Gather the Daughters

I just finished reading another good book. I really enjoyed this one. Even tho it was more than a little upsetting. Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed is a futuristic novel about an isolated island where the descendants of a small group of men have survived the war- ravaged, burning wastelands the rest of the world has become.

After decades of life on the island, the people have created a fairly stable community, even if they have to live without most of the things we take for granted. Not just electricity, and all the nice things we can have because of it, but even simple things like a decent piece of paper.

They’ve kept an elite group of 10 “wanderers” who, like the original 10 founders of the island, can leave the island at will. No one else is permitted to leave, at all, ever.

The wanderers search the rest of the world for useful items (and possible immigrants) and report back on the state of the world. It’s never good.

Culture on the island is based on the twisted religious ideology of the original 10 founders.

“When a daughter submits to her father’s will, when a wife submits to her husband, when a woman is a helper to a man, we are worshipping the ancestors and their vision.” 

It’s pretty much a paradise for the male population. Not so much for the women, although most accept it, one way or another.

This book reminds me of The Handmaids Tale. The same bleak outlook for society, the same lack of freedom and autonomy, the same religious based repression of (especially) women.

In Gather the Daughters, the men get especially ‘lucky’. They get to sleep with their daughters. At least until a certain age. More and more “defective” babies are born (and most are killed soon after), but the solution is to bring in fresh blood in the form of acceptable immigrants instead of reconsidering the ‘holy’ edicts of the founders.

Of course the women have some misgivings about the situation, but they keep silent. Previous experience with ‘shaming’ has taught them to protect themselves as well as they can. Young girls have no other experience to go by, so they accept these goings on as ‘normal’, at least until they start growing up when a few start questioning their situation.

When they enter puberty and become ‘women’, they are expected to marry and begin producing healthy offspring (but no more than 2- population must be controlled on an island of limited resources). Woe betide those who object in any way!

It’s a frustrating and sad story. I wanted to wring the necks of the ‘Fathers’ every time one of them opened their mouths. Yes, there were a couple of decent ones, but because they were in such a small minority they kept their ideas to themselves too.

I was so proud of Janey. I felt encouraged by Janey, who starves herself in order to delay menstruation. She fights to the death to avoid being forced into becoming nothing but a breed cow. Leading some of the other girls into self exile on the beach. They build shelters and hunt for clams for a few short days before a disastrous sickness hits the community and brings most of the girls home in an attempt to help their families.

I wanted to cry for all the girls (and women) on the island. For their lack of choices, for their lack of opportunity, for their lack of freedom, for their lack of information. Their lives have been stifled and cut short in almost every way.

It angers me that so many people still consider a womans’ life to be worthless unless she is submitting to some man and popping out babies at every opportunity. It sickens me that so many people think women are put on earth only to ‘serve’ men. We are nothing but sex objects, to be ‘seen and not heard’, to be somehow ‘pure’ receptacles for a mans sperm whenever he feels like depositing it somewhere warm!

It depresses me to know that the stories in this book are not just fiction. Things like this are happening to women and girls right now. Not in some remote, make believe island at some point in the future, but HERE and NOW.

Thank goodness it’s no longer supported by the majority of the population here in America, if it was it would probably be made into a ‘law’ (since so many people believe we are a democracy instead of the Constitutional republic that we are in reality).

BUT IT IS still happening here and all over the world regardless. Of course, there are still places where the community DOES still support these barbarous customs.

All I can do is hope people will somehow come to see there is a better way than to use half of the human race as nothing but breed cows and unpaid labor. I do support various charities to help women and girls improve their lives and take advantage of all the real opportunities to LIVE their lives, to follow their dreams.

One example is Women for Women. They help support and train women who have suffered through war zones, rapes, families killed, beatings, homes and crops destroyed. Women for Women helps with emotional support and gives them training to help these women make a new start on their lives. I wish I could do more.

I can’t change the world (tho I try), but I think I can help at least a few individuals change their lives for the better.

Advertisements

A Speck in the Sea

I’ve been reading some good books lately. A Speck in the Sea by lobstermen John Aldridge and Anthony Sosinski is one of them.

Subtitled “A story of survival and rescue”, it tells the story of how John fell overboard late one night and the subsequent search and rescue efforts.

I’ve always loved reading stories of disasters and survival. I like to see how people react to unusual circumstances and imagine what I might do if something happened to me. I read about nuclear wars and EMP attacks, alien invasions, the zombie apocalypse, global pandemics, environmental destruction and the more likely (for me personally) disaster at sea stories.

A Speck in the Sea is one of those.

As the Anna Mary motored out from Montauk late one night, John stood watch while his parters slept below. Instead of waking them up as planned, he decided to let them sleep a little longer and started to prepare for the fishing grounds instead.

One small ‘oops’ and he was over the side. In the middle of the night. In the North Atlantic. With nothing but the clothes on his back. With no one aware of his situation.

The book does a great job of telling the story from both sides: John tells what he’s thinking and doing while he’s bobbing around in the cold dark ocean. Anthony and the Coast Guard tell us what’s going on as they discover John’s missing and their reaction. The entire community gets involved. Yes, they would. The seafaring communities are still like that.

As a fisherman myself, with a brother who’s still trying to make a living out there, I could immediately relate. I admire John’s resourcefulness and will to survive. I’m not so sure I would react like he did. I have a much more pessimistic outlook on life. Still, it’s nice to know that it IS possible to survive.

If you’re into sea stories, or in how to survive the unexpected, you might like this book. I recommend it. 🙂

Book Review: Best New Horror (2010)

I just finished reading “The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 22” (ed: Stephen Jones). I’ve had it sitting around the house here for quite a while and finally got around to reading it.

I do like these anthologies of short stories every once in a while. This one was pretty good. I could’ve done without the long introduction (105 pages!) giving the rundown on “horror in 2010). Lots and lots of information on all the new writers, books, movies, magazines, games, etc published in that year. If you’re into that, it’s great additional information. If you’re not, it’s a waste of real estate. (I’m not that into that stuff, but I don’t like skipping over things either). 😉

They did the same at the end, with a “Necrology” of another 84 pages. Long, long pages of everyone involved in any way with horror (and even sci-fi) who died in the year 2010. Movie actors, screenwriters, actors, writers, musicians, etc. They list pretty much everything a personality was involved in.

I was surprised to read some of the things people I remembered had been involved in. Meinhardt Raabe played the ‘munchkin coroner’ who declared the Wicked Witch of the West was dead in the Wizard of Oz worked for the next 30 years for Oscar Mayer as “Little Oscar, the World’s Smallest Chef”. I remember the Beaver’s mom, Barbara Billingsley.  She was great in “Airplane!” (hilarious!). She was also in the movie “Invaders from Mars” in her early days.

Even so, I would have preferred them to just skip all the extras and get right to the stories. Most of them were pretty short, but they still packed a punch. There were 23 in all. Most written by people I’ve never heard of.

I can’t say there was a bad one in the book. Lots of ghosts, zombies, demons and just plain weird goings on. I especially liked “The Lemon in the Pool” by Simon Kurt Unsworth,  “Lesser Demons” by Norman Partridge and “Fort Clay, Louisiana: A Tragical History” by Albert E. Cowdrey.

If you like horror and weird stories, you might like this book. It’s a little long, at 575 pages, but if you skip all the extras and just read the actual stories, it’s a pretty quick read. I finished it in only 3-4 days.

I enjoyed the book, now I need to figure out what to read next. I just got a couple of new ones. I’m really looking forward to “Sleeping Beauties” by Stephen & Owen King and “The Fireman” by Joe Hill. I love both of those writers. Stephen King has been a favorite for decades and the 3 (“NOS4A2”, “Horns”, “Heart-Shaped Box”) I’ve read so far by Joe Hill have all been excellent. What a talented family!

Has anybody read them yet? Which would you read first? 🙂

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

SoCS: Short

This post is for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday. It’s Sunday as I write this, but the events I’m going to write about happened yesterday so I’m counting it. 😉 And I don’t think it’s going to be “short“, so consider it the opposite of short. 🙂

I went down to the beach  yesterday for the St Patricks Day parade. The weather was overcast with a light rain. I was late leaving home and thought I might get stuck in traffic, but because of the weather I made it in time for the judging without any trouble at all.

I got a few photos before it started raining hard and I had to run for cover. I headed to the Jetty Shack to dry off and watch the parade through the window.

I was sitting at the bar, enjoying a yummy Patty Melt (they make the best ones around) and listening to the surrounding conversations. I joined in (where maybe I shouldn’t have).

I can’t really remember how it started, but something to do with how young people don’t have any respect. It moved on to how society has encouraged people to do things that are illegal and cause harm.  Continue reading

A to Z: Reading

Today’s post for the A to Z Challenge is: reading.

I’ve always loved to read. When I was a kid, I used to read everything I could get my hands on. I read the entire children’s section of the local library (and plenty of the adults). I read the encyclopedia of animals I got for a present. I read my fathers magazines. I would even read the labels at the table if I had nothing else. 😉

My brother is the complete opposite. I don’t think he’s picked up a book in years. Last I heard he checked out a couple of comic books, but that’s about it. I can hardly believe how little he reads and how different we are in that respect. Our parents were both voracious readers. I don’t know how my brother feels, but I’m sure glad I followed in their footsteps. At least in that respect.

It constantly amazes me how few people like to actually read these days (not to mention real books). People love their electronic gadgets. They’re on the phone, iPod, computer, electronic games, etc, I see it all the time. I rarely see someone peacefully sitting and enjoying a good book anymore.

I always bring something to read with me anywhere I go. It helps a lot when standing in line, or put on hold, or waiting in the Drs office. Thank god for e-readers! I can bring more with me when I ship out to work now- maybe even enough to last the whole hitch without overloading my luggage allowance!

I’m so glad I can relax with a good book once I get off watch. I can go to my tiny little cabin and escape to some insanely wonderful adventure. I can travel back in time to the world of the dinosaurs. Or forward to live on Mars. I can become a spacefarer, or a zombie hunter, a vampire or an elf, a beautiful heiress, a swashbuckling pirate, an arctic explorer, or anything I can imagine.

I can escape reality for a while and let my mind play.

I wish more people were able to enjoy reading as much as I do. I almost feel sorry for people who don’t read, they’re missing out on so much. The books are out there, just waiting for readers. You can even get them for free! 🙂

Have you read any good books lately?

Do you prefer real books, or e-readers?

I’ve been rather distracted the last couple of weeks with all the time I’ve spent trying to deal with my computer issues (it’s still not fixed), but here’s what I’ve been reading in April…

Magazines: National Geographic, National Geographic Traveler, Lonely Planet, AFAR, Professional Mariner, Workboat, Seaways, Sea History, First, Woman’s Day, Fantasy & Science Fiction, Money, International Living, Fund Your Life Overseas and Reason.

Books: Adrift, Know Your Boat, Born Evil, Oil Painting Techniques, Sand In My Bra, Paint It, Promise of Paradise, Bluewater Handbook, NOS4A2, and still working on Years Best Science Fiction, Horror (the best of the year 2006) and Off the Tourist Trail. 🙂

I really do have a never-ending list!

NOS4A2

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

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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.  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! 🙂

Another Just Jot It January post. 🙂

Heart of the Sea: 2

I’m not sure how long this blog is going to be here. I’ve having huge problems since I moved. Please check out my new blog www.captainjillsjourneys.com where you’ll see all of my stuff!

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 book (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 depictions 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‘. Yeah, 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. 😉

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. It’s been eating him up inside. 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 felt for the sea sick cabin boy. 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). 😉

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 offshore oilfields 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.  The whales are recovering now.

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Books I’d like to See Turned Into Movies or TV Series

Reblogging this.
Let’s see what people come up with. It’s always interesting to see what other people like enough to really want to share it. My comments were posted on Part Time Monsters post.

4 Things To Change Your Life in 10 Minutes

I’ve been reading this book lately. It’s called “The Choose Yourself Guide to Wealth” by James Altucher. I really like his down to earth style and his sense of humor. I admire his ability to live his life the way HE chooses, and I am thankful that he decided to share his lessons in how he got to that point.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know that individual liberty and personal freedom are very important to me too. I’m trying hard to find any possible way to get out of the rat race and find a way to live my life the way I want to instead of being stuck doing things the way everybody else thinks is best, only so I can stay out of jail!

I read his earlier book “Choose Yourself” a while ago and I thought he had a lot of good points. I still think so.

I have been working on his “Daily Practice” that he explains in “Choose Yourself“. He means to take care of your mental, spiritual, emotional and physical needs every day. Makes sense to me, but still hard for me to put into practice every single day.

Today, I read a chapter he calls “Four Things I Do That Can Change Your Life In The Next Ten Minutes”.

Someone asked him “what can I learn in the next 10 minutes that will be useful the rest of my life?”

I thought, what a great question! Here’s what James had to say as an answer…

“I can show you four insanely stupid things that will make the rest of your life better. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.”

Here are the 4 things:

  1. Use $2 bills
  2. Wear a doctors coat
  3. Use waiters pads
  4. Watch standup comedy

He does give a little explanation for why he does these 4 things and why they work for him. I’m kind-of interested in what you may think the reasons are. 😉

What do you think about those 4 things? Do you have any suggestions of your own? Would you do his? Why or why not? I think I’m going to give it a try, have to go find me some waiters pads and a Drs coat!

Songs of the Sea: Shark Attack

I thought this was about sharks, you know, the kind that swim in the sea. But actually, it’s about a different kind of shark. The kind that lives on land. The kind we REALLY need to worry about.

I never heard this group (Wailing Souls) before, but I love this song. I really love reggae music anyway, and this song has lyrics worth paying attention to. The video reminded me of a great book I read a few years ago.

It’s called Confessions of an Economic Hitman by John Perkins. Anyone who’s interested in what’s going on in the world today will get a real education if they read it. I thought it was a great book and should be taught in all our schools (but of course that will NEVER happen!).

I know most of you absolutely HATE it when I start going off on politics and my philosophy of liberty and freedom for all. But I’m hoping it’s a short enough video you might just take a look.

Let me know what you think. Of the music. And the video (the political one- the one by Perkins!) 😉

Shark Attack- Wailing Soul

When you hear this ya one Wailing Soul you know fe true
yeah man
When you hear this ya one ya Wailing Soul you no fe joke (repeat)

Better stop this cultural diffusion
Spreading fear & confusion
Playing cloak & dagger wars
Losing what you fighting for

Back back, coming with a double attack
Step back, here comes the shark attack (x2)

What more do they want?
They have got all they need
Yet they turn their backs
On the hands that feeds them

Back back, coming with a double attack
Step back, here comes the shark attack (x2)

Wo wo wo wo yeah
Wo wo wo wo yeah
Wo wo wo wo yeah yeah
Wo wo wo wo yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah

Yes it’s a new world order, oh yeah
Another new world order, oh yeah
A wicked world order, oh yeah
A new world order, oh yeah

Back back, coming with a double attack
Step back, here comes the shark attack (x2)

Better stop this cultural diffusion
Spreading fear & confusion
Playing cloak & dagger wars
Losing what you fighting for

Back back, coming with a double attack
Step back, here comes the shark attack (x2)

Wo wo wo wo yeah
Wo wo wo wo yeah
Wo wo wo wo yeah yeah
Wo wo wo wo yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah

Yes it’s a new world order, oh yeah
Another new world order, oh yeah
A crucial world order, oh yeah
A wicked world order, oh yeah

Back back, coming with a double attack
Step back, here comes the shark attack (x2)

Wo wo wo wo yeah
Wo wo wo wo yeah
Wo wo wo wo yeah yeah
Wo wo wo wo yeah yeah
yeah yeah yeah

Yes it’s a new world order, oh yeah
Another new world order, oh yeah
A crucial world order, oh yeah
A wicked world order, oh yeah (repeat fade)

A Word A Week: Rainbow

This weeks Word a Week Challenge from the Word in Your Ear Blog is: Rainbow.

Here is one of my rainbow pictures. I took this one a couple of years ago, when I was working on the tuna boat. We sometimes went in to Tarawa (Kiribati/Gilbert Islands) to unload. We would tie up to a reefer ship in the anchorage off Betio (the main town on the atoll) and have a couple of days to get ashore there.

For such a small place, in the middle of nowhere, Tarawa had some interesting history. Some of the biggest battles of WWII were fought over these islands. There are still a lot of military ruins/wrecks/artifacts from when the Americans were fighting the Japanese there (Battle of Tarawa).

I’m not really into military history or how wars are fought, but I do understand the strategy of having those island ‘stepping stones’ for the US during WWII. The US still keeps an eye on things there. When I was there once, I met up with a US ship doing some ‘PR’ work throughout the Pacific Islands. A group of military people were cleaning up the war memorial and sent a medical team to help out the locals.

At this point in time, Tarawa has gone back to it’s sleepy small town ways. I really enjoyed myself there. The people were friendly and a lot of fun. A couple of years after I stopped working over there, I read a book “Sex Lives of Cannibals” by J. Maarten Troost. I highly recommend it. I laughed SO hard. Yes, it really IS like that there. 🙂

Women Rallied Behind Beautiful, Wartless Witches

Women of the Early 1900s Rallied Behind Beautiful, Wartless Witches | History | Smithsonian.

Check out these cool Halloween cards. I thought the history mentioned in the article was pretty interesting.

It’s hard for me to imagine how different life must have been for women in the past. Of course, for most women in the world things are still very different than they are here in the USA (not that we’re perfect yet).

Women in many countries around the world are still treated like second class citizens. They’re still denied the opportunities and options that men have, simply because of their gender.

As an American, growing up as an American girl, I can hardly imagine what it must be like. How does a girl from somewhere like Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, or even India or Africa or South America manage enjoy life, or even to get through it all without the options we have here?

I imagine they must only be able to bear it when they don’t know about any other options. Maybe they just don’t think they can live any other way. I don’t really know. It amazes (and disgusts and infuriates) me that in this day and age we STILL have not managed to create a society where women can live their lives as THEY choose.

It’s hard for me to imagine how I would be able to stand a life like that. That I would not have any choices. I wouldn’t be able to go to school. I wouldn’t be able to LEARN about so many things. I wouldn’t be able to decide what kind of work I would like to do. To choose who I would want to marry or IF I would want to marry at all. To be able to choose when I want to have sex, or with who, or IF I want to have sex at all. To be able to choose to have children, or not to have any.

SO many choices taken away from me, just because I happen to be female. What must that be like?

I read a book- Infidel- by Ayaan Hirsi Ali. It really opened my eyes. I have to say I admire her strength and courage to do what she did. She grew up in Somalia, was raised a Muslim, and then grew disillusioned with the life she had. She moved to the Netherlands as a refugee, eventually became a member of Parliament there. Her story is really encouraging. I hope more people (especially young girls) will read it and take hope.

I can see from the Smithsonian article (and even from my own life), that we have made some progress in the USA.

I remember when I was young and I chose to work at sea. I had to fight so hard for every job I ever got. It was ALWAYS a struggle to get hired. Yes, just because I was a woman. No one wanted to have a woman on board. 😦

Now, (30-40 years later), it is not nearly as much as a problem (tho, yes, it IS still a problem). I see more and more women working at sea. I even see other women in positions of authority. They are no longer delegated to the stewards department, they can work at other jobs and be more than just cooks and room stewards!

I happen to be the only woman on board this ship, (1 out of 178) but on my last one there were women working as geologists, mud engineers, fluid engineers, etc. I’ve seen quite a few other women DPOs lately and even a couple of other captains. 🙂

I hope to see more women from other countries able to take advantage of all the opportunities the world offers. I was very encouraged to hear about the Italian livestock carrier who had female master and chief mates.

Hopefully sometime soon women from all over the world will have the same rights and opportunities that men have always had. It would be wonderful if everyone everywhere had the chance to live their lives the way THEY choose to.

One Word Photo Challenge: Rainbow

My entry to the photo challenge (rainbow). Here’s the link. 🙂

The first photo was taken while I was working as captain of a tuna purse seiner out of Tarawa, Kiribati. We usually got to port to unload our catch every couple of weeks and I took advantage of the chance to go ashore every time I could.

Tarawa is a small island and it reminds me of what I imagine life would have been like in the 50’s. I had some great times there with some beautiful people.

If you want a better idea of what it’s really like, try reading the book “Sex Lives of Cannibals” by J. Maarten Troost. It made me feel like I was back on the island. It’s hilarious! 😉

DSCN3460

The second one is from a trip I took down to Argentina with a friend in 2010. We went to Iguazu Falls (very impressive) and this picture was from the path around the top of the falls. I do have some much better pictures of the main falls, but they didn’t have any rainbows. 😦

The last one is one I took while I was at work last summer on the semisubmersible Ensco 8506. The supply boat “Chartres” was standing by and in the perfect spot to get these pictures. Too bad my camera was so fogged up from the AC inside, I could have got some even better shots. I had to wait til my lens cleared up but was still able to get a couple of decent shots. 🙂

CIMG1415

In Praise of Alcohol

I’ve been noticing a lot of poetry going on in my reader lately. Maybe I should join in the poetry slam. 😉

I can’t say I’m a big fan of poetry, but I do like some of it, sometimes. I especially like (dirty) limericks. 😉

As for ‘real’ poetry, one of my favorite poets has always been Robert W. Service.

He had an interesting life. Grew up in Scotland, moved to Canada. Then Alaska, where he became famous as the “Bard of the Yukon”.

He wrote about the people he met in his travels. He managed to get the most incredible characters to come to life in his poetry. His poems ‘The Shooting of Dan McGrew” and the “Cremation of Sam McGee” are still considered classics.

I remember an old friend from Florida would dress up and recite some of these poems at parties I used to go to. KC was a character himself and did a great job of rousting us all up. I miss those days.

I like a lot of his poems. I have his book “Collected Poems of Robert Service”. I liked it a lot. Some of his poems are really great stories. Here’s a short one.

 

In Praise of Alcohol
Of vintage wine I am a lover;
To drink deep would be my delight;
If ’twere not for the bleak hangover
I’d get me loaded every night;
I’d whoop it up with song and laughter –
If ’twere not for the morning after.

For though to soberness I’m given
It is a thought I’ve often thunk:
The nearest that is Earth to Heaven
Is to get sublimely drunk;
Is to achieve divine elation
By means of generous libation.

Alas, the wine-cups claim their payment
And as the price if often pain,
if we could sense what morning grey meant
We never would get soused again;
Rather than buy a hob-nailed liver
I’m sure that we’d abstain for ever.

Yet how I love the glow of liquor,
As joyfully I drink it up!
hoping that unto life’s last flicker
With praise I’ll raise the ruby cup;
And let me like a jolly monk
Proceed to get sublimely drunk.

 

Author Notes

From Later Collected Verse by Robert W. Service (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1965), page 421.

Ike Warned Us About This Guy

Ike Warned Us About This Guy | Laissez-Faire Bookstore.

OK, I gave you guys a break, I’ve tried to lay off the politics for the holidays. 😉

I can’t hold back any longer. Here’s a good one from Douglas French at Laissez-Faire.

He starts out his article with a quote from H.L. Menken which I really like. I’m going to say it again right here since I think it’s so pertinent to what’s going on today. Here you go…

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.” 

I wonder, just how many people REALLY believe all these scenarios we have been dealing with constantly since 9/11 are serious threats?

I can’t even begin to count how many ‘crisis’ we have had thrust into our consciousness by the mainstream media. How many times have we been told our only option was to panic and allow those who know better than us to step up to the plate and take over.

I hope it’s only an American thing. I hope the rest of the world has not fallen for the idea that they must give up their freedom in trade for a (false) sense of security. I hope the rest of the world has not chosen to live in fear like we have in America.

I say “chosen”, but should I really use that word? When most of the people here have just been lied to so much that they can’t even imagine the truth any more. Of course, the truth has been purposely concealed, just so it makes it harder for people to see that they’re being tricked.

So is it really a choice when you’ve been lied to, tricked, deceived? Or is it really a form of coercion (meaning manipulation and violence)?

I read ‘1984’ years ago. Written by George Orwell, it was/is such a powerful novel, it made me think then and it still resonates today. I see what is happening around me today and I think to myself, “1984 has been so far surpassed by our government today, our reality is far worse than Orwells’ worst nightmares”.

‘1984’ was supposed to be a warning, not a roadmap!

In my travels to various places around the world, I see a huge difference in reactions to the idea that we are all living under constant deadly threats. Some countries like the US and Great Britain take it to ridiculous extremes and insist we live in a national prison state, just so we can pretend that somehow now we are ‘safe’.

It makes the people FEEL better, so therefore it must be worth it.

The screws just keep on tightening. The water just keeps on getting warmer. One degree at a time. Our once free countries have turned into police states before our eyes and no one seems to notice (or care).

Other places, people just seem to take it all with a grain of salt and go on enjoying their lives as best they can without adding the misery of a police state on top of whatever problems they may already have.

I have been to plenty of places in the last few years where they do NOT insist on asking for “your papers please” everywhere you go. Plenty of places don’t insist on subjecting you to a virtual strip search before your flight to visit grandma. Plenty of places don’t think it’s so overwhelmingly important to spy on everything a person does, everywhere they go, everything they say or watch or buy or read, or visit, etc.

How many people REALLY think the things we are doing to ourselves in the USA are REALLY necessary to keep us safe? How many people really think there IS any such thing as perfect safety? How many people would REALLY like to live in a world where ‘our leaders’ are allowed to do whatever they think they need to make us safe?

For those who think they really WOULD like to live in a state like that, where everything is done to make us ‘safe’, take a look at any maximum security prison. There, everyone is spied on constantly, everyone is searched constantly, everyone is identified as belonging, and so everyone is ‘safe’. Riiiiiiigggght

How the Shipping Industry is the Secret Force Driving the World Economy

How the Shipping Industry is the Secret Force Driving the World Economy | Ideas & Innovations | Smithsonian Magazine.

I thought this was pretty good, despite the reservations I have from only seeing this article. It’s an interview with author Rose George about her latest book: Ninety Percent of Everything. She somehow arranged to spend some time sailing around on the container ship Maersk Kendal. I’m going to have to find a copy of this book to read. 🙂

a container ship underway

a container ship underway

She makes a lot of good points. That people who aren’t personally involved with shipping are totally unaware of the industry. That those of us living in ‘first world’ countries don’t know any seafarers personally any more. That the ports have been moved so far away from the cities that most people don’t have any awareness of them anymore. That people on the beach have absolutely no idea what it’s like to be a seafarer.

I do think she got a lot of that correct. She sees how isolating it is out here now. She mentions the lack of communication and that the ships don’t provide internet or phone access to their crews (because of the expense). I do agree that it is an expense. I do not agree that it is an ‘extra’ expense. I don’t think it’s very much to pay a couple of thousand dollars a month when that would be something like 1% of expenses on most ships (if that). Isn’t it worth that for such a HUGE increase in crew morale?

a tank ship underway

a tank ship underway

I don’t really know if she’s right in her assessment of how much or how little sailors have a ‘sense of romanticism’. She mentions that she thinks the captain has more of it then he lets on, that he still secretly loves the sea.

She seems to think that most sailors are only out here for the money. I might agree that most sailors from the poorer parts of the world go to sea for the money. They probably went to sea because it paid better than anything they could find at home.

I would agree that the great majority of seafarers are not in a great position at sea. Some of the conditions sailors work under are just horrible. A lot of shipowners do flag foreign just so they can cut expenses.

They all say that the cost of the crew is their largest expense so they cut it any way they can. They cut the crew size, they lengthen the hitch (2 YEARS or more), they skimp on groceries, they skimp on medical care, they refuse to pay for visas so the crew can’t leave the ship in port, etc.

That’s not even to start on the issue of crew abandonment. Rose George seems to think the Maritime Labor Convention (MLC) will help. I’ve seen in the news there have already been 3 ships detained, but I have serious doubts it will actually help the crews.

In spite of conditions like that, I believe most seafarers do still enjoy sailing (at least sometimes). 😉

romanticism of life at sea

romanticism of life at sea

I know I still do. Most of the time. 😉

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps

The Enchanting Sea Monsters on Medieval Maps | Collage of Arts and Sciences.

Another good one from the Smithsonian this morning. I always thought those old charts were so cool. I really loved the drawings.

Those people really had some great imaginations! 🙂

Our World Through Thomas Paine’s Eyes

Our World Through Thomas Paine’s Eyes | Laissez-Faire Bookstore.

Excellent article by Jeffrey Tucker! I guess I’ll have to re-read Common Sense again. I liked it the first time I read it. I liked it more the next time. I’m sure my attitude toward it hasn’t changed, since my love of individual liberty is stronger than ever!

I wonder what will it take for us Americans to stand up and take back our liberty again. We did it once back then when Thomas Paine’s essay managed to stir up the people. Do we have anyone now who could do that job? I know people are trying, the internet is a big help- but most people still aren’t interested in paying attention.

We are in a much worse off position then the colonists were then. Back then, they were fighting the most powerful empire in the world. So would we be. But they were a heck of a lot more evenly matched! The King didn’t have any drones, or NSA spy programs to watch your every move, or even nuclear weapons to threaten with…

Our only real advantage now is the fact that our IDEAS are the better ones. How many people can honestly support tyranny over freedom?

How has tyranny ever lifted the standard of living in a nation? Compared to systems with some freedom allowed? How has tyranny encouraged creativity? Compared to freedom?

Even with the limited freedom we started with here (re:slavery, women, etc), we STILL became the most productive country with the best standard of living on the planet.It’s only as we threw that freedom out the window that we started going downhill.

Get the truth out there to people and they will no longer support “our” government. It HAS in fact become a tyranny.

“Tyranny- arbitrary or unrestrained use of power- oppressive or unjustly severe government.”

 

As the founding fathers fought the American Revolution against King George for such trivial things like a tiny tax on a few items like tea, WE have a much larger tax on EVERYTHING. As they fought against no taxation without representation, WE have no representation either (or do you REALLY think your congressman does what YOU ask them to?).

As they fought against their treatment by the Kings soldiers, we put up with daily harassment by the TSA strip searchers, DEA and police theft/destruction of your property and  NSA collecting EVERYTHING you do or say! How much worse is that then the Kings men occasionally looking through your (snail) mail? And yet no one today protests. 😦

The government right now is in a ‘shut down’ which did not in fact shut down any of the things they use to oppress us (oh my wishful thinking that they would shut all that down!!). Things like the NSA, DEA, DHS, TSA, IRS are all still open for business (and NO, we do NOT need ANY of them!). They have only shut down the things that people actually ENJOY the use of from the government. Things like the National Parks and the WWII Monument.

They are ‘shut down’ in a fight over the budget and Obamacare. Obamacare is only one more HUGE violation of our rights and the budget is already TRILLIONS of dollars over what it should be! I just keep wondering: what in the HELL is it going to take for the main part of the American people to stand up and say ‘enough is enough’?