From October 31, 1999: The land
Millennially incorrect -- and blatant about it
© St. Petersburg Times, published October 31, 1999
When we introduced Turn last month, we called it a "Millennium Magazine" and said it "will appear monthly for the rest of the century (four times!)."
The next day, our file server groaned beneath the crushing load of e-mails.
"You are BLATANTLY INCORRECT," one correspondent began. "The year 2000 is the LAST year of the 20th century (as the name 20th implies), and thus, the last year of the first millennium. January 1, 2001, IS the first day of the new millennium and should be acknowledged as such."
What? No new millennium till next year?
The newsroom resounded with a loud smack, several hundred journalists slapping their foreheads in unison.
The truth is, we knew that the third millennium will not begin until 2001. That is because the Gregorian calendar (the one hanging in your kitchen) begins with A.D. 1, not A.D. 0. Thus, 2,000 years will not have passed until the first day of 2001. See?
Here's another way to think about it: A football field is 100 yards long. If you stand on the one-yard line and run 100 yards, you won't be on the goal line. You'll be a yard deep in the other end zone.
Our calendar started on the one-yard line, which is why the 21st century starts a yard deep in the other end zone.
But if we knew so much about millennial calculations, why did we seem to drop the ball?
Because 2000 is a cool number. Because we love a party. Because a few billion people are getting ready to celebrate the change of the millennium, even though doing so is BLATANTLY INCORRECT.
And because we like hearing from our readers. We know you'll enjoy our November issue: "Pumpkin Pie and Mashed Potatoes at the First Thanksgiving Feast."