Greetings on a humpish Wednesday, July 7, 2021: National Strawberry Sundae Day (I prefer hot fudge but with strawberries). It’s also World Chocolate Day, National Macaroni Day, and Global Forgiveness Day.
Wine of the Day: I’ve had this wine for a while, and it wasn’t cheap, but I’m sure I didn’t pay even half of the $90 estimate that Wine.com gives for its present retail price. I love Southern Rhones, and a good Chåteauneuf can be a terrific wine. So, though the weather was hot last night, I chose a wine that I thought would to be rich and gutsy to accompany my weekly/biweekly t-bone steak (my first meat in several days).
The wine was fabulous, with the peppery and black olive-y nose of a good Rhone. Although it had a bit of sediment, there wasn’t much, and I suspect this wine could improve for at least five more years. Lots of stuffing in this one: a good exemplar of the robust but refined style of this appellation. I’d gladly drink many more bottles but I ain’t got no more and it’s not only expensive but unobtainable.
News of the Day:
It’s now 168 days since Joe Biden occupied the White House, and, as far as I know, there is no cat. Because I’m guessing he won’t run again in 2024, I think Joe’s scammed us with his promises of getting a First Cat. #FirstCatNow
Have some pity for the good people of Afghanistan as the Taliban quickly ingests the country. Women are doomed, dogged by morality police who will beat them if they’re not sporting the proper covering, and the theocracy will soon be in place. Although the terrorists are trying to buff up their image a bit, it’s all window-dressing:
But the signs that the Taliban have not reformed are increasingly clear: An assassination campaign against government workers, civil society leaders and security forces continues on pace. There is little effort to proceed with peace talks with the Afghan government, despite commitments made to the United States. And in areas the insurgents have seized, women are being forced out of public-facing roles, and girls out of schools, undoing many of the gains from the past 20 years of Western presence.
. . . In places they now rule, the Taliban have imposed their old hard-line Islamist rules, such as forbidding women from working or even going outside their homes unaccompanied, according to residents in recently captured districts. Music is banned. Men are told to stop shaving their beards. Residents are also supposed to provide food for Taliban fighters.
It’s religion, Jake!
The homicide and shooting total for Chicago’s holiday weekend has been revised upwards: the police now report that 100 people were shot in this toddlin’ town, and 18 of those died. (Shooting victims included two cops and a dozen children, all of whom survived.) This madness won’t stop until Americans give up their guns, and as we all know, that’s an absolutely futile hope, especially with the present Supreme Court, which is soon to allow tanks inside shopping malls.
Track star Sha’Carri Richardson, who had been given a month’s suspension by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) after testing positive for marijuana, a drug banned by the Olympics, has been booted off the U.S. Olympic track and field team. Although the IOC suspension prohibited Richardson from running in her star event, the 100-meter dash, the USA Track & Field association still could have let her participate in the 4 X 100 m relay. It declined to do so. Marijuana is considered a “performance enhancing drug,” though I don’t know of hard evidence supporting that, and Olympic athletes can still use it if they have a therapeutic reason. It’s all a mess, but right now I agree with Biden: break the rules and suffer the consequences. But those rules need examination.
Here are the results of yesterday’s admittedly unscientific poll about whether the International Olympic Committee should ban political protests from the podium at the Games. People were pretty much divided on the issue, with a slight tilt towards banning political gestures on the podium:
The world’s tallest horse, a giant Belgian named Big Jake, has crossed the Rainbow Bridge at the age of 20. As HuffPo (yes, sorry) notes: “Big Jake was 6-foot-10 (nearly 2.1 meters) and weighed 2,500 pounds (1,136 kilograms). The Guinness Book of World Records certified him as the world’s tallest living horse in 2010.”
Here’s a video of the giant stallion:
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 605,507, an increase of 250 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,010,233, an increase of about 8,500 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 7 includes:
- 1456 – A retrial verdict acquits Joan of Arc of heresy 25 years after her death.
- 1534 – Jacques Cartier makes his first contact with aboriginal peoples in what is now Canada.
- 1863 – The United States begins its first military draft; exemptions cost $300.
- 1865 – Four conspirators in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln are hanged.
John Wilkes Booth, the assassin, had already been killed in the manhunt. Here’s a photo of the hanging (trigger warning: hanging) of four conspirators (caption from Wikipedia):
- 1911 – The United States, UK, Japan, and Russia sign the North Pacific Fur Seal Convention of 1911 banning open-water seal hunting, the first international treaty to address wildlife preservation issues.
- 1928 – Sliced bread is sold for the first time (on the inventor’s 48th birthday) by the Chillicothe Baking Company of Chillicothe, Missouri.
The inventor was Otto Rohwedder, and his invention was taken up widely, leading, with the advent of standardized slices, to an increase popularity of toasters. It also produced the phrase, still in use, “The best thing since sliced bread.”
Here’s what may be Rohwedder’s machine in use:
Did you know this? (From Wikipedia):
During 1943, U.S. officials imposed a short-lived ban on sliced bread as a wartime conservation measure. The ban was ordered by Claude R. Wickard who held the position of Food Administrator, and took effect on January 18, 1943. According to The New York Times, officials explained that “the ready-sliced loaf must have a heavier wrapping than an unsliced one if it is not to dry out.” It was also intended to counteract a rise in the price of bread, caused by the Office of Price Administration’s authorization of a ten percent increase in flour prices.
The ban was rescinded in March
- 1953 – Ernesto “Che” Guevara sets out on a trip through Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Honduras, and El Salvador.
The journey was recorded in a book by Che and in the excellent eponymous movie from 2004. Here’s Che starting the motorcycle, a 1939 Norton 500 cc job named La Poderosa II :
- 1954 – Elvis Presley makes his radio debut when WHBQ Memphis played his first recording for Sun Records, “That’s All Right”.
- 1980 – Institution of sharia law in Iran.
Here’s a 1979 protest by Iranian women against the possibility of sharia law. Sadly, they lost.
- 1981 – US President Ronald Reagan appoints Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female member of the Supreme Court of the United States.
- 1985 – Boris Becker becomes the youngest player ever to win Wimbledon at age 17.
Here’s Becker’s victory:
- 1992 – The New York Court of Appeals rules that women have the same right as men to go topless in public.
A few women have taken advantage of this law, but it hardly need be said that the city isn’t full of topless women in hot weather. Here is a breastless Daily Fail video of women at a demonstration for the right to doff their tops:
- 2005 – A series of four explosions occurs on London’s transport system, killing 56 people, including four suicide bombers, and injuring over 700 others.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1843 – Camillo Golgi, Italian physician and pathologist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1926)
- 1860 – Gustav Mahler, Austrian composer and conductor (d. 1911)
- 1861 – Nettie Stevens, American geneticist (d. 1912)
Stevens discovered sex chromosomes using mealworms, and was well known and widely respected among geneticists, though still referred to in their papers as “Miss Stevens” (she did have a Ph.D). Despite her accomplishments, the times being what they were, she never held a regular academic job. Here she is:
- 1906 – Satchel Paige, American baseball player and coach (d. 1982)
- 1940 – Ringo Starr, English singer-songwriter, drummer, and actor
- 1949 – Shelley Duvall, American actress, writer, and producer
Duvall was born to play the role of Olive Oyl in the Popeye movie, also starring Robin Williams. She looks just like Olive did in the comics!
- 1980 – Michelle Kwan, American figure skater
Those who Crossed the Great Divide on July 7 were few, and include:
- 1930 – Arthur Conan Doyle, British writer (b. 1859)
Here’s Conan Doyle in 1893 when he was about 34. I read all of his Sherlock Holmes stories when I was a lad:
- 1950 – Fats Navarro, American trumpet player and composer (b. 1923)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili defines the perimeters of her job:
Hili: I’m going to check whether there is something interesting in the orchard.A: Have a look to see whether the grass needs mowing.Hili: That’s not my business.
Hili: Idę sprawdzić, czy jest coś ciekawego w sadzie.Ja: Zobacz, czy nie trzeba już trawy skosić.Hili: To nie jest moja sprawa.
And some lovely pictures of baby Kulka from Paulina.
Caption by Andrzej: “Paulina got mobilized and grabbed the camera.” (In Polish: “Paulina zmobilizowała się i złapała za aparat.”)
Here’s a quiz meme from Bruce. The answer is at the bottom of this post:
This Jesus of the Day post has 23 cool new names for animals. Click on the screenshot to go through them:
A tweet from Stephen Fry, who has wit.
This literally happened. The tube just tumbled to the floor as I was screwing on the top. Slightly irritated. Then it occurred to me that the word I wanted was “crestfallen” and that cheered me up #truestory pic.twitter.com/o7r1DWRRSD
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) July 3, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Look at this amazing video screen!
Just been sent this clip of a 3D video screen in Tokyo, and it's amazing. pic.twitter.com/lKDTUeWy6T
— YourWullie (@YourWullie) July 5, 2021
A beautiful goal in the USA vs. Mexico women’s soccer match:
IT'S SO PRETTY 😍😍😍 pic.twitter.com/K7o9LVJ7Lm
— Diaspora United (@DiasporaUtdPod) July 6, 2021
Another chance to watch that great interview with Dick Lewontin:
This interview is amazing 😮
Richard C. Lewontin – Conversations with History https://t.co/1VuOzX38l2
— Alexis Simon (@alx_sim) July 6, 2021
A tour de force of cinematography, though I’m not a fan of Superman movies (or any action-hero movies). The first clip is a speeded up gif; the second in real time (sound up):
Here's the entire shot, in real time, with audio!
Just look at the mastery at work, here, folks. You could probably watch this a dozen times and still notice new things about the shot. The choreography is super complicated, yet the shot tells a simple story. Movies are great. pic.twitter.com/nEfmIuHAJ6
— Todd Vaziri (@tvaziri) November 23, 2020
Matthew’s notes on this one: “Slightly gross and grim thread, but usefully demonstrates that a flatworm’s mouth is in the middle of its underside. The last picture is great, reminding us about the internal shells of some slugs.”
Platydemus manokwari, artfully capturing and immobilizing a slug pic.twitter.com/uTgfKp02SA
— invertebrate (@crevicedwelling) July 5, 2021
Matthew’s comment, which I echo: “Look at these moths!”
A trunk of tigers. Jersey Tigers that is.
— Matt Berry (@Matt_Greenwings) July 5, 2021
Answer to Bruce’s quiz above: In these states, the number of cattle exceeds the number of humans.