Friday Titanic News (23 Feb 2024)

Happy Friday everyone!  We are now steaming full speed towards March. Winter is still making itself felt where I live (lots of rain recently) to places where snow is still falling. The Spring Equinox is not that far off either, but winter has been known to go on after that astronomical end to winter.

Here is some Titanic and related news you might find interesting.

It is not often one sees a negative review of a Titanic exhibition (mostly complaints about cost and crowds), but this is one of them about a Titanic exhibition near Chicago.

The Grand Staircase of the RMS Olympic
Photo:Public Domain (Wikipedia)

Vitali, Marc. “Does It Sail or Sink? Exhibition on the Titanic Launches at Skokie Mall: Review.” WTTW News, 20 Feb. 2024,

There is plenty to see here, but this exhibition is more of a cabin berth than a stateroom. It will refresh your memory of who’s who in the drama, and it should excite the imagination of younger visitors with an interest in the subject. Hardcore history buffs would do better at their local library. One small but significant complaint — I noticed a grammatical error on an information card inside a case in the first gallery. Then I found another mistake. And others. Apostrophes were misused, “then” was used for “than” — that sort of thing. Apparently, the proofreader went down with the ship.


Over in Bristol (UK), there is a Titanic exhibition going on though not as big as its predecessors.

 “Salvaged Titanic Artefacts Resurface in Limited Exhibition.” Bristol24/7, 18 Feb. 2024,

A limited exhibition showcasing “never seen before” items salvaged from the Titanic’s wreckage is underway in Bristol. The Titanic Exhibition at Paintworks in Brislington invites visitors to explore Bristol’s connection to the renowned passenger liner, learn about the people that travelled on board and come face to face with items from the wreck site. The display is curated by White Star Heritage, experts in collecting and preserving Titanic and White Star Line ship artefacts, aiming to breathe life into the ship’s story more than 100 years after its sinking in the north Atlantic.


RMS Titanic pictured in Queenstown, Ireland 11 April 1912
Source:Cobh Heritage Centre, Cobh Ireland/Wikimedia Commons

I have not seen this yet, but judging from all the digital ink being written about it, the creator has certainly gotten a lot of attention. There are actually quite a few Titanic simulations out there (YouTube has a lot of them).  From the witness statements, the sinking was more dramatic than has ever been depicted on screen.

O’sullivan, John. “Recreation of Titanic Sinking Goes Viral With Social Media Users Horrified.” Irish Star, 17 Feb. 2024,

The story of the Titanic is known all over the world. The 1996 James Cameron blockbuster movie was hugely successful at the box office, but does it show what really happened when the ship sank? Science Girl’s simulation suggests that the real sinking was much more frightening than we could ever imagine. Cameron, who made the film, said he only got “half right” how the ship sank, even though he had lots of experts to help him.


Harland & Wolff David and Goliath crane in Belfast, 2006
Plastic Jesus (Dave) via Wikimedia Commons

This is certainly good news for Harland & Wolff.  It has had some very lean years that made it look like it might even be shuttered at one point. They have managed to bounce back and this one famous shipbuilder is getting  a contract to refurbish a cruise ship.

M, Frank. “Historic Shipyard Behind Titanic Will Refurbish the Next World Cruise Ship.” Cruise Radio – Daily Updates on the Cruise Industry, 16 Feb. 2024,

The startup recently acquired the 924-passenger MS Braemar from Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines. Renamed Villa Vie Odyssey, Villa Vie has secured a dry dock slot for a multimillion-dollar refurbishment. The Harland & Wolff shipyard has over a century of history and famously built the Titanic eighty years earlier. It undergoes a 10-week refurbishment program. The company announced deals with various contractors for transforming and managing shipboard functions. The ship was last refurbished in 2019.


Here is an interesting video detailing the sinking of the Lusitania.


Finally to close out this Friday, retro is becoming cool again. Some creative individuals are going back and making updated opening scenes of television shows done back in the late 1960’s and 1970’s. Using updated special effects and other things, you can make an opening like it would be shown today. Here is one for one of my favorites, the classic Battlestar Galactica.

Remembering the Munich Agreement of 1938 where both England & France Betrayed Czechoslovakia

[This is an updated version of an earlier article on this topic]

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it! “(George Santayana-1905)

Nevile Chamberlain, Édouard Daladier, Hitler, Benito Mussolini, Count Ciano
29 Sep 1938 (German Federal Archives)

The Munich Conference of 1938 saw both Britain and France abandon its ally Czechoslovakia forcing them to cede part of their territory to Germany to avoid war. Let’s look at what the situation was in 1938 and why this happened.

By 1938 there was no doubt anymore about the intentions of Germany’s Third Reich and Adolf Hitler. European nations were generally worried about a major war and to that end the two biggest powers in Europe -France and Great Britain- sought to avert it. It was based on the experience of the First World War in which millions had died. The aftermath of that war was a sentiment that total war must be averted at all costs. So far all of Hitler’s violations of treaties, such as occupying the Rhineland in 1936, had caused no major retribution even if it was a major violation of the Treaty of Versailles that Germany had agreed to in 1918. Nor had rearming Germany, also a violation of the treaty, caused any significant reaction.

While worldwide opinion of their open antisemitism was negative, they successfully held the 1936 Olympics in Germany. This despite the fact Germany was a fully authoritarian state ruled by the Nazi Party. All private schools (including religious ones) were shuttered forcing all children to go to the public school. All major corporations and businesses that were controlled by Jews were systematically targeted and forced to sell to Germans backed by the Nazi Party. All media was likewise controlled and could only report exactly what the Reich Propaganda Ministry told them to report. Movies, radios, and newspapers repeated only what was allowed to be reported or dramatized. American movies, in order to be shown in Nazi Germany, had to comply with Nazi rules which prohibited showing Jews in a positive light, criticize German policy in any way, or show any theme the Nazi Party objected to.

As Germany re-armed, it looked to expand its frontiers and bring into being a Greater Germany. Hitler was Austrian and both countries had close ties sharing a common language and culture. Many in Austria already supported such an idea long before the Nazi’s came into power. The Nazi’s had tried in 1934 in supporting a coup attempt, but it failed. By 1938 Germany was in a better position. Politicians and groups sympathetic to Hitler and unification in Austria were loudly calling for it. Austrian chancellor Kurt Schuschnigg hoped that a referendum on the issue set for 13 March 1938 would resolve it. Hitler instead threatened to invade and through his agents asked him to resign. The referendum was canceled and on 12 Mar 1938, German troops entered Austria and were unopposed. The long-wanted Anschluss had finally occurred. Neither Great Britain nor France was willing to offer any assistance to stop it from happening. In fact, many  supported it in those countries.

Sudetenland 1938-1945
Stamp Collecting World (via Wikipedia)

About the same time, Hitler was also claiming that German-speaking people living in Sudeten region of Czechoslovakia wanted closer ties with Germany. And that if this land was not given to Germany, it would have to be done by force. Needless to say the Czechoslovakian government was alarmed especially after what happened to Austria. Leaders in both Britain and France were becoming alarmed that this could spiral into a general war. The position of both governments was to avoid total war; they did not want another World War I that devastated Europe. This policy of appeasement had many supporters in politics, academia, and the media. Those who argued against it were called warmongers, or worse. The problem was that both countries had signed treaties with Czechoslovakia that if they were attacked, their enemy became theirs. Hitler knew this and stepped up the pressure.

Hitler ordered his generals to come up with a plan to attack Czechoslovakia. It was set to commence in October. Meanwhile Czechoslovakia tried to gauge the support it had and found Poland would only assist if the French did. And the French were reluctant to support Czechoslovakia if it meant direct conflict with Germany. Britain was also cool on the idea and forced President Benes to accept an arbitrator. Benes feeling he had no choice, gave in to the idea. Lord Runciman was sent to Prague on 3 August 1938 to persuade Benes to accept a plan for Sudeten Germans. In public both powers appeared to support Czechoslovakia but in private made it clear they would not go to war with Germany over the Sudetenland. As German forces appeared to be poised to invade, it was clear to both London and Paris something would have to give.

Hitler continued upping the pressure by giving speeches that blamed the crisis in Sudetenland on Czechoslovakia. He denounced the state as illegitimate, that it was targeting the German speaking people for extermination, and many other things as well. German media was full of stories that depicted the heroic German people in Sudetenland as suffering and that other nationalities would be targeted as well. Hitler made it clear that the situation could no longer be tolerated, and that Germany was prepared to resolve it if either Czechoslovakia or the other powers involved failed to stop the atrocities. German troops were poised to resolve the situation. And Hitler surmised both the British and French would deal to avoid war.

With Europe seemingly on the edge of war, this precipitated the Munich Conference of September 1938. Without consulting with Czechoslovakia, British leader Neville Chamberlain and French president Edouard Daladier decided to resolve this situation by agreeing that any territory in the Sudetenland that had over fifty percent German speaking people would be given to Germany. Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, also at the conference, argued for a German military presence along with an international commission to resolve disputes (this was a German proposal but felt that it was better made by the Italians).

It was formally agreed to on 30 Sep 1938. Czechoslovakia was presented with this agreement and had no choice but to accept or face immediate invasion. Czechoslovakia found itself totally alone and the two powers-Britain and France-who had pledged to protect them now abandoned them to their fate. They had no choice but to accept but left an awful taste in their mouths knowing they had been betrayed. It would end with President Benes resigning in October knowing his country was to be invaded by Germany. This would occur in March 1939. The Germans would hold the Sudetenland until 1945.  Chamberlain would proclaim later, upon arrival in Britain, that he delivered “peace for our time.”  Daladier more or less concurred and later France would sign a non-aggression pact with Germany.


Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain waving to enthusiastic crowds of his triumph upon returning to Britain. Waving a paper signed by Hitler, he pronounced peace in our time. Hitler later chuckled that the agreement he signed with Chamberlain meant nothing.

Germany acquired not only territory but the industrial resources that it needed (raw ore, steel and iron production, electrical plants). Czechoslovakia was diminished as a result. While many in public in Britain and France heralded the agreement as avoiding war, there were warnings it was wrong. Winston Churchill was critical of the deal and how they had abandoned Czechoslovakia to Hitler. The British Labor Party opposed the deal as well. A view began to emerge and would continue long after, that Britain and France wanted to get out of the military pact as they were not ready for war. Was Hitler bluffing or not also is discussed as well. The evidence is that Germany could have invaded but got what it wanted without firing a shot. And it was handed to Hitler on a platter by two powers that in the last war had been Germany’s enemies. It could not have been a greater present for Hitler.

Czechoslovakia was doomed by the pact. In October 1938, it was forced to hand over under the Vienna Award territory in its south to Hungary and a small concession to Poland. In March 1939, after Slovakia seceded to become a pro-German state, Hitler demanded Czechoslovakia accede to German occupation, which it did. Czechoslovakia then became a protectorate of the Third Reich. Churchill’s warning had come true. With his policy of appeasement now deemed a total failure, Neville Chamberlain realized that it was time to mobilize for war. The French would likewise prepare (but so entrenched was the avoidance of total war doctrine failed to act when it had the option to do so when most of the German army was invading Poland). In September 1939, World War II would officially begin with the invasion of Poland and declaration of war by Britain and France on Germany.

Both Chamberlain and his French counterpart would live to see how badly it would turn out. After war broke out, Chamberlain’s popularity fell and would resign as Prime Minister on 10 May 1940 and replaced by Winston Churchill though remained in the Cabinet. He would die in November 1940. Édouard Daladier, who was under no illusions as to Hitler’s goals (but knew support for standing up to Hitler was thin), had resigned his position in March 1940 but was still minister of defense when Germany invaded. He would be arrested and charged with treason by the German supported Vichy government and imprisoned. He would be imprisoned in several places, including the Buchenwald concentration camp and ended up in Itter Castle in Tyrol with other French dignitaries until liberated on 5 May 1945 after the Battle of Itter . He would return to the Chamber of Deputies after the war, served as mayor of Avignon, and died in Paris in 1970.



 “Munich Agreement | Definition, Summary, and Significance.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 20 July 1998,

Mullen, Matt. “Munich Pact Signed.” HISTORY, 28 Sept. 2020,

Munich Agreement.

The British Policy of Appeasement Toward Hitler and Nazi Germany.

 “Munich Agreement.” Wikipedia, 13 Jan. 2024,

Today is President George Washington’s Birthday (President’s Day)

George Washington (1732–99) by Gilbert Stuart
Photo: Public Domain (Wikimedia Commons)

Although today is referred to as “President’s Day” it is not a federal holiday by that name. It is officially designated as Washington’s Birthday under federal law. There was a movement to combine both Washington and Lincoln’s birthday (since they occur days apart) or honor the office of president. That never came to be. Instead in 1968 the Uniform Monday Holiday Act was passed and came into force in 1971. That shifted most federal holidays to a Monday if it fell during the week. Washington’s Birthday name was not changed and so under federal law it is still Washington’s Birthday. However many states issue their own proclamations celebrating not only Washington but Lincoln and others from their own state. Advertisers have caught on as well. So today many call it President’s Day but who it commemorates beyond George Washington is up to the state governors.

The unity of Government, which constitutes you one people, is also now dear to you. It is justly so; for it is a main pillar in the edifice of your real independence, the support of your tranquility at home, your peace abroad; of your safety; of your prosperity; of that very Liberty, which you so highly prize.
President George Washington,Farewell Address, 19 September 1799.

For Further Information

Nevins, Allan, and Henry Graff. “George Washington | Life, Presidency, Accomplishments, and Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 18 Feb. 2024,

Zapata, Christian. “George Washington: Facts, Revolution and Presidency | HISTORY.” HISTORY, 7 Feb. 2024,

George Washington’s Mount Vernon. “George Washington.” George Washington’s Mount Vernon,

Friday Titanic News

Happy Friday everyone! Well we are past the midpoint of February and now heading down the road to March. Valentine’s Day has come and gone. And Lent has begun for many Christians. Here are some news stories you might find interesting.


Collapsible lifeboat D photographed by passenger on Carpathia on the morning of 15 April 1912.
Public Domain(Wikipedia)

Total Croatia. “Meet Europe’s  Only Titanic Life Jacket – in Rijeka.” Total Croatia, 15 Feb. 2024,

This is how we get to the most interesting part of the story: one of the Croatian crew members, the 18-year-old waiter Josip Car from Rijeka, picked up one of the life jackets discarded by the castaways as Carpathia was making its way back to New York. He took this reminder of that fateful night back to Rijeka and donated it to the Maritime and History Museum of the Croatian Littoral in 1938. It’s not exactly clear how this iconic item ended up in storage, forgotten for decades, but fortunately, fate had it that two experts on the Titanic case visited the museum on one occasion, looking to gather more information on Carpathia.


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Fraga, Kaleena. “‘Titanic of the Alps’ Shipwreck From 1933 to Be Raised.” All That’s Interesting, 11 Feb. 2024,

Ninety years ago, a steamship called the Säntis was sunk in the middle of Lake Constance. Like the more famous Titanic, its stern lifted as water rushed in. The Swiss flag at its tip gave one last rustle, and then the ship slipped beneath the waves. Now, plans are afoot to raise the vessel.


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Wood, Alexandra. “The Enduring Mystery of Hull’s Titanic as City Remembers 50th Anniversary of Her Disappearance.” Yorkshire Post, 9 Feb. 2024,

It was Hull’s Titanic – an “unsinkable” supertrawler whose loss became one of the most enduring maritime mysteries of modern times. When Gaul sank 50 years ago this weekend in the Barents Sea, in the Arctic Ocean, during a force nine gale, with all 36 crew, some found it hard to accept that nature was to blame.


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Image: OceanGate

“Documents Detail OceanGate’s Battle With Whistleblower Years Before Fatal Titan Submersible Implosion.” ABC News, 8 Feb. 2024,

Years before an OceanGate submersible tragically imploded on its way to the wreckage of the Titanic, a former employee warned company executives about the inefficiency of their hull design and the company’s testing methods. The employee, who worked on the predecessor to the vessel that imploded, claimed his warnings went “dismissed on several occasions.” The search for OceanGate’s submersible, Titan 2, after it disappeared with five people onboard in June 2023 and the subsequent discovery that it imploded made headlines worldwide.

And now for your Friday entertainment. I opened the Wayback Machine and found the wonderful song Buena Sera sung by the great Dean Martin. Enjoy!

St. Valentine’s Day Massacre (14 Feb 1929)

Al Capone Mug Shot 1939
Al Capone mug shot, May 16 1929, Chicago, Illinois
Source: FBI

On 14 February 1929, the world was shocked by a massacre that took place in Chicago’s North Side. Gang warfare had become part of life in Chicago during the 1920’s as gangs jockeyed for control of the lucrative illegal trades in alcohol, gambling, and prostitution. The massacre that took place would make political leaders realize that Chicago was in serious trouble. And of one the most notorious of them was Al Capone.

Al Capone had risen to power over the years by taking over his rival’s crime rackets by force. In 1924 16 gang related murders were recorded and continued to grow each year. Since the problem was deemed a local and state issue, the U.S. federal government had little jurisdiction to investigate. While the bootlegging was a violation of federal law, none of the other crime operations were. Capone had pretty much bought control of Chicago through bribing police officers, judges, and politicians. Even if someone got elected on the promise to go after him, it was difficult with so many already on his side.

One of Capone’s major rivals was the Irish gangster George “Bugs” Moran who ran the bootlegging operation of a garage at 2122 North Clark Street. Gunmen dressed as police officers entered the garage and pretended to arrest them. The fake cops lined up the seven men facing the wall and opened fire killing them all (one did survive but died afterwards). At least 70 rounds of ammunition were used in the massacre. Moran was not there but he and others quickly blamed Al Capone, but he was conveniently in Florida at the time. No one was ever brought to trial for the murders and to this day remains one of the biggest unsolved crimes in history.

The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre ended any major opposition to Capone in Chicago. The North Side gang never recovered its power or place though Moran kept some control of it before leaving the city and his gang behind in the 1930’s. Capone was now the undisputed boss of the Chicago syndicate and was dubbed as Public Enemy No. 1 by the press. The massacre got the attention of federal authorities who began a grand jury to look into it. Capone did not appear to testify as ordered in March 1929 but did later resulting in his arrest for contempt of court. He was out on bond when down in Philadelphia he was arrested in May for having concealed weapons. He was sentenced to prison but ran his operation from there until he was released on good behavior nine months later. He would later be convicted of contempt of court in February 1931 and sent to Cook County Jail for six months.

The next phase of the action against Capone was to hit him in his operations and to investigate his sources of money for tax purposes. The famous Eliott Ness and his team tried to strike directly by raiding and shutting down his operations. The other operation was the investigation of the sources of his income. Special Agent Frank Wilson and others in the Internal Revenue Service did what is called forensic accounting to find out exactly how much Capone was earning from his illicit operations. It meant a lot of tracking down information and getting witnesses to provide key information, but it paid off. Wilson was able to show that Capone was failing to report his income as required by law and thus get him indicted and later convicted of tax evasion. To anyone watching, it must have been surreal. While everyone applauds Ness and his Untouchables, it was ultimately Capone’s failure to pay his taxes that got him sent to jail. He never recovered his place with the Chicago outfit and ultimately, because of syphilis, became an invalid. He was released from jail in 1939 and died a recluse in his Florida home in 1947. Public Enemy No I was no more.


“St. Valentine’s Day Massacre – Victims, Evidence and Suspects | HISTORY.” HISTORY, 9 Nov. 2009,

 “Saint Valentine’s Day Massacre | Victims, Al Capone, Bugs Moran, and Prohibition.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 7 Feb. 2024,

Valentine’s Day (14 Feb)

Shrine of St. Valentine in Whitefriar Street Carmelite Church in Dublin, Ireland
Photo: Blackfish (Wikimedia Commons)

Valentine’s Day is used by many to show their affection or love for someone they care about. It has spawned an industry for greeting card makers, candies, and of course flowers. However, there is a real religious component as many Christian denominations celebrate it as feast day, commemoration, or optional for the local diocese (such as the Catholic Church). Valentine was the name of many Christian martyrs in the early Church resulting in them all being remembered for their acts of sacrifice for the faith. Some denominations, such as Eastern Orthodox Church, celebrate a particular St. Valentine on two different days.

The association with romantic love could be linked to an ancient Roman festival has been made but there is no evidence of any link. Most seem to believe the link began with Chaucer’s Parlemont of Foules where he indicates birds choose their mates on St. Valentine’s Day although 14 Feb might not be the day Chaucer was referring to. Other poems made the association of love and St. Valentine’s Day in the medieval period and English Renaissance. For those who needed love verses but lacked the ability to compose them, publishers started offering them. Then putting them on paper and sending them became possible. Paper valentines became very popular in 19th century England resulting in their industrial production. They became popular in the United States as well. With such cards being popular, you needed other things to accompany a card. Roses and chocolates became popular, likely due to skillful marketing to associate them with the day. And so, Valentine’s Day became a very major day for greeting card companies, chocolate makers, and sellers of flowers (roses being the most popular flower for the day).

But Who Was Saint Valentine?

Saint Valentine is a Christian martyr who died in the 3rd century on April 14 but owing to the confusion there were at least three people named Saint Valentine, his actual history is lacking. One Saint Valentine was a priest and physician in Rome who was martyred in 270 AD under the reign of Claudius II Gothicus (reigned 268-270 AD). He was buried on the Via Flaminia and a basilica was reportedly put over it by Pope Julius I. Archaeological excavations have shown that a found evidence of the tomb. During the thirteenth century his relics were moved to the Church of Praxedes near the Basilica of St. Mary Major where they are today. A small church built near the Flaminian Gate (today called Porta de Popolo) was called in the twelfth century “the Gate of St. Valentine” adding more weight to this Saint Valentine.

The second Saint Valentine was reportedly the bishop of Terni, Italy (Interamna at the time). He too was arrested and martyred during the same emperor. However, it is not clear whether he was executed in Rome or in Terni. Some argue that St. Valentine I and Saint Valentine II are the same person and the accounts got jumbled up. There has been confusion in the past with two people who became saints sharing the same name. Usually, they have something extra added to differentiate (St. John of the Cross vs. St. John of Damascus). It is possible that there were two men named Valentine, one a priest in Rome and the other in Terni. We simply have no way of knowing.

The third St. Valentine was martyred in Africa along with his companions during the same period and possibly under the same emperor. In this case, there is nothing further known at all. Just a mention of it and no one can say for sure whether this is true or not. With three St. Valentine’s all claiming to have suffered martyrdom, all the church can say is that they died as martyrs for their faith. In 1969 St. Valentine was removed from the general Roman calendar making the commemoration of his feast day optional. As in the case of all saints so designated, it is up to the local bishops to decide whether to it observed. For example, the feast of St. Patrick is a solemnity in Ireland and in the diocese of New York but not elsewhere. St. Valentine is still considered a martyr by the Catholic church.


“Saint Valentine | Facts, Patron Saint of, Feast Day, History, and Legends.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 13 Feb. 2024,

 “Saint Julius I | Roman Bishop, Church Father, Defender.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 20 July 1998,

“Valentine’s Day 2024: Origins, Background and Traditions | HISTORY.” HISTORY, 22 Dec. 2009,

Saunders, William Father | History of St. Valentine.

Remembering President Abraham Lincoln

Photo: Public Domain (U.S. Library of Congress, digital id# cph.3a53289)

February 12 used to be celebrated as a federal and state holiday called Lincoln’s Birthday. However when it was decided in the 1990’s to consolidate all presidential birthday holidays (there were only two celebrated as a federal holiday-George Washington and Abraham Lincoln), the individual holidays were eliminated. So today we celebrate the traditional day that celebrates the life of Abraham Lincoln, who led this country through one of its most painful times-the War between the States or also called the American Civil War.
On 12 February 1809, future president Abraham Lincoln was born in Hodgenville, Kentucky. Growing up in a poor family in Kentucky and Indiana, he only attended school for one year. However, he was determined to improve his mind and read books to increase his knowledge. As an adult in Illinois, he held a number of jobs from postmaster to shopkeeper before entering politics by serving in the Illinois legislature from 1834-1842. He then served in Congress from 1847-1849. He married Mary Todd in 1842 and had four sons by him.

During the 1850’s he returned to politics and was an important leader in the new Republican Party. Slavery had been a major issue especially when new states or territories were being added. Though not an advocate for slavery, he sought to avoid conflict by limiting the expansion of slavery into new states but allowing it to remain where it was already practiced. The secessionist movement though was rising, and he argued that such a division would divide them and destroy the union created in the formation of the United States.

His oratory won him praises and recognition of his status as a leader. And it helped to cool the secessionists for a time. Though he did not seek the abolition of slavery in the South, when he was elected president in 1860 many states began seceding and war would soon commence between the United States and the Confederate States of America. Lincoln became fully committed as a result to the abolition of slavery. He would sign the Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 that freed slaves in the Confederate States. It did not apply right away to the entire nation (which was resolved by the 13th Amendment that outlawed for the entire nation).

Lincoln was known for his dry wit, his impressive stature at 6′ 4, and he also loved animals as well. During his time in the White House there were a variety of pets that included a pet turkey and a goat. His humor hid from people his depression at times as to what was going on with the war. He was plagued early on with military defeats and some generals who were more used to parade grounds than actually conducting military operations. Pro-Confederacy newspapers mocked him mercilessly. And Confederate sympathizers called him a despot for signing the Emancipation Proclamation. He was killed after the wars end by John Wilkes Booth on 14 April 1865. His favorite horse, Old Bob, was part of the funeral procession.

He is remembered as the Great Emancipator for under his presidency the United States fought to abolish slavery. While many criticize him for his moderate views in his early years, he became totally committed to its abolition during the war. While the 13th Amendment was passed by Congress before his assassination, it was not formally ratified by the states until December 1865.


“Abraham Lincoln | Biography, Childhood, Quotes, Death, and Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannica, 12 Feb. 2024,

“Abraham Lincoln: Facts, Birthday and Assassination | HISTORY.” HISTORY, 29 Oct. 2009,

Piccotti, Tyler. “Abraham Lincoln.” Biography, 28 Dec. 2023,

“Abraham Lincoln’s Presidency  | Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877  | U.S. History Primary Source Timeline  | Classroom Materials at the Library of Congress  | Library of Congress.” The Library of Congress,

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Purchase or view the movie Glory at Amazon.


Wednesday Titanic News: Titanic Band, Recreating Titanic Meal, and Conspiracy Theories

Austin, Jeannie. “Wallace Hartley and the Band of the Titanic. They Played on as the Ship Sank Beneath? Them.” Pinterest, 31 Mar. 2019,

One of the lingering images of Titanic is of the band. We know that they were on the deck of the ship playing music as people got in the lifeboats. There is some disagreement over whether they actually sang or played Nearer My God to Thee or a tune that was similar. However, no one disputes they were playing music and that they were heroes for doing it. None of them survived and only the band leader, Wallace Hartley, had his body returned. With him was his violin, which was auctioned off some years back to a collector.

Over at Classical Music, they explore the band and its history. One important note to remember, because it shocked many later, was that the band was not actually employed by White Star. They were hired for that sailing through an agent, who also owned some of their items they had with them. Since they were not employees, their surviving families could not seek any compensation from White Star. Ironically the company that they worked for actually sent notices to the families demanding compensation for company items lost in the sinking. Needless to say, the press ran with it causing lots of anger against the company.

At any rate, this story is worth a read as it reminds us of this band and its place in Titanic lore., Feb 2024. Classical Musicians of the Titanic: The Story of the Doomed Ship’s Musical Heroes.

Thanks in large part to the crass insistence of the ship’s owner, White Star Line, that cargo rate be paid for transporting recovered bodies back across the Atlantic, Titanic bandmaster Hartley was the sole victim of the disaster to be returned to the UK. The hearse bearing his rosewood casket wound a 59-mile mourner-lined journey from Liverpool docks to the Bethel Chapel in Colne, Hartley’s home town, where the funeral service took place. The crowd in and around the chapel was estimated at 40,000, half as much again as the town’s population.


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Titanic Lunch Menu 14 April 1912
Photo: AP

One item that people comment on is how much food people ate during the Edwardian Era. Mostly this was at dinner when you might have 7 or 8 courses and sometimes a lot more. And if you ate in First or Second class, you would be assured your meals would be exquisite. Dinner was a very formal affair in those classes, so you always dressed up (to show up in casual clothes would be unheard of) for it. And you be served an elegant meal that might be up to 12 courses served over a period of hours. You didn’t just eat. You socialized with everyone at your table and when you have such a high caliber group of people, no doubt the conversation was interesting at times.

Each year you see recreations of what was served on Titanic. This year Williamsburg Families will be holding a full 12 course meal on April 12, 2024. This looks to be quite the recreation as the menu looks like what Edwardians would have had on Titanic. I am not shilling for them, and it is not cheap either at $265 per person. So if you have the money, time, and will be near Williamsburg in Pennsylvania, it might be worth it.

“Enjoy the Last 1st Class 12 Course Meal on the R.M.S. Titanic Reimagined by the Chefs at the Rockefeller Room – April 12, 2024.” Williamsburg Families, 6 Feb. 2024,

“In honor of the Titanic and it’s world class Hospitality Brigade of French train chefs and service team, the Rockefeller Room’s Chefs and Restaurant staff bring a tantalizing recreation with a bit of reimagination of the featured last meal served to the First-Class passengers the evening before the iceberg created one of the most impactful moments in history. Prepare as we call you aboard for a Rockefeller Room exclusive twelve-course meal not soon to be forgotten.”


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Art on the Titanic is one of those smaller stories, yet important. Some priceless works of art such as a jeweled edition of The Rubyiat were lost when it sank. Other things did to and over at the Artlyst, the go over the various things that were lost and still sitting on the bottom of the Atlantic.

Artlyst, 3 Feb 2024. “The Lost Art and Priceless Chattels Aboard the Titanic.”

The tragedy of the Titanic not only claimed lives but also devoured treasures of immeasurable worth. Among the lost artefacts, a jeweled edition of The Rubaiyat, adorned with 1,500 precious stones set in gold, is a testament to human opulence and artistic craftsmanship. Sold for a princely sum of $1,900, this luxurious tome was destined for an American buyer, its journey abruptly halted by fate’s cruel hand.


Books on Titanic


There are all kinds of conspiracy theories from the wild to the truly bizarre about Titanic. You have supernatural ones (like the mummy curse), switched ship theories, submarine attack, the Illuminati and more. Perhaps the only ones yet to be explored are ones involving aliens or Atlantis. For me, I subscribe to the theory that Marvin the Martian was experimenting with a new weapon and Titanic got in the way. Anyway, over at Mental Floss they took a look at ten of the most popular ones. They have all been debunked but they still persist out there.

10 Wild Conspiracy Theories About the Sinking of the ‘Titanic,’ Explained.” Mental Floss, 2 Feb. 2024,

Conspiracy theories often emerge in the wake of tragic events, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the death of Princess Diana. It’s no surprise, then, that the most famous shipwreck in history—the sinking of the RMS Titanic on its first voyage in 1912, in which an estimated 1500 people died—has its fair share of conspiracy theories. Here are 10 theories that dispute the widely accepted facts about the Titanic tragedy.

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Welcome to February

February by Leandro Bassano,1595/1600
Public Domain (via Wikimedia Commons)

February is the second month on the current Gregorian calendar (and the same on the old Julian). It is the shortest month of the year with 28 days except in leap years when it is 29. The name is derived from Februarius, a purification ritual that was held around 15 February on the old Roman lunar calendar. Until the calendar was reformed under the Julian, January and February were the last two months of the year (although originally there were no months after December as the Romans considered the time a month less period until spring). For the southern hemisphere, the seasons are switched so they are heading towards Autumn, so it is the equivalent of August for them.

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With shorter number of days, it is the one month that can pass without a full moon (it happened in 2018). There are many fascinating names used during the month such as Snow Moon to indicate snow is on the ground. Some Native American tribes call it the Hunger Moon due to limited food sources during winter.

Why the leap year?

The old Roman calendar was ten months, which began in March and ended in December. When January and February were added it meant February became the last month of the year. That meant the month had to have 28 days to fit into the calendar. A leap month was introduced every few years after February to make room for the thirteenth month. This meant February had to be shortened. As you might guess, this made things a bit confusing. Julius Caesar introduced the new calendar in 46 BC (named for him of course). He abolished the 13th month and introduced the leap year so that every fourth year, February would have 29 instead of 28 days. Thus, the leap year was born and became part of the Gregorian calendar as well.

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