The Thing About Today – February 22

February 22, 2020
Day 53 of 366


February 22nd is the fifty-third day of the year. It marks Independence Day in Saint Lucia after separating from the United Kingdom in 1979.

In the United States, it is “celebrated” as National California Day, National Cook a Sweet Potato Day, and National Margarita Day. Get all three by cooking a sweet potato while drinking a margarita in California.


Historical items of note:

  • In 1632, Ferdinando II de’ Medici, Grand Duke of Tuscany, received the first printed copy of Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems. The Grand Duke was the dedicatee of the book that compared the Copernican system (the orbital model that shows the Sun as the center of the solar system) with the more traditional Ptolemaic system (the orbital model in which everything revolves around the Earth).
  • In 1732, George Washington was born. He was a general in the American Revolution and the first President of the United States.
  • In 1819, Spain sold Florida to the United States for five million U.S. dollars under the Adams–Onís Treaty.
  • In 1862, Jefferson Davis was officially inaugurated for a six-year term as the President of the Confederate States of America in Richmond, Virginia. He was previously inaugurated as a provisional president on February 18, 1861.
  • In 1878, Frank Woolworth opens the first of many of five-and-dime Woolworth stores. The first store was located in Utica, New York.
  • In 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill admitting North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, and Washington as U.S. states.
  • In 1909, the sixteen battleships of the Great White Fleet, led by USS Connecticut, returned to the United States after a voyage around the world.
  • In 1915, the Imperial German Navy instituted unrestricted submarine warfare.
  • In 1924, United States President Calvin Coolidge becomes the first President to deliver a radio address from the White House.
  • In 1950, basketball star and sportscaster Julius “Dr. J” Erving was born.
  • In 1959, Kyle MacLachlan was born.
  • In 1962, zoologist and television host Steve Irwin was born.
  • In 1968, actress Jeri Ryan was born.
  • In 1975, Drew Barrymore was born.
  • In 1980, the “Miracle on Ice” occurred at the Winter Olympic Games in Lake Placid, New York when the United States hockey team defeated the Soviet Union hockey team by a 4-3 score.


In 1857, Robert Baden-Powell, 1st Baron Baden-Powell, was born. In 1889, Lady Olave Baden-Powell, GBE was born. Together, along with Robert’s sister Agnes, they founded the Scouting and Guiding movements.

Robert Baden-Powell was a British Army officer who wrote several military books. Using them as a guide, he wrote Scouting for Boys in 1908 and formed The Boy Scouts Association in 1910 after retiring from the army as a lieutenant general. In 1909, Baden-Powell attended a rally of Scouts, many of whom had joined and spontaneously formed troops, at Crystal Palace in London. There he met with some of the first Girl Scouts, and his sister Agnes Baden-Powell formed the Girl Guides soon after.

The movement soon became an international phenomenon, leading the formation of the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA.

In 1912, Robert Baden-Powell met Olave St Clair Soames while en route to New York on a Scouting World Tour. They were married later that same year, and she became the first Chief Guide for Britain and World Chief Guide in 1930 for her major contributions to the development of the movement.

Robert Baden-Powell died on January 8, 1941, and was buried at St. Peter’s Cemetery in Nyeri, Kenya. Olave Baden-Powell, who was 32 years younger than her husband, died on June 25, 1977. Her ashes were taken to the same gravesite, which has now become a national monument.

The legacy of the Baden-Powell family is honored on February 22nd with Founder’s Day (for the World Organization of the Scout Movement) and World Thinking Day (for the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts).

Despite all of the turmoil within the Boy Scouts of America, the Baden-Powells still hold a special place in my heart for the years of my childhood that I spent in the Scouting program. I earned my Eagle Scout award at the age of 15 and look back fondly on the experiences and friendships developed on that path.


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.



Best Day of Television

A meme has been making the rounds on Facebook about getting children into nature, claiming that kids “don’t remember their best day of television.” Thankfully, many of the people in my geeky circles have torn it apart with their best life-changing television memories.

Photo originally posted by the Children & Nature Network page on Facebook
Photo originally posted by the
Children & Nature Network Facebook page


Mine was May 23, 1994. The episode was “All Good Things…”, the series finale of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was the first time I had ever seen a television show do what is now considered a proper wrap-up of story lines from the series, and it still ranks up there with “Goodbye, Farewell, and Amen” from M*A*S*H as one of my favorites farewells in television history.

While the Children & Nature Network has a point in unplugging kids and getting them into the world around them – I spent a great deal of time in nature and away from tech in my youth over many years working on my Eagle Scout award and as a volunteer Trail Patrol member at Antelope Island State Park – this meme easily glosses over the effect that good television has on people. Good stories, regardless of medium, transport your imagination away from the burdens of reality and allow you to dream and hope, and fosters creativity.

Yes, even kids can understand the burdens of the real world and create imaginative wonders to solve them. Anecdotally, I know a successful filmmaker and writer who escaped abuse at home through the wonders of Star Wars. A more concrete example is the duo of Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, the high school teens who created Superman to battle the social injustices of the 1930s.

My love of speculative fiction stems from being introduced to Star Trek and Lost in Space by my father, and the plethora of action, adventure, and science fiction that dominated the 1980s television landscape. My imagination is still fueled by those memories to this day.

In the end, kids will remember their best days so long as those days are spent seeking their bliss. The trick is finding out what fuels their passions while guiding them into the world at large. All things in moderation.