Happy New Year from Minnesota Monitor!


Today marks the last day of 2007, while tomorrow begins the first day of 2008. Here are a few facts to wow the folks at your party with, or to read through quietly on Tuesday morning.

• 3.3 million students will graduate from high school this summer.

• Mark your calendars now: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day will be observed on January 18. President’s Day will fall on February 21. Memorial Day will be observed on May 26.

• Independence Day will fall on a Friday this year, making for a perfect four-day weekend. Labor Day is celebrated on September 1, so the kids will be back to school early.

• It will be a short shopping season next year, as Thanksgiving falls on November 27. Christmas 2008 will be on a Thursday, and the year will end on a Wednesday.

• Election Day 2008 will fall on Tuesday, November 4. Up for election will be the presidency, all of the U.S. House of Representatives, and 1/3 of the U.S. Senate, including the seat held by Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn. The Minnesota House of Representatives will also be up for election this year.

• 2008 is a leap year, meaning there will be 366 days this year. The extra day will fall on February 29, as it does every four years.

• Able to celebrate their birthdays this year for the first time since 2004: recording artist Ja Rule, actor Antonio Sabàto, Jr., motivational speaker Tony Robbins, and Pete Fenson, skip of the 2006 bronze-winning USA curling team.

• According to Irish and Scottish tradition, a woman could ask a man to marry her on February 29.

• 2008 in Roman numerals is MMVIII. It will be the longest year number in Roman numerals since 1999 (MCMXCIX) and will be the longest until 2013 (MMXIII).

• 2008 has been designated the International Year of Planet Earth, the International Year of Sanitation, and the International Year of the Potato.

• August will bring the Games of the XXIXth Olympiad in Beijing, China.

• September will have the presidential campaigns in full swing, and that will be of special note to Minnesotans, as the 2008 Republican National Convention will come to town from September 1-4.

• Isaac Asimov’s 1955 short story “Franchise” takes place in 2008. In the story, a computer surveys one man to select, through tried and true polling methods, all representatives of the U.S. government. Alas, this November we will instead have to vote en masse, as per usual. Also set in 2008: the movie Silent Running, the video game Ghost Recon, and part of the finale of “Dawson’s Creek.”

• Fall will mark the last games in both of New York’s ballparks, as the Mets leave Shea Stadium for Citi Field, while the Yankees depart Yankee Stadium for New Yankee Stadium.

• And December 24 won’t just be Christmas Eve: it’s also the targeted opening date for the new 35W Mississippi River Bridge — although those readers with an appreciation for the vagaries of road construction already know that opening will probably be pushed back to 2009.