It’s Tuesday, January 15, 2019, and National Popcorn Day. In North Korea it’s Korean Alphabet Day, celebrating the invention of the modern Korean alphabet, Hangul, in the fifteenth century. In South Korea, though, Alphabet Day falls September 9.
Today’s Google Doodle (below) celebrates Sake Dean Mahomed (1759-1851), Anglo-Indian author (he was the first Indian to publish a book in English, The Travels of Dean Mahomed, published on this day in 1794) and opened the first Indian restaurant in England, which Wikipedia describes like this:
Dean Mahomet opened the first Indian restaurant in England: the Hindoostane Coffee House in George Street, near Portman Square, Central London. The restaurant offered such delights as the Hookha “with real chilm tobacco, and Indian dishes, … allowed by the greatest epicures to be unequalled to any curries ever made in England.” This venture was ended due to financial difficulties.
It’s a big day in history today, as a number of significant events happened on January 15. First, Elizabeth I was crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey in 1559. She ruled until her death in 1603. Exactly two centuries after that day, the British Museum opened to the public.
On January 15, 1870, a cartoon appeared that forever associated the Democratic Party with a donkey (it wasn’t the first cartoon to do this, however). The famous one below was drawn by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly, and here it is:
The explanation from Smithsonian.com:
On January 15, 1870, Nast published the cartoon that would forever link the donkey to the Democrat. A few ideas should be clear for the cartoon to make sense: First, “republican” and “democrat” meant very different things in the 19th century than they do today (but that’s another article entirely); “jackass” pretty much meant the exact same thing then that it does today; and Nast was a vocal opponent of a group of Northern Democrats known as “Copperheads.”
In his cartoon, the donkey, standing in for the Copperhead press, is kicking a dead lion, representing President Lincoln’s recently deceased press secretary (E.M. Stanton). With this simple but artfully rendered statement, Nast succinctly articulated his belief that the Copperheads, a group opposed the Civil War, were dishonoring the legacy of Lincoln’s administration. The choice of a donkey –that is to say, a jackass– would be clearly understood as commentary intended to disparage the Democrats. Nast continue to use the donkey as a stand-in for Democratic organizations, and the popularity of his cartoons through 1880s ensured that the party remained inextricably tied to jackasses.
On January 15, 1889, the Coca-Cola Company was incorporated in Atlanta, Georgia. I still think their advertising slogan, “The taste you never get tired of,” is one of the most succinct and accurate in the history of advertising. Exactly three years later, James Naismith published the rules of basketball.
On this day in 1919, the Great Molasses Flood occurred in Boston when an exploding molasses tank sent an eight-foot tsunami of the good through the streets of Boston, killing 21 and injuring 150. Here’s a photo of the aftermath with a caption from Wikipedia:
On January 15, 1962, Europe’s oldest surviving manuscript, the Derveni papyrus, (ca. 340 BC, with the orignal text dating back 150+ years earlier), was found in northern Greece. It’s part of a philosophical treatise, and here are some fragments as shown on Ancient Origins:
On this day in 1967, the Green Bay Packers beat the Kansas City Chiefs 35-10 in the first Super Bowl, played in Los Angeles. Eighteen years ago today, Wikipedia went online. Finally, exactly ten years ago, US Airways Flight 1549, with pilots Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Skiles at the controls, went down, landing in New York’s Hudson River after the engines were stopped by collision with a flock of Canada Geese. Thanks to extremely skillful piloting and the calm heads of the crew, all 155 people on board survived, with very few injuries.
Notables born on this day include Molière (1622), Josef Breuer (1822), Osip Mandelstam (1891), Edward Teller (1908), Gene Krupa (1909), Lloyd Bridges (1913), Maurice Herzog (1919), and Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929).
Those who died on January 15 include Matthew Brady (1896), Rosa Luxemburg (1919), Jack Teagarden (1964), and Harry Nilsson (1994).
Nilsson hung around a lot of musical big names like Bob Dylan, but to my mind never sang much that was good—with one exception. And that is the song below, written by Fred Neil, with Nilsson’s Grammy-winning version featured in the movie “Midnight Cowboy.” This offsets any number of execrable songs like “Put the Lime in the Coconut”
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej has had a heart attack and is in the hospital for a few days more. He doesn’t usually let readers know when he’s ailing, but made an exception in today’s dialogue. I’m sure readers join me in wishing Andrzej all the best and a speedy recovery.
Hili: What are we going to do if Andrzej doesn’t return from the hospital tomorrow?Malgorzata: Well, he will probably come back the day after tomorrow and everything will get back to normal.
Hili: Co zrobimy, jeśli Andrzej jutro nie wróci ze szpitala?Malgorzata: To pewnie wróci pojutrze i wszystko wróci do normy.
Leon: Is anyone out there?
In Polish: Ktoś tu w ogóle przyjdzie?
A tweet by Bari Weiss, and yes, Walker’s antisemitism should become common knowledge so the Outrage Brigade can decide whether to continue to laud an antisemite or, if they follow their own pattern and principles, demonize her permanently.
Also Alice Walker: “Are Goyim (us) meant to be slaves of Jews, and not only/ That, but to enjoy it?” At what point does her vile anti-Semitism become common knowledge? At what point does it become socially unacceptable to quote her as a role model? https://t.co/iC0vP5nN19
— Bari Weiss (@bariweiss) January 13, 2019
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. The first shows a raccoon with musical ambitions:
Yet another ninja cat, this one sent to Heather by Ann German:
This tweet, unearthed by reader Barry, shows the remarkable similarity of bones in a human foot (right) and an elephant’s foot (left). It seems that the elephant is just a human with fleshy high heels:
Tweets from Grania. What is this wolf cat? A Maine Coon, or another breed?
Well, I’m culturally illiterate and so don’t know what Knight Rider is, but Grania assures me this is funny:
goddammit Sarah who let him watch Knight Rider you know this happens every timehttps://t.co/VieQIkNNrH
— TotallyExoneratedNoWrongdoingHat (@Popehat) January 10, 2019
A remarkable time-lapse video of a volcano erupting taken from the ISS:
Sarychev Volcano Eruption from the International Space Station. pic.twitter.com/Sf5OmfspzD
— Antonio Paris (@AntonioParis) January 9, 2019
Tweets from Matthew. I’m sure scientists have a number of hypotheses relevant to this question, but have they been tested?
— Jason Bittel (@bittelmethis) January 11, 2019
Some very important history of science:
"The nine Indian figures are:
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
With these nine figures, and with the sign 0 which the Arabs call zephir any number whatsoever is written"
Leonardo Fibonacci introducing the Hindu–Arabic numeral system to Europe with his book Liber Abaci in 1202. pic.twitter.com/rYUtclGpxW
— Fermat's Library (@fermatslibrary) January 12, 2019
This is just cool beyond words:
It is photographs like this that sparked my fascination with palaeontology.
~40 million year old whale skeleton at the famous Wadi Al-Hitan site, in the Western Desert of Egypt.
It just makes you want to get up and go explore. #MondayMotivation
Beautiful 📸 by Ahmed Mosaad. pic.twitter.com/NiAKBr4SbD
— Dr Dean Lomax (@Dean_R_Lomax) January 14, 2019