Song of the Sea: Good Ship Venus

Here’s another randy, dandy, old sea shanty. 😉

Good Ship Venus“, also known as “Friggin’ in the Riggin'” is a little nasty, so if you’re easily offended, you might want to pass on this one. But it’s one of my favorite drinking songs.

I didn’t know this til I looked up the lyrics to post here, but this song was done by the Sex Pistols and actually got to #3 on the charts in the UK. Anthrax also did a version. Somehow, I don’t think it would make the charts here in the US (probably would be censored- love that freedom we have so much of here).

 Good Ship Venus- Loudon Wainwright

We sailed upon the good ship Venus
By Christ you should have seen us
The figurehead was a whore in bed
The mast an upright penis

The captain’s name was Lugger
By Christ he was a bugger
He wasn’t fit to shovel shit
From one ship to another

And the second mate was Andy
By Christ he had a dandy
Till they crushed his cock on a jagged rock
For cumming in the brandy

The third mate’s name was Morgan
By God he was a gorgon
From half past eight he played till late
Upon the captain’s organ

The captain’s wife was Mabel
And by God was she able
The crew, those shits, nailed her tits
Right to the mess room table

The captain’s daughter Charlotte
Was born and bred a harlot
Her thighs at night were lily white
By morning they were scarlet

The cabin boy was Kipper
By Christ he was a nipper
He stuffed his ass with broken glass
And circumcised the skipper

The captain’s lovely daughter
Liked swimming in the water
Delighted squeals came when some eels
Found her sexual quarters

The cook his name was Freeman
And he was a dirty demon
And he fed the crew on menstrual stew
And hymens fried in semen

And the ship’s dog was called Rover
And we turned the poor thing over
And ground and ground that faithful hound
From Teneriff to Dover

When we reached our station
Through skillful navigation
The ship got sunk in a wave of spunk
From too much fornication

On the good ship Venus
By Christ you should have seen us
The figurehead was a whore in bed
Sucking a dead man’s penis


Photography 101 Challenge: Triumph

Well, this is it. The last assignment for the Photography 101 Challenge. It’s Triumph.

I thought about this one a lot. I really can’t think of anything I have photos of, to show the idea of- “triumph”-other than the fact that I actually managed to FINISH this challenge. I even somehow did it within the time frame they had set for it.

For me, that really is an accomplishment. Usually I fall so far behind in these things I never manage to complete them and it would be months too late if I had.

So I decided to make another gallery of some of my favorite photos from the various assignments. Here they are…

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If you like any of these and want to see more of the original post they were featured in, you can search my blog for the words at the bottom of the photos (double, moment, solitary, etc). 🙂

Photography 101 Challenge: Double

It’s almost over. In fact, I think it is officially over. But here’s my post for Day 19: Double of the Photography 101 challenge anyway.

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Photography 101 Challenge: Edge

Here’s my post for Day 18: Edge of the Photography 101 challenge. I think it’s pretty edgy in a couple of ways. 😉

Since I just saw the email from the Daily Post re:Converge, I’m going to use this post and photo for that challenge too. 🙂

I took this picture (and about 1000 more) at the Houston art museum. Problem is somehow I lost a huge amount of them. I have no idea what happened. I was glad I still had some left.

I like that museum. Actually, there are 2 of them. There’s the Museum of Fine Arts (FREE Thursdays) and the Contemporary Arts Museum (FREE always!) right across the street.

This picture is from the tunnel between them. They always have some good stuff to see and they have new exhibits pretty much every month. It’s worth checking out if you’re in Houston.

Happy Thanksgiving

Turkey Day

Happy Thanksgiving!

At least this guy’s safe. I took his picture at the Houston Zoo. 😉

Thank you all for visiting my blog and a big special thanks to my followers. 🙂


Photography 101 Challenge: Glass

Here’s my post for Day 17: Glass in the Photography 101 challenge. I haven’t really been out to take pictures. Too busy trying to catch up on other things. But I found a couple of good ones on my computer (I sure WISH I could get the darn thing fixed!!).

I took these last time I was in New Orleans. I went on a plantation tour one day. We went to Laura Plantation and Oak Alley. I’ve never been on one of those tours before. I thought it was interesting how different they were, even though they were both built to do the same thing.

I liked the contrast in these 2 shots too. One is very old and also practical. The other is brand new and really serves no purpose other than decoration.

Self Ownership

This (principle of self ownership) is what I was referring to in my earlier post (treasure).Yes, I REALLY DO treasure freedom and individual liberty above everything else.

Please watch the little video and let me know what you think. I’d appreciate hearing your objections (if any).

Also any thoughts on why you think we have (as a society) come SO far from this principle.

Thanks. 🙂

Photography Challenge 101: Treasure

I’ve been busy with other things again and falling behind on blogging. Here’s my post for Day 16: Treasure of the photography challenge.

No, not the flag (or the moon). In fact, I treasure my (and your) right to trash it if you so choose. What I really treasure are the principles that flag (or the country behind it) represents. Or, I should say, USED to represent.

Principles we mostly seem to have forgotten. Principles “our government” now seems hell bent on squeezing out of us.

The most basic of those principles is not stated explicitly in our founding documents, but it’s there. It is the principle of self-ownership. This simply means that YOU own YOUR life. No one else. Period! All else derives from that (fact).

The founding principles of America were all based on that very simple premise.

Principles announced to the world in statements like these from the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,

–That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Those are the things our government was established to PROTECT. Today, it does everything it can to destroy those things. So, I treasure what little there is left of them.

Photography 101 Challenge: Landscape

Here’s my choice for the Day 15: Landscape challenge.

I took it when I went out to Las Vegas for the Freedom Festival. I took a side trip to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon and Zion National Parks. I only wish I had more time. It was an amazing trip!


Photography 101 Challenge: Swarm

Here’s my photo for the Day 14 assignment: Swarm. Yes, they were “moving about in great numbers”.  I do love to watch them, they’re so calming. 🙂

Photography 101 Challenge: Moment

At first I thought it said movement, but then I saw it was really moment, but the assignment (Day 13) is still to play around with blur and movement. I think there are a lot of ways to interpret this one. 🙂

I’m still stuck in class all day and it’s way too cold out here for me to go out (and I have no transportation either), so I’ve been picking out old photos to try and illustrate the themes for the challenges.

Here’s a photo I took in New Orleans last winter. I loved watching this couple dance and listen to the band play in the street. New Orleans is really great for this kind of thing. 🙂

It’s not really blurry, but I hope you can get the idea of motion anyway. The couple was really dancing up a storm (swing, jitterbug, etc.), the musicians were all tapping their toes and swaying to the music and everyone was having a great time.

I didn’t think to buy a CD from this band, I wish I remembered their name. But I did get one from another one that was playing further up the street. Here’s a post I did about that one. Check it out, the music’s worth a listen. 😉

Architecture: Black and White

I tried to find some of the photos in my computer so I could ‘finish’ the task for the other day. To look at these buildings in Black and White. I did look on my computer, but for some reason, I couldn’t find all the photos I used (or I couldn’t get them to a place where I could change them into black and white versions).

Here is what these same photos look like in Black and White. I didn’t change anything else. I probably could have made these look a lot better if I had the time to play around with them and edit them even a little bit. Let me know what you think. Which versions do you like better?

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Photography 101 Challenge: Architecture

I’m trying to keep up with the tasks for the Photography 101 challenge. I’m pretty busy this week in the Leadership course at MITAGS, but doing what I can here. 😉

This is my choice for the Day 12: Architecture assignment.

Here are a few of my favorite photos I felt would illustrate this theme. I couldn’t make up my mind, so I did a slide show. I do really like to take pictures of interesting architecture, so I have a lot of these pictures. 🙂

The assignment was to think about lines and shapes and to try and go monochromatic, but I just didn’t have the time to mess around with editing tonight and have to get up too early in the morning to think about it. I do think most of these would work nicely in B&W. Maybe if I have time tomorrow I’ll try and see if I can change them. If I can figure it out, I’ll post it. 🙂

School. UGH! It takes too much time! 😦

If anyone has any comments about any of these photos, I’d like to hear them. Which do you like best (or not like)?  What do you like or dislike about them? Do you think I should have just stuck to one style of building (modern, art deco, temples, etc.)? Or one location (New Orleans, Thailand, Chicago, etc.)? Or do you like the large variety? Do you like the post with the gallery, or do you prefer it when I have all the pictures just all sitting there?

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Photography 101 Challenge: A Pop of Color

I’m trying to keep up with the tasks for the Photography 101 challenge. I’m pretty busy this week in the Leadership course at MITAGS, but doing what I can here. 😉

This is my choice for the Day 11: A Pop of Color assignment.

The assignment talks about “paying attention to how color affects your images.”

Here are a few of my favorite photos I felt would illustrate this theme. I kind-of took it to mean photos where the use of color influenced the feeling or mood of the shot. Or the color just really made the whole photo stand out.

If anyone has any comments about any of these photos, I’d like to hear them. Which do you like best (or not like)? Do you think they fit the theme? What do you like or dislike about them? Do you like the post better when I put the pictures up like this? or in a gallery where you see them one at a time like the one I did for the post on the “Natural World“?

New Orleans, Jackson Square at night Full moon over the Ferris wheel Penguins Orchids Fitdee, Aberdeen Scotland Spidey Dolphin, Aberdeen Scotland Still life with butterfly Fishing at night Butterfly in orange and black Thailand Thailand tuna boat twilight

Another Course: Leadership- Management Level

I’m at the airport again. I’m heading to Baltimore this time. I’m due to arrive there after midnight tonight and then will start the Leadership course at MITAGS first thing in the morning.

This is another one of those classes I am required to take in order to keep my job. This particular course is a new requirement. It came with the STCW 2010 Manilla amendments.

Yep, I thought I was FINALLY finished taking these (stupid, totally un-necessary) courses when I finally got my Masters license. But nooooooooo,

Not even 6 months later, the officials of the IMO (International Maritime Organization) came up with a half dozen MORE courses to saddle us all with. This is all in order to improve SAFETY out there on the ocean.

I’m still waiting to see the proof that all this shore based training has done diddly squat to improve safety offshore. So far, I have not seen anything to say that it has.

For example: Leadership. Who thinks leadership is something that can be TAUGHT? If you think it CAN be taught, do you think it can be taught in a week long class?

I’ve heard the military is good at producing leaders. I know they spend a lot more than a week doing it tho.

I’m not sure leadership CAN be taught. At this point, I think its more innate to a person. A part of their personality. I suppose it can be learned. I would think it would be more easily learned by observation and practice. I think that would be much better effected on the job, on your boat, with your crew than in any week long class.

Well, I’m stuck here all week regardless, so will have to wait and see what they teach us and what we learn.

Photography 101 Challenge: Mystery

I’m FINALLY catching up with the tasks for the Photography 101 challenge. This is my choice for the Day 10: Mystery assignment.

The assignment talks about playing around with lighting to create a mysterious atmosphere. For this challenge, I felt like going a different direction and just showing an object that is mysterious in itself (at least to me- I’m sure the Korean people will know exactly what these things are and will probably think I’m pretty ignorant not to know).

This was taken in Korea back in April. I was at the famous seafood market in Busan and took tons of pictures. I love going to the market in foreign countries. The things they have on sale are so different than the things I see in my local supermarket. I never could figure out what these things are. My best guess is some kind of sea squirt. I do know the Koreans like to eat them. 😉

Anybody have any ideas?

I’m curious (but no, not enough to try eating one). 😉

Song of the Sea: Caroline and Her Young Sailor Bold

Here’s another song related to the sea for my Songs of the Sea series. It’s an old ballad about a rich girl who falls in love with a poor sailor. She ships off with him for a while and when she finally comes home, her father relents and allows her to marry her true love. 🙂


There lived a rich Nobleman’s daughter
Caroline is her name we are been told
One day from her drawing room window
She admired a young sailor bold
She cried – I’m a Nobleman’s daughter
My income’s five thousand in gold
I forsake both my father and mother
And I’ll marry young sailor bold
Says William- Fair lady remember
Your parents you are bound to mind
In sailors there is no dependence
For they leave their true lovers behind
And she says – There’s no one could prevent me
One moment to alter my mind
In the ships I’ll be off with my true love
He never will leave me behind
Three years and a half on the ocean
And she always proved loyal and true
Her duty she did like a sailor
Dressed up in her jacket of blue
When at last they arrived back in England
Straightway to her father she went
Oh father dear father forgive me
Deprive me forever of gold
Just grant me one favor I ask you
To marry a young sailor bold
Her father looked upon young William
And love and in sweet unity
If I be spared till tomorrow
It’s married this couple shall be

Achievement: Master Any Gross Tons

Here’s my entry for the Daily Posts’ Weekly Photo Challenge: Achievement challenge.

Master Unlimited license from the US Coast Guard

Master Unlimited license from the US Coast Guard

It might not seem like such a big deal just from looking at it (the old style was much more impressive), but it took me over 30 years of steadily working towards my goal to get one. I admit, it’s not usually THAT hard to get. It doesn’t take most people that long to get one (if it did, they wouldn’t be able to run all the ships we have running around the world).

This license shows the world that I am capable of running ANY ship, anywhere in the world (or at least that’s what it did mean before they started up with the new rules, there are some few restrictions now).

I know the usual path is for a person to go to one of our maritime universities. You can go to one of those schools and come out in 4 years with a bachelors degree AND a maritime license.

If you have the means to go to a 4 year university like that, you will come out with a 3rd mate license (or 3rd assistant engineer) and then you only need a year of sea time to get a 2nd mates license. One more year of sea time and you can get your Chief Mates license (along with a test). One year sailing as Chief Mate and you can get your Unlimited Masters license. So, you can become an Unlimited Master in only about 10 years, or even less if you’re lucky with finding the right kind of work.

That is the way MOST people get their license. I was not able to do it that way. First of all, I couldn’t afford to go to school for 4 years. I had to work. You can’t work offshore AND go to school. It’s really hard to be in 2 places at the same time!

Some people are able to go to Kings Point, the US Merchant Marine Academy. If you can get into that school, its FREE! I did try, but I was too fat to pass their physical. Then I tried to get in the Navy. Same problem- too fat.

So, I went to a 2 year program instead. I moved to Texas to go to the Ocean Marine Technology program at Brazosport College. It was a 2 year program that when you finished you would get an Associates Degree in Ocean Marine Technology AND both an AB (able body seaman) and a QMED (qualified member of the engine department).

It took me 5 years to finish, (and to my regret I never tested for the QMED so I can’t work in the engine department any more).

When I got out, I started working in the offshore oil field. I worked my way up from ordinary seaman, to able body seaman, to 1000 ton mate, to 1600 ton captain.

I started the OMT program in 1978. I was able to work my way up to 1600 ton master by 1986. It was NOT easy. I had a couple of strikes against me from the start. One, I was female and things were VERY hard for women trying to work offshore in those days. Two, I was fat. The job description is ABLE BODY seaman. Most people did (and some still do) discriminate against me for both of those reasons.

When I got my 1600 ton masters license from the Coast Guard, they gave me an unlimited 2nd mates license along with it. Like an IDIOT I gave it back to them! I had not asked for that license, simply because I didn’t feel completely confident in my ability to do that job. I didn’t want to be thrown into a situation where I might screw up and hurt somebody.

The Coast Guard officer who had just given me my license was shocked at my decision. Apparently no one else had ever given back their license they had earned before. But I was told that I could come back and get it at any time, whenever I wanted it.

BIG MISTAKE! The USCG changed the rules re: licensing without telling me (or anybody else). That was against their own rules, they are required to publicize it any time they want to change the rules, to prevent just exactly what happened to me!

When I did feel confident of my skills to run the bridge of a large ship, I went back to the USCG to ask for the 2nd mates license I should have already had. They informed me then that they had changed the rules and I could not have it. I would have to stop sailing as master/mate and go back down the ladder to sailing as AB in order to get a THIRD mates license!

WTF??!! I would have to go 2 steps down the ladder to earn again what I was already owed! I would have to work for a minimum of 3 years as AB to get that license back! So, I sucked it up and went and found a job as an AB on a ship large enough that it would count towards getting back that 2nd mates license I had already earned.

I was lucky to get a job with SeaRiver on their tankers. I spent a few years running up the West Coast to Alaska. I really enjoyed the job and they helped me get my third mates license. The only problem with them was, they told me they would NEVER promote me to third mate due to the fact that I was an “alcoholic”.

WTF??!! Yeah, I had a DWI, way back in 1982. When I asked for a promotion it was 1998 or so. Yeah, they consider you PERMANENTLY an alcoholic if you’ve EVER had any problem with it. WOW!

Considering their experience with the Exxon Valdez and the fact that they threw Captain Hazlewood under the bus to get the focus off of their company POLICY (which REALLY caused the accident), I can totally understand their reasoning. So I just quit. People told me I should have sued them over that, but it really wasn’t worth arguing with them about it to me (and I would have had to win millions since for sure I would have been black-balled).

For some reason, I decided to listen to my grandmother and go back to school. I had a bunch of money saved up. It was gone in 2 years. I had to go back to work. I took a job with Coastal Tankships as 3rd mate. I asked them in the interview if they had any problems with me being ‘an alcoholic” due to my long ago arrest for DWI. They laughed and basically welcomed me on board. 🙂

I had a great time working for Coastal as 3rd mate. I had some really great ABs that helped me learn how to be a good Third mate. I would have stayed there forever. But Coastal sold out to El Paso and they scrapped all their ships. 😦

I had seen the writing on the wall since the buy-out and had already applied to Oceaneering. It took them over 6 months to actually hire me. It worked out well, since it gave me the time I needed to study and pass my Second mate exam. Talk about STRESS!

I passed the tests and got my Second mates license in January 2002. On February 1, 2002 the STCW 95 amendments went into effect. Whew! In by the skin of my teeth!! I had been hearing rumors of this huge change in the rules, but nobody had any real knowledge of what was going on. Even the USCG, who would be in charge of enforcing these new rules had NO idea when I asked them about it in November 2001 when I was applying to take the Second mates exam.

The problem (again) was that they didn’t notify anyone of what the rules were or how they would affect us. It is a rule that they HAVE to do that. They didn’t. So, I got ROYALLY SCREWED (again)!

I should have been able to simply get my 1 years sea time as second mate and then sit for my Chief Mates license. Since they changed the rules (again), I would now be forced to (re)take a dozen classes (each of which cost a minimum of $1000).

So, yes, I TRIED to protest. I wrote to everyone from the local USCG office to the President. No one was willing to consider my arguments (the fact that they did not follow their own rules, the fact that I had ALREADY taken each and every one of the required classes). All I got from any of them was that the USCG thought the rules were the rules and had to be followed (never mind the fact that THEY broke the rules)!

In the meantime, while I was trying to protest, I started taking the courses whenever I had both the time and the money together. It took me over 7 years and $50,000 (not counting the lost income I should have already been earning) to complete the courses so that I could apply to test for my Chief mates license!

I FINALLY got it and then had to get a minimum of 6 months sea time sailing AS CHIEF MATE. It was really hard to find a position as chief mate and so I did just get the bare minimum. I was able to use a full year sea time as Second mate to fulfill the requirements for Master.

I got my Masters unlimited license in December 2011. I was SO happy. I could hardly wait to get outside the building and shout YEAH! FINALLY GOT IT!!

If you click on the link, you can see what these license USED to look like.


Photography 101 Challenge: Warmth

As usual, I’m late and having a hard time keeping up with the tasks for the Photography 101 challenge. This is my choice for the Day 9: Warmth assignment.

This was taken in Korea back in April. I was at the market and took tons of pictures. I chose these to represent warmth for a few reasons: the soup/stew was physically hot, it tasted hot, it was full of hot spices, it also included the hot stove and hot coals, and the warmth of the Korean lady. 🙂

Photography 101 Challenge: Natural World

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As usual, I’m late and having a hard time keeping up with the tasks for the Photography 101 challenge. This is my post for the Day 8 assignment: The Natural World.

I’ve been super busy and haven’t really had the chance to get out and take any NEW photos for this challenge. I did go to Moody Gardens on the way home from the FRC course in Galveston the other day and took a bunch of pictures very similar to these. I just haven’t had the chance to upload them onto my computer yet.

Do you consider it ‘cheating’ that these pictures were all taken at an aquarium and I wasn’t actually underwater myself?

Let me know what you think of the photos. I’m doing the challenge to practice my photography and get feedback on what works and what doesn’t. 🙂