January 13th – Friggatriskaidekaphobia

January 13, 2017 at 12:01 am | Posted in Today's Reasons To Celebrate | Leave a comment

Author’s Note:

Before I get into today’s holidays, I would like to point out that today is Friday the 13th (insert Twilight Zone theme music here). This is the first of two dates for Friday the 13th this year (2017). The next one will occur in October. Some of you may have already read this piece because I originally wrote it about 10 years ago in an old BLOG which I no longer use, and have re-published it on this BLOG a few times since then. I am publishing it again today for the benefit of those of you who are new to this BLOG.

Let me begin with a few facts and statistics about Friday the 13th.

1)  Any month that begins on a Sunday will contain a Friday the 13th.
2)  There is at least one Friday the 13th each year.
3)   Using the Gregorian calendar, there can be as many as three Friday the 13th’s a calendar year; either in February, March and November in a common year starting on Thursday (such as 2009), or January, April and July in a leap year starting on Sunday (such as 2012).
4)  The longest period that can occur without a Friday the 13th is fourteen months.
5) Using the Gregorian calendar, The 13th day of the month is slightly more likely to be a Friday than any other day of the week, but only slightly. On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days (compared to Thursday the 13th, which occurs only once every 213.59 days).
6)  According to a study released in 2008 by the Dutch Center for Insurance Statistics, it was revealed that “fewer accidents and reports of fire and theft occur when the 13th of the month falls on a Friday than on other Fridays, because people are more careful, or just stay home.” Statistically speaking, driving is slightly safer on Friday the 13th, at least in the Netherlands; in the last two years, Dutch insurers received reports of an average 7,800 traffic accidents each Friday; but the average figure when the 13th fell on a Friday was just 7,500.

The superstition surrounding Friday the 13th being regarded as an unlucky day is a relative newcomer in the annals of history and seems to be a combination of two much older superstitions. The first written record referencing Friday the 13th as an unlucky day occurs in Henry Sutherland Edwards’ 1869 biography of Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday 13th.

“He [Rossini] was surrounded to the last by admiring friends; and if it be true that, like so many Italians, he regarded Fridays as an unlucky day and thirteen as an unlucky number, it is remarkable that one Friday 13th of November he died.”

Many cultures believed that the number “13″ was an unlucky number. The number “13″ is considered unlucky for a number of reasons: In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, as reflected in the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve tribes of Israel, twelve Apostles of Jesus, the 12 successors of Muhammad in Shia Islam, twelve signs of the Zodiac, etc., whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, transgressing this completeness. There is also a superstition, thought by some to derive from the Last Supper or a Norse myth, that having thirteen people seated at a table results in the death of one of the diners. Also, to this day, most buildings do not have a 13th floor or room numbers ending in the number 13.
Likewise, “Friday” has been considered an unlucky day at least since the 14th century’s “The Canterbury Tales”.  Many professions regard Friday as an unlucky day to undertake journeys or begin new projects.  Friday is also the day when Jesus Christ was crucified, adding to its unpopularity.
[Dictionary.com defines a phobia as “A persistent, irrational fear of a specific object, activity, or situation that leads to a compelling desire to avoid it.”]
One word used to describe the fear of Friday the 13th is Friggatriskaidekaphobia. Friggatriskaidekaphobia (frigga-tris-kai-deka-pho-bia) is a fear of Friday the 13th: Frigga being the name of the Norse goddess for whom “Friday” is named in English and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen. Another word used to describe Friday the 13th is Paraskevidekatriaphobia. Paraskevidekatriaphobia (para-skevi-deka-tria-phobia), came into the lexicon in 1953. It is a combination of the Greek words Paraskeví, meaning “Friday”), and dekatreís, meaning “thirteen”) attached to phobia, from Phobos, meaning “fear”).
If you are having difficulty following all the big words I’m using, you might be suffering from hippopotomonstrosesquipedalophobia (hip-po-pot-o-mon-stro-ses-qui-ped-ali-o-pho-bia), which means a fear of long words, (Did you see that one coming)? Hippopotomonstrosesquipedalophobia is a contrived word and is a truncated and extended version of the word sesquipedalophobia (ses-qui-ped-al-o-pho-bia); which is the word used in formal writing to describe the fear of long words. The “hippopotomonstro” part of the word is a combination of the words hippopotamus and monster and is used to exaggerate the length of the word, adding credence to the word’s meaning: a fear of long words. Or, you might just be suffering from rupophobia (ru-po-pho-bia): a fear of rubbish.

Author’s note:

Do not confuse friggatriskaidekaphobia with *friggintrickydickaphobia* (friggin-tricky-dicka–pho-bia) – an affliction suffered by a large segment of American society during the late 1960′s and early 1970′s…particularly those on the left side of the political aisle. (Please note that, despite how many of you might think otherwise, friggintrickydickaphobia is not an actual word. I used it here strictly for the purpose of levity. I do not know where I heard it before, but whoever coined the word certainly had a delightful sense of humor. A Google search for friggintrickydickaphobia yielded no search results).

Today’s actual BLOG begins here:

Good morning paraskevidekatriaphobic perusers. Today is Friday, January 13, 2017. Today’s reasons to celebrate are:

Blame Someone Else Day

Blame Someone Else Day is celebrated on the first Friday the 13th each year. The blame for the creation of this holiday is placed on Anne Moeller of Clio, Michigan. On the first Friday, the 13th of 1982, purportedly, Anne’s alarm clock did not go off, and she overslept. As a result, she was late for appointments all day long. According to the story, she spent the day spreading the blame and making excuses for being late. However, none of these facts can be verified, and she could merely be the scapegoat of the nefarious individual who actually created this holiday.
Blame Someone Else Day is a holiday created to relieve yourself from taking responsibility for anything that goes wrong today. On this holiday, nothing that goes wrong is your fault…someone else must be responsible. Bear in mind that whoever you blame today might just be blaming you as well, and that tomorrow, the truth will likely out, and you will suffer the consequences of your actions.
In keeping with the spirit of this holiday, I would like to emphatically state that I had nothing to do with the creation of Blame Someone Else Day, it must have been someone else.

International Skeptics Day

I am a bit skeptical about this holiday, but according to my sources, today’s first “holiday” is International Skeptics Day. I don’t care whether you believe it or not, but, by definition, a skeptic is a person who questions or doubts facts and theories. A skeptic does not accept the “given”. International Skeptics Day is of dubious origin. It is unknown who created this holiday, or why, or even when it is to be celebrated. I found 3 different dates on which to celebrate this holiday: January 13th, October 13th, and the first Friday the 13th of the year…but you can’t believe everything you read.
Due to the current political climate, I tend to be skeptical of just about everything these days. Since when did the “truth” become dependent upon to which political party or organization you belong? The only thing that I know to be absolutely true is that as soon as a politician begins to speak, he is basically engaging is a sex act, because someone, somewhere, somehow is about to get “screwed”.

National Rubber Ducky Day

In 1970, Jim Henson performed the song “Rubber Duckie” as Ernie on Sesame Street, and the rubber duck bath toy has been an iconic American symbol ever since. Rubber ducks have been around since the rise of the rubber industry in the late 1800’s, but no one knows their exact origin, just as no one knows the reason this holiday is celebrated on this date…the episode of Sesame Street on which this song was featured didn’t air until early February of 1970.
Did you know that in January of 1992, a shipment of 29,000 rubber duckies fell off a cargo ship in the Pacific Ocean? By 2007, the “Friendly Floatees” had traveled 17,000 miles around the world on the ocean currents. Some are still afloat today. Over the years, people have reported sightings in Indonesia, Australia, South America, the Bering Straight, the Arctic, and (eventually) the Atlantic Ocean.

Public Radio Broadcasting Day  

No, this “holiday” does not pertain to PBS, the Public Broadcasting System. On this date in 1910, the first public radio broadcast was an experimental broadcast by Dr. Lee De Forest and the Lee De Forest Company. The microphones were set up at the Metropolitan Opera House where Enrico Caruso and a few other opera stars of the day performed selected arias from Pagliacci. The few radio receivers were those at the De Forest Laboratory, on board ships in New York Harbor,  and at a few New York City locations where reporters were stationed at receiving sets.

Make Your Dream Come True Day  

Make Your Dream Come True Day gives you the opportunity to do something to realize your goals and dreams. Whatever your dreams are, they usually don’t come true without some effort on your part. On this day do something, anything, to move in the direction of achieving your dreams. Even if your ‘dream’ requires multiple steps to be achieved, you can still get started on the steps to fulfill your dream.

National Peach Melba Day  

Peach Melba is a dessert which combines two popular summer fruits:  peaches and a raspberry sauce accompanying vanilla ice cream. It was created in 1892 by French chef  Auguste Escoffier at the Savoy Hotel in London to honor Australian soprano, Nellie Melba. The dessert was originally called “Pecheau Cygne” or “Peach Swan” and was presented in a swan-shaped ice sculpture and topped with spun sugar.
No one knows why National Peach Melba Day is celebrated in the middle of January – unless this is the date on which it was first served. That information was not available in any of my sources. Peaches and raspberries aren’t even in season…and ice cream in January?
Factoid: Yes, Peach Melba and Melba Toast are somewhat related. When Nellie Melba gained weight later in life, the same chef that created Peach Melba created a thin, low-calorie toast for her breakfast – Melba Toast.

Korean American Day

National Sticker Day

Stephen Foster Memorial Day

On this date

  • In 1794 – President George Washington approved a measure adding two stars to the American flag, following the admission of Vermont and Kentucky to the union.
  • In 1854 – Anthony Faas of Philadelphia, PA, patented the accordion. He made improvements to the keyboard and enhanced the sound. It can’t be proven, but it is rumored that the first song he played on his new creation was a Polka. (For my  humor-impaired readers, the previous sentence was a joke).
  • In 1906 – The Electro Importing Company, placed an ad in “Scientific American” magazine for radio receivers. It was the first advertisement marketing radios to the general public. The introductory cost was $7.50, which equates to about $200.00 in today’s dollars.
  • In 1928 –  Ernst F. W. Alexanderson gave the first public demonstration of television.
  • In 1942 – Henry Ford patented the plastic automobile referred to as the “Soybean Car.” The car was 30% lighter than the average car.
  • In 1957 –  Wham-O began producing “Pluto Platters.” This marked the true beginning of production of the flying disc. And the ‘Frisbee” was born.
  • In 1962 – Ernie Kovacs died in a car crash in West Los Angeles, CA.
  • In 1966 – Elizabeth Montgomery’s character, Samantha, on “Bewitched,” had a baby. The baby’s name was Tabitha.
  • In 1966 – Robert C. Weaver became the first black Cabinet member when he was appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by President Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • In 1984 – Wayne Gretzky extended his NHL consecutive scoring streak to 45 games.
  • In 1990 – L. Douglas Wilder of Virginia, the nation’s first elected black governor, took the oath of office in Richmond.
  • In 1992 – Japan apologized for forcing tens of thousands of Korean women to serve as sex slaves for Japanese soldiers during World War II
  • In 1997 –  Debbie Reynolds received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
  • In 1999 – Michael Jordan (Chicago Bulls) announced his retirement from the NBA.
  • In 2002 – President George W. Bush fainted after choking on a pretzel.

Noteworthy Birthdays

If you were born on this date, Happy Birthday. You share your birthday with the following list of illustrious individuals.

  • Horatio Alger  1834 – Author
  • Sophie Tucker  1884 – Singer, actress
  • Alfred Fuller  1885 – Founder of Fuller Brush Company
  • Earle Wheeler  1908 – General, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff – 1964-1970
  • Jeff Morrow  1913. – Actor
  • Robert Stack  1918 – Actor  (The Untouchables)
  • Gwen Verdon  1926 – Singer, dancer, actress
  • Charles Nelson Reilly  1931 – Actor, director, game show panelist
  • Billy Gray  1938 – Actor  (son “Bud” on “Father Knows Best”)
  • Richard Moll  1943 – Actor, comedian (“Night Court”)
  • Julia Louis-Dreyfus  1961 – Actress, comedienne
  • Trace Adkins  1962 – Singer, songwriter, musician
  • Patrick Dempsey  1966 – Actor
  • Nicole Eggert  1972 – Actress
  • Orlando Bloom  1977 – Actor
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