Note: this blog will have it’s 100,00th visitor sometime this week. Maybe tomorrow.
Really. But that isn’t the point-
When I was about 11 I decided to memorize “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville. I had read the book “Faranheit 451” by Ray Bradbury. I was afraid no one would have the patience to preserve Moby Dick for the book-less future. I made it through the first chapter. Later on I remembered the first page- (goes like this):
Call me Ishmael. Some years ago – never mind how long precisely – having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. It is a way I have of driving off the spleen, and regulating the circulation. Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. This is my substitute for pistol and ball. With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. There is nothing surprising in this. If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.
There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs – commerce surrounds it with her surf. Right and left, the streets take you waterward. Its extreme down-town is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.
Circumambulate the city of a dreamy Sabbath afternoon. Go from Corlears Hook to Coenties Slip, and from thence, by Whitehall northward. What do you see? –
Herman Melville looked like this:
I personally like the movie with Gregory Peck as Ahab- better than the Patrick Stewart one, although I like Stewart as an actor.
It’s just a classic- you can’t compare it to Peck.
Reminds me of another great book, “A Long Way Gone”, a modern autobiography (by Ishmael Beah) of a boy soldier in Sierra Leone.
When he came here to the US he went to High School. This is an interaction he had with another student:
New York City, 1998
My high school friends have begun to suspect I haven’t told them the full story of my life.
“Why did you leave Sierra Leone?”
“Because there is a war.”
“Did you witness some of the fighting?”
“Everyone in the country did.”
“You mean you saw people running around with guns and shooting each other?”
“Yes, all the time.”
I smile a little.
“You should tell us about it sometime.”
Here is a short audio clip from the book read by Beah:
This is how Beah looks today:
From his article in the NY Times:
Sometimes I feel that living in New York City, having a good family and friends, and just being alive is a dream, that perhaps this second life of mine isn’t really happening. Whenever I speak at the United Nations, Unicef or elsewhere to raise awareness of the continual and rampant recruitment of children in wars around the world, I come to realize that I still do not fully understand how I could have possibly survived the civil war in my country, Sierra Leone.
Most of my friends, after meeting the woman whom I think of as my new mother, a Brooklyn-born white Jewish-American, assume that I was either adopted at a very young age or that my mother married an African man. They would never imagine that I was 17 when I came to live with her and that I had been a child soldier and participated in one of the most brutal wars in recent history.
In early 1993, when I was 12, I was separated from my family as the Sierra Leone civil war, which began two years earlier, came into my life. The rebel army, known as the Revolutionary United Front (R.U.F.), attacked my town in the southern part of the country. I ran away, along paths and roads that were littered with dead bodies, some mutilated in ways so horrible that looking at them left a permanent scar on my memory. I ran for days, weeks and months, and I couldn’t believe that the simple and precious world I had known, where nights were celebrated with storytelling and dancing and mornings greeted with the singing of birds and cock crows, was now a place where only guns spoke and sometimes it seemed even the sun hesitated to shine. After I discovered that my parents and two brothers had been killed, I felt even more lost and worthless in a world that had become pregnant with fear and suspicion as neighbor turned against neighbor and child against parent. Surviving each passing minute was nothing short of a miracle.
After almost a year of running, I, along with some friends I met along the way, arrived at an army base in the southeastern region. We thought we were now safe; little did we know what lay ahead.
1994: The First Battle
I have never been so afraid to go anywhere in my life as I was that first day. As we walked into the arms of the forest, tears began to form in my eyes, but I struggled to hide them and gripped my gun for comfort. We exhaled quietly, afraid that our own breathing could cause our deaths. The lieutenant led the line that I was in. He raised his fist in the air, and we stopped moving. Then he slowly brought it down, and we sat on one heel, our eyes surveying the forest. We began to move swiftly among the bushes until we came to the edge of a swamp, where we formed an ambush, aiming our guns into the bog. We lay flat on our stomachs and waited. I was lying next to my friend Josiah. At 11, he was even younger than I was. Musa, a friend my age, 13, was also nearby. I looked around to see if I could catch their eyes, but they were concentrating on the invisible target in the swamp. The tops of my eyes began to ache, and the pain slowly rose up to my head. My ears became warm, and tears were running down my cheeks, even though I wasn’t crying. The veins on my arms stood out, and I could feel them pulsating as if they had begun to breathe of their own accord. We waited in the quiet, as hunters do. The silence tormented me.
The short trees in the swamp began to shake as the rebels made their way through them. They weren’t yet visible, but the lieutenant had passed the word down through a whisper that was relayed like a row of falling dominos: “Fire on my command.” As we watched, a group of men dressed in civilian clothes emerged from under the tiny bushes. They waved their hands, and more fighters came out. Some were boys, as young as we were. They sat together in line, waving their hands, discussing a strategy. My lieutenant ordered a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) to be fired, but the commander of the rebels heard it as it whooshed its way out of the forest. “Retreat!” he called out to his men, and the grenade’s blast got only a few rebels, whose split bodies flew in the air. The explosion was followed by an exchange of gunfire from both sides.
I lay there with my gun pointed in front of me, unable to shoot. My index finger became numb. I felt as if the forest had turned upside down and I was going to fall off, so I clutched the base of a tree with one hand. I couldn’t think, but I could hear the sounds of the guns far away in the distance and the cries of people dying in pain. A splash of blood hit my face. In my reverie I had opened my mouth a bit, so I tasted some of the blood. As I spat it out and wiped it off my face, I saw the soldier it had come from. Blood poured out of the bullet holes in him like water rushing through newly opened tributaries. His eyes were wide open; he still held his gun. My eyes were fixed on him when I heard Josiah screaming for his mother in the most painfully piercing voice I had ever heard. It vibrated inside my head to the point that I felt my brain had shaken loose from its anchor.
But that isn’t what I’m here to talk about today.
First up: Rainbows
I saw a brilliant rainbow on my way home from work the other day. It spanned the sky. I was able to snatch a few pictures from the commuter van in which I was riding. They don’t capture the the thing but I show them anyway. As per usual, click for full size (we aren’t chintzy about picture size at Moonsoup!).
Now, some may call me cruel. I love cats. We have 5 cats in my home. Is it so wrong that I would want to dress them up for Halloween?
Self-explanatory. This is not a flattering picture of my wife.
She’s really much prettier. Terrible photo, my bad.
Other pictures that have caught my fancy-
Let Grandma see that smile, deary (click it if it doesn’t animate)…
And if you want to see more amazing pictures from ESO go here.
…okay, back to cute
again, not cute has slipped in
I remember seeing this cat…
Click on the barbarian if he doesn’t animate. Also the ring of hands.
I don’t know why this happens sometimes.
The one below is also supposed to animate. Click if it doesn’t.
Alright. I want to talk to you about something. I have had a whole page dedicated to Roger Ramjet cartoons for quite a while. It’s not like it’s easy to come by these vintage, 1960s shows. I’ve even put them in order. So far I have had zero views. I’m beginning to think I’m wasting upload space. (Speaking of “space”, that’s where I moved the cartoons.)
So, I have a poll. I expect to get about as much response to the poll as I have from Roger Ramjet. But here goes. Vote!
Cute white bats
Free e-books for download (legal, beyond copyright):
download: Stop Being a Victim
download: Don’t Take It Personally
Literature download: Part 1-
That’s all for now. Be well, be happy, dwell in your heart
and may your day be sweet.