Good morning to you on the cruelest day, and, in Britain, the hottest day. I hope UK readers can stay cool on this Tuesday, July 19, 2022. Appropriately, it’s National Daiquiri Day, one of Hemingway’s favorite drinks. Made properly, with good rum, a bit of syrup, and lime juice, it’s a fine drink. And only 131 calories!
Stuff that happened on July 19 include:
- AD 64 – The Great Fire of Rome causes widespread devastation and rages on for six days, destroying half of the city.
- 1545 – The Tudor warship Mary Rose sinks off Portsmouth; in 1982 the wreck is salvaged in one of the most complex and expensive projects in the history of maritime archaeology.
Here they are taking it out of the water in 1971: 426 years after it sank; it was remarkably well preserved, and the article on the ship is long and engrossing, with photos of all kinds of stuff they found in the wreckage.
Here’s the preserved ship, caption by Wikipedia as “The remains of the Mary Rose‘s hull. All deck levels can be made out clearly, including the minor remnants of the sterncastle deck.”
She was beheaded after trial for treason, and was only 16 or 17. Here’s “The Streatham Portrait,” believed to be based on a contemporaneous one of Lady Jane:
And a letter in which she signs herself “Jane the Quene”
And “The Execution of Lady Jane Grey, by the French painter Paul Delaroche, 1833. National Gallery, London.” Blindfolded, she couldn’t find the chopping block. But as the first link above notes, there are quite a few historical inaccuracies in this painting.
*Britain is melting, with a record heat wave inundating the country, and causing some havoc in a place that doesn’t have much air conditioning. Matthew reports nearly 100 degrees F (38°C) in Manchester, and here’s what else is going on in Blighty:
Much of Britain took an involuntary siesta on Monday as merciless heat scorched the country, driving temperatures close to triple digits Fahrenheit by midafternoon and threatening to smash records.
By midafternoon, Wales had provisionally recorded the hottest day in its history, with the thermometer in Hawarden hitting 98.8 degrees Fahrenheit (37.1 Celsius). The current record for England of 101.7 degrees Fahrenheit (38.7 Celsius) was set in 2019, according to the Met Office, Britain’s national weather service. At 3 p.m., the mercury in Kew Gardens in London hovered just under 100 degrees Fahrenheit.
For Americans in states that regularly sizzle, those numbers might seem underwhelming, but this is happening in a country unprepared for such extremes. In a nation known for its scudding clouds, frequent showers and temperate weather, the blazing heat was enough to hobble much of the country.
Some train services were canceled, while others were running at reduced speeds out of fear that the heat could cause tracks to buckle. Few homes have air conditioning. Britain’s Air Force said it had halted flights into and out of its largest base as a “preventative measure,” indicating that some of the tar on the runway may have melted, and flights into and out of London’s Luton Airport were disrupted after the temperatures caused a “surface defect” on the runway.
*The heat isn’t limited to England, either. The Washington Post adds this:
British authorities declared a national emergency and for the first time issued a “red extreme” heat warning for large parts of England, while France’s meteorological service placed a stretch of its Atlantic coast under the highest-possible alert level. Much of Italy’s north, which is facing one of its worst droughts in decades, remained under a state of emergency.
They also report that hundreds of people in Spain and Portugal have died from heat-related causes.
*More from another Post article, with a map:
This plot [below] from CoolWX.com ingests real time observations from weather stations and compares it to historical data; it is from 2 p.m. Monday local time. Anything in red marks a city breaking a daily record high; magenta represents a station that’s tying or breaking a monthly record temperature, and black circles with an “x” inside denote the matching or exceeding of an all-time maximum temperature.
A number of black circles can be seen in southeastern parts of the U.K., in particular around England, underscoring the unprecedented nature of the event.
A really remarkable number of locations (black circles with X's) currently above all-time record highs in Western Europe. pic.twitter.com/mZd0XszBLj
— Matt Lanza (@mattlanza) July 18, 2022
Do you think Europeans will get serious about global warming now? Naaah, why should they? Nobody else is, much less the U.S.
*Steve Bannon’s trial for misdemeanor (but criminal) contempt of Congress began today with jury selection. Given that the judge (a Trump appointee) has rejected a number of defenses that Bannon’s team proposed (like calling members of Congress as witnesses), the trial should begin tomorrow and should be short: did he defy a subpoena or not?
The combined effect of the rulings prompted Bannon’s defense lawyer David Schoen to ask a question in open court Monday: “What’s the point of going to trial here if there are no defenses?”
Bannon’s trial prospects appear grim indeed, legal experts told Insider.
Any chances of skirting conviction likely rested in legal arguments that could have muddied the case for jurors. But, in response to the Justice Department’s objections, [Judge] Nichols has taken those defenses off the table.
“What we used to call this in my day was a slow-motion guilty plea,” said Barb McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former US attorney in Detroit. “We all know how this is going to end, which is a conviction.”
“Based on everything we know about Steve Bannon, it will be a circus, because that’s how Steve Bannon rolls,” McQuade said.
Yep, and his hypertrophied tuchas is going to roll right into jail, though probably for only a few months at most. Some say he’s proceeding with the trial, rather than pleading guilty, to preserve his right to appeal a guilty verdict–which he clearly expects. But an appeal won’t work.
*I’m avoiding all air travel until fall based on reports both in the news and from my friends—reports of cancellations, delayed flights, endless lines, and so on. The Wall Street Journal analyzes the issue in an article called “Air travel is broken. Here’s why.” (I can’t stand another “here’s why” or “here’s what you need to know” article, whose titles are truly patronizing.) But here’s why: it’s a perfect storm when one thing leads to more problems all the way down to the bottom turtle:
It’s not just one thing going wrong. The system is under strain or breaking down at every link in the chain, and each of the problems at the airlines and airports exacerbates others.
A dearth of baggage handlers and security agents keeps passengers from checking in, leading to flight delays. When immigrations and customs at hub airports are short-staffed, passengers have sometimes had to wait on planes, an issue that affected 2,700 flights arriving in Toronto in May. All this means that pilots and flight attendants work longer days and that there is less time for overnight maintenance. Over time, crew and equipment shortages build.
. . .This year, carriers starved of revenue planned big capacity increases for the spring and summer. But some of the steps they took to shrink in 2020 have proved to be hard to reverse. They found they couldn’t staff back up quickly enough, in an industry that requires both background checks and training for new workers, sometimes involving time spent on flight simulators.
. . .Usually, there’s enough redundancy built into the system to limit the disruption from anything that goes wrong. The difficulty in hiring airport and airline staffers has meant that redundancy isn’t there now.
“The question on everybody’s lips is, ‘Where have they all gone?’” said Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, at an event last month. “There are hundreds of millions of people that have disappeared from the labor market.”
The news emphasizes a dearth of pilots; this article concentrates on the baggage system, as lost bags are at an all-time high. I’ll wait until September to fly, thank you.
*Artist Claes Oldenburg died in New York yesterday; he was 93. The NYT article in the link gives some photos of his public installations and sculptures, and Wikipedia has several more. Here are two of my favorites with the Wikipedia captions:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s watching birds grow up (I am, too), but her motives are different from mine:
Hili: There was a nest in the hedge.A: It’s still there but the nestlings flew away already.Hili: It’s sad that nestlings grow up so quickly.
Hili: W tym żywopłocie było gniazdo.Ja: Nadal jest, ale pisklęta już wyleciały.Hili: To smutne, pisklęta tak szybko rosną.
From Linda Calhoun, who says this makes you “laugh and cry at the same time”. Indeed it does. Mike Lukovich sure knows how to make a political cartoon!
From Paul: A cartoon by Dave Coverly.
From Doc Bill, a modernized Van Gogh:
The Tweet of God. Just what I want to hear today!
You're going to die.
Just a friendly reminder.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 18, 2022
From Luana. Two points for this tweet. First, the more infectious the fungus (the longer the female is dead), the more it lures the male by emitting male-attracting pheromones. Then the male gets infected. It’s a way of getting transmitted when you’re at the peak of transmissibility. Second. we could derive a naturalistic fallacy: if penguins and clownfish show us that LGBTA+ behaviors in humans are “natural”, then so is necrophilia.
This fungus turns flies into zombies and attracts healthy males to mate with fungal-infected female corpses – and the longer the female is dead, the greater the male’s lust [read more: https://t.co/KZnQq30f61] pic.twitter.com/hbcDDrdt9t
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) July 18, 2022
From Barry. This tweeter describes himself as an “atheist street preacher”:
The Christian death cult is being caught flat-footed. STUNNED, fucking stunned, to discover that the country isn't celebrating their mind-rot and moral decay being codified into law. May the death of Roe give birth to a secular movement that'll force cultists back into obscurity.
— 🔥Reverend Dr. Aiden (@SweetFnLucifer) July 16, 2022
From Tom. I don’t think the “bone” image serves any purpose except to get water all over the place. It’s not going to get your dog hydrated!
Data are available upon request : pic.twitter.com/8YV7vyUR5E
— Florian Naudet (@NaudetFlorian) July 9, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
19 July 1896 | A Polish woman, Irena Szczuka, was born in Antonin.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) July 19, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. Get a load of those gorgeous feathers!
Australian King Parrot preening, showing its undertail covert feathers. pic.twitter.com/d6f0HLPCHq
— David C. Simon (@davidcsimon) July 17, 2022
Why would anyone not let a quokka in???
— 🄼🅈 🅆🄷🄴🄴🄻🄷🄾🅄🅂🄴 (@mywheelhouseftw) July 17, 2022
I think it got up to about 38°C (about 100°F) in Manchester today: a new record high. And here’s one of Matthew’s cats out in the sun. It wasn’t long before he sought out shade.
It is hot, you say? Then I shall lie in the full sun. pic.twitter.com/8EUre1qRMg
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) July 18, 2022
See the Nooz above for this:
Farewell Claes Oldenburg (1929-2022) pic.twitter.com/nkj6hhKdp8
— Isabella Maidment (@driszzyiszzy) July 18, 2022