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Shannon McLaughlin
Shannon McLaughlin

9 Odd and Awesome 2014 Calendars

Shannon McLaughlin
Shannon McLaughlin

You have to have a great calendar on your wall that will keep your interest every month through the year 2014. Try something new and different with one of these strange and wonderful offerings. We'll start with some calendars we've never featured before.

1. NYC Taxi Drivers

The NYC Taxi Drivers 2014 Beefcake Calendar takes liberties with what most of us would consider "beefcake." It features real taxi drivers in their everyday work lives. They volunteered their time and images because the calendar will benefit University Settlement, an organization that provides a range of services to lift New York City families out of poverty.

2. Sexy Monsters

Artists and photographers can put anything on a calendar, but it's funnier when you try to fit something completely unsexy into the classic idea of a pinup calendar. Erika Deoudes illustrated your favorite movie monsters and aliens in classic pinup poses for her Calendar of Sexy Monsters. The calendars are available in various formats at her Etsy store, where you can also get individual monster prints.

3. Darth Vader and Son

When you think of famous fathers, Darth Vader should come to mind. Yeah, we make enough Fathers Day jokes about it every year. But you can have that fuzzy warm feeling about the Sith Lord all year long with the Darth Vader and Son 2014 Wall Calendar! This calendar is from Jeffrey Brown, the author of the book Darth Vader and Son, about the fantasy interactions between Vader and young Luke.

4. The Warwick Rowers

The Warwick University Rowing Club (of the University of Warwick in England) has sold a calendar for every year since 2009, featuring their athletes in the altogether. Yes, they are nude, with tastefully-placed hands, accessories, or tall grass. Proceeds go to support the school's boating sports. And starting last year, the calendar is used in connection with Sports Allies, an organization fighting homophobia and bullying. The picture shown here is heavily cropped from the original. See more pictures at Buzzfeed (NSFW). 

Oh yes, Warwick has a women's rowing team, too, and they are selling a nude calendar as well. They use a lot of oars as props.

5. Kanye with Pugs

An art group from Barcelona called Meet the Pugs pulled off a strange stunt by selling calendars on Kickstarter featuring Kanye West, his 12 most memorable quotes (for example: "My greatest pain in life is that I'll never be able to see myself perform live"), and pugs. The pug dogs were Photoshopped onto images of Kanye for each month. This unique calendar is now sold out, but you can see images at the Kickstarter page. The video on that page contains NSFW language. Some of the funders received multiple copies of the calendar, so they may be marketed elsewhere as limited edition collector's items. Meet the Pugs also has art prints from the project for sale. 

6. Yoga Dudes

Yoga Trail invited their readers to submit photos for the 2014 Yoga Dudes Calendar, and got 800 submissions! Those were winnowed down to twelve that were published in a calendar that will benefit the Movember Foundation. You can see all 12 dudes at Yoga Trail. Only one of them is completely nude.

7. Animals from History

Artist Christina Hess illustrates historical figures as if they were cats and dogs! She published her Animals from History in an ebook, and has a calendar for 2014 featuring 13 of her illustrations. You can get it through her Etsy store for a mere $6.

8. Cats Let Nothing Darken Their Roar

Artist Noa Bembibre has been producing a limited-edition art calendar since 2005, different every year, but based on a continuing idea. Each month features a sentence or phrase in which the name of the month is hidden. See examples from previous years. The name of this project is a phrase that contains the word "calendar." Order your 2014 calendar here. Oh, you can also order cards and prints with custom names and phrases done this way!

9. Tattooed Librarians

Get ready to have your typical image of a librarian changed forever. The Rhode Island Library Association printed a calendar titled Tattooed Librarians of the Ocean State 2014. You might be surprised at the kind of ink these librarians selected! Sales of the calendars will benefit the Rhode Island Library Association. Sadly, the limited edition run of calendars has sold out, but you can see the images at Huffington Post. 

And here are some links for 2014 editions of calendars that we've featured in previous years.

12 Months of a Dead Ken

Guinea Pig Games

The Roadkill Calendar

Heavy Equipment Calendar

The Hooters Owl Calendar

Toilets Around the World

Goats in Trees

Surf Dogs

Extraordinary Chickens

Passive-Aggressive Notes

Hot Guys and Baby Animals

Roman Priest Calendar

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iStock
Why Was February Chosen for Black History Month?
iStock
iStock

Every February since 1976, the United States has celebrated the achievements of African-Americans during Black History Month. The month-long celebration puts those accomplishments and milestones in focus via the media and in classrooms.

But why February? Was that part of the calendar chosen for any specific purpose?

It was. Black History Month began as “Negro History Week,” a label applied by historian Carter G. Woodson in 1926. Woodson was bothered by the fact that many textbooks and other historical reviews minimized or ignored the contributions of black figures. Along with his Association for the Study of Negro Life and History—later the Association for the Study of African American Life and History—Woodson earmarked the second week in February to raise awareness of these stories.

Woodson chose that week specifically because it covered the birthdays of Frederick Douglass (February 14) and Abraham Lincoln (February 12). The ensuing publicity led many mayors and college campuses to recognize the week; through the years, the groundswell of support allowed the occasion to stretch throughout the entire month.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford made Black History Month official, saying that he was urging everyone to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.”

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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Philibert Louis Debucourt, Detail from "Calendrier républicain" // Public Domain
211 Years Ago Today, the French Abandoned Their Decimal Calendar
Philibert Louis Debucourt, Detail from "Calendrier républicain" // Public Domain
Philibert Louis Debucourt, Detail from "Calendrier républicain" // Public Domain

In 1793, the French switched to French Revolutionary Time, creating a decimal system of time. A day had 10 hours, 100 minutes per hour, and 100 seconds per minute. The system was elegant, doing away with the complex math required for time calculations under a 24 hour/60 minute/60 second system. But it also brought huge headaches.

French Revolutionary Time came alongside the French Republican Calendar, a further attempt to rationalize time. Months were divided into three 10-day weeks, and there were 12 months. The leftover days needed to add up to 365 or 366 for the year were tacked onto the end of the year as holidays. This was a bit inelegant (days and years being hard to divide cleanly by 10), but at least it was less confusing than trying to sort out what time "noon" was (it was 5 o'clock).

French Revolutionary Time only lasted 17 months. By April 7, 1795 (in the Gregorian calendar), the time system became optional. Decimal clocks and decimal/standard hybrid clocks continued to be used for years, but for practicality, France returned to the same system of time as its neighbors.

The French Republican Calendar lasted far longer. It began in late 1793 and ran all the way through the end of 1805 (again in the Gregorian reckoning). On December 31, 1805, the French government chucked the system—in the year XIV, by Republican reckoning. This was due, of course, to the reign of Napoléon Bonaparte as Emperor. (Incidentally, his coronation occurred on 11 Frimaire, Year XIII of the French Republican Calendar—also known as 2 December, 1804. It took him more than a year to roll back the revolutionary calendar.) In any case, January 1, 1806 rolled around using the Gregorian calendar and the rest is history.

Of course, all this calendar-nerd stuff leads to the fact that you could still choose to use the French Republican Calendar. Indeed, Wikipedia will tell you the current day and year using the system, although you'll want to read up on the exquisite problems related to leap years (also helpfully detailed on Wikipedia).

For a bit more on decimal time (including several modern variants), check out our article Decimal Time: How the French Made a 10-Hour Day.

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