a deWell, it would be the Lord’s Day if there were a Lord, but it’s actually just Sunday, January 19, 2020— National Popcorn Day. It’s also New Friends Day, World Quark Day, World Religion Day, and National Gun Appreciation Day (God and guns always go together).
We had a decent amount of snow in Cambridge last night: somewhere between 1 to 3 inches (2.5-7.6 cm).
Like Maru, I have done my best at posting while on R&R, and have succeeded so far. Aren’t you proud of me? The ladies of the Salt Lake City Morning Running Club (SLAM) bet that, despite my warning, my posting wouldn’t fall off, and they were right.
Stuff that happened on January 19 includes:
- 1788 – The second group of ships of the First Fleet arrive at Botany Bay.
- 1853 – Giuseppe Verdi’s opera Il trovatore receives its premiere performance in Rome.
- 1861 – American Civil War: Georgia joins South Carolina, Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama in declaring secession from the United States.
- 1883 – The first electric lighting system employing overhead wires, built by Thomas Edison, begins service at Roselle, New Jersey.
- 1915 – Georges Claude patents the neon discharge tube for use in advertising.
- 1920 – The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is founded.
I once volunteered for the ACLU in gratitude for their having gotten me out of being illegally drafted as a conscientious objector (this was after I’d worked 13 months in a hospital). But now they are growing increasingly woke, even criticizing free speech (see here for some of their missteps). They are converging on the Southern Poverty Leadership Conference.
- 1937 – Howard Hughes sets a new air record by flying from Los Angeles to New York City in 7 hours, 28 minutes, 25 seconds.
Here’s Hughes landing after his flight; this was well before he lost his mind and became a recluse:
- 1940 – You Nazty Spy!, the first Hollywood film of any kind to satirize Adolf Hitler and the Nazis premieres, starring The Three Stooges, with Moe Howard as the character “Moe Hailstone” satirizing Hitler.
And here it is—the full episode!
- 1953 – Almost 72% of all television sets in the United States are tuned into I Love Lucy to watch Lucy give birth.
- 1969 – Student Jan Palach dies after setting himself on fire three days earlier in Prague’s Wenceslas Square to protest about the invasion of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet Union in 1968. His funeral turns into another major protest.
- 1978 – The last Volkswagen Beetle made in Germany leaves VW’s plant in Emden. Beetle production in Latin America continues until 2003.
- 1983 – The Apple Lisa, the first commercial personal computer from Apple Inc. to have a graphical user interface and a computer mouse, is announced.
Here’s a Lisa (did anybody have one?), with the Wikipedia caption “Lisa, with an Apple ProFile external hard disk sitting atop it, and dual 5.25-inch “Twiggy” floppy drives.”
- 2007 – Four-man Team N2i, using only skis and kites, completes a 1,093-mile (1,759 km) trek to reach the Antarctic pole of inaccessibility for the first time since 1965 and for the first time ever without mechanical assistance.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1736 – James Watt, Scottish-English chemist and engineer (d. 1819)
- 1807 – Robert E. Lee, American general and academic (d. 1870)
- 1809 – Edgar Allan Poe, American short story writer, poet, and critic (d. 1849)
- 1839 – Paul Cézanne, French painter (d. 1906)
- 1908 – Ish Kabibble, American comedian and cornet player (d. 1994)
- 1923 – Jean Stapleton, American actress and singer (d. 2013)
- 1933 – George Coyne, American priest, astronomer, and theologian
Coyne is the former director of the Vatican Observatory and I suspect is no relation to me. (He is an accommodationist, of course.)
- 1939 – Phil Everly, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (The Everly Brothers) (d. 2014)
- 1943 – Janis Joplin, American singer-songwriter (d. 1970)
- 1946 – Dolly Parton, American singer-songwriter and actress
- 1954 – Cindy Sherman, American photographer and director
Those who Met their Maker on January 19 include:
- 1729 – William Congreve, English playwright and poet (b. 1670)
- 1968 – Ray Harroun, American race car driver and engineer (b. 1879)
- 1980 – William O. Douglas, American lawyer and jurist (b. 1898)
- 1998 – Carl Perkins, American singer-songwriter and guitarist (b. 1932)
- 2000 – Hedy Lamarr, Austrian-American actress, singer, and mathematician (b. 1913)
- 2006 – Wilson Pickett, American singer-songwriter (b. 1941)
- 2008 – Suzanne Pleshette, American actress (b. 1937)
- 2013 – Stan Musial, American baseball player and manager (b. 1920)
Stan Musial (real name Stanisław Franciszek Musiał, the son of a Polish immigrant) is my favorite baseball player of all time. He was always a gentleman, never questioned an umpire’s call, and was really fast, able to score from first on a single. I saw him play once, at the end of his career, and my dad, as a Cardinals fan, saw him play many times. Wikipedia summarizes his stellar career:
Musial batted .331 over the course of his career and set National League (NL) records for career hits (3,630), runs batted in (1,951), games played (3,026), at bats (10,972), runs scored (1,949) and doubles (725). His 475 career home runs then ranked second in NL history behind Mel Ott’s total of 511. His 6,134 total bases remained a major league record until surpassed by Hank Aaron, and his hit total still ranks fourth all-time, and is the highest by any player who spent his career with only one team. A seven-time batting champion with identical totals of 1,815 hits at home and 1,815 hits on the road, he was named the National League’s (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) three times and led St. Louis to three World Series championships. He also shares the major league record for the most All-Star Games played (24) with Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.
- 2016 – Richard Levins, American ecologist and geneticist (b. 1930)
Dick Levins, a close friend of my advisor Dick Lewontin, had an office on our floor at the MCZ Labs at Harvard along with his group of graduate students. The lab operated as a Communist collective, even having Chinese-Marxist-style “criticism sessions,” in which one person would be selected to be vilified for ideological missteps. I remember seeing the group exit from the office after one such session, with the student victim in tears.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili shows some scientific curiosity:
A: What are you doing here?Hili: I wonder what was before the Big Bang.A: It’s difficult to tell, we don’t have enough data.
Ja: Co tu robisz?
Hili: Zastanawiam się nad tym, co było przed wielkim wybuchem?
Ja: Trudno powiedzieć, mamy za mało danych.
From reader Bruce (the Goop candle memes just keep coming):
From Stash Krod:
And the photo of the day from Wild and Wonderful:
The argument below is made frequently, and I can understand why minorities get fed up with calling out instances of bigotry. On the other hand, who better to understand and point out racism? Had Martin Luther King not done that, we would not have had the Civil Rights Act of 1964 until later. And isn’t it the job of we Jews to educate people about anti-Semitism? I think it is.
"It is not the job of black people & ethnic minorities to educate white people on racism perpetuated by white people. White folks need to educate themselves on #racism."
— Dr Shola Mos-Shogbamimu (@SholaMos1) January 13, 2020
This has got to be the Tweet of the Year so far:
From Merilee: a caterpillar with penguin markings on its back:
The forest tent caterpillar moth (Malacosoma disstria) looks like it has tiny penguins on it's back! 🐧🐛 pic.twitter.com/w6GHUZdyOd
— Sofía Martínez-Villalpando (@sofiabiologista) August 15, 2016
Two tweets from Heather Hastie. First, a badger greeting:
Awww Mrs Lumpy and Granddaughter Baby Bella greeting each other as Badgers do, by grooming each other 😍 as you can see Bella’s leg is nearly back to normal 👍🐾🐾❤️ pic.twitter.com/8H2YKvOK9V
— Mr Lumpy & Friends (@LumpyandFriends) January 12, 2020
I wonder what became of this kitten (or, for that matter, the soldier).
Four tweets from Matthew. He says this first woman is on vacation in Hawaii:
KITTY PILE!!!!! pic.twitter.com/ol17Bp0FDY
— rae 🐈⬛ paoletta (@PAYOLETTER) January 18, 2020
One of the great jazz/pop drummers of all time. He was born on January 15, 1909:
Remembering Gene Krupa, born 111 years ago this week in Chicago. Here he is performing in the 1947 film “Beat the Band.” pic.twitter.com/DmHzovMqln
— Dust-to-Digital (@dusttodigital) January 18, 2020
And an optical illusion—Matthew’s favorite genre:
Two circles. Just two circles pic.twitter.com/u7lWZREUpn
— Bence Nanay (@BenceNanay) January 9, 2020