Debrief: Pop Pop Con Con

Pop Pop Con Con
October 16 through October 18, 2020


Last weekend was Pop Pop Con Con, a free virtual convention hosted by Shaun and Laura Rosado of PopCycled Baubles.

Three days of geeky discussions helped to fill the gap of conventions cancelled by the global pandemic, and it was a really fun event overall.

All of the weekend’s panels can be found on the PopCycled Baubles YouTube channel, and the videos from the panels I participated in can be found below.

I want to thank the Rosados and all of the panelists for a great weekend, and for experimenting with the path forward for events like this in the future. The entirety of the convention was hosted and run on Streamyard, including the transitions between discussion panels, video bumpers, and scrolling chyron banners. It was very well crafted.

I keep saying that this is the way new and smaller conventions should be run. There’s no need for renting physical space with this, and it would certainly help to build an audience and get the convention on its feet in the first few years.

The New Normal – VOD


Far Beyond the Stars

D&D Tips and Tricks (Player Edition)


Sci Fi Westerns


Pop Pop Con Con

Pop Pop Con Con
October 16 through October 18, 2020


I’ll be contributing to another genre convention this year.

With the global pandemic, so many fan conventions have been cancelled. The fun of great conversation and hanging out with friends is something that I miss. In an effort to help fill that gap, Pop Pop Con Con will be happening over the weekend of October 16-18, 2020.

Pop Pop Con Con is absolutely free, and will assemble fans of anime, movies, comics, TTRPGs, and more. We’re going to be discussing a ton of fun topics with a laid back atmosphere.

The event is being hosted by Shaun and Laura Rosado, longtime fans and owners of PopCycled Baubles. Along with putting on this show, they’re also celebrating the re-opening of their online store.

The event will be hosted online on the PopCycled Baubles Facebook page, YouTube channel, and Twitch channel.

The schedule of events can be found on the PopCycled Baubles website, and the specific panels that I am sitting are listed below.

Friday, October 16th

PPCC-1-VOD9:30pm – New Normal VOD
Premium Movie Rentals: COVID-19 has changed how we do a lot of things, even going to the movies. Will Premium VOD become the new normal? What does the movie industry look like after COVID?
Panelists include Nathan Laws, Gary Mitchel, and Jenna Busch

PPCC-2-198411:00pm – 1984
It’s been argued that 1984 was one of the single best years in the history of movies. Is it true? Why? Let’s find out.
Panelists include Kristen Nedopak, Eric Ratcliffe, Gary Mitchel, and Calvin Watts

Saturday, October 17th

PPCC-3-DS93:00pm – Far Beyond the Stars
Deep Space Nine was a groundbreaking moment in Star Trek and in TV history. We’re going to talk about the best Star Trek series you’ve never seen and how it changed the world.
Panelists include Sue Kisenwether, Nathan Laws, Kimi Hughes, Michael Williams, and Will Nguyen

PPCC-4-DnDPE8:00pm – D&D Tips and Tricks (Player Edition)
Being a player can be tricky and sometimes it can feel overwhelming. We’re going to talk about the best tips and tricks to ensure you get the most out of your TTRPG experience (can be used for any Tabletop RPG).
Panelists include Dodger, Jeff Mueller, Nathan Laws, and Michael Williams

Sunday, October 18th

PPCC-6-NuTrek6:00pm – NuTrek
Trek has entered a new golden age of content. With Picard, Discovery, The Lower Decks and new movies on the horizon, the world of The Federation has grown by leaps and bounds. What hit? What missed? What’s next? Let’s talk.
Panelists include Sue Kisenwether, Callie Wright, Nathan Laws,  Michael Williams, and Calvin Watts

PPCC-5-Western7:30pm – Sci Fi Westerns
In the last 20 years, the Sci-Fi Western has become a regular staple and the cornerstone of a genre that tends to produce excellence. From The Mandalorian, Firefly, Westworld and Wynonna Earp, we’re going to talk about the Sci-Fi Western.
Panelists include Corrine Vitek, Bethany Kesler, Donald Maher and Brandy Roatsey


The Thing About Today – October 2

October 2, 2020
Day 276 of 366


October 2nd is the 276th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Guinea as they celebrate their 1958 separation from France.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Produce Misting Day, National Custodial Worker’s Recognition Day, National Name Your Car Day, National Fried Scallops Day, National Manufacturing Day, and National Body Language Day. The last two are typically observed on the first Friday in October.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1528, William Tyndale published The Obedience of a Christian Man, which advocated the divine right of kings.
  • In 1535, Jacques Cartier discovered the present site of Montreal.
  • In 1800, American slave and uprising leader Nat Turner was born.
  • In 1869, Indian freedom fighter, activist, and philosopher Mahatma Gandhi was born.
  • In 1870, a plebiscite held in Rome supported the annexation of the city of Rome by the Kingdom of Italy.
  • In 1890, comedian and actor Groucho Marx was born.
  • In 1895, comedian Bud Abbott was born.
  • In 1919, United States President Woodrow Wilson suffered a massive stroke, leaving him incapacitated for several weeks.
  • In 1945, singer-songwriter and guitarist Don McLean was born.
  • In 1948, actor and singer Avery Brooks was born.
  • Also in 1948, Indian model and actress Persis Khambatta was born.
  • Also in 1948, singer-songwriter and sculptor Chris LeDoux was born.
  • In 1949, photographer Annie Leibovitz was born.
  • In 1955, Alfred Hitchcock Presents premiered on television.
  • In 1957, The Bridge on the River Kwai was released to theaters.
  • In 1959, Rod Serling’s anthology series The Twilight Zone premiered on CBS. The first episode was “Where Is Everybody?”
  • In 1967, Thurgood Marshall was sworn in as the first African-American justice of the United States Supreme Court.


October 2nd is Batik Day (Hari Batik Nasional), which is an Indonesian cultural day for celebrating batik, the traditional cloth of Indonesia.

October 2nd is the anniversary of UNESCO’s 2009 recognition of batik as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. On that day, the map of Indonesian batik diversity by Hokky Situngkir was opened for public for the first time by the Indonesian Ministry of Research and Technology in Jakarta.

Batik is a traditional Indonesian cloth that has roots in the country’s historical artwork. In celebration of their culture, Indonesians dress head-to-toe in batik for the holiday. Now, Batik Day is celebrated across a number of platforms all over the world, particularly in Indonesian organizations ranging from universities, church groups, and communities all around the world. These Indonesian organizations usually celebrate Batik Day as well in order to create awareness of Indonesia’s traditional fabric to other cultures.


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 – October 1

October 1, 2020
Day 275 of 366


October 1st is the 275th day of the year. It is Independence Day in multiple locations, including Cyprus (separated from the United Kingdom in 1960), Nigeria (from the United Kingdom in 1960), Palau (from the UN Trust Territory status in 1994), and Tuvalu (from the United Kingdom in 1978).


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Black Dog Day, National Hair Day, Fire Pup Day, and National Homemade Cookies Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1507, Italian architect Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola. He designed the Church of the Gesù in Rome.
  • In 1861, Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management was published, going on to sell 60,000 copies in its first year and remaining in print until the present day.
  • In 1890, Yosemite National Park was established by the United States Congress.
  • In 1891, Stanford University opened its doors in California.
  • In 1893, Hong Kong martial artist Ip Man was born. He was a grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun and had several students who later became martial arts masters in their own right, the most famous among them being Bruce Lee.
  • In 1920, actor Walter Matthau was born.
  • In 1921, actor James Whitmore was born.
  • In 1924, Naval lieutenant, politician, humanitarian, and Nobel Prize laureate Jimmy Carter was born. He was the 39th President of the United States.
  • In 1930, Irish actor Richard Harris was born.
  • In 1931, the George Washington Bridge was opened, linking New Jersey and New York.
  • In 1935, actress and singer Julie Andrews was born.
  • In 1958, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was replaced by NASA.
  • In 1961, the United States Defense Intelligence Agency was formed, becoming the country’s first centralized military intelligence organization.
  • In 1968, Guyana nationalized the British Guiana Broadcasting Service, which would eventually become part of the National Communications Network, Guyana.
  • Also in 1968, cult zombie film Night of the Living Dead, directed by George A. Romero, was released.
  • In 1971, Walt Disney World opened near Orlando, Florida.
  • Also in 1971, the first practical CT scanner was used to diagnose a patient.
  • In 1982, Epcot opened at Walt Disney World in Florida.
  • Also in 1982, Sony and Phillips launched the compact disc in Japan. On the same day, Sony released the model CDP-101 compact disc player, the first player of its kind.
  • In 1989, Denmark introduced the world’s first legal same-sex registered partnerships.
  • Also in 1989, actress Brie Larson was born. I thought she was brilliant was Captain Marvel.


In 1536, the Lincolnshire Rising began.

The Lincolnshire Rising was a brief rising by Roman Catholics against the establishment of the Church of England by Henry VIII and the dissolution of the monasteries set in motion by Thomas Cromwell. Both planned to assert the nation’s religious autonomy and the king’s supremacy over religious matters. The dissolution of the monasteries resulted in much property being transferred to the Crown.

Led by a monk and a shoemaker called Nicholas Melton, some 22,000 people are estimated to have joined the rising. It quickly gained support in Horncastle, Market Rasen, Caistor, and other nearby towns, and Dr. John Raynes, the chancellor of the Diocese of Lincoln, who dragged from his sick-bed and beaten to death by the mob as the commissioners’ registers were seized and burned.

The protest effectively ended on October 4th when the King sent word for the occupiers to disperse or face the forces of Charles Brandon, 1st Duke of Suffolk. By October 14th, few occupiers remained in Lincoln. Following the rising, the vicar of Louth and Captain Cobbler, two of the main leaders, were captured and hanged at Tyburn. Most of the other local ringleaders were executed during the next twelve days.

In memory of the event, Lincolnshire Day is observed every October 1st.


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 30

September 30, 2020
Day 274 of 366


September 30th is the 274th day of the year. It is Orange Shirt Day in Canada, an event designed to educate people and promote awareness in Canada about the Indian residential school system and the impact it has had on Indigenous communities for over a century as children were taken from their homes, separate from their parents and culture, and eventually merged and lost within the nation. The impact is recognized as cultural genocide and is one that continues today.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Love People Day, National Chewing Gum Day, National Mud Pack Day, National Hot Mulled Cider Day, and National Women’s Health & Fitness Day (typically observed on the last Wednesday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1791, the first performance of Mozart’s opera The Magic Flute took place two months before his death.
  • In 1861, businessman William Wrigley, Jr. was born. He founded the Wrigley Company.
  • In 1882, Thomas Edison’s first commercial hydroelectric power plant, later known as Appleton Edison Light Company, began operation.
  • In 1909, the Cunard Line’s RMS Mauretania completed a record-breaking westbound crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. The record would not be broken for 20 years.
  • In 1921, Scottish-English actress Deborah Kerr was born.
  • In 1928, Romanian-American author, academic, activist, Nobel Prize laureate, and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel was born.
  • In 1935, the Hoover Dam, astride the border between the U.S. states of Arizona and Nevada, was dedicated.
  • In 1943, the United States Merchant Marine Academy was dedicated by President Roosevelt. I served with a guy who graduated from that academy. He’s one of the best people I know.
  • In 1950, English actress and dancer Victoria Tennant was born.
  • In 1954, The United States Navy submarine USS Nautilus (SSN-571) was commissioned as the world’s first nuclear-powered vessel.
  • In 1955, American actor and cultural icon James Dean was killed in a car crash. He was 24 years old.
  • In 1957, actress, producer, and screenwriter Fran Drescher was born.
  • In 1960, The Flintstones premiered on television. It was the first animated sitcom created by Hanna-Barbera.
  • In 1961, actor, director, and producer Eric Stoltz was born.
  • In 1964, Italian actress and fashion model Monica Bellucci was born.
  • In 1967, the BBC Light Programme, Third Programme, and Home Service were replaced with BBC Radio 2, 3, and 4, respectively. BBC Radio 1 was also launched.
  • In 1975, French-American actress and singer Marion Cotillard was born.
  • In 1977, because of NASA budget cuts and dwindling power reserves, the Apollo program’s ALSEP experiment packages left on the Moon were shut down.
  • In 1982, actress Lacey Chabert was born.
  • In 1984, Murder, She Wrote premiered on television.
  • In 1992, actor and singer Ezra Miller was born.
  • In 1999, the Tokaimura nuclear accident caused the deaths of two technicians in Japan’s second-worst nuclear accident.


September 30th is International Translation Day, an international observance celebrated every year on the feast of St. Jerome, the Bible translator who is considered the patron saint of translators.

The celebrations have been promoted by the International Federation of Translators (FIT) since it was established in 1953. In 1991, FIT launched the idea of an officially recognized International Translation Day to show solidarity of the worldwide translation community. It was an effort to promote the translation profession in different countries, and not necessarily only in Christian ones. It is a profession that is becoming increasingly essential in the era of progressing globalization.


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 29

September 29, 2020
Day 273 of 366


September 29th is the 273rd day of the year. It is Inventors’ Day in Argentina.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Coffee Day and VFW Day. The coordination is superb.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1829, the Metropolitan Police of London, later also known as the Met, was founded. Their iconic police boxes were introduced by Met surveyor and architect Gilbert MacKenzie Trench that same year.
  • In 1901, Italian-American physicist and academic Enrico Fermi was born. He was the creator of the world’s first nuclear reactor, the Chicago Pile-1. He has been called the “architect of the nuclear age” and the “architect of the atomic bomb”. He was one of very few physicists to excel in both theoretical physics and experimental physics, and was awarded the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on induced radioactivity by neutron bombardment and for the discovery of transuranium elements. He made significant contributions to the development of statistical mechanics, quantum theory, and nuclear and particle physics.
  • In 1904, actress Greer Garson was born.
  • In 1907, the cornerstone was laid at the Cathedral Church of Saint Peter and Saint Paul in Washington, D.C. It would be better known as the Washington National Cathedral. Construction was completed on this same day in 1990.
  • In 1913, actor Trevor Howard was born.
  • In 1935, singer-songwriter and pianist Jerry Lee Lewis was born.
  • In 1939, actor Larry Linville was born. He was Major Frank Burns on M*A*S*H.
  • In 1942, actress and singer Madeline Khan was born.
  • Also in 1942, actor Ian McShane was born.
  • In 1944, composer and producer Mike Post was born. If you watched television in the 1980s and 1990s, you know his work.
  • In 1948, Hamlet premiered at the Park Avenue Cinema. It starred and was directed by Sir Laurence Olivier.
  • In 1954, the convention establishing CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) was signed.
  • Also in 1954, actress Cindy Morgan was born.
  • Also in 1954, A Star is Born starring Judy Garland and James Mason premiered.
  • In 1957, the Kyshtym disaster occurred, becoming the third-worst nuclear accident ever recorded. The explosion spread hot particles over more than 20,000 square miles in the Soviet Union.
  • In 1969, actress and model Erika Eleniak was born. Most know her from Baywatch, but I know her as the girl that Elliott kissed in E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial.
  • In 1975, WGPR of Detroit, Michigan became the first black-owned-and-operated television station in the United States.
  • Also in 1975, Sharon Dahlonega Bush became American television’s first African American weathercaster.
  • In 1980, actor and singer Zachary Levi was born.
  • In 1985, MacGyver premiered on television.
  • In 1988, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Discovery on STS-26, the first mission since the Challenger disaster.
  • In 2004, the asteroid 4179 Toutatis passed within four lunar distances of Earth.
  • In 2007, Calder Hall, the world’s first commercial nuclear power station, was demolished in a controlled explosion. It was opened in 1956 and was closed in 2003 after 47 years of operation.


September 29th is World Heart Day, an observance started by the World Heart Federation in 2000 to inform people around the globe that heart disease and stroke are the world’s leading causes of death.

The World Heart Federation (WHF) is a nongovernmental organization based in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1978 the International Society of Cardiology merged with the International Cardiology Federation (which had been founded in 1970) to form the International Society and Federation of Cardiology. This body changed its name in 1998 to the World Heart Federation. The Federation hosts the World Congress of Cardiology.


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 28

September 28, 2020
Day 272 of 366


September 28th is the 272nd day of the year. It is Freedom from Hunger Day, an event started in 2006 to increase awareness about global hunger and promote Freedom from Hunger’s empowerment of women around the world.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Drink Beer Day, National Good Neighbor Day, National Strawberry Cream Pie Day, National North Carolina Day, and National Family Day (typically observed on the fourth Monday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1836, English plumber Thomas Crapper was born. While he didn’t invent the modern toilet, he did hold nine patents, three of them for water closet improvements such as the floating ballcock. He also improved the S-bend plumbing trap in 1880 by inventing the U-bend.

Of note, it has often been claimed in popular culture that crap, a slang term for human feces, originated with Thomas Crapper because of his association with lavatories. One common version is that American servicemen stationed in England during World War I saw his name on cisterns and used it as army slang.

The word crap is actually of Middle English origin and predates any application to bodily waste. Most likely, it comes from the combination of two older words: the Dutch krappen (to pluck off, cut off, or separate) and the Old French crappe (siftings, waste or rejected matter, from the medieval Latin crappa).

In English, it was used to refer to chaff and also to weeds or other rubbish. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the first recorded application to bodily waste was in 1846, 10 years after Crapper was born, referencing a crapping ken. That was a term for a privy, where ken meant a house.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming… 

  • In 1868, English writer Evelyn Beatrice Hall was born. She was best known for her biography of Voltaire and wrote under the pseudonym S. G. Tallentyre.
  • In 1889, the General Conference on Weights and Measures (CGPM) defined the length of a meter.
  • In 1912, Corporal Frank S. Scott of the United States Army became the first enlisted man to die in an airplane crash.
  • In 1925, computer scientist Seymour Cray was born. The “Father of Supercomputing”, he founded the CRAY Computer Company.
  • In 1928, Alexander Fleming noticed a bacteria-killing mold growing in his laboratory, discovering what later became known as penicillin.
  • In 1934, French actress Brigitte Bardot was born.
  • In 1951, CBS made the first color televisions available for sale to the general public, but the product was discontinued less than a month later.
  • In 1968, English-Australian actress and producer Naomi Watts was born.
  • In 1987, Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered on television.
  • In 1991, the Strategic Air Command stood down from alert all ICBMs scheduled for deactivation under START I, as well as its strategic bomber force.
  • In 2008, Falcon 1 became the first privately developed liquid-fuel ground-launched vehicle to put a payload into orbit.
  • In 2018, on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the international project Tree of Peace was established. One of the trees was planted personally by Zuzana Čaputová, President of the Slovak Republic.


September 28th is the International Day for Universal Access to Information. Initially known as Access to Information Day, it was designated by the UNESCO General Conference. It was inaugurated in November 2015 and was first held in 2016.

The day had been recognized as International Right to Know Day since 2002, and it was developed by international civil society advocates beginning in 2012. The UNESCO resolution that created the day was heavily driven by African civil society groups seeking greater information transparency.


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 27

September 27, 2020
Day 271 of 366


September 27th is the 271st day of the year. It is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in the United States.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Chocolate Milk Day, National Crush a Can Day, National Corned Beef Hash Day, National Scarf Day, and National Gold Star Mother’s Day (typically observed on the last Sunday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1822, Jean-François Champollion announced that he had deciphered the Rosetta Stone.
  • In 1825, the world’s first public railway to use steam locomotives, the Stockton and Darlington Railway, was ceremonially opened.
  • In 1908, production of the Model T automobile began at the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant in Detroit, Michigan.
  • In 1920, actor William Conrad was born.
  • In 1928, the Republic of China was recognized by the United States.
  • In 1932, actor Roger C. Carmel was born.
  • In 1934, actor and advertising spokesman Wilford Brimley was born.
  • In 1947, Scottish actor, director, and screenwriter Denis Lawson was born. He portrayed pilot Wedge Antilles in the Star Wars films.
  • In 1954, The Tonight Show premiered with host Steve Allen.
  • In 1956, United States Air Force Captain Milburn G. Apt became the first person to exceed Mach 3. Shortly thereafter, the Bell X-2 went out of control and Captain Apt was killed.
  • In 1962, Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring was published, inspiring an environmental movement and the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency.
  • In 1970, actress Tamara Taylor was born.
  • In 1982, actress Anna Camp was born.
  • In 1998, the Google internet search engine was launched (based on a retroactive claim).
  • In 2007, NASA launched the Dawn probe to the asteroid belt.
  • In 2008, CNSA astronaut Zhai Zhigang became the first Chinese person to perform a spacewalk.


Since 1980, the United Nations World Tourism Organization has celebrated World Tourism Day.

The purpose of this day is to raise awareness surrounding the role of tourism within the international community and to demonstrate how it affects social, cultural, political, and economic values worldwide.

The date was chosen since the Statutes of the UNWTO were adopted on that day in 1970. Their adoption was considered a milestone in global tourism.


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 26

September 26, 2020
Day 270 of 366


September 26th is the 270th day of the year. It is Dominion Day in New Zealand. It commemorates the granting of Dominion status – a constitutional term of art used to signify a semi-independent Commonwealth realm – but the holiday goes generally unobserved in the country.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Compliance Officer Day, National Dumpling Day, National Johnny Appleseed Day, National Shamu the Whale Day, National Pancake Day, and National Situational Awareness Day.

A batch of events are commemorated on the last Saturday of September: National Public Lands Day, Save Your Photos Day, National Family Health and Fitness Day USA, and National Ghost Hunting Day. Two others are observed on the fourth Saturday of September: National Seat Check Saturday and National Hunting and Fishing Day. Finally, National Singles Day is typically observed on the Saturday of Singles Week.

It’s a busy day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1580, Sir Francis Drake finished his circumnavigation of the Earth.
  • In 1774, gardener and environmentalist John Chapman was born. He was better known as Johnny Appleseed.
  • In 1789, George Washington appointed Thomas Jefferson as the first United States Secretary of State.
  • In 1849, Russian physiologist and physician Ivan Pavlov was born. A Nobel Prize laureate, he is primarily known for his working classical conditioning, particularly with ringing bells and salivating dogs.
  • In 1888, English poet, playwright, critic, and Nobel Prize laureate T. S. Eliot was born.
  • In 1898, pianist and composer George Gershwin was born.
  • In 1905, Albert Einstein published the third of his Annus Mirabilis papers, introducing the special theory of relativity.
  • In 1932, actor Richard Herd was born.
  • In 1933, as gangster Machine Gun Kelly surrendered to the FBI, he shouted out, “Don’t shoot, G-Men!” That later became a nickname for FBI agents.
  • In 1942, actor Kent McCord was born.
  • In 1944, English television host Anne Robinson was born. She has a talent for finding the weakest link.
  • In 1948, English-Australian singer-songwriter and actress Olivia Newton-John was born.
  • In 1949, a groundbreaking ceremony for the Hollywood sign was held in Hollywood, Los Angeles. The old Hollywoodland sign was torn down and replaced with the current sign which has become a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument.
  • In 1956, actress Linda Hamilton was born.
  • In 1962, The Beverly Hillbillies premiered.
  • In 1964, Gilligan’s Island premiered.
  • In 1968, Hawaii Five-O premiered.
  • In 1969, Abbey Road, the last recorded album by The Beatles, was released.
  • In 1973, Concorde made its first non-stop crossing of the Atlantic in record-breaking time.
  • In 1982, Knight Rider premiered.
  • In 2008, Swiss pilot and inventor Yves Rossy became the first person to fly a jet engine-powered wing across the English Channel.
  • In 2010, Downton Abbey premiered.


In 1983, the nuclear early-warning system of the Soviet Union reported the launch of 5 intercontinental ballistic missiles from bases in the United States.

Soviet Air Force officer Stanislav Petrov identified a report of an incoming nuclear missile as a computer error and not an American first strike. His decision is seen as having prevented a retaliatory nuclear attack against the United States and its NATO allies, which would have resulted in an immediate and irrevocable escalation to full-scale nuclear war.

The false alarms were caused by a rare alignment of sunlight on high-altitude clouds and the satellites’ Molniya orbits. The error was later corrected by cross-referencing a geostationary satellite. The system had indeed malfunctioned.


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 25

September 25, 2020
Day 269 of 366


September 25th is the 269th day of the year. In France, it is the Day of National Recognition for the Harkis. Harki is the generic term for native Muslim Algerians who served as auxiliaries in the French Army during the Algerian War of Independence from 1954 to 1962. They are regarded as traitors in Algeria and thousands died after the war in reprisals despite the Évian Accords ceasefire and amnesty stipulations.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Quesadilla Day (Dia de la Quesadilla), National One-Hit Wonder Day, National Comic Book Day, National Lobster Day, National Tune-Up Day, National Research Administrator Day, Math Storytelling Day, and National BRAVE DAY (typically observed on the fourth Friday in September).


Historical items of note:

  • In 275, the Roman Senate chose an emperor for the last time. They elected 75-year-old Marcus Claudius Tacitus.
  • In 1237, England and Scotland signed the Treaty of York, establishing the location of their common border.
  • In 1690, Publick Occurrences Both Forreign and Domestick, the first newspaper to appear in the Americas, was published for the first and only time.
  • In 1789, the United States Congress passed twelve constitutional amendments. Ten of them became the Bill of Rights. The eleventh, the Congressional Apportionment Amendment, was never ratified. The twelfth was the Congressional Compensation Amendment, and was largely forgotten until 1982, when Gregory Watson, a 19-year-old sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin, wrote a paper for a government class in which he claimed that the amendment could still be ratified. It became the Twenty-Seventh Amendment on May 5, 1992, completing a record-setting ratification period of 202 years, 7 months, and 10 days.
  • In 1890, the United States Congress established Sequoia National Park.
  • In 1897, novelist, short story writer, and Nobel Prize laureate William Faulkner was born. Despite the best efforts of people who have misspelled my name throughout my lifetime, we’re not related.
  • In 1929, broadcast journalist Barbara Walters was born. She was the first female nightly network news anchor.
  • In 1930, author, poet, illustrator, and songwriter Shel Silverstein was born.
  • In 1936, toy creator and author Ken Forsse was born. He created Teddy Ruxpin, a bear that speaks by way of an audio cassette.
  • In 1944, actor and producer Michael Douglas was born.
  • In 1951, actor, singer, and producer Mark Hamill was born. He really needs no introduction.
  • In 1952, actor, producer, and activist Christopher Reeve was born. He made us believe that a man could fly.
  • In 1956, TAT-1 was inaugurated. It was the first submarine transatlantic telephone cable system.
  • In 1961, actress Heather Locklear was born.
  • In 1964, Irish actress and singer Maria Doyle Kennedy was born.
  • In 1968, actor, producer, and rapper Will Smith was born.
  • In 1969, Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was born.
  • In 1977, about 4,200 people took part in the first running of the Chicago Marathon.
  • In 1983, actor, rapper, producer, and screenwriter Donald Glover was born.
  • In 1992, NASA launched the Mars Observer. Eleven months later, the probe would fail while preparing for orbital insertion, likely due to a rupture of the fuel pressurization tank in the spacecraft’s propulsion system.
  • In 2018, Bill Cosby was sentenced to three to ten years in prison for aggravated sexual assault.


Since September 25th is Math Storytelling Day, I wanted to share a life lesson brought to you by mathematical proof. This is one that I remember seeing around 25 years ago, but it came up again recently thanks to Darin Bush.

But that’s not right, is it? How can 1 be equal to 2?

Where is the lie?

This is a story about the truth being in the details. Every mathematical operation that was conducted in the “proof” is legitimate, but the obscuring the simple details is what leads us to the wrong conclusion.

Specifically, since A = 1 and B = 1, (A – B) = 0. One fundamental truth in mathematics is that you can never divide by zero.

The reason for that is that the expression a/0 has no meaning. There is no number that, when multiplied by 0, will yield a (assuming that a ≠ 0). Additionally, since any number multiplied by zero is zero, the expression 0/0 is undefined.

So, in every case, division by zero is not permitted. While the operation of dividing by (A – B) is perfectly legal, once we assigned the value to those variables, it broke the proof.

In this case, the wrong conclusion is just tricking people with math. In the real world, misinterpreting or deliberately misleading people about simple facts can cause projects to fail or allow people to harm others.

The moral of the story is that we should always be ready to verify what people tell us. Don’t accept everything as reality just because it’s on the internet or comes from an authority. Just because someone says it’s true doesn’t mean that it really it.

Always remain skeptical, my friends, and always be ready to learn.

Happy Math Storytelling 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.