ALEX CHADWICK, host:
And we're joined now by senior producer Steve Proffitt.
STEVE PROFFITT: Hi, Alex. You know, it's Leap Day.
CHADWICK: I did know that. It's February 29th, the extra day.
PROFFITT: Right. And it got me thinking about our calendar and just how inane it really is.
CHADWICK: Well, 30 days has September...
PROFFITT: Right. Yeah, that whole thing. For years, since I was a kid, really, I've been fascinated by a very old idea - to change the calendar so it has 13 months.
CHADWICK: Thirteen months.
PROFFITT: Yeah. Thirteen months, each with 28 days. So a system like this would mean that every month was exactly four weeks and every day of the week would always fall on the same numbered day.
CHADWICK: You mean if you start with Sunday, Sunday is always going to be the 1st, the 8th, the 15th?
PROFFITT: Exactly. So if I said something was happening on March 9th, you would know that that's a Monday; plus you wouldn't need to buy a new calendar every year.
CHADWICK: Well, I don't know how the publishing industry would feel about that, but I'm doing the math here; 13 times 28. This is the problem. It's 364, right? 13 times...
CHADWICK: ...28 days - we're a day short.
PROFFITT: Yeah. Yeah, we are. We're two days short on leap years.
PROFFITT: But our calendar will add a day, let's call it New Year's Day in normal years. and it will add a second day. Let's call that Chadwick.
CHADWICK: Chadwick Day, I like that.
PROFFITT: In leap years. That sounds good.
PROFFITT: So anyway, Alex, to find out a little bit more about this I called a calendar scholar.
Mr. PETER BOGDANOVICH (Film Director): The whole idea with calendars has always been attempt to reconcile the lunar movement with the solar movement and it's impossible because they're so different.
PROFFITT: That's Peter Bogdanovich and he says many ancient calendars had 13 months because they were based on the lunar cycle, 28 days.
CHADWICK: Did you say Peter Bogdanovich? Like the movie director Peter - I thought this was a calendar expert.
PROFFITT: Yes, but it turns out the Peter Bogdanovich - "The Last Picture Show," "Paper Moon," all of those - he's not only a fan of the 13-month calendar but he actually tries to live by it.
PROFFITT: Yes, he does.
Mr. BOGDANOVICH: The way the ancients used to begin the year with the extra day. It was called - the year was known as a year and a day, which is where we get that expression - I'll love you forever and a day, or "The Owl and the Pussycat," they sailed away for a year and a day. That all comes from the fact that the calendar year used to be, in fact, 13 months a year plus one day.
CHADWICK: Where are you going with this or is it just an excuse to call Peter Bogdanovich?
PROFFITT: Oh, well, well kind of. But you know, Alex, back to the calendar, all right? The 13 month perpetual calendar - and there have been some really ardent attempts to adopt it. Back in the '20s the League of Nations had just been formed and they spent a lot of time considering it, and then in this country one of the most strident supporters was George Eastman.
CHADWICK: This is the film Kodak George Eastman?
PROFFITT: Eastman Kodak, right. Apparently it drove him crazy that March has something like 11 percent more days than February. But, you know, the current calendars is so ingrained it seems pretty unlikely that we're going to be changing it anytime soon.
CHADWICK: Well, Peter Bogdanovich says he's still living by this 13-month calendar, right?
PROFFITT: Well, I mean, he also has to live in the real world, but in spirit, yes.
Mr. BOGDANOVICH: The world made sense when the calendar made sense. Now it doesn't make sense and neither does the world.
PROFFITT: Peter Bogdanovich, good luck to you.
Mr. BOGDANOVICH: Thank you. We all need a lot of luck.
PROFFITT: So Alex, maybe we should name that 13th month Bogdanovich.
CHADWICK: Steven, thank you, and spend your day wisely.
PROFFITT: You're welcome, Alex, and I'll try to.
NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.