The Thing About Today – July 29

July 29, 2020
Day 211 of 366


July 29th is the 211th day of the year. It is International Tiger Day, also known as Global Tiger Day, an annual celebration to raise awareness for tiger conservation. The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.

And, no, I still haven’t (and never will) watch Tiger King.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Lasagna Day, National Lipstick Day, and National Chicken Wing Day.

Now I want wings for lunch.


Historical items of note:

  • In 615, Kʼinich Janaabʼ Pakal ascended the throne of Palenque (anciently known as Lakamha, literally “Big Water”) at the age of 12.
  • In 1775, the United States Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps was founded when General George Washington appointed William Tudor as Judge Advocate of the Continental Army.
  • In 1818, French physicist Augustin Fresnel submitted his prizewinning “Memoir on the Diffraction of Light”, precisely accounting for the limited extent to which light spreads into shadows, and thereby demolishing the oldest objection to the wave theory of light. Science!
  • In 1836, the Arc de Triomphe was inaugurated in Paris, France.
  • In 1907, Sir Robert Baden-Powell set up the Brownsea Island Scout camp in Poole Harbour on the south coast of England. The camp ran for eight days and is regarded as the foundation of the Scouting movement.
  • In 1938, journalist and author Peter Jennings was born.
  • In 1941, actor David Warner was born.
  • In 1945, the BBC Light Programme radio station was launched for mainstream light entertainment and music.
  • In 1948, after a hiatus of 12 years caused by World War II, the Games of the XIV Olympiad opened in London. It was the first Summer Olympics to be held since the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin.
  • In 1953, director and producer Ken Burns was born.
  • In 1954, The Fellowship of the Ring was first published, becoming the first volume of The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien.
  • In 1957, the International Atomic Energy Agency was established.
  • In 1958, United States President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Aeronautics and Space Act, which creates the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
  • In 1963, actress and producer Alexandra Paul was born.
  • In 1972, actor, producer, and screenwriter Wil Wheaton was born.
  • In 1973, Greeks voted to abolish the monarchy, beginning the first period of the Metapolitefsi.
  • In 1981, a worldwide television audience of over 700 million people watched the wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer at St Paul’s Cathedral in London.
  • In 2005, astronomers announced their discovery of the dwarf planet Eris.


July 29 is National Anthem Day (Ziua Imnului național) in Romania.

The anthem is “Deșteaptă-te, române!”, which is variously translated as “Awaken thee, Romanian!”, “Awaken, Romanian!”, or “Wake up, Romanian!”. The lyrics were composed by Andrei Mureșanu and the music was chosen for the poem by Gheorghe Ucenescu, as the legend goes. It was written and published during the 1848 revolution, a liberal and nationalist uprising that sought to overturn the administration imposed by Imperial Russian authorities under the Regulamentul Organic regime.

The anthem’s first name was “Un răsunet”, which means “an echo” in English. After it was first sung in the city of Brașov, on the streets of Șchei quarter, it was immediately accepted as the revolutionary anthem and renamed “Deșteaptă-te, române!”

Since then, this song, which contains a message of liberty and patriotism, has been sung during all major Romanian conflicts, including during the 1989 anti-communist revolution. After the revolution, it became the national anthem on January 24, 1990, replacing the communist-era national anthem “Trei culori” (“Three colors”).


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 – July 28

July 28, 2020
Day 210 of 366


July 28th is the 210th day of the year. It is the eve of Ólavsøka, the biggest summer festival in the Faroe Islands. This national holiday is the day when the Faroese Parliament, Løgting, opens its session. Literally translated to “Saint Olaf’s Wake” (vigilia sancti Olavi in Latin), derived from Saint Olaf’s death at the Battle of Stiklestad in 1030, the festival is celebrated for several days.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Milk Chocolate Day, Buffalo Soldiers Day, and National Waterpark Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1571, La Laguna encomienda, known today as the Laguna province in the Philippines, was founded by the Spaniards as one of the oldest encomiendas (provinces) in the country.
  • In 1854, USS Constellation was commissioned. It was the last all-sail warship built by the United States Navy and is now a museum ship in Baltimore Harbor.
  • In 1866, at the age of 18, Lavinia “Vinnie” Ream became the first and youngest female artist to receive a commission from the United States government. Her commission was for a white marble statue of Abraham Lincoln that resides in the Capitol Rotunda.
  • Also in 1866, English children’s book writer and illustrator Beatrix Potter was born.
  • In 1868, the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was certified, establishing African American citizenship and guaranteeing due process of law.
  • In 1879, activist Lucy Burns was born. She co-founded the National Woman’s Party, an American women’s political organization formed to fight for women’s suffrage.
  • In 1922, Belgian-Swiss oceanographer and engineer Jacques Piccard was born.
  • In 1929, journalist, socialite, and 37th First Lady of the United States Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis was born.
  • In 1945, cartoonist Jim Davis was born. He created Garfield.
  • In 1996, the remains of a prehistoric man were discovered near Kennewick, Washington, thus known as the Kennewick Man.
  • In 2018, Australian Wendy Tuck became the first woman skipper to win the Clipper Round the World Yacht Race.


July 28th is the Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval.

The Expulsion of the Acadians, also known as the Great Upheaval, the Great Expulsion, the Great Deportation, and Le Grand Dérangement, was the forced removal of the Acadian people by the British from the present-day Canadian Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and northern Maine. These locations were parts of an area historically known as Acadia.

The Expulsion occurred over a decade during the French and Indian War as part of the British military campaign against New France (the area colonized by France in America, beginning with the exploration of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence by Jacques Cartier in 1534 and ending with the cession of New France to Great Britain and Spain in 1763 under the Treaty of Paris).

The British first deported Acadians to the Thirteen Colonies, and after 1758, transported additional Acadians to Britain and France. In the first wave, Acadians were deported to other British North American colonies. During the second wave, they were deported to Britain and France, and from there a significant number migrated to Spanish Louisiana, where “Acadians” eventually became “Cajuns”. Acadians fled initially to French-allied colonies such as Canada, the uncolonized northern part of Acadia, Île Saint-Jean (now Prince Edward Island), and Île Royale (now Cape Breton Island). During the second wave of the expulsion, these Acadians were either imprisoned or deported.

In all, of the 14,100 Acadians in the region, approximately 11,500 Acadians were deported. The expulsion helped the British achieve their military goals of defeating Louisbourg and weakening the Miꞌkmaq and Acadian militias, but the larger effect was the devastation of both a primarily civilian population and the economy of the region. Thousands of Acadians died in the expulsions, mainly from diseases and drowning when ships were lost.

In 1847, American poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow published a long, narrative poem about the expulsion of the Acadians called Evangeline, which depicted the plight of the fictional character Evangelin. The poem became popular and made the expulsion well known. The Evangeline Oak is a tourist attraction in Louisiana.

Several other cultural commemorations were made, including songs, novels, and living monuments such as Grand-Pré Park (a National Historic Site of Canada situated in Grand-Pré, Nova Scotia).

In December 2003, Governor General Adrienne Clarkson, representing Queen Elizabeth II as Canada’s head of state, acknowledged the expulsion but did not apologize for it. She designated July 28th as “A Day of Commemoration of the Great Upheaval.” The Royal Proclamation of 2003 closed one of the longest cases in the history of the British courts, initiated in 1760 when the Acadian representatives first presented their grievances of forced dispossession of land, property, and livestock.

Today the Acadians live primarily in eastern New Brunswick and in some regions of Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Northern Maine.


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 – July 27

July 27, 2020
Day 209 of 366


July 27th is the 209th day of the year. It is Remembrance Day in Vietnam, also known as Day for Martyrs and Wounded Soldiers.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Love is Kind Day, National Scotch Day, National Crème Brûlée Day, and National New Jersey Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1741, French-English violinist and composer François-Hippolyte Barthélémon was born.
  • In 1775, the United States Army Medical Department was founded by the Second Continental Congress. The legislation established “an hospital for an army consisting of 20,000 men.”
  • In 1789, the first United States federal government agency, the Department of Foreign Affairs, was established. It would later be renamed as the Department of State.
  • In 1866, the first permanent transatlantic telegraph cable was successfully completed, stretching from Valentia Island, Ireland, to Heart’s Content, Newfoundland.
  • In 1882, English pilot and engineer Geoffrey de Havilland was born. He founded the de Havilland Aircraft Company.
  • In 1890, Vincent van Gogh shots himself. He died two days later.
  • In 1919, the Chicago Race Riot erupted with the murder of Eugene Williams, an African-American 17-year-old who inadvertently drifted on a raft into a white swimming area at an informally segregated beach. The riots led to 38 fatalities and 537 injuries over a five-day period.
  • In 1921, researchers at the University of Toronto, led by biochemist Frederick Banting, proved that the hormone insulin regulates blood sugar.
  • In 1922, screenwriter and producer Norman Lear was born.
  • In 1938, game designer Gary Gygax was born. He co-created Dungeons & Dragons.
  • In 1940, the animated short A Wild Hare was released, introducing the character of Bugs Bunny.
  • In 1942, Allied forces successfully halted the final Axis advance into Egypt.
  • In 1949, the initial flight of the de Havilland Comet, the first jet-powered airliner, occurred at Hatfield Aerodrome. The flight lasted 31 minutes.
  • In 1963, Chinese-Hong Kong actor, director, producer, and martial artist Donnie Yen was born.
  • In 1970, Danish actor and producer Nikolaj Coster-Waldau was born.
  • In 1972, actress Maya Rudolph.
  • In 1974, the United States House of Representatives Judiciary Committee voted 27 to 11 to recommend the first article of impeachment (for obstruction of justice) against President Richard Nixon.
  • In 1977, actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers was born.
  • In 1996, a pipe bomb exploded at Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, Georgia during the 1996 Summer Olympics. Security guard Richard Jewell was initially investigated as a suspect and pursued by the press, but the bombing was later attributed as the first of four bombings committed by Eric Rudolph. The bomber pleaded guilty to numerous state and federal homicide charges and accepted four consecutive life sentences in exchange for avoiding a trial and a potential death sentence.


In 1953, cessation of hostilities was achieved in the Korean War when the United States, China, and North Korea signed an armistice agreement. Syngman Rhee, President of South Korea, refused to sign but pledged to observe the armistice.

The Korean War began on June 25, 1950, when North Korea invaded South Korea. It lasted for just over three years.

At the end of World War II, the Soviet Union and the United States liberated Korea from imperial Japanese colonial control. After the war had ended, Korea was divided at the 38th parallel into two zones of occupation: The Soviets administered the northern half and the Americans administered the southern half.

With the border set at the 38th parallel in 1948, two sovereign states were established as a result of geopolitical tensions of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States. The north established a socialist state under the communist leadership of Kim Il-sung, and the south established a capitalist state in the south under the anti-communist leadership of Syngman Rhee. Both governments of the two new Korean states claimed to be the sole legitimate government of all of Korea, and neither accepted the border as permanent.

After the border was breached and the war began, the United Nations Security Council authorized the formation of the United Nations Command and the dispatch of forces to Korea to repel what was recognized as a North Korean invasion. Twenty-one countries of the United Nations eventually contributed to the UN force, with the United States providing around 90% of the military personnel.

When the Korean Armistice Agreement was signed, it created the Korean Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) to separate North and South Korea, and allowed the return of prisoners. No peace treaty was ever signed, so the two Koreas are technically still at war, engaged in a frozen conflict.

In April 2018, the leaders of North and South Korea met at the DMZ and agreed to work towards a treaty to formally end the Korean War.

In 1995, the Korean War Veterans Memorial was dedicated in Washington, D.C. on National Korean War Veterans Armistice Day, which is observed every year on this date in memory of those who died, were wounded, and were taken as prisoners of war during the conflict.


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 – July 26

July 26, 2020
Day 208 of 366


July 26th is the 208th day of the year. Today celebrates the independence of Liberia from the American Colonization Society in 1847 and the independence of Maldives from the United Kingdom in 1965.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Aunt and Uncle’s Day, National Bagelfest Day, National Coffee Milkshake Day, National All or Nothing Day, and National Parent’s Day (which is typically observed on the fourth Sunday in July).

It is also National Disability Independence Day, which celebrates the 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1745, the first recorded women’s cricket match took place near Guildford, England.
  • In 1775, the office that would later become the United States Post Office Department was established by the Second Continental Congress. Benjamin Franklin of Pennsylvania took office as Postmaster General.
  • In 1803, the Surrey Iron Railway, arguably the world’s first public railway, opened in south London, United Kingdom.
  • In 1856, Irish playwright, critic, and Nobel Prize laureate George Bernard Shaw was born.
  • In 1891, France annexed Tahiti. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it is a magical place.
  • In 1895, actress and comedian Gracie Allen was born.
  • In 1908, United States Attorney General Charles Joseph Bonaparte issued an order to immediately staff the Office of the Chief Examiner. That office was later renamed the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • In 1909, actress Vivian Vance was born.
  • In 1918, Emmy Noether’s paper, which became known as Noether’s theorem, was presented at Göttingen, Germany. From that theorem, conservation laws were deduced for symmetries of angular momentum, linear momentum, and energy.
  • In 1921, actor and writer Jean Shepherd was born. His book In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash was the basis for the movie A Christmas Story.
  • In 1928, director, producer, screenwriter, and cinematographer Stanley Kubrick was born.
  • In 1943, singer-songwriter, producer, and actor Mick Jagger was born.
  • In 1945, the Labour Party officially won the United Kingdom general election of July 5th by a landslide. Winston Churchill was removed from power.
  • Also in 1945, actress Helen Mirren was born.
  • In 1946, Aloha Airlines began service from Honolulu International Airport.
  • In 1947, United States President Harry S. Truman signed the National Security Act of 1947 into law. This created the Central Intelligence Agency, United States Department of Defense, United States Air Force, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the United States National Security Council.
  • In 1948, United States President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, desegregating the military of the United States.
  • In 1951, Walt Disney’s 13th animated film, Alice in Wonderland, premiered in London, England.
  • In 1953, Fidel Castro led an unsuccessful attack on the Moncada Barracks, thus beginning the Cuban Revolution. The movement took the name of the date: The 26th of July Movement.
  • In 1957, actress Nana Visitor was born.
  • In 1963, Syncom 2, the world’s first geosynchronous satellite, was launched from Cape Canaveral on a Delta B booster.
  • In 1964, actress and producer Sandra Bullock was born.
  • In 1971, Apollo 15 launched with astronauts David R. Scott, Alfred M. Worden, and James B. Irwin on board. It was the first Apollo “J-Mission”, which were designed for extensive scientific investigation of the Moon, both on the lunar surface and from lunar orbit. It was the first mission to use the Lunar Roving Vehicle.
  • In 1973, actress Kate Beckinsale was born.
  • In 1990, the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 was signed into law by President George H.W. Bush.
  • In 2005, Space Shuttle Discovery launched on mission STS-114, NASA’s first scheduled flight mission after the Columbia Disaster in 2003.
  • In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first female nominee for President of the United States by a major political party at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. The distinction of “major political party” is important because former Secretary Clinton was not the first female nominee overall. That distinction belongs to Victoria Woodhull with the Equal Rights Party in 1872.


In 1887, Unua Libro was published, founding the Esperanto movement.

The language was created by Polish ophthalmologist L. L. Zamenhof with the goal of developing an easy and flexible language that would serve as a universal second language to foster world peace and international understanding. He hoped it would build a “community of speakers”, as he believed that one could not have a language without such a community.

Esperanto grew throughout the 20th century, both as a language and as a linguistic community. Despite speakers facing persecution in regimes such as Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union under Stalin, Esperanto speakers continued to organize and publish around specific regions and interests. In 1954, the United Nations granted official support to Esperanto as an international auxiliary language.

The advent of the internet has only helped the community to blossom through connectivity and learning apps like Duolingo. With over two million speakers worldwide, it is the most widely spoken constructed language in the world.

July 26th is commemorated as Esperanto 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 – July 25

July 25, 2020
Day 207 of 366


July 25th is the 207th day of the year. Today is the Día Nacional de Galicia (National Day of Galicia), which commemorates the autonomous community of Galicia in Spain.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Merry-Go-Round Day, National Hot Fudge Sundae Day, National Threading the Needle Day, National Hire a Veteran Day, National Wine and Cheese Day, and National Day of the Cowboy (which is typically observed on the fourth Saturday in July).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1467, the Battle of Molinella occurred. It was the first battle in Italy in which firearms and artillery were used extensively.
  • In 1783, the last action of the American Revolutionary War occurred at the Siege of Cuddalore. It was part of the Second Anglo–Mysore War, which pitted the Kingdom of Mysore against the British East India Company during 1780 to 1784. At the time, Mysore was a key French ally in India, and the conflict between Britain against the French and Dutch in the American Revolutionary War sparked Anglo–Mysorean hostilities in India. The siege ended when news arrived of a preliminary peace treaty between France and Britain.
  • In 1788, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart completed his Symphony No. 40 in G minor.
  • In 1857, naval officer and inventor Frank J. Sprague was born. He contributed to the development of the electric motor, electric railways, and electric elevators.
  • In 1861, the United States Congress passed the Crittenden–Johnson Resolution, stating that the Civil War was being fought to preserve the Union and not to end slavery. President Abraham Lincoln was concerned that the slave states of Missouri, Kentucky, and Maryland (part of the upper south) might leave the Union to join the Confederate States of America. If Maryland were lost, Washington, D.C. would be entirely surrounded by Confederate territory. The resolution intended that the Union Government would take no actions against the institution of slavery in an attempt to retain the loyalty of Unionists in the slave-holding border states. It implied the war would end when the seceding states returned to the Union, with slavery intact. By December 1861, public opinion of the war had shifted so dramatically that the resolution was repealed. Meanwhile, the Confederacy maintained that slavery was a divine right and the very cornerstone of their rebellion.
  • In 1866, the United States Congress passed legislation authorizing the rank of General of the Army. Lieutenant General Ulysses S. Grant became the first to be promoted to this rank.
  • In 1894, the First Sino-Japanese War began when the Japanese fired upon a Chinese warship.
  • In 1898, in the Puerto Rican Campaign, the United States seized Puerto Rico from Spain.
  • In 1909, Louis Blériot made the first flight across the English Channel in a heavier-than-air machine from Calais, France to Dover, England in 37 minutes.
  • In 1915, Royal Flying Corps Captain Lanoe Hawker became the first British pursuit aviator to earn the Victoria Cross.
  • In 1917, Sir Robert Borden introduced the first income tax in Canada as a “temporary” measure. It was not.
  • In 1920, biophysicist, chemist, and academic Rosalind Franklin was born. Her work was central to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid), RNA (ribonucleic acid), viruses, coal, and graphite.
  • In 1923, actress and golden girl Estelle Getty was born.
  • In 1955, Somalian-English model and actress Iman was born.
  • In 1965, Bob Dylan went “electric” at the Newport Folk Festival, signaling a major change in folk and rock music. It was quite the controversy.
  • In 1967, actor and producer Matt LeBlanc was born. He will always be Joey.
  • In 1976, Viking 1 took the famous Face on Mars photo.
  • In 1978, Louise Joy Brown was born. She was the first human to have been born after conception by in vitro fertilization (IVF), known in the media as a “test tube baby” despite being conceived in a Petri dish. Cardinal Albino Luciani (the future Pope John Paul I) expressed concerns that artificial insemination could lead to women being used as “baby factories”, but did not condemn the parents since they simply wanted to have a baby.
  • In 1984, Salyut 7 cosmonaut Svetlana Savitskaya became the first woman to perform a spacewalk.


July 25th is Puerto Rico Constitution Day. The holiday commemorates the day the Constitution of Puerto Rico, approved on July 3, 1952, was signed into law by Governor Luis Muñoz Marín later that month. Before then, July 25th had been known as Occupation Day, commemorating the arrival of United States military forces on July 25, 1898 in an area of the municipality of Yauco that in the early 20th century would become the separate municipality of Guánica.

The event is marked by a commemorative ceremony and was established by Law #1 on August 4, 1952.


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.



Culture on My Mind – Quarantine Con, Episodes XI-XIV

Culture on My Mind
July 24, 2020


It’s been a crazy couple of weeks on this end, so I have a backlog of “can’t let it go” panels from the Classic Track Irregulars!

At the end of June, the Irregulars tackled Russia. From Red Dawn to The Day After to Nikolai Volkoff, Russians were the go-to villain for everything in the ’80s, so Jonathan Williams, Darin Bush, Michael Williams, and Michael Bailey joined Joe and Gary to show that, in Soviet Russia, dystopian movies watch you.


Coming in at number twelve in the Quarantine Con lineup is a Mother’s Day celebration (only three months late) with a panel about cartoon moms! On this edition of American Sci-Fi Classic Track’s Quarantine Panels, they discussed mothers in animated series, from Hanna-Barbera to Disney and beyond. Because they didn’t want to have a whole panel of male idiots talking about motherhood, they recruited a real-life mother of one of the real-life Classic Track Irregulars with Bethany Kesler’s amazing mom Donya Kesler.

(Ms. Kesler is terrific and she should be on every podcast, forever.)

Gary and Joe are also joined by Kevin Eldridge.


Lucky number thirteen is a discussion of everyone’s favorite American redhead teenager: Archie Andrews. A group of hot dogs – Chris Cummins, Michael Bailey, Kevin Eldridge, Joe, and Gary – talks about Archie from the comics to cartoons to Jughead breakdancing to “Sugar Sugar.”


Last, but certainly not least, is Nancy Drew. Everyone’s favorite classic lady detective turns 90 this year, and Gary and Joe invited two fans to talk all about her. Join Jessica Nettles and Nadyne Neff as they discuss the books, the 1970s TV series, the movies, and the new show on The CW.


Yes, that is a lot of content for one week, but when you’re out of the loop for a couple of weeks, it kind of stacks up.

Gary and Joe have a lot more fun discussions planned in the coming weeks, so stay tuned to the YouTube channel and the group on Facebook. If you join in live, you can also leave comments and participate in the discussion using StreamYard connected through Facebook.


Culture on My Mind is inspired by the weekly Can’t Let It Go segment on the NPR Politics Podcast where each host brings one thing to the table that they just can’t stop thinking about.

For more creativity with a critical eye, visit Creative Criticality.

The Thing About Today – July 24

July 24, 2020
Day 206 of 366


July 24th is the 206th day of the year. It is Pioneer Day in Utah, celebrating the entry of Brigham Young and the first group of Mormon pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley on July 24, 1847.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Thermal Engineer Day, National Tequila Day, National Drive-Thru Day, National Cousins Day, and National Amelia Earhart Day.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1567, Mary, Queen of Scots, was forced to abdicate and was replaced by her 1-year-old son James VI.
  • In 1701, Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac founded the trading post at Fort Pontchartrain, which later became the city of Detroit.
  • In 1802, French novelist and playwright Alexandre Dumas was born. In 2002, on the 200th anniversary of his birth, his ashes were interred in the Panthéon in Paris in a televised ceremony.
  • In 1823, the naval Battle of Lake Maracaibo took place in Maracaibo, Venezuela. Admiral José Prudencio Padilla defeated the Spanish Navy, thus culminating the independence for the Gran Colombia.
  • In 1847, inventor Richard March Hoe patented the rotary-type printing press.
  • In 1866, Tennessee became the first state to be readmitted to the Union following the American Civil War. Georgia was the last state.
  • In 1897, pilot and author Amelia Earhart was born.
  • In 1936, actor Mark Goddard was born.
  • In 1948, Marvin the Martian debuted in the short “Haredevil Hare”.
  • In 1950, Cape Canaveral Air Force Station began operations with the launch of a Bumper rocket.
  • In 1951, actress and wonder woman Lynda Carter was born.
  • In 1968, actress and singer Kristin Chenoweth was born.
  • In 1969, Apollo 11 splashed down safely in the Pacific Ocean.
  • Also in 1969, actress and singer Jennifer Lopez was born.
  • In 1981, actress Summer Glau was born.
  • In 1982, actress Anna Paquin was born.
  • Also in 1982, actress Elisabeth Moss was born.
  • In 1987, Hulda Crooks climbed Mt. Fuji. At 91 years of age, Crooks became the oldest person to climb Japan’s highest peak.
  • Also in 1987, actress Mara Wilson was born.
  • In 1991, actress Emily Bett Rickards was born.
  • In 2001, Simeon Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, the last Tsar of Bulgaria when he was a child, was sworn in as Prime Minister of Bulgaria. He was the first monarch in history to regain political power through democratic election to a different office.


July 24th is the Carnival of Awussu.

Carnaval d’Aoussou in French, it is an annual festive and cultural event in Sousse, Tunisia. The parade of symbolic chariots, fanfares, and folk groups from Tunisia and elsewhere takes place near the beach of Boujaafar at the eve of the beginning of ‘Awussu (the heat wave of the month of August according to the Berber calendar).

Originally a Pagan feast called Neptunalia, which celebrates the god of the seas, Neptune in the Roman province of Africa, it has transformed over time and lost all religious connotations. In the modern era, prior to the Tunisian revolution, the festival was used for political propaganda.


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 – July 23

July 23, 2020
Day 205 of 366


July 23rd is the 205th day of the year. It is the birthday of Haile Selassie, the Emperor of Ethiopia between 1930 and 1974, and a central figure in the Rastafari religion.

Rastafari, also known as Rastafarianism, is an Abrahamic religion that developed in Jamaica during the 1930s. It is classified as both a new religious movement and a social movement by scholars of religion. Rasta beliefs are based on a specific interpretation of the Bible, with a monotheistic belief in a single God, referred to as Jah, who partially resides within each individual. Rastafari also maintains that Jah incarnated in human form as Jesus Christ. Haile Selassie is regarded by some as the Second Coming of Christ (and thus Jah incarnate), while others see him as a human prophet who fully recognized the inner divinity in every individual.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as Gorgeous Grandma Day, National Vanilla Ice Cream Day, National Refreshment Day, and National Intern Day. The last two are typically observed on the fourth Thursday in July.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1840, the Province of Canada was created by the Act of Union.
  • In 1885, President Ulysses S. Grant died of throat cancer.
  • In 1888, crime novelist and screenwriter Raymond Chandler was born.
  • In 1892, Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie was born.
  • In 1926, Fox Film bought the patents of the Movietone sound system for recording sound onto film.
  • In 1927, the first station of the Indian Broadcasting Company went on the air in Bombay.
  • In 1950, actress Belinda Montgomery was born.
  • In 1961, actor and activist Woody Harrelson was born.
  • In 1962, Telstar relayed the first publicly transmitted, live trans-Atlantic television program, featuring Walter Cronkite.
  • Also in 1962, Jackie Robinson became the first African American to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
  • Also in 1962, actor, director, and producer Eriq La Salle was born.
  • In 1967, actor, director, and producer Philip Seymour Hoffman was born.
  • In 1968, in Cleveland, Ohio, a violent shootout between a Black Militant organization and the Cleveland Police Department occurred. During the shootout, a riot began and lasted for five days.
  • Also in 1968, model and actress Stephanie Seymour was born.
  • In 1970, actress Charisma Carpenter was born.
  • In 1971, singer-songwriter and fiddler Alison Kraus was born.
  • In 1972, the United States launched Landsat 1, the first Earth-resources satellite.
  • In 1982, outside Santa Clarita, California, actor Vic Morrow and two children were killed when a helicopter crashes onto them while shooting a scene from Twilight Zone: The Movie.
  • In 1989, actor Daniel Radcliffe was born.
  • In 1992, a Vatican commission, led by Pope Benedict XVI (Joseph Ratzinger), established that limiting certain rights of homosexual people and non-married couples were not equivalent to discrimination on grounds of race or gender.
  • In 1995, Comet Hale–Bopp was discovered. It became visible to the naked eye on Earth nearly a year later.
  • In 1999, Space Shuttle Columbia launched on mission STS-93, with Eileen Collins becoming the first female space shuttle commander. The shuttle also carried and deployed the Chandra X-ray Observatory.
  • In 2015, NASA announced the discovery of Kepler-452b by the Kepler space telescope.


July 23rd is Renaissance Day in Oman.

Qaboos bin Said Al Said (قابوس بن سعيد‎) was the Sultan of Oman from July 23, 1970 until his death on January 10th of this year. A fifteenth-generation descendant of the founder of the House of Al Said, he was the longest-serving leader in the Middle East and Arab world at the time of his death.

He was the only son of Sultan Said bin Taimur of Muscat and Oman, and he was educated in England at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. After a brief period in the British Army, he returned to Oman in 1966 and ascended to the throne after overthrowing his father in a coup d’état with British support. The country was subsequently renamed the Sultanate of Oman.

As Sultan, Qaboos implemented a policy of modernization and ended Oman’s international isolation. His reign saw a rise in living standards and development in the country, the abolition of slavery, the end of the Dhofar Rebellion, and the promulgation of Oman’s constitution.

His political system was an absolute monarchy. The Sultan’s birthday, November 18th, is celebrated as Oman’s national holiday, but the first day of his reign, July 23rd, is celebrated as Renaissance Day.

Suffering from poor health in later life, Qaboos died in 2020. He had no children, so he entailed the royal court to reach a consensus on a successor upon his death. As a precaution, he hid a letter which named the successor in case an agreement was not achieved. After his death, the royal court decided to view Qaboos’s letter and named his intended successor, his cousin Haitham bin Tariq, as Sultan.


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 #SJA13: From Raxacoricofallapatorius with Love

Sarah Jane Adventures: From Raxacoricofallapatorius with Love
(Comic Relief Special, 2009)


K9 looks adorable in a red nose.

This short story for Comic Relief’s annual fundraiser marks the first time that a Doctor Who spinoff has been featured for the charity event, and it’s also the first one to be considered part of the mainstream televised continuity.

It focuses on Sarah, Luke, Rani, and Clyde as they run a routine check on Mr. Smith. As they’re wrapping things up, an unknown force locks onto the attic. A man in a bowler materializes, declaring himself Ambassador Rahnius – Rahni, for short – of the Galactic Alliance.

In gratitude of their stellar efforts, he gives them each a set of sparkly red deeley boppers. (As an aside, I learned what those novelty headbands were actually called by watching this short story.) The visitor sits down to tell them a story, but he ends giving himself away with gas problems corresponding to a Slitheen. Our favorite robotic pooch K9 arrives and tries to stop the threat, but the Rahnius immobilizes the good boy before revealing himself and his mission: He’s there to steal Mr. Smith to corner the galactic financial markets.

He activates the deeley boppers, which are gadgets that prevent the humans from running, but Luke and Sarah Jane use the sonic lipstick to reverse the effect. Pinned in place, the Slitheen makes a ready target for Mr. Smith to teleport away.

With the threat ended, Sarah Jane declares this the bizarre five minutes of her life.

K9 agrees, red nose on his face and all.

So do I. There’s not much more to say about this fun little jaunt.


Rating: 4/5 – “Would you care for a jelly baby?”


UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Series Two Summary


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 – July 22

July 22, 2020
Day 204 of 366


July 22nd is the 204th day of the year. It is Sarawak Independence Day – also known as Hari Kemerdekaan Sarawak, Hari Sarawak, or Sarawak Day – celebrating the establishment of self-government and de facto independence of the state of Sarawak in Malaysia.


In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Penuche Fudge Day, National Hammock Day, National Rat Catcher’s Day, and National Hot Dog Day (which changes annually).


Historical items of note:

  • In 1598, William Shakespeare’s play, The Merchant of Venice, was entered on the Stationers’ Register. By decree of Queen Elizabeth, the Stationers’ Register licensed printed works, giving the Crown tight control over all published material.
  • In 1706, the Acts of Union 1707 were agreed upon by commissioners from the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland, which, when passed by each countries’ Parliaments, led to the creation of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
  • In 1793, Alexander Mackenzie reached the Pacific Ocean, thus becoming the first recorded human to complete a transcontinental crossing of North America.
  • In 1893, Katharine Lee Bates wrote “America the Beautiful” after admiring the view from the top of Pikes Peak near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
  • In 1934, actress Louise Fletcher was born.
  • In 1937, the United States Senate voted down President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s proposal to add more justices to the Supreme Court of the United States.
  • In 1938, actor Terence Stamp was born.
  • In 1940, game show host and producer Alex Trebek was born.
  • In 1942, the United States government began compulsory civilian gasoline rationing due to wartime demands.
  • In 1946, actor, director, and producer Danny Glover was born.
  • In 1949, pianist and composer Alan Menken was born.
  • In 1955, actor Willem Dafoe was born.
  • In 1959, cult classic Plan 9 From Outer Space premiered. It is considered to be one of the worst films ever made. Personally, I’ve survived worse.
  • In 1964, actress, dancer, and 1980s Doctor Who companion Bonnie Langford was born.
  • In 1972, actor, director, and producer Colin Ferguson was born.
  • In 1976, Japan completed its last reparation to the Philippines for war crimes committed during imperial Japan’s conquest of the country in the Second World War.
  • In 1992, singer and actress Selena Gomez was born.
  • In 2018, the producers of the CW’s Supergirl announced the casting of the first live-action transgender superhero, Dreamer, played by transgender actor Nicole Maines.
  • In 2019, Avengers: Endgame premiered, becoming the world’s highest-grossing film.


July 22nd is one of two celebrations of Ratcatcher’s Day.

Also known as Rat-catcher’s Day or Rat Catcher’s Day, the day is celebrated on either June 26th or July 22nd, and commemorates the myth of the Pied Piper of Hamelin.

The Pied Piper of Hamelin (Rattenfänger von Hameln in German) legend describes a piper, dressed in multicolored (“pied”) clothing, who was a rat-catcher hired by the town. His goal was to lure rats away with his magic pipe, presumably to stem the tide of a plague. When the citizens refused to pay for this service as promised, he retaliated by using his instrument’s magical power on their children, leading them away as he had the rats.

The town of Hamelin, Germany uses the June date and the term “Pied Piper Day”. The confusion of dates is due to different publications of the story. The Brothers Grimm cite June 26, 1284 as the date that the Pied Piper led the children out of the town, while the poem by Robert Browning gives it as July 22, 1376.

Either way, it is used as a holiday to remember rat-catchers, similar to Secretary’s Day and Presidents 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.