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Morbid Anatomy Museum
Morbid Anatomy Museum

9 Weird and Wonderful 2016 Calendars

Morbid Anatomy Museum
Morbid Anatomy Museum

It's almost 2016! Time to get a new calendar for your wall. Whether you're into traffic circles or morbid anatomy, there's one out there for every taste.

1. COW YOGA CALENDAR

The Yoga Cats and Yoga Dogs calendars have been very popular in the past few years. For a change of pace, you can try out the Cow Yoga Calendar. The whimsical illustrations may make you feel graceful in comparison while you attempt Side Crow.

2. ROUNDABOUTS OF THE WORLD CALENDAR

The British Roundabout Appreciation Society unites people who admire the traffic circles of Britain and around the world. They’ve selected a dozen of the best to feature on their 2016 Roundabouts of the World Calendar. You can order the calendar from Amazon, and see pictures from it here.

3. GO COMMANDO CALENDAR

There is no shortage of calendars illustrated by fit young people posing partially or fully naked to benefit charities—all it takes is an image search for “charity calendar” to reveal hundreds of them. One that stood out is the Go Commando Calendar, which features shirtless Royal Marines. Proceeds from the calendar go to the Royal Marines Charitable Trust Fund, which provides services for injured servicemen and the families of those killed in action. Order your calendar here.

4. BOYS OF HAMPDEN WALL CALENDAR

Boys of Hampden via Facebook

When three Hampden, Baltimore business men wanted to raise funds for the Hampden Family Center—which, according to CBS, "centers on building community relations via youth programs for families to intertwine, assisting families with teen pregnancy and drug abuse, and providing services for senior citizens and any other residents that need help"—they came up with a fun idea: a parody calendar featuring local merchants.

They put out a call for other local businessman to contribute photographs, saying that "the men could dress as provocatively as they wanted with a vehicle or non-vehicle," one of the businessmen, Lou Catelli, told Baltimore Style. "Come as little dressed or as much dressed as you want." They got so many submissions that they produced two calendars: the Boys of Hampden and the Boys of Hampden (Boys Gone Wild). The latter features somewhat less clothing. You can order either the wild or mild version here. See more of the boys at their Facebook page.

5. AMERICA'S BEST LOOKING TROOPER CRUISERS CALENDAR

American Association of State Troopers (AAST) via Facebook

The American Association of State Troopers made a calendar that appeals to their own aesthetic sensibilities. They had a contest to decide the best-looking cruiser from among all the state police forces, and they're featuring the top 13 vehicles in their calendar America's Best Looking Trooper Cruisers Calendar. The top winner was West Virginia, with Ohio, Massachusetts, and Minnesota following. Did your state make the cut?  

6. MORBID ANATOMY MUSEUM CURIOUS COLLECTIONS CALENDAR

Brooklyn's Morbid Anatomy Museum has all manner of books and objects from old medical collections. The Morbid Anatomy Museum Curious Collections 2016 Wall Calendar features their favorite items from museums all over the world.

7. WORLD’S BEST FATHER CALENDAR

Dave Engledow runs the website World’s Best Father, where he posts complicated and humorous photos of the things he does with his daughter Alice Bee. Fans can have those photos on their wall with the calendar available from Amazon and from Willow Creek Press.

8. HOW TO TELL IF YOUR CAT IS PLOTTING TO KILL YOU CALENDAR

Matthew Inman of The Oatmeal published a book of cat wisdom and humor in 2012 called How To Tell If Your Cat Is Plotting to Kill You. For 2016, there’s a calendar under the same name featuring various cat comics from Inman. Learn the various signs of kittens preparing to take over the world, and other indications that your cat is out to get you.

9. CALENDARIO ROMANO

The Calendario Romano, or the Roman Priest Calendar, is advertised as a souvenir of Rome with information about the Vatican for those who aren't in the know. The cost is only 10 euros (plus shipping), and you can order yours by email.

There are also calendars we’ve featured in past years that have 2016 editions you might want to check out.

Heavy Equipment Calendar

Hooters Owl Calendar

Toilets of the World 

Goats in Trees

Extraordinary Chickens

Passive-Aggressive Notes

Hot Guys and Baby Animals

New York City Taxi Drivers

The Warwick Rowers

Nuns Having Fun

Kittendales

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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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