The Christian Science Monitor recently reviewed Titanic book Ship of Dreams by Gareth Russell. They mostly like the book and the details he revealed about the passengers lives he looked at.
The book’s main strength is Russell’s skill at examining his sources. He’s not Walter Lord, trooping from one survivor’s parlor to another; since he’s not mainly relying on eyewitnesses, he’s not obliged to believe them. As a result, his account feels quarrelsomely alive in a way most others don’t.
Claims of a Titanic like shipwreck have surfaced from a photo on Google Maps. The photo is off a harbor in Oshima Island, Japan. It is claimed that a shadowy object can be seen lurking under the water. Naturally it has caused many to wonder if they got it wrong about Titanic. Or perhaps some secret military activity. Personally I believe it is Marvin the Martian up to his old tricks again. Then again some say it is just Google glitch.
Advent on the Christian calendar is a season of preparation for the birth of Jesus. It is a season of joy leading up to Christmas Day and also a time of preparation similar to Lent. Prayer, fasting and penance are part of the Advent season. The rules are not as strict as Lent but a time of self-preparation. The color purple is associated with penance. Each Advent Sunday is meant to ready oneself for rejoicing at the birth of Jesus that is to come. The Third Sunday of Advent is the anticipatory celebration and the color rose is used to represent joy.
The Advent wreath
Many homes and churches will have an Advent wreath to symbolize the season, and to mark each Sunday as it happens. The practice began by German Lutherans in the 18th century as a means of teaching Advent to children. The practice began to spread to Catholics and other Christian denominations as well.
Advent wreaths are circular to show that God’s love is infinite and is made with evergreen leaves. It used to be a family event to gather the leaves and make the wreath. The practice has resurfaced in recent years as many families now do this again. Advent wreaths made of artificial evergreens are available in a wide series of designs. Handmade ones can be made to last many years.
Today is called Black Friday or as it used to be known, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States. It is not an official public holiday though many government employees and a select number of private companies do take the day off. Schools are generally out as well so a lot of kids from grade school to college have the day off. The day after Thanksgiving has been a major retail event for decades. And the term “Black Friday” likely came from such overwhelming numbers of people and vehicles filling the streets, sidewalks, and malls on this particular day.
Until fairly recently most retail stores were closed on Thanksgiving Day. Only a limited number of stores, often grocery and 24 hour restaurant or retail operations, would be open. Usually stores would open around 6:00am the next day but a few years ago some big retailers like Target started opening up at first late at night but now open at 6 pm. It has not been without controversy as workers get a limited Thanksgiving with their families. Most retailers if they are wise will pay extra for the inconvenience but they are not required to. Federal law does not mandate extra pay if you work on a holiday or on weekends. Overtime pay for most non-exempt (meaning hourly workers)is only legally required once you exceed 40 hours,
The sheer masses of people trying to get into stores or malls creates hazardous situations. People being stomped on or worse have occurred. Criminals like to take advantage of the situation to rob shoppers, stores, or break into cars. It bears remembering that if you leave anything visible in the car such as backpacks, bags, GPS devices and mobile phones that it may trigger a smash and grab. This has become quite an problem in San Francisco when tourists leave such gadgets plainly visible in their car.
Black Friday is often used to measure consumer spending for the upcoming Christmas season. Merchants use the data from the sales made to forecast what the projected seasonal earnings will be. If modest or low, it tells them the rest of the season will be lackluster unless they step up their marketing. If sales are booming, then retailers are looking forward to a prosperous Christmas season.
Of course if you want to avoid the whole Black Friday mess and have access to the internet, you can shop from the comfort of your home. Why stand outside a store for hours when you can order the very product you want, often with the same discount, when you can do it at home? That is something likely to get stronger if the present trends hold up which is why there is now a Cyber Monday.
Those who remember watching E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial will enjoy this mini-movie from Xfinity. Apparently Steven Speilberg gave his approval for this. Our favorite alien is back visiting a now grown up Elliott for Christmas. Enjoy.
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
However, three years after the project was announced financial disputes between Palmer and the Chinese shipyard owners CITIC stalled the project indefinitely. This was until a court ruling in September last year by the Supreme Court of West Australia told the shipyard to repay $150m to the project, enough to refloat the titanic building project. There are mixed reports as to whether construction is already underway, with little detail as to location or new project deadlines with 2022 being the latest prediction.
E/M Group and its affiliate, RMS Titanic, Inc., announced today that it will collaborate with La Cité de la Mer in Cherbourg, France on a series of research and exhibition projects regarding Titanic and its passengers. In addition, the partnership will include a specially curated exhibition, highlighting numerous artifacts recovered from the wreck of Titanic that have never been seen before in France. Slated to open in spring of 2020, the exhibition will appear in La Cite de la Mer’s Titanic permanent exhibition.
The 2019 holiday season will start off with a colorful bang in Pigeon Forge as the Titanic Museum Attraction hosts its sixth-annual fireworks show. According to a release from the attraction, the show is the largest fireworks display on the Smoky Mountain Parkway. The event is free and will be staged at the entrance of the Titanic Museum. Visitors are encouraged to bring cameras.
The vessel was launched in 1929 and helped manoeuvre the world’s greatest ocean liners before being renamed HMS Calshot ahead of the D-Day landings on June 6 1944. She transported sections of the famous Mulberry harbours to France and also served as a “non-assault HQ ship”. But the former Red Funnel vessel is slowly deteriorating and needs to moved ashore. A trust spokesman said: “The Visit Southampton website says ‘Southampton is widely recognised as the cruise capital of Europe and welcomes more than two million passengers to the city each year’. “These passengers often have family or friends who would welcome the opportunity of visiting Calshot – The Titanic Tribute Ship.
The watch owned by Charles Lightoller, the Second Officer who miraculously survived the sinking of the Titanic, is up for sale at Goldin Auctions. The Swiss silver pocket watch bears the name “Charles H Lightoller” and his rank “2nd Officer” engraved on the reverse of its rusted case. The watch hands behind the cracked face are frozen in time at 2:20 – believed to be the exact moment Lightoller plunged into the icy waters of the Atlantic as the Titanic sank beneath him. Minimum bid for the watch is $5,000. The auction ends on 7 Dec.
There have been many other shipwrecks on Lake Superior over the years. Many other mammoth November storms. Many other lives lost. But thanks in large part to singer Gordon Lightfoot, one shipwreck stands above the rest in the Great Lakes’ collective memory: the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Scott was with a team of Americans and Canadians who in 1995 traveled to the site of the Edmund Fitzgerald’s watery grave. Their mission was simple: collect the bell on top of the pilot’s house, replace it with a replica that featured the engraved names of the 29 crewmen who perished in the shipwreck, and bring the old bell to the surface to be displayed as a memorial at Whitefish Point.