The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Annual Admiral Of The Ocean Sea Appreciation Post

Posted on | October 11, 2021 | No Comments

— compiled by Wombat-socho

As usual, the senile fool in the Oval Office tried to have it both ways, issuing proclamations celebrating both Columbus Day (yay) and Indigenous Peoples Day (F*** Joe Biden) and inevitably annoying just about everybody.
Silicon Valley delenda est.

Makes you think.

Meanwhile at Instapundit, the Blogfather links to and quotes from Rear Admiral Samuel Eliot Morison’s epic biography of Columbus, Admiral of the Ocean Sea, which sadly is not available on Kindle – but you should really get the dead tree edition anyway, because the maps are a lot easier to read that way. To satisfy the people who are always yapping about that loser short-timer Leif Ericsson, I also recommend Morison’s The European Discovery Of America: The Northern Voyages 500-1600 A.D.,  which is a delightful book that includes not only accounts of the aforementioned Norseman’s voyages but also Henry Hudson, Amerigo Vespucci, and dozens of others. But wait! There’s more! As if that wasn’t enough, Morison also includes chapters on apocryphal/mythical voyages by St. Brendan and Prince Madoc of Wales, the Kensington Runestone, and imaginary islands of the Atlantic that appeared on many maps during the Age of Exploration and in some cases persisted into the 20th century.  

In addition to his discovery of IndiaNew Spain, Columbus and his Spanish employers also gave rise to one of the wilder and most memorable episodes of history, to say nothing of dozens of movies and novels – the infamous Pirates of the Caribbean, which people have come to associate more with Johnny Depp’s rum-addled Captain jack Sparrow than, say, Sabatini’s Captain Blood, so memorably portrayed on film by Errol Flynn. But list now – what if I were to advert to you that there existed a book that told all the wild tales of buccaneering rolled into one with music by Korngold, villains more villainous than anything Sabatini or Farnol could have dreamed of, bodacious babes (some of them in quite fetching leopard-skin tracksuits) and insane acts of bravery all turned up to 11? Who, you ask, could possibly have the chops to carry off something so incredibly larger than life? None other than the creator of Harry Flashman himself, George Macdonald Fraser! The Pyrates is a ripping yarn, full of sly digs at English society (17th and 20th century), Hollywood, trade unions, and the whole genre of pirate tales & movies as well. If this book can’t cheer you up, consult a physician to see if you are already dead. 

It’s been a long time since I read Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, so I downloaded Dauntless and Fearless this weekend and got stuck in. En route to a peace conference in Syndic space, an Alliance fleet finds a survival pod holding an officer thought dead for a century – Commander John Geary, whose sacrifice in an early battle led to his being posthumously promoted to Captain and turned into a legend – “Black Jack Geary”. While Geary slept, the war has eroded the Alliance fleet and its members – tactics and skills have been forgotten, ships built cheaply and quickly out of desperation, morals abandoned – and he finds himself very much out of place and very disturbed that everyone seems to regard him as a legendary savior. It’s not Geary’s fate to be allowed to adapt in his own good time, though – before departing for the peace conference, the fleet’s admiral puts Geary in charge in case something goes awry. Needless to say, it does – the conference was a trap, and the Admiral is shot down in cold blood, as the Syndics expect a decapitating strike will paralyze the Alliance fleet. Not with “Black Jack” in charge, though. The series recounts Geary’s journey back to Alliance space with his fleet, evading superior numbers of Syndic warships while wreaking havoc in their rear areas and bringing his subordinates and education in tactics and strategy to match their unquestionable (if occasionally excessive) courage. High-quality space opera with solid characters. Highly recommended. 

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