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Neosho Daily News - Neosho, MO
  • RUSSELL HIVELY: Harvest moon and Costa Concordia

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  • The harvest moon was especially bright one morning last week as I walked along Wildcat Boulevard. The moonlit sky was nearly clear and the stars shining and bright. Beautiful!
    The harvest moon was so named because it is closest to the autumn equinox — harvest time. Days ago before the electric world of today, the harvest moon was relished as it provided late evening light so the farmers had more time to gather their crops.
    One morning, a while back, the sky was nearly filled with clouds, and they were red, very red, from skyline to skyline. The old sailor's saying: "Red sky at night, sailors delight. Red sky at morn, sailors be warned," proved to be true that particular day, as we had heavy rain storms that afternoon.
    I have been thinking about the righting of the Costa Concordia, the passenger cruise ship that hit the rocks along the edge of the ocean off Italy and tipped over a year or so back. When it sank, it carried more than 4,000 passengers and crew. Sadly, 32 people lost their lives in the accident.
    The ship recently was tipped back up and will be placed on underwater stands to keep it upright until they build pontoon-like containers to attach to the side of the ship to tow it away. They pulled and jacked the thing upright in a short period of time, but after months of preparation.
    It is destined to be salvaged and scrapped. It also had to be removed as its continued banging against the shore rocks would break it up in time creating horrible hazards for area shipping.
    Still I cannot even imagine how much thought went into righting this ship. It weighs about 114,500 tons, almost as much as 15,000 loaded semi-trailer units.
    The uprighting of the ship and eventual towing to port will cost about $800 million, but no estimate of the salvage value is known yet. The insurance loss was $1.1 billion. I'm not sure all the liability costs are over yet either. Won't souvenir parts of the ship have some value?
    I was amazed when I looked at the pictures of the uprighted Costa Concordia, as many of the deck chairs were still in place and the outside cabin doors were swinging in the wind.
    It would be dangerous, but wouldn't it be cool to ride on the Costa Concordia when it is being towed back to port. You could sit in a battered deck chair and watch all the procedures.
    Take a walk, enjoy the sight of a harvest moon, marvel at what working/thinking men and women can do like turning up a 114,500 ton ship, and see what you think about while passing along Wildcat Boulevard.
    Russell Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.

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