Tuesday, January 29, 2013

And Scalia Murdered It

[The Constitution is] not a living document. It’s dead, dead, dead. ~ Supreme court Justice Antonin Scalia, Jan. 28, 2013
If the United States Constitution is truly dead it was an assassination performed with malice aforethought by Scalia and his pet Clarence Thomas with their insistence on bizarre interpretations of the text that make no sense in either logic, language, or the law.
Image is Satan tempting John Wilkes Booth to kill Lincoln, a 1865 lithograph by John Magee.

Monday, January 28, 2013

NRA Fantasies

It's almost cute, the fantasies that gun enthusiasts have about themselves.

Concealed Carry Heroes
Concealed carry advocates picture themselves as an amalgam of James Bond, Philip Marlowe, and Simon Templar. They see themselves as heroes walking our streets ready at a moments notice to whip their weapon out to defend a damsel in distress or helpless citizen from agents of evil. Most would be lucky to not to come off like Maxwell Smart and shoot themselves in the leg frantically reaching for their gun.

Open Carry Machismo
Then their are the guys who picture themselves as Wyatt Earp or Rambo and demand the right to openly flaunt their weapons. These displays are purely cosmetic and serve exactly the same purpose as the penis gourds worn by New Guinea tribesmen.

Thin Red Line of Freedom
Ah, yes, the Wolverine wannabes. The people who are convinced that it is their arsenal of AR-15s that is holding off the FEMA Death Camps and preventing our invasion and conquest by North Korean Muslims. The only thing FEMA would have to do to imprison these guys is open the gates to the camps and advertise free beer.

It's kind of darling, really, the romantic delusions these guys have over their deadly weapons. Almost as cute as this
fully functional Hello Kitty AK-47, on sale for just over $1000.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Conservatives Consequences

Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. ~ Gal 6:7
Utah Smog - Air Thick Enough to Eat
Utah is one of the most politically conservative state ever. It is part of their Mormon ethos that nothing should stand in the way of a corporation's right to to profit whatever the cost to society. As a consequence, Utah is the most business friendly state in the Union and Salt Lake City the most polluted city in North America. Utahans may be griping now about unhealthy air but it is nothing more than what they asked for.

Jindal - Stupid Is As Stupid Does
Gov. Bobby Jindal famously said recently that the Republicans must "stop being the stupid party." This is the same Gov. Jindal that somewhat less famously promoted teaching young earth creationism in Louisiana schools. One state funded school actually teaches that a mythical creature (the Loch Ness Monster) proves that dinosaurs and man coexisted. You can't become the "not-stupid party" if your leaders are uneducated dolts.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Football Concussions

Why is it that modern football players with their expensive high tech padded helmets are sustaining more debilitating concussions now than back in the days of leather head gear?
The safest helmet ever made.
Actual testing has shown that the leather helmets are just as safe as the gladiator head gear being worn. 

Steroids Cause Concussions
Pump so many performance enhancing drugs into people they begin to resemble prize bulls at the county fair.  Add in chemically induced 'roid rage. Then set them on full speed collision courses and watch the mayhem.

Helmets Cause Concussions
Hit someone wearing a leather helmet in the skull with a hammer and it's going to hurt, a lot. Hit someone wearing a modern helmet with that same hammer hand he probably won't feel a thing (I'm not testing this theory). Making the head impervious to tactile pain does not make it immune to brain sloshing damage.

Prolonged Seasons Make Things Worse
Colleges used to play eight games a year plus one bowl game. The NFL used to play ten games a year with a single playoff game. Now, colleges have twelve game seasons plus bowls. The NFL is up to 16 games a year with up to three play-off games added on. And the NFL is talking about expanding their schedule to 18 games. More impact, less time to recover.

Helmets Are Used As Weapons
Modern football helmets are armored weapons. I'm actually surprised they have resisted the urge to attach spikes to them. Players know to lower their heads and lead with the most threatening weapon they have, the helmet. In every football game you will see several collisions that mostly resemble two rutting rams fighting.

The Owners Don't Give a Fuck
When I say "owners" I also include college presidents. The people who profit from football don't give a rat's ass about the players. They are merely chattel, highly replaceable chattel. There is always another young star on the rise to replace a fallen warrior. The pro owners may officially ban PEDs and they even, rarely, punish a player. The punishment is usually slight and meant to convince him to use more advanced masking agents and not to get him clean. College owners don't even pretend to care about steroid use.

Players Don't Give a Fuck Either
Glory, money, women. Many, maybe most football players, even at the high school level, don't care if their sport is causing permanent injuries to their bodies or brains that will eventually leave them crippled or addled for life. 

I guess I'm supposed to come up with some recommendations here but I can't. I do fully hate college football with it's slave gladiator similarities. But, the fact is I enjoy watching pro football even though it is people dressed like robots facing each other. I would probably enjoy it more if they took the players out of that armor and humanized the sport. Then again, I don't watch rugby so maybe not.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Old Things and Me

I like old stuff. It doesn't hurt that I'm old and like myself, but I really believe that many things were better in the "Good Ol' Days."

Clean Sports
The death of Stan 'The Man' Musial reminded me that athletes used to be human beings before the days of chemical enhancement. Barry Bonds (above) used to be a svelte gazelle before he discovered steroids and bulked up to the point he could crack walnuts with his forehead muscles. There is not an offensive tackle in professional football who doesn't have more PEDs in his system than blood.

Old time sports was far from perfect. Aldolph Rupp coached the University of Kentucky basketball team for 39 years before succumbing to the pressure to integrate in 1969. Mickey Mantle was a drunken womanizer who liked to play naked golf.

Jazz Age Jazz
New Orleans jazz in the 1920's might sound like a cacophony of instruments but the sounds merge into rich story. Modern fusion jazz, even from masters like Herbie Hancock, can also sound like a cacophony but the whole is often just an endless repetition of cords with minor inflections.

Give me a Monet landscape over the just about every art movement that followed. Cubism and most abstract art merges geometry with nature, both lose. Abstract expressionism is remarkably similar to finger painting while blindfolded. Most 21st century art is big on fractals and is just a retelling of what computers do only computers do it better.

Another thing ruined by computers. For centuries chess was an artistic endeavor requiring creativity and vision. Thanks to the Soviet School of Chess and computers chess has been reduced to a game of memorization.

Hunting used to require skill. I could respect that. Taking down a deer with a single bullet from a Kentucky long rifle took patience, you only got one shot and you had to make it count. Even 100 years ago, if a hunter went out with five bullets he was expected to return with five ducks. Modern hunters take their automatic rifles and hundreds of rounds. They find a target and keep throwing lead around until they hit something. Any drunken slob can do that.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

On Guns in Schools

Put 100,000 armed individuals in our nation's schools and we will probably see more children killed accidentally by their guards than would be killed deliberately by lunatics.

If that doesn't make you feel safer, nothing will.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Dream Wisdom

A couple of nights ago I had a dream where I composed a profound set of observations that can only be described as transcendental political wisdom.
These simple but deep observations, if put into practice, would revolutionize the ways to achieve political success. We are talking about wisdom on the level of Lao Tzu here.

Even though I was asleep I was aware of how difficult it is to hold onto dreams after waking so, in my sleep state, I worked hard at memorizing as many of the nuggets as I could.

It worked! At least partially. I remembered a few things which I shall now share.

KnightErrant's Guide to Political Wisdom
  • Never cut across the grain, always with the grain.
  • Compromise is not surrender but surrendering is a form of compromise.
  • Your friends are often your biggest enemies and vice versa.
  • Big fights always come from the small fights you ignore.
  • Losing is better than....(something, I forgot the rest).
That's all I can remember. Profound, yeah? Reminds me of this old story.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

NRA Wants a Police State

The National Rifle Association wants nothing less than to turn America into an armed camp.
Their acolytes want to make entering a house of worship similar to entering a military base. The weapons tech, not the preacher, will be the most important person in the church.

Of course, the NRA is all about getting guns in schools. Armed guards defending classes,
barbed wire fences protecting the children,
militarized check points. Nothing is too much for the safety of our kids.

Mothers going to the grocery store and
teens gathering at the food court will make everybody feel safer if they are packing heat.

Sure several dozen kids will be accidentally shot in the course of being made safe. The occasional gun will be accidentally forgotten in the school bathroom after the guard took a dump. But this is all collateral damage. These deaths are simply the price of freedom in a police state.

an armed citizenry is never, ever threatening and can
never, ever, ever end badly.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

John Wilkes Booth at Lincoln's Inauguration

One of the strangest stories in American history is the fact that John Wilkes Booth attended Lincoln's second inauguration.
Booth, a notorious womanizer, had been canoodling with Lucy Lambert Hale (r), the daughter of Lincoln friend, Sen. John Hale of New Hampshire. They were supposedly secretly engaged although it is more likely that had Booth lied to her to worm his way closer to Lincoln to further his plots. When Booth died he had the pictures of five women with him, including Lucy.

Booth had wrangled a prime ticket to the inauguration from Lucy and ended up surprisingly close to the President. If the above picture is accurate in identifying him, Booth was within pistol shot range of his target. A month later, Booth was trying to recruit fellow actor Samuel Knapp Chester into the plot and told him, "What an excellent chance I had to kill the President, if I had wished, on inauguration-day."

Here is a fascinating website on all things Booth.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Open Letter to Anti-ObamaCare CEOs

Clarence Otis, CEO Darden Restaurants
John Schnatter, CEO Papa John Pizza
John Mackey, CEO Whole Foods Market

Dear Sir:

I used to be a customer of your until you decided to speak out against ObamaCare. You have claimed to have been misquoted or misspoke but I doubt words like "fascism" can be misunderstood.

You have implied that providing health care to your employees will drive you out of business. I certainly do not want to make you into a liar nor prolong your agony as a business owner by spending money at your establishment.

I believe that basic health care ought to be a right. You believe health care is a privilege reserved only for wealthier Americans. I had become afraid to enter your establishment knowing that you are unconcerned whether your employees are carrying undiagnosed illnesses.

You would not have been so open about your beliefs if you had not been disgusted that people like myself had been sullying your establishment with out liberal thoughts. In truth, you were probably as uncomfortable having me as a customer as I was.

I have successfully replaced you with other businesses. It is true that I don't know if these new owners are as vile and hate filled toward their employees as you. They may be, but at least they are not open and boastful about it.

May I suggest you reread Atlas Shrugged and consider "going Galt." It is quite probable that the world will be better off if you do.

Alan Sakarias (Knighterrant)

P.S. I actually have never been in a Darden restaurant but I had been Red Lobster curious.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

How Republicans Hate America

Republicans Hate Prosperity
Ginger Rogers singing "We're In the Money" in pig-Latin.
There can be no doubt that the economy is improving. Jobless claims at at a five year low. The stock market is at a five-year high. Things are really beginning to look up. Republicans think that now is the perfect time to crash the economy by forcing the government to default on its debt.

Republicans Hate Uteri
Two-thirds of Americans believe women should have the right to an abortion. Those numbers cross demographic boundaries, race and gender don't significantly change the responses. The only outliers are white evangelicals and Republican legislators.

Republicans Hate Peace
Whether it is calls for civil war over attempts to limit gun deaths or demands for war with Iran, Republicans have a never ending, insatiable desire for blood.

Republicans Hate Fair Elections
Republicans are redoubling their efforts at voter suppression. And they have a new, cunning plan. Take states where Obama won but Republicans control the legislature because of gerrymandering and use that same mapping skill to flip future elections. Under Republican plans for the Electoral College, Mitt Romney would have won the Presidency even though he lost the popular vote by five million votes.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Warming Doesn't Stop in Winter

By now you probably heard they had to add a new color to the weather maps in Australia to account for temperature above 50oC (122oF). Here in the Northern Hemisphere things also are not as cold as they ought to be.

Snowless Heartland
Chicago set a record for most consecutive days without snow (320 days). Omaha set a record as well at 295 days. While both cities have gotten some snow there is currently nothing on the ground. The total snowfall in Omaha this season is only 7.4 inches to date, half normal. The lack of snow in the winter means drought in the summer.

Mudless Mississippi
The Mighty Mississippi River has gotten so shallow continuing barge traffic is a day-to-day concern. Rainfall upstream of St. Louis (when it should be snowing) is cheered for raising the river a few inches. The Army Corps of Engineers is frantically dredging the river but that is at best a temporary fix. Water level is water level, lowering the bottom of the river does not increase the water in the river.

Arctic Ice
Things are no better to the far north. Winter sea ice is at its second lowest level in history. The Labrador coast is ice free. Apparently (re:DailyKos) stratospheric warming has shattered polar weather systems causing bizarre weather from Japan to Greenland.

Warm winters, hot summers. The new normal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Topics I'm Avoiding

For two days now I've been searching in vain for something to write about.
  • There's the debt crisis, but that trail is so well trod it is nothing but a muddy quagmire now.
  • Gun control is a topic but the distance between what should be done, what can be done, and what will be done is redefining the concept of infinity.
  • I looked at the history of massacres in America but that was just too depressing.
  • Sports led me to Junior Seau's suicide and the knowledge that football players fully know they are sacrificing a lifetime of health, happiness, and sanity for a few fleeting years of glory.
  • And that led me to realize that football and MMA cage fighting are blood sports no less barbaric than ancient Roman gladiatorial spectacles. Now I'm really depressed.
  • And that, oddly, led me to discover the "Stadium Pal" which is a urine bag football fans wear so they don't have to leave their seats during the game to pee.
  • Totally depressed about all of humanity I thought about going silly and investigated "proof of UFOs." Unfortunately, almost all the videos just look like passing meteors to me.
I give up. It's a sunny, beautiful day and I'm going outside to play.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Register Guns and License Owners

This week I paid my annual auto registration fee. The same logic should be applied to firearms.

The Case for Mandatory Gun Registration
Cars are registered because they are deadly weapons frequently used in crimes or responsible for the accidental injury or death of others. It is vital to the security of a free state that automobiles and their responsible owners be readily identifiable by law enforcement. For this reason cars are registered and all transfers of ownership recorded with the state.

Registration will not prevent outlaws from getting guns any more than it prevents outlaws from getting and using cars. But it will make it more difficult and give law enforcement tools to restrict the trade in illegal arms.

The Case for Mandatory Gun Insurance
Cars kill and injure people and damage private property. To operate a car I am required by law to have insurance to pay for the destruction my car may do.

It is absolutely insanity that I am not required by law to have liability insurance for each and every gun I might own. More potentially destructive guns, like AR-15s, should require more insurance than less dangerous weapons like a single-action Colt. Moreover, gun owners must be held financially responsible for any and all damage done by their weapons.

The Case for Mandatory Gun Licenses
To legally operate a car I have to prove to the state that I am old enough to be a responsible operator (16 years-old in California). I must prove I have a minimal intelligence (pass a written test). And I must demonstrate a minimum competency by passing a supervised hands-on test. Further, doctors are required by law to report if I am no longer competent to operate a car (such as visual defects or dementia).

There is no rational reason why gun operators should not be required to prove they are responsible, knowledgeable, and competent to own a gun.

In Brief
  •  All gun ownership must be registered with all ownership transfers reported to the government so that law enforcement can protect law abiding citizens.
  • All gun owners must be required to have sufficient insurance to be financially responsible for any and all damage done by their weapons.
  • All gun owner/operators must be licensed to prove they are responsible, knowledgeable, and competent to own a gun.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Lies Gun Nuts Tell

The AR-15 is Not an Assault Rifle

Gun nuts are all about definitions. The AR-15 is not an assault rifle, they say, because it is semi-automatic while an assault rifle is fully automatic. Semi-automatic means you have to pull the trigger to fire a round. The concept of "semi-automatic" is a lie. The AR-15, and all other "semi-automatics" can easily be fired fully automatic without modifying the weapon using a technique called "bump firing." The lazy lunatic can easily, and legally, buy adapters for the rifle's stock that converts any AR-15 or AK-47 into a fully automatic weapon.

Large Capacity Magazines Aren't Dangerous
Gun nuts will tell you that large capacity magazines are not a problem because reloading is so easy that no lunatic shooter would be slowed by smaller clips. In the next breath they will state that it is essential that 100-round mags are available because it is such a bitch to change clips.

The AR-15 Is a Self-Defense Weapon
Unless you are being attacked by a zombie horde, this is bullshit. The AR-15 is a rapid-fire "kill zone" weapon. This is why it is the weapon of choice for lunatic shooters.

The Red Dawn Fantasy
It doesn't take much digging to find nuts who contend that only untrained civilians armed with automatic weapons and massive mags (and a 12-pack of Bud Lite) are protecting this country from invasion or dictatorship.

The Real Reason
Very few gun nuts are honest enough to admit the only reason they want assault weapons with gigantic mags is because they get off on blowing the fucking shit out of stuff. It's just a form of masturbation.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Real Victims

Listening to Republicans I've realized that the real victims in the Newtown shooting were guns themselves. Helpless, couldn't hurt a fly (unless you are a really great shot) guns who are having their basic human rights threatened by non-gun toting, Birkenstock wearing Nazi thugs who intend to kidnap innocent gats and deprive them of their God given freedom.

I've seen the light (or I'm having a psychotic episode, it's sometimes really hard to tell the difference).

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

The AIG Scorpion and Other Stories

AIG Backstabbers
I've been wondering why AIG would be putting out all these ads thanking the government for bailing it out. It didn't make sense financially because it was not the kind of advertising that would bring in new business. Now I understand. AIG is considering suing the government for $25 billion in damages for saving the company. It reminds me of the story of the scorpion and the frog. AIG can't help being treacherous backstabbers - betrayal is just their nature.

Congressional Dialing for Dollars
The recommended schedule for incoming Congressmen is four hours a day on the phone fundraising, a daily hour schmoozing with lobbyists and having your picture taken, an hour nap (always save time for your nap), and if you can find the time what's left of your day maybe a couple of hours of actual, you know, working.

The thing I hated worst about politics was cold calling people begging for contributions. Nobody is even pretending any longer that Congressmen do much else in their lives but sell themselves like $2 hookers.

Blame Iran
News stories are blaming Iran for a series of cyber attacks on banks, claiming it is the only country with the resources and skills to pull it off. Poppycock! I can think of several other nations with the needed skills including Russia, Israel, China, and MIT. Actually, each is better equipped than Iran to pull it off.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Chuck Hagel for Defense?

I've never thought about Chuck Hagel before yesterday except for those six seconds or so when I wondered if he was related to Katherine Heigl (You can't say she wouldn't be a more interesting choice).

My initial thought was Hagel was another one of the President's attempts at being nice to Republicans, you know, picking one of their own for a key spot in his administration. Then the pachyderm party began throwing their hissy fits.
  • First we learn that the SecDef has to be pre-approved by the Knesset before his nomination is submitted to the US Senate.
  • Second, Republicans feign outrage, for the first time in recorded history, over someone's homophobic comment. Really?
  • Third, we are told to be afraid that Hagel isn't advocating the invasion of Iran. Apparently, Republicans believe if we keep invading Muslim countries we, eventually, will get it right. Third time's a charm, you know.
  • Finally, Republicans content that Hagel is not a doctrinaire Republican and is, therefore, unqualified to be SecDef in a Democratic administration.
And now my interest in Chuck Hagel has waned. If we must have a Republican as SecDef, then Hagel is a better than average choice. But, I have a bizarre idea. How about nominating a Democrat for the position? If Obama wants Hagel, he can have him. I don't care. But I won't waste any time supporting the choice.

I am, however, sick at the thought of torture advocate John Brennan becoming CIA director. And with Hagel drawing all the fire, Brennan will likely get a free ticket into office.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Three Reasons Why the Republican Party Is Troubled

  1. The leader of the party, Speaker of the House John Boehner, is a public drunk and has been for a long time. He is incapable of negotiation rationally with the President because he is so often in his cups.
  2. The Radical Wing (Tea Party) terrifies more rational Republicans who are afraid to negotiate or even appear to be seen talking to Democrats.
  3. A majority of the party is openly misogynistic, they believe women's reproductive systems ought to be owned by the state and that violence against women is often appropriate.
There are a score of other reasons, including their xenophobia, but these three are their biggest.

Friday, January 04, 2013

It's Only Rape If She's Married

If the law supposes that,” said Mr. Bumble,… “the law is a ass—a idiot. ~ Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist

A California appellate court overturned the conviction of a man who had sex with a sleeping woman, stating it was not rape because the woman was not married. Specifically, the rapist pretended to be the woman's lover and according to a Victorian interpretation of a Victorian law, pretending to be anything other than a women's husband makes rape legal.

I read the legal opinion, which is written with all the scholarship of a third-grade book report. I even went back to the law (California Penal Code 261(a) (4 and 5)) and I just don't see it. The law makes it specifically illegal to pretend to be a spouse but that doesn't make it legal to pretend to be someone else. Rape by fraud is still rape.

I'd like to blame this insane ruling on the fact that the three judges were all appointed by Republicans but law professors across the state are declaring the ruling legally sound. These same professors also are certain the rapist will be convicted in a retrial. Like that's supposed to make the victim feel better.

I'm not a lawyer, a fact I'm proud of at times like this, but if the law really says this then the law is a big fucking ass.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Random New Year Observations

Harry Reid Grew a Pair
It's a miracle. Harry didn't have them in 2009 when Democrats had a filibuster proof majority for the first time since 1979. He was downright timid throughout 2010 and 2011. Then, suddenly, in the middle of 2012 Harry Reid grew a set of balls. Since then he has been the ballsiest Democrat in Washington D. C., bar none. I don't know how it happened but it's a freaking miracle.

Cliff Deal
Objectively, I don't like the fiscal cliff deal, I think it surrendered too much to Republicans and doesn't accomplish much. Still, they way Republicans are howling like stuck pigs and in near civil war over the deal it (1) is probably the best deal possible, and (2) has had a highly entertaining aftereffect.

Bowl Games
I remember a time when college football ended on New Years Day. Now the bowl games just keep dragging on and on and on. There are games with bizarre names, what the hell is a Belk Bowl? And people have stopped buying tickets to these now silly affairs.
The Independence Bowl announced an official attendance of 41,833. That is a sad lie, only about 15,000 customers actually bothered to show up.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

On New Years and Calendars

To me, New Year's Day means another birthday - I was born about a couple hours after the ball fell at Times Square. But, for some reason, the celebrations precedes my birth.

Early History
Ancient Egyptian calendar
It didn't take man long to figure out that the earth has a seasonal cycle, just about every plant and animal on the planet knows this too. The earliest celebrations of a New Year revolved around one of the seasonal changes - the Sumerians picked the spring equinox while the Egyptians chose fall.

Because humans love counting shit they quickly invented calendars so they could track the number of days that Shulgi was late returning that oxen he borrowed. Calendars were mostly based on the lunar cycles, 29 days and change, because the moon was easy to track. Unfortunately, using the moon always leaves us several days short of a year.

Julius and Roman Calendars
Pretty much the whole world nowadays works off some variation of the Roman calendar, which is weird because few civilizations in human history were worse at calendar making than the Romans.

Before Julius Caesar, Rome had a standard calender year that was 355 days (you probably notice a problem here) long; occasionally (really rather randomly) they would insert a thirteenth month to make a 378 year hoping to balance things out eventually. As a result, most Romans were never sure just what day or even what month it was.

Julius regulated the calender at 365 days divided among 12 months with quadrennial leap years. He also set January 1 as the official start of the new year. Because Julius was an egoist, he also named one of the months (July) after himself.

But the Romans were done fucking the the calendars. It seems most every emperor felt the need to rename one or more of the months. Then there was Emperor Commodus, played by Joaquin Phoenix in the movie Gladiator. Even by the low standards set by emperors like Nero and Caligula, Commodus was insane. To honor himself Commodus renamed all of the months for his various nicknames.

The Popish Calendar
While the Julian calendar was an improvement over the previous "Romans Can't Count" calendar, it wasn't perfect. Over the course of centuries the errors were adding up and was starting to mess with scheduling holy days like Easter. So Pope Gregory rejiggered the calendar and cut ten days out of October, 1582 to straighten things out.

The Pope, being Catholic, had no influence of Protestant and Orthodox countries. This made for all sorts of confusion for the nations of Europe. England, for example, didn't adopt the Gregorian calendar until the 18th century. For two centuries, England's calendar was a week and a half behind the calendar used across the Channel in France.

The strangest case was Russia. Their famous October Revolution that overthrew the Czar and installed a Communist government actually happened in November according the the Gregorian calendar. It was only after the revolution that Russia adopted the modern calendar.

New Years Through the Year
  • The Eastern Orthodox calendar celebrate the new year on January 14.
  • The Chinese falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 21, depending on the phase of the moon.
  • In Tibet the new year is greeted by a 15-day long celebration.
  • Lots of people still celebrate the new year around the vernal equinox.
  • The Jewish new year (Rosh Hashanah) coincides with the biblical creation of the universe and falls between Sept. 5 and Oct. 5.
  • The Islamic new year (Hijri) is still based on a 355 day lunar calendar and is a moveable event.
Modern Celebrations
  • The first Times Square ball drop was New Years Eve, 1907. After just four years, the New York Times owner, Adolph Ochs, had grown tired of just setting off fireworks to celebrate the new year.
  • In 1929, young, hip band leader Guy Lombardo began a tradition of playing "Auld Lang Syne" at the stroke of midnight. This tradition lasted almost fifty years.
  • In 1972, the young, hip host of American Bandstand, Dick Clark, began supplanting that long in the tooth old geezer Lombardo with a new tradition of rock and roll.
  • By the turn of the century that old geezer Dick Clark was was still around pretending to be rad. He was eventually replaced by young, hip nobody Ryan Seacrest.
For eons now, people everywhere have celebrated the coming of a new year with the hope it will be better than the year just past.

It never is.