It’s December, a month that celebrates two odious holiday concoctions (National Fruit Cake Month and National Egg Nog Month), but the fourth, which is today, is also National Cookie Day. Sadly, I have not a cookie on hand—only White Cheddar Cheez-Its (a delicious and underrated snack). And it’s Navy Day in India.
It’s a big day of the year for Chicago, for on December 4, 1674, missionary Jacques Marquette founded a mission on the shore of Lake Michigan to convert members of the Illinois Confederation of Native Americans. That mission later became the nucleus of the city of Chicago. (Marquette also founded Sault St. Marie.) On this day in 1909, the Montreal Canadiens, now the oldest surviving hockey team in the world, became part of the nascent National Hockey League. And on December 4, 1945, the United States joined the United Nations, an organization that seems increasingly irrelevant, mired in squabbling and inaction. Finally, on this day in 1954 the first Burger King opened in Miami.
Notables born on December 4 include Samuel Butler (1835), Wassily Kandinsky (1866; I place him on my list of the best painters of all time [see below]), Rainer Maria Rilke (1875), Alfred Hershey (1908, Nobel Laureate who, along with Martha Chase, gave evidence supporting the idea that, in viruses, the ability to replicate was carried not by the viral protein coat but by the DNA [Hershey didn’t really accept the implications of his experiments, though, and the Nobel was awarded for general work on viruses; see below]), Anna McGarrigle (1944,♥), Jane Lubchenco (1947), and Jeff Bridges (1949).
Below: Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase (you can read about their famous “Waring Blender experiment” here.
Composition VII by Kandinsky (1913):
Those who died on this day include Cardinal Richelieu (1642), Thomas Hobbes (1679), Thomas Hunt Morgan (1945, Nobel Laureate, father of Drosophila genetics, and my academic great-grandfather), and Frank Zappa (1993). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili has absconded with a pen, but has a good excuse not to ‘fess up:
A: Hili, there was a red pen here.Cyrus: She thinks that she’s asleep.
In Polish:Ja: Hili, tu był taki czerwony długopis…
Cyrus: Ona myśli, że śpi.