Greetings on Monday, July 19, 2021: National Daiquiri Day (Hemingway’s favorite tipple). It’s also National Flitch Day (a “flitch” is half of a pig), National Raspberry Cake Day, and Stick Out Your Tongue Day. Even the greats observe it! (The story behind this iconic photo, taken in 1951 when Einstein was leaving his 72nd birthday party) is told here.
Wine of the Day: After a hard day at Botany Pond, I treated myself to an Oregon Pinot Noir, about which I have little information save it cost me $30. One rating from 2020 (they’re all good) says this (I’m giving up on this kind of subtle tasting note describing a panoply of flavors):
Ruby red in color. 13.8% ABV. Terrific nose of red fruits, black tea, rose petals and forest floor. Medium body with exquisite acidity. Expressive and fruit forward. Boysenberry, raspberry, spice and earth on the palate. Exceptional length on the finish. Tremendous Pinot Noir from a well established vineyard. Best over the next 4-6 years.
The food: two chicken thighs with hoisin sauce and rice, and fresh tomatoes.
The verdict: fabulous wine, all of the above with a bag of chips. Smooth, ripe, and fruity. Considering you’d pay $90 for this in a restaurant (they often triple the retail price, which means increasing the wholesale price sixfold), it’s worth buying for a special occasion and taking it to a restaurant, paying whatever corkage free they charge (never more than $20 in my experience). According to the above, it will be good for five more years, so if you like Pinot, want a splurge but don’t want to pay the exorbitant prices of Burgundies, I recommend this one very highly.
News of the Day:
Yep, we’re in another uptick of Covid in the U.S., with mask mandates being re-imposed, hospitals filling up with the unvaccinated, and many people still resisting vaccination. There are now at least three infected people in the Olympic Village, including two athletes, and tennis star Coco Gauff, after testing positive for the virus, has pulled out of the games. I couldn’t find out if she’d been vaccinated, and the absence of information implies that she hadn’t. I’m completely baffled about why the Olympics didn’t require all athletes to be vaccinated. Nevertheless, the games must and will go on, as Japan’s investment is too great to stop them now. Let’s hope there’s no debacle in the offing.
Why are people such jerks on social media? At the NYT, op-ed writer Roxane Gay gives her take, which involves the relative powerlessness people feel at the dire state of the world. In such situations, people try to gain control by wielding power over others on the Internet, like petty dictators. Gay says this:
Increasingly, I’ve felt that online engagement is fueled by the hopelessness many people feel when we consider the state of the world and the challenges we deal with in our day-to-day lives. Online spaces offer the hopeful fiction of a tangible cause and effect — an injustice answered by an immediate consequence. On Twitter, we can wield a small measure of power, avenge wrongs, punish villains, exalt the pure of heart.
In our quest for this simulacrum of justice, however, we have lost all sense of proportion and scale. We hold in equal contempt a war criminal and a fiction writer who too transparently borrows details from someone else’s life. It’s hard to calibrate how we engage or argue.
There’s more discussion at the NYT about whether we’re going to need booster shots for COVID. The consensus of the experts, like Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal, M.D. and journalist, is “yes”, though it’s not clear whether the shots will, as in Israel, be reserved for the very old and the immunosuppressed. It may also be a moneymaking venture for Pfizer, which stands to make $26 billion this year alone. But one thing’s for sure: if the FDA approves a booster, I’m getting it.
The Taliban has issued a diktat in Afghanistan ordering the locals to turn over their women to become “wives” (i.e., sex slaves):
The Taliban, fighting with Afghanistan forces to take control of a large part of the war-torn country, has issued a statement ordering local religious leaders to give them a list of girls over 15 years of age and widows under 45, reports have said. According to reports, the Taliban has promised for them to be married to their fighters and taken to Pakistan’s Waziristan, where they will be converted to Islam and reintegrated.
Do the women have any choice in this matter? Hell, no! This is only the beginning of the horrors that Afghani men—and especially women—face in the weeks to come. Such is theocracy: an imaginary God dictating what women can wear, whether they can work, whether they can sing and dance, and whom they can marry.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 608,189, an increase of 273 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 3,106,672, an increase of about 6,600 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 19 includes:
- AD 64 – The Great Fire of Rome causes widespread devastation and rages on for six days, destroying half of the city.
- 1588 – Anglo-Spanish War: Battle of Gravelines: The Spanish Armada is sighted in the English Channel.
- 1843 – Brunel’s steamship the SS Great Britain is launched, becoming the first ocean-going craft with an iron hull and screw propeller, becoming the largest vessel afloat in the world.
The ship is still preserved in dry dock; you can see it in Bristol:
The meeting was organized by Quakers and by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (below; not a Quaker):
- 1900 – The first line of the Paris Métro opens for operation.
- 1903 – Maurice Garin wins the first Tour de France.
Here’s Garin. He won the 1904 Tour de France, too, but lost the title that year for CHEATING!
- 1963 – Joe Walker flies a North American X-15 to a record altitude of 106,010 meters (347,800 feet) on X-15 Flight 90. Exceeding an altitude of 100 km, this flight qualifies as a human spaceflight under international convention.
Here’s an X-15, launched, as are all of them, from underneath another airborne plane. In a few days Jeff Bezos will also exceed the international 100 km “space line”, though Branson didn’t.
- 1969 – Chappaquiddick incident: U.S. Senator Ted Kennedy crashes his car into a tidal pond at Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts, killing his passenger Mary Jo Kopechne.
He didn’t report the incident till 10 a.m. the next day, and the excuse was lame. It was this incident that, many thought, would bar Teddy Kennedy from ever running for President (it didn’t, but he lost the Democratic nomination to Jimmy Carter in 1980). Here’s Kopechne, who was 28 when she died:
I hiked there right before they created the National Park, and then soon thereafter. It’s lovely, of course, but I haven’t been back for ages and I suspect it’s really crowded (they’re building a road to Namche Bazar). Here’s a view from one of the trails (h/t Discover Nepal). Everest is in the distance, right below the snow cloud, while Ama Dablam is to the right. Lhotse is to the immediate right of Everest.
- 1977 – The world’s first Global Positioning System (GPS) signal was transmitted from Navigation Technology Satellite 2 (NTS-2) and received at Rockwell Collins in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, at 12:41 a.m. Eastern time.
- 1983 – The first three-dimensional reconstruction of a human head in a CT is published.
Here’s one of the CT scans from the paper of an infant with Apert Syndrome:
Notables born on this day include:
Here’s a patent for Colt’s 1836 revolver:
- 1860 – Lizzie Borden, American woman, tried and acquitted for the murders of her parents in 1892 (d. 1927)
- 1894 – Percy Spencer, American physicist and inventor of the microwave oven (d. 1969)
- 1922 – George McGovern, American lieutenant, historian, and politician (d. 2012)
Notables who dropped on July 19 were few, and include:
- 1374 – Petrarch, Italian poet and scholar (b. 1304)
- 2009 – Frank McCourt, American author and educator (b. 1930)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a premonition (probably related to d*gs):
Hili: I’m not going any farther.A: Why?Hili: My intuition tells me that I ought to stop here.
Hili: Dalej nie idę.Ja: Dlaczego?Hili: Intuicja mi mówi, że tu powinnam się zatrzymać.
And Andrzej has a photo of Kulka sleeping on MY sofa, where she is not wont to nap:
Caption: Kulka follows the example of grownups and is sleeping where nobody asked her to.
From Stash Krod:
From David, a warning for the morons:
Here’s a lovely “super scratcher” from Jesus of the Day. Remember, a normal cat has 18 toes:
A heartwarmer from Barry:
Best friends.. 😊 pic.twitter.com/2XXEoREiU1
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) July 18, 2021
Two tweets from Ginger K. The first should be tattooed on every Wokester:
Words aren't violence
Ideas aren't violence
Physical force used to do physical harm or damage is violence.
— Scott Greenfield (@ScottGreenfield) July 17, 2021
Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose:
Thank God we're evolving. pic.twitter.com/RGdTOkcDpC
— Titus (@TitusNation) July 17, 2021
From Matthew: another good example of Batesian mimicry:
— Dr. Akito Kawahara (@Dr_Akito) July 18, 2021
Worth remembering. pic.twitter.com/mKPXbssqz6
— RΙСНƎῨ НΔСКƎ₸₸ 🜁 (@lopsidedmammal) July 17, 2021
Here’s a man from 1918 who bears a remarkable resemblance to Donald Sutherland. I’ve put a picture of Sutherland below the tweet:
You know the Canadian actor Donald Sutherland? Well, this isn't him. It was actually taken 102 years ago on Monday 25th March 1918 at Aqaba (now in Jordan) by Paul Castlenau. It's the French Army's Adjutant Chatellain, whom I've restored for you. I've included the original image pic.twitter.com/FSXE9BFGAm
— BabelColour (@StuartHumphryes) September 23, 2020
Today’s Donald Sutherland:
You call that a chair? Now THIS is a chair!
Throne Chair of Tutankhamen. pic.twitter.com/ybwSsjUT6g
— Archaeo – Histories (@archeohistories) July 18, 2021