Do We Need a New Calendar?

This was my calendar in 2011.
This was my calendar in 2011.

I wrote about what I thought was a seriously dumb idea back near the end of 2011. Some college professors were advocating a new calendar because “every year, everybody has to redo everything.” I know, it’s so hard.

When a writing group I belong to, agreed to rewrite an old post as a project, I looked at this one. It hadn’t been seen by many people and the subject still bothers me. I don’t want to repeat what I said in 2011, but I am restating my most serious objections, and I am correcting a few errors that I made.

Despite being originally published in Scientific American, I was pretty sure these professors and their cockamamie idea would have succumbed to a serious lack of interest by now. Contrary to my assumption, these guys are still at it. They’re still pushing this absurd idea. They now plan to start their calendar on January 1, 2018.

Their calendar would consist of 12 nearly identical months in a repeating series of 30-30-31 days, resulting in a 364-day year. This would exacerbate the degree to which our recorded year is out of alignment with our solar year. According to the original article:

To account for extra time, (the professors) drop leap years and instead create a “leap week” at the end of December every five or six years. This extra week, dubbed “Xtr”…

Xtr would be a nightmare. Leap year is an infrequent thing, but everybody knows what it is. Nobody is surprised by or distressed by an extra day in February. An extra week between Christmas and New Year’s – that’s absurd!

Of course, these guys are college professors, so an extra week, conveniently placed between those signature holidays, would just be another week off for them. Out here in the real world, the one where employers like to get something in exchange for the money they give us, this extra week would cause some serious problems.

My guess is that most employers would consider it to be a work week. The equation is, as my dad used to say: “a good day’s work for a good day’s pay.” He always put it in that order. OK, so five or six times in our career, we would work a week between Christmas and the Twilight Zone Marathon. I can live with that. But, what about our kids?

Think about it. Public schools are going to treat that week just like these crazy professors. School is 180 days, not 185 every now and then. So, you’re working, but your kids are off. Since daycare tends to close when schools close, someone in your house is burning a week of vacation time for this mess.

Getting back to my scientific side, hey, I am still a geek, we literally spent a century implementing the Gregorian calendar, to get our calendar in sync with the Earth’s orbit around the sun. Sorry professors, that’s actually what a year is, an orbit around the sun. The Mayans figured that out. The ancient Egyptians figured that out. Julius Caesar figured that out, albeit not with the precision of the Pope.

Actually, the Pope’s “precision” is a story for another post. It’s the date-time-lunar-tracking catastrophe that leads to Easter falling before Passover in years like this one. Think about that; that should never happen. I digress, but not really, since the reason for the Gregorian Reform was to get Easter falling back closer to the Spring Equinox. Way to go Greg.

People have been messing with calendars for thousands of years. While I support the notion that we might still want to mess with our calendar, I can’t be an advocate of messing with it in order to make it less accurate, which it would be, 99.78% of the time, according to my calculations.

In addition to screwing up the calendar, these two eggheads want to destroy time zones. I’m serious, they want to eliminate time zones so that it’s the same time, all the time, everywhere around the world. If they simply wanted to get rid of Daylight Saving time, I could get behind them, but I’m too old to start my day at what is now 7:00 PM and have my work day be, as they say: “14 o’clock to 22 o’clock.” I don’t even want to say “14 o’clock” and, unless they redesign clocks, that would be incorrect because “o’clock” is an abbreviated form of “of the clock” which was necessary when some people still told time by sundial. So, make that fourteen hundred hours.

I know this has gone on longer than my normal Saturday post. Forgive me, but just a few more rants:

I love new calendars. Calendars are one of my favorite Christmas gifts.

The fact that Christmas will always be on a Sunday is disrespectful to every other religion, including Orthodox Christians, whose Christmas would never be on a Sunday. I’m sure Easter would still be a Sunday in spring, but since the Jews would still likely determine Passover from the tried and true Hebrew calendar, the impossible-to-reconcile Easter-before-Passover thing would still occur now and then.

The fact that my birthday would always be on a Tuesday is depressing.

Finally, as hard as all this figuring out when stuff is, is, professors, my phone takes care of all of it. Technology already made calendars easy. Just fix the DST thing and leave the rest alone.

77 thoughts on “Do We Need a New Calendar?

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  1. I love the door calendar! Your wife knows your fascination with the Thursday doors! Seriously, I am in agreement with you and I spent a lot of time using a similar statement as your father. The lesson needs to be taught to the current “school age” crowd, beginning with the 5 year olds, and maybe by the time they are entering the classroom of the “professor” set, they will have a value or two! I used to always say “8 hours work for 8 hours pay” and “we are not PAYING you to sit around and SURF the internet” etc. There is value and reward for giving your employer full effort. Now, about that calendar…..I love mine as well, and I don’t see the “point” of realigning things so it flows scientifically. I love that occasionally my birthday lands on Easter Sunday, or my mother’s birthday would land on Mother’s day. My husband was a lucky man whose birthday was ALWAYS on Christmas….tho he felt cheated sometimes as a child ! I would vote to do away with DST!!! It certainly screws up my sleep!

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    1. Thanks! I used to love it when my birthday would fall on Election Day snd school would be closed but these days, I like it when it’s on a Saturday. I like when Christmas is a Tuesday or a Thursday and we get 4-day weekend. I like that it changes. We should teach about the work equation but we could use a little more loyalty from employers too. I miss the values I grew up with.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I personally believe, as Amhain stated in the first chapter of my novel that “things seem to have sped up since we began recording time….” Days, months, years, leap years, holidays, all marking time and all just made up. I prefer your Dad’s quote at its simplest. ‘A good honest day’s work for a good honest day’s pay.’ Perhaos in a world where no educated humans exist this would still be possible..sigh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As I get older, Cheryl, time does seem to be speeding up. I kind of want it to speed up until I retire and then slow down. I thing the days of that implied work contract are gone. I still try to live up to it, but I wonder about the future workers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Its funny that I feel the same. Now that I am 36, I feel life just fast-forwarded after 30. I see my nephew and niece all grown up, going to college and pretending to be cool matured people, but for me they’re still the same old kids. I already shared with you my philosophy on time. I love being in the present turning every moment into the best time of my life. I think those college professors need to take a break in Himalayas.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sharukh. I think your approach, trying to make every moment the best moment is really amazing and such a great way to approach life. I wish you good luck with that as time moves forward.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Just another example of some college professors being paid too much for doing too little (in their field.) Get to work, guys, and leave us alone, although I’m on the anti-DST bus as well. Dan, your rant/s brought a smile to my face. The one thing I enjoy about different calendars is finding one each year that has great photos. Some of our favorites have been the ones we had made as gifts, with a family photo for each month. Those are treasures.

    janet

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Janet. We have made photo calendars too and they were very welcome gifts. I once made my wife a pocket calendar with photos of her pets and flowers. I need to start that project in September if I ever do it again. The notion of the same dreary calendar clicking off every day, year after year is just too depressing.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. There are lots of beautiful calendars out there, but most of them are rather expensive. I’ve managed to find inexpensive ones that also have good photos and then spend the money I saved on something else, like books, or a good dark beer, or… :-) Or else I wait until the $1 sale at Half Price Books.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kate. I had only started this blog in July of 2011. Nobody knew me then, except family. I was surprised to see these guys still trying to sell this idea. Give it a rest, but take DST with you as you leave.

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  5. Redoing the calendar? Uh-huh. Sounds like some people have too much time on their hands. As you note, change is hardly unprecedented, but come on: to mess with what we’re all used to, you need a pretty compelling reason, and I don’t think they have one.

    I always like getting new calendars. Fresh start, new year … and it gives you a chance to see new pictures all the time of some thing you enjoy. Maybe it’s time to market a calendar of your pet pics? Time for your closeup, MiMi …

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Paul. We’ve done the pet pic version. I’ve never seen a Twilight Zone calendar. I wouldn’t be surprised if there is one. If I find it, id buy it. I think you’re right, these guys haven’t made their case very well.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I say leave our calendar alone! I do not want to work or burn extra vacation between Christmas and New Year’s Day. I think those scientists have been drinking goofy juice from the lab beakers.

    My two faves from your calendar selection is the puzzle cat and puppy. I would buy either one or both.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Proverbial Cat Calendar is the one hanging in the kitchen. The others are up in less prominent places, but we’d feel guilty without a Tuxedo cat and Irish Setter calendar. I figure these guys never buy nice calendars. If they did, they’d realize how stupid their idea is.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Okay, I still haven’t completely mastered our current calendar, and I haven’t mastered time zones, and if people change these things, I may never! Maybe these calendar people should go hang out with the flat earth people or somethin. I don’t like them.
    The Jewish calendar makes more sense to me, by the by. Maybe because lunar. Lunar is second nature to me.
    I’m a Mary Engelbreit desk calendar person, since 1996. My FIL receives the Dilbert calendar same as you, every year, without fail. My husband is not time-oriented at all. Your editor was very clever with her choice of doors and windows. Quite nice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My editor loves calendars. If these guys prevailed, they would ruin an important bit of gift giving for her. She might just hunt them down and hurt them. The Hebrew calendar does make some sense, and the Pope’s attempt to “fix” things ignored the significance of the Hebrew calendar, which is how we end up with Easter (this year) before Lent. Orthodox Easter is still three weeks away because they ignore the Gregorian calendar. We need another attempt at this like we need a hole in our heads or like we need DST. Thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I’m glad to find someone else on the anti-DST bandwagon. But I actually didn’t hate DST until 2007 when we started going on it in early March. My teenage daughter had just started being able to walk to school in the light again, and boom. Back to getting up before the sun. Which is really hard for her under the best of circumstances.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Moving it up in to March really bothered me too because I just get to the point where I’m driving to work in the light and I’m plunged back into darkness. Kids around here are out of school by 3:30, so it’s going to be light anyway. Leave it alone.

      Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Boy, it’s too bad that there aren’t more important things for the world’s scientific minds to ponder. ;P

    Changing the calendar is absolutely ridiculous. Like you, I would happily do away with DST, but that’s about all that needs tweaking in my book. I’ll admit, I often wish I could reuse calendars, but that’s not because I don’t enjoy something new — it’s because I’m cheap and the calendars I like are usually expensive and never go on sale. The British Library puts out a gorgeous illuminated manuscripts calendar that I get for my studio each year and I’m willing to cough for that (the quality is superb). But this year I skipped my favourite Gil Elvgren pin-up art calendar in favour of something a little cheaper… when all else fails, wrestling it is!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, thanks for the link, Dan! There are lots of possibilities for reusing calendars in 2017. I may just have to shop around for a REAL vintage pin-up calendar for next year. I might be willing to shell out for an old, usable one!

        Liked by 1 person

  10. Love your series of calendars. I tried to skip one for 2016, thinking that now that my kids are away (they filled most of the days with their busy things) I wouldn’t need one. Big mistake. When I forgot a couple of things, only because I hadn’t bought a plain regular calendar for the kitchen, I ran to the store and bought one. Calendars matter to me. But I would hate it if my birthday or any other event always fell on the same day. Organization but not too much routine.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Eveline – worse yet, for me, my birthday would always be on election day. The Proverbial Cat calendar is the master one in the kitchen, with all the dates on it., Without that, things wouldn’t work.

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  11. I’m with the group and you about ditching DST, but let’s not mess with the calendar! If it aint broke don’t fix it!
    Great selection of calendars you have there! The one of doors is really neat. I haven’t seen one before.
    My favorite calendars have been from Lang Publishing, but to be honest I haven’t bought a hanging calendar in several years. I have a wood perpetual calendar that my Mom gave me years ago for Christmas that I have in the kitchen. I change the month and days every month, and I buy a day runner every year and use it, and my phone’s calendar these days.

    That whole thing about us going to a universal time system…makes my head spin!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Deborah. We might be addicted to calendars but I really enjoy the ones we get. Our accountants always complain about ‘month end’ I told them “month end is the best time. It means new kitty on the tuxedo cat calendar “. Now, that’s my shorthand for month end, New Kitty.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. My first reaction was to check the date on this post to make sure it wasn’t an April Fool’s Day joke.

    Having eliminated that scenario, my second reaction was to think that these professors obviously have too much time on their hands and need a more sensible hobby.

    All this science-y stuff has made my head hurt. I need to go lie down now.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Okay, they need to wait on this calendar “sh –” until I pass away, Dan. Seriously! I am not able to “do” (comprehend) metrics math nor trigonometry. I would rely on my phone but then, I still look at the calendar every day I wake up, to see if I have something or someone special to remember. I know the phoe can also be programmed but no, I need a basic calendar. Mine has both flowers and birds. Birds and Blooms. I love cats and dogs, especially ones of owners I care about. I “see” Maddie when I see Irish setters, Hamlet (brother and sister in law) for golden retrievers but my coworker has Cooper, another golden. My deceased lab was named Toby, my girlfriend and her husband have Tayla and Kira.
    I liked the calendars you featured: Dilbert, Pearls before Swine but really love Calvin and Hobbes calendars. <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Calvin and Hobbes were so special. I miss that comic so much. Yeah, I need a real calendar and the idea that I only need one more for the rest of my life is DE-pressing. Thanks for adding to the argument against this, Robin.

      Like

  14. A new calendar? That’s a big joke:) I’m not in favor of a new calendar at all. Now, I’m with you on fixing the DST! I like the pics of calendars you included. My daughter got one for us with different wines, wine pairings, and a bit of wine history.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. As someone who used to work in an office and had to redo the wall calendar with our regular facility bookings every year, I was on the professors’ side. Until you pointed out that my birthday would fall on the same day every year. Okay, that sucks.

    If they declared Leap Week an international public holiday, I’d definitely go for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the same day birthday is a major drag. So too, I think is the whole Christmas on a Sunday. I like the years when Christmas falls on a Thursday and we get a 4-day weekend. Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We still get a 4-day weekend if it’s on a Sunday because they move the actual holiday day to the nearest available weekday. So, like it is this year, you get your Boxing Day holiday before your Christmas Day holiday. It’s all a bit weird.

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  16. Same time for all places? Whoa! That’s one of the strangest ideas I have come across this year! I have never really looked up what causes time differences across the world apart from the latitudes, longitudes, and the rotation of the earth taught in school. But I’d like to see the whole world experiencing simultaneous time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We do experience simultaneous time, Peter, in the sense that time is a man-made creation. Wild animals react to the day as it unfolds, they don’t set an alarm for 6:00 and go kill a deer. The thing about this that I find frustrating is how these two guys think the entire world, 6-7 billion people should bend to a new way of measuring time, that seems to be based on improving their particular occupation. I don’t think they’ve made a good case for anyone outside of academia here. Business deals with the Gregorian calendar quite easily, especially compared to how it might have to deal with a periodic extra week. Thanks for dropping by.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You have a point, Dan. The gravest decisions that govern us are usually made by just a couple of people. I have wondered at this. Those people don’t even care what we think. Once they decide, it’s only a matter of imposing the idea. I have also why we need alarms to wake while animals just know the time. Especially cocks. I think cocks have the best clocks. We are out of touch with ourselves and with nature. I think we have become mechanical.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You’re right about those who govern is Peter. It’s scary. I actually wake without an alarm. For some reason, I’ve always been able to just wake up when I need to. I do have a clock, but I don’t set it.

          Liked by 1 person

  17. *sigh* Do some people honestly think this idea will fly? Who’s kidding whom? Do you know the chaos this would cause? As it is there is so much changing in this world we NEED something we can rely on like the calendar. Of all the stupidest ideas!! I’m actually laughing out loud due to the idotas who dreamed this absurd idea up. Professors? WHAT have they been drinking, or is it, what have they been smoking? As for DST, I have not the foggiest idea what you are talking about. I don’t use my phone calendar. *gasp* Really? Yes, really. LOL I like the old fashion ones that hang on the wall. I like your dog calendar the best, Dan. Great post!! Keep ‘um coming!!! :) <3

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m with you on DST. Thank you for explaining the appreviation. The ONLY thing I can come up with is that someone is making money due to DST. WHY mess with time? It makes no sense to me. As for the idea, yeah, that hurts just trying to wrap my head around it.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. A leap week would be strange, unless it could be mandatory paid vacation week. I used to like physical paper calendars but then they usually end up in a pile of papers in one of my piles of papers. I don’t know how I got away from the paper calendar but I do use the online one that comes with my email mostly or lately look at my cell phone. I used to like the little Hallmark free calendar books that they give away each year because you could put it in your purse. ( You probably don’t have a purse, do you?) Those little miniature calendar books from Hallmark have your birthstone and lists of gifts traditional and modern for wedding anniversaries. I have one of them around here somewhere. :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My wife likes those little calendars that she can stick in her purse. I don’t have a purse, but, back when we wore suits to work, I used to always have a breast pocket calendar. I use my phone today, but flipping through those paper calendars was pretty efficient. Much more so than scrolling through my phone. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. I can understand wanting to be in better alignment with the solar rotation, but shouldn’t they be starting with how long the day is, the hour is, or better yet, how long the minute is. If they’d take care of this stuff first, we wouldn’t need “leap” anything and the months could stay as they are to honor the people in history that the months were named for.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right Glynis, they could fix this if they wanted to. The Earth’s rotation is slowing, ever so slightly, but it can be measured. We’re getting to the point where technology could take care of all of this. I say: add an extra hour to the day that we “spring forward” for Daylight Saving Time. That would solve both problems :)

      Liked by 1 person

  20. What on earth are these dudes on? All the dust of the books they are reading? I think they should go out and work in a Supermarket, Firestation or Bakery for a while and then think about changing calendars….. no please don’t get me started. Oh, the Bishop of Canterbury wants to have Easter at the same day every year by the way :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. No offense to the Bishop, but does he know what Easter represents? I’m sorry for him and all the calendar challenged people that Jesus died at a time of the year and not on a specific date. Reshaping the world according to our particular, contemporary choices is really the height of arrogance. The professors basic case is that it’s so hard being a professor and having to change their syllabus every year. Maybe they should try revising it and teaching something they didn’t teach last year!

      Sorry, this one really gets under my skin :)

      Liked by 1 person

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