A remarkable absence of Titanic news this weekend. Last year was the hundredth anniversary, and that seems to have exhausted media interest in the subject. Too bad; this story didn’t get much play. They found the violin played by the band as the ship sank.

As the Titanic sank, the band famously played on. And more than 100 years after the tragedy, the violin owned by the band leader has been confirmed as a survivor.

The instrument used by Wallace Hartley was thought by some to have been lost in the Atlantic in the 1912 disaster.

But in 2006 the son of an amateur musician found it in an attic, complete with a silver plate showing its provenance.

In related news: another toilet-related problem for a cruise ship. 

It was anything but flush for hundreds aboard the Crown Princess last week.

The Crown Princess returned to Galveston Saturday after toilets broke down during the seven-day Caribbean cruise to Honduras, Belize and Cozumel - the latest in a recent rash of problems for parent company Carnival.

A blockage within the vacuum toilet system caused commodes in 410 staterooms in the aft part of the ship to temporarily stop flushing, said Julie Benson, a cruise line spokeswoman. Public restrooms were available to passengers in the affected cabins, and passengers were kept "continuously updated about the progress of repairs," she said.

What was supposed to be a relaxing vacation turned into a soggy, stopped-up mess for Fonda Boyd, 44, of Dallas and several of her friends.

Everyone got a $50 voucher.

PAY UP TurboTax had some online problems yesterday, but everything’s fine now. Don’t worry. But wouldn’t it be nice if the government just sent you a bill, saving you from the trials and traumas of tax day? The Verge notes:

In several European countries, filing tax returns is a near-automatic process: instead of painstakingly calculating figures yourself, the government estimates what you owe based on wage and bank account data that it already collects, and you make any necessary adjustments.

If you’re going to link to something you paraphrased, don’t reuse words like “painstakingly,” because they tend to stand out. Anyway, the Verge piece continues:

Why isn't there a similar "returns-free filing" system in the US? According to a report in ProPublica, the primary culprit could be Intuit, the maker of popular returns software TurboTax.

I’m not sure “popular” is the word. “Purchased with a heavy heart and a sullen, bitter acceptance of the miseries to come” might be better. Reserve “popular” for things people enjoy. If there’s ever a home DIY Root-Canal kit, it might be frequently purchased, but it would never be popular.


WEB North Korea’s various sites have been hijacked by Anonymous. CNET ponders:

What's the goal behind Anonymous' attacks, other than to tweak the nose of North Korea?

In a separate Pastebin post, the group said it wants the government to stop making "nukes and nuke-threats." It also wants Kim Jong-un to resign, North Korea to set up a democracy, and the country to allow uncensored Internet access for its citizens.

So far, though, the North Korean government doesn't seem to be swayed by Anonymous' actions.

”So far” suggests we’re a few more hacked sites away from a change in government policy, which doesn’t seem likely. Here’s one of the images that greeted Nork viewers when they called up a webpage:



You wonder if Anonymous considered how many people got sent to the camps for letting that happen. Or seeing it in the first place.


UPDATE Recall the story about the NYC attempt to license costumed characters in Times Square? One reporter goes nside the dark, elmo-eat-elmo world of Times Square costumed tip-hustlers:

When Pooh set up in front of the Toys ‘R’ Us on Broadway at 44th Street with his “Hunny” tip jar, a group of other characters immediately began eyeing the newcomer with suspicion.

 There aren’t enough [tourists] here for all of us. You have to leave, OK?” Minnie said. “Try across the street. We are too many, you know?”

More here.

That’s all for today; I have a cold, and it is cold, and it’s April 15th, and there are workmen ripping up a wall in my house to fix a bathtub pipe from 1914. Things can only get better.