By Dan Miller
January 1, 2009
Chances are, many of us stayed up later than usual Wednesday night just to make sure 2008 ended once and for all.
For lots of folks, it was an agonizing year.
And wouldn't you know it, 2008 actually went into overtime... ever so slightly... because scientists added one extra second at the end of the year.
These scientists are apparently granted -- by some authority somewhere -- carte blanche to fiddle with time.
I don't know who these scientists are.... but they work at, or hang around, the lovely grounds of the Royal Observatory at Greenwich Park, overlooking the River Thames in London.
Think about it -- do you know anything about these guys?
Are they elected or appointed?
And by whom?
How much clout do they have?
Maybe we need to keep an eye on them.
Could they, if so inclined, decide to add another month to any given year?
Could they, on a whim, eliminate Thursdays altogether?
Could they decree that all clocks must be speeded up?
Well, maybe it's not so bad, since the calendar now shows all of us one second younger than we actually are!
Of course I'll have to go around the house now adding one second to all my clocks.... an even bigger aggravation than switching to Daylight Saving Time.
Oh well, the year 2009 brings some exciting events.
Starting this month (January 2009) they'll be banning incandescent light bulbs in Ireland.
It'll be interesting to see how that goes because, sooner or later -- actually in 2014 -- many, though not all, incandescent bulbs will be disallowed here in the U.S.
"Close the curtains Mabel, here come the light bulb police!"
I don't know about you, but for me those curly little fluorescent light bulbs cast weird shadows, can't be dimmed with rheostats, and give me a headache.
And, who can forget, 2009 brings a spelling reform for the Portuguese language.
That means they'll be adjusting the rules on hyphens, removing the trema, and changing the diphthongs.
My knowledge of the Portuguese language and diphthongs is somewhat limited, but I can tell you it has something to do with those little squiggly marks and dots that are placed on certain letters.
Since Portuguese is not the official language of all Metro Nashville government business, you might wonder how these changes will impact you.
Well, I discovered while scanning Wikipedia that Portuguese is a wildly popular language.
It's the official language of Brazil.
It is, in fact, the sixth most common language on earth, spoken by well over 200,000,000 people.
OK, I think I've wandered a bit off track.
Anyhow, early 2009 brings at least two fascinating changes that will not go unnoticed.... the inauguration of our new president, and the end of analog television transmission.
Those are things we'll be talking about a lot in the weeks to come.
For now good people, please accept my wishes that 2009 is a year filled with kindness and good fortune for you and your family.