My lovely and brilliant wife just pointed out another piece of Leap Day trivia: "By Roman custom, the day added is actually February 24, with the days following it renumbered." Boy-oh-boy... next year, I'm really gonna be ready.
Leap Day: In 1288 A.D., it was named as the only day on which a woman could legally propose to a man. In 1504, Columbus used the prediction of a lunar eclipse on Leap Day to scare hostile natives on the island of Jamaica. In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first African American ever to win an Oscar, for her portrayal of "Mammy" in Gone with the Wind. In 1952, the first Walk and Don't Walk pedestrian signs appeared in New York. In 1964, The Beatles' I Want to Hold Your Hand became the #1 song on the hit parade. Born on this date: Gioacchino Rossini, 1792-1868, Italian composer (Barber of Seville); Herman Hollerith, 1860-1929, inventor of the computer punch card (in 1896, he founded the Tabulating Machine Company, which became IBM); Dinah Shore, 1917-1994, musical performer (TV series host 1951-57, 1956-63, 1970-74, 1974-79, 1979-84, 1989-91); and Antonio Sabato, Jr., 1972-____, actor (General Hospital 1992-95, Melrose Place 1995).
Even though February 29, 2000 was a leap day, there won't be leap days in 2100, 2200 or 2300. The Julian calendar, authorized by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C., assumed that the year had 365¼ days, with a 366-day leap year added every fourth year. In 730 A.D., an Anglo-Saxon monk, the Venerable Bede (extending the date-of-Easter calculations by Dionysius Exiguus in the 6th century), found that the Julian year was 11 minutes and 14 seconds too long, an error of about one day every 128 years. But nothing was done about it for 800 years. In 1582, the accumulated error was estimated at 10 days, and Pope Gregory XIII decreed that the day following October 4 would be October 15. To make future adjustments for the error (about three days every 400 years), it was decided that years ending in "00" would not be leap years—except those divisible by 400. So 1700, 1800 and 1900 were not leap years, but 2000 was.
February has been berry, berry good to me. Beware: shameless boasting ahead. First, Merlinsky was honored as one of 124 Quarter-Finalists (from 2186 entries) in the First American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest, judged by Francis Ford Coppola, on 2/1. [The prose adaptation of this script's opening sequence recently appeared at SFWP.] Then on 2/6, Sziasztok (a Death Valley memoir) was published by The Edward Society. On 2/18, Azért is..! (animation script) was selected as one of the 66 Notable Online Short Stories of 2003 (from over 600 nominations) in The storySouth Million Writers Award for Fiction. The Flavour of Aluminium (flash fiction) was featured in a tiny print magazine on 2/21, which was distributed at this San Francisco event. In a few months, the story will also be published online. Here's a stupid photo of me & the mag, plus a scan of Flavour, and (just in case) you might want a key to various word usages:
British / American (apparent translation) [real meaning]
Flavour / Flavor
Aluminium / Aluminum
citizen of England / Limey
bonnet / (woman's hat) [car hood]
boot / (footwear) [car trunk]
fag / (homosexual) [cigarette]
a ride / (car journey) [sexual activity]
bloody hole / (gaping injury) [filthy mouth]
brilliant / (very intelligent) [wonderfully strange, possibly crazy]
Addendum: Late in the day, Forsaken was listed as one of the top 50 stories (out of 935) at "the very best of www.the-phone-book.com." I've decided that February is a friggin' great month.
Szeretettel üdvözöljük! Book Babes recently interviewed screenwriter Joe Eszterhas (b. 1944 Csákánydoroszló HU) about his new tell-all, Hollywood Animal.
Welcome! Between 4/4/1996 and 9/22/2001, I hand-coded an online personal journal, calling it the "Snoozeletter." So in a way, I guess this blog is the reincarnation of that earlier effort. We hope you'll be able to glean some nuggets of entertainment. For starters, here's a sampler of the mind-bending images created by István Orosz (b. 1951 Kecskemét HU).
Oh, and this is a photo of our little family.
Raison d'être: "The unexamined life is not worth living." —Plato (Dialogues, Apology, 38), quoting Socrates