Can’t get enough of the Costa Concordia story. The captain left the ship. That’s all you need to know about the man. Ever. For any reason. Ten years from now, a relative wonders if he can watch the kids for an hour while she runs errands, and she remembers: he left the ship. He proposes marriage, the woman thinks: he left the ship. He gets on an airplane and he’s seated in the exit row, and the flight attendant recognizes him. Sorry sir, you’ll have to move. Why? BECAUSE YOU LEFT THE SHIP.

Every detail about the disaster is fascinating, and appalling: you hit something that big, you have the carpenter sound the ship, as the line goes, and then seven blasts and overboard me hearties. But they’d had no lifeboat drill. Criminey: if I felt a list of any sort I’d be at my muster station early enough to be editing the videos on my iPhone I’d already shot, and I’d have everything out of the safe and and into my pockets. Then there’s the reason they were so close to the reef in the first place: the Captain decided to sail past the island and blow the whistle to say hallo, which seems a rather flighty thing to do with an enormous vessel, like taking an aircraft carrier to through the Drive-Thru to get some burgers for the junior officers. They’ve worked so hard - it’ll be an unexpected treat.

Here’s what I can’t yet figure out: how did everyone get off? I assume the boats made multiple trips to ferry people off, since the ship did not sink but fell over and could not get up. Which meant the boats on one side were useless, and couldn’t be winched down. But they have crew escape pods that don’t need to be winched down; I don’t even think they’re on davits. They look like barrels - toss them in the water, open them up, and they expand to hold crew. Just not as big or sturdy as the lifeboats.

At, there are reviews of the ship. Has a 56% rating. Lots of “Loved it!!! Best ever” but many of which seemed horrified by the craptacular food, omnipresent cigarette smoke, and other general annoyances:

The safety drill didn't appear until near the end of the cruise - amazing!

The ship is decorated in such many colours, that the eyes hurt. All the stuff is from Middle America or India. For us, it was not nice.

The culture of the passengers? Don’t want to generalize; just quoting.

The food is horrible. Expect Europeans blowing smoke everywhere. My entire suitcase and clothing at the end of the trip reeked of smoke. They rarely cleaned the deck so I personally slipped 4 times and saw 20 people slip. There are inadequate warnings in place by the pool to indicate that the floor is slippery. If you are elderly, this is a walking death trap. Nobody ever lines up and expect people to push you out of the way or bite your hand off while trying to get food at the buffet.

Serious....I know that everybody is hungry but people will literally push you out of the way to get a piece of salami. The workers seems completly worn out and I honestly feel bad for them because apparently the ship's tipping structure doesn't allow them to get much if at anything at all. Most are very nice and you can tell that they HATE their jobs.

He added:

Oh yah they didn't do any safety drills till the second last day of the cruise. It is not reassuring and if noone can help you with day to day matters and an emergency happens, expect chaos.

One noted that coffee was not served with meals, although you could get it if you asked. And you would be charged.


The more I read, though, the more amusing the bad reviews got, especially when you pick up repeating themes. Remember the wet-floor death-trap comment?

The pools were a mess, the floors were always soaked and slippery and I even FELL DOWN THE STAIRS because of the wet floors. In a matter of 5 minutes my husband counted about 7 people slip and or fall and it was not uncommon to see people walking around in casts at the end of the cruise.

And this shows up over and over:

Breakfast consisted of powdered eggs and fatty slop - it made prison food look good. The concept of a "line" did not exist as they pushed and shoved their way through buffet lines, disembarkment/ embarkment, passport controls, name it. I saw people pushing and shoving at the "midnight buffet" (aka fruit platter) for a piece of watermelon.

Rudeness? You’re soaking in it. This has absolutely no parallel in my experience. None. Everyone queues.

. . . many of the European passengers were absolutely rude. Walking right into you, bumping you in the hallways, not giving an inch was clearly the norm. Jumping in front of you in lines was a sport enjoyed by most. Not much friendly contact, maybe I'm just used to people saying hello or smiling when in close proximity.

This rudeness extended into a safety hazard. When the lifeboat drills were held, the information was announced in Italian first, then they made a game of it and were laughing about the preservers, taking pictures across lines, moving about and talking - all while the other language instructions for evacuation were being announced.

Now, the kicker: A few days before the ship fell over, Jean Luc-Goddard’s 2010 movie was released on DVD. A third of the movie was set on the Costa Concordia.

As The Guardian's Xan Brooks put it: "Anyone who sat through 'Film Socialisme' may have suspected that the Costa Concordia was headed for trouble ... it served as a self-conscious metaphor for western capital ploughing through choppy waters."

In the film, the passengers onboard the Costa Concordia include a UN official and an elderly war criminal. Onboard entertainment is provided by a dour Patti Smith. The scenes on the ship are fragmented, and at times unsettling.

The movement featuring the Costa Concordia is a dense, highly fragmented analysis of recent European history as allegorized by a Mediterranean cruise ship. "Film Socialisme" as a whole is about the moral failure and cultural decline of Europe, the smothering dominance of the United States, and the retreat of history - depending on what you read into it.

Here’s the trailer: one minute or so, sped up to mask the dullness of the entire enterprise, but loaded with images of the ship.


Today's site remnant, a thing that never made it beyond the larval state: Your Future.



Women can do it too! They can type into COMPUTERS. They'll be better off, even if they're Semi-Skilled, because the other profession's future is less secure:



Six years of apprenticeship. Chemistry and physics helpful..

If you'd been in high school when you read these comics, you might have had a good run. It was 1971, after all, and the demolition of the industries was decades away. On the other hand, if you were in high school in 1971 and reading these comics, which were Donald Duck reprints, you might not be the sharpest X-Acto knife in the drawer.

Today: there's a small B&W World with the sweetest car I've seen all week. Tomorrow: the unveiling of one of those sites that goes on for a year or two, swells to 200 pages, appeals to a narrow slice of the readership, but teaches me all sorts of things while I research the pictures. Trust me: this will be fun, even if you have no interest in the subject. It's terra incognita to me as well, so we're on this journey together.

Until I jump ship and head to shore, that is.




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