Here They Come! Black Friday (US)

Black Friday Shopping Photo: Public Domain
Black Friday Shopping
Photo: Public Domain

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.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

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

CLIVE PALMER’S TITANIC BACK ON TRACK?; RMS TITANIC INC PARTNERS FOR EXHIBITION IN CHERBOURG

Postcard of the Titanic found in a book donated to Books for Amnesty, 103 Gloucester Rd, Bristol UK
Source: Bristol Post
Date: 20/07/2016
Photographer: Michael Lloyd/Freelance
Reporter: Lewis Pennock
Copyright: Local World

Titanic II Project Charters Course For 2022 After Court Ruling (Daily Stock Dish, 24 Nov 2019)

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 RMS Titanic, Inc. to Partner with La Cité de la Mer in Cherbourg, France (PR Newswire, 12 Nov 2019)

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.

TITANIC PIGEON FORGE FIREWORKS;HMS CALSHOT TO BE A TITANIC TRIBUTE SHIP?

Titanic Museum Plans Thanksgiving Fireworks Show (WJHL, 18 Nov 2019)

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.

Trust Reveals Plan To Turn Former HMS Calshot Into Titanic Tribute Ship (Daily Echo, 18 Nov 2019)

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.

LIGHTHOLLER WATCH TO BE AUCTIONED OFF

Charles H. Lightoller, second officer of the RMS Titanic.
Circa 1920-1930
Public Domain (from Wikimedia)

Charles Lightoller’s Titanic Watch For Sale At Goldin Auctions (Just Collecting News, 19 Nov 2019)

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.

TITANIC BELFAST: TASTE OF TITANIC

Titanic Belfast (side view)
Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)

Titanic Belfast is hosting Taste of Titanic on 30 Nov 2019. Admission price includes a guided tour through Titanic Experience galleries and a tasting of first class foods. Admission price is £40 per person. For details and tickets go to https://titanicbelfast.com/Explore/whatson/A-Taste-of-Titanic.aspx.

EDMUND FITZGERALD NEWS

There was not anything about Titanic of note this week so putting news about Edmund Fitzgerald here.

A lovely set of pictures with the beacon on in honor of those lost on Edmund Fitzgerald.

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.

Information about SS Edmund Fitzgerald

1. SS Edmund Fitzgerald(Wikipedia)
2. Mariners Church, Detroit, Michigan
3. Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
4. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
5. The sinking of the SS Edmund Fitzgerald – November 10, 1975 (University of Wisconsin)
6. National Transportation Safety Board:Marine Accident Report
SS Edmund Fitzgerald-Sinking In Lake Superior (4 May 1978)
7. Marine Historical Society of Detroit

Find books about Edmund Fitzgerald at Amazon.

Titanic news for veterans day

Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

Unsinkable Metal Could Lead to Unsinkable Ships. Now Where Have We Heard That Before? (Popular Mechanics, 7 Nov 2019)

The material, which the researchers etched with designs at the nanoscale that allow it to trap air bubbles, could theoretically lead to a truly unsinkable ship or a perfect life preserver, according to Chunlei Guo, a professor of optics and physics at the University of Rochester who coauthored a paper on the new metal in the journal ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces. The research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the U.S. Army Research Office, and the National Science Foundation.

Metro Atlanta Woman Owns Collection She Says Belonged To Couple Who Died On Titanic (WSB-TV Atlanta, 6 Nov 2019)

Laub’s collection includes three small women’s handbags, a pair of spectacles and a lady’s makeup compact. “When I’m handling it, the purses and such, I feel like I’m almost there,” Laub said. “There’s a little ‘window.’ And you open it up and it has the most beautiful red lipstick I’ve ever seen in my life still in there.” Laub received the items from the great-granddaughter of the Straus family’s personal assistant. The assistant often traveled with the couple and Laub believes she was supposed to take the items to them.

The funerary mask of Tutankhamun
Roland Unger (via Wikimedia Commons)

How King Tut Exhibitions Became a Multimillion Dollar Industry (Artsy.net, 30 Oct 2019)

An ongoing show, which started at the California Science Center in 2018, moved on to Paris’s Grande Halle de La Villette in Paris, where it broke attendance records for a French art show—the previous record-holder was also a King Tut exhibition—and sold around 1.3 million tickets. The show will open at London’s Saatchi Gallery in November; the Australian Museum in Sydney will be its final stop. The general public’s embrace of the Boy Pharaoh shows no signs of relenting, but issues of ownership and repatriation surrounding Tut-related objects still rage.

The Daughter Of A Titanic Survivor Buried In Lannon Shares Her Mom’s Story For The Village’s 90th Anniversary (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 28 Oct 2019)

She calls herself a child of a Titanic survivor. Randall’s mother and grandparents survived the sinking of the Titanic on April 15, 1912. But Randall’s great- aunt and uncle Maria and Vincenz Kink were among the more than 1,500 who died. Randall’s mother, grandparents and great- aunt and uncle ventured to Milwaukee in April 1912 for a better opportunity. They traveled by train from Zurich, crossed the English Channel by boat and then took another train to South Hampton, England, where they boarded the Titanic. “My mother says they were looking for a better life,” said Randall.

10 Mistakes That Sunk Titanic: Crew Were Left Without Binoculars As Iceberg Approached (Belfast Telegraph, 26 Oct 2019)

The documentary reveals that before the Titanic left Southampton Captain Henry Wilde swapped places with Captain Edward Smith of sister ship the RMS Olympic. As a result of this Second Officer David Blair also left the Titanic and it is believed he took a key to a cabin with him which contained the officer’s binoculars. Simon Mills, owner of the HMS Britannic wreck, said officers could have used the binoculars to help spot the iceberg. “The best way of spotting an iceberg was basically using your natural eyesight as wide as possible on the horizon,” he told the documentary.

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REMEMBERING THOSE WHO SERVED: VETERANS DAY

Source: U.S. Veterans Administration

[Originally published in 2018.]

When I recently told someone our office would be closed to observe Veterans Day, I got back a blank stare. They had no idea there was such a holiday. Since I work at nonprofit co-located with a federal agency, our office follows the federal holiday schedule. Other workers for offices nearby also reacted the same and some were incredulous that such a holiday existed.

It was never a school holiday as I recall but we all knew what the holiday was about. I think somehow over the years it has fallen by the wayside. Veterans and people who know veterans know of this holiday. Perhaps people just forget there is another holiday after Halloween (not a real holiday but many think it ought to be) and before Thanksgiving.

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 Uniform 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, Friday is a federal holiday. If the holiday falls on a Sunday, the official holiday is Monday. And if it falls into the middle of the week, Monday is when the holiday is observed. Thanksgiving and Fourth of July are two other holidays where they are observed on a specific day every year.

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.

Veterans Day is to honor those who have chosen to serve our country, past or present. We honor and thank them for their service and remember as well that some gave all as well. They give up a lot so that we are protected. And this day is a big Thank You to all of them.