Question: Would Titanic lookouts having binoculars made a difference?
Likely the same outcome.
The question of binoculars has always been an issue. Binoculars work best in lighted and semi lighted environments. However on dark moonless nights where there is dead calm on the ocean, they would be least effective. Remember that binoculars limit your view to just what you are looking at rather than a wide area. Lightoller stated the purpose of the lookouts was not to identify but to alert the bridge, which they did by ringing bells. One gong meant look port, two gongs look starboard, and three gongs right ahead. The senior officer on the bridge usually had binoculars (Murdoch did) so they could look at what the lookouts were warning about, if not already aware of the issue.
White Star was unique in that employed men for just lookout positions. Other lines usually assigned men on an ad hoc basis (meaning they were on duty at the time). Lightoller told the US inquiry that he preferred those who had experience in such duties, especially on other ships he had been on. And he points out they became experts at detecting things on the horizon.
[Update:Major League Baseball upheld the Giants protest over the decision to declare the game over. The game will resume tomorrow at 4:05 p.m. CDT. It will be a double header since one is also scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CDT.
Source: Giants protest upheld; rain-shortened game to resume(20 Aug 2014,MLB.com)]
Yesterday the SF Giants played the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field in Chicago. And then it began to rain at the end of the 4th and top of 5th inning. Now procedure is for the grounds crew to deploy a tarp that covers 1, 2, 3rd bases, home base and the pitchers mound (other areas may be covered as well). Now usually if done right, you take the tarp off when done and the area underneath is usually dry or just mildly damp. Then you deploy your team to make sure it is dry and playable. Game resumes.
Unless of course you screw up the deployment of the tarp. Which is what happened last night ultimately causing (after a 4 1/2 hour delay) to call the game and hand the win to the Cubs who were ahead 2-0 at the time the game ended. The Cubs grounds crew is getting laughed at all over the place for what they did. Thankfully it is also fodder for You Tube. And the following is a video of the whole sorry affair with a musical accompaniment. The music, for those who do not know, is commonly known as the Benny Hill theme. A wacky British comedy from years ago. Enjoy.
It is week 12 of Masterchef US. Eight are left after Ahran was sent home last week.
Ah the humble chicken. So versatile and popular around the world. Before the pig was brought to Mexico by the Spanish, chicken was the meat most ate. Now our brave cheftestants will deal with chicken cut up and randomly assigned to them. In teams. Yes once again the Culinary Trio has decided that this challenge will be done in teams. But instead of making a winner of a challenge decide it (or do it themselves), they have to decide amongst themselves. So that means if you want to pair up with someone who is really good, you had better use your best talking points. The most surprising match up was Elizabeth and Leslie. Elizabeth and Leslie got into it early in the competition. But Leslie made the simple play that he would defer to her in what ever she did. And it worked resulting in one of the best dishes of the night saving them from the dreaded pressure test. Another surprising combination was Courtney and Christian. Both have sparred in the past but worked well as a team producing also a delicious dish that saved them.
But the teams that failed were Jaimee and Daniel & Willie and Cutter. Jaimee and Daniel did chicken wings. They were okay but nothing that screamed Masterchef. Joe said they looked like something he would get at an airport. Ouch. Cutter and Willie were all over the place during the cooking with confusing styles that resulted in a poor dish. So the they all get to face the dreaded pressure test. Except it was actually three challenges and each challenge would have a winner saved. The final two would battle it out as to who would stay.
Now remember in the past they have made people cook the perfect fried egg. Sounds simple until you have to cook a lot of them and they have to meet the exacting standards of Gordon, Graham, and Joe. This first round had them do a poached egg. Tricky but not so hard to do providing you follow some basic techniques. Some hot water, a little vinegar, and some seasoning usually will do the trick. As Daniel found out, stirring the water with the egg can result in a disaster, like the yolk separating from the egg white. I have never seen that before, a poached egg with no yolk in it. Joe could not believe it either. The Cutter Zone pierced the egg during plating so it splattered. Thankfully it was cooked and Gordon liked it. Jaimee did okay as did Willie. And Willie was deemed the best and headed up to the balcony.
The next challenge was egg ravioli. Now I have never seen this type of dish before where you put egg yolk inside a ravioli. It is a take on the poached egg but the twist it is inside the pasta. So both the pasta and the egg have to be done right. Yikes! Turns out it is not that unusual. I found many recipes during a web search. Here is one at Food Network by Mario Batali, and another by Martha Stewart. This is something I might want to try as it sounds like a great combination. Of course you have to get the pasta right, seal the egg yolk inside it so no water can get inside, and have the courage to place it in hot water for a period of time. If it comes out right, bravo! Done poorly and you get the Bronx jeer (look that one up if you are not familiar with that term).
The Cutter Zone did something odd to his ravioli. He used a fork to press down the sides making indentations. It got jeers from Gordon. Yet that was not a problem in the end since his egg ravioli was deemed the best of the lot. Amazing. I thought Jaimee would have nailed it. Daniel’s was not closed properly so water got in turning the yolk not so runny. More like a set fried egg. So The Cutter Zone scores big and heads to safety leaving Jaimee and Daniel at the bottom. Jaimee was a surprise because she is usually a consistently good cook. Not surprised by Daniel being there. Both wish they could do a Harry Potter and wave a wand to disappear. Alas they now face….
The Dreaded Egg Souffle
Souffle. Many a chef will perspire making it. And now Jaimee and Daniel now must cook a stunning cheese souffle. Both struggle to get it done and have to watch carefully as it forms in the oven. Will it rise or not? Fortunately both are successful in that regard but, of course, looks are not as important as its taste. Both have their plusses and minuses. Daniel though over salts his souffle. And usually in most food competitions using too much salt not only puts you in the bottom but can often end your chances. For Daniel, it was the end of the road. He gave up his job to enter the Masterchef competition. He has shown considerable talent over many challenges but it is not to be. And so we bid farewell to Daniel. Up on the balcony you know Leslie, who despised Daniel, was gleeful about finally seeing him going. Seven aspiring masterchefs left.
Hobbies are great things to have. They help us from being bored and sitting around the television or the computer all day. Traditional ones like stamp or coin collecting sometimes lead to bigger things. Or in the case of John Siggins of the UK to turn a shed into a replica of Titanic’s dining room. Siggins, who works as as railroad engineer, has been working on this project for many years. It began when he got a blanket once owned by a Titanic survivor given when boarding Carpathia. That started him acquiring items from Titanic’s sister ship Olympic. And then slowly converting his shed into a dining room and cabin. He has been doing this for 25 years. Done by hand, he has put up wood panels, chairs, and collected dining sets to make it look authentic. “It’s history. I buy it all because it’s close to my heart. And this is how I want to see it.” And from the picture in the news article, well worth the effort.
Mike Arkus writing in the Huffington Post details a recent visit to Halifax. Halifax has a rich maritime history and of course connected deeply to the Cunard line (Samuel Cunard was born there). His article jabs at the touristy nature of Halifax but does have lots of interesting places to visit. Of course visiting Fairview Cemetery is where many Titanic victims are buried. And the once unknown child now has a name: Sidney Leslie Goodwin.
When you own stocks like Premier Exhibitions (NASDAQ:PRXI), it does not take much to send the stock down. Latest news was not great so the stock tumbled to 73 cents. A year ago it was $1.69. But declining revenues and uncertainty about when the Titanic collection will ever be sold has done its work. Today it actually bounced up to 76 cents before settling back down to closing at 74 cents. I hope no one put their pension money in this stock.
We are under water restrictions here and just about everywhere in California. More dire if you live on Catalina Island, where water is really precious. They have a small desalinization plant that provides only a small fraction of their needs, which comes from two reservoirs that are now looking quite grim. Tourists flock to the island but now restaurants and hotels have to tell customers not to take long showers. Ask for water with your meal and it comes bottled. To conserve water many places are using plastic ware for everyday eating. And hotels now have to start sending laundry to the mainland, which is not cheap.
Lawns are looking bleak these days except if it is a city park or owned by government. Most people have to cut back watering to one or two days a week. Neighbors are being asked to snitch on neighbors who are watering too much. Being green is not so good these days and a green lawn brings attention. Unless it is artificial which some in my area have chosen to do. Quite a lot have simply taken out the greenery and replaced them with rock gardens, wood chips, or drought resistant plants. And a byproduct of this drought is that many areas look more dirtier than usual. Sidewalks in front of homes are not being washed off as before. The city still does power washing certain areas like the downtown area (they and all cities got an exemption from the water restrictions). BART still power washes on Saturday mornings around the San Bruno station.
To close out this Friday Musings, here is a music video from Susanna Hoffs off her November Sun album. Fans of Hoffs will be surprised at how good she looks. Sorry guys, but she has been married to Jay Roach since 1993 and has two boys. The other lady in the video is also the lovely and talented Rosanna Arquette. Have a nice Friday everyone.
When news broke of Robin Williams death, the news media all shifted into high gear to report on his life and death. In the San Francisco Bay Area, it dominated the news on all the broadcast stations. The media quickly told us all about his life and his death. Celebrities weighed on through the new media–Twitter and Facebook–about how saddened they were at his passing. Then we learned he committed suicide and soon details were revealed. It did not matter that the family wanted time to grieve. Nope, they went right out to report on details that were unsettling to say the least. And then the second wave stormed the beaches. We learned of his depression, drugs, and possibly financial problems. Then the third wave came ashore. These are the experts who talked about suicide and depression. People who knew Williams also filled in some blanks in this regard.
Robin Williams was perhaps one of the greatest comedians in recent history. Those of us old enough to remember recall him on Happy Days and latter Mork and Mindy. His improvisational routines were phenomenal and he was a good actor to boot in many movies, both comedies and serious roles. Unlike many in the entertainment field, he did not live in New York or Los Angeles but in Tiburon, California. He choose to live away from that world to be closer to his family. Which makes it all that more sad that he chose suicide. His family is no doubt beside themselves trying to figure the reason why. And of course the chatter boxes in the media are doing so as well.
The entertainment media, the same ones who breathlessly report on everything Kim Kardashian does or wears, are doing a high wire act. On one hand, they want to report the real details about Robin Williams but at the same time subtly criticize what he did. They go after anyone who says suicide is a selfish or cowards way out with glee, ripping them up the way Joan Rivers does with her jokes. But they do the same thing by reporting all kinds of negative stuff and that his death was an escape from these problems. Then they wrap it around some expert to explain how depression and suicide are linked to make it sound like they are doing a public service.
Humbug as Scrooge often says in A Christmas Carol. And they will heap more of it in the days and possibly weeks to come. For Zelda Williams, the daughter of Robin Williams, she got a taste of the nastiness that is out there when she tweeted about her fathers death. Then the trolls started posting graphic images of her father and she decided to get off Twitter and other online accounts. These no doubt are people who think themselves cool, as Greg Gutfeld points out, and yet take great glee in ripping to shreds the uncool. To themselves and like-minded friends, they see nothing amiss with posting graphic pictures of Robin Williams as a corpse. And ripping up his daughter in the process. I am sure they chuckle with glee at what they did. When the tables are turned, they are the first to decry the hatred and bullying the other guy is doing to them. And they demand something be done about them but when their own actions are called into question, turn nasty and spiteful upon anyone who is doing it.
The Liverpool butcher shop that supplied kosher meat to Titanic will have its unique façade preserved as a Jewish memorial reports Liverpool Echo. Galkoff’‘s was once part of a thriving Jewish community that survived until the 1970’s when it closed. The Liverpool School of Medicine owns the land and desired to tear down the shop and other nearby buildings to make more space, will take down the frontage piece by piece and reassemble it as a permanent memorial in Pembroke Place to the city’s Jewish community.
It is week 11 of Masterchef (US). Ten are left after Scottish Francis went home last week.
Well it comes down to three–Ahran, Leslie, Victoria–to face the dreaded pressure test this week. And no ordinary pressure test as it was a double elimination. For Ahran, it was more stressful than taking her college admission tests. Victoria had never been in a pressure test before. And Leslie. Well this is his fifth. He really hoped to be on a winning team. And ought to have been that way considering how the two teams were led.
Courtney and Jaimee were team captains and of the two, I expected Courtney’s team to win. Jaimee is a good cook but I was unsure she could lead a brigade of chefs. And she had problems right from the start. They did not like her idea of cole slaw on the burger and went a different direction. Communication was a problem and led to confusion in preparation and serving. Some people gave up waiting for her team’s food. Courtney, on the other hand, was well organized. There were problems with Christian putting to many eggs in the ground turkey making it too moist. And Leslie underseasoned the fish. Both were overcome but, in the end, the disorganized team won.
Not surprisingly Courtney took the lifeboat offered and headed up to the balcony. I suppose for her it was the sensible move but she did not stand with her team. And she wonders why people do not completely trust her?
Christian got a pass because his burgers were good. Or is it because they did not want him in the bottom three when two are going to be eliminated? Never think for a second they do not take it into consideration at this stage. These are three they wanted because none of them are in the top tier or bottom. They are right in the middle. Ahran is young, inexperienced, but shows tremendous talent. Leslie has shown surprising techniques that has keept him around. Victoria has shown she has good and consistent skills as well.
Using spot prawns made three ways made the pressure test even more stressful. Three complete different preparations in which the prawns are the star. My money was on Ahran or Leslie because of the three, they have the most tenacity in my view. If it came down between the two, it would be finesse that would be the difference between staying or going home. And Leslie pulled it off. All three of his preparations were fine, with some quibbles here and there. Ahran and Victoria each had problems with one of their dishes. Victoria served up raw prawns for the butterfly prawn dish. That is a major technical foul. Ahran under seasoned her butterfly prawns.
It was sad to see Ahran go. This young lady has real talent and I expect to be reading of her success down the road. I hope she goes to work for Gordon to get some real world kitchen experience and further her culinary training. And now we have the top eight: Big Willie, Christian, Courtney, Cutter, Daniel, Elizabeth, Jaimee, and Leslie. Wow! It went by pretty fast and will get faster now as we head towards the finale. Right now I see Courtney, Christian, Elizabeth and Jaimee as the top four. Big Willie and Daniel are the second tier followed by Cutter and Leslie. Any little mistake at this point could send you home. My money is on Courtney and Elizabeth to be the top two but anything can happen at this point.
Review: Hornblower:The Wrong War (aka The Frogs & Lobsters)
This episode is based on The Frogs & Lobsters from the CS Forester novel Midshipman Hornblower. The story is based upon an actual historical event, The Battle of Quiberon (1795), in which French émigré forces landed in France with British assistance to fight the republican forces.
The British are assisting French émigré troops in attempting to overthrow the French Republic. Hornblower is tasked with accompanying Colonel Moncoutant, the Marquis of Muzillac, ashore and with blowing up a bridge. A unit of the 95th commanded by Major Lord Edrington is also accompanying them. However Republican forces overwhelm General Charette in the north and eventually head south to Muzillac forcing Hornblower and Edrington to retreat back to shore and the safety of Indefatigable.
Captain Pellew receives orders from Admiral Hood to take General Charette and his émigré troops to France where they will seek to overthrow the French Republic. Despite the fact that a copy of the plans has been stolen likely by French agents, Hood orders Pellew to proceed and forbids him from telling Charette about the theft. Pellew does not believe it has much chance of success and worries about the human cost. Hood simply says they will count up the cost later at leisure.
The 95th of Foot under command of Major Lord Edrington arrives accompanying a unit of French royalist troops. The French troops do not look as crisp and ready for battle as the 95th. The French troops that are going Muzillac which Hornblower is accompanying, is commanded by Colonel Moncoutant, the Marquis of Muzillac. He is also brings a guillotine to use when he arrives. Moncoutant appears pleasant enough but the guillotine is a foreshadowing of what is to come later. After arriving in France, Hornblower and his men take charge of a bridge and mine it with explosives. Meanwhile the former lord of Muzillac returns and is welcomed by its new mayor, a former linen merchant. Moncoutant does not accept his authority and tours his former home with the mayor, Hornblower, and Edrington. It is in a shambles and it enrages Moncoutant to see many of his prized belongings turned into kindling for fire. He later executes the mayor when he refuses to raise the old French flag and almost kills a young boy for singing the revolutionary song. He is stopped by Hornblower.
Moncoutant erects the guillotine and begins executing citizens, which sickens Hornblower. At dinner latter that night with Moncoutant and Edrington, Moncoutant offends Hornblower with his views on humanity. Hornblower takes offense and reminds him the common British sailor brought him over to France. Moncoutant teases him that he sounds like a republican. Hornblower leaves the dinner and meets the young woman who was serving the meal. She was the teacher before Moncountant closed the school down and was next to the boy who sang La Marseillais that Hornblower saved earlier in the day. He escorts her home (the school) and stays with her to prevent French troops from entering (there is one attempt).
The next day brings signs of possible attack at the bridge and to the British troops nearby but it turns out to be a feint. Hornblower discovers wagon tracks indicating heavy laden carts had passed through with cannon. This is later confirmed by the school teacher. Up north where the main force landed, they have come under intense artillery attack and General Charette is killed. Master Bowles escapes dressed as a French Republican soldier and heads south. However the Indefatigable is becalmed requiring using a longboat to tow it back to the area where Hornblower landed. The ominous sound of cannon fire indicates to Pellew Charette has fallen under attack by republican forces.
As troops start heading south, Moncoutant is too busy executing to listen to Hornblower’s warnings. Both he and Edrington realize they are on their own and prepare to withdraw hoping the Indefatigable will be there. Hornblower brings the school teacher with him since she was seen with him (and likely would be ill-treated as a result). However her ankle is injured while fleeing and she is killed on the bridge by republican troops. The bridge is blown up but Hornblower is in despair. The remaining French royalist troops with the British flee. Moncoutant does put up a defense of Muzillac but it is overwhelemed and is captured. He is then executed by guillotine as he shouts “Vive La Roi!”
On the beach they make a final stand against the oncoming French troops. Thankfully the Indefatigable shows up and scares them away with its cannon. All evacuate and Pellew meets with Hornblower. Hornblower is filled with grief over the death of the woman and the failure of the mission. He says they were not wanted. While he never says it, Pellew agrees. But he also points out that no matter what happens to them, they must be leaders and not crews see their grief.
Deviations from book
1. Hornblower was still midshipman as his promotion does not occur until the end of Duchess and the Devil.
2. Major Edrington was a major in 43rd Regiment of Foot, not 95th.
3. There was no female teacher that Hornblower became acquainted with. Nor did he have dinner with Colonel Moncoutant.
4. The fates of Charette or Moncoutant are not depicted.
5. Indefatigable was already on station so the evacuation was under fire but they were all able to escape but the major’s horse had to be killed as he could not take it with him.
This is my least favorite adaptation from Midshipman Hornblower. This is because it falls into the simplistic trap of making it an antiwar themed episode which was not the point of the original story. From the beginning it is a cynical ploy to use French loyalist troops to put pressure on the revolutionary government in Paris. Pellew thinks the idea is foolish but Hood commits the British to the plan. Worse when a copy of the plan is stolen by French agents, Hood chooses not to inform Charette and orders Pellew to not speak of it either. Pellew is uncomfortable with the plan knowing it will likely fail. Hood seems unconcerned with the potential loss of life and says we can count costs at “our leisure.”
The British troops are shown as ordered, neat, efficient and well drilled. The French look shabby by comparison and obviously have not been well drilled for a while. While General Charette is a courteous gentleman, his second in command Colonel and Marquis of Muzillac Moncountant, is a façade. He is the stereotypical French aristocrat: aloof, dismissive of those beneath him, cruel and vain. He brings the guillotine with him to dispense justice but it is clear it is about vengeance. As soon as he arrives to secure Muzillac and finds his home ravaged, he kills the mayor for failing to fly the old French flag and nearly kills a small child who is singing La Marseillais. He closes down the school and puts the teacher to work in his kitchen. As he rails against the low born, Hornblower reminds him it was the common sailor that brought him over to France.
In the book, Hornblower was shocked by the executions he witnessed and that the polished French officers ordered them. But that was not the only shock he witnessed. On the way into Muzillac he saw French soldiers bringing fresh horses from farms. He also heard musket shots indicating they were probably shooting anyone who did not give them what they wanted. And a empty plough with a body next to it confirmed what was going on and that no one seemed to care. Now what he saw was not unusual for the time. Invading soldiers would often do just that and worse when they sacked towns and villages. Hornblower being at sea would rarely, if ever, see such things. So his shock is understandable.
The loss of the girl, who was not in the book, adds more to Hornblower’s despair at the invasion he thinks was wrong. He utters they were not wanted to Captain Pellew. Pellew agrees with him though he does not say it. And we are left in the end with the idea the whole affair was a way to get rid of some noisy French royals by sending them back to France to be killed. And killed they were because in the real invasion of 1795, it failed. A combination of scattered troops and divisions amongst the leaders caused the attempted rebellion to be crushed. 5,000 died in combat, 6,332 captured. Most of the captured officers and nobles were executed. It ended any attempt for royalist insurrection until the fall of Napoleon.
While I disagree with the scriptwriter’s interpretation of the story, the acting is very good.I think the actor who got the best lines was Major Lord Edrington (Samuel West). He came across as cool and confident in command. He respected Hornblower but also had a dry sense of humor about him. Moncontant was played by Antony Sher who played the unpleasant fellow well. He knew how to make him sound noble and pleasant on one hand, and then quite comfortably order executions with the other. Pellew (Robert Lindsey) had a difficult role of having to hide his misgivings about the expedition to his fellow officers and Charette.
I wish this had been a straight forward telling of a forlorn attempt to invade France in 1795 and Hornblower’s small part of it. Making it into a antiwar themed episode was the wrong approach. Sadly it begins a trend in future dramatizations of rewriting entire books to suit the scriptwriter.
1. The Battle of Quiberon (1795) began on 23 June 1795 and was over on 21 July 1795. Though several ships were depicted, the actual Royal Navy ships participating were two squadrons of 9 warships, 60 troop transports that carried 3,500 carrying the French and British troops. The British sent men from the 90th of Foot, 19th of Foot, and 27th of Foot along with supplies for 40,000. Admirals Hood and Warren led the expedition. Warren encountered French resistance along the way but repelled it.
2. In the book, Edrington commands a unit of the 43 Foot. This regiment, formed in 1741, saw action in North America first in the French and Indian War and then the American War for Independence. For television it is now the 95th of Foot, which is a rifle regiment and wear the distinctive green jackets. Fans of the Sharpe novels by Bernard Cornwall and television series probably wondered why this happened. I suspect they probably wanted to toss a nod to the Sharpe novels but there is some credence to tying it into the 95th. In 1803 the 43rd with the 52nd and 95th became the Corps of Light Infantry under Sir John Moore. The unit itself was redesignated as the 43rd (Monmouthshire)Light Infantry. However at the time this story is taking place (1795), the 95th did not exist.
3. General François de Charette was never in England but helped plan the invasion. He was loyal to the old order unlike others who wanted a constitutional monarchy. He did not die at Quiberon and escaped. He was eventually captured, put on trial in Nantes, and executed by firing squad.
5. The character of Marquis Moncoutant,Lord of Muzillac is fictional. Muzillac is the American equivalent of a township (in France a commune) that is part of an administrative division. It is the lowest level of administrative division. TripAdvisor has information about what to see and stay in or near Muzillac. There is an official site for Muzillac. (Note:The site is in French so you will need to use a translator if you do not read French).
6. Inaccuracy: Captain Pellew quotes a famous line from Rime of the Ancient Mariner: “As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.” Except it was published in 1798 so Captain Pellew would not know of it in 1795.
7. Protocol error: The scene in which Pellew and Hornblower enter a long boat was wrong. Junior officers enter first and the most senior officer last. This allows the senior officer to exit first.
News-Antique.com is reporting that a chessboard made from Titanic wood sold for $16,385 at auction on 23 Jul 2014 by auctioneers Philip Weiss Auctions. The chessboard was made by William Parker, carpenter aboard the SS Minia, one of four ships chartered by White Star to locate bodies drifting in the Atlantic after Titanic sank.