Good morning on
Caturday Saturday, August 21, 2021: National Sweet Tea Day (also known as “The Table Wine of the South”). This hyperglycemic beverage is the perfect accompaniment to heavy and greasy Southern cooking, like BBQ. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it, and you always have the option of unsweetened tea or (my preference) half sweet/half unsweet. It’s also National Spumoni Day, World Honey Bee Day, Poets Day, International Homeless Animals Day, National Brazilian Blowout Day (a form of hair straightening), and National Senior Citizens Day (“We who are about to die salute you”). It is, of course Cat Sabbath, which started at sundown yesterday and finishes this evening. Cats are not allowed to work on Cat Sabbath, although they never work anyway.
News of the Day:
The pandemonium continues in Afghanistan, where the mission to rescue U.S. citizens and those who helped the U.S. military or NATO has morphed into a mission to rescue Afghan refugees. The thing, is, though, that virtually anyone who doesn’t want to leave in a medieval theocracy qualifies as a “refugee”, for they are in fear of their lives. At some point the Taliban will stop letting people leave, lest they have no country to oppress.
And the people are continuing to protest. Here’s, Crystal Bayat a brave woman who did not want her identity hidden (h/t: Matthew):
Crystal Bayat was one of seven women at a protest she helped organize on Independence Day in Afghanistan. Days after the Taliban took over, raising the Afghan flag became an act of resistance. “I am raising the voice of a million women,” she said. https://t.co/riqSV9xF6j pic.twitter.com/XxLDuDSIKN
— The New York Times (@nytimes) August 20, 2021
Topic two: Covid. In a good NYT op-ed, “The quiet rage of the responsible,” Paul Krugman takes after the anti-vaxers and anti-maskers who cry “it’s my body and my choice”, or “you’re taking away my freedom.” An excerpt:
So how do you feel about anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers? I’m angry about their antics, even though I’m able to work from home and don’t have school-age children. And I suspect that many Americans share that anger.
The question is whether this entirely justified anger — call it the rage of the responsible — will have a political impact, whether leaders will stand up for the interests of Americans who are trying to do the right thing but whose lives are being disrupted and endangered by those who aren’t.
To say what should be obvious, getting vaccinated and wearing a mask in public spaces aren’t “personal choices.” When you reject your shots or refuse to mask up, you’re increasing my risk of catching a potentially deadly or disabling disease, and also helping to perpetuate the social and economic costs of the pandemic. In a very real sense, the irresponsible minority is depriving the rest of us of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Why is this so hard to understand?
As I’ve mentioned before, the Democrats appear to be doing a 180 on the “defund the police mantra“. Finally realizing how stupid that slogan was (duh!), they’re now mounting initiatives to strengthen the police. To be sure, it was the “progressive” Democrats who raised that ridiculous cry. But it’s too late: the Republicans picked up the ball and ran with it a while back. Expect to see this as a big campaign issue in the midterms. It might even lead to a Republican governor of California. (h/t Ben)
A lawyer in Kenya, Dolo Ididis, is suing both Israel and italy in the International Court of Justice for “selective and malicious prosecution of Jesus”. Although the ICJ rejected a similar lawsuit years ago, he’s resurrected it and contends this:
Indidis’s case states the methods of questioning during Jesus’s trial by the Romans were problematic; the information used in the case was flawed and probably lacking; and that punishing him while the trial was still ongoing contradicts all forms of justice.
The Kenyan lawyer hopes the ICJ this time will agree that “the proceedings before the Roman Courts were a nullity in law for they did not conform to the rule of law at the material time and any time thereafter.”
In other words, Jesus wasn’t given a fair trial, and therefore was not guilty of the crimes of which he was convicted and for which he was killed. But if Jesus wasn’t executed, we wouldn’t have the chance of being saved, so what is the Kenyan lawyer trying to do? Dismantle Christianity? (h/t Ginger K.)
Amaya, a 6-year-old killer whale, died suddenly and of unknown causes at San Diego’s SeaWorld. At least SeaWorld has ended its breeding program for orcas and no longer puts on killer whale shows (credit the movie “Blackfish” for that), but it’s time for aquariums and venues like SeaWorld to stop keeping large, free-roaming sea mammals in captivity. Every one of these mammal’s genes is thwarted by their confinement in these aquaria which, in the guise of education and research (neither is accomplished) are actually jails that make money for the wardens as outsiders come to gawk at the inmates.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 627,631, an increase of 975 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,429,426, an increase of about 11,200 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on August 21 includes:
- 1770 – James Cook formally claims eastern Australia for Great Britain, naming it New South Wales.
- 1791 – A Vodou ceremony, led by Dutty Boukman, turns into a violent slave rebellion, beginning the Haitian Revolution.
As Wikipedia notes, “The revolution was the only slave uprising that led to the founding of a state which was both free from slavery (though not from forced labour), and ruled by non-whites and former captives. It is now widely seen as a defining moment in the history of the Atlantic World.”
- 1831 – Nat Turner leads black slaves and free blacks in a rebellion in Southampton County, Virginia, which will claim the lives of 55 to 65 whites and about twice that number of blacks.
Turner’s revolution was not as successful, and he was captured, hung, and they flayed, with his skin supposedly made into purses for souvenirs.
These were debates between the two candidates for the U.S. Senate, and were largely about slavery, a big topic in those days. They generated a lot of national media attention, but, after seven debates between August and October, Lincoln lost the election. However, the publicity he gained helped his election as U.S. President two years later. Here’s Lincoln in 1860 and Douglas in 1858:
- 1888 – The first successful adding machine in the United States is patented by William Seward Burroughs.
The Beat writer William S. Burroughs, author of Naked Lunch was his grandson, and therefore was independently wealthy.
Here’s a drawing from that patent application with a photo of an early version of the machine below.
The theft was clever, and the painting was returned after two years (Peruggia spent only a short time in jail. Here’s the happy return in 1913. Part of the painting’s fame derives not from its quality alone, but from the fact that it was once stolen.
- 1945 – Physicist Harry Daghlian is fatally irradiated in a criticality accident during an experiment with the Demon core at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
This core killed at least two physicists. Here’s a short video about the deadly piece of plutonium:
Here’s Daghlian’s hand nine days after he was irradiated. It took him 25 days to die.
In 1946, physicist Louis Slotin had an accident with the same demon core, which went critical and caused him an even more painful death, which took only six days after the accident (he was separating the surrounding spheres with a screwdriver, which slipped).
- 1959 – United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs an executive order proclaiming Hawaii the 50th state of the union. Hawaii’s admission is currently commemorated by Hawaii Admission Day.
- 2000 – Tiger Woods, American professional golfer, wins the 82nd PGA Championship and becomes the first golfer since Ben Hogan in 1953 to win three majors in a calendar year.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1872 – Aubrey Beardsley, English author and illustrator (d. 1898)
Here’s Beardsley’s “Woman and Cat” (1893):
- 1904 – Count Basie, American pianist, composer, and bandleader (d. 1984)
- 1936 – Wilt Chamberlain, American basketball player and coach (d. 1999)
- 1938 – Kenny Rogers, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, producer, and actor (d. 2020)
- 1967 – Charb, French journalist and cartoonist (d. 2015)
Here’s a photo of Charlie Hebdo artist Charb (real name Stéphane Charbonnier), killed by Islamic terrorists at 47. Below: one of Charb’s antiracist cartoons for a poster (translation in caption):
Those who bailed from life on August 21 were few, and include:
- 1940 – Leon Trotsky, Russian theorist and politician, founded the Red Army (b. 1879)
Here’s Trotsky’s bathroom, photographed in Mexico City in November, 2012:
- 1971 – George Jackson, American activist and author, co-founded the Black Guerrilla Family (b. 1941)
- 1974 – Buford Pusser, American police officer (b. 1937)
Buford Hayse Pusser (December 12, 1937 – August 21, 1974) was the sheriff of McNairy County, Tennessee, from 1964 to 1970, and constable of Adamsville from 1970 to 1972. Pusser is known for his virtual one-man war on moonshining, prostitution, gambling, and other vices along the Mississippi–Tennessee state line. His efforts have inspired several books, songs, and movies, and a TV series. He was also a wrestler known as “Buford the Bull” in the Mid-South.
Here’s Buford Pusser. I just like the name. (He was badly wounded, and his wife killed, in an assassination attempt.)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s patrolling the garden again
Hili: There never used to be a dandelion on the lawn.A: Times are changing.
Hili: Dawniej na tym trawniku nie było mleczy.Ja: Czasy się zmieniają.
And here is Szaron with little Kulka:
An optical illusion courtesy of Phil Plait:
. . . and it comes with this diagram, with all the small squares being the same color:
From reader Norm:
From Lorenzo the Cat: a sign that all cat staff should put on the front door.
Masih asks us to imagine how the Taliban act towards women who aren’t Western and being interviewed by CNN at the same time:
If this is how the Taliban act in the presence of cameras in front of millions of viewers while @clarissaward interviews them, imagine how they treat Afghan women away from media spotlight. I'm glad the world sees that Taliban terrorists haven't changed pic.twitter.com/iK4L84xxGC
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) August 20, 2021
A tweet from Barry, who says this:
It’s one thing to see a bird prance around in a water fountain, but this is something different. This bird is clearly playing. I sent this to a friend who wrote: “It looks similar to an Irish magpie, which can be quite clownish in their behavior.”
Bird playing ball 🏀 pic.twitter.com/hVCNyU9gO4
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) August 20, 2021
From reader “another fred”: best cat-inspired music ever!
— Cozy Club (@CosyCIub) August 19, 2021
Spot the abseiler in the second tweet (the guy descending by rope). You’ll have to enlarge the photo:
We also passed the Lake District’s creepiest disused quarry. Abseiler in purple for scale (if you can find him). 30 seconds after I took this he dislodged a huge flake of slate into the black lagoon. Deliberately, I think. pic.twitter.com/9lIionI0dV
— Tom Sutcliffe (@tds153) August 20, 2021
A touched up photo of Ellen Terry from 1864. Read about her here.
Tonight I've given a little TLC to this captivating photo of actress Ellen Terry. The photographer Julia Cameron called her portrait "Sadness". Quite remarkably, this was taken almost 160 years ago, back in 1864 pic.twitter.com/R7odn3f2if
— BabelColour (@StuartHumphryes) August 20, 2021
A potter wasp with by Matthew’s paean to the wasp followed by a video of these remarkable creatures:
How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous insectkind is! O brave new world,
That has such wasps in ’t! https://t.co/Rlj2UtMg7d
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) August 20, 2021
An Attenborough video. Don’t tell me you’re not impressed by this insect!
A beautiful tiger crosses a river:
When I TELL YOU tigers are the best….!!!!
Watch trail cam footage from Russia’s Ministry of Natural Resources & Ecology of an Amur tigress nicknamed Princess crossing a river in Sikhote-Alin Nature preserve.
— Sam Helle 🐾🐅 (@samanthaiam) August 20, 2021