Politics & Policy


A serious column.

Many of you think today is the first day of Spring. It’s not. Yesterday was. In fact, March 20th will be the first day of Spring for the rest of this century.

This annoys me greatly because for my entire life I thought it was really cool that the first day of Spring was on my birthday. Now, I must content myself with the fact that it is the first full day of Spring and that’s no fun, now is it?

In case you’re curious, the reason for this has to do with the fact that you people threw away a perfectly good Jewish calendar a couple thousand years ago.

First there was the Julian calendar which didn’t take leap years into account. So after a while the first day of Spring was almost in February. Then Pope Gregory XIII, who needed to have his own calendar to go along with those chants I guess, came up with the Gregorian calendar which took those leap years into account. He did this by simply cutting 10 days from October 1582, and by removing the future century leap years not divisible by 400. (Ya gotta admit, it must have been cool to be the Pope). Anyway, most of Europe went ahead and adopted the Gregorian calendar, although Britain and its colonies, always stubborn, didn’t do so until 1752. The long and short of the math is that the first day of Spring will fall on March 20th and even March 19th until the year 2100 when it switches back to March 21.

That’s not the only thing that makes birthdays less fun for me now, and I’m not even referring to the fact that the first news of the morning was that Adolph Levis, the inventor of the Slim Jim, has died. Lovers of cured meats everywhere should have a moment of silence in their cubicles.

No, the simple fact is that it isn’t fun to get older anymore. What’s so exciting about being 32? It’s not like there are a bunch of bars I couldn’t get into until I reached my 32nd birthday. In fact, most of the things I like to do — drink beer, hold progress strikes on my couch, and talk to my dog as if we are co-conspirators in a revolutionary movement to bring down the current Fido Crow regime against canines — just seem more and more…umm…eccentric as I head into my mid-thirties.

On the other hand, even though it’s no fun to get older it just so happens that I couldn’t be having more fun being at this age. I’ve got this really cool fiancée who doesn’t seem to be coming to her senses about me. My dog — though unhappily at the vet right now — is a happy warrior by my side. And, I’ve got a job that is really hard to complain about, especially when you consider how totally content-free this column is and how I am writing it from a resort in Palm Springs. Of course, one day it would be nice to be able to afford to stay here on my own dime rather than be a guest in exchange for my services as the junior Krusty the Clown of conservatism. But hey, I’ll sing for my supper.

Anyway, because it’s my birthday, I get to ask you people for some favors. First, in lieu of sending me happy-birthday greetings or “you-jackass-you-wasted-my-time-with-this-drek” messages, please say happy birthday to Kathryn Lopez, whose birthday is tomorrow (also now known as the second full day of Spring, thanks Pope Greg). If you like NRO then you should say thanks to her. As Deputy Managing Editor of NRO she works tirelessly behind the scenes to make me look good, sorta like Hillary Clinton’s make-up artist). So let her know you appreciate it. Besides, it’d be fun to crash her e-mail box for a change.

Second, if you have any serious ideas for how NRO can make money, please send them along. (This sort of birthday plea for reader support is not unprecedented; see my considerably more amusing 30th-birthday column from two years ago). With the death, or at least the coma, of web advertising, we’ve been relying on a model that involves moving a lot of print subscriptions — hence the despised pop-up ads. But that’s a revenue model that places more importance on attracting new customers rather than rewarding loyal ones and is ultimately unsustainable because the universe of NRO readers inclined to subscribe to National Review OnDeadTree will eventually subscribe to NRODT. But I swear to all that is holy — i.e. Budweiser, rising-crust pizzas, etc. — that I will ignore the usual cabal of Internet hucksters and “for-a-small-fee-I-can-make-you-rich…” types.

Third, it would be nice if you people organized a little rough justice for all the newspaper editors who refused to run my syndicated column, but I in no way endorse vigilante tactics that can be traced back to me in anyway.

In the meantime, thanks so much for your support and I promise the next column may even make a point. Anyway, I’m off to the Pacific Northwest to kick the tires on wedding photographers and interfaith clerics. Wish me luck.


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