- The Washington Times - Monday, December 20, 1999

Next applicant, please

Remember Kerry Colpitts of the Canadian Ministry of Health, who recently applied for the job of deputy press secretary for on-line communications at the Republican National Committee?
We’d written last week that after her interview, she asked RNC official Cliff May what more she could do to prove that she’s the best candidate for the job.
“Have Bill Gates give me a call,” he casually replied, referring to the billionaire chairman of Microsoft.
So what did Miss Colpitts do but write to Mr. Gates, a letter reprinted in this column.
“Gates didn’t call,” RNC spokesman Bill Pascoe now says.
“But you get the credit for getting her the job, seeing as how it showed up in print. Cliff just made the call to Kerry and gave her the job.”

Year of confusion

The calendar we use is supposed to be based on the year Jesus Christ was born, right?
We only ask because The Washington Post on Friday wrote that Gregorian monks constructed our “elaborate fantasy of a calendar on a certain day in a certain year, the death of Christ, to them the single most important date in the existence of the universe.
“But they really weren’t too sure, so they just picked something. If Christ had been crucified one year later, say, then the millennium would have been next year.”
True, a certain monk and mathematician Dionysius Exiguus, literally “Dennis the Short” was confused, which did lead to a calendrical mix-up.
But the monk’s confusion didn’t surround Christ’s crucifixion, but rather his birth. Which historians now estimate to be about 4 B.C., or “before Christ” (if that’s possible, in this scenario).
Dionysius, who lived in the sixth century, was summoned by Pope John I and given the task of overhauling the calendar. With the Gospel of Luke his instrument, Dionysius tried his best to calculate when Jesus lay in the manger.
His research wasn’t made easier in that St. Luke wasn’t even sure when Jesus was born. So in the end, Dionysius guessed four years short. He’d have missed the date by only three years if he hadn’t forgotten about the Year 0 between 1 B.C. and A.D. 1.

Calendar update

Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson says the 2000 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia will take place from Monday, July 31, to Thursday, Aug. 3, 2000.
Previously, Mr. Nicholson named a time window for the convention of July 29 to Aug. 4.

Wall tree

A Christmas tree decorated with personal tributes to the 58,219 men and women who gave their lives in the Vietnam War will be placed at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial “the Wall” at 10 a.m. Thursday during a special ceremony.
The Christmas tree will be decorated with hundreds of messages of honor and remembrances from around the country sent to the Washington-based Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.

We want Gore!

“Bring your friends and family and wear your Gore 2000 buttons!”
Gore 2000 Activist Alert, in advance of Vice President Al Gore’s appearance in a “Meet the Press” debate yesterday at NBC studios in Washington.

The envelope, please

Education analyst Malcolm Lawrence, a former State Department official from Chevy Chase, Md., has finished ranking the presidents of the 20th century, each with a short explanation:
1. Ronald Reagan (1981-89): “Ended the Cold War.”
2. Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09): “Trust-buster and conservationist.”
3. Harry S. Truman (1945-53): “Tough and honest.”
4. Calvin Coolidge (1923-29): “Government hands-off administrator.”
5. Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61): “Good president, better general.”
6. George Bush (1989-93): “Preserver of Reagan doctrine, done in by economy.”
7. William McKinley (1897-1901): “Protector of U.S. interests.”
8. William Howard Taft (1909-13): “A Teddy Roosevelt protege, good for country.”
9. Woodrow Wilson (1913-21): “Idealist, done in by League of Nations dream.”
10. Richard M. Nixon (1969-74): “Left holding Vietnam bag; good on China, done in by his ego.”
11. Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933-45): “Media puff, legacy saved by World War II; helped give away half of Europe.”
12. Warren G. Harding (1921-23): “Good man, poor judge of subordinates.”
13. Herbert Hoover (1929-33): “Brilliant engineer in office at wrong time.”
14. Gerald Ford (1974-77): “Pardoned Nixon, lackluster term.”
15. John F. Kennedy (1961-63): “Daddy-made dandy way in over his head.”
16. Jimmy Carter (1977-81): “Sulked a lot and gave up Panama Canal.”
17. William Jefferson Clinton (1993-present): “Known primarily for double-talk and sexcapades.”

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