The Thing About Today – January 18

January 18, 2020
Day 18 of 366


January 18th is the eighteenth day of the year. It is Royal Thai Armed Forces Day in Thailand.

In the United States, it is “celebrated” as National Michigan Day, National Peking Duck Day, National Thesaurus Day, and National Use Your Gift Card Day. The last one is typically observed on the third Saturday in January.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1788, the first elements of the First Fleet arrive in Botany Bay. They carried 736 convicts from Great Britain to Australia.
  • In 1886, modern field hockey was born with the formation of The Hockey Association in England.
  • In 1911, Eugene B. Ely became the first pilot to land on a ship when he set down on the USS Pennsylvania (ACR-4/CA-4) in San Francisco Bay.
  • In 1904, actor Cary Grant was born.
  • In 1915, Japan issued the “Twenty-One Demands” to the Republic of China.
  • In 1933, engineer and businessman Ray Dolby was born. He would establish Dolby Laboratories, a groundbreaking audio company.
  • In 1943, the first uprising of Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto occurred.
  • In 1958, Willie O’Ree, the first Black Canadian National Hockey League player, makes his debut with the Boston Bruins.
  • In 1969, actor and singer Jesse L. Martin was born.
  • In 1973, the final episode of Monty Python’s Flying Circus premiered on BBC.
  • In 1974, The Six Million Dollar Man premiered on ABC.
  • In 1976, the Karantina Massacre occurred in Beiruit during the Lebanese Civil War. Approximately 1,500 people, mostly Muslims, were murdered by Lebanese Christian militias.
  • In 1977, scientists identified a previously unknown bacterium as the cause of Legionnaires’ disease.
  • In 1993, Martin Luther King Jr. Day was officially observed for the first time in all fifty U.S. states.


In 1882, A. A. Milne, the creator of Winnie the Pooh, was born. He served in both World Wars, specifically in the British Army for World War I and as a captain in the British Home Guard during World War II. He was a noted writer and playwright before creating the classic children’s icon, but Winnie the Pooh overshadowed all of his previous work.

Pooh Bear was inspired by a black bear named Winnie (after Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) who lived at the London Zoo during World War I. Milne’s son Christopher Robin Milne would often visit the bear and grew enamored by it. Milne wrote Winnie-the-Pooh in 1926 with illustrations by E. H. Shepard, followed by The House at Pooh Corner in 1928.

A. A. Milne experienced a stroke and brain surgery in 1952 which left him as an invalid. He retired to his farm in East Sussex and died in 1956 at the age of 74.

The Walt Disney Company licensed certain rights for the property in the 1960s, finally buying all of the rights from The Royal Literary Fund in 2001 for $350 million. They have control until the copyright expires in 2026. Two other official books were written with backing from the Milne estate: Return to the Hundred Acre Wood and The Best Bear in All the World.

A live-action film was released in 2018 named Christopher Robin that focused on the imaginative boy from the books after he grows to adulthood. A British biographical drama about Milne’s life, Goodbye Christopher Robin, was released in 2017.

National Winnie the Pooh Day unofficially commemorates A. A. Milne’s birthday every year in celebration of the iconic character and stories he created.


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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