The most up-to-date examination of the Titanic wreck site using modern forensic technology to understand more clearly what happened. Instead of just looking at a few sections, this expedition sought to map the entire site and learn new details. Many well known Titanic experts were involved along with a lot of other experts as well. This is certainly the most ambitious expedition to date. Enjoy!
*The Great Expedition to Titanic had to depart early due to a hurricane but got some real neat photos of the wreck. And it showed the wreck still is quite visible demonstrating the decay rate is slower than some speculated.
*Over in Belfast a developer in the Titanic Quarter went after a man who put down money for an apartment but could not complete the deal due to being unemployed. Three years ago Neil Rowe put down money for a £265,000 apartment. Alas the poor economy cost him a job and he cannot get a mortgage. The developer though wanted him to pay the balance and took him to court arguing although broke he still owed the money. In simple terms, they wanted to the court to recognize he owed the debt but the judge turned them down. They can still seek damages if they choose.
*Motley Fool did an analysis of Premiere Exhibitions (the owner of RMS Titanic, Inc.) in light of the recent salvage award. They write: “In sum, we’re not sure exactly what PRXI is worth at the moment, although we think its pretty safe to say its worth a lot more than its current price (paraphrasing Buffett, you don’t need a scale to tell a man’s fat!). Seems like an easy lay-up that will likely generate an outsized return over the next six months with very little risk (and better yet regardless of what the general market does as a whole). That said, its possible an investment today may require some patience but given Sellers commitment to monetizing his stake in the near-term, the significant and undisputed embedded value in the titanic assets and the progress to-date regarding the company’s turnaround efforts, our guess is that good things will happen sooner rather than later.”
*Fifth Officer Harold Lowe of Titanic does not get a lot of notice and Maddie Mathews, a 16 year-old schoolgirl, thought that was wrong after seeing Cameron’s Titanic. So she launched a campaign to get Lowe, who also hailed from Wales, to be properly commemorated. She wrote letters to local councils and historical associations asking for their assistance. The town of Barmouth, where Lowe spent much of his youth, is setting up a committee and invited Maddie to sit on it. The purpose of the committee will be to erect a memorial in time for the 2012 centenary. Descendants of Lowe have been contacted and delighted by the news. Good work Maddie!
*If you saw Cameron’s Titanic, then you saw William Murdoch depicted as a coward. This bothered many Titanic enthusiasts and historians saying it was inaccurate. Scott Murdoch, a nephew of William Murdoch, demanded an apology for how the movie depicted his uncle. He got one from Scott Neeson, vice president of 20th Century Fox, who said it (the movie) never intended to show William Murdoch as a coward and any implication was inadvertent. Scott Murdoch passed away in August and was in his 90’s. RIP
*Top Chef Boring continues on to Singapore. They had to make meals in the final challenge that could be freeze dried and eaten by astronauts. The highlight was Buzz Aldrin, a man who has walked on the moon. Anthony Bourdain was there and actually criticized Ripert’s (who he calls Ripper) criticism of Ed’s dish as too complicated. There are critics of Ripert who say he is too bland or too exacting in his standards. He is much better than that walking cliché Toby Young. Young must have had flash cards to memorize dozens of totally useless cliches to throw out during his tenure on Top Chef. Michelle Bernstein put him in his place and his totally weird comment about wine and hairy armpits (which caused Tom C. to put his head down on the table in disbelief) probably was the nail in the coffin. Ripert at least is constructive in his criticisms. Bourdain would make a great judge (and has done well as a guest judge in the past) but he is too busy to be there full time.
*Top Chef Masters? Former cheftestants are back! Yes we will bring back some of the favorites of past seasons who flamed out at the end or near the end. Oh please tell me this is just some sick publicity joke. We do not need a season of former cheftestants battling out to see who amongst them is SECOND TOP CHEF (which is what they are since they were beaten). Perhaps for fun they ought to allow failed cheftestants from Chopped or Next Food Network Star to compete as well. Hey maybe that bankrupt gal from that New Jersey show could toss a table over as well. 😉
Titanic Musings…Part Deux
Some have emailed asking if I oppose the Titanic expedition. No, it does have scientific merit. From news accounts it appears Premiere Exhibitions has tried to woo a lot of skeptics (skeptics because they have misgivings about salvage and the company’s handling of artifacts) to go on the expedition. Actual salvage is over; the company made it clear in its court filings to get the salvage award. So it is simply trying to massage its public image by sponsoring a scientific expedition. The reason is simple: the salvage award. They know that a lot of folks out there dislike salvaging Titanic. Many will be displeased the company will be able to sell the artifacts. So I see the expedition as simply trying to buy some goodwill.
On Top Chef: Washington I got some emails criticizing my viewpoint. I stand by the assertion this is a dull season with no one standing out. Sure it is easy to see the weak ones but hard to like any of the stronger ones either for a variety of reasons. As for the pea puree, I am not convinced Alex would need to steal or misplace Ed’s since he made his own (Tom C. said he talked to others who saw him make it). Everyone focuses on Alex forgetting that the culprit could be someone else. If we assume it was stolen or purposely mislaid, one of the other cheftestants who saw Ed as a threat may have done it with a bonus of fingering Alex. The Triple K’S (Kelly, Kevin, Kenny) all ganged up on Alex at Judges’ Table and in the stew room. It is possible the anger against Alex was ramped up by the guilty party.
One blogger wondered whether any of the cheftestants will be memorable. In past years some competitors (like Fabio or Sam) continue to be remembered by fans. In this case, it seems to be a season where the competitors will struggle to be remembered once the show is over.
Titanic Musings And Other Things
I took a break for a needed vacation and catching up on Titanic news and recordings in my DVR.
1) The Grand Expedition
Call the press, contact cable and network shows for booking, and get lots of video coverage about the sorry state of a wreck two miles down. We will fill the ship with historians, scientists, and other interesting people to comment on the state of the wreck. Get that? It is about the decay rate of the wreck as if we did not know already that nature is consuming the wreck. Sure there is scientific interest in finding out the decay rate, how organisms two miles down operate, and lots of other technical stuff. If that was it was about, it would be a special edition of National Geographic Explorer. If they wanted zing, bring any or all of the following from the Travel Channel: Anthony Bourdain, Andrew Zimmern, Samantha Brown, and the guy who yells. Otherwise I suspect it is a yawner and just to create positive buzz for Premiere Exhibitions and its subsidiary, RMS Titanic Inc perhaps because.…
2) Salvage Verdict Comes Down in Their Favor
What wonderful coincidence! Federal Judge Rebecca Beach Smith finally issues after what seems a millennia, her ruling on the salvage award. Issued just before the Grand Expedition, she rules they are entitled to compensation and sets the value of the artifacts at $110 million. What is left to be determined is how they will get compensated The easiest–and most controversial–would be to give them the artifacts. RMS Titanic, Inc would then be free to sell the artifacts to museums, collectors and other interested parties. The predictable howl from the anti-salvage crowd will be loud if this occurs. Long ago the pro and anti salvage crowd on the Internet got into heated flamewars resulting in Titanic enthusiasts hating each other. It split the Titanic community into rival camps and still does when the topic comes up. One the other hand, Judge Smith could award them the artifacts on the condition they only be sold to museums and recognized exhibitors. The other option is for the court to hold the sale and distribute the proceeds.
There are lots of legal issues that have to be worked out and that will take time. It is also possible others will file appeals to overturn the decision or seek the court to modify its decision in some way. Stay tuned!
3) Titanic Cliche Overload
Far too many politicians, commentators, and others use the Titanic Cliche so much as make one wonder if they ever attended a literature or writing class.
4) Top Chef Washington is Top Chef Boring
Who stole the pea puree? Okay think about that for a second. If the most exciting thing on this show is whether or not a cheftestant stole a pea puree, we have a problem. It seems no one liked this chap very much and quickly labeled him a thief. It became clear that when Kevin, Kenny, Kelly and Amanda were the losing team in Restaurant War when Kenny opened his mouth complaining that Alex did nothing (though on the winning team). It looked petty and foolish considering what the judges told them. Kevin’s dish was excellent, Kenny did two dishes that failed, Kelly did a watery soup they disliked but saved herself on dessert, and Amanda botched cooking the beef. All in all pretty bad. Kenny’s goat cheese dessert was reviled by the judges (Frank Bruni’s look when he tasted it was classic). Kenny got the boot since as executive chef he was in charge, put out two bad dishes, and allowed other bad dishes to go out.
For the most part this show is forgettable and looks tired. From reading the various postings elsewhere, this season is not generating that much great buzz despite being in Washington D.C. Last season saw some great cooking and really top notch competitors. This season seems to have lackluster (by comparison to previous seasons excluding Season Two which was pretty bad) cheftestants and no one really to get interested in winning. More interested in watching who screws up and place bets on who goes home each week. Otherwise watching repeats of Mythbusters is better, funny, and educational all at the same time (and yes they have tackled some food myths along the way).
5) Titanic 2
Yes, it is true that there is a movie by that name. Suffice to say it has gone straight to the bottom as predicted. They ought to have made it high camp instead or turned it soft porn with Pamela Anderson bouncing about.
6) A Titanic Christmas
Two words that ought not go together: Titanic and Christmas. One is a terrible tragedy and the other a religious celebration. So when a press release was sent out over the web (alas I did not get it being a lowly blogger) announcing a Titanic themed Christmas in Pigeon Forge, I wondered if it was a spoof. Not so it seems. According to the release:
“Christmas in a Winter Wonderland” runs November 13-January 1, 2011. Co-owner, Mary Kellogg-Joslyn plans to pull out all the stops to make her Titanic’s first holidays in Pigeon Forge, memorable. First, there will be $150,00 in snow equipment (the same equipment used to make it show every Christmas at Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom). Secondly, $100,000 will be spent on Christmas trees, holiday lights and ornamentation throughout the interior and exterior of the museum. There will also be carolers and other musical events. While the holiday celebration will be elaborate, the owners plan to hold true to their idea of the importance of telling the stories of the Titanic’s passengers and crew.”
Some will criticize it but in the end the consumer will decide whether the gamble pays off or not.
7) Dodgeball with a Twist
One of the funny things about Warehouse 13 on SyFy is that they can have some ordinary objects become dangerous. Take the dodgeball. Normally you try to knock the opponents out of the game by hitting them with the ball. Pete and Myka encounter a dodgeball that multiplies on contact. Meaning if it strikes you one becomes two. Then two becomes three and so on. One can see the obvious problem here. In minutes you could have a dozen or so balls hurling towards you and increasing in numbers after contact. It is never said but it is a nod to the most famous of all such things, the tribble from Star Trek. It multiplies quickly if lots of food is around and nothing checks it (we did learn in Enterprise they do have a predator). A nice nod to the Trouble With Tribbles from Warehouse 13.