It’s also these food months:
National Catfish Month
National Panini Month
National Peach Month
National Sandwich Month
You could combine them by making a catfish sandwich on panini, and having peach cobbler for dessert. Finally, it’s also Homemade Pie Day, National Girlfriends Day, Respect for Parents Day, World Scout Scarf Day, Swiss National Day (in Switzerland) and Yorkshire Day in England. To commemorate Yorkshire Day, I’m compelled by the laws of physics to show this Monty Python sketch:
Wine of the Day: I keep telling people that if they have a taste for bubbly, and want great value, skip French champagne and either get a Roederer Nonvintage Estate Brut from California, or, for more choice, a good cava from Spain (all made by the méthode champenoise). And a very reliable name in cava is Llopart (I found out about this because it’s made by the family of my erstwhile Spanish postdoc.
If you want a rosé cava, you can’t do better than this Llopart Brut Reserva Rose, which cost all of $23 for the 2018 vintage. I had it with a meal of chicken thighs, rice, and green beans.
The grapes are 60% Monastrell, 20% Garnacha (grenache), and 20% Pinot Noir: all red. The redness is detectable in a slight berry flavor and the lovely color (see below). The wine is fizzy, very slightly off dry, and with a bite. I imagine this wine would go with just about anything save red meat, and it’s recommended by the critics.
It’s one of my house bubblies (the other is the Roederer). Don’t expect this to have the complexity of a $60 French equivalent (and that’s a low price for real champagne), but the quality/price ratio is very high for this sparkling wine. Any cava from Llopart is worth buying so long as it’s not too old, and I recommend the maker–and this wine–heartily.
Stuff that happened on August 1 includes:
- 1498 – Christopher Columbus becomes the first European to visit what is now Venezuela.
- 1774 – British scientist Joseph Priestley discovers oxygen gas, corroborating the prior discovery of this element by German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele.
Here’s the beginning of his paper on oxygen (he didn’t call it that) from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society (full paper here), and below that a picture of the laboratory where Priestly (also a theologian, which the accommodationists should know) discovered the gas.
Click to read the hole paper:
- 1834 – Slavery is abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 comes into force, although it remains legal in the possessions of the East India Company until the passage of the Indian Slavery Act, 1843.
- 1855 – The first ascent of Monte Rosa, the second highest summit in the Alps.
Here’s the Monte Rosa massif, 634 m (15,203 ft) high. There are five subsidiary summits in the group:
Here’s the patent, which is really for a machine to make shredded wheat:
Here are some scenes of the opening. Note that the German team makes the Hitler salute as it marches in with the other teams. Jesse Owens is also shown winning the 100 meter dash and the long jump. He also won the 200 meter dash, spoiling Hitler’s attempt to make the Games a showcase for Aryan superiority.
- 1965 – Frank Herbert‘s novel, Dune was published for the first time. It was named as the world’s best-selling science fiction novel in 2003.
I still haven’t read it, but a good first edition of this novel will run you about $25,000:
- 1966 – Charles Whitman kills 16 people at the University of Texas at Austin before being killed by the police.
Whitman had a brain tumor, which might have caused rage and irrationality, which he documented in his journal. Here’s an excerpt and a photo from The Daily Texan:
Gov. John Connally’s special study committee, consisting of a task force of medical and psychiatric experts, reported Thursday that Tower sniper Charles J. Whitman had a malignant brain tumor.
According to Dr. Kenneth M. Earle, chief neuropathologist at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, the tumor would have killed Whitman within a year unless he received treatment.
The Committee’s 16-page summary of their report to Gov. Connally stated that “the relationship between the brain tumor and Charles J. Whitman’s actions on the last day of his life cannot be established with clarity.” but that “… the highly malignant brain tumor conceivably could have contributed to his inability to control his emotions and actions.”
Whitman had to be shot to stop his killing, but if he’d been captured alive, what’s a proper punishment? Well, the tumor was malignant, and he wouldn’t have lived long anyway.
- 1971 – The Concert for Bangladesh, organized by former Beatle George Harrison, is held at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Here are Leon Russell, Eric Clapton, and Harrison playing “Come On in My Kitchen” during rehearsals for the concert:
- 1981 – MTV begins broadcasting in the United States and airs its first video, “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.
Here’s the beginning of MTV and the Buggles song that was the first video:
- 2008 – Eleven mountaineers from international expeditions died on K2, the second-highest mountain on Earth in the worst single accident in the history of K2 mountaineering.
K2 is probably the deadliest mountain on Earth, with a mortality rate of 25% among climbers who attempt it. But the worst single tragedy in mountaineering history was the 1990 Lenin Peak mountaineering incident, in which an earthquake caused avalanches that killed 43 of the 45 climbers. Here’s K2, the second highest mountain on Earth (8,849 metres or 29,032 ft) from the Broad Peak base camp:
*House Spoeaker Nancy Pelosi is headed for Asia, and there was some talk that she’d stop off in Taiwan. That alarmed people because now, when Russia is busy taking over Ukraine, is not the time to tell China that “you’d better not try that with Taiwan.” Truth be told, I think we should support Taiwan, as we have defense obligations with them that we don’t have with Ukraine. Still, my worst nightmare is that WWIII will begin when China does to Taiwan what Putin did to Ukraine.
Now it looks as if Pelosi may not visit Taiwan after all, and she’s issued a mealymouthed statement:
The speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, confirmed Sunday she will visit four Asian countries this week but made no mention of a possible stop in Taiwan that has fueled tension with Beijing, which claims the island democracy as its own territory.
Pelosi said in a statement she is leading a congressional delegation to Singapore, Malaysia, South Korea and Japan to discuss trade, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security and “democratic governance.”
Pelosi has yet to confirm news reports that she might visit Taiwan. Chinese President Xi Jinping warned against meddling in Beijing’s dealings with the island in a phone call Thursday with his American counterpart, Joe Biden.
Beijing sees official American contact with Taiwan as encouragement to make its decades-old de facto independence permanent, a step U.S. leaders say they don’t support. Pelosi, head of one of three branches of the U.S. government, would be the highest-ranking elected American official to visit Taiwan since then-Speaker Newt Gingrich in 1997.
And the mealymouthed statement from Pelosi:
“Under the strong leadership of President Biden, America is firmly committed to smart, strategic engagement in the region, understanding that a free and flourishing Indo-Pacific is crucial to prosperity in our nation and around the globe,” Pelosi’s statement said.
She still may show up there, but she’s keeping mum about it “for security reasons”.
*It looks as if the Justice Department is tightening the noose around Trump with its latest efforts: questioning people close to Trump about his words and actions around January 6. As the Washington Post reports, these efforts began before the televised House hearings began:
The prosecutors have asked hours of detailed questions about meetings Trump led in December 2020 and January 2021; his pressure campaign on Pence to overturn the election; and what instructions Trump gave his lawyers and advisers about fake electors and sending electors back to the states, the people said. Some of the questions focused directly on the extent of Trump’s involvement in the fake-elector effort led by his outside lawyers, including John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani, these people said.
In addition, Justice Department investigators in April received phone records of key officials and aides in the Trump administration, including his former chief of staff, Mark Meadows, according to two people familiar with the matter. That effort is another indicator of how expansive the Jan. 6 probe had become, well before the high-profile, televised House hearings in June and July on the subject.
. . . the degree of prosecutors’ interest in Trump’s actions has not been previously reported, nor has the review of senior Trump aides’ phone records.
They don’t need Trump’s phone records because they can get them simply by getting the records of people he called. The article notes that there could be two lines of criminal investigations against Trump, one looking at charges of seditious conspiracy, the other at fraud connected with his attempts to overturn the election. Let’s have a poll! Would it hurt you to vote, just for fun?
*Now this is a weird crime, reminiscent of the Hatfields and the McCoys. An Ohio family of four (and accomplices) are charged with murdering eight members of a nearby family in 2016, all so they could get custody of a daughter shared between the two families (the father from one family, the mother from the murdered family). The murdering family voted on whether or not to do the crime:
Once the Wagners voted to kill the Rhodens, Canepa alleges, they spent about four months methodically plotting and planning the executions to guarantee custody of the then-2½-year-old daughter of Jake Wagner and Hanna Rhoden. They all conspired to cover up the killings, she alleges, making a plan for the custody of the children in the event the adults were killed or arrested on the night of the killings.
. . . Mass killings are rarely connected to custody issues, said James Alan Fox, a professor of criminology, law and public policy at Northeastern University in Boston who maintains a database in collaboration with the Associated Press and USA Today of 498 mass killings in the United States since 2006. He says that the Rhoden family massacre is just one of six mass killings in the past 16 years motivated by child custody. (The child at the center of the custody dispute is now living with relatives.)
All the Rhodens are dead, and one of the Wagners finally ‘fessed up to avoid the death penalty. The article is long, with many twists, turns, and delays, including the question of whether a fair and impartial jury can be selected from an area which is ridden with poverty (long trials reduce income) and in which many people knew the families. If you like crime stories, this is a good one from real life.
*Legendary basketball star Bill Russell, who played for the Boston
Smeltics Celtics, has died at 88. His family didn’t announce where he died. His record was outstanding: he was MVP of the NBA five times, and was famed for his defense, leading the Smeltics to eleven championships during his thirteen-year tenure with the team. He was also the first African-American to be the head coach of any America sports team, and an energetic civil rights advocate.
When Russell was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1975, Red Auerbach, who orchestrated his arrival as a Celtic and coached him on nine championship teams, called him “the single most devastating force in the history of the game.”
He was not alone in that view: In a 1980 poll of basketball writers (long before Michael Jordan and LeBron James entered the scene), Russell was voted nothing less than the greatest player in N.B.A. history.
Russell’s quickness and his uncanny ability to block shots transformed the center position, once a spot for slow and hulking types. His awesome rebounding triggered a Celtic fast break that overwhelmed the rest of the N.B.A.
Former Senator Bill Bradley, who faced Russell with the Knicks in the 1960s, viewed him as “the smartest player ever to play the game and the epitome of a team leader.”
This video shows his prowess, including his patented rebounds and blocks:
*This is not only absurd but insulting. Imagine that you were to name the Official State Dessert for Florida. Think about it. You’d choose Key Lime Pie, right? Not only is it made with a fruit grown largely in the state, but it’s a terrific pie when made with real Key limes (always check). But noooooo: Florida went and named—wait for it—strawberry shortcake as its official dessert. There’s nothing Floridian about that dessert, and, frankly, it’s an insult to the good citizens of Florida:
Earlier this year in Plant City, Fla., at a press conference, Gov. Ron DeSantis tried a spoonful of strawberry shortcake, gave a thumbs-up, and signed a new law making it the state’s official dessert.
Strawberry shortcake. Not Key lime pie—the citrusy culinary delight and the state’s most celebrated dessert—but strawberry shortcake, which most agree is a British confection.
To many, the act was borderline treasonous. Florida’s culinary industry, locals and visitors, immediately let it be known.
“I don’t know how this happened—I think it’s a travesty,” said Mike Martin of Mike’s Pies in Tampa.
“We thought it was a joke,” said Paul Menta, a Key West chef and rum maker. “Then shock set in. And finally denial. Locals were upset, but visitors were outraged—it was almost personal for them.”
Even Florida’s Lt. Gov. Jeanette Nuñez had warned Sen. Danny Burgess, one of the bill’s sponsors. “Don’t Tread On Key Lime,” she posted on Twitter in February with an illustration of a slice of Key lime pie.
For that alone DeSantis doesn’t deserve to run the country, which he may well be doing in a few years. Ladies and gentlemen, your next President, who will name Sachertorte as our National Dessert:
*I’ve never liked Beyoncé that much, feeling that her music is overrated. But I’m happy to let other people enjoy her, adhering to a cult I don’t really understand. But if you want a dreadfully written review of her latest album—so awful and purple in prose, so self-consciously clever (but not clever)—read Wesley Morris (NYT critic at large) on the album, in a review called “American has a problem and Beyoncé ain’t it.” I’ll just quote the opening two paragraphs, but somebody stop this guy before he reviews again!
It’s too much, this being alive. Too heavy, too uncertain, too chronically cataclysmic, too bellicose, too unwell, too freighted with a possibility of the perception of error. The word of the last few years — in American activist and academic circles, anyway — has been “precarity.” Which gets at ideas of endangerment, neglect, contingency, risk. Basically: We’re worried. And: We’re worried you’re not worried enough. Like I said: It’s too much.
If I were a globally famous musician whose every blink gets inspected for Meaning, now might be the time to discover how it feels to mean something else, to seem lighter, to float, to bob, splash, writhe and grind, to sashay-shanté. To find “new salvation” in building her “own foundation.”
It gets worse. . .but I stop here to save my kishkes.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is hating on a billionaire:
A: What do you see there?Hili: I think that this Elon Musk is hatching something again.
Ja: Co tam widzisz?Hili: Chyba ten Elon Musk znowu coś knuje.
I found this cartoon by Scott Metzger:
From a reader, who says, “B. Kliban drew a lot more than cats, as I’m sure you know that some of his stuff is obscene and some is just very strange.” Like this one. I had no idea! I’m told he drew for Playboy, and I can’t imagine who would publish this cartoon (save me, of course):
From Meanwhile in Canada:
The Tweet of God:
I miss the good old days when I was the one who caused the flooding.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) July 31, 2022
From one of my favorite websites:
I hope I can achieve this level of chill.🦫🧘😍 pic.twitter.com/SgkCXMAiuz
— why you should have a duck 🦆 (@shouldhaveaduck) July 31, 2022
From Simon, and be sure to put the sound on:
Some may say this is fake. pic.twitter.com/FUoKWvtN0a
— figensezgin (@_figensezgin) July 28, 2022
From Luana. Brit gets arrested for “causing anxiety on a social media post.” This seems to be real (see here):
“Someone has been caused anxiety based on your social media post. And that is why you’re being arrested.” British policing, 2022. pic.twitter.com/D4MZhbXq08
— Paul Embery (@PaulEmbery) July 30, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial. She and her family were found and arrested three days later, and by February 1945 she died of typhus in Bergen-Belsen.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 1, 2022
Tweets from Dr. Cobb, on a luxurious work retreat in the Lake District. See first example:
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) July 30, 2022
— Bradley Onishi (@BradleyOnishi) July 30, 2022
St. Matthew and his cat! And the cat is reasonably well drawn, too!
st matthew and his cat, bruges, ca. 1500 pic.twitter.com/OAyhC9TZsv
— weird medieval guys (@WeirdMedieval) July 31, 2022
This is good comedy. Sound on:
This is so good.
Man wakes up and it is 250 years later.pic.twitter.com/Gmn9B49ByA
— Ben Phillips (@benphillips76) July 30, 2022