It’s the Sabbath for non-Jewish people and animals that aren’t felids: Sunday, January 24, 2021, and National Peanut Butter Day. It’s also National Eskimo Pie Patent Day (patented on this day in 1922; the name is being changed because people find it offensive; it’s now called “Edy’s Pie” though I prefer “Inuit Pie”), National Lobster Thermidor Day, Beer Can Appreciation Day, Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day (how does one do that?), and in the state of Uttar Pradesh, India, it’s Uttar Pradesh Day.
News of the Day:
Famous talk-show host Larry King died yesterday in Los Angeles; he was 87. His real name was Larry Zeiger, the son of Orthodox Jews, and he was married eight times to seven women. A photo of him with his kids and last wife, Shawn Southwick, is below. He was a nonbeliever; a quote from Wikipedia:
After describing himself as a Jewish agnostic in 2005, King stated that he was fully atheist in 2015. In December 2011, King stated that he would like to be cryogenically preserved following his death. In 2017, he stated “I love being Jewish, am proud of my Jewishness, and I love Israel”
I guess he’s frozen now.
The Russians made a huge mistake by detaining dissident Alexsei Navalny when he returned to Russia—after they poisoned him! That was too much for many Russians, and yesterday there were huge country-wide protests against the government, with demonstrators throwing snowballs at the cops and thousands of them arrested. To its credit, and probably Biden’s, the U.S. State Department protested the arrest of Navalny and the crackdown on protestors.
Is this the beginning of the end for Putin? I hypothesize that it is.
A photo (and caption) from the NYT:
The horrible stuff that Trump did, especially at the end of his tenure, just keeps on surfacing. The New York Times just reported that Trump had a plan to oust Attorney General Rosen, replacing him with a Justice Department loyalist who would force Georgia to overturn its election results. Only the pledge of JD officials to resign should this happen stayed Trump’s hand. This may be an important part of Trump’s upcoming impeachment trial, and it reminds me of Nixon’s Saturday Night Massacre in 1973.
Faith versus Fact: According to the Guardian, a holy man in Sri Lanka had a revelation from Kali, the goddess of death, about how to make a syrup that would destroy the coronavirus. Hundreds of people and even some politicians besieged the man’s village to get the syrup. Now the holy man himself, along with several members of his family and one prominent politician, have tested positive for the virus. Protip: science trumps revelation. (h/t: Jez)
The Guardian has an article about how eight nonbelievers find meaning in life. But they chose photos that make some of them look like loons! Was this deliberate? (h/t Matthew).
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 417,390, a large increase of about 3,200 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We may pass half a million deaths in less than a month. The world death toll stands at 2,131,726, a big increase of about 13,600 deaths over yesterday’s total, or abut 9.4 deaths per minute.
Stuff that happened on January 24 includes:
- AD 41 – Claudius is proclaimed Roman Emperor by the Praetorian Guard after they assassinate the previous emperor, his nephew Caligula.
- 1536 – King Henry VIII of England suffers an accident while jousting, leading to a brain injury that historians say may have influenced his later erratic behaviour and possible impotence.
- 1848 – California Gold Rush: James W. Marshall finds gold at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento.
Here’s Sutter’s Mill in 1850, where flecks of gold were found in the effluent, setting of a huge stampede of men searching for riches:
- 1857 – The University of Calcutta is formally founded as the first fully fledged university in South Asia.
- 1908 – The first Boy Scout troop is organized in England by Robert Baden-Powell.
Here is Powell, President Taft, and British ambassador Bryce in 1912, reviewing the Boy Scouts of Washington D.C. Taft was our fattest President, tipping the scales at 325-350 pounds. He had a special bathtub made to accommodate his corpulence (the rumor that he got stuck in it is, however, untrue):
- 1916 – In Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co., the Supreme Court of the United States declares the federal income tax constitutional.
- 1933 – The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, changing the beginning and end of terms for all elected federal offices.
- 1972 – Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi is found hiding in a Guam jungle, where he had been since the end of World War II.
From Wikipedia: “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.” He wasn’t the last Japanese soldier to surrender, either: Teruo Nakamura gave up in December of 1974! Below the first picture is one of Nakamura.
Also from Wikipedia: “This newspaper photograph was described as Yokoi’s first haircut in 28 years.”
Nakamura after his surrender in 1974; he was given a necklace of flowers:
Notables born on this day include:
- AD 76 – Hadrian, Roman emperor (d. 138)
- 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)
- 1917 – Ernest Borgnine, American actor (d. 2012)
Here’s the famous final scene in the movie “Marty” (1955), in which Borgnine plays an Italian butcher who rejects a girl because his friends don’t like her. Eventually realizing that she’s a great girl and he cares for her, he calls her up for a date at the end. (The movie won a Best Picture Oscar.)
- 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)
A classic from Belushi:
- 1968 – Mary Lou Retton, American gymnast
Those who snuffed it 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)
Note that Winston died exactly 70 years after his father.
- 1975 – Larry Fine, American comedian (b. 1902)
- 1986 – L. Ron Hubbard, American religious leader and author, founded the Church of Scientology (b. 1911)
Here’s a video hagiography of Hubbard by the Church of Scientology:
- 1989 – Ted Bundy, American serial killer (b. 1946)
- 1993 – Thurgood Marshall, American lawyer and jurist, 32nd United States Solicitor General (b. 1908)
- 2017 – Butch Trucks, American drummer (b. 1947)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Her Highness indulges in her regular habit: she jumps in the windowsill when she wants to come inside. Andrzej then goes to the door and calls her, but she doesn’t budge: she waits until he comes to the windowsill, picks her up, and carries her indoors! Here’s the Queen waiting outside:
A: Why aren’t you coming when I call you?Hili: Because I like it when you carry me inside.
Ja: Dlaczego nie przychodzisz jak cię wołam?Hili: Bo lubię jak mnie wnosisz do domu na rękach.
And little Kulka is resting. Look at the lovely patterns on her tummy!
Caption: A picture of Kulka taken by Paulina
From Facebook. “If the mitten isn’t fitting, you must be acquitting.”
From Marianne Williamson, for crying out loud:
Another Bernie meme from reader Andrée:
From Julian. Don’t worry, it all comes right: if you count, you’ll see 7 ducklings at the beginning and seven at the end. Somebody should cover that grate or make the holes smaller.
Ayer vi en reddit esta montaña rusa de emociones pic.twitter.com/QV1lm83bLs
— Manuel Genovés (@Manuelgenoves) January 19, 2021
From reader pyers: the famous British food writer Nigella Lawson deliberately made this dish on Inauguration Day:
If anyone says "Given the last few years, are there any things that still make you proud to be British?" I have to reply, "It's a dwindling list, but Nigella Lawson calmly choosing Bitter Orange Tart on the day Trump leaves office would be one of them." https://t.co/JTAR5pZWR7
— Caitlin Moran (@caitlinmoran) January 20, 2021
From Simon: “Level two Bernie.”
Crochet Bernie, this is not a drill pic.twitter.com/A15ByOM5l0
— Lily Bailey (@LilyBaileyUK) January 22, 2021
Ying and yang cats from gravelinspector:
— 藤 あや子🐾 (@fuji_ayako) January 17, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. An obsessive, but that’s what we need on Twitter, so long as they’re not ideological obsessives:
21 minutes and 21 seconds past 9pm on the 21st day of the 21st year of the 21st century. pic.twitter.com/eye8yp1hSa
— Martin Humphries (@MJ_Humphries) January 21, 2021
Poor Matthew! Poor Brits!
What's lockdown 3 been like? pic.twitter.com/WXSrl5LRaG
— New Year New T (@tony_wright97) January 23, 2021
This is a fantastic space picture, and it’s real!
This is a true-colour image from the @CassiniSaturn spacecraft; Mimas is a relatively small moon, at just 400 km across.
(And h/t @exploreplanets for the pic!)
— Prof. Paul Byrne (@ThePlanetaryGuy) January 23, 2021
A Tik Tok burrowing owl. Sound up, though I don’t know the song:
EVERYONE SHUT UP THIS TIKTOK FROM THE SAN DIEGO ZOO IS EVERYTHING I NEEDED pic.twitter.com/dHFlTeBRO5
— Bri’s birthday is January 24th 🎉 (@birdsandbri) January 23, 2021