Saturday, April 19, 2014

Still Life With Robin: Palindrome Streak Ends Today (No, This Is Not a Palindrome)

"Madam, I'm Adam"
Palindrome Day illustration
via Wikimedia Commons
by Peggy Robin

Today, April 19, 2014, is the last of a string of 10 palindrome dates in a row. It started with April 10 - that is, 4.10.14, which reads the same forwards and backwards. The next day was 4 1 1 1 4 -- it’s easier to see the pattern if you space the numbers out evenly to reveal the internal symmetry. Then you can see that the lone changing digit is the one in the middle: 0 for the 10th, 1 for the 11th, 2 for the 12th, and so on until today, when we hit number 9 in the series.

The starting date in our 10-day streak, April 10, was also a 7-digit (full-year) palindrome. That is, if you write it as 4.10.2014, it’s still a palindrome date.  The next time that April 10 will be a 7-digit palindrome date will be 1,000 years from now - 4.10.3014. For more about this, see This document also has some other whimsical fun-facts about April 10, the 100th day of the year -- making me wish I had pointed this out on the actual, remarkable date…instead of 9 days too late.

To celebrate the end of palindrome week, I am happy to present a palindrome poem from comedian and Master Palindromist (who knew there was such a thing?) Demetri Martin:

Well,  it turns out that Demetri Martin is just one of a number of talented souls who could claim that title. The number one contender is surely Barry Duncan, recognized by NPR a few years ago in this profile piece:

Perhaps the best way to finish off the palindrome week is with congratulations to the winners of the Symmy Awards, given out each year by the publishers of Palindromist magazine to the creators of the year’s best palindromes:  This year’s Symmys, which took place in Portland, Oregon, were judged by an all-celebrity panel including (among others) New York Times Puzzle Master Will Shortz NYT, rapper MC Paul Barman, Wall Street Journal language columnist Ben Zimmer, and "Portlandia" producer David Allen Cress.

However, if you think that the best of the year's palindromes are not up to the standard of the classics, then content yourself with a look back at the Top Ten Palindromes of all time, as selected by Paranormalist and Bizarre Literature Specialist (another category you never knew existed!) Jeff Danelek:

If you are not content to abandon the world of palindromania at the end of Palindrome week, then by all means keep on exploring through  You may hear the palindromes calling to you: “Flee to me, remote elf!”


Still Life With Robin is published on the Cleveland Park Listserv and on All Life Is Local on Saturdays.

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