Welcome to Thursday, April 21, 2020. I’m leaving tomorrow afternoon for Tenerife via Madrid, so don’t expect a slew of posts for two weeks. (I have more responsibility on this cruise than on my previous ones.) It’s National Chocolate-Covered Cashews Day (in my view, covering these delicious nuts with chocolate doesn’t enhance them), as well as International Pizza Cake Day (celebrating cakes that look like pizzas), National Ask an Atheist Day, (go ahead!), National Tea Day, Tuna Rights Day, Bulldogs are Beautiful Day (this smacks of special pleading), and Keep off the Grass Day.
For Rastafarians, it’s Grounation Day (see below under 1966)
Here’s a cake that looks like a pizza:
Stuff that happened on April 21 include:
- 753 BC – Romulus founds Rome (traditional date).
- 1509 – Henry VIII ascends the throne of England on the death of his father, Henry VII.
Joos van Cleve was a contemporary of Henry VIII, and may have seen him, but this portrait painted in 1531 was probably not painted with Henry VIII posing for van Cleve:
Henry VIII is a king we should read more about, as he was somewhat of a Renaissance man, wrote music, jousted, and so on, but then there were all the wives he killed, and I can’t get this out of my mind, either (from Wikipedia):
Late in life, Henry became obese, with a waist measurement of 54 inches (140 cm), and had to be moved about with the help of mechanical devices. He was covered with painful, pus-filled boils and possibly suffered from gout. His obesity and other medical problems can be traced to the jousting accident in 1536 in which he suffered a leg wound. The accident reopened and aggravated an injury he had sustained years earlier, to the extent that his doctors found it difficult to treat. The chronic wound festered for the remainder of his life and became ulcerated, preventing him from maintaining the level of physical activity he had previously enjoyed. The jousting accident is also believed to have caused Henry’s mood swings, which may have had a dramatic effect on his personality and temperament.
Covered with pus-filled boils!
- 1789 – John Adams sworn in as 1st US Vice President (nine days before George Washington)
- 1836 – Texas Revolution: The Battle of San Jacinto: Republic of Texas forces under Sam Houston defeat troops under Mexican General Antonio López de Santa Anna.
Houston (below) didn’t die at the Alamo, as many seem to think, but died of old age at 70 (is that old?). The image has been somewhat Photoshopped, as Wikipediia notes:
- 1894 – Norway formally adopts the Krag–Jørgensen bolt-action rifle as the main arm of its armed forces, a weapon that would remain in service for almost 50 years.
And not just in Norway; it was used by the U.S. Army as their standard rifle for 12 yrs, by South Africans in the Boer wars, and by the Danish Army. It was a repeating-action bolt rifle, and a lovely thing (if you like guns. Here’s a prototype, the “försöksmodell 1892”.
- 1898 – Spanish–American War: The United States Navy begins a blockade of Cuban ports. When the U.S. Congress issued a declaration of war on April 25, it declared that a state of war had existed from this date.
- 1918 – World War I: German fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known as “The Red Baron”, is shot down and killed over Vaux-sur-Somme in France.
See below for the remains of his plane. Richthofen was only 25 when he died.
- 1934 – The “Surgeon’s Photograph“, the most famous photo allegedly showing the Loch Ness Monster, is published in the Daily Mail (in 1999, it is revealed to be a hoax).
Here’s that damn photo, which is a fake I’ve seen a gazillion times. It was a toy submarine on which had been fastened a head and neck made of putty. [GCM: see this for earlier treatment of the photo here at WEIT.]
- 1960 – Brasília, Brazil’s capital, is officially inaugurated. At 09:30, the Three Powers of the Republic are simultaneously transferred from the old capital, Rio de Janeiro.
I never understand why the capital was moved to the planned city of Brasilia, located exactly in the middle of nowhere. Perhaps a Brazilian can explain this to me.
- 1966 – Rastafari movement: Haile Selassie of Ethiopia visits Jamaica, an event now celebrated as Grounation Day.
He should have come a day early: on 4/20. Haile Selassie was in Jamaica for just one day, but the Rastas, who regard him as a god, were Haile delighted. They’ve been celebrating Groundation Day ever since. Read about the confusion attending his arrival by plane; he refused to walk on the red carpet:
- 1977 – Annie opens on Broadway.
- 1982 – Baseball: Rollie Fingers of the Milwaukee Brewers becomes the first pitcher to record 300 saves.
He wound up with 341. He wasn’t much as a starter, but excelled as a closer, once winning the Cy Young Award (best pitcher, not often given to a relief pitcher). Here are some career highlights (I saw him play).
- 1989 – Tiananmen Square protests of 1989: In Beijing, around 100,000 students gather in Tiananmen Square to commemorate Chinese reform leader Hu Yaobang.
Remember “Tank Man,” the Chinese protestor who temporarily stopped four Chinese tanks in the Square on June 5 of that year? We still have no idea who he was/is, but this photo has made him immortal
- 2014 – The American city of Flint, Michigan switches its water source to the Flint River, beginning the ongoing Flint water crisis which has caused lead poisoning in up to 12,000 people, and 15 deaths from Legionnaires disease, ultimately leading to criminal indictments against 15 people, five of whom have been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1816 – Charlotte Brontë, English novelist and poet (d. 1855)’
Here’s her most famous work, Jane Eyre (1847), a first edition and first printing in three good-condition volumes. It’s a bargain at just $65,000. It was subtitled an “autobiography” and Brontë used the pseudonym “Currer Bell”:
- 1838 – John Muir, Scottish-American environmentalist and author (d. 1914
We don’t talk about M**r any more, but here’s a good photo of him:
- 1915 – Anthony Quinn, Mexican-American actor (d. 2001)
My favorite line from Anthony Quinn as Auda abu Tayi in Lawrence of Arabia. “I AM A RIVER TO MY PEOPLE”! For years afterwards, my friends and I would say that to each other.
The Queen is 96 today!
- 1947 – Iggy Pop, American singer-songwriter, producer, and actor
A relevant tweet sent by Dr. Cobb:
Iggy Pop 75! pic.twitter.com/xLzPKKhz57
— Maartje Jansma 🎧 (@maartjejan) April 21, 2022
- 1958 – Andie MacDowell, American model, actress, and producer
Those who were judged by St. Peter on April 21 include:
- 1699 – Jean Racine, French playwright and poet (b. 1639)
- 1918 – Manfred von Richthofen, German captain and pilot (b. 1892)
Shot to death in the air, and then his plane crashed. Here’s a photo labeled by Wikipedia, “Australian airmen with Richthofen’s triplane 425/17 after it was looted by souvenir hunters”:
- 1924 – Eleonora Duse, Italian actress (b. 1858)
- 1946 – John Maynard Keynes, English economist and philosopher (b. 1883)
- 2003 – Nina Simone, American singer-songwriter, pianist, and activist (b. 1933)
Allthough Simone didn’t write this song, it’s her favorite of mine. I love the walking piano and the laid-back singing. I first heard in as the background music in a Chanel #5 commercial and thought to myself “What IS that song?” It didn’t take me long to find out.
I’ve only recently begun to appreciate Prince’s guitar work. Here he is with a smoking solo in an all-star performance of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”:
*Here’s the upper-left headline from today’s New York Times (click to read):
And the headlines (2000 fighters remain in the steel plant):
President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said he was giving Ukrainians holed up in a steel plant in the besieged city of Mariupol a chance to surrender, after his defense minister said at a televised meeting that Russia had “liberated” the city.
Mr. Putin sought to claim that Russia had fully taken the port city, in a strategically critical location for Moscow’s fight for control of the eastern Donbas region and its aim to build a land bridge to Crimea. Troops have been fighting for weeks for control of the city, and the last remaining Ukrainian defenders and some civilians have been holding out at the Azovstal Iron and Steel works plant.
Mr. Putin instructed his military to blockade the plant and demand the Ukrainians surrender.
It’s all over for those soldiers (there are civilians and children inside, too). The only question is whether they’ll surrender or fight to the death.
*Here’s another NYT piece, this time about Biden’s infrastructure and social-relief spending (click to read):
The Dems can’t get credit for anything!
Unlike the New Deal, however, this $1.9 trillion federal investment in American communities has barely registered with voters. Rather than a trophy for Mr. Biden and his party, the program has become a case study in how easily voters can overlook even a lavishly funded government initiative delivering benefits close to home.
Mr. Biden’s popularity has declined in polls over the past year, and voters are giving him less credit for the country’s economic recovery than his advisers had anticipated. In Virginia, Democrats got shellacked in the 2021 off-year elections amid the country’s halting emergence from the depths of the pandemic.
Ambivalence among voters stems partly from the fact that many of the projects being funded are, for now, invisible.
I’m no pundit, but perhaps Biden should be calling attention to this stuff. I am worried about November. What if the GOP controls the House, Senate, and Supreme Court? Time to lock ourselves inside with food and a good book!
*Perry Bacon at the Washington Post notes that liberal venues CNN and the NYT (for reasons unknown; perhaps because of centrist pushback) have decided to cover the news more “objectively”—a “both sides” stance. Bacon doesn’t like that, as it seems to conjure up Trump’s hamhanded remarks about the “fine” white supremacists in Charlottesville. He wants the media to be accounted to social media:
Being independent, not doing advocacy, covering hard news and not being overly obsessed with Twitter all sound like generic, noncontroversial notions. But in the context of U.S. news and politics today, these comments have unstated but important meanings. Twitter has become code for “the cultural left” or “highly-educated liberals.” Baquet and Licht want to make clear that their news outlets are not captured by those mind-sets.Disavowing Twitter is a mistake. The platform has empowered people and ideas that couldn’t previously get much traction on CNN, the Times and other mainstream media outlets, which tend to unconsciously promote a “don’t change the status quo too much” centrist approach that is roughly the ideological range between Hillary Clinton on the left and Jeb Bush on the right. Twitter was essential to the rise of Black Lives Matter — and also was a useful platform for former president Donald Trump. Trump is now off Twitter, but it remains a powerful tool for movements and activists, particularly on the left and outside both parties’ establishments.
*The Carroll County (Maryland) school board is debating whether ideological or political symbols can be displayed on school grounds. (h/t Bat)
Community members and schools Superintendent Steven Lockard said that the Pride flags are used to show support for LGBTQ students, but school board members said they believe the flags are political symbols and displaying them in schools goes against the recently revised political neutrality policy of the school system. That policy requires employees to “remain neutral on political issues, parties, and candidates during classroom instruction” and avoid discussing such issues unless they are “aligned with the approved curriculum.”
Much as I support LGBTQ causes, this would open the door to all kinds of political statements, and quell the speech of young folk who disagree. I think Carroll County made the right decision, even if it was out of kindness and support: they’ve enacted a kind of secondary-school Kalven Report.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron is jealous:
Szaron: Your Whiskas is better than mine.Hili: Yours is from the same box.Szaron: Anyhow yours is better.
Szaron: Twoje chrupki są lepsze niż moje.Hili: Twoje są z tego samego pudełka.Szaron: I tak twoje są lepsze.
Here’s Karolina on the windowsill with Kulka.
Caption: Never-ending dialogues with cats:
From Facebook (a statement with which I agree):
God is not saying “no” to drugs:
Here's a little ditty I wrote in honor of the occasion.https://t.co/AnxPgsw1wv
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) April 20, 2022
From my Magical Twitter feed. Yes, this deer is indeed pronking (or stotting), seemingly for joy:
Happy deer.. 😊 pic.twitter.com/ceFgJ3xX4K
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) April 11, 2022
From Simon. I don’t know who this joker is (yes, he’s joking), but he puts on a good rant.
✈️Wheels up for Jesus✈️ pic.twitter.com/A45EjWYhEN
— Brent Terhune (@BrentTerhune) April 19, 2022
From Ginger K. This is one way of looking at wokeness:
Wokeness: forcing the majority to conform to a tiny minority instead of helping the tiny minority to cope with the world.
— Seerut K. Chawla (@seerutkchawla) April 5, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. He’s big on this upcoming series; as he says, “You’ll have to pay to watch the series, but it does look extraordinary. Lots of good paleo folk have been involved in it.” Looks good to me!
Official Trailer – Prehistoric Planet
Experience the world’s most extraordinary creatures like you’ve never seen them before in this five-night documentary event. #PrehistoricPlanet streams May 23 on Apple TV+ https://t.co/A4u7K75heM pic.twitter.com/sB71tNZYhc
— Apple TV+ (@AppleTVPlus) April 20, 2022
I’ve never heard of this drug, but Matthew notes, “Jebus, the trips recounted in this thread! ‘The walls are fucking brown; has nothing on these 5 min experiences!” Remember, the brown wall comment was a profound insight I had when on acid in college, which I wrote down so I could remember later.
I give one tweet about an experience on this stuff. There are more in the thread.
got 5 minutes? wanna experience 80 years as a sentient DVD, imprisoned in an evil dimension of cold geometric chaos and fluctuating gravity, filled with malevolent entities? boy do i have a substance for you!
— special agent mike hunt (@olivesagan) April 7, 2022
Speaking of 4/20:
Medieval marijuana, from a 12th-century medical and herbal collection: https://t.co/MUpkIW7lqH
— Public Domain Review (@PublicDomainRev) April 20, 2022
You call that a good mother duck? Honey sat on SEVENTEEN three years ago: (her brood plus the brood she swiped from Dorothy.