The Real Moby Dick Story; Snow? Really?

On This Date in History: In 1819, New England had a big industry.  It was called whaling.    Ships regularly went out to sea to hunt whales in order to get their blubber which could be melted down for the valuable oil.  They often set sail all the way around South America to the Pacific Ocean to the whale rich hunting grounds.  On November 20,  1820, the US whaling ship Essex went down into the annals of whaling infamy.    The Essex  sunk after a head-on collision.    First mate Owen Chase later reported that the 238 ton ship was hit “wiith ten fold fury and vengeance.” 
Whaler Like The Essex

Whaler Like The Essex

The attacker  was a sperm whale that has been estimated to weigh 80 tons.  I suppose it simply got tired of beinch chased about and turned the tables.  It first slammed directly into the nose of the Essex, went under the boat and returned to give it a final fatal blow.   Some 2000 miles west of South America, the great saliing vessel sank and all died except for 8 men who survived in an open boats for 83 days before rescue on this date in 1821.  Here’s the catch…originally there were 20 survivors. 

After a month drifting around in three small boats, they spotted a small island, known today as Henderson Island.  Less than a week later, most of the men got back into their boats and returned to the sea as there was no food on their little resting place.   One by one, men would die from exposure, starvation and thirst.  Chase and two companions were the first to be rescued, followed shortly thereafter by two others in another small whaleboat.  The survivors pointed their rescuers in the direction of Henderson Island where 3 more castaways were found.   So, what happened to the rest.  As it turns out, it was dinner time whenever a man died.  You see, the last men of the Essex survived on the remains of their departed shipmates.  When men didn’t die fast enough, the remaining survivors drew lots with one drawing the executioners lot and one drawing that of a victim.  Think about that next time you have sushi.


Filming of Moby Dick

Filming of Moby Dick

Anyway, this story inspired the tale written by Herman Melville called Moby Dick. Melville’s work was written in 1851 but Hermie didn’t do too well at the book stores. After some early success as a writer, he died in 1891 relatively unknown and not very wealthy. It wasn’t until the 20th century that Melville’s genius and talent came to be known. Nowadays, many academics consider Moby Dick to be one of America’s greatest novels. Melville lived near Nathaniel Hawthorne and dedicated his whale tale to his friend and famous writer. But the book only sold 3000 copies.
The photo above is of course from the famous 1956 movie with Gregory Peck starring as Captain Ahab. It also has Richard Basehart and a cameo by Orson Welles as Father Maple. Another guy who shows up is Royal

Dano In The Right Stuff

Dano In The Right Stuff

Dano who plays “Elijah” who was a drifter kinda guy who is pretty scary and prophesies to Basehart the the ship would be doomed by a great white whale. Later, Dano in the early 1980’s was the preacher in The Right Stuff who seems to represent death as he shows up at all of the funerals, test flights and space shots. One other interesting aspect of the movie: the screen play was written by Ray Bradbury and John Huston. Huston also directed.


Greenpeace Trying To Stop "Research" Ship

Greenpeace Trying To Stop "Research" Ship

On a related note…on this day in 2008, a small fleet of ships in a Japanese whaling expedition was on its way to the Arctic regions to hunt whales. They wanted to get 90 sperm whales among other specimens. I say specimens because whaling is banned world wide under an international treaty. But they can be hunted for research. The official mission of the fleet was for research. Yet, when they left port they left to great fanfare and people of small villages in northern Japan claiming they need to whaling so that they may carry on their thousands of years old culture. Greenpeace wasn’t buying the scientific aspect and attempted to thwart the harpooning of the great mammals. Perhaps Moby Dick will resurface and get a bit of revenge this year as the “scientific research” continues and hundreds of whales are killed.  Amazingly, in this time of global warming hysteria and the media attention put on saving endangered species….the international ban on whaling may be coming undone

00Z GFS Wed 120 hr snow accumulation through Sunday

00Z GFS Wed 120 hr snow accumulation through Sunday

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Weather Bottom Line: I’m telling you…it’s really tough for me to say we’ll be above freezing on Friday.  The GFS says no and the NAM has us above freezing for a few hours late in the day.  I’ll stick with the idea that we may get to say 35 for an hour or two but thats about it.  The forecast for the next few days is pretty much on track.  Rain, perhaps a rumble of thunder on Wednesday followed by some inconsequential snow on Thursday.  The GFS still wants a half inch and the NAM just flurries at best.  Either way, I do not expect accumulations to be an issue, though I suppose even a light snow early Thursday morning may make roads a bit slick.  Now, what’s interesting is the next system.  We still have a low coming through the flow approaching on Friday,  which is why there may be a slight warm up.  The NAM is a little odd in that it wants to put out a pretty decent little burst of snow on Saturday morning for about 3 hours from Louisville to the north.  The GFS wants to put out about 3 inches from Louisville north for a time frame of Saturday morning and a little more on Sunday.  Some of the data suggests that another vort max spins up to our south and swings around to our southeast from the base of the trof over the weekend.  This is the reason for the extended time frame of snow on the GFS.  The Euro seems to be in some agreement.  If we warm up sufficiently aloft late Friday, its not totally out of the question to have some sleet or freezing rain at first, but it would not be anything too substanitive if that panned out.  We stay below normal for Monday but an advancing system from the west brings back moderating air for Tuesday.  Would not be surprised at all if a lot of people in the northern half of the viewing area stay below freezing from early Thursday morning through Monday.

NAM Has Snow Burst Saturday Morning

NAM Has Snow Burst Saturday Morning


5 Responses

  1. You seem to be alone on this one, buddy. Almost every station has us getting above freezing almost every day between Thursday and Monday. I’m glad to see that you’re sticking to your guns. We’ll see who’s right. I’ll give you Friday since you’ve mentioned the possibility of a few hours above freezing.

  2. I can see it Friday maybe. Otherwise, I don’t get it. Only thing I can figure for Saturday is there is warm air advection ahead the system that brings snow…that would possibly keep us above freezing say at 2 am…then it falls off but effectively for the day when most people are awake, its below freezing.

  3. The smart money is on “Texas Bob” Symon’s weather forecast! That’s what I say.

    Great post about the Essex. I never had heard of that connection. I’ve tried to read Moby Dick before but didn’t get very far. The language was a bit difficult, rather like a very thick and rich stew. I guess I didn’t think that it was worth the effort. I guess your readers will cringe at my slight of one of America’s greatest authors. I do like Hawthorne though!

  4. It is interesting how the language has changed and evolved as the country has progressed. When you read the Lincoln-Douglas debates or some of Abe’s speeches, its a bit difficult. Then when you stop and realize that his speeches were intended for the average joe voter, then you realize how much our communicative skills have declined.

  5. Interesting site, i have bookmarked your blog for future referrence 🙂

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