What a weekend, eh? It started with submersible clean-up and ended with a called-off coup. It’s amazing that I had time to go grocery shopping, but I did.
The more we learn about the OceanGate disaster, the more it becomes clear that Stockton Rush, born on third base with a long lead to home and a blind pitcher, was fortunate to the end, because the lawsuits his estate will be dealing with would leave him wishing he was dead. You could almost argue that anyone dumb enough to pay an arm and a leg to even go aboard is probably not smart enough to sue, but rich people have great lawyers. The detail that most struck me? The sub had limited propulsion, so landing in the right place to see the bow of the Titanic was pretty much a crapshoot. I learned this from a Detroit News story about a guy who took an earlier trip, which is paywalled, but I’ll quote the relevant parts:
On the day of the descent, the crew of five, including the OceanGate CEO serving as the pilot, were bolted into the submersible and sealed to avoid water leakage. A barge with the sub floated away from the ship, and the barge was sunk. The crew disconnected the sub to drop into the deep.
Weights sunk the sub for a more than two-hour journey to the ocean floor where the Titanic rests. Wortman could look out the single porthole, watching the “disco show” of red, green and blue sea life as the crew talked and listened to music. Wortman’s choice: Eminem.
Eventually, there was a complication. Wortman brought commemorative challenge coins to share and the passengers may have underreported their weight, and the sub fell faster than expected.
The faster descent meant the sub missed its destination. The hope was to land near the front of the ship. It landed roughly 300 yards off the back in a debris field of the Titanic. It was pitch black. With a light, Wortman could see ceramic tiles, wine bottles and one of the boilers. On the ascent, he saw the back end of the propellers, but the sub had to avoid getting caught in the metal remains of the vessel.
They spent about four hours on the ocean floor. A normal ascent required dropping the sub’s weights and floating to the surface, usually no more than three hours. But one of the weights didn’t drop during Wortman’s dive, consuming time to change the programming code to address the weight issue. It took 3 hours and 20 minutes to surface.
As a result, they didn’t see the bow of the ship, much of which remains intact. A later dive did see it. Hungry, tired and cold at 33-degree temperatures at the ocean floor, the passengers on Wortman’s dive agreed to return to the surface. Divers can’t recover the sub in the dark, and Wortman said he didn’t want to spend the night underwater.
Indeed. Man, remember when rich people felt they had a duty to leave a legacy behind? Carnegie libraries, major university endowments, scholarships? Also: Imagine being trapped in a minivan-size submersible listening to Eminem.
Well, Stockton Rush is plankton food now, so let’s surface and turn our eyes to Russia. Despite being something of a Russophile for much of my life, I have no idea what really happened here. A friend, who is not a cynic but sometimes leans that way, thinks the whole play was about money, that Putin had to put a nine-figure sum into Prigozhin’s Swiss bank account, and then and only then were the troops called back. Given that all involved are thugs and criminals, I wouldn’t be surprised. If this weakens Uncle Vlad, can’t complain. But as in all things Russian, beware what might be coming up behind him. As the U.S. has shown us, there are bottoms below the one we’re standing on now.
Speaking of which, Big Daddy is in southeast Michigan late this afternoon, if he isn’t here already. The Oakland County GOP is having a fundraiser with him as the big draw. They plan to give him a “Man of the Decade” award, which is something of a joke for people who can remember when he was here in 2016, and boasted from the podium that the last time he’d been in Michigan, it was to accept a Man of the Year award. Reporters, local burghers and others did their research and thinkin’, and no one could remember any such thing, or even any such award. But being bootlickers and ass-kissers of the first order, they’re going to do it for real this time, and add nine years.
The jokes, they write themselves.
OK, gotta make dinner for our little tribe of two before more world news breaks out.