Good morning on Friday, July 30, 2021: the penultimate day of July and National Cheesecake Day (didn’t we just have one of these?). There are two acceptable versions: plain and with cherry topping.(See below for cherry pie.) Here’s a plain cheesecake from Junior’s in New York, one of the best around. A slice, washed down with coffee, would make an excellent breakfast.
It’s also National Support Public Education Day, Paperback Book Day, Share a Hug Day, World Snorkeling Day (do not forget to see the superb movie “My Octopus Teacher“), World Day against Trafficking in Persons, and International Day of Friendship.
News of the Day.
There’s not much going on as I write this on Thursday evening. Beyond the COVID news—which includes the fact that Israel has started giving (third) booster shots to vaccinated people over 60, and that Biden continues on with his plan to require all federal workers to be vaccinated or face regular testing and further severe restrictions (and doesn’t know if this is legal)—we have a panoply of oddments.
Oh, but there’s this as well:
The recommendation that vaccinated people in some parts of the country dust off their masks was based largely on one troublesome finding, according to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
New research showed that vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant carry tremendous amounts of the virus in the nose and throat, she said in an email responding to questions from The New York Times.
The finding contradicts what scientists had observed in vaccinated people infected with previous versions of the virus, who mostly seemed incapable of infecting others.
We’ll be wearing masks for the foreseeable future. And getting booster shots.
Hooray! Governor Pritzker just signed a new Illinois bill into law, The Bird Safe Buildings Act. The law stipulates that all state-owned buildings, whether newly built or renovated, be designed to be “bird safe”, to prevent migrating birds from killing themselves by flying into structures. Due to its position on migration routes and light pollution, Chicago is the worst city in America for bird collision deaths. The stipulations:
This new law will require the use of bird friendly construction techniques for all new construction or renovation of Illinois state-owned buildings. At least 90 percent of the exposed façade material on new state buildings will be need to be made of glass that helps stop bird collisions. It will also require that, when possible, outside building lighting is appropriately shielded to protect wildlife.
This legislation also empowers the Director of the Bureau of Property Management to monitor bird mortality at each State building and report on the issue as needed.
Click on the screenshot to read about our new law in Audubon Great Lakes (h/t Steve):
A 60-year old charred letter to Santa has been found by chimney sweeps in Worksop, England (I love that city name). Written by Robert Crampton’s father in 1961 when Robert was just five, it asks for “”a cowboy suit and guns and a hat and everything”. The letter was stuffed up the chimney, where Santa apparently gets his mail. Robert got his swag, and hopes to get the letter back as a memento of his late father. For some reason, the owners of the new house haven’t yet given returned the letter to Robert. (h/t: Jez)
Robert now (with wife Mary), a retired policeman.
The other day I posted in a tweet a letter purporting to be from an organization called Dallas Justice Now, asking white parents near Dallas not to send their kids to Ivy League schools so that students of color could fill them. It seemed over the top, but who knows these days? Here’s the letter:
Now, however, Dallas Magazine suspects, for five reasons, that this is an elaborate hoax. It may well be, and if so is a pretty lousy thing to do, presumably designed to make white people angry at black people.
Reader Simon, who lives north of Chicago, informed me that he was driving halfway around Lake Michigan. I advised him (or rather ordered him) to go the The Cherry Hut in Beulah, Michigan, an old and famous local spot specializing in home cooking and cherry pie. And that’s what he had. Below: his cherry-ade and a bit piece of cherry pie a la mode (one quarter of a whole pie). He reported that it was excellent. If you’re on the east shore of Lake Michigan, stop at the Cherry Hut in Beulah. By the way, its icon is named Cherry Jerry.
Simon’s pie and cherry-ade. I bet you’re hungry now.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 612,098, an increase of 320 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,215,129, an increase of about 11,200 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 30 includes:
- 1419 – First Defenestration of Prague: A crowd of radical Hussites kill seven members of the Prague city council.
A 1618 woodcut of the defenestration, which none of the seven defenestrated survived:
There were two other defenestrations in Prague, one in 1483 and the other in 1618. The first one killed eight, but all three survived the second, possibly falling 70 feet onto a pile of dung.
- 1619 – In Jamestown, Virginia, the first Colonial European representative assembly in the Americas, the Virginia General Assembly, convenes for the first time.
- 1930 – In Montevideo, Uruguay wins the first FIFA World Cup.
The score was Uruguay 4, Argentina 2. Here are some poorly filmed highlights:
- 1932 – Premiere of Walt Disney‘s Flowers and Trees, the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award winning cartoon short.
Here’s the cartoon, and it’s great!
- 1956 – A joint resolution of the U.S. Congress is signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto.
Before that, the de facto national motto was much better: “E Pluribus Unum” (“from many, one”). During the Cold War, we had to demonstrate to the Godless Communists that we were a country of faith. In 1954 they had already added “One nation under God” to the Pledge of Allegiance (it wasn’t there before), and in 1957 “In God We Trust” was added to paper currency. Every atheist who passes currency is complicit in religion! That’s why, at the annual meeting of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, they raffle off “clean money”: bills printed before 1957. The FFRF also sells stamps that you can imprint on currency: “In Science We Trust” or “In Reason We Trust”. I think it’s legal to stamp your bills this way. What’s below, though, is my own comment:
- 1962 – The Trans-Canada Highway, the longest national highway in the world, is officially opened.
- 1965 – U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.
- 1971 – Apollo program: On Apollo 15, David Scott and James Irwin on the Apollo Lunar Module Falcon land on the Moon with the first Lunar Rover.
The Rover is one of many artificial objects left on the Moon, including a Bible. Look at all this junk!
- 1974 – Watergate scandal: U.S. President Richard Nixon releases subpoenaed White House recordings after being ordered to do so by the Supreme Court of the United States.
- 1975 – Jimmy Hoffa disappears from the parking lot of the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a suburb of Detroit, at about 2:30 p.m. He is never seen or heard from again.
- 2003 – In Mexico, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolls off the assembly line.
21,529,464 Beetles had been built since World War II. Here’s the last one being built, painted in unattractive green. There’s a ceremony at the end.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1857 – Thorstein Veblen, American economist and sociologist (d. 1929)
- 1863 – Henry Ford, American engineer and businessman, founded the Ford Motor Company (d. 1947)
It’s not well known that Henry Ford was a rabid anti-Semite. Here’s the first issue of a series of Jew-hating article that his newspaper published (yes, he had a newspaper, the Dearborn Independent). If he was after another minority, the name “Ford” for cars would already have been canceled.
- 1898 – Henry Moore, English sculptor and illustrator (d. 1986)
Here’s Moore’s sculpture “Nuclear Energy“, erected in 1967 just a block from where I’m sitting on the site where the first sustained chain reaction took place at the University of Chicago. It’s supposed to celebrate the benefits and dangers of nuclear energy, but to me it looks like an atomic bomb explosion. It’s weird to see busloads of Japanese tourists dismount in front of the sculpture to have their picture taken in front of it:
- 1936 – Buddy Guy, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- 1939 – Peter Bogdanovich, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
- 1947 – Arnold Schwarzenegger, Austrian-American bodybuilder, actor, and politician, 38th Governor of California
- 1956 – Anita Hill, American lawyer and academic
- 1974 – Hilary Swank, American actress and producer
Here’s the scene from “Million Dollar Baby” in which the paralyzed boxer Maggie (Swank) asks her manager Frankie (Clint Eastwood) to help her die. Here he refuses, but eventually gives in.
- 1977 – Misty May-Treanor, American volleyball player and coach
- 1981 – Hope Solo, American soccer player
Those who died on July 30 include:
- 1718 – William Penn, English businessman and philosopher, founded the Province of Pennsylvania (b. 1644)
- 1996 – Claudette Colbert, French-American actress (b. 1903)
- 1998 – Buffalo Bob Smith, American television host (b. 1917)
- 2007 – Michelangelo Antonioni, Italian director and screenwriter (b. 1912)
- 2007 – Ingmar Bergman, Swedish director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1918)
Click on “Watch n YouTube” to see classic Bergman:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is once again pondering the ineffable
A: What are you doing?Hili: I’m considering all options.
Ja: Co robisz?Hili: Rozważam wszystkie opcje.
From Marie, a real thing in Hyde Park, Chicago:
Another bizarre sign from David. It’s not necessarily superfluous, though, as people have stepped into empty elevator shafts:
From Jesus of the Day:
Titania’s latest installments of things that have been deemed racist (for real):
THINGS THAT ARE RACIST
• Table manners
• Mountain bikes
• Crosswords pic.twitter.com/fR1SMXaFue
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) July 29, 2021
A tweet from Cherry Simon, who says, “I don’t think Matthew would appreciate this approach.” Neither do I: don’t kill lizards!
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) July 28, 2021
From Ken, who says:
How far was Jeb Bush’s son willing to go to debase himself in his unsuccessful effort to gain Donald Trump’s endorsement for his bid to become Texas’s next attorney general? Take a look at this campaign swag:
Y’all didn’t tell me about these… Haha! How many did he order?! Sold out his entire family for the devil & all he got out of it was a warehouse full of this crap. pic.twitter.com/mYMM6sssyS
— Jaime Harrison, DNC Chair (@harrisonjaime) July 27, 2021
From Ginger K.:
— Cats in random situation (@icatshouldnt) July 28, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I love these restored old films, even if they’re colorized. This one’s over two minutes long (they’ve also added music). And nearly everyone is dressed up and wearing a hat:
A window into the past c1895:
Starting off at the Empire Theatre Leicester Square, across Westminster Bridge, then on to Tower Bridge and finishing up on the old Waterloo Bridge. #socialhistory pic.twitter.com/HBdr69O3fa
— Historygirl (@janeyellene) November 1, 2020
It’s great to find identifiable species in ancient art:
Reproduction of lively 4,000-yr-old Egyptian wall painting depicting identifiable birds in acacia tree ( Tomb of Khnumhotep III, Beni Hasan c 1950 BC). Clockwise from bottom L, hoopoe bird / 2 immature masked shrikes / red backed shrike / common redstarthttps://t.co/zc9BkP3gOq pic.twitter.com/baE2jaeRd1
— Journal of Art in Society (@artinsociety) July 29, 2021
I think all but three squares qualify, but I think they want you to click “none”.
these captchas are getting downright philosophical pic.twitter.com/HAMipnVIaS
— brooks sterritt (@brookssterritt) July 28, 2021