The Thing About Today – January 8

January 8, 2020
Day 8 of 366


January 8th is the eighth day of the year. It is celebrated as Commonwealth Day in the Northern Mariana Islands.

In the United States, it is “celebrated” as National Argyle Day, National Bubble Bath Day, National English Toffee Day, National JoyGerm Day, and National Winter Skin Relief Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1790, President George Washington delivered the first State of the Union Address in New York City.
  • In 1835, the United States national debt is zero for the first and only time. The debt was paid off by President Andrew Jackson, and the action precipitated one of the worst financial crises in history.
  • In 1867, African American men were granted the right to vote in Washington, DC.
  • In 1877, Crazy Horse and his warriors fought their last battle against the United States Cavalry. The battle took place at Wolf Mountain in the Montana Territory.
  • In 1908, actor William Hartnell was born. He went on to originate the titular role in Doctor Who.
  • In 1926, Milton Supman was born. Professionally, he was known as comedian Soupy Sales.
  • In 1935, singer and actor Elvis Presley was born.
  • In 1947, revolutionary singer-songwriter, actor, and producer David Bowie was born.
  • In 1975, Ella T. Grasso became the Governor of Connecticut. She was the first woman to serve as a Governor in the United States other than by succeeding her husband.
  • In 1977, actress, writer, director, and producer Amber Benson was born.
  • In 2005, the USS San Francisco (SSN-711) collided with an underwater seamount at full speed. One sailor was killed, 98 sailors were injured, and the boat was nearly lost at sea.


In 1937, Welsh singer Shirley Bassey was born in Cardiff. She was known for her strong singing voice, and her career began in 1953 with £10 for two performances. She took up a few more performances over the following years until she was noticed by Jack Hylton in 1955 and was asked to feature in Such is Life in the West End.

Philips record producer Johnny Franz offered her a recording contract in 1956, and she had her first hit with “The Banana Boat Song” in 1957. She also worked with Columbia Records in 1957, and had her only US Top 40 Billboard Top 100 hit with the title theme to 1965’s Goldfinger, the third James Bond film.

She continued to work through the 1960s and 1970s, including singing the title themes to Bond films Thunderball, Diamonds Are Forever, and Moonraker. She was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) on December 31, 1999 by Queen Elizabeth the II, and she has continued to perform to this 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.




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