Christmas Music: White Christmas from Holiday Inn(1942)

Bing Crosby first sang this song on the NBC radio show The Kraft Music Hall on Christmas Day, 1941. The song was also part of the movie Holiday Inn(1942) starring Bing Crosby, Fred Astaire, and Marjorie Reynolds. The song, written by Irving Berlin in 1940, was not that well received at first. The movie version was actually overshadowed at first by Be Careful, It’s My Heart but by the end of October 1942 began climbing in the charts steadily until after the New Year. It became one of the most requested songs on the Armed Forces Radio Network. And of course not only became a holiday favorite but one of Crosby’s signature songs. Here is the version sung in Holiday Inn, a duet with Marjorie Reynolds. I highly recommend this movie for your holiday viewing. Aside from the great music and acting, Fred Astaire really displays his talent in this gem of movie history.

To watch this video, click here to view it on YouTube.

Tumult at Premier Exhibitions As Deal Goes Bust


Premier Exhibitions, which owns artifacts salvaged from RMS Titanic and operates a touring artifact exhibition, had a interesting filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange (SEC) Commission. It announced in its 25 Nov 13D filing that current chairman Mark Sellers deal to sell his 31% share interest to Armada Group GP Inc has been canceled. The terms of the deal required that changes in the board of directors would have to take place and two would have to be independent. Since the deal is now cancelled, those changes are also voided. No word as to what happened but the filing states Sellers concluded Armada Group would not fulfill the obligations required. The filing also opens the possibility of legal action against Armada for not meeting its obligations.

What does this all mean? Speculation is the deal fell through because of some other deal that was tied to it. But that of course is just speculation. An an early deal to sell the artifacts fell through so they are trying to find ways to either sell the collection or a new way to monetize it. Shares of the company fell to 64 cents on the news.

Sellers Backs Away from Selling His Premier Stake(3 Dec 2014, The Street)

Masterchef Junior:Six Becomes Four After Pop-Up Problem(Episode 5)

MasterChef-Junior-LogoThe most challenging part of Masterchef is the restaurant (or similar) challenge where you cook either for the public or invited guests. On Masterchef we have seen cheftestants run breakfast in a major hotel, do weddings, and take over a restaurant to serve a meal. It has been on Masterchef Junior as well and this year they decided to do it with a pop-up restaurant. These are the will-o’the-wisp of the restaurant world: restaurants that magically appear for a moment somewhere and are gone. Unlike the mythical will-o’-the-wisp that  lure you off safe trails at night, these attract those who have been invited to partake of these meals. Often social media or a telephone call alerts you to its upcoming existence. And it no doubt they get the ire of local oversight agencies who can neither regulate them nor get any fees paid for them to operate.

Since we are going to drop two at the end, this episode will really put the kids to the test. The question you have to ask is whether you want them to run a meal service. Remember these kids have never worked in a professional kitchen which means lots of pressure and stress to get the food out. It is one thing to help out in the home kitchen but quite another to have customers waiting for your food to arrive at their plates in a timely fashion. It is an intense experience that is very hard for adults to do and just as tough for kids to do as well. Even the best and brightest of this bunch is going to find this challenge difficult.

And it was. Both teams–led by Samuel (Blue) and Abby(Red)– both had major problems getting food out. Gordon was expediter and we all know how he fiery he gets with poorly made food. You could see Gordon really struggling to not let loose. Oona had problems with deep frying, Adaiah had never cooked filet mignon, Logan made multiple mistakes in seasoning. Gordon had to take time and counsel them to do better. Graham had to step in at one point to show how to step it up. The good news is that in the end both teams delivered good meals. The bad news is that one team had to loose and that was Samuel’s. Usually when a team loses on Masterchef, you face the dreaded pressure test where you cook some fiendish dish the judges have decided for you to cook. The cooking challenge was the elimination challenge so they merely had to decide which two of the losing team to send home: Samuel, Oona or Sean.

It was inevitable the decision to send Oona and Sean home since Samuel was the better of the three. However it was hard to see Oona go. She was really impressive and I thought it possible for her to be in the semifinal or top two. She has the drive, passion, and creativity. But this challenge showed that none of these kids were ready to work in a professional kitchen yet. This episode, like last week, had an odd feel to it. Again something was missing like the usual magic and sparkle the show has. It was like half a show really, as if a lot was chopped and edited out. Sean’s comment that working with Gordon was “traumatizing” will no doubt raise concerns about the pressure of the show on kids. At any rate we now move on to the semifinals which has Abby, Adaiah, Logan and Samuel now competing for the trophy and money. My concern is, especially watching Gordon having a talk with Logan in this episode, that the fine line between treating them as kids as opposed to adults is becoming harder for the judges.

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Tjipetir Update:Possible Source of Rubber Blocks Identified

Gutta-percha factory 'Tjipetir' Circa 1920-1930 Source: Tropenmuseum,G.F.J. (Georg Friedrich Johannes) Bley (Fotograaf/photographer)
Source: Tropenmuseum,G.F.J. (Georg Friedrich Johannes) Bley (Fotograaf/photographer)

Back in 2012 it was reported that rubber blocks were washing up in the UK and northern Europe with the word Tjipetir engraved on it. Titanic was suggested as the source but Tracey Williams of Newquay, Cornwall possibly has determined the source BBC News is reporting. These rubber blocks were gutta-percha from an Indonesian rubber plantation named Tjipetir and were cargo on Titanic. But Williams thinks after charting where the blocks have been found and learning information from two sources that it is from the wreck of a Japanese cargo ship sunk in World War 1. Specifically the Miyazaki Maru which was sunk 150 miles west of the Isles of Scilly.

She learned that during the salvage large amounts of gutta-percha and rubber bales were released from the ship’s hold. And of course they are picked up by the current and tossed around in the ocean until it lands on a beach somewhere.  It turns out that the Miyazaki Maru was sunk by the same U-Boat captain who sank the Lusitania in 1915–Walther Schwieger who was one of Germany’s top U-Boat captains during the war. He died in 1917 when his U-Boat struck a British mine while being chased by HMS Stonecrop.

It is speculated that these rubber blocks may be washing up on UK and northern Europe beaches for years to come. It is possible there is more than one source of these blocks as many ships carrying them were sunk during the war. And there still is the possibility some might be from Titanic.

Source: Tjipetir Mystery: Why Are Rubber-Like Blocks Washing Up On Beaches?(30 Nov 2014,BBC)