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.

Names: The Daily Post Photo Challenge, 6 January 2017

  • Humans love naming things — look around you, and I bet you’ll see dozens of names. This week, take a photo of one!

— Michelle W., The Daily Post

Well, this is an interesting prompt.

Last Thanksgiving, self was in Capitola. There’s a small ice cream parlor selling local ice cream, Marianne’s, which just so happens to be self’s name:

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Ice Cream, Locally Made, in Capitola


The lines in front of this bubble tea place in Stockton are ridiculous:

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There are two Boba Guys in the City. Self took the picture from the Stockton site.


And here’s the name of a beautiful bookstore in Cork:

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One Other Reason to Love the City of Cork in Ireland

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Liu Xia: “Days”

from her collection Empty Chairs: Selected Poems, translated from the Chinese by Ming Di and Jennifer Stern (Graywolf Press, 2015)

Days

Our life, like the calendar
on the wall,
presents a stale picture.

Friends come at night
and I cook enough dishes to cover the table —
remembering to put salt in each.
You get chatty
without even drinking wine.
Everyone is happy and eats chicken feet
until the bones are sucked white.

At dawn, our friends are suddenly gone
like a breeze.
The sunflowers on the window curtain
are crazily bright
against the light.
Cigarette ashes and beautiful fish bones
are jammed down our throats.
Without looking at each other
we climb into bed.

Liu Xia is a Chinese poet and artist who has lived under strict house arrest since her husband, poet and activist Liu Xiaobo, was imprisoned in 2009 for “inciting subversion of state power” and received the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

The New York Times Magazine, 1 January 2017

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Comfort the mind with this wonderful excerpt from Jonathan Mahler’s “Search Party,” in the 1 January 2017 New York Times Magazine.

Our most famous self-investigator is, of course, our incoming president, Donald J. Trump; perhaps no one is more committed to embracing and trumpeting unproven claims from the internet. Six years ago, as he flirted with the idea of running for president, he became especially preoccupied with a theory being advanced by a right-wing extremist named Joseph Farah. A self’described ex-Communist, Farah presided over a nonprofit organization, the Western Center for Journalism, which was dedicated to promoting “philosophical diversity” in the news media, and now runs a popular website, WorldNetDaily, which bills itself as “America’s Independent News Network.” The Southern Poverty Law Center, an organization that monitors U.S. hate groups, has a different point of view, calling Farah “the internet king of the antigovernment ‘Patriot’ movement.

Farah had floated plenty of specious arguments in the past, among them the claim that gay men orchestrated the Holocaust, and that Muslims have a 20-point plan for conquering the United States by 2020. But the Farah campaign that captured Trump’s imagination held that America’s first black president, Barack Obama, might have been born outside the United States.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Vanity Fair 2016 Holiday Issue: J-Law (Self Bought the Issue Just Because It Was Her)

She’s still Katniss. To thousands of tumblr followers.

With Trump’s win, there’s been a boom in dystopian Hunger Games fan fiction. A site went off-line today for a mere two hours. Self nearly had a meltdown.

Despite everyone hating Darren Aronofsky and semi-hating Passengers (Yes, the problem is no one knows whether it’s a rom-com or a space movie. Least of all Lionsgate), she’s the only actress the Guardian’s ever called “America’s national treasure.”

Vanity Fair has her on the cover of its 2016 Holiday issue. She’s not glammed up. She looks real. Self likes it so much better than the other Vanity Fair cover, the one where she was sitting in a jungle pool. It didn’t look like her.

The pictures inside the issue, especially the black-and-whites of her in an Alberta Ferretti dress: HAWWTTTT!!! Kudos to photographer Peter Lindbergh.

And, she is still a risk-taker. She’ll agree to do a movie just to get a chance to work with a particular director, even without seeing a script. That’s so completely her: impetuous, and NOT image-driven.

Julie Miller’s cover article begins:

  • The bar of the Plaza Athénée, an elegant Upper East Side hotel, is empty save for an elderly French couple sipping Bordeaux at two p.m. when in bursts a tall blonde crackling with energy. It is Jennifer Lawrence, wearing a black cashmere sweater, jeans ripped at the knee, and black boots, her platinum hair chopped into a chic bob. Delicate gold jewelry circles her wrists, neck, and fingers, and her most pronounced accessory, a security team, looms nearby.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Magic 5: Thanksgiving Edition

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Green Apple Books, 9th Avenue (by Golden Gate Park), San Francisco: This is an antique wall phone. I do really really want to call Ishmael!

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Charles Parsons’ Model Chinese Pole Junk (circa 500 B.C.) at the San Mateo County Historical Museum, Courthouse Square, Redwood City

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Model of a British Ship-of-the-Line, circa 1765 (in the Charles Parsons Exhibit at the San Mateo County Historical Museum

Entrance fee to the San Mateo County Historical Museum: $6.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Magic 2: Animé in Fort Bragg

This week, make some magic. — Jen H., The Daily Post

For two weeks in March, self stayed at an apartment in Fort Bragg, a place with wonderful deep orange walls, shelves of books, and a collection of animé figurines.

The collector was a lawyer. Next door was a carpentry shop. The books on the shelves were mostly about carpentry and wood finishes.

Here’s the apartment. The animé figurines were discovered at garage sales.

Staying in the apartment was MAGIC.

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The Godzilla piece was her favorite. Every day she’d wake up and perform the same morning ritual: swinging the javelin. For good luck.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Voting, San Francisco Edition

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November 8, 2016

There are many, many problems facing the City of San Francisco.

One of these is not the system of voting.

In this presidential election year, self registered as a resident of the city, for the first time. A thick pamphlet came in the mail shortly after. Self felt like she was preparing for a grad school exam.

On the morning itself, when self turned on her cell, three text messages came up in quick succession:  Your polling place is HERE. VOTE TODAY. HERE IS A MAP.

And lo and behold, she followed the map and stumbled into — serenity. At 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, a polling place was the most serene part of the city.

It was soooo quiet! There were no lines! Self pored over her choices! There was an envelope to stick the ballot in! She couldn’t close the envelope, the ballot was five extra-long pages! She took her ballot to a volunteer, the volunteer casually flipped it over and told self, you didn’t fill in the back.

What? There was a back? For each page?

Never mind. Self did the important thing: she voted for President/Vice President, U.S. Senator, U.S. Congressman, Board of Supervisors, and some very important propositions.

After, she had to stick in her sealed ballot into a huge red box. Which was already full.

The next day, a message came in on e-mail, telling her: “There has been a change in the list of your selected representatives.” The e-mail went on to list each and every one of the elected representatives, starting of course with the POTUS. Though that was painful, she saw most of her other choices prevail.

Happiness!

Stay tuned.

More Tiny in San Francisco

San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Tiny passageway

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San Francisco Museum of Modern Art: Stunning

Art boxes by local artist Carlos Pillado on the Altar of Old Saint Mary’s in Chinatown:

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Old Saint Mary’s, Pine and California, San Francisco

Kitsch in San Francisco Pizzeria:

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Godzilla! Above the Pizza Oven in Uncle Vito’s, Bush and Powell St., San Francisco

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Fairy Tales and Women

Yes, you know it.

From Maria Tatar’s essay, Reading the Grimms’ Children’s Stories and Household Tales:

“. . . oral storytelling is often affiliated with labor traditionally carried out by women: spinning, sewing, weaving, and cooking. That many of our metaphors for storytelling — spinning yarns, weaving tales, cooking up a plot — derive from the domestic arts suggests that fairy tales were indeed related to ‘old wives’ tales,’ stories told by midwives, nursemaids, female domestics, and others to transmit wisdom from one generation to the next.

“Gossip and narrative are sisters,” the British writer Marina Warner suggests, “both ways of keeping the mind alive when ordinary tasks call . . . “

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

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