The Thing About Today – September 24

September 24, 2020
Day 268 of 366


September 24th is the 268th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Guinea-Bissau as they celebrate their separation from Portugal in 1973.

It is also Heritage Day in South Africa, Mahidol Day in Thailand, Republic Day in Trinidad and Tobago, and New Caledonia Day in (you guessed it) New Caledonia.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cherries Jubilee Day, National Punctuation Day, and Schwenkfelder Thanksgiving.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1761, German composer and conductor Friedrich Ludwig Æmilius Kunzen (often shortened to F.L.Æ. Kunzen) was born.
  • In 1789, the United States Congress passed the Judiciary Act, creating the office of the Attorney General and federal judiciary system, as well as ordering the composition of the Supreme Court.
  • In 1883, businessman Franklin Clarence Mars was born. He founded Mars, Incorporated, home to Mars bars, Milky Way bars, M&M’s, Skittles, Snickers, and Twix (among various other products for humans and pets).
  • In 1890, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints officially renounced polygamy. The 1890 Manifesto (also known as the Woodruff Manifesto or the Anti-polygamy Manifesto), was a response to mounting anti-polygamy pressure from the United States Congress, which by 1890 had disincorporated the church, escheated its assets to the federal government, and imprisoned many prominent polygamist Mormons. The Manifesto was canonized as Official Declaration 1, which mainstream Mormons consider as being prompted by divine revelation, but was rejected by Mormon fundamentalists.
  • In 1896, novelist and short story writer F. Scott Fitzgerald was born.
  • In 1906, United States President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed Devils Tower in Wyoming as the nation’s first National Monument.
  • Also in 1906, racial tensions exacerbated by rumors lead to the Atlanta Race Riot. Armed white mobs attacked African Americans based on newspaper reports that four white women had been raped (in separate incidents) by African American men. Two African Americans were later indicted by a grand jury for raping Ethel Lawrence and her aunt. The violence did not end until the Georgia National Guard was called in, and the Atlanta Police Department and some Guardsmen were accused of further violence in quelling the riots. Local histories by whites ignored the riot for decades, but when the riots were publicly acknowledged on the 100th anniversary, the Atlanta riot was made part of the state’s curriculum for public schools.
  • In 1929, Jimmy Doolittle performed the first flight without a window, proving that full instrument flying from take off to landing was possible.
  • In 1930, astronaut John W. Young was born.
  • In 1936, puppeteer, director, producer, and screenwriter Jim Henson was born. He created The Muppets and countless childhood memories.

“Watch out for each other. Love everyone and forgive everyone, including yourself. Forgive your anger. Forgive your guilt. Your shame. Your sadness. Embrace and open up your love, your joy, your truth, and most especially your heart.”

  • In 1948, the Honda Motor Company was founded.
  • Also in 1948, Canadian-American actor and screenwriter Phil Hartman was born.
  • In 1957, President Eisenhower sent the 101st Airborne Division to Little Rock, Arkansas, to enforce desegregation surrounding the Little Rock Nine.
  • In 1959, puppeteer Steve Whitmire was born.
  • In 1960, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), the world’s first nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, was launched.
  • In 1968, 60 Minutes premiered on television.
  • In 1977, The Love Boat premiered.
  • In 2014, the Mars Orbiter Mission made India the first Asian nation to reach Mars orbit, and the first nation in the world to do so in its first attempt.
  • In 2019, an impeachment inquiry was initiated by the United States House of Representatives against President Donald Trump. He was formally impeached on December 18, 2019, but was acquitted in the subsequent Senate trial.


Since September 24th is National Punctuation Day, I thought it would be appropriate to take a moment for my favorite punctuation mark: The interrobang.

Also known as the interabang, which doesn’t sound nearly as cool as interrobang, the punctuation mark was first proposed by Martin K. Speckter in 1962. It’s an unconventional punctuation mark intended to combine the functions of the question mark and the exclamation point.

It is formally represented as ‽, but is often represented by the simple combinations of ?!, !?, ?!?, and !?!. The name comes from the combination of interrogatio (Latin for “rhetorical question” or “cross-examination”) and “bang” (printer and programmer jargon for the exclamation point).

As the head of an advertising agency, Martin Speckter believed that advertisements would look better if copywriters conveyed surprised rhetorical questions using a single mark, so he proposed the concept of a single punctuation mark in an article in the magazine TYPEtalks.

When he solicited potential names from the magazine’s readers, contenders included exclamaquestQuizDing, rhet, and exclarotive. Thankfully, interrobang won out.

In 1965, Richard Isbell created the Americana typeface for American Type Founders. He also included the interrobang as one of the characters, and by 1968, an interrobang key was available on some Remington typewriters. The interrobang was in vogue for much of the 1960s, appearing in dictionaries and magazine and newspaper articles.

Most modern fonts do not include the interrobang, but it has not disappeared. Lucida Grande, which is the default font for many UI elements of legacy versions of Apple’s OS X operating system, includes the interrobang. Similarly, Microsoft provides several versions of the interrobang in the Wingdings 2 character set. It is also included in Unicode and several related fonts like Lucida Sans Unicode, Arial Unicode MS, and Calibri. The latter is the default font in the Office 2007, 2010, and 2013 suites, making that beautiful glyph front and center for Office users.

There’s also a reverse and upside version for starting phrases in Spanish, Galician, and Asturian, which use inverted question and exclamation marks. The “inverted interrobang” – less frequently known as the gnaborrentni (spell it backward) – combines ¿ and ¡ into ⸘. In modern practice, however, it’s emphatic ambiguity in Hispanic languages is usually achieved by including both sets of punctuation marks one inside the other. For example, Really!?” translates to ¿¡De verdad!? or ¡¿De verdad?!. Older usage also recommends mixing the punctuation marks such as ¡Verdad? or ¿Verdad!

In further reading about this beauty, I also learned about the Irony Mark, a glyph to indicate irony and sarcasm. Among the oldest and most frequently attested versions is the percontation point, proposed by English printer Henry Denham in the 1580s, and the irony mark, used by Marcellin Jobard and French poet Alcanter de Brahm during the 19th century.

Both of these versions are represented by the backward question mark: “⸮”.

I mean, it’s cool and all, but the percontation point is no interrobang.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.



Timestamp #SJA14: Prisoner of the Judoon

Sarah Jane Adventures: Prisoner of the Judoon
(2 episodes, s03e01, 2009)


When law and order collides with body snatching.

Sarah Jane Smith provides a brief overview of her past, leading to how her life on Earth is just as exciting as traveling amongst the stars. She travels to Genetec Systems to interview Mr. Yorke about nanoform technology. She probes the threat they might pose if released into the environment and that the return on investment is not likely to appear. She gets tossed out and laughs about it.

When she returns home, the Bannerman Road Gang sees an orbital re-entry overhead and they ask Mr. Smith about it. He’s been tracking it for 45 minutes, which is who long it took to cross the solar system, and reveals that it is a Judoon craft. UNIT has dispatched to the crash site, but they haven’t found the lifepod that was ejected.

Enter Sarah Jane and the gang.

As they get ready to leave, Rani’s mother Gita asks if Sarah Jane can help her network to get her new flower shop moving. They eventually get to the pod crash site and find a Judoon chasing an escaped prisoner. Sarah Jane explains that the Shadow Proclamation barely acknowledges Earth and have authorized the Judoon to execute anyone who stands in the way of justice.

The Judoon is knocked out by his prisoner. The fugitive escapes as Sarah Jane and the teenagers arrive. They help the Judoon, one Captain Tybo, recover and join the investigation to help minimize the damage as he searches for Androvax the Annihilator, a “Destroyer of Worlds”.

Tybo really lacks in the humor department.

After hearing a young girl scream, Sarah Jane and Clyde try to comfort her while asking Luke and Rani to distract the captain. The girl claims that the “monster” took her mother, but Sarah Jane’s scanner betrays the Androvax. Unfortunately, the fugitive steps out of the girl’s body and into Sarah Jane’s before placing Clyde into a trance.

It seems like Clyde is always getting the whammy.

Captain Tybo figures out that Luke and Rani were distracting him, and he smashes their mobile phones to prevent any further “mistakes”. They track down Clyde, revive him with a spray bottle, and discover that Sarah Jane is now a hostage of a Veil lifeform.

Sarah Jane returns to Bannerman Road and surveys the attic before summoning Mr. Smith. Meanwhile, Tybo commandeers a police car with inadvertently humorous effect and pursues the intruder. While Sarah Jane tries to gauge the depths of Mr. Smith’s programming – we’re reminded that he’s a Xylok, the only remnant of his previous alien identity – the Judoon and our heroes enforce local noise ordinances and finally reach the attic.

The possessed Sarah Jane has moved on, setting her sights on Genetec Systems. Unfortunately, Mr. Smith has been set to self destruct. In sixty seconds, Bannerman Road will be nothing more than a crater.

Oh, and Rani’s parents? They’ve been busy using guerilla tactics to promote Bloomin’ Lovely, and they’ve targeted Genetec Systems.

Luke uses logic to disable the self-destruct, reasoning that the detonation would harm the Earth. Mr. Smith directs the team to Genetec System Labs after detailing the Roswell crash of 1947 and a base called Dreamland.

(More on that on this site in a couple of months.)

Androvax plans on using the nanoforms to build a spacecraft to escape Earth. The fugitive doesn’t care what happens after that, so the nanoforms will be unleashed on the planet. As the building enters a security lockdown, Gita and Haresh use the distraction to escape from the guard who detained them.

The Bannerman Road Gang arrives with Tybo, but decide to lock the Judoon in a shielded room to prevent him from harming Sarah Jane (or Rani’s parents) during his hunt for Androvax. Meanwhile, Mr. Yorke ends up getting entranced by the Androvax after he lifts the lockdown.

Oh, and then there’s the Judoon retrieval force that just arrived and transmitted reinforcements to Genetec. That complicates matters.

The team finds Sarah Jane and, in the process of sparring with the Androvax, Luke is captured. Androvax attacks Clyde and Rani with the nanoforms, but they stun the wee beasties with lowered temperatures via convenient fire extinguishers.

Captain Tybo is released by the Judoon reinforcements in a clever subversion of the lawful good personality trope, and it’s almost Clyde and Rani’s undoing when they are threatened with execution for violating several regulations. Luckily, they are fast runners.

Androvax takes Luke to the now-complete spacecraft. Sarah Jane takes advantage of a momentary distraction to fight for control of her body while Clyde and Rani run aboard. Luke steals the power core and bargains for his mother, insisting that he’ll let Androvax leave if Sarah Jane is set free. Androvax agrees, but is captured by the Judoon moments later.

As the nanoforms begin to devour the building, Luke is able to use the spacecraft to send a shutdown command. Rani’s parents are safe and Androvax is in custody. Tybo takes the circumstances into account and commutes the sentence against Rani and Clyde. Instead, they are confined to the planet permanently.

Sarah Jane and the Bannerman Road Gang arrive home as the spacecraft rockets to the stars. Rani’s parents arrive moments later, promising to tell a story that the group will not want to miss.


The one thing that I really enjoyed in this story was the humor, particularly with the Judoon acting as an overexaggerated straight man. Which is something considering how much the Judoon really freak me out as villains.

When it comes to any other villain, be it the Daleks or the Cybermen or even (most times) the Master, the evil is obvious. These villains have a plan and it’s a fairly direct path for the forces of good to stop it. The Judoon, on the other hand, are lawful good characters to the extreme, and that’s what makes them dangerous.

Down to basics, the Judoon believe that justice is absolute. There’s good and there’s evil and there are no shades of gray. Anyone who stands in the way of justice – of the perceived good – is the enemy, and thus, disposable.

Since the rest of the universe (dare I say, the multiverse) operates in a spectrum between the light and dark, this absolute lawful good mentality makes the Judoon one of Doctor Who‘s scariest villains for me.

That’s what makes stories with them so good in my estimation.

There’s also a nice subversion of the lawful good when the reinforcements have to rescue Captain Tybo. I laughed out loud at that moment.

Other highlights include the main cast. First, the teenagers really carry this story from bow to stern. Second, evil Sarah Jane is cheeeesy as hell, and that is magnificent. I just hope she had plenty of lozenges because that voice had to hurt after a while.

The one downside I can see going forward is Clyde’s recap. If it’s attached to every episode going forward, it’s going to get tiresome.


Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”




UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: The Mad Woman in the Attic


The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.



The Thing About Today – September 23

September 23, 2020
Day 267 of 366


September 23rd is the 267th day of the year. It is Kyrgyz Language Day in Kyrgyzstan


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Checkers/Dogs in Politics Day, National Great American Pot Pie Day, National Snack Stick Day, National Teal Talk Day, and Innergize Day (typically observed on the day after the Autumn Equinox).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1642, the first commencement exercises occurred at Harvard College.
  • In 1846, astronomers Urbain Le Verrier, John Couch Adams, and Johann Gottfried Galle collaborated on the discovery of Neptune.
  • In 1889, Nintendo Koppai – later known as Nintendo Company, Limited – was founded by Fusajiro Yamauchi to produce and market the playing card game Hanafuda.
  • Also in 1889, journalist and publisher Walter Lippmann was born. He co-founded The New Republic.
  • In 1911, pilot Earle Ovington made the first official airmail delivery in America under the authority of the United States Post Office Department.
  • In 1913, Roland Garros of France became the first to fly in an airplane across the Mediterranean. His route was from St. Raphael, France to Bizerte, Tunisia.
  • In 1930, singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor Ray Charles was born.
  • In 1949, singer-songwriter and guitarist Bruce Springsteen was born.
  • In 1956, author, actor, and screenwriter Peter David was born.
  • In 1957, actress Rosalind Chao was born.
  • In 1959, actor, singer, and voice artist Jason Alexander was born.
  • In 1961, astronaut William C. McCool was born.
  • In 1962, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts opened in New York City.
  • Also in 1962, The Jetsons premiered. It was ABC’s first color television series.
  • In 1977, Cheryl Ladd replaced Farrah Fawcett on Charlie’s Angels.
  • In 1978, actor Anthony Mackie was born.
  • In 1985, comedian Hasan Minhaj was born.
  • In 2002, the first public version of the web browser Mozilla Firefox was released. It was known as “Phoenix 0.1”.


September 23rd is Celebrate Bisexuality Day.

Also known as Bisexual Pride Day, Bi Visibility Day, CBD, Bisexual Pride and Bi Visibility Day, and Bisexuality+ Day, it is a call to recognize and celebrate bisexual history, bisexual community and culture, and all the bisexual people in our lives.

The idea was born when the oldest national bisexuality organization in the United States, BiNet USA, was founded in 1990. Originally called the North American Multicultural Bisexual Network (NAMBN), it had its first meeting at the first National Bisexual Conference in America in San Francisco in 1990. More than 450 people attended from 20 states and 5 countries, and the mayor of San Francisco sent a proclamation “commending the bisexual rights community for its leadership in the cause of social justice.” June 23, 1990, was declared Bisexual Pride Day.

Many individuals and organizations include the “+” sign in the celebration to include the broader bi+ community of people who prefer to use terms to describe their sexual orientation such as pansexual, polysexual, omnisexual, fluid, or queer.

On September 18, 2012, Berkeley, California became the first American city to officially proclaim a day recognizing bisexuals. In 2013, on Celebrate Bisexuality Day, the White House held a closed-door meeting with almost 30 bisexual advocates to discuss issues of specific importance to community. It was the first bi-specific event ever hosted by any Presidential administration.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.



The Thing About Today – September 22

September 22, 2020
Day 266 of 366


September 22nd is the 266th day of the year. We have 100 days left in 2020.

It is the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (welcome to Fall!) and the vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere (welcome to Spring!).


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Online Recovery DayCar Free Day, Dear Diary Day, National Centenarian’s Day, Elephant Appreciation Day, National Girls’ Night, Hobbit Day, National Ice Cream Cone Day, National Legwear Day, National White Chocolate Day, and National Voter Registration Day (typically observed on the fourth Tuesday in September).


I’ll spare you the typical spiel on voting. Just know that I think it is vitally important and I encourage you to get registered and turn out on Election Day. In the United States, we have 42 days to go.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1692, the last hanging occurred of those convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials. The others would eventually be released.
  • In 1776, Nathan Hale was hanged for spying during the American Revolution.
  • In 1789, the office of United States Postmaster General was established.
  • In 1791, English physicist and chemist Michael Faraday was born. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and electrolysis.
  • In 1862, a preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation was released by President Abraham Lincoln.
  • In 1896, Queen Victoria surpassed her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.
  • In 1919, the steel strike of 1919, led by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, began in Pennsylvania before spreading across the United States.
  • In 1957, Maverick premiered on television.
  • In 1964, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. premiered on television.
  • In 1965, astronaut Robert Satcher was born.
  • In 1971, author and poet Elizabeth Bear was born.
  • In 1976, Charlie’s Angels premiered on television.
  • In 1981, voice actor Ashley Eckstein was born.
  • In 1982, actress and singer Billie Piper was born.
  • Also in 1982, Family Ties premiered on television.
  • In 1984, actress Laura Vandervoort was born.
  • In 1985, actress Tatiana Maslany was born.
  • In 1987, actor Tom Felton was born.
  • In 1991, the Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time.
  • In 1994, Friends premiered on television.
  • In 1999, The West Wing premiered on television.
  • In 2004, LOST premiered on television.
  • Also in 2004, Veronica Mars premiered on television.


In 1949, the American Business Women’s Association was founded.

The mission of the organization is “to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership; education, networking support and national recognition”.

To celebrate the date, September 22nd is American Business Women’s Day. The holiday was recognized in 1983 and 1986 by Congressional resolution and a proclamation issued by President Ronald Reagan, and is designed to commemorate the important legacy and contributions of the more than 68 million American working women and 7.7 million women business owners.

It also provides an opportunity for ABWA chapters and individual businesswomen to celebrate their accomplishments within the American and global marketplace.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.



The Thing About Today – September 21

September 21, 2020
Day 265 of 366


September 21st is the 265th day of the year. It is Independence Day in multiple locations, including Armenia (separated from the Soviet Union in 1991), Belize (from the United Kingdom in 1981), and Malta (from the United Kingdom in 1964).


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Chai Day, National Pecan Cookie Day, and National New York Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1780, Benedict Arnold provided the British with the plans to West Point.
  • In 1792, the National Convention abolishes the monarchy during the French Revolution.
  • In 1866, novelist, historian, and critic H. G. Wells was born.
  • In 1874, composer and educator Gustav Holst was born.
  • In 1912, animator, producer, and screenwriter Chuck Jones was born.
  • In 1933, Salvador Lutteroth established Mexican professional wrestling.
  • In 1937, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was published by George Allen and Unwin in London, England.
  • In 1942, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress made its maiden flight.
  • In 1943, film and television producer Jerry Bruckheimer was born.
  • In 1947, author and screenwriter Stephen King was born.
  • In 1950, actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter Bill Murray was born.
  • In 1957, Perry Mason premiered on television. The series was based on a character created by author Erle Stanley Gardner.
  • In 1960, Canadian-American actor and director David James Elliott was born.
  • In 1968, actress, producer, and talk show host Ricki Lake was born.
  • In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was unanimously approved by the United States Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.
  • In 1990, actress Allison Scagliotti was born.
  • In 2003, the Galileo spacecraft was terminated by sending it into Jupiter’s atmosphere.


September 21st is the International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day.

The United Nations-sanctioned holiday is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, especially temporary ceasefires in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1981, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and people.

To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York City. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as “a reminder of the human cost of war”. The inscription on its side reads, “Long live absolute world peace”.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.



The Thing About Today – September 20

September 20, 2020
Day 264 of 366


September 20th is the 264th day of the year. It is Universal Children’s Day in Germany. During the Cold War, East Germany (GDR) celebrated International Children’s Day (Internationaler Kindertag) on June 1st and West Germany (FRG) celebrated Universal Children’s Day (Weltkindertag) on September 20th. After the reunification of East and West Germany occurred in 1990, Universal Children’s Day become official for the whole of Germany. Some still celebrate Children’s Day on the former date, but public events pertaining to Children’s Day take place on September 20th.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Fried Rice Day, National Pepperoni Pizza Day, National Punch Day, National String Cheese Day, and Wife Appreciation Day (typically observed on the third Sunday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1595, Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.
  • In 1870, the Bersaglieri corps entered Rome through the Porta Pia, thus completing the unification of Italy.
  • In 1878, novelist, critic, and essayist Upton Sinclair was born.
  • In 1893, Charles Duryea and his brother road-tested the first American-made gasoline-powered automobile.
  • In 1928, animator, producer, and screenwriter Jay Ward was born. He founded Jay Ward Productions.
  • In 1934, actress Sophia Loren was born.
  • In 1941, Sylvester the cat debuted in the animated short “Notes to You”.
  • In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival was held. It had been delayed seven years due to World War II.
  • In 1948, novelist and short story writer George R. R. Martin was born.
  • In 1976, actor Jon Berenthal was born.
  • In 2001, in an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, United States President George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror”. We’ve been embroiled in it ever since.
  • In 2011, the United States military ended its “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.


September 20th is Independence Day (also known as Republic Day or День независимости) in the partially recognized Republic of South Ossetia.

It commemorates South Ossetia’s declaration of independence from the Georgian SSR in 1990, and the country’s recognition as a sovereign state by Russia in 2008. South Ossetia first declared its independence from Georgia in 1920 following the Russian Revolution in Russia. After the Soviet Army invaded Georgia in 1921, the government declared South Ossetia an autonomous region within the Georgian SSR.

On September 20, 1990, the Council of People’s Deputies of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast adopted a declaration of sovereignty of the new republic. In 1992, South Ossetia proclaimed independence, and in August 2008, South Ossetia was recognized by Russia, Venezuela, Nauru, and Nicaragua, as well as other unrecognized counties such as Artsakh, Abkhazia, and Transnistria following the week-long Russo-Georgian War of 2008.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.



The Thing About Today – September 19

September 19, 2020
Day 263 of 366


September 19th is the 263rd day of the year. It is Independence Day for Saint Kitts and Nevis, commemorating its separation from the United Kingdom in 1983.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Butterscotch Pudding Day, Talk Like A Pirate Day, and a whole slew of things that are typically observed on the third Saturday of September: National Dance Day; National Gymnastics Day; Boys’ and Girls’ Club Day for Kids; Puppy Mill Awareness Day; Responsible Dog Ownership Day; and National CleanUp Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1796, George Washington’s Farewell Address, formally The Address of Gen. Washington to the People of America on His Declining the Presidency of the United States, was printed across America as an open letter to the public. You can read it here via The American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara.
  • In 1846, two French shepherd children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, experienced a Marian apparition on a mountaintop near La Salette, France. It is now known as Our Lady of La Salette.
  • In 1881, United States President James A. Garfield died of wounds suffered in a July 2nd shooting. Vice President Chester A. Arthur assumed the office upon Garfield’s death.
  • In 1908, Japanese martial artist Tatsuo Shimabuku was born. He was the founder of Isshin-ryū.
  • In 1911, British novelist, playwright, poet, and Nobel Prize laureate William Golding was born.
  • In 1927, actress Rosemary Harris was born.
  • In 1928, actor, businessman, and 1960s Caped Crusader Adam West was born.
  • In 1933, actor David McCallum was born.
  • In 1944, the Battle of Hürtgen Forest began near the Belgian-German border during World War II. It would become the longest individual battle that the United States Army has ever fought.
  • In 1948, actor Jeremy Irons was born.
  • In 1949, English model, actress, and singer Twiggy was born.
  • In 1950, American television journalist, anchor, and author Joan Lunden was born.
  • In 1952, The Adventures of Superman premiered on television.
  • In 1957, Plumbbob Rainier became the first nuclear explosion to be entirely contained underground, producing no fallout.
  • In 1966, journalist and producer Soledad O’Brien was born.
  • In 1972, writer N. K. Jemisin was born.
  • In 1974, comedian and talk show host Jimmy Fallon was born.
  • In 1975, Fawlty Towers premiered.
  • In 1982, Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board system. They were 🙂 and 😦 .
  • In 1987, actress Danielle Panabaker was born.
  • In 1989, Doogie Howser, M.D. premiered.
  • In 1994, ER premiered.
  • In 1995, The Washington Post and The New York Times published the Unabomber’s manifesto.


September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

It is a parody holiday created in 1995 by John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur and Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers of Albany, Oregon.

According to Summers, the day is the only known holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. During a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of “Aaarrr!”, and the idea was born. They chose Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday since the date would be easy for him to remember.

The holiday gained exposure when Baur and Summers sent a letter about it to the American syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002. The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy (1650s-1730s).

Ahoy, me hearties!


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.



The Thing About Today – September 18

September 18, 2020
Day 262 of 366


September 18th is the 262nd day of the year. It is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day in the United States.

It is also National POW/MIA Recognition Day in the United States. Congress established the National POW/MIA Recognition Day with the passage of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act.  Typically observed on the third Friday in September, it is one of the six days that Federal Law requires government facilities to fly the POW/MIA Flag. It serves to remember and honor the members of the Armed Forces who remain missing in action or are prisoners of war.

Tonight also begins the celebration of Rosh Hashana (רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה‎), the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration that begins on the first day of Tishrei, which is the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year. It marks the beginning of the civil year, according to the teachings of Judaism. It is the traditional anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman according to the Hebrew Bible, and the inauguration of humanity’s role in God’s world.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cheeseburger Day, National Tradesmen Day (typically observed on the third Friday in September), and National Hug Your Boss Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1793, the first cornerstone of the United States Capitol was laid by George Washington.
  • In 1809, the Royal Opera House in London opened.
  • In 1819, French physicist and academic Léon Foucault was born. H demonstrated the effect of the Earth’s rotation using the Foucault pendulum, made an early measurement of the speed of light, discovered eddy currents, and is credited with naming the gyroscope.
  • In 1837, Tiffany & Co. was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young in New York City. Originally named Tiffany & Young, the store was called a “stationery and fancy goods emporium”.
  • In 1851, The New-York Daily Times was first published. It later became The New York Times.
  • In 1870, the Old Faithful Geyser was observed and named by Henry D. Washburn.
  • In 1895, the Atlanta Exposition Speech on race relations was delivered by Booker T. Washington.
  • In 1917, voice actress June Foray was born.
  • In 1919, the Netherlands gave women the right to vote.
  • In 1927, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) went on the air.
  • In 1947, the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency were established in the United States by the National Security Act. It also established the Air Force as an equal partner of the Army and Navy.
  • In 1948, Margaret Chase Smith of Maine became the first woman elected to the United States Senate without completing another senator’s term.
  • In 1963, English-Canadian composer and conductor John Powell was born.
  • In 1964, The Addams Family premiered.
  • In 1965, Get Smart premiered.
  • Also in 1965, I Dream of Jeannie premiered.
  • In 1971, actress Jada Pinkett Smith was born.
  • In 1973, actor James Marsden was born.
  • In 1977, Voyager I took the first distant photograph of the Earth and the Moon together.
  • In 1983, Hardcastle and McCormick premiered.
  • In 1985, The Equalizer premiered.
  • In 2009, Guiding Light came to an end after 72 years on the air. It holds the Guinness World Record of the longest-running drama in television in American history, broadcast on CBS for 57 years from June 30, 1952, until September 18, 2009. That run overlapped a 19-year broadcast on radio from 1937 to 1956, giving Guiding Light the records of the longest-running soap opera and the fifth-longest running program in all of broadcast history.
  • In 2014, Emma Watson delivered an address to a standing ovation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The address helped launch the UN women’s campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate for gender equality.


September 18th is National Music Day in Azerbaijan.

The event celebrates the 1885 birthday of Uzeyir Hajibeyov, an Azerbaijani composer, conductor, publicist, playwright, and social figure. He is recognized as the father of Azerbaijani-composed classical music and opera, and was the first composer of opera in the Islamic world.

Hajibeyov composed the music of the national anthem of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which was re-adopted after Azerbaijan regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and the anthem used by Azerbaijan during the Soviet period.

The tradition of Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s birthday as a celebration was founded by composer and conductor Niyazi who commemorated this day very year after Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s death. In 1995, on the 110th birthday of the genius composer, President Haydar Aliyev decreed that September 18th would be National Music Day.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.



The Thing About Today – September 17

September 17, 2020
Day 261 of 366


September 17th is the 261st day of the year. It is Batman Day, an annual observance begun by DC Comics in 2014 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics in 1939. The day was chosen to coincide with San Diego Comic-Con, and subsequent observances have been on the third Saturday in September.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Professional House Cleaners Day, National Apple Dumpling Day, National Monte Cristo Day, and National Pawpaw Day (typically observed on the third Thursday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1630, the city of Boston, Massachusetts was founded by Puritan settlers. It was named after the city of the same name in Lincolnshire, England.
  • In 1776, the Presidio of San Francisco was founded in New Spain.
  • In 1849, American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery.
  • In 1900, businessman J. Willard Marriott was born. He founded the Marriott Corporation.
  • In 1908, the Wright Flyer, flown by Orville Wright with Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as a passenger, crashed. Selfridge died, becoming the first airplane fatality.
  • In 1928, actor Roddy McDowall was born.
  • In 1945, actor Bruce Spence was born.
  • In 1949, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote made their Looney Tunes debut in a short named “Fast and Furry-ous”.
  • In 1951, actress Cassandra Peterson was born. She is better known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
  • In 1954, the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding was first published.
  • In 1964, Bewitched premiered on television.
  • In 1965, actor Kyle Chandler was born.
  • In 1966, Mission: Impossible premiered on television.
  • In 1972, the television version of M*A*S*H premiered.
  • In 1976, the Space Shuttle Enterprise was unveiled by NASA.
  • In 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.
  • In 1991, the first version of the Linux kernel was released to the Internet.


In 1787, the United States Constitution was signed in Philadelphia.

It marked the end of the Constitutional Convention, which started on May 25th. During that time, the 55 delegates debated the duties of the government, checks, and balances, and the rights and freedoms of the people. They divided the government into three branches – legislative to make the laws, executive to execute the laws, and the judicial to interpret the laws – and established a Bill of Rights, which comprises the first ten amendments to the document and enumerated the rights and freedoms of the people.

On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution. The process of obtaining each state’s approval began, and since Rhode Island didn’t send any delegates to the Constitutional Convention because they wanted to hold on to their independence as long as they could, they were the last state to ratify the Constitution on May 29, 1790.

September 17th commemorates the end of the Constitutional Convention, recognizing the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become American citizens, in an observance called Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Citizenship Day was formerly observed on the third Sunday in May.


The Thing About Today is an effort to look at each day of 2020 with respect to its historical context.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.



Timestamp: Torchwood Series Three Summary

Torchwood: Children of Earth (Series Three) Summary


Torchwood‘s third series made us consider darkness in acts of salvation. The world is safe once again, but the prices paid were severe.

There’s a certain amount of creepiness in this series of five episodes since the invaders were trying to leverage the world’s most vulnerable population for their own addiction. The rest of the world did everything they could to save them from a fate literally worse than death, but politicians and Jack fell on the side of logic: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Facing and defying the darkness that led to that logic sold the drama.

In true Torchwood tradition, the family is shattered in the end, and the magic is in how the logic is fulfilled in the process. The needs of millions outweighed the needs of Torchwood Three.

Just beautiful.

We’ve been through this twice now, so we’re familiar with the drill: We can’t make a direct comparison between Torchwood and Doctor Who, but we can look at the scores so far to get an idea of how it fits within the Timestamps Project’s scope.

Torchwood Series Three earned a 4.8 average. That places it even with the classic Ninth Season – the third season with the Third Doctor – which is the top-rated season in the history of the Timestamps Project. It’s also, by far, the highest rated series of Torchwood.


Day One – 5
Day Two – 5
Day Three – 4
Day Four – 5
Day Five – 5

Torchwood Series One Average Rating: 4.8/5


The Timestamps Project is still proceeding in mostly chronological order, so the path forward contains the third series of Sarah Jane Adventures and the remaining David Tennant specials, with a goal of completing both before the end of the year.


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Prisoner of the Judoon


The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.