Thursday, March 31, 2011

rum find: Saratoga

The SODO (South of Downtown) Liquor Store is the one liquor store in this State-controlled, Prohibition-minded place they call Seattle where I can actually discover new rums.  Today--yay, payday!--I went on the hunt.  First new discovery was Saratoga, a "Virgin Islands" dark rum.  I can't find out much about the distillers; the label says it's imported by Richards Co., Weston, Missouri, but online it's attributed to McCormick Distilling, tho' their web site doesn't mention it.  What I do know is that it on sale it only cost $11!

I sipped it straight first.  It's not that dark--more amber than black.  It's dominant flavor and scent is almond.  Zanne suggested it would work well in a Cuba Libre, so Coke and lime it was.  Oddly, the flavor of the rum completely vanished.

Then the nutty flavor's purpose became obvious.  Saratoga Rum, Fee Brothers Aztec Chocolate Bitters, and ginger ale.  I like candy-bar cocktails, I'll be honest.  But there's more to come from this rum; it's a mixing rum, not a sipping rum, and that means exploration...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Logan," an introduction

This is the first half of a biography of my fictional pirate I once sketched out:

"Lou Logan is a descendant of the Logans of Restalrig, Scotland, the clan famous for helping to carry the heart of Robert the Bruce to the Holy Land.  Growing up in Leith, Logan learned both the ways of the sea in the Firth of Forth and the North Atlantic and the ways of the smuggler in the difficult times after the Union of the Crowns in 1707.  As a proud Scot opposed to English oppression, Logan stood with the Jacobites in the Battle of Preston.  The uprising defeated, Logan was imprisoned in England.  On a wild chance he managed to escape.  Knowing he was an outlaw even in his homeland, Logan made his way to the busy port of Liverpool and managed to join the crew of a merchant vessel bound for America, where he hoped to start a fresh life.  The ship, however, was attacked by pirates led by Benjamin Hornigold off the Eastern Seaboard.  Knowing he had no country, and valuing above all his freedom, Logan turned pirate himself."

Monday, March 28, 2011

Kalakala update

I found this hidden in the comments to KOMO News' coverage of the Kalakala's current predicament:

"I volunteered my help on the Kalakala yesterday. I found someone had intentionally destroyed the power line to the ship at an unknown time. When this happened it shuts down all lighting and pumps that drain out the accumulated rain water from the heavy rains. As you see, the ship is resting on the shore line and at 6pm last night the Kalakala was afloat on its own. This is not the first time the power cord has been intensionally destroyed and we have not found out who did this evil actions on a worlds famous ship that helped tens of thousands of people when it was in full operation. The owner has a very few volunteers to help maintain the ship. The state officials have made it very difficult to work on the ship so I put the blame on them."

Meanwhile, this commentary at the Tacoma News Tribune is arguing that the only way to save the "dream" of the Kalakala is that "that remnant of a great vessel must be put out of its misery in short order."  The author states that the "idea" of the Kalakala must be distinguished from the "actual hulk," the latter being best given back to "the element she belongs to."

In other words, we have a hardworking volunteer corps that is besieged not only by dumbass saboteurs but also naysayers masquerading as romantics who think that she's not worth it anymore and should be, well, euthanized.

Don't know about you, but the answer to preservation is generally more work by those who actually care...NOT debates about whether death with dignity is the final answer.  This is heritage, not a terminally ill patient.

for a Monday...

Just a pretty, pilfered image for the new week:  the Hawaiian Chieftain, which last week arrived in Coos Bay, Oregon, with the Lady Washington as they work their way north and homeward after wintering in California.  Lucky bastards all around.  Their next port of call will be Newport, OR, which means the crew will be luckier still as they'll be at the homeport of Rogue Ales.  Sigh...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Save the Kalakala...again

The ferry Kalakala is once again in trouble.  This morning, before I went back to bed to nurse what is either a hangover or the first signs of the flu that has been knocking out my coworkers, G'ma (a.k.a. my mother in law), showed us this story on King 5.  You can also read about it here at the Seattle Times.  The scoop is this:  After everything else the Kalakala has been through, she now seems to be at serious risk of going down at her current location on Tacoma's Hylebos Waterway.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Piracy in Somalia: The Real Thing Is So Much Scarier

Piracy:  It's not just for reenactors.

As much as I enjoy imagining the era of "Calico" Jack Rackham and Howell Davis, I also follow piracy in modern times.  Very recently, piracy had a media burst as the privately-owned sailboat Quest was captured off of Africa and, in spite of--or because of--being tailed by the U.S. Navy, all four crew were killed, including two people from Seattle.

The center for modern piracy is Somalia.  By all accounts, this is not a place anyone would really want to be.  It is almost completely arid, it is phenomenally poor, and it has been in a state of civil war since 1991, a war fueled by territoriality and, naturally, religion in the form of Islamic fundamentalism.  Anyone who's seen Black Hawk Down has seen graphically portrayed the madness that was Mogadishu, Somalia's "capitol," when United States troops as part of a United Nations operation ended up very much in the wrong place at the wrong time in 1993.  I watched this movie after I had started following news about the Somali pirates.  While I was left undecided on whether this was a boys-with-guns war movie or an interesting modern-events film, one thing was made clear to me:  Piracy in Somalia is the direct result of a country in chaos.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

...coming back over the horizon

It's the nature of being "on the account:"  The pirate will go from ship to ship, wherever there's room, work and a captain worth sailing under.  Blue Lou has been from to Tribe to MySpace to Facebook.  Now he's actually gonna try a real blog.  Why?

Yesterday, something happened that felt significant.  For several years, I have volunteered at the Center for Wooden Boats.  I have gone from wandering the docks and manning the jib on Sunday Public Sails to passing SailNow! training and becoming "Pirate Lou," the guy in costume who tells tales of Blackbeard and scares small children.  Last July at the annual Festival, I tore an anterior cruciate ligament, because a 40-year-old loaded with pistols and blades thought he could take a shortcut across the docks...and was very wrong.  I was absent from the Center for several months, which felt like, well, not having rum.  I hate not having rum.