Greetings on a Hump Day, or “Kupros diena,” as they say in Lithuania: Wednesday, January 25, 2023. It’s National Irish Coffee Day, a drink that I like even though it’s got cream and sugar in it. The best one I ever had was in San Francisco at some place near the Wharf that was famous for this drink, but I can’t remember its name. Here’s one:
Readers are welcome to mark notable events, births, or deaths on this by consulting the January 25 Wikipedia page.
*If you define a “mass shooting” as one in which there are four or more victims injured or wounded (not counting the shooter) in one incident, how many do you think we’ve had so far this year? Remember, it’s just the 25th of January.
Did you guess? It’s 39: more than 1.5 per day!
Rising gun violence and a dizzying pace of mass public shootings in recent years have pushed concerns about public safety to the forefront for many Americans. It remains an open question how 2023 will play out, but several weeks in, there have already been two major public shootings that together left at least 18 dead along with a string of other often-deadly shootings involving multiple victims.
There were 39 shootings involving at least four victims, including the deadly California mass shootings, through Jan. 23, the highest tally at this point in a year since at least 2014, according to available data from the Gun Violence Archive. The nonprofit research group, which tracks shootings, defines these events as an episode in which four or more people, not including the shooter, are wounded or killed.
These shootings have resulted in 70 deaths so far this year, according to the nonprofit, compared with 35 at this point a year ago.
Also, according to NBC News, a Kansas hunter was killed after his dog stepped on a rifle in the back seat of his car, discharging the firearm. The hunter was sitting on the passenger’s seat in front of the car and died after he was struck in the back.
*Although I’m a pacifist, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t care about who prevails in the war between Ukraine and Russia. So I’m glad to hear that, according to the NYT, the U.S. is moving closer to giving Ukraine the tanks it so badly wants. (UPDATE: Germany just confirmed it will send Leopard tanks to Ukraine.)
The Biden administration is moving closer to sending M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, U.S. officials said on Tuesday, in what would be a major step in arming Kyiv in its efforts to seize back its territory from Russia.
President Biden has yet to make a final decision, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the discussions. But if he does agree to send the advanced Abrams tanks the move would likely spur Germany to follow with its own coveted Leopard 2 tanks, the officials said.
And that would lead to other NATO members, like Poland, to fork over some tanks as well. Send it the tanks!
The movement toward sending the Abrams tanks, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes after a testy confrontation last week during a NATO defense chiefs meeting over the refusal by Germany’s chancellor, Olaf Scholz, to send the Leopards, which many military experts believe could be a decisive weapon in Ukrainian hands.
German officials privately insisted that they would only send the tanks, among the most advanced in the world, if the United States agreed to send its own M1 Abrams tanks. Publicly, American and German officials have denied that the two issues were linked.
Anticipation for a German announcement was high, as various German news outlets reported that Mr. Scholz had already decided to send the tanks. Attention was focused on the chancellor’s expected address to Parliament on Wednesday.
Many European countries use German-built Leopards. On Monday, Poland’s defense minister said his country had formally requested Germany’s permission to send Ukraine Leopard tanks from its own stocks, and other countries have indicated they would do the same if Germany agreed.
Wanna see one? Here’s a Leopard 2A7A1; Wikipedia notes that “The Leopard 2A4’s armour has a maximum physical thickness of 800 millimetres (31 in) based on unofficial measurements and estimates made by former conscripts and professional soldiers of the German army.” That’s a lot of armor!
The NBC News said last night that three government officials confirmed that the U.S. will send a “couple dozen” Abrams tanks to Ukraine, but they may take months to get there. Why so long?
*Oy! Now they’ve found classified documents at the home of Trump’s Vice-President Mike “The Mummified Person” Pence (see below). Who’s next: Kamala Harris?
“Following press reports of classified documents at the personal home of President Biden, out of an abundance of caution, on Monday, January 16, Vice President Pence engaged outside counsel, with experience in handling classified documents, to review records stored in his personal home,” Jacob said in a letter dated Jan. 18. “Counsel identified a small number of documents that could potentially contain sensitive or classified information interspersed throughout the records.”
*Something must be wrong with me because the movies that Hollywood loved last year, judging from the number of Oscar nominations, aren’t coincident with the movies I liked. Granted, several of my faves are in here, but the movie that got most of the nods was one I simply couldn’t finish watching (“Everything Everywhere All at Once”), and “Top Gun Maverick,” your standard issue action movie was also nominated for best picture. Even “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On” a charming movie that Rotten Tomatoes rated second best of the year, was better than these. (I note it was nominated for Best Animated Feature, and I hope it wins). But read on:
The multiverse-skipping sci-fi indie hit “Everything Everywhere All at Once” led nominations to the 95th Academy Awards as Hollywood heaped honors on big-screen spectacles like “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” a year after a streaming service won best picture for the first time.
Daniel Scheinert and Daniel Kwan’s “Everything Everywhere All at Once” landed a leading 11 nominations on Tuesday, including nods for Michelle Yeoh and comeback kid Ke Huy Quan, the former child star of “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.” Released back in March, the A24 film has proven an unlikely Oscar heavyweight against the expectations of even its makers. Yeoh became the first Asian actor nominated for best actress.
“Even just to be nominated means validation, love, from your peers,” said an “overwhelmed” Yeoh speaking by phone from London. “What it means for the rest of the Asians around the world, not just in America but globally, is to say we have a seat at the table. We finally have a seat at the table. We are being recognized and being seen.”
The 10 movies up for best picture are: “Everything Everywhere All at Once,”“The Banshees of Inisherin,” “The Fabelmans,” “Tár,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Avatar: The Way of Water,” “Elvis,” “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Women Talking” and “Triangle of Sadness.”
. . . For the first time, two sequels — “Top Gun: Maverick” and “Avatar: The Way of Water” — were nominated for best picture. The two films together account for some $3.5 billion in box office. Tom Cruise missed out on an acting nomination, but “Top Gun: Maverick” — often credited with bringing many moviegoers back to theaters — walked away with seven nominations, including best sound, best visual effects and best song for Lada Gaga’s “Hold My Hand.” Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” made in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s death, also scored five nominations, including the first acting nod for a performance in a Marvel movie: Angela Bassett, the likely favorite to win best supporting actress.
I haven’t seen many of these, like “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” or the new “Avatar Movie,” so I can’t speak for these. But although “The Fabelmans” was a very good movie (a lightly fictionalized bio of director Stephen Spielberg), I don’t think it was better than “Till” (not nominated). For me the best movie I saw this year was “Tár”, with “The Banshees of Inisherin” as second best. At least they were nominated, but so was a passel of action movies. For some reason these space/fantasy/chase movies don’t float my boat (this is, of course, my subjective opinion), but they did clean up a lot of nominations this year. Is it the slow pace of movies like “Tokyo Story” or “Ikuru” what would keep such a movie out of the running in an era when attention spans are short?
*The newest word to be banned for ideological incorrectness: “mummy”. And you can guess why, right? It’s because it refers to a human but does not say that the mummy is human. And I can bet without having read the article that the preferred term is “mummified person”. (h/t Ginger K). Let us see:
London’s British Museum and National Museums Scotland no longer use the term, preferring “mummified person” or “mummified remains” as a politically correct alternative.
I knew it!!! But “remains” is definitely humanizing
A National Museums Scotland spokesperson said: “Where we know the name of an individual we use that, otherwise we use ‘mummified man, woman, boy, girl or person’ because we are referring to people, not objects.
“The word ‘mummy’ is not incorrect, but it is dehumanising, whereas using the term ‘mummified person’ encourages our visitors to think of the individual.”
It is thought to have originated from the Arabic word ‘mummiya’, which translates to ‘bitumen’, a balming substance.
Great North Museum curator Jo Anderson also told The Daily Mail: “Legends about the mummy’s curse and movies portraying supernatural monsters […] can undermine their humanity.”
Campaign for Real Education chairman Chris McGovern said: ‘The curse of the mummy is driving these academics mad!’
I don’t know what the Campaign for Real Education is, but McGovern’s statement is pretty funny—and not far from the truth. The mummies in movies are monsters who come back to live, so whether they count as “people” or “monsters” is up for grabs. Do we really want to change the name of the movie “The Mummy” (and its sequels) to “The Mummified Person”?
A British Museum spokesman told the paper: “Displays and exhibitions have emphasised that mummified remains are of people who once lived.”
Well, what about “remains” or “corpses”? Neither of those use the word “person” or “human.” I guess you need to preface each with “human”. But these were mostly dignitaries, I think, so are you really disrespecting them to call them mummies. Pondering this kind of stuff can drive one mad.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is staring into the abyss again:
A: What are you looking at?Hili: At the potential of the unknown.
Ja: Na co tak patrzysz?Hili: Na potencjał nieznanego.
And a picture of baby Kulka in the snow by Paulina:
From Malcolm: Turning maps into portraits:
I don’t know what God is talking about here, but remember that His ways are mysterious:
From Maish, another victim of Iranian murder. The Farsi translation is below:
We will not forget you. (44) #Mohammadreza_Sarori, a 14-year-old Afghan child was killed by direct fire from the forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran on the 30th of Shahrivar 1401 in Tehran. Ali Sharifzadeh, a lawyer, published the picture of his burial permit and wrote: “The cause of death was hit by a high-speed projectile (bullet) and bleeding.
فراموشتان نمیکنیم.(۴۴)#محمدرضا_سروری، کودک ۱۴ ساله افغان در روز ۳۰ شهریور ۱۴۰۱ در تهران، با شلیک مستقیم گلوله نیروهای حکومت جمهوری اسلامی کشته شد. علی شریفزاده، وکیل دادگستری، با انتشار تصویر جواز دفن او نوشت: «علت فوت اصابت جسم پرتابهای پرشتاب (گلوله) و خونریزی و ⬇️ pic.twitter.com/eP7Z8IU3AT
— Masih Alinejad 🏳️ (@AlinejadMasih) January 24, 2023
From Dom (sound up):
Condensates are amazing pic.twitter.com/8sYNoa7Ef4
— Oded Rechavi 🦉 (@OdedRechavi) January 24, 2023
An adorable tweet from Malcolm: kitten practicing his right hook:
one punch cat pic.twitter.com/gf1HvIs8cl
— Cat Society (@coolcatsociety) January 12, 2023
From the Auschwitz Memorial, one who made it out alive and one who didn’t, both born on this day.
25 January 1922 | A Polish woman, Janina Gach, was born in Warsaw.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 25, 2023
25 January 1884 | A Czech Jewish woman, Marie Frankenbuschová, was born.
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) January 25, 2023
Tweets from Dr. Cobb. He says this first one looks as if the mating pair is having fun, but to me they just look cold!
Perhaps the piece of footage I'm most well known for this went viral a few years ago. (type fish in whatsapp gifs it'll come up!) Two grayling spawning which took 4 years of hard work to find the right spot to film it. pic.twitter.com/FAUACn2i0e
— Jack Perks (@JackPerksPhoto) January 23, 2023
I had to retweet this:
THIS is why I love Twitter. https://t.co/5Ywwjeo7Wi
— Jerry Coyne (@Evolutionistrue) January 24, 2023
What a lovely bird! I wonder if both sides are the same sex.
this is what happens when two fertilized bird embryos can merge in early development!! half one color, half the other. like a two-for-one special!! pic.twitter.com/miZEAy87yC
— depths of wikipedia (@depthsofwiki) January 23, 2023