wayback machine

Flashback Friday: USS Princeton Peacemaker Accident 1844

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USS Princeton Image One
USS Princeton 1843-1849
Image Credits: Lithograph by N. Currier, New York, 1844
U.S. Naval History & Heritage Command
history.navy.mil
wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

Launched on September 5, 1843, the very first USS Princeton was a steam-driven propeller warship of the U.S. Navy, commanded by Captain Robert Stockton. It was the first screw-sloop in the fleet. During a cruise down the Potomac River with President John Tyler, federal officials, politicians, attorneys, a former First Lady and several hundred guests, there was a terrible long gun explosion, due, possibly to old forging technology.

The Accident

President Tyler hosted a public reception for Stockton in the White House on February 27, 1844. On February 28, [the] USS Princeton departed Alexandria, Virginia, on a demonstration cruise down the Potomac with Tyler, members of his cabinet, former First Lady Dolley Madison, Senator Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri and about 400 guests. Captain Stockton decided to fire the larger of her two long guns, Peacemaker, to impress his guests. Peacemaker was fired three times on the trip downriver and was loaded to fire a salute to George Washington as the ship passed Mount Vernon on the return trip. The guests aboard viewed the first set of firings, [then] retired below decks for lunch and refreshments.

Peacemaker Explodes Image Two
Awful Explosion of the Peacemaker on board the
U.S. steam frigate Princeton on Wednesday, 28 Feb. 1844
Image Credits: Lithograph by N. Currier/Currier & Ives
Gale Research
Library of Congress
wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

Secretary [of the Navy] [Thomas Walker] Gilmer urged those aboard to view a final shot with the Peacemaker. When Captain Stockton pulled the firing lanyard, the gun burst. Its left side had failed, spraying hot metal across the deck and shrapnel into the crowd. Instantly killed were Gilmer, Secretary of State [Abel P.] Upshur, Captain Beverley Kennon, who was Chief of the Bureau of Construction [Equipment] and Repairs, Virgil Maxcy (a Maryland attorney with decades of experience as a state and federal officeholder), David Gardiner (a New York lawyer and politician) and the President’s valet, a black slave named Armistead. Another 16 to 20 people were injured, including several members of the ship’s crew, Senator Benton and Captain Stockton. The president was below decks and not injured.

The disaster on board the Princeton killed more top U.S. government officials in a single day than any other tragedy in American history.

Additional Reading & Sources
The Aftermath
The Legacy
Fatal Cruise of the Princeton (Naval History/military.com/Wayback Machine)
USS Princeton (ibiblio.org)
Princeton I (Naval History and Heritage Command site)
Accident on a Steam Ship (Google Books)
Tyler Narrowly Escapes Death (The History Channel site)

How the USS Princeton explosion changed U.S. history.

Wayback Wednesday: Galileo Silenced 1616

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Galileo Before Holy Office Image One
Artist: Joseph-Nicolas Robert Fleury Original Image: library.thinkquest.org Image Credit: wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

They really wanted Galileo to shut up. Four hundred, four years, today, the Catholic Church was nearly successful with an injunction. Referred to as the Galileo Affair, it started in 1610 and ended in 1633 with the Roman Inquistion.

Galileo got into trouble for supporting Copernican Heliocentrism, the mathematical model put forth by Nicolaus Copernicus (see Copernican Revolution), that suggested the Earth, and other planets, revolve around the sun at the center of the Solar System, opposing Geocentrism, backed by the Catholic Church.

Moons of Jupiter Image Two
Voyager 1 Montage October 30, 1998 Image Credit: wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

Background:

In 1610, Galileo published his Sidereus Nuncius (Starry Messenger), describing the surprising observations that he had made with [a] new telescope, among them, the Galilean Moons of Jupiter. With these observations, and additional observations that followed, such as the phases of Venus, he promoted the heliocentric theory of Nicolaus Copernicus published in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium in 1543. Galileo’s discoveries were met with opposition within the Catholic Church and, in 1616, the Inquisition declared heliocentrism to be “formally heretical.” Heliocentric books were banned and Galileo was ordered to abstain from holding, teaching or defending heliocentric ideas.

Librorum Prohibitorum Image Three
List of Books Banned by the Catholic Church Image Credit: wikipedia.org & wikimedia.org

Deliberation

On February 19, 1616, the Inquisition asked a commission of theologians, known as qualifiers, about the propositions of the heliocentric view of the universe. [It was] confirmed that Galileo had advocated the Copernican doctrines of a stationary Sun, and a mobile Earth, and as a consequence, the Tribunal of the Inquisition would have eventually needed to determine the theological status of those doctrines.

Judgement:

On February 24, the Qualifiers delivered their unanimous report:

“[The] proposition that the Sun is stationary at the centre of the universe is foolish and absurd in philosophy and, formally, heretical since it explicitly contradicts, in many places, the sense of Holy Scripture. [The] proposition that the Earth moves and is not at the centre of the universe receives the same judgement in philosophy and … in regard to theological truth, it is at least erroneous in faith.”

At a meeting of the cardinals of the Inquisition on the following day, Pope Paul V instructed [Cardinal] Bellarmine to deliver this result to Galileo and to order him to abandon the Copernican opinions. [Should] Galileo resist the decree, stronger action would be taken. On February 26, Galileo was called to Bellarmine’s residence and ordered:

“[To] abstain completely from teaching or defending this doctrine and opinion or, from discussing it… to abandon completely… the opinion that the [Sun] stands still at the center of the world and the [Earth] moves and, henceforth, not to hold, teach or defend it in any way whatever, either orally or in writing.”

Galileo accepted the order. He didn’t have much choice as his reputation was at stake. Shortly afterwards, all books regarding the Copernican system were banned and Galileo’s works regarding Copernicanism were banned as well. His sentence prevented him from teaching or speaking of the matter further. He remained silent only for so long.

Additional Reading:
The Galileo Affair: A Documentary History (Wayback Machine)
The Trial of Galileo: Essential Documents (Google Books)
The 1616 Documents (Douglas Allchin’s Website)

Very interesting take on what actually happened…

TV Tuesday: American Movie Awards 1980

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AMA Screen Capture Image
Image Credit: americanmovieawards.com & The Wayback Machine
Screen Capture

Forty years ago, today, the very first American Movie Awards was televised on NBC. Filmed at the Wilshire Theatre, the ceremony honored film, actors, directors, screenwriters, music, favorites and a special recognition. Co-hosts were David Frost (also Executive Producer) and Dudley Moore with Angie Dickinson as Co-Hostess. Susan Anton was a performer. Judging by what few images I could find, the trophy was designed to resemble the Empire State Building.

Suzanne Somers Image Two
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Presenters were:

Peter Falk, Anthony Franciosa, William Holden, Christopher Lee, Jack Lemmon, Rita Moreno, Ricky Schroder, Suzanne Somers, Donna Summer and Donald Sutherland.

Winners:
♦ Best Film: Rocky II
♦ Best Actor: Alan Alda (The Seduction of Joe Tynan)
♦ Best Actress: Sally Field (Norma Rae)
♦ Best Supporting Actor: Robert Duvall (Apocalypse Now)
♦ Best Supporting Actress: Meryl Streep (The Deer Hunter)
♦ Best Director: Michael Cimino (The Deer Hunter)
♦ Best Screenplay: The China Syndrome
♦ Best Original Song: Every Which Way But Loose (Every Which Way But Loose)
♦ Favorite Film Star-Female: Jane Fonda
♦ Favorite Film Star-Male: Burt Reynolds
Special Marquee: Clint Eastwood (Distinguished and Continuing Career)

There was another ceremony in March 1982 at a different location and a relaunch in 2013 with ceremonies in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 focusing mainly on Independent Film. I doubt there will be anymore ceremonies as the website was taken down last year. There are no videos of the event on YouTube, either.

Angie & Dudley Image Three
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Chris Thomas: The End of the World?

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A Blog Post From: The Chris Thomas Files

End Is Near Image
Image Credit: cafcandnothingelsematters.blogspot.com

Dear Friends,

Oh deary, deary me. What a fine mess we seem to have gotten ourselves into. Just as we were beginning to believe all the messages that we are changing for the better, we seem to be surrounded by more and more chaos and, confusion. If we are changing, raising our energy frequencies, how come everything seems to be becoming worse?

As we undergo our ‘changes’, what we are actually doing is bringing more and more of our soul energy into the body, until we once again become a true human being. Let me explain: For the past 7,000 years our human form has been divided into a ‘physical self’ and a ‘higher self’. The physical self, that which we refer to as the human body, has only contained about one-quarter of our total consciousness, our total soul. The higher self has made up the other three-quarters.

At long, long last we have found the way to reintegrate the whole, to bring the whole soul back into the physical body. That is why I always explain to people that we are not ‘ascending’ anywhere. We are just becoming ‘whole’, we are just becoming human. This is what is meant by change.

Always remember that, fundamentally, we are energy. Einstein’s Theory of Relativity is correct: all things ‘physical’ are made of energy and that energy cannot be destroyed, it can only be altered. The same applies to consciousness energy, the energy that is the soul. Consciousness is not just seated within one small region of the brain, as current scientific thinking is suggesting. The energy that is the soul infuses all the cells of the body and, extends via the chakras and aura far beyond the physical confines of the body.

We began this process of soul reintegration back in 1996 and, as we did so, we began to realise that we had a great deal of accumulated emotional debris to clear. Our state of seeming chaos is entirely brought about by the amount of emotional debris we have built up over the past seven thousand years.

We have become used to not being us. We have become used to wearing masks, presenting faces to the world that we think the world wants to see. We have become so un-used to showing our true selves and, we have kept our true selves so hidden that, even we do not know who we truly are any longer. We have become accustomed to believing the web of falsities we have woven around ourselves and the journey to re-discovering who we really are is proving uncomfortable. This is the reason for the chaos. This is the reason for the confusion.

Keep Calm & Be Honest Image Two
Image Credit: pinterest.com

The simple answer is that we have become used to not being honest and this lack of honesty has led to all the confusion (conflicts, wars and prejudice) that we are currently experiencing.

As we reintegrate the higher elements of consciousness, our higher selves are requesting us to become more and more honest with ourselves and, with those with whom we share our lives. The further we progress through the process of re-integration, the more this request becomes an imperative and the less we can hide from the requirements of the higher self, the requirements of the soul.

We have also begun to realise that truth has its own vibration. Words spoken to us by others become recognised for what they are: the truth or not. This ‘feeling’ for truth is also adding to our confusion. Conventions or ideologies we accepted as truth in the past are now being seen as less than truth.

What we, now, need to do is to bring all our new understanding, of what is honest and what is not, to bear on all aspects of our lives. The way to remove the chaos from our lives, and from humanity as a whole, is to be as honest as possible within every situation…honest with ourselves and honest with those around us. This is how we complete our process of change…by being totally honest in everything we do. If we all became totally honest tomorrow, we could all complete our reintegrations the day after. The truth is that powerful!

Becoming honest begins with little steps. If someone asks you a question, reply in as honest a way as possible. This does not mean forgetting about diplomacy but, it does mean expressing your truth. If someone makes you angry or sad, or upsets you in any way, let them know as honestly as possible what their actions have done. It is no good trying to ‘let it go with love’ any longer, as that is a false situation and, it will only lead to resentment and a delay in your personal development. Neither is it good to think that, by being honest, you will ‘hurt the other person’s feelings’. You are assuming that your honest reaction is going to be hurtful but, how are you able to judge what price the other person has put on their feelings? Being dishonest, by not expressing your true feelings, always creates more harm and damage than being honest does. Of course we need to be as diplomatic as the situation or person warrants but, we all need to begin to realise that we cannot pre-judge someone else’s reactions. Do not forget that being honest with someone gives them full permission to be honest in return and that builds a stronger relationship.

The soul, the higher self, is not a hard taskmaster. All that it requires of us is that we be ourselves and be as honest as it is possible to be in any given situation. It is not a question of being rude or unthinking, just of being who we truly are without masks.

The end of 2011 is the date we humans have set ourselves to finally complete our process of reintegration. Every single person on the planet has the potential and capability to fulfil the task we have set ourselves. Whilst time seems short, all that is needed is honest communication…with ourselves and others. Once honest communication in all aspects of our lives is achieved, individually and collectively, we automatically and, without further effort, become more than we have ever dreamed possible.

With love and good wishes,
Chris

Original Post (Web Archive 2006)
The Blog Post (Cygnus Review Blog 2010)
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Wayback Wednesday: Tybee Island Bomb Accident 1958

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Tybee Bomb Image One
Image Credit: cafepress.com
Silkscreen Image For T-shirts

America lost a bomb. I’m not kidding. Sixty-two years ago, today, the United States Air Force dropped a nuclear bomb in the water off the coast of Tybee Island, very close to Savannah, Georgia. A North American Aviation F-86 Sabrejet fighter plane and a Boeing B-47 Stratojet strategic bomber collided during practicing exercises and, in fear of a detonation in the event of a crash, the crew jettisoned the bomb. They still haven’t found it and it is assumed to be somewhere at the bottom of Wassaw Sound.

Midair Collision:

The B-47 bomber was on a simulated combat mission from Homestead Air Force Base in Florida. It was carrying a single 7,600-pound bomb. At about 2:00am EST, an F-86 fighter collided with the B-47. The F-86 crashed after the pilot ejected from the plane. The damaged B-47 remained airborne, plummeting 18,000 feet from 38,000 feet when [the pilot] regained flight control. The crew requested permission to [drop] the bomb in order to reduce weight and prevent the bomb from exploding during an emergency landing. Permission was granted and the bomb was jettisoned at 7,200 feet […]. The crew did not see an explosion when the bomb struck the sea. They managed to land the B-47 safely at […] Hunter Air Force Base. The pilot, a Colonel Howard Richardson, was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross after this incident.

Tybee Bomb Image Two
Image Credit: npr.org

The Bomb:

Some sources describe the bomb as a functional nuclear weapon but, others describe it as disabled. If it had a plutonium nuclear core installed, it was a fully functional weapon. If it had a dummy core installed, it was incapable of producing a nuclear explosion but, could still produce a conventional explosion. […] The Air Force maintains that its nuclear capsule, used to initiate the nuclear reaction, was removed before its flight aboard B-47. […] the bomb contained a simulated 150-pound cap made of lead. However, according to 1966 Congressional testimony by Assistant Secretary of Defense W.J. Howard, the Tybee Island bomb was a “complete weapon, a bomb with a nuclear capsule” and one of two weapons lost that contained a plutonium trigger. Nevertheless, a study of the Strategic Air Command documents indicates that Alert Force test flights in February 1958 with the older Mark 15 payloads were not authorized to fly with nuclear capsules on board.

The collision, and its aftermath, also drives the plot of the novel Three Chords & The Truth by Craig McDonald, published in November 2016.

Missing For 50 Years (BBC News)
This Day In Aviation (This site claims the bomber was from MacDill Air Force Base)
Lost H-Bomb: RIP (Savannah Now Archive)
The Case of the Missing H-Bomb (Counterpunch Archive)
The Colonel and the Bomb (The Atlantic)

Movie Monday: Leisurely Pedestrians 1889

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Leisurely Pedestrians Image One
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

I am going WAY back this time…back to the days of moving pictures and short films. Sticking with my five year increments, one-hundred & thirty years ago, William Friese-Greene, an English inventor, and professional photographer, shot a silent, actuality film in the Autumn of 1889. It was titled Leisurely Pedestrians, Open Topped Buses and Hansom Cabs with Trotting Horses.

From Wikipedia:

[…] shot by inventor and film pioneer William Friese-Greene on celluloid film using his ‘machine’ camera, the 20 feet of film […] was shot […] at Apsley Gate, Hyde Park, London. [It] was claimed to be the first motion picture [but] Louis Le Prince successfully shot on glass plate before 18 August 1887 and on paper negative in October 1888. It may, nonetheless, be the first moving picture film on celluloid and the first shot in London.

It is now considered a lost film with no known surviving prints and only one possible still image extant.

Leisurely Pedestrians Image Two
Image Credit: wikipedia.org

An article in This Is Bristol UK from December 17, 2009, (via The Wayback Machine) has an interview with David Friese-Greene, the great-grandson. From the article:

My great-grandfather was an idealist and a brilliant inventor, with 71 patents to his name but, he was a dreadful businessman. He died without ever having made a penny out of his inventions. He married his first wife Helena Friese when he was just 19 and incorporated her surname with his, because he felt it sounded more impressive. Tragically, Helena died at the age of 21 […].

It was during the late 1880s, shortly after Helena’s death, that Friese-Greene first began to experiment with the idea of creating moving pictures. […] in 1890, he patented [a] new device, which he dubbed the chronophotographic camera. Unfortunately, he was so pleased with his creation that, he wrote to the great American inventor, Thomas Edison, telling him what he had come up with and, even, included plans and designs […]. William never heard back from the inventor of the electric light bulb, though, the following year, Edison patented his own version of a movie camera and went down in many history books as the inventor of cinema.

In fact, William died a pauper but, [was] still passionate about his most famous creation. He was at a cinema industry meeting in London, which had been called to discuss the poor state of the British film industry in 1921. He had got to his feet to speak about his vision of how film could be used to create educational documentaries when he fell down dead. It is said he had just 21 pence in his pockets when he died.

In 1951, the movie The Magic Box was released. Starring Robert Donat, it was a biographical piece about Friese-Greene’s life.

There is additional information on this WordPress blog: William Friese-Greene & Me