Good morning: it’s Saturday, December 7, 2019, which of course is the anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. It’s National Cotton Candy Day (“candy floss”, as they call it in the UK), Earmuff Day, Letter Writing Day (when’s the last time you mailed an actual letter to a friend or acquaintance?), and, of course, National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.
It’s below freezing today: 29°F or -2º C, and I hope my ducks will take the hint and leave Botany Pond. Though we’ve stopped feeding them, about a dozen are stubbornly hanging around. I can’t bear to walk by the pond lest they come swimming up to me, begging for noms. It’s very sad. At least Honey doesn’t seem to be among them.
Note that there are only 18 shopping days left until the beginning of Coynezaa.
Stuff that happened on December 7 includes:
- 1703 – The Great Storm of 1703, the greatest windstorm ever recorded in the southern part of Great Britain, makes landfall. Winds gust up to 120 mph, and 9,000 people die. [JAC: The church of England blamed the carnage on the sins of England. Plus ça change. . . . .]
- 1787 – Delaware becomes the first state to ratify the United States Constitution.
- 1842 – First concert of the New York Philharmonic, founded by Ureli Corelli Hill.
- 1932 – German-born Swiss physicist Albert Einstein is granted an American visa.
And of course a day that Americans honor every year. In the attack, 2,403 Americans were killed and 1,178 wounded. In contrast, only 64 Japanese lost their lives and one, Kazuo Sakamaki, was captured (he was the pilot of a Japanese miniature submarine that beached, and remained a POW until the end of the war. President Roosevelt declared war on Japan the next day.
- 1941 – World War II: Attack on Pearl Harbor: The Imperial Japanese Navy carries out a surprise attack on the United States Pacific Fleet and its defending Army and Marine air forces at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. (For Japan’s near-simultaneous attacks on Eastern Hemisphere targets, see December 8.)
- 1963 – Instant replay makes its debut during the Army-Navy football game in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
- 1972 – Apollo 17, the last Apollo moon mission, is launched. The crew takes the photograph known as The Blue Marble as they leave the Earth.
Here’s the photo, and a lovely one it is, too. Note that this is not the same photo as the one Sagan used in his famous “pale blue dot” elocution. Also note the big Antarctic ice cap:
- 1982 – In Texas, Charles Brooks, Jr., becomes the first person to be executed by lethal injection in the United States.
Brooks’s last meal (these used to be documented by Texas, but aren’t any longer), consisted of a T-bone steak, french fries, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, biscuits, peach cobbler and iced tea.
- 2017 – Marriage Amendment Bill to recognize same-sex marriage passes in Australia.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1873 – Willa Cather, American novelist, short story writer, and poet (d. 1947)
- 1888 – Joyce Cary, Irish novelist (d. 1957)
- 1928 – Noam Chomsky, American linguist and philosopher
- 1949 – Tom Waits, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and actor
- 1956 – Larry Bird, American basketball player and coach
Those who “passed” on this day include:
- 43 BC – Cicero, Roman philosopher, lawyer, and politician (b. 106 BC)
- 1683 – Algernon Sidney, English philosopher and politician, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports (b. 1623)
- 1941: 2403 Americans in the Pearl Harbor attack
- 1962 – Kirsten Flagstad, Norwegian opera singer (b. 1895)
- 1970 – Rube Goldberg, American cartoonist, sculptor, and author (b. 1883)
- 1975 – Thornton Wilder, American novelist and playwright (b. 1897)
- 1985 – Robert Graves, English poet, novelist, critic (b. 1895)
- 1985 – Potter Stewart, American soldier and jurist (b. 1915)
Rube Goldberg in the U.S. and W. Heath Robinson in the UK are a case of convergent evolution: both cartoonists depicted impossibly complicated machines to accomplish simple tasks. Here’s Goldberg’s device for killing a single mosquito:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has a good question:
Hili: Do thoughts change the world?A: Yes, but not always as we thought.
Hili: Czy myśli zmieniają świat?
Ja: Tak, ale nie zawsze po naszej myśli.
A “meme” from reader Merilee:
One from reader Su:
And Facebook tells me that this Christmas picture was my most-liked image from 2009.
Matthew started the morning when I was gone with the daily egress of fowl from their barn at Marsh Farm. I’ll continue with his custom:
— caenhillcc (@caenhillcc) December 6, 2019
Two more tweets from Matthew. Look at this anteater and her baby!
— Fauna & Flora Int. (@FaunaFloraInt) December 6, 2019
What a gorgeous insect! I wonder if the markings on the dorsal side are “eyespots” that could startle predators:
Two from reader Barry. Does anybody know what species of lizard this is?
Dad: Son, I thought you had decided to give up drinking and drugs?
Me: I did…I even bought a new puppy last night.
Dad: You're 45, it's time to admit your mistakes, stop taking drugs, get a job and be responsible.
Me: I am!
— The Cultured Ruffian (@CulturedRuffian) October 20, 2019
Woke students will appreciate this one:
fox poops on police car pic.twitter.com/VTEqJ28wZA
— pax 🧻 (@paxthedog) November 23, 2019
Three tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a tactile cat:
How do distract your cats (second tweet):
This one wassent to Heather by Ann German:
Timing is Everything!
— Tom Hall ☘ (@TomHall) December 1, 2019