Leap Day

February 28, 2013 at 2:14 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

This is a bonus BLOG for February 29th because when the next leap year comes around, in 2016, I probably won’t be doing these “Today is” posts any longer.

The holidays for February 29th are:
Leap Day.  Leap Day occurs every fours years, well, almost. It happens every four years except years ending with “00” that are not divisible by 400. The year in which this occurs, is called a Leap Year.  The year in which this occurs, is called a Leap Year.  Why the fancy calculation? The earth rotates around the sun once every 365 and about 1/4 days. So, by adding an extra day every four years, we get mighty close to keeping the calendar consistent with the earth’s annual trip around the sun. And to be very precise, the earth orbits the sun every 365.242190 days. So, on years ending in “00”, (except those not divisible by 400) we skip Leap Year and Leap Day. With all that fancy calculating out of the way, let’s just celebrate the day. That is why 2000 was a leap year, but, , if you recall, 1900 was not.
Did you know that there are occasional “Leap Seconds”. I will spare you the detail on those.
Just how many people celebrate a Birthday on Leap Day? Only about one in 1461 people. So, if you were born on this day, consider yourself very, very special.
Bachelor’s Day: Bachelor Day is not a day for celebration if you are an unattached male. Quite the contrary. It is more along the lines of Sadie Hawkins Day. According to an old English tradition dating back to 13th Century Scotland, on every Feb, 29th, it is acceptable for girls to propose marriage. If you don’t accept the proposal, you have to buy that girl a gift on the first day of every month for the remainder of the year.
Galileo Day: Leap Day is a day to ponder the wonders of the Universe, just as Galileo did centuries ago. Who knows what you might discover about the Universe, or just about ‘life’ in general.
Quantum Leap Day: Quantum Leap Day is a day to contemplate past wrong-doings and try to correct them.
International Underlings Day: Since 1984, this is an annual celebration for everyone who is neither a boss nor professional assistant – hey they have their days already. It is celebrated on February 29 in keeping with the esteemed position of an Underling. International Underlings Day™ was created in 1984 by Peter D. Morris and officially recognized by Chase’s Annual Calendar of Events in 1996. It can be unofficially recognized on either February 28 or March 1 on non-leap years and is always recognized on February 29 during a leap year. It is a celebration of the contributions to the work world and society by all those who are not otherwise recognized with their own day. Supervisors are encouraged to give their Underlings some time off between February 28 and March 1 each year during non-leap years. And since has time off, it only makes sense to reward them with a lunch or other gathering on either February 28 or March 1. But on years that have February 29 we want all Underlings to really be celebrated. So plan a spectacular gathering of all Underlings you work with or know and party like it is February 29.

There are also two food-related holidays on February 29th. The first is Frog Legs Day.  Get it? Leap Day, Frogs leap, chortle, chortle. Anyway, Frog Legs are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, and are purported to “taste just like Chicken”. I however, will never (knowingly) be able to make that determination. I have to wonder if in fact the converse isn’t true. With all of the hormonal dietary supplements and preservatives in chicken these days, is it perhaps more true to say that chicken is just beginning to taste more and more like Frog Legs?
The second is Surf and Turf Day. Why would anyone make Surf &Turf Day fall on February 29th? Perhaps it’s put on Leap Day because of its ostentatiousness—it is, after all, a dish that combines the two most expensive dishes on the menu, lobster tail and filet mignon. Of course, people have been combining meat and seafood in meals for centuries. Fine dining establishments served both lobster and steak on the same plate in the last quarter of the 19th century. The term Surf and Turf (or Surf ‘n’ Turf, to be even more vulgar), is an American invention. According to my sources, the term “surf & turf” belongs to the 20th century, more specifically, the 1960’s-1970’s. It appears to be connected with theme restaurants targeting young, budget-conscious clientele. Despite the present day meaning, don’t be constrained to just lobster and steak. Pick your favorite seafood and meats: crab cake, crab legs, scallops or shrimp with lamb chops or pork chops, for example, and combine them. Heck,  a hot dog in a bun paired with a tuna salad sandwich is technically “Surf and Turf”. How about crab cakes and ribs? Or fish and chips with a tasty sausage? You could fill the Leap Days for the rest of our life with different options, and never run out. 

Significant historical events which happened on this date are:
In 1288, Scotland established this day as one when a woman could propose marriage to a man. In the event that he refused the proposal he was required to pay a fine.
In 1860, the first electric tabulating machine was invented by Herman Hollerith.
In 1904, in Washington, DC, a seven-man commission was created to hasten the construction of the Panama Canal.
In 1940, Hattie McDaniel became the first black person to win an Oscar. She won Best Supporting Actress award for her role as Mammy in “Gone with the Wind.”
In 1944, the invasion of the Admiralty Islands began with “Operation Brewer.” U.S. General Douglas MacArthur led his forces onto Los Negros.
Also in 1944, Dorothy McElroy Vredenburgh of Alabama became the first woman to be appointed secretary of a national political party. She was appointed to the Democratic National Committee.
And again in 1944, the Office of Defense Transportation, for the second year in a row, restricted attendance at the Kentucky Derby to residents of the Louisville area. This was an effort to prevent a railroad traffic burden during wartime.
In 1952, in New York City, four signs were installed at 44th Street and Broadway in Times Square that told pedestrians when to walk.
In 1964, Dawn Fraser got her 36th world record. The Australian swimmer was timed at 58.9 seconds in the 100-meter freestyle in Sydney, Australia.
In 1972, Jack Anderson revealed a memo written by ITT’s Washington lobbyist, Dita Beard, that connected ITT’s funding of part of the Republican National Convention.
And, in 1988, “Day by Day” premiered on NBC-TV.

Some distinguished people born on Leap Day are:
Ann Lee, 1736 – Founder of Shaker movement in United States.
Gioacchino Rossini, 1792 – Opera composer.
John Philip Holland, 1840 – Inventor.
Herman Hollerith, 1860 – Engineer.
Theodore Hardeen, 1876 – Escape artist and Houdini’s brother.
Jimmy Dorsey, 1904 – Bandleader.
Pepper Martin, 1904 – Baseball player.
Dinah Shore, 1916 – Entertainer.
Tempest Storm, 1928 – Burlesque star.
Alex Rocco, 1936 – Actor.
Jack Lousma, 1936 – Astronaut.
Gretchen Christopher, 1940 – Singer.
Dennis Farina, 1944 – Actor.
Patricia McKillip, 1948 – Science-fiction writer.
Tim Powers,1952 – Science-fiction writer.
And finally, Antonio Sabato, Jr. 1972 – Actor.

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