The weekend is here, it’s Saturday, January 7 (2017), and the temperature is a balmy 3°F ( -16 °C) in Chicago. It’s National Tempura Day in the U.S., and it’s Christmas in some countries, like Russia, that adhere to the Eastern Orthodox calendar.
On this day in 1927, the first transatlantic phone service was established, allowing one to call London from New York. On January 7 1955, singer Marian Anderson becomes the first black person to perform at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, singing Verdi’s Un ballo in maschera. And, you may recall, today is the second anniversary of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo shootings in Paris, with 12 people killed and 11 wounded. Here’s the first cover of the magazine after the murders (I have a copy):
I’ve found that around this time of year not much happened in history: it was probably too damn cold, at least in the Northern Hemisphere. Births, on the other hand, reflect activity nine months before, and so not particularly sparse, and winter is a frequent time to die. Notables born on January 7 include Millard Fillmore (1800), Butterfly McQueen (1911), Gerald Durrell (1925), Jann Wenner (1946; he’s 70 today), Katie Couric (1957) and Nicholas Cage (1964). Those who died on this day include Nikola Tesla (1943), Trevor Howard (1988) and the great mountaineer Heinrich Harrer (2006), who made the first ascent of the treacherous North Face of the Eiger in 1938 (read his book The White Spider). Here’s what he and three others climbed:
and a traverse that shows the difficulty:
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is staying inside almost all the time, and even then needs extra warmth:
A: Are you so freezing cold?
Ja: Tak ci zimno?
Hili: Mróz za oknem, lepiej się przykryć.
Cats and free will! Two of my favorite topics, here depicted in the cartoon Diesel Sweeties by R. Stevens, contributed by reader Phil