Good morning on Monday February 14, 2022: Valentine’s Day! Two memes to start the day right. First, a ducky one:
and a. . a humorous one
— Charles Wieand (@CharlesWieand) February 5, 2022
There is also a Valentine’s Day Google Doodle (click on screenshot below) that leads you to a Valentine’s Day animated game with hamsters!
Sometimes love takes you by surprise. It can be full of twists and turns, but through all its ups and downs, it can still bring the world closer together (no matter the species).
Just look at the two smitten hamsters featured in today’s interactive 3-D Doodle. Can you piece their path together and clear the way for them to scamper into each other’s precious paws? As they say, home is where the heart is.
Another site tells you how to play:
In the game, people have to complete the maze by pushing little buttons and levers by joining the pieces of the maze. Once it is completed, the two hamsters meet in the middle of a big heart after clicking a shining “heart-shaped” icon. Whenever one will click the icon, colourful hearts are seen to be pouring out from a chimney.
It’s dead easy: just move levers and push buttons and stuff until the “GOOGLE” word is completed, providing an unimpeded path for the hamsters to rush to their nuptial chamber in the middle. Love ensues.
And of course it’s National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day. On top of that, it’s also Oatmeal Monday, National Poop Day (the byproduct of mass consumption on Super Bowl Sunday, Read to Your Child Day, National Organ Donor Day, Frederick Douglass Day (believed to have been born on this day in 1818), International Book Giving Day (give one away), Library Lovers Day, and Race Relations Day.
News of the Day:
*The Los Angeles Rams beat the Cincinnati Bengals 23-20 with a last minute, one yard touchdown pass. That’s today’s sports news except for the Olympic stuff below. Here are the last three minutes of the game. Watch it on YouTube by clicking the underlined bit below:
*The NYT describes a now-defunct sport in the Winter Olympics: ski ballet!
Recently, the official Olympics YouTube account posted a video both beautiful and strange. Skiers in flamboyant jumpsuits perform choreographed routines to music — flipping over their poles, gliding through complex spins, accenting transitions with jazzy flourishes of their arms. “HOW was this an Olympic sport?” the video’s title wonders.
OY! Well, I suppose it’s no worse than curling.
The footage is from the 1992 Olympic finals in ballet skiing, also called ski ballet, or simply “ballet” by some practitioners. On social media, it’s easy to get lost in videos of this bygone athletic art. Clips from its Olympic appearances as a demonstration sport — at Calgary, Alberta, in 1988and Albertville, France, in 1992 —surface frequently on YouTube and TikTok, to the fascination of dance and sports enthusiasts.
Today ballet skiing lives almost exclusively online. By the time the sport made it to the Olympics, after nearly two fraught decades of competitive evolution, it had already begun to decline: 1992 was its final Olympic showing. Less than a decade later, it had all but vanished.
*Speaking of the Olympics again, here’s an example of the “new” journalism of our era. It’s all about the journalist expressing his or her feelings (feelings are all), and then throwing in some two-bit, thoughtless analysis to lend gravitas to their feelings. Submitted for your approval, Lindsay Crouse’s NYT column, “Why the Beijing Olympics are so hard to watch.” The feeling and the analysis (note also the patronizing “why” that begins the column, like the many stories that start “what you need to know about”):
The Winter Olympics have always been less popular than the Summer, and this year’s opening ceremony’s ratings were the lowest in history.
There is a lot of speculation as to why we’re not watching. But as a longtime sucker for the no-limits narratives concocted for us by the Olympics and its marketers, I’ll say I’m just not feeling it this year. The Games’ core appeal has always been inspiration, the pursuit of impossible dreams. Two years into a pandemic, when so many of our dreams have been shelved, these Games just aren’t delivering that kind of inspiration. Instead of showcasing the best of what humanity can do, this Olympics seem to reflect what we can’t.
No, they don’t reflect out failure; those problems are in other areas, not in the sport (except for the Russian doping issue). But there’s more PONTIFICATING:
With their spectacle of extreme athletics held against a backdrop of climate emergency, public health disaster, political brinkmanship and rampant corruption, the Games reek of societal decline. When anxiety and misery are all around us, and many of us have lost our faith in institutions’ ability or will to solve these problems, state- and corporate-sponsored inspiration doesn’t land the way it used to.
For you, Ms. Crouse, for you. Do you think you’re making a grand analysis that applies to everyone here? That may be your job, but you haven’t pulled it off. This is an example of New-Yorker style prose that sounds good but says virtually nothing.
*About a week, I’d say, until the Russians invade Ukraine.
*Here are some Brits who nearly got lucky .The BBC reports that a British power company, sending compensation checks to its customers for power outages, accidentally mistook meter numbers for money, resulting in some customers getting checks for TRILLIONS OF POUNDS! Here’s one for over two trillion pounds:
Of course they won’t really get the dosh:
Gareth Hughes, 44, from Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire, shared a picture of his cheque for more than £2.3tn.
Mr Hughes, who was without power for more than three days, said he had been sent a previous cheque for £135 but had complained as he was told he was entitled to more.
He said the new cheque make him smile, adding: “But I knew it wasn’t a value that could be realistic.”
A spokeswoman for Northern Powergrid said an electricity meter reference was incorrectly quoted as the payment sum.
“As soon as we identified the clerical error we ensured all 74 customers’ cheques were stopped so they could not be cashed,” she said.
*Was it inevitable that the word “gringo” would become the white version of the n-word? The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Mary Salas, the mayor of Chula Vista, Californa, ribbed one of her colleagues who couldn’t take the heat in some food at a local Mexican restaurant. But then this ensued (h/t Eric):
“So I said, ‘Oh, John, you’re such a gringo,’” the two-term mayor and former state assemblywoman told me in a phone interview. “And he started laughing after that.”
Salas thought nothing of saying “gringo,” a Spanish word long used in the American West to refer to white people and across Latin America to denote foreigners.
It’s technically a slur, but it’s such a part of life in these parts that its power to offend nowadays is minimal. “Gringo” and its derivatives are found in the names of restaurants small (Gringo’s Fish Tacos in Mid-City) and large (El Gringo in Manhattan Beach), in hot sauces (Gringo Bandito, by Dexter Holland of The Offspring), in bad movies (the 2018 bomb “Gringo” that wasted the talents of Charlize Theron and David Oyewolo), in craft beers and even in clothing labels like Old Gringo Boots.
That’s why Salas was stupefied when nine days after her encounter with McCann, he filed a complaint with the city’s human resources department, alleging racial discrimination by the mayor for her “gringo” jab.
“I felt shocked by her statement,” he wrote, “since it was aimed at diminishing me because of my ethnicity and race.”
It’s only a matter of time before “gringo” becomes as taboo as the n-word. After all, it’s a racial slur. I myself have been criticized for calling non-Jews “goys”.
The outcome? The town hired an outside lawyer to adjudicate, and his opinion was this:
Though Salas’ use of “gringo” was “inappropriate,” it didn’t constitute discrimination.
“Here the use of the word ‘gringo,’ on one occasion in this informal setting and to describe a person’s attribute of not being able to eat spicy food,” the investigation concluded, “does not rise to the level of … creating an intimidating, hostile, or offensive environment.”
The Voice of San Diego broke the story last month and also found out how much this combo platter of victimhood cost Chula Vista taxpayers: nearly $16,000.
*Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 918,373, an increase of 2,465 deaths over yesterday’s figure. The reported world death toll is now 5,836,240, an increase of about 5,900 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on February 14 include:
- 1349 – Several hundred Jews are burned to death by mobs while the remaining Jews are forcibly removed from Strasbourg.
- 1530 – Spanish conquistadores, led by Nuño de Guzmán, overthrow and execute Tangaxuan II, the last independent monarch of the Tarascan state in present-day central Mexico.
- 1556 – Thomas Cranmer is declared a heretic.
He was burned at the stake, thrusting his “unworthy hand” into the fire first as in the photo below:
A painting of Akbar hunting with cheetahs (1602):
- 1779 – James Cook is killed by Native Hawaiians near Kealakekua on the Island of Hawaii.
- 1849 – In New York City, James Knox Polk becomes the first serving President of the United States to have his photograph taken.
Here he is in a Daguerrotype:
Here’s a drawing of the device from the patent application, and then the patent itself:
- 1899 – Voting machines are approved by the U.S. Congress for use in federal elections.
- 1912 – Arizona is admitted as the 48th and the last contiguous U.S. state.
- 1929 – Saint. Valentine’s Day Massacre: Seven people, six of them gangster rivals of Al Capone‘s gang, are murdered in Chicago.
Here’s the aftermath showing six of the seven murdered men:
And a short video documentary of the events leading up to the killing:
- 1945 – World War II: On the first day of the bombing of Dresden, the British Royal Air Force and the United States Army Air Forces begin fire-bombing Dresden.
Here’s a sad photo of the destruction of the city taken from the top of the city hall. 25,000 died in this raid by British and American bombers. Kurt Vonnegut was a P.O.W. during the bombing, which led to one of his best books, Slaughterhouse-Five (1969).
- 1949 – The Knesset (parliament of Israel) convenes for the first time.
- 1961 – Discovery of the chemical elements: Element 103, Lawrencium, is first synthesized at the University of California.
- 1966 – Australian currency is decimalized.
- 1989 – Union Carbide agrees to pay $470 million to the Indian government for damages it caused in the 1984 Bhopal disaster.
- 1989 – Iranian leader Ruhollah Khomeini issues a fatwa encouraging Muslims to kill Salman Rushdie, author of The Satanic Verses.
- 1990 – The Voyager 1 spacecraft takes the photograph of planet Earth that later becomes famous as Pale Blue Dot.
- 2005 – YouTube is launched by a group of college students, eventually becoming the largest video sharing website in the world and a main source for viral videos.
- 2018 – A shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida is one of the deadliest school massacres with 17 fatalities and 15 injuries.
The perp, Nikolas Cruz, has still not been sentenced. Here’s a photo of him shooting and then being apprehended:
Notables born on this day include:
- 1483 – Babur, Moghul emperor (d. 1530)
- 1882 – John Barrymore, American actor (d. 1942)
- 1894 – Jack Benny, American actor and producer (d. 1974)
Like most comedians of his era, Benny was Jewish; his birth name was Benjamin Kubelsky.
- 1913 – Jimmy Hoffa, American trade union leader (d. 1975)
Gone but not forgotten. . ..
- 1934 – Florence Henderson, American actress and singer (d. 2016)
- 1946 – Gregory Hines, American actor, singer, and dancer (d. 2003)
Here’s Hines demonstrating his dance techniques. He died young and was funeralized:
- 1951 – Terry Gross, American radio host and producer
- 1959 – Renée Fleming, American soprano and actress
Those who made the frog sound on February 14 include:
- 1933 – Carl Correns, German botanist and geneticist (b. 1864)
- 1943 – David Hilbert, Russian-German mathematician, physicist, and philosopher (b. 1862)
- 1989 – James Bond, American ornithologist and zoologist (b. 1900)
- 2011 – George Shearing, English-American pianist and composer (b. 1919)
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili and Andrzej discuss private knowledge:
Hili: Looking for a reasonable explanation without knowledge of the facts ends badly.A: Don’t tell this to humans, they will get depressed.
Hili: Szukanie rozsądnego wyjaśnienia bez znajomości faktów źle się kończy.Ja: Nie mów tego ludziom, bo wpadną w depresję.
How kawai! A kitty goes shopping with its staff in Japan.
A Valentine’s Day meme from Thomas:
From David, though I don’t think this is a real Peanuts cartoon:
From Peter: Snow kitties!
From Paul and also Matthew. I don’t know enough about cat genetics to see if this is a feasible litter. I am dubious. . .
If Gregor Mendel had internet, he'd LOVE this pic.twitter.com/umB18Q0nhn
— 🌻 Ⓐuntie SamⒶntha🌻 🏳️⚧️ (@I_make_music) February 12, 2022
From Simon. A vial of Covid vaccine really is a message (messenger RNA) in a bottle:
— Spliceman42 (@Sunhillow42) February 12, 2022
From Ginger K.: If this letter is real, I’d like to shake the hand of the doctor who wrote it:
Doctor writes a scathing open letter to health insurer. pic.twitter.com/cHA1emvsL7
— Louie G 🇩🇪🇲🇽🇺🇲 (@LouGarza86) January 19, 2022
From Richard: a cat making biscuits on another
Happy Caturday! 💖 pic.twitter.com/p4lp1hvHHI
— Sasha Rosenbaum 💉💉💉 (@DivineOps) February 12, 2022
From the Auschwitz Memorial:
14 February 1905 | A Polish Jew, Herszlik Witenberg, was born in Radomsko. He was an office worker.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) February 14, 2022
Tweets from Matthew. First, some hard-working sheepdogs! (Bialiba is a town in Australia):
1400 sheep 5 dogs and one horse taking a stroll down the main drag of bealiba pic.twitter.com/Z7QJzT98SG
— Ben Weir (@Weir13Ben) February 13, 2022
A border collie (an Honorary Cat® ) herding ducks to water!
A Border Collie gently guiding ducklings to some water…😇🐥🐶 pic.twitter.com/D4q11sOaX5
— Laughs 4 All 🤟 (@Laughs_4_All) February 13, 2022
Me too: Many times!
Even as an archaeologist, I have been guilty of this! 😻 pic.twitter.com/xuohpWa1zj
— Dr. David S. Anderson (@DSAArchaeology) February 13, 2022