It’s Sunday, August 2, 2020, National Ice Cream Sandwich Day. It’s also Dinosaurs Day, Friendship Day, Sisters’ Day, and Roma Holocaust Memorial Day (on this day in 1944, nearly 3,000 Roma were killed in Auschwitz.
Here are America’s best commercial ice cream sandwiches: It’s-It: two oatmeal cookies with a thick layer of vanilla ice cream between them, the whole shebang covered with chocolate. Forget about Rice-A-Roni: this is the real San Francisco treat. Sadly, they’re not available outside the Western U.S.:
News of the Day: For the first time in modern American history, a Presidential convention will be closed to the press. It’s the GOP convention in Charlotte, North Carolina, of course. The excuse is that the coronavirus limits attendance. Portions will be livestreamed, but of course reporters won’t be onsite to interview people.
In an op-ed in today’s NYT, Frank Bruni tries to turn a necessity into a virtue, touting the “successes” of a start-up college, Minerva College, where all classes are virtual. There is a place for virtual learning, but to imply, as does Bruni, that this might be “the future of higher education” is to devalue the in-person learning that has made America’s universities some of the best in the world. I, for one, would never teach virtually, and I always reject pandemic-related requests to give virtual lectures. It’s not the kind of “performance” that I enjoy while lecturing. (I do, however do Skype sessions with high school and college classes who have used my book to learn evolution.) If I were a college student and my school (like Harvard) offered only virtual classes, I’d take a gap year. What’s the point of being on campus otherwise, and you can’t even fraternize much with your fellow students.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 154,909, an increase of about 1000 deaths over yesterday’s report. The world death toll now stands at 685,187, an increase of about 6000 deaths from yesterday.
Stuff that happened on August 2 includes:
1610 – During Henry Hudson’s search for the Northwest Passage, he sails into what is now known as Hudson Bay.
1776 – The signing of the United States Declaration of Independence took place.
1790 – The first United States Census is conducted.
The population back then? 3,929,326.
1918 – The first general strike in Canadian history takes place in Vancouver.
1923 – Vice President Calvin Coolidge becomes U.S. President upon the death of President Warren G. Harding.
1932 – The positron (antiparticle of the electron) is discovered by Carl D. Anderson.
As I recall, the positron was posit(ron)ed by Paul Dirac from theory, and discovered a few years later. This is one case in which the empirical method is not always sufficient to find out truths, as hypotheses can suggest observations to make, but it’s still true that empirical confirmation was necessary before the positron was accepted as real.
1937 – The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 is passed in America, the effect of which is to render marijuana and all its by-products illegal.
The act, which requires paying a tax when you buy marijuana (and in some cases, as with doctors, it was legal to do so), was overturned in 1969 in the case of Leary v. United States (yes, that’s Timothy Leary), because it required self-incrimination. Here’s some of the stamps you bought to pay the tax: “Overprint marijuana revenue stamps from 1937.”
1939 – Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard write a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon.
1943 – Jewish prisoners stage a revolt at Treblinka, one of the deadliest of Nazi death camps where approximately 900,000 persons were murdered in less than 18 months.
200 Jews escaped from the camp, of whom 70 survived to the end of the war. The rest were slaughtered; they’d forgotten to cut the phone lines, and the Germans called for reinforcements.
1990 – Iraq invades Kuwait, eventually leading to the Gulf War.
Notables born on this day include:
1820 – John Tyndall, Irish-English physicist and mountaineer (d. 1893)
1905 – Myrna Loy, American actress (d. 1993)
Myrna Loy was one of my great heartthrobs of the silver screen. Here she is with William Powell in The Thin Man, a series of movies in which the pair, playing sleuths, were always drunk. Loy (as Myrna) appears with Asta the D*g at 1:51:
1924 – Carroll O’Connor, American actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (d. 2001)
I still maintain that “All in the Family” was the greatest comedy in television history, and Archie and Edith (O’Connor and Jean Stapleton) the greatest sitcom comedians. Here’s a clip:
1932 – Peter O’Toole, British-Irish actor and producer (d. 2013)
1937 – Garth Hudson, Canadian keyboard player, songwriter, and producer
1942 – Isabel Allende, Chilean-American novelist, essayist, essayist
Those who began pining for the fjords on August 2 include:
1788 – Thomas Gainsborough, English painter (b. 1727)
Here are “Six Studies of a Cat” by Gainsborough (ca. 1763-1769):
Others who died on this day:
1876 – “Wild Bill” Hickok, American sheriff (b. 1837)
1921 – Enrico Caruso, Italian tenor and actor (b. 1873)
1922 – Alexander Graham Bell, Scottish-Canadian engineer, invented the telephone (b. 1847)
1955 – Wallace Stevens, American poet and educator (b. 1879)
1976 – Fritz Lang, Austrian-American director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1890)
1986 – Roy Cohn, American lawyer and politician (b. 1927)
1997 – William S. Burroughs, American novelist, short story writer, and essayist (b. 1914)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is too busy for photos:
Hili: We will have a photo session later, now I’m checking the situation on the ground.
A: That’s interesting as well.
Hili: Sesja zdjęciowa będzie później, teraz sprawdzam sytuację w terenie.
Ja: To też jest ciekawe.
And Szaron has something to say, too. He’s just discovered the closet as a place to sleep, but this also appears to be a double entendre. Perhaps the lad is gay.
Szaron: To get out of the closet you have to get into the closet.
In Polish: Żeby wyjść z szafy, trzeba wejść do szafy.
From Jesus of the Day:
From Stash Krod, passed along many links in Facebook. It’s apparently a cartoon from the Daily Mirror, published on January 23, 1923. Very prescient:
A good one from reader Bruce:
I tweeted this (from Matthew, of course), and reader Kurt gives a link to the story in English:
A fox in Berlin, apparently with a shoe fetish, has stolen 100 pairs of shoes and stashed them. They include running shoes, flip flops, and slippers. https://t.co/isHgLGMkTN
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) August 1, 2020
From Barry. He calls it “Don’t move,” but I call it “We’ve all had relationships like this.”
“We rescue ALL animals, though dogs need us the most. But we rescue cats, bunnies, rats, snakes, small exotics, eleflumps, bears, big cats, wildlife, sea life, primates…”-@ElayneBoosler#tailsofjoyhttps://t.co/TxkYe1EHBb😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺😺 pic.twitter.com/aGByQOWvaO
— Elayne Boosler’s Rescue Dog, Ralph (@BooslerS) August 1, 2020
How to draw a cat. Be sure to look at all the panels:
Matthew translated the poster: “Nudist area. Mask wearing is obligatory.”
A mask cartoon from the 1918 flu pandemic:
Be sure to turn the sound on for this one. Matthew says the swifts will leave England this week or so:
Like cats and jigsaw puzzles? This one’s for you. (Sound up.)
A beautiful mother nightjar guarding its eggs. Turn the sound up to hear the strange call.