When October 5 Became October 15

October 4, 1582: Pope Gregory XIII declared
the next day wouldn’t be the fifth.
It would be Friday, October 15, 1582.
Ten days from the Julian calendar gone.
And let’s call the new version Gregorian.

calendar

In the Pope’s defense, he was trying to fix the existing calendar which was 10 days out of sync with the seasons – but still, a Pope just zapping 10 days out of a year seems like a bit of a power grab. No birthday parties for those born October 5-14 that year.

Battle of the Guardian Angels

After the game has ended in defeat
with my son’s final strikeout, his mother
says “I prayed that your guardian angel
would allow you a walk-off home run.”
The pitcher’s mother prayed for a strikeout,”

he replies, and now, many years later
on this second of October memorial day
of the Guardian Angels, I happily play
with his child and pray the Angele Dei
for all of us still hoping here.

Guardian Angel


October 2 is celebrated in the Catholic Church as the Memorial of the Holy Guardian Angels and some people say the Guardian Angel prayer on this day.

Angel of God, my guardian dear,
to whom God’s love commits me here,
ever this day be at my side
to light and guard, to rule and guide.

Ballcock

It sounds obscene, but it’s toilet talk –
an old mechanism for filling water tanks,
somehow invented by a priest in 1790.
A ball-shaped float rises in the tank
signaling the cock-stop. Not obscene. But obscene.


I have always been fascinated with the origins of words, name,s and phrases. That has led me to do occasional posts at another site called Why Name It That? on the etymologies and origin stories of things. (The names of rock bands happen to be the most popular.) I wrote there in more detail about the ballcock (also less obscenely known as a balltap or float valve). It is the mechanism in flush toilets that using a float stops the tank from verflowing by lifting a valve (cock) to shut off the water.