St. Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is used by many to show their affection or love for someone they care about. It has spawned an industry for greeting card makers, candies, and of course flowers. However there is a real religious component as many Christian denominations celebrate it as feast day, commemoration, or optional for the local diocese (such as the Catholic Church). Valentine was the name of many Christian martyrs in the early Church resulting in them all being remembered for their acts of sacrifice for the faith. Some denominations, such as Eastern Orthodox Church, celebrate a particular St. Valentine on two different days.

Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland Photo: Blackfish (Wikimedia Commons)
Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland
Photo: Blackfish (Wikimedia Commons)

The association with romantic love could be linked to an ancient Roman festival has been made but there is no evidence of any link. Most seem to believe the link began with Chaucer’s Parlemont of Foules where he indicates birds choose their mates on St. Valentine’s Day although 14 Feb might not be the day Chaucer was referring to. Other poems made the association of love and St. Valentine’s Day in the medieval period and English Renaissance. For those who needed love verses but lacked the ability to compose them, publishers starting offering them. Then putting them on paper and sending them became possible. Paper valentines became very popular in 19th century England resulting in their industrial production. They became popular in the United States as well. With such cards being popular, you needed other things to accompany a card. Roses and chocolates became popular, likely due to skillful marketing to associate them with the day. And so Valentine’s Day became a very major day for greeting card companies, chocolate makers, and sellers of flowers (roses being the most popular flower for the day).

Of course we ought to remember that it is based upon Valentine, who became a saint after he was martyred in Rome in 269 and buried on Flaminian Way. He is the patron saint of Love, Young People, Happy Marriages.

Recent Titanic News

[Editors Note-Still catching up on news. Been busy as of late so I have not been able to post much]

1. Rare Titanic photo going under the hammer (Daily Echo, 10 Feb 2017)
A rare photograph of the ill-fated Titanic,which was bought for “a song” at a country auction, is now set to fetch hundreds of pounds when it is auctioned again next week. The black and white photograph, in a glazed oak frame, was taken shortly before the Titanic sank – with the loss of more than 1,500 lives – on its maiden voyage from Southampton to New York in April 1912.

2. Experts are disputing a documentary which says a fire was partly to blame for the Titanic sinking (thejournal.ie, 11 Feb 2017)
The programme argued that long-hidden photographs from the time showed that the Titanic’s hull had supposedly been damaged by a fire before it set off on its only journey, leaving it weak and susceptible when it hit an iceberg in the Atlantic Ocean. In the documentary, Moloney noted that researchers had known about the fire before but had tended to dismiss it as an ‘irrelevancy’, arguing that it should have been taken more seriously as a cause of the sinking. The documentary also claimed there were other issues which contributed to the ship sinking, such as substandard materials and shoddy workmanship, primarily due to cost-cutting. However a team of seven maritime historians has published an article completely refuting the programme’s claim that the coal fire was one of the main reasons why the ship sank. “However intriguing the claims set forth in Titanic: The New Evidence may be, they run counter to a wealth of well-researched facts about the ship and its sinking,” said J Kent Layton, a Titanic historian.

3. James Cameron really has a thin skin it seems when it comes to certain aspect of his famous Titanic movie. Fans debate the many points of this and that in the movie. One such example is whether or not Jack could have fit on the door Rose was on. Now I have not spent any real time dwelling on this point since we know this is just a movie. Apparently it got the attention of Mythbusters and they proved it was possible for Jack to have survived on the floating door with extra buoyancy. Okay that ought to have more or less settled it and we could move on. Not Cameron. So he recently commented on it by saying Jack would never have survived and that Mythbusters was full of poop (he used a barnyard word that is far more graphic for this family friendly blog). Of course he was on that episode of Mythbusters and never said is was all poop. He does say it was in the script he was to die. Okay. Moving on.
James Cameron Debunks ‘Titanic’ Theory That Jack Could Fit On The Door (Huffington Post Canada, 1 Feb 2017)


Premier Exhibitions Update

Premier Exhibitions has filed  monthly operating reports from 1 Dec 2016-20 Dec 2016 with the Bankruptcy Court and with U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission(SEC). Due to being in bankruptcy, the usual reporting to SEC has been suspended for Forms 10-K and 10-Q. Copies of the monthly operating reports submitted to the Bankruptcy Court will be reported to the SEC in Form 8-K

January 26, 2017
Premier Exhibitions 8-K:
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/796764/000117184317000473/f8k_012517.htm

List of Exhibits 99.1-99.8
https://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/796764/000117184317000473/0001171843-17-000473-index.htm

It is dry stuff to read but it is important to read these materials to know what is going on. Pretty sure even the attorneys and accountants who go over this stuff have their eyes glaze over as well.


Recent Titanic News

Catching up on Titanic news so I will be posting updates during the week.
Postcard of the Titanic found in a book donated to Books for Amnesty, 103 Gloucester Rd, Bristol UK
Source: Bristol Post
Date: 20/07/2016
Photographer: Michael Lloyd/Freelance
Reporter: Lewis Pennock
Copyright: Local World

1. Meet the man whose great-granddad sank the Titanic (The Herald, 21 Jan 2017)

“Many descendants of people onboard the ship travelled from far and wide to see the exhibits, which also included a range of items from the Titanic’s sister ships including the Olympic and Britannic. Among them was Simon Medhurst, whose great-grandfather, Robert Hichens, was at the helm of the vessel when it hit the iceberg.The 48-year-old, who travelled down from his home in Chelmsford, said it’s important for people to remember.”

2. Interactive Titanic museum being planned for Niagara Falls, Ont. (Global News,20 Jan 2017)
“A group in Niagara Falls, Ont., has conditionally purchased land that would house the museum and is moving ahead with plans to launch an exhibit dubbed “Experience Titanic.” David Van Velzen, who’s spearheading the project, says the museum will differ from many similar efforts around the world by focusing on an interactive audience experience. Van Velzen says the museum will feature rooms that replicate those on the doomed ocean liner that sank in 1912, and will aim to recreate the experience of striking the iceberg that brought the “unsinkable ship” down. He also says the exhibit will try to educate guests about the various Canadian connections to the ship.”

3. A tragedy of Titanic proportions off the Donegal coast (Derry Journal, 21 Jan 2017)
“She (Laurentic) was on her way to Nova Scotia with German prisoners and 43 tonnes of gold to pay for munitions for the War effort. She was a former White Star Liner, the same as the Titanic, but she was commandeered by the Royal Navy because she was a fast ship and could outrun submarines. The ship struck two mines at the mouth of Lough Swilly and went down very quick. It was minus 13 degrees, it was bitter cold and it was a moonless night and the only light they could see was the light of Fanad Lighthouse. “All or most of the sailors got off and the captain was the last to get off. Even the prisoners were rescued and taken off and they all got into lifeboats, but because of the night that it was, many of them died of exposure, froze to death. It’s the worst place to have a sinking there’s no beaches.”

4. The story behind Saudi Titanic (Saudi Gazette, 21 Jan 2017)
“The wreckage of the ship, dubbed by some Saudis as the ‘Saudi Titanic,’ is one of the main tourist attractions in Hakal province, Sada Tabuk reported. ‘Georgios G’ was built in England after the end of the Second World War, and in 1958 was launched as a cargo liner owned by several individuals and companies. The vessel was owned by a Greek company during its doomed trip, when it got stranded on corals off the Saudi coast in 1978 carrying a cargo of flour. The ship, caught on the corals of the coast, was stuck due to the narrow route available to navigate. The steep, mountain edge rising from the sea made the passage through the valley difficult to maneuver through.”


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.


Today is Epiphany/Three Kings Day(Observed)

Adoración de los Reyes Magos
El Greco (1541–1614)
Public Domain

Epiphany or Three Kings Day is January 6 and as the Twelfth Night officially ends the Christmas season. It is a day to celebrate the baptism of Jesus and the arrival of The Magi (Three Kings or Wise Men). In the Middle Ages Christmas was celebrated from Christmas Eve to January 6. And Epiphany Day was a major celebration well into the mid 19th century when its importance diminished. The Catholic Church no longer requires January 6 to be celebrated as a solemnity and celebrates it on the Sunday that follows it. Some Protestant churches celebrate the Epiphany season from January 6 till Ash Wednesday. Orthodox Christians celebrate it on January 19 as they follow the Julian calendar.

In many Spanish speaking countries, Dia de los Reyes (Three Kings’ Day)is celebrated with special foods and gatherings. Many European countries have their own unique observances as well. Children often gets treats or presents on this day. In Italy, La Befana flies through the night on January 5 on a broomstick to deliver gifts to good kids and give coal to the bad ones.


Premier Exhibitions Update:Objection Filed

Things are getting a bit testy at the Titanic bankruptcy proceeding. Euclid Investments and Euclid Claims Recovery filed an objection to the company seeking an exclusivity extension. In simple terms they are not happy that Premier appears to be dragging its feet on following through on what is required to be done. “….management’s abject failure to engage with the statutory committees in moving these cases forward before now cannot be ignored. It has had the effect of placing estate stakeholders in an urgent and untenable position with little time remaining to formulate the terms of a chapter 11 plan as the estates now appear on the verge of operational insolvency.” Ouch.
Source: Premier Exhibitions Objection Filed (Bankruptcy News, 4 Jan 2017)


Titanic Musings:Of Titanic Fires and Ships That Never Were

Titanic Leaving Queenstown 11 April 1912. Believed to be the last photograph of ship before it sank.
Public Domain

Most Titanic researchers know that there was a serious coal fire when the ship set sail. Bunker fires are not new but they can be extremely difficult to deal considering the high heat that is often generated as a result. The heat can result in visible damage to the ship and even result in causing the steel to loose some of its strength. This was seen on 9-11 when jet fuel burning at high temperatures weakened the steel causing the building collapse.

In the case of Titanic though, it has always been a question whether or not the coal fire had some connection to Titanic’s demise. Senan Melony certainly thinks so in a documentary. As reported by The Independent, Melony argues that the fire caused damage to the hull which made it less strong when it hit the iceberg. And he argues that White Star president J. Bruce Ismay told the ship officers not to mention the fire to the passengers. Damage was visible and to prevent it from being seen Titanic was backed into Southampton. Malony believes Titanic ought never to have been put to sea because of the fire damage. It was not the cause of Titanic’s demise but a contributing factor in it.

The Flying Dutchman, Circa 1896
Albert Pinkham Ryder (1847–1917)
Public Domain

SS Ourang Medan
The SS Ourang Medan is a ghost ship that was shipwrecked in the Dutch East Indies in 1948 and its crew died under mysterious circumstances. The story was reported in a Dutch-Indonesian newspaper in three accounts from February through March 1948. While two of the later articles mention the name of the ship as Ourang Medan, the first one did not. The incident was reported as taking place 400 nautical miles southeast of the Marshall Islands. A survivor who made it to an atoll told his story before dying. He told a missionary the ship was carrying sulphuric acid and was not properly stored. The poisonous fumes killed off must of the crew and it later sank. The ship was sailing to Costa Rica from an unknown Chinese port and because of the cargo was avoiding authorities.  More recent research found other news articles from the Associated Press and from some U.K. newspapers. The location is different as is the SOS message. Interesting is that the source is the same: Silvio Scherzi of Trieste.

Many speculative writers (some who dabble in the Bermuda Triangle or supernatural/paranormal reporting)reported the Ourang Medan as well. The story somewhat parallels another famous story: the Mary Celeste. The Celeste was found abandoned on 5 Dec 1872 by the Dei Gratia. The ship had ample provisions and belongings were undisturbed. But the crew was never seen again. Over time false details and fantasy were added. Sensationalist writers talked up the story using supernatural angles or connecting it to the mythical Bermuda Triangle (it was found well outside that area). After a salvage hearing in Gibraltar, there was no definitive cause as to why the ship was found abandoned. And so the mystery remains.

The Orang Medan likely never existed since proof of its existence has never been found. Most likely it was a story embellished likely from the smallest sliver of truth to generate media interest. Unlike the Celeste, which is a true mystery of the sea, the Orang Medan is an episode of alternate science reality show likely on the SyFy network.


Commentary on Titanic news and other related items.

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