Welcome to the week’s terminus: Friday January 14, 2022. We missed a Friday the Thirteenth by one day. That was a squeaker! And it’s one of the best food days: Pastrami Sandwich Day! You can’t get ’em any bigger than at Harold’s New York Deli in Edison, New Jersey. (There’s even a bread bar to make extra sandwiches.) This restaurant is definitely on my bucket list. Their pastrami sandwich (God bless America!):
And remember, don’t go saying “that’s too big.” You can always get extra bread and schlep.
It’s also Take a Missionary to Lunch Day (“Have you heard the good news about tacos?”), Feast of the Ass (the donkey), National Pothole Day (in the UK, but we need it in the US), Caesarian Section Day (?), International Kite Day, National Dress Up Your Pet Day, Ratification Day (Treaty of Paris, 1784), and World Logic Day.
News of the Day:
*By a 6-3 vote on ideological lines, the U.S. Supreme Court overruled Biden’s mandate of vaccination/testing for all workers in business with more than 100 employees. Their decision was based on the Justices’ argument that OHSHA had no authority to order such a mandate. However, by a 5-4 vote (with Robert and Kavanaugh joining liberals, the Court upheld the requirement of mandatory vaccination for workers in health care facilities receiving federal money (Medicare/Medicaid). Whether the first decision has strong legal grounding is a question about my pay grade.
*Democrats are going to be mad as hell now that both Kyrsten Sinema and Joe Manchin have come out against eliminating the Senate filibuster for the voting-rights bill passed by the House. Well, Sinema made a speech in the Senate against changing the rules, and Manchin supported her. That bill now appears to be DOA. Biden can’t catch a break these days, what with the BBB bill in limbo, the voting rights bill joining it, higher inflation, and now the Supremes rejecting his attempts to stem the pandemic. Here’s Synema on the Senate floor explaining her decision.
*As I predicted (WHO’S a good boy?), the Queen has come down hard on Prince Andrew, who’s fighting accusations that he had a liaison with one of Jeffrey Epstein’s underage sex slaves. The Firm stripped Andrew of all his military titles and charities, and can no longer be called “”His Royal Highness” in any official capacity, though he was born with that title. I guess he’ll have to change the pronouns on his Facebook page to “he/him”.
*The other day I wrote about the man who received the heart of genetically modified pig. It was a tour de force, and I think the guy is still alive. However, as the Washington Post reports, the transplant recipient turns out to be a guy who committed a serious crime. To some, that gives them second thoughts. (h/t Christopher):
What a great breakthrough for science, Downey thought, reading the headline. Then her phone pinged again.
“Mommmmmmm,” Downey’s daughter wrote. She told her to look at the man’s name.
Downey froze. The man being heralded as a medical pioneer, David Bennett Sr., was the same man who had been convicted in 1988 of stabbing her younger brother seven times, leaving him paralyzed. Edward Shumaker had spent the next 19 years using a wheelchair, before he had a stroke in 2005 and died two years later — one week before his 41st birthday.
“Ed suffered,” said Downey, who lives in Frederick, Md. “The devastation and the trauma, for years and years, that my family had to deal with.” After Bennett got out of prison, she said, he “went on and lived a good life. Now he gets a second chance with a new heart — but I wish, in my opinion, it had gone to a deserving recipient.”
In my view, Bennett is just as deserving as anyone else. (Of course there are some exceptions, like a person with terminal cancer who has just weeks to live. Someone with better prospects would better deserve a transplant). Bennett paid his debt to society and now he’s ill and wants to live. If his slate has been wiped clear with respect to the law, why should he be passed over?
*Reader Ken provides us with another news item, with a link:
A Washington, DC, federal grand jury has indicted 11 people, including the founder of the Oath Keepers, on charges including conspiracy to commit sedition. Here’s the Justice Department’s News Release regarding today’s unsealing of the indictments.
The salient bits from the DOJ:
The seditious conspiracy indictment alleges that, following the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election, Rhodes conspired with his co-defendants and others to oppose by force the execution of the laws governing the transfer of presidential power by Jan. 20, 2021. Beginning in late December 2020, via encrypted and private communications applications, Rhodes and various co-conspirators coordinated and planned to travel to Washington, D.C., on or around Jan. 6, 2021, the date of the certification of the electoral college vote, the indictment alleges. Rhodes and several co-conspirators made plans to bring weapons to the area to support the operation. The co-conspirators then traveled across the country to the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area in early January 2021.
. . . The charge of seditious conspiracy carries a statutory maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. A federal district court judge will determine any sentence after considering the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
*Now that I’m writing about the Antipodes, I’m getting a fair amount of email from New Zealanders, and so will report some “news” that one of them sent me. This article comes from the New Zealand Herald, reported to me as New Zealand’s equivalent of the NYT: its “senior newspaper”. Click on the screenshot:
A celebrity astrologer has claimed Prince Harry’s connection with Meghan Markle gave him the strength to step down from royal duties.
In People TV’s Celebrity Astrology Investigation, available to stream on Flash, host Aliza Kelly read the couple’s star charts and observed how the Suits actress gave the royal a different point of view.
“The introduction of Meghan into his life opened his eyes because Meghan comes from such a different background,” Kelly explained on the programme.
“He started to see the world from a different point of view; this exposed his chart to a different perspective.
“He didn’t have the scope to access his full potential without Meghan.”
DUHHH! You don’t have to consult star charts to see this. In fact, hasn’t Prince Harry said something like this himself? If not, it’s surely been bruited about in the news.
From Bruce via Lonely Planet: a restauranteur in Tokyo has founded an eatery called “The Restaurant of Mistaken Orders,” and its waitstaff are all people with dementia. That means that your order is likely to go wrong, or be delivered to someone else. But this isn’t a joke; the place is designed to help people understand those living with dementia:
The restaurant is a stylish and fashionable place where “everything on the menu tastes delicious,” so you don’t have to worry about whether or not you’ll enjoy the mistaken order brought to you. Ever since the restaurant’s first event, staff calculated that 37% of orders are generally mistaken, but 99% of the customers “declared themselves happy,” as well as believing that this concept might really help in understanding dementia patients better.
*Bari Weiss, whose Substack I’ll soon be leaving, still has an occasional piece I’ll read, like this new one, which is not by Weiss but is a letter from a Canadian journalist, Tara Henley, who worked for the CBC. As she writes plaintively:
When I started at the national public broadcaster in 2013, the network produced some of the best journalism in the country. By the time I resigned last month, it embodied some of the worst trends in mainstream media. In a short period of time, the CBC went from being a trusted source of news to churning out clickbait that reads like a parody of the student press.
. . . It used to be that I was the one furthest to the left in any newsroom, occasionally causing strain in story meetings with my views on issues like the housing crisis. I am now easily the most conservative, frequently sparking tension by questioning identity politics. This happened in the span of about 18 months. My own politics did not change.
. . .To work at the CBC now is to accept the idea that race is the most significant thing about a person, and that some races are more relevant to the public conversation than others. It is, in my newsroom, to fill out racial profile forms for every guest you book; to actively book more people of some races and less of others.
To work at the CBC is to submit to job interviews that are not about qualifications or experience — but instead demand the parroting of orthodoxies, the demonstration of fealty to dogma.
The upshot is that Henley quit the CBC and is now writing her own Substack column, “Lean Out,” which you can read and subscribe to here.
*Over at Tablet, Wilfred Reilly introduces the new LGBTQ+++++ flag, with lots of added groups, and makes a few pungent comments on the tenets of Kendi-an, “antiracism,” which you can read and judge for yourself. First, the flag:
I recently saw that something called the Intersex Inclusion Campaign introduced a new “intersex inclusive pride progress flag,” which is the old LGBT pride flag altered from six bars to 12, with the bonus introduction of triangles and a circle. I learned that these fresh shapes and colors symbolize not only the transgender community and the intersex people once crudely called hermaphrodites, but also Black people, Hispanics, and other “brown” folx. In an unforgettable piece of symbolism, the new identity markers now take up more than half the old pride flag, swooping into it (from the left, naturally) in a wedge shaped vaguely like a boar’s head. “A bit invasive,” I thought.
Reilly goes on to set out the three tenets of “shared oppression” that are symbolized by the flat, and then to criticize them. You can read that bit for yourself. I still want a Star of David inside the circle. Who over the past two millennia has been more oppressed than the Jews?
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 845,577, an increase of 1,873 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,540,911, an increase of about 8,400 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 14 includes:
- 1639 – The “Fundamental Orders”, the first written constitution that created a government, is adopted in Connecticut.
- 1784 – American Revolutionary War: Ratification Day, United States – Congress ratifies the Treaty of Paris with Great Britain.
- 1900 – Giacomo Puccini‘s Tosca opens in Rome.
A great aria from that opera: “Vissi d’Arte,” sung by my favorite soprano, Dame Kiri:
- 1911 – Roald Amundsen‘s South Pole expedition makes landfall on the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.
They made it—and a month ahead of Scott, whose team, distraught that the Norwegians had “pipped them to the post”, despondently raised the British flag. All of Scott’s team of five died on the way back, but all five Norwegians (below, at the pole; one must be taking the photo) made it back safely:
- 1939 – Norway claims Queen Maud Land in Antarctica.
In reality, nobody should be claiming Antarctica, and nobody takes those claims seriously. Here’s Queen Maud Land, a big slice of Antarctica for a small country:
- 1967 – Counterculture of the 1960s: The Human Be-In takes place in San Francisco, California’s Golden Gate Park, launching the Summer of Love.
Here are some signs of the Be-In. Who do you recognize?
- 1973 – Elvis Presley‘s concert Aloha from Hawaii is broadcast live via satellite, and sets the record as the most watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history.
Here’s Elvis singing “See See Rider” from that concert:
Notables born on this day include:
- 83 BC – Mark Antony, Roman general and politician (d. 30 BCE)
- 1741 – Benedict Arnold, American-British general (d. 1801)
- 1836 – Henri Fantin-Latour, French painter and lithographer (d. 1904)
Here’s one of his paintings, “Portrait of Charlotte Dubourg” (1882):
Schweitzer was a cat-lover, as you can see from this picture; only a true ailurophile lets the kitty on the table:
- 1896 – John Dos Passos, American novelist, poet, and playwright (d. 1970)
- 1919 – Andy Rooney, American soldier, journalist, critic, and television personality (d. 2011)
- 1925 – Yukio Mishima, Japanese author, poet, and playwright (d. 1970)
- 1928 – Garry Winogrand, American photographer and author (d. 1984)
Winogrand was a great street photographer; here’s one of his shots:
- 1940 – Julian Bond, American academic and politician (d. 2015)
- 1941 – Faye Dunaway, American actress and producer
Dunaway in “Bonnie and Clyde”:
- 1944 – Marjoe Gortner, American actor and evangelist
- 1952 – Sydney Biddle Barrows, American businesswoman and author
Businesswoman, indeed, but don’t you remember her as “The Mayflower Madam”? Not that was the business for which she was famous.
- 1952 – Maureen Dowd, American journalist and author
Mo! Too snarky for my taste, but still worth reading on occasion:
Those who shot their bolt on January 14 include:
- 1742 – Edmond Halley, English astronomer, geophysicist, mathematician, meteorologist, and physicist (b. 1656)
- 1898 – Lewis Carroll, English novelist, poet, and mathematician (b. 1832)
Here’s Carroll in 1857, sporting a strange hairstyle:
- 1957 – Humphrey Bogart, American actor (b. 1899)
Here’s Bogart and Lauren Bacall (who, by the way, was 100% Jewish and only 20 in this scene) in their famous “whistle” scene from “To Have and Have Not”:
- 1977 – Anaïs Nin, French-American essayist and memoirist (b. 1903)
- 1978 – Kurt Gödel, Austrian-American mathematician and philosopher (b. 1906)
Here’s a photo from the Financial Times captioned: “Kurt Gödel receives the first Albert Einstein Award with physicist Julian Schwinger as trustee Lewis Strauss looks on, 1951.”
- 2006 – Shelley Winters, American actress (b. 1920)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is showing off again. I don’t know how her face got this messed up!
Paulina: What are you doing?Hili: I’m revealing my tigery nature.(Photo: Paulina R.)
Paulina: Co ty robisz?Hili: Ujawniam moją tygrysią naturę.(Zdjęcie: Paulina R.)
From Laurie Ann on Facebook. I believe I posted the top version, but the wags of Facebook have added more. (And if you’re too young to know the song referred to, it’s here.)
From Matthew, a demonstration of how sparsely population Australia is:
From Dom, who’s clearly spent some time in pubs:
Scientists say the universe is constantly expanding, which is why it always takes longer to walk home from the pub than to get there.
— paul bassett davies (@thewritertype) January 8, 2022
From Simon, who opines, “This seems reasonable”:
— BunglesAstroImaging (@BungsAstroPics) January 13, 2022
From Ginger K. It’s clear from this video (and the courageous teacher) that “women’s education” under the Taliban in Afghanistan stops at the end of primary school. There is not yet (and likely will never be) formal secondary-school or university eduction in Afghanistan so long as these Islamist fanatics are in charge.
When the Taliban began restricting access to secondary schools for Afghan girls, this teacher started 'underground' classes to provide STEM education pic.twitter.com/fUvwnKmI2R
— NowThis (@nowthisnews) December 16, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. I like the look of this cat!
Place it, and he shall come. pic.twitter.com/gMJBM2er7p
— Dick King-Smith HQ (@DickKingSmith) August 17, 2020
Physics always Amazed us pic.twitter.com/FzOS8Wfg3T
— Physics & Astronomy Zone (@zone_astronomy) January 13, 2022
I’m sure I retweeted this, but can’t remember whether I posted it here, and can’t be arsed to find out. Here it is (again):
The “Dance of the thousand-hand Quanyin” is possibly the most famous and most spectacular visual display in which geometry and synchronization create a kind of effective optical illusion [read more: https://t.co/hSrlkKPjUr] [video: https://t.co/9QujmQrOmD] pic.twitter.com/aptynDfzwL
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) January 1, 2022
Believe me, I’d do the same thing, too, though I’d squeeze more ducks!
— Pedro Hin (@PedroHin) December 30, 2021
In May 2021, a Montenegrin citizen reported that he feels strange after eating bananas from the local supermarket named "Voli", alleging that they contain cocaine. The story was ridiculed in public. Today, Voli employees discovered 400 kilos of cocaine in the company's storage. pic.twitter.com/GQuc9gPQEp
— Milena Muk (@Milenitsa) January 12, 2022