Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Julian Calendar

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Genealogy tip for today: Julian calendar


The Julian Calendar was created in response to the Roman Calendar before it. The Roman Calendar was rather complicated. Days were added or removed to help adjust to the seasons and to try to keep it in sync with the equinox and solstice days. This was a rather burdensome job. The Roman Calendar had 12 months in its calendar but only 355 days. Therefore there were 10 days that had to be dealt with somewhere.


It is roughly based on the lunar calendar, which as we know today, does not perfectly align with even the present day calendar. So getting it to jive with the seasons created a problem. The months were called either hollow months or full months. The hollow months had 29 days and the full months were made up of 30 days.


The first Roman Calendar was even worse with only 304 days with 61 days unaccounted for during winter. The final one had 355 days but was an improvement though still fraught with issues. While Julius Caesar ruled he decreed that a new calendar be drawn up. He consulted with the astronomer, Sosigenes and created a calendar that was more in alignment with the earth’s revolutions around the sun.


The new Julian calendar added 1 day to four months, April, June, September and November. Two extra days were added to January, August and December. March, May, July and October were already assigned their number of days from the Roman Calendar – with 31 days each. This took care of the 10 day discrepancy with the former Roman Calendar.


However! The Julian Calendar introduced unknowingly an error of one day every 128 years. This meant that the calendar had to shift back one day to adjust itself. In 1582 The Gregorian Calendar was introduced to fix the problems with the Julian Calendar. This was a big improvement but still had some problems of its own. It wasn’t accepted worldwide and even today not every country in the world uses it. By the 1900’s, however, the vast majority of countries did. We’ll look at that calendar next time.

Next post will be on Sat., Nov 16.
(Information for this article came from




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Arthur Tudor of England marries Katherine of Aragon.
As Napoleon Bonaparte's army retreats form Moscow, temperatures drop to 20 degrees below zero.
Herman Melville's novel Moby Dick is published in New York.
Billy Clairborne, a survivor of the Gunfight at the O.K. Corral, loses his life in a shoot-out with Buckskin Frank Leslie.
Albert Einstein presents his quantum theory of light.
Lieutenant Eugene Ely, U.S. Navy, becomes the first man to take off in an airplane from the deck of a ship. He flew from the ship Birmingham at Hampton Roads to Norfolk.
The Cherokee Indians ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review their claim to 1 million acres of land in Texas.
The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) begins the first daily radio broadcasts from Marconi House.
Right-wing militarists in Japan attempt to assassinate Premier Hamagushi.
Manuel Luis Quezon is sworn in as the first Filipino president, as the Commonwealth of the Philippines is inaugurated.
German bombers devastate Coventry in Great Britain, killing 1,000 in the worst air raid of the war.
The United States and Yugoslavia sign a military aid pact.
French paratroopers capture Hoa Binh, Vietnam.
New Orleans integrates two all-white schools.
President Dwight Eisenhower orders U.S. naval units into the Caribbean after Guatemala and Nicaragua charge Castro with starting uprisings.
President Kennedy increases the number of American advisors in Vietnam from 1,000 to 16,000.
Iceland gets a new island when a volcano pushes its way up out of the sea five miles off the southern coast.
Greece frees hundreds who were jailed in the Communist uprising of 1944-1950.
The U.S. First Cavalry Division battles with the North Vietnamese Army in the Ia Drang Valley, the first ground combat for American troops.
Yale University announces its plan to go co-ed.
The United States launches Apollo 12, the second mission to the Moon, from Cape Kennedy.
US President Jimmy Carter freezes all Iranian assets in the United States in response to Iranian militants holding more than 50 Americans hostage.
Lech Walesa, leader of Poland's outlawed Solidarity movement, is released by communist authorities after 11 months confinement; he would win the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983 and be elected Poland's president in 1990.
The Space Shuttle Discovery's crew rescues a second satellite.
Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany sign a treaty officially making the Oder-Neisse line the border between their countries.
Budget standoff between Democrats and Republicans in the US Congress forces temporary closure of national parks and museums; federal agencies forced to operate with skeleton staff.
Northern Alliance fighters take control of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul.
First G-20 economic summit convenes, in Washington, DC.
Israel launches Operation Pillar of Defense against the Hamas-governed Gaza Strip.



William III, King of England (1689-1702).
Robert Fulton, American engineer who invented the first steamboat.
Claude Monet, French impressionist painter.
Jawaharala Nehru, Indian nationalist leader.
Aaron Copeland, American composer whose works include Billy the Kidd, Appalachian Spring and Fanfare for the Common Man.
Louise Brooks, silent film star, symbol of the 1920s flapper.
Astrid Lindgren, Swedish children's writer (Pippi Longstocking).
Joseph McCarthy, anti-Communist senator from Wisconsin.
Harrison Sallisbury, journalist for The New York Times.
Park Chung-hee, Korean general and statesman; led 1961 coup that overthrew the Korean Second Republic; elected president 1963; assassinated Oct. 26, 1979.
Brian Keith, actor (The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming).
Veronica Lake, actress (Sullivan's Travels).
McLean Stevenson, actor; best known for his role as Lt. Col. Henry Blake on the TV series M*A*S*H*.
Edward Higgins White II, engineer, astronaut; first American to "walk" in space (June 3, 1965); died in explosion at Cape Canaveral (Cape Kennedy) during prelaunch testing for first manned Apollo mission.
Hussein of Jordan, King of Jordan (1952–1999); second Arab head of state to recognize Israel as a sovereign nation.
Buckwheat Zydeco (Stanley Dural Jr.), accordion player, zydeco artist.
Charles, Prince of Wales, heir to the throne of England.
Condoleezza Rice, US Secretary of State under Pres. George W. Bush (2005–2009).






1. A second chance, especially in golf where a player is sometimes given another shot to make up for a poor shot which is not counted.
2. A stew made from odds and ends, using whatever is available.



Both senses of the word are from the name Mulligan. It's not certain who these two Mulligans were -- maybe a golf player and a chef. Earliest documented use: 1936.



"It's the Do-Over Derby, in which the only candidates not asking for a mulligan are the ones demanding dozens of them."
Frank Bruni; The Do-Over Derby; The New York Times; Feb 13, 2012.


Everyone discusses my art and pretends to understand, as if it were necessary to understand, when it is simply necessary to love. -Claude Monet, painter (1840-1926)




Today’s Recipe

Holiday Cooking

Swedish Meatballs



  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons dry sherry
  • 1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 3 tablespoons lingonberry or cranberry preserves
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • Chopped fresh dill, for topping
  • Fresh pickled cucumber slices, for serving


Melt the butter in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, season with salt and cook until golden brown, 4 to 6 minutes; set aside.

Combine 1/2 cup breadcrumbs and the milk in a bowl; set aside until the milk is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir the sherry and mustard powder in a large bowl until dissolved, then beat in 1 egg. Add the soaked breadcrumbs, the browned onion, the pork, turkey, honey, allspice, 2 teaspoons salt, and pepper to taste. Gently mix with your hands until combined.

Dampen your hands; form the mixture into 36 small meatballs, about 1 tablespoon each. Put on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

Put the remaining 1 cup breadcrumbs in a shallow dish. Whisk the remaining 2 eggs and 2 tablespoons water in a bowl. Dip each meatball in egg, letting the excess drip off, then roll in the breadcrumbs; return to the baking sheet.

Heat about 1 1/2 inches vegetable oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until a deep-fry thermometer registers 325 degrees F. Working in batches, fry the meatballs, gently stirring with a slotted spoon, until golden and cooked through, 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt. Let stand 10 minutes.

Fold the lingonberry preserves into the sour cream and top with the dill. Skewer each meatball with a pickled cucumber slice and serve with the lingonberry cream.







Now You Know!