Welcome to the Cruelest Day: Tuesday, September 13, 2022, and National Peanut Day. Remember Mr. Peanut, an aristocratic goober complete with top hat, gloves, cane, monocle, and spats? I wonder if he’s still around? Yes–he is!
Ants on a log is a snack made with peanut butter and raisins atop a celery stick. My mom used to serve it sans raisins, or use Cheez-Whiz (canned artificial cheese substance) instead of peanut butter.
. . . and a nice fortune:
Stuff that happened on September 13 includes:
I had no idea that the statue had such a tortuous history. From Wikipedia:
A block of marble was provided from a quarry in Carrara, a town in the Apuan Alps in northern Tuscany. Agostino only got as far as beginning to shape the legs, feet, torso, roughing out some drapery, and probably gouging a hole between the legs. His association with the project ceased, for reasons unknown, with the death of Donatello in 1466, and ten years later Antonio Rossellino was commissioned to take up where Agostino had left off. Rossellino’s contract was terminated soon thereafter, and the block of marble remained neglected for 26 years, all the while exposed to the elements in the yard of the cathedral workshop. This was of great concern to the Opera authorities, as such a large piece of marble was not only costly, but represented a large amount of labour and difficulty in its transportation to Florence.
In 1500, an inventory of the cathedral workshops described the piece as “a certain figure of marble called David, badly blocked out and supine.” A year later, documents showed that the Operai were determined to find an artist who could take this large piece of marble and turn it into a finished work of art. They ordered the block of stone, which they called ‘the Giant’, “raised on its feet” so that a master experienced in this kind of work might examine it and express an opinion. Though Leonardo da Vinci and others were consulted, it was Michelangelo, at 26 years of age, who convinced the Operai that he deserved the commission. On 16 August 1501, Michelangelo was given the official contract to undertake this challenging new task. He began carving the statue early in the morning on 13 September, a month after he was awarded the contract. He would work on the massive statue for more than two years.
The statue was outside from 1504-1873 (369 years!) before it was moved inside in Florence. Notice that there’s a sling behind his back:
- 1541 – After three years of exile, John Calvin returns to Geneva to reform the church under a body of doctrine known as Calvinism.
- 1609 – Henry Hudson reaches the river that would later be named after him – the Hudson River.
- 1788 – The Philadelphia Convention sets the date for the first presidential election in the United States, and New York City becomes the country’s temporary capital.
- 1814 – In a turning point in the War of 1812, the British fail to capture Baltimore. During the battle, Francis Scott Key composes his poem “Defence of Fort McHenry”, which is later set to music and becomes the United States’ national anthem
Here’s the earliest surviving sheet music of that anthem, also from 1814. It’s not a very good national anthem; “America, the Beautiful” would be far better.
- 1848 – Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage survives an iron rod 1.25 inches (3.2 cm) in diameter being driven through his brain; the reported effects on his behavior and personality stimulate discussion of the nature of the brain and its functions.
Here’s photo of Gage holding the rod that went through his skull. He died from epilepsy, surely related to the injury, in 1860.
Several views of Gage’s skull with the rod:
- 1948 – Margaret Chase Smith is elected United States senator, and becomes the first woman to serve in both the U.S. House of Representatives and the United States Senate.
- 1953 – Nikita Khrushchev is appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
- 1962 – An appeals court orders the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith, the first African-American student admitted to the segregated university.
Here’s Meredith going to Old Miss with company (see caption). He’s still with us at 89:
- 1987 – Goiânia accident: A radioactive object is stolen from an abandoned hospital in Goiânia, Brazil, contaminating many people in the following weeks and causing some to die from radiation poisoning.
The stolen device contained a small capsule of cesium chloride, a highly radioactive substance. The thief dismantled it, dug into the cesium and some even put it on their body. Four people died grim deaths as a result and hundreds were contaminated. A gif is below, showing how it emitted gamma rays.
*Russia still holds huge swaths of Ukraine, but the scrappy little country’s new offensive continues to gain ground.
Ukraine on Monday continued its push to reshape the terrain of the 200-day war, claiming more territory in both the northeast and south, and raising questions over whether Russia’s once-daunting military can hold the territory it still controls in the country.
The Ukrainian military claimed to have advanced into an additional 20 Ukrainian towns and villages over the past 24 hours that had been under Russian control, adding to the hundreds of square miles it has retaken in the northeast.
It also said it had recaptured nearly 200 square miles in the southern region of Kherson in recent days, in an offensive that aimed to cut off thousands of Russian soldiers stationed west of the Dnipro River in territory that Russia claimed in the initial stages of its invasion.
Russia still holds vast chunks of eastern and southern Ukraine. But Russian officials, describing the retreat as a planned move to “regroup,” face hard questions, especially with a growing backlash to their “special military operation” in Ukraine from pro-war voices at home. Moscow’s military leaders, analysts say, will have to take a cleareyed look at their forces’ current conditions, which are depleted and demoralized in some areas.
And get a load of this. Signing the petition mentioned below was a brave act given Putin’s behavior, and could even lead to murder of the signers:
Municipal deputies from 18 councils in Moscow and St. Petersburg signed a petition on Monday calling on President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia to resign. The petition came after a municipal council in St. Petersburg last week called on the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, to investigate Mr. Putin for treason over his decision to invade Ukraine. Those deputies have been charged with discrediting the Russian army, an administrative offense.
*From reader Ken:
The Justice Dept. has issued 40 subpoenas regarding its Jan. 6th grand jury investigation in the past week and has seized the electronic devices of two of Donald Trump’s top advisors pursuant to search warrants.
From the NYT article linked above:
Two top Trump advisers, Boris Epshteyn and Mike Roman, had their phones seized as evidence, those people said.
The department’s actions represent a substantial escalation of a slow-simmer investigation two months before the midterm elections, coinciding with a separate inquiry into Mr. Trump’s hoarding of sensitive documents at his residence in Florida, Mar-a-Lago.
Among those the department has contacted since Wednesday are people who are close to the former president and have played significant roles in his post-White House life.
Those receiving the subpoenas included Dan Scavino, Mr. Trump’s former social media director who rose from working at a Trump-owned golf course to one of his most loyal aides and has remained an adviser since Mr. Trump left office. Stanley Woodward, one of Mr. Scavino’s lawyers, declined to comment.
. . .The subpoenas seek information in connection with the plan to submit slates of electors pledged to Mr. Trump from swing states that were won by Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the 2020 election. Mr. Trump and his allies promoted the idea that competing slates of electors would justify blocking or delaying certification of Mr. Biden’s Electoral College victory during a joint session of Congress on Jan. 6, 2021.
In a new line of inquiry, some of the subpoenas also seek information into the activities of the Save America political action committee, the main political fund-raising conduit for Mr. Trump since he left office.
*Meanwhile, Britain continues to mourn the loss of Elizabeth II, but it’s also led to some pushback against royalty. As the Guardian reports (and I’ve retweeted some of these incidents in a rare bout of Coyneian tweeting), the cops are arresting “republican” (anti-monarchy) protestors for holding up anti-royalist signs or shouting related slogans. That article reports two protestors arrested but now there are more:
Two protesters who expressed republican sentiments have been arrested at events proclaiming the accession to the throne of King Charles III.
A man said he was arrested for shouting, “Who elected him?” when the proclamation was read out in Oxford.
Symon Hill, 45, said he had come across the event by chance as he walked home from church. The history tutor said that after he shouted the words, some people nearby told him to “shut up” and he responded by saying: “A head of state has been imposed on us without our consent.”
Three security guards approached him before police intervened, he said. Hill said he was taken to a police van, despite the protestations of others, who defended his right to free expression.
. . . “I didn’t in any meaningful sense disrupt the ceremony; I just called out something that a few people near me would have heard, and then they carried on with the ceremony, and they [the police] collared me. I find it really alarming that you can be arrested for expressing an opinion in public. I am feeling quite shaken.”
. . .In Edinburgh, a woman holding a sign saying, “Fuck imperialism, abolish monarchy” was arrested moments before the reading of the proclamation. The incident took place outside St Giles’ Cathedral, where the Queen’s coffin is due to lie on Monday.
A police spokesperson said a 22-year-old woman had been arrested in connection with a breach of the peace. Some people were heard booing at the proclamation of the King during the Edinburgh event.
Remember, Britain has no First Amendment, and restrictions on expression are tighter than in the U.S. You can be arrested for giving offense, creating a public disturbance when you didn’t, and uttering “hate speech.”
More civil liberties violations:
Just went to Parliament Square & held up a blank piece of paper. Officer came & asked for my details. He confirmed that if I wrote “Not My King” on it, he would arrest me under the Public Order Act because someone might be offended.
— Paul Powlesland (@paulpowlesland) September 12, 2022
Matthew’s note on this one: “This is the problem, the police will say. This guy seems to be yelling about Prince Andrew.” The guy OFFENDED someone, and gets attacked. But of course the speaker is supposed to be the problem, not the assaulter.
Blimey, keep an eye on the man shouting in the right of the shot.
Someone behind him clearly did not take kindly to his shouting pic.twitter.com/sk2gnA2eDr
— Kaya Burgess (@kayaburgess) September 12, 2022
Here’s a thread on what arrests were legal and which were not (follow the thread at Twitter). Matthew’s comment:
“Even allowing for the very different legal and cultural situation in the UK compared to the US, people are shocked by this [the squelching of anti-royal speech]. Here’s a good thread from a criminal lawyer.” There’s also a link to that Guardian article about the speech kerfuffles:
Quick thread following the recent arrests of anti-monarchists.https://t.co/cFdaEFrLg5
It is not automatically a criminal offence to express republican views in public. Now or ever. As is often the case, context may be important.
— Tom Wainwright (@wainwright_tom) September 12, 2022
*Elizabeth Holmes already filed one motion for a new trial after one of her former employees who testified against her in the Theranos prosecution said that the prosecution make him say things he didn’t mean to say. Now she’s asked for another new trial on still different grounds (yes, this is from the Daily Fail, but it’s confirmed from other sources).
Holmes, 38, on Tuesday filed a motion in San Jose District Court alleging that a key witness for the prosecution now regrets the role he played in her conviction for investor fraud and conspiracy related to her failed blood-testing startup.
Less than 24 hours later, the former CEO filed another motion claiming that prosecutors made arguments in the trial of Theranos COO Sunny Balwani – her co-accused and lover – that would likely have seen the jurors in her case reach a different verdict.
Holmes is scheduled to be sentenced in October after a jury early this year found her guilty of defrauding investors out of millions of dollars in Theranos – a company which garnered a valuation of $10 billion based on its ‘revolutionary’ blood-testing technology, later proved to be a hoax.
She is currently free on bail, but is facing up to 20 years in prison.
She will, of course, do everything she can to stay out of prison, or at least delay being jailed. We’d all do that, of course, but so far the case that she committed fraud is pretty convincing. If she gets a new trial, it would be months or years before she’d ever see prison—and that’s if she’s convicted.
*Good news for those who have sent embarrassing text messages on iPhones, and want to edit them or even delete them after they’ve been sent.
With the iOS 16 software update for iPhones, Apple has finally added an edit and “undo send” function to its Messages app.
• In the Messages app, tap and hold on the message you just sent.
• Up pops a box. Tap on Edit.
• Fix your message, then tap the blue check mark.
• Your embarrassment is over.
A few details to keep in mind: You only have 15 minutes to edit a message — Apple shrank the window after feedback that longer windows could be abused.
The person on the receiving end will see a note that you’ve edited or unsent the message. They will also have the ability to see your unedited text by tapping and holding on that Edited flag. So you might have some explaining to do.
• In the Messages app, tap and hold on the message you just sent.
• Up pops a box. Tap on Undo Send.
Just keep in mind: You only have 2 minutes to delete a message.
And most of all, know all of this only works when you’re texting people with iPhones. Messages to your Android friends — the ones who live in green bubbles — are sent in plain old SMS format that can’t be changed or forgotten.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili almost had some bad luck (I think she’s conflating black ants with black cats):
Hili: Not one more step.A: Why?Hili: A black ant crossed my path.
Hili: Ani kroku dalej.Ja: Dlaczego?Hili: Czarna mrówka przeszła mi drogę.
. . . and a photo of Kulka nuzzling Szaron. Remember, these two are fast friend, but Hili will tolerate Szaron but cannot stand Kulka.
From Merilee: cats will be cats:
From Facebook, a Doug Savage cartoon:
From Anna, a Scott Metzger cartoon of a Cat Hotel:
Bonus: Gal Gadot at age 18, reporting for her mandatory stint in the Israeli Army:
The tweet of God. I’m not sure about the first part of His pronouncement. But the followup tweet is scary!
Who could be scared of this pic.twitter.com/PdGLCKhyGI
— Lost Droids (@Lost_Droids) September 11, 2022
From Ricky Gervais, a snippet of his latest standup show:
— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) September 12, 2022
From Malcolm: A car charging point that, if you turn it a bit, looks like a cat charger:
If you need your cat charging, get down to Morrisons. pic.twitter.com/5IM7uhmhrQ
— Nigel Stewart (@MeNigeStew) September 10, 2022
From Barry, who says, “Never mess with a mom’s baby.” That cat is ENRAGED! (Apparently this tweet has been removed. Pity.)
Never never mess with a mom's baby! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/nJMsWaKyyy
— Figen (@_TheFigen) September 11, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial: in the camp at 17, died the day before his 18th birthday:
13 September 1923 | A Pole, Eugeniusz Iwanowski, was born in Warsaw.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) September 13, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. He and I are both upset that the coppers are arresting every Brit who says or expressed public disdain toward the monarchy and the new King. The first one shows what’s going on:
— Symon Hill (@SymonHill) September 11, 2022
In this video, nonviolence is met with violence by civilians and detainment by the coppers:
Prince Andrew heckled as the Queen's coffin passes pic.twitter.com/85m9jUgszF
— Christopher Marshall (@chrismarshll) September 12, 2022
Here’s the cop threatening the man holding up a blank sign (see above):
— Paul Powlesland (@paulpowlesland) September 12, 2022