Skip to content

Prof. Boerner's Explorations

Thoughts and Essays that explore the world of Technology, Computers, Photography, History and Family.


Archive for November 22nd, 2009

Black Friday is coming…

What is ‘Black Friday’ you ask? It is the day after Thanksgiving when most retailers look forward to sufficient sales for the holiday season to put them into the black (profit) for the year.

So, what is the problem? The Black Friday ads put out by many of the larger retailers will advertising great buys on things such as HDTVs, computers, etc. But what is the problem? The ads will often say, in fine print, that a limited number of items will be available — often as few as two to five — even though they may have more in the store.

So what should you do? Read the fine print before waiting in line from midnight on Thanksgiving night (or before)… Make sure that it will be worth it! A word to the wise…

dirty-secrets-of-black-friday-doorbusters: Personal Finance News from Yahoo! Finance 

black.friday.holidaze.2008 Here are a few things bargain-hungry consumers need to know before they hit stores before dawn the day after Thanksgiving.

Here’s a Black Friday reality check: Of the hordes of pre-dawn shoppers who line up for hours outside stores on the day after Thanksgiving, most will not bag the best bargains that appear in merchants’ circulars.

Look at the fine print that appears next to an advertised "doorbuster deal" at the bottom of the page in this year’s circulars.

It will either say "While supplies last," "Minimum 2 per store," "No rainchecks" or "All items are available in limited quantities."

A quick scan through a few of this year’s Black Friday circulars show quantities as low as a "minimum of 5 per store" on some models of large plasma and HDTVs and popular brands of home appliances such as a washer-dryer pair.

… [MORE]

Warning to IE 6 & 7 Users…

Hacker code to take over your computer through Internet Explorer 6 or 7. Microsoft is not scheduled to release their security updates until December 8th. So, what is one to do? The foolish action would be to ignore the problem. Other, more logical actions, would be to either update to IE 8 and/or start using FireFox.

In any case, beware of going out to websites that ask you for personal information; you might want to avoid sites promising ‘free’ goodies (a great temptation at this time of the year) or many gaming sites. Also, beware of sites that start popping up additional windows for advertising…

A word to the wise should suffice… BEWARE…

New Attack Fells Internet Explorer by PC World: Yahoo! Tech 

IE-7 Logo A hacker has posted attack code that could be used to break into a PC running older versions of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer browser.

The code was posted Friday to the Bugtraq mailing list by an unidentified hacker. According to security vendor Symantec, the code does not always work properly, but it could be used to install unauthorized software on a victim’s computer.

"Symantec has conducted further tests and confirmed that it affects Internet Explorer versions 6 and 7," the company wrote on its Web site Saturday. "We expect that a fully-functional reliable exploit will be available in the near future."

… [MORE]

by Gerald Boerner


“An artist is a man who tries to express the inexpressible.”
— Alvin Langdon Coburn

“A photographic portrait needs more collaboration between sitter and artist than a painted portrait.”
— Alvin Langdon Coburn

“I wish to state emphatically that I do not believe in any sort of handwork or manipulation on a photographic negative or print.”
— Alvin Langdon Coburn

“My mother was a remarkable woman of very strong character who tried to dominate my life…It was a battle royal all the days of our life together.”
— Alvin Langdon Coburn

“Why should not the camera artist break away from the worn out conventions… and claim the freedom of expression which any art must have to be alive.”
— Alvin Langdon Coburn

“My aim in photography is always to convey a mood and not to impart local information. This is not an easy matter, for the camera if left to its own devices will simply impart local information to the exclusiveness of everything else.”
— Alvin Langdon Coburn

“Occasional moments of ecstasy lure him on, but nothing is final in art, it is always progressing and advancing, as man’s intelligence expands in the light of more perfect knowledge of himself and the universe.”
— Alvin Langdon Coburn

“Photography makes one conscious of beauty everywhere, even in the simplest things, even in what is often considered commonplace or ugly. Yet nothing is really ‘ordinary’, for every fragment of the world is crowned with wonder and mystery, and a great and surprising beauty.”
— Alvin Langdon Coburn

“To express moods that stir the emotion from within, as does music, the plastic artist, when he conceives of energetic rhythmic interlaced forms or units, should be much more moved than even by music. It is like cementing a thought, or arresting a perfect moment of time, or like giving body to space, or solidity to air, or coloured light to darkness.”
— Max Weber, in “Essays on Art”


Alvin Langdon Coburn (1882 – 1966)

Alvin_Langdon_Coburn Alvin Langdon Coburn was an early 20th century photographer who became a key figure in the development of American pictorialism. He became the first major photographer to emphasize the visual potential of elevated viewpoints and later made some of the first completely abstract photographs.

In 1890 the family visited his maternal uncles in Los Angeles, and they gave him a 4 x 5 Kodak camera. He immediately fell in love with the camera, and within a few years he had developed a remarkable talent for both visual composition and technical proficiency in the darkroom. When he was sixteen years old, in 1898, he met his cousin F. Holland Day, who was already an internationally known photographer with considerable influence. Day recognized Coburn’s talent and both mentored him and encouraged him to take up photography as a career.

At the end of 1899 his mother and he moved to London, where they met up with Day. Day had been invited by the Royal Photographic Society to select prints from the best American photographers for an exhibition in London. He brought more than a hundred photographs with him, including nine by Coburn – who at this time was only 17 years old. With the help of his cousin Coburn’s career took a giant first step.

Rise to fame (1900-1905)

NPG Ax7777, Henry JamesCoburn’s prints at the Royal Photographic Society attracted the attention of another important photographer, Frederick H. Evans . Evans was one of the founders of the Linked Ring, an association of artistic photographers which was considered at that time to be the highest authority for photographic aesthetics. In the summer of 1900 Coburn was invited to exhibit with them, which elevated him to the ranks of some of the most elite photographers of the day.

In 1901 Coburn lived in Paris for a few months so he could study with photographer Edward Steichen and Robert Demachy . He and his mother then toured France, Switzerland and Germany for the remainder of the year.

Coburn_Rodin "Rodin", by Alvin Langdon Coburn. Photogravure published in Camera
, No 21, 1908

When they returned to America in 1902, Coburn began studying with famed photographer Gertrude Kasebier in New York. He opened a photography studio on Fifth Avenue but spent much of his time that year studying with leading Arthur Wesley Dow at his School of Art in Massachusetts. At the same time, his mother continued to promote her son whenever she could. Stieglitz once told an interviewer, "Fannie Coburn devoted much energy trying to convince both Day and me that Alvin was a greater photographer than Steichen."

Coburn_SpiderwebsThe following year Coburn was elected as an Associate of the Linked Ring, making him one of the youngest members of that group and one of only a few Americans to be so honored. In May he was given his first one-man show at the Camera Club of New York, and in July Stieglitz published one of his gravures in Camera Work, No. 3.

In 1904 Coburn returned to London with a commission from The Metropolitan Magazine to photograph England’s leading artists and writers, including G.K. Chesterton, George Meredith, and H.G. Wells. During this trip he visited renowned pictorialist J. Craig Annan in Edinburgh and made studies of motifs photographed by pioneering photographers Hill and Adamson. Six more of his images were published in Camera Work, No. 6 (April, 1904). In 1905 he photographed American artist Leon Dabo.

Coburn remained in London throughout 1905 and much of 1906, taking both portraits and landscapes around England. He photographed Henry James for The Century magazine and returned to Edinburgh for a series he intended to be visualizations of Robert Louis Stevenson’s Edinburgh: Picturesque Notes.

Symbolist period (1906-1912)

NPG Ax7781, Theodore RooseveltThe years 1906-07 were some of the most prolific and important for Coburn. He began 1906 by having one-man shows at the Royal Photographic Society (accompanied by a catalog with a preface by George Bernard Shaw) and at the Liverpool Amateur Photographic Association. In July five more gravures were published in Camera Work (No. 15). At the same time he began to study photogravure printing at the London County Council School of Photo-Engraving. It was during this time that Coburn made one of his most famous portraits, that of George Bernard Shaw posing nude as Rodin’s The Thinker.

In the summer he cruised round the Mediterranean and traveled to Paris, Rome and Venice in the fall while working on frontispieces for an American edition of Henry James’ novels. While in Paris he sees Steichen’s Autochrome color prints and learns the process from him.

Coburn_George Bernard Shaw "Bernard Shaw", by Alvin Langdon
Coburn. Photogravure published in
Camera Work, No 21, 1908

By 1907 Coburn was so well established in his career that Shaw called him "the greatest photographer in the world," although he was only 24 years old at the time. He continued his success by having a one-man show at Stieglitz’s prestigious Little Galleries of the Photo-Secession in New York and by organizing an international exhibition of photography at the New English Art Galleries in London. At the request of American art collector Charles Lang Freer, Coburn briefly returned to the U.S. so he could photograph Freer’s large collection of oriental art and Whistler prints. Coburn became captivated with the “exotic” style of the oriental artists, and it began to have an influence in both his thinking and his photography.

In January, 1908, twelve more of Coburn’s photographs were published in Camera Work (No. 21). Oddly, in the same issue there was an anonymous article that leveled some harsh words at him:

"Coburn has been a favored child throughout his career… No other photographer has been so extensively exploited nor so generally eulogized. He enjoys it all; is amused at the conflicting opinions about him and his work, and, like all strong individuals, is conscious that he knows best what he wants and what he is driving at. Being talked about is his only recreation."

The author was probably Stieglitz, who sometimes delighted in both promoting and castigating a photographer, especially if he felt the person was becoming too conceited. The criticism did not seem to have a long-term affect on their relationship, as both continued to be close colleagues for many years.

NPG x126447, Lillah McCarthy In the spring Coburn had another one-man show, this time at the Goupil Galleries in New York. Soon after he wrote to Stieglitz, "Printing almost entirely in gray now… think it a reaction from the autochomes…" In the summer he visited Dublin, where he made portraits of W.B. Yeats and George Moore. He continued his travels that year with trips to Bavaria and Holland.

The next year Stieglitz gave Coburn his second one-man exhibition at his gallery, which by that time had come to be known only as "291". Another sign of Coburn’s prominence at that time was that Stieglitz had only given two shows to one other photographer – Edward Steichen. Back in London, Coburn bought a new home with a large studio area where he set up two printing presses. He proceeded to use the skills he’d learned at the County Council School to publish a book of his own photographs called London.

Coburn_New York by NightCoburn returned to America in 1910, exhibiting 26 prints at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, New York. He began traveling extensively in the U.S. for the next year, going to Arizona to photograph the Grand Canyon and to California to take photos in Yosemite National Park. He came back to New York in 1912 and took a series of new photos which he published in his book New York. It was during this period that he made some of his most famous photographs from elevated viewpoints, including his best known image The Octopus.

While in New York he met and married Edith Wightman Clement of Boston on October 11, 1912. In November Coburn and his wife returned to England, and after twenty-three trans-Atlantic crosses he never again returned to the United States.

Explorations (1913-23)

Coburn_Pool in WoodsCoburn continued to build his fame by publishing what would become his most famous book, Men of Mark, in 1913. The book featured 33 gravure prints of important European and American authors, artists and statesmen, including Henri Matisse, Henry James, August Rodin, Mark Twain, Theodore Roosevelt and William Butler Yeats. In the preface to the book, he says:

"To make satisfactory photographs of persons it is necessary for me to like them, to admire them, or at least to be interested in them. It is rather curious and difficult to exactly explain, but if I dislike my subject it is sure to come out in the resulting portrait . I had thought of using ‘Men of Genius’ as the title for this book, but Arnold Bennett objected seriously, saying, very modestly, that he did not consider himself a man of genius, but merely a working author, and absolutely refusing to join the throng unless I changed it, so I told him that if he would give me a better one I would use it. ‘Men of Mark’ is his alternative."

In 1915 Coburn organized the exhibition "Old Masters of Photography", shown at the Royal Photographic Society in London and at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in the U.S. The show included many historical prints from Coburn’s own collection.

The following year two pivotal events occurred in his life. He met George Davison, a fellow photographer and a philanthropist who was involved in Theosophy and Freemasonry. This started him on a path of studying mysticism, metaphysical ideals and Druidism. Eventually he would devote most of his life to these studies, foregoing photography as his primary interest.

Coburn_Vortograph of PoundConcurrently he met Ezra Pound, who introduced him to the short-lived Vorticism movement in Britain. These new visual aesthetics intrigued Coburn and, provoked by his growing spiritual quest, he began to re-examine his photographic style. He responded by making a bold and distinctive portrait of Pound, showing three over-lapping images of differing sizes. Within a brief period he moved from this semi-representative image to a series of abstract images that are among the first completely non-representative photographs ever made.

To make these images Coburn invented a kaleidoscope-like instrument with three mirrors clamped together, which when fitted over the lens of the camera would reflect and fracture the image. Pound called this instrument a "Vortescope" and the resulting photographs "Vortographs". He made only about 18 different Vortographs, taken over a period of just one month, yet they remain among the most striking images in early 20th century photography.

Coburn_VortographIn 1917 he had a show of Vortographs and paintings at the Goupil Galleries in New York. He had recently started painting, mostly in the Post-Impressionist style, and the combination of second-rate paintings along with his highly unusual photographs was not well received. Stieglitz in particular did not like the change in Coburn’s imagery, and he rejected several prints for a show he was putting together.

From 1919 to 1921 Coburn became increasingly involved with the Freemasons, achieving the title of Royal Arch Mason. He also joined the Societas Rosicruciana and delved further into metaphysical studies.

In 1922 Coburn briefly returned to his roots when he published More Men of Mark, a second book of portraits he had taken more than ten years earlier. This volume included previously unpublished photographs that included Pound, Thomas Hardy, Frank Harris, Joseph Conrad, Israel Zangwill and Edmund Dulac.

Spiritual devotion (1923-30)

Coburn_Tower Bridge In 1923 Coburn met a man who would become a major influence on him for the rest of his life. The man was the leader of the Universal Order, a comparative religious group that began as the Hermetic Truth Society and the Order of Ancient Wisdom. The identity of the man was known to Coburn, but it has been kept from anyone outside of the Order due to the Society’s strict doctrine of anonymity. There was something about him, however, that struck a chord with Coburn, and "Coburn’s solidity as a citizen and the falling-away of all mundane ambition thereafter was due to his direct influence."

In 1927 Coburn was made an honorary Ovate of the Welsh Gorsedd, or Council of Druids, and he took the Welsh name "Maby-y-Trioedd" (Son of the Triads).

In 1928 his mother died. She had been a major influence on him for much of his life, and her passing was yet one more sign that his new devotion to religious interests was the right course for him.

Coburn_Stock Exchange Throughout the 1920s and 30s Coburn enmeshed himself in the beliefs of the Universal Order, which, according to their quarterly magazine The Shrine of Wisdom, were devoted to "Synthetic Philosophy, Religion and Mysticism". His deep interest in mysticism, and especially freemasonry, was to occupy the greatest part of the remainder of his life. Coburn did much research into the history of freemasonry, as well as on aspects of the occult and mysticism. He presented numerous lectures based on his findings to Masonic gatherings, travelling extensively throughout England and Wales. He also took a particular interest in the ceremonial rituals and rites performed, and in their origins and symbolism.

Later life (1931-1966)

By 1930 Coburn had lost almost all interest in photography. He decided that his past was of little use to him now, and over the summer he destroyed nearly 15,000 glass and film negatives – nearly his entire life’s output. This same year he donated his extensive collection of contemporary and historical photographs to the Royal Photographic Society.

A year later he wrote his last letter to Stieglitz, and from then on he made only a few new photographs. Ironically, just when he was making an almost complete break from photography Coburn was elected Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society.

After living in England for more than twenty years, Coburn finally became a British subject in 1932.

Coburn_Churchyard in Wales In 1945 he moved from his house in Harlech, North Wales to Rhos-on-Sea, Colwyn Bay, on the north coast of Wales. He lived there the rest of his life.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Alvin Coburn that can be found at…

by Gerald Boerner


“If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice.”
— Meister Eckhart

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”
— John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude.”
— E.P. Powell

“The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.  No Americans have been more impoverished than these who, nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.”
— H.U. Westermayer

“So once in every year we throng
Upon a day apart,
To praise the Lord with feast and song
In thankfulness of heart.”

— Arthur Guiterman, The First Thanksgiving

“Remember God’s bounty in the year.  String the pearls of His favor.  Hide the dark parts, except so far as they are breaking out in light!  Give this one day to thanks, to joy, to gratitude!” 
— Henry Ward Beecher

“They began now to gather in the small harvest they had, and to fit up their houses and dwellings against winter, being all well recovered in health and strength and had all things in good plenty. For as some were thus employed in affairs abroad, others were exercised in fishing, about cod and bass and other fish, of which they took good store, of which every family had their portion. All the summer there was no want; and now began to come in store of fowl, as winter approached, of which this place did abound when they came first (but afterward decreased by degrees). And besides waterfowl there was great store of wild turkeys, of which they took many, besides venison, etc. Besides, they had about a peck a meal a week to a person, or now since harvest, Indian corn to the proportion. Which made many afterwards write so largely of their plenty here to their friends in England, which were not feigned but true reports.”
— William Bradford

“Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruits of our labor. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week. At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which we brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty.”
— Edward Winslow


Thanksgiving: Ways of Celebrating It around the World

Thanksgiving Day is a harvest festival. Traditionally, it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and express gratitude in general. It is a holiday celebrated primarily in Canada and the United States. While perhaps religious in origin, Thanksgiving is now primarily identified as a secular holiday.

thanksgiving The date and location of the first Thanksgiving celebration is a topic of modest contention. The traditional "first Thanksgiving" is the celebration that occurred at the site of Plymouth Plantation, in 1621. The Plymouth celebration occurred early in the history of what would become one of the original thirteen colonies that became the United States. The celebration became an important part of the American myth by the 1800s.

This Thanksgiving, modeled after celebrations that were commonplace in contemporary Europe, is generally regarded as America’s first. Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the second Monday of October in Canada and on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States. Thanksgiving dinner is held on this day, usually as a gathering of family members and friends.

United States

Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, presently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November, has been an annual tradition in the United States since 1863. It did not become a federal holiday until 1941. Thanksgiving was historically a religious observation to give thanks to God.

The First Thanksgiving was celebrated to give thanks to God for helping the pilgrims survive the brutal winter. The first Thanksgiving feast lasted three days providing enough food for 53 pilgrims and 90 Indians. The traditional Thanksgiving menu often features turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie. Americans may eat these foods on modern day Thanksgiving, but the first feast did not consist of these items. On the first feast turkey was any type of fowl that the pilgrims hunted. Pumpkin pie wasn’t on the menu because there were no ovens for baking, but they did have boiled pumpkin. Cranberries weren’t introduced at this time. Due to the diminishing supply of flour there was no bread of any kind. The foods included in the first feast included duck, geese, venison, fish, lobster, clams, swan, berries, dried fruit, pumpkin, squash, and many more vegetables.

Elementary school teacher Robyn Gioia has argued that the first recorded Thanksgiving ceremony took place on September 8, 1565, when 600 Spanish settlers, under the leadership of Pedro Menéndez de Avilés, landed at what is now St. Augustine, Florida, and immediately held a Mass of Thanksgiving for their safe delivery to the New World; there followed a feast and celebration. As the La Florida colony did become part of the United States, this can be classified as the first Thanksgiving, although it was not a harvest festival.

1621 Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims at Plymouth

The modern Thanksgiving holiday traces its origins from a 1621 celebration at the Plymouth Plantation, where the Plymouth settlers held a harvest feast after a successful growing season. It is this iconic event that is generally referred to as the "First Thanksgiving."


Painting of "The First Thanksgiving
at Plymouth" By Jennie A.
Brownscombe. (1914)

Squanto, a Patuxet Native American who resided with the Wampanoag tribe, taught the Pilgrims how to catch eel and grow corn and served as an interpreter for them (Squanto had learned English as a slave in Europe and travels in England). The Pilgrims set apart a day to celebrate at Plymouth immediately after their first harvest, in 1621. At the time, this was not regarded as a Thanksgiving observance; harvest festivals existed in English and Wampanoag tradition alike. Several colonists gave personal accounts of the 1621 feast in Plymouth, Massachusetts. The Pilgrims, most of whom were Separatists, are not to be confused with Puritans who established their own Massachusetts Bay Colony nearby (current day Boston) in 1628 and had very different religious beliefs.

Thanksgiving proclamations in the first thirty years of nationhood

As President, on October 3, 1789, George Washington made the following proclamation and created the first Thanksgiving Day designated by the national government of the United States of America:

“Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey his will, to be grateful for his benefits, and humbly to implore his protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint Committee requested me "to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many signal favors of Almighty God especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness.

Now therefore I do recommend and assign Thursday the 26th day of November next to be devoted by the People of these States to the service of that great and glorious Being, who is the beneficent Author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be. That we may then all unite in rendering unto him our sincere and humble thanks, for his kind care and protection of the People of this Country previous to their becoming a Nation, for the signal and manifold mercies, and the favorable interpositions of his providence, which we experienced in the course and conclusion of the late war, for the great degree of tranquility, union, and plenty, which we have since enjoyed, for the peaceable and rational manner, in which we have been enabled to establish constitutions of government for our safety and happiness, and particularly the national One now lately instituted, for the civil and religious liberty with which we are blessed; and the means we have of acquiring and diffusing useful knowledge; and in general for all the great and various favors which he hath been pleased to confer upon us.

And also that we may then unite in most humbly offering our prayers and supplications to the great Lord and Ruler of Nations and beseech him to pardon our national and other transgressions, to enable us all, whether in public or private stations, to perform our several and relative duties properly and punctually, to render our national government a blessing to all the people, by constantly being a Government of wise, just, and constitutional laws, discreetly and faithfully executed and obeyed, to protect and guide all Sovereigns and Nations (especially such as have shown kindness unto us) and to bless them with good government, peace, and concord. To promote the knowledge and practice of true religion and virtue, and the encrease of science among them and Us, and generally to grant unto all Mankind such a degree of temporal prosperity as he alone knows to be best.

Given under my hand at the City of New York the third day of October in the year of our Lord 1789.”

On October 6, 1941 both houses of the U.S. Congress passed a joint resolution fixing the traditional last-Thursday date for the holiday beginning in 1942. However, in December of that year the Senate passed an amendment to the resolution that split the difference by requiring that Thanksgiving be observed annually on the fourth Thursday of November, which was sometimes the last Thursday and sometimes (less frequently) the next to last. On December 26, 1941 President Roosevelt signed this bill, for the first time making the date of Thanksgiving a matter of federal law. See 55 Stat. 862 (1941).

Truman2_thanksgiving President Truman receiving a
Thanksgiving turkey from
members of the Poultry and
Egg National Board and other
representatives of the
turkey industry, outside the
White House

Since 1947, or possibly earlier, the National Turkey Federation has presented the President of the United States with one live turkey and two dressed turkeys, in a ceremony known as the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation. The live turkey is pardoned and lives out the rest of its days on a peaceful farm. While it is commonly held that this pardoning tradition began with Harry Truman in 1947, the Truman Library has been unable to find any evidence for this. The earliest on record is with George H. W. Bush in 1989. Still others claim that the tradition dates back to Abraham Lincoln pardoning his son’s pet turkey. Both stories have been quoted in more recent presidential speeches. In more recent years, two turkeys have been pardoned, in case the original turkey becomes unavailable for presidential pardoning.

Since 1970, a group of Native Americans and other assorted protesters have held a National Day of Mourning protest on Thanksgiving at Plymouth Rock in Plymouth, Massachusetts in the name of social equality and in honor of political prisoners.

Details of the Thanksgiving Meal and the foods
involved will be covered on an upcoming posting. GLB


Thanksgiving, or Thanksgiving Day (Canadian French: Jour de l’Action de grâce), occurring on the second Monday in October, is an annual Canadian holiday to give thanks at the close of the harvest season. Although the original act of Parliament references God and the holiday is celebrated in churches, the holiday is also celebrated in a secular manner.

On January 31, 1957, the Canadian Parliament proclaimed:

“A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed … to be observed on the 2nd Monday in October.”

Thanksgiving is a statutory holiday in most jurisdictions of Canada, with the provinces of Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, and Nova Scotia being the exceptions. Where a company is regulated by the federal government (such as those in the telecommunications and banking sectors), it is recognized regardless of status provincially.

Thanksgiving_Service_Attended_by_Canadian_Troops As a liturgical festival, Thanksgiving corresponds to the English and continental European Harvest festival, with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty, English and European harvest hymns sung on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend and scriptural selections drawn from biblical stories relating to the Jewish harvest festival of Sukkot.

While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians might eat their Thanksgiving meal on any day of the three-day weekend, though Sunday and Monday are the most common. While Thanksgiving is usually celebrated with a large family meal, it is also often a time for weekend getaways.

Canada’s top professional football league, the Canadian Football League, holds a nationally televised doubleheader known as the "Thanksgiving Day Classic." It is one of two weeks in which the league plays on Monday afternoons, the other being the Labour Day Classic. Unlike the Labour Day games, the teams that play on the Thanksgiving Day Classic rotate each year.

Unlike the American counterpart, Thanksgiving parades are not common in Canada; in fact, there is only one that coincides with the holiday. That parade, known as the Kitchener-Waterloo Oktoberfest Parade, gets significant national attention as a result and is broadcast nationwide on CTV and A.


In Grenada there is a national holiday of Thanksgiving Day on 25 October. It is unrelated to holidays in Canada and the United States even though it bears the same name and occurs around the same time. It marks the anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of the island in 1983 in response to the deposition and execution of Grenadan Prime Minister Maurice Bishop.


A Thanksgiving Day service is held in Hooglandse Kerk to commemorate the hospitality the Pilgrims received in Leiden on their way to the New World.


China celebrates the August Moon Festival on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month of the Chinese calendar, believed to be the moon’s birthday. Mooncakes are served instead of pumpkin pie. According to legend, children can see a woman in the moon and make wishes to her to make their dreams come true. The cakes sound sweet, and the legend even more so.


In Vietnam, participants also celebrate on the 15th day of the 8th lunar month. Their festival, called Têt-Trung-Thu, is also know as Children’s Appreciation Day. It is a popular family-oriented holiday wherein the activities and events of the day are planned around the children to show the family’s love and appreciation for them. Best of all, the children participate in a lantern procession at first light. Mooncakes make an appearance at this mid-Autumn holiday as well.


Background and biographical information is from Wikipedia articles on:

Thanksgiving Day which can be found at…

Thanksgiving Day (United States) which can be found at…

Thanksgiving Day (Canada) which can be found at…

by Gerald Boerner


“One of your guys did it.”
— Robert Kennedy, about Cuban involvement in the assassination

“There has to be more to it.”
— Edward Kennedy

“We have not been told the truth about Oswald.”
— Richard Russell, Senator & member of Warren Commission

“There’s so much bitterness I thought they would get one of us, but Jack, after all he’d been through, never worried about it.”
— Robert Kennedy

“I’ll tell you something about Kennedy’s murder that will rock you.. Kennedy was trying to get Castro, but Castro got to him first.”
— Lyndon Johnson

“Hoover lied his eyes out to the Commission – on Oswald, on Ruby, on their friends, the bullets, the guns, you name it…”
— Hale Boggs, Majority Leader & member of Warren Commission

“On what basis is it claimed that two shots caused all the wounds?…..It seemed to me that Governor Connally’s statement negates such a conclusion. I could not agree with this statement.”
— John Sherman Cooper, member of Warren Commission

“I’m as certain as one can be that there was no other gun shot… But it’s not silliness to speculate that somebody was behind Oswald… I’d almost bet on the [anti-Castro] Cubans.”
— Nicholas Katzenbach, Asst. Attorney General

“Undoubtedly if word leaked of President Kennedy’s efforts [the Attwood initiative noted below], that might have been exactly the kind of thing to trigger some explosion of fanatical violence. It seems to me a possibility not to be excluded.”
— Arthur Schlesinger, JFK Special Advisor

“I told the FBI what I had heard [two shots from behind the grassy knoll fence], but they said it couldn’t have happened that way and that I must have been imagining things. So I testified the way they wanted me to. I just didn’t want to stir up any more pain and trouble for the family.”
— Ken O’Donnell, Special Assistant to John F. Kennedy

“Why don’t we play the game a bit smarter for a change. They pinned the assassination of Kennedy on the right wing, the Birchers. It was done by a Communist and it was the greatest hoax that has ever been perpetuated. And I respectfully suggest, can’t we pin this on one of theirs?”
— Richard Nixon

“If the CIA did find out what we were doing [talks toward normalizing relations with Cuba], this would have trickled down to the lower echelon of activists, and Cuban exiles, and the more gung-ho CIA people who had been involved since the Bay of Pigs…..I can understand why they would have reacted so violently. This was the end of their dreams of returning to Cuba, and they might have been impelled to take violent action. Such as assassinating the President.”
— William Attwood, Ambassador to the U.N.

The Assassination of John F. Kennedy

Kennedy in Dallas The assassination of John F. Kennedy, the thirty-fifth President of the United States, took place on Friday, November 22, 1963, in Dallas, Texas, at 12:30 p.m. Central Standard Time (18:30 UTC) in Dealey Plaza. Kennedy was fatally shot while riding with his wife Jacqueline in a Presidential motorcade. The ten-month investigation of the Warren Commission of 1963–1964, the United States House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) of 1976–1979, and other government investigations concluded that the President was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald who himself was murdered before he could stand trial.

Kennedy Motorcade_Altgens Ike Altgens photo of presidential limo
taken between the first and second
shots that hit President Kennedy.
Kennedy’s left hand is at his throat
and Mrs. Kennedy’s left hand is
holding his arm

This conclusion was initially met with support among the American public, but polls conducted from 1966 show as many as 80% of the American public hold beliefs contrary to these findings. The assassination is still the subject of widespread debate and has spawned numerous conspiracy theories and alternative scenarios. In 1979, the House Select Committee on Assassinations (HSCA) found both the original FBI investigation and the Warren Commission Report to be seriously flawed. The HSCA also concluded that there were at least four shots fired and that it was probable that a conspiracy existed. Later studies, including one by the National Academy of Sciences, have called into question the accuracy of the evidence used by the HSCA to support its finding of four shots.

The assassination

Just before 12:30 p.m. CST, Kennedy’s limousine entered Dealey Plaza and slowly approached the Texas School Book Depository. Nellie Connally, then the First Lady of Texas, turned around to Kennedy, who was sitting behind her, and commented, “Mr. President, you can’t say Dallas doesn’t love you,” which President Kennedy acknowledged.

Bood Depository_Dallas The assassination site in 2008.
White arrows indicate the sixth
floor window and the mark on the
road where Kennedy was hit the
second time.

When the Presidential limousine turned and passed the Depository and continued down Elm Street, shots were fired at Kennedy; a clear majority of witnesses recalled hearing three shots. There was hardly any reaction in the crowd to the first shot, many later saying they thought they had heard a firecracker or the exhaust backfire of a vehicle. President Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally, sitting beside his wife in front of the Kennedys in the limousine, both turned abruptly from looking to their left to looking to their right. Connally immediately recognized the sound of a high-powered rifle. “Oh, no, no, no,” he said as he turned further right, and then started to turn left, attempting to see President Kennedy behind him.

Kennedy Motorcade_MoormanPolaroid photo by Mary Moorman
taken a fraction of a second after
the fatal shot

According to the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations, as President Kennedy waved to the crowds on his right with his right arm upraised on the side of the limo, a shot entered his upper back, penetrated his neck, and exited his throat. He raised his clenched fists up to his neck and leaned forward and to his left, as Mrs. Kennedy put her arms around him in concern. Governor Connally also reacted, as the same bullet penetrated his back, chest, right wrist, and left thigh. He said, “My God, they are going to kill us all!”

The final shot took place when the Presidential limousine was passing in front of the John Neely Bryan north pergola concrete structure. As the shot was heard, a fist-size hole exploded out from the right side of President Kennedy’s head, covering the interior of the car and a nearby motorcycle officer with blood and brain tissue. Then Mrs. Kennedy said, “I have his brains in my hand.”

Dealey_Plaza_(1969) Dealey Plaza and Texas School
Book Depository in 1969, looking
much as they did in November,

United States Secret Service agent Clint Hill was riding on the left front running board of the car immediately behind the Presidential limousine. Sometime after the shot that hit the president in the back, Hill jumped off and ran to overtake the limousine. After the president had been shot in the head, Mrs. Kennedy began to climb out on the back of the limousine, though she later had no recollection of doing so. Hill believed she was reaching for something, perhaps a piece of the president’s skull. He jumped onto the back of the limousine while at the same time Mrs. Kennedy returned to her seat, and he clung to the car as it exited Dealey Plaza and sped to Parkland Memorial Hospital.

Lee Harvey Oswald

 Lee Harvey OswaldLee Harvey Oswald, reported missing to the Dallas police by his supervisor, Roy Truly, at the Depository, was arrested an hour and 20 minutes after the assassination for killing a Dallas police officer, J. D. Tippit, who had spotted Oswald walking along a sidewalk in the residential neighborhood of Oak Cliff. He was captured in a nearby movie theater.

Oswald resisted, attempting to shoot the arresting officer, Maurice N. McDonald, with a pistol, and was forcibly restrained by the police. He was charged with the murders of Tippit and Kennedy later that night. Oswald denied shooting anyone and claimed he was a patsy. Oswald’s case never came to trial because two days later, while being escorted to an armored van for transfer from Dallas Police Headquarters to the Dallas County Jail, he was shot and killed by Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby.

Kennedy declared dead in the emergency room

The staff at Parkland Hospital’s Trauma Room 1 who treated Kennedy observed that his condition was “moribund,” meaning that he had no chance of survival upon arriving at the hospital. Dr. George Burkley, the President’s personal physician, determined the head wound was the cause of death. Dr. Burkley signed President Kennedy’s death certificate.

A few minutes after 2:00 p.m. CST (20:00 UTC), and after a confrontation between Dallas police and Secret Service agents, Kennedy’s body was placed in a casket and taken from Parkland Hospital and driven to Air Force One. The casket was then loaded aboard the airplane through the rear door, where it remained at the rear of the passenger compartment, in place of a removed row of seats. The body was removed before a forensic examination could be conducted by the Dallas County coroner (Earl Rose), which violated Texas state law (the murder was a state crime and occurred under Texas legal jurisdiction). At that time, it was not a federal offense to kill the President of the United States.


Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in
as U.S. President aboard Air
Force One in Dallas

Vice-President Johnson (who had been riding two cars behind Kennedy in the motorcade through Dallas and was not injured) became President of the United States upon Kennedy’s initial incapacitation. At 2:38 p.m. Johnson took the oath of office on board Air Force One just before it departed from Love Field.

Warren Commission

The first official investigation of the assassination was established by President Johnson on November 29, 1963, a week after the assassination. The commission was headed by Earl Warren, Chief Justice of the United States and became universally (but unofficially) known as the Warren Commission.

Warren Commission

The Warren Commission presents
its report to President Johnson

In late September 1964, after a 10-month investigation, the Warren Commission Report was published. The Commission concluded that it could not find any persuasive evidence of a domestic or foreign conspiracy involving any other person(s), group(s), or country(ies). The Commission found that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in the murder of Kennedy, and that Jack Ruby acted alone in the murder of Oswald. The theory that Oswald acted alone is informally called the Lone gunman theory. The commission also concluded that only three bullets were fired during the assassination and that Oswald fired all three bullets from the Texas School Book Depository behind the motorcade. The Commission also laid out several scenarios concerning the timing of the shots, but that the three shots were fired in a time period ranging from approximately 4.8 to in excess of 7 seconds.

The commission also concluded that:

  • one shot likely missed the motorcade (it could not determine which of the three),
  • the first shot to hit anyone struck Kennedy in the upper back, exited near the front of his neck and likely continued on to cause all of Governor Connally’s injuries, and
  • the last shot to hit anyone struck Kennedy in the head, fatally wounding him.

It noted that three empty shells were found in the sixth floor in the book depository, and a rifle identified as the one used in the shooting – Oswald’s Italian military surplus 6.5×52 mm Model 91/38 Carcano – was found hidden nearby. The Commission offered as a likely explanation that the same bullet that wounded Kennedy also caused all of Governor Connally’s wounds. This theory has become known as the “single bullet theory” or the “magic” bullet theory (as it is commonly referred to by its critics and detractors). The Commission also looked into other matters beside who killed the President and criticized weaknesses in security, which has resulted in greatly increased security whenever the President travels.

Other Events on this Day
  • In 1718…
    Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard, is killed off North Carolina’s Outer Banks in a battle with ships sent from Virginia to hunt down the pirate.
  • In 1842…
    Mount St. Helens in Washington erupts during an active period lasting several years.
  • In 1935…
    Pan American Airways’ China Clipper begins the first transpacific airmail service, from Alameda, California, to Manila, in the Philippines.
  • In 1943…
    President Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek meet in Cairo to discuss World War II in Asia and the Pacific.
  • In 1963…
    John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas, and Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson is sworn in as the thirty-sixth U.S. president

Dates and events based on:

William J. Bennett and John Cribb, (2008) The American Patriot’s Almanac Daily Readings on America. (Kindle Edition)

Background information is from Wikipedia articles on:

The John F. Kennedy Assassination that can be found at…

Also see…

JFK Assassination Quotes by Government Officials…