It’s Monday, January 20, 2020, and, sadly, my time in Cambridge is waning: I fly back to Chicago in two days. It’s National Cheese Lover’s Day, and once again they misplaced the apostrophe, implying that this day celebrates only a single cheese lover. Who is this person? I suspect it’s the well-known Käsefresser Elise Katzenellenbogen, a woman of German ancestry who lives in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. (It’s also National Buttercrunch Day.)
All Americans know that today is Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, celebrating the birthday of the great civil rights leader (he was actually born on January 15, 1929, but the federal holiday is designated as the third Monday in January). Few people will be working in the U.S. today, and there will be no postal deliveries as government employees (including Senators) aren’t working. Today’s Google Doodle (with a link to relevant sites; click on the screenshot) marks the occasion. (More information on this Doodle is here.)
Finally, it’s Penguin Awareness Day, so give a thought to these threatened species (global warming will do them all in). Here’s a picture of a chinstrap penguin (Pygoscelis antarcticus) I took in Antarctica:
Here’s a tweet sent by Matthew (the hashtag #PenguinAwarenessDay will take you to many more lovely penguin tweets). My friends and I are going to the refurbished New England Aquarium this morning to celebrate the penguins.
Escape #BlueMonday – it’s #PenguinAwarenessDay! Time to salute the cutest birds on the planet, who not only look out for one another, build support networks, & communicate effectively, but also have incredibly strong family ties & show one another a lot of love & affection. pic.twitter.com/ec3YkeUWNM
— Maude Frome (@frome_maude) January 20, 2020
Exactly one year from today it will be Inauguration Day, when the next President and Vice-President are sworn in. We’re all biting our nails lest the Orange Man be re-elected. The countdown to that moment is here (days, hours, minutes, and seconds!).
News of the Day: This link gives a scathing review at Ars Technica of Gwyneth Paltrow’s new Goop show on Netflix, which is even worse than you can imagine. A summary:
In so many ways, the goop lab with Gwyneth Paltrow is exactly what you’d expect based on what we already know about the Goop brand. The series provides a platform for junk science, gibberish, and unproven health claims from snake-oil-salesmen guests. It’s a platform on which respected, trained medical experts are not considered the authorities on health and medical topics; where logic and critical thinking are enemies of open-mindedness; where anecdotes about undefined health improvements are considered evidence for specific medical treatment claims; where the subjective experiences of a few select individuals are equivalent to the results of randomized, controlled clinical trials; and where promoting unproven, potentially dangerous health claims is a means to empower women.
Stuff that happened on January 20 includes:
- 1649 – Charles I of England goes on trial for treason and other “high crimes”.
- 1783 – The Kingdom of Great Britain signed preliminary articles of peace with France, setting the stage to the official end of hostilities in the American Revolutionary War later that year.
- 1788 – The third and main part of First Fleet arrives at Botany Bay. Arthur Phillip decides that Port Jackson is a more suitable location for a colony.
- 1921 – The first Constitution of Turkey is adopted, making fundamental changes in the source and exercise of sovereignty by consecrating the principle of national sovereignty.
- 1929 – The first full-length talking motion picture filmed outdoors, In Old Arizona, is released.
Here’s a clip from that movie, or, if you want to watch the whole thing, go here.
- 1937 – Franklin D. Roosevelt and John Nance Garner are sworn in for their second terms as U.S. President and U.S. Vice President; it is the first time a Presidential Inauguration takes place on January 20 since the 20th Amendment changed the dates of presidential terms.
- 1942 – World War II: At the Wannsee Conference held in the Berlin suburb of Wannsee, senior Nazi German officials discuss the implementation of the “Final Solution to the Jewish question“.
- 1961 – John F. Kennedy is inaugurated the 35th President of the United States of America, becoming the second youngest man to take the office, and the first Catholic.
What went for JFK went for every other President since FDR; all since 1937 were inaugurated on this day.
- 1986 – In the United States, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is celebrated as a federal holiday for the first time.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1888 – Lead Belly, American folk/blues musician and songwriter (d. 1949)
Here’s Lead Belly, in a rare video, singing the standard he made popular, “Goodnight, Irene”:
- 1906 – Aristotle Onassis, Greek shipping magnate (d. 1975)
- 1910 – Joy Adamson, Austria-born Kenyan painter and author (d. 1980)
Adamson, of course, wrote the immensely popular book Born Free. Here’s a half-hour documentary about her and her lions, particularly the famous Elsa.
Federico Fellini was born exactly 100 years ago today. Here's someone's choice of the Italian director's ten best movies. https://t.co/hzbewNm305
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) January 20, 2020
- 1930 – Buzz Aldrin, American colonel, pilot, and astronaut
- 1946 – David Lynch, American director, producer, and screenwriter
- 1953 – Jeffrey Epstein, American financier and convicted sex offender (d. 2019)
- 1956 – Bill Maher, American comedian, political commentator, media critic, television host, and producer
- 1967 – Kellyanne Conway, American political strategist and pundit
- 1972 – Nikki Haley, American accountant and politician, 116th Governor of South Carolina
Those who perished on January 20 include:
- 1779 – David Garrick, English actor, producer, playwright, and manager (b. 1717)
- 1900 – John Ruskin, English painter and critic (b. 1819)
- 1947 – Josh Gibson, American baseball player (b. 1911)
- 1984 – Johnny Weissmuller, American swimmer and actor (b. 1904)
- 1993 – Audrey Hepburn, British actress and humanitarian activist (b. 1929)
- 1996 – Gerry Mulligan, American saxophonist and composer (b. 1927)
- 2005 – Miriam Rothschild, English zoologist, entomologist, and author (b. 1908)
- 2018 – Paul Bocuse, French chef (b. 1926)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili had an adventure. As Malgorzata tells it:
The picture is taken by Paulina [the upstairs lodger]. Hili is on the outside window sill upstairs. She climbed on the verandah’s roof and jumped on our lodgers window. We got her back that evening at 11:30 p.m.
Hili: I know it’s late, but you are not going to sleep yet, right?Paulina: Of course not, please come in.Hili: And you haven’t eaten supper either?
Hili: Ja wiem, że jest już poźno, ale chyba nie idziecie jeszcze spać?
Paulina: Ależ nie, proszę, wejdź.
Hili: A kolacji też jeszcze nie jedliście?
From Wild and Wonderful, a rare albino koala:
From Jesus of the Day. If only . . .
A cartoon from Elizabeth Pich and Jonathan Kunz’s series War and Peace, found on Bored Panda by Su Gould:
Titania says “It’s denunciation time!” You might have heard about this kerfuffle (the video is here).
This does not go far enough.
I call on all casting directors to blacklist any actors who have not publicly denounced @LozzaFox.
As liberals, we must be quick to purge any difference of opinion. https://t.co/2eP7RMgzPU
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 18, 2020
Sent by both Heather Hastie and Barry: A lazy (but smart) bird bums a ride:
Fucking lazy bastard.
📹: Gfycat pic.twitter.com/OVkQFxM7PV
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) January 18, 2020
And another sent by Heather:
When your dog decides the walk is over pic.twitter.com/XJzhKcZIOo
— The Dodo (@dodo) January 12, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. If you want to see more torrent ducks, watch the excellent PBS Nature show on ducks, “An Original DUCKumentary” (it’s free online).
Torrent Ducks – birds don't get any tougher! pic.twitter.com/cQ8w6NZVVX
— Henry Cook (@HCBirding) January 18, 2020
Catlike, but not a cat (i.e., not in the family Felidae but in an extinct family, and in the suborder Feliformia with other “catlike carnivores,” including hyenas and mongooses).
Hoplophoneus was not a cat, but a close relative of them.
(Credit: Julius Csotonyi) pic.twitter.com/RFMTFYhCbD
— Extinct Animals 🦖🦕 (@Extinct_AnimaIs) January 19, 2020
This is so true: funny but very sad:
This little interaction is Twitter in a nutshell 🤷🏿♂️ pic.twitter.com/dYWBC29coM
— Dapo Adeola (@DapsDraws) January 19, 2020
A biology lesson with emojis:
# of neck bones
— Biolojical (@biolojical) January 18, 2020
An appeal Matthew forwarded to me:
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 3, 2020