The Akumalian

Akumal's Newsletter for its Extended Global Community
Quintana Roo, Mexico

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April 2014  Issue 136

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            It’s no April Fool’s joke; Akumalians need to turn the clocks ahead one hour on April 6th.  Another non-April Fool’s Day joke is that this is the last issue of The Akumalian as you have known if for the past 136 issues and 11 ½ years, as The Staff has officially retired to Cape Cod – Harwich, Massachusetts.

 However, the web site will continue in place, so that you can still go there to get to things like the past 135 issues of The Akumalian, Akumal Telephone Book, Birthdays & Anniversaries, Past Events, Photo Galleries (Akumalians and Friends of Akumal) among other things.  Just look to the menu on the left side of the page.   None of that changesThere are no plans to eliminate this site.

            Now that you know The Akumalian has been put to rest, I don’t want you to worry about where you will get your information.  I have been working with a group of local residents who don’t want the spirit of The Akumalian to die.  They are currently developing a new site to continue this legacy.  These residents are plugged-in to the community and will focus on recent and upcoming events.  Stay tuned for more information; they plan to go live in May.

 And, for additional information about Akumal and Puerto Aventuras, don’t forget to check out Sac-Be and the Pelican Free Press

This is a relatively long issue with a couple of upcoming events covering multiple pages, so get a cup of coffee, sit back, relax, and enjoy.


Aries March 21-April 20

Taurus April 21-May 20

 April Birthstone: 
April's birthstone, the diamond, is remarkably simple in composition, yet stunning in its unique ability to reflect and refract light into vivid flashes of brilliant color.  The ancient Hindus called the Diamond "Vajra," meaning lightening, both because of the sparks of light thrown off by this gem as well as its invincible strength.  The diamond is harder than any other substance on earth. 

April Flower: 
The month of April is represented by the daisy.  Daisies have long been associated with innocence.  The large vibrant blooms of the gerbera daisy have made it a favorite among flower lovers.



Birthdays and Anniversaries    ¡Feliz cumpleanos!
1          Marcy Essy
1          Holly Sheffield
4          Diane Firth
4          Maggie McKown
5          Ivan Mauricio Perez
6          Mary Sue Northcutt
7          Holly Batting
7          Seddon Wylde
8          Sam Goby
10        Butch
10        Michelle Bliss
11        Judy James
12        Didier Jackson
15        Monica Estrada
16        Melody Cook
18        Lucy James
18        Jody Allen
19        Greg Goudy
20        Jan Koenst
21        Zoe Alexis Gonzalez Campbell
23        Sharon Wandler
25        Lindsay Firth
26        George Pritchard
27        Gary Sparks
27        Jerry & Lois Radlinsky Anniversary

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

 Missed March birthdays:
Got them all.


Beijing, will host the 2014 World Men’s CurlingChampionship.  The event will take place from March 29 to April 6, 2014.  The award of the 2014 World Men’s Championship to Beijing is a major landmark in the development of curling.  It will be the first time that a World Men’s Curling Championship will be staged in the Pacific-Asia zone.  In the last decade we have witnessed a surge in growth of curling in the region.  Following on from the World Women’s Curling Championships in Japan in 2007 and Korea in 2009, China will now host the top twelve men’s Teams in the world.


Unlike most of the other non-foolish holidays, the history of April Fool's Day, sometimes called All Fool's Day, is not totally clear.  There really wasn't a "first April Fool's Day" that can be pinpointed on the calendar.  Some believe it sort of evolved simultaneously in several cultures at the same time, from celebrations involving the first day of spring.

The closest point in time that can be identified as the beginning of this tradition was in 1582, in France.  Prior to that year, the new year was celebrated for eight days, beginning on March 25.  The celebration culminated on April 1.  With the reform of the calendar under Charles IX, the Gregorian Calendar was introduced, and New Year's Day was moved to January 1.

However, communications being what they were in the days when news traveled by foot, many people did not receive the news for several years.  Others, the more obstinate crowd, refused to accept the new calendar and continued to celebrate the new year on April 1.  These backward folk were labeled as "fools" by the general populace.  They were subject to some ridicule, and were often sent on "fool’s errands" or were made the butt of other practical jokes.

This harassment evolved, over time, into a tradition of prank-playing on the first day of April.  The tradition eventually spread to England and Scotland in the eighteenth century.  It was later introduced to the American colonies of both the English and French.  April Fool's Day thus developed into an international fun fest, so to speak, with different nationalities specializing in their own brand of humor at the expense of their friends and families.

In Scotland, for example, April Fool's Day is actually celebrated for two days.  The second day is devoted to pranks involving the posterior region of the body.  It is called Taily Day.  The origin of the "kick me" sign can be traced to this observance.

Mexico's counterpart of April Fool's Day is actually observed on December 28.  Originally, the day was a sad remembrance of the slaughter of the innocent children by King Herod.  It eventually evolved into a lighter commemoration involving pranks and trickery.   


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 heads the judging committee to select the “Best Shirt” for April. 

Antonio Bolio was the winner for March, and you can see all the photos at Best Shirt Award, March.    Congratulations.

This is one of the main sections of The Akumalian that requires eyes, ears, and feet on the ground in Akumal, especially around the Lol Ha Beach Bar. The Staff is now on Cape Cod, and if local photographers can be found each month, The Akumalian will continue to post the photos from this world renown event.


While you are there at the Beach Bar for Robin’s Best Shirt Award, be advised that there also is a Spaghetti All You Can Eat Buffet Fundraiser to help the Akumal Pueblo Secondary School with their wish list (they will be there with pictures and information about their needs) going on there from 5pm – 8pm.  The charge is just $150 pesos and includes mixed green salad and fresh made garlic toast.  And, to keep you movin’ & groovin’, Errol the Entertainer will be there with music to get you up and dancing.

Get a preview at  


In Akumal, Daylight Saving Time begins at 2:00 a.m. local time on the first Sunday in April.  On the last Sunday in October (the 26th ), Akumal falls back to Standard Time at 2:00 a.m.  The names in each time zone change along with Daylight Saving Time.  Central Standard Time (CST) becomes Central Daylight Time (CDT), and so forth.  The state of Sonora does not observe Daylight Saving Time.

Mexico uses three time zones.  Most of the country uses Central Standard Time.


The 2014 Masters Tournament will be the 78th edition of the Masters Tournament, the first of golf's four major championships.  It is scheduled to be held April 7–13 at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia.  The Masters is one of the four major championships in men's professional golf.


Please be advised that the HST (Hubble Space Telescope) will be visible in the early morning hours of April 8th as it flies over Akumal.  It will be flying out of the WNW towards ESE at 5:53am.


On April 12, 1934, the second highest surface wind measured anywhere on earth was clocked by the staff of the Mount Washington (New Hampshire) Observatory.  This "World Record Wind" of 231 miles per hour has become the stuff of legend, but what is the meaning of that decades-old record?

First and foremost, the World Record Wind is a testimony of the real extremes that can rule on Mount Washington.  Significant cold, abundant snowfall, dense fog, heavy icing, and exceptional winds are a prominent feature of Mount Washington's environment.  Yes, there are colder places, such as Antarctica, and snowier places, such as some peaks in the Cascade Range. However, Mount Washington, a small peak by global standards, really does have weather that can rival some of the most rugged places on earth.  There are days each winter when the combination of life-threatening weather factors on Mount Washington is remarkably similar to weather extremes which have been recorded in the polar regions and on peaks three or four times Mount Washington's height.  The World Record Wind is one benchmark testifying to the mountain's truly severe weather.

 New Hampshire's Presidential Range includes the highest peaks in the Northeast.  Mount Washington, at 6,288 feet, is the highest in the range, and is the only peak in the Northeastern United States which exceeds 6,000 feet in elevation.

The Presidential Range forms a ridgeline, about twelve miles in length.  Perhaps the Range's most remarkable feature is its extensive area above treeline, the greatest contiguous alpine area in the United States east of the Mississippi.  Treeline here, which averages about 4,500 feet, is significantly lower than in mountains in the west, thanks to the extreme climatic conditions, including cold temperatures, high winds, and frequent atmospheric icing.  The unusual conditions above treeline have led to a fascinating landscape, seemingly barren, but decorated with low spruce and fir scrub and a variety of alpine plants, whose bright blooming usually occurs in a brief period from mid-June to late July.

In New England it is said, “If you can ski here, you can ski anywhere”.


Passover (Hebrew, Yiddish: פֶּסַח, Pesach, Tiberian: pɛsaħ, Israeli: Pesah, Pesakh, Yiddish: Peysekh) is a Jewish and Samaritan holy day and festival commemorating God sparing the Israelites when he killed the first born of Egypt, and is followed by the seven day Feast of the Unleavened Bread commemorating the Exodus from Egypt and the liberation of the Israelites from slavery.

Passover begins on the 15th day of the month of Nisan (equivalent to March and April in Gregorian calendar), the full moon of that month, the first month of the Hebrew calendar's festival year according to the Hebrew Bible.

In the story of the Exodus, the Bible tells that God inflicted ten plagues upon the Egyptians before Pharaoh would release his Israelite slaves, with the tenth plague being the killing of firstborn sons.  However, the Israelites were instructed to mark the doorposts of their homes with the blood of a spring lamb, and upon seeing this, the spirit of the Lord passed over these homes, hence the term "passover".  When Pharaoh freed the Israelites, it is said that they left in such a hurry that they could not wait for bread to rise. In commemoration, for the duration of Passover, no leavened bread is eaten, for which reason it is also called חַג הַמַּצּוֹת (Chag HaMatzot), "The Festival of the Unleavened Bread".  Matza (unleavened bread) is the primary symbol of the holiday.  This bread that is flat and unrisen is called Matzo.

Together with Shavuot ("Pentecost") and Sukkot ("Tabernacles"), Passover is one of the three pilgrim festivals (Shalosh Regalim) during which the entire Jewish populace historically made a pilgrimage to the Temple in Jerusalem.  Samaritans still make this pilgrimage to Mount Gerizim, but only men participate in public worship.


            This is one of the main sections of The Akumalian that  requires eyes, ears, and feet on the ground in Akumal, especially around the Lol Ha Beach Bar, but because The Staff is now on Cape Cod, there is a slight deficiency in the reporting.  Based on previous April issues, there usually is quite a bit of activity in this section.



Visitors in March:

  • Richard Dooley and Kelly Zhuo were here for the Best Shirt Award.
  • Joel & Katie Datica were also here for that event.
  • Sherri & Larry Jackson were here for a few days in mid-March.

 Coming in April

  • It is reported that Terry Turner will be back in South Akumal for a short visit.


            The snow birds have been flocking and circling Akumal as they return north for the summer.  Some left in March, and more are leaving in April.  Who will reach Capistrano first?

  • Lynn Chase and Rick Tompkins have returned to Maine after wintering in AA.
  • Steve & Judy Holz are also bailing out of Aventuras Akumal.
  • Richard & Cami Mazzola return to California on the 2nd for the season
  • Richard & Arlene Pargot return to New Jersey on the 1st.
  • Steve & Kathleen Cole are leaving Casa Colibri and heading back to Alaska.
  • Hollis & George are leaving early April.
  • Tom & Judy Baxter head north to Canada on April 19th.



Mark your calendars!  The last day to file your 2013 taxes to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is on Tuesday, April 15, 2014.

For those wanting to file a tax extension, basically asking the IRS that you need more time to file your tax return, you will have until October 16, 2014 to do so.  Keep in mind that asking for an extension of time to file does not mean that you can wait on any payments owed to the government.  If you will owe any money for underpaid taxes, then you may be slapped with interest charges and/or a penalty for paying late (the fee is about 5% per month interest on the balance due).


The Full Pink Moon is on Apr 15, 2014, 02:42am AST.

The grass pink or wild ground phlox is one of the earliest widespread flowers of the spring.  Other names were the Full Sprouting Grass Moon, the Egg Moon, and -- among coastal Maya tribes -- the Full Fish Moon, when the barracuda swam inland to the cenotes to spawn.  This is also the Paschal Full Moon; the first full Moon of the spring season.  The first Sunday following the Paschal Moon is Easter Sunday, which indeed will be observed six days later on Sunday, April 20. 


Emancipation Day is a holiday in Washington DC to mark the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act, which president Abraham Lincoln signed on April 16, 1862.  It is annually held on April 16.  In all other areas of the United States, April 16 is a normal day and public life is not affected.

Formal slavery was legal from 1619 until 1865 in the area that is now the United States.  Many slaves were of African origin and many slave owners were of European descent, although some other groups also had slaves.  By 1860, there were about four million slaves in the United States.  On April 16, 1862, Abraham Lincoln, who was the US president at the time, signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, which freed more than 3,000 slaves in the District of Columbia.  However, slavery did not officially end in the rest of the United States until after the American Civil War, which lasted from 1861 until 1865.

The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution formally ended slavery in the US.  It was proposed on January 31, 1865, and ratified by 30 of the then 36 states in the same year.  However, it was only ratified in Mississippi in 1995.  Slavery and the racial divisions, upon which it was based, have had and continue to have huge implications for individuals and American society as a whole.

Emancipation Day in Washington DC marks the anniversary of the signing of the Compensated Emancipation Act.  On January 4, 2005, legislation was signed to make Emancipation Day an official public holiday in the District of Columbia.  Elsewhere in the United States, the emancipation of slaves is celebrated in Florida (May 20), Puerto Rico (March 22) and Texas (June 19).  There are also similar events in many countries in the Caribbean, including Anguilla, Bahamas, Bermuda, Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.  Many of these events occur during the first week of August as slavery was abolished in the British Empire on August 1, 1834.


On Easter Sunday, Christians celebrate the resurrection of the Lord, Jesus Christ.  It is typically the most well-attended Sunday service of the year for Christian churches.  Christians believe, according to Scripture, that Jesus came back to life, or was raised from the dead, three days after his death on the cross.  As part of the Easter season, the death of Jesus Christ by crucifixion, is commemorated on Good Friday, always the Friday just before Easter.  Through his death, burial and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, thus purchasing for all who believe in him, eternal life in Christ Jesus.

In Western Christianity, Easter marks the ending of Lent, a 40-day period of fasting, repentance, moderation and spiritual discipline in preparation for Easter.  Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.

The Annual Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival
On Easter Sunday, you have the opportunity to see Easter bonnets to the New York City extreme as "paraders" wander along Fifth Avenue from 49th to 57th Streets.  The area around St. Patrick's Cathedral is the ideal place to see the parade.  The Easter Parade and Easter Bonnet Festival runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.

 When and Where is the Easter Parade and Bonnet Festival in Akumal?  There’s plenty of time to organize something.  Maybe, just maybe, the Robin’s Best Shirt Award Committee (Mary Henderson) and/or the Lol Ha Beach Bar Best Easter Bonnet Committee (Stephanie & Russ Motley) could arrange for an Akumal Best Easter Bonnet Award on Friday, April 18, in conjunction with the 3 days after the full moon, open to both women and men.


For Mexico, Easter is a combination of Semana Santa (Holy Week - Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday).  For most Mexicans, this 2 week period is THE time of year for vacation; good time to not be on the highways - just stay put and enjoy Akumal during this holiday season.

Semana Santa celebrates the last days of the Christ's life, and Pascua is the celebration of the Christ's Resurrection.  It is also the release from the sacrifices of Lent.

In many communities, the full Passion Play is enacted from the Last Supper, the Betrayal, the Judgment, the Procession of the 12 Stations of the Cross, the Crucifixion and, finally, the Resurrection.  In some communities, flagellation and/or real crucifixion is included.  The enactments are often wondrously staged, costumed and acted, with participants preparing for their roles for nearly the full year leading up to Semana Santa.


            Semana Santa and Pascua make up the busiest time of the year in Akumal, and this year is no exception.  But there is an exception this year on crowd control, at least at the entrance to Akumal.  The Akumal powers have worked together and with the Municipality to ensure that residents and visitors have a safe and enjoyable experience during this period.  It does seem to be working.

            First, there is NO PARKING on the entrance road, at all.  Both sides of the road have been lined with big orange markers that are roped together, and to enforce the NO PARKING, there is a strong contingent of police on hand.  The police are diligently working in a number of places to keep the traffic moving.

Second, the Akumal Pirates have opened a parking lot on the left side of the entrance road, just before the new pharmacy, also run by pirates, and the parking lot across the street is also available, albeit with a fee.

Third, there is an ambulance on the road beside Super Chomak, and its presence is very refreshing and reassuring.  Hopefully, it will not be needed for anything too serious.


Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Veterans' Day are four distinctly American tributes to liberties, freedom and democracy, commemorated by a holiday in the United States.

 …They began to hear the rattle of musketry in the distance. Sam Adams turned to his companion and said, “It is a fine day!” “Very pleasant,” John Hancock replied serenely, thinking that Adams was talking about the weather.“I mean,” Sam Adams explained, as if to a child, “this is a glorious day for America.”

 -Paul Revere’s Ride, by David Hackett Fischer

 In Massachusetts, 235 years after the famous “Shot heard ‘round the world,” residents and visitors alike are still celebrating the momentous Battles of Lexington and Concord.  Patriots Day, a state holiday established in 1969 to commemorate the opening battles of the American Revolutionary War, is observed on the third Monday in April to coincide with the public school system’s April Vacation.  Festivities stretch over an entire weekend with parades, reenactments and commemorative ceremonies in Boston, Lexington, Concord and surrounding towns.

 For New Englanders, Patriot’s Day remains the quintessential observance: the anniversary of the beginning of the American Revolutionary War with skirmishes between British troops and the Minute Men of Concord and Lexington, Massachusetts, and preceded by Paul Revere's famous Midnight Ride.  This uniquely New England holiday is celebrated only in the states of Massachusetts and Maine.

 It should not be confused with Patriot Day, held on September 11 to mark the anniversary of terrorist attacks in the USA in 2001.

The events of more than two centuries ago in April 1775, now commemorated as the Patriot’s Day holiday in Massachusetts and Maine, marked a turning point in the long struggle between England and her American colonies. In a march of protest and petition, which turned into revolution and independence, the fighting on April 19, 1775 foreshadowed the rebellious action of the American colonies in ultimately creating a new nation, the United States of America.  Originally celebrated on April 19, Patriot’s Day was moved to the third Monday of April in 1969.

For runners, Patriot’s Day has become synonymous with the Boston Marathon or, as locals often refer to the day, Marathon Monday.   While "the shot heard 'round the world" continues to reverberate in re-enactments of the historic events, the sound of gunfire also will ring clearly in Hopkinton this Patriot’s Day to signal the start of the 116th Boston Marathon and to recall the ideals of the American Revolution.  

The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon.  In 2011, the Boston Marathon attracted 26,895 entrants and about 500,000 spectators.

The Boston area is a uniquely and profoundly American locale; there's no better venue and no better occasion than the 118th Boston Marathon and Patriots' Day to showcase the spirit. 

Because of the bombing in 2013, the B.A.A. and public safety officials from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and the eight cities and towns along the 26.2-mile course are asking official participants to comply with new security policies, including a no-bag policy.  No bags will be allowed in certain areas at or near the start in Hopkinton, at or near the finish in Boston, or along the course.  Bags will not be allowed on buses from Boston to Hopkinton, and bags will not be transported from Hopkinton back to Boston.  At the conclusion of the race and new for 2014, the B.A.A. will provide participants with a Heatsheet Warmth Retention Cape for warmth.

And then there’s the Red Sox.

Patriots Day Red Sox games are very special for Boston fans.  The Boston Red Sox have been scheduled to play home at Fenway Park in Boston Massachusetts on Patriots Day every year since 1959.  Every year, on the third Monday in April, the Red Sox play host to the only morning game on the entire Major League Baseball schedule.  The annual 11:05 a.m. game at Fenway Park is part of the festivities of Patriot’s Day, a federally recognized holiday in Massachusetts.  This year, the Boston Red Sox are playing the Baltimore Orioles at Fenway Park.


This is another one of the main sections of The Akumalian that requires eyes, ears, and feet on the ground in Akumal, especially around the Lol Ha Beach Bar, but because The Staff is now on Cape Cod, there is a huge deficiency in this section.   











Citrus growers in the Gulf Coast state of Veracruz guard their groves as lime prices surge to the point that pistol-packing thieves pick pieces of fruit right off their trees.  Truckers, meanwhile, travel with escorts — especially after criminals started targeting their vehicles and commandeered a cargo of limes worth nearly $50,000 this month.  Limes have always been a coveted crop in Mexico, where a squirt of the small citrus brightens the taste of everything from tacos to tequila to guacamole.

            "There are a lot of people stealing limes, even entering the groves with weapons," says Adriana Melchor, director of fruit exporter Inverafrut.

            Newspapers are covering the shortages as prices rise to more than $6 per kilogram (2.2 pounds) in some places.  La Prensa, a tabloid catering to the cost-conscious working classes, replaced its usual blood-soaked front-page photos with the headline: "Like Meat!" and a subhead saying limes sell for the same price as chicken.

Vendors say sales are on the decline, even though limes — along with chilies and salt — accompany many Mexican dishes.  "One year ago it was 15 to 20 pesos ($1.15 to $1.50) per kilogram. Now it's 50 pesos" ($3.80), says Mario Aguilar, who sells fruit from a market near the president's residence in Mexico City and reports people purchasing half of what they used to buy.

But a combination of poor winter weather, plagues and threats from organized crime have caused production to plunge and prices to rise — a trend that has many Mexicans calling the citrus "green gold."

            The consumer prosecutor's office, Profeco, says prices have on average increased by 221% since December and promises to prosecute anyone hoarding the fruit or speculating.  Profeco's director, Lorena Martínez, said the sanctions for speculation include prison terms of up to 10 years.

            Melchor insists no one is hoarding any fruit — at least not in Veracruz, one of Mexico's three main growing regions and an area famous for its production of Persian limes, which are exported to the U.S. and Europe.

     Production in the groves has dropped from 20 tons per day to 3 tons per day, while customers in the USA have offered as much as $90 for a 40-pound box of limes, she says — more than seven times the price of $12 per box paid last year.  Melchor blames bad weather.  Hurricane Ingrid stormed through last September, and unusually cold winter temperatures made matters worse.

Producers in other parts of Mexico who supply the domestic market with a smaller, more acidic lime variety suffered other problems such as a plague that wiped out the crop in the western state of Colima.  In the neighboring state of Michaocán, where self-defense groups formed to fight off drug cartels carrying out crimes like kidnap and extortion, a spokesman for the growers' association also blames bad weather.  But he acknowledged that insecurity prevented some producers from working their lime groves last year.

            Mexican retailers reject any allegations of jacking up prices.


The Lyrids meteor shower is usually active between April 16 and April 25 every year.  It tends to peak around April 22 or April 23.  Considered to be the oldest known meteor shower, the Lyrids are named after constellation Lyra.  The radiant point of the shower - the point in the sky where the meteors seem to emerge from - lies near the star Vega, one of the brightest stars in the sky during this time of the year.

The Lyrids are associated with comet Thatcher, which takes about 415 years to orbit around the Sun. Usually, the hour before dawn is best, regardless of your location on the globe.  The Lyrids are generally a modest shower, offering perhaps 10 to 20 meteors per hour in a dark, moonless sky.  What, no meteors? No problem.  Use your time outdoors to check out the constellation Lyra the Harp.

The Lyrid meteors – April’s “shooting stars” – tend to be bright and often leave trails.  About 10-20 meteors per hour at peak can be expected.  Plus, the Lyrids are known for uncommon surges that can sometimes bring the rate up to 100 per hour.  Those rare outbursts are not easy to predict, but they’re one of the reasons the tantalizing Lyrids are worth checking out.  The radiant for this shower is in the constellation Lyra, which rises in the northeast at about 10 p.m.  Fortunately, this year, the new moon guarantees a dark sky in the late night and morning hours, the best time to watch the Lyrid shower.  As a general rule, the greatest number of Lyrid meteors fall in the dark hours before dawn.  The optimal night will probably be from late night April 21 until dawn April 22, though the night before or after (April 21/22 and April 22/23) may also offer a sprinkling of Lyrid meteors.  

The Lyrid Meteor Shower is named after the constellation Lyra, as the meteors appear to be falling from the constellation.  The debris that forms the Lyrid shower is dust from the comet C/1861 G1, known as Thatcher.  The swift and bright Lyrid meteors disintegrate after hitting our atmosphere at a moderate speed of 29.8 miles per second.  


Earth Day 2014, April 22, will mark the 44rd anniversary of Earth Day.

As the 44rd Anniversary of Earth Day approaches, people are becoming frustrated with the failure of governments to take any steps toward protecting and preserving the environment.  The Earth Day 2014 campaign is designed to provide people with the opportunity to unite their voices in a call for a sustainable future and direct them toward quantifiable outcomes, using vehicles such as petitions, the Billion Acts of Green campaign, and events.

By Senator Gaylord Nelson, Founder of Earth Day

What was the purpose of Earth Day? How did it start? These are the questions I am most frequently asked.

Actually, the idea for Earth Day evolved over a period of seven years starting in 1962. For several years, it had been troubling me that the state of our environment was simply a non-issue in the politics of the country. Finally, in November 1962, an idea occurred to me that was, I thought, a virtual cinch to put the environment into the political "limelight" once and for all. The idea was to persuade President Kennedy to give visibility to this issue by going on a national conservation tour. I flew to Washington to discuss the proposal with Attorney General Robert Kennedy, who liked the idea. So did the President. The President began his five-day, eleven-state conservation tour in September 1963. For many reasons the tour did not succeed in putting the issue onto the national political agenda. However, it was the germ of the idea that ultimately flowered into Earth Day.

 I continued to speak on environmental issues to a variety of audiences in some twenty-five states. All across the country, evidence of environmental degradation was appearing everywhere, and everyone noticed except the political establishment. The environmental issue simply was not to be found on the nation's political agenda. The people were concerned, but the politicians were not.

After President Kennedy's tour, I still hoped for some idea that would thrust the environment into the political mainstream. Six years would pass before the idea that became Earth Day occurred to me while on a conservation speaking tour out West in the summer of 1969. At the time, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, called "teach-ins," had spread to college campuses all across the nation. Suddenly, the idea occurred to me - why not organize a huge grassroots protest over what was happening to our environment?

            I was satisfied that if we could tap into the environmental concerns of the general public and infuse the student anti-war energy into the environmental cause, we could generate a demonstration that would force this issue onto the political agenda. It was a big gamble, but worth a try.

At a conference in Seattle in September 1969, I announced that in the spring of 1970 there would be a nationwide grassroots demonstration on behalf of the environment and invited everyone to participate. The wire services carried the story from coast to coast. The response was electric. It took off like gangbusters. Telegrams, letters, and telephone inquiries poured in from all across the country. The American people finally had a forum to express its concern about what was happening to the land, rivers, lakes, and air - and they did so with spectacular exuberance. For the next four months, two members of my Senate staff, Linda Billings and John Heritage, managed Earth Day affairs out of my Senate office.

Five months before Earth Day, on Sunday, November 30, 1969, The New York Times carried a lengthy article by Gladwin Hill reporting on the astonishing proliferation of environmental events: "Rising concern about the environmental crisis is sweeping the nation's campuses with an intensity that may be on its way to eclipsing student discontent over the war in Vietnam...a national day of observance of environmental being planned for next spring...when a nationwide environmental 'teach-in'...coordinated from the office of Senator Gaylord Nelson is planned...."

 The first Earth Day was held on April 22, 1970. Over 20 million people participated and it is now observed each year by more than 500 million people and national governments in 175 countries. Senator Gaylord Nelson, an environmental activist in the U.S. Senate, took a leading role in organizing the celebration, to demonstrate popular political support for an environmental agenda. He modeled it on the highly effective Vietnam War protests of the time.

 Check out the CEA web site at and watch for the CEA Newsletter for up-to-date information on the Earth Day Programs CEA is organizing.


Arbor Day (from the Latin feminine noun arbor, simply meaning tree) is a holiday in which individuals and groups are encouraged to plant and care for trees. 

The first Arbor Day took place on April 10, 1872 in Nebraska.  It was the brainchild of Julius Sterling Morton (1832-1902), a Nebraska journalist and politician originally from Michigan.  Throughout his long and productive career, Morton worked to improve agricultural techniques in his adopted state and throughout the United States when he served as President Grover Cleveland's Secretary of Agriculture.  But his most important legacy is Arbor Day.

Morton (photo, right) felt that Nebraska's landscape and economy would benefit from the wide-scale planting of trees.  He set an example himself planting orchards, shade trees and wind breaks on his own farm and he urged his neighbors to follow suit.  Morton's real opportunity, though, arrived when he became a member of Nebraska's state board of agriculture.  He proposed that a special day be set aside dedicated to tree planting and increasing awareness of the importance of trees.  Nebraska's first Arbor Day was an amazing success.  More than one million trees were planted.  A second Arbor Day took place in 1884 and the young state made it an annual legal holiday in 1885, using April 22nd to coincide with Morton's birthday.

In the years following that first Arbor Day, Morton's idea spread beyond Nebraska with Kansas, Tennessee, Minnesota and Ohio all proclaiming their own Arbor Days.  Today all 50 states celebrate Arbor Day although the dates may vary in keeping with the local climate.  (State Arbor Days) At the federal level, in 1970, President Richard Nixon proclaimed the last Friday in April as National Arbor Day.  Arbor Day is also now celebrated in other countries including Australia.  Variations are celebrated as 'Greening Week' of Japan, 'The New Year's Days of Trees' in Israel, 'The Tree-loving Week' of Korea, 'The Reforestation Week' of Yugoslavia, 'The Students' Afforestation Day' of Iceland and 'The National Festival of Tree Planting' in India.  Julius Sterling Morton would be proud.  Sometimes one good idea can make a real difference.

For the homeowner, Arbor Day is an excellentopportunity to take stock of the trees on your property and plan for the future.  Inspect your trees.  Note any broken branches or evidence of disease or insect infestation.  Think about how planting new trees might improve the look of your property or provide wind or heat protection.  Take a trip to your local nursery to see what's available and to get new ideas.  Walk around your neighborhood.  Are there any public areas where tree planting or tree maintenance might make a real difference to your community?  Talk with your neighbors.  Find out what their opinions are.  And, oh yes, plant a tree.

Mexico celebrates National Tree Day on the second Thursday of July; i.e. July 11.


Stand Up! Records is proud to present The 3rd Annual Akumal Comedy Festival.  The festival will take place on April 29 - May 3, 2014 in the heart of Mexico's lovely Mayan Riviera.  The Akumal Comedy Festival is produced by Stand Up! Records, and promoted by Comedy Playa (formerly, Comedy Below Sea Level).  2014 will be the first year that the festival officially branches out into Tulum and Playa del Carmen with a show at Mateo’s in Tulum on April 29, and a Press Party kick off event at legendary Wah Wah Beach Bar on April 30.

This completely not for profit comedy festival will feature over a dozen professional comedians from the United States performing eight shows across Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Akumal over 5 days.  The Festival is the brain child of Grammy Award winning president and founder of Stand Up! Records Dan Schlissel and comedian/actor Gus Lynch (Saving Silverman, North Country, I Spy), who seek to showcase the finest professional and fastest rising stars in stand up comedy, as well as the people, restaurants, and businesses of Akumal.  This festival will be fundraising for the Mexican Red Cross Tulum and Playa del Carmen Chapters, who are the first responders in most accidents and medical emergencies here in the Riviera Maya, and are completely self funded.

The Akumal Comedy Festival will be celebrated in 4 venues 5 days starting in Tulum on April 29, 2014.  The Festival will culminate on Saturday, May 3, 2014 in Akumal featuring a "Best of the Fest" lineup, live music, regional dancers, street vendors and artists, as well as plenty of food, beverage, and alcohol options.  Check out the festival schedule and our talent to see who’s performing!

            The lineup for 2014 has just been released, and will feature Tim Harmston (Late Show with David Letterman, Comedy Central, NBC’s Last Comic Standing), Ray Harrington (Comedy Central), Mary Mack (Just For Laughs Festival, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, Comedy Central's Live at Gotham), Paul Hooper (HBO Comedy Festival in Vegas, the Boston Comedy Festival, Michael Moore and Jeff Garlin’s Traverse City Comedy Arts Festival), and Chris Garcia (NPR’s This American Life, WTF with Marc Maron).

            One guy to watch out for is award winning comic Turner Sparks (son of Myrna Sparks from Playa Caribe) who is coming in from the Kung Fu Komedy Club in Shanghai to share with us stories of expat living in China.


 Children's Day is recognized on various days in many places around the world, to honor children globally.  It was established in 1954 to protect children working long hours in dangerous circumstances and allow all children access to an education.

In Mexico, Children's Day is celebrated on April 30.  It is also known as "El Día Del Niño". On this day teachers in schools organize the day for their children.  Lessons are suspended for the day.  They organize games, music, and the children bring in their favorite foods to share with others. Some families also have a day out with their children.  There are special activities for the children in parks and sports centers. Sometimes, also, the children will be given presents by their families.  This is the day when children are really honored in Mexico.


Once again, Robin’s “Best Shirt Award, was the “Event” of the month. 


The final word is "Akumalian", not the "Aku-male-ian".


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