Welcome to Tuesday, June 29, 2021: It’s National Almond Buttercrunch Day, as well as National Waffle Iron Day (who has one?), and National Camera Day (who wants some 35-mm film using Nikons; I have several).
Today’s Google Doodle celebrates the life and work of Mexican artist Pedro Linares Lópes (1906 – 1992), a Mexican artisan famous for creating the papier-mâché figurines called alebrijes. The craft spread throughout Mexico, and you can see examples of these fantastical figures at the preceding link. Lópes was born on this day in 1906.
Here are some alebrijes on sale at the market in Oaxaca (photo from Wikipedia):
News of the Day:
It’s been 160 days since Biden took office, and, despite Joe’s promises, the White House is still catless. If not now, when?
When India ran out of oxygen: the New York Times reports some horrible events in India’s disastrous covid crisis, with hospitals suddenly running out of oxygen and masses of people on ventilators dying all at once. Both the NYT and I blame this on the Modi government, which was never really prepared for a crisis that seemed inevitable. An excerpt:
India is a major producer of compressed oxygen. But the Indian government moved too late to distribute supplies.
State governments feuded over oxygen and seized tankers, creating bottlenecks and delays.
Delhi city officials didn’t build systems to produce or store oxygen and struggled to allocate dwindling supplies. When tight supplies and government missteps led oxygen to run out at Jaipur Golden [Hospital], some families said the hospital offered no warning.
And now, with a shortage of vaccine, India may be about to get itself into a third wave of infection.
The website of my surrogate parents Malgorzata and Andzej, Listy z naszego sadu (“letters from our orchard”; Hili is the editor, and note her photo at the top) has just published a piece written by Andrzej about the erroneous reporting of the NYT, writing that’s duplicitous in the sense that known mistakes were never corrected. It’s about the death of Palestinian children during the recent battles with Israel. The piece was translated from Polish into English by Malgorzata and her English friend Sarah Lawson.
The death toll in Chicago last weekend: 74 shootings and six deaths between Friday evening and early Monday morning. It was one of the most violent weekends of one of our most violent years, and remember: we have the Fourth of July weekend coming up. The chief of police attributes much of the violence to “too many guns in the hands of the wrong people.”
Buffets are back! Or so says the Wall Street Journal, reporting on doings in Buffet City, otherwise known as Las Vegas. As a foodie, I love buffets, though it will take some time before they return in full form. Reopened ones, for instance, often forbid you to serve yourself, make you wear gloves, and at one buffet near me in Cicero, Illinois you aren’t even allowed to dip your own fruit into the chocolate fountain (this is for obvious reasons). Soon it will be “all you can eat” again!
Over at the NYT, Carl Zimmer has an informative article about the discovery and features of “Dragon Man,” an ancient hominin that lived between 309,000 and 146,000 years ago. It’s been designated as a member of a new species of Homo: H. longi. And it’s said to be more closely related to modern H. sapiens than what we used to think was our closest relative, the common ancestor of the Neanderthals and Denisovans (who split from each other after branching off the lineage that led to us). Some paleoanthropologists dissent, though, considering H. longi to be a Denisovan, a population that has not generally been seen as a species distinct from H. sapiens (there was interbreeding). Stay tuned.
Here’s a digital reconstruction of the beautifully preserved skull: a screenshot from a video at the NYT:
The Washington Post, to my dismay, is getting woker and woker, to the extent that it’s barely distinguishable in its biases from HuffPo. Here’s a screenshot of all the editorials highlighted on the front page yesterday afternoon. (And yet I still subscribe to the WaPo, the NYT, and the Wall Street Journal.) I don’t read the news or op-eds just to have my own opinions confirmed, but the “MSM” increasingly fails to challenge what I think.
Here’s a lovely comment that came in this morning. I banned the moron, of course, but it’s worth putting up:
The Jews won’t be happy until whites and white culture are eradicated forever. We should’ve oven crisped them all when we had the chance.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 603,758, an increase of 289 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,946,517, an increase of about 6,100 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on June 29 includes:
- 1613 – The Globe Theatre in London, built by William Shakespeare‘s playing company, the Lord Chamberlain’s Men, burns to the ground.
A second Globe Theatre was built in 1614 and closed 28 years later. Here’s a “conjectural reconstruction of the [first] Globe theatre by C. Walter Hodges based on archaeological and documentary evidence.”
- 1864 – At least 99 people, mostly German and Polish immigrants, are killed in Canada’s worst railway disaster after a train fails to stop for an open drawbridge and plunges into the Rivière Richelieu near St-Hilaire, Quebec.
- 1888 – George Edward Gouraud records Handel‘s Israel in Egypt onto a phonograph cylinder, thought for many years to be the oldest known recording of music.
The first video plays Gouraud’s recording. Now, however, the earliest known recording dates from 1860, a lot earlier. You can hear that one in the second video below:
The earliest known recording of a human voice. See this NPR article for more information (the sound has been restored a bit):
- 1889 – Hyde Park and several other Illinois townships vote to be annexed by Chicago, forming the largest United States city in area and second largest in population at the time.
- 1922 – France grants 1 km2 at Vimy Ridge “freely, and for all time, to the Government of Canada, the free use of the land exempt from all taxes”.
- 1927 – The Bird of Paradise, a U.S. Army Air Corps Fokker tri-motor, completes the first transpacific flight, from the mainland United States to Hawaii.
The flight took 25 hours and 50 minutes from San Francisco to Oahu; here’s its arrival at Wheeler Field in Hawaii:
- 1956 – The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956 is signed by U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower, officially creating the United States Interstate Highway System.
- 1972 – The United States Supreme Court rules in the case Furman v. Georgia that arbitrary and inconsistent imposition of the death penalty violates the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments and constitutes cruel and unusual punishment.
- 1974 – Mikhail Baryshnikov defects from the Soviet Union to Canada while on tour with the Kirov Ballet.
- 1975 – Steve Wozniak tested his first prototype of Apple I computer.
- 1987 – Vincent Van Gogh’s painting, the Le Pont de Trinquetaille, was bought for $20.4 million at an auction in London, England.
The painting below, not even a great specimen of Van Gogh, was re-sold for $34 million (plus $3.7 million in fees) in a Christie’s auction on May 13 of this year.
- 2006 – Hamdan v. Rumsfeld: The U.S. Supreme Court rules that President George W. Bush’s plan to try Guantanamo Bay detainees in military tribunals violates U.S. and international law.
- 2007 – Apple Inc. releases its first mobile phone, the iPhone.
And here’s that first iPhone:
- 2014 – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant self-declared its caliphate in Syria and northern Iraq.
Notables born on this day include were few, and include:
- 1858 – George Washington Goethals, American general and engineer, co-designed the Panama Canal (d. 1928)
- 1919 – Slim Pickens, American actor and rodeo performer (d. 1983)
Here’s the scene from which we all know Slim Pickens; as Major Kong in Stanley Kubrik’s movie Dr. Strangelove, Pickens (previously an actor in Westerns) rides the Big H-Bomb to destruction and war:
- 1941 – Stokely Carmichael, Trinidadian-American activist (d. 1998)
Those whose lives were discontinued on June 29 include:
- 1852 – Henry Clay, American lawyer and politician, 9th United States Secretary of State (b. 1777)
- 1895 – Thomas Henry Huxley, English biologist (b. 1825)
- 1933 – Roscoe Arbuckle, American actor, director, and screenwriter (b. 1887)
- 1940 – Paul Klee, Swiss painter and illustrator (b. 1879)
First, a photo of Klee with his cat, and then his famous “Cat and Bird” painting, in which a cat thinks of a bird (notice too the heart-shaped nose):
- 1964 – Eric Dolphy, American saxophonist, composer, and bandleader (b. 1928)
- 1967 – Jayne Mansfield, American actress (b. 1933)
- 1995 – Lana Turner, American actress (b. 1921)
Turner was involved in a scandal about the death of her abusive boyfriend, Johnny Stompanato, a mobster. Angered that he wasn’t allowed to go to the Academy Awards ceremony with Turner, he attacked her when she returned home, whereupon Turner’s daughter Cheryl stabbed him in the stomach, killing him. Cheryl was found not guilty because it was “justifiable homicide.” Here’s Stompanato with Lana Turner.
- 2002 – Rosemary Clooney, American singer and actress (b. 1928)
- 2020 – Carl Reiner, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1922)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili seems to be kvetching about the weather report, even though she doesn’t like rain. But that interpretation is wrong, as Malgorzata explains:
“She is not kvetching about the rain. She is full of disdain for experts, which is so very fashionable these days. There is never a mistake; there must be bad intentions. The good old rule ‘Do not ascribe to malice what you can ascribe to stupidity’ (or ignorance, or just the fact that there is knowledge humanity hasn’t yet obtained) is not popular. Unfortunately, Hili is following fashion here.”Hili: They said it would be raining.A: So what?Hili: They lied again.
Hili: Mówili, że będzie padać.Ja: I co?Hili: Znowu kłamali.
And a photo of little Kulka taken by Andrzej:
A clever painting sent in by Bruce:
From reader Paul, who wrote this: “I saw the attached last week while driving through rural North Carolina. It’s a bit of a puzzle…” Indeed it is! Does that mean all atheists are in Heaven, in limbo, or where?
From reader Barry, who says, “A funny tweet, and the two responses are great, too (one plays into your recent comment about Darwin’s attitude about slavery):
Captain Fitzroy: “I’ve searched all over the Beagle and I can’t find our naturalist.”
First Officer Wickham: “He’s in the spirit room conversing with demons.”
Captain Fitzroy: “Look, it’s a ship full of dudes. We’ve been on the sea for ages. You can just say ‘he’s masturbating.’” pic.twitter.com/xDlIy5fY6h
— Take That Darwin (@TakeThatDarwin) June 27, 2021
From Ginger K., a Gary Larson cartoon. (He was the best!)
God's perfect design. pic.twitter.com/CZP3OpfI1N
— Æ Humanist Engineer (@AtheistEngineer) June 19, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This first photo must have been taken right after the scene in which Sonny is brutally murdered at a toll booth.
James Caan takes a smoke break between takes on the set of "The Godfather" pic.twitter.com/eMJRgMaCYV
— Diane Doniol-Valcroze (@ddoniolvalcroze) June 28, 2021
Poor Wally the Walrus! Nobody loves him, and he’s always being kicked off of boats or booted off of boat slips. He’s lonely and looking for a friend!
I was kayaking and noticed that Wally the Walrus was being kicked out of a boat in the harbour When he fell out into the water and someone shouted 'Hes behind you'I never rowed so fast and made it to Tresco in ten mins even though I wanted to go to Porthloo just round corner 🙄 pic.twitter.com/wPAgiKpok2
— Kris Webb (@scillywebb) June 27, 2021
Winston Churchill’s version of Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language”:
— Ian Yorston (@IanYorston) June 27, 2021
Is it just the term “UFO”, or are aliens particularly attracted to America?
Note: Not examined the ESRI website to see if this is just an English language bias towards the spelling of 'UFO'. Posted for amusement not education! But y'all go out and investigate this as needed!
— Rich Pancost #BlackLivesMatter 🏞️ (@rpancost) June 28, 2021