Monday, February 25, 2008
Lizards Frogs Years
The word "leap" puts me in mind of little green lizards -- leaping. Or little green frogs -- playing leap-frog. Leap Year, alas, has nothing to do with frogs or lizards, more's the pity. I've never quite understood the whole concept of leap years, or grasped how it is that sometimes February contains 29 days and sometimes it doesn't. I'm very glad I wasn't born on February 29th. Had I been, I'm sure I'd have no idea how old I am today.
So, let's try and figure out what Leap Year actually is. In short, the Gregorian calendar has both common years and leap years. There are 365 days in a common year and 366 days in a leap year. That extra day, properly called an intercalary day, becomes February 29th. A leap year is necessary every four years in order to synchronize the calendar year with the solar year; i.e., the length of time it takes the earth to orbit the sun, or 365-¼ days -- less eleven minutes. To compensate for that deficiency, three times every four hundred years there is no leap year. For that reason, a century year cannot be a leap year -- unless it is divisible by 400. To further confuse you, the years 1700, 1800, and 1900 were not leap years, while the years 1600, 2000, and 2400 are.
Confused? Join the crowd. And I repeat, I'm glad February 29th isn't my birthday. I'd be way more confused than I already am on an everyday basis.
To add to your confusion, TWISTED LINGUISTICS has picked up some Words Gone Wild for you to contemplate.
deodarant - Anti-perspirant for daredevils.
convieniant - Deviant cons vying for position.
alful - Everybody ate too much and now they feel terrible.
reputal publisher - That which purports to be the reputation of PublishAmerica. Pew!
dis-allusioned - Passing reference to a bad review of a PublishAmerica author.
visions of grandure - Sentiments seen on the PublishAmerica message boards.
going out of their ways to slender you - Reference to PublishAmerica methods of lightening your wallet, such as libel suits.