Today is Good Friday, an important event in the Christian liturgical calendar. Some argue the word Good is a corruption and used to mean God Friday. Others argue it always meant that the day is meant to be pious or holy. For Christians, Good Friday is the day Jesus was crucified on the cross. Observant Christians will mark the day by silent meditation, prayer, and church attendance. Many will fast during the day, particularly during the hours of 12 noon to 3 p.m. Hot Cross Buns are a traditional food many cultures use on this day (and through the Easter season). Most Catholics and Christians will avoid eating meat on this day and usually the main meal will be fish. Good Friday (and sometimes Easter Monday)are public holidays in many countries. Good Friday always occurs on the Friday before Easter Sunday.
Monthly Archives: March 2018
Passover Begins Today At Sundown
Passover is an eight day festival celebrated in the spring between the 15th through 22 during the Hebrew month of Nissan. Passover commemorates the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt. The first two and last two days are considered holidays. On those days holiday meals are served and observant Jews do not work or drive on those days (they also cannot write and even switch on/off electric devices though exception is made for cooking and carrying food outdoors.) The middle four days are called intermediate days and most forms of work are permitted.
A very important way Jews recall the Exodus is that they cannot eat or have an form of leavened bread (and that includes any food or drink that contains wheat, barley, oats, spelt or derivatives of it). That includes a lot of foods from breads, pastas, cookies and cakes, alcohol and soda. Most processed or industrial made foods are thus not allowed unless they have been certified for Passover by a rabbinical authority. It is not uncommon to see certain sodas in heavy Jewish areas reconfigured for the Passover season (such as Coke using real sugar and nothing that is derived from leavened bread in its making).
The most important part of Passover is the Seder. It is a fifteen step tradition that is family oriented and packed with rituals for the feast. The most important points of the Seder are eating matzah, bitter herbs(to commemorate the slavery under the Egyptians),drinking wine or grape juice to commemorate their freedom, and most importantly reciting from the Haggadah. The Haggadah is the liturgy of the Exodus from Egypt and the duty of every family to recite the story so the next generation never forgets what Passover means to them.
Today is the Spring Equinox
The Spring or March Equinox is today at 16:15 UTC. This equinox marks the moment where the Sun crosses the equator and usually occurs between March 19-21 every year. Both the March and September equinoxes are when the Sun shines directly on the equator making night and day nearly equal.
The March equinox is the transition from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere but the reverse in the Southern Hemisphere (summer into fall). Various cultures celebrate March equinox as a time of rebirth. Many spring festivals are timed to coincide with the equinox and some religious events (Passover and Easter) use specific calculations based on the equinox to help determine the exact day of the event.
Though the equinox marks the changing of the seasons, it is quite common for winter effects to continue in many places far until May or even June.
Premier Exhibitions Bankruptcy Update:Settlement with Large Creditor
According to a recent court filing, Premier Exhibitions has settled the largest general outstanding claim. The landlord of Premier’s former New York exhibition site asserted claims of $12.6 million in unpaid rent. Under the settlement, the former landlord will get $5.5 million and the other remaining claims are disallowed.
You can read the full decision here.
A Fateful Day:The Ides of March(44 BC)
Today is 15 March and on the old Roman calendar was a day of religious observance to the Roman god Jupiter and other lesser deities. But it is most famous as the date in 44 BC when Julius Caesar was assassinated at a meeting of the Roman Senate. 60 conspirators were involved but the leaders were Brutus and Cassius. Caesar was forewarned of his death by a seer according to Plutarch. And in his famous work Julius Caesar, Shakespeare has the soothsayer say “beware the ides of March” which Caesar ignores and if course he ends up stabbed to death uttering the famous line before death:
Et tu Brute!
The assassination was a turning point for Rome. It brought about a civil war and ended the Roman Republic. Octavian (later Augustus) would become emperor and the Roman Empire would come to dominate the entire Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, and parts of Europe and Britain. In Julius Caesar Mark Antony gives perhaps the most remembered funeral oration ever done. Most people recall the famous opening line:
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones; so let it be with Caesar.
The oration is masterful in that it cleverly turns the people against Brutus and Cassius by showing they were ambitious and not Caesar. By the end the plebeians call them traitors and murderers.
In real life, it was much the same. Antony played them by seemingly supporting amnesty but turning people against them both. Brutus was forced to leave and ended up on Crete, Cassius went east to gather support among the governors and to amass an army. Antony and Octavian would clash militarily causing divisions in Rome. This allowed the forces of Brutus and Cassius to march on Rome. However Octavian made peace with Antony upon this news so both forces joined to stop Brutus and Cassius. They met at Philippi on 3 Oct 42 BC. The first battle resulted in Brutus defeating Octavian but Antony defeating Cassius. Not knowing that Brutus had defeated Octavian, Cassius took his own life. At the second battle of Philippi on 23 October, Brutus was defeated and forced to flee into the hills where he committed suicide. Antony treated his body with great respect by having it wrapped his most expensive purple mantle. His body was cremated and remains sent to his mother.
Happy Sunday (And Daylight Savings Time)
Happy Sunday! Today is once again a day we loose one hour of sleep thanks to daylight savings time. Some really like it while others loathe it. If you live in areas that have lots of farms, farmers do not like it much. In fact, they dislike it intensely because they have to feed and maintain their animals 365 days a year and it causes problems with their schedules.
Daylight savings time is really a misnomer. We are not saving time in any real sense of the word. The sun still rises and falls as before, it is just our measurement of the length of daylight has been altered. We get extra sunlight because our clocks move ahead one hour. Those with resorts in sunny tropical areas generally like it but Hawaii stays on standard time year round. They see no practical reason to change it. Some claim the extra hour of daylight reduces crime though studies are mixed. Likewise energy conservation is debatable as well. More recent evidence is that more energy is expended during daylight savings time rather than on standard.
Easter is not that far off now. Good Friday begins on March 30 (Passover also coincides this year as well) and Easter Sunday on April 1.
Premiere Exhibitions Update:Mediator Report Filed
The mediator appointed in the Premier bankruptcy proceedings has filed a report with the court. The report states in part:
Significant progress was made in reaching agreement among a number of the parties on a path for exiting the Chapter 11 cases. However, certain of the parties are continuing their dialogue in an effort to reach closure on some important remaining issues. The parties have requested the mediator to maintain the confidentiality of the nature and extent of settlement until the finalization of agreements between some or all of the parties, particularly in light of the fact that equity securities of Premier Exhibitions, Inc. are publicly traded.
The full report can be read here.
Sunday Titanic News
1.Underwater Explorer Has A Deep Respect For Leadership(Lethbridge Herald, 4 Mar 18)
Ballard is one of the featured guests at this year’s Greatness in Leadership conference taking place in March.He is best known for finding the RMS Titanic in 1985, while on a secret navy mission to investigate two sunken nuclear submarines. “I was a naval officer doing something else, and needed a cover,” he said from his headquarters in Connecticut “I must say, the Pentagon was pissed when I made the discovery. I apologized and said I’d never do it again.” In May, Ballard will hit the open sea to work with Ocean Networks Canada. He and his crew are assisting with efforts to provide improvements to a tsunami early warning system by investigating the Juan de Fuca plate, a tectonic plate subducting under the West Coast.
2.WSU Engineering Students Helping Remap The Titanic (King5.com,1 Mar 2018)
Since Titanic was discovered in 1985, there have been dozens of voyages to the wreckage from government agencies and scientists. But the last time a tourist laid eyes on it was 2005, and the last scientific expedition was in 2010. Technology has also changed a lot in eight years. This time, their five-person sub named Titan will be armed with 4K cameras and a special laser to bring back the best images ever seen. “We can tell within millimeters what the hull is like and create a 3D image of it which we will use in our virtual reality presentation of the wreck,” said Rush.
3.US Museum Labelling Titanic A Failure Blasted By Belfast Councillor(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 18)
The Museum of Failure in Los Angeles is dedicated to displaying 100 items which are rated in terms of innovation and design before being subjected to the museum’s ‘Fail-O-Meter’. The Harland & Wolff-built luxury liner was deemed unsinkable by its designers but tragically sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives. However, Councillor Sonia Copeland, who represents the Titanic District Electoral Area in east Belfast, said the inclusion of the ill-fated cruise liner in the exhibition is completely inappropriate. “I think it’s disgusting. The Titanic hit an iceberg. That wasn’t a failure of the shipbuilders – it was a failure of nature, so to speak,” she said.
4.Medals Of War Hero Who May Have Unwittingly Helped Sink Titanic Go Up For Auction(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 2018)
A special set of medals owned by a Titanic crew member whose memory loss may have sparked the liner’s tragic demise is set to go under the hammer. Crew member David Blair was a selfless man who once plunged into the sea to save a life and received an OBE – but he may have unwittingly caused the catastrophic sinking of the famous ship in 1912. That’s because Second Officer Blair was taken off the Titanic at the last minute – and accidentally held on to the key to a locker containing the crow’s nest binoculars. Titanic survivor Fred Fleet told the official inquiry into the tragedy that if they had the binoculars they would have seen the iceberg that took the ship to its watery grave sooner.