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October 2009  Issue 82

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  


Thankfully, September 2009 is history.  Akumal and the Caribbean has dodged all the Tropical Storms and Hurricanes, and in the last few days of the month, we received the well needed rain; some may say “too much”.  All-in-all it was a fairly quiet month, and at The Akumalian’s headquarters we went two weeks with no renters on either side.  And, Ryan Fredette celebrated his 16th birthday in MA, and his grandparents were there this year.  Ryan also received his Driving Learner’s Permit the day after his birthday.

The October issue of The Akumalian has been outsourced to the Massachusetts’ branch.


As you all know, The Akumalian and The Staff have always been very interested in reporting events happening in the sky.  As a result of this interest, as well as Akumal’s perfect location and conditions for wind and solar power, The Staff, in the person of Steve Clouther, is going to attend and report on the Solar Power International (SPI) 2009 Conference and Exhibit in Anaheim, California to collect information on the latest solar technologies and solutions.

SPI is North America's largest business to business solar industry event.  There are going to be 900+ exhibitors and an exhibit hall that includes all solar technologies: PV, CSP, solar hot water, solar heating and cooling, and solar pool heating.

If any of you have any special interest, like solar pool heating for those cool winter months, please send your interest to


In Latin, octo means "eight".  October was also the eighth month in the Roman calendar until a monthless winter period was divided between January and February.  October has always had 31 days.

 Libra - September 23 - October 22
 Scorpio - October 23 - November 21

 October Birthstone: Opal
Australia produces about 95% of the world's opal supply.  The aborigines of that country say that the opal was created where a rainbow touched the earth.  This certainly explains the cascade of color in fine opal specimens.  (Black opal rivals the price of diamonds for very fine specimens.)  While the black opal isn't really black, it does have a dark base color.  Given their shimmer and fire fine Black Opal Jewelry is particularly exotic.

 October Birthday Flower: Marigold
The golden colors of autumn are displayed by the marigold, which makes them the ideal flower for October birthdays.  Marigolds have come to be associated with affection.



Birthdays and Anniversaries
4          Stefanie Fredette
8          Maureen Miller
9          Pat Ragan
14        Denny Mahan
17        Alison Keegan
19        Verana Titze
25        Jim Power
25        Stefanie & Robert Fredette Anniversary
26        Sharon Brier
27        Joy Colt
30        Cassie Gonzalez

 There must be more than this.  Let’s hear about YOUR birthday before it happens.

 Missed September Birthdays / Anniversary
Sept. 12           Steve & Sharon Wandler Anniversary
Sept. 15           Elsie Bush’s birthday


The Fall General Assembly meeting for the Akumal Council was held on Friday, September 18, 2009, and all things considered, there was quite a good attendance.  The discussions were mostly about procedure and policy, and the Minutes can be found on the Akumal Council web site under NEWS & REPORTS when they are published.




The 2009 ceremony happened Thursday night, October 1.

The Ig Nobel Prizes honor achievements that first make people laugh, and then make them think.  The prizes are intended to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative -- and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology.

In a gala ceremony in Harvard's Sanders Theatre, 1,200 splendidly eccentric spectators watch the winners step forward to accept their Prizes.  These are physically handed out by genuinely bemused genuine Nobel Laureates.  The ceremony was webcast live.

The Ig Nobel Prizes are organized by the magazine Annals of Improbable Research.  The ceremony is co-sponsored by the Harvard-Radcliffe Society of Physics Student, the Harvard-Radcliffe Science Fiction Association, and the Harvard Computer Society.

"The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds new discoveries, is not 'Eureka!' but, 'That's funny’." —Isaac Asimov

"Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth." —Sherlock Holmes

Some of the 2008 Ig Nobel Prize winners.

NUTRITION PRIZE. Massimiliano Zampini of the University of Trento, Italy and Charles Spence of Oxford University, UK, for electronically modifying the sound of a potato chip to make the person chewing the chip believe it to be crisper and fresher than it really is.

 ARCHAEOLOGY PRIZE. Astolfo G. Mello Araujo and José Carlos Marcelino of Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil, for measuring how the course of history, or at least the contents of an archaeological dig site, can be scrambled by the actions of a live armadillo.

 BIOLOGY PRIZE. Marie-Christine Cadiergues, Christel Joubert, and  Michel Franc of Ecole Nationale Veterinaire de Toulouse, France for discovering that the fleas that live on a dog can jump higher than the fleas that live on a cat.

 MEDICINE PRIZE. Dan Ariely of Duke University (USA), Rebecca L. Waber of MIT (USA), Baba Shiv of Stanford University (USA), and Ziv Carmon of INSEAD (Singapore) for demonstrating that high-priced fake medicine is more effective than low-priced fake medicine

 ECONOMICS PRIZE. Geoffrey Miller, Joshua Tybur and Brent Jordan of the University of New Mexico, USA, for discovering that professional lap dancers earn higher tips when they are ovulating.

 CHEMISTRY PRIZE. Sharee A. Umpierre of the University of Puerto Rico, Joseph A. Hill of The Fertility Centers of New England (USA), Deborah J. Anderson of Boston University School of Medicine and Harvard Medical School (USA), for discovering that Coca-Cola is an effective spermicide, and to Chuang-Ye Hong of Taipei Medical University (Taiwan), C.C. Shieh, P. Wu, and B.N. Chiang (all of Taiwan) for discovering that it is not.


            September was one busy month but for the most part, it was quite slow.  The photos from the Best Shirt Award give some example of the “crowd”. 


  • Macon & Susan Gravlee were back in South Akumal for a week or so in late September.
  • Laura Bush is back in town.
  • Ron & Sheri Stern were back in early September.
  • David & Nancy Poor returned for the Akumal Council meeting.
  • Steve & Ingrid Clouther return to South Akumal on Oct 7 after a vacation in MA
  • Mark & Maureen Miller will be in South Akumal from Oct 3 – 10, and their daughter-in-law, Crystal Miller, will stay on until the 12th.


·         Kevin McKee and Tam Taylor were in Aberdeen, Scotland taking in the Highland Games.




Come one, come all, to the Beach Bar, where we’ll have a ball.

It’s time for another “Best Shirt Award”, which is held on the first Friday of each month during Happy Hour at the Lol Ha Beach Bar. 

This award is based on Robin’s penchant for good, classy Beach Bar shirts, and his sister, Mary, has nominated Bob & Sherwood Anders to be the judge and jury to  select the “Best Shirt” for October.  And, as we go to print the criteria are still somewhat nebulous, and they seem to be changing as we move into Fall.

The September competition drew another large crowd of brightly shirted contestants, and the judges had such a difficult time with their decision, they went with a couple for the first time in history.  Bob & Sherwood Anders won the coveted prize for September 2009.    The photos are located at Best Shirt Award 9-7-2007.


The Full Hunter's Moon is on October 4, 3:04pm ADT.  With the leaves falling and the deer fattened, it is time to hunt.  Since the fields have been reaped, hunters can ride over the stubble, and can more easily see the fox, also other animals that have come out to glean and can be caught for a thanksgiving banquet after the harvest.  




Silver/Jewelry Store
A new store has opened between the Akumal Real Estate offices and the Pueblito Mini-Supermarket at the entrance to Central Akumal.  The store seems to be quite large and sports a large collection of silver pieces, along with other types of related ‘things’ for the tourists.

 Mario’s Pizzaria
Remember Mario?  He has opened a pizzeria across the highway in the pueblo, directly across from Lucy Too as you go up the hill.  Mario delivers, and orders can be called in at 984-127-3577.

 AkuComp Is Gone
Eric Adamson has announced that he has terminated his computer services in the Akumal, Tulum, and Puerto Aventuras area due to family emergency.  Eric’s services will be sorely missed.


The 2009 Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason is tentatively scheduled to start on Wednesday, October 7 when the Division Series starts with the best 3-of-5 going onto the League Championship which starts on October 15.  The World Series is scheduled to begin on Wednesday, October 28; with the 7th game, if needed, scheduled for November 5th!!!!

Now, there definitely are some readers who question the designation of this event as the “World” Series, when only 30 teams – all but Toronto being from the United States – are eligible to even be considered.


In Mexico, October 12th is a national holiday known as Día de la Raza or Day of the Race.  This date is honored in other countries as Columbus Day and under other names; but the event it commemorates and the way in which it is observed have become quite controversial.

In the fifteenth century, an obscure Italian seafarer named Christopher Columbus became convinced that it was possible to reach the East from Europe by sailing westward across the Atlantic and that this route would be shorter than traveling around Africa; he underestimated the size of the Earth and overestimated the size and eastward extension of Asia.  After eight years of negotiations, he convinced Queen Isabella of Spain to support his enterprise.  He finally set out in three small ships and, on October 12th, 1492, he landed on an island in the Bahamas inhabited by the Taino or Arawak tribe, thinking that it was India.

            Although Christopher Columbus was perhaps not the first to discover America, as has so often been claimed, he was the one to bring about the first real contact and interaction between Renaissance Europe and the American continent with its various civilizations; and that has shaped and changed world history in countless ways.  Over 500 years later, this date is still celebrated, lamented, and debated.

One of the main consequences of this contact, was the imminent conquest of the new world by the old.  In writing of his discovery, Columbus noted how he and his men were greeted with gifts and said: "As soon as I arrived in the Indies, on the first Island which I found, I took some of the natives by force in order that they might learn and might give me information of whatever there is in these parts".  And, generally speaking, this was to characterize relations between the old world and the new: Europeans sought wealth and to impart (or impose) their culture.  The indigenous people befriended them and were dominated by armies from abroad.

Less than 30 years later, in 1521, Hernán Cortés landed on the shores of Mexico. He too was received with gifts, and he proceeded to conquer the vast Mexica empire, which is Mexico today.  Relations between the indigenous population and the conquerors of Mexico during the 300 year colonial period were complex.  Spain sought riches in the new land, but also converts for Catholicism. Missionaries traveled with the soldiers.  Some of them were greatly impressed by native cultures and are responsible for the preservation of many codices and documents regarding the period.

When Mexico celebrated the four hundredth anniversary of Columbus' landing, in 1892, the country was ruled by Porfirio Díaz, who remained in power for over thirty years and was a great admirer of European culture, especially the French.  At that time, the government prepared a celebration of "The communion of all peoples in sentiments of justice and admiration for the past, noble aspirations and glowing hopes for the future" for October 12, 1892.  As in most of the world, this event praised Columbus for his skill as navigator, for his Discovery of America and for bringing European culture to this land, although all of these things have since been questioned and re-examined.

In 1918, philosopher Antonio Caso took October 12th as an opportunity to praise the "Mexican mestizo race", La Raza, the rich mixture of Spanish and indigenous cultures which characterizes MexicanS.  He was perhaps the first to coin the term La Raza, which has now been adopted by Latinos from all across the continent.  Ten years later, the Día de la Raza was declared an official national holiday by Congress, after only minor debate.

As early as 1836, Oaxacan historian Don Carlos María de Bustamante began the "first vitriolic Mexican commentary on the Columbian event".  For him, October 12, 1492 was "the most villainous day there could ever be in America; the day its slavery was established".

            Columbus Day is on Monday, October 12 in the US.

7th SEA TURTLE FESTIVAL, OCT. 16, 17 and 18th

Friday, Oct. 16, 16:00–19:00,

Casa de la Cultura de Tulúm: Opening – Murals – Drawing Contest – Sea Turtle Season Information – Cultural Performances – Quelonios Ak, Visual Art Exposition

 Saturday, Oct. 17, 07:00–14:00,

Playa Pescadores, Tulúm and Akumal Bay: Beach Clean Up – Sand Sculpture and Kite Contest.

18:00, Xcacel: Live Music – Performance – Fire Dance – Symbolic Hatchlings Release.  Parking at Xel-Ha.

 Sunday, Oct. 18, 10:00–20:00,

Akumal: PET Contest – Drums – Mayan Ceremony. 

19:00, Symbolic Hatchlings Release


Take a walk on the wellness side with the “Women in Wellness” program scheduled for October 24 to November 4 in Akumal.  Enjoy yoga, salsa lessons: finding your inner rhythm while relieving stress, WaterART, personal trainer, Instructor and Arthritis Certifications, CEC workshops, Mayan cooking and nutrition, fashion, side trips, and more!  Schedule of Events is up, and new things are being added all the time.

See WOMEN IN WELLNESS for the full schedule of events.


In Akumal and Europe, DST ends on Sunday, October 25.  Do not forget to turn the clocks back one hour.

For the U.S., and only the U.S., DST ends on the first Sunday in November – November 1 – as the clocks are set back one hour at 2:00 a.m. local daylight time, which becomes 1:00 a.m. local standard time.  

Remember, On August 8, 2005, President George W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act of 2005.  This Act changed the time change dates for Daylight Saving Time in the U.S.  Beginning in 2007, DST will begin on the second Sunday in March and end the first Sunday in November.  The Secretary of Energy will report the impact of this change to Congress.  Congress retains the right to resume the 2005 Daylight Saving Time schedule once the Department of Energy study is complete.


Halloween is an annual celebration, but just what is it actually a celebration of?  And how did this peculiar custom originate?  Is it, as some claim, a kind of demon worship?  Or is it just a harmless vestige of some ancient pagan ritual?

The word itself, "Halloween," actually has its origins in the Catholic Church.  It comes from a contracted corruption of All Hallows Eve.  November 1, "All Hollows Day" (or "All Saints Day"), is a Catholic day of observance in honor of saints.  But, in the 5th century BC, in Celtic Ireland, summer officially ended on October 31.  The holiday was called Samhain (sow-en), the Celtic New year. 

One story says that, on that day, the disembodied spirits of all those who had died throughout the preceding year would come back in search of living bodies to possess for the next year.  It was believed to be their only hope for the afterlife.  The Celts believed all laws of space and time were suspended during this time, allowing the spirit world to intermingle with the living.

Naturally, the still-living did not want to be possessed.  So on the night of October 31, villagers would extinguish the fires in their homes, to make them cold and undesirable.  They would then dress up in all manner of ghoulish costumes and noisily paraded around the neighborhood, being as destructive as possible in order to frighten away spirits looking for bodies to possess.

Probably a better explanation of why the Celts extinguished their fires was not to discourage spirit possession, but so that all the Celtic tribes could relight their fires from a common source, the Druidic fire that was kept burning in the Middle of Ireland, at Usinach.

The custom of Halloween was brought to America in the 1840's by Irish immigrants fleeing their country's potato famine. At that time, the favorite pranks in New England included tipping over outhouses and unhinging fence gates.

The custom of trick-or-treating is thought to have originated not with the Irish Celts, but with a ninth-century European custom called souling.  On November 2, All Souls Day, early Christians would walk from village to village begging for "soul cakes," made out of square pieces of bread with currants.  The more soul cakes the beggars would receive, the more prayers they would promise to say on behalf of the dead relatives of the donors.  At the time, it was believed that the dead remained in limbo for a time after death, and that prayer, even by strangers, could expedite a soul's passage to heaven.

The Jack-o-lantern custom probably comes from Irish folklore.  As the tale is told, a man named Jack, who was notorious as a drunkard and trickster, tricked Satan into climbing a tree.  Jack then carved an image of a cross in the tree's trunk, trapping the devil up the tree.  Jack made a deal with the devil that, if he would never tempt him again, he would promise to let him down the tree.

According to the folk tale, after Jack died, he was denied entrance to Heaven because of his evil ways, but he was also denied access to Hell because he had tricked the devil.  Instead, the devil gave him a single ember to light his way through the frigid darkness.  The ember was placed inside a hollowed-out turnip to keep it glowing longer.

The Irish used turnips as their "Jack's lanterns" originally.  But when the immigrants came to America, they found that pumpkins were far more plentiful than turnips, so the Jack-O-Lantern in America was a hollowed-out pumpkin, lit with an ember.


We just had the usual Robin’s “Best Shirt Award” in September as a recorded Event, but The Staff is aware that numerous other Events took place.


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