When sipping the Appleton Estate 21 Year Old rum, one can’t help but notice the serendipitous scent of green apple on the nose.
Honeysuckle and molasses envelop the palate, creating an unusually dry mouthfeel for a rum this old. Its complexity is a testament to master blender Joy Spence’s knack for nuance — and it doesn’t hurt that Appleton Estate has been making rums in Jamaica’s Nassau Valley since 1749.
This runs from $150 up:
The three wise men approached the manger where the newborn messiah rested. One of them tripped as he neared the infant, and in great pain yelled, “Jesus Christ!” Mary responded, “Hey! That’ll be a great name for the baby!”
I’ll be here al year, folks.
There’s a Google Doodle today, celebrating the winner of the 2022 Best Doodle Competition. A bit about this one:
Today, Google has announced that Sophie Araque-Liu of Florida is the grand prize winner, with the company publicly displaying her artwork for the entirety of August 16.
We’re told Araque-Liu’s work, entitled “Not Alone,” resonated with the Doodle for Google judges, particularly in the way it encourages the viewer to accept help from those around them. “Not Alone” draws your focus to the center, with an impactful depiction of a hug between two family members. The central artwork replaces the second “o” of “Google,” which otherwise consists of stark red brushstrokes.
Click to see what the Doodle links to:
Wine of the day: I had the bottle below with turkey chili, and it was a great complement. What we have here is an Italian red made with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot—the classic blend of Bordeaux. But this neither tasted nor smelled like Bordeaux: such is terroir.
At only $18, this is one of the best sub-$20 wines I’ve had this year. It’s absolutely terrific, and the first scent you detect is cherries—lots of them. It’s also gutsy, with a lot of tannins, and it could use a few more years in the bottle, though it’s drinking great now.
You can see some of the reviews here, with James Suckling saying this:
This is a fantastic red with so much cherry, currant, ash, tobacco, earth and walnut aromas. It’s full and layered with firm tannins that provide form, texture and structure. Linear and long. Really excellent for the vintage. Give it two or three years to come together, but already a beauty. Try after 2024.
Had I read that before I drank the wine, I would have bought more and held onto it longer (this is my sole bottle). If you see this puppy around $20, buy it and store it (it’ll only get more expensive), or serve it now to special guests. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
Note that tomorrow is Black Cat Appreciation Day. If you have one, send me a photo and one or two sentences, and I’ll post any pictures I get tomorrow or Thursday. NOTE: The deadline for sending pictures is 6 p.m. Chicago time TODAY. Thanks!
Stuff that happened on August 16 includes:
- 1570 – The Principality of Transylvania is established after John II Zápolya renounces his claim as King of Hungary in the Treaty of Speyer.
- 1792 – Maximilien de Robespierre presents the petition of the Commune of Paris to the Legislative Assembly, which demanded the formation of a revolutionary tribunal.
- 1896 – Skookum Jim Mason, George Carmack and Dawson Charlie discover gold in a tributary of the Klondike River in Canada, setting off the Klondike Gold Rush.
Miners going to BC from Alaska had to check in because they were crossing a border, and then it was a tough haul (the pass is 3,759 feet or 1,146 metres high). There were 1500 steps cut in the snow for prospectors to cross the mountains, and for this you had to pay a fee. Not only that, but you had to carry your stuff over repeatedly. As Wikipedia notes:
To be allowed to enter the Klondike and take part in the gold rush, Canadian officials required that stampeders take one ton of goods with them, to try to ensure they were prepared to survive on the frontier. This was broken down into a year’s supply of food, which was half of the weight, as well as another 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of equipment. The supplies and food requirements were broken down into two lists. The clothing items included: a waterproof blanket, 6 pairs of wool socks, 2 flannel over shirts, and a medicine chest. The list continues with the essential clothing needed. Some of the supplies required included: rolled oats, flour, salt, and bacon. The weight ranged from 20 to 400 pounds (10–180 kg) for one ingredient. This list was taken very seriously, as there was rarely a return journey after the Klondike was reached.
Here are the “Golden Steps” with antlike prospectors climbing them. Such is the lust of humans for gold:
- 1920 – Ray Chapman of the Cleveland Indians is hit on the head by a fastball thrown by Carl Mays of the New York Yankees, and dies early the next day. Chapman was the second player to die from injuries sustained in a Major League Baseball game, the first being Doc Powers in 1909.
This is a grim tale:
On August 16, 1920, Chapman was struck in the head and killed by a pitch thrown by Carl Mays during a game against the New York Yankees at the Polo Grounds. At the time, pitchers commonly dirtied balls with soil, licorice, and tobacco juice, and scuffed, sandpapered, scarred, cut, or spiked them, giving a “misshapen, earth-colored ball that traveled through the air erratically, tended to soften in the later innings, and, as it came over the plate, was very hard to see.” Mays threw with a submarine delivery, and it was late afternoon. Eyewitnesses recounted that Chapman did not react to the pitch at all, presumably unable to see it. The sound of the ball striking Chapman’s skull was so loud that Mays thought it had hit the end of Chapman’s bat; he fielded the ball and threw to first base.
Here’s a video showing Carl Mays throwing his “submarine” pitch, often to the inside to brush back the batter.
Here’s “Fiddlesticks,” starring Flip the Frog:
The wings were swept forward to provide a better left at slow speeds, as well as to move the center of gravity for the plane in front of the wing to allow the bomb bay, with its heavy cargo, to be at that center. Here’s a photo:
*There is not much new to report on the condition of Salman Rushdie. He’s off the ventilator, and is speaking and apparently making jokes, which is fantastic. The only thing new, which is concerning, is this sentence from People magazine:
Author Salman Rushdie was removed from a ventilator Saturday, but his injuries are “life changing,” says his son, Zafar Rushdie.
I worry about what “life changing” means here. Yes, he may lose an eye and some use of his arm, but could it be much worse. For obvious reasons I want any incapacitation to be as minimal as possible, for he’s a brave man, didn’t deserve what happened to him, and still has a lot to give us.
*How far Rudy Giuliani has fallen! Once an admired mayor of New York City, now a liar, blackguard, and shill for Trump. And now, according to The Washington Post, Rudy is the target of a criminal probe in connection with attempts to overturn the 2020 election in Georgia.
Costello said he and Giuliani “plan to be in Atlanta on Wednesday” to testify as scheduled before the special grand jury that has been hearing evidence in the case. Giuliani had sought to delay or avoid travel to Atlanta to testify, citing recent surgery to have a heart stent implanted. “We are not going to deal with this postponement issue anymore,” Costello said.
Although he will appear at the Fulton County courthouse this week, Costello said that Giuliani plans to cite attorney-client privilege if asked about his interactions with the former president regarding the 2020 election.
Well, he may not be able to say whether Trump urged him on, but he can’t plead attorney-client privilege with respect to his own actions.
Willis’s office has been consistently pressing high-profile witnesses to testify, and won a federal court victory Monday in a related matter.
In that case, a federal judge denied Sen. Lindsey O. Graham’s (R-S.C.) request to toss his subpoena in Georgia prosecutors’ investigation, signaling that he must testify in the probe. Graham plans to appeal the decision, his office said in a statement released after the verdict.
It’s going to be an interesting year. . .
*The NYT has an interview with Jennifer Doudna, who shared the Nobel Prize with Emmanuelle Charpentier in 2020 for developing the CRISPR-Cas9 system of gene editing. Here’s one exchange; the stuff about the ethics will be covered by Matthew in his upcoming book:
A lot of the discussion about the possibilities of gene editing are still to do with things that are way off in the future. In my lifetime — I’m 40 years old — how is my world most likely to be touched by CRISPR? Certainly in the food that we eat: I think CRISPR will have an impact in the near term — I’m talking about the next few years. There already is a CRISPR tomato. that was approved in Japan.
[Sidenote: The CRISPR tomato went on sale to the public in Japan beginning in Sept. 2021. It was genetically edited to have high amounts of gamma-aminobutyric acid; the company that sells the tomato claims the GABA can help support lower blood pressure and promote relaxation.]
We’re going to see a lot more of that, and we’ll also see CRISPR being used to mitigate some of the effects of climate change. Those are two very real, tangible kinds of outcomes. I think that we’ll probably see CRISPR being used for things like diagnostics. There are F.D.A./E.U.A.-approved diagnostics for Covid-19, for example, that are based on CRISPR. Then in the slightly longer term, I suspect we’re going to see increasingly that there will be CRISPR-based therapies or even preventive treatments. This is still very much in the realm of research, but it’s interesting that there is already an ongoing clinical trial by a company called Verve that is looking at using CRISPR to reduce the genetic predisposition to atherosclerosis, meaning cardiovascular disease. That highlights what will be, I think, possible in the future. We’ll have knowledge about our own genetics and a way to intervene.
*News from reader Ken regarding the looniest person in Congress and her family:
Seems Colorado congresswoman Lauren Boebert et la famille are ready to step up and challenge the Palins of Wasilla, AK as the class act of the political class.
From that article (listen to the call if you can):
Garfield County Sheriff’s deputies decided to let neighbors of U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert settle a dispute between themselves and the congresswoman’s husband after he reportedly threatened them and destroyed their mailbox.
But 911 calls from the incident, obtained by The Denver Post, show just how upset and nervous the neighbors were over their run-in with Boebert’s husband, Jayson Boebert.
*The BBC reports that, as one might expect, the Iranian government is blaming Rushdie for bringing on his own stabbing attack. (h/t Divy). After all, it was Ayatollah Khomeini who offered $3 million to the person who would execute Rushdie.
Iran’s state broadcaster daily Jaam-e Jam highlighted the news that Rushdie might lose an eye following the attack, saying “an eye of the Satan has been blinded”.
As news emerged of Friday’s attack, eyes turned to Tehran where the fatwa – religious edict – calling for the writer’s assassination was first issued more than three decades ago.
But on Monday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani – giving the country’s first official reaction – said Tehran “categorically” denied any link, adding “no-one has the right to accuse the Islamic Republic of Iran”.
However, he said freedom of speech did not justify Mr Rushdie insulting religion in his writing.
“In this attack, we do not consider anyone other than Salman Rushdie and his supporters worthy of blame and even condemnation,” the spokesman said during his weekly press conference in Tehran.
“By insulting the sacred matters of Islam and crossing the red lines of more than 1.5 billion Muslims and all followers of the divine religions, Salman Rushdie has exposed himself to the anger and rage of the people.”
First the foreign minister says that Iran isn’t responsible, but then goes ahead and reiterates the fatwa, saying that Rushdie himself is to blame! It’s not “freedom of speech” to announce a bounty for killing a writer. Below is an Iranian cleric saying that, like Rushdie, Masih Alinejad should be forced to live underground for criticizing Islam and its tenets. And remember, under sharia law the punishment for apostasy is death.
This Iranian cleric, making reference to the fatwa against Salman Rushdie and insisted Masih Alinejad should be punished for apostasy too.
“If no-one can kill Masih, she should at least lead an underground life like Rushdie who still lives in hiding. pic.twitter.com/jpBQoqq3ov
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) August 15, 2022
*And here’s the Wokeaholic Tale of the week, involving Devin Jane Buckley, a scholar of Romantic poetry who was invited to talk about her field at Harvard.
My talk at Harvard would have re-capped my dissertation, which challenged a conventional reading of British Romanticism that has dominated my field for decades. You can read a brief abstract of my argument (and if you want, the 300+ page manuscript) here.
Then the students found out that Buckley was opposed to putting trans females who were predators (not all trans females) in female prisons. That got her disinvited, and she gives all the woke, gory details in her post on the 4W feminist site, “All emails from when Harvard canceled me.” The emails are a chilling example of ideological conformity and its results. (h/t: Ann) A precis:
I was invited to give a lecture at Harvard on British Romanticism, but on April 18th I received a notification by email from one of the colloquium co-coordinators that I was disinvited because someone at Harvard discovered that I had written articles for 4W criticizing gender ideology and that I served on the board of Women’s Liberation Front, a feminist nonprofit which is currently suing the state of California for housing men in women’s prison facilities.
The students who invited her to speak on poetry found out that Devin was opposed to jailing predatory transwomen with biological women, and she was disinvited as fast as Bob’s your uncle. Here’s an email from one of the grad students who invited Devin:
I have some bad news. As we were preparing the application for next year’s funding, my co-coordinator looked you up on google to include the correct details about you on the application. She was surprised to find that your public profile is largely rooted in controversial issues regarding trans identity and that you’re on the board of an organization that takes a public stance regarding trans people as dangerous and deceptive. Since you’re mostly engaging in the public sphere as more of a polemicist than Romanticist, this puts the colloquium and the department and myself in an uneasy position.
My co-coordinator has refused to extend to you a formal offer to speak at our colloquium. I can’t fight for you on this. I wasn’t even aware of your online presence before Erin found it, and to be honest I didn’t know this was so much a part of your public identity. Even if I were to push your visit past Erin, it will be near impossible to get our two faculty members to sign onto funding your visit once they learn of your online presence. Really, it’s not so much because of your own personal conviction regarding trans identity. It’s more about the public stance you’ve taken and how you’ve recently crafted a professional presence around these issues.
I’m so sorry we can’t extend the formal invitation I promised you. You’ve done cutting-edge work in the study of Romanticism and religion. Maybe we can work out some other kind of engagement elsewhere in the future.
I’m willing to explain further about this if you want. I’m very sorry again.
Part of Buckley’s response to Harvard:
. . . If it is unacceptable for me to speak at Harvard on British poetry and philosophy because I am a feminist, then I invite Harvard to purge its libraries and museums of all those who hold views unacceptable to Harvard. If I am to be silenced, then why do the tomes and treatises of history’s innumerable sexist, racist, homophobes still sit on Harvard’s hallowed shelves and continue to be cited with reverence? Harvard should cleanse them all and leave nothing but the purity of empty space.
It’s difficult to discern whether those who cancel feminists like me won’t or can’t understand us when we critique gender. My suspicion is that most people do not believe that a male can become female. They simply remain silent on the matter for the sake of their careers. I want to call them moral cowards, but I also have sympathy for those who must do this to survive, such as adjuncts who struggle to find non-academic jobs and continue to hang on desperately to exploitative part-time labor at wealthy universities which advertise themselves as bastions of social justice.
Your email disinviting me states that I am “on the board of an organization that takes a public stance regarding trans people as dangerous and deceptive.” This is a mischaracterization. Never has my organization, Women’s Liberation Front, made the claim that a person is dangerous simply because he or she identifies as trans. Rather, our organization opposes ideology and policy dangerous to women. This includes laws which allow males entry into women’s spaces on the basis of self-attested gender identity. This is happening right now in women’s prisons.
From another of her emails to Harvard:
. . .Since there is no reason to expect that I would say anything at all about gender ideology while delivering a lecture on nineteenth-century poetry and philosophy, I can only conclude that the threat I pose is metaphysical.
Much like a witch in good old Puritan New England, very presence on campus must not be permitted lest I hex someone with a single glance. I created a “hostile environment” by existing.
I can’t help but wonder what the reach of my dark aura is. If I stand just outside the gate of Harvard can I still curse those inside? Or do I need to be on campus? Or do my powers spread as wide spread as wide as the United States? Or earth? Or perhaps I’ve made the entire universe a hostile environment.
The most annoying thing about this is that a professor from another school emailed the English Department to protest Buckley’s deplatforming, and the chair of English at Harvard responded this way:
“The invitation and disinvitation of Devin Buckley did not come from the English department but from two students who took it upon themselves to handle this situation without asking for guidance (the students were working as leaders of a graduate student colloquium). Their actions do not represent the Department or Harvard University. What we have learned from this incident is that we need clearer rules for how speakers are invited and what paths to take if and when there is a question about an invitation.
Well if that’s the case, why doesn’t the Department invite Buckley to speak? You know why. They secretly agree with the students and don’t want to make waves. They are all reprehensible invertebrates.
Here’s a video of Buckley discussing the contretemps with Harvard:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili’s back from the woods. I have an alternative title: “Mother, make my bed soon, For I’m weary wi’ hunting, and fain wald lie down.”
Hili: I’ve been in the forest.A: And what?Hili: It’s still there.
Hili: Byłam w lesie.Ja: I co?Hili: Jeszcze jest.
From Merilee one of many great animal cartoons by Jimmy Craig:
Kitty Whack-A-Mole from Malcolm:
From Jesus of the Day:
Titania mocks a “free speech butter”. The original article, a defense of free speech, is by Kenan Malik at the Guardian.
Thank you @JolyonMaugham for your brave comments. 🙏
Although knife attacks are quite bad, we mustn’t forget about the violence caused by offensive books and the impact they can have on the oppressed mullahs of Tehran. pic.twitter.com/6x1MdWnqc0
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) August 15, 2022
From Luana: the worst fossil mount ever. Where are the other two leg, for one thing?
In 1663, the partial fossilised skeleton of a woolly rhinoceros was discovered in Germany. This is the “Magdeburg Unicorn”, one of the worst fossil reconstructions in human history. pic.twitter.com/rmV1vcB3LY
— Brian Roemmele (@BrianRoemmele) August 14, 2022
From Simon: A smart and greedy dog analogized to an academic.
He mostly tweets about work life balance and how to be a good mentorpic.twitter.com/FSUS15AjK1
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) August 8, 2022
From Malcolm: “nice shadow work”:
Vincent Bal is "shadowologist" and filmmaker: he uses the shadows of ordinary objects to complete his artwork [this and other amazing works on his Instagram account: https://t.co/dP059paOzM] pic.twitter.com/jLSMEV9MCc
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) August 13, 2022
Ducks on a skylight:
— why you should have a duck 🦆 (@shouldhaveaduck) July 17, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial, an 11 year old girl led from the train to the gas chamber:
16 August 1932 | An Austrian Jewish girl, Mella Schachter, was born in Vienna.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 16, 2022
Tweets from Dr. Cobb. A. R. Wallace did not like this book!
— The Linnean Society of London (@LinneanSociety) August 15, 2022
A series of tweets showing degree of relatedness of living animals to humans. Here are the first two:
You and comb jellies are both eumetazoans: "later animals"). pic.twitter.com/KSisoYL1EG
— 𝕻𝖆𝖗𝖆𝖘𝖔𝖈𝖎𝖆𝖑𝖎𝖙𝖞 (@parasociality) August 14, 2022
Stephen King responds to the attack on Rushdie:
What kind of asshat stabs a writer, anyway? Fucker!
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) August 12, 2022