As you’re reading this, on the morning of Wednesday January 15, 2020 (unless you’re on the other side of the International Dateline), I’ll be winging my way to Boston and Cambridge for some R&R. It’s a double food holiday, too: National Bagel Day and National Strawberry Ice Cream Day.
Beyond that, it’s National Pothole Day in the UK, National Hat Day, and Wikipedia Day, celebrating the day that online resource (some would say travesty) went online in 2001. Finally, it’s Korean Alphabet Day, but only in North Korea (in the South it’s on September 9). That day celebrates the creation of the Korean alphabet, Hangul.
The temperature in Chicago is precisely at the freezing point of water this morning, and will rise only a few degrees above that, with little precipitation predicted. It looks as if all systems are go for my flight to Boston. Remember, posting may be light for the next week. As always, I do my best.
News of the Day: Despite good intentions, I didn’t watch the Democratic debate last night. I’ll read the news later, but CNN has a collection of commentators’ Twitter takes here. And I gather from a quick scan of the New York Times that Sanders and Warren continued clashing onstage about whether he told her in 2018 that a woman couldn’t be elected as President. I don’t know who’s right, but it’s time to drop this topic and move on to the issues; such squabbling only makes the Dems look divided and weak.
Today’s Quiz: Who are the people below? Answer below the fold at bottom.
Stuff that happened on January 15 include:
- 1559 – Elizabeth I is crowned Queen of England in Westminster Abbey, London.
- 1759 – The British Museum opens to the public.
- 1870 – A political cartoon for the first time symbolizes the Democratic Party with a donkey (“A Live Jackass Kicking a Dead Lion” by Thomas Nast for Harper’s Weekly
- 1889 – The Coca-Cola Company, then known as the Pemberton Medicine Company, is incorporated in Atlanta.
- 1892 – James Naismith publishes the rules of basketball.
- 1919 – Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, two of the most prominent socialists in Germany, are tortured and murdered by the Freikorps at the end of the Spartacist uprising.
- 1919 – Great Molasses Flood: A wave of molasses released from an exploding storage tank sweeps through Boston, Massachusetts, killing 21 and injuring 150.
I remember writing about that last year. Here are before and after photos. Here’s “before”, with the molasses tank that ruptured:
And after (Wikipedia caption): “Twenty one people were killed on Commercial Street in the North End when a tank of molasses ruptured and exploded. An eight foot wave of the syrupy brown liquid moved down Commercial Street at a speed of 35mph. Wreckage of the collapsed tank visible in background, center, next to light colored warehouse. Elevated railway structure visible at far left and the North End Park bathing beach to the far right.”
The ruptured tank released 2.3 million gallons of the stuff (8.7 million liters). Imagine drowning in molasses! It would be a sad end, but a sweet one.
Here’s a short video with more information about the Great Molasses Flood:
- 1936 – The first building to be completely covered in glass, built for the Owens-Illinois Glass Company, is completed in Toledo, Ohio.
Here it is (it’s still there):
- 1967 – The first Super Bowl is played in Los Angeles. The Green Bay Packers defeat the Kansas City Chiefs 35–10.
- 2001 – Wikipedia, a free wiki content encyclopedia, goes online.
And just one year ago today:
- 2019 – Theresa May’s UK government suffers the biggest government defeat in modern times, when 432 MPs voting against the proposed European Union withdrawal agreement, giving her opponents a majority of 230.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1622 – Molière, French actor and playwright (d. 1673)
- 1623 – Algernon Sidney, British philosopher (d. 1683)
- 1842 – Josef Breuer, Austrian physician and psychiatrist (d. 1925)
- 1850 – Leonard Darwin, English soldier, eugenicist, and politician (d. 1943)
- 1908 – Edward Teller, Hungarian-American physicist and academic (d. 2003)
- 1909 – Gene Krupa, American drummer, composer, and actor (d. 1973)
- 1913 – Lloyd Bridges, American actor (d. 1998)
- 1919 – Maurice Herzog, French mountaineer and politician, French Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports (d. 2012)
- 1929 – Martin Luther King, Jr., American minister and activist, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1968)
- 1984 – Ben Shapiro, American author and commentator
And a special birthday tweet sent by Matthew:
15-Jan: Born on this day in 1941, the late, truly great Captain Beefheart. Listen and learn… https://t.co/cNPfO48XnN
— 𝙵𝚛𝚒𝚎𝚗𝚍𝚜 𝚘𝚏 𝙳𝚊𝚛𝚠𝚒𝚗 🐵 (@friendsofdarwin) January 15, 2020
Those who went belly-up on January 15 include:
- 1896 – Mathew Brady, American photographer and journalist (b. 1822)
- 1919 – Rosa Luxemburg, German economist, theorist, and philosopher (b. 1871)
- 1964 – Jack Teagarden, American singer-songwriter and trombonist (b. 1905)
- 1994 – Harry Nilsson, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
- 2019 – Carol Channing, American actress (b. 1921)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili went upstairs to cadge a treat (I don’t know if she got it). She’s become quite rotund this winter!
Paulina: Oh, Hili, did you come to visit?Hili: Yes, I could hear that you are pounding tenderloin steak
Paulina: O, Hili, przyszłaś z wizytą?
Hili: Tak, słyszałam, że rozbijasz kotlety.
A groaner from Jesus of the Day. And yes, Chiron was said to be a skilled practitioner of medicine:
From Cole & Marmalade (a pair of cats):
A clever panhandler from Jesus of the Day. I wonder if this would really work?
In case you’ve never looked at the feet of a coot, have a gander at these clown shoes? Why are they like that? Look here.
Is this a message from God: “Do not hurt my serpents; they mean no harm.”?
Tweets from Matthew. He says this about the first one: “This has gone a bit viral over here. The “joke” is the guy in the front of the picture who just keeps on eating his chips through it all.” The kebab shop is in Portsmouth.
Wow fight In kens kebab pic.twitter.com/WcvGgE2kqY
— Beth Deakin✨ (@xbethdeakin) January 11, 2020
I guessed correctly, but I had to look carefully (click on the tweet as there are three fish). This shows you the selection pressure to be an accurate mimic:
One of these is a poisonous pufferfish, the other two are harmless filefish mimics. Can you guess who’s who? And how? pic.twitter.com/TuCQ1mhQSl
— KaiTheFishGuy (@FishGuyKai) January 13, 2020
This takes considerable skill to move the marionettes, and a lot of talent to build the set:
Best thing you’ll see all day… https://t.co/8GyZN5QL7w
— Rex Chapman🏇🏼 (@RexChapman) January 12, 2020
Doesn’t this woman know what a koala looks like? “Drop bears”, indeed!
An ITV News Correspondent is the talk of the town in Australia after she was pranked by workers at a wildlife park.@debiedwarditv was reporting on the huge numbers of koalas killed in bushfires when she was talked into holding a 'deadly drop bear'https://t.co/7vXehy1PJX pic.twitter.com/aDGWK3Tsm8
— ITV News (@itvnews) January 13, 2020
Epic battle between a parasitic wasp and a predatory tiger-beetle larva:
What a wonderful predator and what a wonderful parasitoid!
— Mikko Kolkkala (@XCsci) November 22, 2017
Turn the sound up to get soothed by birdsong:
Looking outside at the dark skies, howling wind and driving rain and wishing it were spring. Then found this footage I took on Bookham Common in May 2014.
Just close your eyes and listen to the Nightingale and friends… pic.twitter.com/GnFvgHaknV
— Glen Maddison (@GlenOrioleglen) January 13, 2020
Click to see who was in the first picture: