The Thing About Today – September 22

September 22, 2020
Day 266 of 366


September 22nd is the 266th day of the year. We have 100 days left in 2020.

It is the autumnal equinox in the Northern Hemisphere (welcome to Fall!) and the vernal equinox in the Southern Hemisphere (welcome to Spring!).


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Online Recovery DayCar Free Day, Dear Diary Day, National Centenarian’s Day, Elephant Appreciation Day, National Girls’ Night, Hobbit Day, National Ice Cream Cone Day, National Legwear Day, National White Chocolate Day, and National Voter Registration Day (typically observed on the fourth Tuesday in September).


I’ll spare you the typical spiel on voting. Just know that I think it is vitally important and I encourage you to get registered and turn out on Election Day. In the United States, we have 42 days to go.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1692, the last hanging occurred of those convicted of witchcraft in the Salem witch trials. The others would eventually be released.
  • In 1776, Nathan Hale was hanged for spying during the American Revolution.
  • In 1789, the office of United States Postmaster General was established.
  • In 1791, English physicist and chemist Michael Faraday was born. His main discoveries include the principles underlying electromagnetic induction, diamagnetism, and electrolysis.
  • In 1862, a preliminary version of the Emancipation Proclamation was released by President Abraham Lincoln.
  • In 1896, Queen Victoria surpassed her grandfather King George III as the longest reigning monarch in British history.
  • In 1919, the steel strike of 1919, led by the Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers, began in Pennsylvania before spreading across the United States.
  • In 1957, Maverick premiered on television.
  • In 1964, The Man from U.N.C.L.E. premiered on television.
  • In 1965, astronaut Robert Satcher was born.
  • In 1971, author and poet Elizabeth Bear was born.
  • In 1976, Charlie’s Angels premiered on television.
  • In 1981, voice actor Ashley Eckstein was born.
  • In 1982, actress and singer Billie Piper was born.
  • Also in 1982, Family Ties premiered on television.
  • In 1984, actress Laura Vandervoort was born.
  • In 1985, actress Tatiana Maslany was born.
  • In 1987, actor Tom Felton was born.
  • In 1991, the Dead Sea Scrolls were made available to the public for the first time.
  • In 1994, Friends premiered on television.
  • In 1999, The West Wing premiered on television.
  • In 2004, LOST premiered on television.
  • Also in 2004, Veronica Mars premiered on television.


In 1949, the American Business Women’s Association was founded.

The mission of the organization is “to bring together businesswomen of diverse occupations and to provide opportunities for them to help themselves and others grow personally and professionally through leadership; education, networking support and national recognition”.

To celebrate the date, September 22nd is American Business Women’s Day. The holiday was recognized in 1983 and 1986 by Congressional resolution and a proclamation issued by President Ronald Reagan, and is designed to commemorate the important legacy and contributions of the more than 68 million American working women and 7.7 million women business owners.

It also provides an opportunity for ABWA chapters and individual businesswomen to celebrate their accomplishments within the American and global marketplace.


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.



The Thing About Today – September 21

September 21, 2020
Day 265 of 366


September 21st is the 265th day of the year. It is Independence Day in multiple locations, including Armenia (separated from the Soviet Union in 1991), Belize (from the United Kingdom in 1981), and Malta (from the United Kingdom in 1964).


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Chai Day, National Pecan Cookie Day, and National New York Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1780, Benedict Arnold provided the British with the plans to West Point.
  • In 1792, the National Convention abolishes the monarchy during the French Revolution.
  • In 1866, novelist, historian, and critic H. G. Wells was born.
  • In 1874, composer and educator Gustav Holst was born.
  • In 1912, animator, producer, and screenwriter Chuck Jones was born.
  • In 1933, Salvador Lutteroth established Mexican professional wrestling.
  • In 1937, J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit was published by George Allen and Unwin in London, England.
  • In 1942, the Boeing B-29 Superfortress made its maiden flight.
  • In 1943, film and television producer Jerry Bruckheimer was born.
  • In 1947, author and screenwriter Stephen King was born.
  • In 1950, actor, comedian, producer, and screenwriter Bill Murray was born.
  • In 1957, Perry Mason premiered on television. The series was based on a character created by author Erle Stanley Gardner.
  • In 1960, Canadian-American actor and director David James Elliott was born.
  • In 1968, actress, producer, and talk show host Ricki Lake was born.
  • In 1981, Sandra Day O’Connor was unanimously approved by the United States Senate as the first female Supreme Court justice.
  • In 1990, actress Allison Scagliotti was born.
  • In 2003, the Galileo spacecraft was terminated by sending it into Jupiter’s atmosphere.


September 21st is the International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day.

The United Nations-sanctioned holiday is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, especially temporary ceasefires in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1981, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and people.

To inaugurate the day, the United Nations Peace Bell is rung at UN Headquarters in New York City. The bell is cast from coins donated by children from all continents except Africa, and was a gift from the United Nations Association of Japan, as “a reminder of the human cost of war”. The inscription on its side reads, “Long live absolute world peace”.


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.



The Thing About Today – September 20

September 20, 2020
Day 264 of 366


September 20th is the 264th day of the year. It is Universal Children’s Day in Germany. During the Cold War, East Germany (GDR) celebrated International Children’s Day (Internationaler Kindertag) on June 1st and West Germany (FRG) celebrated Universal Children’s Day (Weltkindertag) on September 20th. After the reunification of East and West Germany occurred in 1990, Universal Children’s Day become official for the whole of Germany. Some still celebrate Children’s Day on the former date, but public events pertaining to Children’s Day take place on September 20th.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Fried Rice Day, National Pepperoni Pizza Day, National Punch Day, National String Cheese Day, and Wife Appreciation Day (typically observed on the third Sunday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1595, Ferdinand Magellan set sail from Sanlúcar de Barrameda with about 270 men on his expedition to circumnavigate the globe.
  • In 1870, the Bersaglieri corps entered Rome through the Porta Pia, thus completing the unification of Italy.
  • In 1878, novelist, critic, and essayist Upton Sinclair was born.
  • In 1893, Charles Duryea and his brother road-tested the first American-made gasoline-powered automobile.
  • In 1928, animator, producer, and screenwriter Jay Ward was born. He founded Jay Ward Productions.
  • In 1934, actress Sophia Loren was born.
  • In 1941, Sylvester the cat debuted in the animated short “Notes to You”.
  • In 1946, the first Cannes Film Festival was held. It had been delayed seven years due to World War II.
  • In 1948, novelist and short story writer George R. R. Martin was born.
  • In 1976, actor Jon Berenthal was born.
  • In 2001, in an address to a joint session of Congress and the American people, United States President George W. Bush declared a “War on Terror”. We’ve been embroiled in it ever since.
  • In 2011, the United States military ended its “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, allowing gay men and women to serve openly for the first time.


September 20th is Independence Day (also known as Republic Day or День независимости) in the partially recognized Republic of South Ossetia.

It commemorates South Ossetia’s declaration of independence from the Georgian SSR in 1990, and the country’s recognition as a sovereign state by Russia in 2008. South Ossetia first declared its independence from Georgia in 1920 following the Russian Revolution in Russia. After the Soviet Army invaded Georgia in 1921, the government declared South Ossetia an autonomous region within the Georgian SSR.

On September 20, 1990, the Council of People’s Deputies of the South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast adopted a declaration of sovereignty of the new republic. In 1992, South Ossetia proclaimed independence, and in August 2008, South Ossetia was recognized by Russia, Venezuela, Nauru, and Nicaragua, as well as other unrecognized counties such as Artsakh, Abkhazia, and Transnistria following the week-long Russo-Georgian War of 2008.


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.



The Thing About Today – September 19

September 19, 2020
Day 263 of 366


September 19th is the 263rd day of the year. It is Independence Day for Saint Kitts and Nevis, commemorating its separation from the United Kingdom in 1983.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Butterscotch Pudding Day, Talk Like A Pirate Day, and a whole slew of things that are typically observed on the third Saturday of September: National Dance Day; National Gymnastics Day; Boys’ and Girls’ Club Day for Kids; Puppy Mill Awareness Day; Responsible Dog Ownership Day; and National CleanUp Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1796, George Washington’s Farewell Address, formally The Address of Gen. Washington to the People of America on His Declining the Presidency of the United States, was printed across America as an open letter to the public. You can read it here via The American Presidency Project at UC Santa Barbara.
  • In 1846, two French shepherd children, Mélanie Calvat and Maximin Giraud, experienced a Marian apparition on a mountaintop near La Salette, France. It is now known as Our Lady of La Salette.
  • In 1881, United States President James A. Garfield died of wounds suffered in a July 2nd shooting. Vice President Chester A. Arthur assumed the office upon Garfield’s death.
  • In 1908, Japanese martial artist Tatsuo Shimabuku was born. He was the founder of Isshin-ryū.
  • In 1911, British novelist, playwright, poet, and Nobel Prize laureate William Golding was born.
  • In 1927, actress Rosemary Harris was born.
  • In 1928, actor, businessman, and 1960s Caped Crusader Adam West was born.
  • In 1933, actor David McCallum was born.
  • In 1944, the Battle of Hürtgen Forest began near the Belgian-German border during World War II. It would become the longest individual battle that the United States Army has ever fought.
  • In 1948, actor Jeremy Irons was born.
  • In 1949, English model, actress, and singer Twiggy was born.
  • In 1950, American television journalist, anchor, and author Joan Lunden was born.
  • In 1952, The Adventures of Superman premiered on television.
  • In 1957, Plumbbob Rainier became the first nuclear explosion to be entirely contained underground, producing no fallout.
  • In 1966, journalist and producer Soledad O’Brien was born.
  • In 1972, writer N. K. Jemisin was born.
  • In 1974, comedian and talk show host Jimmy Fallon was born.
  • In 1975, Fawlty Towers premiered.
  • In 1982, Scott Fahlman posted the first documented emoticons on the Carnegie Mellon University bulletin board system. They were 🙂 and 😦 .
  • In 1987, actress Danielle Panabaker was born.
  • In 1989, Doogie Howser, M.D. premiered.
  • In 1994, ER premiered.
  • In 1995, The Washington Post and The New York Times published the Unabomber’s manifesto.


September 19th is International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

It is a parody holiday created in 1995 by John “Ol’ Chumbucket” Baur and Mark “Cap’n Slappy” Summers of Albany, Oregon.

According to Summers, the day is the only known holiday to come into being as a result of a sports injury. During a racquetball game between Summers and Baur, one of them reacted to the pain with an outburst of “Aaarrr!”, and the idea was born. They chose Summers’ ex-wife’s birthday since the date would be easy for him to remember.

The holiday gained exposure when Baur and Summers sent a letter about it to the American syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry in 2002. The holiday, and its observance, springs from a romanticized view of the Golden Age of Piracy (1650s-1730s).

Ahoy, me hearties!


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.



The Thing About Today – September 18

September 18, 2020
Day 262 of 366


September 18th is the 262nd day of the year. It is National HIV/AIDS and Aging Awareness Day in the United States.

It is also National POW/MIA Recognition Day in the United States. Congress established the National POW/MIA Recognition Day with the passage of the 1998 Defense Authorization Act.  Typically observed on the third Friday in September, it is one of the six days that Federal Law requires government facilities to fly the POW/MIA Flag. It serves to remember and honor the members of the Armed Forces who remain missing in action or are prisoners of war.

Tonight also begins the celebration of Rosh Hashana (רֹאשׁ הַשָּׁנָה‎), the Jewish New Year. Rosh Hashanah is a two-day celebration that begins on the first day of Tishrei, which is the seventh month of the ecclesiastical year. It marks the beginning of the civil year, according to the teachings of Judaism. It is the traditional anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, the first man and woman according to the Hebrew Bible, and the inauguration of humanity’s role in God’s world.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cheeseburger Day, National Tradesmen Day (typically observed on the third Friday in September), and National Hug Your Boss Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1793, the first cornerstone of the United States Capitol was laid by George Washington.
  • In 1809, the Royal Opera House in London opened.
  • In 1819, French physicist and academic Léon Foucault was born. H demonstrated the effect of the Earth’s rotation using the Foucault pendulum, made an early measurement of the speed of light, discovered eddy currents, and is credited with naming the gyroscope.
  • In 1837, Tiffany & Co. was founded by Charles Lewis Tiffany and Teddy Young in New York City. Originally named Tiffany & Young, the store was called a “stationery and fancy goods emporium”.
  • In 1851, The New-York Daily Times was first published. It later became The New York Times.
  • In 1870, the Old Faithful Geyser was observed and named by Henry D. Washburn.
  • In 1895, the Atlanta Exposition Speech on race relations was delivered by Booker T. Washington.
  • In 1917, voice actress June Foray was born.
  • In 1919, the Netherlands gave women the right to vote.
  • In 1927, the Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) went on the air.
  • In 1947, the National Security Council and the Central Intelligence Agency were established in the United States by the National Security Act. It also established the Air Force as an equal partner of the Army and Navy.
  • In 1948, Margaret Chase Smith of Maine became the first woman elected to the United States Senate without completing another senator’s term.
  • In 1963, English-Canadian composer and conductor John Powell was born.
  • In 1964, The Addams Family premiered.
  • In 1965, Get Smart premiered.
  • Also in 1965, I Dream of Jeannie premiered.
  • In 1971, actress Jada Pinkett Smith was born.
  • In 1973, actor James Marsden was born.
  • In 1977, Voyager I took the first distant photograph of the Earth and the Moon together.
  • In 1983, Hardcastle and McCormick premiered.
  • In 1985, The Equalizer premiered.
  • In 2009, Guiding Light came to an end after 72 years on the air. It holds the Guinness World Record of the longest-running drama in television in American history, broadcast on CBS for 57 years from June 30, 1952, until September 18, 2009. That run overlapped a 19-year broadcast on radio from 1937 to 1956, giving Guiding Light the records of the longest-running soap opera and the fifth-longest running program in all of broadcast history.
  • In 2014, Emma Watson delivered an address to a standing ovation at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. The address helped launch the UN women’s campaign HeForShe, which calls for men to advocate for gender equality.


September 18th is National Music Day in Azerbaijan.

The event celebrates the 1885 birthday of Uzeyir Hajibeyov, an Azerbaijani composer, conductor, publicist, playwright, and social figure. He is recognized as the father of Azerbaijani-composed classical music and opera, and was the first composer of opera in the Islamic world.

Hajibeyov composed the music of the national anthem of the Azerbaijan Democratic Republic, which was re-adopted after Azerbaijan regained its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, and the anthem used by Azerbaijan during the Soviet period.

The tradition of Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s birthday as a celebration was founded by composer and conductor Niyazi who commemorated this day very year after Uzeyir Hajibeyov’s death. In 1995, on the 110th birthday of the genius composer, President Haydar Aliyev decreed that September 18th would be National Music Day.


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.



The Thing About Today – September 17

September 17, 2020
Day 261 of 366


September 17th is the 261st day of the year. It is Batman Day, an annual observance begun by DC Comics in 2014 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Batman in Detective Comics in 1939. The day was chosen to coincide with San Diego Comic-Con, and subsequent observances have been on the third Saturday in September.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Professional House Cleaners Day, National Apple Dumpling Day, National Monte Cristo Day, and National Pawpaw Day (typically observed on the third Thursday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1630, the city of Boston, Massachusetts was founded by Puritan settlers. It was named after the city of the same name in Lincolnshire, England.
  • In 1776, the Presidio of San Francisco was founded in New Spain.
  • In 1849, American abolitionist Harriet Tubman escaped from slavery.
  • In 1900, businessman J. Willard Marriott was born. He founded the Marriott Corporation.
  • In 1908, the Wright Flyer, flown by Orville Wright with Lieutenant Thomas Selfridge as a passenger, crashed. Selfridge died, becoming the first airplane fatality.
  • In 1928, actor Roddy McDowall was born.
  • In 1945, actor Bruce Spence was born.
  • In 1949, Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote made their Looney Tunes debut in a short named “Fast and Furry-ous”.
  • In 1951, actress Cassandra Peterson was born. She is better known as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
  • In 1954, the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding was first published.
  • In 1964, Bewitched premiered on television.
  • In 1965, actor Kyle Chandler was born.
  • In 1966, Mission: Impossible premiered on television.
  • In 1972, the television version of M*A*S*H premiered.
  • In 1976, the Space Shuttle Enterprise was unveiled by NASA.
  • In 1983, Vanessa Williams became the first black Miss America.
  • In 1991, the first version of the Linux kernel was released to the Internet.


In 1787, the United States Constitution was signed in Philadelphia.

It marked the end of the Constitutional Convention, which started on May 25th. During that time, the 55 delegates debated the duties of the government, checks, and balances, and the rights and freedoms of the people. They divided the government into three branches – legislative to make the laws, executive to execute the laws, and the judicial to interpret the laws – and established a Bill of Rights, which comprises the first ten amendments to the document and enumerated the rights and freedoms of the people.

On December 7, 1787, Delaware became the first state to ratify the Constitution. The process of obtaining each state’s approval began, and since Rhode Island didn’t send any delegates to the Constitutional Convention because they wanted to hold on to their independence as long as they could, they were the last state to ratify the Constitution on May 29, 1790.

September 17th commemorates the end of the Constitutional Convention, recognizing the adoption of the United States Constitution and those who have become American citizens, in an observance called Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. Citizenship Day was formerly observed on the third Sunday in May.


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.



Timestamp: Torchwood Series Three Summary

Torchwood: Children of Earth (Series Three) Summary


Torchwood‘s third series made us consider darkness in acts of salvation. The world is safe once again, but the prices paid were severe.

There’s a certain amount of creepiness in this series of five episodes since the invaders were trying to leverage the world’s most vulnerable population for their own addiction. The rest of the world did everything they could to save them from a fate literally worse than death, but politicians and Jack fell on the side of logic: The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.

Facing and defying the darkness that led to that logic sold the drama.

In true Torchwood tradition, the family is shattered in the end, and the magic is in how the logic is fulfilled in the process. The needs of millions outweighed the needs of Torchwood Three.

Just beautiful.

We’ve been through this twice now, so we’re familiar with the drill: We can’t make a direct comparison between Torchwood and Doctor Who, but we can look at the scores so far to get an idea of how it fits within the Timestamps Project’s scope.

Torchwood Series Three earned a 4.8 average. That places it even with the classic Ninth Season – the third season with the Third Doctor – which is the top-rated season in the history of the Timestamps Project. It’s also, by far, the highest rated series of Torchwood.


Day One – 5
Day Two – 5
Day Three – 4
Day Four – 5
Day Five – 5

Torchwood Series One Average Rating: 4.8/5


The Timestamps Project is still proceeding in mostly chronological order, so the path forward contains the third series of Sarah Jane Adventures and the remaining David Tennant specials, with a goal of completing both before the end of the year.


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Prisoner of the Judoon


The Timestamps Project is an adventure through the televised universe of Doctor Who, story by story, from the beginning of the franchise. For more reviews like this one, please visit the project’s page at Creative Criticality.

The Thing About Today – September 16

September 16, 2020
Day 260 of 366


September 16th is the 260th day of the year. It is the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer, a United Nations day commemorating the day in 1987 on which nations signed the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Play-Doh Day, National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, National Guacamole Day, National Step Family Day, National Working Parents Day, and Mayflower Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1620, the Pilgrims set sail from England on the Mayflower. The Pilgrims arrived in North America on November 9, 1620, and established the Plymouth Colony in what is today Plymouth, Massachusetts. It was named after the final departure port of Plymouth, Devon. Their leadership came from the religious congregations of Brownists, or Separatist Puritans, who had fled religious persecution in England for the tolerance of 17th-century Holland in the Netherlands.
  • In 1863, Robert College was founded in Istanbul. It was the first American educational institution outside the United States and was founded by Christopher Robert, an American philanthropist.
  • In 1875, businessman and philanthropist James Cash Penney was born. He founded J. C. Penney.
  • In 1877, American-Canadian inventor and businessman Jacob Schick was born. He founded Schick Razors.
  • In 1880, The Cornell Daily Sun printed its first issue in Ithaca, New York. The Sun is the United States’ oldest, continuously-independent college daily.
  • In 1898, author and illustrator H. A. Rey was born. He and his wife Margret created Curious George.
  • In 1908, the General Motors Corporation was founded.
  • In 1922, French-English director and screenwriter Guy Hamilton was born. He directed four James Bond films.
  • In 1924, actress Lauren Bacall was born.
  • In 1925, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer B.B. King was born.
  • In 1927, actor Peter Falk was born.
  • In 1955, a Soviet Zulu-class submarine became the first to launch a ballistic missile.
  • In 1956, TCN-9 Sydney became the first Australian television station to commence regular broadcasts.
  • In 1958, actress Jennifer Tilly was born.
  • In 1959, the first successful photocopier, the Xerox 914, was introduced in a demonstration on live television from New York City.
  • In 1963, The Outer Limits premiered.
  • In 1964, actress, comedian and producer Molly Shannon was born.
  • In 1966, the Metropolitan Opera House opened at Lincoln Center in New York City with the world premiere of Samuel Barber’s opera Antony and Cleopatra.
  • In 1971, actress and comedian Amy Poehler was born.
  • In 1972, Bridget Loves Bernie premiered. It was the first television series featuring a mixed marriage, which in this case was an interfaith marriage between a Catholic woman and a Jewish man. Loosley based on the premise of the 1920s Broadway play and 1940s radio show Abie’s Irish Rose, the series was quite controversial and was canceled after one season. Stars Meredith Baxter and David Birney married in real life after the series ended.
  • In 1975, Cape Verde, Mozambique, and São Tomé and Príncipe joined the United Nations.
  • In 1976, Armenian champion swimmer Shavarsh Karapetyan saved 20 people from a trolleybus that had fallen into a Yerevan reservoir.
  • In 1979, eight people escaped from East Germany to the west in a homemade hot air balloon.
  • Also in 1979, The Sugarhill Gang released Rapper’s Delight was released. The song is credited for introducing hip hop music to a wide audience, as it reached the top 40 in the United States, the top 3 in the UK, and number one in Canada. The song was recorded in a single take, and there are five versions of the song: A 3:55 single, a 4:55 album version, a 6:30 12″ short version, a 7:07 long single version, and a 14:35 12″ long version.
  • In 1981, actress Alexis Bledel was born.
  • In 1984, Miami Vice premiered.
  • In 1992, the trial of the deposed Panamanian dictator Manuel Noriega ended in the United States with a 40-year sentence for drug trafficking and money laundering.
  • In 1993, Frasier premiered.


In 1810, with the Grito de Dolores, Father Miguel Hidalgo began Mexico’s fight for independence from Spain.

In the 1810s, what would become Mexico was still New Spain, and therefore part of the Spanish crown. The independence movement began to take shape when José Bernardo Gutiérrez de Lara went to the small town of Dolores (now known as Dolores Hidalgo) and asked local Roman Catholic priest Miguel Hidalgo to help to free New Spain from Spanish control.

Gutiérrez de Lara went to Washington, D.C. for military support while Hidalgo remained in Dolores. Fearing arrest, Hidalgo asked his brother Mauricio to convince the local sheriff to free the pro-independence inmates. Mauricio and armed men set 80 inmates free in the early morning of September 16th, and Hidalgo ordered the church bells to be rung as he gathered his congregation.

Flanked by Ignacio Allende and Juan Aldama, he addressed the people in front of his church, urging them to revolt. His speech became known as the “Cry of Dolores”.

The liberated country adopted Mexico as its official name, and their independence was achieved after a decade of war. Gutiérrez de Lara served as a commander during the war, and independence was achieved by the Declaration of Independence of the Mexican Empire on September 28, 1821.

Hidalgo is credited as being the “father of his country”. Every year on the eve of Independence Day, the President of Mexico re-enacts the cry from the balcony of the National Palace in Mexico City, while ringing the same bell Hidalgo used in 1810.


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.



The Thing About Today – September 15

September 15, 2020
Day 259 of 366


September 15th is the 259th day of the year. It is World Lymphoma Awareness Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness of lymphoma, an increasingly common form of cancer. Lymphoma is increasing in incidence and is a potentially life-threatening disease. One million people worldwide live with lymphoma and nearly 1,000 people are diagnosed with the disease every day.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cheese Toast Day, National Linguine Day, National Felt Hat Day, National Double Cheeseburger Day, National Creme de Menthe Day, National Tackle Kids Cancer Day, National Neonatal Nurses Day, National Online Learning Day, Greenpeace Day, and National IT Professionals Day (typically observed on the third Tuesday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1789, The United States “Department of Foreign Affairs”, established by law in July, was renamed the Department of State and given a variety of domestic duties.
  • In 1830, the Liverpool to Manchester railway line opened. British MP William Huskisson became the first widely reported railway passenger fatality when he was struck and killed by the locomotive Rocket.
  • In 1835, the HMS Beagle, with Charles Darwin aboard, reached the Galápagos Islands.
  • In 1890, English crime novelist, short story writer, and playwright Agatha Christie.
  • In 1907, Canadian-American actress Fay Wray was born.
  • In 1935, the Nuremberg Laws deprived German Jews of citizenship. On the same day, Nazi Germany adopted a new national flag bearing the swastika.
  • In 1940, the Battle of Britain came to its climax when the Royal Air Force shot down large numbers of Luftwaffe aircraft.
  • In 1946, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Tommy Lee Jones was born.
  • In 1949, with a “Hi-yo, Silver! Away!”, The Lone Ranger premiered.
  • In 1962, the Soviet ship Poltava set a course for Cuba. It was one of the events that set the Cuban Missile Crisis into motion.
  • In 1967, United States President Lyndon B. Johnson, responding to a sniper attack at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote a letter to Congress urging the enactment of gun control legislation.
  • In 1968, the Soviet Zond 5 spaceship was launched, becoming the first spacecraft to fly around the Moon and re-enter the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • In 1971, Columbo premiered.
  • In 1977, actor Tom Hardy was born.
  • In 1981, the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved Sandra Day O’Connor to become the first female justice of the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • Also in 1981, the John Bull became the oldest operable steam locomotive in the world when the Smithsonian Institution operated it under its own power outside Washington, D.C.
  • In 1986, L.A. Law premiered.


September 15th is observed as the International Day of Democracy.

The United Nations observance has the purpose of promoting and upholding the principles of democracy, and it invites all member states and organizations to commemorate the day in an appropriate manner that contributes to raising public awareness.

The preamble of the resolution affirmed that “…while democracies share common features, there is no single model of democracy and that democracy does not belong to any country or region… …democracy is a universal value based on the freely-expressed will of people to determine their own political, economic, social and cultural systems, and their full participation in all aspects of life.

The road to this declaration began in September 1997 when the Inter-Parliamentary Union adopted a Universal Declaration on Democracy. That Declaration affirms the principles of democracy, the elements and exercise of democratic government, and the international scope of democracy.

The international conferences on new and restored democracies process began in 1988 under the initiative of President Corazon C. Aquino of the Philippines after the so-called peaceful “People Power Revolution” overthrew the 20-year dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos. The process developed into a three-part structure with the participation of governments, parliaments, and civil society.

After the sixth conference reinforced the tripartite nature of the process, concluding with a declaration and Plan of Action which reaffirmed the fundamental principles and values of democracy, an advisory board was established and promoted an International Day of Democracy.

Qatar took the lead in drafting the text of a United Nations General Assembly resolution and convened consultations with UN member states. The resolution was adopted by consensus on November 8, 2007.


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.



The Thing About Today – September 14

September 14, 2020
Day 258 of 366


September 14th is the 258th day of the year. It is Hindi Day (हिन्दी दिवसHindī Diwas), commemorating the adoption of Hindi as one of the two official languages of India.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cream Filled Donut Day, National Eat a Hoagie Day, National Live Creative Day, National Sober Day, National Virginia Day, and National Boss/Employee Exchange Day (which is typically observed on the Monday after Labor Day).


Historical items of note:

  • In 786, the “Night of the three Caliphs” occurred. Harun al-Rashid (هَارُون الرَشِيد) became the fifth Abbasid Caliph upon the death of his brother al-Hadi (أبو محمد موسى بن المهدي الهادي). On the same day, Harun’s son al-Ma’mun (أبو العباس عبد الله بن هارون الرشيد‎), the seventh Caliph, was born.
  • In 1741, George Frideric Handel completed his oratorio Messiah.
  • In 1752, the British Empire adopted the Gregorian calendar. In doing so, they skipped eleven days, starting after September 2nd.
  • In 1901, United States President William McKinley died after being mortally wounded on September 6th by anarchist Leon Czolgosz. He was succeeded by Vice President Theodore Roosevelt.
  • In 1914, HMAS AE1, the Royal Australian Navy’s first submarine, was lost at sea with all hands near East New Britain, Papua New Guinea.
  • In 1936, actor Walter Koenig was born.
  • In 1947, Northern Irish-New Zealand actor and director Sam Neill was born.
  • In 1959, the Soviet probe Luna 2 crashed onto the Moon, becoming the first man-made object to reach it.
  • In 1960, English-Canadian actor and producer Callum Keith Rennie was born.
  • In 1964, Walt Disney was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
  • In 1973, English actor Andrew Lincoln was born.
  • In 1975, the first American saint, Elizabeth Ann Seton, was canonized by Pope Paul VI.
  • In 1984, Joe Kittinger became the first person to fly a gas balloon alone across the Atlantic Ocean.
  • In 1985, The Golden Girls premiered.
  • In 1989, English actress Jessica Brown Findlay was born.
  • In 1998, telecommunications companies MCI Communications and WorldCom completed their $37 billion merger to form MCI WorldCom.
  • In 1999, Kiribati, Nauru, and Tonga joined the United Nations.
  • In 2000, Microsoft released Windows Me (also known as Windows Millennium Edition). It was heavily panned by many users and critics, resulting in users staying with Windows 98, moving the enterprise-marketed Windows 2000, or waiting for one year until Windows XP was released.
  • In 2015, the first observation of gravitational waves was made, announced by the LIGO and Virgo collaborations on February 11, 2016.


In 1856, the Battle of San Jacinto took place in Hacienda San Jacinto, Managua, Nicaragua. The combatants were 160 soldiers of the Legitimist Septemtrion Army led by Colonel José Dolores Estrada and 300 Nicaraguan filibusters of William Walker led by Lieutenant Colonel Byron Cole. The filibusters were defeated by Estrada after four hours of combat in the morning.

The filibuster forces lost twenty-seven soldiers and the Nicaraguan forces lost twenty-eight.

The date of the battle is a national holiday in Nicaragua, observed on September 14th each year.


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.