It’s Friday, December 16: exactly two shopping weeks before the birthday of Professor Ceiling Cat (Emeritus). It is also, according to the Foodimentary Site, National Chocolate Covered Anything Day, and I think that most of us can manage to celebrate that appropriately. It’s also the Day of Reconciliation in South Africa, which ended apartheid not by mass slaughter, but with peace, contrition, and forgiveness. Would this be possible in today’s world?
On this day in 1942, SS chief Heinrich Himmler ordered the Nazis to begin exterminating the Romani people (“gypsies”) in Auschwitz. Exactly five years later, William Shockley, John Bardeen and Walter Brattain built the first practical point-contact transistor at the Bell Laboratories. In 1956 all three received the Nobel Prize in Physics. (How many of you remember transistor radios? I used to listen to mine under the covers with an earphone, escaping detection by the parents.) And on December 16, 1991, Kazakhstan declared independence from the USSR.
It was a good day for writers, artists, and musicians: notables born on this day include Ludwig van Beethoven (1770), Jane Austen (1775), Wassily Kandinsky (1866), and Nöel Coward (1899). Others born on December 16 were Margaret Mead (1901), Arthur C. Clarke (1917), Philip K. Dick (1929), and Liv Ullman (1938). Those who died on this day include Elinor Wylie (1928) and Dan Fogelberg (2007). Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is about to have what the Poles call “second breakfast”:
Hili: I contemplate the passing of time.A: But I would like to sit on this chair.Hili: There is no conflict. It’s been an hour since breakfast, I’m going to the kitchen.
Hili: Kontempluję przemijanie czasu.
Ja: Ale ja chętnie usiadłbym na tym fotelu.
Hili: Nie ma kolizji, minęła godzina od śniadania, idę do kuchni.