Titanic News: Postcard Sent By Titanic Survivor Auctioned Off; James Cameron Deep Water Vehicle Implodes

gavelPostcard Menu Sells For £87,000
1. The Daily Echo reports that a postcard sent by Titanic survivor Jacob Gibbons fetched £87,000($146,396) at auction. Sue Stares, his granddaughter, was very surprised by the amount it sold for. And it broke a record of £74,00o for a Titanic menu record. Stares said her grandmother was initially informed he had died but then received a telegram informing he was alive. The postcard doubled as a menu, was sent from Queenstown (now Cobh), Ireland when it stopped there. According to Encylopedia Titanica, Gibbons served as a second class steward aboard Titanic. He was rescued in lifeboat 11 and his telegram to his family on 20 April 1912 says simply: “Saved, well, Daddy.”
1. Postcard Sent By Titanic Survivor Jacob Gibbons Sells For £87,000 At Auction(13 May 2014,Daily Echo)
2. Jacob William Gibbons(Encylopedia Titanica)

Nereus during a partially NASA-funded expedition to the Mid-Cayman Rise in October 2009. Photo: Public Domain (WIkipedia)
Nereus during a partially NASA-funded expedition to the Mid-Cayman Rise in October 2009.
Photo: Public Domain (WIkipedia)

Cameron’s Robotic Submarine Crushed By Extreme Water Pressure
2. Agence France-Presse is reporting that James Cameron’s robotic research submarine Nereus recently imploded from extreme water pressure. The Nereus was in the Kermadec Trench when it was crushed by 16,000 pounds per square inch of pressure according to Woods Hole Institute. Cameron reports he lost a friend and an “amazing, groundbreaking robot and the only currently active vehicle in the world that could reach the extreme depths of the ocean trenches. This is a tragic loss for deep science.”
Source: ‘Titanic’ Director James Cameron’s Robotic Research Submarine Nereus Implodes(12 May 2014,Agence France-Presse)

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Titanic II Update:More Positive News About Its Construction

Perhaps Clive Palmer Should See If Titanic II Has Good Fortune Photo: MU (Wikipedia)
Perhaps Clive Palmer Should See If Titanic II Has Good Fortune.
Photo: MU (Wikipedia)

Cruise Ship News recently reported the following:

Titanic II construction has been set back by 2 years.
Titanic II will now launch in 2018.
Steel cutting has yet to start, part of the reason for delay.
Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC) has signed Memorandum of Understanding with Blue Star Line to promote ship together and help get sponsors in China.

Not mentioned or reported is whether any formal contract has been signed yet with the Chinese shipyard that will build Titanic II. Many are still skeptical about that coming to pass.

Source:Titanic 2 Ship News Reignited In Asia(12 May 2014, Cruise Ship News)

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Arianna Huffington Uses Nero, The Burning of Rome and Titanic All In One Sentence

Emperor Nero. Plaster cast in Pushkin museum after original in British Museum, London Photo:shakko(Wikipedia)
Emperor Nero. Plaster cast in Pushkin museum after original in British Museum, London

There is an old idiom that says “fiddling while Rome burns” which means to occupy yourself with unimportant things or a priorities during a crisis. The idiom is based on a historical fallacy. A great fire broke out in 64 AD that lasted for five days under Emperor Nero. It is uncertain exactly what caused the fire but it spread fast resulting in damaging several Roman districts and three were destroyed. Some historians think Nero caused the fire while others report Christians confessed to it (likely under torture). Fires were common in Rome which may be the reason many writers of the period did not record it. Nero, at least according to one writer (Tacitus), raced back to Rome and set up a relief fund to help those damaged in the fire. He opened shelters for the homeless using his palaces, arranged for food supplies to prevent starvation.

Suetonius, the notorious gossip which so much dubious history is drawn from, claimed that Nero sang “Sack of Ilium” while the city burned. A legend grew from that which has Nero fiddling while Rome burned. There were no fiddles in ancient Rome but there was the lyre. Tacitus has him outside of Rome when the fire started. And considers it a rumor that Nero was in Rome singing while the city burned. Nero was not a well liked emperor in a lot of circles so the rumor probably started with his enemies. He did fix up the areas affected, instituted new policies to prevent such fires (like spacing buildings and using brick).

Now I spent time on this because it is important to understand what you say. When Arianna Huffington recently opined on ‘Real Time With Bill Maher’ about the congressional committee to look into the Benghazi debacle she said:

“What is the opportunity cost of having had 13 hearings on Benghazi, tens of thousands of pages, and all this attention being given to an issue which is basically the equivalent of saying Nero held Benghazi hearings while Rome burned, the captain of the Titanic held Benghazi hearings while the iceberg was hitting the Titanic?”

If she had used the idiom, it would have made sense. She would be saying that there are more important and pressing matters to deal with than Benghazi, where our ambassador and others were murdered by Islamic militants. Instead she takes a sloppy approach and uses Nero, mixing it up with Benghazi, and then tosses in Titanic for good measure. Talk about muddling the idiom! And bad history tossed in as well. It misuses Titanic for a political point and does it poorly. It provided some chuckles until one thought about what was said. For that Arianna gets our oft imitated and never duplicated Fractured Finger Award. Lyre sold separately.

Source:Arianna Criticizes Republicans Over Benghazi On ‘Real Time With Bill Maher‘(10 May 2014,The Blog-Huffington Post)

Titanic Cliche Alert: U.S. Senator Compares Nominee To Captain Smith

Warning! Titanic Cliche Ahead
Warning! Titanic Cliche Ahead

Senator John McCain of Arizona commented on the nomination of White House budget chief Sylvia Burwell to become Secretary of Health and Human Services. He cautioned her about becoming the human face of the Obamacare rollout and said:

“After all, who would recommend their friend take over as captain of the Titanic after it hit the iceberg?”

Well at least he did not use the infamous and overused deck chairs cliché. Still a bad cliché to use Senator McCain. So you get our oft imitated but never duplicated Fractured Finger Award for using a Titanic cliché for political purposes. Not suitable for framing.

Source: Mccain: Burwell New Captain Of Obamacare ‘Titanic’ (8 May 2014, Washington Times)

Titanic News: More Skepticism of Titanic II, Colne Museum Seeks Signed Hartley Card,Titanic Policy Sells and Gold Bars and Coins Found in Shipwreck

Chinese Move Forward, Clive Palmer Spins

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

1. As reported earlier, a Chinese energy company has announced construction of a full scale Titanic replica. This replica will be permanently docked on the Qi River and will simulate Titanic’s sinking. It is due for completion in 2016, the year that Clive Palmer also plans to have his Titanic replica ready to go. Wuchang Shipbuilding has been contracted to build the Titanic replica but so far Clive Palmer has not signed any formal construction with CSC Jinling. And News.Com.Au reports that industry experts doubt Clive Palmer’s Titanic will ever be built. Maritime historian and cruise critic Reuben Groossens states:

“The shipping world in general all doubts that this will work,” said Mr Groossens. Every corner of the industry I’ve spoken to — the US, UK, France — they all thought exactly the same. People are not that keen at riding in third class, in original conditions as they were. And he’s doing the third class cabins identical to what they were — horrible. He thinks they (passengers) will want to have the experience of the poor folk and will pay huge money. It won’t work on a long-term basis … because there aren’t the passengers.”

As surprising as it sounds, it is likely the Chinese full scale replica will likely be built first. They put up the money, contracts have been signed. And what has Palmer done? Well we have had lots of media buzz, celebrity events, and then it got very quiet. Yes there have been positive signs with lots of preliminary work being undertaken with outfitters, proof of concept trials etc. Yet and most importantly no contract to actually build the ship has been done. Palmer might be having problems negotiating with the Chinese shipyard and some reports indicate reticence on their part in building such a ship. Or it might be it will be built elsewhere.  Then again he might have realized that making money off this ship will be more difficult than first thought.

The novelty of going on Titanic II will appeal to a lot of people,but what is his market? Titanic enthusiasts would certainly be interested but it may be too expensive for a lot of them. And who really, except for perhaps a night, wants to experience how third class/steerage were crammed together having to share toilets? My gut reaction was the market he was targeting is wealthy Asians and Arabs (like in Brunei). How else does one explain why they are building a Titanic themed resort in Tinian? Perhaps Palmer misread the Chinese thinking they would be interested. Perhaps they are but many who have done business in China have run into roadblocks with bureaucracy and with the leaders in Beijing.

Meanwhile Palmer continues to say it will be built. And we move on….
Source: Clive’s Got That Sinking Feeling: Chinese Firm Plans Replica Titanic(29 April 2014, news.com.au)

Photo: Public Domain(Wikipedia)
Photo: Public Domain(Wikipedia)

Hartley New Year Card Sought By Museum
2. Nigel Hampson, curator of the Lancashire Titanic Museum, is trying to raise £5,000 by August to purchase a Happy New Year card signed by Wallace Hartley. The card is already on loan to the museum right now and its owner has indicated he intends to put it up for auction but the museum has first refusal rights on it. Hampson says at auction he could fetch a lot more than £5,000 but that owner wants to keep the card local. Hampson is hoping to find a business willing to sponsor or perhaps a group to fundraise to keep it on public display. The card is currently on display until August.
Source:Titanic Museum In Bid To Buy Card Signed By Colne Bandleader Wallace Hartley(5 May 2014,Lancashire Telegraph)

3. Insurance News Made As Original Titanic Policy Sells For $25,000
Atlantic Mutual was not the only insurer that was helping to cover the risk associated with the Titanic. The remainder was split among an insurance company syndicate which was led by the London based Prudential Insurance Company.
On the page that was just sold in New York, there was an addendum written by hand that pointed out that the policy was “to include the trip from Belfast to Southampton sailing on or after March 30th 1912…and the risk of trials on said trip, if any.” The insurance news making document holds a signature, as well as the date of March 27, 1912.
Source:Insurance News Made As Original Titanic Policy Sells For $25,000(6 May 2014,LIN News)

SS Central America (1857) Source: Public Domain (Wikipedia)
SS Central America (1857)
Source: Public Domain (Wikipedia)

3. Shipwreck Yields Bonanza of Gold Bars & Coins
Odyssey Marine Exploration Inc., a company that specializes in deep-ocean exploration, retrieved five gold bars and two gold coins — one from 1850 that was minted in Philadelphia, and the other from 1857 that was minted in San Francisco — from the sunken ship known as the SS Central America. The precious artifacts were recovered during a reconnaissance dive to the shipwreck site on April 15. Odyssey Marine Exploration researchers are in the process of documenting the underwater site, and they eventually plan to conduct a full archaeological excavation of the shipwreck, according to company officials.
Source:Shipwreck Yields Bonanza of Gold Bars & Coins(6 May 2014,Discovery News (from Livescience)

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Godalming Museum To Get Jack Phillips Postcards

Jack George Phillips, Titanic Wireless Operator Photo: Public Domain
Jack George Phillips, Titanic Wireless Operator
Photo: Public Domain

A collection of Titanic wireless operator Jack Phillips postcards are being bequeathed to Godalming Museum. Mandy Le Boutillier, a Titanic enthusiast, has collected many of his postcards and believes their rightful home is Godalming. Phillip’s sister Elsie had a large collection of his postcards that was put up for auction in 1997. Godalming Museum was outbid by an American memorabilia collector who split up the collection and sold many postcards individually at auction.

“I am not a wealthy benefactor, I am just a normal person with a job,” she said. “But I am always on the lookout for these postcards and getting more all the time. Of course the museum is free to use them for special exhibitions, but when I die they will always end up there. I’m just not planning on that happening straight away.”

Source: Titanic Hero’s Postcards Promised To Godalming Museum(4 May 2014,Get Surrey)

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Happy Sunday

China Rose (Rosa chinensis) Photo: Sakurai Midori(Wikipedia)
China Rose (Rosa chinensis)
Photo: Sakurai Midori(Wikipedia)

This is the first Sunday in May, the fifth month in the Western calendar. For the northern hemisphere, it is spring but for the southern autumn. May is named for the Greek goddess Maia and her Roman equivalent was Bona Dea, the goddess of fertility.

The birthstone for May is the emerald, the birth flower is the Lily of the Valley and the Hawthorn, while the flower symbol is the China Rose.


Bible Of Baptist Minister Who Perished On Titanic Now On Display At Pigeon Forge

Photo:Petr Kratochvil(publicdomainpictures.net)
Photo:Petr Kratochvil(publicdomainpictures.net)

Reverend Robert J. Bateman, age 51, had been in Bristol, England visiting relatives when he made his return trip on Titanic in 1912. Accompanying him was his sister-in-law Mrs Ada Balls. They travelled in second class. When disaster struck, he helped Ada into lifeboat 10 and said to her “If I don’t meet you again in this world, I will in the next.” He handed his Bible over to her along with his overcoat and tie. His body was recovered by Mackay-Bennett and interred at Evergreen Cemetery, Jacksonville, Florida.

Ada gave the Bible to her sister Emily, his wife. She gave the Bible upon death to Dr. Harry Upperman from the Baxter Seminary in Baxter, Tennessee. The Upper Room Museum purchased the Bible and now it is on loan to Titanic Pigeon Forge through August 2014.

1. Bible That Survived Titanic Sinking Now On Display In Pigeon Forge(1 May 2014,WBIR)
2. Robert James Bateman (Encyclopedia Titanica)
3. Titanic Pigeon Forge