Titanic Tidbits

Summer is here so Titanic themed news tends to get thin.

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

1. William Barrows, ship steward aboard Titanic, wrote a short note to his sister Mary about Titanic. He had landed the job as steward in the ship’s First Class Lounge. His note indicates he was happy to be aboard although he would need a better fitting waiting jacket in the future. He signed off the letter with “Love & best wishes to all, Your affectionate brother Will. Place all laundry and things in middle draw in the chest of drawers in my room.” In many ways, it tells more about the loss of life than some of the books out there. The letter and other items associated with it are up for auction at Adam Partridge Auctioneers in Macclesfield, Cheshire, UK.
Source:Poignant Titanic letter written by doomed crewman reveals his ‘excitement’ at joining ship(Daily Mirror,26 June 2016)

2. The Irish News recently reported that “The wreck of the Titanic could be put up for sale after the company that owns it went bust.” Call Douglas Wooley! He is the chap who claims he actually owns the wreck (and probably does) and believes the U.S court has no jurisdiction over his property. Actually what might be auctioned off are items from the French Collection outside the salvage award in the U.S. court. Might want to do better fact checking next time.
Source: Titanic wreck could be sold(Irish News,29 June 2016)

3. Billy Zane believes his character Cal had found redemption at the end and that Rose would have been with him. Should keep a lot of fans up late at night texting about that.

4. Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition opened at the Portland Science Center in Maine. No word yet on the numbers but one expects it will draw a considerable number of people to it. The exhibition will likely run until the Fall (no firm date given for its end).

5. Being summer outdoor grilling becomes a common occurrence. Just like deep frying turkey for Thanksgiving, there are safety rules to follow. A video from the National Fire Protection Association covers much of what you need to know.


Of course if you need some help on grilling the perfect burger, here is a video featuring Alton Brown from the Food Network.

Titanic Musings

*Premier Exhibitions

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

It is funny how things end up. Back in 1987 George Tulloch and G. Michael Harris formed a partnership to recover Titanic artifacts. They partnered with Ifremer, the French Research Institute for Exploration of the Sea (which was also partnered with Ballard in his Titanic expedition). The company that was formally established was called RMS Titanic Inc and conducted numerous dives to bring up artifacts. Needless to say many were not happy with this. It caused major splits in the Titanic community with angry confrontations on the Internet and major gatherings.  The company though went through all the necessary legal steps to claim, under maritime law in a U.S. Federal Court, that they had the right to do what they did. And the court found they did in the end. The artifacts were brought up, restored, and put on exhibition. It is the only way to see genuine Titanic artifacts.

But in 1999 Tulloch was ousted in a hostile takeover. The company would begin to move in other directions by deciding to become an exhibition company. In 2004 it changed its name to Premier Exhibitions. It also began the highly controversial Bodies exhibition (it is controversial because many claim the bodies from China are from their prisons). Other exhibitions would be added as well. Yet something was amiss. Here was a company with a prize possession, Titanic artifacts, and other well liked exhibitions. And it was losing money. Why?

Interest in exhibitions can wax and wane but Titanic was certainly a draw. Belfast shows how true this is. Belfast Titanic has done pretty well and the city is happy with the revenues it has generated. From what is publicly known, it seems Premier probably signed unwise expensive leases but that cannot be the whole story. The merger with Dinoking was meant to bolster the bottom line and hopefully restore confidence. And infuse money into the company to get it back on its feet. Now it is in bankruptcy court to get protection from its creditors and reorganize.

Perhaps the best thing about this is that it will require the books to be opened for inspection. This way one can find out how the company is run. It might turn out that the company was not run well, the appropriate checks and balances not followed, and revenues decreased by undisclosed expenses that were never reported to shareholders. Whatever the case, the shareholders ought to be incensed and demand oversight of this process is truly independent.

*Summer means MasterChef/Hotel Hell

MasterChef_Logo_&_Wordmark.svgMasterChef has lost two of its original members: Joe Bastianich and Graham Elliot. Joe left two seasons ago and was replaced by Christina Tosi. Graham left at the end of last season and no replacement has been made. Instead they will have a rotating series of well-known chefs such as Wolfgang Puck visiting from time-to-time. Will it work? Well Wolfgang was certainly interesting. Puck was only there for the Mystery Box challenge and not for the elimination. Why? Would you not want his expertise there as well? Meanwhile on Hotel Hell, Ramsay continues his tour of American by stopping at hotels in dire need of his extreme criticism. I have little sympathy for the owners of these places complaining about Ramsay. There is a lot of stuff out there about how he does things and his previous outings are well documented. So when someone complains Gordon or his production staff purposefully left stained duvets for him to find, I am usually do not find it credible. Especially when it is clear that they are never going to follow much of his advice anyway. And the dolt that runs the hotel in Chelan decided once the lights and cameras were off to jettison much of what Gordon suggested. Reminds of me the experience Gordon had at Black Oyster.

*Call of the Wild
I got some criticism about the raccoon posting. My point was education. Far too many people think, thanks to anthropomorphism of nature, that it is safe to approach them like a domesticated pet. As that video showed, feeding a wild raccoon is neither safe nor wise. People get killed or maimed by wild animals because they forget this simple fact of nature: they are not human. Never forget that. Respect nature and do not think that cute mother bear wants you to approach and take photos of its cubs.

WSJ:More Details on Premier Bankruptcy Filing


Some interesting facts from Lillian Rizzo’s blog entry at Wall Street Journal on the Titanic bankruptcy filing:

1. Premier owes owes $12 million to unsecured creditors.
2. The company states that just the sale of four artifacts from the French Collection could fetch $10 million or more at auction.
3. The money raised from the sale would be used to pay off creditors,help the shareholders and keep the company afloat.

Source:Premier Exhibitions Floats Sale of Titanic Items(Wall Street Journal,22 June 2016)

Premier Exhibitions Update:Wants to Monetize 1987 Artifacts

PremierExhibitionslogoIn a recent report to the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), Premier Exhibitions reported:

“On June 20, 2016, the Company filed a number of motions in the Bankruptcy Court. Among the motions filed was a motion seeking permission to sell a portion of the Titanic artifacts awarded to the Company pursuant to a 1993 French administrative decree, which are from time to time referred to as the 1987 Artifacts in Company filings. At this time the Company does not know when the Bankruptcy Court will rule on this motion, and does not know the likely outcome of the motion.”

Since those artifacts are not part of the salvage award decision in the U.S., those stringent conditions imposed for sale do not apply here.

Premier Exhibitions (2016, June 20)Form 8-K

Summer Solstice

The sun rising over Stonehenge on summer solstice(2005) Photo:Andrew Dunn (Wikimedia)
The sun rising over Stonehenge on summer solstice(2005)
Photo:Andrew Dunn (Wikimedia)

Today is the Summer Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. For those below the equatorial line, it is the Winter Solstice. The June Solstice usually takes place between June 20-22. For those in the Northern Hemisphere, it usually is the longest day of sunlight as the North Pole tilts directly towards the sun. Which translates into more sunlight particularly the further north you live. For those more closer to the North Pole (Alaska, parts of Canada, and Scandinavian countries)the sun literally never sets during this time of year. Of course the reverse is true in the Southern Hemisphere. They get less sunlight on the June Solstice and the closer you are to the Antarctic Circle means less sunlight or total night.

The coming of summer is usually a time for celebration in many cultures. Festivals in Northern Europe celebrate summer and the fertility of the Earth. Bonfires are lit and homes are decorated to mark the festival. Many cultures honor the sun in some fashion. Modern day pagans and druids also celebrate the day with their own festivals and many go to Stonehenge in England to witness the first rays of summer.

Premier Exhibitions Seeks Reorganization in Bankruptcy Court

PremierExhibitionslogoPremier Exhibitions, the owner of RMS Titanic Inc and operates many touring exhibitions that includes Titanic:The Artifact Exhibition, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company states in its press release:

United_States_Bankruptcy_Court_SealDespite aggressive efforts to manage these issues, the burden of the
Company’s lease in New York City and other legacy business issues remain obstacles to the Company’s ability to conduct business. Faced with these obstacles and upcoming lease payments due, the company has
determined that it would be in the best interest of its stakeholders to
file for reorganization relief under Chapter 11. Operating under the
protection of Chapter 11 will provide the company’s most important
vendors with assurances that they will be paid. Further, the company
intends to create a restructuring plan that should allow Premier to
emerge as a stronger business. Further, as part of its restructuring
efforts, the company will continue to assess the productivity of all
assets, review additional cost-cutting initiatives and explore strategic
alternatives to maximize the value of the business.

Well this is both good and bad news for shareholders. Shareholders have seen the value of their shares fall (and suffered a double bounce as well)considerably. But the voluntary move to reorganize the company in bankruptcy court means it can reduce the liabilities causing it considerable problems. It also means they must open their books up for the court to examine (which will use independent auditors)to determine what the assets and liabilities are. Secured creditors will get paid but how much will be determined by the court.

Of course there is one big asset namely the Titanic Artifact Collection. And the bankruptcy court will now be handling its disposition. Interesting to see how that plays out down the road.

1.Premier Exhibitions, Inc. to Reorganize Under Chapter 11 (Nasdaq
Globe Newswire, 14 June 2016)
2. Premier Exhibitions in Chapter 11 bankruptcy (Atlanta Journal Constitution, 14 June 2016)

Learn about bankruptcy (Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11) for consumers and business owners.(Nolo.com)

Titanic Themed Graduation

The Grand Staircase of the RMS Olympic Photo:Public Domain (Wikipedia)
The Grand Staircase of the RMS Olympic
Photo:Public Domain (Wikipedia)

When I graduated from 8th grade back in the stone age, there was no dance. There was a ceremony to mark the occasion and not much else as I recall. Some places though go the extra step and have a dance for the graduating eighth graders as they head off to four years of high school. The graduating eighth graders of Canyon Lake Middle in Canyon, CA had a memorable dance. When the arrived at the schools multipurpose room they found it had been transformed into Titanic.

“They found the room transformed into the ship’s grand ballroom, with a projection of the grand staircase on stage, creating an upper class and steerage, along with sets that included a special entrance, a wooden gangplank and the nose of the Titanic for photo ops.”

From all accounts it went well. No word if anyone put in an appearance as Jack and Rose.

8th graders enjoy ‘Evening on the Titanic’(The Friday Flyer,10 June 2016)