The Titanic Exhibition, twice held over in Winnipeg, has finally left town. But in a good way! According to Winnipeg Free Press , 87,243 attended the exhibit that ran from 11 Feb until last Sunday. Those are impressive numbers indeed. It will be interesting to see the numbers for the next exhibition, Da Vinci: The Genius, which runs from 19 Aug-23 Oct.
The lessons from Titanic echo to this day but sometimes forgotten by people they are supposed to protect. Take the life vest. This simple floatation device will save lives when the unfortunate happens. And the rule is you have enough for everyone aboard (crew and passengers included). Another rule is not to exceed the recommended passenger capacity to avoid not having enough for everyone. Unfortunately that recently happened on Lake Michigan.
ABC 7 in Chicago reported “A suburban woman says she thought of the movie “Titanic” when the boat she and 21 others were on sank in Lake Michigan. It happened Saturday evening near Burnham Harbor. Deetria Cannon of Lisle says they were headed back to shore when something happened and the boat began taking on water.”
The report indicates there were not enough life vests aboard for everyone and that some could not swim. Fortunately nearby boats came to the rescue and everyone was saved. Chicago police are reported as saying theere were likely too many people on board. No citations were issued but one assumes some legal action will be forthcoming against the boat owner and captain.
In this case, all ended well. But a recent event down in Mexico shows what happens when things go very bad ending up with loss of life. A timely reminder indeed.
Source: ABC7Chicago.com, 22 Rescued From Sinking Boat In Lake Michigan, 1 Aug 2011
What are the ten top reasons for liking Titanic? I have never really given it a thought (though Dave Letterman might). Over at AMC, Corey Abbey has given it some thought and lists the top ten reasons we cannot get enough of Titanic.
Here are just a few of them:
10. The Death of an Evil Billy Zane?
“Yet you’d be hard-pressed to find a character more loathsome than his Cal, the arrogant fiancé of Rose (Kate Winslet). This guy’s a first-class jerk, a spousal abuser, and an all-around bully.”
No argument here. Zane’s character is pretty vile and knowing he ended up badly in the end is pretty good.
8. The Most Anti-Nostalgic Moment in a Nostalgic Film
” But after telling her story, Rose, it turns out, has the necklace and rather than give it up secretly throws it — nostalgia be damned! — right into the ocean, in the movie’s most triumphant scene. The act seems to free her, once and for all, to enjoy her memories of Jack (DiCaprio).”
Not sure if that is a reason but possibly a factor. Not much nostalgia though when the story is about a tragedy like Titanic.
7. “My Heart Will Go On”
” The song kept the soundtrack at No. 1 on the charts for a whopping sixteen weeks and proved inescapable for anyone who listened to radio, went on an elevator, or attended a drag show. As ubiquitous theme songs go, this track has few rivals.”
Originally, as I recall, there was not going to be song for the movie, just theme music and background vocals. Dion was called into test a possible song and voila! The rest of course is history.
5. “I’m the King of the World!”
That is one line that now has entered the common use and will be with us for a long time.
3. Young Kate Winslet & 2. Younger Leonardo DiCaprio?
It certainly made them more famous and able to demand higher fees for future movies. Not sure which has really come out better, Winslet or DiCaprio.
1. The Blockbuster, Redefined
“Yet really all Cameron was doing was returning to the days of epic romances like Gone With the Wind and Lawrence of Arabia. They ruled the box office; Titanic did, too.” No argument here. The film broke records and dvd sales went through the roof.
You can view the whole list by clicking here.
Jay Leno loves vintage cars. In fact he claims that buying vintage cars is cheaper than having lots of women! Back in 2005 he bought a vintage car–a 1931 Dusenberg Model J–that belonged to John Straus, the grandson of Macy’s found Isador Straus. Both Isador and his wife Ida perished when Titanic sank in 1912. Leno thought he had gotten a good deal for $180,000. The car though was not in very good shape due to water damage and neglect. But with the help of a restorer and lots of work, the car has been restored to “better than new” according to news reports.
The car had been stored since 1931 in a leaky garage contributing to its poor condition. In 2005 the garage sought $22,000 in fees. The fees were apparently paid but the garage auctioned off the car anyway (whether this due to an oversight or something else the article does not make clear). What is clear is that Leno got the car and a lawsuit from the Straus family claiming the auction was a sham. The argument seems to have been Leno was in cahoots with the garage to get the car.
The legal action was just settled. As is the norm in such matters, exact details are always confidential. News reports indicate that while the Straus family got money, it did not come from Leno. The car itself was never very pretty said Leno. It was built to ferry wealthy people around New York City. Leno does enjoy driving the car around reliving the days of yesteryear.
Source: Daily Mail, Jay Leno Settles Vintage Car Legal Dispute Over 1931 Duesenberg, 21 June 2011
A recent article in the Quad City Times reports several people smelling a cigar odor near a sealed glass case at a Titanic exhibit. A passenger’s cigar holder is in that case fueling speculation that a spectre is at work. Ciara Tanaka, a volunteer coordinator at the museum, says the odor was “strong.” Another person who works there also detected the odor and checked a garbage can to see if it had a cigar in it. A paranormal expert, Jason Hess, states the reports are credible. “The smell of cigar smoke at the Titanic exhibit is highly credible. Artifacts, such as from the Titanic, hold energy from bodies and souls that had died quickly. The odor can be like a rewind of tapes from the past.”
That theory is an old one called psychometry, which believes that certain gifted people are allowed to see, hear, and even smell things from the past. It is often used to explain hauntings. In theory a gifted person would be able to see whatever event the haunting is about. What often happens is simply a case of now you see it–or not type of thing. Science thus far has not confirmed the theory has any merit. So what did the people smell at the Putnam museum?
There are several possibilities. One is that they did smell something. Perhaps it was someone smoking a cigar near the building and got picked up by the outdoor air vents. Or someone might have been smoking a cigar illegally (the museum is a no-smoking zone) and its aroma was picked up and recirculated by the air conditioning system. Or it might have been something that smelled similar to cigar smoke. Another possibility is someone is playing a prank on them. Never dismiss this. It has happened before when suspected hauntings or poltergeist activity is being investigated that someone is found to be responsible for it.
There is also the power of suggestion. Our minds are curious things and can be easily fooled at times. Take waking up at night where, between being fully awake and sleeping, you see strange shapes in your room. Once you are fully awake there is nothing out of the ordinary. People having day dreams can have this happen too, where they see or hear things that are not really happening. It is possible some who smelled cigar smoke were getting into the moment, so to speak, and suddenly the smell of cigar smoke was there. In this scenario the people are reacting not to any ghostly encounter but are in a suggestive state where such things are possible.
So is there a haunted cigar holder a the Putnam museum? I suspect there are more plausible explanations than a deceased Titanic passenger enjoying a cigar at the Titanic exhibit.
Quad City Times, Spooky Cigar Smoke Adds To Titanic Mystique, 2 June 2011
Baker, Robert A & Nickell, Joe. 1992. Mystic Pieces: How to Investigate Ghosts, UFOs, Psychics & Other Mysteries, Amherst, N.Y.: Prometheus Books
Nickell, Joe. 2007. Adventures in Paranormal Investigation, Lexington: University Press of Kentucky
Governors Island in New York recently had a visitor wash up on its shores, a calico cat. Her fur was matted and had seaweed on it. A weekend of storms had preceded her arrival leading many to speculate the feline had been swept into the harbor and then either swam or floated ashore on a piece of debris. It caused a sensation and a name had to be given to this cat (whose owners have not been found). So after a contest where names were submitted—where such names as Mary Ann, Ginger, Salty and Buttermilk were considered—the name that won out was Molly Brown.
That’s right. She is named after the “Unsinkable Molly Brown” of Titanic fame. Well you have to admire the selection. From all reports the cat is doing quite well having the island mostly to her itself for the moment. It opens up to tourists on 27 May. No doubt many will ask about the feline Molly Brown, who likely will become a permanent fixture on the island.
Source: DNAinfo, The Stray Cat Was Named After “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,”13 May 2011
Today’s cliché comes from blog at the Natural Resources Defense Council:
“Just a week after the anniversary of the nation’s greatest oil disaster, Congress is set to vote on legislation to open up virtually all federal waters to drilling, while cutting governmental oversight and safety measures at the same time. That’s sort of like telling the designer of the Titanic to forget about the icebergs and just build more ships. Full speed ahead!”
I am not sure it quite works. Titanic was designed to take damage if one, two, or even three of her forward compartments were damaged from a ship collision. Hitting icebergs were rare (usually head on). Titanic was damaged when the iceberg scraped along the starboard side causing lots of ruptures along the way. Hardly the scenario ever envisioned by ship designers. As for the designer, Thomas Andrews, he perished when Titanic sank.
Natural Resources Defense Council (blog), Stop the Dangerous Bills For More Drilling, 3 May 2011
Once again time to see how Titanic gets used and abused as a cliché.
1. “A new development – company board chairman Jorma Ollila today said he will leave his post by 2012 – may lead you to wonder if the company isn’t merely rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. Along with his announcement, Ollila said he would not “throw in the towel” at the Nokia before then.”
-Tracey E. Schelmetic on techzone360.com about Nokia chairman Ollila departing next year.
2. “On Friday April 29, 2011, as riots raged across the country, local television stations in Uganda were twiddling their thumbs. Like the band on the Titanic that played on as the ship sank, the TV stations were showing music videos, repeats of Mexican soaps, or feeds of the Royal Wedding in London.”
-Daniel Kalinaki writing in Daily Monitor about riots in Uganda and the failure of its television media to cover it.
1. techzone360.com, Nokia Chairman of the Board Ollila Departing Next Year, 3 May 2011
2. Daily Monitor, You must worry when your TV shows soaps but no riots, 3 May 2011
In 2004 genetic testing on the remains of a child thought to be Gösta Leonard Pålsson resulted in the child’s identity as Eino Viljami Panula, a 13-month-old Finnish boy. Doubts lingered as two young Titanic victims were very close, Panula and Sidney Goodwin. But it was a pair of leather shoes that led researchers to question the identification. According to news article at msnbc.com, the story of the shoes is quite fascinating:
The shoes had been saved by Clarence Northover, a Halifax police sergeant in 1912, who helped guard the bodies and belongings of the Titanic victims, according to the museum’s website. A letter from Northover’s grandson, Earle, recounts how the victim’s clothing had been burned to stop souvenir hunters. Clarence Northover couldn’t bring himself to burn the little shoes, and when no relatives claimed them, he put the shoes in his desk drawer at the police station. In 2002, Earle Northover donated them to the museum. These shoes were too large for a 13-month-old to wear.
So with more through testing and the assistance of the U.S. Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, it was determined with a 98% certainty the child is in fact Sidney Goodwin. Goodwin’s parents and five siblings all perished when Titanic went down.
According to Ben Golby in the Sunday Mercury, a new book by Tim Maltin dispels many myths and reveals new truths about Titanic. Some myths dismissed include the infamous mummy or conspiracy theories that argue Captain Smith was drunk. On item written by Golby drew my attention:
“But Tim’s research shows the Captain – who famously went down with the ship – could do nothing to avoid the sinking which made headlines across the world.”
Really? That is not the impression one gets from reading the testimony of both inquiries into the catastrophe. It was avoidable. There was nothing predestined about Titanic going down that night. Complacency was a major factor in what happened. No one seriously considered Titanic could suffer a catastrophic event that would sink her. Lifeboats for all was considered a foolish notion by nearly every ship line as unnecessary, cumbersome and expensive. No lifeboat drills were done on Titanic so the crew was unfamiliar on how to properly lower them (which was done all by hand). Nor was it commonly known that each lifeboat had been tested by Harland & Wolff to hold 65 fully grown men. This was never mentioned to Captain Smith because Harland & Wolff assumed Smith and his officers knew this. Also a factor is that neither the officers or crew really knew the ship.
And it gets worse when you add Titanic was traveling fast through an ice field in the dark of night. No one paid close attention to those ice warnings. Had they done so, they would have known they were in the middle of a large ice field. They ought to have slowed down or stopped for the night. Smith thought it was not a problem and went off to his stateroom. Meanwhile the lookouts had no binoculars to see a looming shape ahead until it was nearly upon them. And Murdoch’s maneuver likely would have worked on a smaller ship but not on Titanic.
Smith was considered one of the most respected sea captains of his day. But the new class of ships handled very differently and Smith had reasons to be concerned after his experience on Olympic. To argue though that nothing could have been done to avoid the sinking is totally wrong. There are many things, large and small, that could have averted the catastrophe. It was neither predestined nor fate that Titanic would sink that night. Which is why its sinking is tragic.