The Thing About Today – January 14

January 14, 2020
Day 14 of 366


January 14th is the fourteenth day of the year. It is National Forest Conservation Day in Thailand.

In the United States, it is “celebrated” as National Dress Up Your Pet Day, National Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day, Ratification Day, and Shop for Travel Day. The last one is typically celebrated on the second Tuesday in January.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1539, Spain annexed Cuba.
  • In 1639, The Fundamental Orders were adopted in Connecticut. It was the first written constitution that created a government, thus leading to the state’s nickname.
  • In 1911, Roald Amundsen’s expedition made landfall on the eastern edge of the Ross Ice Shelf in Antarctica.
  • In 1919, Andy Rooney was born. He was an American soldier, journalist, critic, and television personality well-known for his “A Few Minutes with Andy Rooney” segment on 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011.
  • In 1943, Franklin Roosevelt became the first President of the United States to travel by airplane while in office. He flew from Miami to Morocco to meet with Winston Churchill in the Casablanca Conference during World War II.
  • In 1944, journalist Nina Totenberg was born.
  • In 1952, Today premiered on NBC. The morning show would later be known as The Today Show.
  • Also in 1952, journalist Maureen Dowd was born.
  • In 1960, the Reserve Bank of Australia was established. It is the country’s central bank and banknote issuing authority.
  • In 1973, Elvis Presley’s Aloha from Hawaii concert was broadcast live via satellite. It set and record as the most-watched broadcast by an individual entertainer in television history.
  • In 1976, The Bionic Woman premiered on ABC. It later moved to NBC.
  • In 1977, Fantasy Island premiered on ABC.
  • In 1990, Grant Gustin was born. He portrayed Barry Allen on The Flash.


January 14th marks the Feast of the Ass, a medieval Christian observation of the Flight into Egypt.

As told in the Gospel of Matthew and New Testament apocrypha, an angel appeared to Joseph (the father of Jesus) in a dream. The angel warned Joseph to flee into Egypt with Mary and the infant Jesus because King Herod sought to kill the child. According to the story, King Herod initiated the Massacre of the Innocents – the execution of all male children two years of age and under in the vicinity of Bethlehem – but failed to kill the child since Egypt was outside of his dominion and part of the Roman Empire.

The Feast of the Ass was celebrated primarily in France and honored the donkey that ferried the family to Egypt. Historians consider it an adaptation of Cervula, the pagan feast celebrated on the kalends (first day) of January. The Christian version was celebrated as early as the 11th century but disappeared in the latter half of the 15th century along with the Feast of Fools.


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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