Titanic News-Wedding Plans Disrupted and Studying Titanic Wreck Ecosystem

  1. Wedding Plans Disrupted When Fiancée Does Not Want Titanic Wedding
Croquembouch wedding cake
Photo:Eric Baker(Wikipedia)

I do often see news reports of Titanic themed weddings so often that I hardly take notice of them anymore. Some are more extravagant than others certainly catches the eye. But what happens with the person you are marrying is not keen on the idea?

My fiance won’t speak to me because I’ve said I don’t want Titanic-themed wedding’ (Daily Mirror, 25 Jan 2022)

Unfortunately, one groom-to-be has been left feeling conflicted after his fiance expressed a longing for their nuptials to be themed around the classic romantic tearjerker, Titanic. The fiance is said to be ‘obsessed’ with the movie, while he doesn’t really care for it all that much. Taking to Reddit’s AmITheA**hole forum, the 23-year-old groom revealed that his fiance wanted to go all out for the theme, decorating an old hall like the Titanic dining room, with absolutely everything themed around Titanic or the 1910s. As well as an iceberg wedding cake – arguably a rather morbid feature given the historical basis of the film – the fiance wants their first dance to be to the sound of Celine Dion weepie, My Heart Will Go On.

Titanic Wreck Bow
Image: Public Domain (NOAA-http://www.gc.noaa.gov/images/gcil/ATT00561.jpg)

2. OceanGate To Study Titanic wreak ecosystem

Those who have visited the wreck have noted that nature has adapted itself to the wreck in interesting ways. And now OceanGate plans to make that a serious study before the wreck is totally consumed by the Atlantic Ocean.

Titanic Expedition Chief Scientist, Steve W. Ross, PhD., Spearheads First-Ever Effort to Study the Marine Ecosystem of the Iconic Titanic Wreck Site (PR News, 18 Jan 2022

OceanGate Expeditions announces that Dr. Steve W. Ross, Research Professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, will be the Chief Scientist of the 2022 Titanic Survey Expedition. Dr. Ross will lead a team of accomplished scientists in a first-of-its-kind survey of the marine ecosystems on and near the Titanic. The wreck of the Titanic, sitting at 3,800 meters on a barren abyssal plain, serves as a refuge for life forms like corals, squat lobsters, brittle stars, and rattail fish. The scientific team will utilize the 5-crewmember Titan submersible as a research platform to observe and record the deep dwelling sea life.


Daily Mirror:Titanic Expert Claims He’s Solved 110-Year-Old Mystery from Night Of Sinking

 

New York Times Front Page 16 April 1912
Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

Titanic Expert Claims He’s Solved 110-Year-Old Mystery from Night Of Sinking (Daily Mirror, 24 Jan 2022)

Parks continued: “If Evans had remained at his station and received Titanic’s distress call, could the Californian – arguably the closest ship – have come to the rescue before Carpathia? “Could Californian have averted the heavy loss of life? I would say no. “In daylight, it took her over two hours to work her way slowly out of the ice into clear water and reach the scene of the disaster. At night, it would have taken much longer.“In short, had Evans received Titanic’s distress call, it would have already foundered and most of the people in the water would have died from cold shock and exposure before Californian arrived.


No Sliced Bread for You!

There was a time when the U.S. government banned sliced bread during World War II

 When we go to the store and purchase bread, it comes sliced. Yet that was not the case until the 1930’s. Bread was sold as whole loaves and you sliced them at home (or you made your own bread). Some bakers believed selling pre-sliced bread would hasten it becoming stale. While buying whole loaves meant you could slice to the thickness of your choice, it became a hassle when you had to get breakfast on the table and make sandwiches for lunch. The key to making commercially sliced bread feasible though was machinery to do this and that came about in 1928.

Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

Otto Rohwedder designed a mechanical powered multi-blade slicer that his friend Frank Bench used at his Chillicothe Baking Company in Chillicothe, Missouri. It was a local hit since the bread was sliced better than done by hand. Some thought it was a fad, but other bakeries began to do the same. Soon it spread national and by the 1930’s just about all commercial bread sold came pre-sliced. It also was softer than homemade as well. The Continental Baking Company capitalized on this with their Wonder bread. It became one of the most popular brands in the country. Now everyone could reach for their bread and easily make toast and sandwiches without having to slice it. A famous phrase came out of it: “The best thing since sliced bread.”

World War II though meant everything had to be rationed for the war effort and food was as well. Flour, dairy products, sugar, and other things could only be purchased with a ration book to prevent stores from selling too much (and they had rigorous enforcement as well). Fewer coffee beans meant coffee had to be extended with things like chicory (which my mother hated). Margarine instead of butter and lesser cuts of beef became popular. And then  the Office of Price Administration (which oversaw the food rationing and other things) decided on 18 Jan 1943 to ban sliced bread. The agency explained that the bread required heavy wrapping compared to unsliced, Another likely reason was that the price of flour (like other items during this period) was starting to go up and banning sliced bread would keep the flour price low.

Steel was also rationed during this time, so availability of bread cutting machines was limited as well. This did reduce the supply of sliced bread as well during the war. If the machine broke down and could not be repaired, bakers had to revert to using whole loaves or other alternatives to sliced bread. The attempt to ban sliced bread meant with resistance. Mayor LaGuardia of New York said that bread-slicing machine should continue to be used by bakeries and delicatessens. It did not stop there as complaints rolled into newspapers from housewives, bakeries, and others. The government doubled down and warned bakeries, stores, and delicatessens to cease using they bread cutting machines arguing it was unfair to those who were manually slice their bread.

You can guess this did not go over well. With limitations on everything already in place, people were furious that sliced bread was being banned requiring everyone to slice themselves or make their own bread. Since flour was being rationed, baking bread from scratch was not practical for most. Due to the unpopularity of this rule, it was rescinded on 8 March 1943. Claude B. Wickard who had issued the rule, said the savings the order meant to occur were not as expected. And that there was sufficient wax paper to wrap the sliced bread existed. So ended a moment when sliced bread, by government edict, was banned.  Today sliced bread is still widely available through types of bread have expanded considerably since those times. Wonder Bread is still available though it was hiatus for a while when its owner went bankrupt. It was bought by another company that brought it back and adorns store shelves again.

Who Invented Sliced Bread? (History.com)
The US Tried to Ban Sliced Bread During WWII (TheHistoryCollection.com)
Ban on Sliced Bread (TodayinHistory.com)

Ten Years Ago Costa Concordia Sank; Survivors Recall Their Experiences

Costa Concordia shipwreck (wire photo)

On 13 Jan 2012, the Costa Concordia was wrecked off an Italian island in shallow water resulting in 32 deaths and seriously injuring others. A trial later revealed the ship captain likely sailed close to the island to impress a girlfriend (it should be noted that Captain Schettino said sailing close was normal to salute mariners). Captain Schettino along with four crew members and a company official were found at fault for the disaster. The disaster, it was found, resulted from a series of human errors. Now ten years later, survivors are being interviewed about what they remembered that night.

10 years later, Costa Concordia survivors share their stories from doomed cruise ship  Yahoo! News, 12 Jan 2022

 

 

Remembering Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King, Jr.(1964) Photo:Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress digital id cph 3c26559)
Martin Luther King, Jr.(1964)
Photo:Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress digital id cph 3c26559)

 

The following stirring speech by Martin Luther King, Jr. is one of the best calls for equality in modern times. King reminds us that in seeking freedom not only for African-Americans, it is also for everyone. He wanted all people to be treated fairly, justly and not by the color of their skin but on the content of their character. He did not want it done out of bitterness or hatred but to work towards brotherhood where all would be free.  We honor and remember a man who sought freedom not by the gun but by peaceful and forceful demonstrations to remind many of the promises of this country and what God himself has taught us in Holy Scripture.

I Have A Dream
Lincoln Memorial
August 28, 1963

I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity.

But 100 years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition.

In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men — yes, black men as well as white men — would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check that has come back marked “insufficient funds.”

But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and security of justice. We have also come to his hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end but a beginning. Those who hoped that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny. And they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

As we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating “for whites only.” We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed.

Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today my friends — so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.”

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of interposition and nullification — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to sing with new meaning “My country ’tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my father’s died, land of the Pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!”

And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. And so let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania.

Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California.

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee.

Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi — from every mountainside.

Let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring — when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children — black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics — will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Sources
Martin Luther King Jr (Biography.com)
Martin Luther King Jr (History.com)
Martin Luther King Jr Online

 

Remembering History: Prohibition Ratified

Prohibition agents destroying barrels of alcohol.
Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

On 16 January 1919, the 18th Amendment to the U. S. Constitution was formally ratified. Under the 18th Amendment, the manufacture and distribution of alcohol in the United States (outside of industrial and sacramental use) was prohibited beginning a year later on 17 January 1920. Congress passed the Volstead Act to provide teeth to the law by allowing for enforcement of this law by the federal government, specifically a special unit of the Treasury Department. President Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act but overrode by Congress.

In the 19th century, temperance movements arose to address the growing problem of families being damaged when a husband or relative became addicted to alcohol. Also it was a means of curtailing acts of public drunkenness and related problems with people gathering to drink (gambling, prostitution etc.) The movement, religiously based in many cases, gathered steam and became a political one where it campaigned the state level for abstinence laws. In December 1917 Congress passed the amendment and sent it to the states for ratification.

All but two states ratified, a few after it had met the requisite number needed to amend the Constitution. Connecticut and Rhode Island were the two that rejected the amendment. Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont and Wisconsin all ratified after 17 Jan 1919.

Aftermath

Enforcement at national and state levels became an issue right away. Neither Canada or Mexico were dry and illegal importation was an issue. Also with Cuba 90 miles away from Florida, it would provide another avenue for rum and other alcohols to be smuggled in. Breweries switched to making non-alcoholic beverages during this time. Wineries could only produce wine for sacramental (religious use), so they too had to turn to things like grape juice or apple cider. The law was not popular in a lot of cities, resulting in the rise of illegal places (called speakeasies) where you could drink alcohol.

To meet this need, many organized crime syndicates and gangs would supply the alcohol either by owning their own breweries and/or smuggling it in from outside the country. These crime syndicates would become enormously wealthy and corrupt local governments (police, politicians, judges) in order to stay in business. Competing gangs would sometimes duke it out on the streets leaving bodies of their enemies (and sometimes the innocent as well). Chicago became particularly notorious, both for its gangs and the depth of corruption. This prompted the federal government to target the Chicago Gang run by Al Capone. While they would raid his operations (done by the famous Elliott Ness), the financial investigation would lead to a successful conviction of tax fraud.

By the end of the decade, support for Prohibition had ebbed considerably. The rise of the organized crime, the fact many flouted the laws in large and small ways, and the difficulties encountered in enforcing the law all led to is eventual demise. When the Great Depression hit in 1929, many argued the alcohol industry could provide jobs. Franklin Roosevelt added it to his campaign plank in 1932. In 1933, the U.S. Congress passed the 21st Amendment to repeal the 18th (the first such Amendment to do this) which was swiftly passed by most states. A few remained dry (under the provisions of the 21st Amendment, a state could decide to stay dry) after that but today states no longer ban its sale. There are still some counties that are dry, including the one where the Jim Beam distillery is located in Kentucky.

Sources:

 


Remembering History: Siege of Leningrad Broken (12 Jan 1943)

 

Anti-aircraft guns guarding the sky of Leningrad, 1 Oct 1941
RIA Novosti archive, image #5634 / David Trahtenberg / CC-BY-SA 3.0

After German troops invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, one of their top cities to take control of was Leningrad (former St. Petersburg, then Petrograd). As the second largest city in the Soviet Union (and its capital under the Tsar’s), it held significant importance. In August 1941, German troops surrounded the city so nothing could get in or out. This also cut off the Leningrad-Moscow railway. The residents built anti-tank fortifications and defended the city with the resources they had. Hitler decided to wait them out in a siege hoping to break down the will of the residents. Some limited supplies were able to get in but not enough for all its residents. Starvation, disease, and injuries mounted up. They did manage to evacuate about a million elderly and young people out of the city but that left 2 million to deal with the dire situation.

Food was rationed and any open space was used to plant food.  On 12 January 1943, Soviet troops punched a hole rupturing the German siege allowing supplies to come in one Lake Ledoga. A Soviet counteroffensive on 27 Jan 1944 brought the siege to a complete end after 872 days. The Russian army lost, captured or missing 1,017,881 and 2,418,185 wounded or sick. 642,000 civilians died during the siege and, 400,000 during evacuations.

Sources:

Soviet forces penetrate the siege of Leningrad (History.com)
Siege of Leningrad (WorldWar2facts.org)

 

 

 

 

Screen Rant on Titanic: Complicated Reasons For Sinking

The Famous What If

Sketch of J. Bruce Ismay giving testimony before U.S. Senate Titanic inquiry.
Public Domain (via Wikipedia)

Adrienne Tyler over at ScreenRant recently wrote about why Titanic sank and who is to blame. She examined the various pieces of the puzzle and realized that it is hard to pin just on one thing alone or one person does not work.

The tragedy of the Titanic was the result of a combination of circumstances and bad decisions, and one reason and one person to blame might never be specified.

Walter Lord, noted Titanic author, opined on the various What Ifs that could have changed the outcome of the tragedy. What if there were enough lifeboats for all? What if they looked at the ice warnings they got and realized they were sailing into an ice field? What if they had binoculars on the crow’s nest and saw the iceberg sooner? What if they had instead crashed into the iceberg head on and not tried to pivot around it?  All these questions are indicative of the story that is Titanic.

And quite a story it is since we are still talking about it over 110 years later. The ship was advertised as practically unsinkable due to its watertight compartments. With doors to slam down in an emergency to seal off the compartments, it would greatly reduce flooding and the vessel sinking. People marveled at its refinements, and it attracted the major people in society to sail aboard on her maiden voyage. She also carried a lot of new immigrants to the new world hoping to start a new life in America. Titanic was a ship the reflected the society of her day in a way that no one else ever did. Its dramatic ending has sealed it forever in history with lingering questions as to what happened and who was to blame.

Titanic leaving Belfast with two guiding tugs, 2 April 1912
Robert John Welch (1859-1936), official photographer for Harland & Wolff
Public Domain/Wikimedia Commons

Nor can the tragedy be entirely blamed on one person. Captain Edward J. Smith, had he survived, would have likely said he was following the conventional wisdom of his day. Iceberg collisions were rare though not unheard of.  The fact that he did not chart out them out would call him into question.  J. Bruce Ismay, though head of the line that owned the ship, was not at fault for what happened either. His sin was getting off the ship alive while so many died. He did nix the idea of more lifeboats though to save space. Even then it met and exceeded the requirements of the Board of Trade. Some argue (and with data to support it), that the quality of the steel was compromised with slag making it more brittle at freezing temperatures resulting in rivets and plates being damaged by the iceberg.

There were many bad decisions from the lifeboats to running the ship through an ice field at nearly top speed. The main culprit was complacency. No one thought a disaster like Titanic could or would occur. There was an arrogance implied as well that man had mastered nature. And it was a large piece of frozen water that made many realize the exact opposite was true.

Source:

Titanic: Why Did The Ship Sink & Who Was Really To Blame?
ScreenRant, 8 Jan 2022


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