It’s December 23: only two shopping days left till Christmas and the First Day of Koynezaa. It’s another double food holiday as well: National Bake Day and National Pfeffernüsse Day—an estimable cookie, and one eaten more in Europe than the U.S. It’s also HumanLight, a secular holiday celebrated in the U.S.—except I don’t know anybody who celebrates it, and I’ve never heard of it.
On this day in 1893, Humperdinck’s opera opera Hansel and Gretel was first performed. On December 23, 1947, the transistor was first demonstrated at Bell Labs, later to win a Nobel for its three inventors. Scientific medicine: on this day in 1954. Hartwell Harrison and Joseph Murray, performed the first successful kidney transplant. Finally, on this day in 1986, Voyager, piloted by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager, landed at Edwards Air Force Base in California, becoming the first aircraft to fly nonstop around the world without any refueling. The flight took a tad over nine days, and here’s the plane:
Notables born on this day include the old faker Joseph Smith (father of Mormonism, 1805), photographer Yousuf Karsh, (1908), Chet Baker (1929), and Joan Severance (1958). Those who died on this day include the Russian NKVD head, terror-monger, and rapist Lavrentiy Beria (1953, tried and executed on Khruschev’s orders; Beria was a nasty piece of work), Charles Atlas (1973), Victor Borge (2000), and Oscar Peterson (2007). Meanwhile in Dobrzyhn, Hili and Cyrus are discussing the holidays:
Cyrus: Do we have any plans for Christmas?Hili: Yes, we will organize a family meeting in the kitchen.
Cyrus: Czy mamy jakieś plany na święta?
Hili: Tak, urządzimy sobie rodzinne spotkanie w kuchni.
Here’s Jerry as a kitten:
And there’s a Google Doodle today, though I don’t think it has sound. It’s called “‘Tis the Season“, and here’s Google’s explanation:
Each of the letters in the word ‘Google’ represent a caroler with the letter ‘l’ waiting patiently to strike the triangle when the conductor, the letter ‘e’, gives it the nod.