It’s Friday, September 13, and we’re having The Mother of All Thunderstorms in Chicago this morning. I hope my ducks don’t get wet!
It’s National Peanut Day. It’s also Friday the Thirteenth, which many people deem unlucky (I live in a 13-story building, but the thirteenth floor has an elevator button labeled “T”, for “top”.) I wonder if airplanes have a row 13? (I just looked this up and, indeed, some airlines are missing row 13. It’s one of the few examples I know of a company catering to superstition.)
At any rate, it’s also, appropriately, National Defy Superstition Day, as well as Blame Someone Else Day (this is Trump’s own holiday), Bald is Beautiful Day, and Snack a Pickle Day (I didn’t know “Snack” was transitive verb). Finally, but only in Africa, the UK, and Latin America, it’s Roald Dahl Day (Dahl was born on this day in 1916.)
Stuff that happened on September 13 include:
- 1541 – After three years of exile, John Calvin returns to Geneva to reform the church under a body of doctrine known as Calvinism.
- 1609 – Henry Hudson reaches the river that would later be named after him – the Hudson River.
- 1788 – The Philadelphia Convention sets the date for the first presidential election in the United States, and New York City becomes the country’s temporary capital.
- 1814 – In a turning point in the War of 1812, the British fail to capture Baltimore. During the battle, Francis Scott Key composes his poem “Defence of Fort McHenry”, which is later set to music and becomes the United States’ national anthem.
- 1848 – Vermont railroad worker Phineas Gage survives an iron rod 1 1⁄4 inches (3.2 cm) in diameter being driven through his brain; the reported effects on his behavior and personality stimulate discussion of the nature of the brain and its functions.
Gage lived 12 years after the accident, though, famously, people reported that his personality changed considerably. It’s instructive to read the Wikipedia entry linked above; you’ll marvel that he survived. Here’s Gage after he recovered, his skull, which was exhumed and preserved, and the big iron bar that went through it:
- 1899 – Henry Bliss is the first person in the United States to be killed in an automobile accident.
As Wikipedia notes,
Bliss was disembarking from a streetcar at West 74th Street and Central Park West in New York City, when an electric-powered taxicab (Automobile No. 43) struck him and crushed his head and chest. He died from his injuries the next morning.
Arthur Smith, the driver of the taxicab, was arrested and charged with manslaughter but was acquitted on the grounds that he had no malice, nor was he negligent.
- 1953 – Nikita Khrushchev is appointed General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
- 1962 – An appeals court orders the University of Mississippi to admit James Meredith, the first African-American student admitted to the segregated university.
- 1993 – Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin shakes hands with Palestine Liberation Organization chairman Yasser Arafat at the White House after signing the Oslo Accords granting limited Palestinian autonomy.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1475 – Cesare Borgia, Italian cardinal (d. 1507)
- 1819 – Clara Schumann, German pianist and composer (d. 1896)
- 1851 – Walter Reed, American physician and biologist (d. 1902)
- 1857 – Milton S. Hershey, American businessman, founded The Hershey Company (d. 1945)
- 1860 – John J. Pershing, American general and lawyer (d. 1948)
- 1874 – Arnold Schoenberg, Austrian composer and painter (d. 1951)
- 1876 – Sherwood Anderson, American novelist and short story writer (d. 1941)
- 1908 – Chu Berry, American saxophonist (d. 1941)
- 1911 – Bill Monroe, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (d. 1996)
- 1916 – Roald Dahl, British novelist, poet, and screenwriter (d. 1990) [see above]
- 1918 – Ray Charles, American singer-songwriter and conductor (d. 2015)
Those who died on September 13 were few; they include:
- 1759 – James Wolfe, English general (b. 1727)
- 1944 – W. Heath Robinson, English cartoonist (b. 1872)
- 1946 – Amon Göth, Austrian captain (b. 1908)
If you remember the movie Schindler’s List, you’ll remember that the cruel and tyrannical Göth was played by Ralph Fiennes. The real Göth was hung for war crimes, but the gallows malfunctioned twice, depositing him on the ground, before they finally worked. If you want to see his hanging, with the malfunctions, it’s on YouTube.
- 1949 – August Krogh, Danish physiologist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1874)
- 1996 – Tupac Shakur, American rapper, producer, and actor (b. 1971)
Robinson is best known for his complicated Rube-Goldberg-like “contraptions,” but he was also a well known illustrator. Here’s a picture he did for Puss in Boots:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is on the prowl, but not really:
A: Are you hunting?Hili: I’m just pretending.
Hili: Tylko udaję.
I got this UPS notice yesterday, and informed them via Twitter that they need to check their apostrophes:
Reader James sent me this altered photo of Trump, with his mouth in the appropriate place:
Grania sent me this tweet on April 7; it’s a beautiful photo of my town:
— Robin Baumgarten (@WGNRobin) April 6, 2019
From reader j.j. Those kittens don’t look that fat to me!
Just time for a quick look at the papers… pic.twitter.com/QmHPPgUvKt
— Pulp Librarian (@PulpLibrarian) July 30, 2019
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. This one looks familiar, but I’ll post it again just in case: a cat feels the burn:
This parrot has been taking lessons from the seagulls in Finding Nemo:
Colin couldn't hide his smugness at having the banana all to himself.
📹 Imgur user: CaptainCokecan pic.twitter.com/Z2qlAiSAgA
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) September 2, 2019
Four tweets from Matthew Cobb. The first shows a superb and amazing new explanation for parallel evolution in sticklebacks (read the thread). My take is this: this can’t be “adaptive mutation”, as the “need” for reduced pelvic fins isn’t constant. It must be more or less an accident of DNA structure.
There is an amazing evolutionary biology paper out this week in Science:
DNA fragility in the parallel evolution of pelvic reduction in stickleback fishhttps://t.co/opj2EekUS6
Let’s look at what they did. pic.twitter.com/kigKik1ddu
— James Lingford (@JamesLingford) January 5, 2019
Happy Science London? Science???? I’d ask her to tell me exactly where the Dow Jones average will be in a week:
Tune in to the Thatcher Seance. What will you ask her? pic.twitter.com/WaXE8Uzx8y
— Bella Caledonia (@bellacaledonia) September 12, 2019
A nice interview with a real young activist:
— The Daily Show (@TheDailyShow) September 12, 2019
This seal should be made an honorary cop.
Crime headline of the day. Alleged drug gang thwarted by giant seal in $1bn Australian drug bust https://t.co/tWxZzJtAFF
— Meg Gardiner (@MegGardiner1) September 12, 2019