Red over Red

Red over Red

Saturday, December 29, 2012

So why is it...

First big snow of the Winter, 2012/2013

...the tarp that you so laboriously cover your boat with sits placidly, completely enveloping the vessel in its protective bounty until the weather turns to snow or rain, i.e. when you actually need the tarp to do something, and then it peels aside and invites all manner of precipitation aboard?

My wife points out that snow and rain storms are often accompanied by high winds that might tend to displace a tarp that was not as well lashed down as it might have been. I don't see the connection. She always takes the tarp's side.

Honestly, I don't know why Maine ever chose the Tattered Blue Tarp as the State flag.

Monday, December 17, 2012

This You Gotta See...

Okay, maybe not this... I am trying to get my books read by a better sort than those who might normally pick them up. At the St. Benedict Abbey in Massachusetts on retreat with my family. Had a wonderful time there. Here I'm giving a copy of Fire and Sword to Brother Joachim or, as the kids called him, BroJo. I am, as I mentioned before, working on a novel about Vikings and I often had an overwhelming urge to sack the place, but I resisted. I guess I'm looking a little Viking-like in this picture. And actually, I notice Brother Joachim is not looking entirely comfortable standing next to me...

Which makes a nice segue into what I really wanted to share, by far the funniest and most clever thing I have seen in a long time. How the Nativity come down today. This is very funny.

And a Merry Christmas, or whatever you may celebrate, to all!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Hunter/Gatherer

Harking back to the old days when men went out and killed what they ate...

In this case rutabagas.

Thanksgiving morning I braved the cold and led my children out on a rutabaga hunt, manfully killed one and brought it back for my wife to cook.

Okay, strictly speaking my wife showed me where in the garden the rutabagas were, and I went out with the kids, my son dug them up while my daughter took pictures of herself and I supervised the whole operation. But you get the idea.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Something I swore I would never do...

You know, when you're young and don't have a lot of life experience you have plenty of opportunity to swear you will never do certain things and then do them anyway. Sometimes you realize you were right the first time - you should never have done that - and sometimes you wonder what took you so long to give it a try.

The older you get, the more experience you accumulate and the fewer chances you have to do that sort of thing.

But here I am, getting ready to do Something I Swore I Would Never Do - self publish a book.

I've had this novel of Vikings in Ireland in my virtual drawer for years. It never found a publisher. I always thought it was pretty good, and reading it over again, I still think it's pretty good. So, damn it, I'm going to publish it myself. It's so bloody easy these days (for better or worse).

More as I move though the process...

Monday, October 8, 2012

Work, Work, Work...

Just got back from the latest tough work assignment, two weeks as a guest lecturer aboard the cruise ship Yorktown. We sailed from Quebec to Boothbay Harbor, Maine, stopping at a number of ports on the St. Lawrence and the Canadian Maritimes. But lest anyone think this was all fun and games, I had to give four lectures over the course of two weeks!

More pictures to come, illustrating the unremitting labors of the struggling author.

Hard work in Halifax. Had dinner ashore and was forced to choke down a non-Maine lobster, but I managed. Photo courtesy of fellow passengers Lynn and Kathy Stokes

Friday, July 6, 2012

What I Did on My Summer Vacation...

Just got back from a great trip to Ireland and Scotland with my younger son, Jack. My sister lives in Ireland in the summers, so we visited her and we all went by car and ferry to Scotland. On the wrong side of both the road and the channel! (turns out they don't do the Red Right Returning thing in Europe. Or anywhere but the U.S. of A. Good thing they didn't ask me to navigate).

Here are some photos...

In the Scottish Highlands. Happily I am not wearing a kilt.

Me and Jack at Loch Ness (yes, that Loch Ness)

Jack on a boat on Loch Ness. We didn't even realize what the camera had caught in the background!


More Haggis!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

This is Just One of My Favorite Things...

Blathering away in front of an audience! When my kids see me take on this pose and expression, that's when the eyes start rolling and they brace themselves for some serious pontificating. The good folks at the Society of the Cincinnati in the State of Connecticut asked me to address their meeting. I've come to know a number of them over the years. They are great bunch, leading the charge to preserve our Revolutionary history. The best part, they made me an honorary member! My family only goes back in this country about 120 years, so I never get to be part of that sort of thing. My wife's goes way back, and she is tracing it now, so it's possible my kids will get to be in the Sons and Daughters of the American revolution and I won't, in which case they'll really rub my nose it it!

My thanks to the Society of the Cincinnati for their kindness and especially to Chris and Steve for sponsoring me. But this begs the age old question - do I want to be part of an organization that would have me for a member?

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Great Quote!

I came across this the other day and thought it was great, and pretty much sums the situation up:

Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth's surface relative to other matter; second, telling other people to do so.
                                                                                          Bertrand Russell

Sunday, April 15, 2012

More Dead White Men

Seems in my recent travels I keep coming across interesting dead guys I did not know where there. In Newport it was Benedict Arnold's family. Recently my wife and I were in New York City (was asked to give a talk at the American Yacht Club in Rye - a terrific place and they put on a heck of an event) and we ended up in the cemetery at Trinity Church in Manhattan. Unbeknownst to me, Captain James Lawrence of "Don't give up the ship!" fame is buried here. Since I am mired in the War of 1812 these days (more on the new book later) I got a particular kick out of this.

Not a great picture. And, of course, the camera adds 100 pounds. Also, note what the stantions holding the chain fence are made from!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Big 5-0

And I don't, alas, mean Hawaii. Yeah, I turned fifty today. That milestone is bad enough, but was in necessary for Mid Coast Senior Health Center to send me a packet of information about the programs they offer for the elderly? However, I was curious about the special place they have for the memory impaired. I keep meaning to call them about that, but it keeps slipping my mind.

Thanks to everyone who sent such thoughtful comments and Birthday greetings.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Taking on the Navy

Here are some shots featuring me at my best angle. The Michael Murphy, the latest DDG built by Bath iron Works in Bath, ME, was coming back up the river from successful sea trials. As she passed Maine Maritime Museum we decided to show them what real firepower looks like! It was all great fun until they came back at us with the guided missle....

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Two Unrelated Observations...

1. Thought this was interesting. I got a royalty statement from McBooks Press for The Only Life that Mattered the other day. Book's still chugging along. But what was interesting is that the number of e-books sold nearly equalled the number of hard copies. The times they are a changin'.

2. Why has no one pointed out that if you shift just one letter in Mitt Romney's last name it spells R Money? As in, "Arrr! Money!"

Monday, March 5, 2012

What I Did on My Winter Vacation

Just got back from a great mini-trip to Mystic, CT where I gave a talk at the Mystic Seaport Museum. Always a treat. They put on a great event, with a good crowd despite some pretty unpleasant weather. And managed to hit a couple of great, historic inns for dinner, the Captain Daniel Packer in Mystic and the White Horse Tavern in Newport, where we went the next day to do research (read the log of U.S.S. Lawrence, Perry's flagship at Erie, in the Newport Historical Society. What a thrill to hold that!)

Here are some pics from the trip:

Signing books after the talk at Mystic Seaport

At the grave of Benedict Arnold's Great (?) Grandfather in Newport, RI
(I don't mean to suggest he wasn't great, just not sure how many generations back from Revolutionary War Arnold he was)

Getting the bill at the historic White Horse Tavern

Monday, February 27, 2012

Great Quote

I came across this quote the other day. It's from Melville's Redburn. The two characters are sitting in the forecastle after a particularly bad voyage is over. I think the sentiment here expresses why we do a lot of things that seem to make little sense:

But in silent gratitude at the end of a voyage almost equally uncongenial to both of us, and so bitter to one, Harry and I sat on a chest in the forecastle. And now the ship that we had loathed grew lovely in our eyes, which lingered over every familiar old timber, for the scene of suffering is a scene of joy when the suffering is past and the silent reminiscence of hardships departed is sweeter than the presence of delight.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Crazy Season

Okay, here it goes...

Crazy Season is about to start (which means Nutty Season is just ending). Gearing up for many promo events for the Spring and Summer.

This week I'm at St. Albans giving a talk for Osher Lifelong Learning, which I always enjoy.

Next week, down to Mystic Seaport. My wife was going to come to that one, then decided not to. Then the woman from Mystic called and mentioned to my wife that they would be putting me up in a quaint historic inn in quaint downtown Mystic and my wife said, "That will be a room for two, please."

On March 10 I'll be participating in Cooks for Books, where people entertain authors and other guests for dinner as a fundraiser for the Portland Public Library.

Hope we'll see some of you at some of these events!