Welcome to the sabbath for goyishe cats: Sunday, August 27, 2023, and National Burger Day, celebrating a truly American sandwich. Here’s a big ‘un from Hodad’s in California, so big it has to be enclosed in a wrapper. This is often rated as the best burger in America:
It’s also National Petroleum Day, World Rock, Paper, Scissors Day, National Pots de Crème Day (blatant cultural appropriation), Kiss Me Day, National Banana Lovers Day, and, in Texas, Lyndon Baines Johnson Day (he was born on this day in 1908).
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the August 27 Wikipedia page.
*Welcome to America. Here are yesterday’s shootings—four of them:
Three people were killed in a mass shooting at a Dollar General Store in Jacksonville Florida. The perp was white, the victims were black, and police are calling it a racially-motivated shooting.
Seven people were injured, none seriously, in a mass shooting at a Boston parade celebrating the J’ouvert Parade part of the city’s Caribbean Carnival. There is no word on whether the perp was apprehended or identified.
A 16-year old boy was killed and four people were injured in a shooting at a high-school football game in Choctaw, Oklahoma. The shooting followed an argument between two men, and there is no word on what happened to the shooter.
Two women were injured in a shooting here in Chicago during a game between the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics at the stadium, Guaranteed Rate Field (that name has to change!). Again, there’s no word on who pulled the trigger or whether the shooter is known.
As CNN reports, it’s been a violent year:
There have been at least 471 mass shootings in the United States so far in 2023, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which like CNN defines a mass shooting in which four or more people are injured and/or killed, not including the shooter.
The nation surpassed the 400 mark in July. The Gun Violence Archive said it is the earliest month such a high number has been recorded in a decade.
But of course we have to have our guns because the Second Amendment guarantees that “a well regulated Militia [is] necessary to the security of a free State. . “. Unfortunately, I see no evidence of a militia in any of the incidents above, nor in the othe other 470 mass shootings this year.
*Mo Dowd, in her latest NYT column, on the candidates in the Republican debate:
At the Republican debate, no one was big enough to shove him aside. Nikki Haley seemed the most appealing. Ron DeSantis’s inability to smile is disqualifying. It was pathetic that the best the Florida governor could muster, asked if Mike Pence acted properly when he certified the election, was to say, “I got no beef with him.”
Vivek Ramaswamy seemed smarmy. Scott Jennings, a Republican commentator on CNN, said that Ramaswamy was Scrappy-Doo to Trump’s Scooby-Doo. That comparison is not fair to Scooby or Scrappy, who are positive forces in the world, helping to unmask crooks, unlike Trump and his mini-me.
If I had to vote for one Republican candidate (I won’t, of course), it would be Haley, who does seem to be the most sensible of a bad lot.
*Obituaries on a slow news day. Game-show host and household name Bob Barker has died at the age of 99.
A publicist says popular game show host Bob Barker, a household name for a half-century as host of “Truth or Consequences” and “The Price Is Right,” has died at his home in Los Angeles. Barker was 99.
Barker — also a longtime animal rights activist — died Saturday morning, according to publicist Roger Neal.
“I am so proud of the trailblazing work Barker and I did together to expose the cruelty to animals in the entertainment industry and including working to improve the plight of abused and exploited animals in the United States and internationally,” said Nancy Burnet, his longtime friend and caretaker, in a statement.
Barker retired in June 2007, telling his studio audience: “I thank you, thank you, thank you for inviting me into your home for more than 50 years.”
. . .Barker stayed with “Truth or Consequences” for 18 years [he started in 1956]— including several years in a syndicated version.
Meanwhile, he began hosting a resurrected version of “The Price Is Right” on CBS in 1972. (The original host in the 1950s and ‘60s was Bill Cullen.) It would become TV’s longest-running game show and the last on a broadcast network of what in TV’s early days had numbered dozens.
“I have grown old in your service,” the silver-haired, perennially tanned Barker joked on a prime-time television retrospective in the mid-’90s.
CBS said in a statement that daytime television has lost one of its “most iconic stars.”
I watched both of those shows when I was a kid, though “Truth or Consequences” was better.
*The Wall Street Journal got three analysts expert in plane crashes to examine the video of the plane crash that killed Yevgeny Prigozhin and nine other people. Click on the screenshot below to see the 3-minute video and hear the experts’s conclusion. What was it? Well, without examination of the remains this is tentative: probably not a missile, but a bomb or an explosion, and not any kind of structural or internal failure of the plane. In other words, the most likely explanation was “an assassination plot.”
That’s bizarre? Who would want to kill Prigozhin?
*Can you believe it?: they’re still looking for the Loch Ness Monster, and a search is going on as I write. The NYT recounts the history of “sightings” and attempts to find the creature in a new piece, “The 1,300 year search for the Loch Ness monster.”
Here’s what’s going on in “the biggest surface search in decades”:
Loch Ness Exploration, a volunteer research group, will lead the newest search, which is billed as the largest conducted from the surface since 1972. The group will scan the loch for unusual movements and will use tools including heat-detecting drones and a hydrophone, which detects acoustic signals under water.
Viewing slots have filled up, but people will still be able to eye the loch on a livestream.
There have been three purported monster sightings this year, according to the official register of sightings.
I think the search is over now, and I haven’t heard of any monster sightings. Here are two other more recent ones that also failed:
 The British Broadcasting Corporation used 600 sonar beams to investigate the loch and concluded that Nessie did not exist. The BBC also tested the public by hiding a fence post beneath the surface of the loch and raising it in front of a tourist group. When members of the group were asked to show what they had seen, some drew monster-shaped heads.
 Professor Neil Gemmell of the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand, presented findings from 250 water samples he had taken from Loch Ness and tested for DNA. He said that he found a “significant amount of eel DNA,” but no genetic information to support a popular theory that the monster might be a Jurassic-age reptile. Professor Gemmell said that “what people see and believe is the Loch Ness monster might be a giant eel.”
Beyond the early photos, like the infamous “surgeon’s photo,” there have been sonar sweeps and several underwater visual sweeps. What they found: bupkes. I think it’s time to stop looking for a giant aquatic reptile in the Loch.
*NYT columnist Jamelle Bouie, no fan of Trump, nevertheless wrote a short column called “The Republican debate proved that Trump has what it takes.” What does he mean? Not much, really; the headline is hyperbolic and somewhat misleading:
Like far too many of you, I watched the Republican presidential debate on Wednesday night, during which all of the most popular contenders in the field tried to stand out and establish themselves as a serious alternative for the Republican presidential nomination.
An alternative to whom? Donald Trump, who wasn’t on stage for the debate. And yet, despite his absence, there was no way that any of the candidates could escape his presence. The former president loomed over the proceedings, not the least because he is, so far, the uncontested leader in the race for the nomination. His nearest competitor, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, still trails him by nearly 40 points.
There’s also the fact that the candidates had no choice but to answer questions about Trump, who has been indicted on state and federal charges related to the 2016 and 2020 presidential elections and the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The pretense of the debate was that the candidates could talk about themselves and the future of the Republican Party without the former president, but that was simply impossible.
But the issue wasn’t just that Trump was unavoidable; it was that none of the other candidates had much to say for themselves. Even the most dynamic of the contenders, Vivek Ramaswamy, was doing little more than his own spin on Trump’s persona. As I argued in our post-debate recap, none of the candidates had any of the charisma or presence or vision that might mark them as something more than just another governor or legislator.
. . . It is obviously true that a major reason for Trump’s dominance in the Republican primaries is the fact that at no point since the 2020 election have Republican officeholders and other figures tried to set him aside as the leader of the party. But we can’t underestimate the extent to which Trump has it what it takes — and most of his competitors simply don’t.
DUHHH! They cannot set him aside because too many Americans love him (a real black mark on our country). And THAT is all you have to say in a column with the headline above.
*The WaPo describes America’s most endangered bird, a Hawaiian endemic honeycreeper called the ‘akikiki (Oreomystis bairdi), or the “Kauai creeper”. The estimates of numbers in the wild vary; Wikipedia says this:
Of the Hawaiian birds known to be extant, it is thought to be the most endangered, with only 454 wild individuals known as of 2018. A survey report in 2021 estimated the population at 45 with a 5 percent annual decrease, and in July 2023 the remaining number of wild birds was estimated to be just 5 individuals. This species is predicted to be extinct in the wild in 2023.
And a photo:
The paper says that only five are left in the wild, and there’s a pair of them that scientists are desperately trying to breed. The thing is, that pair was kept on Maui, the site of recent fires. The paper tells about the birds’ fate:
So here at the Maui Bird Conservation Center, their human caretakers have brought the pair of potential lovebirds everything they need to weave a nest and save their kind: fern hair, forest moss, cocoa fibers, even spiderwebs. Plants sprouting from high shelves simulate the rainforest canopy. An overhead water system mists to mimic the wet weather of Kauai’s forests.
“It’s the last effort to save the species,” said Jennifer Pribble, who oversees operations at the bird sanctuary.
But this landlocked Noah’s ark was almost struck by the wildfires that raged across Maui earlier this month. The fires are first a human disaster, destroying the coastal town of Lahaina and killing more than 100. Yet as fire approached the sanctuary, Pribble and others fought the flames and kept the birds safe.
. . .In recent years, rising temperatures have expanded the range of avian malaria-carrying mosquitoes high up the hills, decimating the ʻakikiki and the islands’ other native songbirds.
In one of the most ambitious species conservation projects ever undertaken, a coalition of federal and state officials and nonprofit groups is preparing to release insects with a special strain of bacteria [Wolbachia] into Hawaii’s forests to suppress the pest.
I’m not sure the Wolbachia project will work, and at any rate, there are so few of these birds left, and the ones being bred in captivity will create a pretty inbred populations, that I fear this species will go extinct in the wild. This is one of the ones that has to be saved only by being kept and bred in captivity.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has taken a sudden interest in physics:
Hili: I see a black hole.A: And so?Hili: I wonder whether it can hide a mouse.
Hili: Widzę czarną dziurę.Ja: I co?Hili: Zastanawiam się, czy może ukrywać mysz?
From reader David:
From Stash Krod, the product of a waggish barista:
From Masih, an Afghan girl who is fighting to go to school, which is now impossible under the Taliban:
Received a powerful message and video from a brave Afghan girl:
“I am Hamaseh Badakhshani, one of the protesting Afghan girls. Grateful you highlighted Afghanistan in your program. I fled to Iran post-Afghan protests, and after the Islamic Republic killed Mahsa, I stood up in… pic.twitter.com/FJMpz93wes
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) August 24, 2023
From Simon. This tweet from Stormy Daniels is hilarious. “Tiny”!
Stormy Daniel went there 🤣 pic.twitter.com/YASJfWya9p
— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) August 25, 2023
From Malcolm, a night with a cat:
There aren't any good positions when you have a cat 🐈 pic.twitter.com/8FJ88aPPnZ
— Peppe (@PeppeNewz) August 23, 2023
From Luana, squabbling about indigenous knowledge. This is only the beginning.
The woke-left, eating itself. pic.twitter.com/njnR88KhPg
— i/o (@monitoringbias) August 10, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, a boy who was about 18 when he died at Auschwitz:
27 August 1925 | A Czech Jew, Karel Husinský, was born in Litomyšl.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 27, 2023
Tweets from Professor Cobb. The first one is sort of gross, but every creature’s gotta eat!:
🎵 It's the circle of life 🎵
Beetle eating a hairworm parasite as it emerges from its cricket host pic.twitter.com/jsarAI16Yg
— Emily Taylor (@snakeymama) August 2, 2023
A rescued duckling, raised and somewhat bonded to the guy who saved him. Cheerio! (Matthew says, “It could be you, man!”)
Guy rehabs a wild duckling — who flies back to visit with his girlfriend! pic.twitter.com/iHqXIj9tLt
— The Dodo (@dodo) July 22, 2023
A lovely free-swimming shrimp with long antennae:
This is one of the most beautiful shrimps I ever seen. Although we tend to think of shrimp as living on the sea floor, many species make their living in the open sea. This shrimp used feather-like legs to swim. Stunning.
🎥Pedro Valencia https://t.co/TeHTfHuoBU pic.twitter.com/EjWQ3FTjIh
— High Seas Science (@RebeccaRHelm) July 19, 2023