This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

First, a little something I have to get off my chest. I’ve been seeing comments about how this past New Year’s Eve wasn’t the end of a decade and 2020 is not the start of a new decade. Others disagree. The argument is, we didn’t start counting years at 0 we start at 1. We skipped years from 1 B.C. to 1 A.D., bypassing zero.

Normally when a temporal event reaches the end of a year we give it the name 1, meaning the end of one year of existence. This is how we mark human years, you are x years old, not you are starting x years of existence.

What seems to confuse some people is we also give the name 1 to the first time something happened, like the Mariposa Folk Festival, which was first produced in 1961. We are not counting passage of time in this case, but the number of occurrences. Therefore, in 2020 the MFF is celebrating the 60th version of the festival because after the first weekend in July there will have been 60 of them. The festival will be 60 years old in 2021. This is a difference between anniversary and occurrence.

Then there is the case of wedding anniversaries and birthdays. The first anniversary is the end of one year, you have been married one year (or 380, depending on perspective), so we are counting passage of time. This leads to the anomaly where a first anniversary is the second occurrence.

Back to what decade is this. So this decade began on January 1, 2011 and the end of the decade will be December 31, 2020. All the leading authorities on counting years agree.

Most of the media are tripping over themselves creating decade lists and reviews. I even fell into it last week with this column. It’s convenient, but not correct. Don’t go looking for decade pieces next year though. Nobody is going to admit they goofed and run decade reviews at the end of this year.

Of course, you can always count a decade anyway you like, say from 2013 to 2023, this is done all the time in science when it makes sense for graphs and studies, also in business (e.g. come celebrate our tenth anniversary by leaving your money with us on March 31, 2024), and depends on when something started

I believe I’ll have to endure some of the other fuzzy logic kind of thinking for a while, and will likely do so silently, but at least one other pet peeve has ended, I think. That is a two headed monster which goes by 2 thousand and X, or 2 oh x (worst is 2 oh 1, or 2,3, etc., which, count them, is only three digits). I never heard anyone ever saying one thousand nine hundred three, or one thousand nine hundred eight, or one nine seventeen. I never understood how so many people could not wrap their heads around twenty oh one, or twenty nineteen, which follows the thousand-year-old convention. So far everyone seems to have fallen into twenty twenty and that is good.

That Long, Huh?

So in the process of writing the above, it occurred to me this is an anniversary year for me. I am in the 25th year of writing about arts entertainment and culture, and covering City Hall in some way. The 25th anniversary date isn’t until November 11, but this is the 25th first column of the year I’ve done, or will have done shortly. OK, I’m done throwing brain teasers at you.

Let Your Work See The Light Of Day

I know sometimes writing can feel like an onerous task, especially if you have to write anything meant for other eyes. It happens, even to me. You sit at the keyboard and stare, at it, or Reddit, watch Youtube videos, or something. Funny thing is, once you type the first word, you end up with a couple thousand and don’t really know how you got there. Of course, you then have to go back and fix a lot of things, but you accomplish something.

Many of you have been writing about events of your life, or of family members, or other people you know either as a family memoir or personal enjoyment. Maybe you just got interested in something you heard about, did some digging, and now know more about some aspect of life in Orillia than anyone else.

Don’t keep it to yourself. History is important. Yes, you know something, but others need to as well. There is no telling what is locked in your head, or maybe on paper or digitized, which will become valuable information to someone else at some point in the future.

To that end, the Orillia Museum of Art and History is looking for submissions for the Mulcahy Publishing Initiative. This is a program to get your story (not necessarily your personal story, but the one you know) published.

OMAH will select one submission and put their resources behind publishing preparation, a limited print run and promotion. Historical fiction counts, as do poetry and children’s books – but they have to be about local history. 

Go here and look for the pdf links for more information about what qualifies and how to submit. You have until January 15. If you haven’t finished writing your story, or are real close to finishing, you can get ready for next year.

OMAH also has the annual Sir John A. Macdonald Dinner January 11. The keynote speaker is Dr. Kevin Kee. He is the dean of the faculty of arts at the University of Ottawa and he’s going to speak about how digital technology is being used to find and preserve the past. The event is at Hawk Ridge Golf Club and you call 705-326-2159 to get tickets.

Dr. Harry Hall

January 15 is history speaker’s night and Dr. Harry Hall will be in to talk about his life as a doctor. Not only did he practice for 54 years in Orillia, but he also took his black bag around the world. The event starts at 7 p.m.

January 26 OMAH hosts Storytelling Orillia’s Side By Each monthly. This time guest speakers Ronda Hales and Stephanie Boyd (U.S.A. Women’s Hockey Team) will talk about women’s hockey a the 2 p.m. event.

The Shorts

*  Hibernation Arts is opening up space in the gallery for work by young artists, which is defined as under 40-years-old. The show opens January 11; also opening at 1 p.m., January 11 is a collection of work by Tammy Henry.

*  Jim Harris is booking music for the Farmers’ Market 2020 season. Shoot him an email to .

Tangents (Will Tennant, Mike Byam, Cody Zuizia, Rob Barnes) has a video out for the song, 5, shot and edited by Neal Reed.

*  Coming up… the Hog ‘N Penny has trivia night with Bill Dunlop every Thursday evening; Sean Patrick and Fiddling Jay are in Friday night; Liz Anderson is in Saturday night… the Brownstone has Dalia Dargazli and The Professionals opening for the Ryan Lamb Band Saturday night… the annual Mudmen concert at the Opera House is Feb. 1; the Banff Mountain Film Festival is Jan. 9 to 11 (this sells out every year – 3 dates this time around); the Simcoe Contemporary Dancers  have a program called Confluence Jan. 17… The Jazz Byrds play Sanafir every Saturday evening.

Corrected: Dr. Hill to Dr. Hall

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)

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