For those following the liturgical calendar, this is the last day of ordinary time in most Christian churches. Next Sunday is the start of a new liturgical year and is the first Sunday of Advent for those that follow that calendar (Eastern Orthodox uses the old Julian calendar, so they are 13 days behind. For 2023, Christmas Eve will be on January 6 and Christmas Day on January 7.)
Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. is this coming Thursday, November 24.
Daylight Savings Time ended at 2am this morning. If you did not set your clock back one hour, now is the time to set your clocks back. The debate over changing how we set the hours in a day has been going on for a long time. In olden times, people pretty much went by the sun and its position in the sky. Then as we got more sophisticated, we developed devices that measured how time passed during the day. To help people who did not have such devices, churches or government buildings rang bells hourly. Ships had bells that chimed off the watch so the crews knew exactly what time it was. The standardization of time was encouraged by railroads and steamships that needed to have accurate schedules for trains to run. That led to international standards being developed and time zones created.
Most were fine with standard time, which simply put is when the sun comes up and goes down according to the astronomical calendar. That generally means more sunlight in spring and summer and less sun in the autumn and winter. It was during World War I that the first use of what is called Daylight Savings Time. Germany introduced to conserve fuel by extending the clock by one hour. The US introduced it as well in 1918 which had it begin in March 1918 and end in October. Once the war was over though, the law was repealed. Daylight Savings was unpopular in many areas (mostly rural). Some cities kept though (like New York City). Nationwide Daylight Savings was reintroduced in 1942 but made year-round during the war. After the war, many states adopted the use of Daylight Savings as summer Daylight Savings Time. Not all did though, which led to confusion with transportation timetables. Pressure was brought to bear on the federal government to act.
In 1966 the Uniform Time Act was enacted imposing nationally both Standard and Daylight Savings Time. Starting in 1967, clocks were advanced one hour on the last Sunday in April and fell back one hour on the last Sunday in October. States were given the option whether to change their clocks or not. Daylight Savings was once again imposed nationally during the Arab Oil Embargo between 1973-1975. It started out popular but quickly faded. My mother didn’t like it since mornings were very dark in the winter during this time. Its popularity dropped and it came to an end. In 2007 the start of Daylight Savings was changed to starting on the second Sunday in March and ending on the first Sunday in November. The downside was and still is that some areas have sunrise during Daylight Savings as late as 8:30 am.
Various states and groups have sought for the reintroduction of national Daylight Savings to avoid the changing of the clocks. Many cite the hassles and the fact it causes problems adjusting to changing forward and back. States passed laws in support of the change. In 2022 the U.S. Senate passed the Sunshine Protection Act to impose Daylight Savings nationally. It went to the House of Representatives but has not been acted upon. A lot of groups protest the change and so it has not been brought to a vote.
October has finally arrived and autumn is making its appearance. Sadly for those in Florida, they got hit with Hurricane Ian and have suffered some grievous loss of life and damage. It will take a while to rebuild and, if you can, please contribute to a charity that can provide assistance to those in need. Here are some suggestions courtesy of WUSF:
Florida Disaster Fund: This is the state’s official private fund, established to provide financial assistance. To contribute, you can give through the website, by check, or text DISASTER to 20222.
Ian Response Fund: Several organizations across the state — including the Florida Immigration Coalition and Faith in Florida — are combining efforts to assist. According to the fund’s website, the organizations raised more than $2 million through more than 38 organizations to assist the victims of Hurricane Irma in 2017. Donations can be made from the website, including an option to give one time or monthly.
American Red Cross: Those interested can donate through the website, or by phone at 1-800-HELP NOW (1-800-435-7669). Checks can be mailed to:
American Red Cross
PO Box 37839
Boone, Iowa, 50037-0839
Salvation Army: The organization has created a website for donations that can directly assist victims of both Hurricanes Ian and Fiona in Florida and Puerto Rico, including food, shelter, and emotional and spiritual care. One-time donations can be made on the Salvation Army website or by texting STORM to 51555. It also has established mobile feeding units that can prepare around 1,500 meals a day in the affected areas.
Metropolitan Ministries: Through Oct. 2, Metropolitan Ministries is accepting donations of nonperishable food boxes, food donations at locations in Tampa (2002 N. Florida Avenue) and Holiday (3214 US Highway N). The organization is also assisting Chef José Andrés and the World Central Kitchen team, which hopes to prepare 15,000 hot meals and 10,000 cold meals every day using Metropolitan Ministries’ commercial kitchen as its main distribution hub. The organization’s website also has information on how to volunteer, or donate good and money.
God of hope and mercy, we lift up to you all victims of natural disasters and those responding with assistance and aid. Protect all who are in any form of danger; provide practical help to those in need; strengthen the weary, console the grieving, heal the suffering; and bless those engaged in disaster relief efforts with safety and courage. Help all people of good will respond with compassion and generous hearts. Amen. (Catholic Charities)
Elvis Presley was a great singer who entertained millions with his music. He also sang a lot of Gospel music early in career which is still quite popular. Here is How Great Thou Art from a concert in 1972. Have a great Sunday everyone.
Summer is gone and Autumn has officially begun here in the northern hemisphere. The hot breath of summer is still blazing in many places though. Once again Death Valley topped out on Saturday at 107?F (41? C) with a low of 20?F (-6? C) at both Bodie, CA and near Mackay, ID.
Bodie is today a ghost town but started in 1859 as a mining camp. The discovery of gold would lead to a boom in 1876 and by 1879 its population was somewhere between 7,000-10,000. The boom lasted until around 1880. Then the discovery of gold elsewhere began drawing people away. The mines kept producing gold and a smaller community thrived in the town for many years. Most who stayed did so because they wanted to settle down. By 1910 the population was 698. The city newspaper folded in 1912. The Standard Consolidation Mine was closed in 1913, was bought up and reopened and for a while made some profit. It was not enough to stop the decline though. In 1917 the Bodie Railway stopped running and the last mine closed in 1942. The 1920 census showed a population of 120. People would still live there until after the end of WW II, but it was mostly a ghost town. In 1961 Bodie was declared a National Historic Landmark and the following year the Bodie State Historic Park was created. Today you can visit the once boom town and see, from the existing and surviving buildings, what it was like back in the late 19th century to live in a Gold Rush boom town.
With October coming up soon, Halloween decorations are appearing along with the usual Halloween themed commercials on television. With the fall harvest comes the change in produce. More apples appear since they are harvested in late summer and early fall. Artichokes, cranberries, pears, and pumpkins are also available during this time. In areas with lots of wineries, grapes are harvested for both wine and table use. No more grapes from Chile!
Although Covid restrictions have eased, supply issues and higher costs means a lot of Halloween candy and other items are more expensive this year than before. This may lead families doing simpler Halloween activities. There was something to be said about dunking for apples, caramel covered apples, roasting pumpkin seeds and making lots of popcorn. And with a lot of cleverness, you can make easy decorations without having to buy them at the store. Many people are relearning how their great-grandparents got through the Great Depression by keeping costs low and at the same time keeping their families fed.
[Historical note: The ending to the musical is stirring with them marching over the mountains. This did not happen and going over the mountains from Salzburg would take them into Germany! What really happened is that since Captain von Trapp had dual citizenship (Austrian & Italian) he had his family fled with day packs by taking the train to Italy. From there they made their way ultimately to England and eventually the United States. They were already a well known singing group before the Germain takeover of Austria, so they had contacts in Europe and America. They gave up everything to be free. After the war, they learned their home had been taken over by Heinrich Himmler. The house was donated to the Catholic Church and Captain Trapp helped his fellow Austrians with a relief fund, for which he is fondly remembered for.]
Hard to believe we are almost at the middle of August. For many, this is summer vacation times with thousands crowding the beaches and tourist spots. It is also a time for getting ready to go back to school. Kids see it coming and try to get as much summer as they can before school reopens. Parents are also getting stuff for their kids as well, though with the difficult inflationary times we are in, only necessities are being bought. Everyone is being hit by high prices at retail and grocery stores. It does not look like it will get any better soon either.
At least Sunday is a day one can at least relax. Enjoy the day and some nice music to go with it. Happy Sunday everyone.
The Summer Solstice occurred back on June 21 where the North Pole tilts directly towards the sun making more sunlight the farther north above the equator you live. It typically means more warmer days and nights though that greatly depends on where you live. Some places are known for hot summers while others are known for more mild conditions. Now if you live closer to the North Pole (Alaska, parts of Canada, and Scandinavian countries)the sun literally never sets during this time of year. Of course the reverse is true in the Southern Hemisphere. They get less sunlight on the June Solstice and the closer you are to the Antarctic Circle means less sunlight or total night. For them, it is the Winter Solstice. It is hard to believe Australia, for instance, gets cold but they do get cooler days and nights during this time.