The Thing About Today – November 22

November 22, 2020
Day 327 of 366

November 22nd is the 327th day of the year. It is Independence Day in Lebanon as they celebrate the nation’s independence from France in 1943.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Cranberry Relish Day.

Historical items of note:

  • In 1574, Spanish navigator Juan Fernández discovered islands now known as the Juan Fernández Islands off Chile.
  • In 1921, comedian, actor, rapper, and screenwriter Rodney Dangerfield was born.
  • In 1928, Ravel’s Boléro had its premier performance in Paris.
  • In 1932, actor and director Robert Vaughn was born.
  • In 1935, the China Clipper inaugurated the first commercial transpacific air service, connecting Alameda, California with Manila.
  • In 1940, actor, director, animator, and screenwriter Terry Gilliam was born.
  • In 1954, the Humane Society of the United States was founded.
  • In 1958, actress Jamie Lee Curtis was born.
  • In 1963, United States President John F. Kennedy was assassinated and Texas Governor John Connally was seriously wounded. Upon leaving the scene, alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald killed Dallas Police officer J. D. Tippit. Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson was sworn in as the 36th President of the United States afterwards.
  • In 1965, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen was born.
  • In 1967, actor and activist Mark Ruffalo was born.
  • In 1968, Star Trek episode “Plato’s Stepchildren” was first aired. The episode features a passionate (but forced) kiss between James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Lieutenant Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) which is usually described as the first scripted interracial kiss of that kind between a white man and a black woman on American television.
  • In 1977, British Airways inaugurated a regular London to New York City supersonic Concorde service.
  • In 1984, Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers Neighborhood presented one of his famous sweaters to the Smithsonian Institution.
  • Also in 1984, actress Scarlett Johansson was born.
  • In 1987, two Chicago television stations were hijacked by an unknown pirate dressed as Max Headroom. They interrupted Doctor Who, y’all.
  • In 1989, actor Alden Ehrenreich was born.
  • In 1990, British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher withdrew from the Conservative Party leadership election, confirming the end of her Prime-Ministership.
  • In 1994, the Sega Saturn was released in Japan.
  • In 1995, Toy Story was released as the first feature-length film created completely using computer-generated imagery.
  • Also in 1995, actress Katherine McNamara was born.
  • In 2005, Angela Merkel became the first female Chancellor of Germany.

November 22nd is the Day of the Albanian Alphabet.

Prior to the this date in 1908, the Albanian language was represented by a combination of six or more distinct alphabets, plus a number of sub-variants.

Between November 14th and 22nd of 1908, the Congress of Manastir (Kongresi i Manastirit in Albanian) was held as an academic conference in the city of Manastir (now known as Bitola). Their goal was standardizing the Albanian alphabet.

The day upon which the Congress was adjourned is now a commemorative day in Albania, Kosovo, and North Macedonia, as well as among the Albanian diaspora, known as Dita e Alfabetit.

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 21

November 21, 2020
Day 326 of 366

November 21st is the 326th day of the year. It is General Framework Agreement Day in Republika Srpska, commemorating the final day of the peace conference at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio in 1995. During the conference, the General Framework Agreement for Peace in Bosnia and Herzegovina (also known as the Dayton Agreement or the Dayton Accords) was drafted to end the ​3 12-year-long Bosnian War. Upon signing on December 14, 1995, the warring parties agreed to peace and to a single sovereign state known as Bosnia and Herzegovina composed of two parts, the largely Serb-populated Republika Srpska and mainly Croat-Bosniak-populated Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In the United States, today is “celebrated” as National Gingerbread Cookie Day, National Stuffing Day, National Red Mitten Day, and National Adoption Day (which is typically observed on the Saturday before Thanksgiving).

Historical items of note:

  • In 1620, Plymouth Colony settlers signed the Mayflower Compact. It was the first governing document of Plymouth Colony and was written by the male passengers of the Mayflower.
  • In 1676, Danish astronomer Ole Rømer presented the first quantitative measurements of the speed of light.
  • In 1694, French historian, playwright, and philosopher Voltaire was born. I didn’t know that Voltaire was a pen name, or that his real name was François-Marie Arouet.
  • In 1783, Jean-François Pilâtre de Rozier and François Laurent d’Arlandes made the first untethered hot air balloon flight while in Paris.
  • In 1877, Thomas Edison announced his invention of the phonograph, a machine that can record and play sound.
  • In 1905, Albert Einstein’s paper that led to the mass–energy equivalence formula, E = mc², was published in the journal Annalen der Physik.
  • In 1918, the Parliament (Qualification of Women) Act 1918 was passed, allowing women to stand for Parliament in the United Kingdom.
  • In 1922, Rebecca Latimer Felton of Georgia took the oath of office, becoming the first female United States Senator.
  • In 1924, English author and academic Christopher Tolkien was born.
  • In 1934, actor, director, and playwright Laurence Luckinbill was born.
  • In 1944, actor, director, producer, and screenwriter Harold Ramis was born.
  • In 1945, actress, singer, and producer Goldie Hawn was born.
  • In 1953, the Natural History Museum, London announced that the “Piltdown Man” skull, initially believed to be one of the most important fossilized hominid skulls ever found, was a hoax.
  • In 1961, the “La Ronde” opened in Honolulu, Hawaii. It was the first revolving restaurant in the United States.
  • In 1965, Alexander Siddig was born. He was previously known as Siddig El Fadil, and he played Julian Bashir on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • In 1969, the first permanent ARPANET link was established between UCLA and SRI.
  • In 1976, Rocky premiered.
  • In 1984, actress and singer Jena Malone was born.

November 21st is World Television Day.

It sounds odd given attitudes about television as the “boob tube” or a time-waster, but the United Nations proclaimed this observance to commemorate the date on which the first World Television Forum was held in 1996.

The World Television Forum was convened to explore the power and potential of television in influencing decision-makers and promoting international understanding. It offered a unique opportunity for heads of the world’s major broadcasting corporations, non-governmental representatives, and journalists from different regions of the world to debate the role television can and must play in meeting the challenges of the twenty-first century.

There was some opposition to World Television Day, particularly from Germany. The opinions focused on how television was considered a “rich man’s” luxury in comparison to other media such as radio.

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.