Good morning on the start of a new week, and of summer vacation for many college students (but not ours, who don’t graduate until June): it’s Monday, May 16, 2022: National Barbecue Day! Following only one day after National Buttermilk Biscuit Day, this is a splendid pair of days. And here to whet your appetite are two photos of a meal from Coyne’s Pandemic Texas BBQ tour about a year ago: it’s the famous Black’s giant beef rib, complete with trimmings (including potato salad, pinto beans, raw onion, pickles and a jalapeño corn muffin) from Black’s BBQ in Lockhart, Texas: the BBQ capital of America. (But the best brisket in Texas is not in this town, though Black’s is up there for best BBQ beef rib in America).
*Another day, another mass shooting in America. This time a gunman shot six people yesterday at a church in Laguna Woods, California, killing one and wounding five. Four of those five are in critical condition. A suspect and the putative weapon are in custody.
*The Buffalo terrorist, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who shot ten, is now suspected of strong racist motivation, making his attack a hate crime (remember, he’s still presumed innocent). Gendron not only started live-streaming the attack on the supermarket, but left behind a 180-page racist rant:
. . . the 180-page screed, which authorities are scrutinizing in connection with the massacre, leaves little doubt that the alleged perpetrator, 18-year-old Payton Gendron, belongs to a global fraternity fused by the Internet and fixated on the idea that White people are being intentionally replaced.
*The ruling parties of both Sweden and Finland have approved their countries’ decision to apply for NATO membership.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said their accession would be a “turning point for security” in Europe. “Their membership in NATO would increase our shared security, demonstrate that NATO’s door is open, and that aggression does not pay.”
“We’re now facing a fundamentally changed security environment in Europe,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said. “And when we navigate in this new environment, the fundamental question for us is: How do we best protect Sweden? And the Kremlin has shown that they are prepared to use violence to achieve their political objectives and that they don’t hesitate to take enormous risks.”
“Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine is not only illegal and indefensible, it also undermines the European security order,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said. While the country’s “200-year-long standing policy of military nonalignment has served Sweden well,” the nation now faced a “fundamental change,” she said. “As a member of NATO, Sweden not only achieves more security, but also contributes to more security,” Linde said.
How do you like them apples, Vladimir? The fly in the ointment here is Turkish President Erdogan, who opposes the entry of both countries into NATO, and, since Turkey is itself in NATO, they could block membership. But Erdogan’s reason is risible:
“We are following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we don’t hold positive views,” Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul, adding it had been a mistake for NATO to accept Greece as a member in the past.
“As Turkey, we don’t want to repeat similar mistakes. Furthermore, Scandinavian countries are guesthouses for terrorist organisations,” Erdogan said, without giving details.
“They are even members of the parliament in some countries. It is not possible for us to be in favour,” he added.
*Another heterodox (for the NYT) op-ed: “Let actors act,” by Pamela Paul, who makes the case that we need to stop vetting actors for ethnicity, sex, gender preference, and so on, and stop insisting that every role be played by someone of just the right characteristics:
Good actors are able to find a way to portray people who are not like themselves, whether on the surface or well below, which is what differentiates them from those of us who could barely remember our lines in a fourth-grade production of “A Charlie Brown Christmas.” Acting is a feat of compassion and an act of generosity. Those capable of that kind of emotional ventriloquy enable audiences to find ourselves in the lives portrayed onscreen, no matter how little they may resemble our own.
Bravo to those actors who do that well. Bravo to the talented Adrian Lester, who makes you forget the color of his skin, his nationality and his religion — and gives himself over entirely to his performance. There is no reason for any actor to apologize for exercising and reveling in his craft.
Lester is a Brit who’s the son of two Jamaican parents; he was just nominated for a Tony Award for playing Emanuel Lehman, a German-born Jewish founder of the well known investment firm.
*Oddball news of the day from the Associated Press:
The owner of a rural English pub says he was asked to change the bar’s name by a fashion magazine because of the village where it’s located: Vogue.
Mark Graham, who runs the Star Inn at Vogue, said he received a letter from British Vogue publisher Conde Nast, saying the name could “cause problems” because members of the public might confuse the two businesses.
He said the letter from Sabine Vandenbroucke, chief operating officer of Conde Nast Britain, asked if he would change the name, adding: “Please reply within seven days or we will take remedial action.”
Graham stood his ground.
“There’s always too much a case of the big boys trying to stomp on the little boys, and as soon as I realized what they were trying to do, I went ‘you’re not having me, my handsome,’” he told broadcaster ITV.
Confuse the two businesses? Seriously? Somebody is going to go to the pub looking for fashion tips? If ever there was a case of “punching down,” this is it. Vogue finally admitted that it screwed up.
*A doctor from the Yale School of Medicine outlines the promises of a “nasal spray vaccine” for covid, which involves spraying the spike protein right into the nose. It’s not a cure-all, as we need to develop vaccines against a broader array of viruses (there’s still not one against the omicron variant), but it could be a substantial improvement in the prevention of infectin.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is eating her way through the phylogenetic tree:
A: What are you thinking about?Hili: About a missing link.A: Which one?Hili: The one I ate.
Ja: Nad czym myślisz?Hili: Nad brakującym ogniwem.Ja: Którym?Hili: Tym, które zjadłam.
And here’s a picture of Kulkawith a caption. It’s for the departed Karolina. Malgorzata explains:
“And a picture of Kulka, because Karolina is going to look for her”.
(In Polish: “Jeszcze Kulka, bo Karolina będzie jej szukać.”)
Yes, the visitors are gone. Paulina and her husband took Karolina and her mother to the Wroclawek station on the first step to Kyev (they’re home now). Here’s a photo of Karolina and Paulina at the train station, with this caption written by Adrzej and translated by Malgorzata. (Paulina and Mariusz got caught on the train to help Karolina and Natasza with their baggage, but the train it started as they were moving the luggage, and Paulina and Mariusz had to ride one stop. It took them four hours to get back!
Caption: Our girls are now safe at home. Natasza wrote from Kiev (and from there they drove home with her sister). It was not without adventures, because Paulina and Mariusz took them to the station and, wanting to help, they got into the train. (they didn’t have time to get out and had to go with them all the way to Kutno :)) Below is a photo of Paulina with Karolina at the station in Włoclawek.
Anna, a physical chemist, sent me this cover from the latest issue of Portal, the magazine of Potsdam University in Germany. She says it’s not satirical but serious:
Otters getting a treat (sound on):
From The Catspotting Society:
And another cat contribution, this time from Jean. It’s a New Yorker cartoon by Elizabeth McNair:
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) April 28, 2022
This kid fails the gum equivalent of “the Stanford marshmallow test” about delayed gratification:
Her face… 😂 pic.twitter.com/HaxsHNvpFo
— ✊🏾 (@universalxpics) May 6, 2022
From Gravelinspector. What twisted mind conceived this display?
Via Reddit /r/oddlyterrifying (you don't say!) pic.twitter.com/Atc7524RFU
— Charlie Stross (@cstross) April 28, 2022
Simon wonders whether this is tool use by a d*g. It really isn’t, but it is a very clever rearrangement of the environment.
Very clever escape artist…🐕🐾🚧🤯😅 pic.twitter.com/ExDMpedjDr
— 𝕐o̴g̴ (@Yoda4ever) May 14, 2022
From Barry, who wonders what the duck is doing in there. This guy makes funny and gonzo videos, so who knows?
This is a full feature length film’s worth of narrative packed into a 30 second video. The duck wins the award for best supporting role. pic.twitter.com/cUeoZK2bK6
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) May 14, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
16 May 1933 | A Dutch Jewish girl, Debora Bobbe, was born in The Hague.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) May 16, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. Interspecies sport!
This dachshund and tortoise playing football is the start to your weekend that you didn't know you needed.
📹: YouTube Rudy Janssens pic.twitter.com/sKH0SWlSBH
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) May 14, 2022
One of Matthew’s beloved optical illusions:
the top and bottom chess sets are the same colour pic.twitter.com/U38Rlo5W3v
— Tom Chivers (@TomChivers) May 13, 2022
Oh my god that’s terrifying. Almost as creepy as a panoramic x-ray of a child’s adult teeth about to grow in. pic.twitter.com/4osQXTYcBx
— Andrew ZC 🇺🇦 (@andrewzc) May 12, 2022