Category Archives: Titanic Miscellaneous

Having A Cup of Tea Titanic Style

Afternoon Tea by Francisco Miralles Galup (1848-1901)
Public Domain

Christopher Keohane, owner of Fresh Food Catering, came up with an interesting idea: Last Tea of the Titanic.  Keohane owns Wenham Tea House in Wenham, Massachusetts. After doing many months of research into how tea was served aboard Titanic, he came up with a clever way for people to experience a bit of being aboard the famous ship.

And he added flair with music from the period and having staff wear ship’s officers and crew clothing for the event. For $50, you not only get a delicious cup of tea but a three course meal. The meal includes items found on the menu in 1912 such as Chartreuse jelly that are not commonly found on today’s afternoon tea menus. The upcoming event on February 25th is sold out but two Last Teas are planned for April. Great idea but get rid of the Titanic shaped ice cubes in the water glasses. If you are paying $50.00 for a touch of Edwardian elegance, you do not need such tacky items.
Source:‘Last Tea Of The Titanic’: A Taste Of What Dining Was Like On The Doomed Ship(WBUR.org, 17 Feb 2017)


Titanic Musings

Photo: George Hodan (publicdomainpictures.net)

It is a rainy day here in Northern California. We are being hit with a major storm dumping lots of water and the strong winds are making things treacherous. Trees have come down, power has gone off for many, and some areas have lots of flooding. It amazes me that people will try to drive through large standing pools of water. Most cars end up stranded since waterproofing is not a standard option on most vehicles. And car engines do not like lots of water sloshing about under the hood. Of course the weather forecasters and reporters breathlessly report on every part of storm and the havoc it creates.

Funny thing how repetitive the media can be. For instance the recent claim that the coal bunker fire caused more damage than White Star wanted to admit and contributed to Titanic sinking by weakening the steel, is now going around the world in that all too familiar pattern. It is reported like a new story with headlines that report Titanic’s demise has a new theory. It is not that old since debate on the coal bunker fire has been around for a while. The new claim is that White Star was criminally negligent and ought never to have allowed Titanic to sail. Walter Lord was fond of saying that with Titanic there are many “What If’s.” For instance had they paid more attention to the ice warnings, put more lifeboats on the ship, the lookouts had binoculars and so on much of what happened could have been averted. And this is another one of those type of What If’s.

Over at Bustle they have a listing of the 6 Titanic conspiracy theories. Most are known to Titanic enthusiasts and researchers but here is the list for those who have never seen or heard of them. I am only putting four of the most well known ones on my list.
1) Titanic Switch Theory
No it is not Titanic down there but Olympic. Depending on who is pushing the theory, either the it was done for insurance reasons or to hide something much worse.
2) The Sinking Was Deliberate
This one says Titanic was sunk to kill specific persons (Jacob Astor IV, Benjamin Guggenheim, and Isador Strauss)because they opposed the creation the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank. However things got out of control and more people died as a result. And the Illuminati were involved as well.
3) U-Boat
A German U-Boat sank Titanic and depending on who is advancing the theory either it was an accident or deliberate.
4) That Old Standby: Mummy Curse
A cursed mummy was aboard Titanic and that curse means Titanic and all aboard were doomed. Except there was no Egyptian mummy aboard and its story can be traced back to those trying to stir up a story for their own use.

My own “conspiracy theory” is that Marvin The Martian was testing out a new weapon.

Have a nice Sunday everyone.


Plane Disappearance Creates Titanic Parallels?

 MrAurum(Wikimedia Commons)
MrAurum(Wikimedia Commons)

When Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared from radar in 2014, it has sparked a lot of analysis and like Titanic some mythology as well. Today there is some hope that recent finds may lead to exactly what happened to that flight. However speculation of all kinds about what happened has filled social media and even some news reports. Julie Williams, a Titanic historian at Stamford University and a Titanic survivor descendant, told the Christian Science Monitor that a meme compared the missing flight to Gilligan’s Island. She noted that her great-uncle Albert Caldwell could buy Titanic postcards mourning the sinking as soon as he disembarked Carpathia. The desire to solve tragedies like Titanic or the missing airliner often fuels people to devise ways to solve it because it obsesses us. We cannot fathom, says William Nesbitt, a professor of English and chair of the department of humanities at Beacon College, how it can disappear and never reappear.

And that is what happened with Titanic. When it sank, many could not believe it not only went down but would never be seen again. The media of the day played up every angle, even if it was wrong, which added to a lot of confusion about what happened aboard the ship. It would take not only wading through two hearings and lots of detective work by historical writers to ferret out what happened from the myths that were spread. Just like today with social media, false and bad information traveled fast. So the parallels are not that far apart and closer than most want to admit.

Source: Is the MH370 disappearance the Titanic of modern times? (Christian Science Monitor,2 Nov 2016)

Recent Titanic News

W.T.Stead 1881 Public Domain (Wikipedia)
W.T.Stead 1881
Public Domain (Wikipedia)

1.Memorial plaque to regional editor who died on Titanic vandalised(holdthefrontpage.co.uk,20 Sep 2016)
The plaque in memory of the Northern Echo editor WT Stead has been removed by Darlington Borough Council from outside the town’s library after it was daubed with felt-tip by vandals and is now being cleaned.

2.Just Cool Cars: This 1911 Benz has a Titanic link(USA Today, 17 Sep 2016)
Gerhard and Adrienne Schnuerer of Huntington Beach, Calif., are owners of this one-of-a-kind 1911 Benz, rare because of its German heritage and New York coachwork.The car was ordered by Charles Hayes, a railroad tycoon from Chicago who went down with the Titanic after she struck an iceberg. Part of his legacy becomes the car he left behind — although he never saw it. It was still being built when he died.

3.Keys From Titanic Among Items Auctioned By Jersey Collector(ITV,15 Sep 2016)
A set of keys from the Titanic, which were previously owned by a Jersey collector, has sold for twice the estimate at auction. David Gainsborough Roberts put the set of four up for auction at Christies in London. The keys, which are thought to have belonged to Samuel Ernest Hemming, the lamp trimmer on board the ship, sold for £20,000 yesterday evening.

HMHS Britannic seen during World War I. Image:public domain
HMHS Britannic seen during World War I.
Image:public domain

4. Exploring The Britannic Wreck, Titanic’s Sister Ship (Engineering and Technology, 12 Sep 2016)
To get around this huge wreck in the limited time – only 45 minutes – that the divers have at depth, they use underwater scooters. Even with rigorous safety measures in place, the sea is still unpredictable, especially at these depths. Britannic claimed the life of world-renowned technical diver Carl Spencer in 2013 and Kovacs says that it’s not uncommon to hear the explosions of illegal fishermen nearby.Kovacs’ holy grail for this wreck is a rivet-accurate blended acoustic and optical model of the entire exterior yielding a hugely accurate picture of the bulkheads. What this means in practice is a 3D volumetric model. The acoustic images have been taken with multibeam and side-scan sonar from the Perseo ROV and these will be overlaid with the optical results from the divers.

5.Titanic Floats While Some Sink At Annual United Way Cardboard Boat Race(Mlive.com,9 Sep 2016)
It was a replica of the most famous sinking ship in history. Made with cardboard and deliberately cracked at its center, the vessel defied its design and the notorious fate of its predecessor. It floated. “We can’t even sink the Titanic,” designer and builder Dave Turk said Friday as he loaded the too-successful boat into the back of a pickup truck at the close of the United Way’s cardboard boat race.

Titanic Wreck Gone In 14 Years Experts Say

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)

Titanic not only sank but now the wreck itself will be mostly gone in 14 years according to a scientific study. The study done by experts from Institut Laue-Langevin, the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry and the Institut de Biologie Structurale has determined “extremophile bacteria” will eat away the ship by 2030.
Source:Titanic wreck ‘will dissolve in 14 years’(Belfast Telegraph,9 Sep 16)

Southampton has a very strong connection to Titanic. Yet as a writer for Daily Echo points out, the city elders did not capitalize their connection as strongly as Belfast did. Titanic Belfast is a major tourist attraction for Belfast yet Southampton’s Sea City Museum only draws modest numbers. Sea City overlooks the area where Titanic docked but since the area is still a major working port, expansion is not as easy as Belfast had. Others agree more should be done to promote Southampton.
Source:Has Southampton missed the boat with Titanic museum? (Daily Echo,11 Sept 2016)

Titanic Tidbits and Musings

Summer is drawing to a close and schools are opening up. Sleepy eyed kids are getting on the local buses again to make the journey to school. It has been a quiet summer Titanic wise. Not a whole lot of news though some important news did occur.

United_States_Bankruptcy_Court_SealPremier Exhibitions Declares Bankruptcy To Reorganize
The big news before the summer began was Premier declaring bankruptcy under Chapter 11 and seeking to reorganize. Typically this means the company has enough resources to stay afloat and needs the courts to reduce its liabilities. For creditors it means they usually get something but not everything. It means the court has to take a hard look at how the company operates which means an intensive look at the financial records and other aspects of the company.

While things have not gone well for a while with Premier, it was thought the Dinoking merger and bringing aboard its ceo to manage would bring things in line. What apparently occurred is that the debts owed by Premier were far greater than the cash infusion the merger could solve. So to stave off likely lawsuits from creditors, they headed to bankruptcy court. Now one of the big arguments is over the French Collection. These artifacts were brought up with a joint expedition with IFREMER and are separate from the other artifacts covered under the U.S. Federal Court salvage award. That salvage award limits how the artifacts can be sold, specifically as one collection making it very difficult to find buyers due to the high cost. However Premier believed it had clear title to the French artifacts and wanted to sell some of them to pay off debts. And sought permission from the court to do this. It was denied, in part, because bankruptcy law requires an adversary action to remove any possible claims to items that will be sold or auctioned off to pay debts.

So Premier is suing the French government in federal court. Premier has submitted documents that appear to support their position. Meanwhile we wait on France to decide whether it will contest a possible sale or file a brief saying they will not fight it.

So Much For Palmer’s Titanic II
Well it appears to be over. After all the fanfare and some preliminary work, the Clive Palmer’s dream to recreate Titanic has come to an end. No one can blame him for wanting to bring it about. It is a great dream. Despite all the positive news spun out by his public relations team, financing the construction proved harder than realized. It was to be constructed in China but the date for the work start came and went, new dates were set, but the shipyard remained quiet. Then came news that once it was launched it would stop in Dubai. That raised speculation that investors from that area were keen on tying in their own Titanic themed areas with this new ship. And I speculated that perhaps money to build could come from there (or even be built there). But Palmer’s relations with the Chinese took a real nosedive with his criticisms of a Chinese company and the lack of Chinese investors in the project meant it would go nowhere. So without much fanfare and no publicity, construction of Clive Palmer’s Titanic II has ended.

Chinese Titanic II
Palmer’s version fizzled but China is building their Titanic II that will docked at a theme park. It will be full size and look exactly like the original. It will also be a hotel and tourist attraction. Visitors will be able to stay aboard, sample high-end late Edwardian age cuisine, and even visit the Titanic Sinking Simulator. That has caused a lot of controversy. Perhaps what will stun visitors from the West is that likely the message about Titanic will be strongly anti-capitalist and demonstrate why the Chinese way is more superior. Just do not mention their awful human rights record or persecution of those who practice religion of any kind.

Masterchef
The current season is interesting but has its usual combination of the excellent, the not-so-good, and those just filling a slot until they are dropped. Poor Nathan is the butt of so many jokes. The bow tied tuxedo salesman (and he always wears a suit even when outside at the farm) may be good at cooking dishes alone but has severe problems working in a team. Some of the good have made their mistakes and departed but perhaps none worse than Andrea. She showed really excellent skills but when she failed to bring her sausage dish down to the front table at the right time, it was bad. Worse was how Gordon and company handled it. At this point they knew she was out of the contest. Instead they go through the mockery of tasting the dishes of which the two useful facts were announced: that she (Andrea) had the best dish while Diamond served up raw sausage. In a normal competition, Diamond would go home. But that is reality and not the often strange world of Masterchef that live in an alternate universe.

They knew Andrea was out the moment she put her plate down three seconds too late. Gordon seemed to argue with Christina and Chef Lee about her having the best dish but Christina reminded rules are rules. Do not be fooled, that was all for show as none of it was for real. It was to make it look like there was some dispute when none existed. Diamond, a weak contender, went into the next round and would be sent home in the next episode. In a real contest, Andrea would have been sent home immediately for missing the time requirement. No need to bother with tasting the dishes and move on to the next round. It just shows the strange world that Masterchef inhabits.

Friday Titanic Tidbits

*Celine Dion is sporting a Titanic sweatshirt that is getting some media buzz. Commonly called a hoodie these days, this is not something to be found at your local big box retailer. The 80% cotton/20% polyester and made in Portugal will cost you $885 at Vetements.

*I knew it was going to happen someday. A proposed Chinese-American film will offer a “fresh take” on Titanic. And what will that be? Well according to China Film Insider the film plot will involve a conspiracy. No doubt it will weave in elements made popular by those who believe the Illuminati was involved, that Olympic and not Titanic was sunk for insurance money, or that a dastardly German plot using a submarine was involved. Or perhaps it will go the supernatural route. A cursed Egyptian mummy is brought aboard and escapes causing mayhem and death. Abbott and Costello could have had fun with that one.

Thomas Andrews, 1911 Public Domain-US
Thomas Andrews, 1911
Public Domain-US

*The former home of Thomas Andrews in Belfast, N.I. has been for some years been the home of the Irish Football Association. They have since moved their headquarters and put the property up for sale. According to Belfast Telegraph, it has been purchased by Action Cancer and will be used to treat women suffering from breast cancer.


Titanic Belfast:Visitors Will See American Exhibition About Race To South Pole

Roald Amundsen and his crew looking at the Norwegian flag at the South Pole, 1911 Public Domain(Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation)
Roald Amundsen and his crew looking at the Norwegian flag at the South Pole, 1911
Public Domain(Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation)

What did Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott face in their race to the South Pole? Amundsen and Scott were at the forefront of Antarctic explorations along with others such as Ernest Shackleton and Francis Crozier. The journey to be the first to make it to the South Pole was fraught with all kinds of peril explorers had to endure. And an exhibition from the New York American Museum of Natural History has opened at Titanic Belfast to educate people about this race.

Using multimedia and hands-on exhibits, visitors will get an understanding and appreciation for what these explorers did. This is the first time this exhibition has been to Belfast and the U.K. The exhibition is in Andrew’s Gallery and will be there till 28 Aug.

Source:American exhibition comes to Titanic Belfast(The Irish News,5 Jul 2016)

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.

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

Belfast Titanic Had Drop In Profits In 2015 Despite Rising Revenues

Titanic Belfast (side view) Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)
Titanic Belfast (side view)
Image:Prioryman (Wikipedia)

It is usually the case that when you have an increase in revenues and people attending your tourist attraction, you make money. Not so for Titanic Belfast in 2015 reports Belfast Telegraph. The Telegraph reports this is despite the fact that revenues went up by 7% during that year and that it attracted 625,000 visitors. So what caused the drop in revenue? The newspaper reports:

The drop in profit arose chiefly from the firm’s administrative expenses increasing from £6.27m to £7.42m. And the average number of staff employed last year increased from 134 to 153 with staff costs increasing from £2.17m to £2.45m.

So hiring nineteen people cut into expenses pretty seriously. That tells a lot about the cost of labor these days in NI. And probably why visiting the attraction will soon cost more.

Source: Titanic Belfast sees profits drop by a third to £800,000 (Belfast Telegraph, 24 Mar 2016)