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Mac the Knife, the Sun is asleep, a ton of memes, and existential despair
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Published Thursday, May 14, 2020 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 14 2020

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Oops

The email version of yesterday's report said it was Tuesday. Of course, it was Wednesday. When I dusted off the old blogging software, I forgot to adjust for the fact 2020 is a leap year. I'm not blaming the software: it was strictly human error.

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Today is Thursday, May 14, the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 231 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is "The Stars and Stripes Forever" Day, National Dance Like a Chicken Day, International Dylan Thomas Day, National Buttermilk Biscuit Day, and National Underground America Day.

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The Sun is asleep. Deep 'solar minimum' feared as 2020 sees record-setting 100-day absence of sunspots.

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Remembering Richard Deacon. (May 14, 1921-  August 8, 1984) (Video)

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Remembering Bobby Darin (May 14, 1936 – December 20, 1973) (Video)

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George Lucas is 76 today. (Video)

George Lucas quotes.

Related: Carrie Fisher's family reportedly doesn't want her likeness used in Star Wars again.

Also related: Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, 68, is 'done' with the franchise. "I'm full of gratitude for what it has given me and my career but I don't want to be greedy. There are still so many more stories to tell and so many great actors to tell them, they don't need me."

Somewhat related: Coronavirus has moved visual effects work to the cloud- and it may stay there. "With this technology, you can set up 1,000 workstations in less than an hour and have people working on a project simultaneously in Mumbai, New York, Dublin and Vancouver," says Botham. "It's a seamless process."

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Robert Zemeckis is 68 today. (Video)

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Tim Roth is 59 today. (Video)

(He's perhaps more famous as the restaurant robber in Pulp Fiction, but that clip's a bit over the top.)

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On this date in 1796, Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox inoculation.

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On this date in 1948, Israel was declared to be an independent state and a provisional government was established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

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On this date in 1973, Skylab, the United States' first space station, was launched. (Video)

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s perfect China ban, death toll myths.

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Whistleblower: US could face virus rebound 'darkest winter'. Immunologist Dr. Rick Bright makes his sobering prediction in testimony prepared for his appearance Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Aspects of his complaint about early administration handling of the crisis are expected to be backed up by testimony from an executive of a company that manufactures, respirator masks.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down state's stay-at-home order. "This isn't a game. This isn't funny. People die every day because of this virus- often times painful and lonely deaths- and the more we delay or play political games the more people die."

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As each day passes, I become more convinced he's determined to destroy the Republic: Mitch McConnell is pushing the Senate to pass a measure that would let the FBI collect Americans' web-browsing history without a warrant. The Senate is expected to vote to renew the 2001 Patriot Act, and Mitch McConnell is pushing an amendment to the law that would expand the FBI's surveillance powers.

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Atmospheric CO2 soars to record heights in spite of global pandemic. While the coronavirus pandemic has led to a decline in carbon emissions in some areas, the effect is expected to be short-lived.

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Rand Paul says secret to social distancing is making everyone despise you. (Andy Borowitz)

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The real reason Trump wants to reopen the economy. (Video)

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Vitamin D determines severity in COVID-19. Vitamin D has many functions in the human body, and now researchers claim it can also support the immune system through a number of immune pathways involved in fighting SARS-CoV-2. Many recent studies confirm the pivotal role of vitamin D in viral infections. This may be because vitamin D is important in regulation and suppression of the inflammatory cytokine response, which causes the severe consequences of COVID-19 and acute respiratory distress syndrome associated with ventilation and death.

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Get ready for a Covid-19 vaccine information war... Social media is already filling up with misinformation about a Covid-19 vaccine, months or years before one even exists.

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JCPenney gives executives bonuses ahead of deadline for possible bankruptcy filing. Well, they won't have any money afterwards, will they?

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Tired of binge-watching old science fiction movies? Use SpaceX's ISS Docking Simulator to dock with the International Space Station.

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Justice Clarence Thomas brings up Frodo Baggins during Supreme Court oral arguments. He finally speaks, and it's a Lord of the Rings reference. Related: Supreme Court appears poised to let states keep 'faithless electors' out of the Electoral College. President Trump once supported abolishing the Electoral College- he previously felt it was a "total disaster for democracy"- but since his 2016 presidential victory over Hillary Clinton, in which Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, but Trump received 304 electoral votes, he has changed his mind.

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Stocks fall as Fed Chairman Powell warns of lasting economic damage.

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House Democrats' stimulus bill rolls back $10,000 state and local tax deduction cap for two years. It's unlikely Mitch McConnell and his minions in the Senate will go along.

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Forget murder hornets. Giant gypsy moths could bring 'serious, widespread damage' to the US.

Incidentally, the fella in the photo below has been in the U.S. since the mid-1800s: the hornet moth, which mimics a stinging hornet as protective coloration. They're harmless, aside from the heart attack they induce when they land on you.

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From The Scarlet Pimpernel to Spiderman, superheroes have had secret identities. This history of that trope also explains why the practice may be disappearing.

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Astronauts could live in lava tubes on Mars. That's beginning to sound pretty attractive.

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The world's last Blockbuster remains open, pandemic and Netflix be damned.

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Topic of the Day:

Failure.

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Thoughts of the day:

I do not dispute that God speaks to you, but I am dubious that He speaks to you for the purpose of relaying instructions to me.
-Robert Brault

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
-Upton Sinclair

What people want, mainly, is to be told by some plausible authority that what they are already doing is right. I don't know know of a quicker way to become unpopular than to disagree.
-John Brunner

Hubris and hypocrisy are a deadly combination.
-Anne-Marie Slaughter

Insanity is contagious.
-Joseph Heller

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Things are really rough out there. Please consider donating to Feeding America.


Categories: Bobby Darin, Carrie Fisher, Clarence Thomas, Covid-19, Donald Trump, Edward Jenner, Electoral College, Federal Reserve, Inoculation, Israel, ISS, JC Penney, Mark Hammill, Robert Penn Warren, SCOTUS, Secret Identities, Skylab, Smallpox, SpaceX, Star Wars, Supreme Court, Tim Roth, Vaccines, Video, YouTube


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Quotes of the day: Robert Penn Warren
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Published Thursday, April 24, 2014 @ 4:11 AM EDT
Apr 24 2014

Robert Penn Warren (April 24, 1905 - September 15, 1989) was an American poet, novelist, and literary critic and was one of the founders of New Criticism. He was also a charter member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He founded the influential literary journal The Southern Review with Cleanth Brooks in 1935. He received the 1947 Pulitzer Prize for his novel All the King's Men (1946) and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1958 and 1979. He is the only person to have won Pulitzer Prizes for both fiction and poetry. (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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(Today is also the birthday of Anthony Trollope)

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A young man's ambition- to get along in the world and make a place for himself- half your life goes that way, till you're 45 or 50. Then, if you're lucky, you make terms with life, you get released.

And the testicles of the fathers hang down like old lace.

And what we students of history always learn is that the human being is a very complicated contraption and that they are not good or bad but are good and bad and the good comes out of the bad and the bad out of the good, and the devil take the hindmost.

But if anything is certain it is that no story is ever over, for the story which we think is over is only a chapter in a story which will not be over, and it isn't the game that is over, it is just an inning, and that game has a lot more than nine innings. When the game stops it will be called on account of darkness. But it is a long day.

Everything seems an echo of something else.

For either killing or creating may be a crime punishable by death, and the death always comes by the criminal's own hand and every man is suicide. If a man knew how to live he would never die.

For God and Nothing have a lot in common. You look either one of Them straight in the eye for a second and the immediate effect on the human constitution is the same.

For the truth is a terrible thing. You dabble your foot in it and it is nothing. But you walk a little farther and you feel it pull you like an undertow or a whirlpool. First there is the slow pull so steady and gradual you scarcely notice it, then the acceleration, then the dizzy whirl and plunge into darkness. For there is a blackness of truth, too. They say it is a terrible thing to fall into the Grace of God. I am prepared to believe that.

For whatever you live is life.

Goodness... You got to make it out of badness... Because there isn't anything else to make it out of.

Here is the shadow of truth, for only the shadow is true.

History is not melodrama, even if it usually reads like that. It was real blood, not tomato catsup or the pale ectoplasm of statistics, that wet the ground at Bloody Angle and darkened the waters of Bloody Pond.

If you could not accept the past and its burden there was no future, for without one there cannot be the other.

In separateness only does love learn definition.

It is a human defect- to try to know one's self by the self of another.

Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption and he passeth from the stink of the didie to the stench of the shroud. There is always something.

Maybe a man has to sell his soul to get the power to do good.

Poets, we know, are terribly sensitive people, and in my observation one of the things they are most sensitive about is money.

Politics is a matter of choices, and a man doesn't set up the choices himself. And there is always a price to make a choice. You know that. You've made a choice, and you know how much it cost you. There is always a price.

She lifted her sewing and bit off the thread in the way women do to make your flesh crawl.

Sometimes sleep gets to be a serious and complete thing. You stop going to sleep in order that you may be able to get up, but get up in order that you may be able to go back to sleep.

Storytelling and copulation are the two chief forms of amusement in the South. They're inexpensive and easy to procure.

The best luck always happens to people who don't need it.

The end of man is knowledge but there's one thing he can't know. He can't know whether knowledge will save him or kill him. He will be killed, all right, but he can't know whether he is killed because of the knowledge which he has got or because of the knowledge which he hasn't got and which if he had it would save him.

The lack of a sense of history is the damnation of the modern world.

The past is always a rebuke to the present.

There is nothing more alone than being in a car at night in the rain.

They say you are not you except in terms of relation to other people. If there weren't any other people there wouldn't be any you because what you do, which is what you are, only has meaning in relation to other people.

When you get born your father and mother lost something out of themselves, and they are going to bust a ham trying to get it back, and you are it. They know they can't get it all back but they will get as big a chunk out of you as they can.


Categories: Quotes of the day, Robert Penn Warren


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