Wednesday, February 29, 2012

4 things for February 29

hi there

well, as it is a "bonus" day today, depending on your perspective, i thought it a jolly good idea to throw out a few things related to this somewhat rare day of the year.

for those somehow unaware, February 29th only happens once every four years. it has something to do with synchronizing the calendar to the establish seasonal time shifts. it is more likely, however, that it is in fact nothing more than a ploy by the bourgeouis elite to further exploit the workers and solicit from them an extra day of work without any extra pay. the validity of this view rests on the idea that as it is apparently a necessary event, then why not just make this one extra required day a public holiday every four years?

moving swiftly on to the point then, and to celebrate this once every four years thing, here you go with four observations relevant to this date.

in respect of what happens to one born on the 29th February for the 3 years between the day cropping up, interestingly which day you celebrate your birthday instead is not down to personal choice or preference. it's something that has been legally established, and oddly different countries have different days for this.
if you were born on February 29 within the borders of the United Kingdom, then on non-leap years legally your birthday is March 1. this does not, however, extend to the Commonwealth countries or if you will the remnants of the Empire. in New Zealand, for instance, those born on February 29 instead legally celebrate their birthday on February 28. perhaps this has something to do with the variances of the international date line or something like that, but there you go - anyone in the UK trying to celebrate their birthday a day early would appear to be doing something rather naughty! i have no idea why someone in New Zealand would opt to try and celebrate a day late, but by the same rule they too would be strictly speaking breaking a law of sorts if they attempted this.

the first recorded death (that i can work out) on a February 29 was that of the celebrated Archbishop Of York, Oswald Of Worcester, back in those crazy days of 992. i am pretty sure that Monty Python And The Holy Grail was set in and around that year, but alas i have no knowledge as to if Oswald Of Worcester had any knowledge of coconuts. As he was of Danish origin, there is every chance that he did have some knowledge, but equally there is every chance that he did not.
one somewhat obviously tries not to favour one particular Archbishop Of York over another as the position is, strictly speaking, meant to be above such popular trivialities, but it has to be said that Oswald was of substantial involvement in the implementation of the calculations to work out as and when Easter should be marked on any particular year. this is of relevance, of course, to those who like four day weekends and chocolate eggs.

history has one or to incidents of people who have lived a life and died on the same date as which they were born. William Shakespeare is perhaps the most famous example, of course. to be born on February 29, live a life and then die on February 29 is, as you may guess, not a common thing to be recorded.
in fact, thus far only one such instance has been recorded, that of James Milne Wilson.
Scottish born Wilson was noted as being one of the greatest politicians in the history of Australia, or at least in the opinion of celebrated novelist Anthony Trollope. Wilson served as the Governor and eventually Premier of sadly often overlooked island-off-an-island Tasmania, and is credited with being the man who fought off the efforts of Australian State Victoria to simply annex this fine island and make it its own.

finally, as it is somewhat topical now, the once highly valued Oscars have been awarded on February 29 on at least two years. the most recent, i think, was in 2004, when the farcical decision was given to award nearly a dozen once coveted statutes to the third and final part of that series of films featuring dwarfs, midgets and other assorted short people walking over a field with a ring. for three hours in that specific case; nine torrid hours in total. Oscars were once, it is easy to forget, awarded on actual merit, and the ceremony on February 29 1940 stands as an example of this.
1940 was the year that celebrated film Gone With The Wind won more Oscars than it did not, of course, and one of them in particular was of note. in winning the best supporting actress award for this film, Hattie McDaniel became the first black actress to win at the Oscars. considering by just how much America was racially divided and segregated at this time, and indeed for decades thereafter no matter how many revisionist works try to imply otherwise, the significance of this should never be overlooked, and it is truly a celebration of how art is supposed to and indeed can transcend all barriers and divisions.

well, there you have it, i trust these slices have been of some interest. if you are one of those born on February 29 and have stumbled upon this post, may i thank you for reading, wish you a very happy birthday and suggest in the strongest possible terms that you go off and get on with celebrating.

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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