May 31, 2009

Millvina Dean - Last Known Titanic Survivor Dies

Nancy Palmieri / Associated Press

Article here

Last Titanic survivor dies at 97

Millvina Dean was about 2 months old when she sailed on the doomed ocean liner in 1912. She, her mother and brother were saved. Her father was among those who went down with the ship.

By Mary Rourke
1:25 PM PDT, May 31, 2009

Millvina Dean, the last survivor of the legendary ocean liner Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage in April 1912 after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic, died today. She was 97.

She died at a nursing home near Southampton, England, the port where she and her family boarded the ship on its only voyage, according to Charles Haas, the president of the Titanic International Society. Her death came on the 98th anniversary of the launching of the Titanic on May 31, 1911.

"She was a remarkable, sparkling lady," Haas told the Times Sunday. "She knew her place in history and was always willing to share her story with others, especially children. She was the last living link to the story."

Dean was about 8 weeks old when she and her family set sail, third class, on the luxury ocean liner on April 10, 1912. Five days later, she was among some 700 passengers and crew rescued off the coast of Newfoundland. She and her mother, Georgetta, 32, and her brother Bertram, 23 months old, were put into lifeboats. Her father, Bertram, 27, stayed on board the ship and was among more than 1,500 passengers and crew members who went down with the Titanic.

She had no memory of the disaster, but at age 8 her mother told her what happened. "It was so awful for her that she never wanted to speak about it," Dean said of her mother in a 2002 interview with the Irish News. Georgetta Dean suffered severe headaches every day for years after the ship's sinking.

Before the family left England, Bertram and Georgetta Dean sold the pub they owned in London. They planned to sail to New York City and continue by land to Kansas City, Mo., where they were going to open a tobacco shop.

They did not expect to travel on the Titanic but had booked on another ship that was also owned by White Star. A national coal strike led to a cancellation and they were offered a place on the Titanic as an alternative.

On their fourth night at sea, April 14, the family was awakened by a jolt when the ship sideswiped the iceberg that cut into the ship.

Bertram Dean went to see what was wrong and returned to tell his wife to dress the children warmly and take them to the lifeboat deck.

"I think it was my father who saved us," Dean said in 2002. "So many other people thought the Titanic would never sink, and they didn't bother. My father didn't take a chance."

He reassured his wife, "I'll be along later," Millvina Dean later learned. Bertram Dean died when the Titanic sank at about 2:20 a.m. on April 15.

In the confusion of the evacuation, Dean and her mother got separated from her brother, who was put in a different lifeboat. They were reunited on the Carpathia, the Cunard ocean liner that was the first to respond to the Titanic's distress signals and took in all the lifeboat passengers.

Dean, her mother and brother sailed to New York City on the rescue ship and spent several weeks in a hospital. Georgetta Dean then took her children home to England, sailing on the Adriatic. Passengers who knew what the family had been through lined up to hold baby Millvina, the youngest survivor of the Titanic. To keep the line moving, a ship's officer ordered that no one could hold the baby for more than 10 minutes.

Asked what difference the incident made in her life, Dean was never sentimental. "It changed my life because I would have been American now instead of English," she told the Associated Press in 2002 without further comment.

Georgetta Dean took her children to live with her parents in their home near Southampton. Millvina and her brother were educated with help from a Titanic Relief Fund established in England for the surviving family members of victims of the wreck.

Dean attended secretarial school. During World War II, she moved to London and worked as a map maker for the British Army. She later returned to Southampton and was a secretary at an engineering firm. For many years, she lived in a house in nearby New Forest. She never married.

Born Elizabeth Gladys Dean on Feb. 12, 1912, she might easily have gone through life without telling anyone that she was a passenger on the Titanic. She ignored the books, movies, clubs, websites and submarine tours of the ship disaster after it was found in 1985, 12,500 feet deep in the North Atlantic Ocean.

Her anonymity ended in 1987 when she attended a memorial service in Southampton on the 75th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. Lynch then invited her to speak at a Titanic Historical Society convention in Boston the following year.

"Suddenly everyone knew my name," Dean later recalled. She became a frequent guest at Titanic-related events, she was interviewed on radio and television, and she was pelted with letters from inquirers. "The trouble is, they write me pages," she said of the letter writers in a 1998 interview with NBC News.

In 1998, Dean finally completed the sea voyage from Southampton to New York City that she had set out to make 86 years earlier. She traveled on the Queen Elizabeth II, compliments of Michael Rudd, a Titanic enthusiast and travel agent in Missouri. He and Dean gave a presentation together during the QE II sail. "She hadn't been on a ship since 1912," Rudd said in a 2007 interview with The Times. "People crowded around her, they just wanted to touch her."

As part of that same trip, Dean went to Missouri to see the house where her parents planned to begin their new life, an experience she described as eerie.

She refused to watch "Titanic," the Academy Award-winning movie of 1997, even though she was invited to a screening with Prince Charles of England. "I'd wonder what my father was doing, what he did," she said, referring to the terrible last scenes of the film.

Dean kept up her Titanic engagements into her 90s, often with her "permanent escort," Bruno Nordmanis, about 10 years younger, to accompany her. They traveled together on the Queen Elizabeth II cruise.

In 2008, two years after breaking a hip, Dean arranged for a London auction house to sell some of her Titanic mementos to help pay her nursing home fees. The sale raised $53,906.

Dean's mother died in 1975, at 95. Her brother died in 1992 on the 80th anniversary of the ship's sinking. He was 81.

Dean is survived by two nephews and two nieces.

Posted by Valkyre at 04:50 PM | Comments (0)

May 30, 2009

Susan Boyle Gets Second Place in Britain's Got Talent

She lost to a dance group called "Diversity". They're actually not bad. I don't think that this is the end of the line for Susan. I think she's talented enough, that she will have some sort of singing career.

Article here

Susan Boyle loses to dance group Diversity in 'Britain's Got Talent' finale
5:52 PM, May 30, 2009

Susan Boyle proved a gracious loser today when the dance group Diversity won the top prize on "Britain's Got Talent."

"The best people won," said Boyle. "They're very entertaining. Lads, I wish you all the best."

On this evening's finale, the 48-year-old Scotswoman performed her best-known number, "I Dreamed a Dream" from "Les Miserables," the song that carried her to fame on her first appearance on the show.

It had been a rough week for Boyle leading up to the finals. She had a well-publicized shouting match with a group of journalists and was reportedly considering pulling out of the competition on account of nerves.

But she rebounded and delivered a performance tonight that was warmly welcomed by the audience.

Diversity, a dance group from Essex, comprises three sets of brothers ranging in age from 12 to 25. The 10-member group specializes in street dance but also derives inspiration from all facets of pop culture, from the movie "Transformers" to Michael Jackson.

The members of the group were speechless upon hearing the verdict.

The third place went to saxophonist Julian Smith, who said that "at least I got to be chief bridesmaid this time."

-- David Ng

Posted by Valkyre at 07:30 PM | Comments (0)

May 24, 2009

Susan Boyle Moving On To The Finals

She sounded a little nervous, in the beginning. But, she seemed to get her voice as she went on. She sang the song "Memory" from the musical Cats.

Article here.

Unlikely UK sensation Boyle sings rousing 'Memory'

AP, May 24, 2009 4:21 pm PDT

Surprise singing sensation Susan Boyle made a new television appearance Sunday, showcasing once again her soaring voice but refusing to compromise on the frumpy look that made her an Internet sensation.

The shy church volunteer gave a rousing, but occasionally nervous, performance on the "American Idol"-style show "Britain's Got Talent," with a version of the song "Memory" from the musical "Cats."

Members of the public voting in a telephone poll picked her as the best of eight performers who appeared Sunday, meaning she will sing again in the contest's final next Saturday.

Flashing a broad smile, Boyle danced in delight as results were announced and said had relished the chance to perform. "Fantastic, absolutely fantastic," she said. "What pressure? I've really enjoyed myself tonight."

Wearing a plum colored beaded dress and a touch more makeup than during her last performance but with the same unruly shock of hair, Boyle overcame early jitters to deliver a powerful vocal.

Producers said the 47-year-old's appearance was being posted on the Internet almost immediately, after about 60 million people watched her last performance via YouTube.

In her first performance last month, judges who'd raised eyebrows at Boyle's dowdy image were won over by her bold voice and surprisingly confident performance of "I Dreamed a Dream" from the musical "Les Miserables." The sometimes awkward looking Scot won praise from celebrities, including Oprah Winfrey and Demi Moore, and even won a name check in her favorite cartoon "The Simpsons."

On Sunday, the show's judges and audience rose to their feet to applaud, but those posting comments to the Twitter Web site appeared divided. While some hailed her performance, others appeared underwhelmed.

Bookmaker William Hill has made her a runaway favorite to win on May 30.

Contestants are competing to perform at Britain's annual Royal Variety Show attended by members of the royal family and win a 100,000 pound ($159,000) prize.

The singer, who lives alone with her cat Pebbles in one of Scotland's poorest regions, said before Sunday's performance that she wouldn't transform her appearance. "I just want people to see me for who I am, and do my best at singing the song, that's what I am focusing on," she said.

Boyle, who says she's never been kissed, grew up the youngest of nine children in Blackburn, a community of 4,750 people 20 miles (32 kilometers) west of Edinburgh, in Scotland, and a district blighted by unemployment and crime. She suffered learning difficulties as a child and was bullied by other children.

As an adult, she's struggled for work but had been a regular on her local karaoke circuit and performed in church choirs.

In an interview with The Associated Press at her home last month, she said the death of her mother had inspired her to enter the TV talent show.

"I wanted to show her I could do something with my life," Boyle said.

Posted by Valkyre at 05:36 PM | Comments (0)

May 21, 2009

Still Loving My Hatchbacks

I posted here, about my love for hatchbacks. Just wanted to post yet another hatchback story. I managed to fit a 7 foot tall Grandfather clock into the back of our gray New Beetle. Not only that, I was able to close the hatch without any problem.

Posted by Valkyre at 02:14 PM | Comments (0)

May 17, 2009

A Little Too Close For Comfort

So, I'm sitting here playing Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars and half watching King of the Hill, when I hear a rumbling noise from outside. Sonic boom? Then the house starts to shake. At the same time, there was a *boom*! It felt like a truck hit the house. It rattled it pretty good. Objects fell. We haven't had things fall during earthquakes since the 1994 Northridge quake. Find out later, it was a 5.0. Decent enough. The epicenter was only a couple of miles from here. We were right on top of it.

Posted by Valkyre at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

May 16, 2009

A Bittersweet Preakness Win

While it would have been nice for Mine That Bird to sweep all three races for the Triple Crown, I'm glad that the filly Rachel Alexandra won. I was rooting for her.

Article here

Rachel Alexandra proves Preakness is not just a guy thing

The filly, winner of the Kentucky Oaks, holds off Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird to win the second leg of the Triple Crown, vindicating owner Jess Jackson and jockey Calvin Borel.

By Ken Murray
7:09 PM PDT, May 16, 2009

Rachel Alexandra stumbled at the start and struggled down the stretch, but the heralded filly was still good enough to beat surging Mine That Bird to the wire in the 134th Preakness Stakes on Saturday at Pimlico Race Course.

The stirring one-length victory proved to be vindication for all concerned -- for Jess Jackson, who opted to send the 3-year-old filly against the boys; for Calvin Borel, who became the first jockey to abandon a Kentucky Derby winner for another Preakness horse; and for Mine That Bird, the smallish gelding with the giant finishing kick.

It was the first Preakness victory by a filly since 1924 when Nelly Morse won, and the first time since 1906 that a filly (Whimsical) won here as a favorite. Also, Borel was the first rider to win the Derby and Preakness on different horses.

A crowd of only 77,850 watched at Pimlico, a drop-off of some 35,000 from a year ago. The overall handle of $86,684,470 was the fifth highest in Preakness history.

History was set up last week when Jackson, founder of the Kendall-Jackson winery, purchased Rachel Alexandra after her huge victory in the Kentucky Oaks on May 1. He left the question of whether she would run in the Preakness to trainer Steve Asmussen and his veterinarians, opening himself to scrutiny and criticism.

"She showed the heart and skill of a champion," Jackson said. "Our decision was, not vindicated, but was correct."

As to the question of whether Rachel Alexandra would run in the Belmont in three weeks, Jackson said: "It will depend on her. . . . We'll wait for three, four days, see how she comes out of the race. Then we'll give her the same scrutiny we did with the vets.

". . . Could she win? We think so. We've already shown she can run with the colts."

Mike Smith, who replaced Borel as Mine That Bird's jockey, said he didn't expect to see the filly in the Belmont. And if he does, he said he believed his horse would win.

Borel won for the sixth straight time aboard Rachel Alexandra, but this was not like her 20 1/4 -length victory in the Oaks on May 1. This was a troubled trip right from the beginning, and Mine That Bird was charging at the end.

"She had something to prove and I felt she proved it emphatically," Asmussen said. "The race didn't unfold exactly as we expected but she was still good enough to win a classic."

Posted by Valkyre at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

May 13, 2009

Kudos to Discover Card

I posted back on March 3rd about how ripped me off. I had paid a little over $98.00 for a new ceiling fan. I paid for it on my Discover Card. I encountered delay after delay and excuse after excuse from their site. Finally, I tried to cancel the order, but go no response. Then the site went down and the phone numbers were disconnected. A Google search revealed that I wasn't the only one who was ripped off. My odds of getting my money back from Fanworks was slim to none, so I took it up with Discover. It had been over their 30 day limit. But, I was hoping that since I had several e-mails between Fanworks and I, where they kept stringing me along, Discover might make an allowance for me. Well, they came through. After an investigation, Discover Card credited my account for the money taken by Fanworks. I hope that they will go after these people. I think that the credit card companies will carry more weight and have a better chance. I feel bad for the people who lost hundreds, if not thousands of dollars when Fanworks charged them and never sent their fans. I wish that there would be criminal charges against these people. They were taking money for orders they never intended to fill.

Posted by Valkyre at 12:08 PM | Comments (0)

May 02, 2009

It Was Something to See

Longshot horse Mine That Bird wins the 135th Kentucky Derby:

Article here

Longshot Mine That Bird wins 135th Kentucky Derby

Despite going off at 50-1 odds, jockey Calvin Borel guides the gelding along the inside rail down the homestretch for a 6 3/4-length victory at Churchill Downs.

Associated Press
4:03 PM PDT, May 2, 2009

Mine That Bird dug up a miracle, stunning the field to win the Kentucky Derby with a dynamic stretch run through the mud Saturday at Churchill Downs.

The 3-year-old gelding and jockey Calvin Borel found room along the rail deep in the stretch then pulled away for a 6 3/4-length win to give the 50-1 longshot one of the biggest upsets in the 135-year history of the race.

It was the largest margin of victory in the Derby since Assault won by eight lengths in 1946. Barbaro won in 2006 by 6 1/2 lengths.

The Derby win was the second in three years for Borel, who used a similar stretch run to send Street Sense to the winner's circle in 2007.

Mine That Bird joins Giacomo, who won in 2005, as one of the most unlikely victors in the Run for the Roses.

Mine That Bird covered the 1 1/4 miles in 2:02.66 and paid $103.20 to win. The payout was the second largest in Derby history behind Donerail ($184.90) in 1913.

Pioneerof the Nile held off Musket Man for second, but neither was a match for the unheralded horse from New Mexico.

Friesan Fire, who became the favorite after I Want Revenge was scratched earlier in the day, finished a distant 18th in the 19-horse field.

Borel thrust his right arm in triumph as he crossed the wire, and trainer Chip Woolley hobbled to hoist the trophy. The trainer from New Mexico broke his right leg in a motorcycle accident over the winter and drove his stable's star 21 hours to Churchill Downs.

"They'll know who I am now," Woolley said from underneath his massive black cowboy hat.

Posted by Valkyre at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)