Calendar Oddities Are Back

A cheap calendar crossed my desk the other day, and I thought, that looks familiar. For a good reason: it’s the 2017 version of a cheap calendar I got four years ago. I don’t remember getting one last year or the year before that. I didn’t keep the ’14 version because, after all, it’s a cheap calendar. I expect I’ll throw away the new one soon enough. Got enough stuff around here without it.

I did check, and the parade of U.S. presidential birthdays is exactly the same oddball procession as on the earlier calendar: McKinley, FDR, Lincoln, Washington, Jackson, Madison, Jefferson, Grant, Kennedy, J.Q. Adams, Hoover, Benjamin Harrison, Eisenhower, TR, and Wilson.

Perhaps the other birthdays are the same, too, but I didn’t take notes on them: Alexander Hamilton, MLK, Ben Franklin, Stonewall Jackson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Jefferson Davis. Interesting selection, that. The other events noted on the calendar are exactly the same as before.

One thing that might be different this time, besides the normal shifting of dates, is that Memorial Day is marked twice. Once, May 29, is simply marked Memorial Day; May 30 is marked Memorial Day (True). Also, Columbus Day is likewise two different days, one True (Oct. 12) and the other presumably false. Or fake. Or bogus. (Oct. 9 next year, as it happens.)

An aside: the day the President Benjamin Harrison proclaimed to be the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ landing in the Americas was Oct. 21, 1892. He had his reasons. Oct. 12, 1492 was reckoned using the Julian calendar. To correct for the Gregorian, nine days were added. Presumably now we’d need to add 10 — or 11, I’m not sure how the fact that 2000 was a leap year affects things — to be mathematically correct. So arguably, if you really wanted to argue such a ridiculous thing, neither Oct. 9th or 12th would be the true Columbus Day.

Anyway,┬áMemorial Day and Decoration Day might be worth distinguishing, but Columbus Day? The day we barely honor a sea captain from Genoa in the pay of Spain traveling to the Bahamas half a millennium ago. I might not live to see┬áthe change, but I suspect that holiday isn’t long for the calendar.

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