It’s the non-felid Sabbath, Sunday, November 14, 2021 and National Guacamole Day (they forgot the chips).
Here’s my teddy, Toasty (I’ve removed his overalls so you can see how worn out he is):
You can find a list of international tongue twisters here. I’ll give three:
In French: Il était une fois, un homme de foi qui vendait du foie dans la ville de Foix. Il dit ma foi, c’est la dernière fois que je vends du foie dans la ville de Foix.
In German: Am Zehnten Zehnten um zehn Uhr zehn zogen zehn zahme Ziegen zehn Zentner Zucker zum Zoo.
In Polish: W wysuszonych, sczerniałych trzcinowych szuwarach sześcionogi szczwany trzmiel bezczelnie szeleścił w szczawiu trzymając w szczękach strzęp szczypiorku i często trzepocząc skrzydłami. (I called Malgorzata and had her read it to me, and believe me, you won’t be able to pronounce this even if you have Polish as a second language.)
English translation of the Polish: In the dry, blackened weeds, a six-legged sly bumblebee rustled cheekily in the sorrel, holding a shred of chives in its jaws and flapping its wings frequently.
There’s an animated Google Doodle today (click on screenshot, as the “go-to” page is also animated) honoring the life and work of Fanny Mendelssohn, born on this day in 1805 (d. 1847). Wikipedia notes that she
. . . was a German composer and pianist of the early Romantic era. Her compositions include a piano trio, a piano quartet, an orchestral overture, four cantatas, more than 125 pieces for the piano, and over 250 lieder, most of which went unpublished in her lifetime. Although praised for her piano technique, she rarely gave public performances outside her family circle.
She was also the older sister of composer Felix Mendelssohn.
Wine of the Day: This 2012 Pinot from an excellent maker comes with high “regular folks” ratings and a currently suggested price of about $52, but about $30 several years ago. (I bought it a long time ago and surely paid substantially less than that.) Nobody will mistake this elegant wine for a cabernet, and it’s full of ripe berry and cherry flavors. I was worried that this might be over the hill, but no, I think it’s at its peak now. If you see a Patricia Green pinot, pay attention. This was drunk with my weekly steak, a baguette, and fresh tomatoes.
News of the Day:
*The COP26 climate summit in Glasgow is over, and the “deal” that was struck is deeply disappointing, though I expected such a thing. There is no concrete plan for action beyond: “We’ll all come back here next year with emissions goals.” No tangible goals were agreed on, nor would I believe those commitments were they made.
With the bang of a gavel, diplomats from nearly 200 countries on Saturday struck a major agreement aimed at intensifying efforts to fight climate change, by calling on governments to return next year with stronger plans to curb their planet-warming emissions and urging wealthy nations to “at least double” funding by 2025 to protect the most vulnerable nations from the hazards of a hotter planet.
. . . . But the agreement established a clear consensus that all nations need to do much more, immediately, to prevent a catastrophic rise in global temperatures. It outlined specific steps the world should take, from slashing global carbon dioxide emissions nearly in half by 2030 to curbing methane, another potent greenhouse gas. And it sets up new rules to hold countries accountable for the progress they make — or fail to make.
Blah, blah, blah, blah, as we’re destroying the planet out of short-sighted greed.
*The hyper-conservative Fifth Circuit Court, a federal appeals court in New Orleans, has overruled Biden’s mandate for vaccination or weekly Covid testing in all business with 100 employees or more. They called Biden’s mandate “fatally flawed and staggeringly overbroad”—in other words, probably unconstitutional:
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which polices workplace safety for the Labor Department, developed the requirements under emergency authority established by Congress. That authority allows the agency to shortcut the process to issue workplace safety and health standards, which normally years.
OSHA can use its emergency authority if the Labor Secretary determines that a new safety or health standard is necessary to protect workers from a “grave danger” posed by a new hazard. The judges on Friday questioned whether Covid poses a grave danger to all the workers covered by the requirements, and argued that OSHA already has tools it can use short of a sweeping emergency safety standard.
This one is headed to the Supreme Court for sure, but they better take it and rule quickly. Lives are at stake here, for we know that the vaccination saves lives and about 1200 people die from the virus every day.
*The Wall Street Journal, whose reports started the downfall of Elizabeth Holmes and her company Theranos, summarizes the first ten weeks of the trial—so far just the prosecution’s case. (The defense will begin soon.) Holmes faces ten counts of wire fraud and two counts of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. So far—and remember that we just know the prosecution’s case—the evidence against Holmes looks strong. It includes the company’s forging of logos from companies like Pfizer to help sell the startup:
Prosecutor Robert Leach showed jurors a document with the Pfizer logo that he said Ms. Holmes portrayed to investors as evidence of the pharmaceutical company’s support. In fact, he said, it was a forged document.
“Pfizer did not write this. Pfizer did not put its logo on this. Pfizer did not give its permission to put its logo on this. Pfizer did not make the conclusions in this report,” Mr. Leach said during opening statements.
Pfizer did have a $900,000 contract before 2009, he said, but after seeing initial reports from Theranos it concluded it had no use for Theranos’s technology and never did business with the company again. A former Pfizer scientist took the stand and confirmed the company didn’t endorse Theranos or give permission to use its logo on any documents.
*Megan McArdle’s op-ed in The Washington Post discusses the challenges facing the newly founded, curriculum-less University of Austin, whose main mission seems to be challenging wokeness. I don’t think that’s sufficient for a university, no matter how many Big Names signed on, and I predict, sadly, that the academics won’t participate in much teaching and that the University will fold. McArdle isn’t very optimistic, either:
In the best possible future, the school overcomes these hurdles through the sheer power of independent thinking, attracting brilliant iconoclasts who go on to success as entrepreneurs or academics, and become walking advertisements for the benefits of liberal education. But in the worst one, the school attracts students and parents who are united less by a love of learning than their passionate hatred for “wokeness” — and then must cater to that market by becoming a funhouse-mirror-image of its worst opponents.
Aaron Hanlon at The New Republic is even more critical, claiming there’s no need that this university fills.
*Essential travel information from HuffPost (click on screenshot). Protip: use your own toilet paper, not the stuff in the lav.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 761,818 an increase of 1,128 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,113,059, an increase of about 6,000 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on November 14 includes:
As I believe I posted recently, a first edition, first printing of this great novel will run you about $65,000. It was first printed in England, where it was titled The Whale.
- 1889 – Pioneering female journalist Nellie Bly (aka Elizabeth Cochrane) begins a successful attempt to travel around the world in less than 80 days. She completes the trip in 72 days.
Here’s a publicity photo taken by the New York World before her trip. She had great trouble landing a job because of her sex, but got attention when, feigning insanity, she got herself admitted to an asylum to report on conditions there (dreadful).
- 1910 – Aviator Eugene Burton Ely performs the first takeoff from a ship in Hampton Roads, Virginia, taking off from a makeshift deck on the USS Birmingham in a Curtiss pusher.
And here’s a picture of that very first takeoff:
- 1922 – The British Broadcasting Company begins radio service in the United Kingdom.
- 1960 – Ruby Bridges becomes the first Black child to attend an all-White elementary school in Louisiana.
Here is a brave little girl. As Wikipedia reports:
The Bridges family suffered for their decision to send her to William Frantz Elementary: her father lost his job as a gas station attendant; the grocery store the family shopped at would no longer let them shop there; her grandparents, who were sharecroppers in Mississippi, were turned off their land; and Abon and Lucille Bridges separated. Bridges has noted that many others in the community, both black and white, showed support in a variety of ways. Some white families continued to send their children to Frantz despite the protests, a neighbor provided her father with a new job, and local people babysat, watched the house as protectors, and walked behind the federal marshals’ car on the trips to school. It was not until Bridges was an adult that she learned that the immaculate clothing she wore to school in those first weeks at Frantz was sent to her family by a relative of Coles. Bridges says her family could never have afforded the dresses, socks, and shoes that are documented in photographs of her escort by U.S. Marshals to and from the school.
Here she is escorted from school by U.S. Marshals. Thank goodness a situation like this wouldn’t occur today: there has been progress! The second photo is Norman Rockwell’s famous Saturday Evening Post cover showing Bridges and her escort:
Rockwell’s 1964 painting “The Problem We All Live With”, which has been criticized, wrongfully, for including the forbidden word:
When he was President, Obama asked for the painting to be borrowed by and displayed in the White House. Here’s Obama and a grown-up Ruby Bridges admiring the painting:
- 1967 – American physicist Theodore Maiman is given a patent for his ruby laser systems, the world’s first laser.
- 1982 – Lech Wałęsa, the leader of Poland’s outlawed Solidarity movement, is released after eleven months of internment near the Soviet border.
- 1991 – American and British authorities announce indictments against two Libyan intelligence officials in connection with the downing of the Pan Am Flight 103.
Only one of these officials was convicted, and he served but ten years before being given “compassionate release” because he supposedly had terminal prostate cancer. He lived a lot longer than expected, dying in 2012.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1765 – Robert Fulton, American engineer, Early steamboat pioneer (d. 1815)
- 1805 – Fanny Mendelssohn, German pianist and composer (d. 1847)
- 1840 – Claude Monet, French painter (d. 1926)
Monet depicted at least one cat: “Cat Sleeping on a Bed” a pastel done in the late 1860s. One reader has a cat named Clawed Monet.
Here’s Nehru with the Nobel-Prize-winning poet and polymath Rabrinath Tagore in 1936:
- 1900 – Aaron Copland, American composer, conductor, and educator (d. 1990)
- 1908 – Joseph McCarthy, American captain, lawyer, and politician (d. 1957)
- 1944 – Karen Armstrong, English author and academic
- 1948 – Charles, Prince of Wales
Those who crossed The Great Divide on November 14 include:
- 1263 – Alexander Nevsky, Russian saint (b. 1220)
- 1716 – Gottfried Leibniz, German mathematician and philosopher (b. 1646)
- 1915 – Booker T. Washington, American educator, essayist and historian (b. 1856)
For several decades Washington was the leader of America’s black community. Here he is giving a speech at Carnegie Hall in 1909:
- 1997 – Eddie Arcaro, American jockey and sportscaster (b. 1916)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej has two cats on his lap!
Szaron: We can’t disturb him.Hili: Why?Szaron: He is reading Paulina’s Master’s thesis.
Szaron: Nie możemy mu przeszkadzać.Hili: Czemu?
Szaron: On czyta pracę magisterską Pauliny.
From Doc Bill:
Also from Facebook:
A tweet from God:
I’m not dead. I’m just old.
— God (@god) March 27, 2021
A tweet sent by Frank:
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) November 9, 2021
From Simon, another comparison of nature with academia:
Collecting swag from companies’ booths at a conference pic.twitter.com/B5ImNGNS1M
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) November 11, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a man who lived about six weeks after arrival.
14 November 1926 | A Dutch Jewish boy, August Schaap, was born in Lathen.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 14, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. There are six tweets in this thread; be sure to read them all—especially the last one:
My Hubbie posted a last desperate plea in a random Iceland Travellers Facebook group for any advice on how we could get Cowie 🐮 back home.
And OMG – we couldn't believe how many kind people got in touch offering to help get Cowie 🐮 back to our daughter!#BringCowieHome
— Chrissie Sains (@CRSains) November 12, 2021
At least it’s not the wrong kind of snow!
Major disruption between Bishops Stortford and Stansted after reports of a big cat on the line. pic.twitter.com/4dtNMHETOH
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) November 13, 2021
And each flag is associated with a substantial number of dead humans. Matthew wants to see a similar map for American ships; I think there would be fewer.
An eye opener. This map of all of the sunken Japanese ships of WWII . pic.twitter.com/XifFbDuGfA
— Chris Bolton (@CcibChris) November 13, 2021
Japanese translation: “May be overweight.” May??
— Keiki FUKUI / 福井敬貴 (@fukuinsect) November 13, 2021