Yesterday was Boxing Day. I though it just another ‘Black Friday’ shopping day or a day for taking back those duplicate Chia Pets, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzY7qQFij_M and exchange them for Chia Emojis or the new Chia Trump. In the UK, Australia, New Zealand and Canada Boxing Day however, Boxing Day is an official bank holiday. Throughout the UK and her former colonies it’s also a day for soccer and rugby. In this country of course the day begins the series of those much lesser football bowl games, building for the ultimate money grabbing bowls later on.
This year Chanukah or Hanukkah, the Jewish “festival of lights” began on December 24th and runs through January 1st. The holiday commemorates the defeat of the Greek-Syrians rulers and the rededication of the Holy Temple in Jerusalem. The Jewish revolt against the Seleucid monarchy was in and of itself a miracle in that it occurred against a greatly superior military force. When they sought to relight the Holy Temple’s Menorah (the nine-branched candelabrum), they found only a single cruse of olive oil. They lit the menorah anyway and miraculously the one day’s supply lasted for eight days until new oil could be prepared in accordance with the required conditions of ritual purity. Today, in addition to kids receiving a gift each night, it’s also customary to enjoy foods fried in oil, like latke (kind of a potato pancake). I think they’re best enjoyed with applesauce, but sour cream is good too. And of course if you’ve stopped by Norm’s desk lately you can play with the dreidel, a four sided spinning top and win yourself a few ‘chocolate gelt’, foil-covered coins.
During the Civil War in 1862, the USS Red Rover became the US Navy’s first ship to have women serve aboard. She was a 650 ton Confederate States side-wheel steamer captured by the US Navy and refitted as a hospital ship serving with the Mississippi Squadron until the end of the Civil War. “Hot Lips” Houlihan’s great-great-grandmother was not among the initial cadre however. The nurses were from the Catholic order Sisters of the Holy Cross. In addition to caring for wounded men, Red Rover provided medical supplies to Navy ships along the Western Rivers. She was the closest thing to the medical evac of her day.
On this day in 1919, William Boeing’s designed Boeing Model 6 makes its first flight. It’s also known as the B-1 and was the first commercial plane made by Boeing. The pilot sat in the open cockpit bow and one or two passengers could be carried in the aft open cockpit. Only one was built and it was used mainly to carry mail between Seattle and Victoria, BC. You can see it on your next trip to the Museum of History and Industry HOHAI) in the former Coast Guard building at the south end of Lake Union, next to the Center of Wooden Boats. Both great places to visit!
On this day in 1949 both American Airlines and TWA initiate coast-to-coast coach-class flights using 60-passengers DC-4’s. A ticket would have cost you $110 one-way. And you got a free checked bag, plus a meal.
On 27 December 1951, the North American XFJ-2B makes its first flight. It was the third prototype in the test series of four aircraft. These test aircraft were prototypes for the North American FJ-2/-3 Fury. The FJ-2 and FJ-3 were a series of swept-wing carrier-capable fighters designed for the US Navy and Marine Corps and were an effort to ‘navalize’ the USAF’s F-86 Sabre. A swept-winged jet was needed immediately to combat the superior performance of the swept-winged Soviet MiG-15’s then operating in the Korean War. These aircraft had folding wings and a longer nose landing gear. The longer nose strut allowed an increased AOA for launch and recovery. In addition the larger oleo facilitated larger carrier landing loads. While sharing the designation of the straight-winged North American FJ-1, the FJ-2/-3 Fury was a completely different aircraft. The FJ-2 became one of the first aircraft used to evaluate the first steam catapults on US Navy carriers.
Fireball’s Observations of the Day
OK, now I’m off to go skiing.