Oceans are now battlefields.

Until this weekend, I knew…thinking…one (1) person who had seen “Master and Commander,” one of my old KWF fellows in Ann Arbor. I said, “Jay, did you see any movies this weekend?” “Yeah, I checked out ‘Master and Commander.’ “How was it?” “I liked it.”

And with that, I forgot about “Master and Commander” for 20 years or so, when I learned the film, which is technically titled “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” is now a Thing, mainly and almost exclusively with young men, who apparently do things like this:

That’s the opening title of the film, directed by Peter Weir and starring his countryman Russell Crowe, based on – here’s another thing I simply didn’t know – what Roger Ebert calls the “beloved” novels of Patrick O’Brian, and there’s a whole series of them.

Clearly, on my own this weekend as Alan went fishing up north, it was time to check out “Master and Commander.” And like Jay, I liked it. Didn’t love it. I’m not a guy. But I liked it.

If you wanted to know what life at sea on a British man-o-war (the HMS Surprise) was like at the beginning of the 19th century (see tattoo above), this is your movie. Craftwise, it’s excellent; the battle scenes are amazing and give the viewer a real sense of what it must be like, to be far offshore on a wooden ship being hit by cannon fire. In between the framing battles that open and close the narrative, it’s kind of episodic. Here’s the scene where we see field medicine performed on deck by the ship’s surgeon. Here’s the scene where the surgeon operates on himself, using a mirror. Here’s the stop in the Galapagos Islands. And so on.

Essentially I’m in agreement with this GQ writer, a woman, who contends:

If you kidnapped a hundred of Hollywood’s top minds and forced them to work around the clock, they could not engineer a more exquisite Dad Movie. Though Master and Commander is ostensibly about the Surprise sailing to intercept a French enemy warship, the battle scenes, exhilarating as they may be, are few and far in between. The bulk of the film—and the heart of its charm—is instead a meticulous rendering of daily life at sea: the monotony of hard labor, the palpable threat of scurvy, the dirty-faced sailors who sleep in close quarters and grin through yellowed teeth. (You know it smells crazy in there.) Even better? All the screen time devoted to close conversations between Aubrey and Maturin, and their two-dude violin and cello jam sessions. You come away with a sense of satisfaction at their accomplishments and camaraderie, and just a bit of longing over a bygone way of life.

That’s just right. Check it out if you find yourself with a couple hours at your disposal and nothing on the teevee.

Otherwise, this weekend was a blur, running from one place to the next, although it was almost all fun. Met up with some friends at an out-of-the-way spot in the post-industrial stretches of Southwest Detroit. We sat on the patio while inside, a DJ mixed pop dance hits with mariachi. At one point I went inside to get another beer and noticed a satellite feed from some Spanish-speaking country, featuring, no shit, bare-knuckle boxing. I guess gloves are for “Master and Commander” fans. Saturday was a whirl of activity until I got home around 3:30 in the afternoon and said, Enough. Time for some Russell Crowe. Today I cleaned until Alan came home. We’ll celebrate Father’s Day tomorrow or later in the week; the Derringers don’t set much store on the Hallmark holidays.

Meanwhile, I read the news:

Sen. Joni Ernst says Iowans want someone who can “pull together” a divided country, and good luck with that, hon.

Yikes. The week lies ahead. Enjoy what’s left of your day, dads.

Posted at 4:48 pm in Current events, Movies |

62 responses to “Oceans are now battlefields.”

  1. LAMary said on June 18, 2023 at 5:56 pm

    I like Master and Commander a lot. Saw it in a theatre. Fun fact: the sounds of wind in the riggings was accomplished by driving a truck with lots of sails, turnbuckles, lines etc. on the Ventura Freeway. I actually saw it twice. Once with the in house Brit and again with the offspring along. We all like that movie.

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  2. Icarus said on June 18, 2023 at 8:46 pm

    We got about halfway through Master and Commander before turning it off and not finishing it. Isn’t there a scene where Crowe pretends to be the ship’s cook?

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  3. Julie Robinson said on June 18, 2023 at 9:26 pm

    We saw M & C when it came out, or shortly after on video. From a distance of this many years I mostly remember it being too violent and gory for me. I also seem to remember they were planning a whole series of movies based on the whole series of books. Which went nowhere, sparing us from even more bad Russell Crowe movies.

    I clicked on the Joni Ernst link and said Ack!!! Fox “News”!!! I try not to give them any more eyeballs.

    And on other unpleasant women, here’s an unlocked link to a WaPo story about Casey DeSantis: https://wapo.st/3CyTNDN. Never trust anyone who reaches the age of 42 and still wears beauty pageant/anchor woman hair.

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  4. Jerrie in MidMD said on June 18, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    I read a profile of Patrick O’Brian in the New York Times Book Review in the early 90s and knew that I needed to read his books. He was still writing them but in trips to London and NYC I kept finding them and reading as I got them, not necessarily in order. I’ve read them in order many times since and I have to resist going through the complete series when life seems too much.
    I loved the movie and was sorry that it wasn’t successful enough for more, unlike Julie.

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  5. diane said on June 18, 2023 at 10:12 pm

    I shelved many, many of those books in my earlier days at the library but had no idea until now that there even was a movie

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  6. Deborah said on June 18, 2023 at 10:22 pm

    Never heard of any of the books or the movie until just reading this. Totally outside of my consciousness, weird.

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  7. alex said on June 18, 2023 at 10:27 pm

    Speaking of hair, what happened to Joni Ernst? And she also looks like she has aged about 30 years in the span of 10. I didn’t even recognize her. She cut quite a distinctive figure when she first came on the scene, sort of mannish really, so the ruby lipstick and tresses make her look like a drag queen.

    I think “pulling together a divided country” is Republicanese for pulling together a divided party, the smaller part of which knows that Trump can’t win and the MAGA agenda is kryptonite. What’s scary, though, are the third-party spoilers like Cornel West and a yet-to-be-determined No Labels candidate who want to hand the country back to the Orange Turd just to be assholes.

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  8. basset said on June 19, 2023 at 7:04 am

    Tried the first M&C book just a few months ago, couldn’t get into it, gave up after maybe forty or fifty pages.

    Father’s Day goes unmentioned at our house, by my request.

    Anyone else see the CBS Sunday Morning story yesterday about the photos Paul McCartney took during the Beatles’ first US tour? https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/paul-mccartney-photos-of-the-beatles-invasion-of-america-1964-eyes-of-the-storm/

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  9. Dave said on June 19, 2023 at 7:04 am

    I read that entire series of books a number of years ago. I wish I could remember now how I first learned of them. I do remember one of my co-workers giving me a couple because he said he couldn’t get into it and also, he hadn’t started in order. I always try to read a series in order.

    Has anyone here ever tried to read the Outlander series of books by Diana Gabaldon? I thought I would like them because I always like a good time-traveling story but oh my goodness, they’re all very long and long segments of her books go on and on about not much of anything.

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  10. Julie Robinson said on June 19, 2023 at 7:48 am

    McCartney book is on hold at the library. I considered buying it for the unmentionable day but $60 seemed a little high. Once it gets here I’ll let my McCartney fan decide if he really wants another piece of clutter, or if a three week rental period will suffice.

    I picked up Outlander when it first came out and didn’t get very far before putting it aside. Tried again when the TV series came out and reached the same conclusion, that it was a poorly written romance novel. After watching a couple of the episodes, my feelings haven’t changed.

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  11. ROGirl said on June 19, 2023 at 8:05 am

    No to the books, the TV series was kind of fun for a while, in the fantasy escapist cable realm, but it has gone on for a few too many seasons.

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  12. Dorothy said on June 19, 2023 at 9:07 am

    I read the first Outlander book and found it somewhat tedious but I finished it. There was so much hoopla about it, though, that I wondered if I had given it a fair chance. So to save myself all those hours of reading I instead watched the series and did get swept up in it. It’s amazing how many different ways they can find to separate the two main characters and time travel is only one of them. But I like the series more than I dislike it. My favorite character is Roger, though. His Scottish brogue is killer and the actor is pretty great. Next up might be Ian, nephew to Jamie. In the first episode from the current season, Roger says something (in 1776 or so) about ‘float like a butterfly, sting like a bee” (Roger was born in the late 1940’s I believe). And I died laughing.

    It’s a crowd pleasing sort of history lesson with romance and danger and daring mixed in and I find it distracting.

    Has anyone else watched Love & Death on Max? Elizabeth Olsen is doing a bang up job as Candy Montgomery but it’s hard to believe these people actually acted like they did in 1979-1980. The decor in the houses is so relatable because I got married in 1979. It is just as bad now as it was back then.

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  13. Jeff Gill said on June 19, 2023 at 9:34 am

    Sadly, the peculiar title is because there was hope this would be the first of a series — but it perhaps didn’t help that to make this one they cannibalized major plot elements from three of the twenty books . . . but there was plenty left for additional installments. It isn’t quite the story from “The Far Side of the World,” just as the AMC “Dark Winds” adaptations will mess with your head it you are a reader of the Tony Hillerman Leaphorn-Chee series which includes “The Dark Wind.” You do well to wipe the book plots from your head and just enjoy the scenery of northern New Mexico & Arizona & southern Utah. Ditto “Master and Commander” which will not have a sequel, alas. Russell Crowe’s Jack Aubrey is very near my mental picture from the twenty volumes; Stephen Maturin is so often described as short and slight that it’s an effort to push aside one’s original impressions and let Paul Bettany occupy the role, but by the glorious final scenes you see him as the physician and spy Patrick O’Brian described.

    “You must always pick the lesser of two weevils!” I have perhaps never enjoyed a book brought to the screen more than I did that scene.

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  14. Jeff Gill said on June 19, 2023 at 9:49 am

    Re: Joni Ernst, I haven’t seen recent pics of her, but I do recall she went through a really horrible divorce in 2018-9 which may have revealed why she wasn’t more of a factor in the VP pic process for Trump. Her ex appears to have been a troubled abusive fellow, and it was a rough separation. So I wouldn’t be surprised if she went for some changes in look the last few years, as often happens in such cases. New start, etc.

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  15. FDChief said on June 19, 2023 at 10:15 am

    I recall enjoying the film well enough, but that was after trying and failing to get absorbed in the Aubrey/Maturen series. Not a hater, just never grabbed me after I thought they would; I’d adored the C.S. Forester series with the same premise. Still do, in fact, which reminds me that it’s time to re-read “Beat to Quarters”, the Hornblower version of the M&C script.

    I stumbled across the “Outlander” books long before it was filmed, not knowing they’d already amassed a sort of cult following. I enjoyed the first one immensely; the history is decent and the bodice-ripping doesn’t get too smarmy to distract from the writing, which is solid.

    The second (Dragonfly in Amber) is okay…but that’s where the author should have stopped, because from there the writing goes completely to hell. My guess is that the series had become so popular that the author felt empowered to ignore her editors. The pace slows to a crawl, the fan service gets out of control, and she never uses one word when fifty will do. Ugh.

    The TV series was fun for a while until it kind of ran into the same problems.

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  16. Jenine said on June 19, 2023 at 10:39 am

    My spouse and I love the Aubrey Maturin books. It’s been a while, this winter might be a good time for a re-read. My pro tip is to skip the rigging descriptions if you aren’t riveted. I love that O’Brian has the technical knowledge and interest in that stuff but I am content to skim the ropes/knots minutia. We loved the movie, one of our rare date nights with a baby and toddler at home. They cherry picked plot points from several novels so it never seemed like there would be any more movies to me.

    Speaking of seafaring novels, has anyone else read A High Wind in Jamaica by Hughes? It was published in 1929 and I didn’t enjoy the racism or the ending particularly but the descriptions of the Caribbean after slavery and the tail end of piracy there was really interesting.

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  17. basset said on June 19, 2023 at 10:43 am

    One of my favorite series, naval or otherwise, is John Biggins’ Prohaska novels, set in the Austrian-Hungarian Navy during WW1. That and George Macdonald Fraser’s Flashman books are my top two.
    Heading to my local independent bookstore later today to get the McCartney pictures… expensive but worth it, once you’ve bought the super edition of Lewisohn’s “Tune In” the spending gets easier.

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  18. Dorothy said on June 19, 2023 at 11:37 am

    Not sure how many fans there are here of the All Creatures Great and Small books but Mike and I really enjoyed them a good deal. And of course the PBS mini series is good. A few months ago I discovered the Irish County Doctor books by Patrick Taylor. They might be corny and not terribly intellectual, but I am really liking the books. I’ve read the first 6 and #7 is on my nightstand, waiting for me to finish Await Your Reply by Dan Chaon. I wish it would move a little faster (the Chaon book) but the building tension is probably what I should be focusing on instead of wishing I was already past all the build up.

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  19. Andrea said on June 19, 2023 at 12:20 pm

    Love love Patrick O’Brian. As an author, I should say. I read the whole series while I was on maternity leave nursing our youngest. Just devoured them. That baby is now 18 and just graduated HS. He is an excellent writer, spare and yet so evocative. There is one scene in a later book that most readers will swear lasts several pages but when you go back to look it is less than one. It is astonishing to me how he could write so carefully and thoughtfully and tenderly about the friendship between two fictional men over decades and then in real life he abandoned his wife and child. Clearly he understands loyalty, obligation, honor, love, sentiment, and so forth but could not live them for whatever reason. Cold comfort to those left behind.

    Anyway, both my husband and I love the books and the movie. The audio books are great too, although you don’t get the little punctuation jokes in an audio book.

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  20. Dorothy said on June 19, 2023 at 12:59 pm

    Thanks Andrea! But I think you meant Patrick Taylor, not O’Brian. Of course one of the main characters is Dr. Fingal O’Reilly so maybe you were combining both names somehow.

    And there’s a movie…?! I did not know that. And I had no idea he abandoned a wife and child. You can tell I’m only reading the books and not reading up on the author. I have bought three of the books at Half Price Books and got others out of the library. One of the ones I bought was only published a couple years ago so I won’t be reading it for awhile yet since I am reading them in order.

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  21. Jenine said on June 19, 2023 at 1:15 pm

    I found a gossipy obit article about POB: The secret life of O’Brian. A lot of this was news to me. It certainly fits that he was a sickly child who “spent much of his time reading, and consumed volume after volume of the 18th-century Gentleman’s Magazine.”

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  22. basset said on June 19, 2023 at 1:39 pm

    Mrs. B and I are big fans of “All Creatures,” watched the whole first series, read the books, even planned our last vacation trip to visit Herriot’s home and office, now a museum. It’s in Thirsk, “Darrowby” in the books, about 200 miles north of London; we stayed in a hotel dating in part back to the 1500s, on a local market square which goes back to the 1200s… had a guide hired to take us around for the day, expedition into the Dales countryside and all.

    Went fine until we went to the museum right after breakfast. I was literally three steps in the door and got violently sick, the museum people called an ambulance and I got all wired up and tested various ways, after two hours of that I turned down a trip to the hospital and spent the rest of the day in our room. Diagnosis was stomach bug, I was cautiously mobile toward evening but didn’t feel right for a couple more days.

    Mrs. B and the guide got out to see some of the nearest sights but not much, we are already planning a second attempt and watching “Yorkshire Vet” streaming to see if we recognize any of the town and scenery.

    We were there just a few days before the recent Coronation, which led to something we’d never seen before… knitted/crocheted decorations, crowns, figures of Charles and Camilla and the royal guards on hitching posts, streetlamps, park benches, etc. to mark the occasion. Apparently a group called the “Thirsk Yarn Bombers” does em at appropriate times and it is quite a local tradition.

    Article from the local paper there: https://www.darlingtonandstocktontimes.co.uk/news/23479671.thirsk-made-ready-coronation-yarn-bombers/

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  23. LAMary said on June 19, 2023 at 1:51 pm

    I think the Horatio Hornblower series was at least partially published in chapters in the Saturday Evening Post. I didn’t read it then but I liked the illustrations.
    I find All Creatures Great and Small sort of tedious. I keep giving it another chance but no.
    And I’m not a fan of most Russell Crowe movies but Master and Commander? I really like that movie a lot.

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  24. Heather said on June 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

    I really liked Master and Commander and was surprised there weren’t more movies made. Presumably it didn’t make a lot of money, at least right away.

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  25. Andrea said on June 19, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    Hi Dorothy! I have never read anything of Patrick Taylor, don’t know who he is. I definitely mean Patrick O’Brian. Will have to check out Patrick Taylor now.

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  26. Dorothy said on June 19, 2023 at 4:43 pm

    Oh my! Well since I referenced the Irish Country Doctor series I thought that’s what you were referring to, too.

    Basset yarnbombing has become a ‘thing’ in many cities all over the world in the last few years. I participated in one when I lived in Dayton. I contributed to the cause by crocheting some big square and went along with the knitting guild when we were attaching them to fences and sign posts. It was pre-pandemic and a lot of fun.

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  27. Sherri said on June 19, 2023 at 5:31 pm

    I’ve listened to the audiobook of Master and Commander, though listened is perhaps a strong word. Much like the PG Wodehouse books and the Herriot books, I find them very soothing for naps and sleeping. They’re just perfect for my mind to engage with lightly and turn off so I can sleep.

    I enjoyed the first couple of Outlander books, but it became clear that rape was Gabaldon’s go to method for raising the dramatic stakes, and I gave up on them. I watched the first couple of seasons of the TV show, but stopped when the action moved to America.

    Currently listening to Lessons in Chemistry and enjoying it a great deal.

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  28. Deborah said on June 19, 2023 at 5:55 pm

    I’m out at the cabin for the first time since January. It is weathering nicely, has lost its yellowy orangey new wood color. Our goal was for it to turn silvery grey eventually. It’s hard to spot from a distance now which was another goal.

    It’s 88° In Abiquiu but a nice breeze is blowing through the cabin, and of course it’s dry, not sweaty.

    There are actually still a few traces of snow up in the Sangre DeCristo’s. It will probably be gone very soon.

    Jeff G, is your son doing the scouting thing in NM this summer?

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  29. BigHank53 said on June 19, 2023 at 8:35 pm

    My brother was a fan of the Horatio Hornblower books by C.S. Forester, and I bounced off of those as a youngster. I read part of one of the Master and Commander books a decade later and was not captivated by the nautical stuff there, either. The one great tidbit I recall from the movie was that the production recruited a whole bunch of extras to be sailors from Poland, because the former eastern bloc nation was the best place to find adult men with missing limbs and horrific dentition.

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  30. basset said on June 19, 2023 at 10:21 pm

    Didn’t know that about yarnbombing, what was your topic in Dayton?

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  31. Jeff Gill said on June 19, 2023 at 10:39 pm

    Deborah, he’s got a full time job and is not at Philmont this summer. However, I may be doing a series of programs at Ghost Ranch on Labor Day weekend for the United Church of Los Alamos! Lots depends on my father-in-law’s status come August 1… an odd situation to be planning around, but they’d rather have a maybe from me than another option, which would be flattering except two nights at Ghost Ranch with no program is a pretty good program I suspect! Was last there five years ago, drove past your “neighborhood ,” but in a rental it’s not a road to venture up — nice angle on Pedernal!

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  32. Dorothy said on June 20, 2023 at 6:31 am

    It was so long ago, basset, I can’t remember. It’s a social activity of some sort and I just played along. Just last week was national Knit In Public day (June 10) but I did not participate this year. However, in October I’ll be attending the Holy Grail of knitters, the New York Sheep & Wool Festival, in Rhinebeck, NY with my daughter. I need to get my act together and start a sweater for that weekend. My sweater will be a very low key one compared to the works of art that will be parading around us.


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  33. JodiP said on June 20, 2023 at 9:03 am

    I think I read the first 2 or 3 of M&C but got very tired of the women just being playthings. Pity, because I otherwise thought the stories were great fun and learned a lot about sea life.

    I also didn’t read past the first Outlander book becuae of the rape scene. I was also really perturbed it was male on male, and that the perpetrator is all-around scum, of course. There is already so much homophobia I had no interest in reading more.

    Last week, I read the most astonishingly good book: The Offing by Benjamin Myers. A writer looks back at his 16th summer, shortly after WWII. He decides to go exploring Yorkshire by foot instead of going down the pit as his father and grandfather before him. He meets someone who alters his life course. The writing is so beautiful and the relationship between the two main characters is rewarding to see develop. If you decide to read it, don’t listen to it because you will miss so much of the prose.

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  34. basset said on June 20, 2023 at 9:16 am

    If I was going to Rhinebeck, I’d want to see the old airplanes:

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  35. FDChief said on June 20, 2023 at 9:19 am

    Re: Flashman – which I also strongly recommend if you’re a historical fiction fan – G.M. Fraser also wrote a series based on his post-war commissioned service in the Gordon Highlanders that’s a treat. I’m not sure how it’s been printed recently, but the central character is one of his soldiers and the series goes by “MacAuslan”, the guy’s name. If you look up “MacAuslan in the Rough” you’ll find the first volume.

    He also wrote a history of the 16th and 17th Scottish Marches – what are termed the “border rievers “ – titled “The Steel Bonnets” that’s a terrific read. It spawned a very dark, very peculiar novel, “The Candlemas Road”, that I get a sense was a genuine labor of love. Good read if you can find it.

    Unsurprising for someone his age and upbringing, GMF became a crusty old Tory in his dotage. His last works don’t hold up nearly as well because he loses his empathy for his non-Imperial characters and goes full-on Wogs Begin At Calais. A reminder that it’s never a good idea to go full-on WBAC, whether your “wogs” come from Somalia or Honduras…

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  36. Jeff Gill said on June 20, 2023 at 9:30 am

    JodiP — can’t disagree with you entirely, but if you get to book 3, “HMS Surprise,” the depiction of the young girl Dil is striking on re-reading because you think she’s been so well described, but in in maybe 12 of 300 pages, and Diana begins to become a person with real agency. All within the norms of the era, of course, but once you get to some of the back and forth between Diana and Sophie in later books, it’s an interesting parallel with Jane Austen in stretches. If you get past about book twelve it has a certain repetitive quality, but in fairness that would be a part of Royal Navy life, as O’Brian notes repeatedly.

    “HMS Surprise” (spoiler alert, sort of) is the book where Stephen operates on himself, a scene repurposed with much less impact than it could have had into “Master and Commander,” where it’s just (as Nancy said) another episode.

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  37. Jenine said on June 20, 2023 at 10:11 am

    @Jeff: I hope you get to go to Ghost Ranch. The UC of Los Alamos is my adopted church, I did youth group there through my teens. I never went to the Ghost Ranch retreat but heard about how beautiful it is.

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  38. Litte Bird said on June 20, 2023 at 10:47 am

    From the title of this post I thought this was going to be about the current situation with the orcas. Personally, I’m team orca.
    As far as the movie goes, I once dated a guy who was obsessed with period pieces like it. The movies, the books, the real history accounts. I like some of them, but it’s not as much of thing for me.

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  39. Deborah said on June 20, 2023 at 10:59 am

    Ghost Ranch is one of my favorite places on earth, love the hikes there. One of these days I’d love to get a tour of the first Georgia O’Keeffe house there, maybe this summer if I can figure out how to wrangle it, as that’s not open to the public. My first time ever in NM 35 years ago included a visit to the Ghost Ranch, it has been a mainstay ever since. Just the drive from our cabin to the GR is beautiful, with a stop at Bode’s of course.

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  40. Julie Robinson said on June 20, 2023 at 11:01 am

    Jeff, wasn’t your son going to be a band teacher? Did he end up elsewhere? I know a lot of education majors who never worked in the field, including one in my own household.

    Jodi, I also stay away from books that use rape or violence as a regular plot point. There have been a couple of series I decided not to continue because of that. I’m not putting my head in the sand, but I don’t want to support its normalization. There are plenty of other ways to build plots.

    Our library doesn’t have a single copy of The Offing. Once again it disappoints. Orange County is four or five times the size of Allen County, yet the library has fewer books and the nearest branch is 20 minutes away. That said, I very much appreciate their home delivery service. And Overdrive.

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  41. John Carpenter said on June 20, 2023 at 11:26 am

    As both a Dad and someone who has read the Patrick O’Brian’s entire Aubrey-Maturin series at least twice, I can confirm it is an excellent movie. The only cinematic silliness was the scene where Lucky Jack was perched at the tip of the bowsprit as the Surprise chased her prey. Otherwise …. amazing depiction of what life at sea must have been like in the early 1800s. This is true of the books, of course. I remember first reading them and realizing that, in naval battles back then, a lot of carnage was caused not by cannon balls, but by the massive splinters of jagged wood projectiles they caused. Great stuff.

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  42. Jeff Gill said on June 20, 2023 at 11:33 am

    Ah, music education. Let’s just say it’s not one of the fields included in “there is a severe shortage of teachers.” He did student teaching for a semester, then two & a half years of building sub/substitute teaching back and forth in two districts; he had four rounds of application & interview for middle school band director/music teacher positions in that time, and in all but one the hire was of a high school band director looking to “slow down” after 10-15 years of that work. Some of his friends have gone out to Iowa or Missouri, getting hired for a small school with a marching band of 6-12, and after two years living in a trailer in the country start applying back in Ohio & Indiana for positions now “with experience.” He decided in January to look for a job, and is the front desk of our local inn (well, back where I “live,” and he’s moved back in with his mom while I’m in Indianapolis).

    What I’m sad about is he has to decide this month about renewing his teaching license for another three years, and I’m pretty sure he’s just going to let it lapse. Two other classmates from OU ‘20 are doing the same: music education just is not hiring in much of the Midwest.

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  43. JodiP said on June 20, 2023 at 12:07 pm

    Julie, that is too bad–but he is literary and British, so likely not appealing to the masses.

    That said, in MN we have a in Interlibrary Loan program, so if my library doesn’t have it, I can search there and someone in the state usually does. It links up to University Libraries and some resources outside of MN too. I checked your library website, and unfortunately, it doesn’t appear to have this option. I was happy to see lots of Pride book recs on the home page, though!

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  44. Jeff Borden said on June 20, 2023 at 12:16 pm

    Just learned the tRump documents trial will be held at the federal courthouse in Fort Pierce, Floriduh, where my lovely wife grew up.

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  45. Deborah said on June 20, 2023 at 2:13 pm

    I had to look up Fort Pierce, after having grown up in Miami I’d certainly heard of it but didn’t know where it was. It looks like it will be hurting in a few years like much of the Florida coastline because of rising sea water due to climate change. Not to mention out of control hurricanes too.

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  46. Julie Robinson said on June 20, 2023 at 3:26 pm

    Fort Pierce has been hurting economically for many years. My sister would go there to fill in at their WIC clinic, but others in her office refused because they didn’t feel safe. It was a rough place even 10 years ago.

    Jeff, our lad was in an even tougher field, music performance. Funny how we think getting them through school will be the end of problems. Ha.

    Jodi, I was very spoiled by the Allen County Public Library, where I could ask for a book to be ordered if they didn’t have it, and was never more than a five minute drive from a branch. Here the nearby branch was closed and they aren’t looking for another location. The next closest, downtown, has a very awkward parking garage across the street, no elevator, and it was scary watching my mom negotiate her way up and down. Next one is a 25 minute drive. I miss browsing and making serendipitous discoveries so maybe we will have to make more of an effort.

    They do support Pride and in general, local government is very woke, with a good representation of all sexual expressions in high positions.

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  47. A. Riley said on June 20, 2023 at 5:06 pm

    I *loved* the Aubrey-Maturin series, read the paperbacks to shreds, and now they live in my Kindle, which just isn’t the same, somehow. Nevertheless. It’s hard for novels set in the British navy during the Napoleonic era to include many women characters, let alone vivid ones, but Diana Villiers makes up for the lack.

    And yes, I have a mad crush on Lucky Jack Aubrey.

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  48. Jeff Borden said on June 20, 2023 at 8:01 pm

    Fort Pierce is a very unusual town considering its place on the Atlantic coast. To the north, Vero Beach is all class, home to lovely houses, upscale dining and private schools for the wealthy. To the south, Port St. Lucie is growing like a weed, home to the spring training facility of the New York Mets and plenty of retail and offices with an ever-expanding tax base.

    And then there’s Fort Pierce. . .a pick-up truck, loud motorcycle, tattooed lower backs and bad teeth kind of place. . .with a dissipated downtown destroyed by the arrival of an enormous WalMart out by I-95, though there are some decent eateries. (I actually saw a tapas bar when we were there in April.) My favorite BBQ ever –and I lived in North Carolina, where barbecued pork is beloved– is Dale’s on Route 1. Archie’s on A1A serves the best grouper I’ve ever tasted. And, yes, there are some multi-million-dollar residences along the Inner Coastal Waterway, but overall, the vibe is extremely blue collar. It’s very much tRumplandia, too.

    Johanna is third-generation Floridian. Her great-grandparents did the reverse commute from Missouri in the late 19th century. The town of Brandon, a suburb of Tampa on the Gulf Coast, is carved from the orange groves of the Brandon family. And she will not return to the state of her birth. Ever.

    Weather be damned, we’re planning to stick in Chicago, which strikes us as an excellent place to age. (We likely will sneak away to warmer climes at some point for a week or two in the coldest months, but not permanently.) Three teaching hospitals. Abundant transportation options. Walkable neighborhood with multiple restaurants, taverns, butchers, wine shop within three blocks. Access to almost every known cuisine. Every kind of music. Every kind of art. Not many places do it at this level of excellence. It’s an endlessly fascinating place to explore.

    The city, however ineptly, tries hard to allow people to stay in their homes by offering exemptions for taxes and fees. I hope to die here. But not for like, maybe, 20 years. I want to outlive Keith Richards and Iggy Pop.

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  49. alex said on June 20, 2023 at 9:34 pm

    Sweet Home Chicago. Though I’m not a native, I’ve been an expat for 18 years, which is nearly as long as I lived there. And I’m going back for a visit next week and meeting up with some fellow expats to do some architectural tours and things we never do when we visit because we’re always too busy trying to fit in visits to too many people we haven’t seen in too, too long.

    And then we’re turning right around and spending a week in Canada, weighed down a bit with my senescent dad who needs to go see Niagara-on-the-Lake one more time.

    And then I’ll return, well-rested I hope, to my life of drudgery and doom-scrolling and it will be mid-July and summer will be more than half over and will suck as I count down the days.

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  50. Dexter Friend said on June 21, 2023 at 5:05 am

    And yet all we read in headline form about Chicago is the story of another 23 shot last weekend. I would guess potential tourists would take that into consideration when planning an excursion to somewhere. All cities have danger zones and tour books and web pages try to not focus on them, leaving room for danger.
    All the rocket-docket stories were immediately debunked by journos who follow these charges about the earlier-than-anticipated trial date for Trump. Now we know that there are all sorts of ways for Trump to play his favorite delay games. These trials may not even begin until next summer during the campaign. Maybe even until after the election. Trump is currently reviving the “Trump Won” bullshit as he is granted constant free TV time to show his fucking face. Covid19 explanations? “It’s just not good for a Republican to talk about such things—it’s just not.” That is a direct quote from Trump yesterday. That asshole.

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  51. alex said on June 21, 2023 at 7:33 am

    Speaking of Chicago — and books — and gun violence — I’m late to the party but finally reading Alex Kotlowitz’ There Are No Children Here, a true and bracing tale of life in the projects. I’m cramming for a book club meeting in two days and I’m only a third of the way through. The book club is an initiative of the DE&I committee of a professional organization on whose board I’ve served for many years. I mentioned here circa 2008 that I had quit the organization after a guest speaker — a financial advisor — expounded on a Ben Stein essay that blamed Black people for the subprime mortgage mess and the resultant economic meltdown. I’m happy to report that the group has changed for the better.

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  52. Jeff Borden said on June 21, 2023 at 11:19 am

    Believe it or not, gun violence in Chicago was worse in the ’90s, when the gangs were fighting for crack cocaine territory. What’s happened since the pandemic is the spread of the violence beyond the traditional sites on the South and West sides into areas previously considered very safe neighborhoods. The CPD is a complete mess these days with extremely low morale, overworked cops, early retirements and a staggering number of suicides by officers. The police are more or less shunned in black and Hispanic neighborhoods, where they’re seen as occupiers not peace officers, but with good reason. The city has spent hundreds of millions of dollars settling lawsuits caused by police brutality, sloppy police work and, in the case of the infamous Cmdr. John Burger and his “Midnight Crew,” actual torture. Oh, and the president of the FOP is a card-carrying tRumpanzee MAGAt with a very big mouth.

    I’m too simple-minded to have any idea how to turn this around. But if NYC and L.A. could do it, there must be a formula that would work here. I hope so. I love this place. Residents of all races deserve better .

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  53. Jeff Borden said on June 21, 2023 at 1:00 pm

    In Texass, paraplegic governor Greg Abbott, who was paralyzed below the waist when a tree fell on him while jogging, just vetoed a bill that would make it easier for the disabled to vote.

    The QOP specializes in cruelty. A hateful political party for hateful people.

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  54. Sherri said on June 21, 2023 at 2:22 pm

    I don’t think the NYPD or the LAPD (and especially not the LA Sheriff’s Department) are any better than the Chicago PD. I’m hard-pressed to find a PD anywhere that isn’t problematic, because our system of policing is designed that way. The George Floyds that make national news are just the tip of the iceberg.

    I donate to the National Police Accountability Project. From a recent email I received from them:

    Very few police departments mention age in their use-of-force policies. In 2021, the Associated Press analyzed data on approximately 3,000 instances of police use of force against children under 16 over the previous 11 years. The data includes incidents from 25 police departments in 17 states. While it’s a small representation of the 18,000 police agencies in America, the findings are disturbing. According to the data, in Minneapolis, officers pinned children with their bodyweight at least 190 times. In Indianapolis, more than 160 kids were handcuffed; in Wichita, Kansas, officers drew or used their tasers on kids at least 45 times.

    Unsurprisingly, Black children made up more than 50% of those who were handled forcibly, though they are just 15% of the child population. BIPOC children are often perceived by the police as being older than they are.

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  55. Sherri said on June 21, 2023 at 4:00 pm

    So, I’ve been reading about the missing submersible and its CEO’s rather cavalier attitude towards safety. Many people have been telling him for years that the thing wasn’t safe for the depths required to reach the Titanic, but he believed that “safety was a waste.” I guess the good news is that he wasn’t a billionaire like Musk, so he could inflict that attitude on the rest of us at scale, though I am curious who invested in his company. His personal net worth is reportedly $12 million, which is not enough to fund his company.

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  56. David C said on June 21, 2023 at 4:17 pm

    I don’t know if people don’t understand the pressures down there or what. I sure as hell wouldn’t allow myself to be bolted into that DIY piece of junk knowing I could be squashed like a bug.

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  57. susan said on June 21, 2023 at 5:07 pm

    Yeah, as my niece said, the passengers, er, uh, mission associates, just found out that the 250,000 bucks they each spent on a submarine ride wasn’t the round trip price.

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  58. Deborah said on June 21, 2023 at 6:25 pm

    For whatever the amount of time they were able to observe the sunken titanic is it worth it? My god, give that money to a charity rather than indulge yourself for a minute amount of time to say you did something. That goes for those billionaires in space too. Those are the ultimate indulgences when there are so many more worthwhile things to do with your time and outrageous sums of money. It’s the scale

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  59. Sherri said on June 21, 2023 at 7:41 pm

    I’m pretty indifferent about billionaires spending money to kill themselves in space or anywhere else, as long as they aren’t killing the rest of us, too. But I think if you’re going to ignore safety standards and deliberately avoid US ships and go out in international waters so you don’t have to abide by US standards, then don’t expect the US Coast Guard to come rescue you. As it is, quite a lot of resources have been expended on what is almost certainly a doomed search and rescue mission.

    I have a harder time with the people paying money for Sherpas to drag their asses up Everest, risking the Sherpas’ lives.

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  60. Jeff Gill said on June 21, 2023 at 9:24 pm

    No gift link option with Gannett, but the Columbus Dispatch has a painful but excellently done story, narrative and photos and a short video, about Jack Hanna . . . who is not quite twenty years younger than the fellow I’m tending, but who is pretty much in the same place my father-in-law is at. It was actually comforting, in the way Hanna’s daughter said they hoped to be, to read the same strange and silly and infuriating things about a Jungle Jack with Alzheimer’s as I’m seeing with a more garden variety cognitive impairment situation in Indianapolis.

    I’ve over-posted extracts on my Facebook, but for those who know this sort of thing there’s no real surprise, just the shock and sadness of it being someone many of us have sharply drawn images of even if only through media. My mother, who is 88, is also in the same level of repetitive confusion and irritation . . . but I’ve learned the few times I get down to help my sister with her, Mom really loves to watch Jack Hanna shows along with Dr. Pol, and gets quite angry when we tell her neither is available.

    Anyhow, if you can read it, I ruefully commend it: https://www.dispatch.com/story/news/nation-world/2023/06/21/jack-hanna-illness-sick-alzheimers-columbus-zoo-david-letterman-animal-guy-good-morning-america/70293207007/

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  61. Mark P said on June 21, 2023 at 11:55 pm

    I wonder what the total cost will be for the massive search for the lost submersible.

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  62. FDChief said on June 22, 2023 at 11:48 am

    I have to report with heavy heart that the passion (bromance? sismance?) between Lauren “Get Strapped or Get Stripped” Boebert and EmptyG is done, over, joined the choir invisible.

    “I’ve donated to you, I’ve defended you. But you’ve been nothing but a little bitch to me,” Greene told Boebert, according to a source who witnessed the exchange. “And you copied my articles of impeachment after I asked you to cosponsor them.”

    OK, Marjorie, we’re through,” Boebert then said, shrugging her shoulders.

    With Boebert’s back turned, ​​Greene responded: “We were never together.”

    Will no one think of the Crossfit trainers and ammosexuals??!!??

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