Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Blue Lou Logan, LIVE at the Center for Wooden Boats this weekend!

This be the Journal of Blue Lou Logan

It is time once again for the CWB's annual Lake Union Wooden Boat Festival, this year Saturday, July 2nd, through Monday, July 4th.  I will be doing Pirate Story Time each day at 2:00, entertaining and educating on the likes of Teach, Bonny and Reade, Lafitte, and even how piracy played a part in the U.S. Revolution!  If you don't find me there aboard the tugboat Arthur Foss, I may be on the dock, on the lake crewing one of the many FREE public sails, or--of course--at the pub.  Have a good time, get salty, and come see the show!

Somalia update: Yemen, the next pirate coast?

In my discussions of Somali piracy, I have not infrequently mentioned that the problem is not a Somali problem alone.  My very first post on modern piracy noted that both Somalis and Yemenis were taken from the now-famous M/V Quest, and in my post on the "Jeffersonian past" I proposed that Yemen may become a new center of pirate activity.  The map of pirate attacks up to 2010 clearly shows a high concentration of reported incidents immediately off of Yemen.  The cultures and governments of Yemen and Somalia have had a long, close relationship; Yemen has unconditionally accepted Somali refugees.  But does this really mean that Yemen plays or could play the same role as Somalia as a pirate haven?  I decided to look closer at history and recent events.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides: Cap'n Jack vs. Dr. Jones! (a fanboy's review)

I have the most impressive sword of the whole franchise!

Yes, I finally went and saw Pirates 4.  I held off, because unless I'm in a big group and/or in costume, waiting in line to see a movie isn't much fun, in spite of anticipation.  I wore my Rogue Blackbeard Dark Rum tee shirt, which I actually had on before I knew it was movie day.  I had a wee dram of Cruzan on ice beforehand.  I went with my daughter, who was also in the mood.  We did NOT see it in 3D.  And it was a blast.  This is a movie that has taken in nearly a billion dollars worldwide already and has been critiqued up, down, and sideways.  I haven't read any of the reviews, and I won't.  But I do have a few words to say about Pirates 4, using a language I hope you all will understand:  geekspeak.

And I am going to compare it to Indiana Jones.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Logan, Pt. II: The Jacobite Rising of 1715

Back towards the beginning of this blog, I gave some of the deep historical background to "Logan," my character.  I told of the ruined Highland Clan, the Lairds of Restalrig, and my own exploration of Leith.  My fictional bio reads, "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."  Now I want to tell this tale, partly as an exercise in bringing various sources together, partly as a warm up for actually writing about Logan.

Warning, this is a LONG POST.

King Robert II of Scotland
Let's start with a a little royal history.  The Stuarts had been the Kings of Scotland almost as far back as the legendary Robert the Bruce, King Robert I.  His daughter married the "High Steward of Scotland," i.e. "Stewart" or "Stuart," and their son became Robert II, first of the Stuart Kings.  The Stuarts ruled Scotland through the 14th and 15th centuries.  In 1503, James IV of Scotland married King Henry VII's daughter, Margaret Tudor, and, with the birth of their son, the Stuarts now had a claim on the throne of England.  This led to the much-storied conflict between Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley; his half-cousin, Mary, Queen of Scots; and Queen Elizabeth I.  Although Mary lost her head, her cause eventually won.  When Elizabeth died without an heir, it was the son of Mary and Lord Darnley, King James VI of Scotland, who peacefully gained the throne of England, Scotland, and Ireland with the Union of the Crowns in 1603.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Visitor 1,000!

...appears to have reached Logan via my Somalia Update post that noted the averted pirate attack on the MV Arillah I...and may have actually been a visitor from Saudi Arabia!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Booze and Boat Bits #2 (5 short items of interest)

1:  Yesterday was one of my worst sailing experiences ever.  It wasn't the boat, and it wasn't the wind.  It was the dynamic of the people aboard the vessel.  I think it was also something dark welling up from the murk and ruins under Lake Union, because there seemed to be a general sense of grumpiness and lack of good cheer among all the Duck Dodge participants.  Why else would we see no one raft up at the end of the race, especially on Pirate Night???  All dressed up and in no mood to party.  What made yesterday even more disappointing was that this was the night we chose to introduce Bev to the Dodge.  This was not a total failure, but it was a lesson and a letdown.  The event is well-described by Zanne over at Zzyzx Kitchen.

2:  You must join the Revolution.

Reality check--what I do, how, and why

An anonymous comment just appeared on one of my posts:  "why do you (and pauline) act like experts when all you do is google stuff and rip off others that are actual experts. you think a dumb ass costume makes you the authority? you should have stayed in school and gotten some credibility and learned a little thing about copyright issues and plagarism and maybe you actually be a crew member on an underwater excavation project instead of telling stories in costume to cranky children and 'blogging'."

I cannot speak directly for Pauline, but I want to take a moment and address this generally...
  • I do not claim to be an expert.  I am nothing more than an interested person who, like all good commentators, strives not only to share information but also to make sure that information is accurate. 
  • I do not claim to have any great influence upon matters, but this does not mean that I am not involved.  I do sail, I do volunteer, and I do try to stay abreast of events.  Most importantly, I care, and that is why I do this.
  • It is not plagiarism when sources are duly noted and/or quoted.  It is the nature of even real academia to gather information from a variety of sources and interpret it from your own perspective.  As a Doctoral Candidate in an academic discipline with 10 years of graduate education, this is something I know about.  Coincidentally, I got a BA from U.C. Berkeley, Magna Cum Laude, in historical archaeology, so, yeah, I know something about that, too.
  • My costume and my blog do not give me authority, only an audience, and for this I am grateful.
  • I do, by the way, know how to use the English language correctly, like spelling, capitalization, and punctuation.
I view the Journal of Blue Lou Logan as an opportunity to share passion, knowledge, and perspective.  I work hard to be accurate and truthful.  I thank you for giving me this chance.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Kalakala update: Aboard for Faith, A First-Hand Account

The Kalakala:  See?  She floats.
It's historic.  It's beautiful.  It's creepy.  It's alive.  Today, Zanne and I boarded the Kalakala for the first time, after years of seeing her from afar.  As previously written, Steve Rodrigues had put out an open call to come out Friday or Saturday to help "clean."  It was an opportunity not to be missed, and it was so very worth it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Muppet Dodge

Yo, Bert!
Back to the Duck Dodge yesterday, where the theme was "Sesame Street."  It doesn't take much for me--an overgrown kid with a daughter as an excuse to relive my childhood--to conjure up that place "where the air is sweet."  Getting a costume together in a pinch was much harder.  I knocked around being the Count, but I had no cape.  So, in a pinch, I put on the fringed buckskin shirt of my Berkeley days and said I was Buffy St. Marie; remember when she actually was a regular on  the show, representing for the First Nations?  Zanne had much better inspiration and pulled off a very good Zoe, the pigtailed, ballet-dancing, tutu-clad girl Muppet.  Very few other people in the Dodge seemed to be doing anything with the theme, except for this fellow in a very complete (and somewhat disturbing) Bert costume.  Dan wore nothing special at all.

Our skipper, Dan, and Zanne as Zoe

"Buffy St. Marie."  Or is that Jeremiah Johnson?  And, no, that is not a dead Muppet on my head.  Really. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Perfectly proper public plunder

'Scuse me, mate, aren't ye missin' an "Arrrr?"

Saturday was the Renton Stop and Swap, an annual event where locals can drop off stuff they don't want and/or grab stuff for FREE.  This could be cookbooks, random pipe fittings, NordicTracks, printers, or fake trees.  It's a scene of controlled chaos, and it's decidedly piratical.  People wander through the parking lot of Renton Memorial Stadium, looking over junk and taking what they like as if they're picking over the beached wreck of a galleon.  The more valuable items--generally furniture--are distributed by a sort of lottery system.  A volunteer from the City, armed with megaphone, calls the item, sees how many people are interested by show of hands, and then decides who gets it by random number.  This is not unlike the distribution of booty after a ship takes a prize.  What makes this salvage faire even cooler is that it's governmentally sanctioned!  Wait, does that make it a privateer event?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Kalakala update: Hope in tourism?

I never heard back from the Kalakala team, and the Net's been quiet.  Today I got curious and went over to, where I discovered a brand new press release.  The owners, who, for a while, have been going under the moniker of the ferry's old operator, "Black Ball Line," have signed with Select Contracts, an international company that advertises its "turnkey" approach, which basically means that they oversee planning, design, implementation, and operation, all under one budgetary umbrella.  This press release gave me a little flutter of hope:  Might there actually be a plan to save the boat?  As I dug further, however, the proposal became about as murky as the waters of the Hylebos Waterway.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Return to the Duck Dodge

'Mirus' is a Latin word that translates roughly as "wonderful," "amazing," or "awesome."  It is related to the Latin root from which the word "miracle" is derived.  It is also the name of the little cruising boat owned by Dan, Zanne's best friend.  Last week, as Zanne was gearing up for her birthday celebration, we called Dan and, in addition to inviting him out for dancing and beers, discussed getting back out on his boat for the Duck Dodge, Seattle's 37-year-old summertime tradition of sailboat racing, mayhem, and inebriation.  Dan naturally invited us out.  Yesterday we met Dan at the little marina under the Aurora Bridge, and we set out, just the three of us, a little shy of 7:00 and the start of the race.