Welcome to the the start of the “work” week: Monday, January 24, 2022. It’s National Peanut Butter Day, and it’s not too far off to say that “America runs on PB&J”, though that would infringe on “Dunkin’s” slogan.
Here’s Elvis’s version of the sandwich: peanut butter, bacon, and banana, with the sandwich fried in bacon fat. In an Elvis bio I read that one night he and the guys were sitting around at Graceland when Elvis got a hankering for his favorite version of this sandwich, made in a joint in Las Vegas. He and the guys got onto Elvis’s private plane and flew across the country to get their noms.
For the ingredients, you’ll need two slices of white bread, four strips of bacon, two tablespoons of peanut butter, and one sliced banana. First, fry up the bacon in a pan; while you’re doing that, spread peanut butter on one side of each piece of bread. When the bacon is done, remove it from the pan, but leave the grease.
Next, place the bread (peanut butter side up) into the pan, and place the banana slices and bacon on one piece of bread. When both pieces are toasted to your liking, put the sandwich together, give it one more flip in the pan, and press it down until the peanut butter starts to ooze.
It’s also National Edy’s Pie Patent Day (that’s the new and officially approved name of “Eskimo Pie”, though I would have preferred “Inuit Pie”), National Lobster Thermidor Day, Macintosh Computer Day (see below under 1984), Beer Can Appreciation Day, National Compliment Day, and Talk Like a Grizzled Prospector Day (is that like, “Thar’s gold in them thar hills!”?).
News of the Day:
*The whole editorial board of the NYT has written this op-ed piece: “President Biden’s economy is failing the Big Mac test.” That uses as an index of well-being how many Big Macs your paycheck can buy. And the number is shrinking, though the NYT is careful to give an overall positive appraisal of Biden’s economic efforts and results. But there are still those big Macs (protip: they’re overpriced. Get two damn $1 hamburgers!):
Most Americans don’t share the administration’s sunny view of its economic record, and it is little mystery why: The average worker’s paycheck doesn’t buy as many hamburgers as it did last year. (Using hamburgers to measure inflation is a twist on The Economist magazine’s Big Mac Index, which tracks the price of the classic hamburger in different currencies.) The government’s Consumer Price Index rose by 7 percent in 2021, the biggest jump since 1982. Mr. Biden’s approval rating remains low, and poll after poll finds that Americans are not pleased with his handling of the economy. Nearly two-thirds say the administration is insufficiently focused on inflation, according to a recent CBS News poll. There are similar numbers in other recent polls.
In the end, though, this is not a critical editorial despite its title:
The White House finds itself in the position of a physician who has administered a successful course of treatment but who has neglected to prepare the patient for the side effects or to give the timeline for a full recovery. A lot of pain was averted, but it’s hard to feel gratitude for things that didn’t happen. The economic outlook is strong, but it’s hard to feel gratitude for things that haven’t happened yet. Right now, the pain of inflation is front and center for most.
It’ll be a sweltering day in Chicago in January when you hear that paper give a generally critical assessment of Biden. It’s like expecting Breibart to criticize Trump. Of course Biden is far, far better than Trump, but that’s not saying a lot. He’s still chained to the “progressive left”.
*One sign that the Russian invasion of Ukraine is being taken seriously by the U.S. government: the U.S. State Department has ordered some of its diplomats to leave the country, as well as all of the families of every diplomat:
Ukraine has been on the State Department’s highest travel advisory — Level 4: Do Not Travel — for months because of COVID-19. Last month, the embassy updated that warning to say, “Russia is planning significant military action against Ukraine,” which “would severely impact the U.S. Embassy’s ability to provide consular services” to Americans.
A State Department spokesperson said Saturday that the U.S. will not evacuate Americans like in the operation conducted out of Afghanistan last August.
“American citizens should not anticipate that there will be U.S. government-sponsored evacuations. Currently commercial flights are available to support departures,” the spokesperson said.
Yep, the families are going home on commercial airlines, which, booked at the last minute, will cost a pile. Another sign of how seriously we take the threat of Russia. I still say that invasion is imminent, and Russia will come out of this smelling like a rose.
*How can you not click on this headline from the BBC?
It’s not surprising, for who wouldn’t make a break for it if your job consisted entirely of rolling around on the floor and sucking up other people’s schmutz? A summary:
A robot vacuum cleaner made a break for freedom after giving staff the slip at a Travelodge hotel.
The automated cleaner failed to stop at the front door of the hotel in Orchard Park in Cambridge on Thursday, and was still on the loose the following day.
Staff said it just kept going and “could be anywhere” while well-wishers on social media hoped the vacuum enjoyed its travels, as “it has no natural predators” in the wild.
It was found under a hedge on Friday.
Staff at the hotel posted the story of the robot vacuum’s great escape on social media, asking for it to be returned, if found.
“Today we had one of our new robot vacuums run for its life,” the assistant manager wrote.
*The Washington Post reports that a 75 year old Frenchman, Jean-Jacques Savin, was attempting to row solo across the Atlantic Ocean— in winter, when he vanished. the Portuguese coast guard found his overturned boat near the Azores, and of course Monsieur Savin is most likely sleeping with the fishes. A great pity, as the guy was older than I am, and I would never attempt such a feat. Here he is in the boat that he was set to row across the pond:
The guy had guts, as this wasn’t his first trip across the Atlantic solo:
Savin crossed the Atlantic in 2019, floating 2,930 miles in a bright orange barrel-shaped vessel. He celebrated his 72nd birthday on that trip, for which he had packed wine and foie gras. He also crossed the Atlantic in a sailboat, ascended Mount Blanc and swam four times across France’s Arcachon Bay.
A successful journey this time would have madeSavin the oldest person to row across the Atlantic solo, according to Guinness World Records. The current record holder is Graham Walters, a British man who made the tripin April 2020 at age 72.
The journey was slated to take about 100 days, but he sent out distress signals that triggered the search (the issue was that his desalinization system was kaput). All you can say is “au revoir, mon ami”, as he’d had his share of foie gras.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 865,867, an increase of 2,182 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,615,280, an increase of about 4,100 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on January 24 includes:
- 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.
A report from Wikipedia:
Late in life, Henry became obese, with a waist measurement of 54 inches (140 cm), and had to be moved about with the help of mechanical devices. He was covered with painful, pus-filled boils and possibly suffered from gout. His obesity and other medical problems can be traced to the jousting accident in 1536 in which he suffered a leg wound. The accident reopened and aggravated an injury he had sustained years earlier, to the extent that his doctors found it difficult to treat. The chronic wound festered for the remainder of his life and became ulcerated, preventing him from maintaining the level of physical activity he had previously enjoyed. The jousting accident is also believed to have caused Henry’s mood swings, which may have had a dramatic effect on his personality and temperament.
Oy! Here he is with his 54 inch waist (portrait by Hans Holbein the Younger):
A poster, perhaps the one that inspired Joni Mitchell’s song:
- 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.
- 1918 – The Gregorian calendar is introduced in Russia by decree of the Council of People’s Commissars effective February 14 (New Style).
- 1933 – The 20th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified, changing the beginning and end of terms for all elected federal offices.
- 1961 – Goldsboro B-52 crash: A bomber carrying two H-bombs breaks up in mid-air over North Carolina. The uranium core of one weapon remains lost.
Here’s a photo of workers trying to recover one of the bombs. It’s said that one of them came very close to detonating.
- 1972 – Japanese Sgt. Shoichi Yokoi is found hiding in a Guam jungle, where he had been since the end of World War II. He wasn’t the longest of the Japanese holdout: one soldier was captured in 1974! Here’s Yokoi getting his first haircut in 28 years:
- 1984 – Apple Computer places the Macintosh personal computer on sale in the United States.
- 1989 – Notorious serial killer Ted Bundy, with over 30 known victims, is executed by the electric chair at the Florida State Prison.
Here’s his mugshot for the arrest of murdering Kimberley Leach. Bundy killed at least 30 women, perhaps many more:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1670 – William Congreve, English playwright and poet (d. 1729)
- 1712 – Frederick the Great, Prussian king (d. 1786)
- 1917 – Ernest Borgnine, American actor (d. 2012)
In my view, Borgnine’s two greatest roles were in “From Here to Eternity” and “Marty”; he played completely opposite character types in these roles. Here’s the trailer from the first movie (1953). Borgnine, as the evil sergeant, appears at 2:32:
- 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
Here’s Neville singing what I think is his best song, in this case at “Live at Daryl’s House” (a great show):
- 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)
The two best comedians ever to appear on “Saturday Night Live”:
- 1968 – Mary Lou Retton, American gymnast
Those who “passed” (I dislike that euphemism) on January 24 include:
- 41 – Caligula, Roman emperor (b. 12)
- 1895 – Lord Randolph Churchill, English lawyer and politician, Chancellor of the Exchequer (b. 1849)
He was Winston’s dad. Randolph died of syphilis at age 45, after scuppering a promising political career.
- 1920 – Amedeo Modigliani, Italian painter and sculptor (b. 1884)
- 1965 – Winston Churchill, English colonel and politician, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Nobel Prize laureate (b. 1874)
Note that Winston Churchill died on the same day as his father, exactly 70 years later.
- 1989 – Ted Bundy, American serial killer (b. 1946)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili needs a break from editing:
Hili: Zupełnie mnie mnie ciągnie do komputera, chyba zrobię sobie dziś urlop.Ja. Odpocznij. Spróbujemy dać sobie radę bez ciebie.
From Animals in Art Through History, with the note:
It’s great playing in the snow!
Louis Wain (English, 1860-1939)
“The Tabby Toboggan Club”
Wain, was of course, mentally unstable, but his cat pictures are great:
A groaner from Bruce: (And a joke from me Q: Why did the crow sit on the telephone line? A: Because it wanted to make a long-distance caw.
From David. I’m allowed to post this because I’m
a senior citizen an older adult:
God’s first tweet of the year:
WARNING: The following decades will contain scenes of graphic violence everyone should find disturbing.
Viewer depression is advised.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) January 2, 2022
From Masih. Can we spare a thought for the women of Afghanistan, blatantly lied to and now “disappeared” by the Taliban? This woman vanished after her arrest, shown here:
Tamana Zaryabi Paryani & Parawana Ibrahimkhel, who participated in a series of protests held in Kabul over the last few months, were seized by the Taliban. Look at the fear in her eyes. This is the rational fear of Islamic Regimes us Iranian women have known for years.#LetUsTalk pic.twitter.com/AU0xn7XIUM
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) January 22, 2022
Cisgender menstruators claim that we are ERASING their identity by banning the word “women”.
Actually, “womxn” is SO much more empowering for womxn & gxrls & femxnists who wish to celebrate fxmxninity and dxsmxntle mxsxgyny so thxt xx xxsh xxxoux xx xxxax xxxck xxxx xxx xxxxx.✊
— Titania McGrath (@TitaniaMcGrath) January 23, 2022
From Simon. I doubt that this headline is real . . .
— Jamie Gnuman197… (@JGnuman197) January 18, 2022
Tweets from Mathew. Look how small these beetles are (just 0.4 mm)! There are more posts in the thread.
2/9. This is a study of the flight of one of the smallest insects, comparable in size to unicellular organisms pic.twitter.com/MhKI70T5Cc
— Alexey Polilov (@AlexeyPolilov) January 19, 2022
Seriously, an annelid that BRANCHES? This violates everything I know about biology. Somebody find out more!
I am very happy to share with you our last finding: Another branching annelid! Ramisyllis kingghidorahi n. sp. from Japan #WormWednesday @rannypribeiro @G_Ponz https://t.co/hIGLSYWDhD
10 years after Ramisyllis multicaudata from Darwin was published pic.twitter.com/pJTbZmUgCw
— Maite Aguado (@MTAguado) January 19, 2022
As Matthew said in one of his contemplative moments, “If only the world were like The Dodo.” Absolutely!
Cat keeps hissing at her foster mom — until a red sweater from her previous owner changes everything ❤️ pic.twitter.com/Z3w8U6qBDv
— The Dodo (@dodo) January 19, 2022
That’s GEORGE MARTIN in case you don’t recognize him.
I don’t normally share anything personal but this my dad from a while back explaining to my daughter he signed the Beatles. Ordinary people do extraordinary things. Great decisions are made for the simplest reasons. “I figured if I like them this much other people might too” ❤️ pic.twitter.com/j4bf96b4zS
— Giles Martin (@mashupmartin) January 19, 2022