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Almanacs Both Informative and Entertaining
These informative publications are a guide to the rhythm of life itself
Eric Shackle (shack)     Print Article 
Published 2006-06-14 11:30 (KST)   
Mr Eric Shackle, 87, is OhmyNews International's oldest citizen reporter. Mr Shackle began using the Internet at the age of 80. He lives in Australia and runs The World's First Multi-National e-Book."  <Editor's Note>
Almanacs have been popular for centuries. These useful annual publications provide statistics and other data about everything going on in the world.

In the words of Wikipedia, Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac not only contains "a daily calendar, guides to the night sky, weather predictions, a field guide to urban flora and fauna, poems, proverbs, quotes, and famous sayings," but also information about "historic events, famous people's birthdays and death dates, proclamations, songs, recipes, and astronomical events."

Its avid readers will no doubt be disappointed to learn that it has run out of puff. Eric Utne, its founder and editor, announced the publication's closure in a letter on the Cosmo Doogood Website.
"I've been avoiding writing this letter for weeks, but it must be done. It saddens me to inform you that there will be no 2007 edition of the Cosmo Doogood's Urban Almanac. It simply has not sold enough copies to cover its costs and I can no longer afford to cover the losses."
The good news is that Utne may be able to revive his almanac as a magazine. He wrote.
"Cosmo may live to see another day, perhaps as a quarterly magazine, supported by ads. Or as an insert in a Franklin Covey or Day-Timer calendar. Or, as a daily, web-based information service. Or, or...who knows? If something does happen, we'll be sure to let you know."
There are many other almanacs for Utne's bereft readers to occupy themselves with. Cricket lovers enjoy the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack. It was founded by John Wisden, an English cricketer, in 1864 and is now the longest running sports annual in history. Wisden is very popular with cricket fans in the United Kingdom, and an Australian edition was introduced in 1998.

Another British publication, Whitaker's Almanack, first appeared in 1868 and has a wealth of information on subjects such as education, the British peerage, British government departments, and the military. In the great tradition of almanacs it also contains a significant amount of astronomical data.

Younger people seem to regard almanacs as old hat. They don't know what they're missing out on. Almanac reading reflects a calmer, more mature attitude to life. Apart from that, almanacs are very entertaining -- and highly informative about this amazing world of ours.

Old Moore's Almanack is one of the most famous of them all. It was founded by Francis Moore, a self-taught quack, astrologer, and weather forecaster back in the late 17th century.

Old Moore's Almanack was so popular that there were several imitations with similar names. In 1768 the Old Moore's Almanack founded by Moore sold around 107,000 copies. You may be surprised to hear that it's still being published today.

The fact that Wisden, Whitaker's, and Old Moore's Almanack are such long running publications shows that almanacs have a devoted readership.

Almanacs were also highly popular in both Britain and America throughout the 18th century. In 1732, Benjamin Franklin, calling himself Poor Richard or Richard Saunders, began publishing Poor Richard's Almanac. It quickly became the best known in all of Britain's American colonies, selling up to 10,000 copies a year.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopaedia, says, "It contained the typical calendar, weather, poems, and astrological information that an almanac of the period contained. It is chiefly remembered, however, for being a repository of Franklin's aphorisms and proverbs, many of which live on in American English. These maxims typically counsel thrift and courtesy, with just a dash of cynicism."

Come to think of it, Wikipedia is the 21st century version of an almanac.
©2006 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Eric Shackle

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