We’ve reached the week’s end, as it’s Friday, January 24, 2020, with light snow and just-about-freezing temperatures predicted for Chicago this weekend. Although wretched January is waning, it’s still gray, slushy, and soul-eroding.
It’s National Peanut Butter Day, a peculiarly American comestible, and National Lobster Thermidor Day, a dish I’ve never had. And don’t forget it’s National Eskimo Pie Patent Day, celebrating the day in 1922 when Christian Nelson patented this chocolate-covered ice cream bar. I suspect most Americans here have had at least one. The story of the patent on Eskimo pies is a tortuous one, and you can read about it here. But here’s one of the frozen confections (they also come on a stick, which is unacceptable.)
It’s National Compliment Day, so let me begin: you’re a swell bunch of readers! Finally, it’s National Beer Can Appreciation Day, celebrating that day in 1935 when Krueger’s Finest Beer and Krueger’s Cream Ale became the first beers to be sold in cans. I prefer bottles but will take beer from a can so long as the contents are poured into a glass. Here’s what those first cans looked like:
Stuff that happened on January 24 includes:
- 1848 – California Gold Rush: James W. Marshall finds gold at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento.
- 1908 – The first Boy Scout troop is organized in England by Robert Baden-Powell.
- 1918 – The Gregorian calendar is introduced in Russia by decree of the Council of People’s Commissars effective February 14.
- 1961 – Goldsboro B-52 crash: A bomber carrying two H-bombs breaks up in mid-air over North Carolina. The uranium core of one weapon remains lost.
More than that; one of the bombs that fell out of the broken-up plane was armed, and some experts say we came very close to a nuclear detonation over North Carolina!
- 1972 – Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi is found hiding in a Guam jungle, where he had been since the end of World War II.
When American forces captured the island in the 1944 Battle of Guam, Yokoi went into hiding with nine other Japanese soldiers. Seven of the original ten eventually moved away and only three remained in the region. These men separated,
but visited each other periodically until about 1964, when the other two died in a flood. For the last eight years, Yokoi lived alone. He survived by hunting, primarily at night. He also used native plants to make clothes, bedding, and storage implements, which he carefully hid in his cave.
Despite having hidden for twenty-eight years in a jungle cave, he had known since 1952 that World War II had ended. He feared coming out of hiding, explaining, “We Japanese soldiers were told to prefer death to the disgrace of getting captured alive.”
After a whirlwind media tour of Japan, he married and settled down in rural Aichi Prefecture.
Yokoi became a popular television personality and an advocate of austere living. [He died in 1997.]
Yokoi was the antepenultimate Japanese soldier to surrender after the war, preceding Second Lieutenant Hiroo Onoda (relieved from duty by his former commanding officer on 9 March 1974) and Private Teruo Nakamura (arrested 18 December 1974). [JAC: the last “holdout” was Teruo Nakamura, who surrendered on December 18, 1974, after 29 years and three months in hiding!]
Here’s Yokoi’s first haircut in 28 years; his cave (visible on the Wikipedia page) is now a tourist attraction.
- 1984 – Apple Computer places the Macintosh personal computer on sale in the United States.
- 1989 – Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, with over 30 known victims, is executed by the electric chair at the Florida State Prison.
There were many notables born on this day, including Theodosius Dobzhansky, my academic grandfather:
- 1670 – William Congreve, English playwright and poet (d. 1729)
- 1712 – Frederick the Great, Prussian king (d. 1786)
- 1862 – Edith Wharton, American novelist and short story writer (d. 1937)
- 1900 – Theodosius Dobzhansky, Ukrainian-American geneticist and biologist (d. 1975)
Here’s Dobzhansky, known as “Doby” or “Dodek” to his friends and students; it looks as if he’s examining Drosophila salivary-gland chromosomes under the microscope, something he spent much of his life doing. You can read the stuff written about Doby on this site at this link.
Others born on January 24 include:
- 1917 – Ernest Borgnine, American actor (d. 2012)
- 1918 – Oral Roberts, American evangelist, founded Oral Roberts University and Oral Roberts Evangelistic Association (d. 2009)
- 1928 – Desmond Morris, English zoologist, ethologist, and painter
- 1941 – Neil Diamond, American singer-songwriter and guitarist
- 1941 – Aaron Neville, American singer
- 1943 – Sharon Tate, American model and actress (d. 1969)
- 1947 – Warren Zevon, American singer-songwriter (d. 2003)
- 1949 – John Belushi, American actor and screenwriter (d. 1982)
- 1955 – Alan Sokal, American physicist and author
Those who ceased to exist on January 24 include:
- AD 41 – Caligula, Roman emperor (b. 12)
- 1895 – Lord Randolph Churchill, English lawyer and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer (b. 1849)
- 1965 – Winston Churchill, English colonel and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1874)
JAC: Winston predicted he’d die on the same day of the year as his father, and he did!
- 1975 – Larry Fine, American comedian (b. 1902) [JAC: one of the Three Stooges [JAC: Real name was Louis Feinberg; like Curly and Moe, he was Jewish and changed his name.[
- 1989 – Ted Bundy, American serial killer (b. 1946)
- 2017 – Butch Trucks, American drummer (b. 1947)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej discuss the state of the world. I’m told that she’s responding to Andrzej’s angst about (I quote) “what’s going on in Poland (dismantling of independent judiciary) and what’s going on in the world (among many other things, mass murder of Christians in Africa while the world is busy with fighting Islamophobia and mourning 6 million Jews one second while trying to kill 6 million living Jews a second later). Hili cynically reminds Andrzej that the world was never sane.”
A: I have the impression that the world’s gone crazy.Hili: So what’s new?
Ja: Mam wrażenie, że świat zwariował.
Hili: I co w tym nowego?
And in Wloclawek, Leon naps with his brother Mietek:
Leon: It’s time for an afternoon nap.
A cartoon sent by reader Jon, Bound and Gagged by Dana Summers; strip for January 23, 2020″:
From Jesus of the Day with the caption, “SQUEE!. PHOTO CREDIT: Daisy Gilardini Photography”. A tuchas ride!
A tweet from Titania. Be sure to listen to the song!
This is quite genuinely the most moving thing I have ever seen. 😥 pic.twitter.com/BIs3E17RDV
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 23, 2020
And another. Although I don’t formally “follow” the Queen of Wokeness on Twitter, I look at her tweets nearly every day.
YASSSS @beccalew!!! 👏👏👏
Any woman who chooses to be a housewife is CLEARLY doing so in order to perpetuate white supremacy.
It’s the only possible explanation. pic.twitter.com/GwPUhgtVYI
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 22, 2020
A tweet from reader Barry about otter love (remember “Muskrat Love“?):
From Dom. Look at this beetle grub cake! It’s too pretty to eat.
Larger than life size Hercules Beetle grub made out of strawberry lemon cake and vanilla meringue buttercream. If one of these plopped onto your plate would ya eat it? #yummy #cake #alledible #grub #larval pic.twitter.com/6rRXCUPxeN
— Katherine Dey (@DeviantCakes) January 23, 2020
A tweet from Heather Hastie. (I may have posted it before, but it’s worth seeing again.)
"I FORGOT MY KEYS, SANDRA"
— Paul Bronks (@SlenderSherbet) January 20, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. The first one settles a longstanding etymological question:
The earliest known reference to the word 'fuck' was found in a court case dating to the year 1310. 'Roger Fuckebythenavele’ turns up in the Chester county court plea rolls beginning on December 8, 1310. https://t.co/uHj4NkeQ7L
— Whores of Yore (@WhoresofYore) January 23, 2020
Another murmuration (Matthew and I love these):
Wow. How lucky we are to live on a planet with THIS. pic.twitter.com/afIn38Dw9f
— Bella Lack (@BellaLack) January 23, 2020
Ah, the power of sexual selection! Be sure to watch the video.
— Massimo (@Rainmaker1973) January 20, 2020