KalexandrovAU to confirm interactions between the selected human genes and SARS-CoV-2.https://t.co/evHeWp5IHO
— David Enard (@DavidEnard) June 24, 2021
My pet skunk did exactly these threat behaviors when he was a baby. Below is a rescue skunk that will be released, so he’s not “descented”.
Baby skunk learns to stomp his hands — then he does handstands and stomps his back feet! 😍 pic.twitter.com/KuSt6wLsmK
— The Dodo (@dodo) June 24, 2021