Titanic Cliches of the Day

1. Global Ship Lease uses container ships to move goods you likely purchased online or locally. In theory the company makes a lot of money through fixed leases to transport cargo. But as Motley Fool points out, the company is $600 million in debt and not able to guarantee paying its loan obligations. This fact allows Sean Williams to opine:

“Global Ship Lease (NYSE: GSL) has logged a greater-than-300% gain in the past year, but if its debtors ever get their way, GSL could sink faster than the Titanic.”


Motley Fool, Is This Shipper The Next Titanic?, 21 Jan 2011

2. Pakistan has serious problems and recently began reorganizing the federal cabinet. This provoked harsh criticism as evidenced by an editor in Dawn:

‘In the present climate, that may be akin to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.’

When a government reshuffling gets the Titanic deck chair treatment, you know it looks bad or a bad comedy sketch.

Sify, ‘Pakistan Cabinet Overhaul Like Rearranging Titanic Deck Chairs’, 24 Jan 2011

Titanic Cliche of Day: Porn Like A Party On Titanic

Who mourns for porn? The porn industry is ailing as people have stopped buying and Internet piracy runs rampant. Peter Nowak wrote recently on Ask Men about the death of porn. The article is long and reports on the factors leading to its most serious decline in decades. Nowak then uses the Titanic to make a point:

With its first ever contraction, a decline that doesn’t seem to have an end, what sort of future does the porn business have? Will there even be porn stars to celebrate a few years from now? Or are these AVN Awards just one big party on the Titanic?

So porn is on a sinking ship with water slowly rising above the rails. At least there is no iceberg, no Captain Smith or Lord to blame. And once again Titanic makes an appearance in a way not thought possible in 1912.

Source: Askmen.com, The Death Of Porn, 13 Jan 2011

Premier Exhibitions: Titanic Makes Money but Bodies Now RIP

Premier Exhibitions, which owns RMS Titanic Inc., and the touring Titanic exhibition, reported its third quarter fiscal results. According to the press release Titanic and other exhibitions made a “gross profit margin of $1.9 million for the quarter and $10.2 million for the nine months ended November 30, 2010.” However the Bodies portion of the business experienced a loss of $2.3 million in the third quarter. The press release states:

“Having identified the main area of challenge within our business, we have decided to discontinue any further self-operated touring Bodies exhibitions, which will materially lessen our financial exposure. We will reduce our inventory of specimens and cut the fixed license costs by $4 million annually.”

Perhaps a main reason for the Bodies losing money is the ongoing controversy about how those “specimens” are acquired for public display. Some argue that the “specimens” coming from China are former prisoners, dissidents, and others who did not voluntarily will their remains for public display. Now that Premier is discontinuing the exhibition, what will happen to those specimens?

Source: The Street, Premier Exhibitions Reports Fiscal 2011 Third Quarter Results, 11 Jan 2011

Titanic Weekend At The Grand Hotel

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island will be having a special Titanic weekend in May. During May 13-15, those buying a special package will get not only breakfast and dinner daily, but a special 11 course Titanic dinner similar to what was served on Titanic. The cost is $749 for couples, $649 single. An Edwardian fashion show and screenings of Titanic (and other things) are part of the schedule. For full details go to www.grandhotel.com.

Ice Competition At Pigeon Forge

If you like ice sculpting, then an upcoming event at Titanic Museum Attraction in Pigeon Forge is for you. According to the press release, the competition will be on Saturday, Jan. 22 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. The event has been sanctioned by the National Ice Carving Association and will have professional and amateur ice carvers participating.

Visitors will be invited to come to Titanic’s outdoor staging center and watch professional and amateur sculptors turn 250-pound blocks of ice into frozen works of art. Kids and parents can view sculptures in progress, talk to the artists and learn the secrets of championship ice carving from the most accomplished ice artists in the entire world.
The event is free but if you want to tour the museum a ticket is needed. For tickets and other information got to titanicpigeonforge.com .

Theft of Titanic TV Foiled By Lexus!

Sergeant Joe Friday (Jack Webb on the old Dragnet show) would have shaken his head at disbelief. According to the Sacramento Bee, three burglars entered a home and stole a large television. The television size is not given but one assumes it must be 40 inches or larger (and either a plasma or lcd television requiring 2-3 people to move it) since they encountered a major problem: it would not fit in their Lexus. As this hapless trio tried to maneuver the television into the car, a neighbor spotted them and notified police.

Eventually they gave up and drove away leaving the television on the curb. Police traced the car to a 19-year-old man and arrested him for stolen property. The two other accomplices remain at large. Needless to say they never considered the television size in relation to the Lexus’ interior space. Another example of mathematics having a use in the real world!

1) Sacramento Bee, No Room In Lexus For Suspected TV Thieves, 28 Dec 2010


Christmas Is Here

Instead of musing about Titanic I decided to offer some thoughts and more about the Christmas season.

Saint Nicholas and Santa Claus: A saint and a fairy tale

Martin Luther, when he rebelled against the Catholic Church, desired to reform Christmas to reflect its true meaning. So he decided that gifts ought to be coming from the Christ child (Christkind in German). The problem was convincing kids and everyone else to accept gifts coming from a baby. So they eventually developed a convenient stand-in, an angel who serves as a gift-giving Christ child that flies around on Christmas Eve leaving presents. The name Christkind stuck and today young female girls are selected to be Christkind in German cities and towns. Dressed in white with glittering gold wings and crown, she makes many public appearances to spread the joy of the season. In Nuremberg the Christkind is usually a 17 year old girl chosen in a city-wide contest serving for two years. The post comes with chauffeur to drive her to the many appearances required in December and afterwords.

Yet Luther was unable to dislodge St. Nicholas, whose feast comes on 6 December, as he was too beloved a figure for many. So German children got the best of both worlds with both St. Nicholas and Christkind. And today St. Nicholas is more popular than ever and not just in Germany. His feast day is celebrated in many countries and usually the beginning of the Christmas season. Some of the renewed popularity comes from the import of another gift-giver: Santa Claus. Santa Claus is a composite figure drawn from several sources. It begins with the real Saint Nicholas but draws upon the British Father Christmas (a figure that went through several changes from pagan, to saintly, then a merry party giver and finally a gift-giver), the Dutch Sinterklaus, the French Pere Noel, and even the Christkind. Some versions, like the French, Dutch, and Swiss, have him accompanied by someone to remind children to be good (or he might take you away in a sack!). With early settlers being English and Dutch, Saint Nicholas was very popular but Sinterklaus was too hard to say and became Santa Claus.

Santa Claus then took on attributes of the Christkind in being able to fly around and hand out toys. Clement Clarke Moore’s A Visit from Saint Nicholas (1822) added that he had a sleigh pulled by magical reindeer. He could go up and down chimney by touching his nose. These fairy-tale attributes had add-ons later with him residing at the North Pole and elves making toys. The image of Santa Claus as a jolly fellow with apple cheeks and twinkling eyes came from illustrations in Harper’s Weekly in the late 1800’s. His commercial appeal became apparent to shopkeepers and department stores. And Coca-Cola used him in the 1930’s to advertise during the Christmas season. Santa was completely secularized and turned into a fairy-tale figure. Nothing of his connection to Saint Nicholas remains (except the use of the name St. Nick).

Today when I read that Santa Claus has been removed (because he might offend someone or is considered religious) I laugh. There is nothing religious about Santa Claus. Replacing him with Frosty the Snowman (a character created for an animation) does nothing but shift images with no connection to the importance of the holiday. Which is also why you rarely see images of Santa Claus inside Christian churches. You are more likely to see a rendition of Saint Nicholas as a bishop or illustrations of him handing out gifts to children while wearing his holy office. If there is one good thing to Santa Claus is that we can have Saint Nicholas stand apart. He was a genuinely good man who cared about children and those being harshly treated (he suffered for his faith by being imprisoned). He reflected his faith in Jesus in how he lived. Remembering and honoring the real Saint Nicholas means looking towards the real meaning of Christmas rather than a fairy-tale creation called Santa Claus.

Various Christmas Thoughts
-The Hallmark Channel’s The Christmas Card is destined to become a Christmas classic. A soldier in Afghanistan gets a Christmas card from young woman in a small mountain town in Northern California. While on leave he visits the town and meets the woman and family. In short he falls in love with her but there is a complication: she is engaged. Ed Asner plays the father and one of his best roles in recent years. Rent or buy it: you will like it!

-Dogs with antlers: bad idea!

-I like “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” How many Christmas themed songs have a verse like this: “They should never give a license to a man who drives a sleigh and plays with elves.” On the other hand I can do without the Chipmunk Song. Always gets on my nerves.

-I used to get a tabletop Christmas tree from LL Bean. But last year they dropped their supplier and did not have any. I got one from another source (the one that used to supply LL Bean) but this year decided to not get one. The reason? Cost. These decoratives, which are balsam tree parts attached to foam cores, look nice but are very pricey. Shipping is sometimes extra depending upon the source. A step up from a artificial tabletop but a more expensive one. Checking around the area I found that small natural tabletop trees (sans decorations) were available for considerably less. And they are in much better condition than the balsam decorative that often arrives with many needles less than when it began the journey

-Fruitcakes are disliked in this country because the mass produced varieties are terrible. Alton Brown demonstrated on his show Good Eats how to make one yourself and the key is good ingredients. Bad ingredients=bad fruitcake no matter how much booze you add to it. But you can buy good fruitcakes by seeking out good bakers. Some of the best fruitcakes are made by religious orders. The Mondo Fruitcake blog rates many of them. I get a fruitcake every year from the Assumption Abbey in Missouri and never disappointed. Give real fruitcake a chance and taste one of the recommended ones at the blog. But avoid the mass produced ones at all costs. They are almost always overly sweet, rely on cheap ingredients, and truly are doorstops.

Well that wraps it up for this Christmas. I wish everyone here a very Merry Christmas and all the best for 2011.

Titanic Cliche Roundup

A recent scan of news headlines proves Titanic is used by news editors to hook readers. Here is just a sample of recent news headlines that utilize Titanic in the headline.

Microsoft as the modern day Titanic; we all know how that ends
ZDNet (blog)

Titanic Vinashin could sink on first debt default?
VietNamNet Bridge

The Titanic Sinking Of The Denver Broncos: 10 Thngs That Will Right The Ship
Bleacher Report

EU fish policy is “sinking Titanic” say campaign groups

Titanic: The all purpose hook that can be recycled endlessly for sports, business, and environment news. Not to mention politics, entertainment, and weird stories as well. And likely a porn parody next.

Titanic Cliche of Day:Bette Midler Compares Las Vegas To Titanic

Bette Midler recently completed a concert series at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. During her time there, she saw the impact of the recession. In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, she opined:

When asked if it was like performing on ill fated liner the Titanic – which sank on 5 April 1912 after hitting an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – Bette agreed, saying: “Yes. It kind of was.”

Thanks Bette! We sure can see how those 1500 people, without life jackets and dumped into the freezing waters of the North Atlantic, sure resembles your performing in Las Vegas.

Source: Post Chronicle, Bette Midler Likens Caesars Palace Residency To Performing On Titanic, 26 Nov 2010

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