Good morning and top o’ the week to you: it’s Tuesday, January 26, 2021: National Peanut Brittle Day. It’s also National Green Juice Day, International Customs Day and, in Australia, Australia Day (see below).
News of the Day:
Ceiling Cat help me; I’ve taken several people’s advice and subscribed to the Wall Street Journal in a desperate attempt to get more objective news coverage. They had a $4/month offer for digital access for a year, but I think the offer has now expired now. But I am NOT a Republican!! I now subscribe to the NYT, the Washington Post, the WSJ, and Andrew Sullivan, and contemplating subscribing to Bari Weiss’s site. I also subscribe to the paper and digital editions of the New Woker, but I’m thinking of canceling that. I can no longer abide their sanctimonious wokeness.
At least I don’t have to rant about the President’s missteps now that Trump is gone. But I just watched (I’m writing this on Monday evening) the House formally deliver the article of Trump’s impeachment to the Senate. It was all very dignified and formal; the trial begins February 9. The Guardian has a liveblog with background information. It’s rankling to hear chuckleheads like Marco Rubio kvetch about the process being divisive—after Trump spent his entire Presidency being divisive, finally calling for the people to rise up against legitimate election results.
It’s the 125th anniversary of the New York Times Book Review, and they’re celebrating by highlighting notables who reviewed other people’s books in that section. Here’s a list; click on the link to go to the review:
And we’ve been fortunate to feature the writing of so many illustrious figures in our pages — novelists, musicians, presidents, Nobel winners, CEOs, poets, playwrights — all offering their insights with wit and flair. Here are 25 of them.
H.G. Wells | Vladimir Nabokov | Tennessee Williams | Patricia Highsmith | Shirley Jackson | Eudora Welty | Langston Hughes | Dorothy Parker | John F. Kennedy | Nora Ephron | Toni Morrison | John Kenneth Galbraith | Nikki Giovanni | James Baldwin | Kurt Vonnegut Jr. | Joan Didion | Derek Walcott | Margaret Atwood | Ursula K. Le Guin | Stephen King | Jhumpa Lahiri | Mario Vargas Llosa | Colson Whitehead | Patti Smith | Bill Gates
Worried about the coronavirus mutants, their transmission, and, especially, the ability of the vaccines to stop them? There’s some cause for worry, as the Washington Post reports. But you must still get your jab. Booster shots may be in the offing, too, and we may need yearly shots, as we get now with the flu.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 420,999, an increase of about 1,700 deaths over yesterday’s figure. We may pass half a million deaths in less than a month. The reported world death toll stands at 2,151,139, an increase of about 10,700 deaths over yesterday’s total, or about 7.4 deaths per minute.
Stuff that happened on January 26 includes:
- 1500 – Vicente Yáñez Pinzón becomes the first European to set foot on Brazil.
- 1564 – The Council of Trent establishes an official distinction between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism.
- 1788 – The British First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, sails into Port Jackson (Sydney Harbour) to establish Sydney, the first permanent European settlement on Australia. Commemorated as Australia Day.
Stalia! Stralia! Stralia! Here’s Monty Python with their “philosophers sketch” (I can’t find the original online):
During Prohibition in the 1920s, you could still get a doctor’s prescription for “medicinal alcohol”. Here’s a blank form for one (note that you could fill in “kind of liquor”:
- 1885 – Troops loyal to The Mahdi conquer Khartoum, killing the Governor-General Charles George Gordon.
- 1905 – The world’s largest diamond ever, the Cullinan weighing 3,106.75 carats (0.621350 kg), is found at the Premier Mine near Pretoria in South Africa.
The diamond, shown below, weighed about 1.4 pounds, and was split into nine stones (picture below that). The biggest of these is the Star of Africa, now sitting in the British Sovereign’s Sceptre.
- 1911 – Glenn Curtiss flies the first successful American seaplane.
- 1926 – The first demonstration of the television by John Logie Baird.
- 1945 – World War II: Audie Murphy displays valor and bravery in action for which he will later be awarded the Medal of Honor.
Murphy, below, won every single combat medal produced by the U.S. Army. He was only 19 when he did the deed that won him the Medal of Honor. He was killed in a plane crash at the age of 45.
Look at all those medals! (The one around his neck is the Medal of Honor.)
- 1950 – The Constitution of India comes into force, forming a republic. Rajendra Prasad is sworn in as the first President of India. Observed as Republic Day in India.
- 1965 – Hindi becomes the official language of India.
- 1998 – Lewinsky scandal: On American television, U.S. President Bill Clinton denies having had “sexual relations” with former White House intern Monica Lewinsky.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1880 – Douglas MacArthur, American general, Medal of Honor recipient (d. 1964)
- 1905 – Maria von Trapp, Austrian-American singer (d. 1987)
Here’s Maria von Trapp teaching Julie Andrews, who played Maria in “The Sound of Music” to yodel:
- 1908 – Stéphane Grappelli, French violinist (d. 1997)
- 1925 – Paul Newman, American actor, activist, director, race car driver, and businessman, co-founded Newman’s Own (d. 2008)
- 1944 – Angela Davis, American activist, academic, and author
Here’s Angela Davis as I remember her in the Sixties and early Seventies; she’s now a Professor at the University of California at Santa Cruz:
- 1946 – Gene Siskel, American journalist and film critic (d. 1999)
- 1958 – Anita Baker, American singer-songwriter
- 1958 – Ellen DeGeneres, American comedian, actress, and talk show host
Those who flatlined on January 26 include:
- 1823 – Edward Jenner, English physician and immunologist (b. 1749)
- 1893 – Abner Doubleday, American general (b. 1819)
- 1943 – Nikolai Vavilov, Russian botanist and geneticist (b. 1887)
- 1962 – Lucky Luciano, Italian-American mob boss (b. 1897)
- 1973 – Edward G. Robinson, Romanian-American actor (b. 1893)
Here’s Robinson as the crime boss Rico in the movie “Little Caesar” (1931)
- 2003 – Hugh Trevor-Roper, English historian and academic (b. 1917)
- 2020 – Kobe Bryant, American basketball player (b. 1978)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Andrzej tells Hili that the mice, snug in their burrows, are subsisting on stored food.
Hili: What are mice doing now?A: Taking out reserves from their refrigerators.
Hili: Co teraz robią myszy?Ja: Wyjmują zapasy z lodówki.
All Bernie memes today! Is there no end to these? From Ant: “Sanders Style.” Whoop! Whoop! Whoop!
Oy! Yet another, from Jean. Recognize the show?
And a third; an album cover sent by reader Barry, who marvels that nobody thought of this before:
The Queen echoes a real sentiment about the transphobia of Miley Cyrus. The original comment is from Out magazine.
Miley Cyrus claiming that breasts are more attractive than balls is the most transphobic thing I’ve ever read. 😡
Nothing says feminine allure quite like a thoroughly waxed scrotum. pic.twitter.com/wD6l1qj0lL
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 25, 2021
No end to Bernie. This is from Simon:
solvay conference 1927 pic.twitter.com/yeDcOzl3aG
— |Jacob⟩⟨Pilawa| (@jacobpilawa) January 21, 2021
And another from Simon: parrot taunts kitty. That cat looks damn frustrated!
Because you want to see a bird taunt a kitty by playing and saying peek a boo. 🔈🔈 pic.twitter.com/dUa942g297
— Danny Deraney (@DannyDeraney) January 24, 2021
From Phil. I don’t know who Rod Hull is, but this is pretty funny:
You know what we need right now? Emu pulling Rod Hull into a freezer. No comedy, of any form, has ever, or will ever, top the unadulterated genius of these first few seconds. Humans will never get near this again. pic.twitter.com/kfVs3MUrOj
— Jeff Livingstone (@DefJeff) January 23, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Bernie is everywhere!
— Rabih Alameddine (@rabihalameddine) January 25, 2021
A hamster wheel for a tardigrade!
Weeeeeeeee! chapter II
Tardigadre & Volvox
🔬by Penny Fenton pic.twitter.com/1TfxE5Kxlb
— Tardigradopedia (@tardigradopedia) January 25, 2021
I’m sure I’ve posted this before, but it’s worth seeing again. Sound up: they are so happy!
A stork couple celebrating their first egg..
Sound on.. pic.twitter.com/pbGhC7bsNi
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) January 25, 2021
Even thought they’re vicious killers, stoats are still adorable.
— Robert E Fuller (@RobertEFuller) January 25, 2021