It’s Thursday, June 8, 2023, and National Jelly-Filled Doughnut Day. I could use one: it’s 5:30 a.m. and I haven’t yet had coffee:
Bounty Day is a holiday on both Pitcairn Island, destination of the Bounty mutineers, and on Norfolk Island. It is celebrated on 23 January on Pitcairn, and on 8 June on Norfolk Island, the day that the descendants of the mutineers arrived on the island. It is named for the Bounty, although the ship never saw Norfolk Island.
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the June 8 Wikipedia page.
Wine of the Day: Here’s another kind of white to stimulate your taste buds if you’re tired of chardonnay or pinot gris. This one’s a two-year old Australian Riesling, pale straw-colored and almost bone dry. I had it with a tomato-and-egg omelet, and it was a good match. Fresh and clean, with an aroma of dried apricot, peaches, and citrus, it’s fruity and floral without being sweet. It’s not that cheap at $16, but it’s a good wint to serve guests or take to a resaturant, as it will go with almost anything.
The ratings are good; Here’s James Suckling, who gives it a 96/100:
A very fresh, piercing nose of sliced lemon with plenty of sweet perfume, too. The palate is similarly intense and vibrant with white stone-fruit and lemon flavors, delivered in an impressively intense and balanced mode., who gives it a 96/100.
It you want a treat and a change of pace for a white wine, I recommend this so long as the price is around $16.
*It’s still not clear who blew up the dam in southern Ukraine in an area occupied by Russia, but the damage is severe, and officials are starting to think that Russia may be the culprit. Remember, I said it first!
The rupture on Tuesday has added another dimension to a humanitarian crisis resulting from a war that has killed tens of thousands and displaced millions. It unleashed a torrent of water that inundated dozens of towns and villages along the Dnipro River separating Russian and Ukrainian-held parts of the southern Kherson region.
Neither side has released a figure of fatalities from the incident, which is likely to leave lasting scars in southern Ukraine and threatens to pollute waterways, severely damage the local habitat and force farmers out of business.
Ukraine has accused Russia of blowing up the dam, which will likely affect Kyiv’s plans for a long-awaited counteroffensive that appeared to be under way in recent days, while also washing away Russian fortifications along the Dnipro River that were meant to ward off a Ukrainian river crossing.
The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said Russia had blown up the dam to hinder the advance of Ukrainian troops.
Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said the destruction of the dam wouldn’t detain Ukrainian forces. “We will still liberate all our land,” he said.
Russia, in turn, blamed Kyiv for sabotaging the dam. Western intelligence agencies, including in the U.S., are working to determine who is responsible for the dam breach, but are leaning toward Russia, a Western official said.
A photo of Kherson from the WSJ. The lack of fresh drinking water is going to be a serious problem, even though casualties may be low:
I haven’t seen in the press the reasons why U.S. officials are leaning towards blaming Russia, but peons like us aren’t going to get that kind of information yet.
*Jessica Grose has a NYT editorial explaining why six people moved away from organized religion, but she discusses the issue in general: the secularization of America.
When I followed up with these readers, three trends emerged. Several had switched religious affiliation more than once; I’ll call them seekers. Others had an abrupt break from church in their youth, after which they became atheists or agnostics; I’ll call them skeptics. And there were others who drifted away from religion fairly late in life; I’ll call them slow faders, because their religious evolutions took time.
. . .A common reason that people raised in religious households become nones is that they lose faith early in life. In 2016, the Public Religion Research Institute found that 62 percent of religiously unaffiliated Americans who were raised religious “abandoned their childhood religion before they turned 18.” An additional 28 percent left the religion of their youth between the ages of 18 and 29.
More than one reader who responded to my call-out lost faith after realizing that Santa Claus and other revered childhood figures are make-believe. Kathleen Kalt, 68, who lives in Florida, was raised Catholic and is the oldest of six kids, said that she lost faith in the first grade. That’s when she found a bike in her family’s storage room that she knew was a Christmas gift, and realized that there was no Santa. “My brain just went: tooth fairy, Easter bunny, God. It took less than a minute, a very traumatic minute. I realized I was on my own at 6 years old,” she said. She doesn’t believe in God, but she observes Buddhist rituals and said “I will often say the rosary as a meditation because it’s second nature to me.”
And from my own conversations with de-converts (and I’ve talked to many), this route is quite common:
Toni Rachal Smith, 34, who lives in Brooklyn, lost her faith after college. She said she was home-schooled by “fundamentalist Christians,” in Florida, where her mom still runs a specialty bookstore for home-schooling families. Her small church was her life growing up, and then she attended Oral Roberts University, a conservative Christian college. She started questioning her faith when she was 22 and a close friend renounced his Christianity. At first, Smith said, she and others were worried for him, but in retrospect, for her, it was the first domino to fall.
She started questioning things like creationism. “When it became clear to me (thanks to the internet) that the world was not created in seven days, it began to unravel,” Smith said. Moving to Los Angeles, reading Reddit, and being exposed to lots of different kinds of people both digitally and in person made her realize what she had been raised with wasn’t what she believed any longer.
The “domino effect” of accepting evolution is common, and that’s why fundamentalists Christians are determined to kill the idea. They will never succeed because evolution is true. You can read my own deconversion story here (scroll down a bit).
*It looks as if Donald Trump may be indicted in either Washington D.C. or Florida on federal charges of mishandling classified documents or obstructing the government’s efforts to retrieve them. One of his aides appeared before a grand jury investigating the matter in Miami, while Trump’s lawyers appeared before a grand jury in Washington, D.C. investigating the same issue. UPDATE: This morning we hear that Trump’s lawyers were told that he is a target in this investigation.
“I answered every question honestly,” the tweet said.
At least one other witness appeared before the Miami grand jury last month, as well, said two people familiar with the situation, who like others interviewed spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss closed-door grand jury proceedings.
The Miami grand jury appearances come after at least one federal grand jury panel in Washington has heard months of testimony in the Trump documents probe, which involves the question of whether the former president improperly kept classified documents at Mar-a-Lago, his Florida home and private club, or obstructed government efforts to retrieve them.
The reason for launching a parallel grand jury in Florida is not publicly known, though it could mean federal prosecutors are considering bringing charges there, instead of or in addition to Washington.
. . .Trump’s lawyers met with Smith and a senior Justice Department official at Justice Department headquarters in Washington on Monday to make the case that their client should not be charged, people familiar with the matter said. Such meetings often happen as federal investigations get close to finishing.
Trump advisers briefed after the meeting said they believe Smith will finalize a charging decision in coming weeks and that they are preparing for a potential indictment of the former president, who has denied any wrongdoing.
“Indictment” and “Trump” in the same sentence: music to my ears.
*Here’s a tweet I just emitted. Don’t believe the NYT for a second. I’ll try to show why these speculations about dinosaur reproduction are dumb in a post tomorrow. I don’t understand why everything I put out is sensitive content. It’s a crocodile picture, for crying out loud!
Here the NYT says dinosaurs may have reproduced parthenogenetically (without mating). NOPE: there's ONE dead parthenogenetic fetus from 1 crocodile. Speculation about dino reproduction from that is dumb, esp. since birds are closer to dinos than are crocs https://t.co/VfNMzGD1g7
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) June 7, 2023
*The NYT has one of its rare but educational jazz columns, complete with music and links to the music: “5 minutes that will make you love New Orleans jazz“.
Over the past few months, The New York Times has asked experts to answer the question, What would you play a friend to make them fall in love with jazz? We’ve covered lots of artists, instruments and musical styles — but this time we’re tackling a whole city.
While brass bands and traditional jazz lie at the core of this city’s traditions — and no conversation about them can ever go on too long without a mention (or three) of Louis Armstrong — New Orleans has also fostered greatness across the musical spectrum: from Black classical composers to post-bop royalty to avant-garde experimentalists. The songs below are just the tip of the iceberg. Find a playlist at the bottom of the article, and be sure to leave your own favorites in the comments.
There are ten songs in total, with three Louis Armstrong songs, but they left out his best: “Potato Head Blues.” It was really the beginning of the jazz solo, and I present it for your approval. The solo goes from 1:51 to 2:37. played over the group’s stop time. Many people remember Armstrong as a genial clownlike man with a handkerchief, but he was one of the best jazzmen ever, and could be said to have lit the fuse on the genre. And this song was the fuse.
They also left out his second best: “Struttin’ with some barbecue”:
And his third best: “St. James’s Infirmary”. They may know their jazz, but they don’t know their Armstrong:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Szaron suspects the Chinese are spying on Poland:
Hili: What are you looking at?Szaron: I think I can see a Chinese spy balloon.
Hili: Na co tak patrzysz?Szaron: Chyba widzę chiński balon szpiegowski.
From Jesus of the Day:
From Masih, a canny move by an Iranian protestor:
“I don’t have any plan to commit suicide and I don’t have any cardiac issues.”
This is what Sonia Sharifi, a 17 year old protester, said after two other young #WomanLifeFreedom protesters died under suspicious circumstances last week in Abdanan, Iran.
All three were detained… pic.twitter.com/by1QyeivCk
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) June 6, 2023
From gravelinspector. Yes, we all get it, but I’d rather eat it!
— internet hall of fame (@InternetH0F) June 6, 2023
From Malcolm, an adorable moonwalking kitten:
I can do that too.. 😂pic.twitter.com/R9O4xBael9
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 6, 2023
March for Science retweeted this tweet, which shows a shutting down of free speech. I’m not for fracked gas, but nor am I for shutting down speakers. (h/t Bryan)
BREAKING: We just fully shut down Senator Joe Manchin's keynote address.
He is shoving a 2,000,000,000 cubic-foot-per-day fracked gas pipeline down our throats.
Manchin is not a moderate. Manchin is an ecocidal millionaire. We must resist him with all we've got. And we will. pic.twitter.com/xd8CmKwsHL
— Climate Defiance (@ClimateDefiance) June 6, 2023
From Luana, yet another violation of the First Amendment:
A Christian man in Pennsylvania has been arrested for reading the Bible.
Damon Atkins was reading a verse from 1 Corinthians 14:33 – during a Pride event in Reading, Pennsylvania but was arrested before he could finish the verse. pic.twitter.com/Pu7kwLe1k7
— Oli London (@OliLondonTV) June 6, 2023
A typical inmate meal from the Auschwitz Memorial. At the site they display what it looks like, and believe me, I don’t understand how people could not only live on it, but do work after eating it.
For supper prisoners received some 300 grams of black bread & either 25 grams of sausage, black pudding or margarine, or a tablespoon of marmalade or cheese. The nutritional value of these meals (with inadequate animal protein, fat, vitamins and minerals) was very low. #FoodMW
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) June 7, 2023
Tweets from Dr. Cobb. First, rescue ducklings (sound up):
I can do that too.. 😂pic.twitter.com/R9O4xBael9
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden) June 6, 2023
An unconformity is a break in the geological record in one place; when cross-matched to other localities, it gives a time order for the strata (and shows that sedimentation is a long process):
This outcrop at Siccar Point in Scotland, known as Hutton's Unconformity, is one of the most important places in the history of #geology. James Hutton (born #OnThisDay in 1726) saw the junction between two distinct types of rock, and used it to develop the theory of deep time. pic.twitter.com/C7ds0Mbht7
— The Royal Society (@royalsociety) June 3, 2023
A waggish tweet from Matthew himself:
Why don’t more people enjoy the wide open spaces of the north of the U.K.? https://t.co/vhA7KNjuL2
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) June 3, 2023