Good morning on púpos nap, or “hump day, as they say in Hungarian. It’s Wednesday February 16, 2022: National Almond Day. Watch for cyanide!
It’s also Kyoto Protocol Day (it took effect on this day in 2005), Tim Tam Day (a great candy bar from Australia), Elizabeth Peratrovich Day (in Alaska), a woman who worked for indigenous rights, and, in North Korea, the Day of the Shining Star (Kim Jong-il’s Birthday in 1942). Wikipedia says this about that:
According to legend, a bright star appeared on the sky the night [Kim Jong-Il] was born, and guerrilla fighters carved messages on trees proclaiming: “Three Heroes Shining in Korea with the Spirit of Mount Paekdu: Kim Il Sung, Kim Chŏng-suk, and Kwangmyŏngsŏng (‘The Bright Star’)” and “Oh! Korea! The Paekdu Star Was Born!”
Here’s a propaganda poster of the baby Kim Jong-Il, and a real treat, a Tim Tam:
A kind reader sent me some Tim Tams, and I verified the suggestion that they’re good for using as straws to suck up hot coffee or tea:
News of the Day:
*It’s been a decade since the Sandy Hook school shooting in Connecticut took 26 young lives 6 adult lives. And it’s been seven years since the families of the victims filed a lawsuit against Remington, the company that made the Bushmaster AR-15 style rifle used by 20 year old murderer Adam Lanza. Now bankrupt, Remington, its lawyers, and its insurers will have to pay $73 million dollars to the plaintiffs and their lawyers:
The families sued Remington in 2014, alleging it should be held partially responsible for the shooting because of its marketing strategy. A 2005 federal law protects many gun manufacturers from wrongful death lawsuits brought by family members — but the marketing argument was a new approach.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs contended that the company marketed rifles by extolling the militaristic qualities of the rifle and reinforcing the image of a combat weapon — in violation of a Connecticut law that prevents deceptive marketing practices.
. . .The families have also “obtained and can make public thousands of pages of internal company documents that prove Remington’s wrongdoing and carry important lessons for helping to prevent future mass shootings,” the plaintiffs’ attorneys said in a news release.
“We established what was clearly true … the immunity protecting the gun industry is not bulletproof,” plaintiffs’ attorney Josh Koskoff said in a news conference in Trumbull, Connecticut. “We hope they realize they have skin in the game, instead of blaming literally everybody else.”
This is a historic win that, while not doing a lot to curb the dissemination of guns, will certainly affect gun-company advertising and perhaps cut down a bit on America’s horrific epidemic of mass shootings. It’s the first time a gun manufacturer has been held responsible for illegal use of its weapons (the charge was misleading advertising).
*Imagine thinking that you’ve been washed in the blood of the lamb, only to find out it was sewer water. Well, that’s the equivalent situation, according to NPR, of a number of Catholics. A priest in Arizona has been baptizing RONG for many years, using words that, in effect, make the receiver UNBAPTIZED! And the miscreant priest did it wrong for 26 years (h/t Keith):
The Catholic Diocese of Phoenix announced on its website that it determined after careful study that the Rev. Andres Arango had used the wrong wording in baptisms performed up until June 17, 2021. He had been off by a single word.
During baptisms in both English and Spanish, Arango used the phrase “we baptize you in the Name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” He should have said “I baptize,” the diocese explained.
*In his column in yesterday’s NYT, “Yes, some musicals are unwoke. That’s not a writ to rewrite them,” John McWhorter criticizes the new “Encores!” program at the New York City Center, whose purpose is to re-stage older plays. And, as expected, the old plays are getting an ideological makeover. In “The Tap Dance Kid,” for instance, a character whose woes (and songs) depend on her being overweight, has now become skinny. That changes the gestalt of the character, but at least avoids fat-shaming!
McWhorter will have almost none of this ideological disinfecting, and says this:
Of course, the world will keep spinning if New Yorkers like me don’t get to have their Encores! fix a few times a year — I won’t be attending re-examinations, as opposed to reproductions, of old musicals. But this regime change is symptomatic of something that has acquired ever stronger purchase in the arts in recent years. There is a growing mood that seems to see almost anything created longer than about 10 minutes ago as a suspicious token of a noninclusive past.
. . .It’s bad enough that on the political right, a degree of comfort with book-banning seems to be taking hold. An idea from the left that good art must seek social justice strikes me as a not entirely different quest to erase the past.
Some might think I’m overreacting, but this is a pattern: If old musicals are problematic, if the mechanics of European music theory are tagged as intrinsically white, if several Dr. Seuss books have to be withdrawn from publication, how long will it be before we’re encouraged to reject almost any movie from before, say, 1960 as irredeemable in its reflection of a society in which white hegemony was unquestioned?
There is a short step from this to evaluating art more for its effectiveness in questioning abuses of power than its aesthetic value.
But of course that’s precisely what these Leisure Fascists want!
*His reputation in tatters, and more or less de-Royaled, Prince Andrew finally reached a settlement yesterday with Virginia Giuffre, one of the underaged girls recruited by Jeffrey Epstein to have sex with his pals. She claimed that she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew in at least three places when she was 17 years old. The settlement is undisclosed, and Andrew doesn’t admit guilt, but it at least keeps him from the embarrassment of a public trial. All signs are that he did engage in a sex-trafficking scheme, and he’ll be lucky if he can show his face at Buckingham Palace any longer. The Queen doesn’t like that stuff!
*One of the few things that makes me glad I’m not immortal is that I won’t be around when the world, engaged in the tragedy of the commons, begins dying from global warming. It’s almost at the point where it can’t be stopped, and remember all the animal and plant species that we’ll take down with us. A new report gives some dire news: in the next three decades we’ll see as much rise in sea level as in the whole 20th century. From the AP:
America’s coastline will see sea levels rise in the next 30 years by as much as they did in the entire 20th century, with major Eastern cities hit regularly with costly floods even on sunny days, a government report warns.
By 2050, seas lapping against the U.S. shore will be 10 to 12 inches (0.25 to 0.3 meters) higher, with parts of Louisiana and Texas projected to see waters a foot and a half (0.45 meters) higher, according to a 111-page report issued Tuesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and six other federal agencies.
“Make no mistake: Sea level rise is upon us,” said Nicole LeBoeuf, director of NOAA’s National Ocean Service.
The projected increase is especially alarming given that in the 20th century, seas along the Atlantic coast rose at the fastest clip in 2,000 years.
LeBoeuf warned that the cost will be high, pointing out that much of the American economy and 40% of the population are along the coast.
However, the worst of the long-term sea level rise from the melting of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland probably won’t kick in until after 2100, said ocean service oceanographer William Sweet, the report’s lead author.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 923,809, an increase of 2,328 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,858,921, an increase of about 11,800 over yesterday’s total.
Here is the U.S. running weekly average of total reported cases; the decline of the surge is quite clear:
Stuff that happened on February 16 include:
- 1899 – Iceland’s first football club, Knattspyrnufélag Reykjavíkur, is founded.
Here’s a 1912 match in Iceland:
Here’s Carter and assistant examining the innermost of King Tut’s coffins, followed by a photo of King Tut’s mummified head. He suffered from many ailments before he died at about 18, including a clubfoot, scoliosis, and repeated bouts of malaria; and he walked with a cane.
Here he is with nylon. He had a turbulent life, with affairs, divorces, and wound up committing suicide by ingesting “chemicals”:
- 1945 – The Alaska Equal Rights Act of 1945, the first anti-discrimination law in the United States, was signed into law.
See Elizabeth Peratrovich Day above.
- 1959 – Fidel Castro becomes Premier of Cuba after dictator Fulgencio Batista was overthrown on January 1.
Triumphant, Castro and Che enter Havana in January:
- 1968 – In Haleyville, Alabama, the first 9-1-1 emergency telephone system goes into service.
- 1978 – The first computer bulletin board system is created (CBBS in Chicago).
- 2005 – The Kyoto Protocol comes into force, following its ratification by Russia.
- 2006 – The last Mobile army surgical hospital (MASH) is decommissioned by the United States Army.
Here’s a real MASH unit in Korea; caption from Wikipedia:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1822 –
Francis Galton,English biologist and statistician (d. 1911)
- 1834 – Ernst Haeckel, German biologist, physician, and philosopher (d. 1919)
Haeckel at 26. He coined the terms “ecology”, “phylum”, “Protista” and “phylogeny”:
- 1848 – Hugo de Vries, Dutch botanist, geneticist, and academic (d. 1935)
- 1926 – Margot Frank, German-Dutch holocaust victim (d. 1945)
The Auschwitz Memorial’s remembrance of Margot on her birthday:
16 February 1926 | A German Jewish girl Margot Frank, Anna's older sister, was born in Frankfurt. She and her family went into hiding in Amsterdam. After being arrested they were deported with their parents to #Auschwitz. The sisters perished in Bergen-Belsen. pic.twitter.com/tkgsY3NFKH
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) February 16, 2022
- 1935 – Sonny Bono, American actor, singer, and politician (d. 1998)
- 1941 – Kim Jong-il, North Korean commander and politician, 2nd Supreme Leader of North Korea (d. 2011)
- 1958 – Natalie Angier, American author
- 1989 – Elizabeth Olsen, American actress
Those who dropped from the Tree of Life on February 16 include:
- 1996 – Brownie McGhee, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1915)
- 2001 – William Masters, American gynecologist and sexologist (b. 1915)
The sexperts: Masters and Johnson (she was the first to document the female multiple orgasm):
- 2015 – Lesley Gore, American singer-songwriter (b. 1946)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej are having a philosophical discussion (Hili doesn’t drink):
Hili: In vino veritas.A: Is it theology or philosophy?Hili: That’s what I wanted to ask about.
Hili: In vino veritas.Ja: To teologia, czy filozofia?Hili: Właśnie o to chciałam zapytać.
From Bruce: This is why I wouldn’t necessarily want to live in Australia
From Divy: Appropriate candy hearts for your cats to give on Valentine’s Day:
From Anna, who loves cats:
Today’s tweet from Titania:
Kudos to the Canadian government for invoking emergency powers to stop the trucker protest. 👏✊🇨🇦
I can think of no greater emergency than when working-class people won’t do what they’re told. https://t.co/27HUg2l5fB
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) February 15, 2022
From Ginger K.:
Jewish people were held hostage in a Synagogue for ten hours and half of Twitter is talking about Islamophobia and the other half is on about white supremacy.
— Yasmine Mohammed 🦋 ياسمين محمد (@YasMohammedxx) January 16, 2022
From Simon, another academic take on video memes. But really, it’s NOBEL prize!
When the person who made the original discovery gets left out of the Noble prizepic.twitter.com/8t1pwEGkjk
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) February 12, 2022
Another from the Auschwitz Memorial:
Two pictures of the same man – as a pre-war actor and as a prisoner of #Auschwitz from 19 November 1942 (no. 76174).
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) February 16, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. The first one has good practical advice:
it’s dangerous to go alone, take this pic.twitter.com/ZRNRkMMkv7
— Roxy (@RoxyTall) February 13, 2022
I probably should read some Wodehouse. My Brit friends all like him, but maybe it’s a British thing.
I reached out a hand from under the blankets, and rang the bell for Jeeves.
'Good evening, Jeeves.'
'Good morning, sir'
This surprised me.
The opening lines of The Code of the Woosters.
Unimprovable. The witty genius of simplicity.
— Tom Connor (@TomConnor97) February 14, 2022
I presume they’re talking about Darwin’s son here, as Twain had no sons:
Random fact of the evening's research: Darwin met Mark Twain, in August of 1879, in the hallway at the Waterhead Hotel (now the Coniston Inn) in the Lake District. His son recounted that he “found him amusing & interesting tho' not the least a joker.”
— Charles Pence (@pencechp) February 13, 2022
Live and learn what a “skeumorph” is:
— duffaluffaguss.eth (@Duffaluffaguss) February 14, 2022