It’s January 4, 2017, and National Spaghetti Day. It’s also World Braille Day (can any readers read it?)
On this day in 1853, Solomon Northrup, kidnapped slave and author of the book (later a movie) Twelve Years a Slave, was granted his freedom. On this day in 1903, Topsy the elephant was publicly executed for the crime of no more than being unwanted. The elephant was electrocuted; a film was made (I won’t link to it) and released by Thomas Edison’s company. It’s one of the most public and unconscionable acts of animal cruelty I know of. On January4, 1974, Richard Nixon refused to hand over requested documents to the Watergate Committee: that and the tapes were the beginning of the end for him. And, on this day in 2004, the Mars Rover “Spirit” landed on the surface of the Red Planet; another rover, “Opportunity,” landed three weeks later. Spirit continued to roam around and send data until 2010.
Notables born on this day include Louis Braille (1809, accounting for today being Braille Day), Augustus John (1878), James Bond (1900; the real one: an ornithologist—and name model for the spy), and Michael Stipe (1960; what happened to him?). Those who died on this day include Henri Bergson (1941), Albert Camus (1960), Erwin Schrödinger (1961; no dead physicist jokes, please), T. S. Eliot (1965, author of “Prufrock”, began when the lad was but 22), and photographer Eve Arnold (2012). Here’s one of her photos: a bar girl in a brothel in Cuba, taken in 1954:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili wants some of the staff’s dinner, but no condiments, please. You can see she’s put on her winter weight, which she’ll shed come spring.
Hili: What is this garlic for?A: It’s for roasted lamb.Hili: Without garlic for me, please.
Hili: Do czego ten czosnek?
Ja: Do jagnięciny.
Hili: Dla mnie bez czosnku, poproszę.
Your ‘be kind to animals’ piece yesterday prompts me to send a photo of the latest addition to my house. It is a young male White-eared Opossum [Didelphis albiventris] that was presented to me as a ‘gift’. When I got it two months ago, it shortly slipped its front legs and head through the grille of its carrying cage, thus the photo. It took two of us to work him free. I had intended caring for the opossum until it was old enough to fend for itself. Unfortunately, both hind legs are paralyzed, so we are now planning to live with pet that would be problematic even if in good health. He is not in pain and the prehensile tail works fine but is mostly useless without coordinating legs; he pulls himself around with his front legs quite well. Though the little guy hisses and snaps at movements, he is slow on the bite. He calms down when held and likes being massaged on his forehead, nose, and backside.