The Watering Hole: November 12 – Disasters

How many of you have followed the hardships experienced by the passengers and crew of the Carnival Splendor until they arrived safely in San Diego today? To them, this was agony beyond the worst experience of any member of the human race. They survived an experience that will provide accounts to their children, grandchildren and great grandchildren at as the worst ever endured by human beings. And let’s not forget the neighbors!

In retrospect, human beings have had worse experiences. Natural disasters like tsunamis, earthquakes, cyclones, tornadoes, flood and plague have had a deeper effect on the human psyche. Unnatural events like wars and the Holocaust have had even deeper meaning.

To me the crux of the matter – human misery is described from the perspective of the victim(s). How does one equate the loss of a society to the loss of a child? The survivors of Carthage have felt as bad as the mother of a still-born.

This in turn brings one around to the viewpoint of those on the Carnival Splendor. From the accounts from the ship, there was no loss of life. Those surviving the experience were distressed by the loss of AC and lighting (The Casino had to close!) as well as having to endure meals of SPAM for their continued existence. From their accounts, life was beyond endurance. How does this compare to existence during the depression or in occupied countries during WWII?

As an aside, some individuals offered a compensating experience have taken the cruise line up on the offer. Their take is that “This could never happen to me again.” I wonder if we will ever develop the wider perspective beyond “me”

This is my own view.

This is our open thread. Please feel free to offer your own comments on this or any other topic.


54 thoughts on “The Watering Hole: November 12 – Disasters

  1. At that moment it was the ‘worst’ thing to have happened to these folks. True, in the scheme of things it is minor/miniscule.
    The folks on the ship were in contact with the outside world; helicopters were employed; food was supplied so it was only a matter of time –
    The hardship would have been: isolated on an island; rough seas so no helicopter and/or other rescue vehicles could not be deployed for assistance.
    Perspective of what constitute ‘sacrifice’ or ‘hardship’.

  2. dbadass, just for you – virtual neighborhood (yes, I realize it is not the same as ‘real’ life).

    Here’s your Townsend’s male
    and female

  3. 2ebbandflow, last winter there was a very short stretch of truly cold weather and snow, and a male Townsend’s was prancing around in an evergreen just outside my balcony. Haven’t seen one since (they only come down to this altitude when it’s too cold above us) but he’s what inspired me to add several feeders. Startling and beautiful to see him against the snow.

  4. Phfft…we live like the folks on that ship every time we get a bad enough winter storm. A month or so ago, a woman and two of her young children died in a townhouse fire caused by candles. Her power had been turned off for non-payment. That’s a real tragedy.

  5. ummm—Katrina? – Super Bowl?

    Only, those folks were forced there by armed white folks who wouldn’t let them cross a bridge to safety.

  6. Walt, excellent post.

    I had some similar thoughts yesterday as one of the (younger) passengers to disembark said it had been a nightmare. In one case another said she had to lay on her bed in the dark. Oh the horrors, I thought to myself.

    As you point out, no one died. No one was hurt. The ship was never lost. They were never out of radio contact (thanks to backup systems). They had food (complain all we want about Spam and Poptarts) and water brought to them.

    It was perhaps very inconvenient experience. Or an annoying experience. And, rightfully, perhaps even a somewhat frightening experience.

    But it was not a nightmare, when put into the context of real disasters, with severe outcomes.

  7. Now if they’d had a Poseidon adventure where the vessel overturned and they had to endure hours of Ernest Borgnine schtick, then that would classify as a hardship.

  8. The only thing that would piss me off about being stranded like that would be not being able to fish.
    I’ve spent some time at sea on fishing boats and they are not a cruise by any means.

  9. Two things popped into my mind about those poor inconvenienced passengers:

    First, I wonder how many women who were aboard will have a baby nine months from now?

    Second, I recalled meeting an old man back in the 80’s who had been a Merchant Marine on Liberty Ships during WWII. He survived duty aboard 3 ships that were sunk by torpedoes. I asked him if he had learned anything after the first sinking. He said the most important thing he learned was to carry a copy of his records on his person at all times, after having had to wait 9 months for pay after he was rescued!

    • Those selfish people in Haiti should have sent their food — afterall, they’re not using it…what with the cholera and all…


      • Laters, all. Gotta leave early, parking will be scarce since UI closed most of the parking lots in preparation for the big UI v. Boise State game tonight.

        I really hope we win, but we’re probably gonna lose…BAD. 😯

  10. …last winter there was a very short stretch of truly cold weather and snow, and a male Townsend’s was prancing around in an evergreen just outside my balcony.

    That had to be a ‘smiling’/’oooo,look’ moment!

    You are in the warblers part of the country – dbadass isn’t. That’s what has my curiosity…how’d it get that far from home. Do hope he gets to see one!

  11. I was expecting half of the passengers to be on Larry King Live last night….

    ….spoiled, selfish, lazy, whiners. Good reminder why I’m never taking a cruise.

  12. Oh the horror of those poor travelers having to deal with that open bar. I heard on the news today that no Spam was ever served to them. It was a hotdog salad or something. Drama queens.

  13. And, if I’ve read that news accounts correctly, the passengers will all get full refunds, and a free cruise in the future.

    Oh, the humanity of it all!

  14. Now Jane, didn’t you see all those Comcast commercials about how helpful they are and how they show up at your house with little covers for their shoes on time and all? Makes you with there were still laws about truth in advertising doesn’t it? Thanks again Ronald Reagan.

  15. I heard on the radio that many charities are seeing fewer large donations as those who can afford large donations wait to see if their tax rates increase, thereby making their deduction more valuable. At this point I say just let ’em all expire. The cuts being suggested to spending to cover the cost of a low tax rate will hurt the lower and middle income folks more than a slight increase in their taxes will. Everybody else needs to just suck it up and pay their fair share.

  16. On the non-disaster front, a paper I submitted to the annual American Philosophy conference was accepted. I’ve been pretty out of the “professional loop” these last two years, and not been to this particular conference in 4. I like the group and am moderately well known, so it will be good to see familiar faces.

    The conference this year is in Spokane, and opens up some travel possibilities for me. While it is a longish (19+ hr) drive on its own, the thought of stopping at some of the Utah parks, and possibly visiting my mother’s grave (Idaho Falls, of all places) makes the thought of a vacation drive rather tempting.

  17. I wrote this last night after reading about the plight of those on that cruise ship so my time references are off a bit and what was served was based on the news accounts.

    The plight of those in Haiti, Indonesia, Somalia, Gaza and the rest of the world immediately came to mind. I dropped those incidents as well as a photo of the Carnival Splendor in the interest of brevity.

    I was really pissed off when I composed the post and that is the reason I attributed it to my own hand and mind. The only thing that the passengers had to endure was the loss of ceaseless coddling.

    I also had to compose a post on a moments notice as none was up for today which made me personally upset. I felt violated in a way which fueled my own pettiness.

    I should remember that I live in my own “glass” house.

  18. Great to hear positive news, Gary.

    Idaho, hmmm, Idaho – isn’t there a butterfly somewhere in that state you might visit?

    When is the conference?

  19. ebb,

    Don’t be giving that philosopher any ideas now. Remember, this dragonfly has green eyes.

    "All Right Mr. DeMille, I'm Ready For My Close-Up"

  20. Congratulations Gary. May I ask what your topic was? (There’s a 10% probability I will understand your answer).

    Walt, yours was a thought provoking post, I don’t see pettiness in it.

  21. Friendly-wise pahcy – friendly-wise.

    Gary, you don’t have wings do you?

    (as far as I know chivalrous/renaissance fellows have charm and armor).

  22. The conference is March 10 — 12, in Spokane. The abstract I submitted with the paper is this:

    ABSTRACT: Whitehead’s career as a mathematician and an educator exercised a profound influence on his philosophy. He was not simply convinced that any adequate liberal education must of necessity include a basic comprehension of the nature of mathematical inquiry, Whitehead saw such an understanding as foundational for philosophy itself. This paper examines this connection between mathematics and philosophy in Whitehead’s thought, first examining the pedagogical role of mathematical thinking and then an outline of its function in philosophy. Quite aside from its general use in disciplining the mind to logical analysis, mathematics provides tools of direct importance in understanding and highlighting issues of central importance in philosophical work. As such, the consequences of Whitehead’s argument go far beyond just and only his philosophical project, and becomes an issue of concern for all philosophical approaches.

    (as far as I know chivalrous/renaissance fellows have charm and armor).

    Sharp, pointy things, too.

    The possibility of visiting folks is there. I’d also like to dither on the trip back, visit my mother’s grave in Idaho Falls, maybe camp at one or more of the Utah parks. It will still be Winter, but dressing for cold weather is a skill I mastered living in Chicago. (This California boy knows how to layer!)

  23. Gary,

    One of my favorite movie quotes comes from “Max Dugan Returns”. Max tells his grandson that “philosophy is the key to life, as long as you have the right one”.

  24. In my mind, the study of mathematics is essential for teaching the ability to construct logical thought and reason. It can teach how something will play out with different variables, hence the opening of the mind to a new possibilty.
    Mathematics are also a language that transcend geographic and cultural diferences

  25. memoir (from the French: mémoire from the Latin memoria, meaning “memory”, or a reminiscence)

    zxbe, someone either forgot to mention this to georgie- or his interpretation was ‘anyone’s memory’.


    Come Monday – a, long awaited book, to be released:

    Autobiography of Mark Twain, Volume 1

  26. Townsend’s Warbler is a beautiful bird and a little over 4 hours over three days of effort really isn’t that high a price for a lifer

  27. dbadass, you are so cryptic – did you see or are you still on the ‘look out’ for the Townsend’s?

    Are you on the east coast looking for our west coast bird?

  28. Yes I finally got it and in excellent sun on my back late afternoon light. This bird is so lost it is ridiculous. Now I have to consider a Maine roadtrip tomorrow for a lost Grey Kingbird!

  29. Problem is I get annoyed by crowded “combat” birding situations. Luckily there where only three others on the site when I got it and they were sweet old ladies and not pompous douchebags trying to outdue each other with the quality of their optics and their little chckdee and nthatch vanity plates and such

  30. -}-}-} Way To Go, dbadass!!! You certainly are flying the bird path -} -} -}

    A credible sighting on the Kingbird?
    Good luck in Maine, and please, if time and tide permit: post your adventure!

  31. Thanks. The kingbird has been incredible consistant. I just haven’t gotten there yet but a buddy went for it yesterday although I haven’t heard if he got it yet

  32. Laughing – we’re a little more laid-back. Lots of avian paparazzi but they respect each other and other birders.

    I often wonder if there’s some compensation going on with those 600 & 800 mm lenses.
    They do get some magnificent captures, though.

    Photographers are nice to us who just wander with binoculars – we’re the ones who can take them to see the Burrowing Owls, and then point out the ‘little smudge’ in the power tower is a Peregrine.
    Paparazzi don’t have the patience a true birder has – they always want action, action, action.
    When we point out that sometimes we’ll wait an hour or two just to watch the Peregrine go hunting!

  33. Now my 300mm doesn’t seem so big afterall. lol

    Anyway, I can officially declare global warming to be a hoax, because it’s going to snow tomorrow. A lot.

  34. zxbe – not to worry! You’re a proven (photographer -no compensation going on there) ;>

  35. Miller has to successfully challenge about 25% of the remaining write-ins in order to take down Murkowski in Alaska.

    His current successful challenges are running a bit below 2% and his chances are starting to look like those of a glacier in Hell.

    Global warming anyone?

  36. Walt, I think you captured what many of us were feeling about the passengers on that cruise. Well done. And they were complaining about having to eat Spam so you were correct only the food people on the cruise said they hadn’t really been served any Spam.

  37. Zooey,
    They were complaining as if they were victims of the Battle of Brittan on some of the news reels.

  38. “I wonder if we will ever develop the wider perspective beyond “me””

    Sadly, probably not.

    yes. we will.

    I have already seen it…. after the ice.

  39. 13 November is R.L Stevenson’s 160th Birthday.

    He of

    Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde


    Treasure Island

    and one of my favorite poems:

    “The Angler Rose, He Took…”

    The angler rose, he took his rod,
    He kneeled and made his prayers to God.
    The living God sat overhead:
    The angler tripped, the eels were fed.

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