From Ocean Beach to Cape Horn

Ocean Beach Where have I been the last several days, inquiring minds want to know?

I’ve been working — there are big changes afoot at the job, and that could be a good thing for me, so I’ve been toiling to make sure things go my way. And if I’m not working, I’m spending more time with my guitar.

Last weekend, the wife and I went to San Diego. I planned this elaborate post about the trip, full of horrid sentiment about my old hometown, but when I sat down to write it, my keyboard was sprinkled with some fine fairy dust that rendered it inoperable, hence you were spared my purple prose. But I still want to post a couple of pictures, so you’ll find a small slideshow here.

We watched the CMT tribute to Johnny Cash last night. It wasn’t as maudlin as some such shows, and it was punctuated by a few fine performances — Sheryl Crow, Marty Stuart, Travis Tritt, Kid Rock and Hank Williams Jr. (surprise!). I don’t know if it was coincidence or not, but the anti-war crowd was strongly represented, from the host Tim Robbins, to John Mellencamp, Steve Earle and Al Gore. There was lots of talk, including a speech from Robbins, about Cash’s concern for the downtrodden, the disadvantaged, the poor and the struggling, which is all fine and well and true, but what’s also true is Johnny Cash loved his country and can’t be easily pigeon-holed as a leftist icon. I hope the Cash family isn’t planning that sort of legacy for him.

This post from Tyler or Volokh got me thinking about a file sharing scheme that would frustrate the RIAA no end. If I had the time and programtic expertise (and given the time, I could figure the tech details out), I’d build a file sharing network that would allow users to restrict who they share files with. In other words, you would only let your friends and trusted associates on your hub of the network. It would be a self-policing effort to keep RIAA thugs out. Of course, you might belong to more than one hub, and other people in your hub might belong to multiple hubs, and in that way, files would get pass around. Sure, it would be harder to find stuff, but if friends helped friends, the job would get done, you know. Only hub owners could authorize new hub members, and it would be in a hub owners own self interest to know new members well enough to ensure they weren’t RIAA goons. It might work.

Speaking of music, go buy Layne’s new CD (I haven’t gotten mine yet, but I will).

Further on the entertainment front, go see Master and Commander.

Master and Commander does for early 19th Century naval warfare what Saving Private Ryan did for D-Day. It is gritty, nuanced and spectacular without being forced. It never plucks the wrong note. It doesn’t beat you over the head with plot twists, or overplay its dramatic crescendos. It is a sea adventure without swashbuckling cliches. It is Moby Dick without the whale, and Pirates of the Caribbean with a “ghost ship,” but without the camp.

One of the beauties of Master and Commander is it doesn’t play politics. It makes no attempt to be contemporary and relevant. It doesn’t sermonize about war being hell or the evils of imperialism. It is simply about a crew of seamen who have a job to do — a bloody and ugly job, but it is nonetheless their job. If the movie teaches us anything, it teaches us that in 1805, the seafarer’s life was brutal, hard and treacherous. Survival depended on strong leaders, but stronger men.

I’ve never sailed on a big ship, so call me a chickenalbatross if you like, but I have little doubt that life aboard a ship in His Majesty’s Navy was much like it was in this movie. Or at least movie sells the idea well enough that from the start the suspension of disbelief necessary to good drama is at full sail.

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