The Thing About Today – January 24

January 24, 2020
Day 24 of 366


January 24th is the twenty-fourth day of the year. It is Unification Day in Romania.

In the United States, it is “celebrated” as Beer Can Appreciation Day, National Compliment Day, and National Peanut Butter Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 41 AD, Claudius was proclaimed Roman Emperor by the Praetorian Guard. This was after they assassinated the previous emperor, his nephew Caligula, thus ending the male line of Julii Caesares.
  • In 1848, James W. Marshall discovered gold at Sutter’s Mill near Sacramento, California. This marked the beginning of the California Gold Rush.
  • In 1862, Bucharest was declared as the capital of Romania.
  • Also in 1862, novelist Edith Wharton was born. In 1921, she was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for Literature.
  • In 1908, the first Boy Scout troop was organized in England by Robert Baden-Powell.
  • In 1916, the Supreme Court of the United States decided in the case of Brushaber v. Union Pacific Railroad Co. that federal income tax was constitutional.
  • In 1917, actor Ernest Borgnine was born.
  • In 1927, Alfred Hitchcock made his directorial debut with The Pleasure Garden.
  • In 1933, the Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. It changed the beginning and end of terms for all elected federal offices.
  • In 1940, John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath was released. It was based on the classic novel of the same name.
  • In 1946, The United Nations General Assembly passed its first resolution, establishing the United Nations Atomic Energy Commission.
  • In 1947, American physicist and academic Michio Kaku was born.
  • In 1948, actor and singer Michael Des Barres was born.
  • In 1949, comedian John Belushi was born.
  • In 1967, actor, singer, and screenwriter Phil LaMarr was born.
  • In 1968, gymnast Mary Lou Retton was born.
  • In 1984, the Macintosh personal computer hit store shelves for the first time.
  • In 1989, serial killer Ted Bundy was executed by electric chair at Florida State Prison. He had over 30 known victims.


In 1944, science fiction screenwriter and author David Gerrold was born. Within days of seeing the premiere of the original Star Trek, he wrote a sixty-page outline for a two-part episode. The story was rejected, but producer Gene Coon recognized Gerrold’s talent and asked for more story premises. Among those submissions was “The Fuzzies”, which later became “A Fuzzy Thing Happened to Me…” before evolving into the iconic “The Trouble with Tribbles”. The “fuzzies” became tribbles due to the novels by H. Beam Piper that featured a creature of the same name.

“The Trouble with Tribbles” was nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation at the 1968 Hugo Awards. All of the nominees that year were Star Trek episodes, and the winner was “The City on the Edge of Forever”.

During his time with the original Star Trek, he also provided the story for “The Cloud Minders” (alongside Oliver Crawford) and provided an uncredited rewrite on “I, Mudd”. For Star Trek: The Animated Series, he penned “More Tribbles, More Troubles” and “Bem”. The latter was notable for featuring the first use of Captain Kirk’s middle name Tiberius.

In October 1986, Gerrold was brought onboard to help pre-production of Star Trek: The Next Generation with Robert Justman, Edward K. Milkis, and D.C. Fontana. Many of the changes that he had advocated for in his behind-the-scenes book The World of Star Trek were incorporated into the new show. He left the show near the end of the first season, partly because of the dispute over his script “Blood and Fire”, which was an allegory for the AIDS epidemic. After it was shelved by the Next Gen production team, Gerrold reworked the script into his original novel series Star Wolf as well as a two-part episode in the fan production Star Trek: New Voyages, which he also directed.

Gerrold wrote the novelization for “Encounter at Farpoint” and the original Star Trek novel The Galactic Whirlpool, which was based on his story outline for “Tomorrow Was Yesterday”. He also wrote several other works, including the War Against the Chtorr and Star Wolf series.


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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