SNL: Trump on Comey

Saturday Night Live is one of the very few shows I’ll turn on the TV to watch. It’s not as good as it was a couple of decades ago, but it’s still pretty good. Sometimes they’ll still crack me up laughing.

I’m not a big fan of Trump, but I liked Hillary and Bernie even less. I preferred Gary Johnson (the Libertarian Party candidate) and regardless of his brain fart re: Aleppo, I still think he would have been worlds better as President than any of the other candidates. Too bad he never had a chance to get into the debates to show the rest of the voters that they DID have a real choice.

In this skit President Donald Trump (Alec Baldwin) discusses firing FBI director James Comey in an interview with Lester Holt (Michael Che). I love how the SNL cast has been doing politics lately. Alec Baldwin really has Trump down pat.

I try not to take politics too seriously. In reality, it’s too just depressing to deal with. I really have to struggle to ignore it or by stress levels go through the roof.

Songs of the Sea: Joy to the World

This song is an old favorite. It was a #1 song in 1971. Three Dog Night had a lot of good songs we listened to a lot. Joy to the World, Just an Old Fashioned Love Song, Never Been to Spain, etc. I remember a lot of really good times with good music growing up back then. I remember belting out the lyrics to this song with my friends.

Good old days for sure. ūüôā ¬†I thought since I was posting about fish recently, this would be a good follow up. ūüėČ

Hope you have some fun with it like I did. ūüôā

“Joy To The World”

Jeremiah was a bull frog
Was a good friend of mine
I never understood a single word he said
But I helped him drink his wine
And he always had some mighty fine wine

Singin’
Joy to the world
All the boys and girls, now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

If I were the king of the world
Tell you what I’d do
I’d throw away the cars and the bars and the wars
Make sweet love to you

Singin’ now
Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

You know I love the ladies
Love to have my fun
I’m a high night flier and a rainbow rider
A straight-shootin’ son of a gun
I said a straight shootin’ son of a gun

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea 
Joy to you and me

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the world
Joy to you and me

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls, now
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

Joy to the world
All the boys and girls
Joy to the fishes in the deep blue sea
Joy to you and me

Wild Wednesday: Watch Two Cuttlefish Fiercely Fight For a Mate

I had meant to create a series of posts for “Wild Wednesday” since I first started my blog. I’m not sure why, but I never have managed to make very many posts. There are so many interesting sea creatures out there, and so much we don’t know about them. I’d like to make this a regular feature and share more about them. ūüôā

Let me know how you like the idea.

This is the first time researchers caught the creatures locked in a vicious fight in the wild

Source: Watch Two Cuttlefish Fiercely Battle Over a Mate | Smart News | Smithsonian

The video is cool, the article is really pretty interesting and worth reading. ūüôā

O is for Oceanics- #AtoZChallenge

O” is for¬†the Oceanics. That was such a¬†fantastic¬†experience! I’m so thankful I had that opportunity at such a¬†young age. It really did change my life.

The Oceanics was a really special school. It was run by Chick and Stephanie Gallagher out of their apartment in New York City. They somehow managed to round up small groups of students and a few teachers and send them off on round the world adventures aboard various chartered square-rigged sailing ships.

I see a few organizations today trying to do something similar. Not the same tho, not gone long enough, not the right kind of ships, not the same atmosphere. I’m sure they’re still great experiences for anyone who is able to attend. I don’t think there’s any better way to create a confident, competent, creative, cooperative human being than the way they did it at the Oceanics.

Spending months at sea working together to sail the ship from point A to point B. Learning every aspect of how to do the job properly, we earned a sense of a job well done and self esteem. It takes a lot of teamwork and trust in each other to sail a square-rigged ship. Running up the ratlines to furl the sails in a squall with the wind howling and the ship rolling needs to be an immediate response with all hands on deck. Ask the worlds navies why they still use sailing ships as training vessels, they understand.

The ship was just one aspect of the Oceanics. Captain Jespersen was our sail training master. We spent time with him every day learning the names and functions of all the rigging and sails aboard. We sailed the ship from Pireaus, Greece across the Atlantic to Martinique. We spent our time aboard in school, taking regular classes in math, science (oceanology), world history, cultural studies, local languages (Greek, Spanish, Russian), literature, etc. We also learned seamanship, navigation, and how to take care of the ship.

We all stood watch when we weren’t in class. The traditional 4 hours on, 8 hours off. Standing lookout and tending the helm. In between, we kept busy sanding, varnishing, washing the decks, painting, tending to the rigging, splicing line, even helping the cook peel potatoes.

My favorite time aboard was standing lookout on the bow. Watching the dolphins play in the bow waves on a bright sunny day. Seeing flying fish popping out of a wave, to spread their ‘wings’ to fly across the waves before dropping back into the water. Picking out the constellations in a starry, starry night sky. ūüôā

I can’t express how truly awesome it was.

And then, when we got to port we could go ashore once we were off watch. Or we might all go ashore together for an adventure. We spent a few days on the Greek island of Agistri hunting octopus for dinner and playing soccer on the beach. I spent a few days with a family in La Gomera (Canary Islands) improving my Spanish and learning more about the locals.

We sailed the schooner Ariadne across the Atlantic to Martinique. On arrival we had a well deserved break on the beach. A few of us hitched our way up the island to hike up Mt Pele. I still remember the deliciously sweet pineapples we had to snack on.

Ariadne

Ariadne

We left the Ariadne in Martinique to fly into Caracas and our¬†South American adventure¬†began. We had been studying Spanish since we left Italy. Now was the time to put it to use. Our plan was to travel from Venezuela to Bolivia, we would figure out the details along the way. We got into some really cool, out of the way places. ūüôā

Plenty of the places we wound up had never seen anyone like us before. My red hair stood out like a torch, the locals would surround me and ask to feel it. Young Joe with his bright blond hair was¬†extremely¬†popular with the ladies. People didn’t know what to make of us.

We might show up in a group of 6-10 students (ages 14-21) and 1-2 teachers trying to keep us focused on our studies but also allowing us to get out on our own. We had lots of independent projects. I did one on comparing fairy tales in different cultures and another one identifying plankton I caught in a net on the way over to the Caribbean while we were still on the ship.

We made our way from Caracas through Venezuela to Cucuta, Columbia. From Bogata we headed to Ecuador. Quito, Otavalos, and Guyaquil. We took a boat out to the Galapagos to check out the wildlife and swim with the sea lions and iguanas. We made our way to the jungle and the rivers feeding the Amazon. We traveled down the Rio Napo to visit the indigenous shamans and learn about the plants and animals, (I had to try the ayuhuasca).

In Peru we made our way from Lima to Cuzco (fantastic) and took the train to Macchu Picchu. That was back before it was overrun by tourists. We stayed at the Banos (hot springs) alongside the river and soaked in the hot springs at night after hiking back down the mountain. Another experience I’ll never forget. That place was magical, I could¬†feel¬†it.

We made our way across Lake Titicaca to La Paz, Bolivia to finish up the semester. We were all sad to leave. I didn’t want to go home.

I returned to meet the Ariadne in Martinique a month later. I had another semester to finish high school. We sailed the Ariadne from Martinique to her home port in Hamburg, Germany. Our crossing was fine sailing. We even stopped for a swim in the mid-Atlantic ocean. ūüôā

I was sent ahead with a small group to prepare our next vessel in Denmark. The Irish brigantine “Phoenix” was our home for the rest of our voyage. We spent months sailing around the Baltic, around the top of Denmark, to Sweden, Finland, and even spent a couple of weeks exploring the USSR from Leningrad (St Petersburg).

Our graduation ceremony was on the pier side in Copenhagen. ¬†After another semester of overseas adventures at sea and ashore. It got in my blood and I’m sure I’ll never get over it.

I sure wish I had a better camera back then. Take a look¬†here¬†for some photos collected by Brian who was along for the trip with me and Tom. (who met me in¬†Nicaragua). You can see me in a couple of the photos (in the yellow foul weather jacket by the cannon). ūüėČ

L is for Lion- #AtoZChallenge

“L”¬†is for Lion. I was lucky to be able to see some of these amazing animals in the wild. I went on a photography safari with Great Escape Publishing (GEP) in November. We spent a week exploring Northwest Tanzania. We saw lots of lions and their cubs. I could have spent hours watching them, but we had to move on. So much more to see.

  

H is for Hadzabe- #AtoZChallenge

H”¬†is for the ‘Hadzabe’, an African tribe of friendly people who have chosen to retain their traditional lifestyle. On a photography safari with¬†Great Escape Publishing¬†(GEP) last November, I was able to spend the day learning about how they managed to survive in today’s world.

A very early morning wakeup brought our group of photographers to spend the day with a couple of the traditional tribes of the area. First the Hadzabe, the hunters, next the Datogas, the blacksmiths. We had to meet the Hadzabe very early for a special treat, we would go on a hunt with their men!

#tribe of #Hadzabe #men

We left the beautiful Lake Eyasi Safari Lodge at 0545 and drove about 45 minutes to the Hadzabe camp. They still live a nomadic life, so we met them at one of their temporary camps. They had built scattered domed huts out of thin, flexible branches tied together in addition to their ‚Äėrooms‚Äô in a rocky outcrop atop a high hill.

#traditional #Hadzabe #hut made from flexible branches

When we arrived, we met the chief and through our interpreter, Joseph, we got an explanation of the basics of their lifestyle. The men brought us up to a large overhang of the rock where they had a fire going. They explained the different types of arrows they used for hunting (some were poisonous).

A couple of them showed us how they started a fire (no, not with a Bic lighter), the old fashioned way of twisting a stick until it gets hot enough to light the tinder. The Hadzabe men used the spark to light their pipes for a good long toke. A few of our troop tried it too- (lighting the fire, not smoking the weed)- but only one succeeded (just barely). It looked a lot harder when our group tried to do it. The Hadzabe made it look so easy.

starting the #fire

Similar to the Maasai, they were nomadic. But the Hadzabe were hunters, not herders. The chief also had more than 1 wife. The men spent their days hunting and preparing to hunt. They made their bows and arrows, sharpened their knives, kept the fire going, and smoked a lot of weed while they were at it. They offered some to us, but nobody was brave enough to accept.

After the demonstration, we left with the men on their daily hunt. I followed along for about 20 minutes, up and down the rocky hillsides, surrounded by thorny plants in the hot sun. The hunters were already so far ahead of me I couldn’t see what good it was doing to try to keep up with them. I was rushing- huffing and puffing- and not able to really pay attention to my surroundings and thought better about continuing on.

#Hadzabe #African #tribesmen going #hunting with #bows and arrows

I turned around and went back to camp. Joseph escorted me and a couple of others who also wanted to return, just to make sure we made it back safely.

Joseph brought us back to camp, introduced us to the women and then returned to the hunt.

#Hadzabe #woman and her #child

Like the Maasai women, the Hadzabe women stay in camp and tend to the household chores. They take care of the children, do whatever needs doing around the camp, and make items for trade. I watched as all the women and children sat together creating beautiful beadwork items (which they later showed our group- just in case anyone wanted to buy).

#Hadzabe #tribal #beadwork

It took a couple of hours for the men to return to camp- along with our group who stuck it out with them. Sorry to say, they didn’t catch anything. They’ll have to try again later. In preparation for heading out again, they practiced with their bow and arrows and a target stump a couple hundred feet down the slope. We watched as all the men (even the young boys) took their shots at the stump. They even offered to teach us how to do it.

#Hadzabe #tribesmen practice #target #shooting with #bows and #arrows

A couple of our group decided to take them up on it and took a couple of shots at the stump. No one managed to hit the target. I tried to pull the string of one of the small boys’ bow. No, I couldn’t pull it even halfway back. We all had fun, the Hadzabe had a good laugh at how awful we were.

we get to practice #target #shooting with #Hadzabe #bows and #arrows

Before we left, the tribe got together and gave us a farewell present. They put on a dance show for us and even invited us into the dance. It was a fun ending to our visit.

F is for Freedom- #AtoZChallenge

F” is for FREEDOM! A particular passion of mine. I could go on and on about it (like¬†this), but no one ever wants to listen. Here, on my blog, I can express myself. I can try to make a point and then remove myself from the ‘conversation’.

Maybe then, others will take a minute or two to think about what I am trying to communicate? Instead of talking to each other in person. Where each person almost always has a rebuttal in mind before the first person even gets finished speaking?

Maybe by just putting some of these thoughts out there, into the ether, someone might think ‘hey, that actually makes sense’, or ‘wow, what a thought’, or ‘maybe those nut job¬†libertarian¬†freaks really do have some good points’, or best of all they might start to think for themselves about¬†why¬†we are NOT allowed to live our lives with all the freedoms we OUGHT to have!

Here are a few of my favorite quotes (taken from google)…

I truly believe that with all my heart. I only wish others felt the same. 

And again, you can’t value freedom for yourself without granting the same to others.¬†¬†

Why¬†do so many people value ‘fitting in’, falsifying their own true selves to be ‘accepted’ by others?¬†Be yourself! I decided a long time ago, I will not let others opinions affect the things I choose to do with my life! If people don’t like me the way I am, then the hell with them! There are over 7 BILLION people in this world, I’m sure to find at least a few who accept me and value me just the way I am. Those are the only ones for me to care about.

 

Sad, but true. For some reason, we have an overabundance of greedy, power-hungry bastards that ALWAYS manage to steal the power away from the people. We, the people managed to wrestle it away for a short time here in the US, but they’ve come back with a vengeance and stolen away almost ALL of our liberty¬†again! Unless and until the populace starts caring again and¬†demands¬†their freedom, and¬†takes¬†it back- we will just keep on losing more and more each year until we’re basically just a slave state (again) and only ‘our leaders’ are free.

Believe it or not, but we’re pretty damn close to that state right now, today (and no, it’s not just because Trump got elected). The “deep state”, the powers behind the powers have been working behind the scenes for decades and they are sooooo close, so close they can taste it! Total control is within their grasp. We’re so far past Orwell’s¬†1984, it’s not even funny.

While we all just keep on ignoring the whole thing, telling ourselves we still live in the ‘land of the free and the home of the brave’. Repeat it enough and we’ll make ourselves really believe it’s true. Nope, that place is long gone!

Snowden¬†tried his best to wake us up, even his revelations did nothing to wake up the majority of the people. They just don’t seem to care. Have they all been brainwashed? 12 years of government indoctrination has done the job the public schools were created to do? Dumb us down and turn us all into ‘cogs in the great machine‘, just indistinguishable¬†tools¬†to create the wealth so that others can siphon off most of it before we ever even see it?

 

EXACTLY! What’s the big deal? Why do so many people freak out when the idea of real freedom is brought up? They’ll bring up every imaginable excuse (no matter how ridiculous) to argue against it. Regardless of the fact that the¬†most free¬†societies in the history of mankind have been the most prosperous and gave the best possible lives to the most possible (considering the reality of the times they lived in).

This idea perfectly expresses the reason why the founders rebelled against Great Britain and formed the United States of America. The Declaration of Independence says it all:

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.-Preamble to the Declaration of Independence

That basic principle is the foundation of our country. ALL people should be free to live their lives in whatever way they choose (as long as they don’t hurt anyone else). (No matter how hypocritical they were back then re: blacks, women, native americans). Why don’t even Americans hold to these principles anymore?

We are still living now on the proceeds of the freedom we used to have. I wonder how much longer can we last before our creeping statism (fascism, totalitarianism, globalism, corporatism, crony capitalism, socialism, etc) destroys whats left?

 

I agree (tho a clipper ship under full sail I’d count as a close second)! Take a quick look at some beautiful ships…

See what I mean? ūüôā

C is for Calvin- #AtoZChallenge

For “C“, I’ll tell you a little about “Calvin”. Calvin is the name chosen for the latest creepy alien we get to ‘meet’.

I went to see the movie “LIFE” the other day.

I’ve always been into science fiction. Not like a huge geek or anything, but I love the way the stories make you think. About all the different possibilities. What would people do under these circumstances? Or those? The genre allows so much freedom to explore.

LIFE starts out on the International Space Station (ISS). They retrieve a returning Mars probe and find a single celled organism onboard. It grows. Rapidly. Proof of ‘life beyond Earth’. The world is fascinated. They name it “Calvin”.

Too bad, but all the wishful thinking in the world doesn’t make Calvin a nice guy.

This Is Where I Work

When I work.

This is the kind of ship I’ve been working on most recently. This video was taken on the DS-4. I used to work on the DS-3 and DS-5 and a couple of other sister ships. Sisters, meaning they’re all built to the same basic plan.

These drill ships are technological wonders. They’re very capable and fairly comfortable ships to work on. I would go back in a NY second! I keep hoping the price of oil will go back up. There will be no work for me or anybody else out there until it does. According to reports, there are around a half million people out of work due to the low price of oil.

I read the news every day to see the price of a barrel and how many rigs are working. So far, the price has recovered from around $26/bbl to around $50/bbl (just dropped back down to $47 last few days). The ON SHORE drillers have been taking advantage of the situation and are drilling like crazy!

They have already returned a couple hundred rigs to work. Every time they do, they put downward pressure on the price of a barrel of oil. That only delays offshore drilling from starting up again.

At this point, I’m wondering if we’ll EVER be able to go back to work. it is not cheap to drill for oil offshore. They’re not going to do it at a price of only $50/bbl. The companies that work offshore can’t work without making a profit. That means oil must be over $60/bbl and it has to¬†stabilize¬†there before any of us see steady work again. (IMHO).

I know, most people are happy to get cheap gas, I would be too if I was actually getting it as cheap as it¬†should¬†be with price/bbl so low. And if so many people weren’t out of work because of it.

If I could find some other type of work that was in any way comparable, I would be doing it. There’s nothing like offshore. There’s nothing I’d rather do than be a mariner. I’ll just keep hoping things get better before I’m forced out for good.

More Shud

This past Saturday Night Live was the best I’ve seen in quite a while. SNL is actually one of the very few shows I’ll turn on the TV to watch, but it’s been disappointing lately.

This week it was really pretty funny. I liked the opener (about Trump and an alien invasion), the Olive Garden commercial was pretty good, and the mermaid sketch featuring Kate McKinnon as ‘Shud’ (who is part blobfish) and Scarlett Johansson as her best friend the anglerfish was hilarious.

I hope they keep going with this skit. Maybe they can even add Leslie Jones in there somewhere. I think she might add even more to it. ūüôā

Watch: 10 Reasons Why Maritime SUCKS

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdMYEKwxTyo Here’s a new upload from maritime Youtuber ‚Ķ

He really makes a lot of good points. I have to agree with him on pretty much everything he says. Yes, things are much, much better for sailors than in the days of Richard Henry Dana’s “Two Years Before the Mast“, but they’ve sure as hell been going downhill since the 1960’s!

Yes, the ships are built with all the latest technology, but the crews have been cut in half and more! Our workload has been constantly increasing, with less and less personnel to do it all!

Yes, our pay has gone up- but not nearly as much as it would take to keep up with inflation. Considering all the expenses we now have added on in order to be allowed to work offshore, we’re actually earning much less than we were in the past.

Yes, communications have improved- for the ship. Not necessarily for the crew. There are still so many ship owners/operators who think of their crews as nothing more than another tool to use and abuse, not human beings like themselves. People who also have a life off the ship (if they have people who choose to stick around and wait for the sailor who may not be able to contact them for months at a time- which is not very likely now a days when everyone expects instant gratification).

I said I would never again work for someone who treated me like that, but I never in my life thought things would get this bad out there! Even with the advent of the STCW, which I immediately saw for what it was (an easy way for shipowners to rid themselves of ‘expensive’ first world crews), I still never imagined how small the box I’ve been shoved into has become!

I always figured that when it got slow offshore, I could ship out on a tugboat, or a tanker, or some other kind of vessel. Well, due to the US Coast Guard constantly changing the rules (and not always putting out the notifications they are required to by law), it is no longer possible to switch sectors like we could before.

Now, if you work on a tanker, you must stay on a tanker or you will lose your ability to ever go back to that kind of work without paying enormous fees to be ‘trained’, (ex: $1,100 for course, $500+ for lodging, $300+ for transport, $300+ for food). To do the same thing you’ve been doing for 5, 10, 15 years in the past ! Same goes for almost every type of vessel now. Passenger vessels only want people with that specific type of experience and paperwork. Towing vessels can only take people with towing endorsements. DP vessels will only take people with DP certificates. Etc.

I’m lucky I’m not a sailor from the Philippines, or China, or any of the other ‘third world’ (meaning low wage) countries where the overwhelming majority of seafarers come from now a days. For an American, working for MSC (Military Sealift Command) is probably the longest hitch out there. It’s supposedly 4 months long. I hear from friends it’s more like 6. Those poor crews from the Philippines are working for 2 years at a time before they can go home!

Most American ships are in pretty decent shape. They’re in great condition compared to a lot of the crap I’ve seen sailing around the world from other countries. Ships with ‘flags of convenience‘. Owners flag their ships outside of their own countries for financial reasons. They can get cheaper crews, bother with less rules and regulations, pay less taxes and fees, etc. Some of them are decent, but many of them are not. Check out this report¬†by the ITF, they do a pretty good job of keeping track of this stuff. Or this, which makes the ITF report look tame.

Watch the video for a pretty good run down of what to expect shipping out. He doesn’t really get into the good parts. But then again, there aren’t too many good parts left anymore. ūüė¶

Any of you sailors out there, I’d be very interested to get your take on both the video and my comments on it.

Source: Watch: 10 Reasons Why Maritime SUCKS (Things To Consider Before Joining Merchant Marine) – JeffHK ‚Äď gCaptain

Songs of the Sea: I Hate Boats

They say the 2 best days in the life of any boat owner are the day he buys it and the day he sells it. Here’s a song for those who are getting to that 2nd best day!

So Cool!

I’ve always loved dolphins and whales. I always wanted to be able to swim freely in the ocean with them. So far, I’ve never been this close to any out in the wild. I’m pretty sure it’s against ‘the rules’ to get so close to them or to touch them like these people were doing. Tho I have to admit, I would have a hard time holding back myself if they came so close. I think they’re beautiful and intelligent creatures. I hate to see how much we’ve destroyed their world, and yet they’re still mostly OK with us. ūüôā

Mother Whale and Calf with people on whale watching trip. Very cool to see the Momma raising her Baby to show it the funny looking humans! Like a revers Zoo, were the people out to see the Whales, or was the Momma Whale teaching her baby about humans? The big momma Whale held her baby […]

via Mother Whale Lifting Her Baby to See Humans on Boat ‚ÄĒ 2012 The Awakening

Song of the Sea: Dream of the Drowned Submariner

I found this video when I ¬†was looking around¬†last time. It’s another one by¬†Mark Knopfler.¬†I’m definitely going to have to buy some of his¬†albums. ūüôā I really like this song. The music is quiet and peaceful, the lyrics are slow and wistful. I never really think of submariners too much. I guess it’s a case of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. I’ve always worked on¬†top¬†of the water, and it’s our main objective to stay up there. ūüėČ

I have to give them their due. Their time at sea and under the water must be even harder than for those of us who sail above the water. The darkness, the pressure, the cramped quarters must really be rough.

I’m reading a book right now. “Dead Wake” about the last voyage of the Lusitania. Basically, a submarine sunk the ship and brought the USA into World War I. I’m not even halfway through it yet, but so far it’s pretty good. It’s given me a whole new appreciation for the submariners.

I hope you like the video as much as I do.

“Dream Of The Drowned Submariner”

We run along easy at periscope depth
Sun dappling through clear water
So went the dream of the drowned submariner
Far away from the slaughterYour hair is a strawflower that sings in the sun
My darling, my beautiful daughter
So went the dream of the drowned submariner
Cast away on the water

From down in the vault, down in the grave
Reaching up to the light on the waves

So she did run to him over the grass
She fell in his arms and he caught her
So went the dream of the drowned submariner
Far away on the water
Far away on the water

Songs of the Sea: So Far From the Clyde

I have to say thanks to the¬†Old Salt Blog¬†for sending me news of this song in my email this morning. ūüôā

I’ve never heard of it before. I’m not really familiar with¬†Mark Knopfler, even tho I know a few songs by Dire Straits. After listening to this song, I’ll be sure to track down more of his stuff.

As a seafarer, I know exactly what he’s singing about. It’s a sad song about riding his ship to the breakers. So many¬†great ships¬†were built in Scotland, on the Clyde. I’ve even been on one- the famous tea clipper,¬†Cutty Sark. She’s kept near London now, as a museum.

Most ships are brought round to the breakers in the Indian Ocean. They’re driven ashore in Pakistan or India. It’s just so much easier and cheaper to get rid of them there. That’s a story in itself. National Geographic even did a¬†photo essay¬†on it recently.

I’ve never done it yet myself. I would like to once, before I have to give up sailing. Closest I came was to deliver the tanker “Coastal New York” to a shipyard in China for scrapping.

Listen to the lyrics…

“So Far From The Clyde”

They had a last supper the day of the beaching
She’s a dead ship sailing skeleton crew
The galley is empty, the stove pots are cooling
What’s left of the stew
The time is approaching, the captain moves over
The hangman steps in to do what he’s paid for
With the wind down the tide she goes proud ahead steaming
And he drives her hard into the shore

So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride

A drift to a wave from her bows to her rudder
Bravely she rises to meet with the land
Under their feet you can feel the Kings shudder
The shallow sea washes their hands
Later the captain shakes hands with the hangman
Climbs slowly down to the oily wet ground
Goes back to the car that has come here to take him
Through the graveyard back to the town

So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride

They pull out her cables and hack off her hatches
Too poor to be wasteful with pity or time
They swarm on her carcass with torches and axes
Like a whale on a bloody shoreline
Stripped of her pillars her stays and her stanchions
When it’s only her bones on the wet poison land
Steel robbers will drag her with winches and engines
Till it’s only a stain on the sea

So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride
So far from the Clyde
Together we ride, we did ride

More Questions From the Alien

I know most people find it absolutely inconceivable that we can exist without a government to run things. Personally, I just can’t understand that mind frame. I just don’t get it.

Why do so many people think they can’t figure out how to run their own lives without some far off ‘leader’ making all the important decisions for them? I mean it’s ridiculous right?

Here in the USA, ‘the most free country in the world’, our government saddles us with hundreds of thousands of ‘laws’. The Code of Federal Regulations had over¬†34,000 pages¬†(and weighed 340 lbs) in 2011!!!

Our leaders force us to follow their directions in everything from deciding what we can do with our own bodies (can’t decide what to eat, drink, smoke, etc), to what we can do with ‘our’ property, to what we can do for a living (and how). Their interference is never-ending!

We have laws to: fine or imprison us for drinking raw milk, force us to drink fluoridated water, regulate the amount of water you can use to flush your toilet, force you to tie yourself up every time you get in your car (seatbelt), force you to use expensive and shorter lasting lightbulbs, fine or imprison you for collecting the rain water that falls on your property, throw you in prison for using a harmless plant (marijuana), force you to pay them (government) in order to start a business (extortion), force you to pay them in order to get a job (extortion), force you to support a corrupt and exceedingly expensive medical system (obamacare), allow ‘our leaders’ to get away with NOT following the ‘laws’ they FORCE the rest of us to follow!

And there are hundreds of thousands of others. ūüė¶

Yet, some people¬†still¬†believe that all this is somehow necessary. I will continue to ask WHY? Since it really is NOT necessary, no not at all! People existed in peaceful societies long before there was any such thing as ‘government’.

No, we do NOT need the government to ‘build roads’, ‘educate the children’, ‘catch the thieves/bad guys’, etc. People were perfectly capable of doing all those things (and everything else they needed to do) without any government.

I’ve been a libertarian ever since I understood what the word meant (nonaggression principle), and really since I was born. I never understood the need for ‘authority’ and have fought it all my life.

I KNOW I can run my life better than anyone else can. Yes, even tho I’ve made mistakes and will surely make more. I STILL know that no one else could’ve done better. Period! I understand that works the same for everybody on this planet (and everywhere else!).

It is simply impossible for anyone else to have all the knowledge that I do about my life (same for everybody else). Without perfect knowledge, there can be no perfect decisions. Since I have the MOST perfect knowledge, then my decision is the BEST one possible. Period.

Until there is some all knowing, all powerful, perfect being (some say there is- God- but that’s another issue I don’t want to get into now), then there is NO justification for letting ANYONE else control YOUR decisions about YOUR life. PERIOD!

The US Constitution tried to create a ‘proper’ government. One where the PEOPLE were sovereign, as they should be. The principles behind the Declaration of Independence and written in the Bill of Rights were a great start for a great country.

The first ever formed specifically and only to guarantee and protect the rights of the individual. Our founding fathers understood that those rights were inherent to every human being and did NOT come from any government.

Too bad we’ve decided to disregard all that stuff. We’ve decided to throw our heritage of freedom and individual liberty in the garbage and become like every other socialist country in the world (most of them failures in many ways). It’s just a matter of degree.

We¬†used to¬†understand the difference between individualism and statism. Not any more. We’re all statists now, everywhere around the world. We’re lucky we’re still living on what we were able to create when we were still¬†fairly¬†free and¬†able¬†to be creative. Those days are fading fast.

I liked how the little alien from¬†my post the other day¬†asked such great questions. Here it is again with some more to make you think…

Pirates Christmas

Getting into the Christmas spirit around here. It’s Christmas Eve already- wow! Here’s a fun little video by Tom Mason & the Blue Buccaneers. It’s another Song of the Sea too. ūüėČ

Yo Ho Ho (Pirates Christmas)

‘Twas the night before Christmas

And out on the sea…
Continue reading

Government Explained

I was at our weekly Tuesday Meetup of the¬†Campaign for Liberty. Last week was one of the better ones we’ve had in a while. We watched a couple of pretty good videos. Here’s one…

We all got a good laugh out of it. I would love to see this thing played in every school in the country. We really need to do something to get people to think about this kind of stuff!

Personally, I’ve never understood why so many people think they need someone else to tell them how to live their lives. Or why so many people think that someone else actually has some sort of¬†right¬†to do it.

As a¬†libertarian, I believe¬†every¬†person has the absolute right to live their own lives in the best way they can. The way¬†they¬†choose. They have the right to do anything they want, as long as they don’t hurt anybody else.

So far, no one has ever been able to give me a good¬†reason¬†for not having things that way. A lot of excuses, a lot of fears, a lot of “what-ifs”, but no reasons.

I’d really like to see someplace, even just one place in the world, try to form a society where people could live that way. The US tried. They came very close when they came up with the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. But they never truly followed it. If they had actually treated ALL people the way they said they should, we might actually have a free country today. Too bad they weren’t ready to go that far. ūüė¶

I do see a few people around the world trying. The¬†Seasteaders, the¬†Libertarian Party, the¬†guy over in Europe¬†who’s trying hard to create a really free country, even the¬†Freedom Ship¬†was originally intended to be a place where people could have real freedom (tho it seems to have mutated).

I’d love to be able to find somewhere like that to move to, so far they are all out of my reach financially at least. In the meantime, I keep on trying to find ways to make things better here, but it sure does get frustrating.

Videos like that help cheer me up, for a little while. ūüėČ

Chaotic: African Fire Drill

I checked into my new hotel this afternoon. When I walked outside to take a look at the beach, I noticed a column of smoke not too far away. Actually, it was pretty close.

I went to see what was going on. As I got closer, I could see the flames shooting up.  Spreading quickly up the thatched roof of a nearby resort.

#fire at a beach resort in #Zanzibar

I went over to see if I could help (as a mariner I’ve been training in firefighting for the last 30+ years).

The scene was complete chaos.

#fire and #emergency at a beach resort in #Zanzibar

Like a ‘Chinese fire drill’, but no Chinese around. It was an African fire drill, but not a drill. A¬†real¬†fire, and a big one!

#fire at #beach resort on #Zanzibar

There was a huge crowd milling around, taking photos and selfies. European tourists in bikinis and locals from the nearby village. ūüė¶

#crowd watching the #firefighters

Someone decided to be ‘official’ and ran a bunch of yellow plastic crime scene tape around the area. Best I could tell, the waiters were trying to fight the fire. There were a couple of groups of guys trying to get the fire hoses straightened out.

Dozens of people- locals, Maasai men, workers from the resorts, and a few tourists (including me)- joined in to help fight the fire and keep the flames from spreading.

One hose ran all the way from my resort- at least a half mile- there was no water pressure. The same situation on the other side of the building.

It was a large, mostly open air, building with a palm thatched roof. From the gear scattered around outside, I assumed it was the kitchen/dining room. There were tables and chairs, serving bars, small refrigerators, serving platters and condiment trays.

On my side of the flaming building, there was a small market and massage business. People were moving all the paintings, carvings and tables further away from the fire. On the other side, there were about 2 dozen little thatched palapas between the fire and the next building.

Luckily, the wind was blowing pretty much directly towards the ocean and not to either side. If it had been, it would have been a complete disaster. As it was, they were very, very lucky it wasn’t a lot worse.

By the time I walked from my resort past the one next door to the one where the fire was, the fire had spread from one end of the building to the other. It was not just the thatched roof now, but a raging inferno as the fire consumed all the interior furniture, framework, etc.

#fire at beach resort in #Zanzibar

Outside was still complete chaos. There was still no water pressure. I kept wondering why didn’t they have a pump set up? They could keep one set up in the little shack there on the beach, keep a couple of hoses nearby and they’d have all the fire-fighting capability they’d ever need with the ocean right there.

I noticed the manager (or the man who seemed most to be in charge) and offered to help. Put some of those decades of experience to use, but he was too agitated to bother with me. I feel sorry for him. He told me they had just had a drill 3 days ago.

I’m not sure what the problem was with the water pressure, they did eventually get the hose to work. In the meantime, I was helping the women in the bucket brigade. We were filling any containers we could find in the swimming pool, passing them through the kitchen, through the palapas, to the men who would throw them onto the fire.

#bucket brigade to fight the #fire

Other men were working on trying to take down the palapas, to keep the sparks from igniting them and spreading the fire to the rest of the resort. A couple of guys got hold of a water hose and were doing what they could with it.

tearing down the #palapas for a #firebreak

I noticed a fire extinguisher and wondered why no one had thought to put it to use?

All I could think about was what a waste. The lack of training was so obvious, it was sad. These people were doing their best, many were plainly very upset. I noticed tears on the faces of a few of the women. The men were yelling and pointing and extremely agitated. I wish I could speak their language, but I’m limited with just English.

I tried to catch someone who spoke English, to give them a few pointers (since they were not fighting the fire very effectively). I hoped no one would get hurt when they went inside the building (with barely enough water pressure for a garden hose) and no protective equipment. Most of them were in shorts and flip-flops.

There is always the danger of re-flash and yes, the fire did flare up again a few times. A few  men kept up throwing buckets of water and sand on the thatch when the women were told to get back to serving lunch (WTF???).

I would offer to do some drills with them while I’m here, but somehow I think they might not appreciate that. I’m sure it would help to just get everyone confident with a fire extinguisher. I’m not sure what started the fire, but since it was in the kitchen/dining room, I assume it started in the kitchen.

Grease fire? Burned the bacon? I’d like to know what really happened. I sure do hope they review this incident and get some ‘lessons learned’. I’m glad no one got hurt, but from watching the whole episode, that had to be pure luck.

PS- I heard today that it did start in the kitchen. They cook over open flames mostly here. The story I got was that the cooking fire somehow caught the gas bottles (in a small room) and then there was an explosion.

Meeting the Maasai

This afternoon, after our last visit to Tarangire National Park, we got to visit with the Maasai tribe. A real highlight of our safari so far.

The chief met us on arrival at his village. A tall man, dressed in the traditional red robes of his tribe, he spoke very good English as he explained daily life in his village.

We watched as a couple of ladies built a new house out of long, thin sticks. They had stuck them in the ground to make a circle about 8-10 ft in diameter. When we arrived, they were circling the structure with more thin sticks and then tying them together every few inches.

The chief explained that they would cover this framework with cow dung mixed with mud and water to insulate the home (and keep the termites out). Then they would roof it with palm fronds.

He explained how his family functioned. He had 3 wives. The first one got to pick the rest of them out. They all had to get along. He had to have so many head of cattle before he could marry. The more cows, the more wives he could have.

The men spent their days tending their herds, the women were responsible for everything else: raising the children, cooking, taking care of the house (and even building it). The women also spent time making items to trade (and sell to any tourists that came by).

After the chief answered our questions, he brought us to the corral where they kept their animals at night. Built of thorny branches in a thick layer, it kept out the predators. Inside, we were treated to a dance put on by most of the tribe. The women on one side and the men on the other.

The women wore large beaded collars around their necks. One or two would move from the ends towards each other in the center of their line- bowing their upper bodies and chanting. The men stayed on their side of the corral, humming and chanting in low voices. Every so often they would jump straight up with their spears, as high as they could.

When the dance finished up to a round of applause, the women spread out their creations for our inspection (and hopefully a sale).

It was a little gross, walking through all the cow patties, etc. But when it comes to shopping (and getting good photos), nothing would stop us. ūüėČ

They made beautiful beaded jewelry- necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings. They made carved and painted animal figures, bowls and boxes. They had a pretty good day by the time we left.

Yes we contributed to their commercialization. Their lives have already been corrupted by modernity no matter how much they try to retain their traditional culture. I’m glad I got to meet them, before they get too homogenized. I hope they can improve their lives and somehow keep their culture strong too.