Monday, January 21

Sherman Day Trip

Over the weekend, Judy-Bob and Janice-Bob and I moseyed up to Sherman, Texas. It seems that there's a chance that Judy-Bob may relocate in that direction, so .. after a sumptuous breakfast at the Driver's Travel Mart (Anna, Texas) we kept on going, almost (but not quite) reaching the Oklahoma state line.

Sherman residents are probably proud of their town (in Grayson County), but it's not a place I could live in without going blind .. it's just too far off the beaten track for my taste.
One of my theories about Texas (and Dallas) is that Dallas isn't really in Texas - it's a bubble of pseudo-civilization surrounding by thousands of miles of nothing.
While in Sherman, Janice-Bob and I wandered through the "Touch of Class Antique Mall" (former 3-story furniture store) on the downtown city square, across from the county courthouse. Antique malls are not among the places I frequent: the sellers all seem to think their possessions are worth a whole heckuva lot more than I do (although who doesn't have enough Elvis lamps in their double-wide?).

On the way back to civilization, we stopped in McKinney to sample a QSR that's rare in Texas: Culver's (there are now nine locations of this Wisconsin chain in Texas, three of which are within a half-hour drive). Their specialties are frozen custard and "ButterBurgers" .. I stuck with the Beef Pot Roast Sandwich, same as last time. Not half bad.

Monday, January 14

Jessica's Fault

Dallas Cowboys (American football) fans have, on average, the same number of brain cells afforded your legendary Big Haired Texas Wummun. Thus, today they're seeking a single source for their frustration at losing in the first round of the playoffs to a team (New York Giants) they'd already beaten twice this year.

That target is Jessica Simpson.

And thus, I am amused. You see, the Star Quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys - Tony Romo - was doing just fine thankyouverymuch until he and Jessica hooked up a few months ago. Then, his performance (onfield) started nose-diving. The local wimmin who would've been happy to Have His Baby weren't as fixated anymore. Now, the season is over and the city (well, not all of us) is in a state of complete, utter shock. We're talking catatonic stupor. I won't be surprised if there's no mail delivery, the stores all close at noon, and people start wearing black armbands until pre-season.

Rumor has is that the TSA folks at DFW airport have been given orders to turn back any plane with Jessica Simpson onboard. Her posters have been removed from the local stores, and parents who named their daughters "Jessica" are queued up -- blocks long -- at the courthouse, seeking NAME CHANGE PETITIONS.

Oh, the humanity.
Tuesday morning update: worth noting that the US Mail delivery was the latest I can ever remember: sometime after sunset, but before 8:30pm when I checked the mailbox "one last time". Coincidence? Not a chance.

Thursday, January 3

Revenge of the Gregorians

I don't recall ever meeting a Gregorian in person.

Many of us have spent our entire lives assuming that everyone in the world uses the same calendar -- not so. Turns out there are a LOT of calendars used worldwide. I probably learned about The Gregorian Calendar in first grade history class (!). The Jews use the Hebrew Calendar; Muslims use the Islamic (Hijri) Calendar; Iranians use the (modern) Persian calendar, and the Chinese use the Chinese Yin Calendar (not to be confused with the Chinese Yang Calendar).

our New Year's Day

 daymonthyearcalendar adopted in
Chinese23Eleventh4705 (rat) 
Gregorian1January2008 C.E.1752 CE
Hebrew23Tevet5768 A.M. 
Hindu   78 CE
Islam22Dhu al-Hijjah1428 A.H. 
Persian11Dey13861925 CE

For simplicity sake, I'm avoiding an explanation of the Chinese Lunar and Solar calendars, which are based on the ruling dynasty, among other things.

their New Year's Day (sorted chronologically)

Christian Era 20081 January 2008
Islam 1429 (Muharram)10 January 2008
Chinese 47057 February 2008
Persian 1386 (Norouz)21 March 2008
Hindu 1929 (Ugadi)6 April 2008
Hebrew 5769 (Rosh Hashanah)29 September 2008

I like using the ISO-8601 calendar for embedding into filenames, so that Untitled.txt becomes 2008-01-01-Untitled.txt -- that way, it's always obvious when the file was created, even if it's been emailed or copied. There's a nice Calendar Converter on Fourmilab which I used to generate this data.

Example: using this converter, I can see that Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 took place on Day 1, Fifth Month, Ji Si Year (Republic Dynasty). To me, it's still 4 June 1989.