Welcome to Thursday, January 6, 2022, and National Bean Day. Here’s a relevant cartoon:
It’s also, of course, the first anniversary of the Great Capitol Insurrection, but let’s forget about that for a while. Further holidays: Apple Tree Day, National Shortbread Day, Cuddle Up Day, National Take Down the Christmas Tree Day (one year my folks left it up till May!), and National Smith Day, which has this origin:
Created by Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith in 1994 and first celebrated the following year, National Smith Day honors people with the surname “Smith,” as well as those who have a surname with Smith in it, such as Koopersmith, Goldsmith, Silversmith, and Nesmith. Not counting the variations of the name, almost three million people in the United States have the surname Smith, and it is the most common English-speaking name in the world. “Smith” means “worker.”
Koopersmith chose January 6 as the date of celebration because Captain John Smith was born on the date in 1580.
If you’re named Smith, raise your hand. One is noted below in a video:
And it’s Christmas in other places:
- Christmas (Armenian Apostolic Church)
- Christmas Eve (Russia)
- Christmas Eve (Ukraine)
- Christmas Eve (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
- Christmas Eve (North Macedonia)
- Epiphany or Three Kings’ Day (Western Christianity) or Theophany (Eastern Christianity), and its related observances:
Wine of the Day: This is a Viña Real Rioja Gran Reserva from 2006—an excellen year for Riojas. This wine gets great reviews, and for the life of me I don’t know when I got it or how much I paid for it. It seems to go now for between $60 and $80, but I can guarantee you that I didn’t pay that much for it.
I stopped on the way home to get a fresh baguette as I wanted to have this wine with cheese (both soft goat cheese and aged Gouda), with fresh tomatoes, black Niçoise olives, and olive oil on the side. Like Barbra Streisand, this wine had a gorgeous and stupendous nose: like wine perfume. Lots of cherry fruit with hints of oak and vanilla—all made for a wonderful tipple. I could hardly bear to swallow it as I wanted to keep it in my mouth and keep the taste going. It’s no longer dark, as once described, but a lovely garnet color and not yet orangish (an orange tint in the edge of the wine if you tilt the glass indicates too much age). This is a wine to drink now, and had I known how good it was, I would have bought a case. Without a doubt, it’s the best Rioja I’ve ever had, and half the price of some that I’ve had.
News of the Day:
*As the Covid epidemic spreads via the omicron variant, with Chicago no exception, all over the U.S., schools and colleges are grappling with the problem of having virtual versus “live” classes. Nowhere are things as trying as here in Chicago, where the Chicago Teachers Union voted yesterday to have only virtual classes in secondary schools. This was contrary to the mandate by Mayor Lori Lightfoot that classes resume in person. Because the teachers wouldn’t go along, Lightfoot simply canceled all schooling until the teachers work things out with the city:
CPS (Chicago Public Schools) could not immediately be reached to confirm whether staff members have been locked out or how many, though Mayor Lori Lightfoot did warn late Tuesday that teachers who did not show up will be docked pay. By Wednesday evening, it remained unclear if classes — in person or otherwise — would take place Thursday.
The stalemate made national news, with White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki saying the nation is “more than equipped to ensure schools are open … including in Chicago.” Former President Donald Trump said that “what is happening in Chicago with all the school closures is devastating.”
The losers here are of course the kids, who get no education, whether real or virtual, until things are setted. It’s curious that Jean Psaki went further than her boss.
Negotiations are continuing.
*There are two semi-contradictory articles about prosecuting the Jan. 6 Capitol Stormers in yesterday’s New York Times, and they were on the front webpage right together (click on the screenshot to read)
Here’s the Big Question in the first piece:
As of this week, more than 225 people have been accused of attacking or interfering with the police that day. About 275 have been charged with what the government describes as the chief political crime on Jan. 6: obstructing Congress’s duty to certify the 2020 presidential vote count. A little over 300 people have been charged with petty crimes alone, mostly trespassing and disorderly conduct.
But a big question hangs over the prosecutions: Will the Justice Department move beyond charging the rioters themselves?
So far, the department has provided no public indication of the degree to which it might be pursuing a case against former President Donald J. Trump and the circle of his allies who helped inspire the chaos with their baseless claims of election fraud. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland is scheduled to give a speech on Wednesday, one day before the anniversary of the attack on the Capitol, but is not expected to provide any signals about the direction of the department’s investigation. A spokeswoman said he would not address any specific cases or individuals.
But it’s answered in the adjacent article! The answer is: “As far as the rot goes.” Shouldn’t they have amalgamated these articles?
Under pressure from Democrats and a few Republicans to hold former President Donald J. Trump accountable for his role in inspiring the attack on the Capitol, Attorney General Merrick B. Garland vowed on Wednesday that the Justice Department would pursue its inquiry into the riot “at any level,” saying he would defend democratic institutions from attack and threats of violence.
“The Justice Department remains committed to holding all Jan. 6 perpetrators, at any level, accountable under law — whether they were present that day or were otherwise criminally responsible for the assault on our democracy,” Mr. Garland said. “We will follow the facts wherever they lead.”
Lock ’em all up! Make the QAnon shaman eat a hamburger!
*The Washington Post reports that National Public Radio is, all of a sudden, losing several of its valued minority commentators, including Audie Cornish, to whom I’ve listened for years. I just found out she was black! At any rate, the article notes others who are leaving, including Lourdes Garcia-Navarro, Noel King, and Michele Norris. While some say they are being snatched up by outfits with more money, other say minority broadcasters at NPR haven’t been treated well. I have no knowledge one way or the other, but am just reporting the fracas.
*Matthew noted an article in the Guardian with an unusual benefit of Google Streetview: catching criminals. In this case, it was a Mafia boss trying to hide, and it’s the Google picture below that led to his downfall:
Gioacchino Gammino, a convicted murderer listed among Italy’s most wanted gangsters, was arrested in Galapagar, a town near Madrid, where over the years he had married, changed his name to Manuel, worked as a chef and owned a fruit and vegetable shop.
Sicilian police carried out several investigations in their search for Gammino, 61, and a European arrest warrant was issued in 2014. The fugitive was traced to Spain, but it was Google Street View that helped to pinpoint his precise location.
The navigation tool, accessible through Google Maps, had captured an image of two men chatting outside a fruit and vegetable shop called El Huerto de Manu, or Manu’s Garden, in Galapagar. Police believed one of the men closely resembled Gammino, but his identity was only confirmed when they came across a listing for a nearby restaurant called La Cocina de Manu or Manu’s Kitchen.
Following up on the restaurant lead, the police apprehended the convicted murderer.
*Once again reader Ken provides a news item, which I give you in toto:
David Bateman, founder of the tech firm Entrata and a big-dollar Republican donor, has stepped down as the company’s chairman after sending out an email screed claiming that the COVID-19 vaccines are a sterilization plot by “the Jews” to exterminate US goyim.I kid you not. The story is also covered here.
Entrata founder Dave Bateman stepped down as chairman of the software company on Tuesday after sending an antisemitic email to many Utah political leaders calling the COVID-19 vaccine a plot to “euthanize the American people,” blaming the effort on “the Jews.”
Bateman’s email, sent early Monday from his entrata.com account, cited an unhinged conspiracy theory that says the vaccines are an effort, pushed by global “elites” including Bill Gates and George Soros, to depopulate the planet.
In a statement late Tuesday afternoon, Entrata CEO Adam Edmunds said Bateman had stepped down from the company’s board of directors and resigned his position as chairman.
“Dave is no longer a member of the board, effective immediately,” Edmunds said.
In the first sentence of his email, Bateman wrote that many of the email’s recipients “will think I’m crazy after reading it.”
Yep, pretty much!
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 830,549, an increase of 1,329 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,484,286, an increase of about 8,000 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 6 includes:
- 1066 – Following the death of Edward the Confessor on the previous day, the Witan meets to confirm Harold Godwinson as the new King of England; Harold is crowned the same day, sparking a succession crisis that will eventually lead to the Norman conquest of England.
Harold from the Bayeux Tapestry,, which is supposed to be on display in England this year—the first time it’s left France in 950 years!
- 1492 – The Catholic Monarchs Ferdinand and Isabella enter Granada at the conclusion of the Granada War.
- 1540 – King Henry VIII of England marries Anne of Cleves.
She didn’t produce a baby, but Henry generously didn’t behead her, leaving her instead a nice settlement. Anne outlived all of Henry’s wives save the last, Mary.
- 1839 – The Night of the Big Wind, the most damaging storm in 300 years, sweeps across Ireland, damaging or destroying more than 20% of the houses in Dublin.
I thought this was the night I heard Reza Aslan speak.
- 1847 – Samuel Colt obtains his first contract for the sale of revolver pistols to the United States government.
Here’s the drawing for Colt’s 1939 patent of the revolver:
It wasn’t until the 1950s until his view was generally accepted. He died at 50 on his fourth expedition to Greenland (he’s at the left in the photo below);
- 1929 – Mother Teresa arrives by sea in Calcutta, India, to begin her work among India’s poorest and sick people.
- 1941 – United States President Franklin D. Roosevelt delivers his Four Freedoms speech in the State of the Union address.
Here’s that famous speech:
- 1994 – American figure skater Nancy Kerrigan is attacked and injured by an assailant hired by her rival Tonya Harding‘s ex-husband during the U.S. Figure Skating Championships.
Here’s the immediate aftermath of the attack, which was filmed, with Kerrigan crying “Why? Why? WHY?”. Harding’s husband, Jeff Gillooly, was sentenced to two years for the attack, and Harding was fined and put on probation for conspiracy to hinder prosecution, a felony. She was banned for life from skating. Her fate: According to Wikipedia:
Since leaving skating and boxing, Harding has worked as a welder, a painter at a metal fabrication company, and a hardware sales clerk at Sears. As of 2017, she stated that she worked as a painter and deck builder. She resides in Vancouver, Washington.
- 2005 – American Civil Rights Movement: Edgar Ray Killen is indicted for the 1964 murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner.
The wanted poster. Their murder took place in 1964. Killen died in prison in January, 2018:
- 2021 – Supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump attack the United States Capitol to disrupt certification of the 2020 presidential election, resulting in five deaths and evacuation of the US Congress.
The shaman, now serving 41 months in prison:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1412 – Joan of Arc, French martyr and saint (d. 1431)
- 1822 – Heinrich Schliemann, German archaeologist and businessman (d. 1890)
- 1832 – Gustave Doré, French painter and sculptor (d. 1883)
I love Doré; here’s one of his engravings for Dante’s “The Inferno”:
- 1878 – Carl Sandburg, American poet and historian (d. 1967)
- 1880 – Tom Mix, American cowboy and actor (d. 1940)
Here’s a fine pair of his cowboy boots in tooled leather. The heels are especially high.
- 1912 – Danny Thomas, American actor, comedian, producer, and humanitarian (d. 1991)
- 1920 – John Maynard Smith, English biologist and geneticist (d. 2004)
“JMS”, as he was known to everyone, was one of the Last Great Ones, a superb evolutionary geneticist. Here he is giving his take on the “Seven wonders of the world”—mostly biological. He died in 2004:
- 1924 – Earl Scruggs, American banjo player (d. 2012)
Here’s a short video of Scruggs demonstrating how he played the banjo:
- 1925 – John DeLorean, American engineer and businessman, founded the DeLorean Motor Company (d. 2005)
- 1920 – Sun Myung Moon, Korean religious leader; founder of the Unification Church (d. 2012)
- 1931 – E. L. Doctorow, American novelist, playwright, and short story writer (d. 2015)
- 1947 – Sandy Denny, English folk-rock singer-songwriter (d 1978)
- 1960 – Nigella Lawson, English chef and author
Nigella is to British men as Sarah Silverman is to Jewish men:
Those who evinced their finitude on January 6 include:
- 1852 – Louis Braille, French educator, invented Braille (b. 1809)
- 1884 – Gregor Mendel, Czech geneticist and botanist, now a racist (b. 1822)
Here’s Mendel’s grave in Brno, the Czech Republic:
- 1918 – Georg Cantor, German mathematician and philosopher (b. 1845)
- 1993 – Dizzy Gillespie, American singer-songwriter and trumpet player (b. 1917)
- 1993 – Rudolf Nureyev, Russian-French dancer and choreographer (b. 1938)
Here’s Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn in “Swan Lake”:
- 2006 – Lou Rawls, American singer-songwriter (b. 1933)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn: Hili once again affirms that cats and vacuum cleaners are immisible:
A: Why are you so frightened?Hili: Because this vacuum cleaner is growling at me.
Ja: Czemu jesteś taka wystraszona?Hili: Bo ten odkurzacz na mnie warczy.
Not funny, but a sign of the times. Click on screenshots to go to site if you want to register or see more. (And of course the answer to the question is “yes”.)
From somewhere on Facebook:
From Titania: There is an honest-to-Ceiling-Cat controversy about whether the goblin bankers in one Harry Potter movie were meant to be caricatures of the Jews:
When I look at this image, I immediately think of Jewish people.
Why is JK Rowling so anti-semitic? pic.twitter.com/H0BurYmHcB
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 5, 2022
Following up, here’s a tweet showing Jon Stewart’s take on the goblins as anti-Semitic. Stewart’s take seems serious, though he now says that it was a “lighthearted conversation among colleagues.” But he didn’t take back that the goblins were meant to be caricatures of Jews (but not by Rowling).
The second tweet shows the scene, and it does give me pause. But I will not accept that Rowling is anti-Semitic (nor transphobic) without more evidence. What do you think about those goblins?
The scene Jon Stewart is referencing was shared by me in 2018, when Rowling was smearing the left as antisemites and only beginning to embrace her infamous anti trans views. Harry walks over a bank adorned with Jewish Stars, to greedy Goblins side locks.pic.twitter.com/fZHMHf85h7
— raf (@rafaelshimunov) January 3, 2022
From Simon: an astute observation:
After many months
of tireless effort
we have finally succeeded
in flattening the curve
we have flattened it
against the y-axis.
— Plague Poems (@PlaguePoems) January 4, 2022
From Ginger K.:
It's a fake tree so what are you upset about? pic.twitter.com/XUImcv4pyV
— Lorenzo The Cat (@LorenzoTheCat) December 16, 2021
Tweets from Matthew. Just when you think the world has reached peak bizarreness:
"Selling virtual farts as NFTs on the blockchain" because "selling real farts in a jar neatly gave her a stroke" is the most inadvertently perfect metaphor for internet grifting you're going to see today.https://t.co/Bn1Dmi0Ak5
— Heather Burns (@WebDevLaw) January 5, 2022
People are LIVING here?
good morning from my feral neighbours pic.twitter.com/FpT9Titbx4
— Nancy Campbell (@nancycampbelle) January 5, 2022
I used to think that Indian Runner Ducks were bizarre, but now I love them:
— caenhillcc (@caenhillcc) January 5, 2022
This is too adorable for words. “Let me in, ma!”
Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus)🐦🦜🕊️🎵🐤❤️🐤 pic.twitter.com/9qeAAKxanc
— World birds (@worldbirds32) September 27, 2021