It is Cat Sabbath: January 10, 2021: National Bittersweet Chocolate Day. It’s also National Sunday Supper Day, National Oysters Rockefeller Day, Houseplant Appreciation Day, Save the Eagles Day (they’re already saved), and No Pants Subway Ride Day, which is exactly what it sounds like (although this started in New York, people now do this in 60 cities). You’re supposed to ride in your skivvies, though some people cheat and wear shorts. This Google image search shows some photos.
In the Falkland Islands it’s Margaret Thatcher Day. Because she “won the war” with Argentina, she’s a big hero there, as I discovered last November when I visited. Here’s a statue of the Iron Lady on Thatcher Drive:
Wine of the Day: This Bordeaux-like red is a Cotes de Castillon, a “satellite appellation” of Bordeaux, and I couldn’t have told it from its better-known relative. Full bodied, plummy, and with some sediment, it requires decanting and a bit of breathing. It could age for at least another five years, but was delightful now. A good red with a baguette and aged cheddar, as well as fresh tomatoes in olive oil. I’ll have the rest tonight with my weekly steak. A very good value for the money.
News of the Day: There is lots of news about the dumpster fire that is the Presidency and the people it inflamed to commit insurrection. Just a few highlights.
First, the Washington Post reports that a week before Trump tried pressuring the Georgia Secretary of State to “find more votes,” he pressured yet another elections official in that state:
The president’s attempts to intervene in an ongoing investigation could amount to obstruction of justice or other criminal violations, legal experts said, though they cautioned a case could be difficult to prove.
These two phone calls are certainly something that should be part of any impeachment charges.
I was pleased to see on last night’s news that the feds have already tracked down a number of miscreants who stormed the capital, and have arrested them at home, making them do public “perp walks”. Those arrested include the guy who put his feet up on Pelosi’s desk, the Fur Hat Viking Man, a state lawmaker from West Virginia (now resigned), and the guy who stole and brandished Pelosi’s lectern. But so far they haven’t found those who killed the Capitol police officer. The BBC reports 82 arrests as of last evening, but I expect a lot more, and, given that this was an attempted takeover of the government, I hope that those convicted get harsh sentences—as a deterrent, though it will come too late to deter those bent on similar protests during the inauguration. (Believe me, there will be a lot more security ten days from now.)
The FBI has put up a number of photos of suspects on its Twitter account, seeking identification. Some of those already arrested were identified by people who knew them.
Do you see anyone you recognize? The #FBI is still seeking information to help identify individuals who actively instigated violence on January 6 in Washington, D.C. Visit https://t.co/o9rDVDsk5S to see images from current cases, and submit tips to https://t.co/buMd8vYXzH. pic.twitter.com/R9JqN8TqpP
— FBI (@FBI) January 8, 2021
How did an Air Force veteran, Ashli Babbitt, the woman shot to death while storming the Capitol, become an unhinged QAnon addict? The Washington Post reprises her life and, sure enough, she carried a lot of repressed anger, even while in the service. Here—watch one of her video tweets (note that she says she is “woke”):
— CommonAshSense (@Ashli_Babbitt) November 26, 2018
A new story from the Washington Post reports that, before he was “President,” Trump repeatedly pretended, in phone calls to reporters, that he was his own publicist. You can hear a recording at the link. He often used the pseudonym John Barron, and now a satire Twitter account has sprung up under the “John Barron” nickname. Click on screenshot; it’s already got over 300K followers. (h/t Joe Routon)
Okay, enough political news. I think I should be posting more kitten videos now because the stress from ten months of pandemic combined with a fascist president and an attempted insurrection has got us all on edge.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 372,651, an increase of 3,300 deaths from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,936,317, 1,924,037, a big increase of about 12,300 deaths over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 10 includes:
The Rubicon, which marked the border between Roman Italy and Gaul, wasn’t and isn’t a big river. There’s a later Roman bridge near the spot where Caesar crossed (below), an action now synonymous with doing something irrevocable:
It’s hard to find first editions of this famous 47-page pamphlet urging independence of the colonies (only three in decent condition have been auctioned since 1945), but this one sold in 2013 for $545,000:
As Wikipedia notes, “In proportion to the population of the colonies at that time (2.5 million), it had the largest sale and circulation of any book published in American history. As of 2006, it remains the all-time best-selling American title and is still in print today.”
- 1863 – The Metropolitan Railway, the world’s oldest underground railway, opens between Paddington and Farringdon, marking the beginning of the London Underground.
- 1870 – John D. Rockefeller incorporates Standard Oil.
- 1901 – The first great Texas oil gusher is discovered at Spindletop in Beaumont, Texas.
And here’s a photo of the Spindletop gusher:
- 1920 – The Treaty of Versailles takes effect, officially ending World War I.
- 1927 – Fritz Lang‘s futuristic film Metropolis is released in Germany.
Here’s an English trailer of this film, which I’ve seen. Note the Big Brother-like atmosphere. (You can see the whole movie, aber auf Deutsch, here).
- 1946 – The United States Army Signal Corps successfully conducts Project Diana, bouncing radio waves off the Moon and receiving the reflected signals.
- 1984 – Holy See–United States relations: The United States and Holy See (Vatican City) re-establish full diplomatic relations after almost 117 years, overturning the United States Congress’s 1867 ban on public funding for such a diplomatic envoy.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1887 – Robinson Jeffers, American poet and philosopher (d. 1962)
- 1904 – Ray Bolger, American actor and dancer (d. 1987)
- 1936 – Robert Woodrow Wilson, American physicist and astronomer, Nobel Prize laureate
- 1939 – Sal Mineo, American actor (d. 1976)
Mineo, most famous for his role as “Plato” in Rebel Without a Cause (1955), died at 37 from a stab wound to the heart, probably from a homosexual encounter. Here’s the famous scene in which Jim, played by James Dean, gives Plato his jacket:
- 1940 – Godfrey Hewitt, English geneticist and academic (d. 2013)
I knew Hewitt, and he was a mentor of several of my friends a colleagues. A very lovely guy, smart but not arrogant. If you knew him you’ll recognize this picture instantly:
I can’t mention Jim Croce without showing this great live performance of my favorite of his songs, “Operator” (1972). Accompanying him is Maury Muehleisen; both men died in a plane crash, with Croce just 30 years old.
- 1945 – Rod Stewart, British singer-songwriter
- 1949 – Linda Lovelace, American porn actress and activist (d. 2002)
Linda Susan Boreman (her real name) died at 53 of an automobile accident. She’d had a rough life.
- 1981 – Jared Kushner, American real estate investor and political figure
Those who “fell asleep” on January 10 include:
- 1778 – Carl Linnaeus, Swedish botanist and physician (b. 1707)
- 1862 – Samuel Colt, American engineer and businessman, founded Colt’s Manufacturing Company (b. 1814)
- 1917 – Buffalo Bill, American soldier and hunter (b. 1846)
- 1951 – Sinclair Lewis, American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1885)
- 1957 – Laura Ingalls Wilder, American novelist (b. 1867)
- 1961 – Dashiell Hammett, American detective novelist and screenwriter (b. 1894)
- 1971 – Coco Chanel, French fashion designer, founded Chanel (b. 1883)
- 2016 – David Bowie, English singer-songwriter, producer, and actor (b. 1947)
Today is the fifth anniversary of his death.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants to escape the cold:
Hili: The night is coming. Let’s go home.A: You are right; frost is supposed to come.
Hili: Idzie noc, wracamy do domu.Ja: Masz rację, ma być mróz.
Andrzej says, “Three pictures taken by Paulina and one by me (guess which one).” (In Polish: “Trzy zdjęcia zrobione przez Paulinę i jedno moje (zgadnijcie które.”)
Kulka and Szaron gambol in the snow, and we see Paulina hugging her beloved Kulka. Look at Paulina’s expression! She loves her kitty.
Screenshot of a tweet found by Divy:
From Cats Making Funny Faces. The poster’s answer was “Jolene by Dolly Parton”; someone else said “I will always love you,” which I think is a better answer.
Titania in cognitive dissonance mode. I do want to read that book, though:
Please buy a copy of this and burn it immediately. https://t.co/3V8Yb2h1lr
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 9, 2021
Simon sent two tweets. Is the first one a real video?
“Guess who can still tweet motherfuc-” pic.twitter.com/RPUWk5sCw7
— Chris Jackson (@ChrisCJackson) January 9, 2021
And Simon says “step back two steps”. Just kidding! He really says he’s known grad students like this (actually, I was one of them). Look at that chimp carry with its opposable toes!
When everybody’s already inside the lecture hall and the cookies are left unguarded pic.twitter.com/31LFzefzvw
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) January 8, 2021
From Barry, who assumes (as do I) that this is real and that a soundtrack wasn’t added afterwards:
I think I need a cat!
Cat listening to classical music. (Mahler 9th)https://t.co/XoDraJT8Pw
— 𝗔𝗻𝗱𝗿𝗲𝘄 𝗡𝗲𝘄𝗺𝗮𝗻 🌱 (@irishpianoman) January 9, 2021
A lovely snake fossil:
— The Ice Age ❄️🌞 (@Jamie_Woodward_) January 9, 2021
A fairly new photo with an old caption:
This is a wide-angle image taken by the @CassiniSaturn spacecraft in July 2013, and shows Earth as seen under Saturn's soaring ring system.
At the time, Earth was 1.44 *billion* kilometres away.
— Prof. Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) January 8, 2021
Even Pinker can’t figure this one out, so I’m not even going to try:
I’m determined to figure out how this illusion works … https://t.co/kupeSPn8tr
— Steven Pinker (@sapinker) January 9, 2021
Another illusion, and I’ve saved the best for last. Read either side and listen to the sound. You will hear what you’re reading. This shows that your ears are conditioned to hear words that your eyes see. Try listening again without reading anything; the sound is ambiguous. I We are altering the sound in our minds. hadn’t seen an auditory illusion like this before, but it definitely says something about the evolution of and interactions between our senses.
What’s even odder is that the two words/phases: “Green noodle” and “Brainstorm” have different numbers of syllables!
— Richard Wiseman (@RichardWiseman) January 9, 2021