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Feeling lucky? Today is Friday the 13th April 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle.
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So why is Friday the 13th an ‘unlucky’ day? Today, April 13, is the first Friday the 13th in 2007. There will be one more this year, falling in July.

Some people firmly believe that Friday the 13th is a bad-luck day. There are those at the opposite end of the spectrum who scoff at the idea that a certain day or number has any power over their fate. And then there are those people on the fence who don’t really believe it’s bad luck, but they don’t want to take too many chances, either.

According to Wikipedia, the free online encyclopedia, a Friday occurring on the 13th day of any month is considered to be a day of bad luck in English, German and Portuguese speaking cultures around the world. Similar superstitions exist in some other traditions. In Greece and Spain, for example, Tuesday the 13th takes the same role.

Wikipedia states that before the 19th century, the number 13 was considered unlucky and Friday was considered unlucky, but there was no link between them. The first documented mention of a “Friday the 13th” is generally listed as occurring in the early 1900s. Here are a few of the popular ideas about how this belief may have started:

* That the biblical Eve offered the fruit to Adam on a Friday, and that the slaying of Abel happened on a Friday, though the Bible itself does not identify the days of the week when these events occurred.

* That the Last Supper, with some stories stating Judas was the thirteenth guest, and because the Crucifixion of Jesus did occur on a Friday.

* That it started on Friday, Oct. 13, 1307, the date that many Knights Templar were simultaneously arrested in France by agents of King Philip IV.

However, historically, there is no true date that the Friday the 13th superstition can be linked to.

It is sometimes claimed that businesses lose $800 or $900 million on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do. However, representatives for both Delta and Continental Airlines say that their airlines don’t suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those Fridays.

A British Medical Journal study has shown that there is a significant increase in traffic-related accidents on Fridays the 13th, compared to Fridays the sixth, but no other study has been able to replicate these results.

So are these accidents the result of true Friday-the-13th bad luck, or are they caused by people so nervous and fearful that they can’t drive as well as they normally would?

Some studies report people are so paralyzed by fear that they are simply unable to get out of bed when Friday the 13th rolls around. The Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute estimates that more than 17 million people are affected by a fear of this day.

So what did you do on this Friday the 13th?

Some Friday the 13th trivia:
* Novelist Daniel Handler, also known as Lemony Snicket, released the 13th book of the “Series of Unfortunate Events” on Friday, Oct. 13, 2006.
* Jan. 13, 2006, and Oct. 13, 2006, were not only Fridays, but the digits in the month, day, and year of each date add up to 13. This last occurred on Oct. 13, 1520, and will next occur on May 13, 2011.
* The asteroid 99942 Apophis will make its close encounter with Earth on Friday, April 13, 2029.
* The Harry Potter movie, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” is scheduled to be released on Friday, July 13, 2007.
* And then there is the series of “Friday the 13th” horror films featuring Jason, produced from 1980 through 2003, with possibly more to follow.

Are you paraskevodekatriaphobic? April 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle.
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Friday the 13th is a day fraught with bad luck the world over, or at least in English, German and Portuguese-speaking countries. In Greece and Spain, you’ll find the same angst over Tuesday the 13th.

Nobody really knows what started North America’s most widely-accepted superstition. The number 13 has been considered unlucky for at least 1,000 years, and several historical tragedies occurred on Friday. By the early 20th century, the two happened to link up to create a double-whammy of doom which occurs from one to three times a year.

Friday the 13th may actually have an impact on some construction sites. Paraskevodekatriaphobics, those suffering from an inordinate fear of the date, may not show up for work that day, while others may be so nervous they can’t concentrate on their work.

A 1993 study appearing in the British Medical Journal showed hospital admissions resulting from traffic accidents were as much as 52 per cent higher on Friday the 13th than on Friday the 6th in the four years studied, though the results probably say more about the nervous state of the fearful than any supernatural effect.

The construction sector has its own set of superstitions, lovingly handed down by nervous workers through the centuries. The most famous:

• Walking under a ladder is bad luck. Some say that a ladder leaning against the wall forms a triangle representing the Christian Holy Trinity. Walk through that triangle and you violate the Trinity.

A better reason for the superstition: if anything falls from a height, it’s most likely to hit someone waiting for an accident to happen underneath the ladder’s apex. A bad cure: walking under the same ladder in reverse.

• Busting a mirror brings seven years bad luck. In ancient times, even disturbing one’s reflection in a pool of water was considered a disruption of the person’s “other self,” so why not a reflection in a mirror? The term of bad luck was apparently a Roman invention, based on the notion that the human body was fully rejuvenated every seven years. Become a new person and the bad luck dies with your old self.

Today, breaking a valuable mirror on a construction site will result in seven days of wisecracks from fellow workers.

• The unlucky 13th floor. Records kept by the Otis elevator company show that 85 per cent of buildings they service have no official 13th floor. Realistically, any building tall enough has one, so why isn’t it labelled that way? Back to that unlucky number 13. Even if developers don’t believe in the superstition, they still have to deal with clients, and clients of clients, who simply won’t enter such a fearful place.

Superstition meets urban legend in modern tales of savvy office workers counting the seconds an elevator takes going from one floor to the next. Some buildings supposedly contain secret 13th floors with restricted access, where nefarious activities occur.

• British builders of the 18th century believed that it was good luck to bury a shoe in the foundation of a new building. A pretty harmless tradition, considering its precedent.

In James George Frazer’s 1922 volume, The Golden Bough: A Study in Magic and Religion, he noted that “…the custom is a substitute for the old practice of immuring a living person in the walls, or crushing him under the foundation-stone of a new building, in order to give strength and durability to the structure…”

We’ll take rebar any day.

The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskevo-dekatriaphobia April 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle.
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Friday the 13th is considered unlucky in English, German and Portugese-speaking cultures around the world. By contrast, people in Greece and Spain look askance at Tuesday the 13th.

What’s the big deal? When Friday falls on the 13th day of the month is known as a double whammy, or the double occurrence of an ill omen. Many Christians consider Judas the 13th guest at the Last Supper. The crucifixion of Jesus occurred on a Friday. In October 1307, it’s said that many Knights Templar in France were simultaneously arrested on a Friday the 13th.

It seems a pretty skimpy connection. Just the same, Friday the 13th still intimidates people in the 21st century. Or not.

On the one hand, the officials of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute estimate that more than 17 million people are affected by paraskevodekatriaphobia, the technical term for the fear of Friday the 13th.

On the other hand, representatives for both Delta and Continental Airlines say that their airlines don’t suffer from any noticeable drop in travel on those days.

And some people seem to delight in testing fate in their defiance of Friday the 13th. Novelist Daniel Handler released the 13th book of the Series of Unfortunate Events on Friday, October 13, 2006.

And the upcoming Harry Potter film, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix,” will be released on Friday the 13th this coming July.

We’ve already mentioned, by the way, that there is a double occurrence of Friday the 13th this year. That’s less than extremely rare.

There were double occurrences in 2001, 2002 and 2006. And in 2009, watch out. There will be Friday the 13ths in February, March and November that year.

If you were born on Friday the 13th, you’re in interesting company to say the least. Writer George Simenon, heads of state Margaret Thatcher and Fidel Castro, and actors Steve Buscemi, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and twins Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen all share that distinction.

And if you died on Friday the 13th, well, you’re probably not reading this. Suffice it to say you have something in common with NASCAR driver Tony Roper, former Vice President Hubert Humphrey and rap artist Tupac Shakur.

Afraid of terror tales on Friday the 13th? April 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle.
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Wake up to Friday 13th, a day of bad luck in English, German and Portuguese-speaking cultures.

The fear of Friday the 13th is called paraskeve-dekatriaphobia, a word almost as fearful to pronounce as the superstition surrounding it. It comes from a Greek word meaning Friday, 13 and phobia. Strangely enough, in Greece and Spain it is Tuesday the 13th which is associated with misfortune.

It may be classified as a funny old superstition but it is no joke, especially for business. It is estimated that close to $1 billion will be lost due to people not travelling on a Friday the 13th.

A study in the British Medical Journal has shown that there is a significant increase in traffic related accidents on such Fridays.

In the Spanish-speaking world, it is Tuesday the 13th that supposedly brings bad luck. The origin of the superstition is not clear.

Some believe it started on Friday, October 13, 1307, the date that many Knights Templar were simultaneously arrested in France.

A proverb says neither get married, nor start a journey, or separate yourself from your family on this day. What will you do today?

Have your say >Do you believe Friday the 13th is an unlucky day? If you do, then what superstitious beliefs do you have for this particular day? If you don’t, then how do you normally spend this day?

Friday the 13th > Paraskevi kai dekatreis April 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Lifestyle.
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Drivers are being warned to take extra care today, as new research shows Friday the 13th really is an unlucky day to be behind the wheel.

Claims for accidents are higher than average if the 13th falls on a Friday. In fact, on six Fridays the 13th, between 2002 and 2006, claims were 13 per cent higher than normal. The 13ths in that period which did not fall on a Friday had lower than average claims.

Friday the 13th came second, behind the first day of the month, as the worst day for accidents. Norwich Union insurance company manager Nigel Bartram said: “Our analysis on dangerous days for driving has given some credence to people’s superstitions regarding Friday the 13th.” He added: “Though it’s difficult to say for certain why this is, one reason could be that people alter their driving behaviour in response to a perceived ‘unlucky’ day. In reality, changing driving behaviour in reaction to a perceived risk, as opposed to a real risk such as snow or ice, does not necessarily translate to safer driving. “Therefore, by altering driving behaviour to change their ‘luck’, motorists may create a decidedly unlucky self-fulfilling prophecy.”

The safest day to travel is the 26th, which has an eight per cent drop in claims. Here are some more facts about Friday the 13th:

* Every year has at least one and at most three Fridays the 13th, with 48 occurrences in 28 years.
* The first documented mention of a Friday the 13th was in the early 1900s.
* Paraskavedekatriaphobia is the term for being scared of Friday the 13th. Symptoms include breathlessness, excessive sweating, nausea, shaking, heart palpitations, a fear of dying and becoming mad.
* In some countries, such as Greece and Spain, Tuesday the 13th is considered unlucky.
* Margaret Thatcher and Fidel Castro, were born on a Friday the 13th.
* Beware, there’s another Friday the 13th coming up in July.

Flash Stars > Searching for young pop stars April 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Music Life Greek.
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Cypriot young people with an interest in music and dance are being given a special opportunity to audition for a pop group.

Boys and girls between the ages of 14 and 25 who can play a musical instrument or who have a talent for singing and dancing are what the organisers are looking for. Five individuals will be chosen to make up the band, which will be named Flash Stars.

They will tour the island, performing in various establishments and will also record a CD.

Applications from songwriters will also be accepted for the creation of the CD. Organised by teenage magazine Flash, in collaboration with CMS Records, auditions are already underway across the island and are being broadcast by Plus TV.

All contestants are required to sing an a cappella version of a song of their choice, in addition to several further tasks. The judging team, all with a background in showbusiness, includes Andreas Georgiou, winner of reality programme, Dream Show, in Greece. The results will be announced later this year.

Auditions >
Friday, April 13 > Plateia Club in Larnaca 4pm to 7pm.
Saturday, April 14 > Red Bar in Limassol 4pm to 7pm.
For further information, visit www.flashcy.com or www.cmsrecords.com

Cyprus Holy Synod bans private chapels’ weddings April 13, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Religion & Faith.
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The Holy Synod yesterday banned all church rituals such as weddings and christenings from taking place in private chapels.

An announcement released by the Holy Synod after a meeting yesterday states that all rituals taking place in private churches, such as those in hotels and mansions, were not allowed.

“Holy rituals are not personal events, but actions that affect the church as a whole and that is why they have to take place in parishes and chapels,” the statement read.