It is Superbowl Sunday here in the United States. It has become a mini-holiday of sorts. For football fans, it is the ultimate game between two rivals. Whether you go to the game or watch it at home, it means cheering on your favorite team (if you have one). And it has become a major food day as well. There are many foods to celebrate the game from nachos to pizza. Pizza is the number one food according to both surveys and sales. All the major national pizza chains look to Superbowl Sunday as the biggest pizza day of the year. It is also the Chinese Lunar New Year so at my house this year, the game will have delicious Chinese food from a local restaurant.
Now to Titanic….
*Not that anyone really cares (or do they?)but the entertainment media has been aflutter with Kate Winslet saying that Jack did not need to die. If they do a remake, perhaps he will live that time or perhaps both will die. Or resurrected as flesh eating ghouls for the cinematic horror Zombies From The Cold Sea!
*A cardboard boat race to teach the lessons of buoyancy ended with the famously named Titanic suffering a similar watery fate. Duck tape and cardboard are a tough challenge to be waterproof though Mythbusters proved the viability of a duck tape boat.
*A political candidate recently spoofed Titanic on Saturday Night Live. Once again Titanic being used as a political prop.
*A Spanish broadcaster apparently confused British Prime Minister David Cameron with famous movie producer James Cameron. Oops! Next time try doing an Internet search first.
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.
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.
1. 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)
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)
1. Premier Exhibitions, Inc. Partners With Crossmedia to Re-envision Exhibition Marketing Strategy (19 Dec 2013,Wall Street Journal-press release)
Many of the exhibitions have been touring for a number of years and in some instances, have been in their respective markets for five plus years,” said Elizabeth Natwick, the new vice president of marketing that recently joined Premier Exhibitions. “While the concept of the exhibit and the content is evergreen and transcends generations, the way we interact with the public in terms of messaging and marketing should be evaluated and updated, and we are looking forward to doing just that with Crossmedia.”
2. Deep Subterranean Microbe Thrives On Iron And Oil(19 Dec 2013,RedOrbit)
The team found that the bacteria are able to utilize iron and nitrogen from their surroundings and recycle scarce nutrients to meet their metabolic needs. The superstructure of the sunken Titanic is being consumed by another member of the same group, named the Halomonas titanicae. The researchers also found that the microbes living in the deep sandstone deposits of the Illinois Basin were capable of metabolizing aromatic compounds, a common component of petroleum.
3. Probably Coming Out Next Halloween:Ghostly Queen Mary Supernatural Thriller To Set Sail(18 Dec 2013,Bleeding Cool)
Described as “The Shining on a ship,” the untitled film will be a supernatural thriller that taps into the Queen Mary’s own sordid reputation as one of the 10 most haunted places in America (as declared by Time magazine in 2008). One cabin is said to be haunted by someone who was murdered there, while others have claimed to have heard children playing in the nursery.
4. Titanic Cliche Alert: Headline for Perez Hilton claims The Voice sinking like Titanic: The Voice Finale’s Ratings Sink Like The Titanic!(18 Dec 2013,Perezhilton.com)
The actual commentary never mentions Titanic so the headline is just an attention grabber. Nice try. Except of course none of those on The Voice had to leave a sinking ship on a very cold night with too few lifeboats to save them. Bad analogy Perez. For that you get the fractured finger Titanic Cliche Award.
Well Thanksgiving is nearly here for those of us in USA. Before I take time away to eat some turkey, watch some games, and catch a few movies, here are some Titanic odds and ends for the week.
1. The Sun-Sentinel (Florida) reminds readers that while Titanic may be at the South Florida Science Museum there are many other undersea treasures off Florida. Treasure hunter Terry Armstrong tells the Sentinel “There are probably 30 to 40 old Spanish ships, from the 1500s up to the late 1600s, that are sunk around Florida.” And many of them likely have lots of money to be found (gold, silver, and other precious cargo). Some ships are likely just historic rather than a treasure find though. Alas the days of finding and keeping such treasure thanks to federal and state regulations. And even if you find the treasure, it would belong to the state (although you might get compensation for it). Provided of course you had a permit to do the recovery.
Source: Titanic Amount Of Treasure Still Undiscovered Off South Florida (24 Nov 2013,Sun-Sentinel)
2. The movie Raise The Titanic(1980) is scheduled to come out on Blu-Ray in January 2014. The movie was adapted from the Clive Cussler best seller of the same name. Sadly it was a terrible adaptation changing key aspects of the story from the novel. Perhaps the best part is seeing Titanic raised from the ocean floor (when the book and movie were made the wreck had not been discovered yet). Aside from that, it is mostly a dud. If you want to see it, check your local library to see if it is available. It also might be available from an online streaming movie site (not Netflix, last I checked). I encourage you to read the book as it is quite exciting.
Source: Raise The Titanic’ To Surface On Blu-Ray(26 Nov 2013, High-Def Digest)
3. Iraq has suffered floods of late that have made it difficult for its citizens to get about. Due to the lack of rapid government assistance, many were forced into using makeshift rafts to get about on city streets. This caused many to post humorous pictures on social media sites that had, for instance, Jack and Rose from Titanic superimposed on top of a city bus trying the make its way through a flooded street. As one commentator noted, they know how the people of Venice get about.
Source: Fighting Floods, Iraqis Go Online To Bemoan Poor Public Services(24 Nov 2013,Oman Tribune)
4. Karl Samuda recently spoke in opposition to various tax measures being debated in Jamaica’s House of Representatives. Some of the benefits being debated include a reduction in corporate taxes. Samuda, noting the bills being passed said “Let us hold hands and sing and go down with the Titanic.” Yet another example of a politician using Titanic for political reasons.
Source: Sinking like the Titanic!(24 Nov 2013,The Gleaner)
A few tips on Thanksgiving (for turkey fryers)
*Do not even think about deep frying your turkey in your home or apartment balcony.
*Set up fryer outdoors and not close to any building. Make sure it is on a level surface.
*Oil is hot! Never forget that when cooking. Wear suitable clothing to protect when cooking in a deep fryer. Use safety gloves and avoid flip flops or shorts in case the oil splatters.
*Never let kids play around the turkey fryer. Attend at all times.
*Remember the expansion rule: do not overfill with oil. Allow for 6 inches of expansion when you add the turkey.
*Remember to pat dry the bird. Oil and water do not mix.
*And never, ever think about putting a frozen turkey into hot oil. Ever. See what happens here and view a State Farm video on turkey fryer danger.
*Safety experts recommend you turn off the burner when you put the turkey in and then turn it back on to cook.
*Hot oil will stay hot for several hours. Make sure it is in safe place and the burner is off when done. Safely discard the oil later after it has cooled but do not pour it down the drain. Check about where to properly dispose large amounts of cooking oil (some places will buy it and covert it to fuel).
*And watch that oil temperature. Do not let it go above 350 degrees Fahrenheit. If a fire should occur in the pot, turn off cooker and cover the pot. Many grease fires can be put out this way. Always have a fire extinguisher rated for grease fires handy.
Well August has finally rolled in meaning soon summer vacations are heading to a close. Schools in many places start up towards the end of the month. Kids count down those days as each day means one day less to play around. Titanic news has been a little quiet, usually is during the summer. Probably because so many people are busy doing other things. Except of course here at Titanic News Channel where we are also looking for interesting Titanic stories.
1. Titanic Belfast has hit a milestone when it went over a million visitors. The one millionth visitor was family from Country Kildare, Ireland according to BBC News. Needless to say, the people behind Titanic Belfast are quite happy that it has exceeded expectations.
2. Spas are very popular these days and a special treat for many. One such is Titanic Spa in West Yorkshire, England. The name Titanic does not come from the ship but from a woolen mill that used to be located there (and built in 1911). It advertises itself as an eco spa, meaning of course it is very chic, modern, and costs lots of money. As Roger St. Pierre wrote recently in Belfast Telegraph:
Those opting to overnight or spend a few days will find the apartment-style accommodations spacious and uncluttered, with high ceilings, huge windows and spacious private balconies and a lot of white and cream paint, creating a fresh, light-infused ambiance that puts you straight into a relaxed frame of mind. Breakfast baskets await in the kitchenette. Beds are big and exquisitely comfortable. This all makes an irresistible excuse for a self-indulgent breakfast in bed.
While the ship may not have inspired the name, they clearly borrowed some of its style.
3. Titanic Cliche Alert! This just in from Finland: Union leader Antti Rinne pulled no punches in his assessment of the performance of the country’s business elite during the ongoing economic crunch. Rinne accused business leaders of behaving like first class passengers of the sinking Titanic, who thought only of their own welfare during a crisis. “Like the Titanic in its time, life boats are primarily reserved for the cream of society. Ordinary people are being left to battle with the cold water or then to face death,” Rinne declared.
We got Titanic, lifeboats, people being tossed into water. Wait a minute! That was Titanic in 1912 not Finland in 2013. Once again someone attempts to misuse Titanic for political points and fails. We would award Rinne our famous, never duplicated, Fractured Finger Award but we doubt it would make it past customs.
Source: Union Leader Warns Elite Against Abandoning The Less Privileged(27 Jul 2013,UUTISET)
4. Why is Titanic still popular? There have been many, sometimes even more heartbreaking, sinkings before and after 1912. The reasons for its popularity are many but apparently Stephen Brown (University of Ulster), Pierre McDonagh (Dublin City University), and Clifford J. Shultz, II (Loyola University Chicago) decided to study Titanic’s popularity. Their work appeared recently in Journal of Consumer Research. According to the write-up in Science Codex, it is the various questions left unanswered that give Titanic is ongoing appeal.
“The Titanic represents a marketing bonanza for movie makers, memorabilia sellers, tourist attraction managers, and many more. This casts doubt on the long-standing assumption that brand identities should be clear, concise, coherent, and consistent. Clarity is overrated. Imprecision is underappreciated. Legendary brands need both,” the authors conclude.
Now the study is focused on the consumer appeal and why it draws so many to see movies and exhibits. From a marketing standpoint (this is a business not historical study), understanding how brands become legendary is important. Titanic, they argue, became legendary because of so many unanswered questions as to its demise. It is what Walter Lord called the famous What Ifs? If that is the case, then clear brand identities are not always going to work. Imprecise and ambiguous might work as well. How does that play the marketplace? Well if you plan to market something, sometimes the precise will not work but making it seem legendary in some fashion might sell it. Marketing gurus already, I think, know this but it is very hard to put into practice. It requires some very clever thinking and strategy behind it (or you end up burned like Coca-Cola did with its famous New Coke that enraged consumers).
*President Obama was not the only foreign leader to visit Northern Ireland recently. Shinzo Abe, the Japanese Prime Minister, paid a visit as well. And not only did he bring goodwill, but likely new jobs as well.
*Taylor Swift has shared with the world that she and her cat watched Cameron’s Titanic together. Meanwhile James Cameron recently extolled the virtues of veganism. Connected? You decide.
*It is always amusing when local politicians decide to use Titanic to describe how bad something is. Take Graham Galpin, a borough councillor in Kent, UK. Now the issue involves asphalt in a shared space which has become pretty bad owing to trucks using it rather than loading docks and issues with the asphalt itself. This caused Galpin to say, we assume with all seriousness:
“I was interested to see it says engineering was carried out with professional care. It’s a bit like saying the Titanic was well built.”
So the logic here is Titanic is to asphalt as asphalt is to an iceberg. Hopefully no iceberg hits him for using a Titanic cliché.
*Chappy’s, in Nashville, TN that was featured on Kitchen Nightmares, has been shuttered. You probably remember this fellow who wore the oversized toque and disco style pants in the kitchen. His décor was from another time, had a large menu with prices that increased during the day, cooked meat and fish together, had some sanitary issues, and dissed the people of Nashville who panned his food as not understanding Cajun food. His restaurant was seized by the state tax authorities this week for failing to pay state taxes. Of course it is all Gordan Ramsay’s fault as obviously his restaurant was doing just fine until the foul mouthed Scotsman showed up.
1. The Belfast Telegraph is reporting complaints people are making about paying a fee to visit Nomadic and another one for Titanic Belfast. Currently people wishing to board Nomadic pay £7.50 for adults,£5.00 for children 5-16. Family tickets are also available (£22-27 depending on family size). However if you want to visit Titanic Belfast, a separate fee is required for entry. Which has got some visitors angry at having to dig deeper into their pockets. The Telegraph reports that Nomadic Charitable Trust is in negotiations with Titanic Belfast to set up a joint ticketing scheme.
2. James Cameron, who recently gave his DeepSea Challenger to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, believes that one day expeditions such as his would help scientists predict deep sea earthquakes and their tsunamis. In an interview to CNN, Cameron says “Building technology vehicles like the DeepSea Challenger to get down there, is a first step to planting large instruments which could allow us to survey seismic activity. Ultimately it could lead to some predictive modeling which tells us ‘look we’ve got pressure building up here, maybe this could be a tsunami in the Pacific rim, get ready, brace yourselves”
1. Campaign To Keep Colne’s Titanic Museum Afloat (24 Feb 2013, Lancashire Telegraph) Colne’s Titanic in Lancashire Museum has launched a fundraising campaign to keep the attraction open. The museum is seeking £2,000 in funding to keep it going for another 12 months. They are seeking pledges from people who want to be support the facility through the ‘Please Fund Us’ charity website. Nigel Hampson, curator of the museum, said: “The Titanic In Lancashire Museum tells the story of the greatest sea disaster in history and the many Lancashire people who were caught up in this most iconic event. Anybody interested in supporting the museum should visit www.pleasefund.us/projects/titanic-in-lancashire-museum.
2. Titanic Artifacts Will Be On Display In New Mexico(24 Feb 2013, ABQ Journal) And starting March 23, New Mexicans will, for the first time, be able to see that bar of soap and more than 120 other artifacts recovered from the vessel that still sits, broken in two, about 375 miles south of Newfoundland on a seabed miles below the surface of the Atlantic Ocean. I think just how hard it is for a bar of soap to stay together for more than 70 years,” said Alexandra Klingelhofer, vice president of collections for Premier Exhibitions, the company that owns the archive. “That’s the story of Titanic. It’s that kind of connection that brings it home.” New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science staff is “all hands on deck” for the upcoming exhibit, called “Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition,” which will showcase the rise and fall of the British passenger liner that was on its maiden voyage from Southampton, England, to New York City when it struck an iceberg and sank.
Exhibit info: New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science, 23 Mar-27 Oct, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily. Tickets go on sale 15 Mar at NMNaturalHistory.org.
3. Funny or Ironic, You Decide Whateverblog.dallasnews.com picked up funny picture from Facebook. Apparently a planned showing of Titanic 3D was cancelled due to “water ingress.” I assume that means either a burst pipe or other water damage. At least no ark was necessary.
4. Titanic Cliche Alert: The Ikley Gazzette (UK) reports that Councillor Adrian Naylor called London relocating poor families to Bradford District akin to shifting deckchairs on Titanic. He said: “This doesn’t help Bradford in any way, shape or form. It is just like shifting deckchairs on the Titanic.” Okay,you own it. I suppose the “lifeboats” are the housing units that will never be or something similar. When will politicians learn to leave Titanic alone?