Good morning on a humpish sort of day: Wednesday, February 12, 2020. And of course it’s International Darwin Day, celebrating the day that our greatest biologist was born in 1809. If you haven’t read On the Origin of Species, today is a good day to start. (I recommend the first edition to get an idea the full flavor of its impact on an unsuspecting world.)
Besides that, it’s Lincoln’s Birthday (Lincoln and Darwin were born on the very same day in 1809), Hug Day (be sure to get affirmative consent), and National Freedom to Marry Day, celebrated on this day because;
The most notable National Freedom to Marry Day was February 12, 2004 when, following a directive from San Francisco mayor Gavin Newsom to his county clerk, the City and County of San Francisco began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
News of the Day: As in Iowa, Bernie Sanders and Mayor Pete finished on top in New Hampshire, and of course the pundits are now touting The Bern as the Democratic standard bearer, though Buttigieg was right up his tuchas . It was a poor night for Elizabeth Warren, a rather heartening one for Amy Klobuchar, who got six delegates, and a disaster for Joe Biden and everyone else who got less than 10% of the vote and no delegates, as these numbers show: But it is early days, and the vote is from two small and white states. I’ll have a discussion post up within an hour or so, so reserve comments on the outcome until then. Thanks.
Oh, and the miscreant Jussie Smollett was re-indicted by the Cook County prosecutors for falsely reporting a hate crime. This is big news in Chicago because the faked “crime” was committed here. The re-indictment does not constitute double jeopardy because Smollett never pleaded guilty or began being tried. The dropping of the charges by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was a big mystery at the time, and I suspect she’ll be out of office when we vote in the primaries in a month.
Stuff that happened on February 12 includes:
- 1832 – Ecuador annexes the Galápagos Islands. [An appropriate even to report on Darwin Day.]
- 1909 – The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is founded.
- 1924 – George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue received its premiere in a concert titled “An Experiment in Modern Music”, in Aeolian Hall, New York, by Paul Whiteman and his band, with Gershwin playing the piano.
- 1946 – African American United States Army veteran Isaac Woodard is severely beaten by a South Carolina police officer to the point where he loses his vision in both eyes. The incident later galvanizes the civil rights movement and partially inspires Orson Welles’ film Touch of Evil.
The attack on Woodard is disgusting, as the man did nothing: the cops attacked him simply because he was black. A few sordid details from More :
Isaac Woodard Jr. (March 18, 1919 – September 23, 1992) was a decorated African-American World War II veteran. On February 12, 1946, hours after being honorably discharged from the United States Army, he was attacked while still in uniform by South Carolina police as he was taking a bus home. The attack and his injuries sparked national outrage and galvanized the civil rights movement in the United States.
The attack left Woodard completely and permanently blind. Due to South Carolina’s reluctance to pursue the case, President Harry S. Truman ordered a federal investigation. The sheriff, Lynwood Shull, was indicted and went to trial in federal court in South Carolina, where he was acquitted by an all-white jury.
Here’s the poor guy, permanently blinded in his twenties by racist cops who were acquitted by a racist jury.
More stuff on February 12:
- 1974 – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1970, is exiled from the Soviet Union.
- 1993 – Two-year-old James Bulger is abducted from New Strand Shopping Centre by two ten-year-old boys, who later torture and murder him.
- 2004 – The city of San Francisco begins issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in response to a directive from Mayor Gavin Newsom.
Here are Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, the first same-sex couples to get a marriage license in America (the California Courts overruled that decision, but it was reinstated):
Notables born on this day include:
- 1637 – Jan Swammerdam, Dutch biologist and zoologist (d. 1680)
- 1663 – Cotton Mather, English-American minister and author (d. 1728)
- 1809 – Charles Darwin, English geologist and theorist (d. 1882)
- 1809 – Abraham Lincoln, American lawyer and politician, 16th President of the United States (d. 1865)
- 1857 – Eugène Atget, French photographer (d. 1927)
- 1884 – Max Beckmann, German painter and sculptor (d. 1950)
- 1885 – Julius Streicher, German publisher, founded Der Stürmer (d. 1946)
- 1939 – Leon Kass, American physician, scientist, and educator
Those who packed it up on February 12 include:
- 1554 – Lady Jane Grey, de facto monarch of England and Ireland for nine days (b. 1537; executed)
- 1929 – Lillie Langtry, English singer and actress (b. 1853)
- 1942 – Grant Wood, American painter and academic (b. 1891)
- 1976 – Sal Mineo, American actor (b. 1939)
- 1979 – Jean Renoir, French actor, director, producer, and screenwriter (b. 1894)
- 2000 – Charles M. Schulz, American cartoonist, created Peanuts (b. 1922)
- 2014 – Sid Caesar, American actor and comedian (b. 1922)
Grant Wood is of course best known for his iconic painting American Gothic, but here’s another illustration he did for a book:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili can’t even have a lie-down without being disturbed:
A: I need your opinion.Hili: Everybody wants something from me. I don’t have a quiet moment.
Ja: Potrzebuję twojej opinii.
Hili: Wszyscy mają do mnie jakieś interesy. Nie ma chwili spokoju.
Here’s painting by Lucian Freud (one of my favorite modern painters) sent in by Winnie, who saw it in London at the Tate. It’s Girl with a Kitten (1947). Some art-critic information:
Girl with a Kitten is one of eight portraits that Lucian Freud made of his first wife, Kathleen Garman (1926–2011), between 1947 and 1951. In this closely cropped composition, in which she is pictured against a beige wall, Garman holds a kitten by its neck in a tense grip, her knuckles especially prominent, seeming to half-strangle the animal without concern. Given that Garman was generally known as Kitty (a short form of Kathleen as well as a familiar term for a kitten), her treatment of the cat raises – and consciously leaves entirely unresolved – questions about her self-image. Garman stares into the middle distance with a pensive expression, while the kitten looks directly at the viewer. Every element in the painting is depicted with equal scrutiny, from the reflections in Garman’s pupils to the static energy of her wavy hair – a precision achieved through the use of fine sable brushes on finely woven canvas. A silvery light suffuses the image, granting the shadows in Garman’s pearl-like skin and the soft blue garment she wears a chill uniformity.
Cat body language from The Cat House on the Kings:
From Cris Froese Pics via Elzbieta, half of Leon’s staff:
Zuby is a trip! Check out his other tweets, which I dare not retweet.
How Twitter Works:
Me: "I think dogs are better than cats."
Skeptic: "What is your source?"
Solipsist: "That's not true. I was once bitten by a dog."
SJW: "That's specist and transphobic. What if the dog identifies as a cat?!"
Post-modernist: "Dogs are a social construct."
— ZUBY: (@ZubyMusic) February 11, 2020
The picture below is not of a goat or a monster animal. Look at it carefully to figure out what’s going on.
This really messed with my head for a few minutes before I realised pic.twitter.com/HiFaDG6DCy
— Lesley (@dancingfool75) February 3, 2020
From reader Barry, who admires this handsome bird:
Meet the Spangled Cotinga! This South American native is hard to spot from the ground because it prefers to hang out on the tops of the tallest trees. Males of the species are distinguished by their mix of turquoise & purple plumage. [📸: Greg Hume, CC-BY-SA-3.0] pic.twitter.com/7BoJ24XFad
— American Museum of Natural History (@AMNH) February 11, 2020
One of Bernie’s anti-Semitic surrogates (people whom he’s asked to campaign on his behalf): the odious Linda Sarsour:
One from Heather Hastie. Obama takes the gloves off here, though it was a few years ago.
Obama just pooped in Trump’s shoe! I love this man! A real man. A real President. Not a pathetic, degenerate, racist pig. pic.twitter.com/auiuGWJvPf
— John Benight (@BenightJohn) February 8, 2020
Tweets from Matthew. The problem with this one is that we don’t know whether the snake was ultimately deterred:
Gopher snake on vertical egg hunt up a saguaro cactus in the Sonoran Desert.
Check out the Gila woodpeckers swooping in to defend their nests. pic.twitter.com/vmrnUxNNMX
— Russ McSpadden (@PeccaryNotPig) February 11, 2020
A great title of this article, which ultimately refers to sexual selection:
Male mongooses have made some substantial tweaks to their sexual anatomy in the 100+ years after invading tropical islands.
In short, this is a story about butts and nuts.
— Jake Buehler (@buehlersciwri) February 10, 2020
A really nice idea: you get doubly warmed and get some exercise:
A man in Netherlands realized people were getting bored while waiting for the train. So he designed a pedal-powered machine that can weave a scarf in five minutes.
A bit of warmth on a cold day.
— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) February 8, 2020