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The Sandwich Shop

These are my thoughts. They are based on what I see going on around me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

I know very little about myself. If I did know myself better, I probably wouldn't be doing this.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Shipwreck Of The "General Grant", A Firsthand Report (1869)

George Corneliussen

If you are a fan of the television show "Lost", you will enjoy reading about the real thing.

This is the first chapter of " Shipwreck Of The General Grant ". Written by H.D. Jarvis, a survivor the shipwreck. The story was printed in Harper's New Monthly Magazine in the March, 1869 issue. An up-to-date history of the shipwreck can be viewed at http://www.maanz.wellington.net.nz/projects/gengrant.htm

Chapter 1:
On the 28th of November, 1865 the ship General Grant , Captain William H. Loughlin, sailed from Boston to Melbourne. A fine westerly breeze urged her cheerily along, and the crew, of which the narrator was one, began the voyage in good spirits. During the second night out a heavy gale struck us, and while shortening sail the third mate, Rufus S. Tyler, was lost overboard. This ill omen was followed by good weather, which took us in sixty-eight days to the Cape of Good Hope.
Bad weather vexed us thence to Melbourne, which we reached on the 13th of March, 1866.
We remained in Melbourne about eight weeks, loading for London. By one of those coincidences which sailors dread we took aboard part of a cargo that had been intended for the steamer London. This ill-fated vessel had sunk in the Bay of Biscay on her voyage out, and there were many gloomy prophecies that no freight of hers would reach London in any ship. The rats are also said to have left our vessel. Our cargo consisted cheifly of wool and hides, with about four thousand ounces of gold. We sailed on Friday the 4th of may, 1866, with sixty passengers, among whom were six women and about twenty children. The men were nearly all miners, returning home with their families and what property thay had acquired at the diggings. The crew numbered twenty-three, four officers and nineteen men.
The Auckland Isles are a group of black basaltic rocks, lying about 1500 miles southeast of Melbourne, and 199 miles south of New Zealand. They are barren and uninhabited. Whalers and sealers occasionally visit them, and have left a stock of pigs and a few crazy huts. Many vessels have been cast away there, and an abundance of wreck-wood may be found on the shores. Captain Musgrave, of the schooner Grafton, was wrecked there in 1864, and remained eighteen months. He left a substantial hut, and at his instance the Government of New Zealand put goats, sheep, and domestic fowls ashore there, and planted English elms, oaks, and ash-trees. Nothing throve but the goats. Papers were also left giving the bearing of New Zealand and other useful information; but these seem never to have been found.
For five days the General Grant made good progress with a fair wind. The Captain had originally intended running to the northward of the Aucklands; but on the seventh day a southeasterly breeze sprang up, obliging him to beat to windward.
Heavy fog closed in, and a sharp look-out was kept for land. The last observation was taken that morning. Throughout the next two days the weather was so thick that we could scarcely see the end of the jib-boom from the deck. At 10 1/2 o'clock at night of the ninth day the lookout forward cried, "Land on the port bow." This was Disappointment. When fairly clear of the land, which he supposed to be the most northerly of the Aucklands, instead of the most westerly, the wind shifted from southeast to northwest.
All danger seemed past. The yards were squared and the doomed ship put on the straight course for Cape Horn. An hour later the look-out reported, " Land dead ahead ", but after inspection with the glass the officers declared it only a fog-bank.
Not many minutes later the wind died completely away, leaving a heavy sea. At the same time dawned upon us the terrible danger we were in. The sea and the current were carrying us toward a rock-bound, precipitous coast. The main island of Auckland lay directly ahead, and every swash of the sea was pushing us toward destruction.
A breeze, through ever so slight , might save the ship and enable her to run between the two islands. All passengers were called aft, all the crew on deck. In vain was every sail set, every yard braced to meet a breath of air. The tide took us at one time so far to the south that it seemed we might go clear. Then an eddy carried us to the northward again, nearer and nearer to the overhanging rock.
The scene on deck and in the cabins struck terror to the strongest hearts. Miners were seen tying up their gold in blankets, women were wailing and children shrieking. All hands were pulling at the braces as long as a spark of hope remained.
Cruel fate urged us pitilessly on, yet so slowly that it was a relief when the end came, and that long agony of hopeless waiting ceased. As we neared the land the lead was heaved to find anchorage, but no bottom could be found.
At half past one at night the jib-boom struck the rock at the foot of a cliff many hundred feet high, and with the bowsprit was carried away. This shock caused the ship to spin around and strike her stern, carrying away the the spanker-boom and rudder , and breaking the ribs of the man at the wheel. We now found ourselves drifting helplessly into a narrow cove inclosed by precipices of unknown height. The ship's sides were striking heavily against the rock, and there were thirty fathoms of water under her. All hope was gone; yet the captain stood nobly at his post, and the crew remained subordinate.
Lanterns were held over the side and carried up the rigging. Not a foothold for a bird could be discovered. The masts were not cut away, as they could not fall clear of the deck. There was too much water for anchoring.
So we drifted on, and the cove grew narrower. Suddenly the fore-royal mast struck the rock above and came tumbling down, followed by the other spars. As the main-royal mast and top-hamper succeeded we realized the appalling fact that we were being sucked into a cave of unknown depth.
The rock above was tearing the masts out of the ship and in detached masses, breaking holes through the deck and forward houses. After losing all the fore-mast, the sump of the main-mast caught against the solid roof, and stopped farther progress. But for this circumstance the General Grant would have sunk that night and none lived to tell the story.

To Be Continued: Next week the General Grant sinks, lives are lost and the survivors find themselves LOST!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

There Are No Good Songs.
Sat, 18 Jan 2003 09:08:01
Even though nothing mankind has ever achieved has ever been the
result of one person, the way we are obesssed with personal
recognition says a lot about us. It tends to fall into a unique category we all help perpetuate. That is , even though we all know it takes an army of people to get an idea from one individual's head out into the world we live in, we all pretend that one person did it all.
Maybe that's because we all figure that if we do that, we'll each get a shot at being admired for something we do, or maybe it's simply because we never really grow up, and everything we do is just a complicated version of the shows we put on in the back yard when we were kids.
Recently, Paul McCartney let it be known that he would like to change the song writing credits on some Beatles songs to McCartney-Lennon, instead of the Lennon-McCartney the world recognizes.
How many people on the face of the planet have more personal
recognition than Paul McCartney ?
It doesn't bother me that he wants to make the change, but it seem that if he is going to take that route, he is opening the door to a few questions.
Does the world know Paul because of the orginal ideas he had in his head for those Beatle songs, or the records that ended up being the only version we ever heard
If the records are what became famous then everyone who effected the final result actually deserves part of the song writing credit.Between the ideas in his head and the final records there were other musicians, studio engineers, a producer ( George Martin ), promotion people, factories that made the records, and many others all of whom had an effect on the sound of the records that became famous.
Even though they all played a vital role, none of us really expect all of them to get credit for the end result. That would be way too complicated.
However, a long time ago somebody with more insight than me said it best. " There are no good songs, just good records."
By the way this e- mail is not about Paul McCartney per se.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

From Oct. 5, 2005

Mom Was Right Again:

I first heard this phrase from my mom. In fact, come to think
of it, she may be the only person I ever actually heard say, "
Out of everything bad comes something good".
When I read the headline, "Is the big SUV dying?" her words
rang in my ear. I know we're supposed to be all worried and
filled with a sense of doom over the rising cost of gasoline
and it's potential scarcity.
But, as I read that,
[ "sales of sport-utility vehicles took a dive in
September", and that " sales of the Ford Explorer dropped by
58% and sales of the Ford Expedition (14mpg) dropped 61%",
"Ford even stopped producing its even larger SUV,the
Excursion", "sales of GM's full-size SUVs fell 56%", "Hummer
H2 (10 mpg) sales were off 31%", "sales of Toyota's immense
Sequoia (15mpg) were off 46% ", "Honda's Pilots were off 26%",
Nissan's Armadas (13mpg) were off 20%" ], instead of wringing
my hands in a fit of worry, I found my self smiling and
humming to myself, "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood".
In fact, it will be hard for me not to pump my fist in the
air the next time I get behind the wheel of my four cylinder
Volvo station wagon, and let out a Homer
Simpson-style, " Woo-Hoo !".
Using my less than perfect math skills, I figure these
numbers mean a potential drop in the number of SUVs on the
road, while I am on the road, in the 40% range. That would
mean when I park at the supermarket I would have a four in ten
shot at not having to park between two SUVs. That would
translate into a four in ten shot of being able to actually
pull out of that parking spot and being able to see any
vehicles about to crash into me ( as opposed to the Russian
Roulette method the SUVs offer).
I would have a four in ten shot of making eye contact with
the drivers headed right at me while they talk on their cell
phones in heavy traffic.
When I park in a public parking lot, I would have a four ten
shot of mysterious "dings" showing up on my car less
frequently, the kind that are usually the same height as an
SUV bumper.
Speaking of public parking lots, I would have a four in ten
chance of not having to watch SUV drivers point their keychain
remotes at their SUVs ( and hear that annoying "beep,beep"
sound ) as they lock them up so they can buy groceries, and
not have to worry about all those nasty car thieves that hang
out in supermarket parking lots in broad daylight.
That in turn would mean a four in ten chance of not ever
hearing the alarm in an SUV going off in the middle of a
parking lot for twenty or thirty minutes while no one pays any
attention to it ( other than to wish someone would actually
steal it, or throw a rock through the window ).
I could go on, but I don't want to sound like I'm gloating.
I'll just finish by saying, if gas hits $6.00 a gallon and
suddenly all the SUVs are gone, how do I act like I'm not
happier than when only 40% of them were gone ?
I mean, $6.00 a gallon for gas would be a bad thing, wouldn't
it ?
"Woo-Hoo ! "