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The Sail Power and Steam Museum of Rockland, Maine

Captain Sharp framed by an arch in the limerock room.


ROCKLAND — To hear Captain Jim Sharp tell it, the brigands down at Mystic Seaport were fixing to scuttle the schooner Bowdoin. They had let her wallow and rot, stripped all her hardware by the crudest methods, and were all but ready to make her into a reef when an outraged Donald B. MacMillan intervened.

The venerable Arctic explorer had generously gifted his famed vessel to the Mystic museum in the late fifties. He had prepared her kit as if for an expedition so that all those who came to the museum could see her as she was when MacMillan and dozens of others had sailed her into the Arctic Circle on their brave scientific voyages.

It was 1968 when Bowdoin was towed from Mystic Seaport, her well-being and restoration entrusted to Captain Sharp. “She was near a derelict by the time we got her up here,” said Sharp as he stood before a black and white photo of a dismasted craft barely recognizable as Bowdoin. Fearing that a twilight MacMillan might not see his ship under sail again before he passed, Sharp wasted no time in restoring the vessel to her original splendor.

Bowdoin got a new engine, foredeck, gunwales, and many bits besides. A plumb spruce was hauled down from The County and planed into the slender cone of a beautiful new mainmast. With the paint barely dry, captain and crew raced down the coast from Rockland only to find themselves in a thick fog near the old man’s house.

Worried by the mist, Bowdoin crept along, guided by guess and the faint tintinnabulations of a shrouded bell. A seaman’s flare for the dramatic gripped Captain Sharp as his story rose to its crest: “We were sailing in a dungeon thick of fog when the mist parted like a curtain drawing back, and there we saw MacMillan standing on his porch, ringing his bell and waving.”

Captain Sharp demonstrates an antique ballast calculator. These were the days before computers. And before this, they did it by the seat of their pants. Sometimes their pants were wrong.

Read the full article.

“Don’t you ever listen to the song of life.” – Werner Herzog

Li Xiaofeng

Beijing artist Li Xiaofeng makes clothing from ancient pottery shards. That’s about all one can dig up from the same reposted text that appears throughout the blogosphere. Here and there is the odd mention of his commission from Lacoste to brand Qing and Ming dynasty shards with the company’s trademark crocodile. Google yields little discussion of other works, except that he has been obsessed with collecting and sorting ancient pottery for a long time.

Li’s designs call to mind the seedy glamor of pre-war Shanghai, when the cityscape was a curious mix of British bankers, Chinese peasants and China Marines. One need look no further than Wong Kar-Wai’s sultry, haunting In The Mood for Love for evidence of the incredible richness of the Shanghainese aesthetic at that time.

Maggie Cheung and Tony Leung on the streets of the French Concession.

update >> Friend Juliana just posted this image from Li Xiaofeng’s current exhibit in Beijing, where it was displayed alongside the limited edition Lacoste polos it inspired.

Li Xiaofeng's October 2010 show in Beijing.

El Guincho, “Bombay”

The best part is that this phenomenal video (throughout which I thought to be unbelievably well-imagined) is actually edited from a feature length film by Nicolas Mendez (about whom the Internetz hold little information).

Despite my immediate excitement, I’m slightly reserved; what if the long-form version is just a tedious jumble of signifiers? I think what makes the video so potent is its brevity and the wonder inspired by the juxtaposition of disparate-but-aesthetically-related images, which would require a truly heroic act of creativity to conceive of in the form of a short music video. Knowing that the images were culled from a larger picture makes sense and tempers my initial feelings of awe.

Regardless, I want more of this. Lots more. Brings me back to Jodorowsky in the best way. . I’ll definitely be tracking this project, and whatever else El Guincho creates.

El Guincho with dolphin and parrot in space

Blizzards of Thoth

When I first made this image sometime in April I wasn’t so sure about it. I had my back to a wall and felt that my lens wasn’t quite wide enough. When I look at it now, however, I’m glad that my lens wasn’t any wider. Sometimes a photograph is equally about what’s left outside the frame. I think of photographs as portals, and one has to be very careful with composition in order to make a portal that someone would want to enter. If you tell the whole story up front, leaving nothing for the audience to explore, you’re not telling a story at all.

Take that!

From Craiglist:

I LOVE ZOMBIE, THE COOKBOOK

Warning: Zombies and zombie sympathizers and Vegans need read no farther, this material may be offensive to you.

We seek your recipies for a new cookbook. Whether its fingerfood, deserts, bar-b-que, traditional or fusion, Whether its fast food, slow food, ethnic or seasonal. We are assmbling the first ever zombie cook book. Do not submit any USDA prime graded and approved mock zombie offerings. We seek only the real thing.

Best in each category will be given a franchise in selected areas for our new chain of restraunts and a guaranteed supply of ingredients from Zom-B-Gone, our affiliated removal service.

Send only written recipies, no samples , please!

My response:

IS THIS SOME CROWDSOURCING BULLSHIT OR ARE YOU ACTUALLY LOOKING FOR CREATIVE WRITERS WHO KNOW THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN ‘FARTHER’ AND ‘FURTHER’?

I admire the humor and candor of your ad, but I’m frankly sick of seeing this kind of vague bullshit all over craigslist. What’s your angle, and why should I spent my night pouring over old recipes in order to zombify them?

For example, I could give you a recipe for an authentic Sirloin of Zombie en Epigram, straight from a cookbook left by my dear old gran-gran-gran-gran-gran Mum who was a Jamestown colonist. Or I could give you my great-great-great Uncle Blaine’s Foggy Day Special Zombie Chowder, straight from his captain’s log circa 1856. Or maybe even a Zombie tartare with Cumberland sauce and fresh Un-bread. But, I ask you, what the hell would compel me to burn all my night’s candles just to transcribe family recipes for a bunch of free-loading con-artists?

Yours truly,
Schuyler Thorne Kelly

I woke in the desert this morning.

I have a number of things with me: map, multi-function batteries, driver with bits and screws, rope, solar shelter, sleeping bag, folding shovel, knife, my rifle, and a bandolier. All these things seem familiar but I don’t know where I got them. Especially the knife: the blade measures from knuckle to tip of my middle finger, sharp on the curved edge and tapering to a point. The hilt is carved horn with a leather and steel pommel. It looks old but well cared for. Same with the rifle: the finish is wearing in spots, but no rust and the action is smooth. There are a few empty shells in the bandolier and dried meat in a sealable pouch. I’m hungry now, but I don’t think I should eat yet, because it is all the food I have.

There are two waypoints in the map: “Origin” and “Home”. Home, judging by the map, looks about ten days west beyond the cliff where I have camped. To the east is desert, as far as I can see. At dawn it seemed there was something floating on the horizon, in the direction of Origin.

The shelter is set up as a lean-to against the base of the cliff. It will be hot soon, but the solar material should keep me relatively cool if I stay still. I’ve checked the map for earlier log entries, but there are none I can access. There are a great number of encrypted files. No luck guessing the passphrase.

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