January 13, 2012 · 12:46 pm
Fun Facts/Legends About Friday the 13th
There are several theories about why Friday the 13th has its reputation:
- The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number — 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.
- It may date back to Biblical times. Some say Friday’s bad reputation goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. It was on a Friday, supposedly, that Eve tempted Adam with the forbidden fruit. Adam bit of the fruit and they were both ejected from Paradise.
- Tradition also holds that the Great Flood began on a Friday; God tongue-tied the builders of the Tower of Babel on a Friday; the Temple of Solomon was destroyed on a Friday; the 13th guest at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus
- To the ancient Egyptians, life was a quest for spiritual ascension which unfolded in stages — twelve in this life and a thirteenth beyond, thought to be the eternal afterlife. The number 13 therefore symbolized death, not in terms of dust and decay but as a glorious and desirable transformation. Though Egyptian civilization perished, the symbolism conferred on the number 13 by its priesthood survived, we may speculate, only to be corrupted by subsequent cultures who came to associate 13 with a fear of death instead of a reverence for the afterlife.
“You can trace it all the way from the followers of Pythagoras, whose maxim to describe the universe was ‘all is number,'” says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist and author of “The Equation That Couldn’t Be Solved” (Simon & Schuster, 2005). Thinkers who studied under the famous Greek mathematician combined numbers in different ways to explain everything around them, Livio said.
- The Crucifixion of Jesus is said to have place on a Friday
- The number 13 may have been purposely vilified by the founders of patriarchal religions in the early days of western civilization because it represented femininity. Thirteen had been revered in prehistoric goddess-worshiping cultures, we are told, because it corresponded to the number of lunar (menstrual) cycles in a year (13 x 28 = 364 days). The “Earth Mother of Laussel,” for example — a 27,000-year-old carving found near the Lascaux caves in France often cited as an icon of matriarchal spirituality — depicts a female figure holding a crescent-shaped horn bearing 13 notches. As the solar calendar triumphed over the lunar with the rise of male-dominated civilization, it is surmised, so did the “perfect” number 12 over the “imperfect” number 13, thereafter considered anathema.
- In pagan Rome, Friday was execution day (later Hangman’s Day in Britain), but in other pre-Christian cultures it was the sabbath, a day of worship, so those who indulged in secular or self-interested activities on that day could not expect to receive blessings from the gods — which may explain the lingering taboo on embarking on journeys or starting important projects on Fridays.
Loki, Norse god of evil and trickery
An old Norse tale tells of twelve gods invited to a banquet at Valhalla. Loki, the Evil One, god of mischief, had been left off the guest list but crashed the party, bringing the total number of attendees to 13. True to character, Loki raised hell by inciting Hod, the blind god of winter, to attack Balder the Good, who was a favorite of the gods. Hod took a spear of mistletoe offered by Loki and obediently hurled it at Balder, killing him instantly. All Valhalla grieved. And although one might take the moral of this story to be “Beware of uninvited guests bearing mistletoe,” the Norse themselves apparently concluded that 13 people at a dinner party is just plain bad luck.
- By the Middle Ages, both Friday and 13 were considered bearers of bad fortune.
- Katharine Kurtz in Tales of the Knights Templar (Warner Books, 1995) wrote:
On October 13, 1307, a day so infamous that Friday the 13th would become a synonym for ill fortune, officers of King Philip IV of France carried out mass arrests in a well-coordinated dawn raid that left several thousand Templars — knights, sergeants, priests, and serving brethren — in chains, charged with heresy, blasphemy, various obscenities, and homosexual practices. None of these charges was ever proven, even in France — and the Order was found innocent elsewhere — but in the seven years following the arrests, hundreds of Templars suffered excruciating tortures intended to force “confessions,” and more than a hundred died under torture or were executed by burning at the stake.
- In 13: The Story of the World’s Most Popular Superstition (Avalon, 2004), author Nathaniel Lachenmeyer argues that the commingling of “unlucky Friday” and “unlucky 13” took place in the pages of a specific literary work, a novel published in 1907 titled — what else? — Friday, the Thirteenth. The book, all but forgotten now, concerned dirty dealings in the stock market and sold quite well in its day. Both the titular phrase and the phobic premise behind it — namely that superstitious people regard Friday the 13th as a supremely unlucky day — were instantly adopted and popularized by the press.
Some other items to ponder…
- A study conducted in the UK regarding Friday the 13th and health yielded some interesting results. Incredibly, they found that in the region sampled, while consistently fewer people chose to drive their cars on Friday the 13th, the number of hospital admissions due to vehicular accidents was significantly higher than on “normal” Fridays. Their conclusion:
“Friday 13th is unlucky for some. The risk of hospital admission as a result of a transport accident may be increased by as much as 52 percent. Staying at home is recommended.”
- The British Navy is said to have built a ship named Friday the 13th, or the HMS Friday, which on its maiden voyage left dock on a Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again.
- The HMS Friday story seems to be a legend, however. The Royal Navy Museum states on its web site that this story, which has been told before, is a hoax. “There has never been a Royal Navy ship named HMS Friday – or after any other day of the week for that matter,” the museum states.
Apollo 13 crew
The ill-fated Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST on Apr. 11, 1970. The sum of the date’s digits (4-11-70) is 13 (as in 4+1+1+7+0 = 13). And the explosion that crippled the spacecraft occurred on April 13 (not a Friday). The crew did make it back to Earth safely, however.
- Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor.
- Fear of Friday the 13th — one of the most popular myths in science — is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.
- Quarterback Dan Marino wore No. 13 throughout his career with the Miami Dolphins. Despite being a superb quarterback (some call him one of the best ever), he got to the Super Bowl just once, in 1985, and was trounced 38-16 by the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana (who wore No. 16 and won all four Super Bowls he played in).
Butch Cassidy, notorious American train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.
- Fidel Castro was born on Friday, Aug. 13, 1926.
- President Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.
- Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.
- Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. “It was bad luck,” Twain later told the friend. “They only had food for 12.”
- Woodrow Wilson considered 13 his lucky number, though his experience didn’t support such faith. He arrived in Normandy, France on Friday, Dec. 13, 1918, for peace talks, only to return with a treaty he couldn’t get Congress to sign. (The ship’s crew wanted to dock the next day due to superstitions.) He toured the United States to rally support for the treaty, and while traveling, suffered a near-fatal stroke.
Eagle seal on the back of a dollar bill
The seals on the back of a dollar bill include 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle’s head, 13 war arrows in the eagle’s claw and 13 leaves on the olive branch. So far there’s been no evidence tying these long-ago design decisions to the present economic situation.
Special thanks to livescience.com and urbanlegends.about.com
Filed under Historical Events & Figures
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November 29, 2011 · 10:56 am
Pablo Picasso, 1881-1973
Fun Facts About Pablo Picasso
Born on October 25 1881 in Málaga Spain, Spanish expatriate painter, sculptor, printmaker, ceramicist, and stage designer, Pablo Picasso was without question one of the greatest and most influential artists of the 20th century. Together with Georges Braque, he also created Cubism.
- Picasso’s full name has 23 words. Picasso was baptized Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno María de los Remedios Cipriano de la Santísima Trinidad Martyr Patricio Clito Ruíz y Picasso. He was named after various saints and relatives. The “Picasso” is actually from his mother, Maria Picasso y Lopez. His father is named Jose Ruiz Blasco.
- When he was born, the midwife thought he was stillborn. Picasso had such a difficult birth and was such a weak baby that when he was born, the midwife thought that he was stillborn so she left him on a table to attend his mother. It was his uncle, a doctor named Don Salvador, that saved him: ‘Doctors at that time,’ he told Antonina Vallentin, ‘used to smoke big cigars, and my uncle was no exception. When he saw me lying there he blew smoke into my face. To this I immediately reacted with a grimace and a bellow of fury’”
- Picasso’s father was also a painter, as well an art professor. This would influence Picasso as he grew up.
- In 1895, when Picasso was a teenager, his seven-year-old sister died from diphtheria. It was a traumatic event that would also influence his later work.
- The family moved to Barcelona after the death of Pablo’s sister.
- In Barcelona, Pablo’s father worked at the School of Fine Arts. He persuaded the officials there to let young Pablo (then only 13 years old) to take an entrance exam. To their surprise, he did very well on the exam and was soon admitted into the school.
- Pablo Picasso was later sent by his father to study at the Royal Academy of San Fernando (in Madrid, Spain).
- Picasso was a rebel even in his school days. He wore long dresses and long hair, going against current fashions.
"The Old Guitarist" from Picasso's Blue Period
Picasso was an excellent art student, but he resisted other studies and was often disruptive. He was thrown into detention often, but he didn’t mind because he was allowed a sketchpad, which he delighted in using.
- Pablo had his first exhibit at age 13, when he showed his paintings in the back room of an umbrella store.
- At 16, Picasso was sent to the Royal Academy of Madrid, where students drew from plaster casts and copied works of the old masters. Picasso’s father soon became angry with his son’s rebellious behavior, long hair, and strange clothes. He believed that Pablo was wasting his talent and scolded him: “why don’t you cut your hair and paint sensibly?” In 1900, Picasso left for Paris—then the center of the art world. He lived in a cold, rundown building painting constantly, sometimes surviving for days on only a piece of bread.
- While living in Paris (1900) Pablo had lots of financial problems and he burned many of his paintings to stay warm.
- His Blue Period lasted from around 1900 – 1904. This period was named for both the colors he favored and the subject matter of his paintings, which often depicted people with sad expressions.
- His aptly named Rose Period took place between 1905 and 1906, during which the artist used many pink tones and often created circus scenes.
- While in Paris, Pablo Picasso had a propensity for entertaining and had among his friends people such as Andre Breton and Gertrude Stein.
- In fact, he liked women who were much, much younger than he was. Picasso had many lovers and three wives. Most of the women he was involved with were significantly younger than he was. His second wife was 52 years younger.
- His real work and career as a painter is said to have begun around 1894 with a painting called ‘The First Communion’ which showed his sister Lola, and the more famous painting by Pablo Picasso called ‘Portrait of Aunt Pepa’.
- No artist has ever been as famous in his own lifetime
- Picasso painted his own variations of other artists work
- He had no appreciation for women artists.
Special thanks to artmarketingsecrets.com, www.life123.com and www.21facts.com
Filed under Art, Entertainment, Historical Events & Figures
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September 30, 2011 · 2:16 pm
Interpol: Established September 7th, 1923
Fun Facts About Interpol
1. Interpol (International Criminal Police Organization, O.I.P.C., ICPO) was founded in Austria in 1923 to facilitate cross-border police cooperation. The word ‘Interpol’, contraction of ‘international police’, was chosen in 1946 as the telegraphic address.
2. Interpol is the world’s third largest international organization, after the United Nations and FIFA, with 186 member countries financed by annual contributions of about €41.7 million from its member countries.
3. It was located in Germany from 1942 to 1946, and its staff and facilities were used as an information gathering unit for the Gestapo. After World War II, the agency was reconstituted and headquartered in Paris. Today the organization is headquartered in Lyon, France.
4. The United Nations recognized Interpol as an intergovernmental organization in 1971.
Its principal services are to provide its member countries with information on the whereabouts of international criminals, to held seminars on crime detection science, and to facilitate the apprehension of criminals.
5. Contrary to the popular belief, Interpol officers do not operate directly in member countries and are not involved in the actual law enforcement. Interpol’s main role is to pass the information.
6. Interpol maintains a large database of unsolved crimes, convicted and alleged criminals. Member nations may access specific sections of this database at any time, while its police forces are encouraged to check information collected by Interpol whenever a major crime is committed.
7. In 2003 Interpol established Command and Co-ordination Centre, enabling the organization to operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
8. Since 2002 Interpol has also been maintaining a database of lost and stolen identification and travel documents, and by 2006 this database contained over ten million identification items reported lost or stolen.
Special thanks to http://facts.trendstoday.info
Filed under Criminal Justice, Historical Events & Figures, Travel
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August 28, 2011 · 2:54 pm
Madame Tussaud's, London
Amazing Facts About Madame Tussaud and her Wax Museum
- Madame “Marie” Tussaud (born Anna Maria Grosholtz in Strasbourg, France) was an artist known for her wax sculptures and the wax museum she founded in London.
Madame Tussaud - Self Portrait
- Her father, a soldier named Joseph Grosholtz, was killed in the Seven Years’ War just two months before Marie was born.
- Her mother, Anne-Marie Walder, took her to Bern where she moved to work as a housekeeper for Dr. Philippe Curtius. There she took the Swiss nationality.
- Curtius was a physician, and was skilled in wax modelling, which he used to illustrate Anatomy. Later, he started to do portraits. Tussaud called him uncle.
- Curtius moved to Paris in 1765, starting work to set up a cabinet de cire . In that year he made a waxwork of Louis XV’s last mistress, Madame du Barry, a cast of which is the oldest work currently on display.
- In 1767, Tussaud and her mother joined Curtius and also moved to Paris.
- The first exhibition of Curtius’ waxworks was shown in 1770, and attracted a big crowd. In 1776, the exhibition moved to the Palais Royal and, in 1782, Curtius opened a second exhibit, the Caverne des Grands Voleurs, a precursor to the later Chamber of horrors, on Boulevard du Temple.
- Curtius taught Tussaud the art of wax modelling; she showed a lot of talent and started to work for him.
- In 1778, she created her first wax figure, that of Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
- Madame Tussaud was imprisoned during the French Revolution and made death masks of executed nobles
- She eventually inherited Phillippe Curtius’ wax exhibition and for the first time took her exhibition on tour in the British Isles in 1795.
- Madame Tussaud’s Wax Exposition in London debuted on April 26th, 1928.
- Before modern times when news was communicated largely by word of mouth, Madame Tussaud’s exhibition was a kind of traveling newspaper providing an insight into international events and bringing people face to face with people in the headlines.
- It takes six months, more than 250 precise measurements and photographs, 2,400 lbs of wax and $45,000 to make each of Madame Tussaud’s wax portraits.
- Each strand of hair is inserted individually, taking approximately five weeks to complete each head.
- Two maintenance teams inspect and primp each figure daily before the museum opens.
- To add authenticity to the portraits at Madame Tussaud’s New York, many artifacts have been donated from the celebrity or purchased from auctions.
- All portraits have their hair washed and make-up retouched regularly.
- All celebrities’ vital statistics are kept confidential, despite repeated requests from the public and media.
- Because wax shrinks, was figures are made two percent larger than the real life subjects they portray.
- Dating back to the early 1900, members of the British Royal Family have routinely participated in sittings for portraits by Madame Tussaud’s. This tradition continues today, including a sitting with Diana, Princess of Wales just months before she died.
- More than 500 million people worldwide have visited a Madame Tussaud’s, that’s more than the population of North America and Australia combined.
- Currently, over 2.5 million people a year visit Madame Tussaud’s, mingling with celebrities of all types, from sports heroes like Muhammad Ali to Hollywod celebrities like Marilyn Monroe to models like Naomi Campbell and politicians like Bill Clinton.
Filed under Entertainment, Historical Events & Figures, Travel
Tagged as Anna Maria Grossholtz, Anne-Marie Walder, art, artist, Bern, Bill Clinton, Boulevard du Temple, British Royal Family, Caverne des Grands Voleurs, celebrities, celebrity, Chamber of horrors, Curtius' waxworks, Dr. Phillippe Curtius, England, France, London, Madam Tussaud's, Madame du Barry, Madame Tussaud, Marie Tussaud, Marilyn Monroe, model, models, Muhammad Ali, Naomi Campbell, Palais Royal, Paris, photographs, politicians, Seven Years' War, Strasbourg, Swiss, Switzerland, was sculpture, wax figure, wax museum, wax portraits