>Revolutionary calendar proposed by the French in 1793 would fixed this problem by alloting five or six leap days a year, but we all know how that turned out. So Leap Day has its one great champion, an orphan pirate apprentice named Frederic. Being an apprentice, even to those softthearted pirates of Penzance, was no joke; it the primary means by which information about a craft was transmitted. Being an apprentice was an in-between state; neither unskilled nor a master of your trade, at work but not your own man. No wonder apprentices occasionally dabbled in activites to bring "Rabelaisian laughter": pranks, japery, and the Great Cat Massacre of the Rue Saint-Severin. Frederic seems like a good boy, and he was raised by pirates who, with all their faults, loved their queen. Hopefully he never got up to such mischief. Happy thirty-seventh birthday.

Today 12-year-old Brian Ash of Zeeland, Michigan, is celebrating his third birthday. Brian Ash is a person of a certain distinction; leap day babies are few and far between, a list of celebrities born on leap day demonstrates. Dennis Farina is a character fine actor, and Patricia McKillip’s The Forgotten Beasts of Eld a fine book, but those are pretty slim pickings. All other things being equal, children have roughly a 1 in 1461 chance of being born on Leap Day; I was always faintly disappointed that my father missed by a day (leaving alone that he wasn’t born during a leap year). February has been stretched every four years since Roman times, other pieces of calendar reform notwithstanding, but throughout history very little seems to have happened on Leap Day. The Revolutionary calendar proposed by the French in 1793 would fixed this problem by alloting five or six leap days a year, but we all know how that turned out. So Leap Day has its one great champion, an orphan pirate apprentice named Frederic. Being an apprentice, even to those softthearted pirates of Penzance, was no joke; it the primary means by which information about a craft was transmitted. Being an apprentice was an in-between state; neither unskilled nor a master of your trade, at work but not your own man. No wonder apprentices occasionally dabbled in activites to bring "Rabelaisian laughter": pranks, japery, and the Great Cat Massacre of the Rue Saint-Severin. Frederic seems like a good boy, and he was raised by pirates who, with all their faults, loved their queen. Hopefully he never got up to such mischief. Happy thirty-seventh birthday.