12/12/12: On this rare date, the many ways we delve into twelve

It will be another 100 years before we see another Dec. 12, ’12.

Happy 12/12/2012.

The numerically patterned date snuck up on us, with comparatively little fanfare outside of the bogus 12/12 Mayan End of Times meme. (Or was it supposed to be 12/21?)

For the record, no civil ceremonies were scheduled at Hood River County Clerk’s office, though neighboring Multnomah County has more than a dozen intended couples wanting to take advantage of a 12/12/12 nuptial.

On this day of triple-12s, it’s interesting to consider how pervasive the number is and always has been. After all, what’s truly worth celebrating are those mundane aspects of life that don’t get circled on most people’s calendars.

The number is spiritually and culturally significant in many ways: there are the 12 disciples, and for Jewish children 12 is the “age of accountability,” vis-à-vis the keeping of the Commandments. We also have the Zodiac with its 12 symbols, and the 12 Labors of Hercules. Also, the basic color wheel contains 12 possible variations.

For 12’s timeliness, we cannot forget the 12 hours on the clock, 12 months in the year and, of course, 12 minutes in a basketball quarter.

Movies include 12 Angry Men, 12 Monkeys, The Dirty Dozen, High Noon, The 12 Chairs, and 12 O’Clock High.

Another set of 12 is one you might not think of, though it is found right at our fingertips: the 12 “F” functions on the top row of the keyboard.

As ubiquitous as 12 may be, when you think about it in our culture there are basically just three commodities we routinely group by 12; roses, eggs and donuts.

Unless it’s a baker’s dozen, which is really 13, just another symbol of bad luck.

But something that may go in the opposite direction of a baker’s dozen is the Group of 12, the list of global economic powerhouses: Given the state of the world economy, after 2012 we may have to say G-11 or G-10.

Worth noting, too, is that other economic powerhouse, China, uses a 12-year cycle of time-reckoning called Early Branches, termed pinyin, which translates literally to “12 branches.”

The Chinese, like us, are always oriented to sets of 12, but in a larger arc of time.

According to timeanddate.com, 12/12/12 is the last of its kind for 88 years. The next time three numericals in a date repeat will be Jan. 1, 2101, or 01/01/01.

To put it in perspective, someone who is 12 years old on 12/12/12 will be 100 when 01/01/01 comes around


What kinds of things will happen in your world at 12:12.12 p.m. on 12/12/12? Let us know how you mark the occasion, at hrnews@hoodrivernews.com.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See www.co.hood-river.or.us to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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