Good morning on a chilly Saturday (in Chicago): greet January 28, 2017. It’s National Blueberry Pancake Day, and I’ll add that to this wonderful breakfast treat you must add real butter and a drizzle of good maple syrup (preferably the darkest grade). It’s also Data Privacy Day (known as “Data Protection Day” in Europe), so remember not to give out compromising or secure things (if you’re in the U.S., NEVER give out your Social Security number on the phone, particularly during tax season). Beware of robot calls purporting to be from the Internal Revenue Service: I got four of those last year but knew they were a scam. Note that the IRS will never call you, so these calls are always attempts to steal your money.
Today is also the beginning of Chinese (Lunar)New Year; and there’s a Google Doodle; or should I say a Google Cock-a-Doodle? For it’s the Year of the Rooster, and if you don’t know your year, look it up (I’m a stalwart Ox).
On this day in 1547, Henry VIII of England died at the age of 55, a death probably hastened by obesity. His 9-year-old son became King Edward VI. In 1813, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was first published, and 7 years later a Russian expedition discovered Antarctica. On January 28, 1935, Iceland became the first Western nation to legalize therapeutic abortion. 1935! It’s also one of the world’s six most atheistic nations. On this day in 1956, Elvis Presley first appeared on US television. No, it wasn’t his famed (and censored) appearance on The Ed Sullivan Show, but a stint on CBS’s “Stage Show.” In 1965, the Canadian Parliament approved the current design for the Canadian flag (I think it should have a beaver rather than a maple leaf).
And, a sad day in 1986: the space shuttle Challenger blew up, killing Gregory Jarvis, Christa McAuliffe, Ronald McNair, Ellison Onizuka, Judith Resnik, Dick Scobee, and Michael J. Smith. I remember watching it live, with everyone uncomprehending and hoping beyond hope that nobody was hurt, even after the outcome was clear.
Notables born on this day include Henry Morton Stanley (1841), Colette (1873), Claes Oldenburg (1929), Alan Alda (1936), and Rick “Purpose Driven” Warren (1954). Those who died on this day, include beside Henry VIII and the seven Challenger astronauts, Charlemagne (814, probably wrong calendar) and W. B Yeats (1939), one of my favorite poets. Here’s Yeats’s grave in Drumcliff, Ireland; the inscription, penned by Yeats himself, comes from the final stanza of his great poem “Under Ben Bulben“:
Under bare Ben Bulben’s headIn Drumcliff churchyard Yeats is laid,An ancestor was rector thereLong years ago; a church stands near,By the road an ancient Cross.No marble, no conventional phrase,On limestone quarried near the spotBy his command these words are cut:Cast a cold eyeOn life, on death.Horseman, pass by!
Meanwhile in Dobrzyn, Hili is taking apart a familiar Latin phrase (click the link if you don’t know it or who said it):
Hili: You are always thinking that you are unique.
Ja: Errare humanum est.
Hili: Zawsze wam się zdaje, że jesteście tacy wyjątkowi.