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The man who exhibited his brilliance when he said, "Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy," left a glaring omission on his short list of life's inevitabilities (death and taxes).

Barring the former, Friday the 13th is unavoidable, and it's back again today in all its ominous glory.

Here's the real bad news: This is one of three in the first seven months of 2012.

That's as many as one year can have. We skated through 2011 with the minimum of one, in May -- the same day the National Weather Service issued a flood warning for the Yaak River. Coincidence?

Triple Fridays the 13th pop up at irregular intervals -- the last one just three years ago, the next one three years from now and the one after that in 2026. But the unlucky January-April-July trifecta happens only in a leap year, and then just once every 28 years.

That means the last of those came in the Orwellian year of 1984. This one occurs as doomsday approaches, or so believe those who subscribe to the Mayan prophecy that we'll meet our maker on Dec. 21, 2012.

Who knows how many times the world will end before 2040, our next Friday the 13th blitz?

Or how many more times Disney will re-release "Beauty and the Beast," which comes again to a theater near us on Friday, this time in 3-D?

As unsavory a reputation for mishap and misfortune as Friday the 13th possesses, you've got to admit the numerology involved is a thing of beauty. On the Gregorian calendar that hangs in most of our kitchens, only months that begin on a Sunday have 13ths on a Friday.

Wikipedia cites a study that appeared in American Mathematical Monthly in 1933 to note that the 13th day of the month is more likely to fall on a Friday than on any other day of the week -- 688 times in a 400-year cycle, as opposed to a mere 687 times for runners-up Sunday and Wednesday. Badly beaten Thursday and Saturday bring up the rear at a mere 684 -- none of which is nearly as fascinating as the knowledge that there's such a thing as American Mathematical Monthly.

Turns out it was founded in 1894 and continues to be cranked out 10 times a year by the Mathematical Association of America. Most subscribers reportedly get it for the pictures.

Montana's first legal execution occurred on a Friday the 13th, in August of 1875. William Wheatley was hanged in Helena for his part in the gruesome murder of Austrian-born Franz Warl, at Warl's charcoal-burning pit west of Helena.

Thirteen years earlier, on Friday, Feb. 13, 1862, Adeline and Robert Pelkey welcomed a new son to their home at Grass Valley, some three miles west of Hell Gate. Jefferson Henry Pelkey thus became the first child born to white parents in what became Montana.

Montana Grizzly basketball players were the lucky ones on Friday, Jan. 13, 1933. School officials had lined up an exhibition game against the Heiji Midgets of Japan in what's now known as Schreiber Gym. True to their name, the Midgets averaged 5-foot-5. The Grizzlies won 67-19.

As we slalom through a course of ill-starred 13ths in upcoming months, there's a silver lining to keep in mind. Once we get past July 13, and assuming the world doesn't end in December, we won't have another Friday the 13th until September 2013. That 14-month reprieve is the longest mankind can go without one.

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