Welcome to the Sabbath for all cats save those of the Hebrew persuasion: it’s Sunday, October 24, 2021, and National Bologna Day (I spell it “baloney”).
It’s also Food Day in the U.S.; World Tripe Day (yuk, and yes, I did try it); National Good and Plenty Day, celebrating the licorice candy (according to Wikipedia, “[the candy] was first produced by the Quaker City Chocolate & Confectionery Company of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1893 and is believed to be the oldest branded candy in the United States”); World Polio Day, the birthday of Jonas Salk; United Nations Day, the anniversary of the 1945 Charter of the United Nations; and World Development Information Day
In honor of World Tripe Day we honor this man:
News of the Day:
*A new op-ed in the NYT, “Let the punishment fit the crime,” startled me by revealing that Illinois, along with several other states, had abolished discretionary parole for offenders (this was way back in 1978 in Illinois, but parole may soon be reinstated). I was also surprised to see data like this:
Both of us have visited and studied prisons in other Western countries, where 20-year sentences are considered extreme and are exceptionally rare. In Germany, according to a 2013 Vera Institute of Justice report, fewer than 100 people have prison terms longer than 15 years; in the Netherlands, all but a tiny percentage are sentenced to four years or less. In U.S. prisons, life sentences are routine.
Even Anders Breivik, who killed 77 people in Norway in 2011, got the country’s maximum sentence: a minimum of 10 years and maximum of 21 years, at which time he’s evaluated to see if he’s releasable. If not, the sentence is extended in 5-year increments, which could last until he died (and likely will). But everyone gets at least a chance for rehabilitation and release, and there’s no such thing in Norway as a life sentence. The authors of the op-ed propose this:
Many legal scholars and criminologists now agree that whatever prisons are supposed to accomplish — whether it’s incapacitation, accountability, rehabilitation or deterrence — it can be achieved within two decades. The nonprofit Sentencing Project argues that the United States should follow the lead of other countries and cap prison terms at 20 years, barring exceptional circumstances. The Model Penal Code of the American Law Institute, a century-old organization led by judges, law professors and legal experts, proposes reviewing long sentences for resentencing or release after 15 years.
I’m not sure I agree, though. Would you have let Charles Manson go free after 15 years? Some people post a danger to society nearly indefinitely. We can, though, at least make American prisons much less inhumane.
*The Wall Street Journal has a long and fascinating article about two men who got the messenger-RNA vaccines for Covid developed and moving during the pandemic: “The unlikely outsiders who won the race for a Covid-19 vaccine.” One is a scientist, the other a businessman. PCC(E)’s prediction: there will be a Nobel Prize for these vaccines within three years, split between two or three recipients.
*Also from the NYT, “As Broadway returns, shows rethink and restage their descriptions of race.” Among the shows making changes: “The Lion King”, “The Book of Mormon,” and even “Hamilton.” The last is relevant to our discussion yesterday about Jefferson:
“Hamilton” has restaged “What’d I Miss?,” the second act opener that introduces Thomas Jefferson, so that the dancer playing Sally Hemings, the enslaved woman who bore him multiple children, can pointedly turn her back on him.
*Andrew Sullivan has posted an 80-minute conversation with John McWhorter on “woke racism”, which you can hear (for free, I think) here. I haven’t yet listened.
*Ohio has a new license plate to match the motto, “Birthplace of aviation”. (Why, you might ask, Ohio? Well, Orville Wright was born there, and the brothers did some aviation design there before testing their planes in North Caroline.) Unfortunately, the plate designers screwed up. Here’s the one that was issued and recalled. Can you spot the mistake?
Answer at the bottom of the post.
*Here’s the real opportunity cost of upgrading your phones. I’m still using a old iPhone 5s, which is completely serviceable (I had the battery replaced), and very small, so I can put it in my pocket, even in its Otterbox. But now my carrier is upgrading to 5G and my phone won’t work after Dec. 31. (I want an iPhone, but one that is small and not too pricey. Can readers help? Anyway, the fact that people are always upgrading their phones has puzzled me, and the article above says this:
The irony of Mr. Cook’s coffee analogy isn’t lost on Suze Orman, the financial adviser who once famously equated people’s coffee habits to “peeing $1 million down the drain.” The seemingly small amount of money that people mindlessly spend on java — and now phone upgrades — could be a path to poverty, she said.
“Do you need a new one every single year?” asked Ms. Orman, who hosts the “Women and Money” podcast. “Absolutely not. It’s just a ridiculous waste of money.”
Apple and Samsung didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 735,964, an increase of 1,513 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 4,959,587, an increase of about 4,200 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on October 24 includes:
I love that Cathedral, an easy 75-minute train ride from Paris. Here’s a photo I took of some of its famous windows in November, 2018. Sadly, the day was overcast and the hand-held camera blurred the natural-light photo a bit:
- 1648 – The Peace of Westphalia is signed, marking the end of the Thirty Years’ War.
- 1795 – Poland is completely consumed by Russia, Prussia and Austria.
Poland has never gotten a break!
- 1857 – Sheffield F.C., the world’s oldest association football club still in operation, is founded in England.
Here it is: the Shefffield FC in 1857:
Below is the route, which had to be detoured through Chicago to avoid the Confederates from cutting the line. Sending a transcontinental telegram then cost $1 a word, equivalent to about $33/word today! But, barring accidents like bison who brought down the lines by rubbing on the poles, it was a big success: the Pony Express shut down two days after the line was completed.
Click on the photo to see the route:
- 1901 – Annie Edson Taylor becomes the first person to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel.
Taylor did the feat on her 63rd birthday, and, unlike many, survived! Here she is with her barrel and a CAT. This cat was actually sent over the falls in Taylor’s barrel two days before her own trip, and the moggy survived, too.
Houdini (real name Eric Weisz, a Hungarian Jew) died after a visitor tested the magician’s abdominal strength by repeatedly punching him in the abdomen; Houdini wasn’t prepared. He died a week later of peritonitis, though it’s not known whether the blow caused it or Houdini had an independently ruptured appendix. Here’s a photo of a different punch, with the Wikipedia caption, “Heavyweight boxer Jack Dempsey mock-punching Houdini (held back by lightweight boxer Benny Leonard).”
This huge drop in the stock market marked the beginning of America’s Great Depression. Crowds gathered on Wall Street, as if their presence could somehow bring an end to the debacle:
- 1945 – The United Nations Charter comes into effect. [see above]
- 1946 – A camera on board the V-2 No. 13 rocket takes the first photograph of earth from outer space.
The rocket was launched from the White Sands missile range in the U.S., and here’s that photograph, taken at the apogee of 65 miles:
- 1947 – Famed animator Walt Disney testifies before the House Un-American Activities Committee, naming Disney employees he believes to be communists.
- 1975 – In Iceland, 90% of women take part in a national strike, refusing to work in protest of gender inequality.
- 1980 – The government of Poland legalizes the Solidarity trade union.
- 2002 – Police arrest spree killers John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo, ending the Beltway sniper attacks in the area around Washington, D.C.
They killed ten people, often shooting from within the trunk with a small hole cut in the Chevrolet Caprice, comme ça:
Muhammad was convicted and died by lethal injection, the younger Malvo is spending the rest of his life in prison.
- 2003 – Concorde makes its last commercial flight.
- 2004 – Arsenal Football Club loses to Manchester United, ending a row of unbeaten matches at 49 matches, which is the record in the Premier League.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1632 – Antonie van Leeuwenhoek, Dutch biologist and microbiologist (d. 1723)
- 1903 – Melvin Purvis, American FBI agent (d. 1960)
Purvis (below) was a crack FBI agent who led the teams that captured Baby Face Nelson, John Dillinger, and Pretty Boy Floyd. He was so famous for this that J. Edgar Hoover sidelined him, or so the story goes:
- 1911 – Sonny Terry, American singer and harmonica player (d. 1986)
Here’s Terry with his partner Brownie McGhee (on guitar) singing “Hooray, hooray, these women is killing me.”
- 1930 – The Big Bopper, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1959)
His real name was Giles Perry Richardson, Jr., and he had one hit before he was killed in the plane crash with Buddy Holly and Ritchie Valens on The Day the Music Died (Feb. 3, 1959). His big hit:
- 1936 – Bill Wyman, English singer-songwriter, bass player, and producer
- 1985 – Wayne Rooney, English footballer
Here are some highlights of Rooney’s career. He spent most of his career with Manchester United, and now manages the Derby County football club.
- 1986 – Drake, Canadian rapper and actor
- 1989 – PewDiePie, Swedish YouTuber
Those who were no more on October 24 include:
- 1537 – Jane Seymour, English queen and wife of Henry VIII of England (b. c.1508)
- 1601 – Tycho Brahe, Danish astronomer and alchemist (b. 1546)
Here’s a portrait of Brahe from 1586, while he was still alive. He had a formidable ‘stache:
- 1824 – Israel Bissell, American patriot post rider during American Revolutionary War (b. 1752)
- 1852 – Daniel Webster, American lawyer and politician, 14th United States Secretary of State (b. 1782)
- 1935 – Dutch Schultz, American mob boss (b. 1902)
- 1945 – Vidkun Quisling, Norwegian soldier and politician, Minister President of Norway (b. 1887)
- 1958 – G. E. Moore, English philosopher and academic (b. 1873)
- 1972 – Jackie Robinson, American baseball player and sportscaster (b. 1919)
Robinson was of course the first black player in major league baseball, but came up through the Negro League. In the majors, he faced no small amount of racism, but became a superstar for the Brooklyn Dodgers and helped them win the World Series in 1955. When he retired the next year, his number (42) was also retired (i.e., it wouldn’t be used again on a Dodger uniform). Here’s a photo from 1954.
- 1991 – Gene Roddenberry, American captain, screenwriter, and producer, created Star Trek (b. 1921)
- 2005 – Rosa Parks, American civil rights activist (b. 1913)
- 2017 – Fats Domino, American pianist and singer-songwriter (b. 1928)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is being extraordinarily affectionate:
Hili: Don’t worry, in case of an emergency you can always cuddle me.A: I know.
Hili: Nie martw się, w razie potrzeby możesz mnie zawsze przytulić.Ja: Ja wiem.
And here are Szaron and Kulka having a meal together:
From Barry; this is a hoot:
From Not Another Science Cat Page: a cat that is NOT pleased at his faux doppelgängers:
From an unknown reader: a tweet from Ricky Gervais:
😂 A perfectly simple rule of secularism. This is clearly aimed at religion, but it works for all dogma in any ideology 👇 pic.twitter.com/hQ9mybWIff
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) October 21, 2021
From Barry: “A budding friendship.” Indeed!
Twitter needs this.. 😊 pic.twitter.com/TXG9ahAvuw
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) October 23, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a rare example of a prisoner striking back. But of course that didn’t go unpunished:
24 October 1943 | In the evening SS guards opened machine gun fire at prisoners in the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp. This was a retaliation for killing SS-Oberscharführer Wilhelm Schillinger the previous day. 13 prisoners were killed, 46 wounded. https://t.co/UsdxVAoQU4
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 24, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. This first one is an amazing example of camouflage but wait until the end to see that it’s also an example of aposematic (warning) coloration:
Hands down the most impressive camouflage I’ve ever seen in nature– especially when contrasted with that defensive display! pic.twitter.com/baajPDBP21
— Phil Torres (@phil_torres) October 23, 2021
Yes, there’s a face in there:
I don't want to scare anyone, but I think the lichens have achieved sentience. pic.twitter.com/a6gsciHzxJ
— Lev Parikian (@LevParikian) October 22, 2021
BAT FACT (and note the modified finger bones, with one sticking out:
Bat wings are covered with small bumps called Merkel cells that contain touch-sensitive receptors. These allow bats to detect & adapt to changing airflow & judge the best speed to fly at.
(Photo Braun C) pic.twitter.com/8WNPl7PneZ
— EveryBat (@EveryBat) October 22, 2021
I don’t understand how you can be comfortable sleeping like this:
Their favorite spot.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/qmKUROAPI8
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) October 20, 2021
Constitutional amendments that didn’t make the cut. I like the first one from 1893:
Well this is a fascinating list of amendments that were proposed but never ratified. pic.twitter.com/OLwFzHMfTR
— radical pragmatist (@radicalpragmat1) October 19, 2021
Ohio license plate error. The banner is affixed to the leading end of the plane, not the trailing end, so it looks as if the plane is flying backwards. The designer just made an assumption without checking. Here’s what the plane looked like, with its propellers in the rear (this is the original plane, now restored, at the Smithsonian):
They’ve fixed the license plates, though I wonder if the originals (if they were sent out) will become collectors’ items, like that upside down airplane on a postage stamp. And here’s the famous “Inverted Jenny” stamp of 1918. Only 100 were printed before the error was discovered, and each one is now worth about $1.6 million!