Magellan Without Elcano

Ferdinand Magellan set out from Seville with five ships in 1519.

Two years later, he was dead on a Philippine island.

Why does he get credit for the “first circumnavigation of the globe”?

If it weren’t for Juan Sebastian Elcano, who completed the circle, there would be no circumnavigation.

Self thinks the return leg was just as important — no, more — than the first leg.

Magellan set out with five ships and 270 men. Stocked to the gills, supported by experienced crew. Two years later, it was left to Elcano to return a demoralized crew back to Spain. He did it in one year, with one ship, the Victoria, which sailed from the Philippines to Borneo, across the Indian Ocean, around the Cape of Good Hope, north along the west coast of Africa, finally reaching Spain on 6 September 1522, with 18 of the original 270 men.

Now, that’s a journey. That’s epic.

Three years later, Elcano went on another expedition, but this time he was not so lucky. According to Wikipedia, Elcano died while on the Loaisa expedition to claim the East Indies on behalf of Charles I of Spain.  The cause of death was malnutrition.

Stay tuned.

In Which Sunny and Self Discuss/De-Construct “Passengers”

Of course, because this is the future and we write fan fiction, watching “Passengers” leads to some interesting gender flipping in our de-construction of said movie.

The idea of having Jennifer Lawrence doing the choosing was entirely Sunny’s. Self thought: Go for it!

Exhibit A

Stay tuned.

Names From Around WordPress

Browsing WordPress for posts on this week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge, NAMES.

Here are some that intrigued:

Enjoy!

Stay tuned.

Medical Students Practicing Calligraphy

Because why not?

Have you seen the scribbles on patients’ charts?

Can you read, honestly read them?

Here are a pair of gals who are in medical school and are practicing calligraphy and also displaying excellent judgment in choosing an excerpt from self’s work-in-progress, Toad!

Stay tuned.

2nd Post for the New Year, 1 January 2017: “There For Six Months” (A Re-Post, Because Still Relevant)

A student, Kevin ______, wrote this years ago. The class was Composition & Rhetoric. The assignment was for students to write an autobiographical essay. But self didn’t have the heart to grade the student down for thinking outside the box, especially after he told her it was the first poem he ever wrote.

He was 20. Never wrote another thing.

There For Six Months

Underneath Pink Floyd’s alluring rhapsody
the phone was ringing,
Hey you, out there on your own,
sitting naked by the phone, would you touch me
and my older brother is telling me that
come January, he’ll be in Iraq,
serving his time of duty for six months
in the war
see also: abuse of power, see also: corpses

Meanwhile, people all around are nestled away in their cozy,
unobtrusive shells: human anti-socialism,
one thousand and one bloody bodies, our own an afterthought.
Warming cups of soup, chicken-noodle flavor,
and stacks of crackers on a folded napkin, for dipping.

Hey you, don’t help them to bury the light,
don’t give in without a fight
And my brother is telling me that if he makes it back
there’s a good chance he’ll be based in the west coast,
see also: home, see also: happiness
There’s shake and shiver undertones in his voice
when he keeps saying, Don’t worry,
they trained me how to live, but all I can wonder is
if they trained him how to die.

That last part is so perfect, with the words of Pink Floyd cutting in and out and the “shake and shiver undertones” in the brother’s voice. Self has no words.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

“After Us, the Deluge”

The Force wasn’t enough today.

RIP, Carrie Fisher.

2016, self is so done.

dscn0334

Vanishing Point, Capitola-by-the-Sea

IN COLD BLOOD, pp. 232 – 233

It’s the day after Christmas, for heavens sake, George Michael has died, and self is barreling through In Cold Blood.

It’s a great book. The characters — the two murderers and the four detectives whose seven weeks of patient chasing down of all manner of clues finally led to the arrest of Dick Hickok and Perry Smith for the murder of the Clutter family — are like players in a Greek tragedy (The fact that they arrested the right men: what a piece of luck! Seven weeks is not a long period of time, especially since Hickok and Smith had traveled over eight-hundred miles in the twenty-four hours immediately following the murders, and had no personal connection to either the victims or the town of Holcomb, Kansas, where the murders took place).

Self wants very badly to be able to picture these men, and is disappointed by the absence of any photographs. Isn’t this book nonfiction? Wouldn’t the inclusion of photographs have helped the book’s authenticity?

Instead she has to go googling on the web. She finds a New York Times obituary for Alvin Dewey, lead detective of the case. There is no photograph. Self decided not to google the faces of the two murderers.

Dick Hickok struck the detectives as intelligent and attractive (a Ted Bundy type?), well spoken.

His partner, Perry Smith, was so short that when sitting his feet didn’t touch the floor. And his feet were delicate, the size of a child’s. Yet this is the man who Dick Hickok claimed committed all four murders.

The two men are handcuffed but Perry Smith is a chainsmoker so, during the ride to Kansas, when Smith wants a smoke, Detective Alvin Dewey ends up lighting it for him and placing “it between his lips, a task that the detective found ‘repellent,’ for” it seemed “such an intimate action — the kind of thing” Dewey had done “while he was courting his wife.” (p. 233)

The only reason self quotes the passage here is because, a page later, Perry Smith says to Dewey, catching him off guard: “You hate handing me a butt.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The Latest Isn’t Who We Thought

George Michael, Nooooooooo!!!

2016 is ending terrible.

I’m never gonna dance again.
Guilty feet have got no rhythm.
Though it’s easy to pretend
I know you’re not a fool.
I should have known better than to cheat a friend
And waste a chance that I’ve been given
So I’m never gonna dance again
The way I danced with you.

— George Michael lyrics, “Careless Whisper”

There better not be anyone else. You hear, 2016? NO ONE ELSE . . .

IN COLD BLOOD: Discovery

Capote shows us the events leading to the murders, and then the aftermath of the murders, but not the deed itself (which is just fine with self, which is the only reason she has gotten this far).

About the discovery:

  • Two girls enter the house, find Nancy first; the one girl starts screaming, the other insists Nancy only has “a nosebleed.”
  • The first adult to call the police speaks thus: “There is something radically wrong at the Clutter place.” Since this is rural Kansas, in 1959, self is impressed by the use of such an elegant word as radically.
  • The sheriff finds two dead bodies and all he can say is: Where the devil can Herb be? As if Herb ought to present himself willingly, not make them look for him. Or maybe Herb was hiding.
  • A neighbor sees a collie that belonged to the youngest child, Kenyon. The dog stands right in the middle of the lane, scared. Has its tail between its legs. Doesn’t bark or move. It’s the sight of the dog that rouses the neighbor from his state of dazed shock.  As the neighbor puts it: “Seeing the dog made me feel again.” He could “feel the full viciousness of the crime . . .  You had to believe it, because it was true.”

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Medicis: Masters of Florence

This is self’s first television series review in, like, forever.

She actually forgot she had a tag marked “television.”

She used to be quite religious about certain shows. Then her schedule blew up. Then America blew up. No, that’s not right. America is still here. Whatever.

Today, she binge-watched a Netflix series called Medicis: Masters of Florence. She must admit, she wasn’t really paying attention to the first episode, especially since Dustin Hoffman was playing a Florentine in an American accent. Then, he died. Which was excellent. Because that meant more screen time with Richard Madden.

There was some angst about Madden’s character (a Medici, of course) marrying a virginal looking woman who nevertheless tells her new husband: Your mother told me all about this other woman, blah blah. And then the nasty mother dies (She was the only person in the series whose death did not come at all as a shock. She had pustules on her face which meant either the Black Death or the Red Death, take your pick)

And self doesn’t know why, but she started paying attention from then on, because she really really wanted to know if Medici was going to leave his wife.

Not to mention, the name Brunelleschi kept recurring, and self really liked that Medici’s mistress flirts with him while he is looking at some architectural drawings, and the mistress’s hair is a kind of red that is set off perfectly by her green gown and green dangling earrings.

SPOILER ALERT!

Anyhoo, she watched all the way until the end (8 episodes) and felt so cheated when it all ends with a grand procession in which Medici is shown looking soulful and torn, and his wife is way back in the procession, self means waaaaay back, and the mistress is shown standing primly to one side with her hands calling attention to a belly that after three months is still as flat as a board, and self ardently wished for more of the series so she could watch more of this triangulation, and actually surmised that the wife might take religious vows and retreat to a convent, while the mistress remains in Medici’s arms and supervises the glory of the Medici name (while giving birth to many children).

She was quite surprised to see that she’d watched eight episodes, back to back (Woo! It helps that it is so cold outside!)

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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