Posts Tagged ‘Titanic’

Letter From Claverack 10 12 2017 Thoughts on what I would preach…

October 12, 2017

At sea

Monday, I sent out a blog inspired by Mother Eileen’s sermon at Christ Church on Sunday and forwarded her a copy as she is not on my list.  She wrote back the following day and jokingly suggested I might preach this Sunday, which led me to think about what I would preach.  What would I say if I had to, this Sunday, preach at a church?

I looked up the gospel for next Sunday and its essential line is:  many are called but few are chosen.

Certainly, that fits with last year’s election cycle which started with more candidates for the Republican nomination for president than I remember in my life.  Many were called and, in the end, the one that was chosen was Donald Trump and he went on to become President of these United States.

It will probably surprise many who know me but every week at church I light a candle for the man.  No, I don’t like him.  His policies seem mean spirited, quixotic at best.  His relationship with the truth, as I experience it, is equally quixotic.

And he is President of these United States, a man with great power, influence and the ability to shake the world on more levels than I believe he is aware of or understands.  But he is the president and I pray for him, hoping, on a very fundamental level he doesn’t do anything that will prevent me from being back at church next Sunday to pray for him.

He appealed to a disenfranchised part of America we, all of us, have not been listening to or acknowledging.  They gravitated to Donald Trump as people in the water after the loss of Titanic, desperate to be saved, crying for help.  Do I think he will save them?  No.

But I want us to hear their cries and find a way to address them and to help them.  They are Americans.  With very real issues.

Today I read there are the most job openings than there have been for a very long time.  Those jobs are harder to fill because we have a massive opioid crisis and many people cannot pass drug tests.  Companies are beginning, in desperation, to turn a blind eye, not asking for drug tests for dangerous jobs because they can’t find enough people to fill them.

Not so long ago, there were two Amtrak employees killed, men not much younger than me and their autopsies revealed they had non-prescribed opioids in their systems.  Our local paper, the Register Star, gave a face to the epidemic by highlighting on the front page a young woman, full of hope, who overdosed.

It is time we faced this epidemic, its causes and its ravages and did something and quit pretending everything is going along just fine.

President Trump, weren’t you going to make this a national emergency?  What happened?

Nothing much.  Why not?

Even the beauty of the cottage is not soothing my soul these days.  What am I to do?

Many are called but few are chosen.  What is it I am called to do in this tumultuous time?  Every day I ask myself that question.  What am I to do?  What am I called to do?

Whether you are a supporter of Donald Trump or not, what is that you can do, personally, to change the awful things that are happening in this country?

Many are called, few are chosen.  What will make me chosen?  What thing can I do to make this awful time better?  I want to.  I do and I am not sure what it is that I should do.  Pack a bag and fly to some war-torn part of the world and put up my hand and say: I’m here to help? What can I do?

A friend suggested I do that.  Maybe I will.

We all need to ask ourselves how we are going to respond to Jesus’ call?  I am not a raving evangelical.  Far from that.  I respect, at the deepest level of my soul, the kindness Jesus worked to insert into the human dialogue and which has resonated for both good and ill since then.

Since I was a boy, I have thought Jesus would be appalled at what has happened to what he started.  He preached love and love is not often what has happened.

Many are called but few will be chosen.  Be one of the few.  Practice what Jesus taught.


Letter From New York 10 25 15 Back and Forth…

October 25, 2015

Diana Sperrazza. Hudson River. My Townie Heart. Catholic Synod. Pope Francis. Vatican. Tony Blair. Iraq as a mistake. George W. Bush. Chris Christie. Amtrak Quiet Car. Law and Justice. Hurricane Patricia. Kristy Howard. Princess Diana. Titanic. Biscuit from Titanic. Maureen O’Hara. Thomas Sternberg. Staples.

The fall colors are luscious as I ride south into the city on this grey day; without those colors the world would be a very drear place. The Hudson River is a sheet of slate grey; the weekend boaters have mostly dragged their boats to land. Sunday morning sails have been discontinued until the spring.

My friend, Diana Sperrazza, is having a book signing party for her recently published book, “My Townie Heart.” She labored for fifteen years, finished it and had no luck finding a publisher until one day she did.

Find it here, on Amazon:

Good read.

A three-week summit, or Synod, of Catholic clergy in Rome has come to an end, finishing with a document that is considered by some to be very ambiguous on matters of divorce and homosexuality. In his closing remarks, Pope Francis seemed to be chastising the conservative faction of the Church, encouraging the clergy to be more generous and understanding. He reminded them that the Disciples of Jesus had ignored the blind Bartimaeus but Jesus did not, stopping to engage him. Francis spoke of the “temptation of the spirituality of the mirage.”

One of the things we like about this Pope is that he asks all of us to be better Christians and, if not Christian, better human beings.

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the U.K. at the time of the Iraq invasion is offering some apologies for the invasion. He’s sorry about the wrong intelligence and some of the wrong decisions that were made after the invasion. There was a lack of understanding of what would happen when the Saddam Hussein’s regime fell. That’s an understatement. Hello, IS!

Once the U.K.’s most popular politician, he has been since branded by some as a “war criminal.”   It has been a stunning turn for the man who, for a time, seemed more popular here than his counterpart, George W. Bush.

New Jersey’s Governor, Chris Christie, who is also a candidate for the Republican Party’s Presidential nomination, was booted out of an Amtrak “Quiet Car” this morning for talking too loudly. He was returning from Washington, DC, where he appeared on “Face The Nation,” accusing the President of promoting lawlessness because Obama supports “Black Lives Matter.” I would like to have seen him being kicked out of the “Quiet Car.” I am sure it was a small spectacle.

Patricia, the strongest hurricane ever recorded, slipped in status by the time it made landfall and Mexico and Texas have been spared the worst.

In Poland, a right wing party, Law and Justice, seems to have won elections there with 39% of the vote.

A young British woman, Kristy Howard, has died at the age of 20. She had raised millions of pounds for Francis House, a facility opened in 1991 by Princess Diana. She had been born with a back to front heart and was given a few weeks to live when she was 4. Her brief life astounded many, including me.

We have had an unending fascination with RMS Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1912. Some memorabilia from it will be auctioned this week in London. A biscuit from one of the lifeboats sold for about $23,000. It was saved by a passenger on the Carpathia, which picked up the survivors from the ill-fated liner.

Maureen O’Hara passed away yesterday. I remember her from sitting in front of the television watching NBC’s “Saturday Night at the Movies.” I saw all kinds of great films, including hers. She made it to 95, dying at her home in Boise, Idaho. She had moved there not too long ago to be near her only child, a daughter.

Also gone is the man, Thomas Sternberg, who co-founded Staples.

The world continues moving along.

As I am moving along, now heading back north after the book signing, the sun having come out to play, giving the afternoon a vitality the morning did not possess.

Letter From Claverack 08 11 15 Through torrential rains to safety…

August 11, 2015

Outside my window, it is grey and daunting. I am sitting at my desk, looking out at my drive that, not so long ago, was a lake. When I woke up this morning on Martha’s Vineyard, it was raining but not hard. Jeffrey, Joyce and I went to Behind The Bookstore and I had breakfast and then Jeffrey dropped me at the ferry to Woods Hole. Still not raining badly but by the time I reached my car, I was drenched. So I pulled a dry shirt from my suitcase and changed into it before I left the parking lot.

It was a fairly quick trip home, though I had to pull over a couple of times to answer texts. When I got close to Hudson, I needed to deal with a wire transfer that hadn’t gone through and while I was doing that, the heavens opened and torrential rains came down, the kind of rain Noah must have known.

When I reached the cottage, I left my luggage in the car and made a mad dash for the door. It was may have been only ten feet but by the time I opened the door I was drenched and had to get into dry clothes for the second time today. Not long ago, the rain stopped and I was able to retrieve my luggage without drowning. The lake in my drive has receded and I think I am safe for the night. The creek is a muddy ochre color and high.

So now I sit at my desk and write tonight’s blog. It is a great desk, found in an antique store not far up from the road that is no longer there. Stenciled on the back of it is that it’s for First Class on a White Star ship. White Star was the company that owned Titanic. Obviously the desk is not from Titanic but from some cousin ship of hers. When I saw that, I knew I had to have the desk and so I have the desk. It is where I do most of my work at the cottage.

Jazz plays in the background. While driving, I found there were few radio stations in eastern Massachusetts that my radio could receive so I put in a CD of baroque music and listened to that.

Before I left Martha’s Vineyard, I did a perusal of the news and noticed that the debates left Donald Trump where he had been at 24% while Jeb Bush declined from 17% to 12%. My goodness, where is all this going?

While amazed, I am amused.

Letter From New York 06 23 15 Of Confederate Flags and Media moves…

June 23, 2015

I am sitting in an office in New York that I use once in a while. Outside there are streams of sunlight bouncing off the building across the street but my weather app has warned that severe thunderstorms have a strong chance of occurring this afternoon.

This will likely be a pretty short Letter as I am due at a reception being held by the Producer’s Guild here in New York for East Coast members and I’m heading there in a few minutes. It has been a bit of a solitary day as everyone in Todd’s office is out on a shoot and I’m the only one around so I’ve had the run of the place. Have had a couple of conference calls today but no real interpersonal reactions except for the doorman and the newsvendor.

There has been a fair amount of media news today.

Changes are starting to happen at 21st Century Fox as the company prepares for Rupert Murdoch to give way to his son James. David Hill, a major executive there, is leaving to form a production company, standard procedure in Hollywood when you are being exited from a big job.

Verizon has completed its purchase of AOL and my friend who works there will now receive a discount on his phone service as well as a small rebate on Verizon Fios plus a tablet. Now for the integration…

I spent some time today researching environmental issues out of curiosity after a friend sent me a response to one of my Letters. I have more of that to do tomorrow.

James Horner, who was an Academy Award winning composer, died yesterday in a small plane crash near Santa Barbara. He composed the music for “Titanic,” “Braveheart,” “Avatar” and many others.

Dick Van Patten, a Hollywood child star who grew up to play the beloved dad in “Eight is Enough” passed away. He also starred on “The Love Boat.” He always seemed a decent fellow.

Everyone involved in the Greek Debt Crisis is, of course, scrambling to avoid default at the end of the month. The Greeks put forward a plan that “needs work” according to Angela Merkel but there might be something here they could work with…

Amazon has decided it will no longer sell Confederate Flags as have some other retailers and Governors in three Southern states are working to remove the Confederate flag from their states’ license plates following the Charleston shootings.

I have a fondness for robots, at least conceptually, since I read Asimov’s “I Robot” years ago. Yesterday, a thousand robots were offered for sale at about $1600 in Japan and sold out in less than a minute. They are designed to be emotional companions.

My emotional companionship will come from attending the PGA reception so I must close and be off.

Have a good evening.

Letter From New York April 13, 2015 With a bit of spring in my step…

April 13, 2015

Yesterday, half way through writing my blog, I stopped and quit. I didn’t like anything coming from mind to fingers to the sheet of digital white paper in front of me. Every word felt flat and unexciting and, worse, devoid of meaning. In a funk, I gave up and took a nap.

It may have been that yesterday was a bit of a funky day as it was the day that Lionel and Pierre departed for Baltimore. They arrived safely, checked into their hotel. We texted back and forth but their physical absence could be felt.

I woke up this morning in not such a funky mood and am now on the train, heading south, for a week in the city. I have a few things to do, meetings to attend and my godson, Paul, is in for New York from LA for business and we’re having dinner on Wednesday evening.

The sun is out and the sky is clear and it’s a warm, lovely day, with hints of blue green in the Hudson River as we roll along it. The dark steel grey of winter seems to be relinquishing its hold on the river. Tankers and barges are gliding south, unhampered by ice. While I was in India, it all disappeared.

Sipping coffee this mid-morning, I feel refreshed and relieved and not so gloomy. Not that the world is less of a gloomy place. But I am shrugging off those feelings and focusing on the brighter parts.

The light is sparkling on the river. Spring seems to be actually arriving and I am choosing hope this spring morning.

Even the Kardashians are giving me something to feel hopeful about; they have been in Armenia from whence the family once came and they have brought a spotlight on the centennial of the Armenian Genocide, which occurred in 1915-16, as the Ottoman Empire was beginning to disintegrate under the stress of World War I.

Pope Francis also commented on the Armenian Genocide, calling it the first case in the 20th Century of genocide, thereby infuriating the Turks, who deny that it ever happened – or, that if it did, it wasn’t all that bad.

Yesterday, the thought of another Presidential campaign was giving me dyspepsia. Today, I am choosing to think of it as an interesting intellectual and educational exercise for the body politic.

Yesterday, as everyone who is literate in the Western world must know, Hillary Clinton has declared, officially, she is running for the nomination – not that I think there ever was any real doubt.

It will be an explosive eighteen months. Let us hope that it will be at least a little amusing.

Republicans have already begun attacking her in tweets and videos. Ah, yes! Let the games begin!

And while Hillary is off to some low-key meetings in Iowa, driving there in her van named after “Scooby Doo,” Marco Rubio has thrown his hat into the ring and is now the third Republican to declare he is running for President after Rand Paul and Ted Cruz. After this it will be a little harder to keep track. There are a lot of Republicans in the wings.

It is also fascinating to me that Apple is beating its own estimates on Apple watch orders. I wasn’t sure anyone but the diehards would really want one but it seems to have struck a nerve with the public. Almost a million were pre-ordered the first day.

In another interesting turn of events, at least some in the world think a deal will be made with Iran on its nuclear activities. Investors, according to the Iranian press, have started to approach Iran about investments in their stock market, including some Americans.

John Boehner is touting “titanic” reform he hopes to bring to Medicare [something I am suspicious of from the get-go] but he is using gifs from the movie “Titanic” to explain his reform. I find that confusing and a little off-putting. May be a little amusing.

Right now the train is slowly rolling through a patch of woods, struggling to catch the spirit of spring and turn to green. Sharp shadows play across the landscape and with a springy step; I look forward to arriving in New York.

A Letter From New York, April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011

As it seems to me

Last Thursday night was April 14th.

I took the time to mark that April 14th/April 15th, 2011 was the 99th anniversary of the sinking of R.M.S. Titanic, the “Ship of Dreams” which, went it went down on its maiden voyage, spawned stories, legends, lore, parables, allegories and quite a number of movies, the first a silent film starring one of the survivors, Dorothy Gibson, who was a screen star returning on Titanic from a vacation in Italy. It was called SAVED FROM THE TITANIC and was a huge hit; presaging many other films about Titanic including A NIGHT TO REMEMBER, TITANIC [with Barbara Stanwyck and Clifton Webb] and TITANIC [with Kate Winslet and Leonardo diCaprio], which was the highest grossing film of all time for a decade. There has been a Broadway musical, documentaries and another television mini-series on its way.

We have coined the phrase “rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic,” referring to a hopeless reorganization of anything.

It is a story that has romance to it – the rich and famous, sailing with light hearts toward New York, aboard the most glamorous ship of the day, unaware or unworried that the ship sailed with lifeboats for only a fraction of the passengers aboard.

Then came the iceberg, the swift sinking of the ship and the stories. It was a sobering message to an age that thought technology could solve anything, that nothing was impossible. Titanic was never advertised as unsinkable but it gained that reputation. It rapidly demonstrated it wasn’t.

The event provided examples of great courage. I walk regularly by Straus Park on Broadway, dedicated to Isidore and Ida Straus. He owned Macy’s; she was twice offered a place in a lifeboat but would not leave her husband of 41 years. 6000 people attended their memorial service. The eight men who had been hired to play music on board have recently been immortalized in a book, THE BAND THAT PLAYED ON. They played until almost the very end. It was said their last piece was NEARER MY GOD TO THEE.

The disaster gave us “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” a wealthy, colorful Coloradan who took command of her lifeboat when she found the crew wanting.

Below decks, men worked to give the ship as much time as possible, perhaps extending the ship’s life by two hours, giving time for all the lifeboats to get away, and keeping the lights on until the very end, suspecting they were doomed, not unlike the “Nuclear Samurai” working in the Fukushima Nuclear Power Facility, laboring on to prevent a larger disaster, while knowing they are likely dooming themselves in the process.

Aboard Titanic was John Jacob Astor, the richest man in the world. All his wealth couldn’t save him; his body was recovered, appearing that one of the ship’s four smoke stakes had fallen on him. Mrs. Astor gave birth to a son, John Jacob V, who went on to marry a woman named Brooke, who gave away millions and millions to New York and whose son now faces jail time for having swindled his mother.

Legend has it that Titanic was the first ship to send out the distress call, SOS. One radio operator survived, the other did not.

The event presaged the end of an age. It shook the world to its core. That glittering world in which the rich were the celebrities of the time, where titles mattered dearly, and technology could overcome ended absolutely when the First World War tore it all apart.

It was a sobering moment. The Coast Guard began monitoring icebergs; ships were never again allowed to sail without sufficient lifeboats, rules changed. J. Bruce Ismay, head of Titanic’s owner, White Star Line, survived the night though his reputation did not and he lived his life out in scorned exile.

There are no longer living survivors of the night, the last, a baby then, passed away in 2009. Yet the sinking of Titanic lives on, a real event that became legend, large in life, larger in legend – a powerful allegory of pride that goes before the fall.

Letter From New York June 9, 2010

June 10, 2010

Or, as it seems to me

It’s been an enormously busy week with lots of pressures from the things I am working on – the mobile channel, the website rebuild, other client demands. My mind has been cluttered and I found myself at 5:15 this morning staring at my coffee maker having an intense conversation with myself about all the things needing to be done – and I doubt that is an unusual situation for many, if not most, Americans – that early, early morning internal conversation about what was ahead during the day.

However, when things grow quieter in my brain, I think about the variety of things that are happening outside of my particular universe.

I don’t follow baseball. I don’t follow any sport at all. But I was struck this past week by the story of the umpire who made the horrifically bad call that cost a player named Gallaraga a perfect game. Jim Joyce was the umpire who made the call, astoundingly bad, he admitted when he saw the replay. Joyce stood up, like a man, and apologized to Gallaraga. And what was even more astounding was that Gallaraga accepted the apology and the two of them stood together on the field and were cheered by the crowds for having acted like – good men. Instead of disintegrating into invective, which would have been easy in this fraught situation, two men accepted the flaws of the human condition and celebrated it in the best possible way. Bravo!

Down in the gulf, the oil kept spilling, if somewhat tempered by a containment dome placed on the wellhead. Better but still not good. I have been watching this story as carefully as I can. I have been astounded by the number of people on the street who have been talking about it and part of the reason there has been so much talk is because people have been riveted by the photographs of AP shooter Charlie Reidel. His photos of sludge-covered pelicans captured the horror of the oil spill in a way that nothing else quite has – it made this event palpably real. Spread across television networks and newspapers around the world the photos of Charlie Reidel proved a picture is worth a thousand words. BP is staging a $50 million advertising and public relations campaign but the money and the effort may be no match for these pictures. [See:

Long ago I became a subscriber to the Maritime Executive Newsletter. I did it because they were following the pirate situation off the Horn of Africa and I thought there was a really good story there. Now they are providing some excellent analysis of the oil spill and I find their maritime perspective interesting.

Almost a century ago, the great shipping lines that plied the North Atlantic route between the US and Britain began to build really big ships. However, the laws that governed them did not keep up with the technology and the ravenous need of the companies to serve the demand for berths on the North Atlantic. Hence, when the White Star Line began building a trio of ships, the largest in the world, they were able to legally outfit them without enough lifeboats for everyone on board and that didn’t change until Titanic, the second of that trio of ships, struck an iceberg and went down with a horrific loss of life – then the laws were changed. The Maritime Executive Newsletter made a parallel to those events with this oil spill. No one was prepared for the worst possible case of Titanic hitting that iceberg and sinking and no one was prepared for the worst possible case of this oil spill. We will be playing technological and legal catch up for oilrigs just as the British Parliament and Congress did for lifeboats after the sinking of Titanic.

Letter From New York October 20, 2009

October 20, 2009

Or, as it seems to me…

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom has issued dire warnings that failure to create an agreement at the Copenhagen Conference in December will result in even more dire consequences to be revealed in weather catastrophes. As I read his dreary statements [and Gordon Browne seems a dreary sort to begin with] I wondered [and here I must admit I was pushed toward this thought by the musings of my friend, the writer/philosopher Howard Bloom], is there no hope in the world? Have we become ostriches with heads in the sand because we hear no one saying there is hope anywhere? It is dire out there, whether climate changes are happening naturally, are being accelerated by human actions or are solely the result of human actions, we are living on a planet that seems to be going through a…change? Menopause? Something. Something is happening and to shrug it off is irresponsible as is ignoring it, as it is acting as if we are as doomed as the passengers on the Titanic after its brush with an iceberg.

While it is true that something significant is happening climate wise, it is untrue that it is completely out of our control. We are a remarkable race that consistently does remarkable things, often when our backs are against the wall [why do our backs have to be against the wall?]. So where in this desert of despair in which we so often seem to be living do we find a voice of hope? Who is going to stand up and say, yes, we can! [Oh wait! Obama said that and for a moment we thought we could and now seem to be slipping back into ennui, a tenebrous state of enervation. In others words: dark, gloomy, exhausted, without much hope.] And while it is more than a tad gloomy out there, we have survived gloomy periods before.

The Great Recession is not infrequently compared with the Great Depression, eighty years ago and there are some striking similarities. Now that was a pretty gloomy time also – and in the end the west pulled itself out from that period’s ennui through the vastly unpleasant shock of World War II, an event that united individuals and nations in a common cause against a frightful enemy. Do we, today, have to be that confrontationally threatened to wake up and react? Perhaps.

We have challenges in front of us [and, in fact, more challenges than we might actually need (certainly more than I personally want)] and we need right now a someone [thank you, Howard Bloom] to stir us with the same passion that John F. Kennedy stirred us with when he said: ask not what your country can do for you but what can you do for your country. It has been nearly fifty years since those words were spoken and yet they still have the power to excite and move and stir us in the fiber of our beings, a call to something beyond ourselves.

According to promos I saw on television this week, this is a week of volunteerism, a celebration of getting out and doing for someone else. God knows we have a lot of people who need doing for [I read a report of a 97 year old woman who is living in her car] and we have a lot of people who need to be doing, to stir themselves out of that ennui, the tenebrous state of enervation, out of the dark and gloomy space which really surrounds us but which we do not necessarily need to be victim to…

Letter From New York: April 23 2009 Pride Goeth Before the Fall

April 23, 2009

April 15th stands out in all American minds as the dreaded day when tax returns are due. However, the 15th of April is a notable day for other anniversaries and events. It is the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s death, of Leonardo DaVinci’s birth, and the sinking of Titanic.

The loss of Titanic has become legend, at the bottom is a true story – Titanic was a real ship, it carried real people, it struck an iceberg, it sank. The real story has become larger than itself, a story upon which much meaning is applied, inspiring books, films, a musical, catch phrases – “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic” and has become an allegory for heading blissfully, arrogantly, determinedly without caution into catastrophe, sailing without enough lifeboats for all. Wealth meant celebrity in 1912 and Titanic was chock-a-block with millionaires. Their presence aboard gave it a luster it has never lost. The richest man in the world, John Jacob Astor, was not saved by his fortune. Molly Brown, a Denver doyenne, created a legend that night and has been immortalized as The Unsinkable Molly Brown.

On board was a cross section of the western world at the time – the rich, the middle class and the poor who hoped for more. It was sailing from the old world to the new; it was the height of the technology of the time.

Like so many things in life that end badly there are a surfeit of “what ifs” and “if onlys”.

What if the men on watch had had binoculars? If only the watertight compartments had gone one deck higher, if the nearby ship, the Californian, hadn’t sent its radio operator to bed just before the SOS signals began to be sent, if the men on their deck had paid heed to the rockets flaring into the night. What if the ship had not tried to avoid the iceberg – a head on collision would have saved Titanic from sinking. What if the last iceberg warnings had actually reached the bridge? If only attention had been paid…to so many things.

It is a story of bravery and selflessness and selfishness and bad behavior. It was men and women first, though first class men had a better survival rate than women and children in steerage. When John Jacob Astor asked to join his young, pregnant wife in a lifeboat, he was turned down and stepped back like a gentleman. His body was recovered some days later. Ida Straus stayed with her husband, Isidore, who was a department store tycoon. J. Bruce Ismay, Chairman of the White Star Line, owner of Titanic, stepped into a lifeboat and a lifetime of shame.

Its loss has been the backdrop for many films, most notably TITANIC in 1997, a blockbuster of immense dimension. There seem to be an endless number of websites devoted to Titanic – it is a story that has burned itself into the Western collective consciousness as a story of meaning with lessons to be learned. Proud and confident in technology and the inevitability of progress, the ship sailed and each one of those things suffered as a result of its loss.

It is a story that will not be forgotten, nor should it be. It is a reflection of things that result when man thinks he is in control of events. Not so different from the flaws that propelled us recklessly into this economic mess – pride, feeling nothing could bring down the colossus, shoddy workmanship.

Yes, shoddy workmanship. It is likely that Titanic sank because the steel of its hull was made with too much slag and was brittle; its rivets were not good, not the best metal and not done by the best hands and so popped as the iceberg glanced the ship. The parallel to our economic crisis is that lack of attention to details are important things when push comes to shove – or iceberg meets metal.

Titanic’s story is a lesson, an allegory for what we do wrong – and the courage shown when things go badly.