Good morning on Cat Sabbath and the last day of the month, July 31, 2021: National Cotton Candy Day (I believe it’s called “candy floss” in the UK and “fairy floss” in Australia and New Zealand). It’s pure sugar (one cone has about the calories of a can of Coke), sometimes with a bit of coloring, and here’s how it’s made:
News of the Day:
The only news I wanted to hear about Trump after he left office was that he was in court being tried for malfeasance. But the news reveals tells us that Trump pressured the Department of Justice to declare the 2020 election “corrupt“. As the NYT reports:
The exchange unfolded during a phone call on Dec. 27 in which Mr. Trump pressed the acting attorney general at the time, Jeffrey A. Rosen, and his deputy, Richard P. Donoghue, on voter fraud claims that the Justice Department had found no evidence for. Mr. Donoghue warned that the department had no power to change the outcome of the election. Mr. Trump replied that he did not expect that, according to notes Mr. Donoghue took memorializing the conversation.
“Just say that the election was corrupt + leave the rest to me” and to congressional allies, Mr. Donoghue wrote in summarizing Mr. Trump’s response.
“Leave the rest to me.” Clearly that meant that Trump was going to press Congress to nullify or change the election results, and oy, did he try. To quote Big Daddy, Trump is surrounded by the odor of mendacity.
Oh, and speaking of the Department of Justice, they’ve just declared that Trump has to turn over his tax returns to Congress, which can use them to see if he violated tax law. Remember during the campaign when he promised to turn them over? Now he’s fighting their release tooth and nail. He will appeal, and he will lose. Most readers here don’t think he’ll ever go to jail.
Perhaps stung by criticism of the recent sharp rise in immigration from the south and the administration’s handling of it (court cases can take months or years to resolve), President Biden announced yesterday that the government would begin what they call “expedited removal”, the deportation of immigrants without requiring a hearing before an immigration judge. The Washington Post notes:
Authorities carried out the deportations using a procedure known as Electronic Nationality Verification that allows them to determine migrants’ country of origin through biometric information-sharing programs. The procedure, also known as “no-doc flights,” allows ICE to deport migrants who cross the border without passports or identification.
Sadly, Statler, the geriatric fruit bat who had to be “flown” by hand, and became an Internet favorite (and an animal I loved), has passed away at the ripe old age of 34. HuffPost notes:
Statler suffered from arthritis, could no longer fly and had only one eye, but he still enjoyed an active routine.
He spent his days lounging with two other elderly bats in the “geribatric ward,” munching fruit salad, getting warm sponge baths and, most famously, going out for his daily simulated flight. Statler would spread his wings as his caretakers carried him through the air around the facility.
(h/t Barry). Here’s the announcement on Instagram:
Inspired by the visit of reader Simon to The Cherry Hut in Beulah, Michigan, reader James, passing through the area, also went there yesterday, sending a picture of the restaurant (with its mascot, “Cherry Jerry”) and his large piece of cherry pie (sadly, without vanilla ice cream). He also pronounced the lunch special of grilled cheese sandwich and tomato/basil soup excellent. If you’re on the west coast of Michigan, near the lake, be sure to visit this place for homestyle cooking and the best cherry pie around. And tell them that (non Cherry) Jerry said hello.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 612,775, an increase of 301 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,225,434, an increase of about 10,300 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on July 31 includes:
- 30 BC – Battle of Alexandria: Mark Antony achieves a minor victory over Octavian‘s forces, but most of his army subsequently deserts, leading to his suicide.
After he died, his paramour, Cleopatra, also killed herself. Here’s a Romantic painting in earlier and happier days, with the Wikipedia caption, “Antony and Cleopatra (1883) by Lawrence Alma-Tadema depicting Antony’s meeting with Cleopatra in 41 BC.”
- 781 – The oldest recorded eruption of Mount Fuji (Traditional Japanese date: Sixth day of the seventh month of the first year of the Ten’o (天応) era).
- 1492 – The Jews are expelled from Spain when the Alhambra Decree takes effect.
- 1588 – The Spanish Armada is spotted off the coast of England.
- 1790 – The first U.S. patent is issued, to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.
Here’s U.S. Patent #1, and it’s signed by George Washington:
- 1874 – Dr. Patrick Francis Healy became the first African-American inaugurated as president of a predominantly white university, Georgetown University.
Well, that sentence is a bit misleading. Healy, who was only 1/16 black, self-identified and passed for white his whole life and was widely recognized as the black president of Georgetown only after his death. As Wikipedia notes, “Though he himself identified as White, knowledge of his mixed race background would not be a secret while he served as president of Georgetown University. His fellow Jesuits knew of his mixed race, but it is unlikely that this was widely known outside of Jesuit circles.”
- 1932 – The NSDAP (Nazi Party) wins more than 38% of the vote in German elections.
- 1941 – The Holocaust: Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring, orders SS General Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question.”
Here’s the letter from Göring to Heydrich about the Final (really “Overall”) Solution of the Jewish question (“die Gesamtlösung der Judenfrage”). What they meant by the “final solution” was the deportation of all the Jews to Poland, where they would be exterminated. Click photo to enlarge:
- 1964 – Ranger program: Ranger 7 sends back the first close-up photographs of the moon, with images 1,000 times clearer than anything ever seen from earth-bound telescopes.
A photo from Ranger 7, with the caption “Last picture by Ranger 7, taken about 488 m above the Moon, reveals features as small as 38 cm across. The noise pattern at right results from spacecraft impact while transmitting.”
I couldn’t find a picture of the actual Black Tot Day, but here’s a photo of British sailors lining up for their daily rum ration: one-eighth of a pint. Note the traditional “God Save the King” rum barrel.
- 2006 – Fidel Castro hands over power to his brother, Raúl.
- 2012 – Michael Phelps breaks the record set in 1964 by Larisa Latynina for the most medals won at the Olympics.
How many medals? 28!: 23 Gold, 3 Silver, and 2 Bronze. Look! (The runner up is the Russian woman gymnast Larysa Latynina, who won 18 medals (9 gold, 5 silver, and 4 bronze).
Notables born on this day include:
- 1800 – Friedrich Wöhler, German chemist and academic (d. 1882)
- 1912 – Milton Friedman, American economist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2006)
- 1919 – Primo Levi, Italian chemist and author (d. 1987)
- 1932 – John Searle, American philosopher and academic
- 1965 – J. K. Rowling, English author and film producer [I’m surprised they didn’t say “transphobe”]
Those who checked out on July 31 include:
- 1556 – Ignatius of Loyola, Spanish priest and theologian, founded the Society of Jesus (b. 1491)
- 1784 – Denis Diderot, French philosopher and critic (b. 1713)
- 1886 – Franz Liszt, Hungarian pianist, composer, and conductor (b. 1811)
- 1966 – Bud Powell, American pianist (b. 1924)
Powell was a fantastic pianist as you’ll hear in his rendition of Dizzy Gillespie’s song “A Night in Tunisia” below. Sadly, like many jazz musicians, Powell died young of tuberculosis: he was only 41. Charlie Christian, Jimmy Blanton, and so on. . . we’d have a lot more jazz without that bacterium.
- 2012 – Gore Vidal, American novelist, screenwriter, and critic (b. 1925)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili has become a woke penitente:
A: Aren’t these stones too hard for you to lie on?Hili: They are, I’m trying to atone for my cat privilege.
Ja: Czy nie jest ci twardo na tych kamieniach?Hili: Jest, próbuję odpokutować za mój koci przywile
Another superfluous sign from David:
A rock alphabet from Bruce. Some poor schmo had to find all these stones!
From Jesus of the Day, and this is pretty much right.
Titania has started tweeting more regularly now:
We should assume that all babies are trans until they are old enough to declare their pronouns.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) July 30, 2021
From Ken, who notes, “Does this man strike anyone as telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”:
Ohio's @Jim_Jordan confirms to me:
“I spoke with [Trump] on Jan. 6th."
Before, during or after attack?
“I spoke with him that day, after? I think after. I don't know if I spoke with him in the morning or not. I just don't know…I don't know when those conversations happened.” pic.twitter.com/h4fbuMYtk0
— Taylor Popielarz (@TaylorPopielarz) July 28, 2021
From Ginger K., a kid after my own heart:
I love his kid pic.twitter.com/HaUBRXd301
— Nurse Ratched (@veggie64_leslie) July 27, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. First, a thread with lots of lies told to kids. I’ll show only two:
When I was three, my dad had a Take Your Daughter to Work Day but thought I’d get bored by his actual job. So he got all the guys in his office in finance to dress up in costume and pretend their job was stuffing the Dunkin Donuts donuts with jam. pic.twitter.com/CQB6qv3XCq
— Beth Mohen (@BethMohen) July 30, 2021
An art joke captcha. If you don’t get it, brush up on your Magritte:
Genius captcha from @veltman
— Present & Correct (@presentcorrect) July 30, 2021
I was feeling low yesterday morning, and Matthew sent me this tweet, adding, “This will cheer you up, momentarily.” He knows me!
But look at that face and those bottle-green eyes!
"A baby ocelot."
-Credits: J. Macgill- pic.twitter.com/dW3LsCe9eW
— Insta Science (@insta_science) July 30, 2021
No comment needed:
I'll call this one Atlas. pic.twitter.com/gGJhGPUg1a
— Jay Stafstrom (@JayStafstrom) July 29, 2021