Intercalary (adj.): Inserted into the calendar to make the calendar year correspond to the solar year. Said of a day or month—for example, February 29 is an intercalary Leap Day. Pronounced with the accent on the second syllable (in-TURK-uh-larry).
A couple of days ago I caught up with the most recent episode of “30 Rock” and was surprised to see intercalary in, of all places, the Xfinity Comcast On Demand* episode description. The text on the screen read:
Jack learns that Leap Day is more than just an extra day to do business while Liz spends her first intercalary holiday helping Jenna seduce an Internet billionaire.
That isn’t quite accurate: Liz has been around for several leap years (she’s 41); she just hasn’t yet celebrated Leap Day at work. During the episode (directed by Steve Buscemi!) she’s introduced to an alternate universe of Leap Day traditions: the mandatory wearing of yellow and blue; the legend of Leap Day William, who lives in the Mariana Trench and emerges every four years to trade children’s tears for candy; and the holiday classic Leap Dave Williams, in which the title character is played by Jim Carrey. With gills. (Catchphrase: “Real life is for March!”)
Watch the full episode (until March 30, 2012).
There has never (yet) been a Leap Dave Williams movie, but there was a movie called Leap Year starring Amy Adams and Matthew Goode. It was a modest box-office success despite a barrage of negative reviews. In a mysterious bit of poor timing, the movie was released not in a leap year but in 2010.
Elsewhere in Leap Year festivities:
- Honda is promoting its “all-new” CR-V with the Leap List, which invites website visitors to share what they’d like to do before getting married, changing jobs, turning 50, or some other goal. The lists can be submitted for a chance to win a CR-V.
- Zappos has a 365-day return policy, but there’s a Leap Day loophole in the fine print: “If you purchase on 2/29 of a Leap Year, then you have until 2/29 the following Leap Year to return those orders. That's four whole years! Woot!” (Hat tip: Dustbury.)
- Number one on San Francisco Chronicle columnist Leah Garchik’s list of Leap Day suggestions: “Twitter taboo, Facebook forbidden on Feb. 29. Just hush.” Number two on the list: “The above does not apply to columnists.” Or bloggers?
*In January 2011 Comcast completed its takeover of NBC Universal, the parent company of the network on which “30 Rock” appears. Comcast, or something that resembles it, is frequently spoofed on the show as KableTown (“with a K … because CableTown with a C was already the name of a store that sold cable-knit sweaters and legal said we had to spell it with a K”).