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Going On The Account: ‘Tis The Season? Really…?

About a month ago, this disturbed me…

 

I tried to ignore it, tried to laugh it off, because it’s just commerce run amok.  You can’t blame desperate people acting idiotic if they’re afraid they won’t meet their projections, unless they do something idiotic.

And compared to other acts of idiocy lately, this was pretty benign…

But it’s not just these folks now; I wandered into a Macy’s* the other day and saw that their Christmas display was going on full bore.

While I was wearing short sleeves because it was so warm.  Many miles north of the Mason-Dixon Line, too…

And at that point,  snapped.  I babbled, I gurgled, and then I tried to come up with words…

That soon got set to music; in order to deal with the trauma, I turned yet again to the Dark Art of Filking, and came up with this:

(Sung to the tune of “The Carol Of The Bells”)

Oh no not now

Oh really? Wow!

No no not yet

Can we not get

A chance to breathe                       /                              Not…   now…

Go away leave                                  /                              Not…   now…

It’s just too soon                              /                              Not…   now…

Go ‘way you goon                           /                              Not…   now…

 

You say Noel                                      /                              Not…   now…

I say Aw Hell                                       /                              Not…   now…

Till Halloween                                    /                              Not…   now…

I’m not so keen                                                /                              Not…   now…

I’d say no way                                   /                              Not…   now…

‘Till Turkey Day                                  /                              Not…   now…

Just let me be                                    /                              Not…   now…

It’s too early                                       /                              Not…   now…
You put away

That Christmas sleigh

Don’t want to see

Holly- ivy

Let the time race                              /                              Not…   time…

At normal pace                                 /                              Don’t do it now, don’t do it now …

 

I really hate                                        /                              Don’t do it now, don’t do it now …

That you can’t wait                          /                              Don’t do it now …

I really wish                                        /                              Don’t do it now …

That you don’t dis                            /                              Don’t do it now …

I’ll make it clear                                 /                              No-no-no- no-no-not time yet

Not yet this year                              /                              No-no-no- no-no-not time yet

I do not want Christmas now

I do not want Christmas now

 

You make me ill

Won’t you just chill

This is so messed

Give it a rest

You make me ill

Won’t you just chill

This is so messed

Give it a rest

 

 

You say Noel                                      /                              Not…   now…

I say Aw Hell                                       /                              Not…   now…

Till Halloween                                    /                              Not…   now…

I’m not so keen                                                /                              Not…   now…

I’d say no way                                   /                              Not…   now…

‘Till Turkey Day                                  /                              Not…   now…

Just let me be                                    /                              Not…   now…

It’s too early                                       /                              Not…   now…
You put away

That Christmas sleigh

Don’t want to see

Holly- ivy

Let the time race                              /                              Not…   time…

At normal pace                                 /                              Don’t do it now, don’t do it now …

 

I really hate                                        /                              Don’t do it now, don’t do it now …

That you can’t wait                          /                              Don’t do it now …

I really wish                                        /                              Don’t do it now …

That you don’t dis                            /                              Don’t do it now …

I’ll make it clear                                 /                              No-no-no- no-no-not time yet

Not yet this year                              /                              No-no-no- no-no-not time yet

I do not want Christmas now

I do not want Christmas now

 

You make me ill

Won’t you just chill

This is so messed

Give it a rest

 

Not Christmas yet…
No….

 

And for those looking for the tune, I’m offering this:

 

Okay, Irving Berlin it ain’t, but silence wasn’t going to serve anyone either…

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

*The fact that I’m amazed that there’s enough branches of Macy’s out there to just wander into one (thanks a lot, Federated), and no one else I know thinks twice about it, is just hitting me how long I’ve wandered the surface of the earth; thoughts along those lines belong in January, so that’s also being vigorously pushed aside…

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Going On The Account: RED JENNY Eighty Three

Part Eighty Three of RED JENNY AND THE PIRATES OF BUFFALO in now up, and may be read here.

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Going On The Account: In Memory of Arthur

Earlier today, I mentioned in passing that I was going to a funeral for a good friend.

 

I think he deserves better than just a passing mention.

 

I knew Arthur Galub most of my life; he was a colleague of my dad’s where he worked, at Bronx Community College.  The two of them spent their academic careers there, and retired at about the same time; Arthur taught political science and chaired the Social Sciences department, while my dad taught and chaired the History department, which made them units in the same firm that sometimes competed for resources, probably the best way to explain it to those not in the ivory tower crowd.  Yet despite their points of competition, they were very good friends that shared quite a bit between themselves.

 

Arthur went into teaching after having gotten a law degree at Yale law, so yes, not everyone that goes to law school checks their soul at the door…  He did practice on the side though, which gave me a professional contact with him.

 

No, not what you’re thinking; despite some of the purple prose that comes out from me with authority, I was pretty well behaved.  What Arthur did was help me with some real estate, when I bought and then later sold an apartment in the Bronx.

 

Lots of people you can point to and say, “That person made me a man,” or “That person made me write.”  I could point to Arthur and say, “He made me a member of the bourgeoisie.”  Which I did a number of times, and he laughed every time; he could take a good joke, and considering where I stand on a lot of things it is pretty funny all said…

 

That was one of his great strengths, the ability to see both sides of an issue and understand where someone stood and how they got there.  Because he wanted to know. And if he thought where someone stood was not a great spot, he’d give that person some good, persuasive reasons to move, appealing to reason and having a good argument at hand to move you.

 

What I didn’t know until the funeral was that after retirement, he kept taking classes at Columbia University because he could not stop learning.  Yes, a few courses on business law and history, but the sections on astronomy and contemporary lit were surprises; or maybe they shouldn’t have been, as someone so keen in the dealing of knowledge would not be happy with only so much and no more.

 

And that’s what struck me the most as I spent the day thinking about him:  In a time like ours when people turn up the volume to browbeat you into submission, facts be damned, we lost someone who was a real thinker, who not only had an open mind but shared it, very well, with others.  We lost someone for whom reason was not a lost art, who showed us the value of open and working minds.

 

Arthur, I wish ye well beyond us.

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Going on the Account: A Last Appeal for a Choice of Heading

   

There is still time to make a contribution to the campaign by the Comic Creator’s Alliance to end human trafficking.  

You may ask, “Of all the times to hit me up for a contribution, why now?”  Yes, the recent disaster in Haiti has probably taken most of your attention as far as trouble spots to get involved with.  (If you ask this question because of your own personal crisis, then my best thoughts go out to you, and my sympathy as to your situation.)  And that’s a valid point, asking for your help in dealing with a long-term problem when there’s an immediate crisis at hand.

To which the answer, barring any personal factors unbeknownst, may well be that a contribution to one will help the other.

Consider if you will what puts another human being in danger of being a victim of trafficking, usually the young and more often than not female.  Often such victims are vulnerable to being exploited because there is little to protect that person where they live.  For some, it’s the lack of emotional stability, while others it’s economic hardship.  And in a few cases, what makes these people potential victims is general chaos.

All three conditions are a good description of the state of hundreds of thousands of Haitians right now, possible victims of human trafficking thanks to the after effects of the devastating earthquake.

As the two issues are so entwined, the question becomes one of where you feel the most good can be done by your efforts.  If you believe that taking action on the root cause of this misery is the best way to go, then there are plenty of organizations who could use your help.  If you’d rather deal with the specific issue, which will save not just Haitians but people from the world over, then contributing to this cause is how to proceed.

Whatever your choice, please do some good.  Your contributions to both Love 146 and Gracehaven will help alleviate suffering and address wrongs in the world that need your attention.  So too would a contribution to Haitian relief.  As you consider how to go, keep in mind the words of Maimonides:

The risk of a wrong decision is preferable to the terror of indecision. 

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Going on the Account: Shaken to the Core

The home of the original buccaneers is now a living hell.

I’m sure you’ve heard by now the news about the earthquake in Haiti, which is turning quickly from a mere tragedy to an unimaginable disaster of proportions not seen since the 2004 tsunami.  The potential figures are staggering; estimates of fatalities are ranging from 30,000 up to 500,000, though even a portion of the low end would still be unbearable.

Worse, of all the countries to experience a 7.0 magnitude quake, the likes of which were last seen there when France threw their weight behind the American colonies against England, Haiti is probably the least well prepared.  The poverty is oppressive in that land, fostered by poor governance and continuous civil strife.  The earthquake, hitting a poor overcrowded land unable to provide the basics, magnifies the suffering there by a thousand fold.

This is a time to think of fellow human beings, to do what you can for people in very desperate needs.  Some of the better sources you can offer assistance through:

American Red Cross

The Salvation Army

Doctors Without Borders

UNICEF

Catholic Relief Services

American Jewish World Service

Other recommendations for how to help can be found at the collection of links offered by The Huffington Post and THE NEW YORK TIMES.  

And remember that when you open your heart, you should use your head.  The FBI is warning about scammers, which gather around tragedies the way sharks swarm at blood in the water.

 Right now, words fail me…

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Going on the Account: Under the Weather

I may have problems getting a new chapter or two up next week due to illness.

 

No, not me, my machine.  I already described my fight with the malware that affected the machine I was working on, and I’ve spent far more time this week focusing on drives and downloads than brigantines and buccaneers.  I’m still working to get the little SOB to behave, and may have to go as far as to wipe the disk and start anew, if it comes to that.

 

Needless to say, the writing’s coming in second, and rather than make you sit through second-tier material (and the next one of you that inserts a crack tied to that line…), I may have to delay uploading the next parts of the story.  I should be able to post on time tonight, but after that it could be touch-and-go.

 

My apologies for the unexpected delay.  My hope is that this will be anywhere between brief and a non-factor, and we can then put this all behind us.

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Going on the Account: Careening

Just a reminder that I’m going to be putting the site on hiatus for two weeks beginning tomorrow and picking things up again on the 24th.  During that time, I’m not going to be in a position to moderate posts, respond to queries or (hardest of all to do away with) posting new parts to the story.

Truth to tell, I could use a break.  There are times when, in this over-wired world we live in, we need to take the red pill and wake up from the Matrix, and this is certainly one of them.  I posted pretty regularly for close to a year and a half, and my psyche could use a rest.  Not to mention my poor family, which does not want to be around me as I snarl while crafting new chapters…

So, what’s going to happen while I’m “at sea,” as it were?  I have a few things lined up…

 

* I’m going to catch the well-reviewed Real Pirates traveling exhibition at the Field Museum in Chicago.  This is supposed to be one of the best collections of pirate artifacts ever mounted, which is not coming to New York but will be in a city I’m going to.  Kismet, anyone?

*I’m going to be attending the Fest for Beatles Fans in Chicago, August 14th through 16th.  Yes, I have interests other than pirates…  I’ve been invited to be on the panels covering writing fiction about the Beatles, hosted by the Lovely and Talented Susan, editor of Rooftop Sessions.  Also at the Fest will be Aviva Rothschild, the author of the recently released novel WITH STRINGS ATTACHED and fellow trouble-maker extraordinaire. While the main business will be Beatles-related, well, you know what they say about what happens when you encourage an old salt…

* Afterwards, there’s going to be a side trip to see the Pirates, Privateers and Freeebooters temporary exhibit at the Pointe-A-Calliere Museum in Montreal.  I got word of this through a number of sources (one of which was Ye Pirate Blog) and from the description it might make for an interesting supplemental study with the other exhibit.

 

If you end up in Chicago next week and catch the Fest, I’d love to meet you there.  And if you’re at either museum and spot a man with the jolie rouge of the Raging Gale 

And I promise, when I get back, I’ll post here what I saw at the exhibits and anything that happened that’s worth discussing… be me; stop me and say hi. that’don his t-shirt (you know, the logo on the site),

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Going on the Account: How We Got Here is Half the Fun…

According to today’s New York Times, there’s a perceived shortage of historians out there that look at history traditionally (i.e., via official records at court and via the memos from the ministry) being squeezed out by non-traditional scholars (that is, the ones that look at history as perceived by folks who didn’t keep such records).  For those wanting to use the established standards the sides flocked to specifically mentioned in the article, it’s the folks doing diplomatic and economic history losing out to women’s history.

 

So of course, how could the strugle unfoldwithout a comment from this port?

 

As the proud owner of a Bachelors Degree in History received at a time when the mix was different, geared more towards traditional approaches, I have to say now what I did then: Can’t you guys get along better?

 

Sure, there may be stories that had been passed down in only one manner from then to now, but does that mean we can’t allow another perspective?  And this applies to both sides; a social history may need to make room for official documented accounts to round out the narrative as well.

 

This of course is more than just a dry academic turf battle; those writing historic fiction also have a say in the fight.  A writer who wants to be fully immersed in the setting in order to produce the best book possible (cf. Mary Doria Russell’s comments at io9.com) needs as many sources to draw on as possible, from as many perspectives as can be handled, in order to make the environment as accessable as possible to the reader.  Staying only within one camp’s purview is going to leave that writer poorer in producing the work.

 

Close at hand example:  I’m not sure I could have a book where we just state that the heroes are pirates, and that their enemies hate them.  The enemies of pirates are figures of authority; in fact, most of them ARE the authorities.  But what are they defending?  When these folks assume their offices and take up their tasks, what are they doing it for?  A social historian without a sense of the mechanism of state is going to have hell explaining these folks’ motivations.

 

Likewise, without knowing the social life of the folks in the setting, we don’t have a sense of what motivates them.  Sure, we have a good idea of what motivates all people throughout time, but some options may be more readily obvious than others depending on the time.  Trying to write about the Baroque Age without a sense of what was more likely to be on people’s minds makes it difficult to come up with people behaving in a realistic manner for the time.

I always feel that the broader the background, the better.  Never limit yourself, especially if you’re going to have Clio the muse taking up shotgun on your work…

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Going on the Account: Battening Down the Hatches Smartly

With the warm weather on us, I ended up in the park with my son tying the line to the kite he was going to fly, and the question of knots came up.  When he asked me how many I knew, I had to admit, to my shame, that it’d been too long since I had to secure a line with anything beyond a square not.

 

Thankfully, he’s a very forgiving child, and he didn’t hold against me having forgotten the ropes.  All the same, I found the site for Grog’s Animated Boating Knots, bookmarked it and made it part of my roll.  Because, you never know when you may need to cleat hitch…

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Going on the Account: A (Distant) Member of the Bretheren of the Coast (in Spirit)

Got word today about the death of Ray Dennis Steckler.  Why bring him up here, you ask?  Consider this item from the linked obituary about the first steps in his career:

 

“When he was 15, his stepfather gave him an eight-millimeter movie camera, and he drafted friends for a film about pirates. They all nearly drowned on a handmade raft. ”

 

From there, he went into film making the way sailors of old took up the Sweet Trade:  Sneaking onto locations to set and strike sets, grabbing anyone he could to pull the film together,  staying one step ahead of the union reps, making Lord-only-knows-what  kind of distribution deals for his finished product…  In short, hit and run where you can.

 

In honor of his aesthetic and the spirit with which he carried out his work, we give pause to remember him, and consider if there’s something in how he carried it all off that couldn’t be exploited emulated.

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Going on the Account: Adorning Your Finery this Halloween?

Just in time for All Hallow’s Eve, Smahain, the American Guy Fawke’s Day, what-have-you, there is an interesting article on pirate reenactors online

 

As to the popularity of pirate dress-up, we had a Halloween party at my son’s school on Friday, and the buccaneers were well in attendance that night; we had enough going through the party to man a sloop.  And a large number were young ladies, to boot.

 

According to the article, there’s a certain amount of annoyance at all of the Jack Sparrow-inspired pirates showing up.  If there’s anyone out there looking for a non-PotC derived character to work from, well, there’s a lot of good possibilities here…

 

And hey, if you do decide to do Abigail, Hope, or any other crew from the Raging Gale, I’d love to share pictures of your costumes with other readers.  Post here links to anything you have uploaded and want to display.

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Going on the Account: Singing Out from Atop the Mast for Susan

In honor of the day, and keeping in line with how nautical tunes are quoted here:

Just like a sailor heading into the seas
There’s a gale blowing in my face
The high winds scare me but I need the breeze
And I can’t head for any other place
Life would seem so easy on the other tack
But even a hurricane won’t turn me back
You might be an island
On the distant horizon
But the little I see
Looks like heaven to me
I don’t care if the ocean gets rough
Just a little is enough

-Pete Townshend, “A Little is Enough”

Happy Anniversary, Susan!

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