It’s February 29 – Leap Day – but the adolescent in me can’t forgo snickering at its old school name. Bissextus. You see what I mean, right?
Leap Day is added to the Julian calendar every fourth year (except those years evenly divisible by 400) to make up for the annual accumulation of nearly six hours by which the regular 365-day year falls short of the actual solar year.
But what does it sound so, um, bicurious? In the days of ancient Rome, they used to insert the leap day after March 6, resulting in two March 6ths (which sounds like an anti-Jedi parade: “March, Siths!”). “Bis” means double and “sextus” means “sixth” and not “sex,” as I had wantonly assumed. Then someone had the bright idea to add the extra day onto the month with the least days. Hence, today. Bissextus, which has nothing to do with sex. But there’s still room for some lovin’ on a bissextile year – an old tradition encourages women to propose to men on a Leap Day and men are not allowed to refuse. In our age of marriage equality, that means, really, no one can refuse.
Papa’s Got a Brand New Blog
Everything old is new again. At least in terms of what has become my hometown beat – again. I just clicked “publish” on a post for the River Town Report, my new blog at my first affiliation, the venerable Petaluma Argus-Courier. My how “journalism” has changed in the 20 years since I went pro in the 90s. First off, clicking anything besides a ballpoint pen – let alone publish – was unheard of in our pre-Internet newsroom. Moreover, Eli Lucas, the “one-man disco comet” (pictured) and subject of my post, wouldn’t have rated coverage back then due to his revealing unitard (I once got chided for running the word “taint”). Change is good, taint it?
Taking the gig has led to many “life imitating art” moments for me, having written the definitive sci-fi crime novel on covering small town shenanigans in the Digital Age. If I knew I was going to be living my own fiction I’d’ve written myself a better rate. Anyway, I’ll be posting twice weekly because once is never enough.
My latest piece for Men’s Health seeks to explain Why Wine Has More Alcohol Than Ever. The reason is simple – people like it. But that’s just petting the monkey on one’s back. Why people like it has less to do with burgeoning alcoholism, say, than it does with naivete – at least according to a couple of the experts with whom I spoke. We also get a primer on how sugar, or the brix count of grapes, affects the percentage of alcohol that results from fermentation. It’s science! And it will get you drunk.