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Google Doodle hops into leap year

In one of its rare celebrations of two noteworthy events, Google has created a special home page cartoon honoring not just the elusive February 29, but also Rossini's birthday.

Googles leap day doodle also celebrates the 200th birthday of Gioachino Rossini. Google

Leap years only come along every four years, so they're worth celebrating.

Google made that much clear today with a special doodle honoring the oh-so-rare 29th of February. But lest you think that such an event isn't by itself worthy of one of the search giant's whimsical home page graphics, their work today does double duty: It also observes the 220th birthday of famed Italian composer Gioachino Rossini.

Though most of Google's doodles (see video above) are single purpose, the company once in a while decides to kill two birds with one stone. For example, in 2010, it paired Valentine's Day and that year's Winter Olympic figure skating competition. That same year, Google's Fourth of July doodle came in the form of a recognition of a July 4th birthday boy, Rube Goldberg.

And so today, it's leap year and Rossini, as good a match as any. "In the grand tradition of opera singing cartoons," Google said, "we've created an illustration that captures the climactic scene of Rossini's most famous work, 'The Barber of Seville,' as portrayed by a cast of goofy looking frogs."

What does that have to do with leap year? I'm not sure, beyond the fact that frogs are known to, you know, leap.

Either way, Google's doodle program is always one of the most fun and charming stops on the Web, and if you ever get the chance to stop in on the team that meticulously crafts the often brilliant drawings, as I did a couple years ago, I highly recommend it.

For now, though, the above video is meant to draw attention to and children's submissions for the Google4Doodle initiative. Kids can send in their efforts until March 23, and one winner will get to see their work front and center on Google's home page on May 18.

And that would be worth singing about, wouldn't it?