Tag Archives: Titanic

Titanic Fatigue?

A fascinating discussion took place on my list recently concerning whether or not many were still interested in Titanic. Postings have become fewer in recent years but not due to lack of interest but rather disinterest in all the babble about Titanic. Some point to Cameron’s Titanic as when it shifted from a serious study to something akin to entertainment. Then there were the numerous books, documentaries, exhibitions, and even tacky Titanic items put on sale. For many old timers, it simply became too much. They stuck with visiting with other Titanic enthusiasts, going to special events, and doing their own research.

This does not mean interest in Titanic has ended, just shifted into another mode. Perhaps this is the normal way of things. Most of us drawn to Titanic can remember the exact moment when it became important. Perhaps it was watching A Night To Remember, hearing someone talk about it, seeing a documentary, or reading a book. It led us to explore the subject further. In the process we learned lots of interesting things that kept us interested. The Titanic story comes close to the Greek meaning of tragedy. The word is much abused today but simply means that the sad events that occur would have been prevented had things been done differently by the central character. And Titanic, as Walter Lord notes, has so many What-If’s that haunt you.

The Titanic community was split by salvage. Ballard and many others did not believe salvage ought to be done arguing the wreck was a grave. Some survivors, like Eva Hart, agreed with it. The other side to the argument is that Titanic had a story to tell from all the things left on the ocean floor. Heated exchanges occurred and Internet flame wars resulted. Unfounded accusations were made and friendships ruined. Today the issue is less vitriolic but no less passionate. Today many can see the traveling Titanic exhibitions that show to people what life was like on the ship. One cannot help but be moved by seeing artifacts from the ship.

Recently San Francisco had its own anniversary of a catastrophe: the great earthquake of 1906 on April 18. Like Titanic it has it own legion of people who study it. Nearly all those who survived are gone now, the few that remain are over 100 years old. And like Titanic, it had its heroes and villains. The earthquake was far more destructive than was led to believe, and those most hardest hit were those were people who lived in cheap housing in an area (called South of Market) built on landfill. They were like Titanic steerage  and paid a terrible price on that day.

Fatigue? Well not really. Just a more mature development of a continuing exploration of Titanic. Sure we like some new books or interesting documentaries, but we have read a lot. Mostly we realize that Titanic has a story to tell. A sad and fascinating one. The latest Titanic thing, whatever that might be, is not going to wow us that much. The upcoming anniversary in 2012 is both a celebration of life and a remembrance of all those who perished on that very cold night in 1912. Anything else is just a distraction.

April 14 in Titanic History

23:40 (11:40 p.m.) Lookouts Fleet and Lee sight iceberg. Bell rung and call to bridge. Murdoch orders helm hard a-starboard and engines reversed. Starboard side scraped by iceberg for 300 feet puncturing hull in various places. Water fills forward compartments. Thomas Andrews informs Captain Smith near midnight Titanic will stay afloat no more than 2 hours.

Sources: Walter Lord, A Night To Remember & The Night Lives On, Stephen Cameron, Titanic: Belfast’s Own.

Titanic Cliche of Day: Porn Like A Party On Titanic

Who mourns for porn? The porn industry is ailing as people have stopped buying and Internet piracy runs rampant. Peter Nowak wrote recently on Ask Men about the death of porn. The article is long and reports on the factors leading to its most serious decline in decades. Nowak then uses the Titanic to make a point:

With its first ever contraction, a decline that doesn’t seem to have an end, what sort of future does the porn business have? Will there even be porn stars to celebrate a few years from now? Or are these AVN Awards just one big party on the Titanic?

So porn is on a sinking ship with water slowly rising above the rails. At least there is no iceberg, no Captain Smith or Lord to blame. And once again Titanic makes an appearance in a way not thought possible in 1912.

Source: Askmen.com, The Death Of Porn, 13 Jan 2011

Titanic Weekend At The Grand Hotel

The Detroit Free Press is reporting that the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island will be having a special Titanic weekend in May. During May 13-15, those buying a special package will get not only breakfast and dinner daily, but a special 11 course Titanic dinner similar to what was served on Titanic. The cost is $749 for couples, $649 single. An Edwardian fashion show and screenings of Titanic (and other things) are part of the schedule. For full details go to www.grandhotel.com.

Titanic Cliche of Day:Bette Midler Compares Las Vegas To Titanic

Bette Midler recently completed a concert series at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. During her time there, she saw the impact of the recession. In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, she opined:

When asked if it was like performing on ill fated liner the Titanic – which sank on 5 April 1912 after hitting an iceberg in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean – Bette agreed, saying: “Yes. It kind of was.”

Thanks Bette! We sure can see how those 1500 people, without life jackets and dumped into the freezing waters of the North Atlantic, sure resembles your performing in Las Vegas.

Source: Post Chronicle, Bette Midler Likens Caesars Palace Residency To Performing On Titanic, 26 Nov 2010

Titanic Musings: The Day After The Great Bird Feast

Another year, another Thanksgiving. This year some retailers decided to open to get early shoppers in. They hope to cash in on the pre-Black Friday crush that is often the case. Out here in the San Francisco Bay Area, a cold blast from the north has sent temps down to freezing in some places. It is cold enough that produce growers have to work covering plants to prevent frost from ruining the citrus crop. Many though decided to brave the very cold temperatures to camp outside of stores that open early in Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving). People were camped outside the local Target store for two days so that when it opened at 4 a.m. this morning, they would be one of the first inside.

Of course the local media was excited. They rolled out with their vans and cameras to show people at home the spectacle of grown men and women choosing to sleep outside a store to be the first inside when it opens. Stores are not displeased hoping the attention will bolster sales. Some even handed out store maps so that shoppers will know exactly where to go when the doors open. Sometimes it does get out of hand. A jerk tries to sneak ahead causing tensions and even a minor altercation. Or worse, someone brandishes a weapon threatening anyone who gets in their way.

Turkey is the center of a Thanksgiving feast. Long ago these flightless birds roamed around in flocks and had to be hunted. Now you just go to the grocery store and decide fresh or frozen. Or organic and free range. Heritage turkeys are being bred and available either online or through speciality retail stores. Those birds cost more and can be less fatty than their cousins in the store. When I was a kid, most people roasted their birds using butter, herbs and other seasonings. Getting a moist bird was an art but today brining has become the preferred method. This presoaking allows the turkey to retain moisture as it cooks allowing for a moist and tender bird.

Another fad is frying the whole turkey. This is popular in the south but requires lots of preparation and care. It requires a large container full of hot oil (usually peanut or vegetable). You cannot do this indoors, on a balcony or fire escape. Too many people have tried it resulting in fire departments coming out to put out fires. You must do this outdoors and away from any structure. And never ever think of putting a frozen bird into the hot oil! The results are explosive and life threatening. And you have to set up a system of lowering the bird in and out of the oil to avoid oil splattering out of the pot. Is it worth it? Many say yes but I have heard people complain kosher birds do not come out as well. Since you cannot brine a kosher bird (it already is salted) it may not be as tender as a bird brined before frying.

Mashed potatoes are a favorite. The trick is getting them light and fluffy. America’s Test Kitchen believes Yukon Gold potatoes are the best to use for this. After trying both Russets and Yukons, they are right on. For light and fluffy, put down the hand masher and either use a hand ricer or food mill. I use a food mill and the results are terrific. Warm not hot milk (you choose the type but half and half is decent but for out of this world use heavy cream) and melted unsalted butter are then added. For those practicing Kosher, warm turkey or chicken broth (or stock if you have it). Then lightly fold it all in and taste for seasoning (usually salt and pepper). I sometimes add a scallion and prepared horseradish for extra zing.

While enjoying the turkey feast with all the trimmings, I remarked how back in the days of Titanic this would at least a seven course meal. Perhaps even more depending on the restaurant and its clientele. You would have the appetizer, salad, several meats, breads and sauces, a palate cleanser, followed by fruits, cheeses and sweet desert items (with coffee or tea). You can only imagine the food nannies going crazy if this was done today. They would go ballistic with the fat, calories, and decadence of it all. I wonder sometimes if the food nannies were deprived as children since they often dislike so many popular foods! 🙂

One tradition after dinner, and usually with dessert, is watching A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Every year I watch this show and always enjoy it. We learn the meaning of Thanksgiving and also forgiveness as well. Charlie Brown has to come up with a quick Thanksgiving meal. Thanks to Linus, Snoopy, and that strange bird, they come up with one with toast, popcorn, and pretzels. Patty gets angry but later apologizes when she realizes she imposed on Charlie to come up with a meal. It all works out in the end since Charlie’s grandmother invites them all to her home for Thanksgiving dinner.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the Christmas season is right around the corner. Already the music is in the air and decorations are going up. Children are getting excited in many parts of Europe. The feast of St. Nicholas is coming up (6 December) and he brings good kids presents heralding in the official start of Christmas season. Time to get the pans out and make Christmas favorites for the holidays. And prepare for some happy times ahead.

Titanic Cliche of the Day:Turning Titanic Takes Time

Justin Markman in an opinion piece for the Ventura County Reporter wrote:

What’s equally toxic is this Republican mass denial of the facts going on in this election season as the righties with their constant Obama-bashing refuse to concede that it takes time to turn the Titanic away from the rocks and hidden icebergs still floating just off the bow, and that it may take easily as long to correct as it took the Republicans and their corporate Wall Street and foreign corporate cartel overlords to get us into this Third World-like economic emergency.

This is a bad use of Titanic imagery. Titanic had little time to avoid colliding with the iceberg and in the end was unable to escape being damaged fatally by it. And saying it may take “easily as long to correct” is way off base unless you are arguing that like Titanic the iceberg is right ahead. As for his political opinion, that is up for you the reader to decide.

For poor use of Titanic imagery, Markman is awarded our never imitated Titanic Cliche of the Day Award complete with tacky iceberg martini glass.

Source: Ventura County Reporter, Turning The Titanic Takes Time, 28 Oct 2010

Titanic Comment of Day: Devo Like Titanic Band!

Devo!  A very long time ago (before the age of the Internet) my college roomate bought their record. Devo was edgy and new wave, perfect for the college student on a stuffy college campus. Today it has been reported that Devo, in addition to making their first album in 20 years, is also going to be part of Futurama’s 100th episode. According to Undercover, Devo will be campaigning for mutant rights. Gerald Casale offers up this gem:

“The world is in sync with Devo,” says his band-mate and co-writer Gerald Casale. “We’re not the guys who freak people out and scare them – we’re like the house band on the Titanic, entertaining everybody as we go down.”

As they sang it so well: Whip it, whip it good! 🙂

Undercover.com.au, Devo To Star In Futurama, 8 June 2010