American calendar system needs rethinking

Jim Lee

Welcome to 2004. Are we ready to start another year of wondering which months have 30 days and which have 31?
It seems easy when we say long and short alternate, starting with a long one. It’s a matter of 31, 30 and so on, right? Well, not quite.
There is the matter of July and August (consecutive months with 31 days). Then we have February with 28 days — unless it’s a leap year.
On top of that, some months are really incorrectly named. October means eighth month in Latin when it is actually the 10th month. How did that happen?
November means ninth month, and December means 10th month. The rest are pagan names. That really seems odd in a year full of non-pagan religious holidays. What are we going to do about all this confusion?
I suppose we can complicate the matter by mentioning that the word month probably comes from the word moon, and the length of the month is based on completion of a lunar cycle. However, the lunar cycle is 28 days, not 30 or 31, matching only February, but not on a leap year.
Should we call this lunar or loony?
All this sure seems dumb to me. It’s like the Weather Channel showing sunset at 4:46 and mostly sunny skies at 5 p.m. (which it did through most of December, the 12th month called the 10th month, remember?).
This certainly sets up a call to action in my mind. We need to forget about trivial matters like war-and-peace, the economy, the environment, global warming, and if JLo really wants to marry Ward Cleaver. We have a matter of intergalactic importance here.
Calendar confusion must come to its well-deserved end, friends and neighbors. We must take immediate action!
We can make all the months match the lunar cycle and be the same number of days. All we have to do is add a month and a day. If we institute 13 months of 28 days each, we will have 364 days. We can have a year of 364 days with a day between the years called No Year Day to celebrate like we do New Year’s Day now. On leap years we have No Year One and No Year Two.
The only problem now is naming that 13th month. We can keep the same names of the months now and simply name the additional one. Or we can use the opportunity to rename them all, this time doing it properly.
Either way, it could be a big naming contest on a weekly television-reality show culminating at the conclusion of the final old-style year in a big pay-TV special hosted by our favorite celebrity idiot.
I’m sure everyone will agree to give me the pay-TV profits in return for saving the world with the concept.
I mean, fair is fair, right?
See how easily the monumental problems of the world can be solved? As humans, we can figure out absolutely anything (except how to get along instead of killing off each other, of course).
All that is left of this vexing annual measurement debacle now is seeing to the naming and physically forcing everyone else to agree with us by democratic means.
Now, about this business of changing the clocks twice a year …

Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail:
dr_james_lee@hotmail.com