Part the One Hundred Ninety Third is now up, and may be read here.
Monthly Archives: November 2009
Word this morning came in about the seizure of the Maran Centarus. While her capacity is for 300,000 tons, there’s no confirmation how much oil she was carrying when they seized her, though considering she was en route from Saudi Arabia to the US it’s probably likely she was fully loaded.
In addition to all the stated worries about environmental damage if she breaks apart during her captivity (and using live ammo atop an oil tanker is not on most people’s list of “safe and harmless activities”), there’s the potential for economic mayhem. With oil this morning at $73/bbl and continued volatility in that market, a spectacular failure could give a slight spike in the price, giving gas stations an excuse to jump pump prices drastically, which this holiday season would be the last thing the economy here needs. It’s already been tough to predict how oil will behave, and this won’t make it any easier…
Word of this came just as it was announced that the Ariana was released, one out of a number still held.
Of course, one of the potential elements of the ransom for the Maran Centarus will be for the release of pirates held in captivity, which may surprise some folks who think that there are not that many out there. With reports from the TIMES of pirates being let go after seizure, it’s hard to argue there’s anyone in the brig to trade for oil…
Part the One Hundred Ninety Second is up now, a day early in order to work around the Thanksgiving weekend here in the States. Unless you’ve said to yourself on reading the last sentence, “I have to deal with turkey a day early?” you can find the next part here.
And a happy and safe time this weekend to everyone.
The reviews are starting to come in for Michael Crichton’s PIRATE LATITUDES, a surprise discovered after the author’s death on his hard drive (the 21st century equivalent of the bottom drawer, perhaps?):
- The NY TIMES didn’t think much of it, noting that its weaknesses may be due to the manuscript not being polished up before his death
- ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY right with the first sentence that it might have been better had it not seen the light of day
- The AP review via MSNBC was even less kind
- Notice at THE WALL STREET JOURNAL cites the first two reviews as well as the review at PEOPLE WEEKLY along the same ilk, and has link to an excerpt from Chapter 6; the excerpt sort of speaks for itself…
If nothing else, it encouraged a Flash-animated spot for the book from the UK, soon to be followed by a film adaptation to be directed by Steven Spielberg, which means more interest in pirates to come from the same wide audience that showed up when Disney released the PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN films.
As a side note, discussions of Crichton’s work mention that part of the crew of privateers assembled includes the pirate Lazue, a wily French woman who is an accomplished sea artist.
No, I don’t want to go there; nope, won’t even try…
Part the One Hundred Ninety First is now up, and may be read here.
A word of warning: I’m posting the next part a day earlier, in order to clear more time for the Thanksgiving weekend. Expect to see the next installment about 24 hours earlier than usual.
Part the One Hundred Ninetieth is now up, and may be read here.
What, another remake? Somali pirates went for the Maersk Alabama again. This time, the ship had posted guards who repelled boarders, so this became an incident as opposed to an ordeal. So there’s at least that to be happy about.
But still; between a remake of the series V and redoing the film THE TAKING OF PELHAM 123, the film 2012 being far too reminiscent of WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE, and even talk that James Cameron owes Poul Anderson something for his next picture, is it too much to ask for new ideas? Or have we as a culture all become pirates in the end…?
Three items of interest:
* The Spanish government has paid the ransom for the crew of the Alakrana. Prime Minister Zapatero’s claim that his government “did what it had to do” doesn’t exactly help the effort at suppression; the fact that two warships were there for the hand-off can’t have left a good feeling among the crews of other ships on station out there.
On the other hand, the two Somali pirates in custody taken October 3rd are still in the hands of Spanish authorities, which raises an interesting prospect: Removing men from the sweet trade but paying off the rest. I’m not sure this is going to have any good long term effects if the remaining pirates decide that not having to break down their ransoms into smaller shares means that whoever’s left just tries harder. Sort of like an American company trying to gain efficiencies with less staff…
* Matt Gross at the NEW YORK TIMES describes putting to sea in the Carib by paying your way as crew aboard a two-mast schooner for a mere $55 a day. This fee gets you sailing experience, customs clearances and two meals a day, as well as passage along the routes the pirates took.
No word if there’s a way to get a discount by taking less shares if the crew decides to take over and go on the account…
* If there’s any interest in making a film of this novel (yeah right…) the perfect stand-in vessel can now be purchased. EasternYachts.com has for sale the STS Jean de la Lune, a brigantine that’s about the right dimensions for the Raging Gale. Her rig is pretty close too, though the pilot house would have to be moved astern to place the quarterdeck atop her.
And it’s a steal at a mere ₤395,000. With the holidays coming up, he said placing very, very broad hints…
Part the One Hundred Eighty Ninth is now up, and may be read here.
Which means that if you’ve gone on the account and made it through a few ventures, you can take your real life experience from there and apply it directly in your new career with the search engine uber alles…
Part the One Hundred Eighty Eighth is now up, and may be read here.
Back in the day, pirates could be turned into agents of colonial powers willing to employ them as privateers, thus going from being threats to assets. Now, with word of pirates on BitTorrent helping to promote a film, the question arises: Can marketing departments at big companies turn digital pirates into digital privateers?
Who’s to say it hasn’t already occurred? They never did announce publicly who leaked that print of X MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE online, and in terms of getting publicity for the film going it was certainly more cost-effective than all the media tours and press kits they could package, and according to one account at the time the leaked copy didn’t keep that many people from going to the theater to see it.
Not naming names or pointing fingers here, just a speculation in general…