Tuesday, June 30, 2009

It's a Standard

Since socio-anthropologists of the future may inadvertently refer to this Journal from time to time (if there's still "time" at that time) while looking for clues as to why and how that kooky Twenty-First Century Internet fad eventually expired, I think that it is incumbent upon me to chronicle some of the benchmarks in that extirpation.
Here's one:
How the online newspapers went the way of the paper newspaper, exemplified by the wildly chaotic dissemblage of the New Bedford Standard Times' prank website, SouthCoastToday.
And you, dear reader of this Journal, might have induced what I believe has precipitated that undoing, at least in my briefly-profitable print journalist's eyes: comments sections.
As with everything else in this new world of ubiquitous vulgarity and amateur slop, the respectable public is asked to quietly endure the continued misinterpretation of First Amendment rights exhibited by self-important shut-ins who must deface every bit of online commentary space in order to reinforce their own dumb-founding narcissism by imprinting their demesne anonymously.
Unfortunately, badgers are more discriminating and gallant in marking their territory.
As if it were a medical condition (and I'm sure that it is), commentarazzi "comment" on every article in the online version of the local newspaper. They habitually voice the same knee-jerk responses to articles, letters to the editor, editorials, and opinion columns. You can recognize their tired cants, as they cry out through the bars on their cells: "Look, world, I'm alone in here, flinging my feces!!!"
One such is obsessed with repeatedly and viciously attacking friends of mine. Oh, and also homosexuals, crime victims, community volunteers, women, activists, environmentalists, educators, children, and Democrats. Like most of his peers, he demeans every community event, hope, idea, and undertaking, snivelingly huffing into the all-too-common coward's gambit usually referred to as the "hit-and-run."
There's the guy who calls the local radio station, exhibiting an inability to apprehend the difference between "non-profit"and "charity." Which elicits uproarious and pitying laughter in some sectors.
Then there are the delusionals who carefully search each story for a missing bit of punctuation or fact-finding, and point out how the whole entire world has been forever fouled due to that carelessness. The zany irony is that one idiot posts three or four times in rapid succession to correct himself. Without ever prefacing each fussbudgetty rant with "And another thing!"
There's the local hypercritical "environmental" obsessive who links to hysterical stories about Love Canal.
And the guy who hawks his own denigrating and demeaning website in blatant and imprudently-tolerated violation of the SouthCoastResponse terms of service. (There, he features his own bulletin-board forum for like-minded contrarian imbeciles and their strawmen, sockpuppets, and red herrings. In a perfect world, he would merely be providing a lamebrained incidental online counterpoint to actual, responsible news sources. This world: not so perfect, what with there not actually being an actual, responsible news source and all.)
These blatherskites who assume that their comments must make some whit of difference to the newspaper organization are constantly and fanatically prattling only to the ether. I know members of the writing staff who certainly don't read the nonsense. I have heard rumors that someone is employed to do so, but none of the writing staff that I know even bother to look at it. (I was even told that a former owner merely shrugs and shakes his head whenever the thing is mentioned.)
Besides wearisome cliché-ridden harrying of the political adversaries lurking in their paranoid delusions, their most constant bugbear appears to be the newspaper organization itself. Here, I pick no argument. The paper is ludicrously inept, and wields no blue pencil at irrelevant and vague detail, character assassination, suspicious fictions, irresponsible palaver, and groundless fabrication present in their comments.
Of course, by definition, any admonition offered to the commentarazzi against soiling their own linens is both feckless and fruitless.
Plus, these habitually whiny victims will just stamp their little feet about their "rights" being violated or some such rot. Unaware that their pointless scribblings merely provide unrecognized and unremunerated content to the already content-light online Standard-Times, they will battle to continue enhancing only the make-believe selling point: "site visitors."
My own pathetic obsession with scrolling past the last line for the outlandish entertainment below notwithstanding, I see no use in the continued misuse of the paper's resources. As the commentarazzi impractically and absurdly complain about their rights, the rest of us are left only to deal with their wrongs.

"Amateur historian" indeed

From this morning's NY Times, Sam Roberts scribbles a bit of ephemera about bits of ephemera:

Forlornly unidentified and altogether forgotten, these sites have been literally lost to history.
On Avenue of the Americas, there is a block where the first cellphone call was completed in 1973; on West 125th Street, where the old Blumstein’s department store stood, nothing marks the place where the Rev. Dr.
Martin Luther King Jr. was stabbed in 1958.
Then there is the spot on Fifth Avenue where
Winston
Churchill
, crossing against the light, was struck by a car in 1931 and nearly killed. And what about the old Winter Garden Theater at 691 Broadway? In 1864, on the very night that Confederate sympathizers singled out the Lafarge
Hotel next door in their plot to burn down New York, the Booth brothers — John Wilkes, Junius Brutus Jr. and Edwin — starred in “Julius Caesar.” The benefit performance, which was billed as the brothers’ sole joint engagement, raised
$3,500 for the
Shakespeare statue that still stands in Central Park.
Andrew Carroll, 39, an amateur historian, is embarking this week on a 50-state journey to uncover, memorialize and preserve these and other sites where history happened serendipitously, and which, for one reason or another, have been relegated to anonymity.

No relation, but there's obviously something about English majors named "Carroll" with an interest in history. Andrew's website is: http://www.hereiswhere.org/.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Skoal'n'Bold


Also, Charleston Harbor Fest 2009. Have fun.

This madman is the poet; and his choice
The choice of them who leave the charted streams
To follow freedom with her siren voice,
And drift athwart the haunted gulf of dreams.
Wild the nocturnal wind, and grim the sea
To those who violate her mystery;
Yet better than safe ships that dread no gale.
The wanderer's broken raft and ragged sail.

St. John Lucas, "The Ship and the Raft"

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

...or did I just dream it?

"So, for me, at least, the Tall Ships is about possibly inspiring one of our own young Bostonians to look beyond Fenway Park and meet everyday heroes of the sea, and perhaps set foot on a sailing ship themselves one day. It's much more likely they will get out to sea once in their lives than on the mound at Fenway."
- Laurie Fullerton, Essex (MA)
Boston.com

Laurie's answering a piece of political in-twerping by "The Observer" Sam Allis in the Boston Globe who misses the idea of a Tall Ships Parade, like most lubbers do.
Ach.
Who am I kidding? What a TallShip™ parade represents is a "a flavour of will o' the wisp," a phantasm, the ignis fatuus that ever-so-briefly illuminates a spark that speculates a possibility, a hankering for a longing, a question of a dream, a languish of a reverie.
As a young boy, it took me no time at all to determine that the ocean is cool. I would spend hours in the Sakonnet River behind our house, jumping off the dock and swimming, eyes open underwater in order to marvel at barnacles and minnows and crabs and whatever else engrossed me.
In a very few Summers, I was grabbing whatever flotsam I found on the strand and dragging it to the water. If it held my weight, I ventured further out. A surfboard, an abandoned work skiff, a neighbor's Sunfish; these eventually led to friendships and bigger ships.
But the earliest epiphany for me was: "Here I am, sitting on the beach and I know that there is a busy world below the waves. How empty and shallow a life is that one that doesn't see past the merely visible -- the poor soul that is unaware or uninterested in what it cannot see."
Years later, that very sentiment overwhelmed me as I stood at the antique Hollywood helm of a huge wooden ship model, its own sails full of a following wind that smelt of land, The Beach that we couldn't leave quickly enough. Our heading was -- briefly -- full and by a star twinkling in a clear night sky, reflected on an undulating rippling ocean that I knew -- knew -- was the surface of another reality filled with life and currents that moved it all.
Including me. At the helm of my tiny home.
Or at least, it suddenly felt very small.
And I should next type something like "And that scene is repeated every night on every vessel at sea by every sailor who has ever..." and the remainder goes: the romance of the et cetera blahblahblah and historic sail training for youth will inspire the next Barack Obama and we'll cure stupid. The End.
And I had spent most of my life on land thinking of nothing but my self and my own welfare.
I could have hopped a freighter and joined the merchant marine or piloted a riverboat or run excursion tours or skippered the harbor taxi or tied off booze cruise cattlemarans. On TallShips™ I worked with children and adults possessing various levels of attention-deficit as both my trainees and crewmates. Some, spoiled brats who got a bunk because their folks had some political connection to the organization that ran the ship. Some, at-risk inner-city youth whose next bunk would probably be in a cell. Some, middle-managers who would have rather been golfing on this weekend of contrived team-building exercises. Some were retired executives who never had the chance when they were younger.
I watched a lot of teary faces accompany these people as they disembarked, and I saw quite a few trot quickly and happily down the gangway to their cars -- the back of their heads my last indelible image of them, and a "yeah, fuck off, Gilligan" still ringing in my ears.
Didn't they remember the early morning and fog-bound harbor that transported eight full-rigged ships and a couple of schooners effectively back to a time without mobile phones or microwave ovens? Did the resentment of a cold watch on a wet foredeck render useless all the lessons in marlinespike arts about detail and history and resolve and self-reliance and care? Didn't they learn anything from fashioning a harbor furl with the rest of the watch following the instructions of the third mate -- that there is something in the real world that objects to the text messaging, the self-possession, the arrogance that mocks those who support the mission at hand?
And that mission is Life.
The world, Laurie, no longer allows for flights of fancy. The hipster culture, the tyrannical amateurs who now suggest incomprehensibly impulsive rules for unseen others to abide by, the ouster of all which they brand uninteresting because it doesn't instantly amuse them with an opportunity to snark.
ASTA has two hundred TallShips™ on its rolls. ( I actually started putting the ™ on "TallShips"™ after SailBoston's Dusty Rhodes trademarked it, FYI.)
If each ship has a regular crew of twenty-five -- a widely varying estimate -- there are five hundred people who may or may not have the same thoughts about their vessels. Out of that five hundred, a full third is honestly dedicated to a life working at sea. Half of them will "retire" and probably not be replaced. Of the ones left, I'm betting that half don't know what a monkey's fist is or what "between the devil and the deep blue sea" has to do with boats. The rest probably know all the words to at least one sea chantey. Some think that Jimmy Buffett is a poser.
Some don't think of the sea or their ship in very romantic terms at all.
They don't want to point at and name the acres of canvas and the five miles of rope aloft and name the hundreds of lines that lead to the pinrails and fiferails, and they don't want your kid to hit them with a belaying pin. They don't want to tell you about the slave trade or trying out of a sperm whale or the damned mutiny that nobody ever gets right. And they don't ever want to be called "pirate."
Maybe they'd rather be on a pitchers' mound in Methuen or maybe in the cheap seats at Fenway or sitting at the bar on Lansdowne.
Yes, everybody would rather be somewhere else. Rather than in tedious meaningless tasks, rewarded with trinkets and hollow praise at the end of the week.
There's a hero in anyone who gets through it, Laurie.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Congratulations (enter yachties' names here) !!1!

Marion MASSACHUSETTS! Not Marion Davies!By the time you read this (if my experience withGoogle Reader is any indicator of when you'll get to read this: tomorrow), the 2009 Marion-to-Bermuda Cruising Yacht Race will be a flickering spray of Gosling's-spattered memories for some happy boatniks who took part in what they will surely remember as a monotonous series of Gulf Stream swell-induced queasies with a mock hero's welcome at the end, where Hamilton eateries fling open their doors to sell hamburgers at $35 a pop, and eager flight-weary family members pour Dark'n'Stormies down their throats. As if they couldn't get them here.
Well, maybe it's true: Gosling's might taste better on The Rock.
My only advice is this: Although it is a product of Bermuda, DO NOT DRINK BACARDI RUM.
Or, at least, don't buy any. Because I will never forgive them for this ad that they ran last year:So, where's the ugly one?Some people don't drink alcohol. The fact that some do and it apparently sometimes leads to advertisements of this nature should give us all pause as we belly up to our favorite trough -- alcohol or no.
Speaking of bad advertising, there are some guileless wretches who may have impressed themselves in design class at the community college annex and, desperate for recognition and narcissistic to the point of delusion, have opened up what appear to be special education marketing firms in order to grab a piece of the eclipsing public relations rats' nest here on the SouthCoast. In the Southcoast. In Southcoast. Whatever.
Recently, I gandered a peek at this horrible attempt at self-promotion through "blogging" and had to pull out the big red marker that obviously no other human had ever used during these imbeciles' matriculatory ordeals. In the name of proper apostrophes everywhere, I made the few red marks that you see. Remember, this is from their "company" blog, which is linked on their "company" website (which also has spelling and grammar errors) and from Facebook, Twitter, and probably on placemats in the local diner. Mr.Dorfman? Zero point two. Fat, drunk and stupid is no way to go through life, son. Mr. Hoover, president of Delta house? One point six; four C's and an F. A fine example you set! Daniel Simpson Day HAS no grade point average. All courses incomplete. Mr. Blutarsky ... ZERO POINT ZERO!And they actually have clients.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fathers. Day.

forgiving our fathers
by dick lourie

maybe in a dream: he's in your power
you twist his arm but you're not sure it was
he that stole your money you feel calmer
and you decide to let him go free

or he's the one (as in a dream of mine)
I must pull from the water but I never
knew it or wouldn't have done it until
I saw the street-theater play so close up
I was moved to actions I'd never before taken

maybe for leaving us too often or
forever when we were little maybe
for scaring us with unexpected rage
or making us nervous because there seemed
never to be any rage there at all

for marrying or not marrying our mothers
for divorcing or not divorcing our mothers
and shall we forgive them for their excesses
of warmth or coldness shall we forgive them

for pushing or leaning for shutting doors
for speaking only through layers of cloth
or never speaking or never being silent

in our age or in theirs or in their deaths
saying it to them or not saying it -
if we forgive our fathers what is left

Friday, June 19, 2009

Stoats'n'Blows

  • Since, as an individual, I, and as a civilization, we, have moved past the histdramical reinterponstration phase of development (except for these CivWarStinkyWool types) I'm always on the lookout for instances of quaint and nostalgic costum'd street characters.
  • And wouldn't you know it? The Whaling City, New Bedford, claims to have just such anachronistic exemplars, according to this article from SouthCoastToday (the online version of what used to be the local newspaper),"We have a living history program with costumed interpreters, and we'll be offering them guided tours and providing maps for self-guided tours."
  • I would have thought that the recent Sam Rockwell movie would have nailed the lid on that reinterponstration stuff.
  • Also, the City (or one of its quasi-not-city-ental arms) has announced, through press release: "American Cruise Lines (ACL) made its first trip to New Bedford June 8 with 15 more visits scheduled for the 2009 season. In lieu of the troubled economy we find it most encouraging that our cruise business remains strong. ACL has been coming to the Port for several years now. In 2008, we negotiated a 5-year contract with ACL committing their visits to New Bedford."
  • "In lieu of the troubled economy." Really? No wonder they only got a 5-year contract. I bet if they'd said "in light of," ACL would be building accomodations on the waterfront.
  • Other cities are anticipating Summer weekends filled with TallShips™, except that since there haven't been any Pirates of the Caribbean movies lately and pirates are getting some bad press, these towns are coming up with "New Marketing" means to raise awareness and motivate consumers.
  • One way is to just have one swell ship, like Picton Castle, just show up like in Gloucester.
  • Another way is to keep a controversy brewing for months in the media by first having your Mayor say that the Tall Ships won't be coming . And then, when the fabricated outcry is enough, then say that they might dock . And then, when all seems lost, announce that they'll be here and open for tours, but no parade. They'll just sneak in.
  • Many of the ships appearing in various East Coast ports are participating in the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge .
  • from the Tall Ships Atlantic Challenge site:
    The fleet will gather in Vigo on the northwest corner of Spain (30 April - 3 May) for the start of the first race in the series, 900 nautical miles south-south-west to Tenerife in the Canary Islands (14 - 17 May). From there, the fleet will race the 2,600 nautical miles westward to Bermuda (11 - 15 June) where the ships and crews will be the centrepiece of the island’s celebrations of its 400th anniversary. The fleet will then race to Charleston
    on the US east coast (25 - 29 June) before proceeding to
    Boston, Mass (8 - 13 July). A cruise in company of a further 370 miles north-north-east to Halifax (16 - 20 July), where celebrations include the 250th anniversary of the Naval Port, will be followed by a final race starting on Monday 20 July of 2,350 nautical miles eastbound across the North Atlantic to Belfast, Northern Ireland (13 - 16 August) which will host the series’ grand finale celebrations.
  • You'll notice that some ships aren't actually racing, but are showing up in port anyway. For the nifty ship model that sailed around the British Isles, doing little to dissuade many people who believed it to be Jack Sparrow's Black Pearl, this is no surprise. (They're also not coming to Boston. My guess is because the docents deckhands were sick of being corrected by former crew.)
And if you thought that An Inconvenient Truth caused a lot of bickering among the "it'll grow back" crowd, wait'll they see this:

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Antisocial Networking

I have all the respect in the world for businesses that use Facebook and MySpace and Twitter and any of the other gimmicky little time-diverting role-playing-games that seem so popular with the kids these days.
Wait. Having "all the respect in the world" does seem a bit undue.
I meant, of course, that I have "nothing but contempt."
And these people are friends of mine. Family friends. Regular guys and gals. Many of whom I have hugged in earnest affection.
I have a piece of all of those free online "social" networks. And I will have, as long as they remain free.
I was even signed up for some networks that I didn't know that I was on, until someone else mentioned that I'd been insulting myself online -- I assumed in order to make it look as though I weren't really me, but actually someone pretending to be me in order to. I enjoyed some of those sites, especially the sailing one. Until everyone decided that it would be more sensible to just sail rather than to write to each other about it. (Oh, and I was obliged to leave MySpace because it was not only "NSFW" but also "NSFA.")
I have engaged an impetuous Facebook account.
And here's my usual qualifying justification: "I've gotten in touch with friends from school and business that I might never have seen again otherwise." Never mind that I was a self-possessed libertine through my college years, generally a challenging associate whenever employed on The Beach, and who knows what the hell I was like as a shipmate (opinions vary).
But, through the miracle of Facebook, I can continue to interact with my erstwhile collaborators in positive SOCIAL ways.
Like buying them freaky little vaguely-racist flower people for their unfortunately-named "lil green patch," which ostensibly saves square feet of rainforest or gives money to the Nature Conservancy or something. I'm sure it's legit. Because everyone on Facebook says so.

Some workplaces might consider this offensive. Like certain restaurants.Or you can Kidnap them, which gives (often incorrect) Travel Channel™ geography trivia lessons while requiring you to spirit your pals away after hitting them with an eight ball in a sock. Or have them bumped off altogether in a "Mafia War" where you (according to a website that does this sort of thing) "Start a Mafia family with your friends, Run 3 kinds of crime businesses, and Vie for respect... then Fight to be the ruling family in NYC."
During my early experience of Facebook, I clicked the "BECOME A FAN OF" button for Wanda Jackson. Readers of this journal know that I am a fan of Wanda Jackson, but the public reinforcement of that status appealed to me.
I am not, however, a "born-again Christian." But since I have expressed an interest in the historically-significant role of the rockabilly music of Wanda Jackson (who BTW does tend to evangelize), I have tacitly given permission to discuss my religious convictions. Of which I have none worth discussing (particularly with strangers who sign their messages, "LOL in xt.")
In an actual social situation (say, if at a dinner party I were seated next to someone who was apprised of my interest), I would know exactly what to do. But I'm at a loss when presented a total stranger's presumptiveness.
And, if at that very same soiree, an individual were walking around with racily-clad models loudly promoting his business, that miscreant would be shown the nearest exit. Not so on Facebook.
Of course, as with any public medium, all is safe and secure because you can "ignore" or "block" or simply not look. Just like with talk radio or online comments sections or people who hand out Biblical tracts at pride parades. "Ignore and avoid," as my old dimwitted boss used to say. And he worked selling radio ads.
I suppose that he may even have read this article about "social networking" in today's Fall River Herald News. And he might even think of getting involved, simply because everyone else is. Because everyone else has rediscovered the old saw: "Free advertising is the best kind of advertising."
And even though the terms of use seem to dissuade one from blatant promotion of one's business, the rules are vague, really. Much like stop signs in the real world. Go ahead and promote yourself until you're spending most of the business day doing just that. And you can do it without that meddlesome marketing and public relations suit with his graphs and grammar and spellcheck and studies of public opinion. You can toss that know-it-all middle man in your Kidnap! sack and plant him in your Mafia garden.
After all, if near-anonymous voices can holler fractious, contentious, and ill-mannered deprecations, aren't we all -- in the spirit of camaraderie -- bound to sink to new depths of shallowness in one hundred and forty characters?
And even though someone on Twitter furnishes short passages from the Dalai Lama, Quaker moralists, and existential philosophers, it's still called merely "Twitter."
Not quite "Gravitas" is it?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bloomsday

And you thought it was 'O Brother Where Art Thou?'In 1918/1920/1922, the literary world/future braintrusts/Catholic Church was shocked/thrilled/dismayed by the appearance of James Joyce's Ulysses, the Modernist masterpiece/obscene nonsense/Moby-Dick for Micks that follows some Dubliners around their 'hood for one June day in 1904 (the Sixteenth, actually) using, literally, every thing in the book. Oh, yes, he used stream of consciousness, lyrical poetry, newspaper styling, theatrical script, catechism parodies, hallucinatory monologues. He used sarcasm. He knew all the tricks: dramatic irony, metaphor, bathos, puns, parody, litotes and satire.
No, wait. That was somebody else.
Anyway, since New Bedford only has one big book to marathon about, I'm left to envy the Dubliners who get to go down to Davy Byrne's and laugh at the nitwit tourists in bowler hats and waistcoats. Yep, now that's living history on a city-wide Comic Book Convention scale.
Which, come to think of it, is what it is.
Except that Neue Beige does have one citizen who's constantly going off in the pub, re-enacting the "Cyclops" chapter. Unfortunately, he usually has the microphone and a guitar. He's also the guy who calls the President "a raghead with an unpatriotic wife."
Very popular with the kids. I feel stupid and contagious, here we are now, entertain us... All around the world, there are several groups who are celebrating Bloomsday:

  1. Senior-year English majors who accidentally thought that a directed reading class would be a "got,"
  2. teachers of those classes who have to keep their wicks trimmed somehow,
  3. folks who are in the bars, libraries, or bookstores that are enduring the date,
  4. those who've read something by James Joyce,
  5. Hibernophiles who've actually read James Joyce's Ulysses,
  6. pretentious fops who enjoy dolling up in tweed during the historically sweltery second week of June, and
  7. people who have some vestigial interest in literature that both baffled and fascinated them as students.
You've probably surmised that I might throw in with more than one of those passels. I know what you're thinking, and the tweed clique, however, is not one of them. Truth be told, my directed reading was "The Rubaiyat of Eugene O'Neill: A Pass/Fail, a Bottle of Dewar's, and Thou." Secured the "cum laude" with that bit.
So, go right ahead and celebrate Bloomsday by meandering around Dublin or your own town which you pretend is Dublin for the purposes of the exercise. (Plus: No fireworks this year. If you know what I mean. Nudge nudge...)
Me?
As much as I would love to wander from pub to pub in my favorite town digging up and sharing quotes, that's pretty much what I did every Summer during my college years, but yes maybe next year, I'll get some of the locals together to stage a real Bloomsday celebration in the Whaling City yes I said yes I will Yes

Friday, June 12, 2009

Shoals'n'Bowls

  • I've been preparing the estate for a Summer of the neighbor's bad lawncare maintenance choices. I have many apologies and designs for tall arbor vitae mazes.
  • Amazing what this new Information Age has done to people's ability to remain interested.
  • Five years. If you count the year that I deleted.
  • So, anyway: Tall Ships Rhode Island's brilliantly-conceived -- and so far brilliantly-dispatched -- project, Oliver Hazard Perry (whom see), our very own 207 foot-long Class-A Tall Ship™, is coming along swimmingly, and you should read about it, or possibly drive to Newport or Warren Rhode Island to look for it. The article isn't really that clear.
  • Although it should be a wildly-known and widely-observed occasion (well, at least I've been commemorating it since January), tomorrow is Paul Cuffe Day in Westport Massachusetts, where, a couple centuries ago, he was a hard-working and successful local business owner who gave back to his community. That is, until partisan opportunists started projecting all over him and ownershipped him into a wealthy supply-side minority entrepreneur who fought against taxes.
  • Tomorrow, I will celebrate a guy who saw wood for ships waiting in local forests and minds working in local fields. And then he did something.
  • BBC says: "Element 112 has become the latest and heaviest addition to the periodic table, but it doesn't yet have a name." I suggest "tomlehrerium."
  • Dude, I so forgot Maria Africa Gracia Vidal's birthday. And this imprudent nitwittedness must not stand!The airport in Barahona, Dominican Republic, is named for her. What have YOU got?
    Happy Belated Birthday, Maria Montez!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Aw, Cap...

The Gods of Irony toy with those...

from AP:
ISLE AU HAUT, Maine — Maine fisherman and author Linda Greenlaw, who survived the nor'easter that was the basis for the book and movie "The Perfect Storm," has been fined more than $30,000 for fishing illegally in Canadian waters. Greenlaw wasn't required to attend Tuesday's sentencing in St. John's, Newfoundland. The Canadian government also seized her swordfish catch. The 48-year-old Greenlaw says she was on the deck of her 63-foot vessel in September attempting to retrieve fishing gear that had been dragged by another boat when she strayed into Canadian waters. She says she knew she was near Canada's coast but didn't realize she had breached the 200-mile limit.
Greenlaw was the last person in contact with the Andrea Gail, a swordfish boat out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, that sank with all hands during the 1991 storm.
Cap Greenlaw also wrote some "mysteries." And a cookbook, I think.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Today is World Oceans Day

And like so many other holidays for which one can't readily find a Hallmark card, it takes a minute or so for its message to sink in and urge you to stop and smell the roses, oceans, grandparents, whatever.
The United Nations has declared that, every year, we should celebrate our oceans and engage in positive learning experiences about and explorations of your connection to three-fourths of the Earth's surface, or as it is known more commonly: "humanity's used plastics depository."
The oceans have been an important part of my life, what with the boating and all, and truth be told, the solid and floating bits, the boats, are actually also very important because without them, I would probably have a much more conflict-ridden relationship with the oceans. Where's the holiday for them? I mean, besides Spring Break and Labor Day. Let's just say that I appreciate and commemorate this World Oceans Day whenever someone reminds me that it's today.
This year, it was a newstory with the dateline Lunenburg. Beverly Ware got to talk with the captain of the Bluenose II, a lovely fishing schooner that (some insist) goes pretty fast and is pretty, also. DID YOU KNOW: You are, by Nova Scotian law, required to have an image of the Bluenose (I or II) in your possession as a provision of citizenship. Lucky that it's on the back of a coin. (There is, however, no actual imperative to carry a picture of Queen Elizabeth, but they do. Because they're the nicest people in North America.) Easier to carry than that balsa wood model with real running rigging
She also had to chat with New Bedford's own ocean-defending John Bullard, who was up there on the brigantine with the P.G. Wodehouse name,From SEA's site, and nary a Bertie nor Aunt Dahlia in sight. Cowwith Creamer, teaching pretty boat and Sea Education Association stuff. Many others share their ocean sentiments, including a youngster, who is of the generation for whom we oldsters should be making the oceans better, or at least not worse. Here: read it for yourself.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

My Summer is shaping up ...

I mean, THEY look happy Massachusetts and Bermuda teaming up to keep you happy.

Going to college in Worcester Massachusetts, I would drive by the big inflatable (as opposed to "deflatable") Polar Beverages polar bear (his name is Orson, I'm told) off the highway, and think about their ginger ale and cream soda, which I thought one could only get in Worcester. Wormtown. Woo-ville. Woo-stah. The City of Several Hills. Now, the home of Gosling's Stormy Ginger Beer (or gingerburr, for onions)...I didn't know that their name was 'Polar'This is good news.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Sole'n'Bowl

  • I had written a ton of whiny things for this week's edition. How could I have missed Hafdis Huld's latest...

  • "Kónguló" video !


  • From Tuesday's Dartmouth Town Meeting, an impassioned plea, and a timely reminder: "You were all once children."
    • Wednesday, June 3, 2009

      ...and then my Town Meeting post apology

      Now, remember that I am from the Eighteenth Century and that was a time of political upheaval and questioning of authoritative bodies. In many cases that "questioning" actually resulted in the removal of some heads from authoritative bodies.
      Recently (like, in the last four decades or so), I have been entertained by mock trials of Lizzie Borden, Oscar Wilde, and Guy Fawkes. I have worked in historical interpretation and living history. And there's no reason to believe that I have not been a Chucks-wearing member of The Society for Creative Anachronism at one time because there was this one gal...
      So, as you can understand, I have seen and lived and reconciled many points of historical reference. And that's why I sometimes describe Town Meeting as "quaint."
      But quaint doesn't mean ineffectual, and sometimes -- even in matters of personnel -- you have to get the whole town together to come up with the right solution. Yesterday's Dartmouth Town Meeting did exactly that in the case of the Youth Advocate position which was in danger of no longer existing.
      If one knew nothing about Dartmouth politics and personalities, one would think, "The Finance Committee has made a recommendation to eliminate a Town position because there is no money to fund it. Well, there you have it."
      But one might not be aware of the clumsy smear job that attempted to discredit the individual who holds that position. Cheap politics at its lowest.
      Then, the FinCom just says, "Eliminate the position."
      (The FinCom is chaired by a well-known conservative nutjob who used to write -- for the local paper -- denials of global climate change, generally to just make fun of Al Gore . Friedman currently cuts and pastes a bunch of sites that publish oil'n'gas company propaganda, paranoid screeds about "TRUTH" and self-aggrandizing justifications of his position as a regular guy who loathes where he works because he believes the Republican cant about Universities are full of ultra-liberal granola-eating politically-correct Al Gore-loving book-larnin' smartypantses. Even though he's a professor.)
      And then Michael P. Watson, another guy on the FinCom, whips out his sliderule and figures out a way to fund the position. Same Numbers, same Finance Committee.
      And the Town Meeting saves the guy's job.
      See?
      And that's why, today, I'm celebrating Lili St Cyr's birthday. She's no Honey Suckle Duvet

      Tuesday, June 2, 2009

      IT'S TOWN MEETING DAY !!!1!

      I kid because I love. You do understand that. Right? It's all in fun.In the dank little hamlet that I call home, the local busybodies and control freak contest winners are accustoming their myopic vision to the murky darkness of the secretly-sanctified local barn where they meet to feed on the dreams of future youth, in order to continue a system of obfuscation that has ran this place along the same ruts in the unpaved main road since 1644. Or something.
      Like the United States Supreme Court, only without the wrangling about empathy -- because no one on the quaint anachronism has any -- Town Meeting goes on without abate, and is widely misunderstood by the eleven of us citizens who do not sit on its esteem'd benches. (Or is that "steam-cleaned" benches? I so don't know.)
      The moderator has thrown out parliamentary procedure because most members of the astute body refuse to follow it since they believe that they actually fought in the Revolution against Parliament, and many were personal (although hostile) acquaintances of General Henry Robert and didn't like his attitude about not letting people talk whenever the Spirit moved them, and thus feel that he was discriminating against the local Society of Friends.
      The rumors (or rumours) about parts of the imaginary agenda include:

      1. Should we, as a community, fund some bratty smarty-pants to molly-coddle the trouble-makers that them libs call "at-risk teens" when we all know that them punks just need a good whuppin'?
      2. Same goes for that Michael Gagne.
      3. How can we vote on a operating budget when everybody knows that (I) we ain't got no money, and (b) nothin' operates around here anyway.
      4. What is up with the street cleaner driving at like two miles an hour in the middle of rush hour? And why are the large orange bags darker than the small orange bags?
      5. Does anyone smell that? I mean, really. Does this "waiting for the Spirit to move you" thing also apply to hygiene, housework, and lawncare?
      6. Where are the good old Dartmouth industries of the past, like salt-making?
      7. Them fancy-shmancy wind turbine things. Somebody's making out on that deal, right? I mean, who's got a friend in the business? Come on, fess up!
      8. And, no, we can't just incorporate as a City, elect a Mayor with some common sense and fiscal experience, and distill the Town Meeting to a City Council of seven very popular morons that we can all make fun of.
      Have fun! (And enjoy it as covered LIVE by SouthCoastToday's Apponogansephile Curt Brown or play your favorite drinking game as it is televised by your local cable system.)

      Monday, June 1, 2009

      North Atlantic Tropical Storm Season

      from the National Weather Service National Hurricane Center:
      Since 1953, Atlantic tropical storms have been named from lists originated by the National Hurricane Center. They are now maintained and updated by an international committee of the World Meteorological Organization. The original name lists featured only women's names. In 1979, men's names were introduced and they alternate with the women's names. Six lists are used in rotation. Thus, the 2009 list will be used again in 2015. Here is more information about the history of naming hurricanes.


      Ana
      Bill
      Claudette
      Danny
      Erika
      Fred
      Grace
      Henri
      Ida
      Joaquin
      Kate
      Larry
      Mindy
      Nicholas
      Odette
      Peter
      Rose
      Sam
      Teresa
      Victor
      Wanda

      And it is also Pat Boone's Birthday.