The Thing About Today – October 17

October 17, 2020
Day 291 of 366

October 17th is the 291st day of the year. It is the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, an international observance to recognize the struggles of the impoverished and to make their voices heard by governments and citizens.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Edge Day, National Mulligan Day, National Pasta Day, Black Poetry Day, and National Sweetest Day (which is typically observed on the third Saturday in October).

Looking into National Edge Day, it is apparently a day about abstention from drugs, alcohol, and recreational drugs. It is linked to the Straight Edge movement, which is a subculture of the hardcore punk community. The movement started in the 1980s, but petered out around the turn of the century. When I was in high school, they had a negative reputation and were regarded as militant and violent. I don’t have a lot of information about the community as we enter the 2020s.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1604, Kepler’s Supernova was observed in the constellation of Ophiuchus. It is the most recent supernova in our galaxy to have been unquestionably observed by the naked eye, occurring no farther than 20,000 light-years (or 6 kiloparsecs) from Earth.
  • In 1771, the opera Ascanio in Alba premiered in Milan. It was composed by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart at the age of 15. It is a pastoral opera in two parts to an Italian libretto by Giuseppe Parini, commissioned by the Empress Maria Theresa for the wedding of her son, Archduke Ferdinand Karl, to Maria Beatrice d’Este.
  • In 1827, Vincenzo Bellini’s third opera, Il pirata, premiered at Milan.
  • In 1888, Thomas Edison filed a patent for the Optical Phonograph.
  • In 1907, the Marconi Company began the first commercial transatlantic wireless service.
  • In 1914, author and illustrator Jerry Siegel was born. He was the co-creator of Superman.
  • In 1915, playwright and screenwriter Arthur Miller was born.
  • In 1918, actress, singer and dancer Rita Hayworth was born.
  • In 1919, RCA was incorporated as the Radio Corporation of America.
  • In 1931, Al Capone was convicted of income tax evasion.
  • In 1933, Albert Einstein fled Nazi Germany and moved to the United States.
  • In 1939, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington was released.
  • In 1947, singer-songwriter, actor, and director Michael McKean was born.
  • In 1948, American soldier and author Robert Jordan was born. He was the creator of The Wheel of Time fantasy series.
  • Also in 1948, Canadian-American actress Margot Kidder was born.
  • Also in 1948, actor and comedian George Wendt was born.
  • In 1956, the first commercial nuclear power station was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II in Sellafield, England.
  • Also in 1956, physician, academic, and astronaut Mae Jemison was born. She was the first black woman to travel into space, doing so as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour during mission STS-47, which was the fiftieth mission of the Space Shuttle program.
  • In 1959, actor Dolph Lundgren was born.
  • In 1960, puppeteer Kevin Clash was born.
  • In 1966, English actor, screenwriter and novelist Mark Gatiss was born.
  • In 1968, the film Bullitt was released.
  • In 1969, the Caravaggio painting Nativity with St. Francis and St. Lawrence was stolen from the Oratory of Saint Lawrence in Palermo.
  • In 1979, Mother Teresa is awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. History having 20/20 hindsight, she really did not deserve it.
  • Also in 1979, the Department of Education Organization Act created the United States Department of Education.
  • In 1983, actress Felicity Jones was born.
  • In 2005, The Colbert Report, an American satirical news television program and talk show hosted by Stephen Colbert, premiered on Comedy Central.
  • In 2018, the recreational use of cannabis was legalized in Canada.
  • Also in 2018, Caroll Spinney retired from Sesame Street after 50 years of portraying characters like Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch.

October 17th is Digital Society Day in India.

On October 17, 2000, the Information Technology Act 2000 was notified. It was the first law of the digital society in India and gave, for the first time in the country, legal recognition for electronic documents. It also provided a legally recognized method of authentication of electronic documents by means of digital signatures.

Additionally, the act recognized cyber crimes and prescribed a fast track grievance redressal mechanism for them.

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 16

October 16, 2020
Day 290 of 366

October 16th is the 290th day of the year. It is World Food Day, an international day honoring the founding of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in 1945. The day is celebrated widely by many other organizations concerned with food security, including the World Food Programme and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Sports Day, National Liqueur Day, National Dictionary Day, Global Cat Day, Department Store Day, and Boss’s Day (or National Boss’s Day, held annually on October 16th unless the date falls on a weekend. If so, it’s the closest workday.).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1793, Queen Marie Antoinette was executed.
  • In 1841, Queen’s University was founded in the Province of Canada.
  • In 1843, William Rowan Hamilton invented quaternions, a three-dimensional system of complex numbers.
  • In 1847, Charlotte Brontë’s novel Jane Eyre was published in London.
  • In 1854, Irish playwright, novelist, and poet Oscar Wilde was born.
  • In 1869, Girton College, Cambridge was founded, becoming England’s first residential college for women.
  • In 1909, William Howard Taft and Porfirio Díaz held the first summit between presidents of the United States and Mexico. They narrowly escaped assassination.
  • In 1923, The Walt Disney Company was founded.
  • In 1925, English-American actress, singer, and producer Angela Lansbury was born. She is well-known for her portrayal of Jessica Fletcher, mystery writer (and, perhaps, the most successful fictional serial killer ever) on Murder, She Wrote.
  • In 1936, English actor and screenwriter Peter Bowles was born.
  • In 1940, actor and producer Barry Corbin was born.
  • In 1950, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis was published.
  • In 1962, President Kennedy was informed of photos taken on October 14 by a U-2 spy plane showing nuclear missiles. The crisis would last for the infamous thirteen days starting from this point.
  • In 1964, China detonated its first nuclear weapon.
  • In 1975, actress, director, and producer Kellie Martin was born.
  • In 1981, actress and writer Brea Grant was born.
  • In 2002, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina opened in Egypt, commemorating the ancient library of Alexandria.

October 16th is World Anesthesia Day (or World Anaesthesia Day or Ether Day), an annual event commemorating the first successful demonstration of diethyl ether anesthesia on October 16, 1846.

This event ranks as one of the most significant in the history of medicine. It took place in an operating theater (now known as the Ether Dome) at the Massachusetts General Hospital, home of the Harvard School of Medicine. The discovery made it possible for patients to obtain the benefits of surgical treatment without the pain associated with an operation.

Special events have been held to commemorate the date since at least 1903. Celebrations are driven by the World Federation of Societies of Anesthesiologists with over 134 societies representing anesthesiologists from over 150 countries.

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 15

October 15, 2020
Day 289 of 366

October 15th is the 289th day of the year. It is Breast Health Day in Europe, a day of awareness of breast cancer and improvement of breast cancer services by promoting early detection, optimal treatment and research.

It is also White Cane Safety Day in the United States, a day to celebrate the achievements of people who are blind or visually impaired and the important symbol of blindness and tool of independence, the white cane. In 2011, White Cane Safety Day was also named Blind Americans Equality Day by President Barack Obama.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Shawarma Day, National Aesthetician Day, National Cheese Curd Day, National I Love Lucy Day, National Grouch Day, National Get Smart About Credit Day (typically observed on the third Thursday in October), and Get to Know Your Customers Day (typically observed on the third Thursday of Each Quarter).

It is also National Latino AIDS Awareness Day and National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1582, adoption of the Gregorian calendar began, eventually leading to near-universal adoption.
  • In 1783, the Montgolfier brothers’ hot air balloon made the first human ascent, piloted by Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier.
  • In 1863, the H. L. Hunley, the first submarine to sink a ship, sunk, killing its inventor.
  • In 1888, the “From Hell” letter allegedly sent by Jack the Ripper was received by investigators.
  • In 1917, Dutch dancer Mata Hari was executed by France for espionage.
  • In 1924, actor Mark Lenard was born.
  • In 1939, the New York Municipal Airport (later renamed LaGuardia Airport) was dedicated.
  • In 1940, The Great Dictator, a satiric social commentary film by and starring Charlie Chaplin, was released.
  • In 1943, actress, director, and producer Penny Marshall was born.
  • In 1951, I Love Lucy premiered.
  • In 1955, actress Tanya Roberts was born.
  • In 1956, FORTRAN, the first modern computer language, was first shared with the coding community.
  • In 1991, The “Oh-My-God particle”, an ultra-high-energy cosmic ray measured at 40,000,000 times that of the highest energy protons produced in a particle accelerator was observed at the University of Utah HiRes observatory in Dugway Proving Ground, Utah.
  • In 1997, the Cassini probe launched from Cape Canaveral on its way to Saturn.
  • In 2001, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft passed within 112 miles of Jupiter’s moon Io.

October 15th is Global Handwashing Day.

Global Handwashing Day is an international handwashing promotion campaign to motivate and mobilize people around the world to improve their handwashing habits. Washing hands at critical points during the day and washing with soap are both important.

The global campaign is dedicated to raising awareness of handwashing with soap as a key factor in disease prevention. Respiratory and intestinal diseases can be reduced by 25-50% through efficient and effective handwashing habits.

It’s vitally important, especially in the current pandemic, to prevent the spread of disease. The most I have been disgusted by handwashing habits was at Disney World when watching people from across the world walk right past the sinks after using the restroom.

At a minimum, twenty seconds with warm water and soap is the key.

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 #SJA17: The Eternity Trap

Sarah Jane Adventures: The Eternity Trap
(2 episodes, s03e04, 2009)

Timestamp SJA17 The Eternity Trap

Spooky fun.

Professor Rivers has returned, this time with the story of a haunted house. In 1665, Ashen Hill Manor was inhabited by magician Erasmus Darkening, who promised to replenish Lord Marchwood’s fortunes through alchemy. Marchwood’s two children, Elizabeth and Joseph, spied on the magician one night and vanished for eternity.

The professor tells this story to Sarah Jane, Clyde, Rani, and her assistant Toby. Sarah Jane is covering the story as Rivers studies the estate, and Luke remained home just in case something went wrong. They find out the estate has been plagued by other disappearances over the years.

It’s a beautiful home. It’s also haunted.

Sarah Jane doesn’t believe in ghosts. While the team roams the halls, they hear a series of church bells but cannot find the source. Clyde and Rani wander outside find a shed and a fountain while Sarah Jane examines a bookshelf. The books shuffle on their own, the fountain cycles on and off, and wet footprints appear in the shed as children giggle and music plays.

They hear a young girl crying, but it stops as Clyde pulls the sheet off of a mirror. The magician appears in the mirror and Clyde and Rani return to the house.

Everyone convenes around a lantern and talk about what they’ve all found. Toby gathers everyone’s mobiles after the gang calls home, and Rivers starts the experiment. The camera monitors flicker with the magician’s face before the nursery camera shorts out.

Meanwhile, Rani finds the magician’s face in the history book Sarah Jane was reading. The book had flipped itself to the right page. The gang returns to the control area as Rivers vanishes in the nursery and electromagnetic readings spike throughout the house.

The gang investigates only to find echoes of Marchwood’s children and the toys come to life. Rivers begs for help over the walkie-talkies, but the team can’t reach her. A message appears on the chalkboard: “GET OUT.”

Instead of getting out, the team tracks the energy and, against Sarah Jane’s better judgment, splits up.

Sarah Jane finds the echoes of Marchwood’s children. They warn her to leave before Erasmus takes her too. She ventures outside to discover a being with red eyes that is vanquished by the spirit of Lord Marchwood.

Rani and Clyde explore and find a secret passage to Erasmus’s lab. The discover a computer, which should not exist, along with Erasmus Darkening (who claims not to be a ghost). Before they are captured, they are rescued by Marchwood and his children.

Sarah Jane returns inside and hears the voice of Professor Rivers again, asking for help by name. She’s reunited with Rani and Clyde, then all three of them find Marchwood who beseeches them to leave. Sarah Jane reiterates that the curse doesn’t result in ghosts, and the gang meets up with Toby at the staircase in time to see all of the people who have disappeared in the house except Rivers. When Erasmus arrives, they all vanish.

Erasmus promises to come for the team and reveals that he is not exactly human. Sarah Jane and Toby seek out the computer while Rani and Clyde distract the so-called magician.

Toby tells Sarah Jane about a a creature that used to come into his room and watch him sleep. Meanwhile, Rani and Clyde are chased into the game room and watch as the pool table comes to life. They eventually run outside and are locked out of the house. They seek solace in the shed from the red-eyed being.

Sarah Jane and Toby find the computer and surmise that the house has been transformed into a portal to another galaxy, the pathway home for an alien who was stranded on Earth three centuries ago. The machine has malfunctioned and trapped the disappeared between dimensions.

Erasmus confronts Sarah Jane and Toby, preferring the eternal life of the accelerator over death in isolation. The red-eyed creature came through the portal, and Sarah Jane realizes that her friends are in trouble. After Lord Marchwood rescues Clyde and Rani, they are all reunited with Sarah Jane and Toby. Toby’s ghost-hunting technology inspires Sarah Jane.

After Erasmus took Marchwood’s children, the lord sought revenge and inadvertently damaged the device. Lord Marchwood uses that information to lure Erasmus into a trap that dissociates him into pure energy. The “ghosts” have all vanished and Rivers has returned, and Sarah Jane destroys the computer once and for all.

As the gang says farewell to Professor Rivers and Toby, they debate the existence of ghosts. Sarah Jane remains firm that ghosts don’t exist, but hesitates when she sees Marchwood’s family watching from the window.

This was a fun little romp that took advantage of actor Tommy Knight’s school exams to get the gang out of the house. For the first time, Luke, Mr. Smith, and the Bannerman Road house do not appear in the series.

The setting was quite beautiful. This location, Hensol Castle, was previously seen in Forest of the Dead and is used as a wedding venue in South Wales.

The story itself, which was quite relevant for the lead-up to Halloween for this publication, was an amusing ghost hunting expedition, but quite average otherwise. The spin on the haunted house story by making the menace a trapped malevolent alien was a good one.

Rating: 3/5 – “Reverse the polarity of the neutron flow.”

UP NEXT – Sarah Jane Adventures: Mona Lisa’s Revenge


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 – October 14

October 14, 2020
Day 288 of 366

October 14th is the 288th day of the year. It is National Education Day in Poland, formerly known as Teachers’ Day.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Dessert Day, Be Bald and Be Free Day, and National Take Your Parents To Lunch Day. It’s also host to four observances centered on the second Wednesday in October: National Curves Day, National Emergency Nurse’s Day, National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work/School Day, and National Stop Bullying Day. Finally, today is National Fossil Day, typically observed on the Wednesday of the second full week in October.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1322, Robert the Bruce of Scotland defeated King Edward II of England at the Battle of Old Byland, forcing Edward to accept Scotland’s independence.
  • In 1582, because of the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, this day didn’t exist in in Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal, and Spain.
  • In 1884, George Eastman received a United States Government patent on his new paper-strip photographic film.
  • In 1888, Louis Le Prince filmed the first motion picture, Roundhay Garden Scene.
  • In 1894, poet and playwright e e cummings was born.
  • Also in 1894, British marine engineer Victoria Drummond was born. She was the first woman marine engineer in the UK and the first woman member of Institute of Marine Engineers. In World War II, she served at sea as an engineering officer in the British Merchant Navy and received awards for bravery under enemy fire.
  • In 1912, former President Theodore Roosevelt was shot and mildly wounded by John Flammang Schrank. Even with the fresh wound in his chest, and the bullet still lodged within it, Roosevelt delivered his scheduled speech.
  • In 1914, chemist and physicist Raymond Davis Jr. was born. He is best known as the leader of the Homestake experiment from the 1960s to the 1980s, which was the first experiment to detect neutrinos emitted from the Sun. For this, he shared the 2002 Nobel Prize in Physics.
  • In 1926, children’s book Winnie-the-Pooh, by A. A. Milne, was first published.
  • In 1927, actor and producer Roger Moore was born.
  • In 1947, Chuck Yeager became the first person to exceed the speed of sound.
  • In 1949, actress Katy Manning was born. She played companion Jo Grant on Doctor Who.
  • In 1952, actor Harry Anderson was born.
  • In 1961, actress Melanie Wilson was born.
  • In 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis began when an American reconnaissance aircraft took photographs of Soviet ballistic missiles being installed in Cuba.
  • In 1964, Martin Luther King Jr. received the Nobel Peace Prize for combating racial inequality through nonviolence.
  • In 1966, the city of Montreal began operation of its underground Montreal Metro rapid transit system.
  • In 1968, the first live TV broadcast by American astronauts in orbit was performed by the Apollo 7 crew.
  • In 1974, singer-songwriter Natalie Maines was born.
  • In 1977, Anita Bryant had a pie thrown in her face at a news conference in Des Moines by gay rights activist Tom Higgins for her anti-LGBT commentary.
  • In 1978, Rescue from Gilligan’s Island premiered. It was the first TV movie based on a television series.
  • In 1979, the first National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights drew approximately 100,000 people.
  • In 1980, actor Ben Wishaw was born.
  • In 1982, United States President Ronald Reagan proclaimed a War on Drugs.
  • In 1998, Eric Rudolph was charged with six bombings, including the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing in Atlanta, Georgia.
  • In 2012, Felix Baumgartner successfully jumped to Earth from a balloon in the stratosphere.
  • In 2014, Utah State University received a bomb threat against feminist media critic Anita Sarkeesian, who was to give a lecture the next day.

October 14th is World Standards Day.

Also known as International Standards Day, this international celebration honors the efforts of the thousands of experts who develop voluntary standards within standards development organizations such as the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO), International Telecommunication Union (ITU), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF).

The aim of World Standards Day is to raise awareness among regulators, industry professionals, and consumers about the importance of standardization to the global economy.

October 14th was specifically chosen to mark the date in 1946. On that day, delegates from 25 countries first gathered in London and decided to create an international organization focused on facilitating standardization. Even though the ISO was formed one year later, it wasn’t until 1970 that the first World Standards Day was celebrated.

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 13

October 13, 2020
Day 287 of 366

October 13th is the 287th day of the year. On this day in 1775, the Continental Congress established the Continental Navy, which was the predecessor of the United States Navy. As a submarine veteran, I would like to wish sailors past and present a happy 245th birthday.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Train Your Brain Day, National Yorkshire Pudding Day, National Metastatic Breast Cancer Awareness Day, and National No Bra Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1269, the present church building at Westminster Abbey was consecrated.
  • In 1792, the cornerstone of the United States Executive Mansion (known as the White House since 1818) was laid in Washington, D.C.
  • In 1843, B’nai B’rith was founded in New York City. It is the oldest Jewish service organization in the world.
  • In 1881, the first known conversation in modern Hebrew took place between Eliezer Ben-Yehuda and friends.
  • In 1884, the International Meridian Conference established the meridian of the Greenwich Observatory as the prime meridian.
  • In 1885, the Georgia Institute of Technology was founded in Atlanta, Georgia. Unfortunately, Georgia Tech selected the asshole of the insect world, the yellow jacket, as their mascot.
  • In 1892, Edward Emerson Barnard found the first comet discovered by photographic means.
  • In 1908, Margaret Travers Symons burst into the UK parliament and became the first woman to speak there.
  • In 1939, actress Melinda Dillon was born.
  • In 1941, singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer Paul Simon was born.
  • In 1956, television producer Chris Carter was born.
  • In 1962, actress Kelly Preston was born.
  • In 1964, actor and producer Christopher Judge was born.
  • In 1976, the first electron micrograph of an Ebola virus was taken at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by Dr. F. A. Murphy.
  • In 1983, Ameritech Mobile Communications launched the first United States cellular network in Chicago.

October 13th is the International Day for Disaster Reduction.

This international day encourages every citizen and government to take part in building more disaster-resilient communities and nations. In 1989, the United Nations General Assembly designated October 13th as the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction as part of its proclamation of the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction.

In 2002, the General Assembly decided to maintain the annual observance as a vehicle to promote a global culture of natural disaster reduction, including prevention, mitigation, and preparedness. The name and date became official in 2009.

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 12

October 12, 2020
Day 286 of 366

October 12th is the 286th day of the year. It is Freethought Day, an annual observance by freethinkers and secularists of the anniversary of the effective end of the Salem Witch Trials.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Savings Day, National Vermont Day, National Farmer’s Day, National Gumbo Day, National Online Bank Day (typically observed on the second Monday in October), and National Kick Butt Day (typically observed on the second Monday in October).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1692, the Salem witch trials were ended by a letter from Province of Massachusetts Bay Governor William Phips.
  • In 1773, Eastern State Hospital opened in Williamsburg, Virginia. It was the first psychiatric hospital in what would become the United States.
  • In 1799, Jeanne Geneviève Labrosse became the first woman to jump from a balloon with a parachute.
  • In 1810, the citizens of Munich held the first Oktoberfest.
  • In 1847, Werner von Siemens founded Siemens & Halske, which later became Siemens AG.
  • In 1901, President Theodore Roosevelt officially renamed the “Executive Mansion” to the White House.
  • In 1928, an iron lung respirator was used for the first time at Boston Children’s Hospital.
  • In 1933, the military Alcatraz Citadel became the civilian Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary.
  • In 1945, Desmond Doss became the first conscientious objector to receive the United States Medal of Honor.
  • In 1964, the Soviet Union launched the Voskhod 1 spacecraft into Earth orbit. It was the first spacecraft with a multi-person crew, and the first flight without pressure suits.
  • In 1968, Australian actor, singer, and producer Hugh Jackman was born.
  • In 1971, the 2,500 year celebration of the Persian Empire began.
  • In 1984, the Provisional Irish Republican Army attempted and failed to assassinate Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and her cabinet. The bomb killed five people and wounded 31.
  • In 1992, actor Josh Hutcherson was born.
  • In 1994, the Magellan spacecraft burned up in the atmosphere of Venus.
  • In 2000, the USS Cole (DDG-67), a United States Navy destroyer, was badly damaged by two suicide bombers. Seventeen crew members were killed and thirty-nine were wounded.
  • In 2005, the second Chinese human spaceflight, Shenzhou 6, was launched. It carried two cosmonauts in orbit for five days.

The second Monday in October is observed as Indigenous Peoples’ Day, a holiday that celebrates and honors Native American peoples and commemorates their histories and cultures.

An official city and state holiday in various localities, it began as a counter-celebration held on the same day as the United States federal holiday of Columbus Day, which honors Italian explorer Christopher Columbus. Many reject celebrating him, saying that he represents “the violent history of the colonization in the Western Hemisphere”, and that Columbus Day is a sanitation or covering-up of Christopher Columbus’ actions such as enslaving Native Americans.

Indigenous Peoples’ Day began in 1989 in South Dakota, where Lynn Hart and then Governor Mr. George S. Mickelson backed a resolution to celebrate Native American day on the second Monday of October, marking the beginning of the year of reconciliation in 1990. It was instituted in Berkeley, California, in 1992, to coincide with the 500th anniversary of the arrival of Christopher Columbus in the Americas. Two years later, Santa Cruz, California, instituted the holiday, and in the 2010s, various other cities and states took it up as well.

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 11

October 11, 2020
Day 285 of 366

October 11th is the 285th day of the year. It is National Coming Out Day, an LGBT awareness day to support members of the LGBT community if they choose to “come out of the closet”.

It’s a personal choice with a lot of factors involved, but if you choose today, know that you are seen, loved, and supported.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Sausage Pizza Day, General Pulaski Memorial Day, and Clergy Appreciation Day (also known as Pastor Appreciation Day or Ministry Appreciation Day, and typically observed on the second Sunday in October).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1767, surveying for the Mason–Dixon line separating Maryland from Pennsylvania was completed. It forms part of the borders of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and West Virginia (which was part of Virginia until 1863). It later became informally known as the border between the free (Northern) states and the slave (Southern) states during the American Civil War since the Virginia portion was the northern border of the Confederacy.
  • In 1852, the University of Sydney, Australia’s oldest university, was inaugurated in Sydney.
  • In 1865, hundreds of black men and women marched in Jamaica, starting the Morant Bay rebellion.
  • In 1950, CBS’s field-sequential color system for television became the first to be licensed for broadcast by the United States Federal Communications Commission.
  • In 1958, NASA launched Pioneer 1. It was NASA’s first space probe, but it failed to achieve a stable orbit.
  • In 1960, actress Nicola Bryant was born. She is known for her role as Perpugilliam “Peri” Brown, a companion to both the Fifth and Sixth Doctors in Doctor Who.
  • In 1966, actor and producer Luke Perry was born.
  • In 1968, NASA launched Apollo 7, the first successful manned Apollo mission, with astronauts Walter M. Schirra, Donn F. Eisele, and R. Walter Cunningham aboard.
  • In 1972, a race riot occurred on the United States Navy aircraft carrier Kitty Hawk (CV-63) off the coast of Vietnam. At the time, under the Navy’s tradition of Southern white leadership coupled with low test scores, black sailors spent more time assigned to the least desirable, most difficult and least dignified jobs, while whites were routinely promoted to the most desirable and more respected jobs, and accounted for 99% of the Navy’s officers.
  • Also in 1972, actress Claudia Black was born.
  • In 1975, Saturday Night Live debuted. The show’s first host was George Carlin.
  • In 1976, actress and producer Emily Deschanel was born.
  • In 1977, actor and producer Matt Bomer was born.
  • In 1984, aboard the Space Shuttle Challenger during mission STS-41-G, astronaut Kathryn D. Sullivan became the first American woman to perform a space walk.
  • In 1985, actress Michelle Trachtenberg was born.
  • In 1987, the AIDS Memorial Quilt was first displayed during the Second National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights.
  • In 1991, Professor Anita Hill delivered her televised testimony concerning sexual harassment during the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination.
  • In 2000, NASA launched the Space Shuttle Discovery on mission STS-92, marking the 100th Space Shuttle mission.
  • In 2001, the Polaroid Corporation filed for federal bankruptcy protection.

October 11th is International Day of the Girl Child.

Also known as the Day of the Girls and the International Day of the Girl, it is an international observance declared by the United Nations that supports more opportunity for girls and increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This inequality includes areas such as access to education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care, and protection from discrimination, violence against women and forced child marriage.

The Day of Girls helps raise awareness not only of the issues that girls face, but also of what is likely to happen when those problems are solved. For example, educating girls helps reduce the rate of child marriage, disease and helps strengthen the economy by helping girls have access to higher paying jobs.

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 10

October 10, 2020
Day 284 of 366

October 10th is the 284th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Cuba, commemorating the proclamation of their independence from Spain and the beginning of the Ten Years’ War in 1868.

It is also World Against the Death Penalty Day, a day to advocate for the abolition of the death penalty and to raise awareness of the conditions and the circumstances which affect prisoners with death sentences.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Angel Food Cake Day, National Cake Decorating Day, National Handbag Day, National Chess Day, National Costume Swap Day, National Motorcycle Ride Day, and I Love Yarn Day. The last four events are typically observed on the second Saturday in October.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1731, French-English chemist, physicist, and philosopher Henry Cavendish was born. He is noted for his discovery of hydrogen, which he termed “inflammable air”.
  • In 1813, Italian composer and philanthropist Giuseppe Verdi was born.
  • In 1845, the Naval School (later the United States Naval Academy) opened in Annapolis, Maryland with 50 students.
  • In 1846, Triton, the largest moon of the planet Neptune, was discovered by English astronomer William Lassell.
  • In 1903, the Women’s Social and Political Union was founded in support of the enfranchisement of British women.
  • In 1917, pianist and composer Thelonious Monk was born.
  • In 1927, actor and director Dana Elcar was born.
  • In 1941, actor, director, and screenwriter Peter Coyote was born.
  • In 1946, actor, singer, and dancer Ben Vereen was born.
  • In 1957, the Windscale fire resulted in Britain’s worst nuclear accident.
  • In 1959, actor and producer Bradley Whitford was born.
  • In 1961, voice actress Jodi Benson was born.
  • In 1963, From Russia With Love premiered.
  • In 1964, the Tokyo Summer Olympics opening ceremony became the first to be relayed live by satellites.
  • In 1966, The Beach Boys released one of their biggest singles, “Good Vibrations”. It is ranked as the 6th greatest song by Rolling Stone.
  • In 1967, the Outer Space Treaty – formally the Treaty on Principles Governing the Activities of States in the Exploration and Use of Outer Space, including the Moon and Other Celestial Bodies – came into force.
  • Also in 1967, composer Michael Giacchino was born.
  • In 1973, United States Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned after being charged with evasion of federal income tax.
  • In 1978, model and actress Jodi Lyn O’Keefe was born.
  • In 1988, actress Rose McIver was born.
  • In 2017, Thor: Ragnarok premiered.

October 10th is observed as World Mental Health Day.

This international day exists to promote global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma. It was first celebrated in 1992 at the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health, a global mental health organization with members and contacts in more than 150 countries.

On this day, each October, thousands of supporters come to celebrate this annual awareness program to bring attention to mental illness and its major effects on peoples’ lives worldwide.

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.

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