Greetings on Sunday, July 18, 2021: National Peach Ice-Cream Day (why the hyphen between “ice” and “cream”?). It’s also National Ice Cream Day (in general), National Caviar Day, National Sour Candy Day, and World Listening Day (I still note that people still seem to be talking more than they did before the pandemic, monologuing instead of having conversations). Finally, it’s Nelson Mandela International Day, celebrating his birthday (he was born in 1918). Here’s a photo of Mandela revisiting Robben Island, where he spent 18 of his 27 years in prison:
News of the Day:
It’s been 179 days since Joe Biden took office—nearly six months—and there’s still no sign of the promised White House cat. That man will say anything to get elected!
This just in (i.e., I just learned it). A baseball game between the San Diego Padres and Washington Nationals was suspended in the sixth inning yesterday after three people were shot outside the stadium. The victims will survive, and the game will be resumed this afternoon..
The COVID pandemic isn’t over—not by a long shot. The CDC now calls it a “pandemic of the unvaccinated“, with over 99% of those hospitalized with COVID being unvaccinated. Cases have now risen in all 50 states, and restrictions are being reimposed. The Los Angeles indoor mask mandate started last night, but the sheriff says it won’t be enforced (was it enforced anywhere by the cops rather than by stores?):
The “underfunded/defunded” sheriff’s department “will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a news release Friday.
Curiously, three of the 60 Texas Democrats who fled to Washington, D.C. to avoid having a vote on the state’s proposed voting restrictions have also tested positive for the virus, yet all three were fully vaccinated. We’re in trouble.
It’s even worse in Japan, which is going on with the Olympics despite only 30% of the population being vaccinated. The first case of infection in someone staying in the Olympic Village has been reported (not in an athlete), and I was surprised to hear that there was no requirement for the athletes themselves to be vaccinated.
The floods are receding in Germany but the damage will take years to repair. In Germany alone, the death toll stands at 143 with hundreds missing, while in Belgium 27 have died. Germany has blamed the extreme downpours on climate change.
The Washington Post reports on Biden’s immigration dilemma, with the massing at the border reaching huge numbers and little being done about it. As the paper notes:
That leaves Biden in a vise, caught between the costly reality of a historic border influx and supporters who erupt in anger when his administration hints at tighter controls.
. . .The White House is pursuing what even some allies regard as a muddled immigration strategy, embracing policies that make it easier for migrants to come while often deploying stern rhetoric warning them not to.
Let’s face it: “progressive Democrats” want to do nothing, favoring de facto open borders, but this is a killer issue for the GOP in the midterms and in 2024. Will Biden and the Dems propose some sensible reform? I’m not counting on it.
From reader Ken, a good example of the naturalistic fallacy: Evangelical preacher Jack Hibbs explains why one can be either an evolutionist or a proponent of same-sex unions, but not both. Have a listen to the 2-minute video. According to Hibbsian logic, though, evolutionists should also be in favor of marital infidelity and widespread adultery.
Woo in the NYT: the paper has this piece on dowsing as a way finding water during the California drought (click on screenshot, and not the subheader):
The National Ground Water Association, a group of experts, including hydrogeologists, that promotes responsible water use, describes water witching as “totally without scientific merit.” Some California farmers who pay for the service, however, say it often provides a cheaper alternative to traditional methods, such as hiring a geologist or prospector.
To be sure, the article mentions a couple of times that there’s no science behind dowsing, but they don’t say that tests of it have repeatedly failed. Instead they say above the method is “disputed”, which is like saying that existence of evolution is “disputed”, and they also give considerable space to the method and its practitioners. The subheadline should have said. . “practice an ancient and disproven method for detecting water”.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 608,153, an increase of 278 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,100,087, an increase of about 7,000 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 18 includes:
- 1290 – King Edward I of England issues the Edict of Expulsion, banishing all Jews (numbering about 16,000) from England; this was Tisha B’Av on the Hebrew calendar, a day that commemorates many Jewish calamities.
The Church of England will soon apologize for this, though the Church wasn’t in existence until Henry VIII, centuries later.
- 1870 – The First Vatican Council decrees the dogma of papal infallibility.
Here’s Archie Bunker discussing that particular doctrine in a bit I remember very well:
Perhaps not surprisingly, a first edition of this book isn’t that valuable, even though fewer than 10,000 copies were issued. Here’s a two-volume first-edition set (I think the volumes are identical). Even though it was signed by Hitler, the pair went for only $43,750 six years ago:
- 1936 – On the Spanish mainland, a faction of the army supported by fascists, rises up against the Second Spanish Republic in a coup d’état starting the 3-year-long Civil War, resulting in the longest dictatorship in modern European history.
- 1942 – The Germans test fly the Messerschmitt Me 262 using its jet engines for the first time.
This was the first operational jet aircraft; below is a photo of one that resides at the U.S. Air Force Museum:
- 1976 – Nadia Comăneci becomes the first person in Olympic Games history to score a perfect 10 in gymnastics at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
Here’s Comaneci’s perfect 10—on the uneven parallel bars:
- 2014 – The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant requires Christians to either accept dhimmi status, emigrate from ISIL lands, or be killed.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1811 – William Makepeace Thackeray, English author and poet (d. 1863)
- 1887 – Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian military officer and politician, Minister President of Norway (d. 1945)
Quisling, whose name is synonymous with “traitor”, headed the Nazi puppet government of Norway from 1942 to 1945, after which he was tried for treason and executed. Here’s a photo of him (left) seated next to Henrich Himmler:
- 1895 – Machine Gun Kelly, American gangster (d. 1954)
Kelly (nicknamed after his favorite weapon) was convicted of kidnapping a wealthy Oklahoma man, was caught, convicted, sentenced to life imprisonment, and died in jail. Here’s a Wikipedia photograph taken of Kelly leaving court after the kidnapping trial:
- 1908 – Lupe Vélez, Mexican-American actress and dancer (d. 1944)
Velez was one of the earliest famous Hispanic actresses in Hollywood. Read the bit about her public imagine and personality in Wikipedia.
Here’s Velez in the movie “Mexican Spitfire” (1940), which was also one of her nicknames:
- 1913 – Red Skelton, American actor and comedian (d. 1997)
- 1918 – Nelson Mandela, South African lawyer and politician, 1st President of South Africa, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2013)
- 1921 – John Glenn, American colonel, astronaut, and politician (d. 2016)
- 1933 – Yevgeny Yevtushenko, Russian poet and playwright (d. 2017)
- 1937 – Hunter S. Thompson, American journalist and author (d. 2005)
After Thompson died by suicide, his ashes were fired out of a giant cannon in an elaborate funeral that cost $3 million. Johnny Depp paid for it:
- 1941 – Martha Reeves, American singer and politician
Martha’s 80 today. Here’s one of her group’s great songs (clearly lip-synched):
- 1950 – Richard Branson, English businessman, founded Virgin Group
- 1967 – Vin Diesel, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
Those who became the Dearly Departed on July 18 include:
- 1792 – John Paul Jones, Scottish-American admiral and diplomat (b. 1747)
- 1817 – Jane Austen, English novelist (b. 1775)
A tweet sent by Matthew (I hadn’t realized she died so young):
— Helen Day (@LBFlyawayhome) July 18, 2021
- 1954 – Machine Gun Kelly, American gangster (b. 1895)
He died on his birthday (it happens).
- 1969 – Mary Jo Kopechne, American educator and secretary (b. 1940)
- 1988 – Nico, German singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and actress (b. 1938).
Here’s Nico in 1982; Velvet Underground fans will remember this song:
- 2001 – Mimi Fariña, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1945) [JAC: also younger sister of Joan Baez]
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is confusing:
Hili: I like to return home.A: Why?Hili: It’s an ideal place to go out from.
Hili: Lubię wracać do domu.Ja: Dlaczego?Hili: To jest idealne miejsce, z którego można wyruszać w drogę.
And a photo of a sleepy Szaron from Paulina:
From Stash Krod, and you’d better know the song:
From reader David. I can’t vouch for its truth.
From Mark Plotkin:
Titania has been very quiet lately, but today she shows some language-policing. All well and good, but imagine what the introduction, “Ladies and gentlemen” would become. . .
You might think it’s wonderful to see the @vagina_museum bravely explaining how people ought to speak.
But until they change their name to “Front Hole Museum”, they’re basically fascists. pic.twitter.com/bWZlFMTt5L
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) July 17, 2021
A tweet from Luana. This, unfortunately, is the character that Brazil has chosen to be the official mascot of COVID vaccination. Oy.
Oh dear. The Brazilian vaccine mascot needs a re-think. pic.twitter.com/oh2U5h5I1u
— NoTimorousBeastie (@NotTimorous) October 14, 2020
From Barry, “A sweet family photo session” (except for the appearance of the smallest one):
— The Lovely Animals (@thelovelyanimal) July 17, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This is one freaking gorgeous fish!
Have you ever heard of fireworks-mimicking fish? It's a thing!
"But why would fish mimic fireworks to begin with, Gil?"
Why not. I don't know many predators that eat fireworks.
If you know your fireworks effects, this would be Peony. Photo by @ngfl3333.https://t.co/nGyCkEnb58
— Gil Wizen (@wizentrop) July 17, 2021
This is pretty well known though I don’t know if the phenomenon has a formal name (“blinking mimicry”?). One genus of firefly can imitate the blinking pattern of another, luring in males which they then eat. Two tweets here:
Photuris females mimic the blinking signals of Photinus females, when Photinus males arrive, she eats them! I’ve also found that they’ll just pounce on passing prey fireflies when both species come to artificial lights pic.twitter.com/QeMDsGuvaK
— invertebrate (@crevicedwelling) July 16, 2021
Check out the absolute stability of the head:
Red-Tailed Hawk head OIS 👀
*watching this from the perspective of @MKBHD*
by: billbryantphotographs (instagram) pic.twitter.com/lWV86lsQqL
— Zaid Suhail (@Scixp) July 14, 2021
And a pair of extraordinarily friendly owls. Translation: “They are like cats. Owls are simply stunning.” Indeed they are—especially this pair. Lucky photographer!
Sie sind wie Katzen. Eulen sind einfach umwerfend.
— ChatNoir #FBPE #FBR (@Beaute_du_Noir_) July 15, 2021