Greetings on Thursday: July 15, 2021: National Tapioca Pudding Day. It’s also Gummi Worm Day (I hate all things gummi), I Love Horses Day, Orange Chicken Day, National Give Something Away Day, and National Respect Canada Day.
Here are some questions that people who do not respect Canada posted on a tourism website. Don’t be like these people!
And in Kiribati it’s Elderly Men Day, a public holiday.
Wine of the Day: I found the bottle below languishing in my collection; it’s mostly a mixture of Grenache and Syrah, which promises some stuffing. Robert Parker scored it with a high 93, but said (probably in 2014), that it should be drunk in the next 4-6 years. I thus worried it could be over the hill. It’s also said to be a terrific value; the site gives a price at $15 but I’m sure I paid a fair amount less when I bought it.
After a rough day, all I wanted was a crispy baguette, some tasty cheese, some fresh tomatoes drizzled with olive oil, and a good bottle of red. I have the first three, and will essay the wine in about two hours.
It’s essayed and it’s terrific: juicy, fruity, and ripe. Age has tamed this puppy, and I’m guessing that it’s at its peak, with the tannin and “heat” tamed, and the fruit predominating: cherries and raspberries. If you can find this at around $10 bottle (not the 2013s, of course), look it up and, if it’s recommended, buy it. Côtes du Roussillon wines can be great values, for the mixture of Grenache and Syrah are found in southern Rhone wines, some of my favorites.
For the cheese, I looked up cheese ratings at Trader Joe’s (we have one now in Hyde Park) and saw that the #1 rated cheese on this site (and several others) was Old Amsterdam Premium Aged Gouda, so I bought a decent chunk. I had some the other day and it was fabulous, with a bit of gritty crunch like an aged Comté. It’s about $12 per pound, so it ain’t cheap, but I can recommend it very highly. If you’re a cheese lover and have access to Trader Joe’s, try it (photo below):
Agreed on the cheese!
News of the Day:
I’ve written fairly often about (and posted tweets from) Iranian activist and journalist Masih Alinejad, and The New York Times reveals that Iran was hatching a plot to have her kidnapped after being lured to a third country. (Shades of Jamal Khashoggi!). Four Iranians (all in Iran) have been indicted, so there’s no chance of catching them, but one, charged with supporting the plot by collecting money for the scheme (but, oddly, not for not participating in the conspiracy), has been arrested in California.
According to the indictment, in 2018, the Iranian government tried to pay relatives of Ms. Alinejad who live in Iran to invite her to travel to a third country, apparently for the purpose of having her arrested or detained and taken to Iran to be imprisoned. Her relatives did not accept the offer, the indictment said.
The Iranian government began plotting to abduct her from the United States as early as June of last year, the indictment said, with the goal of silencing her criticism of Iran’s human rights abuses, discrimination against women and use of arbitrary imprisonment and torture to target political opponents.
I am a huge admirer of this brave woman, who left Iran and has campaigned tirelessly and publicly for women’s rights and freedom in her natal country. She now works for the Voice of America Persian, and is a vocal opponent of Biden’s proposed nuclear deal with Iran, a bad business that I too oppose. You should support Masih’s work for women’s rights however you can.
What do you do when you might have a gene for a fatal disease, like Huntington’s Disease, that doesn’t produce symptoms until later in your life, but you can get your DNA tested for it to see if you were going to be afflicted? If it’s a dominant gene, like that for Huntington’s, if one parent has it you have half a chance of getting it. The New York Times discusses one woman facing this dilemma with that disease: Katharine Moser. Sadly, her tests showed that she carried the dominant gene, and although she shows no symptoms at 40, the long, slow, and horrible downhill progress of this disease is likely to start within a decade.
I often wonder if I’d get tested for the gene if I had parents with a dominant gene for a horrible disease. Moser, however, has coped pretty well, now living for the moment, abandoning her plans to have children (you can now get embryos tested for the gene before implantation, though), and retaining her sense of humor. Would you get tested if you had a parent with Huntington’s?
The Guardian has an article on the contentious topic of toilet roll orientation. Over or under? The most vociferous proponent of the aberrant “under” orientation is reader Diana MacPherson, but that’s a minority view. To quote the Guardian (h/t Matthew):
There’s a decent chance you have strong feelings about toilet paper too. It’s a surprisingly fraught issue: there’s even a dedicated Wikipedia entry on “toilet paper orientation” that is more than 2,000 words long and contains 66 footnotes. When the writer of the popular “Ann Landers” advice column was asked her opinion on the subject in 1986, she replied “under” – an assertion so controversial that it generated a record-breaking 15,000 letters in response, along with several follow-up columns. “Would you believe I got more letters on the toilet paper issue than on the Persian Gulf war?” Landers (a pen name) complained in a 1992 column.
Landers’ opinion on the subject, to be clear, is very much the minority view. Surveys demonstrate that most people are very much Team Over – including Oprah Winfrey.
The common “over” orientation:
I’m a fan of that, too, though Diana will chew me out. But most important, cats LOVE the “over” orientation because they can unroll an entire roll of t.p. with their paws, which they can’t do in the “under” configuration.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 607,365, an increase of 284 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,075,592, an increase of about 8,800 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 15 includes
- AD 70 – Titus and his armies breach the walls of Jerusalem. (17th of Tammuz in the Hebrew calendar).
- 1240 – Swedish–Novgorodian Wars: A Novgorodian army led by Alexander Nevsky defeats the Swedes in the Battle of the Neva.
Here’s the famous “Battle on the Ice” scene (this battle was in 1242) from the movie Alexander Nevsky by Sergei Eisenstein (musical score by Sergei Prokofiev):
- 1741 – Aleksei Chirikov sights land in Southeast Alaska. He sends men ashore in a longboat, making them the first Europeans to visit Alaska.
- 1799 – The Rosetta Stone is found in the Egyptian village of Rosetta by French Captain Pierre-François Bouchard during Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign.
- 1815 – Napoleonic Wars: Napoleon Bonaparte surrenders aboard HMS Bellerophon.
Napoleon was soon sent into exile on St. Helena, where he died in 1821.
- 1838 – Ralph Waldo Emerson delivers the Divinity School Address at Harvard Divinity School, discounting Biblical miracles and declaring Jesus a great man, but not God. The Protestant community reacts with outrage.
Here’s Emerson in 1857, he is a huge hero for reader Laurie:
- 1910 – In his book Clinical Psychiatry, Emil Kraepelin gives a name to Alzheimer’s disease, naming it after his colleague Alois Alzheimer.
- 2002 – “American Taliban” John Walker Lindh pleads guilty to supplying aid to the enemy and possession of explosives during the commission of a felony.
Lindh was released from prison in 2019.
The company, Ceiling Cat help us, was co-founded by Jack Dorsey, and here’s his original vision, with the caption from Wikipedia:
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s the beautiful Queen’s House in Greenwich, built between 1616 and 1635, said to be the first consciously designed classical building in England. It is a beaut:
Here’s the only Rembrandt rendering of a cat I could find: “Holy family with a cat“, an engraving from 1654. I’ve circled the cat:
- 1919 – Iris Murdoch, Anglo-Irish British novelist and philosopher (d. 1999)
- 1922 – Leon M. Lederman, American physicist and mathematician, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2018)
- 1926 – Raymond Gosling, English physicist and academic (d. 2015)
Gosling (below) worked with Rosalind Franklin to produce the critical crystallographic-structure data on DNA:
- 1928 – Carl Woese, American microbiologist and biophysicist (d. 2012)
- 1930 – Jacques Derrida, Algerian-French philosopher and academic (d. 2004)
- 1943 – Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Northern Irish astrophysicist, astronomer, and academic
- 1946 – Linda Ronstadt, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actress
- 1950 – Arianna Huffington, Greek-American journalist and publisher
Those who ceased to be on July 15 include:
Tom Thumb, whose real name was Charles Stratton, was a “little person” (WIkipedia says “dwarf,” but I think that’s out of fashion), who married another little person, Lavinia Warren, in a gala wedding that made the front pages in 1863. Stratton died young of a stroke. Here’s the wedding photo with Wikipedia’s caption:
Chekhov, one of my favorite writers and perhaps the most gifted short story writer in history, died at only 44 of tuberculosis. Here’s his wife’s account of his final moments written by his wife Olga:
Anton sat up unusually straight and said loudly and clearly (although he knew almost no German): Ich sterbe (“I’m dying”). The doctor calmed him, took a syringe, gave him an injection of camphor, and ordered champagne. Anton took a full glass, examined it, smiled at me and said: “It’s a long time since I drank champagne.” He drained it and lay quietly on his left side, and I just had time to run to him and lean across the bed and call to him, but he had stopped breathing and was sleeping peacefully as a child …
Here he is with another favorite Russian writer whom you will recognize. The photo was taken at Yalta in 1900.
- 1940 – Robert Wadlow, American giant, 8″11′ 271 cm (b.1918)
Wadlow, standing 8 feet 11.1 inches high (2.72 m) and weighing 439 pounds at his death at 22 years old, was the tallest person in recorded history. He suffered from hypertrophy of the pituitary gland and apparently was still growing when he died. He wore size 37AA shoes.
Here he is pictured next to his “averaged sized” father.
- 1948 – John J. Pershing, American general (b. 1860)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, I am lacking a Hili dialogue today and can’t get through to Malgorzata or Andrzej; I have heard through one of their friends that there are once again severe storms in Poland that have knocked out the power in the area, though Andrzej and Malgorzata, their house, and their cherry orchard are okay. There may not be Hili dialogues for a few days!
Kulka had an anniversary!
Caption: Kulka celebrates the first anniversary of finding Paulina.
From Facebook (h/t: Lenora)
Also from Facebook:
From the Not Another Science Cat page:
Speaking of Iran repressing women, here’s a tweet from reader Barry. The video apparently was taken during the raid. What kind of country makes it illegal for women to let their hair fly free?
Four female models who had attended the opening ceremony of a drapery shop in Mahabad, W #Iran have been arrested for not wearing the hijab. The owner of the shop has also been arrested while his shop is sealed off. #HumanRights pic.twitter.com/dDULW5iKxd
— IRAN HRM (@IranHrm) July 12, 2021
Also from Barry. Can anybody identify this?
It's something from the scorpion family although not that deadly. pic.twitter.com/C0AgkPqYTL
— 〽️♥️Mommy Q♥️〽️ (@tazcj) July 13, 2021
A tweet from reader Ken, who adds, “Newsmax host Rob Schmitt has some thoughts on vaccines. They are not very good thoughts (and, indeed, sound a lot like eugenics)”:
— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) July 12, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. The first two are from the same site, but very different. First, a very savvy bird.
شكرااا…روح لأمك 😎 pic.twitter.com/YfBcJSkEGO
— Error 404 (@Error4019082820) July 12, 2021
I found this video mesmerizing. At first I didn’t think the guys knew what they ere doing, but it turns out the machine operator is very clever! Be sure you watch the whole thing.
🤬فقط في مصر 🤬 pic.twitter.com/omo4Im5hwU
— Error 404 (@Error4019082820) July 11, 2021
Everybody is called a “hero” these days, but here is the true story of a true hero. You can read about his exploits here.
despite zero visibility, managed to kick in the back window, injuring himself in the process. He proceeded to save twenty people trapped in the bus, one at a time, for hours.
The combined effect of the cold water and his injuries from breaking the glass window led to his
— Richardthesecond (@Richardtheseco2) July 12, 2021
a burning building and rushed inside, again saving people trapped inside one at a time until he collapsed. He was again hospitalized with severe burns and lung damage.
He's still kicking it at 66. Just an awesome person I learned about today and thought I'd share.
— Richardthesecond (@Richardtheseco2) July 12, 2021