Take heart, o readers, as the weekend approaches: it’s Thursday, November 11, 2021: National Sundae Day. It’s been too long since we’ve had a good hot fudge sundae, hasn’t it? In Chicago they’re best at the old-time ice cream parlor Margie’s, founded in 1921 and delighting customers at the same spot ever since.
Look at this puppy, complete with a silver pitcher of their homemade hot fudge sauce (best I’ve ever had) on the side, allowing you to titrate your ice cream properly:
It’s also National Metal Day (as in “heavy metal”), Air Day (marking commercial air service between the Hawaiian Islands, which began on November 11, 1929), Origami Day, Singles’ Day, and World Quality Day, which has now been canceled in schools.
And, as you know, it’s the day World War I ended with an armistice. Here are the celebrations, with the big one in the U.S. being Veterans Day (see below for Google Doodle):
- End of World War I-related observances:
- Armistice Day (New Zealand, France, Belgium and Serbia)
- National Independence Day (Poland), commemorates the anniversary of Poland’s assumption of independent statehood in 1918
- Remembrance Day (United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Nations, including Australia and Canada)
- Veterans Day, called Armistice Day until 1954, when it was rededicated to honor American military (Army, Navy, Marine, and Air Force) veterans. (United States)
Here today’s Google Doodle celebrating Veterans Day (click on screenshot):
Matthew is lecturing at a school in Edgware today, and apparently this is part of it. Paradise (except for the seagulls and geese):
Wine of the Day: For a Sauvignon Blanc of this quality, $18 wasn’t too much to pay. It is redolent of citrus and honeydew melon, but is also substantial, and, surprisingly, a bit off-dry, which went well with my modest meal of black beans, rice, sauteed onions, and yogurt, all mixed together (it’s what I make when I’m too tired to cook and it’s good–try it.). Its sweetness I attribute to the 15% semillon mixed with the 85% sauvignon blanc. Slightly sweet wines should be drunk with food more often; after all, don’t people have Cokes and milkshakes with their hamburgers? Anyway, this is highly recommended:
News of the Day:
*The SpaceX launch carrying 4 astronauts was a big success: everything was “nominal” and they crew should arrive at the ISS about 7 pm Eastern time this evening. Here’s a short video of the launch and highlights:
*On Tuesday night, a federal judge ruled that Trump does not have “executive privilege” to keep his White House papers and communications secret from the House committee investigating the January 6 Capitol riots. He’s trying also to block the National Archives’ scheduled release of the papers on Friday.
Specifically, the Jan. 6 committee has demanded detailed records about Mr. Trump’s every movement and meeting on the day of the assault, when Mr. Trump led a “Stop the Steal” rally and his supporters then sacked the Capitol in an attempt to block Congress from certifying Mr. Biden’s Electoral College victory.
Trump’s hoping to tie up the investigation until the House committee is disbanded, but it’s not going to work. Trump has appealed this ruling to a higher federal court, and if he loses there he’ll go to the Supreme Court, which should be interesting given that the law seems fairly clear As the judge said drily in his ruling, “But presidents are not kings, and plaintiff is not president.”.
*This is bad news for the economy, which of course means bad news for the Democratic Party. You’ve probably noticed some prices have gotten quite a bit higher lately: have you filled your car with gas in the past month? Well, economists report that compared with a year ago, the rate of inflation (the consumer price index) was 6.2%—the largest annual increase in 30 years. Wage increases have not kept pace with inflation, which my father (an economist) defined as “too much money chasing too few goods.” It’s the supply chain, stupid!
Here’s a WaPo plot of inflation over time:
*If you want to know why people have chronic pain with no apparent cause, this NYT article is fascinating. It’s the glial cells, long ignored but now found to be the custodians of pain traveling through the neurons. With this knowledge, scientists may be on their way to conquering chronic pain.
*If you haven’t been following the Yale Law School’s “trap house incident” and are following both abrogations of and defenses of academic freedom, you might be interested in The Washington Post’s summary of the situation: “At Yale Law School, a party ignites a firestorm.” It started like this:
“Trap House,” according to the Urban Dictionary, was “originally used to describe a crack house in a shady neighborhood,” but “has since been abused by high school students who like to pretend they’re cool by drinking their mom’s beer together.” A popular far-left podcast, by three White men, calls itself Chapo Trap House, without incident.
This was seen as racist, with the predictable consequences.
. . . Within 12 hours, Colbert was summoned to meet with associate law dean Ellen Cosgrove and diversity director Yaseen Eldik. There, he was told that his message had generated nine student complaints of discrimination and harassment, and was more or less instructed to apologize. [Colbert recorded the conversation, which when made public embarrassed the University.]
. . .The administrators leaned on Colbert to think about “asking for forgiveness” to help “make this go away.” They drafted a note that they thought would suffice, apologizing for “any harm, trauma or upset” the email caused,” and adding, in language reminiscent of the Cultural Revolution, “I know I must learn more and grow. And I will actively educate myself so I can do better.” Dunce cap, anyone?
When Colbert resisted, saying he would prefer to discuss the issue face to face with anyone who was offended, the administrators acted on their own that same night, emailing the entire second-year class. “An invitation was recently circulated containing pejorative and racist language. We condemn this in the strongest possible terms.”
Yet later, Yale issued a statement that went like this:
After the Free Beacon story broke, Yale issued a statement denying that it had any intent of disciplining Colbert or alerting bar authorities down the line. “No student is investigated or sanctioned for protected speech,” the statement said.
Excuse me, but that statement sounds like what comes out of the south end of a north-facing cow. Colbert was not only investigated, but damned by the administration via email to his entire second-year class. The fracas continues, but the Post piece, an op-ed by Ruth Marcus, refreshingly defends Colbert.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 758,588, an increase of 1,216 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,091,548, an increase of about 8,800 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on November 11 includes:
Here’s what’s left of the exploding star; the caption is from Wikipedia:
- 1620 – The Mayflower Compact is signed in what is now Provincetown Harbor near Cape Cod.
- 1675 – Gottfried Leibniz demonstrates integral calculus for the first time to find the area under the graph of y = ƒ(x).
Some of Leibniz’s notes:
- 1750 – The F.H.C. Society, also known as the Flat Hat Club, is formed at Raleigh Tavern, Williamsburg, Virginia. It is the first college fraternity.
The William and Mary student newspaper is still called “The Flat Hat.” It was also the first college to have a chapter of the honor fraternity Phi Beta Kappa.
- 1831 – In Jerusalem, Virginia, Nat Turner is hanged after inciting a violent slave uprising.
- 1880 – Australian bushranger Ned Kelly is hanged at Melbourne Gaol.
Here’s Kelly, who wore a suit of armor (photo below) during his final shootout with the cops before he was captured:
The armor has 18 bullet holes in it. Also shown is Kelly’s boot and his Enfield rifle:
- 1918 – World War I: Germany signs an armistice agreement with the Allies in a railroad car in the forest of Compiègne.
Here’s a photo after the signing of the agreement (caption from Wikipedia). As I recall, Hitler made the French tender their surrender at the beginning of WWII in the same car—a way of humiliating them.
- 1921 – The Tomb of the Unknowns is dedicated by US President Warren G. Harding at Arlington National Cemetery.
- 1923 – Adolf Hitler was arrested in Munich for high treason for his role in the Beer Hall Putsch.
- 1930 – Patent number US1781541 is awarded to Albert Einstein and Leó Szilárd for their invention, the Einstein refrigerator.
Here’s a drawing from the patent application (remember that Einstein worked as a patent examiner while writing his “miracle year” papers). The refrigerator, unlike the papers, was not a success:
- 1992 – The General Synod of the Church of England votes to allow women to become priests.
- 2004 – The Palestine Liberation Organization confirms the death of Yasser Arafat from unidentified causes. Mahmoud Abbas is elected chairman of the PLO minutes later.
Abbas was also elected President of Palestinian Authority in January, 2005 for a four-year term. There have been no further elections, and he’s still President!
Notables born on this day include:
- 1493 – Paracelsus, Swiss-German physician, botanist, astrologer, and occultist (d. 1541)
- 1821 – Fyodor Dostoevsky, Russian novelist, short story writer, essayist, and philosopher (d. 1881)
Here is a signed photo of Dostoyevsky and then a picture of his death mask, both of which I photographed at his apartment in St. Petersburg in July, 2011:
- 1895 – Wealthy Babcock, American mathematician and academic (d. 1990)
Wealthy Babcock was a woman, but Wikipedia gives no explanation for her first name. She was a mathematician who taught for many years at the University of Kansas. It would be cool if she had two siblings named “Healthy” and “Wise”.
- 1904 – Alger Hiss, American lawyer and convicted spy (d. 1996)
- 1922 – Kurt Vonnegut, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (d. 2007)
A short bit of a lecture by Vonnegut on the “shapes of stories”:
- 1962 – Demi Moore, American actress, director, and producer
- 1964 – Calista Flockhart, American actress
- 1974 – Leonardo DiCaprio, American actor and producer
Those who perished from this Earth on November 11 include:
- 1831 – Nat Turner, American slave and rebel leader (b. 1800)
- 1855 – Søren Kierkegaard, Danish philosopher, author, and poet (b. 1813)
Why are there no photos of Kierkegaard? I wanted to show one, and he lived when there was photography, after all.
- 1880 – Ned Kelly, Australian criminal (b. 1855) [see above]
- 1945 – Jerome Kern, American composer (b. 1885)
It’s a mystery to me why so many Broadway composers are of Jewish ancestry: not just Kern, but the Gershwins, Lerner, Loewe, Sondheim, Rodgers, Hammerstein, Berlin, Hart, Harburg, Arlen, etc. I have no theory to explain this. But here’s a photo of Kern, who wrote, among other songs, “Old Man River,” “The Way You Look Tonight,” and “Long Ago and Far Away.”
I hadn’t heard “Long Ago and Far Away” in years, so I’m putting it below. What a treat to hear it again; it’s a wonderful tune. Here’s a version by Dorothy Stafford (Kern wrote the music and Ira Gershwin, George’s brother, wrote the lyrics.) A nice version by Frank Sinatra is here.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili is again peddling pessimism (she’d say “realism”)
Hili: I’m looking into the future.A: And what do you see?Hili: A deficit of optimism.
Hili: Patrzę w przyszłość.Ja: I co widzisz?Hili: Deficyt optymizmu.
Some philosophy. Reader Barry collaborated on an analysis of the Kalam cosmological argument:
From Facebook. “‘Sold by weight, not volume. Some settling may occur during shipping.”
An old tweet by Titania:
Cancel culture is *not* real.
When we call for you to be sacked, trash your reputation, dogpile you online, insult you, libel you and wish for your death, that’s just our way of gently helping you to come over to the right side of history.#LoveWins
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) August 3, 2021
From Barry, showing our kinship with other primates:
Bonobo playing with her baby granddaughter. Amazingly cute – but also very interesting, evolutionarily speaking. The whole interaction is just so humanlike! https://t.co/0CDSKuE5ee pic.twitter.com/nNHoT6tqSq
— Steve Stewart-Williams (@SteveStuWill) November 9, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a chilling tale:
In his report from 1945 captain Witold Pilecki mentioned one of the victims of the execution. A sculptor and reserve lieutenant Tadeusz Lech (camp no. 9235) told him a few hours before his death: „It makes me happy that I’ll die on November 11”. 4/5 pic.twitter.com/FayvzAI2p4
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 11, 2021
Tweets from Matthew: the famous “dress illusion”:
Dunno who made this, but it's a nice mind bending image of the stuff underpinning the dress pic.twitter.com/3ilYEb1j0q
— Gavin Buckingham (@DrGBuckingham) September 24, 2021
— Bevil Conway (@BevilConway) September 24, 2021
Nope, nope, nope, and nope.
I am loving this explainer of DNA vs RNA from the Daily Mail. Just a couple of wildcards thrown in to keep you on your toes! pic.twitter.com/aD3N6cizZx
— Philip Leftwich (@PhilipLeftwich) September 24, 2021
A nice man rescues a sheep (or is it a goat?). Good thing he’s strong!
— Dudes Posting Their W’s (@DudespostingWs) September 22, 2021
Everything is always wonderful in DodoLand. What a fantastic experience!
Brothers shocked when HUNDREDS of dolphins suddenly surround their boat 😮 🐬 pic.twitter.com/a8IqaaOEon
— The Dodo (@dodo) September 23, 2021