Monday, July 23, 2007

Calendarial cogitations

In what is beginning to be a pattern for me, I noticed that two Saturdays ago was July 7, 2007 A.D., or 7/7/07 as expressed in shorthand. I clued in on this last year for 6/6/06 and made note of that back then--it's OK if you're impressed.

So with the number seven's connotations of luck, it seems that if there ever were a day to have extraordinary luck, 7/7/7 would be it! But--in another feat of being able to look at a calendar--last Friday was July 13, 2007 A.D., an instance of Friday the 13th! How about that! A potentially auspicious day and a traditionally unauspicious day within a week of one another. Will wonders never cease?

Trivia about 777 (perhaps interesting only to JBass): Nevada wanted to have its new expansion area code be 777, to go along with Las Vegas' slot machines' payout number and general sense of being a place where with some luck, you can strike it rich. (Florida's "Space Coast" got the vanity area code 321 while the area around Seattle's Boeing plant doesn't have 747.) But the powers-that-be at the NANPA say that area codes can't have the last two digits be the same because those patterns are reserved for special uses only (think 411, 911, 800, 866, 888, 900, etc.). So they did about the nearest other combinations of digits, but I wouldn't be very excited to see 775 or for that matter, 702 line up on my one-armed bandit.

Trivia about Friday the 13th: It was on Friday, October 13, 1307 that Philip IV of France arrested the Knights Templar (whom he feared were in a position to challenge his royal authority), tortured and subsequently had them executed. Like you cared.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Got change for a quarter?

Happy Independence Day! This is my second Independence Day in Honduras and means that two weeks have passed since my fifth solar event on the solstice on June 21. (Is there a term that encompasses both solstices and equinoxes, which seem to me to be two sides of the same coin? Maybe Quarter Day?.)

Of course, here at 14 degrees North latitude, there isn't nearly the kind of variation in daylight times as there is in Houston (29 degrees North), Pittsburgh (40) or certainly London (51). I arrived at maximum daylight hours back on the summer solstice in June 2006, and have four more left during my Peace Corps term: the autumnal equinox and winter solstice in 2007 and then the vernal equinox and summer solstice 2008, and I'll be spending the autumnal equinox 2008 in the U.S.

As we passed the celestial milestone back in December, I made a point to tell my students in my Educatodos English classes, since in mid- to late December we were working on the names of the months, and I thought it was a fun excursus to ask why the ninth month, September, shares the prefix in Spanish, for "seventh," and likewise with October, November and December. That took us to what it meant to have spring in more temperate latitudes, where after a cold winter, the world seems to start over, making March a logical place to start the year. (We just have two seasons in tropical Honduras, the rainy season (known as invierno, which I was learned as winter, and the dry season called verano, which translates as summer. It seems otoƱo (fall) and primavera (spring) are sort of unknown concepts here.

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