It’s Sunday, January 3, 2021 (notice how I got the year right), and National Chocolate Covered Cherry Day (these can be dreadful, but also good if made with non-maraschino cherries and decent chocolate). It’s also J. R. R. Tolkien Day, who was born on January 3, 1892, and Memento Mori (or “Remember You Die Day”), when you’re supposed to ponder your mortality. For me that is every day.
News of the Day:
Not only are eleven Republican Senators trying to overturn the election of the Biden/Harris ticket, but they’re being explicitly endorsed by Vice-President Mike Pence, who says he welcomes any congressional move that is legal. But every state in the Union has certified its election results, and Trump & Co. have lost in every court to which they appealed. That even 11 Republicans can persist in this woeful nonsense is a testimony to the power that Trump holds on their benighted minds.
Here’s the list of meatheads, along with their joint statement, which you can read here. They’re asking for a ten-day “emergency audit” of the votes from UNSPECIFIED “disputed stated.” Oy.
NEWS: 11 Republican senators say they'll "vote on January 6 to reject the electors" from certain states.
Full joint statement 👇 pic.twitter.com/R73V943g7e
— Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) January 2, 2021
After this amusing (but true) article appeared in New York Magazine (click on screenshot), I am determined to find bucatini, but, as the piece recounts, it’s not to be found. The FDA banned it because it didn’t have enough iron!
As if 2020 wasn’t dysfunctional enough, there seems to be a plague of aggressive, bloodthirsty squirrels in New York City. (They are almost certainly NOT rabid.) Here’s a news report:
One bit of good news that is due to the pandemic itself: influenza cases in the U.S., and I suspect elsewhere in the northern hemisphere, have dropped markedly. Some reports put the number of cases of seasonal influenza at only 2% of normal in the U.S. (surely an underestimate), and attribute it to not only social distancing, masking, handwashing, and so on, but also to a lack of travel that moves the flu between hemispheres. Other respiratory diseases have also declined for the same reason.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. 350,329, an increase of about 2,400 deaths from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,844,792, an increase of about 8,300 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 3 includes:
- 1521 – Pope Leo X excommunicates Martin Luther in the papal bull Decet Romanum Pontificem.
- 1777 – American General George Washington defeats British General Lord Cornwallis at the Battle of Princeton.
- 1870 – Construction work begins on the Brooklyn Bridge in New York, United States.
It took 13 years before it was opened, but many see it as the world’s most beautiful bridge:
- 1957 – The Hamilton Watch Company introduces the first electric watch.
The watch was the Hamilton Ventura, much favored by Elvis Presley. Here are two models:
- 1959 – Alaska is admitted as the 49th U.S. state.
- 1962 – Pope John XXIII excommunicates Fidel Castro.
According to Wikipedia, “Fidel Castro is reported to have been excommunicated by John XXIII in 1962 for affiliating with the Communist Party of Cuba, preaching communism and supporting a communist government; the basis of the excommunication is supposed to have been the 1949 Decree against Communism of Pope Pius XII.”
- 1977 – Apple Computer is incorporated.
- 1990 – United States invasion of Panama: Manuel Noriega, former leader of Panama, surrenders to American forces.
- 2009 – The first block of the blockchain of the decentralized payment system Bitcoin, called the Genesis block, was established by the creator of the system, Satoshi Nakamoto.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1840 – Father Damien, Flemish priest and missionary (d. 1889)
Damien served the lepers in the colony on Moloka’i, Hawaii. He too contracted leprosy and died from it. Here’s a photo of the stricken priest taken shortly before his death:
- 1883 – Clement Attlee, English soldier, lawyer, and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (d. 1967)
- 1892 – J.R.R. Tolkien, English writer, poet, and philologist (d. 1973)
Here’s Tolkien in 1916 as a British soldier. He served in the trenches in WWI:
- 1897 – Marion Davies, American actress and comedian (d. 1961)
Davies, an actress, became more famous for being the mistress of William Randolph Hearst and his partner at San Simeon. Here’s what Wikipedia quotes her as saying to Charlie Chaplin’s wife:
“God, I’d give everything I have to marry that silly old man. Not for the money and security—he’s given me more than I’ll ever need. Not because he’s such cozy company, either. Most times, when he starts jawing, he bores me stiff. And certainly not because he’s so wonderful behind the barn. Why, I could find a million better lays any Wednesday. No, you know what he gives me, sugar? He gives me the feeling I’m worth something to him. A whole lot of what we have, or don’t have, I don’t like. He’s got a wife who’ll never give him a divorce. She knows about me, but it’s still understood that when she decides to go to the ranch for a week or a weekend, I’ve got to vamoose. And he snores, and he can be petty, and has sons about as old as me. But he’s kind and he’s good to me, and I’d never walk out on him.”
- 1905 – Anna May Wong, American actress (d. 1961)
Wong was the first Chinese woman to become an American movie star. Here’s a short documentary about her:
- 1939 – Bobby Hull, Canadian ice hockey player
- 1945 – Stephen Stills, American singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer
I’ve said many times that I would have loved to swap places with Stephen Stills. He was not only wickedly handsome, but a musical genius—a great singer, writer, and guitarist. And of course he had a relationship with the subject of “Judy Blue Eyes”. Here he is singing one of his best songs, “4 +20“, just one man and his acoustic guitar. (He forgets a line in the first verse.) The song is on CSN&Y’s Déjà Vu album.
- 1950 – Victoria Principal, American actress and businesswoman
- 1956 – Mel Gibson, American-Australian actor, director, producer, and screenwriter
- 2003 – Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist
Those who flatlined on January 3 include:
- 1795 – Josiah Wedgwood, English potter, founded the Wedgwood Company (b. 1730)
- 1903 – Alois Hitler, Austrian civil servant (b. 1837)
Do you think he looks like his son?
- 1945 – Edgar Cayce, American psychic and author (b. 1877)
- 1967 – Jack Ruby, American businessman and murderer (b. 1911)
- 2014 – Phil Everly, American singer and guitarist (b. 1939)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili touts her superior intellect:
Hili: I think about everything.A: And?Hili: And it’s not easy.
Hili: Myślę o tym wszystkim.Ja: I co?Hili: Nie jest łatwo.
Kulka’s hiding in the laundry basket:
From Jesus of the Day, an adorable pudu fawn (Pudu sp.). It’s one of two species of South American deer (the Northern and Southern), and, with a shoulder height of a bit over a foot as adults, they’re the world’s smallest deer.
A Northern pudu, the smaller of the two species:
From Nicole. I wonder if this is true.
From the Queen, and it’ll take a few moments to work out:
Homosexuality is transphobic because it reinforces the myth of a gender binary.
So although we must oppose homophobia, we also need to recognise that not being homophobic is a form of transphobia.
This really isn’t difficult.
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 2, 2021
Does King's Inn, Dublin 7 tree getting plenty of iron in its diet count? pic.twitter.com/3amYtdThfB
— Scott Bryan (@ScottDBryan) January 1, 2021
True Facts About Alligators, from Barry:
For anyone curious about what the belly looks like after hatching to result in this scarring. The scales eventually connect like in the post below and form the scar! https://t.co/iM7RdKeOvN pic.twitter.com/FLVOT5Bg6D
— Laura 𓆌 (@LauraKojima) January 1, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. First, the chillest rodent going:
I love this picture so much 💖 pic.twitter.com/8roGn5HyTR
— CAPYBARA MAN (@CAPYBARA_MAN) January 2, 2021
I read this book for a lecture I gave in Antarctica, and yes, it’s right up there with the great adventure books. I’d also add “Annapurna” by Maurice Herzog, and “Seven Years in Tibet” by Heinrich Harrer.
Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s memoir of a miserable Antarctic expedition, "The Worst Journey in the World," was ranked number one on National Geographic’s list of the 100 greatest adventure books of all time. https://t.co/hV9OExfNvc
— Smithsonian Magazine (@SmithsonianMag) January 2, 2021
Lovely video of some Honorary Cats® enjoying the snow:
It's a new year and I've got a new wildlife project to share with you 🦊
This clip of foxes frolicking in snow comes from cameras hidden inside a fox den 😊#fox #wildlifecams #NewYear pic.twitter.com/cOcY8xx7Sl
— Robert E Fuller (@RobertEFuller) January 2, 2021
I think this works on some iPhones (not mine), but doesn’t work on my computer. Ergo, I haven’t seen it. But try it!
If you Google "mallard duck" and then scroll down to the box that says "meet a life sized mallard duck up close" you can enjoy a large 3D duck in your room and it's incredibly entertaining. pic.twitter.com/YSuHe4eB2V
— Nicky Fijalkowska (@nickyforvictory) January 2, 2021