Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Happy Birthday Patrick O'Brian!

Today would have been the author's 98th birthday.  His acclaimed Aubrey/Maturin series of historical novels has been described as "a masterpiece" (David Mamet, New York Times), "addictively readable" (Patrick T. Reardon, Chicago Tribune), and "the best historical novels ever written" (Richard Snow, New York Times Book Review), which "should have been on those lists of the greatest novels of the 20th century" (George Will).

What most people today forget is that the series for which O'Brian became so famous was first published in the US in the fall of 1990, and weren't initially popular.  In fact, the books barely made it to publication:

“Starling Lawrence, an editor at W. W. Norton in New York, first heard about the Irish novelist Patrick O’Brian in 1986. Lawrence was having a friendly drink with a literary-minded cousin when he unexpectedly found himself the target of a belligerent tirade. ‘How can you call yourself a publisher?’ his cousin demanded. ‘Here is this genius Patrick O’Brian and you’re not publishing him. Nobody in the United States is.’”

Keep reading: Patrick O’Brian’s Ship Comes In, New York Times, May 16, 1993.

Happy Birthday, sir!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

OK, Army, that was a good one!

In anticipation of the Army/Navy game coming up this Saturday, it appears that an Army fan hacked the Superintendent's e-mail:

FROM: Vice Admiral Michael H. Miller
TO:  goarmysinknavy, AllUSNA, USCC, BTD 


In preparation for the humiliating defeat Army will be dealing to us in the near future, I have some guidance to pass down.

First: when we stage for march-on, we need to clean up our act. The internet has us pegged as dirty slobs  this year, we need to bring trash bags and clean up after ourselves. From what I understand, Army is embarrassed to even be associated with us.

Second: clean up the actual march-on. Please at least pretend to be in the military. Dress right dress, don't talk at attention, etc. Seriously, this one is too easy.

Third: we need to have better accountability of our goats. This is also very embarrassing.

Fourth: when Army sings second, we will be respectful and professional.

Fifth: we need to be better at cyber.

Finally, I award you all with PMI (sleep ins) until Christmas. Maybe even a little longer, depending on how morale is going after Army defeats us on Saturday.

Go Army, Sink Navy!
{free the bits}

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

My eyes are up here

So this summer I learned a valuable lesson - if you're trying to get people to listen to something important, don't give them cool toys immediately before hand.  Distractions of any kind, in fact, should be avoided.

Some time ago the Hornet Team began wheeling out some spiffy new display pieces with them when they went to meetings.  I actually discussed production of the Hornet half-hull models more than a year ago, but when they first rolled out this summer, I simply didn't have time to post photos and everyone's mind was somewhere else.  But I digest.  The models show the complete hull framing, and the first iterations actually feature removable frame sections - each one a slide out cross-section of the hull.  So imagine, if you will, a conference room in a New York high rise, very intelligent people in expensive suits around a big table, and instead of talking business, everyone - our team included - are all playing with the removable frame sections like kids with a bucket of Legos.  Facepalm.  Actually it was kind of fun.  But moral of the story - the importance of staying focused cannot be overstated.