The Thing About Today – May 28

May 28, 2020
Day 149 of 366


May 28th is the 149th day of the year. It is Flag Day in the Philippines and Republic Day in Nepal.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Brisket Day and National Hamburger Day. If you’re feeling frisky, try combining the two.


Historical items of note:

  • In 585 BC, a solar eclipse occurred. This event was predicted by the Greek philosopher and scientist Thales, and it happened while Alyattes of Lydia was battling Cyaxares in the Battle of Halys. Not only did it lead to a truce, but it also became one of the cardinal dates from which other dates can be calculated.
  • In 1779, Irish poet and composer Thomas Moore was born.
  • In 1830, United States President Andrew Jackson signed the Indian Removal Act. This denied Native Americans their land rights and forcibly relocated them.
  • In 1892, John Muir organized the Sierra Club in San Francisco, California.
  • In 1908, English journalist and author Ian Fleming was born. He created James Bond.
  • In 1933, actress and activist Zelda Rubinstein was born.
  • In 1934, the Dionne quintuplets were born to Oliva and Elzire Dionne near Callander, Ontario, Canada. They would be the first quintuplets to survive infancy.
  • In 1936, Alan Turing submitted On Computable Numbers for publication.
  • In 1937, the German automobile manufacturer Volkswagen was founded.
  • In 1944, actress and singer-songwriter Gladys Knight was born.
  • In 1945, physician and author Patch Adams was born. He founded the Gesundheit! Institute.
  • In 1961, Peter Benenson’s article The Forgotten Prisoners was published in several internationally read newspapers. This would later be seen as the founding moment of the human rights organization Amnesty International.
  • In 1967, actress Kari Wuhrer was born.
  • In 1968, Australian singer-songwriter, producer, and actress Kylie Minogue was born.
  • In 1985, actress and signer Carey Mulligan was born.
  • In 2002, the last steel girder was removed from the original World Trade Center site. Cleanup duties officially ended with closing ceremonies at Ground Zero in Manhattan, New York City.


And now, a bit of the taboo, but one point of this particular observance is to break those taboos: May 28th is Menstrual Hygiene Day.

Menstrual Hygiene Day (MHD or MH Day, for short) is an annual awareness day used to highlight the importance of good menstrual hygiene management and break the taboos surrounding it. The observance was started by the German-based non-governmental organization (NGO) WASH United in 2014. The 28th was selected to acknowledge that 28 days is the average length of the menstrual cycle.

In low-income countries, girls’ and women’s choices of menstrual hygiene materials are often limited by the costs, availability, and social norms. Those societal norms often stem back to religious beliefs, which treat menstrual cycles as dirty and unspeakable topics, thus relegating women to second-class citizenship.

Adequate sanitation facilities and access to feminine hygiene products are one part of the solution. Creating a culture that welcomes open discussion and adequate education for women and girls is of equal importance. Research has found that not having access to menstrual hygiene management products can keep girls home from school during their period each month.

Since men have traditionally held decision-making roles in these cultures, and boys are still being raised to replace them, discussion and education must also jump the gender gap.

Menstrual Hygiene Day creates an occasion for public information campaigns, including via social media, which can help to engage decision-makers in policy dialogue. The day offers an opportunity to actively advocate for the integration of menstrual hygiene management into global, national, and local policies and programs, thus breaking the ignorance and taboos to make societies a better and more equal place to live.


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: Series Four Summary

Doctor Who: Series Four Summary


The Doctor-Donna adventures were molto bene.

The story of Donna Noble was an amazing and heartbreaking journey. Her first meeting with the Doctor displayed their beautiful chemistry, and their adventures together this season showed us just how magnificent they were together.

Her humanity and his experience made a great pair, and they helped save one another in the course of their relationship: The Doctor needs a companion to counter his vast knowledge and challenge his limits, and Donna needed to see that there was a universe beyond her own self.

The fact that their relationship wasn’t romantic – countering the Rose Tyler arc and defusing the tension developed in the Martha Jones arc – was the icing on the cake.

The heartbreak, of course, is that Donna doesn’t remember her travels at the end of her time with the Doctor. The consolation is that the universe remembers her and every life she saved.

In that respect, she is indeed the most important person in the universe. A legend in her own right.


Series Three comes in at an average of 4.6. That’s second, only coming in behind the Ninth classic season. That is good company to keep.


Time Crash & Voyage of the Damned – 5
Partners in Crime – 5
The Fires of Pompeii – 5
Planet of the Ood – 4
The Sontaran Stratagem & The Poison Sky – 5
The Doctor’s Daughter – 4
The Unicorn and the Wasp – 4
Silence in the Library & Forest of the Dead – 5
Midnight – 5
Turn Left – 4
The Stolen Earth & Journey’s End – 5

Series Three (Revival Era) Average Rating: 4.6/5


The path forward takes a few twists and turns from here as David Tennant’s era comes to an end. Looking ahead from now to the end of the year, the Timestamps Project will proceed in airdate order and visit the second year of The Sarah Jane Adventures, the third year of Torchwood, and the third year of The Sarah Jane Adventures, with five remaining Tenth Doctor adventures interspersed throughout.

It is one great way to spend the back half of 2020.



UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: The Last Sontaran


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 – May 27

May 27, 2020
Day 148 of 366


May 27th is the 148th day of the year. It is Slavery Abolition Day in Guadeloupe, Saint Barthélemy, and Saint Martin.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cellophane Tape Day, National Grape Popsicle Day, and National Senior Health & Fitness Day (which is typically observed on the last Wednesday in May).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1837, folk hero Wild Bill Hickok was born.
  • In 1911, actor Vincent Price was born.
  • In 1922, actor Christopher Lee was born.
  • In 1930, the 1,046 foot-tall Chrysler Building opened to the public in New York City. It was the tallest man-made structure at the time.
  • In 1933, the United States Federal Securities Act was signed into law, requiring the registration of securities with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • In 1934, author and screenwriter Harlan Ellison was born.
  • In 1935, actress and model Lee Meriwether was born. Coincidentally, today was the day that I learned that Catwoman was also Miss American in 1955.
  • In 1936, actor and producer Louis Gossett, Jr. was born.
  • In 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrian traffic, creating a vital link between San Francisco and Marin County, California.
  • In 1955, actor, director, and producer Richard Schiff was born.
  • In 1958, the McDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II took its first flight.
  • In 1961, actress Peri Gilpin was born.
  • In 1967, the United States Navy aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy (CV-67) was launched by Jacqueline Kennedy and her daughter Caroline. It was the last conventionally powered aircraft carrier built for the fleet.
  • Also in 1967, actor Eddie McClintock was born.
  • In 1969, construction began at Walt Disney World near Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
  • In 1970, actor Joseph Fiennes was born.
  • In 1971, actor Paul Bettany was born.
  • In 2016, Barack Obama became the first president of the United States to visit Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and meet Hibakusha.


So, about that National Grape Popsicle Day.

The story goes that, in 1905, eleven-year-old Frank Epperson was trying to make soda and accidentally left a mix of water and powdered flavoring out overnight. The temperatures hit a record low overnight, and when young Frank found his drink the next morning, it was frozen solid to the mixing stick.

In 1922, he introduced his frozen treat, which he called an Epsicle, at a fireman’s ball. That success led to a patent and history after he renamed it as the famous Popsicle. Epperson sold the rights to the invention and the Popsicle brand to the Joe Lowe Company in New York City.

More generically known as ice pops, the confection has been around in one form or another since 1872, but the Popsicle was so popular that the name has stuck for genericized trademark.

The reason for the emphasis on grape popsicles? Apparently, it is one of the most popular flavors, though I tend to pass since it reminds me of the grape-flavored Children’s Dimetapp cough and cold medicine.


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 – May 26

May 26, 2020
Day 147 of 366


May 26th is the 147th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Guyana as they celebrate the anniversary of their separation from the United Kingdom in 1966.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Blueberry Cheesecake Day, and National Paper Airplane Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1783, a Great Jubilee Day was held at North Stratford, Connecticut to celebrate the end of fighting in the American Revolution.
  • In 1857, Dred Scott was emancipated by the Blow family, his original owners.
  • In 1868, the impeachment trial of United States President Andrew Johnson ended with his acquittal by one vote.
  • In 1896, Charles Dow published the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
  • In 1897, Dracula, the famous novel by Irish author Bram Stoker, was published.
  • In 1907, actor, singer, director, and producer John Wayne was born.
  • In 1913, actor Peter Cushing was born.
  • In 1922, businessman Troy Smith was born. He was the founder of Sonic Drive-In.
  • In 1923, actor James Arness was born.
  • In 1940, Operation Dynamo commenced as Allied forces began a massive evacuation from Dunkirk, France.
  • In 1948, the United States Congress passed Public Law 80-557. It permanently established the Civil Air Patrol as an auxiliary of the United States Air Force.
  • In 1951, astronaut and physicist Sally Ride was born. In 1983, she became the first woman in space.
  • In 1966, actress Helena Bonham Carter was born.
  • In 1998, the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that Ellis Island, the historic gateway for millions of immigrants, was mainly in the state of New Jersey, not New York.


In 1998, the first “National Sorry Day” was held in Australia. Reconciliation events were held nationally and attended by over a million people.

The purpose of the annual event is to remember and commemorate the mistreatment of the country’s Indigenous peoples, as part of an ongoing process of reconciliation between the Indigenous peoples and the settler population.

During the 20th century, Australian government policies caused children to be separated from their families, with the intention of assimilating them into White Australian culture. This resulted in what became known as the “Stolen Generations”, with the effects of these traumatic removals being felt by succeeding generations even today.

On May 26, 1997, the Bringing Them Home report was tabled in Parliament. It was the result of a government inquiry into the practice and made many recommendations, including that state and federal governments should issue formal apologies and that funding should be provided to help deal with the consequences of the policies. This date now carries great significance for the Stolen Generations and other Aboriginal Australians and Torres Strait Islanders, and is also commemorated by many non-Indigenous Australians.

The incumbent Prime Minister John Howard refused to apologize, but Kevin Rudd issued a formal apology on behalf of the government and people when he was prime minister, on February 13, 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.



Memorial Day 2020

Memorial Day
May 25, 2020

Photo by John Beniston (Palmiped), licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license


Memorial Day is a federal holiday for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The holiday is now observed on the last Monday of May, while previously observed on May 30th from 1868 to 1970.

Memorial Day is for honoring the fallen. Veterans Day, observed on November 11th, honors those who have served in the United States Armed Forces and correlates with Remembrance Day worldwide. Armed Forces Day, an unofficial holiday observed on the third Saturday in May, honors those currently serving in the armed forces.


Among the various parades, services, and the annual wreath-laying at Arlington National Cemetary, Memorial Day is commemorated with the poem In Flanders Fields. It was written during the First World War by Canadian physician Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He was inspired to write it on May 3, 1915, after presiding over the funeral of friend and fellow soldier Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, who died in the Second Battle of Ypres.


In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.



The Thing About Today – May 25

May 25, 2020
Day 146 of 366


May 25th is the 146th day of the year. It is Memorial Day in the United States, a day for honoring and mourning the military personnel who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. The day is typically observed on the last Monday in May.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Missing Children’s Day, National Tap Dance Day, National Brown-Bag It Day, and National Wine Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 240 BC, the first perihelion passage of Halley’s Comet was recorded.
  • In 1787, after a delay of 11 days, the United States Constitutional Convention formally convened in Philadelphia after a quorum of seven states was secured.
  • In 1803, poet and philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson was born.
  • In 1878, Gilbert and Sullivan’s comic opera H.M.S. Pinafore opened at the Opera Comique in London.
  • In 1889, Russian-American aircraft designer, and founder of Sikorsky Aircraft, Igor Sikorsky was born.
  • In 1895, playwright, poet, novelist, and aesthete Oscar Wilde was convicted of “committing acts of gross indecency with other male persons” and sentenced to serve two years in prison.
  • In 1925, John T. Scopes was indicted for teaching Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution in Tennessee. This led to the famous Scopes Trial.
  • In 1927, soldier and author Robert Ludlum was born. One of his best-known characters is Jason Bourne.
  • In 1931, director and producer Irwin Winkler was born.
  • In 1939, actor Ian McKellen was born.
  • Also in 1939, actress Dixie Carter was born.
  • In 1944, puppeteer, filmmaker, and actor Frank Oz was born.
  • In 1951. director, producer, and screenwriter Bob Gale was born.
  • In 1953, the United States conducted its first and only nuclear artillery test. The test was conducted at the Nevada Test Site.
  • In 1961, United States President John F. Kennedy announced, before a special joint session of Congress, his goal to initiate a project to put a “man on the Moon” before the end of the decade. The Apollo project would succeed at his vision eight years later.
  • In 1969, actress Anne Heche was born.
  • In 1972, actress and author Octavia Spencer was born.
  • In 1976, actor Cillian Murphy was born.
  • In 1977, Star Wars was released to theaters, changing the science fiction landscape forever. It would later be renamed as Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope as the franchise grew and thrived.
  • In 1979, Alien was released.
  • In 1983, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi was released.
  • In 2008, NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft landed in the Green Valley region of Mars to search for environments suitable for water and microbial life.
  • In 2011, Oprah Winfrey aired her last show, ending her twenty-five-year run of The Oprah Winfrey Show.
  • In 2012, the SpaceX Dragon became the first commercial spacecraft to successfully rendezvous with the International Space Station.
  • In 2017, Wonder Woman premiered, becoming the first superhero film directed by a woman.


May 25th is Geek Pride Day and Towel Day.

Towel Day is a tribute to author Douglas Adams, created by his fans. To celebrate, fans openly carry a towel with them, as described in Adams’ The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, to demonstrate their appreciation for the books and the author.

A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have. Partly it has great practical value. You can wrap it around you for warmth as you bound across the cold moons of Jaglan Beta; you can lie on it on the brilliant marble-sanded beaches of Santraginus V, inhaling the heady sea vapours; you can sleep under it beneath the stars which shine so redly on the desert world of Kakrafoon; use it to sail a miniraft down the slow heavy River Moth; wet it for use in hand-to-hand-combat; wrap it round your head to ward off noxious fumes or avoid the gaze of the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal (such a mind-bogglingly stupid animal, it assumes that if you can’t see it, it can’t see you — daft as a brush, but very very ravenous); you can wave your towel in emergencies as a distress signal, and of course dry yourself off with it if it still seems to be clean enough.

More importantly, a towel has immense psychological value. For some reason, if a strag (strag: non-hitch hiker) discovers that a hitchhiker has his towel with him, he will automatically assume that he is also in possession of a toothbrush, face flannel, soap, tin of biscuits, flask, compass, map, ball of string, gnat spray, wet weather gear, space suit etc., etc. Furthermore, the strag will then happily lend the hitch hiker any of these or a dozen other items that the hitch hiker might accidentally have “lost.” What the strag will think is that any man who can hitch the length and breadth of the galaxy, rough it, slum it, struggle against terrible odds, win through, and still knows where his towel is, is clearly a man to be reckoned with.

Hence a phrase that has passed into hitchhiking slang, as in “Hey, you sass that hoopy Ford Prefect? There’s a frood who really knows where his towel is.” (Sass: know, be aware of, meet, have sex with; hoopy: really together guy; frood: really amazingly together guy.)

The commemoration was first held on May 25, 2001, two weeks after Adams’ death on May 11th.


Geek Pride Day is designed to promote geek culture. Similar events have been celebrated since 1998, but the first official celebration was in 2008, and was heralded by numerous bloggers and the launch of the official website.


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 – May 24

May 24, 2020
Day 145 of 366


May 24th is the 145th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Eritrea, commemorating their independence from Ethiopia in 1993.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Yucatan Shrimp DayNational Aviation Maintenance Technician Day, Brother’s Day, National Scavenger Hunt Day, National Escargot Day, and National Wyoming Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1819, Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom was born.
  • In 1830, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Sarah Josepha Hale was published.
  • In 1844, Samuel Morse sent the message “What hath God wrought” – a biblical quotation from Numbers 23:23 – from a committee room in the United States Capitol. The message was received by his assistant Alfred Vail, in Baltimore, Maryland, and it inaugurated a commercial telegraph line between Baltimore and Washington D.C.
  • In 1883, the Brooklyn Bridge was opened to traffic in New York City after 14 years of construction.
  • In 1925, illustrator and educator Carmine Infantino was born.
  • In 1930, Amy Johnson landed in Darwin, Northern Territory after an 11,000-mile flight that began on May 5th. This made her the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia.
  • In 1940, Igor Sikorsky performed the first successful single-rotor helicopter flight.
  • In 1941, singer-songwriter, guitarist, artist, writer, producer, and Nobel Prize laureate Bob Dylan was born.
  • In 1943, actor Gary Burghoff was born.
  • In 1944, singer-songwriter and actress Patti LaBelle was born.
  • In 1949, actor Jim Broadbent was born.
  • Also in 1949, cinematographer Roger Deakins was born.
  • In 1953, actor Alfred Molina was born.
  • In 1958, United Press International was formed through a merger of the United Press and the International News Service.
  • In 1960, English actress Kristin Scott Thomas was born.
  • In 1962, American astronaut Scott Carpenter orbited the Earth three times in the Aurora 7 space capsule.
  • In 1965, actor John C. Reilly was born.
  • In 1972, director, producer, and screenwriter Greg Berlanti was born.
  • In 1989, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade was released.
  • In 1999, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia in The Hague, Netherlands indicted Slobodan Milošević and four others for war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Kosovo.


May 24th is Bermuda Day.

The public holiday is celebrated in the islands of Bermuda and is typically observed on the last Friday in May. Before a permanent move in 2018, the date was May 24th or the nearest Monday if the 24th was on a weekend.

Bermuda Day is traditionally the first day of the year that residents will go into the sea or go onto the water after winter. It is also traditionally the first day on which Bermuda shorts are worn as business attire. To celebrate the holiday, there is a parade in Hamilton, Bermuda, and a road race from the west end of the island into Hamilton. Celebratory events are popular with spectators, and residents are known to stake out particular sections of the pavements to enable them to watch the runners and the floats.


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.