Ok, 2003 is here. What are we
gonna do with it?
Here are my plans:
1) Figure out how to make our
store computer Y2K compliant.
Our store computer program is so old that I think it was written
in Fortran! We have to beat it with a stick every morning to
get it to run in Windows 98. And it still says 1992 on the receipts.
(Last year it said 1991...) In fact, now that I think about it,
when we started using this program we didn't even have a hard
drive in our computer! Every morning I'd put a floppy disc in
the computer (and this was back when they WERE floppy!) to load
the program, and then I'd take it out and replace the disc with
another one that held the inventory files!! Talk about primitive!
b) Play more guitar.
As you know, my main instrument is drums. (Old joke: What do
you call a guy who hangs around with musicians? A drummer.) But
I love playing guitar. On New Years Eve I was jamming with my
friends, and my good buddy Billy O'Connor (the original drummer
in Blondie) took over on drums and I played Beatle songs on guitar
for an hour, and it was great! I could almost be a non-singing
rhythm guitar player.... OK, there's not a lot of call for that...
But I am going to play more this year. It's fun.
iii) Learn to Cook.
I know that doesn't sound musical... but I've been watching the
Food Network...and I want to learn how to do it. Have you seen
the "Iron Chef"? Those guys are wacky...
So you can play more guitar too,
this week's special is our music books. Any music book: 50% off.
(They actually cost me more than that...so I'll be losing money
with every purchase.... but maybe it will encourage you to jam
with your friends...)
See You soon,
PS: Last week I asked why there were 365 days in
the year. Frank Moone wrote back:
In a nutshell, it takes 365 1/4
days for the earth to move around the sun. To make up for the
difference the calendar year is set at 365 days long, unless
the year is exactly divisible by 4, in which case an extra day
is added to February to make the year 366 days long. If the year
is the last year of a century, e.g. 1800, 1900, 2000, then it
is only a leap year if it is exactly divisible by 400. Therefore,
1900 wasn't a leap year but 2000 was. The reason for these rules
is to bring the average length of the calendar year into line
with the length of the Earth's orbit around the Sun, so that
the seasons always occur during the same months each year.
The year is defined as being
the interval between two successive passages of the Sun through
the vernal equinox. Of course, what is really occurring is that
the Earth is going around the Sun but it is easier to understand
what is happening by considering the apparent motion of the Sun
in the sky.
The vernal equinox is the instant
when the Sun is above the Earth's equator while going from the
south to the north. It is the time which astronomers take as
the definition of the beginning of Spring. The year as defined
above is called the tropical year and it is the year length that
defines the repetition of the seasons. The length of the tropical
year is 365.24219 days.
In 46 BC Julius Caesar established
the Julian calendar which was used in the west until 1582. In
the Julian calendar each year contained 12 months and there were
an average of 365.25 days in a year. This was achieved by having
three years containing 365 days and one year containing 366 days.
(In fact the leap years were not correctly inserted until 8 AD).
The discrepancy between the actual
length of the year, 365.24219 days, and the adopted length, 365.25
days, may not seem important but over hundreds of years the difference
becomes obvious. The reason for this is that the seasons, which
depend on the date in the tropical year, were getting progressively
out of kilter with the calendar date. Pope Gregory XIII, in 1582,
instituted the Gregorian calendar, which has been used since
The change from the Julian calendar
to the Gregorian involved the change of the simple rule for leap-years
to the more complex one in which century years should only be
leap-years if they were divisible by 400. For example, 1700,
1800 and 1900 are not leap-years whereas 2000 will be.
The net effect is to make the
adopted average length of the year 365.2425 days. The difference
between this and the true length will not have a serious effect
for many thousands of years. (The error amounts to about 3 days
in 10,000 years.)
The adoption of the Gregorian
calendar was made in Catholic countries in 1582 with the elimination
of 10 days, October the 4th being followed by October 15th. The
Gregorian calendar also stipulated that the year should start
on January 1. In non-Catholic countries the change was made later;
Britain and her colonies made the change in 1752 when September
2nd was followed by September 14 and New Year's Day was changed
from March 25 to January 1.