The Thing About Today – March 26

March 26, 2020
Day 86 of 366

 

March 26th is the eighty-sixth day of the year. It is Purple Day, a day of awareness regarding epilepsy.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Nougat Day and National Spinach Day. I have never tried mixing the two, so it could be a total peanut butter and chocolate situation.

Or not.

 

Historical items of note:

  • In 1484, William Caxton printed his translation of Aesop’s Fables.
  • In 1773, Nathaniel Bowditch was born. A mathematician and navigator, he is often credited as the founder of modern maritime navigation. His book, The New American Practical Navigator, was first published in 1802 and is still carried on board every commissioned U.S. Naval vessel.
  • In 1812, a political cartoon in the Boston Gazette coined the term “gerrymander” to describe oddly shaped electoral districts designed to help incumbents win reelection. The term was named after Elbridge Gerry, who, as Governor of Massachusetts, signed a bill that created a partisan district in the Boston area that was compared to the shape of a mythological salamander.
  • In 1830, the Book of Mormon was published for the first time in Palmyra, New York.
  • In 1904, author and mythologist Joseph Campbell was born.
  • In 1911, playwright and poet Tennessee Williams was born.
  • In 1930, Sandra Day O’Connor was born. She was the first woman to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • In 1931, the legendary Leonard Nimoy was born.
  • In 1944, Diana Ross was born. A singer-songwriter, producer, and actress, she was the lead singer for The Supremes.
  • In 1948, Steven Tyler was born. He is the lead singer for Aerosmith.
  • In 1950, composer Alan Silvestri was born.
  • In 1958, the United States Army successfully launched the Explorer 3 satellite.
  • In 1960, actress Jennifer Grey was born.
  • In 1972, actress Leslie Mann was born.
  • In 1985, actress Keira Knightley was born.
  • In 2005, Doctor Who returned to television after a 16-year hiatus with the episode “Rose“. Christopher Eccleston starred as the Ninth Doctor alongside Billie Piper as Rose Tyler.
  • In 2018, Black Panther became the highest-grossing superhero film in the United States with earnings of $630.9 million.

 

In 1871, Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole, heir to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi, prince of the House of Kalākaua, and later a territorial delegate to the United States Congress, was born.

He was a prince of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi until Queen Liliʻuokalani was overthrown in a coup d’état by a coalition of American and European businessmen in 1893. He later went on to become a representative in the Territory of Hawaii as a delegate to the United States Congress, and as such is the only person ever elected to that body who had been born into royalty. As a delegate, he authored the first Hawaii Statehood bill in 1919. He also won passage of the Hawaiian Homes Act, creating the Hawaiian Homes Commission and setting aside 200,000 acres of land for Hawaiian homesteaders.

He died on January 7, 1922, and his life was honored by the legislature of the Territory of Hawaii with the establishment of Prince Kūhiō Day in 1949.

Prince Kūhiō Day is one of only two holidays in the United States dedicated to royalty, the other being Hawaiʻi’s King Kamehameha Day on June 11.

 

In 1874, poet and playwright Robert Frost was born.

Of his works, two of my favorites are Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening and The Road Not Taken.

 

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

 

The Road Not Taken

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

 

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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