Annie's Mailbox: Offering readers New Year’s wishes

Dear Readers: Happy New Year. We hope you managed to get through last night with a minimum of embarrassment or harm and that you still remember what you did.

We also hope 2010 will be a wonderful year for each and every one of you. May you be blessed with good health, kind friends, close family, love and laughter. Make this be the year you vow to be kinder to everyone you meet. It helps make the world a better place in which to live.

Here’s a short piece by Edgar Guest we hope you will enjoy:

A happy New Year! Grant that I

May bring no tear to any eye

When this New Year in time shall end

Let it be said I’ve played the friend,

Have lived and loved and labored here,

And made of it a happy year.

Dear Readers: Did you know that New Year’s Day was not always celebrated on the first of January? (And in those cultures that use a lunar calendar, it still isn’t.)

When Julius Caesar developed the Julian calendar in 46 B.C., a year officially became 365 days long. The calendar included leap years and, after some trial and error, set the first of the year at January 1.

In the Middle Ages, Christians changed the first day of the year to December 25 and then to March 25. Confusing, don’t you think?

In the 16th century, Aloysius Lilius, an Italian doctor and astronomer, devised a more comprehensive calendar. The purpose of the revision was to put Easter back in the right season and to correct some of the errors in the Julian calendar. Six years after Lilius died, his brother presented the proposal to Pope Gregory XIII, who authorized the new calendar on February 24, 1582, and New Year’s Day returned to January 1.

England (and its colonies in America) adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1752, by which time it was necessary to correct it by 11 days, so Wednesday, September 2, 1752, was followed by Thursday, September 14, 1752. We still use the Gregorian calendar today.

Many of our New Year’s celebrations originated with the Dutch in New Amsterdam (now New York) in the 1750s, though we have acquired plenty of new ones throughout the years, including the Polar Bear Club, where members take a dip in a frigid body of water on New Year’s Day. Good luck to them, and Happy New Year to one and all.

Dear Annie: How do you feel about couples who work for the same company?

I think it can create a conflict of interest, especially when these couples run every aspect of our lives. They are intrusive, imposing and controlling. They get away with it even when it’s detrimental to other employees and their families.

I can’t understand how people can be so underhanded and hurtful and keep their positions. Why would employees be so negatively empowered and hurt others instead of being constructive and helpful? Doing their job isn’t their priority. When so many people are without jobs, why would they conduct themselves this way?

— Confused in Houston

Dear Houston: This has nothing to do with couples working for the same company. Whenever someone puts his or her own interests above those of the business, it is detrimental for the working environment.

When two people are in cahoots (they don’t necessarily have to be a romantic couple), the problem is magnified. We cannot tell from your letter exactly what is going on, but if you are having difficulties with co-workers or supervisors, you should take it up with your human resources department.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie’s Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

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