The Thing About Today – August 4

August 4, 2020
Day 217 of 366


August 4th is the 217th day of the year. It is Constitution Day in the Cook Islands, commemorating their self-governance from 1965.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day and National Night Out Day (which is typically observed on the first Tuesday in August.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1693, Dom Perignon supposedly invented champagne. It’s not clear whether he actually invented champagne, however, he has been credited as an innovator who developed the techniques used to perfect sparkling wine.
  • In 1821, The Saturday Evening Post was published for the first time as a weekly newspaper.
  • In 1863, Matica slovenská was established in Martin. It is Slovakia’s public-law cultural and scientific institution focusing on topics around the Slovak nation.
  • In 1900, Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother of the United Kingdom, was born.
  • In 1901, trumpet player and singer Louis Armstrong was born.
  • In 1942, actor Don S. Davis was born.
  • In 1944, a tip from a Dutch informer led the Gestapo to a sealed-off area in an Amsterdam warehouse. It was there that the found and arrested Jewish diarist Anne Frank, her family, and four others.
  • In 1961, lawyer and politician, 44th President of the United States, and Nobel Prize laureate Barack Obama was born.
  • In 1968, South Korean-American actor Daniel Dae Kim was born.
  • In 1975, actor Andy Hallett was born.
  • In 1977, United States President Jimmy Carter signed legislation creating the United States Department of Energy.
  • In 1981, actress Abigail Spencer was born.
  • In 1983, actress, producer, and screenwriter Greta Gerwig was born.
  • In 1987, the Federal Communications Commission rescinded the Fairness Doctrine, which had required radio and television stations to present controversial issues “fairly”.
  • In 2007, NASA launched the Phoenix spacecraft, which researched the history of water on Mars.


In 1790, a newly passed tariff act created the Revenue Cutter Service, the forerunner of the United States Coast Guard.

The organization was founded by then-Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton. The United States Congress, guided by Hamilton, authorized the building of a fleet of the first ten Revenue Service cutters. Immediately after the American Revolutionary War, the newly established United States was struggling to stay financially afloat and national income was desperately needed. A great deal of this income came from import tariffs, and because of rampant smuggling, the need was immediate for strong enforcement of tariff laws. Those ships represented the United States Government’s first official “armed force afloat” since the United States Navy wasn’t founded until 1798.

The United States Coast Guard received its present name through an act of Congress signed into law by President Woodrow Wilson on January 28, 1915. This act merged the Revenue Cutter Service with the U.S. Life-Saving Service, providing the nation with a single maritime service dedicated to saving life at sea and enforcing the nation’s maritime laws.

The Coast Guard began to maintain the country’s maritime aids to navigation, including operating lighthouses, when President Franklin Roosevelt announced plans to transfer the U.S. Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard in May of 1939. Congress permanently transferred the Department of Commerce Bureau of Marine Inspection and Navigation to the Coast Guard in July 1946, thereby placing merchant marine licensing and merchant vessel safety under Coast Guard regulation.

After 177 years in the Treasury Department, the Coast Guard was transferred to the newly formed Department of Transportation effective April 1, 1967. As a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the U.S. Coast Guard was transferred to the new Department of Homeland Security in 2003.

August 4th is annually celebrated as Coast Guard Day to commemorate the birthday of the service.


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 – August 3

August 3, 2020
Day 216 of 366


August 3rd is the 216th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Niger as they commemorate their 1960 separation from France.

We only have 150 days left in 2020.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Georgia Day, National Watermelon Day, and National Grab Some Nuts Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1527, the first known letter from North America was sent by John Rut while at St. John’s, Newfoundland.
  • In 1678, Robert LaSalle built the Le Griffon, the first known ship built on the Great Lakes.
  • In 1778, the theatre La Scala in Milan was inaugurated with the première of Antonio Salieri’s Europa riconosciuta.
  • In 1852, Harvard University won the first Boat Race between Yale University and Harvard. The race was also the first American intercollegiate athletic event.
  • In 1859, the American Dental Association was founded in Niagara Falls, New York.
  • In 1903, Macedonian rebels in Kruševo proclaimed the Kruševo Republic. It existed for only ten days before Ottoman Turks laid waste to the town.
  • In 1911, actor Alex McCrindle was born.
  • In 1940, actor and producer Martin Sheen was born.
  • In 1946, Santa Claus Land, the world’s first themed amusement park, opened in Santa Claus, Indiana.
  • In 1950, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter John Landis was born.
  • Also in 1950, actress Jo Marie Payton was born.
  • In 1955, voice actor Corey Burton was born.
  • In 1958, the world’s first nuclear submarine, the USS Nautilus (SSN-571), became the first vessel to complete a submerged transit of the geographical North Pole.
  • In 1959, actor and producer John C. McGinley was born.
  • In 1977, the Tandy Corporation announced the TRS-80, one of the world’s first mass-produced personal computers.
  • In 1979, actress Evangeline Lilly was born.
  • In 1997, the tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Sky Tower in downtown Auckland, New Zealand, opened after two-and-a-half years of construction.
  • In 2001, The Princess Diaries was released.


In 1959, The Pidjiguiti (Pijiguiti) massacre took place in Bissau, Portuguese Guinea.

Dock workers at the Port of Bissau’s Pijiguiti docks went on strike while seeking higher pay, but the manager called the Portuguese state police (PIDE). Officers fired into the crowd and killed 25 people, and the government blamed the revolutionary group PAIGC, known as the African Party for the Independence of Guinea and Cape Verde, or in Portuguese, Partido Africano para a Independência da Guiné e Cabo Verde.

After the arrests of several PAIGC members, the incident caused PAIGC to abandon their campaign of nonviolent resistance, leading to the Guinea-Bissau War of Independence in 1963. Towards the end of the war, the party established a Marxist–Leninist one-party state, which remained intact until multi-party democracy was introduced in the early 1990s.

The anniversary of the massacre is a public day of remembrance in Guinea-Bissau. Near the docks, there is a large black fist known as the Hand of Timba which was erected as a memorial to those killed.


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 – August 2

August 2, 2020
Day 215 of 366


August 2nd is the 215th day of the year. It is the Day of Azerbaijani Cinema in (where else?) Azerbaijan.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Coloring Book Day, National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, American Family Day, National Friendship Day, and National Sisters Day. The last three are typically observed on the first Sunday in August.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1776, the signing of the United States Declaration of Independence took place. Wait… what? The Declaration became official when Congress voted for it on July 4th, but signatures of the delegates were not needed to make it official. The handwritten copy of the Declaration of Independence that was signed by Congress is dated July 4, 1776, but some of the fifty-six delegates that signed it were not present on that date. Some were not even elected to Congress at that point. Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin, and John Adams all wrote that the Declaration had been signed by Congress on July 4th, but signer Thomas McKean disputed that account in 1796. August 2nd is the signing date that most historians agree on.
  • In 1790, the first United States Census was conducted.
  • In 1820, Irish-English physicist and mountaineer John Tyndall was born. He studied diamagnetism, and made discoveries in the realms of infrared radiation and the physical properties of air, proving the connection between atmospheric CO2 and what is now known as the greenhouse effect in 1859.
  • In 1870, Tower Subway opened in London, England. It is the world’s first underground tube railway.
  • In 1873, the Clay Street Hill Railroad began operating the first cable car in San Francisco’s famous cable car system.
  • In 1892, production manager and producer Jack L. Warner was born. He co-founded Warner Bros.
  • In 1918, the first general strike in Canadian history took place in Vancouver.
  • In 1924, actor Carroll O’Connor was born.
  • In 1932, the positron (the antiparticle of the electron) was discovered by Carl D. Anderson.
  • Also in 1932, British-Irish actor and producer Peter O’Toole was born.
  • In 1939, Albert Einstein and Leo Szilard wrote a letter to Franklin D. Roosevelt, urging him to begin the Manhattan Project to develop a nuclear weapon.
  • Also in 1939, director, producer, and screenwriter Wes Craven was born.
  • In 1943, actor Max Wright was born.
  • In 1945, actor Joanna Cassidy was born.
  • In 1964, actress Mary-Louise Parker was born.
  • In 1967, the film version of In the Heat of the Night premiered.
  • In 1970, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Kevin Smith was born.
  • In 1973, American Graffiti premiered.
  • In 1976, English-Australian actor and producer Sam Worthington was born.
  • In 1999, The Sixth Sense premiered.


August 2nd is a day of several Romani genocide-related observances, including Roma Holocaust Memorial Day in Europe, Genocide Remembrance Day of the Roma and Sinti in Poland, and International Remembrance Day of the Holocaust of the Roma in Ukraine.

The Romani genocide – also known as the Romani Holocaust, the Porajmos (meaning “the Devouring”), the Pharrajimos (“the Cutting up”, “the Fragmentation”, “the Destruction”), and the Samudaripen (“the Mass Killing”) – was the effort spearheaded by Nazi Germany and the Axis forces to commit ethnic cleansing and eventually genocide against Europe’s Romani people.

Under Adolf Hitler, a supplementary decree to the Nuremberg Laws was issued on November 26, 1935, that classified the Romani as “enemies of the race-based state”. This placed them in the same category as the Jews and Poles. Historians estimate that between 220,000 and 500,000 Romani were killed by the Nazis and their collaborators, eradicating between 25% to 50% of the estimated population of Roma in Europe at the time. Later research increased the estimated death toll to approximately 1.5 million out of an estimated 2 million Roma.

Another aspect of the Romani Genocide was medical experimentation, particularly by the infamous Dr. Josef Mengele in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. His experiments included placing subjects in pressure chambers, testing drugs on them, freezing them, attempting to change their eye color by injecting chemicals into children’s eyes, and various amputations and other brutal surgeries. The extent of his brutalism is lost to time since his records were destroyed. Subjects who survived Mengele’s experiments were almost always killed and dissected shortly afterward.

The German government paid reparations to Jewish survivors of the Holocaust, but not to the Romani due to their status as anti-social criminals rather than victims of religious and racial persecution. West Germany finally recognized the genocide of the Roma in 1982, and since then the Porajmos has been increasingly recognized as a genocide committed simultaneously with the Shoah.

Regardless of official reparations, several acts of commemoration and memorials have spread across the European continent.


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 – August 1

August 1, 2020
Day 214 of 366


August 1st is the 214th day of the year. It is Swiss National Day, the national holiday of Switzerland. The founding of the Swiss Confederacy was first celebrated on this date in 1891, and annually since 1899, but this has only been an official holiday since 1994.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as International Mahjong Day, National Raspberry Cream Pie Day, National Girlfriends Day, National Minority Donor Awareness Day, Respect for Parents Day, National Disc Golf Day, National Jamaican Patty Day, National Mustard Day, and Mead Day. The last four are typically observed on the first Saturday in August.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1291, the Old Swiss Confederacy was formed with the signature of the Federal Charter.
  • In 1774, British scientist Joseph Priestley discovered oxygen gas, corroborating the prior discovery of this element by German-Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele.
  • In 1779, lawyer, author, and poet Francis Scott Key was born.
  • In 1800, the Acts of Union 1800 were passed which merged the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland into the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
  • In 1819, novelist, short story writer, and poet Herman Melville was born.
  • In 1834, slavery was abolished in the British Empire as the Slavery Abolition Act 1833 came into force, although it remained legal in the possessions of the East India Company until the passage of the Indian Slavery Act, 1843.
  • In 1893, Henry Perky patented shredded wheat.
  • In 1911, Harriet Quimby took her pilot’s test and became the first American woman to earn an Aero Club of America aviator’s certificate.
  • In 1914, the German Empire declared war on the Russian Empire at the opening of World War I. The Swiss Army mobilized because of World War I.
  • In 1927, the Nanchang Uprising occurred, marking the first significant battle in the Chinese Civil War between the Kuomintang and Chinese Communist Party. This day was commemorated as the anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army.
  • In 1933, actor and comedian Dom DeLuise was born.
  • In 1936, the Summer Olympic Games opened in Berlin with a ceremony presided over by Adolf Hitler.
  • In 1942, singer-songwriter and guitarist Jerry Garcia was born.
  • In 1948, Israeli-American screenwriter and producer Avi Arad was born. He founded Marvel Studios.
  • In 1957, the United States and Canada formed the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD).
  • In 1961, United States Defense Secretary Robert McNamara ordered the creation of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), the nation’s first centralized military espionage organization.
  • In 1965, Frank Herbert’s novel, Dune was published for the first time. It was named as the world’s best-selling science fiction novel in 2003.
  • Also in 1965, director and producer Sam Mendes was born.
  • In 1981, MTV began broadcasting in the United States. Ironically, the first video aired was “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles.


In 1759, during the Seven Years’ War, the Battle of Minden took place. It was an allied Anglo-German army victory over the French, and in Britain, this was one of a number of events that constituted the Annus Mirabilis of 1759. It is celebrated as Minden Day by certain British Army regiments.

The celebration of the day involves the wearing of “Minden Roses” on the regimental head dress, and, in the case of the infantry regiments, the decoration of the regimental colors with garlands of roses. This recalls that the regiments wore wild roses at the battle that they had plucked from the hedgerows as they advanced to engage the enemy.

The colors of roses varies. Red and yellow roses are worn by most of the units (including the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers and the Royal Anglians, both of whom continue to mark Minden as one of their most important regimental days), whilst the PWRR wear a single red rose. A white rose is favored by the Light Infantry.

In some cases this reflects parts of the regimental recruiting areas. The PWRR have strong links with Hampshire (whose badge is a red rose) and the Light Infantry is associated with part of Yorkshire (represented by a white rose).


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.



Culture on My Mind – Quarantine Con Special Edition

Culture on My Mind
July 31, 2020


This week’s “can’t let it go” comes on what should have been the opening day of Atlanta Comic Con, so it makes sense to cover a couple more classic sci-fi discussion panels broadcast from COVID quarantine bunkers.

At the end of June, Gary and Joe from the Dragon Con American Science Fiction Classics Track were joined by long-time friends Rick Klaw and Mark Finn for one of their patent-pending Roll-a-Panels. This classic roulette covers movies from 1990, 1995, and 2000, including Battlefield Earth, Tremors, Exorcist 3, Mortal Kombat, and 16 more things!


This topic was repeated for AtHomeCon (now CosmicHomeFest) 2020, rotating through a veritable plethora of pals including Michael Williams, Michael Nipp, Beverly Goldborg, and a cool lady named Erika.


One more panel for your consideration is Classic Sci-Fi Court, CosmicHomeFest Edition. When some stick in the mud tells you that a movie you like is bad, don’t take the law into your own hands. You take them to court! Join Gary and Joe with guest attorneys Rick Tetrault, Scott Matteson, and Branden K. Ushio.


Gary and Joe have a lot more fun discussions planned in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook.


Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

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

The Thing About Today – July 31

July 31, 2020
Day 213 of 366


July 31st is the 213th day of the year. It is Warriors’ Day (Hari Pahlawan) in Malaysia, a day that commemorates the servicemen killed during the two World Wars and the Malayan Emergency (a guerrilla war fought in the Federation of Malaya between 1948 and 1960).


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Avocado Day, National Raspberry Cake Day, National Mutt Day, National Talk in an Elevator Day, National System Administrator Appreciation Day, and National Get Gnarly Day. The last three are typically observed on the last Friday in July.


Historical items of note:

  • In 781, the oldest recorded eruption of Mount Fuji occurred. On the traditional Japanese calendar, this happened on the sixth day of the seventh month of the first year of the Ten’o (天応) era.
  • In 1703, Daniel Defoe was placed in a pillory for the crime of seditious libel after publishing a politically satirical pamphlet. The public pelted him with flowers.
  • In 1715, seven days after a Spanish treasure fleet of twelve ships left Havana, Cuba for Spain, eleven of them sank in a storm off the coast of Florida. A few centuries later, the treasure was salvaged from those wrecks.
  • In 1777, The United States Second Continental Congress passed a resolution that the services of Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette “be accepted, and that, in consideration of his zeal, illustrious family and connexions, he have the rank and commission of major-general of the United States.”
  • In 1790, the first United States patent was issued. It was to inventor Samuel Hopkins for a potash process.
  • In 1856, Christchurch, New Zealand was chartered as a city.
  • In 1865, the first narrow-gauge mainline railway in the world opened at Grandchester, Queensland, Australia.
  • In 1932, actor and screenwriter Ted Cassidy was born. Among other offbeat characters, he was Lurch in The Addams Family.
  • In 1941, the Nazi plan for the genocide of Jews during World War II was formally initiated. Under instructions from Adolf Hitler, Nazi official Hermann Göring ordered SS General Reinhard Heydrich to “submit to me as soon as possible a general plan of the administrative material and financial measures necessary for carrying out the desired Final Solution of the Jewish question.”
  • In 1948, New York International Airport was dedicated at Idlewild Field. It was later renamed John F. Kennedy International Airport.
  • In 1958, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Michael Biehn was born.


July 31st is Ka Hae Hawaii Day, the Hawaiian Flag Day. Established in 1990, it commemorates the ensign – adopted on December 29, 1845 – that has been used by the kingdom, protectorate, republic, and territory of Hawaii. It is the only US state flag to include a foreign country’s national flag, the Union Jack of the United Kingdom, which represents the British Empire’s historical relations with the Hawaiian Kingdom, particularly with King Kamehameha I.

The holiday uses the same date as Lā Hoʻihoʻi Ea, Sovereignty Restoration Day, a holiday of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi that is celebrated by proponents of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement. The former national holiday commemorated the restoration of sovereignty to the former Hawaiian Kingdom following the occupation of Hawaiʻi by Great Britain during the 1843 Paulet Affair. The day remembered the restoration of Hawaiian sovereignty by British Rear-Admiral Richard Darton Thomas and when King Kamehameha III uttered the phrase: Ua Mau ke Ea o ka ʻĀina i ka Pono (“The life of the land is preserved in the righteousness of the people”).

The holiday was dropped by King Kamehameha V, who deemed the holiday inappropriate, in 1870 and replaced it with Kamehameha Day. It was briefly revived starting in 1891 until the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom in 1893.

The holiday continued to be observed privately by loyalists of the monarchy as a form of opposition and resistance and is still celebrated today by proponents of the Hawaiian sovereignty movement as resistance against what they consider sovereignty advocates consider an ongoing American occupation of Hawaiʻi.


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 – July 30

July 30, 2020
Day 212 of 366


July 30th is the 212th day of the year. Today, Vanuatu commemorates its independence from the United Kingdom and France in 1980.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cheesecake Day, National Father-in-Law Day, National Whistleblower Day, National Chili Dog Day, and National Intern Day. The last two are typically observed on the last Thursday in July.


Historical items of note:

  • In 762, Baghdad was founded.
  • In 1729, Baltimore, Maryland was founded.
  • In 1818, English novelist and poet Emily Brontë was born.
  • In 1863, representatives of the United States and tribal leaders including Chief Pocatello (of the Shoshone) signed the Treaty of Box Elder. The treaty called for peaceable relations between the two groups and contained a promise by the United States to pay the Shoshone $5,000 yearly as compensation for the “utter destitution” inflicted by war. It also recognizes the claim of Chief Pocatello and his people to the land “bounded on the west by the Raft River and on the east by the Porteneuf Mountains”. An amendment introduced at ratification counteracted the land claim, leaving the Native Americans high and dry as they were forcefully ejected from areas they attempted to settle within their supposed territory.
  • In 1929, Canadian-American puppeteer and producer Sid Krofft was born.
  • In 1932, Walt Disney’s Flowers and Trees premiered. It was the first cartoon short to use Technicolor and the first Academy Award-winning cartoon short.
  • In 1947, actor and producer William Atherton was born. He was the much-despised Walter Peck in Ghostbusters.
  • Also in 1947, Austrian-American bodybuilder, actor, and politician Arnold Schwarzenegger was born. He was the 38th Governor of California.
  • In 1956, a joint resolution of the United States Congress was signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, authorizing In God We Trust as the U.S. national motto. It replaced E pluribus unum as the motto, and was an attempt to distinguish the country from its Cold War adversary, the Soviet Union.
  • Also in 1956, actress Delta Burke was born.
  • In 1961, actor and producer Laurence Fishburne was born.
  • In 1962, the Trans-Canada Highway, the longest national highway in the world, was officially opened.
  • In 1963, actress and producer Lisa Kudrow was born.
  • In 1964, actress Vivica A. Fox was born.
  • In 1965, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Social Security Act of 1965 into law, establishing Medicare and Medicaid.
  • In 1970, director, producer, and screenwriter Christopher Nolan was born.
  • In 1971, Apollo 15 astronauts David Scott and James Irwin landed the Apollo Lunar Module Falcon on the Moon with the first Lunar Rover.
  • In 1974, actress and producer Hilary Swank was born. I recently saw her in a tearjerker called You’re Not You.
  • In 1982, Australian actress Yvonne Strahovski was born.
  • In 2003, the last ‘old style’ Volkswagen Beetle rolled off the assembly line in Mexico.
  • In 2006, the world’s longest-running music show, Top of the Pops, was broadcast for the last time on BBC Two. The show had aired for 42 years.


July 30th is International Friendship Day.

It was first proposed in 1958 in Paraguay as the “International Friendship Day”, and was initially promoted by the greeting card industry. With the advent of social networking, interest grew as the internet spread the concept worldwide. India, Bangladesh, and Malaysia are particular examples of countries that embrace the custom.

The exchange of Friendship Day gifts like flowers, cards, and wrist bands is a popular tradition. Friendship Day celebrations occur on different dates in different countries, the first World Friendship Day was proposed this date in 1958 by the World Friendship Crusade. On April 27, 2011, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared July 30th as official International Friendship 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.



Timestamp: Sarah Jane Adventures Series Two Summary

Sarah Jane Adventures: Series Two Summary


Another solid run for the Bannerman Road Gang.

The series had its ups and downs, though. We met Rani, a new member of the family, after an emotional send-off for Maria. I was very pleased that Maria wasn’t killed off – it is a children’s show, after all – and that she got to return as a meaningful guest for a couple of adventures.

The negative was how repetitive the first four stories of the series were. All of them focused on mind control as a plot point, and it dragged down the performance of Secrets of the Stars and The Mark of the Berserker.

The series did spring back with the magnificent The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith and the loose-end tying Enemy of the Bane. I really liked the character development for Sarah Jane Smith, the fresh take on the predestination paradox, and the clean slate leading into the next series of this show.

Series Two comes in at an average of 4.1. That’s lower than the first series, and in comparison to Doctor Who, that’s on par with classic seasons Five and Eighteen and Series Two in the revival era, just inside the top ten. It still beats both the first and second series of Torchwood.


The Last Sontaran – 4
The Day of the Clown – 5
Secrets of the Stars – 3
The Mark of the Berserker – 4
The Temptation of Sarah Jane Smith – 5
Enemy of the Bane – 4
From Raxacoricofallapatorius with Love – 4

Sarah Jane Adventures Series Two Average Rating: 4.1/5


Since we’re still proceeding in airdate order through the material from 2009, the Timestamps Project lands next on Planet of the Dead before diving into Torchwood: Children of Earth. After that, we’ll swing back to the third series of Sarah Jane and the end of the Tennant era to wrap up the calendar year.


UP NEXT – Doctor Who: Planet of the Dead


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 – July 29

July 29, 2020
Day 211 of 366


July 29th is the 211th day of the year. It is International Tiger Day, also known as Global Tiger Day, an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.

And, no, I still haven’t (and never will) watch Tiger King.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Lasagna Day, National Lipstick Day, and National Chicken Wing Day.

Now I want wings for lunch.


Historical items of note:

  • In 615, Kʼinich Janaabʼ Pakal ascended the throne of Palenque (anciently known as Lakamha, literally “Big Water”) at the age of 12.
  • In 1775, the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps was founded when General George Washington appointed William Tudor as Judge Advocate of the Continental Army.
  • In 1818, French physicist Augustin Fresnel submitted his prizewinning “Memoir on the Diffraction of Light”, precisely accounting for the limited extent to which light spreads into shadows, and thereby demolishing the oldest objection to the wave theory of light. Science!
  • In 1836, the Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated in Paris, France.
  • In 1907, Sir Robert Baden-Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England. The camp ran for eight days and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.
  • In 1938, journalist and author Peter Jennings was born.
  • In 1941, actor David Warner was born.
  • In 1945, the BBC Light Programme radio station was launched for mainstream light entertainment and music.
  • In 1948, after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the Games of the XIV Olympiad opened in London. It was the first Summer Olympics to be held since the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
  • In 1953, director and producer Ken Burns was born.
  • In 1954, The Fellowship of the Ring was first published, becoming the first volume of The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • In 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency was established.
  • In 1958, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • In 1963, actress and producer Alexandra Paul was born.
  • In 1972, actor, producer, and screenwriter Wil Wheaton was born.
  • In 1973, Greeks voted to abolish the monarchy, beginning the first period of the Metapolitefsi.
  • In 1981, a worldwide television audience of over 700 million people watched the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
  • In 2005, astronomers announced their discovery of the dwarf planet Eris.


July 29 is National Anthem Day (Ziua Imnului național) in Romania.

The anthem is “Deșteaptă-te, române!”, which is variously translated as “Awaken thee, Romanian!”, “Awaken, Romanian!”, or “Wake up, Romanian!”. The lyrics were composed by Andrei Mureșanu and the music was chosen for the poem by Gheorghe Ucenescu, as the legend goes. It was written and published during the 1848 revolution, a liberal and nationalist uprising that sought to overturn the administration imposed by Imperial Russian authorities under the Regulamentul Organic regime.

The anthem’s first name was “Un răsunet”, which means “an echo” in English. After it was first sung in the city of Brașov, on the streets of Șchei quarter, it was immediately accepted as the revolutionary anthem and renamed “Deșteaptă-te, române!”

Since then, this song, which contains a message of liberty and patriotism, has been sung during all major Romanian conflicts, including during the 1989 anti-communist revolution. After the revolution, it became the national anthem on January 24, 1990, replacing the communist-era national anthem “Trei culori” (“Three colors”).


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 – July 28

July 28, 2020
Day 210 of 366


July 28th is the 210th day of the year. It is the eve of Ólavsøka, the biggest summer festival in the Faroe Islands. This national holiday is the day when the Faroese Parliament, Løgting, opens its session. Literally translated to “Saint Olaf’s Wake” (vigilia sancti Olavi in Latin), derived from Saint Olaf’s death at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030, the festival is celebrated for several days.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Milk Chocolate Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, and National Waterpark Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1571, La Laguna encomienda, known today as the Laguna province in the Philippines, was founded by the Spaniards as one of the oldest encomiendas (provinces) in the country.
  • In 1854, USS Constellation was commissioned. It was the last all-sail warship built by the United States Navy and is now a museum ship in Baltimore Harbor.
  • In 1866, at the age of 18, Lavinia “Vinnie” Ream became the first and youngest female artist to receive a commission from the United States government. Her commission was for a white marble statue of Abraham Lincoln that resides in the Capitol Rotunda.
  • Also in 1866, English children’s book writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter was born.
  • In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified, establishing African American citizenship and guaranteeing due process of law.
  • In 1879, activist Lucy Burns was born. She co-founded the National Woman’s Party, an American women’s political organization formed to fight for women’s suffrage.
  • In 1922, Belgian-Swiss oceanographer and engineer Jacques Piccard was born.
  • In 1929, journalist, socialite, and 37th First Lady of the United States Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was born.
  • In 1945, cartoonist Jim Davis was born. He created Garfield.
  • In 1996, the remains of a prehistoric man were discovered near Kennewick, Washington, thus known as the Kennewick Man.
  • In 2018, Australian Wendy Tuck became the first woman skipper to win the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.


July 28th is the Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval.

The Expulsion of the Acadians, also known as the Great Upheaval, the Great Expulsion, the Great Deportation, and Le Grand Dérangement, was the forced removal of the Acadian people by the British from the present-day Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and northern Maine. These locations were parts of an area historically known as Acadia.

The Expulsion occurred over a decade during the French and Indian War as part of the British military campaign against New France (the area colonized by France in America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spain in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris).

The British first deported Acadians to the Thirteen Colonies, and after 1758, transported additional Acadians to Britain and France. In the first wave, Acadians were deported to other British North American colonies. During the second wave, they were deported to Britain and France, and from there a significant number migrated to Spanish Louisiana, where “Acadians” eventually became “Cajuns”. Acadians fled initially to French-allied colonies such as Canada, the uncolonized northern part of Acadia, Île Saint-Jean (now Prince Edward Island), and Île Royale (now Cape Breton Island). During the second wave of the expulsion, these Acadians were either imprisoned or deported.

In all, of the 14,100 Acadians in the region, approximately 11,500 Acadians were deported. The expulsion helped the British achieve their military goals of defeating Louisbourg and weakening the Miꞌkmaq and Acadian militias, but the larger effect was the devastation of both a primarily civilian population and the economy of the region. Thousands of Acadians died in the expulsions, mainly from diseases and drowning when ships were lost.

In 1847, American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published a long, narrative poem about the expulsion of the Acadians called Evangeline, which depicted the plight of the fictional character Evangelin. The poem became popular and made the expulsion well known. The Evangeline Oak is a tourist attraction in Louisiana.

Several other cultural commemorations were made, including songs, novels, and living monuments such as Grand-Pré Park (a National Historic Site of Canada situated in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia).

In December 2003, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, representing Queen Elizabeth II as Canada’s head of state, acknowledged the expulsion but did not apologize for it. She designated July 28th as “A Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval.” The Royal Proclamation of 2003 closed one of the longest cases in the history of the British courts, initiated in 1760 when the Acadian representatives first presented their grievances of forced dispossession of land, property, and livestock.

Today the Acadians live primarily in eastern New Brunswick and in some regions of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Northern Maine.


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.