The Thing About Today – December 5

December 5, 2020
Day 340 of 366

December 5th is the 340th day of the year. It is World Soil Day, a day to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and to advocate for the sustainable management of soil resources.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Sacher Torte Day, Bathtub Party Day, International Ninja Day, National Repeal Day, National Rhubarb Vodka Day, and Skywarn Recognition Day. The last two are typically observed on the first Saturday in December.

I didn’t know about Skywarn Recognition Day. It recognizes the vital public service contributions that Amateur Radio operators make during National Weather Service severe weather warning operations. It also strengthens the bond between Amateur Radio operators and the local National Weather Service.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1766, auctioneer James Christie held his first sale in London.
  • In 1831, former United States President John Quincy Adams took his seat in the House of Representatives. He remains the only former President to be elected to the chamber, although John Tyler was elected as a Confederate representative and died before being seated.
  • In 1890, Austrian-American director, producer, and screenwriter Fritz Lang was born.
  • In 1901, animator, director, producer, and screenwriter Walt Disney was born. He co-founded the Walt Disney Company.
  • Also in 1901, German physicist and academic Werner Heisenberg was born. A theoretical physicist and one of the key pioneers of quantum mechanics, he is known for the uncertainty principle, which he published in 1927. He was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics “for the creation of quantum mechanics”, and is also known for important contributions to the theories of the hydrodynamics of turbulent flows, the atomic nucleus, ferromagnetism, cosmic rays, and subatomic particles.
  • In 1926, Adetowun Ogunsheye was born. She was the first female Nigerian professor and university dean.
  • In 1932, singer-songwriter, pianist, and actor Little Richard was born.
  • In 1933, the Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified. It repealed the Eighteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, which had mandated nationwide prohibition on alcohol.
  • In 1949, English composer and conductor John Altman was born.
  • In 1955, E. D. Nixon and Rosa Parks led the Montgomery bus boycott.
  • In 1958, Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) was inaugurated in the United Kingdom by Queen Elizabeth II when she spoke to the Lord Provost in a call from Bristol to Edinburgh.
  • In 1975, actress Paula Patton was born.
  • In 1976, actress Amy Acker was born.
  • In 2004, the Civil Partnership Act came into effect in the United Kingdom, and the first civil partnership was registered as a result.

December 5th is Saint Nicholas’ Eve in Belgium, Czech Republic, Slovakia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Romania, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom. It is also Krampusnacht in Austria.

Saint Nicholas is the patron saint of children. The legendary figure Sinterklaas is based on Saint Nicholas, and is also known as Sint-Nicolaas, De Sint (“The Saint”), De Goede Sint (“The Good Saint”), and De Goedheiligman (“The Good Holy Man”) in Dutch; Sanikolas in Papiamento; Saint Nicolas in French; Sinteklaas in West Frisian; Sinterklaos in Limburgs; Saint-Nikloi in West Flemish; Kleeschen and Zinniklos in Luxembourgish; Sankt Nikolaus or Nikolaus in German; and Sint Nicholas in Afrikaans. Sinterklaas is also one of the primary sources of the Christmas icon Santa Claus.

The feast of Sinterklaas celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas on December 6th, and part of that celebration is the giving of gifts on Saint Nicholas’ Eve on December 5th.

December 5th is also Krampusnacht, during which a wicked hairy devil named Krampus sometimes accompanies Saint Nicholas. Saint Nicholas concerns himself only with the good children, while Krampus is responsible for the bad. Nicholas dispenses gifts, while Krampus supplies coal and the Ruten bundles.

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 – December 4

December 4, 2020
Day 339 of 366

December 4th is the 339th day of the year. It is Tupou I Day in Tonga, commemorating King George Tupou I’s installation as Tuʻi Kanokupolu in 1845.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cookie Day, National Dice Day, National Sock Day, Faux Fur Friday, and National Bartender Day. The last two are typically observed on the first Friday in December.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1783, at Fraunces Tavern in New York City, General George Washington bid farewell to his officers.
  • In 1786, Mission Santa Barbara was dedicated in what would become Santa Barbara, California. This happened on the feast day of Saint Barbara.
  • In 1791, the first edition of The Observer, the world’s first Sunday newspaper, was published.
  • In 1872, the crewless American brigantine Mary Celeste, adrift in the Atlantic, was discovered by the Canadian brig Dei Gratia. The ship had been abandoned for nine days but was only slightly damaged. Her master Benjamin Briggs and all nine others known to have been on board were never accounted for.
  • In 1881, the first edition of the Los Angeles Times was published.
  • In 1924, architect John C. Portman, Jr. was born. He designed the Renaissance Center and Tomorrow Square. He also had a particularly large impact on the cityscape of his hometown of Atlanta, with the Peachtree Center complex serving as downtown’s business and tourism anchor from the 1970s onward. The Peachtree Center area includes the Portman-designed Hyatt, Westin, and Marriott hotels, as well as the nearby AmericasMart.
  • In 1925, photographer and film title designer Maurice Binder was born. He is best known for his title credit sequences for the James Bond films.
  • In 1945, by a vote of 65-7, the United States Senate approved United States participation in the United Nations. The UN had been established on October 24th of the same year.
  • In 1949, actor Jeff Bridges was born.
  • In 1954, the first Burger King was opened in Miami, Florida.
  • Also in 1954, actor and producer Tony Todd was born.
  • In 1956, the Million Dollar Quartet of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, and Johnny Cash got together at Sun Studio for the first and last time.
  • In 1964, actress Marisa Tomei was born.
  • In 1991, Pan American World Airways (Pan Am) ceased its operations after 64 years.

December 4th is National Cookie Day.

Cookies appear to have come from 7th century AD Persia, rising shortly after the use of sugar became relatively common in the region. They spread to Europe through the Muslim conquest of Spain. By the 14th century, they were common in all levels of society throughout Europe, from royal cuisine to street vendors.

As global travel became more widespread, cookies made a natural travel companion like travel cakes have been throughout history. One of the most popular early cookies, which traveled especially well and became known on every continent by similar names, was the jumble, a relatively hard cookie made largely from nuts, sweetener, and water.

Cookies came to the Americas through the Dutch in New Amsterdam in the late 1620s. The Dutch word “koekje” was Anglicized to “cookie” or cooky. The earliest reference to cookies in what would become the United States was in 1703.

The most common modern cookie, given its style by the creaming of butter and sugar, was not common until the 18th century.

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 – December 3

December 3, 2020
Day 338 of 366

December 3rd is the 338th day of the year. It is Doctors’ Day in Cuba.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Roof Over Your Head Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1775, USS Alfred became the first vessel to fly the Grand Union Flag, which was the precursor to the Stars and Stripes. The flag was hoisted by John Paul Jones.
  • In 1800, the Presidential Election resulted in an Electoral College tie between Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr. The House of Representatives convened a contingent election during which each state delegation cast one vote, and a victory in the contingent election required one candidate to win a majority of the state delegations. Neither candidate was able to win on the first 35 ballots of the contingent election. Most Federalist Congressmen backed Burr and all Democratic-Republican Congressmen backed Jefferson. Alexander Hamilton favored Jefferson over Burr, and he convinced several Federalists to switch their support to Jefferson. This gave Jefferson a victory on the 36th ballot of the contingent election.
  • In 1842, businessman Charles Alfred Pillsbury was born. He founded the Pillsbury Company.
  • In 1857, Polish-born British novelist Joseph Conrad was born. He is regarded as one of the greatest novelists to write in the English language. Though he did not speak English fluently until his twenties, he was considered a master prose stylist who brought a non-English sensibility into English literature.
  • In 1904, the Jovian moon Himalia was discovered by Charles Dillon Perrine at California’s Lick Observatory.
  • In 1910, modern neon lighting was first demonstrated by Georges Claude at the Paris Motor Show.
  • In 1927, Putting Pants on Philip, the first Laurel and Hardy film, was released.
  • In 1960, the musical Camelot debuted at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway. It would become associated with the Kennedy administration.
  • Also in 1960, actress and producer Daryl Hannah was born.
  • Also in 1960, actress and author Julianne Moore was born.
  • In 1968, actor and producer Brendan Fraser was born.
  • In 1973, Pioneer 10 sent back the first close-up images of Jupiter.
  • In 1981, actor Brian Bonsall was born.
  • In 1992, a test engineer for Sema Group used a personal computer to send the world’s first text message via the Vodafone network to the phone of a colleague.
  • In 1994, the PlayStation video game console, developed and marketed by Sony Computer Entertainment, was released in Japan.
  • In 1999, NASA lost radio contact with the Mars Polar Lander moments before the spacecraft entered the Martian atmosphere.
  • In 2005, XCOR Aerospace made the first manned rocket aircraft delivery of U.S. Mail in Kern County, California.
  • In 2014, the Japanese space agency, JAXA, launched the space explorer Hayabusa2 from the Tanegashima Space Center on a six-year round trip mission to an asteroid to collect rock samples.

December 3rd is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

It is an international observance promoted by the United Nations since 1992. It has been observed with varying degrees of success around the planet.

The goal is to promote an understanding of disability issues and mobilize support for the dignity, rights, and well-being of persons with disabilities. It also seeks to increase awareness of gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

It was originally called “International Day of Disabled Persons” until 2007.

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 – December 2

December 2, 2020
Day 337 of 366

December 2nd is the 337th day of the year. It is National Day in the United Arab Emirates, commemorating the country’s formal nationalization in 1971.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Fritters Day, National Mutt Day, Special Education Day, and National Package Protection Day (typically observed on the Wednesday after Thanksgiving).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1845, United States President James K. Polk proposed that the United States should aggressively expand into the West during his State of the Union address. This led to the widely held American imperialist cultural belief that American settlers were destined to expand across North America. 
  • In 1867, at Tremont Temple in Boston, Massachusetts, British author Charles Dickens gave his first public reading in the United States.
  • In 1939, New York City’s LaGuardia Airport opened.
  • In 1942, during the Manhattan Project, a team led by Enrico Fermi initiated the first artificial self-sustaining nuclear chain reaction.
  • In 1954, the United States Senate voted 65 to 22 to censure Joseph McCarthy for “conduct that tends to bring the Senate into dishonor and disrepute”.
  • In 1963, English actor Brendan Coyle was born.
  • In 1968, actress and producer Lucy Liu was born.
  • In 1970, the United States Environmental Protection Agency began operations.
  • In 1982, at the University of Utah, Barney Clark became the first person to receive a permanent artificial heart.

December 2nd is the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, an international day organized in 1986 by the United Nations General Assembly.

It follows from the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others was approved by the United Nations General Assembly on December 2, 1949. The date is used to raise awareness of the atrocities of modern slavery.

It should not be confused with a similar United Nations day, the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition, observed annually on August 23rd to remind people of the tragedy of the transatlantic slave trade.

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 – December 1

December 1, 2020
Day 336 of 366

December 1st is the 336th day of the year. There are 30 days remaining in 2020.

It is Great Union Day (Ziua Marii Uniri) in Romania, marking the unification of Transylvania, Bessarabia, and Bukovina with the Romanian Kingdom in 1918.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Pie Day, National Eat a Red Apple Day, Bifocals at the Monitor Liberation Day, Rosa Parks Day (in Ohio and Oregon), World Trick Shot Day (typically on the first Tuesday in December), and National Day of Giving – #GivingTuesday (typically on the day following Cyber Monday).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1824, the United States Presidential election was decided by the House of Representatives. None of the candidates received a majority of Electoral College votes, so the House of Representatives exercised their rights under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment and held a contingent election. On February 9, 1825, John Quincy Adams was elected as President, defeating Andrew Jackson, Henry Clay, and William Crawford. It is one of three presidential elections (along with the 1800 election and 1876 election) that have been decided in the House. It is also one of five in which the winner did not achieve at least a plurality of the national popular vote (along with the elections of 1876, 1888, 2000, and 2016), and the only U.S. election in which the candidate who had the plurality of votes in the Electoral College did not win the election.
  • In 1834, slavery was abolished in the Cape Colony in accordance with the Slavery Abolition Act 1833.
  • In 1865, Shaw University, the first historically black university in the southern United States, was founded in Raleigh, North Carolina.
  • In 1913, Crete, having obtained self rule from Turkey after the First Balkan War, was annexed by Greece.
  • In 1919, Lady Astor became the first female Member of Parliament to take her seat in the House of Commons of the United Kingdom.
  • In 1940, comedian, actor, producer, and screenwriter Richard Pryor was born.
  • In 1945, singer-songwriter, actress, and producer Bette Midler was born.
  • In 1955, in Montgomery, Alabama, seamstress Rosa Parks refused to give up her bus seat to a white man. She was arrested for violating the city’s racial segregation laws, an incident which led to that city’s bus boycott.
  • In 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed. It set aside Antarctica as a scientific preserve and banned military activity on the continent.
  • In 1967, actor Nestor Carbonell was born.
  • In 1970, singer-songwriter and guitarist Jonathan Coulton was born.
  • In 1977, Pinwheel is launched. It later became Nickelodeon.
  • In 1982, English actor and rapper Riz Ahmed was born.
  • In 1984, Beverly Hills Cop premiered.
  • In 2018, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse premiered.
  • In 2019, the first known case of COVID-19 appeared.

In 1988, World AIDS Day was designated by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This international day is dedicated to raising awareness of the AIDS pandemic caused by the spread of HIV infection and mourning those who have died of the disease. Government and health officials, non-governmental organizations, and individuals around the world observe the day, often with education on AIDS prevention and control.

December 1st is also Day Without Art, an observance established in 1989 as the national day of action and mourning in response to the AIDS crisis, which had rapidly hurt the artistic community. To make the public aware that AIDS can touch everyone, and inspire positive action, some 800 U.S. art and AIDS groups participated in the first Day Without Art, shutting down museums, sending staff to volunteer at AIDS services, or sponsoring special exhibitions of work about AIDS.

Since then, Day With(out) Art has grown into a collaborative project in which an estimated 8,000 national and international museums, galleries, art centers, AIDS service organizations, libraries, high schools and colleges take part.

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 – November 30

November 30, 2020
Day 335 of 366

November 30th is the 335th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Barbados (which separated from the United Kingdom in 1966) and South Yemen (which separated from the United Kingdom in 1967).

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Personal Space Day, National Mason Jar Day, National Mousse Day, National Meth Awareness Day, Computer Security Day, Stay Home Because You’re Well Day, National Mississippi Day, and Cyber Monday (typically observed on the Monday after Thanksgiving).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1667, Irish satirist and essayist Jonathan Swift was born.
  • In 1786, the Grand Duchy of Tuscany, under Pietro Leopoldo I, became the first modern state to abolish the death penalty. The date was later commemorated as Cities for Life Day.
  • In 1835, novelist, humorist, and critic Mark Twain was born.
  • In 1872, Canadian physician, soldier, and poet John McCrae was born. He wrote In Flanders Fields.
  • In 1874, English colonel, journalist, politician, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and Nobel Prize laureate Winston Churchill was born.
  • In 1927, actor Robert Guillaume was born.
  • In 1929, television host and producer Dick Clark was born.
  • Also in 1929, screenwriter and producer Joan Ganz Cooney was born. She co-created Sesame Street.
  • In 1934, the LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman became the first steam locomotive to be authenticated as reaching 100 mph.
  • In 1936, in London, the Crystal Palace was destroyed by fire.
  • In 1937, English director, producer, and production designer Scott Ridley was born.
  • In 1954, the Hodges meteorite crashed through a roof in Sylacauga, Alabama and hit a woman taking an afternoon nap. This is the only documented case in the Western Hemisphere of a human being hit by a rock from space.
  • In 1955, actor Kevin Conroy was born.
  • In 1962, computer programmer and author Daniel Keys Moran was born.
  • In 1979, Pink Floyd’s rock opera, The Wall was released.
  • In 1982, Michael Jackson’s sixth solo studio album, Thriller, was released worldwide. It ultimately became the best-selling record album in history.
  • Also in 1982, Canadian actress Elisha Cuthbert was born.
  • Also in 1982, Richard Attenborough’s 1983 Best Picture film Gandhi premiered.
  • In 1985, actress Kaley Cuoco was born.
  • In 1993, Steven Spielberg’s 1994 Best Picture film Schindler’s List premiered.
  • In 2000, NASA launched mission STS-97 with Space Shuttle Endeavour, the 101st Space Shuttle mission.

In 2005, Cyber Monday was established by Ellen Davis of the National Retail Federation and Scott Silverman.

Cyber Monday, also known as Blue Monday, is a marketing term for a day created by retailers to convince people to shop online after Black Friday. It’s original purpose was to offer a way for smaller retail websites to compete with larger chains.

Of course, that hasn’t stopped major retailers like Amazon from engaging as well.

In 2017, Cyber Monday online sales grew to a record of $6.59 billion. That’s compared with $2.98 billion in 2015 and $2.65 billion in 2014.

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 – November 29

November 29, 2020
Day 334 of 366

November 29th is the 334th day of the year. It is Unity Day in Vanuatu, a day dedicated to finding unity among the 270,000 citizens, 113 indigenous languages, and various unique customs and traditions across the 83 small volcanic islands.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as Electronic Greetings Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1777, San Jose, California, was founded as Pueblo de San José de Guadalupe by José Joaquín Moraga. It was the first civilian settlement, or pueblo, in Alta California.
  • In 1832, novelist and poet Louisa May Alcott was born.
  • In 1877, Thomas Edison demonstrated the phonograph for the first time.
  • In 1898, British novelist, poet, and critic C. S. Lewis was born.
  • In 1918, author and poet Madeleine L’Engle was born.
  • In 1935, actress Diane Ladd was born.
  • In 1961, The Mercury-Atlas 5 mission was launched. Enos, a chimpanzee, was launched into space. The spacecraft orbited the Earth twice and splashed down off the coast of Puerto Rico.
  • In 1964, actor and producer Don Cheadle was born.
  • In 1972, Atari released Pong, the first commercially successful video game.
  • In 1976, actor Chadwick Boseman was born. He died this year from colon cancer. He was taken from us far too soon.

November 29th is Liberation Day (Dita e Çlirimit) in Albania. It commemorates the day in 1944 when the country was liberated from Nazi Germany forces after the Albanian resistance during World War II.

After Italy was defeated by the Allies, Germany occupied Albania in September 1943. Paratroopers dropped into Tirana before the Albanian guerrillas could take the capital, and the German army drove the guerrillas into the hills and to the south.

Berlin subsequently announced it would recognize the independence of a neutral Albania and organized the Albanian government, police, and military. Many Balli Kombëtar units (an Albanian nationalist anti-communist paramilitary movement and political organization) collaborated with the Germans against the communists, and several Balli Kombëtar leaders held positions in the German-sponsored regime.

The partisans entirely liberated Albania from German occupation on November 29, 1944. The National Liberation Army, which in October 1944 consisted of 70,000 regulars, also took part in the war alongside the antifascist coalition. The Albanian partisans liberated Kosovo, and assisted Tito’s communist forces in liberating part of Montenegro and southern Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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 – November 28

November 28, 2020
Day 333 of 366

November 28th is the 333rd day of the year. It is Independence Day in Mauritania (which separated from France in 1960) and Panama (which separated from Spain in 1821). It is also Albanian Flag Day, which celebrates the independence of Albania from Turkey in 1912, the first Albanian flag raise by Skanderbeg in 1443, and for the new parliamentary constitution in 1998.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National French Toast Day and Small Business Saturday (which is typically the Saturday after Thanksgiving).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1582, in Stratford-upon-Avon, William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway paid a £40 bond for their marriage license.
  • In 1811, Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major, Op. 73, premiered at the Gewandhaus in Leipzig.
  • In 1814, The Times of London became the first newspaper to be produced on a steam-powered printing press, built by the German team of Koenig & Bauer.
  • In 1843, Ka Lā Hui (Hawaiian Independence Day) was established when the Kingdom of Hawaii was officially recognized by the United Kingdom and France as an independent nation.
  • In 1893, women voted for the first time in New Zealand with the 1893 New Zealand general election.
  • In 1919, Lady Astor was elected as a Member of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Countess Markievicz was the first woman to be elected to Parliament, but she refused to sit, so Lady Astor became the first woman to sit in the House of Commons.
  • In 1943, singer-songwriter, composer, and pianist Randy Newman was born.
  • In 1946, director and producer Joe Dante was born.
  • In 1950, actor and producer Ed Harris was born.
  • In 1952, actress S. Epatha Merkerson was born.
  • In 1961, Mexican director, producer, and screenwriter Alfonso Cuarón was born.
  • In 1962, comedian, actor, and television host Jon Stewart was born.
  • In 1964, NASA launched the Mariner 4 probe toward Mars.
  • In 1967, the first pulsar (PSR B1919+21, in the constellation of Vulpecula) was discovered by astronomers Jocelyn Bell Burnell and Antony Hewish.
  • In 1972, Claude Buffet and Roger Bontems were guillotined at La Santé Prison. They marked the last executions to occur in Paris. Capital punishment was abolished in the country overall in 1981.
  • In 1984, actress and producer Mary Elizabeth Winstead was born.
  • In 1987, Scottish actress Karen Gillan was born.
  • In 1988, actress and singer-songwriter Scarlett Pomers was born.

November 28th is Hōonkō (報恩講) in Japan, a holiday in the tradition of Japanese Jodo Shinshu Buddhism that observes the memorial of its founder, Shinran Shonin.

Depending on whether the old Japanese lunar calendar or the western Gregorian calendar is used, this holiday is typically observed either around November 28th (as in the Higashi Honganji) or early January from the 9th to the 16th (as in the Nishi Honganji) respectively.

This holiday is among the most important observed in the Jodo Shinshu tradition. The observance began after Shinran’s daughter, Kakushinni carried on administration of Shinran’s mausoleum, as did her descendants, who ultimately became the Monshu of Jodo Shinshu.

In the word hōonkō; ‘hōon’ means “return of gratitude” and ‘ko’ means “to clarify the meaning of” or “gathering”‘. A typical service will consist of reciting Shinran’s hymn, the Shoshinge, and a reading from the life of Shinran. Followers will sometimes observe a strict diet that day, preferring to eat shōjin ryōri or “Buddhist cuisine”, though this is strictly optional. Temple services will often serve Buddhist cuisine after service including vegetarian ozōni, adzuki and mochi.

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 – November 27

November 27, 2020
Day 332 of 366

November 27th is the 332nd day of the year. It is Teacher’s Day in Spain.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Bavarian Cream Pie Day, and National Craft Jerky Day. It is also recognized as a slew of events set on the day after Thanksgiving: National Day of Listening, National Native American Heritage Day, Black Friday, Buy Nothing Day, Flossing DayMaize Day, and You’re Welcomegiving Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1835, James Pratt and John Smith were hanged in London. They were the last two people to be executed for sodomy in England.
  • In 1895, at the Swedish-Norwegian Club in Paris, Alfred Nobel signed his last will and testament. It set aside his estate to establish the Nobel Prize after he died.
  • In 1896, Also sprach Zarathustra by Richard Strauss was first performed.
  • In 1911, vegetables were thrown at actors by an audience for the first time in recorded American history.
  • In 1924, in New York City, the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade was held.
  • In 1935, English television and film producer Verity Lambert was born. She began her career as a producer at the BBC by becoming the founding producer of the science-fiction series Doctor Who from 1963 until 1965.
  • In 1940, American-Chinese actor, martial artist, and screenwriter Bruce Lee was born.
  • In 1945, actor James Avery was born.
  • In 1951, director, producer, and screenwriter Kathryn Bigelow was born.
  • In 1952, astronaut Jim Wetherbee was born.
  • In 1955, engineer, educator, and television host Bill Nye was born.
  • In 1956, actor William Fichtner was born.
  • In 1957, game designer and author Michael A. Stackpole was born.
  • In 1961, English actress Samantha Bond was born.
  • In 1963, actor, director, and producer Fisher Stevens was born.
  • In 1968, Penny Ann Early became the first woman to play major professional basketball for the Kentucky Colonels in an ABA game against the Los Angeles Stars.
  • In 1971, the Soviet space program’s Mars 2 orbiter released a descent module. It malfunctioned and crashed, but it was the first man-made object to reach the surface of Mars.
  • In 1976, actor and screenwriter Jaleel White was born.
  • In 1978, San Francisco city mayor George Moscone and openly gay city supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated by former supervisor Dan White.
  • In 1985, Canadian actress Alison Pill was born.
  • In 2001, a hydrogen atmosphere was discovered on the extrasolar planet Osiris by the Hubble Space Telescope. It was the first atmosphere detected on an extrasolar planet.
  • In 2013, Disney’s Frozen was released. It became the highest-grossing animated film of all time.

November 27th is Lancashire Day, a county day for historic Lancashire in England.

It commemorates the day in 1295 when Lancashire first sent representatives to Parliament. This was to attend the Model Parliament of King Edward I. Lancashire Day was first held in 1996.

Curated by the Friends of Real Lancashire, it is observed with the loyal toast to “The Queen, Duke of Lancaster”, and is celebrated from everywhere within the county palatine. The day is marked throughout the historic county by town criers announcing the Lancashire Day proclamation which declares the historic regions boundaries of the county, and finishes with “God bless Lancashire, and God save the Queen, Duke of Lancaster”.

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 – November 26

November 26, 2020
Day 331 of 366

November 26th is the 331st day of the year. It is Thanksgiving Day in the United States, typically observed on the fourth Thursday of November.

In the United States, today is also observed as National Day of Mourning. This day was organized by the United American Indians of New England (UAINE) since they consider Thanksgiving Day as a continued reminder of the democide and suffering of Native American people. Since 1970, participants in the National Day of Mourning have honored Native ancestors and their struggles to survive today. Part of the mission behind the event is to educate Americans about the history of Thanksgiving, and the event has brought about revisions in the depiction of United States history and government and settler relationships with Native American peoples as well as a renewed appreciation for their culture.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1842, the University of Notre Dame was founded.
  • In 1863, United States President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed November 26 as a national Thanksgiving Day, to be celebrated annually on the final Thursday of November. Following the Franksgiving controversy from 1939 to 1941, it has been observed on the fourth Thursday in 1942 and subsequent years.
  • In 1917, the National Hockey League was formed, with the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators, Quebec Bulldogs, and Toronto Arenas as its first teams.
  • In 1922, Howard Carter and Lord Carnarvon became the first people to enter the tomb of Pharaoh Tutankhamun in over 3000 years.
  • Also in 1922, The Toll of the Sea debuted as the first general release film to use two-tone Technicolor. The Gulf Between was the first film to do so, but it was not widely distributed.
  • In 1939, American-Swiss singer-songwriter, dancer, and actress Tina Turner was born.
  • In 1942, Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, premiered in New York City.
  • In 1956, The Price is Right debuted on NBC.
  • In 1965, France launched Astérix, becoming the third nation to put an object in orbit using its own booster.
  • In 1981, English singer-songwriter and producer Natasha Bedingfield was born.
  • In 2003, the Concorde made its final flight, flying over Bristol, England.
  • In 2011, the Mars Science Laboratory launched to Mars with the Curiosity Rover.
  • In 2018, the robotic probe Insight landed on Elysium Planitia, Mars.

November 26th is unofficially known as National Cake Day in the United States. While cakes have origins from both Greek and Norse cultures, the day itself is rather inconsequential.

Add a cake of some sort to your day, whether it be Thanksgiving related or not. If you plan on celebrating today, I hope you have a good and safe holiday.

If you’re not celebrating today, enjoy your Thursday. I’ll see you again tomorrow.

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.