Greetings on Friday, July 9, 2021: National Sugar Cookie Day. It’s also World Kebab Day, Fashion Day, Martyrdom of the Báb (see below under 1850), National No Bra Day, and, in Australia, Constitution Day.
Wine of the Day: The Spanish red below is made from the Mencia grape, grown only on the Iberian peninsula. A bit of Googling showed that the wine was highly touted some years ago by Robert Parker, who gave it (then estimated at only ten bucks a bottle) a very favorable review and a 91 rating:
The 2008 Lagar de Robla Premium Mencia spent 18 months in American oak. It is the most complex of these Mencia offerings displaying density, opulence, and length. This pleasure-bent effort can be enjoyed now but will drink well for a decade.
I essayed it with a tomato omelet with Gouda cheese, but when I poured it out it was cloudy. That was pretty much the kiss of death, and was verified by one sip: it was very sour, largely vinegar. I dumped the bottle down the drain, mourning the fact that I’d kept the wine too long.(Since Parker probably wrote his review in 2010, it was only eleven years after that.) DO NOT BUY IT IF YOU HAPPEN TO SEE IT (unlikely).
And. . . it has not escaped my notice that if only ten more people subscribe to this website, we’ll get to 73,000 subscribers, a pleasing round number.
News of the Day:
It’s been 170 days since the Inauguration, and the Bidens still are sans chat. What gives, Joe?
Because of the spread of the Delta variant of coronavirus in Japan, combined with the surprisingly slow rollout of vaccines in that country, the Olympics has banned all spectators from events in and around Tokyo. Nobody will even attend the opening and closing ceremonies save “VIP guests”. This comes after the Prime Minister declared a state of emergency. Spectators may still be allowed at some events outside Tokyo, but I don’t know which ones (I heard the marathon was exempt, but have learned that people have been asked not to watch the runners pass.) Many doctors, in both the U.S. and Japan, warned against holding the Olympics at all, and in hindsight they were right.
If you got the Pfizer vaccine regimen like I did, be aware that the company has reported that immunity from the coronavirus appears to wane after the second injection. Pfizer is developing a booster. I always figured that, like flu vaccines, we’d need an annual booster for this one. CNN reports this:
[Pfizer] said it would seek emergency use authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration for a booster dose in August after releasing more data about how well a third, booster dose of vaccine works.
“As seen in real world data released from the Israel Ministry of Health, vaccine efficacy in preventing both infection and symptomatic disease has declined six months post-vaccination, although efficacy in preventing serious illnesses remains high,” the company said in a statement emailed to CNN.
It looks as if the people involved in the assassination of Haiti’s President Jovenel Moïse included international mercenaries. One American citizen, and perhaps two, are among the six suspects in custody, who falsely identified themselves as DEA agents during the assassination. Another group of suspects is holding out in two buildings in Port-au-Prince, where they are surrounded by police. Seven other mercenaries were killed, and the country is essentially under martial law.
Humor corner: Gun-totin’ Congresswoman Lauren Boebert, an opponent of coronavirus vaccination, has issued an enigmatic tweet, but you can be guaranteed that hidden in its cryptic words is something odious:
COVID-19 mutated into Communism a long time ago.
— Lauren Boebert (@laurenboebert) July 7, 2021
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 605,792 an increase of 194 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,027,009, an increase of about 8,100 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 9 includes:
- 1540 – King Henry VIII of England annuls his marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves.
- 1762 – Catherine the Great becomes Empress of Russia following the coup against her husband, Peter III.
Here’s a “Portrait of Catherine II in her 50s, by Johann Baptist von Lampi the Elder“. It may have been painted from life as von Lampi would have been in his twenties then:
- 1776 – George Washington orders the Declaration of Independence to be read out to members of the Continental Army in Manhattan, while thousands of British troops on Staten Island prepare for the Battle of Long Island.
- 1816 – Argentina declares independence from Spain.
- 1850 – U.S. President Zachary Taylor dies after eating raw fruit and iced milk; he is succeeded in office by Vice President Millard Fillmore.
The cause of death? Probably not the consumption of raw fruit and iced milk itself, as several cabinet members attending the July 4 festivities where the consumption occurred also became ill. Perhaps the milk was infected? Here’s Taylor as an Army officer (1843-1845) before he became President:
- 1850 – Persian prophet Báb is executed in Tabriz, Persia.
- 1868 – The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law.
- 1877 – The inaugural Wimbledon Championships begins.
Here’s the kind of “lawn tennis racket” used in the first tournament (from Wikipedia); note that the head is tilted:
- 1893 – Daniel Hale Williams, American heart surgeon, performs the first successful open-heart surgery in United States without anesthesia.
WITHOUT ANESTHESIA???? In fact, it’s true, though it was the first pericardial surgery performed by an African-American (another surgeon did it two years earlier). Williams was half black, and founded the first integrated hospital in America, Provident Hospital in Chicago. His heart patient survived another twenty years. Here’s Williams:
- 1896 – William Jennings Bryan delivers his Cross of Gold speech advocating bimetallism at the 1896 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
- 1922 – Johnny Weissmuller swims the 100 meters freestyle in 58.6 seconds breaking the world swimming record and the ‘minute barrier’.
Here’s part of the race on video. Weissmuller, of course, later played Tarzan.
And here’s Weissmuller as Tarzan (with Maureen O’Hara as Jane) feeding Nazis to the piranhas in a 1943 film:
- 1986 – The New Zealand Parliament passes the Homosexual Law Reform Act legalising homosexuality in New Zealand.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1819 – Elias Howe, American inventor, invented the sewing machine (d. 1867)
- 1858 – Franz Boas, German-American anthropologist and linguist (d. 1942)
- 1927 – Ed Ames, American singer and actor
Here’s Ames teaching Johnny Carson to throw a tomahawk. This is a very famous scene. Carson does a great long take, waiting for the laughter to subside, and then comes up with the hilarious comeback, “I didn’t even know you were Jewish.”
- 1933 – Oliver Sacks, English-American neurologist, author, and academic (d. 2015)
- 1937 – David Hockney, English painter and photographer
Here’s a nice Hockney at the Tate Gallery: “Mr. and Mrs. Clark and Percy” (1970). Percy is clearly the moggy:
- 1947 – O. J. Simpson, American football player and actor
- 1956 – Tom Hanks, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
- 1964 – Courtney Love, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actress
Those who snuffed it on July 9 include:
Sadly, I couldn’t find a van Eyck with a cat in it, but here’s a very famous picture with a d*g: “The Arnolfini Portrait, oil on oak, 1434.”
- 1797 – Edmund Burke, Irish-English philosopher, academic, and politician (b. 1729)
- 1850 – Báb, Persian religious leader, founded Bábism (b. 1819)
- 1856 – Amedeo Avogadro, Italian chemist and academic (b. 1776)
- 1974 – Earl Warren, American jurist and politician, 14th Chief Justice of the United States (b. 1891)
- 2002 – Rod Steiger, American actor (b. 1925)
Steiger won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of a racist police chief in the movie “In the Heat of the Night” (1967). Here’s the trailer:
- 2019 – Ross Perot, American businessman and politician (b. 1930)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is going out on the tiles:
Hili: It’s time for night hunting.A: Good luck.
Hili: Pora na nocne łowy.Ja: Powodzenia.
And a picture of a napping Szaron with the caption: “An addition from Paulina” (in Polish: “Dodatek od Pauliny”):
A good cartoon from Bruce:
A clever library sign from David:
From Jesus of the Day:
From Ken, who says, “Look who wants to put Big Brother in the classroom (the same folks who never want to pay public school teachers a living wage)”.
Tucker Carlson wants cameras in every classroom to make sure teachers arent teaching whatever it is he's defining as "critical race theory" pic.twitter.com/KA6mAHN6cw
— Andrew Lawrence (@ndrew_lawrence) July 7, 2021
Most of what biologists know about deep-sea anglerfish comes from the study of deceased animals, hauled up in nets. But these two weren’t dead—they were mating. https://t.co/bQgIWArQNb #ScienceMagArchives
— News from Science (@NewsfromScience) July 8, 2021
This is a lovely paper: the species has five different forms of male, each with a different reproductive strategy, and they differ only in their Y chromosomes.
Hey, we made the cover of @NatureEcoEvo ! Read all about the five Y chromosomes of the five males of Poecilia parae at https://t.co/xQJ73d95fR Image by @EvoEcoAquatics and @_Axeman. pic.twitter.com/XY94h5Zlo7
— Judith Mank (@judithmank) July 8, 2021
This is equally amazing; be sure to see the thread:
The Galgedil & Oxford Vikings were half brothers or uncle and nephew.
The Galgedil man was heavy set and his remains marked by violence
After 1100 years apart they now lie side by side at the Nationalmuseum in Copenhagen. pic.twitter.com/eKHy8Ktjgo
— Fake History Hunter (@fakehistoryhunt) July 5, 2021
I hope there’s a pond or stream near Leeds Castle!
At Leeds castle, a duck has built a nest in a window box, is winning at nesting. pic.twitter.com/DePb1Y6PoV
— Prof Sophie Scott CBE (@sophiescott) July 4, 2021
What a little water drop can do. . .
Pretty certain this is an aquatic leaf beetle in the genus Donacia. I love how the beads of rainwater alter the colour coming off the elytra, while magnifying the punctures! pic.twitter.com/uVGrKIUCz3
— Sean McCann (@Ibycter) July 3, 2021
Matthew says, “The cat is unhappy because it was poorly painted.”
Five carnival revelers. One v. unhappy cat. Painted by Bartolomeo Passerotti of Bologna, born on this day in 1529. pic.twitter.com/R7BeaT5mmK
— Dr. Peter Paul Rubens (@PP_Rubens) June 29, 2021