Good morning on the last day of the month, Thursday, September 30, 2021: National Soufflé Potato Day (?). It’s also Chewing Gum Day, Extra Virgin Olive Oil Day, National Hot Mulled Cider Day, World Maritime Day, International Translation Day, Orange Shirt Day in Canada, and, finally, International Blasphemy Rights Day. I’m once again sleepless, so don’t expect substantive posts today.
News of the Day:
*A NYT article (mentioned in the tweets below) shows the expected positive correlation between Democrats in a state and the vaccination rate:
A Pew Research Center poll last month found that 86 percent of Democratic voters had received at least one shot, compared with 60 percent of Republican voters.
The political divide over vaccinations is so large that almost every reliably blue state now has a higher vaccination rate than almost every reliably red state.
Here’s a correlation with vaccinations broken down by state, and the color of the state showing whether it’s Democratic (blue) or Republican (red). The plot for Covid deaths shows a similar relationship, but the relationship is not as tight.
*Speaking of Covid, the CDC has issued an urgent warning for pregnant women to get vaccinated pronto (only 31% of them are). Both mother (i.e., “person with a womb”) and fetus face significantly higher risk than do non-pregnant women if they get infected:
“We are fortunate now to have extraordinary safety data with all of these vaccines. We know that pregnant women are at increased risk of severe disease, of hospitalization and ventilation,” Walensky told the briefing Tuesday.
“They’re also at increased risk for adverse events to their baby. We now have data that demonstrates that vaccines — in whatever time in pregnancy or lactating that they’re given — are actually safe and effective and have no adverse events to mom or to baby,” Walensky added.
*United Airlines has fired 600 employees who refused to get the Covid vaccine. That’s a minuscule percentage of employees (99% have been vaccinated: another effect of the mandate), and United expects no interruptions of service. It’s the first major carrier to issue such a mandate.
*New York State has a similar mandate for healthcare workers, and a bunch of them got last-minute vaccinations so they could keep their jobs. Mandates work, and I don’t see them as immoral or an infringement of personal freedom—not when being unvaccinated puts other people at risk. But New York is still suffering a shortage of workers because of the mandate: the downside.
*Reader Paul sent a link to a Slate article about “impossible pork”: a plant based substitute for pig meat. The writer says it’s delicious, but, unexpectedly, it’s put many Muslims in a bind, with some rejecting it because, as one believer said, “Pork is like Muslim kryptonite.” And what if they LIKE it? They might upgrade to the real thing, and that’s forbidden. But Jews face the same dilemma, and they don’t even mention that!
*Does anybody like the U.S. Postal Service? If so, I don’t know them. And now it’s about to get worse. Starting on October 1, not only will there be a deliberate slowdown of first-class mail, which in some cases could be substantial, but they’re going to raise the price of the damn postage again AND shorten hours at some post offices. Could it get worse? They already have the rudest and most imperious employees I’ve ever encountered among government workers: I think people take jobs at the PO so they can boss people around.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 695,232, an increase of 1,984 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,788,923, an increase of about 8,300 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on September 30 includes:
- 1520 – Suleiman the Magnificent is proclaimed sultan of the Ottoman Empire.
- 1791 – The first performance of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute takes place two months before his death.
- 1882 – Thomas Edison’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant (later known as Appleton Edison Light Company) begins operation.
- 1888 – Jack the Ripper kills his third and fourth victims, Elizabeth Stride and Catherine Eddowes.
Here’s a photo of the murder scene, labeled “Mitre Square. The body of Catherine Eddowes was discovered close to the fence seen at the centre of this image on 30 September 1888.” He killed at least five women, often prostitutes, and the mutilations of their bodies doesn’t bear speaking about. You can see some if you go to the Ripper link and those of his victims.
- 1915 – World War I: Radoje Ljutovac becomes the first soldier in history to shoot down an enemy aircraft with ground-to-air fire.
Liutovac didn’t use a rifle or pistol, but a Polish cannon! He must have had good aim.
- 1938 – Britain, France, Germany and Italy sign the Munich Agreement, whereby Germany annexes the Sudetenland region of Czechoslovakia.
Yep, the major powers gave away part of Czechoslovakia to the Germans. The PM, Neville Chamberlain, became infamous for the last sentence in the description of the photograph below. Hitler invaded Poland less than a year after Chamberlain’s cowardice, which, fortunately, was replaced by Churchill’s resolve:
Neville Chamberlain holding the paper containing the resolution to commit to peaceful methods signed by both Hitler and himself on his return from Munich. He is showing the piece of paper to a crowd at Heston Aerodrome on 30 September 1938. He said: “…the settlement of the Czechoslovakian problem, which has now been achieved is, in my view, only the prelude to a larger settlement in which all Europe may find peace. This morning I had another talk with the German Chancellor, Herr Hitler, and here is the paper which bears his name upon it as well as mine (waves paper to the crowd – receiving loud cheers and “Hear Hears”). Some of you, perhaps, have already heard what it contains but I would just like to read it to you …”. Later that day he stood outside Number 10 Downing Street and again read from the document and concluded: ‘”My good friends, for the second time in our history, a British Prime Minister has returned from Germany bringing peace with honour. I believe it is peace for our time.”
- 1939 – NBC broadcasts the first televised American football game.
- 1941 – World War II: The Babi Yar massacre comes to an end.
About 33,800 Jews were killed in those two days, but the massacre continued throughout the war, with people shot on the edge of a ravine. Total death toll there: between 100,000 and 150,000 people.
- 1947 – The 1947 World Series begins. It is the first to be televised, to include an African-American player, to exceed $2 million in receipts, to see a pinch-hit home run, and to have six umpires on the field.
- 1962 – James Meredith enters the University of Mississippi, defying racial segregation rules.
Meredith is now 88, and still with us. Here he is going to college in 1962:
- 1968 – The Boeing 747 is rolled out and shown to the public for the first time.
The plane (below), the largest in commercial passenger service, holds about 500 people and production is scheduled to end next year:
- 2016 – Two paintings with a combined value of $100 million are recovered after having been stolen from the Van Gogh Museum in 2002.
Here are the two paintings. First, Congregation Leaving the Reformed Church at Nuenen (1884/85):
and View of the Sea at Scheveningen (1882):
These early paintings are not great works of art by any means; their value stems solely from their coming from Van Gogh. It’s hard to see any intimations of his final style in these works.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1882 – Hans Geiger, German physicist and academic (d. 1945)
- 1915 – Lester Maddox, American businessman and politician, 75th Governor of Georgia (d. 2003)
- 1917 – Buddy Rich, American drummer, bandleader, and actor (d. 1987)
- 1921 – Deborah Kerr, Scottish-English actress (d. 2007)
Kerr was nominated six times for the Best Actress Oscar, and didn’t win once: a record. One nomination was as the Captain’s wife in “From Here to Eternity”, where she was romanced by a sergeant. Here’s the famous “Beach Scene” in the movie with Burt Lancaster, which was considered quite erotic at the time:
. . and the poignant farewell, where Kerr learns that Lancaster won’t marry her:
- 1924 – Truman Capote, American novelist, playwright, and screenwriter (d. 1984)
- 1928 – Elie Wiesel, Romanian-American author, academic, and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2016)
Here’s Wiesel in the Buchenwald concentration camp on April 16, 1945, five days after it was liberated. I’ve circled him.
- 1931 – Angie Dickinson, American actress
- 1935 – Johnny Mathis, American singer and actor
I think that Mathis had the finest voice of any male singer of our time (for women I see Barbra Streisand and Karen Carpenter as tied). Here he is singing “Chances Are”:
- 1942 – Frankie Lymon, American singer-songwriter (d. 1968)
- 1943 – Marilyn McCoo, American singer
McCoo was a plaintive and powerful singer; who remembers her from “The Fifth Dimension”? I don’t know where this comes from, and it seems lip-synched, but it’s the recorded version of one of my favorites, “One Less Bell to Answer“, a Bacharach/David song. They played for one of our dances at William and Mary.
- 1957 – Fran Drescher, American actress, producer, and screenwriter
- 1961 – Gary Coyne, Australian rugby league player
Don’t know him; perhaps he’s related to me.
- 1964 – Monica Bellucci, Italian actress and fashion model
- 1975 – Marion Cotillard, French-American actress and singer
Those who stopped pining for the fjords on September 30 include:
- 1955 – James Dean, American actor (b. 1931)
Here’s an interview about car racing. Ironically, Dean is asked whether he drives too fast on the highway, and says “no” (it’s a safe driving commercial of sorts). Ironically, he died at 24 in a car accident; he was speeding in his Porsche on a California highway.
Remember him and his mannequin Charlie McCarthy. Here they are performing at a tribute to Orson Welles:
- 1990 – Patrick White, Australian novelist, poet, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1912)
- 1994 – André Michel Lwoff, French microbiologist and virologist, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1902)
- 2017 – Monty Hall, American game show host (b. 1921)
- 2019 – Victoria Braithwaite, British research scientist who proved fish feel pain (b. 1967)
Read the Wikipedia entry to see how she Implied (didn’t “prove”) that fish feel pain. We can’t know that for sure because we don’t know what it’s like to be a fish, but all the correlates of the pain we feel are there.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is very needy:
Hili: Stop writing and pet me.A: Is it urgent?Hili: Very much so.
Hili: Przestań pisać i mnie pogłaszcz.Ja: A to pilne?Hili: Bardzo.
For some reason little Kulka is chewing on the spout of a pitcher:
A meme from Bruce:
From Vera: a short Facebook documentary on a Russian man who has a pet female fox, Alisa (“Alice” in English). Here’s her YouTube channel.
From Fat Cat Art:
An old tweet from Titania:
I’ve just discovered this disgustingly transphobic book called the “dictionary”.
Is there any way we can issue some kind of fatwa against whoever wrote this trash? pic.twitter.com/TcV4T0wfPc
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) May 16, 2021
Two tweets from Simon. This bunny is amazing!
The physics of rabbits and other compressible media. pic.twitter.com/OswBFkgfLW
— Amazing Physics (@amazing_physics) September 28, 2021
Eric Topol is a reliable source of information on the virus. If you want to see the whole NYT article, go here.
The headline and data visualization that will go down in history as the leading explanation for America's failure to lead global vaccination, but instead leaving its people highly vulnerable to spread covid, get hospitalized and die. pic.twitter.com/jzgBOxW4xT
— Eric Topol (@EricTopol) September 28, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial: This 21-year old lived but two months after arrival:
30 September 1920 | A Pole, Czesław Minda, was born in Szydłówek. A farmer.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 30, 2021
Tweets from Matthew, now an empty-nester. 🙁 First, though, a photo he calls “cats” hiding, showing all three of his moggies together: Ollie, Harry, and Pepper.
Kittens on an adventure!
They’re on an adventure 🐈🐈🐈 pic.twitter.com/hpP9O74LEy
— Ari Adzmin and 19 others (@ari_adzmin) September 23, 2021
Perseverance is right in the middle of the photo:
You see that little white speck next to some Martian sand dunes?
Currently, Perseverance is parked in an area called South Séítah in Jezero Crater. The rover will stay here as Mars solar conjunction occurs, and will resume science operations in mid-October. pic.twitter.com/KZTd7GfnYJ
— Haygen Warren (@haygenwarren) September 28, 2021
Matthew says this is a “bad non-apology, mainly devoted to defending the cover quote” from the Lancet. I’ve put the cover quote below the tweet (read it larger here).
— The Lancet (@TheLancet) September 27, 2021