Moby Monday — A few minor adjustments

My friend, I give you perhaps the world’s first movie tie-in: a 1925 edition of Moby-Dick illustrated with stills from the John Barrymore silent-movie version, The Sea Beast. Slight problem—the film takes dazzling liberties with Herman Melville’s novel, giving young Ahab an evil half-brother, Derek, who pushes him into the jaws of the white whale that shears off his leg. Ahab also gets a love interest, Esther, but after said shearing, Derek convinces Ahab that she could never truly love a one-legged man. (One photo bears the caption, “Sensitive of his crippled condition, Ahab interprets her love as pity and self-sacrifice.”) Ahab ends things with Esther, sets off in search of the whale he blames for ruining his life … and kills it.

“In story, the screen version of Moby-Dick exceeds the book,” writes S.R. Buchman in an “Appreciation” that precedes Melville’s Derek- and Esther-free text. “The discrepancy between the two must not be considered as a profanely wanton alteration. The episode of the book has not been misused; it has been enlarged and clarified.” And Melville’s ending provides an “unreasonably cruel fate” for Ahab, Buchman complains. “In all justice, Ahab had suffered enough to be granted expiation and its rewards, but Melville killed him.” What a blunder! “It is a relief and satisfaction that the picture version allows Ahab to live,” Buchman concludes. I can think of at least one whale who might take issue with that.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

FotoFriday: SW – Mattapoisett Shipyard Park

I took this photo the other night. It’s of the windvane on the gazebo located on Shipyard Park in Mattapoisett.

From  the pamphlet “Shipbuilders of Mattapoisett” by Charles S. Mendell, Jr:

The present Shipyard Park ( Mattapoisett) was the site of the famous Holmes shipyard, started in 1812 by Josiah Holmes Sr. and continuing until the Bark Wanderer, built where the bandstand sits now, slid down the ways in 1878, the last vessel ever launched in Mattapoisett.

The first seven years of the 1850’s marked the peak of the whaleship building in Mattapoisett.  Only three yards were in operation – Wilson Barstow, Holmes, and Meigs – but in eight years these three yards launched 47 vessels.  These were the yards that carried Mattapoisett’s reputation far and wide, and brought forth such comments as these in in the New Bedford newspapers:

“This thriving town ranks high in shipbuilding and is distinguished for its naval architecture.” (W.S.L.6/20/1851)

Here’s a very short slide show of the life the Shipyard Park Gazebo gazebo.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Happy FotoFriday and Memorial Day Weekend!

Tall Ship Captain Takes Over Coast Guard!

USCG Commandant Robert PappHuzzah to Admiral Robert Papp, former Commanding Officer of the USCG Barque EAGLE for becoming the 24th Commandant of the United States Coast Guard.

Congratulations and thanks to Admiral Thad Allen who retired during today’s Change of Command Ceremony. But don’t expect Admiral Allen to be sunning himself on the beach somewhere in the Caribbean. President Obama had other plans when he appointed Allen to be the US government’s point person for the Deepwater Horizon sinking and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Allen does not shy away from tough assignments. (Remember Elián Gonzáles and Hurricane Katrina?)

One of the highlights of the first year of my Weekly Leader podcast was when Admiral Allen was our guest on episode 5.

Congratulations, good luck and great success to Admiral’s Allen and Papp. We’re counting on you both!

Moby Monday — Studious Digesting of Beer

Dutch brewer Ramses Bier makes a wheat beer named after Moby Dick. According to a handy Babelfish translation, it’s “a zest Munich” style beer with “notige an aftertaste.” Proost!

Closer to home, Bluegrass Brewing Company of Louisville, Kentucky recently concocted a “white” (actually reddish-gold) porter called Melby Dick, named after Herman Melville’s novel and a brewing-company marketing staffer. One reviewer deemed it “terrific,” but unfortunately the brew was made only in a limited edition.

So if you’re in the mood for a frosty whale-related beverage (and there’s no flip on hand), consider Cisco Brewers’ Whale’s Tale Pale Ale or North Coast Brewery’s tasty Scrimshaw pilsener. Then all you’ll need will be an abominable tumbler etched with measuring lines, to be sure you’re getting the full Cape Horn portion.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.

Energy Showdown: Windfarm vs. Oil Spill

Fast Company magazine has an interesting infographic pitting the recently approved Nantucket Offshore Windfarm vs. the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill. According to their calculations, even the long term positive impacts of the renewal wind energy project is no match for it’s slick competitor.

Moby Monday — Pamphlet appreciates one kabillion percent

An eight-page pamphlet that sold for one (British) penny in the 1820s is for sale on eBay at $999.99. Its subject: the 1820 wreck of the whaleship Essex, upon which Moby-Dick is partly based.

Author Herman Melville read the horrific story of castaways and cannibalism in a memoir by Essex first mate Owen Chase, who was rescued after three months spent floating in a whaleboat in the Pacific Ocean. This booklet comes at the story from a different angle: that of the three crewmen who chose to stay behind on desolate Henderson Island and were later rescued.

If this pamphlet isn’t expensive enough for you, there’s another copy online priced at $1,950.

Margaret Guroff is editor and publisher of Power Moby-Dick.