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1/4/2006 – Editorials

By Richard Peterson

This newspaper ordinarily closes for all federal holidays, most of which fall on Mondays. As a result, when there are Monday holidays the newspaper is one day late that week.
An exception will be January 16, when we’ll be working full blast instead of observing Martin Luther King Day. I have to be at the meeting of the county commissioners on Tuesday, Jan. 17 as a representative of the city of Minnewaukan, so I won’t be able to put the paper together that day. The paper has to be completed on Monday so I can attend that meeting.
I generally like Monday holidays. They work fine for us.
State Sen. John Andrist (R-Crosby) wrote about Monday holidays in his column in The Journal at Crosby last week. Andrist is one of the more conservative senators in the State Legislature, but he’s sometimes as radical as I am. I agree wholeheartedly with what he said:
One of the nicest things about Christmas in the year of our Lord 2005 was the fact it fell on Sunday.
The weekend holiday gives everyone a little better opportunity to get where they want to go and return. Those fortunate to have a five-day work week have a full Saturday to prepare for the holiday — and two days to recover from New Year’s Eve misadventures.
You can tell by now I’m not a traditionalist when it comes to calendars.
When we changed many of our holidays to fall on Monday every year there was a lot of gnashing of teeth. The upset of veterans was so strong that they changed Veterans Day back to Nov. 11.
Memorial Day was the only one that stuck. President’s Day and Columbus Day were add-on holidays and nobody dared to touch Independence Day and Thanksgiving — particularly after President Franklin Roosevelt tried and failed to get Thanksgiving moved forward to an earlier, more sensible time in November.
For my money everyone would be better served if we celebrated every holiday on Monday — even Independence Day. We could move Thanksgiving to the first Monday in November to give us a little more separation from Christmas. I have to wonder why making Monday holidays worked so well in Canada when it creates such resistance here in the US.
By now you know there is a revolutionary aspect to my thinking, so I might as well tell you one more thought.
We ought to reform our whole calendar.
We should have 13 months, each with 28 days. The first day of every month would be a Sunday or a Monday. Take your pick. The first day of every month would always be on the same day of the week.
The world revolves around the sun every 365-1/4 days, so that has to be the length of a year. Thirteen months, each with 28 days, would cover 364 days.
New Year’s Day would just be a free, unnumbered holiday. And every four years we would make it a two-day celebration, before going back to work on Monday, the first of January.
Cool, huh?
Andrist is right. It’s cool. I like the idea a lot.
Incidentally, the veterans shot themselves in the foot on the Veterans Day holiday. It’s so inconvenient to take a day off in the middle of the week, so we just ignore it completely. We didn’t observe it when it fell on Friday this year because if we’d taken Friday off, we’d just have to come back to work on Saturday to make up for it. It’s impossible to justify delaying the newspaper a day this week because we took a day off last week. If it were a Monday holiday, we’d observe it without fail. I’d like to be able to observe Veterans Day because I’m a veteran, but we simply can’t observe it unless if falls on a Monday.
An e-mail sent to me reveals proof that the human race is doomed through stupidity. Here are some actual label instructions on consumer goods:
On a Sears hairdryer — Do not use while sleeping. (But that’s the only time I have to work on my hair!) On a bag of Fritos — You could be a winner! No purchase necessary.
Details inside. (Is this the shoplifter special?) On a bar of Dial soap — "Directions: Use like regular soap." (And that would be??? . . .) On some Swanson frozen dinners — "Serving suggestion: Defrost." (But, it’s just a suggestion.) On Tesco’s Tiramisu dessert (printed on bottom) — "Do not turn upside down." (Well . . . duh, a bit late, huh!) On Marks & Spencer Bread Pudding — "Product will be hot after heating."
(And you thought???? . . .)
On packaging for a Rowenta iron — "Do not iron clothes on body." (But wouldn’t this save me time?) On Boot’s Children’s Cough Medicine — "Do not drive a car or operate machinery after taking this medication." (We could do a lot to reduce the rate of construction accidents if we could just get those five-year-olds with head colds off those bulldozers.) On Nytol Sleep Aid — "Warning: May cause drowsiness." (I’m taking this because??? . . .) On most brands of Christmas lights — "For indoor or outdoor use only." (As opposed to what?) On a Japanese food processor — "Not to be used for the other use."
(Somebody out there, help me on this. I’m a bit curious.) On Sainsbury’s peanuts — "Warning: contains nuts." (Talk about a news flash!) On an American Airlines packet of nuts — "Instructions: Open packet, eat nuts." (Step 3: say what?) On a child’s Superman costume — "Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly." (I don’t blame the company. I blame the parents for this one.) On a Swedish chainsaw — "Do not attempt to stop chain with your hands or genitals." (Oh my God . . . was there a lot of this happening somewhere?)

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