February 5, 2020
Day 36 of 366
February 5th is the thirty-sixth day of the year. It is Constitution Day in Mexico and Crown Princess Mary’s birthday in Denmark.
In the United States, it is “celebrated” as National Shower with a Friend Day, National Weatherperson’s Day, World Nutella Day, and National Girls and Women in Sports Day. The last one is typically observed on the first Wednesday in February.
Shower with a Friend Day reminds me of one of my dad’s sayings during my childhood: “Save water and shower with a steady.”
Historical items of note:
- In 62 AD, the towns of Pompeii and Herculaneum were severely damaged by strong earthquake. Some consider it a precursor event to the eruption of Mount Vesuvius which destroyed the same towns seventeen years later.
- In 1807, the ship of the line HMS Blenheim and the frigate HMS Java disappeared off the coast of Rodrigues in the Indian Ocean.
- In 1852, the New Hermitage Museum opened to the public in Saint Petersburg, Russia. It is one of the largest and oldest museums in the world.
- In 1913, Greek military aviators Michael Moutoussis and Aristeidis Moraitinis performed the first naval air mission in history. The mission was flown with a Farman MF.7 hydroplane.
- In 1917, the current constitution of Mexico was adopted. It established a federal republic with powers separated into independent executive, legislative, and judicial branches.
- In 1918, Stephen W. Thompson shot down a German airplane during World War I. It was the first aerial victory by the United States military.
- Also in 1918, the luxury liner SS Tuscania was torpedoed off the coast of Ireland by German U-boat UB-77. It was carrying 384 crew 2,013 United States Army personnel. About 210 troops and crew were lost in the attack, making the Tuscania the first ship carrying American troops to Europe to be torpedoed and sunk.
- In 1919, Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, and D. W. Griffith launched United Artists.
- In 1921, British film production designer Ken Adam was born.
- In 1924, the Royal Greenwich Observatory began broadcasting the hourly time signals known as the Greenwich Time Signal or the “BBC Pips”.
- In 1934, American baseball player Hank Aaron was born. He held the career home run record for thirty-three years, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002, and holds front office roles with his home team, the Atlanta Braves.
- In 1941, actor, producer, and screenwriter Stephen J. Cannell was born. His creations include The Rockford Files, The A-Team, The Greatest American Hero, 21 Jump Street, and The Commish.
- In 1943, Nolan Bushnell was born. An American engineer and businessman, he founded Atari, Inc.
- In 1944, the Captain America serial premiered. It was the most expensive serial that Republic Pictures ever made. It was also the first theatrical release connected to a Marvel character and would hold that status for more than 40 years.
- In 1958, a hydrogen bomb known as the Tybee Bomb was lost by the United States Air Force off the coast of Savannah, Georgia. It was never recovered.
- In 1971, astronauts Alan Shepard and Edgar Mitchell from the Apollo 14 mission successfully landed on the lunar surface.
- In 1988, Manuel Noriega was indicted on drug smuggling and money laundering charges.
In 1940, Swiss painter, sculptor, and set designer H. R. Giger was born.
Giger was well-known for his stylistic images of humans and machines connected in biomechanical relationships. He was part of the special effects team for 1979’s Alien, which won an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects.
His design for the titular xenomorphic alien was inspired by his painting Necronom IV. His books of paintings, particularly Necronomicon and Necronomicon II continued to propel his international recognition, as well as his frequent publication in Omni magazine. He was admitted to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame in 2013.
Giger’s work has been seen on several recording albums as well as several films. Aside from the Alien franchise, he worked on an unproduced version of Dune, Poltergeist II, Species, Future-Kill, Tokyo: The Last Megalopolis, and an unused version of the Batmobile from Batman Forever. He also directed several films.
Giger died on May 12, 2014, after suffering injuries in a fall. His work is on permanent display at the H.R. Giger Museum at the Saint-Germain Castle in Gruyères, Switzerland, which he acquired in 1998.
On 11 July 2018, the asteroid 109712 Giger was named in his memory.
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.