Titanic II: Australian Newspaper Doubts It Will Be Built


White Star Flag Image:Yar(Wikimedia)
White Star Flag

The Australian is reporting that nothing has been done in the construction of Titanic II. Shipbuilding was supposed to have started by now. The newspaper reports that no deal has been signed with CSC Jinling, the Chinese shipyard despite Clive Palmer claiming the deal was “imminent.” No steel has been cut in preparation for its construction. The newspaper further reports the Chinese are not interested in building the ship. Considering how big Titanic is in China, that seems odd indeed. Palmer apparently thought the Chinese would be excited about the project but apparently that has not been the case. It could be that they do want to build Titanic II but would rather do it themselves rather than with Clive Palmer.

The marketing director is quoted as saying the keel will be laid “in the third quarter of this year.” Officially the Chinese company says while it would be difficult to build, they could do it. Palmer might have to consider another shipyard that would be more enthusiastic than the Chinese one. If I were making odds on this ship being constructed, I would bet against it at this time. Palmer really whipped up a lot of excitement but without a signed contract that starts construction, it looks like the skeptics were right, that this was just a publicity stunt. And he has wasted a lot of time and effort because of it.

Source: Clive Palmer’s Titanic II Project Behind Schedule, May Have Stalled (29 Mar 2014,The Australian)

Sunday Scramble

*The official start of the baseball season is here! There are different ways to watch your favorite team, providing you can watch it locally of course.

1. Over The Air or Radio
Broadcast games have become fewer now that most teams have signed contracts with cable sports channels but are still shown. The cheapest alternative next to radio. Provided of course your local team is local. If your favorite team is, as they say, out of market, then continue on.

2. Cable + MLB Extra Innings
The easiest but costs more is the cable company bundle that has the sports channel on it. Mine costs $63 a month to watch both Giants and A’s. If you want to watch out of market games like the New York Yankees for instance, you can spring for MLB Extra Innings which costs a lot of money though some cable companies offer to break it up into smaller chunks you can pay over the season. Due to blackout policies, you cannot watch a local team either home or away on Extra Innings.

You can watch MLB games online at their website, through streaming devices to your television, and even on your smartphone. Here are the options fron lowest to highest cost.

1)AT BAT/GameDay Audio
The MLB AT BAT app is for most mobile phones and allows you to listen to any game that is going on, check scores, read news, and watch videos. You can select your favorite teams and get notifications on scores etc. You can also watch classic games. You cannot watch any games except the MLB Game of the Day. Also you can listen to any game being played at the MLB website. No mobile phone? Simply subscribe to GameDay Audio at the MLB site and listen through your computer. There are no blackout restrictions on GameDay audio. Cost is $19.99 with automatic renewal for next season. You do not have to subscribe to GameDay audio to use the AT BAT app but you will not be able to listen to any games. Note: listening to radio broadcasts will chew up a lot of data, so consider only listening when connected to Wi-Fi.

2)MLB TV (basic and premium)
You can watch most out of area games on your computer, streamed to your television through Roku and other devices, and on your mobile device. Basic MLB TV is cheaper but has fewer options. The AT BAT GameDay audio is not included and you can only watch via the website. MLB Premium comes with AT BAT GameDay audio, ability to watch on mobile and streaming devices, and choice of live or away feeds as well. Since GameDay audio is included, you also get the radio feeds when you stream to television. If a game is blacked out, you can listen to the game. You have to be a premium subscriber to access this feature.

Now the bad news: you cannot watch local games as they are blacked out both home and away. You can watch the archive (posted 90 minutes after game end) of the game but cannot watch it live. Also national games (FOX or ESPN) are blacked out though this year Fox is allowing people to watch it live for those on MLB tv except if the game is local.

If you are real baseball fiend and want to watch a lot of baseball, then MLB premium is probably your best choice at $129. 99. If you do not have a mobile phone or streaming but want to watch out of area games, then basic MLB at $109.99 will probably work for you. For those wanting to keep costs low, GameDay audio through the smartphone or at MLB site will work fine. You can also watch the MLB Free Game of the Day on your computer, through streaming device or smartphone.

The biggest issue (outside of tech issues with devices) is the blackout policies. Each team decides its territory which is not limited by geography. You can see a map here. Worst hit are people in the Midwest and some Atlantic states where multiple teams can claim rights so several ball clubs in different states, are blacked out. The Seattle Mariners claim all of Montana and almost all of Idaho. Hawaii is hit hard too. There are many SF Giants and Oakland A’s fans there. The Dodgers, Padres, Giants, Mariners and A’s all claimed Hawaii even though they cannot watch any of the games locally. That has somewhat changed now for 2014. Both the Dodgers and Padres are allowing a sports channel to show their games in Hawaii. But Giants and A’s are blacked out at MLB by those two teams. The Dodgers and Padres got smart while the San Francisco Bay Area teams are out to lunch on the matter. At least you can watch an archive of the game but it is not as good as watching it live. The only place to watch the regular season without any local blackouts is outside the U.S. I understand there is a following of baseball in England.

One other note: do not consider signing up for a dodgy service that will get you a live feed via an international satellite feed (or other means). They are committing theft under U.S. laws and once MLB finds it out, they cut it off and you do not get your money back. For your troubles if MLB finds out you subscribed, they will send a nasty letter reminding you about such illegal services. And for extra measure since they have your name and probably other information, good luck signing up for MLB audio or visual packages in the future.

*Amy’s Baking Company and there two nutty owners are back in the news again.  Crazy Amy is claiming Gordon Ramsay sexually harassed her. This couple must be desperate for attention these days and daring Gordon or Kitchen Nightmares to do something. Their attorney, if they have one, ought to be warning them such claims can lead (and often do) to slander lawsuits. I doubt many are giving it much credence though. But it may be time for Gordon to take the gloves off and put his foot down by making them stand in court to prove their claims. You can read about the claim here.

*Call me contrary but not impressed with Noah. The Ten Commandments (1956)may be fictional but at least it is closer to the original story than this latest Hollywood serving of a Biblical tale.

*Limes are very expensive these days owing to cartels and thefts, so I am told. The produce guy at a store I frequent told me that Chevy’s bought very expensive crates of limes without first checking the price. Ouch! Someone there will be walking out the door for that very pricey mistake. Lemons are cheaper and suddenly Cuba Libres will have a more lemony taste. Salsa too, where limes are often used, will likewise be changing as well.

*Tried watching the pilot episode for Caprica (the prequel to the re-imagined Battlestar Galactica). Snooze.

*The Amazing Race All Stars is pretty good though predictable in some ways. If there are lessons to be learned thus far is (1) Make sure you have a cab ready to take you away; (2) If the challenge is making drinks or doing d.j. work, do not assume you are just mixing drinks!

And that is it for now.

Titanic News: Beer Served On Original Titanic on Titanic II(Maybe)

Wrexham Lager Beer workers, circa 1910. Image: public domain
Wrexham Lager Beer workers, circa 1910.
Image: public domain

More possible evidence that Clive Palmer is not doing a Titanic publicity stunt. The Daily Mail reports that Wrexham Lager, which was served aboard Titanic, will also supply Titanic II if approved by Blue Star Line. According to brewery director Mark Roberts:

“We got to hear about the plan and the fact they were looking to use original suppliers if possible. They have signed up the original brandy and champagne houses and we thought it was only right they should have the original lager suppliers too.”

Now to be clear it is not quite official. The brewery has sent samples to Blue Star and got a positive reaction writes Daily Mail. So the next step is the legal one where documents are signed to license the beer as the official beer of Titanic II.

Wrexham Lager produced a range of lagers under different labels. The Munich style lager was apparently the one used on Titanic. According to Titanic lunch menus that survived, they were served “iced draught Munich lager beer.” Wrexham Lager went out of business in 200o but was relaunched in 2011 by Mark Roberts. Industrialist Robert Graesser bought the majority share in 1886 and secured major contracts with Great Western Railway and British Army. He apparently traveled on a White Star liner to America and took a keg of beer to market it. Apparently it became popular in this country and shipping lines like White Star decided to stock it.

Source: Let’s Hope That’s All That Goes Down: Replica Titanic Cruise Ship Plans To Serve The Same Brand Drinks As The Ill-Fated Liner(27 Mar 2014,Daily Mail)

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Titanic News: Antique Dealers Accused Stealing Titanic Memorabilia, Titanic II Keel Might Be Laid Soon, And How To Recycle Old VHS Tapes

gavel1. The New York Post reports that Noelle Hollander, daughter of late nautical expert Frank Braynard, has filed suit against two antiques dealers accusing them of stealing her father’s trove of ship memorabilia which includes Titanic memorabilia. The suit alleges Kerry McCaffrey and Richard Faber looted the memorabilia during a visit when her father was suffering from dementia. Also alleged is that he sold them a valuable painting at a bargain basement price which a gallery is now selling for $125,000. Hollander claims her father was unaware what the antiques dealers were doing because of his illness. Both dealers deny any wrong doing.
Source: Titanic Items Swiped From Seaport Museum Founder: Suit(25 Mar 2014,New York Post)

2. Cruise Ship News hopes that everything is going well and that the keel for Titanic II will be 31 March. That has symbolism since the original Titanic keel was laid on the same date in 1909. Of course there are nagging reports of problems between Clive Palmer and the Chinese shipyard. And some believe the whole thing is a publicity stunt.
Source: Titanic 2 Keel Expected To Be Laid March 31(25 Mar 2014,Cruise Ship News)

3. In the category of what will they make Titanic out of next comes this story. Five students with a charity called Butterfly Project decided to recycle old VHS tapes in a novel way. So they obtained 1,000 old VHS tapes, disassembled them, and used the materials to construct a 12 foot replica of the famous ship. Sadly no picture accompanies the story, which is a bummer since it would be something worth seeing. Hard to remember but VHS tapes were state of the art tech for viewing movies not so long ago. At least the typewriter still has a use when power goes out and you need to get a letter out the door.
Source: What Do You Do With 1000 VHS Video Cassettes – Make A Titanic Model Of Course(25 Mar 2014 ,Gloucester Citizen)

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Titanic News: Tinian Plans Titanic Themed Resort, Titanic Halloween Masquerade and Titanic Irish Whiskey Loses A Year

Map of the islands of Saipan and Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands along the Marianas Trench (east of China and the Philippines). Image: Public Domain (US Geological Survey)
Map of the islands of Saipan and Tinian in the Northern Mariana Islands along the Marianas Trench (east of China and the Philippines).
Image: Public Domain (US Geological Survey)

1. Tinian, one of the principal islands in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, is planning a multimillion dollar Titanic-themed hotel and resort. The planned resort will be built on a 40,000-square-meter property on Tinian harbor. It will be built to look like it is sitting on water but built on land. Aside from the usual amenities resorts have, it will include a casino and banquet room. The decision to use a Titanic theme is due to the world-wide fascination created by Cameron’s Titanic. It is particularly popular in China, where the movie and soundtrack are very popular. And that is the goal of the resort, to attract tourists from Northern China. So many Chinese tourists will have a choice in a few years: go to a Titanic themed hotel and resort in Tinian or head into the interior and stand aboard a Titanic simulator.
Source:$130M Resort On Tinian OK’d(24 Mar 2014,Saipan Tribune)

2. If you are looking for Titanic themed Halloween masquerade party that will be on a ship, consider one in San Francisco for 2014. According to SFgate.com:
Prepare for the ultimate Halloween party cruise that will be transformed into a haunting Titanic, filled with over 300 Ghosts & Ghouls raised from the dead of the historic Titanic that sank hundreds of years ago.You will be picked up in the San Francisco Bay at Pier 40, where you’ll board the beautiful Fume Blanc Commodore Yacht. You’ll hit the city-lit bay on a 4 hour cruise, with some of the most vivid views of Treasure Island, Alcatraz, the Bay Bridge, Nob hill, the Golden Gate GateBridge, and the magnificent San Francisco Skyline. There are 3 amazing decks on the spacious 350 passenger Fume Blanc Commodore vessel. Seating will be ‘first come, first serve’ on the lower decks, but there will be some reserved seating on the 2nd level so that table service can have the best views of the all the gorgeous scenery.

Sounds fun but costumes/mask required to attend and tickets must be purchased in advance. Ghosts (real ones) admitted free. 🙂
Source: Titanic Masquerade Halloween(22 Mar 2014, SFgate.com)

3. Bad news for fans of Titanic Irish Whiskey. The five year old blend is being reduced down to four years reports The Spirits Business. Their current supplier will not supply a five year blend and with only 300 cases left to be divided on the international market, they made the business decision to drop to a four years or risk running out of whiskey. Okay so this is not strictly a Titanic news item but I happen to know many whiskey drinkers out there get upset when a whiskey maker lowers the aging. It costs approximately $47 for 700ml.
Source: Titanic Irish Whiskey Reduces Age Over Scarce Stocks(24 Mar 2014,The Spirits Business

Titanic News: Survivor Letter Translated On Reddit

A letter written in French dated 8 Aug 1955 written by Rose Amelie Icard was recently put on Redditt for translation assistance. What was revealed, if true, is a striking account of what happened that fateful night in 1912. Miss Icard likely was a maid to first class passenger Martha Stone. She recounts how they were shaken out of bed and initially told there was nothing wrong only to learn it was very serious. And she witnessed Ida Strauss saying she would stay with her husband, Isidor.

“She put her arms around the neck of her husband, telling him: ‘We have been married 50 years, we have never left each other, I want to die with you.”

She also heard Captain Smith order “Women and children first” and that Benjamin Guggenheim helped women and children. Icard passed away in July 1964.

The letter was written to a Madame Ausein, possibly a daughter of a woman that survived the sinking. The Reddit user claims he bought her letters and passport at an auction. The letter has not yet been authenticated.

Source: Titanic Letter Reveals New First-Hand Account Of Disaster(21 Mar 2014,The Telegraph)

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Autistic Boy Asks Lego For More Bricks To Construct Titanic

An 11-year old Icelandic boy named Brynjar Karl has a dream–to use Lego bricks to build his Titanic masterpiece. With the help of his mother, he has made a plea via YouTube to Lego for more bricks. Let’s hope his dream comes true!

Source: 11-Year-Old Boy With Autism Is Asking Lego To Help Him Be Even More Awesome(18 Mar 2014,Huffington Post)

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Spring Equinox Is Today

Colorful Spring Garden Photo:Anita Martinz(Flickr)
Colorful Spring Garden
Photo:Anita Martinz(Flickr)

Spring officially begins today at 12:57 PM EDT (16:57 UTC). Equinoxes occur twice a year, in March and September. When these events happen, the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night are nearly the same. However below the equator the season flips so it is the beginning of autumn in Sydney, Australia. The first full day of spring (or autumn) will be 21 Mar 2014.