Welcome to the second day of 2022: Sunday, January 2, 2022. It’s National Buffet Day, and I’m a big fan of good buffets. In Chicago we have several good Indian buffets with pretty authentic food.
Here’s a photo of one I like; the appetizer bit is around the far corner (salad, pakhora, samosa, etc.) and the dessert bit (closer to you) isn’t shown. It has mango kulfi, kheer, and sometimes gulab jamun. Freshly cooked naan and tandoori chicken are included and served at the table.
My favorite food-review vlogger on YouTube is Mike Chen, who not only likes good food, but lots of it. Here he reviews a restaurant I used to frequent until it closed. It’s apparently open again on weekends, and I must return. It’s an all-you-can-eat Polish buffet called the Red Apple, and the food is not only copious, but well prepared (and, of course) heavy. He also goes to Giordano’s for stuffed pizza, which is my favorite style of Chicago pizza and is, in fact, the best pizza I’ve ever had.
It’s also National Cream Puff Day, Swiss Cheese Day, National Science Fiction Day, World Introvert Day, 55 MPH Speed Limit Day (it was on January 2, 1974 that Tricky Dick lowered the speed limit throughout the U.S.), and, last but not least, Happy Mew Year for Cats Day.
If you’re in Scotland, it would normally be New Year Holiday (Scotland), but since it’s Sunday, the holiday moves to tomorrow, January 3.
News of the Day:
*There’s not much to tell: Covid-19 is still raging, but pundits are saying that the latest surge, which has a lower death rate than the previous ones, will be over by the end of January. Even so, 2,500 flights were cancelled in the U.S. yesterday, and people have been stuck for days waiting to get back home:
The industry canceled thousands of trips, about 5.7 percent of all scheduled flights, in the week ending on Friday, according to FlightAware, an aviation data provider. Every major U.S. carrier made deep cuts on Saturday, too. Nearly half the cancellations were concentrated at Chicago’s two airports, where heavy snow and strong winds were expected throughout the day into Sunday.
Yep, and it’s coming down hard as I write this on Saturday afternoon. This morning, snow is everywhere and it hasn’t been plowed, but it’s stopped at what I’d say is three inches.
Botany Pond hasn’t yet frozen over, and yesterday we had our two tamest ducks—Cyndi and Charlie—still in residence. (Both of them now eat from our hands.) The other ducks have gradually left as we cut off the food, but I needed to feed up this pair today to withstand the snow. They may overwinter here, and it’s a good thing I ordered an extra fifty pounds of duck pellets.
*Oh, and covid has finally reached the last possible continent. Click on the link to read (h/t: Matthew). Everybody was offered evacuation, but all wanted to stay. The cases don’t appear to be serious. (Everyone, of course, was already vaccinated.)
Covid reaches Antarctica.https://t.co/qra3KFgbHW
— Paul McAuley (@UnlikelyWorlds) January 2, 2022
*If you (or Joe Biden) thought the country would come together after the last election, you’re dead wrong–but you knew that already. A Washington Post/University of Maryland poll shows the divisions are as deep as ever. One statistic that shocked me was this: 34% of Americans—more than one in three—think that violence against the government is sometimes justified. (Most of these are of course Republicans.) There’s more:
Partisan divisions related both to the Jan. 6 assault and the 2020 presidential election color nearly every issue raised in the survey, from how much violence occurred at the Capitol that day to the severity of the sentences handed down to convicted protesters to whether President Biden was legitimately elected. Only on a question about injured law enforcement officers is there broad bipartisan agreement.
The percentage of Americans who say violent action against the governmentis justified at times stands at 34 percent, which is considerably higher than in past polls by The Post or other major news organizations dating back more than two decades. Again, the view is partisan: The new survey finds 40 percent of Republicans, 41 percent of independents and 23 percent of Democrats saying violence is sometimes justified.
Still, 23% of Democrats? What kind of violence are they thinking about?
Our one hope for reconciliation is to follow the model of Lovettesville, Virginia, a paradigm of civility.
*At the beginning of each year, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd lets her brother, a Republican, take over her column. As she says in the intro to “Trigger warning: It’s my brother’s turn again“:
I have gotten emails asking me not to run my brother Kevin’s annual column this past year. And I have gotten emails asking me to please run Kevin’s column. I prefer to let people know what Republicans like Kevin are thinking. So here he is:
I agree with her decision. Kevin isn’t a loon, but he’s typical of many Republicans, and you should know what he thinks. An excerpt:
I hope Trump does not run. He can do a lot more for the party as an advocate than a candidate. Like him or not, some of his policies were working: accords between Arab countries and Israel, Iran on its heels, China chastened, the border fence going up, low unemployment, a strong economy and best of all, low energy prices and higher wages.
Biden swept into the presidency on a wave of hope, a friendly press and a highly disliked opponent. He had run as a moderate, a creature of the Senate and a unifier, promising a return to normalcy.
Donald Trump’s bungled effort to overturn the election and the ill-advised rally that ended with an attack on the Capitol further raised Biden’s standing.
Once he became president, everything changed. Like one of the residents of Santa Mira, the fictional town in Don Siegel’s 1956 masterpiece, “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” Biden looked the same but his actions revealed a startling transformation.
The moderate Joe Biden was gone. The sweeping changes he proposed in the first few months sounded more like Bernie Sanders. Many of them backfired, severely damaging his early support.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 824,190 an increase of 1,240 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,458,448, an increase of about 3,500 over yesterday’s total. I’m betting that, in the end, we’ll have over a million deaths.
Stuff that happened on January 2 includes:
- 366 – The Alemanni cross the frozen Rhine in large numbers, invading the Roman Empire
- 1900 – American statesman and diplomat John Hay announces the Open Door Policy to promote trade with China.
- 1920 – The second Palmer Raid, ordered by the US Department of Justice, results in 6,000 suspected communists and anarchists being arrested and held without trial.
Here are some of the suspected commies and anarchists awaiting deportation hearings on Ellis Island on January 13, 1920. They look pretty shady. . .
- 1921 – World premiere of the science fiction play by the Czech writer Karel Čapek R.U.R. in theater in Hradec Králové.
This was the first play to use the word “robot”, which the author invented. Here’s a scene from the play showing three robots:
- 1967 – Ronald Reagan, past movie actor and future President of the United States, is sworn in as Governor of California.
- 1974 – United States President Richard Nixon signs a bill lowering the maximum U.S. speed limit to 55 MPH in order to conserve gasoline during an OPEC embargo. [See above]
- 1991 – Sharon Pratt Kelly becomes the first African American woman mayor of a major city and first woman Mayor of the District of Columbia.
Kelly ran the city for four years, but was not re-elected because of a swelling deficit and reports that she was using a lot of taxpayer money for frivolous purposes, including $14,000 for her makeup artist):
Notables born on this day include:
- 1462 – Piero di Cosimo, Italian painter (d. 1522)
Here’s his famous painting “The Death of Procris” (ca. 1495), showing a satyr mourning a nymph. Sadly, there are also FOUR d*gs in the painting:
Cherry-Garrard was one of the three men who undertook the trek described in the book The Worst Journey in the World. It recounts their attempt to get three Emperor penguin eggs to study development (they hoped to find embryos with reptilian features). It’s a great book, but what a horrifying trip in the dark Antarctic winter. It was so cold that their teeth shattered! It’s one of the great classics of travel literature. Here are the three ready to go: left to right Henry Bowers, Edward Wilson, and Cherry-Garrard. I have a lecture that describes their journey in my Antarctica talks. (They got three penguin eggs, but nobody was arsed to examine them.)
Five weeks pass, and the men return. Their first meal after arriving back at Scott’s hut. They are clearly on their uppers:
- 1909 – Barry Goldwater, American politician, businessman, and author (d. 1998)
- 1920(probable) – Isaac Asimov, American writer and professor of biochemistry (d. 1992)
His birthdate is unknown because he was born in Russia.
- 1936 – Roger Miller, American singer-songwriter, musician, and actor (d. 1992)
- 1940 – Jim Bakker, American televangelist
- 1969 – Christy Turlington, American model
The choice of “most beautiful supermodel” by other models:
Those who presented their credentials at the Pearly Gates on January 2 include:
- 1953 – Guccio Gucci, Italian businessman and fashion designer, founder of Gucci (b. 1881)
- 1977 – Erroll Garner, American pianist and composer (b. 1921)
- 2005 – Maclyn McCarty, American geneticist and physician (b. 1911)
McCarty was one of three authors who, in 1944, published the paper implicating that DNA was the heredity material (it could have been something else, like protein). I think the trio should have won the Nobel Prize, but alas, they didn’t. First the paper, then McCarty greeting Watson and Crick:
- 2019 – Daryl Dragon, American musician (b. 1942)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is giving Szaron the stinkeye:
A: Why are you looking at him like that?Hili: Because his bowl is empty and mine is full.
Ja: Czemu tak na niego patrzysz?Hili: Bo jego miseczka jest pusta, a moja pełna.
A meme from Bruce:
One from Moochie:
God’s New Year’s resolutions:
MY NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTIONS
Lose twenty planets
Blight more veggies
Work on upsilon variant
Bless fewer sneezers
Bless fewer countries
Save fewer Queens
Be more judgmental
Work more mysteriously
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) December 31, 2021
From Barry, who says, “Since when does a cat, any cat, like fruit?” But I seem to remember that some readers have melon-loving cats. Sound up to hear the purring:
Fidel Catstro will not allow me to cut open a honeydew melon unless he gets the first taste. Sound ON. 🐽 pic.twitter.com/N50puYNFgF
— Sanho Tree (@SanhoTree) December 28, 2021
From Ginger K.:
And the winner of the ugly holiday sweater contest of 2021 is… pic.twitter.com/2HYrPzH8tt
— Lorenzo The Cat (@LorenzoTheCat) December 24, 2021
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
A Polish woman, Natalia Wyplach.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 2, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. First, a fun alternative to domino-toppling:
Traditional stein-Hsiu family New Years popsicle stick explosion was a GREAT SUCCESS pic.twitter.com/8ej5Y3bYpa
— Vicky Stein (@AgentRedSquirrl) January 1, 2022
The scutellum of a beetle, greatly magnified. I’ve added a picture of a generalized beetle below it showing the scutellum, which in beetles and true bugs (Hemiptera) is a triangular portion of the thorax.
Scutellum of a tiger beetle, Cicindela hybrida. 50:1. Transparent hairs 💚At the tip of the scutellum, to the left, you can see how the scale plates slowly change and become transparent long hair. Once again I have no idea about it, just think it's beautiful 💚 pic.twitter.com/fIPYrSHTZF
— Thorben Danke (@sagaOptics) December 31, 2021
The scutellum is #9;
Orangs are just like us when they have a cuppa:
When your cup of tea is too hot..
Sound on.. 😅 pic.twitter.com/eY4jTWEpnz
— Buitengebieden (@buitengebieden_) January 1, 2022
Matthew said he got this from a tweet by The Dodo:
This is fantastic. Cat builds nest for pregnant staff to her baby! Sound up!
“It started as here and there, but the closer I got to my due date, it was every single night" 💕 https://t.co/kajdaHThVF
— The Dodo (@dodo) January 1, 2022
The video from the tweet above.