Location: Indianapolis, Indiana, United States

I'm just trying to develop an online body of work (even if the work is throwaway nonsense) to advance my writing career.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Please, Mr. Webster...

Now that February is drawing to a close, I can admit to liking it; I waited until the end in case the weather was really bad, but it was actually quite mild, so now I'll confess.

Why would I like February? First, with all due respect to my readers in the Southern Hemisphere--of which I'm certain there must be almost one--we seem to gain more daylight in February than any other month. I don't have the science to back that up, it just feels that way. I'm not looking it up, either; why should I give science the chance to undermine a fanciful notion? After all, ignorance is... well, something.

Another reason I like February is its precision. Twenty eight days, exactly four weeks, easy to calculate. The first of March will always be the same day of the week as the first of February, unless it's leap year. And if it's leap year, you get an extra day. It's like a bonus for your good works of the previous three years.

February is Black History Month. Most Americans know this but don't know why. Some speculate it was an effort to placate Black Americans by throwing them a bone, as it were, selecting the shortest month to commemorate their contributions to society. This isn't true.

Harvard scholar Dr. Carter G. Woodson (1875-1950) dedicated his life to the long-overlooked subject of Black history. In 1926, he helped establish the second week of February as Negro History Week, selecting it in large part because two of the previous century's Civil Rights titans--Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass--were born during that week. Lincoln's birth came February 12, 1809 and Douglass was born about eight years later. He never knew his precise birthday but since his grandmother always called him her "little Valentine", Douglass selected February 14.

Strange things happened this February. The weather was warm, Iraq was uglier than usual, and Vice President Dick Cheney shot Alexander Hamilton, presumed dead for more than two centuries, but recently discovered alive and hiding on a ten dollar bill. When asked why he'd selected that spot, the 249 year old Hamilton quipped, "I just wanted to put my mouth where my money is." For this comment alone, Cheney felt justified in shooting him.

Finally, Dan Brown, author of "The DaVinci Code", was sued by two writers who claimed his novel was strongly influenced by their nonfiction work of the 1980s. First of all, I didn't think any work from the 1980s was considered nonfiction and secondly, this could set an ugly precedent. I hope they never come after me; I plagiarize all my words from the dictionary.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Me Likey!

02 March, 2006 07:10  

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