Remember the Maine! On this Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (the last Sunday before Lent), with no Saints to honor, we note that on this date in 1898 an explosion occurred on board the USS Maine, a 6,682-long-ton second-class pre-dreadnought battleship launched in 1889, in the Havana Harbor in Cuba. The sinking of the Maine precipitated the Spanish–American War that began in April 1898.
Later investigations into the explosion on the USS Maine revealed that more than 5 long tons of powder charges for the vessel’s six and ten-inch guns had detonated, obliterating the forward third of the ship. The remaining wreckage rapidly settled to the bottom of the harbor. Most of the crew were sleeping or resting in the enlisted quarters in the forward part of the ship when the explosion occurred; 266 men lost their lives as a result of the explosion or shortly thereafter, and eight more died later from injuries. Captain Charles Sigsbee and most of the officers survived because their quarters were in the aft portion of the ship. Altogether, there were only 89 survivors, 18 of whom were officers. On March 21 the US Naval Court of Inquiry, in Key West, declared that a naval mine caused the explosion, and the New York Journal and New York World, owned respectively by William Randolph Hearst and Joseph Pulitzer, ran repeated articles claiming that the blame for the explosion rested with the Spanish government in Cuba. The explosion was a precipitating cause of the Spanish–American War that began in April 1898. Advocates of the war used the rallying cry, “Remember the Maine! To hell with Spain!” The episode focused national attention on the crisis in Cuba but was not cited by the William McKinley administration as a casus belli, though it was cited by some who were already inclined to go to war with Spain over their perceived atrocities and loss of control in Cuba. In addition to the 1898 inquiry commissioned by the Spanish Government by Spanish naval officers Del Peral and De Salas, two Naval Courts of Inquiry were ordered, the Sampson board in 1898 and the Vreeland board in 1911. In 1976 Admiral Hyman G. Rickover commissioned a private investigation into the explosion, and the National Geographic Society did an investigation in 1999 using computer simulations. All investigations agreed that an explosion of the forward magazines caused the destruction of the ship, but different conclusions were reached how the magazines could explode.
I did my Bathroom Devotional Reading, and on our way to work I did my Internet Devotional Reading and said the Seventh Day of my Lenten Novena. Before we clocked in I did my Daily Update for yesterday, Saturday, February 14th, 2015 via WordPress for Android. Today was the second of two Heavy Business Volume Days for the President’s Day Weekend. When we clocked in Richard was the Relief Dealer for Macau Mini Baccarat, Mini Baccarat, and Pai Gow, and after Macau Mini Baccarat closed he just broke Mini Baccarat and Pai Gow. I was on Mini Baccarat all day. There were rumors that our Shift Manager had arranged the schedule to let people off on Tuesday who had put in for it, but there was no change on our schedules.
On our way home (it had been foggy going to work, and was very foggy even in the very late morning) we circled south through town, and just managed to avoid the tractors and trailers coming in for the Petit Courir de Mardi Gras (the kid’s parade). We arrived home, and Richard opted not to go downtown to the annual traditional old time boucherie (held on the Sunday before Mardi Gras). Once home I ate the rest of my Amish Friendship Bread and read the Sunday papers. I then took a nap. While I was sleeping our LSU Baseball team finished their series with Kansas by the score of 7 to 4; our Tigers will be back in Alex Box Stadium to have a single game with Nicholls on Wednesday. I woke up at 5:00 pm; we were going to go out to find crawfish, but I was not hungry, and opted to instead get on the computer to do my Daily Update.
We have no Saints to honor tomorrow, but tomorrow is Washington’s Birthday (Observed), otherwise known as Presidents Day, a Federal Holiday (no banks open, no mail delivery). Tomorrow is also Lundi Gras, which means Fat Monday, the day before Mardi Gras. We will work our eight hours at the casino, and at some point tomorrow we will decide what we will do on Tuesday (considering that we do have to work, and that we might not get out early if we sign the Early Out list).
Our Sunday Afternoon Parting Quote comes to us from Mary Grace Canfield, American actress. Born in 1924 in Rochester, New York, she began her acting career mostly in small theatre companies and regional theatre. Between 1952 and 1964 she appeared in several Broadway plays, although most ran for no more than a month. Her Broadway credits included The Waltz of the Toreadors and The Frogs of Spring. Canfield’s first credited performance on television was in March 1954, when she portrayed Frances in the episode “Native Dancer” on Goodyear Playhouse. Her film debut was in the 1960 feature Pollyanna. After making additional television appearances, she played a housekeeper, Amanda Allison, in the ABC sitcom The Hathaways during the 1961-62 season. As Thelma Lou’s “plain” cousin in an episode of CBS’s The Andy Griffith Show, she had an arranged blind date with Gomer Pyle, played by Jim Nabors. Her name on that episode was her actual first and middle name, Mary Grace. She was best known for her recurring role on the hit CBS comedy series Green Acres as Ralph Monroe, the all-thumbs carpenter who greeted her fellow Hootervillians with her signature “Howdie Doodie!” She appeared in more than 40 episodes of the show during its six-season run from 1965 to 1971. In 1966 Canfield played Abner Kravitz’s sister, Harriet, on three episodes of Bewitched. Actress Alice Pearce, who played Abner’s wife, Gladys Kravitz, had died from ovarian cancer, and her successor as Mrs. Kravitz (Sandra Gould) had yet to be hired. In 1967 she was in The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. During the early 1970s Canfield and actress Lucille Wall shared the role of Lucille March on General Hospital. She was in Something Wicked This Way Comes in 1983, and reprised her role of Ralph Monroe in the 1990 TV movie Return to Green Acres. Her last movie work was in 1993, when she was in Young Goodman Brown; that same year she did her last credited television work, in an episode of The Jackie Thomas Show. Canfield made her last public appearance in 2005, when she attended Eddie Albert’s funeral along with Green Acres co-stars Sid Melton and Frank Cady (died 2014): “To be remembered for Ralph kind of upsets me — only in the sense that it was so easy and undemanding. It’s being known for something easy to do instead of something you worked hard to achieve.”