I’ve had a few comments about the new calendar I introduced recently. It seems it didn’t go down well with everyone, in particular, the French. Now I know you’re thinking they might have been ticked at the whole Rose and Napoleon article last week, but no. No, the French do have a good point. You see, over the years they’ve had a good try at standardizing, well, everything.
A revolutionary idea, you say? Why, yes it is. In fact their whole standardization master plan started during in the French Revolution, or as it’s often called, the Terror. The Terror was actually about a three year stretch in the middle of the revolution (the other years of the revolution being just mildly terrifying). While Robespierre and “The Committee of Public Safety” were busy chopping aristocratic heads off, impromptu mobs and other officials were drowning people, hacking monks and clergymen to death, and roasting alive anyone else they didn’t like on bonfires. A busy time, you might think, but not for the French. In the middle of all this mayhem they decided they needed to standardize such things as the weight of a loaf of bread. Really.
So it was that in 1799 the French introduced the metric system, no doubt much to the relief of bakers everywhere. It standardized mass, space, time, and loaves, but not the calendar. No, the calendar was considered far trickier. The French decided it needed a good overhaul, and so assigned a couple of mathematicians to the task. However, aware that mathematicians aren’t always the best at explaining things to the human race, they opted to balance out the nerds with (wait for it) a couple of poets. POETS? Most people understand them about as much as they do mathematicians. This makes about as much sense as ordering a side of olives with your haircut. But hey, exception française!
So, what did this wonderful pairing of pairs bring (the poets and mathematicians, not the olives and your new do)? Well, the mathematicians got stuck right in and designed things along neatly ordered lines (assuming you didn’t mind just one day off in a ten day week). Great. But then the poets got loose, and what did they come up with? A name for every day. Not just the days of the week, but each day of the year. Every single day. All 365 of them. Talk about revolutionary.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful, they argued, to be able to refer to any day with a single word. Maybe, but remembering 365 days in the correct order would take up most of a 4th grade education. And in the 1800s it would have been an even harder task, most of the people that could read had been relieved of their heads. Just to add to the fun they named the days named after plants, domestic animals, and common tools and rhymed them across the seasons. I guess they were trying to relieve the monotony for those 4th graders. It’s pretty remarkable these guys didn’t end up on a bonfire.
Anyway, to explain the title of this post, my birthday is November 25th, so in the French Revolutionary Calendar, I’m a Pig. Click on the thumbnail below for a view of the full calendar and let me know how things work out for you, after all it can’t get much worse than pig…
Okay. I am a SERVICE TREE.
I must consult with my French Canadian buddy, Carole St. Laurent, for exact translation, but until I do…
I envision myself standing in the middle of a small plot of patchy grass with a leafy hat on my head, while city-dwelling male doggies test whose pee hits highest on my legs.
I can’t speak, but if I could…
“Hey, Dude! Yeah, you! You think just because no one’s here, you can leave that pile of poop under my tree hat? Are you toting around those blue baggies just for show? If my cousin, Whompin Willow, wasn’t busy over at Hogwarts, we’d wipe that ate-the-canary grin off your pudgy face!”
Phew! I feel better now. Thank you.
Ha, looks like Carole has sorted out your Google tree interpretation problem. So, you’re not a general service tree, but a rare (service) tree. At least as the dog population of the world is concerned. And I thought I had it bad with pig!
By any other name… and wild to boot. And married to parsley.
Have to tell you, after outing ‘Shnorty’ the other day, then seeing, ‘I’m a Pig’, in your post title. Well…
April 20th, huh? A day later and you could have joined Gloria in dog-sensitive land!
Just in case you think there’s a bit of a bacon things going on, I’m a vegetarian 🙂
My stories happen during the French Revolution and dang it, I’ve never come across this calendar. My heroes were too busy keeping their head on, I suppose..
Gloria, Service Tree??? When’s your birthday?
Carole, it’s November 19th.
HELP! I don’ want to be the scene of a doggy pissing match!
ha ha ha, service tree! Google translation makes me laugh all the time. ;-))
Cormier is a rare tree, from the rosacea family, that gives fruits shaped like mini pears. It’s been placed on the endangered species – yes, it happens to trees also.
So you can console yourself that yes, maybe you’re a tree, but you’re so rare, which dog could find you?
(I already knew you were a rarity…)
Er, right, sorry about the translation thing. Though I’m not sure it’s much better being described as having “fruits like mini pears” and “placed on the endangered species” list!
Pears, trees, or dogs, we still love you Gloria!
Well, I’m glad to her your hero’s keep their heads! I’ve been care with mine that way – my head, some of my hero’s have had a rougher time 🙂
Wow, if ever there was justification for beheading, that calendar is it. Good thing cooler heads (sorry) prevailed before it was implemented.
I’m pleased to see that I’m millet. Fairly innocuous, and at least I’m edible. Wait, that sounds like a post title…
Diane, I’ll pay you ten bucks if you post something with that title.
Deal! (You’ve obviously read my post “Doin’ It On A Dare”, haven’t you? http://blog.dianehenders.com/2011/05/11/doin-it-on-a-dare/).
Keep an eye open for “At Least I’m Edible”…
I am waiting for this one. I just can’t see how keep away from that inexorable slide into … well, subjects I’m going to avoid!
LOL. Dang that Weeble’s quick, isn’t she? I’m waiting with bated breath …
I couldn’t help myself. Diane, after you post, just give me an address and I’ll send you ten bucks Canadian.
Nah, that’d take the fun out of it. I love a challenge – no monetary incentive required. 🙂
Which probably explains why I write novels, come to think of it…
Wow. They really were/are wacky folks, those French Citizens of the Revolution. My birthday is January 10th, which is Gypsum, according to this calendar. Eh, could be worse.
And I’m still not sure how I feel about the metric system. But then again, like many Americans, I believe that nature’s true measurement system is in feet and inches.
Although I like cubits too.
Gypsum, huh? That’s, well, nice. I’m really struggling to think of anything to go with that one. But who’d have thought the French revolution would be the reason NASA would crash one of it’s probes into Mars? Weird.
Cubits? They’re like chees-its, but 3 dimensional, right?
I know, I couldn’t come up with anything good for gypsum either.
And I do like that we can blame the French for that little metric/English units NASA misunderstanding.
Personally, I think everything French makes as much sense as a side of olives with your haircut. Well, one exception, and it’s not their food.
On their calendar, I’m a trainasse. Sounds like the last car on the railroad, although they had some explanation that sounded sillier than the word itself. Weird.
BTW, you must be losing your appeal. Gloria didn’t reply until 7:40. Well, maybe she just slept in this morning.
LOL the last wagon on the train, very good. That may be a case for having Carole giving us the proper description. I’ll get the olives ready for Saturday.
Nigel? Losing his appeal?
THIS writer-on-a-deadline hit Nigel’s blog first — after her two HOURS of early morning writing, David.
Hold, on. Checking to make sure I get the spelling right.
PHLPHLPHLPHLPHL. (with love)
Write on! And even though I have no idea what PHLPHL… means, we love you, too 🙂
I’m a Mill.
Yep. It’s not often I’m speechless. But then we’re talking about the French here and their behaviour usually does render me speechless and the French friends I have are rolling their eyes right now. They’re used to my utter contempt but they love me anyway, no idea why. Maybe it’s because as individuals [some] of them are utterly wonderful. A bit like the Scots, but get them together in large numbers and I grow Vampire teeth and want to bite them.
Don’t get me started on the Euro debacle. Can feel those teeth bursting out my gums right now!
Great post, Nigel, you romance lover!
I have a lot of french friends too, and they’re great, but sometimes you have to wonder. Mind you every country has it’s odd habits 😉 If I promise not to talk about the euro do you promise to keep those canine teeth hidden?
“Nigel, you romance lover!” … ah, er, how about we keep that a secret? You know, just you and me. Because it’s only on the internet and I mean, how many people use that?
Worry not, you’re secret is safe with me. And about fifty billion others.
Fifty billion. Wait a minute, have you been looking at my stats page?
LOL yes, it could be worse… you could be a shrub. Which I am. LOL. Then again, maybe not so bad considering the need for a shrubbery in Monty Python’s Holy Grail!
Ha! Very well, I shall return with a shrubbery. One that looks nice and is not too expensive!
Glad it worked out for you. Being a pig isn’t so bad, people like bacon. Oh wait, yeah, people like … er, bacon … not er, pigs. Eeek!
I’m a Mexican Marigold. Not a huge marigold fan, but on the upside, they have healing properties and they scare away bugs. Could be worse 🙂
Mexican Marigold, thats ok, they look pretty good, and if they scare bugs away I may start planting them round our house!
Hope you had a great weekend 🙂
No wonder I am allergic to ryegrass. Make perfect sense to me!
Ha! Who would have thought those poets would have been able to predict so much? One possible remedy would be to have an “official” birthday like the Queen, on a non-alergic day of course 🙂
Just getting around to this one, what with all my book launch crap (lordy, I am going on and on about that, aren’t I?)
Well, worth the time to stop by. Nigel, you are a hoot! And apparently I am a Buckthorn, wjhatever the heck that is?
Feel free to go on about your book launch, you deserve to, books don’t make themselves.
Glad you liked the calendar. I’ve no idea what a buckthorn is. It’s probably a tall flowering plant with shimmering leaves that’s highly prized in the Andes. And if by any chance it isn’t, the more people you tell quickly, the more likely the rumour will spread around the internet, and then it’ll be true 🙂
21 sep.: “Celebration of Honors” Cool.
It doesn’t get much better than that on this calendar.
I’m “Cotton”, Aug 16th. Now, I’m caucasian, but that seems a little racially insensitive to me.
The French Revolution was very much about removing barriers (and heads), so I don’t think they had any connotations in mind when they chose cotton.
It certainly beats “service tree”!
What a sly way to get everyone’s birthdays. You’re pretty sneaky Nigel. 😉 Sorry to show up to this party late.
So what does it say that I’m a Pansy married to a Lemon? And I have a Sieve and Strawflower for kids? Is that one crazy combo or what?
Ha, I didn’t think about collecting everyone’s birthdays, but now you mention it…
This calendar was only used at the end on the 1700s, so unless you’re a good 200 years old being “late” doesn’t matter 🙂
Your question about Pansy’s and lemons brings up an interesting point. I wonder if Fortune tellers could use this in their romantic predictions? Could revolutionize the whole industry (without chopping anyone’s head off, of course).