Friday, January 13, 2006

Friday the 13th and luck

Quote of the day...

Luck? I don't know anything about luck. I've never banked on it, and I'm afraid of people who do. Luck to me is something else: Hard work -- and realizing what is opportunity and what isn't.

- Lucille Ball

My kids were really excited about Friday the 13th today. We decided to start our day with a bowl of Lucky Charms so we would have "good luck" all day. :) The day went smoothly and I think they might have been a little disapointed even that nothing exciting happened!

Here are some fun facts about Friday the 13th from Mental Floss:

Every calendar year has at least one Friday the 13th, but no more than three of them can occur in any year.

* Is the fear of Friday the 13th based on the fear of the number thirteen itself?

It is, yes. And when you think about it, 13 is when numbers reach a new level when it comes to common items. There are 12 months in a year, 12 inches in a foot, 12 items in a dozen, 12 signs of the zodiac, and when we learn our multiplication tables in school, they go all the way up to 12 times 12. While some think that Christianity deems the number unlucky, researchers have determined that the modern-day fear of 13 is based on Norse mythology. According to the story, 12 gods were dining at Valhalla when a 13th guest named Loki joined the party. Loki ended up causing the death of Balder, the Norse god of light and joy. From that day forward, the legend goes, the number 13 has been unlucky.

* Does Friday the 13th really have an impact on the U.S. economy?

More than you might expect, in fact. According to an ABC News report from 2005, businesses lose nearly one billion dollars every Friday the 13th, owing to everything from people who stay home from work to those who won't travel on the unlucky day. Some of this loss is due to lower volume on the stock market, but investors shouldn't be frightened of Friday the 13th. A study looking at stock prices over the last 50 years proved that the Dow performs better on Friday the 13th than on other Fridays.

* Is there anyplace in the world where Friday the 13th is considered lucky?

There are a few places, in fact. In China and much of Asia, the date is considered fortunate, or at the very least not unlucky. You'd have to go down under to find the people who really think Friday the 13th is lucky, however. In Australia, lottery agents report a brisk business every Friday the 13th, selling 50 percent more tickets than average on that day.

* NASA tells us that a Friday the 13th coming up several years from now might be exciting.

That's what they say, yes. In 2004, the organization's Near Earth Object Program reported that a sizeable asteroid had a one-in-60 chance of colliding with Earth on Friday, April the 13th, 2029. The thousand-foot-wide asteroid would cause major damage wherever it hit. They predicted massive tsunamis if it hit the ocean, or destruction of an area the size of Texas if it hit land. Luckily, further calculations determined that the asteroid will miss the Earth by about 20,000 miles, but that will still be close enough for it to put on quite a visual show in the sky. As it turns out, an asteroid that size gets that close to Earth only about once every 1,000 years.

* Who were the three scariest guys to be born on Friday the 13th?

Well, our researchers chose three for us. First is Christopher Plummer, the long-serving Canadian actor who has appeared in dozens of films over the past fifty years, including many horror pictures. The second is Steve Buscemi, whose gaunt appearance has served him well in roles in films like "Fargo" and "Con Air," in which he portrayed a serial killer. But the spookiest person born on Friday the 13th has to be Alfred Hitchcock. He was born on Friday, August 13, 1899. The Master of Suspense died back in 1980, but had he lived to be 100, Hitchcock would have hit the century mark in August of 1999, again on Friday the 13th.

Happy Friday the 13th,

Katie the Scrapbook Lady




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