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 Happy World Smile Day - October 1

October 2010  Issue 94

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  2010 Index


Thankfully, September 2010 is history.  Akumal and the Caribbean have 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”.  And, Ryan Fredette celebrated his 17th birthday in MA, and his grandparents were there for the celebration. 

Check out the Photo Gallery for Mary Henderson's 70th Birthday Celebration.

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


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
30        Cassie Gonzalez

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

 Missed September Birthdays / Anniversary


O'zapft is - The Oktoberfest has started.   Ending this weekend.

Saturday, 12 o'clock - high noon in the "Schottenhamel" beer tent: By tapping the first barrel of beer, Christian Ude started the 177th Oktoberfest.

The nowadays both legendary and traditional ritual of tapping the first barrel of Oktoberfest-beer, broadcast on live TV and via the Internet, was, as usually, held in the “Schottenhamel” beer tent.  Celebrities, press and thousands of Oktoberfest fans were attending, as Christian Ude, mayor of Munich, did his duty.

With Gabriele Weishäupl, head of the Oktoberfest management, and the Bavarian prime-minister Horst Seehofer at his side, it took Christian Ude only two swings with the five-pound hammer to drive the tap into the barrell. As usual, the first thing he spoke into the microphone was “O’zapft is!” (= “It is tapped!”) and wished everyone a peaceful Oktoberfest.

As protocol demands, the first mug of beer was passed on to prime-minister Seehofer and with that all the other beer tents could start selling beer as well.

Why is Oktoberfest called "Oktober"-fest when it actually begins in September?
   The historical background: the first Oktoberfest was held in the year 1810 in honor of the Bavarian Crown Prince Ludwig's marriage to Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen.  The festivities began on October 12, 1810 and ended on October 17th with a horse race.  In the following years, the celebrations were repeated and, later, the festival was prolonged and moved forward into September.

By moving the festivities up, it allowed for better weather conditions. Because the September nights were warmer, the visitors were able to enjoy the gardens outside the tents and the stroll over "die Wiesen" or the fields much longer without feeling chilly.  Historically, the last Oktoberfest weekend was in October and this tradition continues into present times.

How much will a liter of beer (the "Maß" Oktoberfest Beer) cost this year?
     The beer price will range between 8.30 and 8.60 Euros per liter - varying in every beer tent. (Previous year: 7.80 to 8.30 Euros)

 There still is time to get to Munich to celebrate Oktoberfest 2010.


The Twentieth 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony will happen on Thursday, September 30, 2010.  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 is 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 2009 Ig Nobel Prize winners.

VETERINARY MEDICINE PRIZE: Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, UK, for showing that cows who have names give more milk than cows that are nameless.

 PEACE PRIZE: Stephan Bolliger, Steffen Ross, Lars Oesterhelweg, Michael Thali and Beat Kneubuehl of the University of Bern, Switzerland, for determining — by experiment — whether it is better to be smashed over the head with a full bottle of beer or with an empty bottle.

 CHEMISTRY PRIZE: Javier Morales, Miguel Apátiga, and Victor M. Castaño of Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, for creating diamonds from liquid — specifically from tequila.

 MEDICINE PRIZE: Donald L. Unger, of Thousand Oaks, California, USA, for investigating a possible cause of arthritis of the fingers, by diligently cracking the knuckles of his left hand — but never cracking the knuckles of his right hand — every day for more than sixty (60) years.

 PHYSICS PRIZE: Katherine K. Whitcome of the University of Cincinnati, USA, Daniel E. Lieberman of Harvard University, USA, and Liza J. Shapiro of the University of Texas, USA, for analytically determining why pregnant women don't tip over.

 LITERATURE PRIZE: Ireland's police service (An Garda Siochana), for writing and presenting more than fifty traffic tickets to the most frequent driving offender in the country — Prawo Jazdy — whose name in Polish means "Driving License".

 PUBLIC HEALTH PRIZE: Elena N. Bodnar, Raphael C. Lee, and Sandra Marijan of  Chicago, Illinois, USA, for inventing a brassiere that, in an emergency, can be quickly converted into a pair of protective face masks, one for the brassiere wearer and one to be given to some needy bystander.  REFERENCE: U.S. patent # 7255627, granted August 14, 2007 for a “Garment Device Convertible to One or More Facemasks.”

Check out the video at Gas Mask Bra.

 BIOLOGY PRIZE: Fumiaki Taguchi, Song Guofu, and Zhang Guanglei of Kitasato University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Sagamihara, Japan, for demonstrating that kitchen refuse can be reduced more than 90% in mass by using bacteria extracted from the feces of giant pandas.


The ‘official’ hurricane season ends on November 30, and while we have passed the peak point of the season, the Atlantic continues to be quite active, with most of the activity that has come from Africa heading up into the Atlantic.  As of today’s date (September 19) Igor is heading for Bermuda;    Julia, now a TS, is further out and up; and another low pressure will probably follow in their tracks.  Karl started up in the western Caribbean and landed near Chetumal, before crossing over into the Gulf where it worked up to hurricane strength before hitting Mexico, around Tampico.

 The most recent TS dumped lots of water on Florida and the east coast.  The remote offices of The Akumalian in Massachusetts are getting ready for wind and rain on Friday.


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 the honor of judging the merits of the shirts.  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, and they ultimately selected Steve Clouther, based on the shirt and the story.    The photos are located at September Best Shirt Award.

 Be advised that SteveC is in Massachusetts on another buying trip to stock up for the winter competitions and will not be present for the October event.  This is YOUR opportunity.......


            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”. 


  • Laura and Elsie Bush were back in town.
  • Ron Stern was back in early September.
  • Marcy Essy was also back and about.

Kevin McKee and Tammy Taylor did their trips up north.
Nan Armstrong has taken a break from her property management.
Bart & Jenn Smith were gone for awhile in early September.
Isabel went back to Colorado for a spell.
Hurley Hackler flew over to Florida to look at his new condo.
     Bud & Alice Blatner are cruising the Danube after eating a Wienerschnitzel in Vienna last night.


            On Saturday, October 2nd, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) will be making another pass over Akumal.  The time will be 7:53pm, and the direction will be WSW – ENE.  Get out on the beach or up on the roof and check this out.







The 2010 Major League Baseball (MLB) postseason is tentatively scheduled to start on Wednesday, October 6 (without the Boston Red Sox) 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 27; with the 7th game, if needed, scheduled for November 4th!!!!

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 13 in the US.


Whatever happened to Lucy James, I HEAR YOU ASK??

    After 15 years of living the ‘good life’ of paradise in Akumal, Lucy gave it all up and re-located to California’s wine country in Sonoma County, living near Santa Rosa. 

    Lucy reports, “I’m taking a break from self-employment and working for wages!  I looked for entry level work in the wine industry and found it.  I love my seasonal job as a grape sampler for a big grower, and I also pour wine and serve tapas at a small winery.  I’m taking viticulture classes at the local college as well as on-line, and loving every minute.  It’s so wonderful to be a beginner again!

“I love shopping at Trader Joe’s (cheap wine!!!), I love eating crusty seeded sourdough bread, gourmet cheeses, and fruits and vegetables that are actually freshly picked.  Sonoma County is a real breadbasket and has a long tradition of producing artisanal products.  There are numerous farmers’ markets I hope to explore.   I also love the level of customer service I receive here!  Perhaps because of the economy, I’m seeing people who really seem happy in their jobs, and who are perhaps grateful to even be employed. 

“Just as Rancho Mariposa contained a bit of heaven and a bit of hell, my home here has two different faces!  One side of my house fronts a busy road whose frequent passing trucks shake the floorboards.  The other side looks over a lovely creek and a hillside carpeted with trees and frequented by deer, coyote, fox and the occasional mountain lion.  I hope to plant some zinfandel vines in the spring!  After living off the grid for over a decade in Akumal, I’m discovering the pleasures of hot water on demand, a computer screen that doesn’t suddenly go blank as the house plunges into darkness, a dishwasher, a wine cooler and a washer/dryer.  I’m still trying to master a truly bewildering array of wall switches in every room!

“Though we’ve had no summer to speak of, I’m appreciating the dry climate after 15 tropical summers!  How I’ll tolerate the coming winter months...but wait, there’s skiing! 

“Though I suppose beauty can be found wherever you look if only you have the eyes to seek it in Sonoma County it’s so easy.  I’m no poet, but believe me when I say that on an early morning drive winding in and out of fog and sunshine, enjoying views of leaves turning on the vines, gentle hills, farmhouses, and flowers both wild and cultivated...I realize  I’ve been completely seduced by this place.  Come visit me in wine country!”  


Thursday, Oct. 14, 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. 16, 07:00–14:00,

Playa Pescadores, Tulúm and Zamas

 Sunday, Oct. 17, 1400–1900,


 The full program (in Spanish) can be viewed at Sea Turtle Festival 2010.



The Full Hunter's Moon is on Saturday, October 23, 12:38am AST.  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; don’t do the North Akumal raccoons though.


In Akumal and Europe, DST ends on Sunday, October 31.  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 7 – 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.



 US Dollar Only ATM
            The ATM in El Pueblito Supermarket across from Super Chomak dispenses only US dollars!!

 Turtle Bay Café Closes for Dinner
            We missed this in the last issue of The Akumalian, but on Friday, September 3, Turtle Bay Café (TBC) served their last dinner until high season resumes.  This event was treated as “The Last Supper” by a number of people who moved over from the Best Shirt Award at the beach bar.

            Be advised that TBC is still open for breakfast and lunch.

Reverand Red Beard's 1st Wedding
 It is official.  Kevin (Red Beard) McKee administered his 1st wedding service in Akumal.  Details and photos are very limited here, but a lot more can be found on Sherwood Ander's Facebook page


 Al Cielo
While not in Puerto Aventuras, be advised that Al Cielo is closed until November 4th.

       Al Cielo was recently scheduled as the destination for a Saturday lunch for The Akumalian staff and Mary Henderson, however, the closing forced us further north to Puerto Aventuras.   Being a Saturday and early afternoon, many of the restaurants were closed.  However, we did come across SiSiSi, which is next to Gringo Dave’s, and it turned out to be an excellent alternative.  Admittedly, SiSiSi is not on the beach a la’ Al Cielo, Lol Ha, La Lunita, and Zamas, but there was a very nice, comfortable breeze on the patio overlooking the dolphin pens.

            SiSiSi has an extensive menu that covers Asia, Italian, Pizza, Sea Food, and Steak (Angus Beef).  While you might think the diversity might confuse the issue, it apparently does not.  As it turned out, the three of us all went for three different Asian dishes, and no one was disappointed.

            Mary did have a small disappointment though.  The menu listed “corn bread”, and she had high hopes and expectations.  Unfortunately, there was no corn bread that Saturday.

            Even though it is not on the beach, SiSiSi would make for an excellent dinner destination, or even a Sunday lunch destination.

            SiSiSi has lengthy Happy Hour, with drinks being 2x1 from 3:00 to 8:00.


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.


Besides the usual Robin’s “Best Shirt Award” in September as an Event, we also had:

Mary Henderson’s 70 Birthday Party.


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