Tag Archives: Netflix

Recent Titanic News

Titanic advertising from New York Times, 10 April 1912. Public Domain (Wikimedia)
Titanic advertising from New York Times, 10 April 1912.
Public Domain (Wikimedia)

1. Premier Exhibitions Asks Court For More Time To File Reorganization Plan (Bankruptcy Court News, 3 Oct 2016)
Premier Exhibitions has petitioned the court to allow it to extend the period to file a reorganization plan under Chapter 11 to 17 Jan 2017. “Under the circumstances of these cases, a premature termination of exclusivity would deny the Debtors a meaningful opportunity to negotiate and propose a confirmable plan and would be antithetical to the paramount objectives of Chapter 11. Termination of exclusivity at this point in time could have the undesirable effect of encouraging the development of competing multiple plans that could lead to unwarranted confrontations, litigation, and administrative expenses.” To cut to the chase of all the fancy legal wording, it means if they do not get the extended time other plans may emerge. Which sort of hints that there might be some other plan out there they want to head off.

2. For those on the Netflix service, your long wait has ended. James Cameron’s Titanic is coming to Netflix this month. At least for those in the U.S. Of course you could purchase it and never have to worry when it shows up on one of the online streaming services.

Haunted Graveyard Photo: Junior Libby (publicdomainpictures.net)
Haunted Graveyard
Photo: Junior Libby (publicdomainpictures.net)

3. It is officially Halloween season here at Titanic News Channel. Our staff is up for the occasion. The mummy has come out its sleeping chamber to render some scares to kids in the area. Our old friend Headless is planning his usual evening strolls with pumpkin in hand looking for someone’s head. A few fluttering ghosts have been seen as well. We have classic zombies (not the Romero version) wandering about as well and quite possibly Frankenstein and Count Dracula as well. The stores are well stocked with Halloween candy to the rafters. Sadly Halloween is on a Monday this year. And with all the political correctness nonsense, even saying Happy Halloween in some schools is not only discouraged but banned. All the more reason for many parents to band together, invite the little kids over, and have their own Halloween event.

This and That:Masterchef Junior Returns and Other Things

1. Here we go again:We just finished season two of Masterchef Junior but season three is scheduled to debut on 6 Jan 2015 at 8:00 p.m.  It will be the last time Joe Bastianich (aka The Stare) will be a judge on Masterchef. You can see a list of the contestants (but no photos as of this date) at Fox.com.

Red Cardinal Pointsetta Wreath Photo: Kim Newberg (publicdomainpictures.net)
Red Cardinal Pointsetta Wreath
Photo: Kim Newberg (publicdomainpictures.net)

2. The Christmas Season is still going (it officially ends on Epiphany Day/Three Kings Day) The traditional date is January 6 though many Christian churches celebrate the day on the first Sunday after the New Year. The night before is called the Twelfth Night. Eastern Orthodox celebrates Christmas Day usually on 7 January as they follow the Julian calendar. Greek Orthodox though celebrates Christmas on December 25 as they use the Gregorian not Julian for many important holy days except Easter in which they use the old Julian calendar.

3. The Shipping Season seemed to have fewer problems than last year. Last year there was a huge dump of parcels for Post Office and the private package carriers. This was due, in part, to cut off days for online retailers not in sync with the shipping services. Of course problems still occur (a package I was waiting for went missing for a day at the local UPS station). And unfortunately thieves watch delivery vehicles and steal packages left at the door or on the porch. They finally busted a gang in our area and found many missing parcels. I read or saw on person so fed up with losing packages to these thieves he wrapped up some very smelly dog poo and had it left on his door. Sure enough, it was stolen! Fitting that when the opened the box they found it full of animal waste.

4. Once again the top animated Christmas shows were the favorites: A Charlie Brown Christmas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer (celebrating 50 years), Santa Claus is Coming to Town, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas.

5. One of the worst Christmas themed made for television movies was Merry Ex-Mas(2014) on Ion starring Dean Cain and Kristy Swanson. The premise is actually simple. Dean Cain owned a security company and was married to Kristy Swanson. A photo appears in the press that appears to show him making out with a well known music star. He denies it but his wife divorces him. So usually a Christmas show of this kind is how the magic of Christmas heals the rift and get them back together. Had that been the story, it would have been great. But something bad happened somewhere between when the plot was conceived and the actual scriptwriting began. The result was a runaway train that took a simple plot and smashed it all up. His ex-wife shows up at the cabin where Cain is at. His sort of girlfriend is also there. Racing to get there is her fiancee played by Lochlyn Munro. Munro has made a career out of playing characters on the edge or worse. Munro’s character is facing deportation (his foreign visa is about to expire) and he cannot conduct an important business deal unless he stays. So he is racing up there with the couples daughter, the mother to Swanson’s character (Dean Cain’s mom) and his attorney. His attorney, played by Jodi Lyn O’Keefe (Nash Bridges), is the one bright light in this zany and utterly forgettable movie. She is absolutely hilarious in her role as Munro’s attorney. And she gets some of the best lines as well. And at the end (SPOILER ALERT) when Swanson’s character decides not to marry him but Cain again, he is left with no one to marry except her mother. And she negotiates a settlement that O’Keefe’s character is happy to put in the prenuptial agreement. It is the only reason to watch this hapless Christmas movie.

6. If you subscribe to Netflix streaming, say goodbye to Titanic. The popular Cameron movie is leaving in the New Year. You can still get it on DVD. And until they can actually make streaming like DVD, that part of the service is going to remain strong. Today watching some Christmas movies via streaming was a total bust. Something wrong with the service. On the other hand just grab a dvd, pop it in, and your good to go.

7. Mewing cats doing Jingle Bells? A bad idea. The original barking dogs (from the 1950’s!) is still tops in that regard.

8. I am all for eating and drinking less but one low-fat eggnog (Horizon organic) was really pasty in flavor. It may be lower in calories and more healthy but trust me, it was awful.

Well that is it for now. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year everyone!

Titanic Musings

Millvina Dean, British Titanic Society Titanic Convention, Hilton Hotel, Southampton, U.K. 1999 Photo:Stephen Daniels
Millvina Dean, British Titanic Society Titanic Convention, Hilton Hotel, Southampton, U.K. 1999
Photo:Stephen Daniels

1. How do you commemorate the passing of the last Titanic survivor? Skydiving, of course, according to Express & Echo. They report that two sisters, relatives of Milvina Dean, have pledged to do a charity skydive on the fifth anniversary of her death. Christina and Laura Squire (20 and 17 years old respectively) along with two friends plan to take the 15,000 feet plunge for cancer research. According to the news report, they were inspired to do the jump because family members and friends have battled the disease. As for their great aunt, Christina Squire says “We knew her as our Great Aunty. She lived such an amazing life and had so many stories to tell. We always had a chair next to the phone for when she called!” The skydive will take place on 31 May 2014.
Source:Last Titanic Survivor’s Devon Relatives To Do Charity Skydive To Mark 5th Anniversary Of Her Death(15 May 2014,Express & Echo)

2. Robert Ballard’s recent explorations of the Caribbean will be in an upcoming National Geographic Wild special Caribbean’s Deadly Underworld with Bob Ballard on 18 May. According to Mother Nature Network, Ballard says the Caribbean plate is active on four of its boundaries with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions capable of creating tsunamis. “ It is not a question of if these violent behaviors of the earth are going to occur but when and where,” says Ballard, noting that “the potential impact can vary as it has in the past in Haiti, for example, resulting in a tremendous loss of life and property.”
Source:Titanic Explorer Investigates The ‘Caribbean’s Deadly Underworld’
(16 Fri 2014,Mother Nature Network)

Godzilla Statue, Tokyo Photo:Wikiodaiba(Wikipedia)
Godzilla Statue, Tokyo

3. Godzilla is back and bigger than before say many reviews. But Netflix has put up many of the original Godzilla movies on its streaming side. So I spent the morning watching the original 1956 movie but it is the American not the Japanese version. The big difference between the two is the addition of Raymond Burr (later to become famous as Perry Mason) and how the movie unfolds the story. The original version has a different plot point (anti nuclear testing) while the American version was more of the monster movie (although it is suggested nuclear tests were responsible for its resurrection) The reason was to make it more marketable for U.S. audiences that may not want to watch an all Japanese movie. Burr’s character provides the narration for the movie (and thus avoiding lots of subtitles translating the Japanese to English). I have not seen this movie in a long time. I think the last time was years ago when Bob Wilkens had the old Creature Features show on a local station (that show long since gone).

I was pleasantly surprised at how well it holds up. Sure today we can do the special effects much better than back then. And it was a guy in a zipped up suit walking around. But the story was good and the destruction that Godzilla causes (pretty much leveling Tokyo) is done in a spectacular matter. And they make it clear Godzilla was no childs plaything but caused death and destruction in its path. And not just that it could level buildings with its atomic breath. I had forgotten the fact the creature is radioactive so anything it comes into contact gets contaminated like groundwater and people. The American version may not be as anti-nuke as the original but it makes clear Godzilla did not get its radioactivity from nature. And it of course opened the possibility other creatures might be out there as well (like another Godzilla perhaps?). So if you want to see the movie that started it all, either watch it at Netflix or you can purchase the dvd from Amazon that has both the U.S. and Japanese version on it. [Editor’s note: The original Godzilla (Gojira) movie was 1954 but the second American version (Godzilla! King of the Monsters)with Raymond Burr was 1956. According to Wikipedia, the 1956 movie “combined the original Japanese footage of Godzilla with new American-made footage of Raymond Burr as an American reporter covering the monster’s activities who would explain the action for an English-speaking audience with minimal dubbing.”]

4. I happen to watch court television. It usually is entertaining and sometimes informative. Small claims courts handle those cases too small for a regular court (usually for cases under $10,000 though states often cap lower around $5,000) and usually cases that deal with issues like car sales, loss of property, loans, tenant issues, evictions, and traffic accidents to name a few. It is a interesting assortment of cases that flow into these lesser courts and a long time ago the creators of The People’s Court picked up on it and turned into interesting television. Today you have a wide variety to choose from and different judges. Each one is different because of the format and how the judges review the cases. In these cases there are no juries and no lawyers either (unless one of the people involved is a lawyer). Unlike a real small claims court case there is almost no appeal because legally it is a binding arbitration since both parties give up that right to have it settled in this forum.

I tend to gravitate between The People’s Court, Judge Alex, and Judge Judy. All three have their own styles. Judge Judy is the most severe of all three. She wastes no time, cuts to the chase, and will not hesitate to tell your testimony is balderdash. Judge Alex tends to be a just a bit more relaxed (each case on his show is about 24 minutes and is the whole show), while People’s Court manages three or four in a hour and Judge Judy usually two (s0metimes three if one is dismissed right away). You get some cases at times that are  head scratchers. Like the one just recently on People’s Court.

A fellow buys a dump truck planning to use it for a new hauling business. But rather than right away heading off to DMV to register, he waits a year. He has all kinds of reasons for Judge Milian, who is grilling him why it took so long to do this and learn the title was defective. You see when you buy something, especially a car, one absolute requirement is the seller has clear title. Does not matter whether the car is new or used, sold by dealer or by private party. The title has to be clear. In this case the seller’s name did not match the name on the title. The seller says he bought it from a guy who is now deceased. Now had this been learned right away, normally a judge would cancel the sale, return the money, and the seller gets the car back. But this was peculiar because the plaintiff sat on it for a year and knew the title had a different name from that of the seller.

So on one hand you had a seller who knowingly sold a car with a defective title and a buyer who had to have seen it but failed to do anything about it for a year. And during that year that dump truck sat around somewhere. So now the guy wants to sell it but cannot since the title is defective. Leaving the judge with a thorny problem. A seller who wanted to pass on a problem and an idiot who sat on the problem for a year. So she decides to hold her judgment back and asks the seller to fix the problem and awards no money to the plaintiff. And she was going to bang her gavel on it but before she did explained to the plaintiff why he got nothing. She goes through the reasons including her disbelief that the truck was unused during that time. Then the guy decides to pop off by talking back to her about some local rules or something. She slams down the title on her desk, rules for the defendant, and tells the plaintiff to solve the problem on his own. So he walks out as he came in, with a vehicle he cannot register nor sell unless the seller can fix it (which he says will try to do probably to avoid the state coming after him for fraud). I suspect though there will be a dump truck found somewhere with long expired registration, tagged and towed, and eventually sold for scrap by the tow company.

Judge Judy would have laughed at his story and told him “You’re a fool!” and then dismissed his case.

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Titanic News For April Fool’s Day 2014

film reel1. Those who use the Netflix streaming service will be happy to learn that Cameron’s Titanic will be available. Also coming via streaming are A League Of Their Own, Fox Network’s House, and B0b’s Burgers(season 3), see Lindsay Lohan before she became a hot mess in Mean Girls, those wanting a Scottish adventure will have Braveheart to watch. Saturday Night Live fans may recall the Coneheads movie and Robin Williams made everyone wary of boardgames in Jumanji. If you have been hankering to see the Rocky movies, fear no more as Rocky 1-5 are now streaming. For those who like horror gag movies, Scary Movie 3 is on. And just in time for Easter, The Bible: The Epic Miniseries is available.
Source: From House to Titanic: A Viewer’s Guide to the New Additions to Netflix(31 Mar 2014,E! Online)

2. Have you wondered about dogs on Titanic and what happened to them? The Smithsonian has compiled a guide about those 12 dogs. In The Definitive Guide to the Dogs on the Titanic , small dogs survived while the bigger ones perished. They were kept in kennels on F Deck and looked after by the ship’s carpenter. They got exercise, food, and a bathroom break. And there was a dog show planned but that never occurred. The dogs were let out at some point and were seen running about as the ship sank. There was no truth to oft-told tale that First Officer Murdoch’s dog was on a lifeboat and alerted Carpathia to the lifeboats by barking.
Source:The Definitive Guide to the Dogs on the Titanic(31 Mar 2014, Smithsonianmag.com)

3. Although doubts have been raised about a new Titanic being built by Clive Palmer, there are hopeful signs it may yet come to pass. There was a little noticed passage in a Asia Times about discussions to construct a cruise ship based on a historic, well known ship. No name was mentioned but some speculate it might be Titanic. Considering the source was within the Chinese government, speculation is that perhaps they will want to help fund this new ship to demonstrate how world class China has become in the 21st century.
Source: Chinese Government Considering Cruise Ship Business(1 April 2014, Asia Times)

Warning! Titanic Cliche Ahead
Warning! Titanic Cliche Ahead

4. Titanic Cliche Alert:Reshuffling Cabinet=Rearranging Deck Chairs on Titanic
In the wake of losing power in local elections, French President Francois Hollande has named a new prime minister and now says (after supporting higher taxes) he wants to lower taxes and worker contributions. Rainbow Murray,associate professor at Queen Mary University of London, says “I think it’s really rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic. Until they sort the economy out, nothing else is going to fix the major reason why the French are so unhappy with the government.” And if you have to fall back on this old tired cliché to make a point about French politics, you need to re-read Shakespeare for tips on how to better use wit to make your point.
Source: Hollande confirms Valls as PM, stands by pro-business pact(31 Mar 2014, CNBC/Reuters)



Item#3 above is the fake story. April Fools!

Saying Goodbye To Cable?

Ditching cable for Internet or Over-the-Air (OTA) only programming has been simmering for a while. The reason is simple: cost. Every year the rates go up for what is considered basic service on most services, which can be from 76 to 99 channels that include all local broadcast, the major cable networks, news, sports and entertainment to name a few. Premium channels (HBO, Showtime etc) are usually excluded along with HD programming. To compete with Netflix, many cable companies offer On Demand or Pay Per View services allowing you to order movies right from your cable box.

I come from the generation that remembers using antenna to get local ota programming. Back then you had the three major networks, PBS, and a smattering of local channels. Sometimes you had to fiddle with the horizontal or vertical to stabilize the signal. You had to actually turn a dial to change channels and weather could effect signal quality. Cable changed all that back in the 1970’s. I recall our first cable television and seeing pictures crisp and clear for the first time. We still got local channels but some far away ones as well. There were no cable news channels or MTV back then, but HBO and Showtime showed up by the time I was in high school.

Simpler times but the downside was there was no competition. It was either cable or ota. Most cities signed exclusive contracts with one cable provider so that was it. Today that has changed with satellite and Internet. Looking around my apartment complex, it is amazing the number of Dish or Direct TV satellite dishes on balconies pointing south to get the signal. Driving around my area you see a combination of both satellite and digital antennas. My local cable company, a rare municipal one, is losing customers and trying to win them back with specials. They tried a door-to-door approach that got lots of angry calls (mine being one of them) and now tries a softer approach to win back those who defected to the other guys.

The Internet provides streaming of movies and television shows (sometimes free or for a fee like Netflix or Hulu) that competes with cable. Yet it has not quite yet replaced cable television. Despite a lot of concern, cable is not being dumped but reduced. In my case, I decided not to pay $60+ for getting 99 channels most of which I never watched. I downsized to just getting local channels for $20 a month. I gave up watching a few channels I watched regularly and seeing S.F. Giant’s games that were shown exclusively on cable. Rather than pay for HD programming, I hook up an indoor antenna and get all the local HD channels for free. Netflix fills me in on the shows I missed on SyFY (Warehouse 13 and Eureka) and with free On-Demand I get to see a lot of cable shows such as The Next Food Network Star.

So why do I keep cable? Well I do not have broadband yet (it is coming!) and while I get strong reception on the digital antenna, signals drop for all kinds of reasons. So while it works 80% of the time, I can and do lose the signal to atmospherics, the station switching to a backup while main transmitter is being fixed, or on the weaker stations when my neighbor upstairs is playing with his litle kid. HD programming looks great but on just ordinary programming does not add much. Okay, take that back. Local news reporters and anchors like Darya Folsom, Julie Haener or Gasia Mikaelian look good in HD.

The folks over internetserviceproviders.org sent me a list of the “100 Sites That Can Replace Your Cable TV Service.” The list is  interesting showing what content is available online. So if you are thinking about downsizing your cable (or going ota), the Internet offers a lot to fill in the gaps. And you do not have to pay a princely sum for it either.