February 29th, 2016

Leap Year

Leaping girlLeap Year is the 29th day of February, an occurrence which happens every four years when the calendar year has 366 days, instead of just 365. Why do we end up with an extra day? Because it takes the Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 46 seconds to orbit the sun and the regular calendar just has 365 days. Every four years, another day added to synchronize the solar year with the calendar year. If we didn’t do that, eventually the months would become out of sync with the seasons.

This isn’t a new phenomenon; this has been happening for thousands of years! The Egyptians were some of the first to see the need for a calendar based on the sun, but it was under Julius Caesar that it was implemented. Prior to that, the Roman calendar had used a lunar model which sometimes had to add an extra month so they maintained consistency. In 46 BC, the Roman calendar was changed so that it had 12 months and 365 days.

By 1582, the calendar dates were out of sync with the seasons. Roman Pope Gregory XIII ordered that 1583 be shortened by 10 days to “re-sync” the calendar and he established the system of adding leap-year days every four years to the calendar to keep it from falling behind the seasons again. The “Gregorian Calendar” was named for the pope and is the world standard today.

Fun fact: In Ireland, there is a legend that St. Brigid, a fifth century nun, asked St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, for permission for women to propose marriage, instead of waiting for their shy suitors to pop the question! St. Patrick granted her request, but with the stipulation that it could only happen on one day, every four years, Leap Day! Today, there are some who take this legend as truth and think that the woman proposing on Leap Day leads to good luck!

If you’re intrigued by this legend, check out the charming DVD “Leap Year” staring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode.

While the odds of having a Leap Year Day birthday are approximately 1 in 1,500, there are about 4 million people worldwide who have February 29 birthdays. The town of Anthony, Texas has been hosting a “Leap Year Birthday Festival” since 1988!

Do you know anyone with a birthday on February 29?


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December 15th, 2014

Holiday Hoopla! ‘Tis the Season For Free Music

Christmas party

Another Holiday? Already? Well, at least CCPL has your music covered thanks to our new digital service: HOOPLA.

Let’s say you’re decorating the house or baking some goodies. You need some tunes in the kitchen, right? Keep your phone, tablet, or laptop away from flour dust and eggs and play some American country, like “Toby Keith: A Classic Christmas” (2007), or “Best Of 20th Century – Country Christmas” (2003).

If you want dulcimers or bluegrass pickin’, try “Appalachian Christmas” (2014) or “A Skaggs Family Christmas, Vol. 2” (2014). While you’re helping Santa wrap gifts and trying to decompress from all the madness of the shopping season, play The Riverside Brass Quintet nice and low. Their album “Riverside Yuletide” (2014) will make you feel like you’re listening to amazing street performers in London.

Before the family comes over on Christmas Eve, don’t forget to give yourself some R & R. Chill out in a hot bath before guests arrive, but first download the comfort of the Carpenter’s “Christmas Portrait” (1987). It’s a nice change of pace.

Now it’s Christmas Eve. This is part one of the big show. If your home is playing host this year you need a long playlist with a huge variety of 20th Century radio classics. I recommend getting on Hoopla and checking out “50 X-Mas Hits” (2014). It’s great to put on in the background of the family room. If you’re off to grandma’s house on Christmas Day and have young kids who love sing-alongs, “Disney’s Family Christmas Collection” (2008) is a lot of fun.

A big and busy family Christmas with kids isn’t for everyone. If you’re putting on an adult-only or late-night Christmas affair, I have some albums for you! If you need a little swing or pop with your party, I highly recommend the contemporary marvel that is “Christmas” (2011) by Michael Buble. If you need songs without lyrics and prefer solely orchestral music, “Tchailkovsky’s Nutcracker Suite” (2007) by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra will definitely sweep you away like a dream.

During or after Christmas, if you need to set the mood for a one-on-one cozy evening, Hoopla has “Christmas Romance: 15 Romantic Holiday Favorites” (2014). It’s also a great fit for a New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day dinner. It’s a surprisingly solid blend of easy listening, jazz, and lounge-style music.

Get downloading and get merry this holiday with Hoopla!

What’s your favorite holiday album?


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