Saturday, December 3, 2016
Discussions at the office about the Brazilian air crash tragedy raised other teams destroyed or affected by disasters. Perhaps the best known are the stories of the Andes survivors and that of the Manchester United crash. A brief look at those events, and some others . . .
Associação Chapecoense de Futebol, commonly known as Chapecoense and whose acronym is ACF, is a Brazilian football club, based in the city of Chapecó in the state of Santa Catarina. The club was founded in 1973 and won its first state title in 1977. The club has won five state championships, the last in 2016. It has been referred to as “the fairytale club” in that in a league where it is a small club anongst many bigger and wealthier clubs, it rose to Brazil's top division, Série A, for the first time in 2014.
On November 28, 2016, the team travelled to Colombia to play the first leg of the 2016 Copa Sudamericana final against Atlético Nacional, a match that was seen as the biggest in the history of the club. As the charter flight carrying the team approached José María Córdova International Airport near Medellín, Colombia, the plane crashed, killing 71 people. There were 6 survivors. A total of 43 of the 71 killed were part of the Chapeconse delegation (19 players, 17 club staff members, 7 people from the board of directors and 4 Fox Sports Brazil journalists), making it the deadliest disaster for a single team ever recorded.
Following the crash, Atlético Nacional conceded the match, making Chapecoense champions of the Sudamerica Cup. Five of Brazil’s top clubs have also offered to loan Chapecoense players so that it could playing.
It has been reported that the pilot of the crashed LaMia plane the Chapecoense team to Colombia chose not to stop for a planned refuelling, in violation of air safety rules, to save time due to an earlier delay. Having filled the tanks to maximum, thereby having just enough fuel to reach the intended airport destination, the plane’s fuel ran out after it was kept circling because of an emergency involving another plane.
The last reported picture of the Chapecoense Real football team prior to the plane crash.
The Andes Survivors:
In 1972 a chartered Uruguayan Air Force plane was carrying the Old Christians Club rugby union team from Montevideo, Uruguay, to play a match in Santiago, Chile. Whilst flying over the Andes, the aircraft crashed. With both wings sheared off from hitting peaks, the fuselage hit the ground and slid down a steep mountain slope before finally coming to rest in a snow bank.
Of the 45 people on the aircraft, 12 died in the crash or shortly thereafter; another five had died by the next morning, and one more succumbed to injuries on the eighth day. The remaining 27 faced severe difficulties in surviving in the freezing mountains at such a high altitude. Many had suffered injuries from the crash, including broken legs from the aircraft's seats piling together. The survivors lacked equipment such as cold-weather clothing and footwear suitable for the area, mountaineering goggles to prevent snow blindness (although one of the eventual survivors, 24-year-old Adolfo "Fito" Strauch, devised a couple of sunglasses by using the sun visors in the pilot's cabin which helped protect their eyes from the sun). They lacked any kind of medical supplies, and the death of Dr. Francisco Nicola left a first and a second year medical student who had survived the crash in charge to improvise splints and braces with salvaged parts of what remained of the aircraft.
Because the aircraft was white, it blended into the snow and was unable to be seen from the air. The survivors heard on a radio that after 11 days, the search had been called off.
The survivors were faced with death by starvation and cold.
In his 2006 book, Miracle in the Andes: 72 Days on the Mountain and My Long Trek Home, Nando Parrado wrote:
“At high altitude, the body's caloric needs are astronomical ... we were starving in earnest, with no hope of finding food, but our hunger soon grew so voracious that we searched anyway ...again and again we scoured the fuselage in search of crumbs and morsels. We tried to eat strips of leather torn from pieces of luggage, though we knew that the chemicals they'd been treated with would do us more harm than good. We ripped open seat cushions hoping to find straw, but found only inedible upholstery foam ... Again and again I came to the same conclusion: unless we wanted to eat the clothes we were wearing, there was nothing here but aluminum, plastic, ice, and rock.”
Most of the passengers were classmates or personal friends, all were Catholic. Eventually they rationalised that cannibalising the bodies of the dead would not be against the laws of the Church. Thereafter they lived off the bodies of the dead, preserved in the snow.
16 days after the crash an avalanche killed eight of the survivors, including the last female survivor.
When even the bodies of the dead began running out, it was determined that the strongest survivors should seek to travel down off the mountains and find help. 72 days after the crash Nando Parrado and Dr. Canessa made their way down the mountain and finally met Chilean Sergio Catalán who gave them food and then alerted authorities. The other 14 survivors were rescued on 23 December 1972, more than two months after the crash. In South America the matter is known as The Miracle in the Andes.
Passengers shelter near the tail of the Uruguayan plane which hit the mountains.
Survivors of the crash wave to rescue helicopters after their 72-day ordeal
Fernando (Nando) Parrado (left) and Roberto Canessa with Chilean carrier Sergio Catalan (back, in hat) in 1972
The Manchester United Crash:
In 1958 a British European Airways flight crashed on its third attempt to take off from a slush-covered runway at Munich-Riem Airport, West Germany. On the plane was the Manchester United football team, returning from a European Cup match in Belgrade, Yugoslavia (now Serbia), along with supporters and journalists. Twenty of the 44 on the aircraft died at the scene, three more died in hospital.
It was later established that the crash was caused by slush on the runway, which slowed the plane too much to take off.
How times have changed:
On 6 February 2008, the England national football team took on Switzerland at Wembley Stadium. Before the game, pictures of the players who lost their lives at Munich were displayed on big screens, and England players wore black armband. The minute’s silence was abandoned by the referee after 30 seconds because of whistles and cat-calls.
(Is it just me who thinks the ad to the left may have been a tad insensitive next to the main story?)
More sporting team tragedies:
A military aircraft carrying Zambia's national soccer team to a World Cup qualifying match crashed into the sea. All 25 passengers and five crew members were killed, including 18 players, as well as the team coach and support staff. A Gabonese official investigation into the accident concluded that the pilot had shut down the wrong engine after a fire.
A Yak-42 passenger jet crashes seconds after takeoff, killing 44 out of the 45 on board, the sole survivor being the flight engineer. Amongst the dead is the entire Russian ice hockey team Lokomotiv, plus players and coaches, who were on the way to a match in the Belarussian capital of Minsk. It was established that the pilots had used falsified documents to obtain permission to fly the aircraft, and that they lacked the training necessary to fly the Yak-42. In addition, the co-pilot had undergone treatment for a nerve disease and was forbidden to fly. Investigators say he did not feel his foot on the brake, leading to the crash and that he had applied the brake before raising the nosewheel.
A soccer match in the eastern part of the Congo ended in tragedy when lightning struck an entire team of 11 men. Thirty more people received burns. The freak accident occurred due to the metal spikes in their shoes. Even more strange, the opposing team was left unharmed, creating speculation that witchcraft caused the event.
In February 1961, the entire 18-member US Figure Skating team was killed in a plane crash in Berg-Kampenhout, Belgium. The team was on its way to the 1961 World Figure Skating Championships in Prague, Czechoslovakia.
Among those killed in the crash was 16-year-old Laurence Owen, who had won the US Figure Skating Championship the previous month. Bradley Long, the 1961 U.S. men's champion, also perished in the crash, as did Maribel Owen (Laurence's sister) and Dudley Richards, the 1961 pairs champions, and Diane Sherbloom and Larry Pierce, the 1961 ice dancing champions. In addition to the skaters, 16 people accompanying them, including family, friends, coaches and officials, were killed. The other 38 passengers and crew aboard Sabena Flight 548, which left New York on the night of February 14, also died when the plane went down around 10 a.m. in clear weather while attempting to make a scheduled stopover landing at the Belgian National Airport in Brussels.
Prior to the crash, the UShad won the men's gold medal at every Olympics since 1948 (when Dick Button became the first American man to do so), while US women had claimed Olympic gold in 1956 and 1960. After the crash, an American woman (Peggy Fleming) would not capture Olympic gold until 1968, and a US man (Scott Hamilton) would not do so until 1984.
The above figure skatingvteam tragedy was the worst air disaster involving an American sports team until November 1970, when 37 players on the Marshall University football team were killed in a plane crash in West Virginia.
Friday, December 2, 2016
A bum comes up to the front door of a very expensive house and raps gently on the door. When the rich owner answers, the bum asks him, "Please, sir, could you give me something to eat? I haven't had a good meal in several days."
The owner says, "I have made a fortune in my lifetime by supplying goods for people. I've never given anything away for nothing. However, if you go around the back, you will see a gallon of paint and a clean paint brush. If you will paint my porch, I will give you a good meal."
So the bum goes around back and a while later he again knocks on the door. The owner says, "Finished already? Good. Come on in. Sit down. The cook will bring your meal right in."
The bum says, "Thank you very much. But there's something that I think you should know. It's not a porch you got there. It's a BMW."
A young Irish boy said to his grandfather. "Make a frog noise for me Grandad."
"No, son, I don't feel like making a frog noise right now."
"Oh, please Granddad, make a frog noise."
"No, I don't want to."
"Oh, please Granddad, make a frog noise."
"Why is it so important to you that I make a frog noise?"
"Mum says when you croak we can have this house.”
After a particularly poor game of golf, a popular club member skipped the clubhouse and started to go home. As he was walking to the parking lot to get his car, a policeman stopped him and asked, "Did you tee off on the sixteenth hole about twenty minutes ago?"
"Yes," the golfer responded.
"Did you happen to hook your ball so that it went over the trees and off the course?"
"Yes, I did. How did you know?" he asked.
"Well," said the policeman very seriously, "Your ball flew out onto the highway and crashed through a driver's windshield. The car went out of control, crashing into five other cars and a fire truck. The fire truck couldn't make it to the fire, and the building burned down. So, what are you going to do about it?"
The golfer thought it over carefully and responded...
"I think I'll close my stance a little bit, tighten my grip and lower my right thumb."
Two small boys, not yet old enough to be in school, were overheard talking at the zoo one day. "My name is Billy. What's yours?" asked the first boy. "Tommy," replied the second. "My Daddy's an accountant. What does your Daddy do for a living?" asked Billy. Tommy replied, "My Daddy's a lawyer." "Honest?" asked Billy. "No, just the regular kind", replied Tommy.
One year, I decided to buy my mother-in-law a cemetery plot as a Christmas gift...
The next year, I didn't buy her a gift.
When she asked me why, I replied,
"Well, you still haven't used the gift I bought you last year!"
A man died and was taken to his place of eternal torment by the devil.
As he passed raging fire pits and shrieking sinners, he saw a man he recognized as a lawyer snuggling up to a beautiful woman.
'That's unfair!' he cried. 'I have to roast for all eternity, and that lawyer gets to spend it with a beautiful woman.'
'Shut up,' barked the devil, jabbing the man with his pitchfork.
'Who are you to question that woman's punishment?'
Why did the redneck put fireman's hats on the 3 wise men in his nativity scene?
Because the preacher said they came from afar.
I tried to catch some fog but I mist.
When chemists die, they barium.
Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
The soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray became a seasoned veteran.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
So now it’s December and the countdown to Christmas begins.
Some December trivia:
December comes from Latin word decem (meaning ten) because it was originally the tenth month of the year in the Roman calendar, which began in March. The winter days following December were not included as part of any month. Later, the months of January and February were created out of the monthless period and added to the beginning of the calendar, but December retained its name.
The Latin name is derived from Decima, the middle Goddess of the Three Fates who personifies the present.
December contains the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the day with the fewest daylight hours, and the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, the day with the most daylight hours.
In the Northern hemisphere, the beginning of the astronomical winter is traditionally 21 December or the date of the solstice.
In Australia each of the seasons comprise three full months. Each season begins on the first day of the calendar month, so summer is from December 1 to the end of February, autumn from March to May, winter from June to August, and spring from September to November.J
Hence, to those in Oz, welcome to summer.
Flower: Paper White Narcissus, Holly or Poinsettia
Astrological Signs: Sagittarius (November 22 - December 21) and Capricorn: (December 22 - January 19)
As usual, Brett R has provided his list of monthly special days, click on the days to expand and read up on that day:
- Bingo Month
- Write a Friend Month
3 Advent begins
4 Santas' List Day - we hope you are on the "Nice" list
5 Repeal Day - The 21st Amendment ends Prohibition. I'll drink to that!
7 National Cotton Candy Day - would you like some fairy floss?
11 International Children's Day - Second Sunday in December
13 Violin Day
21 Humbug Day
21 Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year.
22 National Date Nut Bread Day - or September 8!?
23 Festivus - for the rest of us
23 Roots Day
24 Channukah - date varies
26 Boxing Day
30 Bacon Day
31 Unlucky Day
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
World’s oldest person turns 117
Emma Morano, thought to be the world's oldest person and the last to be born in the 1800s, celebrated her 117th birthday on Tuesday, still swearing by her diet of two raw eggs a day. Morano was born in November 1899, four years before the Wright brothers first took to the air. Her life has spanned three centuries, two World Wars and over 90 Italian governments.
- News report
Some inspirational senior cits, past and present . . .
Folk art is what it says, art produced by folk, that is, art by an indigenous culture or by peasants or other labouring tradespeople, in contrast to fine art. Folk art is usually decorative.
Imagine living in Europe on a small agricultural holding and it’s winter. The snow lies deep outside and there is nothing able to be done until spring. One of the ways to occupy the family was to decorate the walls, the furniture etc.
Or people in other areas simply want to brighten their otherwise drab buildings.
Now you have folk art.
My mother was a folk artist and was very good at it.
Meet Anežka Kašpárková, who is in her eighties. For over 30 years she has been painting the buildings in her village in Poland, using only ultramarine blue, as “The colour looks very expensive and good quality.” Her decorations come from her imagination, ”I create what I think off” she says.
Smoky Dawson (1913 – 2008) was an Australian country music performer, radio star, entertainer, and icon. Australia's first singing cowboy complete with acoustic steel string guitar and yodel, in the style of American Gene Autry, he was part of Australia’s radio, television and entertainment history. Smoky never missed an ANZAC Day march up to his death, which occurred one month before his 95th birthday. He also continued to perform up to then. Smoky Dawson released his last album in 2005, aged 92, making him for a long time the oldest performer to release an album.
Aged 94 years
The Smoky Dawson memorial seat statue at Tamworth. Unveiled in 2012, it recognises the contribution of Smoky Dawson to the Australian Country Music Industry.
For country music devotees, there are also statues at Tamworth of Slim Dusty and Joy McKean, two icons of Australian country music.
Slim Dusty (1927 – 2003) was an Australian country music singer-songwriter, guitarist and producer, an Australian cultural icon and the "Father of Country Music". Slim was the first Australian to have a No. 1 international hit song, with his 1957 version of "A Pub with No Beer" and received an unequalled 37 Golden Guitar and two Australian Recording Industry Association (ARIA) awards. At the time of his death, at the age of 76, Dusty had been working on his 106th album.
He performed "Waltzing Matilda", Australia's national song, at the closing ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.
Joy McKean (1930 - ) is an Australian country music singer-songwriter and wife of the late Slim Dusty. Known as the "grand lady" of Australian country music, McKean is recognised as one of Australia's leading songwriters and bush balladeers and wrote several of Slim’s most popular songs.
Joy McKean and Slim Dusty, 1957
I mentioned above that for a long time, Smokey Dawson was the oldest performer to release an album. He was aged 92 when he did so.
Who knocked him off his perch?
None other than "the Forces' Sweetheart", Dame Vera Margaret Lynn (1917 - ) the English singer, songwriter, and actress whose musical recordings and performances were enormously popular during the Second World War. Apart from well known WW2 hits such as "We'll Meet Again", "The White Cliffs of Dover", "A Nightingale Sang in Berkeley Square" and "There'll Always Be an England", in 2009, at age 92, she became the oldest living artist to make it to No. 1 on the British album chart.
Dame Vera released an album in 2014, aged 97, making her the world’s oldest recording artist to release an album. Although a compilation album, it also included new and previously unreleased items as well. It was released on 2 June to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
With soldiers in the Far East during World War Two
Which brings me to a truly inspirational senior cit, my father in law Noel Wicks, who will be 90 on 3 January.
Noel still lives at home and looks after himself, drives, is a director of a publicly listed company and does his own shopping, cooking etc. He does have someone come in to help with the gardening. Slacker.
What is amazing, however, is that the advanced years have not diminished the twinkle in his eye, his wicked sense of humour and the simple enjoyment of life that radiates from him. He is pursuing courses of study in Chaucer and Middle English literature, reads and watches voraciously on all manner of topics (one favourite: the history of Hitler and the Third Reich), is the most knowledgeable authority on jazz and blues that I know (having his own jazz radio hour at age 17 in Rockhampton) and remains active both physically and mentally.
Noel, 2 weeks ago, at a local cafe in Canberra
As I said, an inspiration, all of them.