Good morning on Thursday, August 12, 2021: National Julienne Fries Day! (with an exclamation mark added, but why?). It’s also Baseball Fans Day, National Sewing Machine Day (see below), IBM PC Day (see below), Baseball Fans Day, Truck Driver Day, Vinyl Record Day, and World Elephant Day.
News of the Day:
It’s now 204 days since the Bidens moved into the White House, promising all Americans that they’d procure a First Cat. Well, there is no First Cat. We was had!
Big kerfuffle in Texas: A Texas Supreme Court judge has lifted a legal order that prevented Democratic state representative who fled Texas—seeking to prevent the formation of a quorum necessary to pass a voting-restriction bill—.from being arrested for violating their legal duties. In other words, those representatives, many of whom hied themselves to Washington D.C., can now be either arrested or forced to go back to work, though extraditing them from D.C. (many are still there) might be difficult. An excerpt:
The Texas House Speaker’s office confirmed Tuesday night that the Speaker has signed civil arrest warrants for 52 House Democrats who are absent without excuses. Those warrants will be delivered to the sergeant-at-arms in the morning for service.
My prediction: nobody will be arrested, but this situation cannot persist indefinitely. I suppose the Democrats must ultimately subject themselves to the rule of law, even if they object to the law that they must vote on.
Meanwhile on the left coast, California has become the nation’s first state to require that schoolteachers and school staff must be either vaccinated or face regular covid testing if they’re to work at public schools. This adds school employees to state employees and healthcare workers, also required to be vaccinated or tested. My view: good for California—roll up your sleeves or leave.
At last somebody has called out the hypocrisy of Ben & Jerry, who recently decided to not sell their ice cream to Jewish storekeepers in East Jerusalem and the West Bank (Palestinian merchants, I believe, can keep selling it). The caller-outer, however, is a conservative, so many people who dismiss arguments based on who makes them will dismiss this piece. The author is Bret Stephens, who wrote a new NYT editorial called “The cheap and easy sanctimony of Ben & Jerry“. An excerpt (note that Unilever acquired the Ben & Jerry brand but promised to honor the social activism of the brand itself, activism promoted by Ben and Jerry):
We live in the era of “Woke, Inc.,” to borrow the title of Vivek Ramaswamy’s delightful new book on what he calls “corporate America’s social justice scam” — an era in which corporations adopt trendy causes to help shield them from criticism while pumping up their stock prices. There’s Gillette, trying to peddle razors by decrying toxic masculinity. There’s Nike, minting money off Colin Kaepernick’s protests. There’s BP, rebranding itself as “Beyond Petroleum” — and then spilling 200 million gallons of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.
But Cohen and Greenfield are the godfathers of Woke Inc., pioneers of a unique marketing magic that seeks to get people to believe that buying a high-fat, high-sugar product that contributes to diabetes and obesity also makes us more virtuous. I don’t want to overstate things here, since I’m as guilty as the next guy of scarfing down a half pint (OK, sometimes more) of New York Super Fudge Chunk. But at least I don’t pretend that I’m making the world a better place in the bargain.
. . .As for Unilever, it will be hard-pressed to honor its promise to stay in Israel while keeping out of the West Bank, since Israeli law forbids companies from operating that way. It will also have to seek approval from the ticked-off Ben & Jerry’s board for a new Israeli licensee once the current contract expires next year.
So much for Cohen and Greenfield bravely honoring the principle to distinguish between the West Bank and Israel. What we really have is a feckless political gesture, a corporate fiasco, a de facto boycott of the Jewish state, an enraged Israeli government, and a handful of customers who won’t get their Chunky Monkey cravings satisfied. Just how any of this translates into peace or justice, much less ending “the occupation,” is anyone’s guess.
Just a few days after announcing, in tears, that he’ll be leaving Barcelona, soccer superstar Lionel Messi has signed with Paris Saint-Germain. Messi’s two-year contract pays him an annual salary of 35 million euros ($41 million). That’s a tad less than Neymar’s salary for the Paris club (37 million euros/$43.4 million), but all that matters at those levels is vanity. Anyway, Neymar is 29, while Messi, at 34, is getting a bit long in the tooth. Nevertheless, Messi performed very well for Barca last season. It’s a shame he left.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 618,701, an increase of 552 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,338,701, an increase of about 10,400 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on August 12 includes:
- 1765 – Treaty of Allahabad is signed. The Treaty marks the political and constitutional involvement and the beginning of Company rule in India.
- 1851 – Isaac Singer is granted a patent for his sewing machine.
Here’s the working model that Singer submitted with his patent:
- 1865 – Joseph Lister, British surgeon and scientist, performs 1st antiseptic surgery.
Here’s what the historic operation involved, according to Wikipedia:
On 12 August 1865, Lister achieved success for the first time when he used full-strength carbolic acid to disinfect a compound fracture. He applied a piece of lint dipped in carbolic acid solution onto the wound of a eleven year-old boy, James Greenlees, who had sustained a compound fracture after a cart wheel had passed over his leg. After four days, he renewed the pad and discovered that no infection had developed, and after a total of six weeks he was amazed to discover that the boy’s bones had fused back together, without suppuration. He subsequently published his results in The Lancet in a series of six articles, running from March through July 1867.
Here’s the young Lister:
This was not a species, but a subspecies of the Plains Zebra (Equus quagga quagga). Hunted to extinction; it was unique in having zebra-liked striped forequarters and a brown horselike rear end. It appears to have been photographed only once in life—at the London Zoo in 1870. Here’s the photo:
- 1914 – World War I: The United Kingdom declares war on Austria-Hungary; the countries of the British Empire follow suit.
- 1944 – Nazi German troops end the week-long Wola massacre, during which time at least 40,000 people are killed indiscriminately or in mass executions.
- 1950 – Korean War: Bloody Gulch massacre: 75 American POWs are massacred by North Korean Army.
- 1952 – The Night of the Murdered Poets: Thirteen prominent Jewish intellectuals are murdered in Moscow, Russia, Soviet Union.
- 1964 – South Africa is banned from the Olympic Games due to the country’s racist policies.
- 1981 – The IBM Personal Computer is released.
Here’s that first model released for sale. I’m sure some readers had this one:
- 1990 – Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton found to date, is discovered by Sue Hendrickson in South Dakota.
Here’s Sue’s skeleton (the largest specimen yet uncovered) in Chicago’s Field Museum. It was auctioned for $8.3 million, and the head below is a cast rather than the original, which resides in its own case . If you visit our town, you can see her. Look at those tiny arms!
Here’s Sue’s head (the real fossil):
- 1994 – Major League Baseball players go on strike, forcing the cancellation of the 1994 World Series.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1831 – Helena Blavatsky, Russian theosophist and scholar (d. 1891)
- 1860 – Klara Hitler, Austrian mother of Adolf Hitler (d. 1907)
What we all want to know is whether she looked like Adolf. Here, in a photo taken about 1875, she seems to—more than does her husband Alois Hitler. Judge for yourself:
- 1880 – Christy Mathewson, American baseball player and manager (d. 1925)
- 1925 – Norris McWhirter, Scottish publisher and activist co-founded the Guinness World Records (d. 2004)
- 1925 – Ross McWhirter, Scottish publisher and activist, co-founded the Guinness World Records (d. 1975)
I couldn’t find out easily whether Norris and Ross were identical or fraternal twins, but this photo makes me suspect that they were fraternal twins. Ross was assassinated by the IRA at fifty.
- 1949 – Mark Knopfler, Scottish-English singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
I was a fan of Knopfler’s guitar work, but to me he never made the grade as a songwriter. He had one great song with Dire Straits, though: “Sultans of Swing” (recorded 1978). Here he talks about how he played it:
Those who relinquished the ghost on August 12 include:
- 1295 – Charles Martel, king of Hungary (b. 1271)
- 1827 – William Blake, English poet and painter (b. 1757)
- 1891 – James Russell Lowell, American poet and critic (b. 1819)
- 1955 – Thomas Mann, German author and critic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1875)
- 1964 – Ian Fleming, English spy, journalist, and author (b. 1908)
Fleming wrote all the James Bond stories in a lovely house in Jamaica called “Goldeneye”. Here it is:
- 1982 – Henry Fonda, American actor (b. 1905)
- 1989 – William Shockley, American physicist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1910)
- 1992 – John Cage, American composer and theorist (b. 1912)
- 2000 – Loretta Young, American actress (b. 1913)
- 2007 – Merv Griffin, American actor, singer, and producer, created Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune (b. 1925)
- 2009 – Les Paul, American guitarist and songwriter (b. 1915)
And another guitar piece: Les Paul live on the Letterman show in 1986, when he was 71:
- 2014 – Lauren Bacall, American model, actress, and singer (b. 1924)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili wants a nosh:
Hili: What time is it?A: It’s late.Hili: I thought so because my stomach is rumbling.
Hili: Która godzina?Ja: Już późno.Hili: Tak myślałam, bo mi w brzuchu burczy.
The Far Side has its own Facebook page now, so I don’t feel so bad about posting Gary Larson cartoons (earlier he asked people to refrain from reproducing them). I still hesitate a bit, but couldn’t resist this one:
From Jesus of the Day:
Those who think that the “Iran deal” favored by Biden will prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, well, you’re sorely deluded. Maybe it will delay it for a couple of years, but that’s it. Then what? Here’s one possibility:
— Hossein Dalirian (@HosseinDalirian) March 21, 2018
A tweet from Luana with an antiwoke cat:
See, even the cat knows that announcing pronouns in a conversation is bullshit. https://t.co/5qqWJvgBJl
— Gothix – The Problematic Grifter (@gothixTV) August 10, 2021
And a gentler tweet; what could be more soothing than a young girl with ducklings?
— Enzo Christopher (@EnzoKenzo10) August 10, 2021
From Simon, who says “Defunding is not popular!” Click on the tweet to hear the sound.
I love how Hawley thought this was some sort of incredible gotcha. Perfect response from Durbin. https://t.co/SphwkkgWaJ
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 11, 2021
Tweets from Matthew, who might look good in these pants (or, as the Brits say, “trousers”):
Finally, an end to the oppressive dictatorship of Mono-Tone slacks. pic.twitter.com/ng1VUXYazD
— Plaidstallions.com (Brick Mantooth) (@Plaidstallions) August 10, 2021
What is a serow? A goat; there are four species.
"We noticed this goat-like animal walking on the rocks near the water surface. I was confused, I had never seen an animal like that before."
This Japanese Serow is our Observation of the Week!
— iNaturalist (@inaturalist) August 10, 2021
Matthew calls his own tweet “The ignorance of a poor Brit!”, but it’s excusable. How many Americans even know that the “Harlem Globetrotters” (an exhibition basketball team), whom I saw when I was a kid, really started on the South Side of Chicago. The name is just to give it an air of authentic blackness (nearly all the players were black):
Wait what so the Harlem Globetrotters were from *Chicago* rather than, you know, Harlem?!
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) August 10, 2021
How many times have you sighed when you had to click on “CAPTCHA” pictures like “click on the squares with boats”? They’re always boring, and this author explains why:
You've noticed this too, right?
"They’re blurry, anonymous landscapes that possess a positively Soviet anomie."
I've figured out the SIX REASONS they're so grim, people
— Clive Thompson (@pomeranian99) August 5, 2021