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September 2012  Issue 117

Return to Home Page   2009 Index  2010 Index   2011 Index   2012 Index

MESSAGE FROM THE STAFF

Well, it looks like we got through August with no real storms, let alone hurricanes.  The only thing was some storm surge from Ernesto, who remained south of Akumal.

The low season officially is here, as defined by the Mexican kids going back to school, and the closing of Lol Ha Restaurant and dinner at Turtle Bay Café.

The last three Friday nights at the beach bar were somewhat sparsely populated by locals, but watch out for this Friday.  It is September 7th, the first Friday of the month, and the “Robin’s Best Shirt Award” night, and this is going to be a real good one.

Did you enjoy that full ‘Blue Moon’ last night as much as The Staff did?  We were with the Motleys on the Lol Ha veranda having one last meal there before they close for September and October. No good explanation for the term ‘Blue Moon”.

September is busy as usual, what with Labor Day in the U.S. and Independence Day in Mexico, to say nothing of Robin’s “Best Shirt Award”, the U.S. Open, Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, and the Autumnal Equinox.  Come on down!  

Do not forget the other local publications, Sac-Be - The Costal Source for Travel in the Riviera Maya, the Pelican Free Press, and the CEA Newsletter
 

IMPORTANT SEPTEMBER FACTS

In Latin, septem means "seven" and septimus means "seventh"; September was in fact the seventh month of the Roman calendar until 153 BC.

Virgo - August 24 – September 23

Libra - September 23 - October 23

 September Birthstone: Sapphire
      
Sapphire is the modern September birthstone and is a variety of the mineral species corundum.  Sapphires occur in all colors of the rainbow with the exception of red, which is ruby.  The name corundum comes from the ancient Sanskrit "kuruvindam", while the name "Sapphire" comes from the Persian word "safir", meaning "beloved of Saturn", (or Greek sapphiros).

 September Birthday Flower: Aster
   
The September birthday flower is the aster, which is often used to accent different types of mixed flower arrangements.  In addition to representing daintiness, asters are also known as a symbol of love.
 

SEPTEMBER BIRTHDAYS

Birthdays and Anniversaries
2          Cristina Sebe 
2          Leandro Kantun 
3          Gary Clements
4          Sharon Winkel
5          Claudia Tolenterio
7          Scott Brown
10        Cheryl McClendon
12        Frank Hatch
12        Steve & Sharon Wandler Anniversary
14        Marry Henderson
14        Gabi Orvananos
14        Karl Shubert
16        Jen Smith
16        Shari Stern
16        Jackie Power
17        Kathleen Cole
18        Denny & Diane Mahan Anniversary
18        Dave & Laura Bush Wolfe Anniversary
22        Mauricio Bautista (CEA)
23        Valerie Nejame
24        Lauren Haynes
25        Macon Gravlee 
25        Rudy Perez
25        Janet Thurber
27        Ryan Fredette
27        Robert Fredette
30        Richard Pargot
30        David Daniell

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

 Missed August Birthdays and Anniversaries

7th         Richard Glenn (“Ricardo”) Northcutt

19th      45th Anniversary for David & Nancy Poor.  Congratulations.

30th      Lauren Seana Dooley’s birthday

Speaking of birthdays and anniversaries, they have been updated on the web site, so check and make sure you are listed.
 

KEEP DODGING THE TROPICAL STORMS

8/ 26/2012 - Tropical Storm Isaac went across the islands north east of Akumal in late August.

Isaac has already produced significant impacts, and only the first chapters have been written.  The storm has brought flash flooding to places such as Trinidad and Tobago and Puerto Rico, and deadly effects in Haiti.  Now its large circulation is headed for the United States and the Republican Convention in Tampa, by way of affecting Cuba and the Bahamas.

 Unfortunately, Isaac bypassed the RNC and visited New Orleans.
 

DID YOU KNOW…..?

Mexican Cuisine Sizzles On Global Gourmet Stage

Kostow, whose Restaurant at Meadowood in Napa Valley has three Michelin stars, wanted to sample the diversity of the country's fresh ingredients: gray oysters from Baja California, lychee-like hairy rambutan from southern Chiapas, and bags of red flying ants from Oaxaca.  Like other top chefs from around the world, Kostow comes to study and experiment with the purity of ingredients and flavors in real Mexican cuisine, now a top export commodity that was dismissed for decades as tortillas suffocated in heavy sauces, cheeses and sour cream.

"I don't know if you come to Mexico to learn what's new, but rather you come to Mexico to learn what's old," said Kostow, referring to the ancient cooking traditions of the many indigenous groups. "There are flavors of great depth, and there are techniques that are pretty challenging."
 

U.S. OPEN, AUGUST 27 – SEPTEMBER 9

The 2012 US Open is being played August 27 – September 9 at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows, N.Y.  Both the men’s and women’s US Open singles champions will earn $1.8 million with the ability to earn an additional $1 million in bonus prize money (for a total $2.8 million potential payout) based on their performances in the Olympus US Open Series.  The US Open Men’s Singles Championship is presented by Mercedes-Benz USA.

Leading the entry list is world No. 1 Roger Federer.  The 31-year-old Swiss is appearing in his 52nd consecutive Grand Slam event. He has won seven matches in a row, following his triumph at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 event in Cincinnati.  Federer is tied with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras with an Open Era record five US Open titles.

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic is the defending US Open champion after defeating Rafael Nadal in four sets in the final last year for his first US Open championship.  Djokovic won the 2012 Australian Open and reached the final of the French Open.  He held the No. 1 ranking from July 2011 up to Wimbledon this year—the first player other than Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer to be ranked No. 1 on the ATP World Tour since Andy Roddick in 2003.

World No. 3 Rafael Nadal, who won the 2010 US Open, is seeking his 12th career Grand Slam singles title after winning the 2012 French Open. 

In many ways, this year’s Open bears little resemblance to the tournament started 128 years ago.  It has evolved from an exclusive men's singles and doubles tournament in 1881 to a two-week sports and entertainment extravaganza, changing its name from the U.S Championships to the US Open and its location from Rhode Island to Pennsylvania to its current home in Flushing, N.Y.
 

LABOR DAY, SEPTEMBER 3rd 

Labor Day is a United States federal holiday that takes place on the first Monday of September; i.e. September 3rd .

The origins of the American Labor Day can be traced back to the Knights of Labor in the United States and a parade organized by them on September 5, 1882 in New York City.  They were inspired by an annual labor parade held in Toronto, Canada.  In 1884 another parade was held, and the Knights passed resolutions to make this an annual event.  Other labor organizations (and there were many), but notably the affiliates of the International Workingmen's Association favored a May 1 holiday.  With the event of Chicago's Haymarket riots in early May of 1886, president Grover Cleveland believed that a May 1 holiday could become an opportunity to commemorate the riots - May 1st is also the high holy day of communism or Marxism.  Thus, fearing that it might strengthen the socialist movement, he quickly moved in 1887 to support the position of the Knights of Labor and their date for Labor Day.

Labor Day has been celebrated on the first Monday in September in the United States since the 1880s.  The September date has remained unchanged, even though the government was encouraged to adopt May 1 as Labor Day, the date celebrated by the majority of the world.  Moving the holiday, in addition to breaking with tradition, could have been viewed as aligning the U.S. labor movements with internationalist sympathies.

Labor Day is generally regarded simply as a day of rest and, unlike May Day, political demonstrations are rare.  Forms of celebration include picnics, barbecues, fireworks displays, water activities, and public art events.  Families with school-age children take it as the last chance to travel before the end of summer.  Some teenagers and young adults view it as the last weekend for surfing parties before returning to school.
 

2012 International Expo & Business LGBT, SEPT. 6th  – 9th 

The 2nd International Expo & Business LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) is being held at the Cancun Convention Center from September 6 to 9, 2012.  The Gala Dinner is being held at the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun on September 8, 2012.  Hard Rock Hotel Cancun is one of our Official Partner Hotels for the Expo & Business LGBT which is created and managed by LGBT Confex - Latin America's leading LGBT conference and Exhibitions Company.

 This event is the leading conference and exhibition of its kind in the region and brings together the world's top LGBT marketing specialists with business from across Mexico and throughout Latin America to network and educate over four days.  In addition, a consumer expo and a business-to-business trade show are included as part of the program.

The 'Out Now Global LGBT2020 Study' is the world's largest LGBT market research program and new findings released last month showed that Cancun was by far the most popular Mexico tourism destination for LGBT travelers to Mexico.  Mexico is home to almost 5 million gays and lesbians, who last year earned a total of USD$67 billion in pre-tax income (Source: ‘2011 Out Now Global LGBT2020 Study’).

Among the industry professionals set to attend are service providers such as airlines, hotels, restaurants, cruise ships, car rental agencies, travel operators, travel agents and tourism boards, CVB’s, and leading companies currently serving the global LGBT community - as well as companies interested in leveraging the business opportunities of the LGBT market.

Akumal will be represented by Casa Romero (David Poor) and Casa Gatos (Dan Freeman and Dave Zucker).
 

ENRIQUE PENA NIETO OFFICIALLY PRESIDENT ELECT

Mexico’s highest electoral authority declared Friday, August 31, that Enrique Pena Nieto was the legitimate winner of the July 1 presidential election, formally opening the transition to a new government despite continuing claims of fraud by the left’s second-place finisher.

The Federal Electoral Tribunal said leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador failed to prove claims that vote-buying had affected the results of the vote that returns the former autocratic ruling party to Mexico’s highest office after a 12-year absence.

Pena Nieto, 46, insists his Institutional Revolutionary Party, the PRI, has changed. In the final decades of the 20th century, its rule was marked by corruption, vote fraud and periodic economic crises.

“Mexico will have a modern, responsible presidency, open to criticism, willing to listen and take into account all Mexicans,” Pena Nieto said at a ceremony in which the tribunal gave him the document certifying him as president-elect.

Outgoing President Felipe Calderon called Pena Nieto to congratulate him and wish him the best for his administration that will begin when he takes office Dec. 1. Calderon “offered his support so that that administration will be successful,” the president’s office said in a statement.

Lopez Obrador told reporters Friday morning that he refused to recognize the election results and was calling for a peaceful protest that he described as “civil disobedience” on Sept. 9 in the Zocalo, the historic plaza in the heart of downtown Mexico City. He launched street demonstrations that paralyzed central Mexico City after he lost the 2006 vote, but widespread protests appear far less likely this time.

Lopez Obrador said the electoral tribunal made an illegitimate ruling Thursday evening when it rejected the leftist’s allegations of vote-buying and other campaign violations by the PRI. The seven electoral magistrates are nominated by Mexico’s Supreme Court and confirmed by Congress and are widely seen as credible and non-partisan, although Lopez Obrador has alleged that several members were based in favor of the PRI.
 

ROBIN’S BEST SHIRT AWARD, SEPT. 7th

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 Mary Henderson will be in California, so she has designated Antonio & Jan Bolio as her alternative judges.

The August competition drew a huge number of contestants, and there was a real good selection of competing shirts, making it very difficult for the judges.  However, Sam Goby was a very clear winner from the very colorful field.  See the photos at August Best Shirt for more photos.
 

COMINGS AND GOINGS

Comings:

·       Ken & June Sloan, Ron Stern, Gary & Myrna Sparks, Rod & Joyce Flake, among others were in Playa Caribe for the Home Owner’s Association meeting.

·       Oteka Brab was back in South Akumal with a bunch of friends.

·       Cheryl & Bill McClendon were spotted at Turtle Bay Café.

·       Donny & Cheryl Hall were back in Playa Blanca for a bit.

·       Frank & Lennie Hatch were back in Casa del Sol.

·       Amy Christensen was spotted at the August ONDARTE reception.

·       David & Nancy Poor were in town for the August Best Shirt night.

·       Bob & Sherwood Anders have returned for the season.

·       RedBeard has returned from his road trip to Alaska.

·       Bente Palmer returns on the 6th for one week; The Reef HOA meeting.

Goings:

·       Mary Henderson is heading to California to avoid September’s Best Shirt judging.

·       RedBeard is off on another road trip, this time to British Columbia.

·       Russ Motley is heading off to Denver to see his dad.

     Sam Jimenes is traveling to Switzerland and Germany (Oktoberfest) later this month.

·       Mary Anderson is heading to Canada for a short visit; Ken is in charge of the bar.

·       Yolonda Phillips Foshee and Jaime Pendergast have returned to Arkansas

  • John & Linda Novak are returning to Canada.

  • Ivan & Natalie are off at the Burning Man

·       Ryan Fredette checks into his Univ. of Mass. Dartmouth dorm on September 2nd and starts his first day of college on Wednesday, September 5.  Ryan’s address is:
Ryan Fredette
Chestnut Hall  -  Room 317 D
285 Old Westport Rd
N. Dartmouth, MA 02747-2300

                        Send Ryan a postcard, and tell him, “The Akumalian made me do it.”
 

NATIONAL GRANDPARENT’S DAY, SEP 9th 

The impetus for a National Grandparents Day originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in Fayette County, West Virginia.  Her primary motivation was to champion the cause of lonely elderly in nursing homes.  She also hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide.

President Jimmy Carter, in 1978, proclaimed that National Grandparents Day would be celebrated every year on the first Sunday after Labor Day. 

Ryan Fredette’s grandparents will be celebrating without him in Akumal, but they will be there with him in Massachusetts for his 19th birthday, later in the month.

 

WHAT’S NEW AROUND TOWN?

AKUMAL

Gina Austin Passed Away
    Akumal is saddened by the passing of Gina Austin on August 5th in the Galenia Hospital in Cancun.

            Gina Austin, born in Mexico City,  was in charge of Akumal Real Estate Property Management Division for 4 years before she left to start with her husband Jorge their own company, Riviera Management, 6 years ago.  She is also the founder of Akumal Toy Drive (www.akumaltoydrive.com ) a non-profit organization whose aim is to collect toys to distribute every January 6th among children of Mayan rural villages in the area.

            To honor Gina, please consider a donation to the 2013 Akumal Toy Drive. On January 6th each year, this non-profit organization delivers toys to Mayan children in the small neighboring rural villages.  www.akumaltoydrive.com

Lol Ha Restaurant
  
Laura reports, “We will be closing Lol Ha for dinner during September and October; the restaurant is still open for breakfast from 7:30am - 11:00am, daily.  Our Snack bar will offer a special Lol Ha Menu for dinner – quite an extensive menu, from 6-9pm daily.  Our Snack bar menu will also be available all day and the Pizzeria from 1-9pm.  For the month of September, we have some specials meals and drinks to celebrate Mexican Independence day.

Turtle Bay Café Closed for Dinner
  
Bart reports, “TBC is open every day except September 16th, for breakfast 7-12 & lunch 12-3pm with Happy Hour pricing from 1-3.  Same happy hour as usual with 25% off all desserts, flatbreads & appetizers.  Drink specials as well.  We will reopen for dinner, well when we reopen.  Depends on what is going on in town.  For sure sometime in early November, maybe in October.”

La Lunita
  Annette reports that La Lunita will be closed from September 17 to October 4, reopening on Friday October 5.

 Home Insurance
   
For some of us, it’s that time of the year.  Casa Colibri was recently renewed (with Luis Lobo and AXA) and the policy and premium stayed exactly the same as last year. 

Charlene Powell
 Laura reports that Charlene’s contributions from the extended Akumal community totaled $12.407.75.  “Charlene Powell is antsy to get back to Akumal!  Her wounds have healed very well and she is just taking care of some business that will hopefully work out alright in spite of having been yet another stumbling block for her.  She is still staying at the lower priced residence hotel and hopes it won't be for too much longer.  Then by mid-September she really wants to be home!  She is ever so grateful to everyone and sends her love!”

            Watch for Charlene in Super Chomak around mid-September.

 Otoch Paal Montessori School Fundraiser Dinner
   Marieke White reports, “Everyone had a fantastic time on August 11th at Tiramisu, when the community gathered to raise funds for Otoch Paal, the non-profit Montessori school in Akumal that needs new elementary classrooms.  Tony Gabriel had us rolling with laughter at his portrayal of the famous Mexican singer, Juan Gabriel, and we all ate far too much of Donna Carey’s delicious lasagna.  The spicy Mexican lasagna with mango, served with crema and pico de gallo, was my especial favorite.  Donna, please add this to your menu, we want more!

“A HUGE thank-you to all our generous sponsors, without whom this event would not have been possible: Ristorante Tiramisu, Dolphin Discovery, Think Organik Boutique & Spa, Dive Aventuras, Cafe Ole, David Nuñez of Mexiconservacion, and of course the inimitable Tony Gabriel.” 
 

North Akumal Road Construction / Destruction
 
    Well, like it or not, work is being done on the North Akumal road again, and apparently this is the work of CAPA, who is preparing the road and the community for new water lines.  There are two things The Staff finds interesting about this work, and they are:

  • The road is being excavated with no regards for the brick work that was done not that long ago
  • The ditch for the pipes is on the left side – going north – of the road, whereas most of the properties that will need to connect to the water line are on the right side of the road, meaning that the connections will need to go across the roadway with more excavations.

 They are digging a nice straight ditch for the pipes.  Some people are really convinced that CAPA will restore the bricks to the way it was before they started digging.  There is an interesting wager on that, and The Staff photographer is ready to capture the payment when one loses.
 

LOS NIÑOS HÉROES, SEPTEMBER 13th

Mexico has known many heroes through her long and eventful history.  Perhaps none have captured the imagination and stirred the hearts to the degree that Los Niños Héroes (Heroic Children) have.  In 1847, six brave young men fought valiantly for their country during the Mexican-American War. Tragically, they died defending her honor.  Ranging in age from just 13 to 19 years of age, these military cadets are remembered today with reverence and national pride.  A great monument erected in their honor, Los Niños Héroes Monument, stands proudly at the entrance to Chapultepec Park in Mexico City.  This historical memorial is visited by thousands of Mexican citizens and foreign travelers each year.

 The Mexican-American War was in its final chapters when the Battle of Chapultepec took place.  The date was September 13, 1847 and American forces were quickly advancing on Chapultepec Castle.  General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who was in charge of forces in Mexico City, recognized the strategic advantage that Chapultepec Hill held.  Geographically, its value was enormous as it position protected Mexico City on its west side from invaders.

Unfortunately, there were not enough resources available for its defense.  Rising some 200 feet above the surrounding landscape, the site was naturally fortified.  However, American forces greatly outnumbered their Mexican counterparts, both in manpower and gunpowder.  Many prominent Americans, including Abraham Lincoln and John Quincy Adams considered the war unjust and questioned the rationale for the invasion.

In the years preceding the war, Chapultepec Castle had been utilized as Mexico’s military training academy.  As a result, when the war broke out, there were dozens of teenage cadets in attendance.  General Nicolos Bravo commanded the forces stationed at Chapultepec Hill, and when it became apparent that the American forces were triumphing, he ordered his men, including the cadets, to retreat to safety.

Six young men, however, refused to relinquish their posts and bravely met the superior forces of the Americans.  They died that September day, defending their country.  Their sacrifice has been forever etched into Mexicos history.

President Harry S. Truman visited the Los Ninos Heroes monument in 1947, just months prior to the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Chapultepec.  A moment of reverential silence was observed by the President as a sign of respect for the young cadets.  When Truman was asked by reporters why he stopped to see the monument, his reply was “Brave men don’t belong to any one country.  I respect bravery wherever I see it.
 

MEXICO’S INDEPENDENCE DAY, SEPT 16th

The stage for the upheaval and dissatisfaction that gave rise to Mexican independence was set by political and economic changes in Europe and its American colonies of the late 18th and 19th centuries.  The French revolution and Napoleonic wars diverted attention of Spain from its colonies leaving a vacuum and increasing dissatisfaction and desire for local government.  The forced removal of Ferdinand VII from the Spanish thrown and his replacement by Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon's brother, presented opportunity for Mexican intelligentsia to promote independence in the name of the legitimate Spanish king. 

 From its inception the colonial government of New Spain was dominated by Spanish born Peninsulares or Guachapins, who held most leadership positions in the church and government, in contrast to Mexican-born Criollos (Creoles) who were the ten to one majority.  Neither the Peninsulares nor upper class Criollos desired to involve the masses of native Indians and mestizos in government or moves for local control. 

In 1808, the Peninsulares learned of Viceroy Jose de Iturrigaray’s intent to form a junta with Creole factions, a move that he thought might make him King of an independent Mexican kingdom.  In an armed attack on the palace, Peninsulares arrested Iturrigaray and replaced him with puppet Pedro Garibay after which they carried out bloody reprisals against Criollos, who were suspected of disloyalty.  Although reform movements paused, political and economic instability in Europe continued as well as hardship and unrest in the Americas.

One liberal organization that was forced underground was the Literary Club of Queretaro which formed for intellectual discussion, but in practice became a planning organization for revolution.  Independence- and reform-oriented thinkers also began to consider enlisting the native Indian, mestizo and lower class masses in wresting control from the Peninsulares and in armed independence movements.  Queretaro was an important agricultural region that had suffered extensively by economic stalemate and failure.  An active member of the group was Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, a well-educated liberal priest who questioned policies of the church including clerical celibacy, banning certain literature, infallibility of the pope and the virgin birth of Christ.  Hidalgo became the curator of Dolores in 1803 with primarily an Indian congregation whose languages he spoke and to whom he administered practical skills of life, as much as religious doctrine.  In Queretaro, Hidalgo met Capt. Ignacio Allende, a revolutionary thinker in the Spanish army.  In spring 1810, Allende and Hidalgo planned an uprising for December of the year that leaked out to Spanish authorities and their arrest was ordered.

In September 1810, Father Hidalgo was forced to prematurely distribute the Grito de Delores to his parishoners and nearby residents which was an appeal for social and economic reform.  With little organization and no training, essentially a mob of thousands of primarily Indians and mestizos overwhelmed royal forces in Guanajuato, and proceeded to murder and loot Peninsulares, Criollos and other "whites" in their path.  The force continued to Mexico City and defeated royalist on the outskirts, but did not enter and occupy the city, after which the ragged revolutionary army returned home.

Hidalgo and his Creole officers were later able to assemble an army of 80,000 by payment with looted Peninsulare gold and assets.  Viceroy Francisco Javier Venegas, and his soon to be successor, Gen. Felix Maria Calleja del Rey, responded to the insurgency with a vengeance, and in January 1811 Hidalgo suffered a serious defeat outside Guadalajara where rebel forces were routed at Calderon Bridge.  Bloody retaliation followed by mass executions of suspected rebel sympathizers by Spanish crown forces under Viceroy Calleja del Rey.  Hidalgo and associates turned toward the northern provinces Nuevo Santander, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Texas for refuge, where local sympathy for the rebellion and independence continued. 

 Royalist forces in Nuevo Santander refused to fight against the insurgents as well as troops under Governor Manuel Antonio Cordero y Bustamante in Coahuila.  As the royalist forces moved north to crush resistance, it was only in Coahuila and Texas that revolutionary events continued.  On 21 March 1811, a periodic rebel turned loyalist, Ignacio Elizondo, ambushed Ignacio Allende, Father Hidalgo and associates at the Wells of Bajan on the road to Monclova in Coahuila.  Hidalgo and associates were captured and executed in Chihuahua.

At the core of Mexican patriotism is Hidalgo's Grito de Dolores.  Every year, on the night of September 15-16, the President of the Republic "reenacts" the Grito on a balcony of the National Palace as the climax of the Independence Day celebrations.  To do this with historical accuracy is well-nigh impossible, for no one knows precisely what Hidalgo said.  The three principal contemporary reports fail to agree.  Sotelo's account, the most confused and least authoritative, stated that the Grito was a short speech, made from the window of the priest's house, to the first group of followers who assembled before dawn.  
 

ROSH HASHANAH SEPTEMBER 16 – 18th  

Rosh Hashanah occurs on the first and second days of Tishri.  In Hebrew, Rosh Hashanah means, literally, "head of the year" or "first of the year."  Rosh Hashanah is commonly known as the Jewish New Year.  This name is somewhat deceptive, because there is little similarity between Rosh Hashanah, one of the holiest days of the year, and the American midnight drinking bash and daytime football game.

There is, however, one important similarity between the Jewish New Year and the American one: Many Americans use the New Year as a time to plan a better life, making "resolutions."  Likewise, the Jewish New Year is a time to begin introspection, looking back at the mistakes of the past year and planning the changes to make in the new year.

The name "Rosh Hashanah" is not used in the Bible to discuss this holiday.  The Bible refers to the holiday as Yom Ha-Zikkaron (the day of remembrance) or Yom Teruah (the day of the sounding of the shofar).  The holiday is instituted in Leviticus 23:24-25.

The shofar is a ram's horn which is blown somewhat like a trumpet.  One of the most important observances of this holiday is hearing the sounding of the shofar in the synagogue.  A total of 100 notes are sounded each day.  There are four different types of shofar notes: tekiah, a 3 second sustained note; shevarim, three 1-second notes rising in tone, teruah, a series of short, staccato notes extending over a period of about 3 seconds; and tekiah gedolah (literally, "big tekiah"), the final blast in a set, which lasts 10 seconds minimum.  The Bible gives no specific reason for this practice. One that has been suggested is that the shofar's sound is a call to repentance.  The shofar is not blown if the holiday falls on Shabbat.

 No work is permitted on Rosh Hashanah.  Much of the day is spent in synagogue, where the regular daily liturgy is somewhat expanded.  In fact, there is a special prayer book called the machzor used for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur because of the extensive liturgical changes for these holidays.

Another popular observance during this holiday is eating apples dipped in honey, a symbol of our wish for a sweet new year.
  

THE 22nd 1ST ANNUAL IG NOBEL PRIZE CEREMONY, SEPT 20

Twenty-Second 1st Annual Ig Nobel Prize ceremony is being held on Thursday, September 20, 2012 at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre.

The name is a play on the word ignoble ("characterized by baseness, lowness, or meanness") and the name "Nobel" after Alfred Nobel.  The official pronunciation used during the ceremony is /ˌɪɡnoʊˈbɛl/ "ig-no-bell".  It is not pronounced like the word "ignoble" (/ɪɡˈnoʊbəl/).

The Ig Nobel Prizes, which are handed out annually at Harvard University’s Sanders Theatre by actual Nobel Prize laureates, were founded in 1990 in order to recognize scientific research that "first makes you laugh, then makes you think."  Conducted under the auspices of the scientific humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research," the awards are intended to "celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative and spur people's interest in science, medicine, and technology."

Winners of the 14th annual Ig Nobels in 2004 included the inventor of karaoke, the engineers who devised the "combover" hairdo, a girl who investigated the "five-second rule" commonly applied to dropped food, and researchers who discovered a connection between country music and suicide.

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.

Improbable research is research that makes people laugh and then think.  Improbable Research is the name of the organization that collects (and sometimes conduct) improbable research.  They publish a magazine called the Annals of Improbable Research, and they administer the Ig Nobel Prizes.

Their goal is to make people laugh, then make them think.  They also hope to spur people's curiosity, and to raise the question: How do you decide what's important and what's not, and what's real and what's not — in science and everywhere else?

The theme of this year's ceremony (though not necessarily of the individual prizes) is: THE UNIVERSE.  In addition to the awarding of the 2012 Ig Nobel Prizes, the ceremony will include a variety of momentously inconsequential events.  Among them:

·       Several Nobel laureates will physically hand the Ig Nobel Prizes to the new winners:

o   Dudley Herschbach (chemistry, 1986)

o   Rich Roberts (physiology or medicine, 1993)

o   Eric Maskin (economics, 2007)

o   Jack Szostak (physiology or medicine, 2009)

o   Roy Glauber (physics, 2005)

o   and others to be announced

·       Pre-Pre-ceremony concert (at 6:45 pm, in the lobby) by the Boston Squeezebox Ensemble

·       Pre-ceremony mini-concert (at 7:10 pm, in the theater) by "KEROMIN", the Amazing FROGS

·       Two grand Paper Airplane Deluges, one at ceremony's beginning, the other at the midpoint

·       Keynote Address by Robert Kirshner

·       The 24/7 Lectures, in which several of the world's top thinkers will each explain her or his subject twice: FIRST: a complete technical description in TWENTY-FOUR (24) SECONDS, and then: a clear summary that anyone can understand, in SEVEN (7) WORDS:

o   Roy Glauber (Nobel laureate in physics, 2005): The universe

o   Erika Ebbel Angle (Science from Scientists founder, Miss Massachusetts 2004): Mass spectrometry

o   Rich Roberts (Nobel laureate in physiology or medicine, 1993): Arsenic-based life

o   Dr. Elena Bodnar (Ig Nobel Prize winner in public health, 2009): Electro-muscular incapacitation devices

·       World premiere of a brand new mini-opera: "The Intelligent Designer and The Universe" starring Maria Ferrante, Ben Sears, Roberta Gilbert, and Daniel Rosenberg, with pianist Patrick Yacono and accordionist Thomas Michel, MD, PhD. Conducted & stage directed by David Stockton.

 "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

 

AUTUMNAL EQUINOX SEPTEMBER 22nd

The September equinox 2012 is on September 22, at 14:49 UTC (or 2.49pm) – that’s 07:49 AST.

In the language of science, an equinox is either of two points on the celestial sphere where the ecliptic and the celestial equator intersect.  For the rest of us, it's one of two times a year when the sun crosses the equator, and the day and night are of approximately equal length.

At the autumnal equinox, the sun appears to cross the celestial equator, from north to south; this marks the beginning of autumn in the Northern Hemisphere, and spring in the Southern Hemisphere.

The vernal equinox, also known as “the first point of Aries,” is the point at which the sun appears to cross the celestial equator from south to north.  This occurs about March 21, marking the beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

On the date of either equinox, the sun is above the equator, and night and day are of approximately equal length; the word equinox is often used to refer to either of these dates.

The equinoxes are not fixed points on the celestial sphere but move westward along the ecliptic, passing through all the constellations of the zodiac in 26,000 years.  This motion is called the precession of the equinoxes.  The vernal equinox is a reference point in the equatorial coordinate system.

The Autumnal Equinox signals the end of the summer months and the beginning of winter.  At this time of year, days have been shortening since the Summer Solstice some three months earlier, and the Equinox is the point where nights reach the same length as days.  After this point, the Sun will shine lower and lower on the horizon until the Winter Solstice in about three months' time.
 

EQUINOX AT CHICHEN ITZA

Ancient stone masons built and aligned the Kukulkan pyramid centuries ago to project the sun's rays into a diamond-back rattlesnake of light and shadow.  On the morning and evenings of Equinox on September 22 and 23, thousands flock to Chichen Itza to view the same dramatic display.

In the fall the appearance is visible from mid August through mid October.

For optimum viewing of the serpent of light, be near the great courtyard which faces the western facet of the Kukulkan Pyramid beginning at about four in the afternoon.  The best viewing of the sight is from five days before until five days after Equinox.  Needless to say, accommodations fill up fast!  On the actual day of Equinox, people stake out their vantage point early in the day, as a great sea of humanity begins to deluge one of the great wonders of the world!
 

YOM KIPPUR, SEPT 25th – 26th

Yom Kippur 2012 begins at sunset on September 25th, 2012 and ends on the evening of the September 26th.  Yom Kippur is the Jewish Day of Atonement.  It is a major fast day that is meant to be devoted to communal and personal repentance for sins committed over the course of the previous year.  Because of the nature of Yom Kippur it is the most solemn day in the Jewish calendar.

Before Yom Kippur, many Jews perform kaparot to symbolically rid themselves of all their sins.  On Yom Kippur itself, Jews are commanded to fast as a symbol of atonement.  Other restrictions on Yom Kippur include bathing, wearing perfume, wearing shoes with leather soles, and having sexual relations.  The day is filled with prayer, beginning with Kol Nidrei in the evening, and ending with Neilah.
 

FULL MOON, SEPTEMBER 30TH 

The Full Harvest Moon is on September 30, 02:19 am AST, and it is always the full Moon occurring nearest to the Autumnal Equinox.  The Harvest Moon usually comes in September, but (on average) about every three or four years it will fall in early October.  At the peak of the harvest, Maya can work into the night by the light of this moon.  Usually the full Moon rises an average of 50 minutes later each night, but for the few nights around the Harvest Moon, the moon seems to rise at nearly the same time each night: just 25 to 30 minutes later across the Yucatan, and only 10 to 20 minutes later for much Central America. Corn, pumpkins, squash, beans, and wild rice — the chief Mayan staples — are now ready for gathering.
 

Q ROO WANTS TO ALIGN ITS TIME WITH US EAST COAST

The Staff does not fully understand this, but this is how it is being interpreted.

 Quintana Roo’s full Senate recently unanimously endorsed the opinion that reform Hours System Act, through which, and to be ratified by the House of Representatives, would create a "southeast" that includes Quintana Roo, and that it would align with the schedule of the east coast of the United States, i.e., maintain an hour apart from the center of Mexico.

The initiative, developed by Senators Francisco Labastida, the PRI, and Arturo Escobar, Green Party, was presented in full by the quintanarroense Ludivina Menchaca and approved by all 84 senators present based on two premises that proved irrefutable: saving energy and boosting competitiveness.  According to the document, the establishment of a zone in the southeast would benefit as time management interconnection of the same schedule with 8 airports in Canada and 22 in the United States

The state of Quintana Roo is located in the eastern portion of the Yucatan Peninsula, as part of its territory, Akumal, Cozumel, Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Contoy Blanca and located in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Holbox in Mexico and the islands, islets, cays and reefs adjacent to its coast.

This proposal, "can provide two more hours of sunshine for the convenience of tourists, who complain that the sun sets Cancún, often at five o'clock, or four, when they are just returning from some island, or are enjoying the open sea."  And, "the Federal Electricity Commission estimates that they could obtain energy savings between 21,000, 285 and 23,000,454 megawatt hours (Editor: that seems like an awful lot)."

The time zone change will operate once approved by the House of Representatives and is published in the Official Journal of the Federation.

 

EVENTS

There were some other Akumal "Events" in August besides the "Best Shirt Award", and they include:

·       No Place Called Home” at ONDARTE

·       ONDARTE Showing and Reception (Photographer not available)

 

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