Red over Red

Red over Red

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Advanced Pirate Silliness

Here's a promo we did for the Maine Maritime Museum's Pirate Party. Calling on some of my old film making skill here (clearly quite rusty). My co-stars are Tomm Tomlinson, a.k.a. Crudbeard and Barbara Tomlinson, better known to authorities as Bloodthirsty Barbara. This was shot on board the schooner Sherman Zwicker at Maine Maritime Museum. My son Nate showed me how to embed it on the blog.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Voyage of the No Weight - Maine Maritime Museum's Square Rigged Pumpkin

Some pictures from the Damariscotta Pumpkin Festival's Pumpkin Boat Race. We built a square rigger for Maine Maritime Museum (a bring, to be precise) and my daughter Elizabeth took command, her first stint as captain. The No Weigh did pretty well down wind, but once Elizabeth rounded the weather mark and tried to claw to windward, things fell apart. Sails all aback, she had to be towed back to dock. Part of the problem of course was that there was no way to trim the sails or steer the vessel.

Next year we'll do better.

 Elizabeth Under Way
 The proud ship at the dock
 Captain Nelson and her first Command
 Jim Nelson prior to launching

Dissed by a Better Sort

The New Yorker recently ran a lengthy essay by Jill Lepore on the staggering number of books about George Washington, this in reaction to the new biography by Ron Chernow. In the piece she refers to the "boutique-y books about the man's military career, his moral fortitude, his friendship with Lafayette, his faith in God, his betrayal by Benedict Arnold, his 'secret navy...'.

That last, of course, is a reference to yours truly, and my previous book, George Washington's Secret Navy. I'm sorry she didn't mention Washington's gambling problem, as illuminated by my book George Washington's Great Gamble (I kid - the book is not really about that, though if your research is no more than a list of what an search brings up you might think so).

I don't know if the comment was intended as a dig to all who write about Washington, but I didn't really take it that way. She makes a point. And even I greeted news of the new Chernow biography with the thought, do we really need this?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Oh, Brave New World...

Still trying to navigate this world of electronic communication. Folks my age (forty-eight and holding) are in an odd place - the generation before was not raised with any of this stuff, and our kids don't know a world in which it did not exist. For folks like me, it all began to emerge in a big way while we were in our twenties. I can still recall my buddy Mike Berns' "portable" computer that he used to bring over to my apartment in Venice Beach, Los Angeles. He would put the floppy disk in and load DOS before he could load the word processing program. We would throw some brontosaurus steaks on the barbacue while we waited.

Anyway, the point is, folks of my generation are neither clueless nor are we completely at home in this virtual world. And so, like a visitor to a city with which I am sort of familier, I blunder forth.

I still have my web site,, with information on my books, upcoming appearences and such. But I have to admit, this blogging thing looks like fun.