Good morning on a Thursday and the first day of July in 2021. It’s finally stopped raining at last in Chicago, and we’ve been spared the extreme heat of the East and West coasts.
It’s also National Gingersnap Day (a cookie or, as you Brits say, a “biscuit”). It’s also these food months all at once:
National Baked Bean Month
National Culinary Arts Month
National Hot Dog Month
National Ice Cream Month
National Picnic Month
National Pickle Month
As for other “days,” it’s also Canada Day, (see below under 1980), International Chicken Wing Day, Zip Code Day, celebrating the introduction of these numbers on this day in 1963 (see below), National Creative Ice Cream Flavor Day, International Reggae Day, and Early Bird Day (I’ve always been one; ergo, my surfeit of worms).
News of the Day:
It’s been 161 days since Joe Biden took office, amidst promises that the First Family would acquire a cat. In April, Jill Biden says that “she” (the cat) is “waiting in the wings”. That means they knew the cat that they wanted to adopt, and they had even tested it for amiability with the Bidens’ only surviving dog, Major (see below). The cat passed. So is there now a FIRST CAT? NOT ON YOUR LIFE! What kind of conspiracy is going on here; could someone ask Jen Psaki? #Whereisthefirstcat
The Big Lie:
“She is waiting in the wings,” said first lady Jill Biden about a cat joining the White House. pic.twitter.com/6OXvM08oNP
— TODAY (@TODAYshow) April 30, 2021
Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense under Ford and W., died Tuesday at 88 in Taos, New Mexico. A snippet from his NYT obituary:
Encores are hardly rare in Washington, but Mr. Rumsfeld had the distinction of being the only defense chief to serve two nonconsecutive terms: 1975 to 1977 under Mr. Ford, and 2001 to 2006 under Mr. Bush. He also was the youngest, at 43, and the oldest, at 74, to hold the post — first in an era of Soviet-American nuclear perils, then in an age of subtler menace by terrorists and rogue states.
A staunch ally of former Vice President Dick Cheney, who had been his protégé and friend for years, Mr. Rumsfeld was a combative infighter who seemed to relish conflicts as he challenged cabinet rivals, members of Congress and military orthodoxies. And he was widely regarded in his second tour as the most powerful defense secretary since Robert S. McNamara during the Vietnam War.
A tweet from Matthew; people make fun of this statement, but it actually makes sense.
The often-quoted Donald Rumsfeld- ‘we know there are some things we know we don’t know’ pic.twitter.com/tcvcFec4vl
— Julian Druker (@Julian5News) June 30, 2021
And this is surprising news: Bill Cosby’s sexual assault conviction, for which he’s serving 3-10 years (he’s been in for two), was overturned yesterday by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. Given the circumstances, he is now a free man and won’t be retried. When I asked reader Ken, who sent me the news, if Cosby was now free to leave prison without retrial, he responded:
Yes. Part of the basis for the reversal is that the prior district attorney gave Cosby a quasi-immunity agreement, which induced him to waive his Fifth Amendment privilege and testify in a pending civil case. This bars a retrial.Another part of the opinion faults the trial judge for allowing additional victims to testify at his retrial to Cosby’s similar, but uncharged, bad acts. Had this been the only ground for reversal, Cosby would be subject to retrial.
A C-SPAN informal poll of historians, conducted each time a Presidential administration ends, led to a list of U.S. Presidents ranked in order from best to worst in qualities of leadership. I bet you’re thinking that Trump was at rock bottom, but he wasn’t:
So who ranked worse than Trump? According to the historians, presidents Franklin “Bleeding Kansas” Pierce, Andrew “First to Be Impeached” Johnson and James “Failed to Stop the Civil War” Buchanan, who came in last.
And the best?:
Even with all the new historians participating, the top and bottom rankings remained unchanged. Since 2009, the top four presidents have been: 1) Abraham Lincoln 2) George Washington 3) Franklin D. Roosevelt and 4) Theodore Roosevelt. (Washington and FDR switched places in the 2000 survey.) The bottom three have been always been Pierce, Johnson and Buchanan, in that order.
You can see the overall rankings here. Note that while Obama is #10, he ranks a notch below Ronald Reagan. Lincoln and George Washington have held steady at #1 and #2 respectively since the 2000 survey.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 604,356, an increase of 256 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,963,895, an increase of about 9,000 over yesterday’s total.
Lots of stuff happened on July 1, including:
- 1766 – François-Jean de la Barre, a young French nobleman, is tortured and beheaded before his body is burnt on a pyre along with a copy of Voltaire‘s Dictionnaire philosophique nailed to his torso for the crime of not saluting a Roman Catholic religious procession in Abbeville, France.
And you don’t think that morality, even within the Catholic Church, has improved?
- 1770 – Lexell’s Comet is seen closer to the Earth than any other comet in recorded history, approaching to a distance of 0.0146 astronomical units (2,180,000 km; 1,360,000 mi).
- 1846 – Adolphe Sax patents the saxophone.
A photo of Sax and one of his saxophones. Note how similar it is to the modern instrument (Sax also invented several other instruments like the saxotromba and saxtuba, which are extinct):
- 1858 – Joint reading of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace‘s papers on evolution to the Linnean Society of London.
A BIG DAY IN THE HISTORY OF BIOLOGY!
- 1863 – American Civil War: The Battle of Gettysburg begins.
- 1874 – The Sholes and Glidden typewriter, the first commercially successful typewriter, goes on sale.
Here’s the typewriter as manufactured by Remington. I guess the pedal moves the carriage back.
- 1898 – Spanish–American War: The Battle of San Juan Hill is fought in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
- 1903 – Start of first Tour de France bicycle race.
The race was won by Maurice Garin, shown here after the race with his bike:
“SOS” does not really stand for anything like “save our souls,” but is used because the pattern is distinctive (and it was created by Germans).
- 1916 – World War I: First day on the Somme: On the first day of the Battle of the Somme 19,000 soldiers of the British Army are killed and 40,000 wounded.
To compare, in the entire World War II, 291,000 Americans were killed.
- 1931 – Wiley Post and Harold Gatty become the first people to circumnavigate the globe in a single-engined monoplane aircraft.
Here’s that plane, the Winnie Mae, now displayed at the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. It took Post and Gatty eight days and sixteen hours to make that flight.
- 1963 – ZIP codes are introduced for United States mail. [See above]
- 1972 – The first Gay pride march in England takes place.
- 1979 – Sony introduces the Walkman.
The first Walkman:
- 1980 – “O Canada” officially becomes the national anthem of Canada.
- 1990 – German reunification: East Germany accepts the Deutsche Mark as its currency, thus uniting the economies of East and West Germany.
- 2007 – Smoking in England is banned in all public indoor spaces.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1804 – George Sand, French author and playwright (d. 1876)
Sand was, of course, a woman, and named Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin. She used a man’s name because a woman writer would be dismissed. Here’s a photo from 1864:
- 1869 – William Strunk Jr., American author and educator (d. 1946)
- 1899 – Thomas A. Dorsey, American pianist and composer (d. 1993)
- 1912 – David Brower, American environmentalist, founded Sierra Club Foundation (d. 2000)
- 1916 – Olivia de Havilland, British-American actress (d. 2020)
Notice that de Havilland lived to be 104, and died just last year. Here’s a famous scene from Gone with the Wind with de Havilland as Melanie and Hattie McDaniel as Mammy:
- 1929 – Gerald Edelman, American biologist and immunologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2014)
- 1941 – Twyla Tharp, American dancer and choreographer
- 1952 – Dan Aykroyd, Canadian actor, producer and screenwriter
- 1961 – Diana, Princess of Wales (d. 1997)
Those who croaked on the first of July include:
A weird tale (from Wikipedia):
(born Jemima Wilkinson; November 29, 1752 – July 1, 1819) was an American preacher born in Cumberland, Rhode Island, to Quaker parents. After suffering a severe illness in 1776, the Friend claimed to have died and been reanimated as a genderless evangelist named the Public Universal Friend, and afterward shunned both birth name and gendered pronouns. In androgynous clothes, the Friend preached throughout the northeastern United States, attracting many followers who became the Society of Universal Friends.
- 1860 – Charles Goodyear, American chemist and engineer (b. 1800)
- 1896 – Harriet Beecher Stowe, American author and activist (b. 1811)
- 1925 – Erik Satie, French pianist and composer (b. 1866)
- 1974 – Juan Perón, Argentinian general and politician, President of Argentina (b. 1895)
- 1983 – Buckminster Fuller, American architect, designed the Montreal Biosphère (b. 1895)
- 1995 – Wolfman Jack, American radio host (b. 1938)
- 2000 – Walter Matthau, American actor (b. 1920)
- 2004 – Marlon Brando, American actor and director (b. 1924)
- 2009 – Karl Malden, American actor (b. 1912)
Here’s a clip from the documentary “Listen to me Marlon” in which Brando describes his own acting. (Can you name the movie in which Brando and Malden both appeared?)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has malaise. Malgorzata explains: “Hili is looking at the world with reluctance and explains her feelings to Andrzej. She feels no enthusiasm for anything and that’s why the world and life seem boring. So how is she to look at it with anything but reluctance?
A: What are you doing?Hili: I’m looking reluctant.A: Why?Hili: Because of the lack of enthusiasm.
Ja: Co robisz?Hili: Patrzę niechętnie.Ja: Dlaczego?Hili: Z braku entuzjazmu.
Found on Facebook. Could this be a Gary Larson cartoon? And look, I’m in there!
A cartoon by the late Leo Cullum sent by Jean:
From Nicole. Well, it’s a flying chicken with a kazoo:
Two political tweets from Ken, who says about the first one, “Paul Gosar is the wingnut Arizona congressman whose siblings all got together during the 2018 campaign to do a tv ad urging his constituents to vote against him. Nick Fuentes is a self-described white nationalist known (among other things) for his antisemitic statements.”
Arizona GOP Congressman Paul Gosar isn’t even trying to hide it. Now taking white supremacists’ money. pic.twitter.com/Qaxp1JajBs
— Brahm Resnik (@brahmresnik) June 29, 2021
And Ken’s followup tweet, showing Fuentes denying the Holocaust flat out. And oy, his metaphors!
This is Nick Fuentes. He is a white supremacist anti-Semite. That's not Twitter hyperbole, just a straight-up description. Here he is smilingly denying the Holocaust: pic.twitter.com/qJkhASjW6I
— Yair Rosenberg (@Yair_Rosenberg) June 29, 2021
A tweet from Barry,
Area man shocked when man-eating animal attempts to eat him
— Tom Folan (@tomfolanmd) June 30, 2021
From Simon, who asks, “Where is WEIT on this list?” I don’t know, but Neil’s book is also #1 in Creationism, while I’m only #88. I’m jealous!
Achievement unlocked. Inner Fish is #2 in Christian Theology at Amazon’s Kindle Store. pic.twitter.com/dlx15GHRpk
— Neil Shubin (@NeilShubin) June 29, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I suppose mine would be an extreme example of crypsis, like a moss frog. Or perhaps it would be the way parasites commandeer the brains of some of their insect hosts, making the insect behave in a way to facilitate the parasite’s transmission to the next host. You can see other peoples’ answers at Neo.Life.
— NEO.LIFE (@NEOdotLIFE) June 30, 2021
There’s gonna be a prequel to The Sopranos! Here’s a trailer and the first two minutes of the film. But Matthew asks, as do I, “But will it have the complexity of the series, or will it be just another gangster film?”
Exclusive look at the first two minutes of the film pic.twitter.com/UYT23Xp2vx
— Joe Hospodor (@joehospodor) June 29, 2021
Why is this mother duck behaving this way?
Awfully worrying when mum keeps ducking out of sight…. pic.twitter.com/375l3G7b92
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) June 30, 2021