Titanic News & Musings

Photo:Daemonic Kangaroo(Wikipedia)
Photo:Daemonic Kangaroo(Wikipedia)

Titanic Memorial Plaque Not Stolen Reports BBC News
A Titanic memorial plaque at Vokes Park in Southampton, UK was thought stolen earlier this week. The plaque, erected in the 1990’s by the British Titanic Society, was in fact removed by staff of Associated British Ports. The plaque had fallen off its plinth and was in danger of being stolen reports BBC News. The plaque will be returned and affixed to prevent it from being stolen but the date has not been announced.
Source: Southampton docks Titanic memorial plaque mystery solved (24 Nov 2016, BBC News)

Photo: Mossgreen Auctioneers
Photo: Mossgreen Auctioneers

Rare Parcel Label Address To Titanic To Be Auctioned Off
Another case of something unintentional ending up as a Titanic memorabilia. A parcel label that possibly was on a package of blank telegram forms for the Marconi wireless operators on Titanic is up for auction in Australia reports United Press International (UPI). The package was given to the first office on Olympic, Titanic’s sister ship and to be delivered to Titanic when it arrived in New York. It is believed the Olympic first officer gave the label as a souvenir after Titanic sank and eventually ended up with a private collector who is putting it up for auction. Mossgreen Auctioneers is handling the auction and is expected to fetch $20,000.
Source:Postal label addressed to Titanic expected to raise $20,000 at auction (18 Nov 2016, UPI)

The Day After The Feast

Well Thanksgiving has come to an end and today is called Black Friday here in the United States. People might think that an odd name considering what happens. Many retail chains, mostly the bigger ones, offer special deals on Black Friday to lure people into their stores. It is a clever marketing idea to get a lot of stuff off the shelves for the Christmas holiday. So they deep discount on anything they want to get rid off. Loss leaders are put up to reel in many to buy even more than they intended. The desire to maximize the profits led many chains to open up on Thanksgiving. This has not been welcomed by many employees who want to spend more time at home. Then again some retailers do sweeten the pot, so to speak, with time and half pay. Some think that is required by U.S. federal law but it is not. Unless you work over forty hours a week, that rule does not apply. It is up to the employer to decide if they want to pay you extra for working on a holiday. If you are part of a union, then in the contract with the employer it may specify that working on holidays gets you time. Most employers who can afford usually will pay time and half to get their workers to come in. It takes a lot of people to stock those shelves and check them out at the cashier stand.

I decided this year to not put up the usual safety warnings about deep frying turkey. This video by the Fresno fire department explains it pretty well. Hey you do not need an expensive outdoor fryer. You can buy a electric deep fryer designed for the same thing for the kitchen. You measure in the oil precisely, insert the turkey and close the lid. I saw one video of an old guy wearing shorts and no shoes trying to put the turkey in the fryer. The oil overflowed, flames erupted and the man ran for his life while someone called 911. Enough said.

Have a nice Thanksgiving weekend everyone,


Happy Thanksgiving

Home To Thanksgiving, Currier & Ives, 1867 Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress, digital id# pga 00780)
Home To Thanksgiving, Currier & Ives, 1867
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress, digital id# pga 00780)

Thanksgiving was not an official national holiday until 1863. A letter from a 74-year magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, inspired President Abraham Lincoln to create a national holiday. She wrote in 1863 that we needed to have a national day of Thanksgiving so that everyone could celebrate it on the same day. At the time Thanksgiving was celebrated by the various states but not on the same date. She wanted President Lincoln to make it a national day so it would become a permanent part of “American custom and institution.”

According to Abraham Lincoln Online , other presidents had ignored such requests. Lincoln decided to act on her request and directed a proclamation be drawn up. On 3 October 1863, President Lincoln’s proclamation that establishes Thanksgiving as a national day was issued. It sets aside the last Thursday of November as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Secretary of State William Seward actually drafted the proclamation which Lincoln signed. Thanksgiving became a national holiday and was celebrated on that date until 1939. President Roosevelt in 1939, 1940 and 1941 changed it to the third Thursday (to extend the Christmas season) causing considerable controversy. A joint resolution of Congress in 1941 resolved it by decreeing Thanksgiving would fall on the fourth Thursday of November.

Lincoln’s proclamation was written during the American Civil War, a terrible time in U.S. history. Today we forget why this day was made a national holiday. It was to thank God for the blessings of liberty but also to ask his help. In our politically correct times, this proclamation is not always read in full or edited. So here is the original proclamation. Read it and understand why Lincoln thought a national day of Thanksgiving was needed for the United States of America.


Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day
October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
A. Lincoln

 Victorian Traditions/Shutterstock.com
Victorian Traditions/Shutterstock.com

Journal Star:New Riverfront Museum Exhibit Explores The Enduring Fascination of the Titanic

Photo:Peoria Riverfront Museum
Photo:Peoria Riverfront Museum

Ann Schmitt, lead curator of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, has a few theories on the enduring fascination with the Titanic. The human interest in those that perished with the sinking ship continues, bolstered by the cinematic depiction in the blockbuster 1997 film of the same name. Schmitt also noted a Romantic idea of the ship has formed in the resulting century, coupled with an ongoing obsession with large-scale disasters. Whatever cocktail of psychology lies behind the fascination, it hasn’t been enough to satiate our appetite for more information about the Titanic. Schmitt would know best. “I’ve seen four different Titanic exhibits, and I’d see another one if it came to Chicago,” Schmitt said.
Source: New Riverfront Museum exhibit explores the enduring fascination of the Titanic (Journal Star,9 Nov 2016)

Exhibit Details
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition will be at the Peoria Riverfront Museum from 12 November 2016-12 March 2017. It is strongly encouraged you purchase tickets online. For details about hours,purchasing tickets,and other information go to www.peoriariverfrontmuseum.org.


Today is Veterans Day (US)

veteransday2016

Veterans Day is a day set aside to thank and honor military personnel who have served in peace and war. The day originally began as Armistice Day to celebrate the end of World War I. It was first officially celebrated on 11 November 1919 and was originally the celebrate veterans who served in that war. In 1954 after many Americans served in both World War II and Korea, veterans organizations petitioned the name be changed from Armistice to Veterans Day to celebrate all who served in the military. Congress approved this change on 1 June 1954 and has been known as Veterans Day since then. In 1968 as a result of the Uniforms Holiday Bill, Veterans Day was shifted to the third Monday in October. Since this law allowed more three day weekends for federal workers (and states that followed the federal holiday calendar) and would allow more people to travel and spend money, this was thought good. The writers of the law never bothered to check and see if people wanted Veterans Day on the third Monday in October. And they were surprised when many states refused to honor the new date and stuck with November 11 for Veterans Day.

The reason is not hard to understand. This patriotic holiday had been celebrated since 1919 and many generations had grown up with with it. In 1975 President Gerald Ford signed into law specifying that Veterans Day would always be celebrated on November 11 no matter what day of the week it falls on. Currently most federal holidays, if they fall on a non-working day (Saturday or Sunday), the nearest working day is the holiday. Meaning if it falls on a Saturday like Veterans Day in 2017, Friday is a federal holiday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday like Christmas does this year, the official holiday is Monday. And if it falls into the middle of the week, Monday is when it is observed. Not so for Veterans and for another important holiday Thanksgiving.

The day is marked with important ceremonies such as the national ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. It starts at precisely 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is followed by a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and then speeches and remarks from important dignitaries. Almost always the sitting president will attend though on occasion the Vice President will act in his place should he not be in attendance.

Plane Disappearance Creates Titanic Parallels?

 MrAurum(Wikimedia Commons)
MrAurum(Wikimedia Commons)

When Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from radar in 2014, it has sparked a lot of analysis and like Titanic some mythology as well. Today there is some hope that recent finds may lead to exactly what happened to that flight. However speculation of all kinds about what happened has filled social media and even some news reports. Julie Williams, a Titanic historian at Stamford University and a Titanic survivor descendant, told the Christian Science Monitor that a meme compared the missing flight to Gilligan’s Island. She noted that her great-uncle Albert Caldwell could buy Titanic postcards mourning the sinking as soon as he disembarked Carpathia. The desire to solve tragedies like Titanic or the missing airliner often fuels people to devise ways to solve it because it obsesses us. We cannot fathom, says William Nesbitt, a professor of English and chair of the department of humanities at Beacon College, how it can disappear and never reappear.

And that is what happened with Titanic. When it sank, many could not believe it not only went down but would never be seen again. The media of the day played up every angle, even if it was wrong, which added to a lot of confusion about what happened aboard the ship. It would take not only wading through two hearings and lots of detective work by historical writers to ferret out what happened from the myths that were spread. Just like today with social media, false and bad information traveled fast. So the parallels are not that far apart and closer than most want to admit.

Source: Is the MH370 disappearance the Titanic of modern times? (Christian Science Monitor,2 Nov 2016)

Today is All Souls Day

Day of The Dead by William Bouguereau (1825-1905) Public Domain
Day of The Dead by William Bouguereau (1825-1905)
Public Domain

All Souls’ Day is to commemorate the faithful dead and is celebrated by special mass by Catholics and other Christian denominations. Some Christian churches celebrate it on a different day. It is not to be confused with Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) which does remember friends and family who have died but is not a Catholic or Christian religious event(though it takes place from 31 Oct through 2 Nov which coincides with Halloween, All Saints’ and All Souls’ Day).

Today is All Saints’ Day

The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs (about 1423-24) Public Domain
The Forerunners of Christ with Saints and Martyrs (about 1423-24)
Public Domain

All Saints’ Day(Solemnity of All Saints,All Hallows, Hallowmas or All Saints)is celebrated on 1 November by most Western Christians and is to honor all saints known and unknown. In some Catholic countries, it is a holiday. It is a holy day of obligation for most Catholics except when it falls on a Saturday or Monday. In that case it is celebrated on Sunday. Eastern Orthodox is celebrated on the first Sunday after Pentecost and is called All Saints’ Sunday.

All Saints Day (About.com)

Countdown to Halloween: The Mummy (1932)


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