Happy 4th of July- Really?

I made the mistake of looking at Facebook earlier today. I probably shouldn’t have. I saw way too many posts and videos of the LACK of freedom here in the USA. This country that we say is the “land of the free and the home of the brave”.

Where are they? All those free and brave people? Why aren’t they standing up against the horrible abuses of our constitutional rights that happen every day? Abuses we’ve ALL suffered since 9-11 gave the powers that be the excuse they needed to trick us into giving up our most valuable resources. We gave up our freedom. For tricks and LIES.

All I see is a bunch of thugs in uniform, running around like they own the place. They work for US, not the other way around! They’ve been harassing the hell out of people who are NOT doing any harm to anyone. These thugs spend all their time and energy on this sort of shit and then expect us to show respect and be grateful to them. It honestly makes me want to puke.

Seriously. Last week, while I was driving to work up at SanJac, KPFT was reading George Orwell’s 1984 on the radio. I don’t know how many of you have read it. I have read it a couple of times now. It would hope it is still required reading in school (but if it is, no one has paid a lick of attention to it).

I was crying. I felt shriveled up inside. I was hurting. Sad and angry and frustrated and humongously pissed off!

ALL of the things Orwell wrote about in that book ARE happening. Right here! Right now!

In fact, the real truth is that things are already much, much worse than George Orwell ever dreamed when he wrote that book. Yeah, really! Orwell’s Big Brother only watched you through the TV screen. You could find ways around it.

OUR big brothers (NSA, TSA, etc, etc), are watching your every move! They may not watch you through the TV screen (but then again, they may), but they keep track of every phone call, every email, every dollar you earn, every dollar you spend, your complete medical history, everywhere you go, and on and on and on and on.

And just like in the book, the vast majority of the people around me just go on with their lives. They continue to ignore the reality. They ALLOW the sick, power-hungry, vicious bastards to get away with it! Many of them are cheering it on. πŸ™

WTF is wrong with these people?

Just like in the book, we are at continuous war. Who are we fighting this year? Does it matter? Nope. They’ll manipulate the news and the truth until nothing really matters any more. Nobody cares. And it goes on.

People ask, how can you argue about loss of freedom when our national security is at stake? It’s not, but it doesn’t really matter, does it? The powers that be have convinced enough of us to trade away our freedom for their promises of security. Shame on us for falling for it!

WOW! I never, ever, thought it would actually come to this the first time I read that book.

Like Winston, all I can do is cry, and try my very best to find some small hidey hole to keep a tiny bit of freedom for myself.

Happy 4th of July. πŸ™

Maritime Monday for March 27 2017

Another week’s flown by! Here’s to more interesting maritime news from Monkey Fist. I really liked reading about the Irish this week…

ORP Piorun (G65) was an N-class destroyer used by the Polish Navy during the …

Source:Β Maritime Monday for March 27th, 2017 – gCaptain

NOS4A2

Today’s prompt for the Just Jot It January is:Β Mendaciloquent.

Oh hell yeah, I had to look that one up! Turns out, it’s not in the dictionary. So I have absolutely NO idea what it means. Sorry.

I’ll just have to write about something else.

Read any good books lately?

I have. I just finished NOS4A2 by Joe Hill. It’s a pretty fat one, at almost 700 pages. But it does a great job of keeping you interested. I had a hard time putting it down.

I’ve read a couple other books by Joe Hill. The Heart Shaped Box was the 1st one I read. I thought it was really good. I also read Horns, which I liked even better.

His writing reminds me a lot of Stephen King. Maybe because that’s his dad? I don’t know. But they both write long stories, even over 100’s of pages you can hardly put the book down. They both write a lot using kids and a lot of real, day to day, details that bring back what you were doing as a kid. Puts you right there in the scene.

They both have a sick sense of humor (weird maybe, but I like that). Here’s a story going along where everything’s perfectly normal, it could be taking place right next door. And then, all the sudden, everything’s really weird. That turns into totally fucked up pretty damn quick. πŸ˜‰

I like how Joe writes a lot about how people get along (or not). A lot of psychology in his writing, maybe in the background, maybe not. His characters (the ones you’re rooting for) are all like-able, even if not ‘normal’. It’s easy to relate to them.

NOS4A2 is kind of a vampire story. It’s like a cross between Stephen King’s Christine, Dracula, and Dorian Grey. In this one, the super-duper special car sucks the life out of all the little kids it can catch and transfers it to the predator driver. Add in a rapist Renfield in a gas mask and a tribe of little monsters, and you’ll get what the hero’s up against.

They drive from reality to a fantasy land where it’s Christmas all the time. Til one little girl shows up and screws things up.

It’s a good story, it’s at the library. I don’t want to ruin it for you. Maybe they’ll make a movie out of it. It would make a good one. πŸ™‚

Making a Living Without a Job…

“…Winning Ways for Creating Work that You Love”. That’s the full title of the book I picked up at the Fund Your Life Overseas conference put on by International Living.

I went to Phoenix in November for the conference. I had high hopes to find some way to finance my highly desired move overseas. I spent 3 days there, listening to the speakers, talking to other hopefuls, collecting literature, entering contests for prize give-a-ways, soaking up the information. πŸ™‚

One of the speakers I got to meet was Barbara Winter. The one who wrote the book. I had actually read the 1st edition of her book years ago. I figured there would be updates (and there were), so I bought a new copy. I love her ideas of being “joyfully jobless” and would really, really love to join her fellow travelers, but I still haven’t found my way.

google photo

google photo

I like Barbara’s ideas about having multiple sources of income. I’d actually been working on that before I ever read her book. I have (had) my job, rental properties, investing in the stock market, vending machines (not making any money), blog (still trying), writing (sold one article for $250), photography (sold 4 photos for a total of $2).

I’ve been reading “Making a Living…” off and on since I got home, working through some of the exercises, thinking hard about a lot of things. What are my goals? What do I really want to do? What do I really like to do? What do I need in my life? What can I do without? What are my skills? Could I learn some new skills?

Barbara talks a lot in this book about finding your passion. She asks questions like “What were the things you loved to do when you were a kid? What would you choose to do with your life if money was no object?” She helps you visualize. She helps motivate.

Then she talks about all the things that could be holding you back from pursuing those ideals (fears) and how you can get past those obstacles. She’s very motivating and inspiring. But a lot of the things she talks about just don’t seem to click for me, I don’t really want to work online, I’m not a computer geek and not really interested in becoming one. Β I don’t want to start a business so I wind up working harder than I ever did at a job!

I want to RELAX. I want to spend my time doing things I enjoy: reading, writing, painting, making music, hanging out with interesting people, exploring new places, cooking, eating, sailing, hiking, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, beach combing, etc. I read the book, I still can’t figure out any way to make a living from one or any combination of those things. Maybe a beach bar? (If I had enough money, I could think seriously about that idea, but I’m broke!)

Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life. -Confucius

I totally believe that! My stepmother always used to tell me when I worried so much about something not working out “do what you love and the money will follow, the Universe is in divine order”.

Well, it always worked for her. It DID work for me when I was young and I LOVED working on those boats, before the accountants and insurance companies managed to screw it all up!

I wonder if there’s anywhere left at sea (or anywhere) where you can still just do your job, without all the extra pure bullshit they bury you in? Yeah, I’m still dreaming of that kind of life. The life of a seafarer 30-50 years ago. That would be perfect! πŸ™‚

Another Just Jot It January post. πŸ™‚

Heart of the Sea

I took a little break and went to the movies yesterday. I’ve been wanting to see the movie “In the Heart of the Sea” since I first saw the commercials for it a couple of months ago.

I’d read the bookΒ (by Nathaniel Philbrick) a couple of years ago. I LOVED it. It’s a fantastic sea story (which I always love).The movie tells the story of the Nantucket whale ship “Essex”. “In the Heart of the Sea” showcased adventure, suspense and even horror mixed in with the wonderful descriptions of the sailing ship and life on the sea 100 years ago. Then there was the whole Moby Dick thing. The whaling and the incredible idea that there might be a whale out for vengeance!

I admit, I don’t remember much about the book ‘Moby Dick‘. We all read it in high school. I had no idea it was based on a true story. I don’t remember being all that impressed with the book. I’m pretty sure the ending was not the same as in this movie, (if it had been I’m sure I would have remembered it better)! Like a lot of those ‘classics’ we had to read in high school, I remember thinking “what the hell’s so great about this book?”.

They did a good job with the film. It wasn’t as good as Philbricks’ book (movies almost never are). Still, it was good.

It started right off by following the Chief Mate, Owen Chase (played by Chris Hemsworth), leaving his pregnant wife behind and heading into town for his next assignment. He’d been promised a captains position on his next voyage and was pretty ticked off when he found out he got screwed out of it in a case of ‘office politics’. I hadn’t realized they were even doing that way back then. πŸ˜‰

Captain Pollard (Benjamin Walker) gets the job instead, simply because he comes from an old time, respectable family.

This creates a situation on board between the Master and Mate where they are constantly butting heads and is NOT good for the ship (it never is)! The tension between the 2 characters is evident throughout the entire movie. They could have done more to show the interaction with the rest of the crew, but the focus was on these 2 men (and the whale).

The movie, directed by Ron Howard, uses the story device in which Herman Melville (working on his book Moby Dick) is interviewing Thomas Nickerson, who went to sea as a young boy on that disastrous voyage. Nickerson is ashamed by what he did to survive and has never spoken to anyone about it. His wife finally convinces him to speak to Melville in exchange for much needed funds.

It works as a way to tell the story. You can still see the effects the incident had on Nickerson, even all these years later. It was well done, not disturbing the story too much with the returns to the scenes of the late night story telling over drinks.

I really enjoyed the movie. I loved all the scenes of the everyday work aboard the ship. I yelled at the captain that he was an idiot to sail into the storm like he did. I was thrilled to see the whales and caught up in the chase when the boats were launched. I cried when the ship was lost. (I’m glad it was dark in the theater). πŸ˜‰

I suppose todays environmentalists would be cheering for the whale the whole time, but I found myself wavering. Sometimes I felt like I imagined the whale felt. Angry at men for destroying so much innocent beauty. Coming to murder my family for money! Sometimes I felt like the men. Just out to make a living, to survive however they could. This was a survival story in the end. On both sides.

I’m glad we discovered petroleum oil, or we WOULD have wiped out all of the whales. OK, I have been working in the oilfield the last few years (so maybe I’m prejudiced), but I wonder what would have happened if we had NOT found an alternative to whale oil. Would we still have been able to progress? Or would we have gone back to the ‘dark ages’ when everything stopped when the sun went down? Yeah, even tho we have a few oil spills, I’m still glad we have petroleum. Β The whales are recovering now.

 

 

Sleepless Since Skink

I tried to make an early night of it last night, so I could be awake and alert all day today at the conference. I had dinner at the hotel and was in bed by 1030.

My problem started when I decided to do a little reading before turning out the light. I was reading Carl HiaasensSkink No Surrender“. I really like his style, he’s got a great sense of humor and his books are always quick reads. I’m not sure how to classify this one; young adult? mystery? comedy? adventure? It had all that and more. Like all his writing, this book kept me interested til the end.

I also like his books because they remind me so much of where I grew up in Florida. His cast of characters and the adventures they get involved in are such pure Florida, it’s almost like going home again. πŸ™‚

Johns Pass Florida

Johns Pass Florida

This book features Skink, a character familiar from previous stories. He’s always been one of my favorites and reminds me of some of the guys I grew up with on the beach over there (Johns Pass). My dad used to rent apartments to a lot of the people who came to the beach. We had some of the most interesting people I’ve ever met come through there.

My grandmother used to wonder why I always enjoyed hanging out with all those strange characters, but they were just so interesting. Travelers from all over, musicians, fishermen, artists, bartenders, etc. I heard some fantastic stories!

Skink No Surrender tells the story of a teenage boy (Richard) who’s worried about his cousin Malley who’s disappeared under suspicious circumstances. Skink helps Richard track her down and their adventures across Florida are pretty entertaining. πŸ™‚

I tried a few times to stop reading and turn out the lights, but then I had to continue again and again. I finally finished the book and tried to go to sleep around 0230. Last time I looked at the clock, it was almost 0400.

I had the alarm set for 0730, conference starts at 0900. I’m probably going to have a hell of a time staying awake and paying attention. πŸ™

Veterans Day

Today is Veterans Day, at least in the USA. I think in lots of other countries, they celebrate Armistice Day instead. It seems to be basically the same holiday.

To remember those who served in the armed services.

I noticed quite a few special things going on today for military people. Lots of restaurants giving out free meals to veterans, free drinks in the bars, special sales in stores, even parades in some places.

That’s nice, I thought. I also thought it would be nice if the Merchant Marines were included in these things. I know in the USA we also have to swear an oath before we get our documents.

We don’t usually sign on for only 4 years either. I’ve had my ticket since I got my AB limited in 1979 or so. If I was in the Navy or US Coast Guard, I would be retired by now with some nice benefits and of course, have a special day (today).

I wonder why we’re never remembered for OUR services?

One reason is probably because we’re never mentioned in school or media. Most people have no idea about the Merchant Marine. Who we are, what we do, what are we there for?

I know we have Maritime Day in May, but it’s not like it’s a holiday or anything and almost nobody even knows about it.

Things have changed a lot in the last 50 years. People have forgotten how much the Merchant Marine has always been important to their lives (and still is- check out the book Ninety Percent of Everything).

It would be nice if people would have at least a thought for us today. Maybe remember we had more casualties than any of the other services. We lost so many ships (and men), something like 1500 American ships! That is not even taking into account all those lost from other countries!

Maybe think about all the hell mariners went through to deliver the arms, men, materials, to the fighting forces overseas. Some of them had their ships shot out from under them 2, 3 times and they still returned to sail again. One guy (Harold Harper) had his ship torpedoed 6 times! Another lost his ship 10 times! And they still came back for more. Yet, the Merchant Marine still gets almost no recognition. πŸ™

The Maritime Executive Magazine has a nice article today. They’re one of the few places I’ve seen any mention of the Merchant Marines role and relationship to Veterans Day. I thank them for it and will hope they get a widespread readership. I hope you’ll check out their link (and the other ones I’ve made today).

Hope you all had a good holiday. I appreciate all the people who tried so hard to do what they thought was right.

US Merchant Marine flag

US Merchant Marine flag