We’re slowly squeezing our way out of the Annus Horribilis of 2020: it’s November 30, 2020: National Mousse Day. (Hili misread it as “National Mouse Day”, became all excited, and I had to give her the bad news.) It’s also Methamphetamine Awareness Day and Cyber Monday, the latter encouraging online shopping. Estimates are that today will the biggest online shopping day in history, with over $13 billion to be spent.
News of the Day:
Wisconsin finished its state-wide recount of Presidential votes, funded by $3 million from the Trump campaign’s coffers. The upshot: Biden still wins, and even garnered 87 more votes than he had before. Some voter fraud! And the good news is that Trump spent nearly $34,500 for each Democratic vote added to the total.
More good news: the rumor continues that the Bidens will get a cat when they move into the White House, the first since W.’s black cat India. (I mistakenly thought that the Clintons’s Socks was the last First Cat.) They already have to d*gs, which is enough, for crying out loud, but I’m not believing a White House cat until they really have one. After all, this is what the New York Times reports:
In an interview with Fox 5 in Washington, D.C., Dr. Biden hinted that if her husband won the presidency, she would not mind getting a cat.
“I’d love to get a cat,” she said. “I love having animals around the house.”
The cat’s breed and name were not immediately available. Representatives for Mr. Biden did not respond to a request for comment on Saturday.
Yeah, and I’d love to have a private chef, too, but I’m not getting one.
The downside of d*gs was instantiated yesterday when Biden sustained a hairline fracture in his foot from playing with his German Shepherd. He’ll have to wear a boot for a while. See: a d*g could kill the President! You don’t play with cats like that (though Biden might trip over one.)
People are already blaming the accident on the Bidens’ cat, even though they don’t have one yet!
Case in point: Are we sure it wasn't the cat did the tripping?
— Barry Long (@EyeInHand) November 30, 2020
Thomas Friedman tells us why we should worry less about Iran’s getting nukes (it would be suicidal for them to use first against Israel, so he says, but perhaps they don’t care, getting all those virgin in Paradise and all) and worry more about precision-guided missiles, which it used in 2019 to destroy one of Saudi Arabia’s most important oilfields. This is the issue Biden will face, compounded by the new alliances between Israel and countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 266,758, an increase of about 800 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,466,289, an increase of about 6,500 over yesterday’s report.
Stuff that happened on November 30 includes:
- 1782 – American Revolutionary War: Treaty of Paris: In Paris, representatives from the United States and Great Britain sign preliminary peace articles (later formalized as the 1783 Treaty of Paris).
- 1803 – The Balmis Expedition starts in Spain with the aim of vaccinating millions against smallpox in Spanish America and Philippines.
The upside (from Wikipedia): “Jenner himself wrote, ” ‘I don’t imagine the annals of history furnish an example of philanthropy so noble, so extensive as this.'”
The downside (ditto): “The expedition sailed on Maria Pita and carried 22 orphan boys (aged 8 to 10) as successive carriers of the virus. . .”
- 1803 – In New Orleans, Spanish representatives officially transfer the Louisiana Territory to an official from the French First Republic. Just 20 days later, France transfers the same land to the United States as the Louisiana Purchase.
- 1872 – The first-ever international football match takes place at Hamilton Crescent, Glasgow, between Scotland and England.
- 1936 – In London, the Crystal Palace is destroyed by fire.
Here’s a photo of the Palace a few days after it was destroyed:
- 1954 – In Sylacauga, Alabama, United States, the Hodges meteorite crashes through a roof and hits a woman taking an afternoon nap; this is the only documented case in the Western Hemisphere of a human being hit by a rock from space.
Here’s where the meteorite crashed through the roof and ceiling:
Here’s the unfortunate victim. Look at that bruise—good thing it missed her head!
Hodges was napping on her living-room couch at mid-day when the meteorite came through the ceiling, hit a console radio, and smashed into her hip. Awakened by the pain and noise, she thought the gas space heater had exploded. When she noticed a grapefruit-sized rock lying on the floor and a ragged hole in the roof, she assumed children were the culprits. Her mother, Ida Franklin, rushed outside and saw only a black cloud in the sky. Alabamians in and around the area saw the event from a different perspective, with many reporting that they had seen a fireball in the sky and heard a tremendous explosion that produced a white or brownish cloud. Most assumed it involved an airplane accident.
- 1982 – Michael Jackson’s sixth solo studio album, Thriller, is released worldwide, ultimately to become the best-selling record album in history.
It is a great album, and here’s my favorite song from it in 1987. This is a live performance, but clearly lip-synched:
According to Wikipedia, the song was written by Steve Porcaro of Toto:
The first version of “Human Nature” was written and composed by Steve Porcaro of Toto. He wrote the song when his first-grade daughter came home crying after a boy pushed her off the slide. He blurted out three reasons for the incident to comfort her: the boy liked her, people can be strange, and it’s “human nature”. He recorded a rough demo of the song in their studio while the Toto song “Africa” was being mixed
- 1995 – Official end of Operation Desert Storm.
- 2005 – John Sentamu becomes the first black archbishop in the Church of England with his enthronement as the 97th Archbishop of York.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1508 – Andrea Palladio, Italian architect and theoretician, designed the Church of San Giorgio Maggiore and Teatro Olimpico (d. 1580)
Here’s the Teatro Olimpico:
- 1554 – Philip Sidney, English soldier, courtier, and poet (d. 1586)
- 1667 – Jonathan Swift, Irish satirist and essayist (d. 1745)
- 1835 – Mark Twain, American novelist, humorist, and critic (d. 1910)
- 1874 – Winston Churchill, English colonel, journalist, and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1965)
- 1912 – Gordon Parks, American photographer and director (d. 2006)
Here’s one of many photos taken by Parks of black life in Washington, D.C. (did you know he also directed the movie Shaft?):
- 1924 – Allan Sherman, American actor, comedian, singer, producer, and screenwriter (d. 1973)
- 1929 – Dick Clark, American television host and producer, founded Dick Clark Productions (d. 2012)
- 1936 – Abbie Hoffman, American activist and author, co-founded the Youth International Party (d. 1989)
- 1937 – Ridley Scott, English director, producer, and production designer
- 1943 – Terrence Malick, American director, producer, and screenwriter
Malick’s film “Days of Heaven” (1978) is one of the finest American movies (far outstripping “Tree of Life”, a pretentious epic), and perhaps the most beautifully filmed ever. Here’s the trailer:
- 1947 – David Mamet, American playwright, screenwriter, and director
Those who expired on November 30 include:
- 1900 – Oscar Wilde, Irish playwright, novelist, and poet (b. 1854)
- 1954 – Wilhelm Furtwängler, German conductor and composer (b. 1886)
- 1979 – Zeppo Marx, American actor and comedian (b. 1901)
Zeppo was the “straight” Marx brother, and, with Gummo, the least famous of the five. In the five Marx Brothers films he was in, Zeppo played the straight man. Here he is:
Zeppo’s real name was Herbert Manfred Marks,
- 1996 – Tiny Tim, American singer and ukulele player (b. 1932)
- 1999 – Charlie Byrd, American guitarist (b. 1925)
- 2007 – Evel Knievel, American motorcycle rider and stuntman (b. 1938)
- 2018 – George H. W. Bush, American politician, 41st President of the United States (b. 1924)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is weary of the world:
Hili: Every day is a challenge.A: That’s true, but what do you have in mind?Hili: What to do, where to go?
Hili: Każdy dzień jest wyzwaniem.Ja: To prawda, ale co masz na myśli?Hili: Co robić, dokąd iść?
An illusion from rock. The two blocks aren’t just gray: they’re the same gray:
From David. I think they used whatever sticker they had for “seedless”!
Tweets from Matthew. The first one is a groaner:
There’s a fine line between being a genius and being a monster. For example look at the difference between Albert Einstein and his twin brother Frank.
— Namnezia💬 (@Namnezia) November 29, 2020
More about the putative White House cat:
"The cat’s breed and name were not immediately available" https://t.co/1zAiYwGDdI
— Jessica Rosenkrantz (@nervous_jessica) November 29, 2020
The aliens took their monolith back!!!
The mysterious metal monolith that was found last week in the Utah desert has vanished. https://t.co/tUFYRCfhe0
— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 29, 2020
. . . instead of a palooka, which is what I am.
"i coulda' been a contender. i could've been somebody"
📹: Imgur user curedragon pic.twitter.com/SEQOJ2wFhb
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) November 28, 2020
This really doesn’t need translation. And one day I will see the Aurora. Sound up.
Obres la porta de casa i et trobes això.
Imatges capturades per Matthew Robinsons des de Senja, Noruega. pic.twitter.com/YQQm43KeOI
— Joan Anton Català Amigó (@estelsiplanetes) November 28, 2020
This is really a weird collection of dreams!
So I started a habit of writing down my weirder dreams in very short summaries and….. pic.twitter.com/oAgWAaZhac
— Armin Reindl (@ArminReindl) November 27, 2020
Matthew says that this is “a book of genuine but rude UK names” (names of people):
Would the rest of Twitter please look away: pic.twitter.com/E7hWVLpBRa
— Chriskelly151 (@chriskelly151) November 26, 2020
Matthew discovers what we’ve known for a long time:
Medieval artists couldn’t draw cats #371. pic.twitter.com/FnCDSBtVEM
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) November 27, 2020