Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Happy Father’s Day

Father and son on a Sunday afternoon, 1943.
Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress, digital id#fsa 8d19170)

Father’s Day is celebrated on the third Sunday of June in the United States. The movement to recognize fathers began in a West Virginia church in 1908. The sermon that day asked to remember 362 men who had perished in a mine explosion the previous December and many of the men were fathers. In 1909 Sonora Smart Dodd of Spokane, Washington tried to establish an equivalent of Mother’s Day for male parents. She had been raised by a widower and believed the recognition was due. She promoted it so well to local churches, service organizations, and government officials that Washington State celebrated Father’s Day on June 19,1910. The movement to recognize fathers spread slowly but in 1924 President Calvin Coolidge urged state governments to observe Father’s Day. Since then most states now recognize the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day but it is not a public holiday (neither is Mother’s Day).

Father’s Day is also celebrated in many countries. In Europe and most Spanish speaking countries it is celebrated on St. Joseph’s Day on March 19. St. Joseph is the patron saint of fathers.

Someday (Susanna Hoffs)

REMEMBERING THE WHITE ISLAND ERUPTION

View of the 2019 Whakaari / White Island eruption from Whakatane at 14:20
Source: Geonet

On 19 December 2020  at 2:11 pm local time the volcanic island of Whakaari/White Island, located in New Zealand’s Bay of Plenty, erupted.  The eruption was classified as a phreatic eruption, an eruption of steam, water, ash, rock, and volcano bombs. Such eruptions can also produce deadly gasses which, if in sufficient amounts, can result in asphyxiation. 47 people were on the island at the time as part of tour groups visiting that day.  21 would die and two bodies initially found were likely swept into the sea by rains.

The island itself is remarkable. What you see is the top of a stratovolcano as nearly the entire volcano is underwater.  As one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes, it offers the opportunity to see its crater up close.  Over the years it has had frequent eruptions sending ash and gas plumes high into the sky. Lava bombs from eruptions tossed into the bay can be seen glowing red at night. The island itself is uninhabited (there were some sulfur operations in the distant past but those are long since abandoned). The other item of note is that the island is one of the main breeding colonies for Australasian gannets.

Geonet had raised the alert for the volcano to Level 2 meaning that an eruption was possible. White Island Tours informed of this on its website and at the embarkation point. Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas also had a tour to the island that day. However it appears they did not notify those who signed up for the tour of this warning. Legal action by families of those who died as part of the Royal Caribbean tour in the eruption is underway.

Currently there are no tours to the island and even aerial tours are restricted at this time. The island is still classified as being in Level 2 according the latest bulletin on Geonet.

Results from the most recent gas flight on Wednesday 27 May indicate an increased gas flux since the previous flight on 20 May. While previous observations indicated a trend back to levels that are typical for this volcano, the recent increase in SO2 and CO2 gas flux, one of our main indicators of volcanic unrest, could be attributed to a new batch of the magma beneath the volcano at shallow depth.

Such eruptions are unpredictable according to most experts. There is no hard and fast way to say they will erupt. It is like  pressure cooker that once it reaches that critical point bursts quickly and without warning. It happens with such speed that if you are too close to it, you probably will have little chance to react. On a small volcanic island like this one, vents are common.

The actions of White Island Tour boats and the helicopter pilots were remarkable. After the eruption subsided, White Island sent in its inflatables to get people off the nearby jetty. Helicopters arrived on the island to pick up survivors and carry them back as well. Their actions saved lives and will be long remembered by the survivors.

Sources:

Welcome to may

May is the fifth month on both the Julian and Gregorian calendars. May is spring in the Northern Hemisphere but in the Southern autumn. It is also the month that is the transition for many towards summer at the end of the month. Many schools plan graduations during this time and weddings are popular as well. May Day (May 1) was originally a day in old Russia for picnic in the countryside or in a park in the early days of May.

There are many days in May set aside for religious observance on the Christian calendar. Other events include Star Wars Day (4 May), Cinco de Mayo (5 May), Mother’s Day (US) on second Sunday of May, various Liberation Days to celebrate the end of Nazi occupation, and Memorial Day (US) on last Monday of May.

Symbols for May are:

  • Emerald-Love and success (May birthstone)
  • Flowers: Mayflower, Lilly of the Valley, and Hawthorn.
  • Zodiac signs for May are the Taurus (till May 19) and Gemini (May 20 onwards)
China Rose (Rosa chinensis)
Photo: Sakurai Midori(Wikipedia)

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 SUNDAY

With the end of daylight savings time, the days are now perceptively shorter. Each day the sun sets earlier than it used to, and sunrise later and later. In olden times people would be busy making sure food was stored for the winter. Livestock too would be moved into barns or other places so they were protected from the elements. Farmers would have to get up each day and make sure they were fed and to clean out the stalls as well.

October seemed to go by in a whirl and Halloween seemed to as well. Now Christmas themed commercials are appearing, outdoor ice rinks are opening, and stores are filling their shelves with Christmas items. The Hallmark Channel has switched over to holiday movies until January. And the Christmas tree lots are under construction. Once Thanksgiving hits, Christmas trees will be ready for people to take home.

So far none of the radio stations in our area has switched to Christmas music yet. I am certain it will soon happen soon. For the moment here at Titanic News Channel we will continue with the autumn theme for a while longer. To get in the mood for relaxing Sunday, here is a tune from Simon & Garfunkel. Have a nice Sunday everyone.