Today is the Spring Equinox

Solstices and Equinoxes Image: NASAThe Spring or March Equinox is today at 16:15 UTC. This equinox marks the moment where the Sun crosses the equator and usually occurs between March 19-21 every year. Both the March and September equinoxes are when the Sun shines directly on the equator making night and day nearly equal.

The March equinox is the transition from winter to spring in the Northern Hemisphere but the reverse in the Southern Hemisphere (summer into fall). Various cultures celebrate March equinox as a time of rebirth. Many spring festivals are timed to coincide with the equinox and some religious events (Passover and Easter) use specific calculations based on the equinox to help determine the exact day of the event.

Though the equinox marks the changing of the seasons, it is quite common for winter effects to continue in many places far until May or even June.

Premier Exhibitions Bankruptcy Update:Settlement with Large Creditor

According to a recent court filing, Premier Exhibitions has settled the largest general outstanding claim. The landlord of Premier’s former New York exhibition site asserted claims of $12.6 million in unpaid rent. Under the settlement, the former landlord will get  $5.5 million and the other remaining claims are disallowed.

You can read the full decision here.

A Fateful Day:The Ides of March(44 BC)

The Death of Julius Caesar,Vincenzo Camuccini (1771–1844). Public Domain
The Death of Julius Caesar,Vincenzo Camuccini (1771–1844).
Public Domain

Today is 15 March and on the old Roman calendar was a day of religious observance to the Roman god Jupiter and other lesser deities. But it is most famous as the date in 44 BC when Julius Caesar was assassinated at a meeting of the Roman Senate. 60 conspirators were involved but the leaders were Brutus and Cassius. Caesar was forewarned of his death by a seer according to Plutarch. And in his famous work Julius Caesar, Shakespeare has the soothsayer say “beware the ides of March” which Caesar ignores and if course he ends up stabbed to death uttering the famous line before death:

Et tu Brute!

The assassination was a turning point for Rome. It brought about a civil war and ended the Roman Republic. Octavian (later Augustus) would become emperor and the Roman Empire would come to dominate the entire Mediterranean Sea, North Africa, and parts of Europe and Britain. In Julius Caesar Mark Antony gives perhaps the most remembered funeral oration ever done. Most people recall the famous opening line:

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears! I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him. The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones; so let it be with Caesar.

The oration is masterful in that it cleverly turns the people against Brutus and Cassius by showing they were ambitious and not Caesar. By the end the plebeians call them traitors and murderers.

In real life, it was much the same. Antony played them by seemingly supporting amnesty but turning people against them both. Brutus was forced to leave and ended up on Crete, Cassius went east to gather support among the governors and to amass an army. Antony and Octavian would clash militarily causing divisions in Rome. This allowed the forces of Brutus and Cassius to march on Rome. However Octavian made peace with Antony upon this news so both forces joined to stop Brutus and Cassius. They met at Philippi on 3 Oct 42 BC. The first battle resulted in Brutus defeating Octavian but Antony defeating Cassius. Not knowing that Brutus had defeated Octavian, Cassius took his own life. At the second battle of Philippi on 23 October, Brutus was defeated and forced to flee into the hills where he committed suicide. Antony treated his body with great respect by having it wrapped his most expensive purple mantle. His body was cremated and remains sent to his mother.

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Happy Sunday (And Daylight Savings Time)

Colorful Sunrise
Photo: Bobby Mikul(

Happy Sunday! Today is once again a day we loose one hour of sleep thanks to daylight savings time. Some really like it while others loathe it. If you live in areas that have lots of farms, farmers do not like it much. In fact, they dislike it intensely because they have to feed and maintain their animals 365 days a year and it causes problems with their schedules.

Daylight savings time is really a misnomer. We are not saving time in any real sense of the word. The sun still rises and falls as before, it is just our measurement of the length of daylight has been altered. We get extra sunlight because our clocks move ahead one hour. Those with resorts in sunny tropical areas generally like it but Hawaii stays on standard time year round. They see no practical reason to change it. Some claim the extra hour of daylight reduces crime though studies are mixed. Likewise energy conservation is debatable as well. More recent evidence is that more energy is expended during daylight savings time rather than on standard.

Easter is not that far off now. Good Friday begins on March 30 (Passover also coincides this year as well) and Easter Sunday on April 1.

Premiere Exhibitions Update:Mediator Report Filed

The mediator appointed in the Premier bankruptcy proceedings has filed a report with the court. The report states in part:

Significant progress was made in reaching agreement among a number of the parties on a path for exiting the Chapter 11 cases. However, certain of the parties are continuing their dialogue in an effort to reach closure on some important remaining issues. The parties have requested the mediator to maintain the confidentiality of the nature and extent of settlement until the finalization of agreements between some or all of the parties, particularly in light of the fact that equity securities of Premier Exhibitions, Inc. are publicly traded.

The full report can be read here.

Sunday Titanic News

1.Underwater Explorer Has A Deep Respect For Leadership(Lethbridge Herald, 4 Mar 18)
Ballard is one of the featured guests at this year’s Greatness in Leadership conference taking place in March.He is best known for finding the RMS Titanic in 1985, while on a secret navy mission to investigate two sunken nuclear submarines. “I was a naval officer doing something else, and needed a cover,” he said from his headquarters in Connecticut “I must say, the Pentagon was pissed when I made the discovery. I apologized and said I’d never do it again.” In May, Ballard will hit the open sea to work with Ocean Networks Canada. He and his crew are assisting with efforts to provide improvements to a tsunami early warning system by investigating the Juan de Fuca plate, a tectonic plate subducting under the West Coast.

2.WSU Engineering Students Helping Remap The Titanic (,1 Mar 2018)
Since Titanic was discovered in 1985, there have been dozens of voyages to the wreckage from government agencies and scientists. But the last time a tourist laid eyes on it was 2005, and the last scientific expedition was in 2010. Technology has also changed a lot in eight years. This time, their five-person sub named Titan will be armed with 4K cameras and a special laser to bring back the best images ever seen. “We can tell within millimeters what the hull is like and create a 3D image of it which we will use in our virtual reality presentation of the wreck,” said Rush.

Public Domain( John Oxley Library, State Library of Queensland, Australia)

3.US Museum Labelling Titanic A Failure Blasted By Belfast Councillor(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 18)
The Museum of Failure in Los Angeles is dedicated to displaying 100 items which are rated in terms of innovation and design before being subjected to the museum’s ‘Fail-O-Meter’. The Harland & Wolff-built luxury liner was deemed unsinkable by its designers but tragically sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 with the loss of more than 1,500 lives. However, Councillor Sonia Copeland, who represents the Titanic District Electoral Area in east Belfast, said the inclusion of the ill-fated cruise liner in the exhibition is completely inappropriate. “I think it’s disgusting. The Titanic hit an iceberg. That wasn’t a failure of the shipbuilders – it was a failure of nature, so to speak,” she said.

4.Medals Of War Hero Who May Have Unwittingly Helped Sink Titanic Go Up For Auction(Belfast Telegraph, 27 Feb 2018)
A special set of medals owned by a Titanic crew member whose memory loss may have sparked the liner’s tragic demise is set to go under the hammer. Crew member David Blair was a selfless man who once plunged into the sea to save a life and received an OBE – but he may have unwittingly caused the catastrophic sinking of the famous ship in 1912. That’s because Second Officer Blair was taken off the Titanic at the last minute – and accidentally held on to the key to a locker containing the crow’s nest binoculars. Titanic survivor Fred Fleet told the official inquiry into the tragedy that if they had the binoculars they would have seen the iceberg that took the ship to its watery grave sooner.

Titanic News for 20 Feb 2018;Titanic Hotel Reopening, Titanic Costume Exhibit, and Update on Premier Exhibitions

RMS Olympic First Class Lounge (1912)
Photo: Robert John Welch (1859-1936), official photographer for Harland & Wolff
Public Domain

Titanic Hotel’ In London With Same Dining Room As The Fateful Ship Reopens After £85M Makeover (The Sun, 16 Feb 2018)
IT’S been 106 years since the Titanic sunk after striking an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. And now a hotel with strong links to the tragedy is due to reopen after a huge £85 million refurbishment – a day after the anniversary of the sinking of the ship.The former Hotel Russell in London’s Bloomsbury has been renamed Principal London, and reopens its doors on on April 16. The Grade II listed building was designed by Charles Fitzroy Doll in 1898, and the ornate dining room on board the Titanic, also designed by him, is said to be a replica of the hotel’s. Several passengers on the ship also stayed at the hotel before they set sail on the Titanic from Southampton. There’s also a bronze dragon in the hotel that’s the twin of one that went down on the ship.

Titanic Costume Exhibit Woven Into Vanderbilt Family History At Biltmore(16 Feb 2017,Citizen Times)
With its new exhibition of costumes from the movie “Titanic,” Biltmore brings its costume shows back from England and Europe and lands its guests squarely in America. It’s an emotional homecoming that’s deeply personal for Biltmore’s founder. After all, George Vanderbilt had tickets on the Titanic for himself and his wife, Edith, in early 1912. “We have it in writing,” notes Biltmore associate curator Lauren Henry. “It’s not a legend, it’s a fact that Mr. and Mrs. Vanderbilt were booked to be on Titanic.”

Clerkenwell Titanic Victim Signed On The Day Liner Left(Islington Tribune, 16 Feb 2018)
Among them was Everett Edward Elliott, who lived in Wilmington Street, Clerkenwell. At only 24 years of age, he signed on as a trimmer on April 10, 1912, on the morning the Titanic left Southampton. His body, recovered by rescue ship Mackay-Bennett, lies in Halifax municipal cemetery.

Premier Exhibitions Bankruptcy Mediator Sought(Bankrupt Company News,16 Feb 2018)
Premier Exhibitions and its official committees of equity security holders and unsecured creditors filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court a joint motion for appointment of mediator and to schedule mediation. The motion explains, “The Parties believe it is in the best interest of the estate to mediate any and all matters arising out of or related to the Plan or any other restructuring or liquidating plan, any restructuring and liquidation options and alternatives, the sale of the Debtors’ assets, and any related issues that the Parties agree to mediate. The Parties believe that mediation will help avoid a prolonged confirmation fight among them.”

The Titanic Museum Hosts Secret Dinner Parties You’ve Got To See To Believe(15 Feb 2018, Delish)
It’s a striking sight, for sure, but then again, just beyond it is a massive castle, an inn where it’s Christmas year-round, and a towering King Kong climbing a cartoonish copy of the Empire State Building. No, I’m not tripping. This is Pigeon Forge, TN, home to Dollywood, wax museums, and every kind of tourist attraction imaginable — but I’ve got my sights set on the unsinkable ship that, tragically, sank more than 100 years ago. There’s a secret dining room inside that serves a three-course meal worthy of the White Star Line, but only for groups of 35 or more.

Today is President George Washington’s Birthday (President’s Day)

 George Washington (1732–99) by Gilbert Stuart Photo: Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)
George Washington (1732–99) by Gilbert Stuart
Photo: Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

Although today is referred to as “President’s Day” it is not a federal holiday by that name. It is officially designated as Washington’s Birthday under federal law. There was a movement to combine both Washington and Lincoln’s birthday (since they occur days apart) or honor the office of president. That never came to be. Instead in 1968 the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was past and came into force in 1971. That shifted most federal holidays to a Monday if it fell during the week. Washington’s Birthday name was not changed and so under federal law it is still Washington’s Birthday. However many states issue their own proclamations celebrating not only Washington but Lincoln and others from their own state. Advertisers have caught on as well. So today many call it President’s Day but who it commemorates beyond George Washington is up to the state governors.

The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize.
President George Washington,Farewell Address, 19 September 1799.

Happy Sunday

Here is some excellent choral music for your Sunday.

Titanic News-Titanic Exhibition Comes To Poland’s Kraków

The building reflects Soviet Era hospitality and construction. The large structure was once considered futuristic and a shining triumph of Communism. The hotel was one of the most modern buildings in Krakow in 1989 when it finally opened. It was big and was openly derided for its size. And that it looks like cinder blocks on top of Lincoln logs. Today it is used as large billboard but the ground floor is where a trendy bar is located.
Photo: Zygmunt Put Zetpe0202 (Wikipedia)

According to Radio Poland, Titanic: The Exhibition is at Kraków’s Forum Hotel. According to the news report:

The exhibition also documents the stories of a group of passengers with Polish names such as Ostrowska, Paw?owski and Paw?owicz. The victims of the tragedy included a Polish Roman Catholic priest named Józef Montwi??, who was traveling to the United States to take over a parish in the state of Massachusetts. He is said to have refused a place on a lifeboat.

The exhibition runs from 9 Feb 2018- 1 Jun 2018. Information and details at

Source: Titanic Exhibition Comes To Poland’s Kraków (Radio Poland, 9 Feb 2018)

Commentary on Titanic news and other related items.

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