Wednesday, February 29, 2012

A Flying Leap

Apparently, it takes the Earth 365 days, 5 hours, 49 minutes, and 16 seconds to make one complete revolution around the sun.

At least that's what Wikipedia says.

Back a long time ago, there was a slight miscalculation of all this, and Pope Gregory XIII led the reform to fix it in 1582.

At least that's what Wikipedia says.

As such, we have today, the 29th of February. A year from today, it'll be March 1. A year ago today, it was March 1. Today, though, is Feb. 29.

As everyone knows, today is Leap Day, part of Leap Year, which sees every fourth year have 366 days.

Why Feb. 29? Why not make a month with 30 days have 31? Why not June 31st? Or July 32nd?

Apparently, there is no leap day in years that are divisible by 100, such as 1800 or 1900, unless they are also divisible by 400, which is why there was a leap day in 2000. There will not be one in 2100.

At least that's what Wikipedia says.

TigerBlog doesn't know anyone who was born on Feb. 29. A scan of Wikipedia reveals that a few athletes and other moderately famous people - and the infamous serial killer Aileen Wuornos - were all born on Feb. 29.

On the one hand, it'd probably be pretty cool to say that Feb. 29 is your birthday. On the other hand, you'd spend most years celebrating it on March 1, which isn't really your birthday.

TB didn't need Wikipedia to know that the whole idea of being born on Feb. 29 plays prominently into the Gilbert and Sullivan operetta "The Pirates of Penzance," which TB and BrotherBlog saw with Kevin Kline as the Pirate King on Broadway circa 1981 or so.

TB also has "I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major General" on his iTunes, which includes the kind of lyrics that are rarely written today, such as "About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lotta news, with many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse."

The month of February has flown by, another month of this "winter" gone by without TB's ever having worn his heavy coat. In fact, this February had many more days of temperatures in the 50s than 30s, and TB and many others wore shorts more than once this past four weeks.

Also during the month of February, no matter how busy everything around here got, there was always the "the first weekend of March is going to be way busier" vibe that was present.

And so it is.

As an aside, it's a weekend that will go off flawlessly, TB is sure, because of the work of a lot of people behind the scenes, especially the event staff of Karen Malec and Mike Doto.

Beginning tomorrow with Day 1 of the Ivy League men's swimming and diving championships and continuing through Sunday with the EIWA wrestling championships, the Princeton campus is going to be a busy place.

Among the events at Princeton:

* the Princeton men look for their fourth straight Ivy League swimming title, something Princeton hasn't accomplished since 1989-92. The Tigers and Harvard are, as usual, the favorites with perhaps a slight edge to Princeton. The event runs tomorrow through Saturday

* the EIWA (that's Eastern Intercollegiate Wrestling Association) championships will be held Saturday and Sunday in Jadwin Gym. At stake will be 46 automatic bids to the NCAA championships, the second-most behind the Big 10, which makes this a huge event in the sport. Princeton could qualify several wrestlers, and though the Tigers will not win the team championship (the last Princeton EIWA title was in 1978), the goal is to finish in the top half of the standings, which would be a huge accomplishment.

Cornell should win the team title, and there are two reigning NCAA champions (one from Cornell, one from Lehigh). In fact, Lehigh heavyweight Zach Rey and American's Ryan Flores met in the EIWA and the NCAA final a year ago, as Flores won at the EIWA and then Rey won at the NCAAs. They rank 1-2 this year.

Cornell's Kyle Dake is a two-time NCAA champ at 141 and 149, and he's wrestling at 157 this year. He could see Princeton's Daniel Kolodzik in the EIWA final; Kolodzik was the first nationally ranked recruit to come to Princeton under Chris Ayres.

* the wrestling mats will have to be picked up quickly to get ready for Princeton-Brown men's basketball Saturday, with tip-off at 7:30. Princeton also hosts Yale Friday at 7. Of the eight league teams, Princeton is the only one that will not playing at least one game this weekend that will help decide whether the champ will be Penn, Harvard or both - though the Tigers host the Quakers Tuesday night in a game that is likely to be huge.

* the men's lacrosse team, off to a fast 2-0 start and having scored 25 goals in two games after averaging 7.1 per game last year, hosts No. 2 Johns Hopkins Friday at 5. Princeton has beaten Johns Hopkins three straight times; Princeton has never beaten Johns Hopkins four straight times

* the women's lacrosse team hosts third-ranked Duke Saturday at 1. Princeton also has its home opener tonight at 6 against Rutgers. Princeton, who won the Ivy League tournament title last year, looked outstanding in its season-opening 16-3 win over Villanova.

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