The Thing About Today – May 14

May 14, 2020
Day 135 of 366

 

May 14th is the 135th day of the year. It is Flag Day in Paraguay.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Decency Day, National Underground America Day, and National Buttermilk Biscuit Day.

 

Historical items of note:

  • In 1727, English painter Thomas Gainsborough was born.
  • In 1796, Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox inoculation.
  • In 1800, The 6th United States Congress went to recessed. The process of moving the United States Government from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Washington, D.C., began the following day.
  • In 1878, the last witchcraft trial held in the United States began in Salem, Massachusetts. It started after Lucretia Brown, an adherent of Christian Science, accused Daniel Spofford of attempting to harm her through his mental powers.
  • In 1925, Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs. Dalloway was published.
  • In 1936, actor and singer-songwriter Bobby Darin was born.
  • In 1938, The Adventures of Robin Hood starring Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland was released.
  • In 1939, Lina Medina became the youngest confirmed mother in medical history at the age of five. She is also believed to be the youngest documented case of precocious puberty. The father’s identity was never determined, but Medina’s son grew up healthy until he died from a bone disease at the age of 40.
  • In 1944, director, producer, screenwriter, and entrepreneur George Lucas was born.
  • In 1952, director, producer, and screenwriter Robert Zemeckis was born.
  • In 1961, a white mob attacked a Freedom Riders bus two times near Anniston, Alabama. They then fire-bombed the bus and attacking the civil rights protesters who fled the burning vehicle.
  • In 1965, author Eoin Colfer was born.
  • In 1969, actress Cate Blanchett.
  • In 1971, director, producer, and screenwriter Sophia Coppola was born.
  • In 1973, Skylab was launched. It was the United States’ first space station.
  • In 1983, actress, author, model, and director Amber Tamblyn was born.

 

May 14th is known in some circles as National Dance Like a Chicken Day.

This is where I shout out to Kevin and Kornflake from The Flopcast, as well as the Mayor and all of the citizens of Chickentown! Grab a coffee and join them to discuss Saturday morning cartoons, Dr. Demento-style funny music, television and movies of the 1970s and 1980s, comic books, conventions, chickens, and more.

On May 14th, everyone is encouraged to flap their arms and strut like a chicken, because it’s highly probable that you’ve danced the Chicken Dance” at least once in your lifetime. It’s a silly song that is popular at wedding receptions, Oktoberfest, and other celebrations. It’s catchy and gets people moving.

Also known as the Bird Song, the Birdie Song, the Bird Dance, or the Chicken Song, is an oom-pah song composed in the 1950s by accordion player Werner Thomas from Davos, Switzerland. It hit the United States sometime in the 1970s after Belgian producer Louis van Rymenant heard Thomas playing it in a hotel or restaurant. Once it was published in America, it acquired choreography with repetitive beak, wing, and tail motions, as well as its current name.

A version by Henry Hadaway actually reached #2 on the October 1981 music charts, and by 2000 it was voted as “the most annoying song of all time” by a poll on the dotmusic website. It has been featured on Lawrence Welk, and is very popular among children, novelty fans, and various celebrations.

 

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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