Do you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia? Or friggatriskaidekaphobia? These are both (bogus) names (as of course you knew) for fear of Friday the thirteenth — which is today, so if you are a sufferer, maybe you should have stayed in bed (unless of course, you are reading this in bed).
Nobody really knows where this
rubbish interesting piece of folklore comes from. Sr Gioachino Rossini (who composed some of the most life-affirming music on the planet) is apparently the first person to mention it (and he died on Friday the 13th — spook-ee!!). Some say it derives from the Last Supper (there were thirteen people there), or the demise of the Knights Templar (who could have taught the Mafia a thing or two) in 1307. Then there’s all the stuff about there being thirteen steps up to the gallows, thirteen knots in the hangman’s noose (shome mishtake, shurely? — Ed). ect ect….
Then there was the book (Friday, the Thirteenth) by Thomas W Lawson, published in 1907 (there was also a ship called Thomas W Lawson — the largest schooner ever built (she had seven masts) — which was wrecked off the Isles of Scilly…. in 1907 — on Friday the 13th (spook-ee!!)). And innumerable horror films on the same theme.
However much one may regard this as nonsense (agreeable or otherwise), there are lots of people who believe in it (and the associated fear of the number thirteen itself) — many hotels have no 13th floor (especially in the US) and/or no room number 13 (they tend to call it 12A). Not every country shares this though — in Spain and Greece it’s Tuesday the 13th you should avoid, whilst in Italy it’s Friday the 17th (which rather puts the kibosh on the Last Supper theory, methinks — Ed). Maybe you should play safe and avoid Tuesday the 17th?
It’s an interesting example of confirmation bias — the propensity only to notice things (like the two spook-ee!! comments above) when they agree with your theory.
Is there such a thing as luck (good or bad) in business?
As far as bad luck’s concerned, one suspects that it’s usually a convenient excuse for the bad news which strikes from left field — either a refusal to accept that sh*t happens in business (as in life), or lack of preparedness (see Roald Amundsen in quotes section). The trick surely is to make sure (if you can) that you’ve done everything reasonably possible to manage risk, and made preparations for recovery when disasters occur.
As for good luck — sure, there’s always an element of chance about, say, meeting the right prospect — but (again see quotes section — Gary Player this time) swimming in the right pond dramatically increases the chances of catching the right fish.
All very well — but what should you do to manage risk, prepare for disaster, and swim in the right pond? Well, you could always try getting challenge and advice from seven other business owners — maybe at a meeting once a month? If that sounds good, you know where to come!
Moving on (from this
rather obvious subtle link) — here’s some horror (and other) stories you might have missed in this week’s meejah —
• continuing the horror theme….
• …. boffins with not enough to do have created the first bedroom story to have been written by Artificial Intelligence. Called The Princess and the Fox, it features a king, a magical golden horse, a forlorn princess, and a poor miller’s son, who is helped by the (talking) fox to rescue the princess from having to marry a dreadful prince whom she does not love. However, we live in a less robust age than our forebears (or three of them, anyway (HT the Goons for this merry quip)) – unlike the stories immortalised by the Brothers Grimm (which are indeed grim), this one has (according to its promoters) a more “soothing” plot. The promoters claim that “we’re doing for the Brothers Grimm what Jurassic Park did for dinosaurs – bringing them back from the dead with modern science” (clearly they never got to the end of Michael Crichton’s book — Ed). Any suggestion that they’re plagiaristic chancers will no doubt be met with strenuous denials and a writ, so the Editor will steer well clear of making it….
• …. Mr Paul de la Salle (a fossil collector from Swindon) (no jokes please) has unearthed the remains of a rather older horror – a giant ichthyosaur that measured up to 85 feet long (that’s two and a half London buses – with a lot more teeth and an even worse attitude). Mr de la S was “combing the beach” in West Somerset (we think we see what the reporter means – Ed) when he found fossil traces of the creature….
• …. an (unnamed) US citizen (who appeared to be making a gallant attempt at a Darwin Award) was admitted to A & E after suffering “excruciatingly painful ‘thunderclap’ headaches”. It turned out that two days previously he had eaten a Carolina Reaper chilli during a hot pepper eating contest. The Carolina Reaper is the hottest chilli pepper in the world, measuring up to 2.2 million Scoville units – to put that in perspective, a jalapeño goes up to 8,000 units. Several of the arteries in his brain had constricted as a result, but the symptoms cleared up by themselves (lucky boy – did you see what we did there? – Ed)….
• …. and in a horror of a different kind, today’s Times has sunk to a new low with the headline Hunt Broke Rules With Purchace [sic] Of Luxury Flats
• that’s enough horror (Ed) – turning to mystery, the mid-Devon village of Willand is rising by 2cm a year, and nobody knows why. The Times helpfully pointed out that at this rate it’s on course to be the highest place in England in 44,000 years time
• if you’re searching for new investment opportunities, you could try bidding at the Arts of the Islamic World sale at Sotheby’s for A Shaykh Remembers his Youth, a 200-year-old work billed as “one of the most lavishly illustrated erotic manuscripts in the world” (it’ll probably set you back £350,000 or so) – or alternatively (or even additionally) an “anti-capitalist beetroot” is on offer on eBay for a mere tenth of the Shaykh’s price (it’s reputed to be the very beetroot brandished in the air by My Jeremy Corbyn’s dinner companions at his recent Passover soirée with Jewdas). It’s worth pointing out that the Ed can offer you a beetroot for even less – shall we say £25,000? Or a tenner?
• the boffins continue to offer us tips for a healthy and happy life – Prof Malcolm von Schantz (of the Uni of Surrey) (von Schantz is a well-known Surrey name) reckons that early risers are nearly 10% less likely to die prematurely (I don’t believe it – Ed), while Dr Gene Hunt (of the Smithsonian, in Washington DC) tells us that, while there’s evidence that “women prefer larger and taller men”, they’d be better going for shorter fellers if the species is to survive (sound advice – Ed) (5ft 9 on a good day)
• a Moroccan newspaper has traced Her Maj’s lineage back more than 40 generations, and claims that she is a direct descendant of the prophet Mohammed (attracting a blog comment of “Allah Save The Queen”)
• Mr Ben Goldsmith (who is a millionaire environmentalist, and younger bro of Zac and Jemima) is willing to bankroll the reintroduction of wildcats in England, in an attempt to “put right moral wrongs from the past” – and to try to kill a lot of grey squirrels. Sounds dodgy to me (Ed) – after all, what can possibly go wrong?
• the good folk who live on the street of Bell End (in Rowley Regis, in the West Midlands), which attentive readers (and there is of course no other kind hem hem) will remember from a past edition of the Bluffington Post, are celebrating this week – more than 4,800 people supported a campaign to keep the name, confounding a petition from 200 people to change it (wow – must be a long street – Ed)
• and GCHQ have announced that they’re going to open an “intelligence hub” in Manchester next year. Whether this is an attempt to find any intelligence in the city, or just to use the nous that’s already there, is not recorded
Turning to Columbo Corner, there’s a crisis in Whitstable. Nothing to do with oysters – it’s the Carnival Parade. It seems that the town’s blushing maidens are increasingly reluctant to assume the role of Carnival Queen – at a selection event at Whitstable Castle on Sunday not a single girl turned up — so for the first time in the event’s 121-year history the rules have been changed to allow boys to apply (shades of Albert Herring — Britten, thou shouldst be living at this hour — Ed). Ms Janice Haydon (a former Carnival Queen) said she was sad to hear about the lack of interest, saying that “I had an absolute ball” (perhaps an infelicitous phrase in the circumstances – Ed)
Have a great weekend — and if you pass someone on the stairs whilst carrying a mirror, just before walking under a ladder, take care…..
Cheers for now
I presently run three Boards –
Dark Blue (for people who run large businesses) – one spare seat
Light Blue (for people who run large businesses) — two spare seats
White Board (for people who run fast-growing businesses) — two spare seats
“Victory awaits him who has everything in order – luck they call it. Defeat is definitely due for him, who has neglected to take the necessary precautions – bad luck they call it” (Roald Amundsen)
“The more I practise, the luckier I get” (Gary Player, when a spectator commented on Player’s luck at holing so many bunker shots)
“Of course not — but I’m told that it works even if you don’t believe it” (the nuclear physicist Niels Bohr, when a friend noticed a horseshoe hung over Bohr’s desk, and said to him “surely you don’t believe it brings you luck?”)
By Tom Morton – TAB Harrogate