Columnist Gets Response On Titanic Piece

John O’Connor wrote way back in April about Titanic connections in Springfield, MA. Now he has a follow-up. It led to some interesting feedback:

Over the past several months, my April column, “Irish on Board the Titanic,” brought some interesting feedback. Who in 1912 could have imagined that in 2012 a gentleman in Australia would, after having read my column online on, would have emailed me about a Patrick O’Connor who was lost at sea? Late in April, after publication of the column, I received an envelope which I put in a file folder. The folder went into my briefcase and was forgotten, a definite sign of incipient senility.However, several months later, I opened the briefcase, and the letter fell out. The letter had a much more local origin than my inquiry from Australia. This was from John F. McDowell, from Springfield. He is the great-grandson of John Cotter.

You can read the column here.


1.,Family Tree: Titanic Column On Springfield Links To The Great Disaster Of 1912 Draws Reader Response From Around The World, 28 Nov 2012

2.,Titanic Tragedy Touched Springfield,12 April 2012

Sign of Times:Colne Museum Needs Money;Puts Titanic Binoculars Up For Sale

I suppose it was going to happen eventually. Many places are having trouble meeting Colne Titanic Binoculars For Saleexpenses due to the turbulent economic times we are in. The Titanic in Lancashire Museum in Colne (U.K.) has run into serious financial problems. So it has, with great regret, put binoculars presented to Captain Rostron of Carpathia (the ship that rescued Titanic’s survivors) up for sale at eBay. The starting bid is $600.00.

Museum curator Nigel Hampson said the venture would ‘absolutely, categorically prefer not to sell the binoculars’ but they needed to pay bills year-round. He added: “We do not want them to go. But we are between a rock and a hard place. Keeping the museum open costs money. “All the staff, myself included, are unpaid volunteers and all monies made are put back into the museum.“ But the fact remains that gas, electricity, phone and day-to-day expenses all have to be covered.

It is sad to see this happen but they are between a rock and hard place. However I hope this never has to happen. I believe there are a lot of Titanic enthusiasts in the U.K. and elsewhere that will want to help out. Donations can be made at their website.

Source: Lancashire Telegraph, Colne Museum’s Cash-Strapped Bosses Put Titanic Binoculars On eBay, 29 Nov 2012

Titanic Iceberg Photo To Be Auctioned In December

RR Auction will be auctioning the photo and other Titanic memorabilia at a live auction on 16 December.Titanic Iceberg Photograph

Included in the many live auction lots along with will be an original Titanic deck chair — one of only seven complete deck chairs known to exist — and an amazing and extremely rare vintage photo of the “blueberg” iceberg just two days before it struck and sank the Titanic. Amazing and extremely rare original 9.75 x 8 photo of a uniquely-shaped ‘blueberg’ photographed by the captain of the Leyland Line steamer S. S. Etonian two days before Titanic collided with it. The photo shows a massive iceberg with a very distinctive elliptical shape, and is captioned in black ink by the captain, “Copyright. Blueberg taken by Captain W. F. Wood S. S. Etonian on 12/4/12 in Lat 41° 50 W Long 49° 50 N.”

Pre auction bidding begins on 8 Dec with the live auction on 16 Dec. The auction will take place at Crowne-Plaza Hotel in Nashua, NH. Further details are at RR Auction.

Source: Art Daily,The Iceberg That Sunk Titanic To Be Featured At RR Auction Live Event In December,28 Nov 2012

Titanic Plan On Display In Belfast

From The Irish Independent:

The world’s most expensive Titanic artefact has gone on public display in a centre dedicated to the doomed liner. The 32ft-long plan of the ship, which was used as a reference guide during the 1912 British inquiry into the sinking, has been passed to Titanic Belfast by a mystery benefactor. The anonymous collector bought the well-preserved paper diagram at auction for £220,000 last year. It bears ink marks denoting exactly where engineers giving evidence to the Board of Trade inquiry determined the White Star Line vessel had struck the iceberg on its fateful transatlantic maiden voyage in April 1912.

Source: Irish Independent, Ship Plan On Show At Titanic Centre, 27 Nov 2012

Spokesman For Republican Governors Association Uses Titanic Cliche

There are many legitimate concerns about how the new health care law will cost taxpayers. Like many government programs, it will be messy. At any rate, Mike Schrimpf, spokesman for the Republican Governors Association had this to say about all the new people that will soon be part of this health care system:

“For many states placing more individuals into a broken system would be like adding more passengers to the Titanic,” said Mike Schrimpf, a spokesman for the Republican Governors Association. “And regardless of whether it’s federal dollars or state dollars, taxpayers are still on the hook.”

Okay, so I assume you mean these people will be like the unfortunate souls unable to escape Titanic and died. Perhaps there was a better way to say this rather than resorting to a cliche. So Mr. Schrimpf I award you Titanic Cliche of Day, which comes with Fractured Finger Award with the words “I promise not to use Titanic Cliche Again” on imitation brass plate.

Source: 9News, Report: Obama Health Law A Good Deal For States, 26 Nov 2012

Titanic Menus Fetch Over £100,000 At Auction

BBC News is reporting that a First Class Titanic lunch menu sold for £64,000($102,605) and a VIP menu from Titanic’s launch went for £36,000 ($57,714). The auction was held by Henry Aldridge and Son on Saturday.

Source: BBC News, Two Titanic Menus Fetch More Than £100,000 At Auction In England, 25 Nov 2012

Thanksgiving Lessons

1. Brined turkey is best.

2. Deep fried turkey is delicious but you must do it with care. Put the turkey in a cooker situated not in your home, balcony or driveway but away from any buildings. And please do not be a fool! Frozen turkey and hot oil is explosive.

3. Stuffing is not evil but stovetop and baked is the best. Putting raw stuffing inside a bird (especially with uncooked sausage in it) is pretty foolish.

4. Homemade gravy is far better than canned or made from packs. I use a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen that is all purpose, easy to make and store. Nothing and I mean nothing can compare to homemade.

5. Cranberry sauce is easy to make if your grocer has them fresh. Be sure to pick the berries over well before cooking them. Avoid the canned stuff especially the kind that comes out looking like a prop from a horror movie.

8. I love mashed potatoes but for the most silky and creamy use Yukon Gold potatoes. Be sure to wash them before you put them in the pot. Getting rid of extra starch leaves room for the melted butter (put first into the potatoes) and them warm half & half. Put the cooked potatoes through either a ricer or food mill. I use a food mill and it is worth the effort because the result in both creamy and silky potatoes.

9. If you are a terrible baker like me, buying a fresh pie from a good baker is a better idea usually. However Claim Jumper has a very good frozen pumpkin pie worth trying. Bad part: the 2 hour wait for it to cool!

10. 2 good movies to watch on Thanksgiving: 1)Miracle on 34th Street; 2)A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Movies to avoid: zombie. Any PBS special promising a major star but drops out every 15 minutes for a pledge break. Food TV shows that promise a perfect Thanksgiving but always end with the star eating at someone else’s place. Anything Thanksgiving from Anthony Bourdain. His ego is so big that no bird can possibly compete. Any Hallmark/Lifetime/OWN movie where someone gets hit on the head and wakes up to find themselves in an alternate universe.

I recommend America’s Test Kitchen and Cook’s Illustrated for good recipes.
That’s it for this year! Have any lessons of your own?

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Thanksgiving Proclamation

Thanksgiving was not an official national holiday until 1863. A letter from a 74-year magazine editor, Sarah Josepha Hale, inspired President Abraham Lincoln to create a national holiday. She wrote in 1863 that we needed to have a national day of Thanksgiving so that everyone could celebrate it on the same day. At the time Thanksgiving was celebrated by the various states but not on the same date. She wanted President Lincoln to make it a national day so it would become a permanent part of “American custom and institution.”

According to Abraham Lincoln Online , other presidents had ignored such requests. Lincoln decided to act on her request and directed a proclamation be drawn up. On 3 October 1863, President Lincoln’s proclamation that establishes Thanksgiving as a national day was issued. It sets aside the last Thursday of November as a “day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.” Secretary of State William Seward actually drafted the proclamation which Lincoln signed. Thanksgiving became a national holiday and was celebrated on that date until 1939. President Roosevelt in 1939, 1940 and1941 changed it to the third Thursday (to extend the Christmas season) causing considerable controversy. A joint resolution of Congress in 1941 resolved it by decreeing Thanksgiving would fall on the fourth Thursday of November.

Lincoln’s proclamation was written during the American Civil War, a terrible time in U.S. history. Today we forget why this day was made a national holiday. It was to thank God for the blessings of liberty but also to ask his help. In our politically correct times, this proclamation is not always read in full or edited. So here is the original proclamation. Read it and understand why Lincoln thought a national day of Thanksgiving was needed for the United States of America.

Proclamation Establishing Thanksgiving Day
October 3, 1863

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies.  To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God.  In the midst of a civil war of unequalled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the advancing armies and navies of the Union.  Needful diversions of wealth and of strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not arrested the plough, the shuttle, or the ship; the axe had enlarged the borders of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore.  Population has steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp, the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consciousness of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years, with large increase of freedom.

No human counsel hath devised nor hath any mortal hand worked out these great things.  They are the gracious gifts of the Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and voice by the whole American people.  I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the Heavens.   And I recommend to them that while offering up the ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they do also, with humble penitence for our national perverseness and disobedience, commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged, and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand, and caused the seal of the United States to be affixed.
Done at the city of Washington, this third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the independence of the United States the eighty-eighth.
A. Lincoln


Titanic Pigeon Forge Plans Christmas, Titanic Murder Mystery Coming To Nintendo

Just a few items before I take time away for Thanksgiving.

1) A Titanic Christmas
The folks over at Pigeon Forge are once again going all out for Christmas. On 22 November the Christmas season kicks off  with snowfall off Titanic’s bow, a visit from Father Christmas, and fireworks. More snowfall and a visit from Father Christmas is scheduled for 22 and 24 Nov (both @ 7p.m.) Each December Saturday will also have the snowfall and Father Christmas. A new Titanic exhibit featuring a little known link to the Biltmore house in Ashville, North Carolina is also featured. More information about Christmas schedule and other things can be found at

2) Murder On The Titanic, a hidden object game, will be released for Nintendo 3DS on 6 Dec. According to the press blurb: “It takes place on the Titanic in 1912, with you playing as the assistant to a globetrotter named Professor Jacob Larsson. On April 14th—that happens to be the day before the Titanic’s sinking—the ship’s captain requests Larsson’s help in solving the mystery behind a stoker’s body, which is discovered onboard.”

I wonder if they tossed in a mummy as well. 🙂

Have a nice Thanksgiving everyone.

1. WBIR-TV, Holidays At The Titanic Museum Attraction, 20 Nov 2012
2. Siliconera, Murder on the Titanic Brings A Murder Mystery To Nintendo 3DS eShop, 20 Nov 2012