Good morning on Monday, December 28, 2020, the Fourth Day of Coynezaa. I think it will be a good day because I not only saw TWO cottontail rabbits on my way to work (total: 8 rabbits’ feet), but also ate two Southern biscuits with butter and Tiptree “Little Scarlet” Strawberry Jam for breakfast. (That was James Bond’s favorite jam:
In From Russia With Love we read that James Bond’s favourite meal of the day is breakfast and that it always remains the same; after two large cups of coffee brewed in a Chemex coffee maker he eats a boiled egg followed by wholewheat toast with Jersey butter and a choice of Tiptree “Little Scarlet” strawberry jam, Cooper’s Vintage Oxford marmalade and Norwegian Heather Honey from Fortnum and Mason.
I have to say that this isn’t a very substantial breakfast to support all of Bond’s secret-agent activities.
Also, it’s National Boxed Chocolates Day. And if I don’t miss my guess, two pounds of my favorite commercial chocolates—from See’s Candies—will be arriving on the last day of Coynezaa. It’s also National Card Playing Day, Call a Friend Day, and Pledge of Allegiance Day, and adopted by Congress on this day in 1942 as an attestation of fealty. The words “under God” were added only in 1954, largely at the urging of President Eisenhower, who wanted to affirm that we weren’t a godless nation like the Soviet Union.
News of the Day:
First (h/t Matthew), this:
A pilot in southern Germany took to the sky just before Christmas to celebrate the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine. Using a Diamond DA-20 Katana the pilot drew a 70 kilometer long syringe 5,000 feet in the air.
And a provocative headline from the BBC (h/t Jez); click on the screenshot:
This has nothing to do with transsexuals; it’s about the Boy Scouts having decided to accept girls:
A recruitment drive by the Boy Scouts of America is proving “highly damaging” to the Girl Scouts, lawyers acting for the latter organisation say.
The “infringement” meant many parents mistakenly signed their daughters up for Boy Scouts, thinking it was Girl Scouts, lawyers said.
In response, the Boy Scouts accused the Girl Scouts of starting a “ground war”.
The Boy Scouts dropped the word “boy” from its recruitment programme, and opened up to female members, in 2018.
It said at the time that it was renaming the Boy Scouts programme Scouts BSA as it prepared to allow girls to join.
But the Girl Scouts said the change would erode their brand, calling the move “uniquely damaging” to them, filing an initial lawsuit in November 2018 against trademark infringement.
According to the Guardian, a rare white (leucistic) kiwi named Manukura has died in New Zealand after surgery to remove an unfertilized egg that she couldn’t pass. This species, the North Island Brown Kiwi, lays the biggest eggs relative to its body size of any bird in the world. Individuals can live up to 35 year in captivity, so her life was cut really short. (h/t: Julian)
Does anyone recognize this “French doctor” arriving in Gaza to help the beleaguered Palestinians? Israel had no record of a French doctor passing into Gaza, and you’ll see why. If you watched “Grey’s Anatomy”, you’ll recognize her. Palestinian propaganda, which often uses fake photos, really messed this one up. It’s Izzy! The Center has 750,000 Facebook followers.
Surprisingly, Trump came to his senses yesterday and signed the pandemic relief bill, so the government won’t shut down tonight. Does he like to scare people or what? The House is going to convene today to try to override Trump’s veto of the big defense spending bill. If they succeed (a 2/3 majority vote is required), the Senate will vote on Tuesday.
Finally, today’s reported Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. is 333,242, an increase of about 1,200 from yesterday’s figure. The world death toll is 1,773,407, an increase of about 7,400 over yesterday’s total.
Stuff that happened on December 28 includes:
- 1065 – Edward the Confessor’s Romanesque monastic church at Westminster Abbey is consecrated.
- 1795 – Construction of Yonge Street, formerly recognized as the longest street in the world, begins in York, Upper Canada (present-day Toronto).
In fact, the longest street in the world is still, as this article notes, “up for grabs.”
- 1832 – John C. Calhoun becomes the first Vice President of the United States to resign.
- 1836 – Spain recognizes the independence of Mexico with the signing of the Santa María–Calatrava Treaty.
- 1879 – Tay Bridge disaster: The central part of the Tay Rail Bridge in Dundee, Scotland, United Kingdom collapses as a train passes over it, killing 75.
Actually, as Wikipedia notes itself, the 75 dead may be too high, though there were at least 59—everyone on board.
William McGonagall, the world’s best bad poet, wrote an ode to this disaster which you can read here. Here’s the last verse:
It must have been an awful sight,To witness in the dusky moonlight,While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,I must now conclude my layBy telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,That your central girders would not have given way,At least many sensible men do say,Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,At least many sensible men confesses,For the stronger we our houses do build,The less chance we have of being killed.
- 1895 – The Lumière brothers perform for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines.
- 1895 – Wilhelm Röntgen publishes a paper detailing his discovery of a new type of radiation, which later will be known as x-rays
Here’s Röntgen’s first “medical X-ray”: of his wife’s hand:
- 1918 – Constance Markievicz, while detained in Holloway prison, became the first woman to be elected MP to the British House of Commons.
A feminist and Irish revolutionary, Markievicz was jailed for participating in the 1916 Easter Rising. She was released in 1917 as part of a general amnesty. Here she is trying out a Colt Revolver (picture from Wikipedia:
- 1958 – “Greatest Game Ever Played”: Baltimore Colts defeat the New York Giants in the first ever National Football League sudden death overtime game at New York’s Yankee Stadium.
Here’s a short video of the game’s highlights:
- 1973 – The United States Endangered Species Act is signed into law by Pres. Richard Nixon.
Notables born on this day include:
- 1856 – Woodrow Wilson, American historian and politician, 28th President of the United States, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 1924)
- 1882 – Arthur Eddington, English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician (d. 1944)
- 1903 – John von Neumann, Hungarian-American mathematician and physicist (d. 1957)
- 1922 – Stan Lee, American publisher, producer, and actor (d. 2018)
- 1944 – Kary Mullis, American biochemist and academic, Nobel Prize laureate (d. 2019)
- 1946 – Edgar Winter, American singer-songwriter, keyboard player, and producer
- 1954 – Denzel Washington, American actor, director, and producer
- 1978 – Chris Coyne, Australian footballer and manager
I don’t know from Chris Coyne, but perhaps he’s related to me.
- 1979 – Noomi Rapace, Swedish actress
Those who became forever quiescent on December 28 include:
- 1503 – Piero the Unfortunate, Italian ruler (b. 1471)
- 1937 – Maurice Ravel, French pianist and composer (b. 1875)
- 1983 – Dennis Wilson, American drummer, songwriter, and producer (b. 1944)
- 1993 – William L. Shirer, American journalist and historian (b. 1904)
- 2004 – Susan Sontag, American novelist, essayist, critic, and playwright (b. 1933)
I have to confess that I’ve never read anything by Sontag, and I’m not sure if that makes me culturally illiterate.
- 2016 – Debbie Reynolds, American actress, singer and dancer (b. 1932)
As you remember, her daughter, Carrie Fisher, died one day before Reynolds. As Wikipedia noted:
The day after Fisher’s death, her mother Debbie Reynolds suffered a stroke at the home of son Todd, where the family was planning Fisher’s burial arrangements. She was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, where she died later that afternoon. According to Todd Fisher, Reynolds had said, “I want to be with Carrie” immediately prior to suffering the stroke.
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili once again expresses her hatred of sweet little Kulka:
Hili: You have a new task.A: What is it?Hili: To teach Kulka not to come into this room.
Hili: Masz nowe zadanie.Ja: Jakie?Hili: Musisz nauczyć Kulkę, żeby nie wchodziła do tego pokoju.
And in nearby Wloclawek, Mietek is disappointed, for he loves the fuss of Christmas:
Mietek: Is the holiday over yet?
A cartoon sent by Jean; I can’t make out the artist.
From Amy T., a Sherman’s Lagoon cartoon on free will:
From Jesus of the Day, a kid after my own heart.
Yes, Bryn Mawr, too, a school loosely associated with the execrable and strike-prone Haverford College. Here’s a tweet from the demonized CHS, and I’ve put a picture below it from the linked article:
Student Mob Took Over Bryn Mawr. The College Said Thank You. 😬 https://t.co/JY6rwLcuS3
— Christina Sommers (@CHSommers) December 27, 2020
Shoot me now. From Bryn Mawr:
A tweet from reader Barry. The man who made a dining table for raccoons is a man to be admired. What a brunch! (Sound up.)
Showoff and a bunch!😬😬🍸😊❤️ pic.twitter.com/GCkXDlQu3Y
— Bob Wood (@robertwood2005) December 26, 2020
Tweets from Matthew, who is ANGRY: over 400 of his countrymen snuck out of a Swiss village rather than be quarantined.
I dunno about you, but I find this scandalous. Yes, they weren’t expecting it and it would be tough, but running away, taking your potential virus with you to spread further is A VERY BAD THING TO DO. pic.twitter.com/ZxmORrvRZ9
— Matthew Cobb (@matthewcobb) December 27, 2020
Recipe for a gorilla tummyache. If you’re a Yank and don’t know what squash is, it’s basically a concentrated fruit drink syrup meant to be heavily diluted with water (see below). He got the squash by escaping into a staff room. What the staff were doing with five liters of blackcurrent squash remains a mystery.
— three raccoons in a zoom meeting 🍲🍀👺 (@BinAnimals) December 27, 2020
Ten to one this guy claimed he sat on a candycane during the holidays and it went up his butt (that’s what they always say). You can see the list of stuff that doctors removed here; items in the rectum are particularly numerous.
What did we get stuck in our rectums in 2020? It's time for Barry Petchesky's annual list of things people had to go to ER to have removed from various bodily orifices in the preceding year. That includes the ear, nose, throat, penis, vagina, and rectum. https://t.co/KK0hGb3QaV
— Jennifer Ouellette (@JenLucPiquant) December 27, 2020
A lovely astronomy photo. Either the Sun is too big or Mercury is too small:
I’ve seen this image shared a few places lately without context, but it’s a picture of Mercury (the tiny black dot) crossing the face of the sun. I captured this image about a year ago when this transit happened. Really puts the scale of the sun in perspective! #space #opteam pic.twitter.com/CC3DEOaR17
— Andrew McCarthy (@AJamesMcCarthy) December 27, 2020
And this is stunning, beating the previous record by a factor of 15! Somehow that seed retained some capacity to revive for all that time; one would have to say it was alive for 32,000 years.
Scientists Revive 32,000-Year-Old Plant Right Out of the Pleistocene: The oldest plant ever to be “resurrected” has been grown from 32,000-year-old seeds, beating the previous record holder by some 30,000 years.https://t.co/2j3XVJsxuZ pic.twitter.com/Tgq4EukBHr
— Channa Prakash (@AgBioWorld) December 27, 2020