USS Connecticut

Today in U.S. Naval History: December 16
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

USS Connecticut (BB-18), leading the Atlantic Fleet to Sea, circa December 1907, probably at the start of the cruise around the world. (Photo: The Navy Department Library)

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court

“You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

“Words are only painted fire, a look is the fire itself. She gave that look, and carried it away to the treasury of heaven, where all things that are divine belong.”

“My kind of loyalty was loyalty to one's country, not to its institutions or its officeholders. The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death.”

 “You can't throw too much style into a miracle.”

 “People talk about beautiful relationships between two persons of the same sex. What is the best of that sort as compared with the friendship of man and wife where the best impulses and highest ideals of both are the same? There is no place for comparison between the two friendships; the one is earthly, the other divine.”

 “How empty is theory in the presence of fact!”

 “I was gradually coming to have a mysterious and shuddery reverence for this girl; nowadays whenever she pulled out from the station and got her train fairly started on one of those horizonless transcontinental sentences of hers, it was borne in upon me that I was standing in the awful presence of the Mother of the German Language. I was so impressed with this, that sometimes when she began to empty one of these sentences on me I unconsciously took the very attitude of reverence, and stood uncovered; and if words had been water, I had been drowned, sure. She had exactly the German way; whatever was in her mind to be delivered, whether a mere remark, or a sermon, or a cyclopedia, or the history of a war, she would get it into a single sentence or die. Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.”

“Intellectual 'work' is misnamed; it is a pleasure, a dissipation, and is its own highest reward. The poorest paid architect, engineer, general, author, sculptor, painter, lecturer, advocate, legislator, actor, preacher, singer, is constructively in heaven when he is at work; and as for the magician with the fiddle-bow in his hand, who sits in the midst of a great orchestra with the ebbing and flowing tides of divine sound washing over him - why, certainly he is at work, if you wish to call it that, but lord, it's a sarcasm just the same. The law of work does seem utterly unfair - but there it is, and nothing can change it: the higher the pay in enjoyment the worker gets out of it, the higher shall be his pay in cash also.”

“The fact is, the king was a good deal more than a king, he was a man; and when a man is a man, you can't knock it out of him.”

 “We must have a religion — it goes without saying — but my idea is, to have it cut up into forty free sects, so that they will police each other, as had been the case in the United States in my time. Concentration of power in a political machine is bad; and and an Established Church is only a political machine; it was invented for that; it is nursed, cradled, preserved for that; it is an enemy to human liberty, and does no good which it could not better do in a split-up and scattered condition. That wasn’t law; it wasn’t gospel: it was only an opinion — my opinion, and I was only a man, one man: so it wasn’t worth any more than the pope’s — or any less, for that matter.”

 “His head was an hour-glass; it could stow an idea, but it had to do it a grain at a time, not the whole idea at once.”

“But it is a blessed provision of nature that at times like these, as soon as a man's mercury has got down to a certain point there comes a revulsion, and he rallies. Hope springs up, and cheerfulness along with it, and then he is in good shape to do something for himself, if anything can be done.”

 “whenever the literary german dives into a sentence, this is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his atlantic with his verb in his mouth.”

 “I persuaded him to throw the dirk away; and it was as easy as persuading a child to give up some bright fresh new way of killing itself.”

 “Their very imagination was dead. When you can say that of a man he has struck bottom... there is no lower deep for him.”

 “The only man who behaved sensibly was my tailor; he took my measurement anew every time he saw me, while all the rest went on with their old measurements and expected them to fit me.”

 “Unlimited power is the ideal thing when it is in safe hands. The despotism of heaven is the one absolutely perfect government, and earthly despotism would be the absolute perfect earthly government if the conditions were the same; namely the despot the perfectest individual of the human race, and his lease of life perpetual; but as a perishable, perfect man must die and leave his despotism in the hands of an imperfect successor, an earthly despotism is not merely a bad form of government, it is the worst form that is possible.”

“He begged hard, and said he couldn't play—a plausible excuse, but too thin; there wasn't a musician in the country that could.”

“Training- training is everything; training is all there is to a person. We speak of nature; it is folly; there is no such thing as nature; what we call by that misleading name is merely heredity and training. We have no thoughts of our own, no opinions of our own; they are transmitted to us, trained into us.”

 “You see, he was going for the Holy Grail. The boys all took a flier at the Holy Grail now and then. It was a several years' cruise. They always put in the long absence snooping around, in the most conscientious way, though none of them had any idea where the Holy Grail really was, and I don't think any of them actually expected to find it, or would have known what to do with it if he had run across it.”

“All the first years, their only question had been -- asked with beseechings and tears that might have moved stone, in time, perhaps, but hearts are not stones: "Is he alive?" "Is she alive?”

“There was a slight noise from the direction of the dim corner where the ladder was. It was the king descending. I could see that he was bearing something in one arm, and assisting himself with the other. He came forward into the light; upon his breast lay a slender girl of fifteen. She was but half conscious; she was dying of smallpox. Here was heroism at its last and loftiest possibility, its utmost summit; this was challenging death in the open field unarmed, with all the odds against the challenger, no reward set upon the contest, and no admiring world in silks and cloth of gold to gaze and applaud; and yet the king’s bearing was as serenely brave as it had always been in those cheaper contests where knight meets knight in equal fight and clothed in protecting steel. He was great now; sublimely great. The rude statues of his ancestors in his palace should have an addition—I would see to that; and it would not be a mailed king killing a giant or a dragon, like the rest, it would be a king in commoner’s garb bearing death in his arms that a peasant mother might look her last upon her child and be comforted.”

 “We speak of nature; it is folly; there is no such thing as nature; what we call by that misleading name is merely heredity and training. We have no thoughts of our own, no opinions of our own; they are transmitted to us, trained into us.”

“But as soon as one is at rest in this world off he goes on something else to worry about.”

“Whenever the literary German dives into a sentence, that is the last you are going to see of him till he emerges on the other side of his Atlantic with his verb in his mouth.”

“The country is the real thing, the substantial thing, the eternal thing; it is the thing to watch over, and care for, and be loyal to; institutions are extraneous, they are its mere clothing, and clothing can wear out, become ragged, cease to be comfortable, cease to protect the body from winter, disease, and death. To be loyal to rags, to shout for rags, to die for rags--that is a loyalty of unreason, it is pure animal; it belongs to monarchy, was invented by monarchy; let monarchy keep it.”

“Dear me, what would this barren vocabulary get out of the mightiest spectacle?—the burning of Rome in Nero's time, for instance? Why, it would merely say, 'Town burned down; no insurance; boy brast a window, fireman brake his neck!' Why, THAT ain't a picture!”

 “Wherefore, I beseech you let the dog and the onions and these people of the strange and godless names work out their several salvations from their piteous and wonderful difficulties without help of mine, for indeed their trouble is sufficient as it is, whereas an I tried to help I should but damage their cause the more and yet mayhap not live myself to see the desolation wrought.”

“Bridgeport?" Said I.
"Camelot," Said he.”
― Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court 

1935 Connecticut Tercentenary Half Dollar

The 1935 Connecticut Tercentenary Commemorative Half Dollar is a somewhat underrated issue that was quite popular at the time of issue, selling out of the entire authorized mintage. While this issue is not considered to be the scarcest, most beautiful, or most difficult to find early commemorative half dollar, it is an issue whose intricate design and historical interest make it a very worthwhile one to discuss.
Connecticut has been home to indigenous tribes for thousands of years before first explored by Europeans (the Dutch) in the early 17th century. Settlement (by the English) came in the mid 1630s, when numerous small towns arose along the Connecticut River and its tributaries, the main body of which drains into the Long Island Sound.  Initial settlement by the English was not the Connecticut Colony, which would be founded in 1636, but the Saybrook Colony settled a few months early in late 1635. Settled by John Winthrop (who was the son of the Governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony) that particular colony never thrived and is more or less forgotten, and it joined the Connecticut Colony less than 10 years later, in 1644.
There also was the New Haven Colony, which was another separate colony founded in what is now the state of Connecticut, but not until 1637. It was somewhat successful in trading with both the Dutch as well as other English traders, thanks to its location on the Connecticut River. It was founded by a Puritan minister as an exile when it appeared to their leader, John Davenport, that other colonies were lacking in their religious observances. The colony existed for almost thirty years, until it merged with the Connecticut Colony as well in 1665.
As for the Connecticut Colony itself, it had originally been known as the River Colony, no doubt because of the sheer importance of the Connecticut River during early settlement and afterwards. In 1662 Connecticut received a Royal Charter from King Charles II of England. During this period, and in fact into the 19th century, Connecticut was somewhat unusual in that there was no separation of powers, and the legislative branch of government generally had it’s say over both the judiciary and executive branches of government. In addition to this, the Royal Charter gave unprecedented power to the Governor of the colony, and overall the situation was among the more confusing in the new world.

The Royal Charter itself would play a major role in Connecticut’s history, and the reason that there is an oak tree on the obverse of a commemorative coin issued three-hundred years later. While facts on the matter are scarce, and during the past few centuries it is very well possible that fact and fiction have been mixed a time or two, but according to legend the Royal Charter was hidden in an oak tree (which would later become known as the “Charter Oak”) in 1687 when the Governor of New England (and previously of New York), Edmund Andros, tried to confiscate the Royal Charter and annex Connecticut into New England. To prevent this from happening, the Royal Charter was hidden in an Oak Tree, and although Andros would very briefly rule over Connecticut, the Royal Charter stayed out of his hands.

Charles De Wolff Brownell "The Charter Oak"

Because of its importance to Connecticut history (and folk legend) the Charter Oak was prominently featured on the obverse of the 1935 Connecticut Tercentenary, designed by Henry G. Kreiss. The Oak itself, which stood outside of Hartford, Connecticut and had been important to the Native Americans for hundreds of years, fell in a violent storm in 1856. A year later artist Charles De Wolff Brownell forever immortalized the tree in an oil painting, titled “The Charter Oak”, and his painting was the source for the design of the coin less than a century later.

The tree, in full bloom with long branches extending to its right side, takes up most of the obverse of the coin. Part of the ground is visible, but no other visual elements can be seen. Below the oak, in capital letters, is “CONNECTICUT”, and below that are the dual dates 1635-1935. In the upper left near the rim is “IN GOD WE TRUST” and on the right side is “LIBERTY”. The tree on the coin bears a striking resemblance to the painting of De Wolff Brownell, and the tree appears very naturalistic and lifelike.

The reverse features an American Eagle, facing left. Perhaps it can be considered to be among the finest appearances of this bird on an American coin, as once again the scene is rather naturalistic. The eagle stands on what appears to be a branch, which has the denomination as “HALF DOLLAR” right below it. In the lower left field is the motto “E PLURIBUS UNUM” and from about 9 to 3 o’clock are the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. Right below this are thirteen stars, representing the original thirteen colonies of the United States (including Connecticut, of course).

As previously mentioned a total of 25,000 coins were struck at the Philadelphia Mint, plus a small number of assay coins and reportedly four proofs, which are very rarely seen. This issue sold well, and remains in demand, with many high grade examples surviving in MS-65 and MS-66 grades. The issue becomes very scarce in MS-67, and in MS-68 both PCGS and NGC have each graded a single coin, making it a condition rarity in those top grades.

New Haven TV personality Mike Warren dies at 80

Dec. 02--BRANFORD -- Mike Warren, easy-going TV companion to young Baby Boomers in the 1960s as Mr. Goober on New Haven television, died Friday at age 80.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Ronna, and five of his six children.
Born Warren Edwin Getzinger, he played the aging Mr. Goober five days a week on WNHC-8 (later to become WTNH) in a plaid shirt, overalls, a hat and wire-rimmed glasses.
"When I started that show, I was in my 20s," he told the Register in 2009 from Branford, where he lived for 44 years with Ronna. He joked that he no longer needed makeup to play Mr. Goober.
His children also had his child-tested TV character on their minds Sunday.
"Of all of our father's various personas in television, the one that came the closest to the real Warren Getzinger was Mr. Goober," said his daughter Ann Getzinger of Brooklyn, N.Y. "His charm, wit and especially his penchant for puns were always on display."
Warren in the 1970s went on to do the morning talk show "Dialing for Dollars" at Channel 8 with the late Bob Norman, even though some people told him he couldn't make the transition from kids' show character to daytime host. The show led to breezy "AM Connecticut" and "12 O'Clock Live," which continues at WTNH as "News Channel 8 at Noon" and its companion show "Connecticut Style."
Daughter Jennifer Getzinger of Los Angeles said Warren "loved the excitement of being a part of the collective experience of entertainment... And he loved finding connections with audiences of all ages. In the '60s and '70s he moved from hosting a bandstand show to a children's show to daytime talk shows -- something that would be unheard of today."
Former WTNH reporter/anchor Kenn Venit said Sunday that "Mike was a gentleman and a broadcaster, an accolade that indicates how he served the public in an exceptionally honorable fashion. He was always great to work with, and no matter what the ups and downs of life at Channel 8, he always rose above the fray and moved on to the next challenge."
Venit said he joined a great staff at Channel 8 in 1970. "Mike was part of the Bob Norman-George Thompson-Dick Galiette era when the station had many programs and personalities. Everyone was a seasoned broadcaster, and they taught me a lot about the public trust we shared."
Warren had moved to Connecticut in 1961 from his native Wisconsin to host "Connecticut Bandstand" on WNHC-TV. He then created "Mr. Goober and Friends" based on a character he developed in his home state. After his TV career, he worked in radio and marketing, his obituary says.
Warren lost his son, Scott Getzinger, in April 2012 in a crash on the Merritt Parkway in Stamford after Scott's pickup truck was struck by a Lexus and spun out of control in the oncoming lane and crossed the median divider. Scott had worked as a property master on 25 well-known theatrical films.
Jennifer Getzinger, who has broadened her father's legacy with her own work in TV as director of shows such as "Mad Men," was inspired by her father's time in TV and his good character.
"My father's ever-positive, believe-anything-is-possible attitude was infectious and made me believe I could do it too. He gave me my dream and the strength to pursue it. What greater gift is there?"
Jennifer said Sunday that the family was "talking about how much his tagline at the end of the Goober show said about the man he was: 'You be good to each other now, won't you?'"
Services are scheduled Wednesday at St. Therese Church in Branford.

Connecticut once bordered by Pacific Ocean

Catharine Hadley
Staff writer

The land that is now Danbury Township (Ohio) was once part of Connecticut.
In 1662 King Charles II of England granted a Royal Charter, giving the State of Connecticut the land between the 41st and 42nd parallel from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
After the Revolutionary War, other states claimed parts of the western territories, leaving Connecticut with a tract 120 miles long along the southern shore of Lake Erie.
According to information from the Erie County Historical Society, even though there was not much military activity in the state of Connecticut during the war, the British forces attempted to cripple the manufacturing and shipping activities that were keeping American forces supplied.
Civilian properties such as homes, churches and schools were destroyed. One of the worst episodes was in Norwalk, where 80 of the 86 homes in the town were burned, along with two churches, 87 barns, four mills and five vessels.
Danbury Township in Ottawa County was part of the land that was given to the “Fire Sufferers,” many of whom died or sold their claims to speculators.
Information for this article was provided by the websites for the Firelands Historical Society, for Historic Lyme Village and for Erie County.