Friday, November 13, 2009

Bottom of the News… Friday, November 13th, 2009

Good morning my fellow Rotarians. Today is your lucky day… Yes, it is Friday, the 13th. Whether you believe in good luck, bad luck or no luck at all, this date has some interesting history.

A Norse myth has their superstition originating from the Last Supper that says having thirteen people seated at a table (and Judas was the last guy invited) will result in the death of one of the diners, thus 13 is an unlucky number.

Another theory traces the event to the arrest of the legendary Knights Templar. This monastic military order was founded in Jerusalem in 1118 with a mission to protect Christian pilgrims during the Crusades. Over two centuries, the Knights Templar became extraordinarily powerful and wealthy. King Philip was threatened by this and was eager to acquire their wealth so he secretly ordered the mass arrest of all the Knights Templar in France on Friday, October 13, 1307 - Friday the 13th. This theory was made popular in the 2003 novel and subsequent movie The Da Vinci Code.

Social impact
According to the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute, 17 to 21 million people in the US are affected by a fear of this day. Some people are so paralyzed by fear that they avoid their normal routines in doing business, taking flights or even getting out of bed. Economists estimate that $800 or $900 million is lost in business every Friday the 13th.

Rate of accidents
Most insurance reporting agencies, state that "fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays. People are preventatively more careful or just stay home. Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday 13th in most countries.

Events & Movies tied in to Fridays the 13th
Some events are intentionally scheduled for Friday the 13th for dramatic effect. They include:
• Lemony Snicket’s 13th book A Series of Unfortunate Events was released on Friday, October 13, 2006.
• Four of the 12 films in the Friday the 13th series, were released on a Friday the 13th.
• The "Friday the 13th Storm" struck Buffalo, New York on Friday, October 13, 2006.
• The asteroid 2004 MN4 will make its close encounter on Friday, April 13, 2029.

Fear of the Number 13
 Many high rise buildings lack a 13th floor.
 Many airports skip the 13th gate.
 Hospitals and hotels regularly have no room number 13.
 Many cities do not have a 13th Street or a 13th Avenue
 And finally, if you have 13 letters in your name, you will have the devil's luck . Jack the Ripper, Charles Manson, Jeffrey Dahmer, Theodore Bundy and Albert De Salvo all have 13 letters in their names.

And there you have it, Friday, the 13th… so make sure you don’t walk under a ladder, cross a black cat AND do NOT step on a crack as you leave Elmcrest today or you risk breaking your mother’s back! Yikes! And this is our Bottom of the News on this Friday, the 13th of November, 2009!