Volume XI, Issue 17 ~ April 24 - 30, 2003

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Bay Reflections

Ten Years and Counting
by J. Alex Knoll

Newspapering for a decade — week in, week out; always the next issue to get ready in only seven days — serves as an odd yardstick for measuring the passage of time. Especially when you consider the yardstick.

Three feet, each foot divided into 12 inches. And of those 12 inches, each is divided into 16ths. How convenient is that? No wonder Europeans, with their metric system and their Euros, think we Americans are crazy. Sixteenths?

Quick, what’s the percentage for one-16th?

If you know the answer, odds are you’re a stock broker, for until recently Wall Street broke its share prices down into 16th-dollars. But even the venerable old money of The Street has changed to a base-10 system that adds up just like money. Or not, as the fall of the Dow and NASDAQ coincides with that change.

Perhaps, too, if you knew the answer — .0625, by the way — you work with fractions, as we do here at Bay Weekly. The 1/16th-page ad is our second-smallest, but a real performer.

Even odder, though, than our system for measuring physical distance — the yard, foot, inch and their proportions — is our system for measuring time.

The modern calendar is a marvel, and it demonstrates humankind’s inate knack for quirky numerical systems based on the Powerball number of the day.

One year is 365 days, except every four years, when there are 366 days — Leap Day, which keeps our calendars fine-tuned. Except any year ending in ’00, basically every 100 years, when there is no Leap Day, again in order to keep our calendars fine-tuned.

Each of those days also breaks down into 24 hours, each hour further subdivided into 60 minutes, each minute into 60 seconds.

Let’s not forget that our year also breaks down into 12 months, seven of them — January, March, May, July and August, October, December — broken down into 31 days. Four of the months — April, June, September, November — break down into 30 days. Oddist of all is February, 28 days, except during Leap Year, when we add a day to the shortest month.

The touchstone amid all these quirks of time is the week. True, the week itself is broken into seven days — just try giving me a percentage for that — but Monday always follows Sunday, whether it’s Leap Year or not. And there are always 52 weeks in a year, again, whether it’s Leap Year or not.

And for the past 520 weeks, we at Bay Weekly have been finding, writing, compiling, reporting and providing you — or so we hope — with a refreshing taste of news, with stories that don’t leave a bad taste in your mouth and upset your stomach.

Being a timely periodical, Bay Weekly, too, has found quirky the summations of time.

For one, we didn’t start out as a weekly, or even Bay Weekly, rather New Bay Times. We published every two weeks, an even less appealing fraction than the 16th-inch.

After our first 13 months, or 29 issues, we went weekly and changed the name to New Bay Times~Weekly. Even so, for a few years we didn’t print an issue the last week of the year, and there may have been a summer when we didn’t print the last week of June.

Four years later, people still asked how often we published, so with the new millennia we jumped to Bay Weekly, which we’d taken as our Web moniker some years earlier. (Try typing http://www.newbayiimes~weekly.com).

So how many issues of Bay Weekly have we printed in 10 years? Well let’s see, it all adds up.

It’s simple math, like the seven days of the week multiplied by the 52 weeks of the year equalling the number of days in a year, whether it’s Leap Year or not.

Truthfully, this is our 489th issue, so over 520 weeks, we’re batting .940.


© COPYRIGHT 2003 by New Bay Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.
Last updated April 24, 2003 @ 2:57am