The bad news is that it’s Monday; the good news is that, in America at least, we get the day off because it’s Memorial Day Weekend. (Next week the UK has two days off for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee). It’s Monday, May 30, 2022: National Mint Julep Day. An indigenous American drink, it’s one of the best when made properly, including good bourbon and fresh mint.
Things that happened on May 30 include:
- 1431 – Hundred Years’ War: In Rouen, France, the 19-year-old Joan of Arc is burned at the stake by an English-dominated tribunal. The Roman Catholic Church remembers this day as the celebration of Saint Joan of Arc.
- 1536 – King Henry VIII of England marries Jane Seymour, a lady-in-waiting to his first two wives.
She was queen for only 1.5 years, dying in childbirth.
A portrait of Seymour by Hans Holdbein the Younger.
Both men were hit in the chest, but Jackson survived.
- 1842 – John Francis attempts to murder Queen Victoria as she drives down Constitution Hill in London with Prince Albert.
Victoria, Albert, and their kids:
- 1899 – Pearl Hart, a female outlaw of the Old West, robs a stage coach 30 miles southeast of Globe, Arizona.
Hart (below) served three years in prison. Also shown is her gun, a Colt 45. She was the only female stagecoach robber in Arizona history.
- 1911 – At the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the first Indianapolis 500 ends with Ray Harroun in his Marmon Wasp becoming the first winner of the 500-mile auto race.
Here’s the victorious Wasp, having won the race with an average speed of about 75 miles per hour. You can still see the car at the museum at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The device affixed to the hood in front of the steering wheel is the rear-view mirror.
- 1943 – The Holocaust: Josef Mengele becomes chief medical officer of the Zigeunerfamilienlager (Romani family camp) at Auschwitz concentration camp.
Mengele (below) eluded attempts of Mossad to capture him in South America, and drowned after suffering a stroke while swimming in 1979. Here’s a photo from his 1956 Argentinian ID document, which used his real name. Let’s ask the theologians why God never punished him—at least while was alive!
- 2020 – The Crew Dragon Demo-2 launches from the Kennedy Space Center, becoming the first crewed orbital spacecraft to launch from the United States since 2011.
A video; the mission took two astronauts to the ISS and then back again.
*Don’t forget about Ukraine, which is not doing all that well (EU leaders are meeting this week in hopes of firming up a unified strategy against Russia). Here’s a summary from the NYT:
As Russian forces kept up their relentless offensive on Monday against the eastern city that has become the focus of their campaign in Ukraine, European Union leaders prepared to meet in Brussels for a two-day summit that will test whether they can maintain their unity on the conflict in the face of fresh challenges.
The battered city of Sievierodonetsk has been in Russia’s cross hairs for weeks, pounded by the full might of Moscow’s artillery. Russian forces are now advancing from two sides on the outskirts of the city as President Vladimir V. Putin, stung by repeated setbacks in the first months of the war, seeks to extend Russia’s territory in a part of the eastern Donbas region where it already holds substantial ground.
In Brussels, the leaders of the 27 E.U. nations will try once more to agree on additional sanctions against Russia, including an oil embargo. Hungary has been holding up a proposal to halt Russian oil imports for weeks. How to organize the export of Ukrainian grain is also on the agenda, a task crucial to averting a global food crisis.
*Congress is deadlocked on legislation for gun control, although I had hopes that minimal reform might occur, like raising the age of gun purchases from 18 to 21. No dice. And yet the same bodies successfully voted to raise the age of purchasing TOBACCO from 18 to 21. It’s hopeless, and even Democrats aren’t united about what should be done. (Republicans, of course, are hpeless.) In lieu of federal action, the NYT reports that states are picking up the slack, but only Democratic-controlled states:
But states aren’t waiting.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy urged lawmakers to advance firearms safety measures, including raising the age to 21 for purchases of long guns and exposing gun makers to civil lawsuits.
In New York — where an 18-year-old in Buffalo was charged two weeks ago with committing a racist mass shooting — Gov. Kathy Hochul said she would seek to ban people under 21 from purchasing AR-15-style rifles.
And in California — where a politically motivated mass shooting erupted at a luncheon of older churchgoers this month — legislative leaders and Gov. Gavin Newsom fast-tracked tougher controls on firearms.
We’ll see if any of this legislation gets passed, but Republican states are of course doing nothing:
In Republican-controlled statehouses, however, the moves evoked an equal and opposite reaction. A day after Uvalde, rural conservatives in Pennsylvania and Michigan beat back Democratic attempts to force votes on long-blocked gun safety legislation.
And in Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott and other Republican officials blamed the school massacre on a gunman with mental health problems, not gun laws. They accused Democrats of politicizing the situation with calls for gun control.
“Anybody who shoots somebody else has a mental health challenge, period,” Mr. Abbott said a day after the Uvalde shooting.
Abbott is a moron. Plenty of people who go on to kill others would, before the murders, have not been classified with a mental disorder.
*The NYT has an interactive and informative timeline about how the Texas school shooting proceeded: “”78 long minutes“. Warning: it will make you angry.
*Speaking of which, here’s a four-year-old Facebook post of the Uvalde Police Department, wearing the body armor they didn’t want to dent:
*The Wall Street Journal presents the depressing but practical guide, “The worst-case scenario guide to summer travel.” Coyne’s tip: avoid rental cars at all costs (and there are no “small” costs). Not only have the prices skyrocketed during the pandemic, but very often your confirmed reservation will not get you a car because companies have overbooked. Also, airline cancellations are skyrocketing, and it ain’t just because of the weather.
*For your holiday reading pleasure, the NYT has a list and precis of “88 books to bring your summer alive.” But the categories alone show that this is a fluff list (fiction is “science fiction and fantasy” and “gothic an horror”), and I couldn’t find much to pique my interest. Some may be good for the beach, I suppose. I do want to read the novel about the trans-Siberian railroad crossing, as that’s on my bucket list.
*The Trial of the Summer; Johnny Depp’s accusation that Amber Heard defamed him, for which he wants $50 million (she’s countersued) is now in the hands of the jury. I find the whole thing tedious and have no dog in the fight, but the legal issues, which involve the First Amendment, are engagingly discussed in an Associated Press article.
Breaking news of little consequence: Nancy Pelosi’s husband has been arrested in California for DUI (driving under the influence) and for driving with a blood alcohol content higher than 0.08% or higher. Both offenses are misdemeanors.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is with the new second edition of Pinker’s How the Mind Works, which she translated into Polish:
A: How the mind works?Hili: I, too, wonder about it.
Ja: Jak działa umysł?Hili: Też się nad tym zastanawiam.
From Diana MacPherson:
A “dad joke” from Bruce:
From Only Duck Memes. This is a person after my own heart:
From my magical Twitter feed. I agree; people should be left alone or in restaurants or in public spaces with families (and often when alone). I know some readers consider people they abhor as fair game for public harassment, but I see it as uncivil and as an invasion of privacy.
Public servants of *any* party should not have to deal with mobs/activists at their homes. https://t.co/7mCVaYNjaw
— B. 📚🐾 🟢⚪️🟣 (@ebvwilkerson) May 6, 2022
From the sensible Cathy Young:
What a deeply toxic subculture https://t.co/BvyF6iBQbT
— Cathy Young 🇺🇦 (@CathyYoung63) May 6, 2022
From Barry. Cat leaps for pixellated birds, Husky is startled:
Husky: Seriously, Bro⁉️ pic.twitter.com/yjUMwmrMZx
— Laurel Coons 🧬🧬🧬 (@LaurelCoons) February 1, 2022
From GInger K.: an ad for the Ex-Muslims of North America:
— Ex-Muslims of North America (@ExmuslimsOrg) April 14, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
The wedding photo of Hungarian Jews Miklos and Hellena Stein. The couple came from Oradea / Nagyvárad. He was a shoemaker & she was a seamstress.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) May 30, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. The second one looks good, but I don’t think it’s a correct Venn Diagram, which should be multidimensional in this case.
— Bettles P. Kotzebue (@BettlesP) May 28, 2022
Matthew kicks off a whole threat of gun loons:
Joel, 44, and Lynne, 43, in Austin, Texas, with their children and 80 per cent of their gun collection pic.twitter.com/9TNyG3pWTY
— Joey R Johnson 👨👨👦🏳️🌈 (@Johnson__joey) May 28, 2022
There are tons of these photos. I apologize on behalf of my fellow citizens.
Floyd and Lesia, both 49 and from Topeka, Kansas, spend $2,500 on ammunition a month. pic.twitter.com/uCwfao5Eu9
— Joey R Johnson 👨👨👦🏳️🌈 (@Johnson__joey) May 28, 2022
Note how the mimicry is enhanced by the spider holding its front legs forward, as if they were antennae:
On the left, an Ant-Mimicking Jumping Spider (Synemosyna formica) I found a few days ago. On the right, an actual ant (Prenolepis sp?) that I found on the same plant today. The mimicry is impressive! pic.twitter.com/dNPD71xOMK
— Jen Cross (@7StellarJays) May 29, 2022