Saturday, April 25, 2020


I get a little sidetracked by that curse of modern endeavor; wikipedia. It's an evil bit of work, really. I promise. As usual, I go astray with just one mention of polar explorers or some bit of naval history I always meant to read and my library is so thin these days. There's hardly 2000 books there that need reading and rereading. Stupid books.

The polar explorer guys were always a mystery to me. I never felt the cold for real until I came back south and experienced the cutting wind in an anorak but to go north of 80 degrees or south of it just to check out the birds and seals and find a place nobody can find at all short of GPS because, let's be honest, you don't find the 90th degree of latitude with a sextant and chronometer. You might think you have but then, you've been tramping about on ice flows for weeks and you're pretty much toasted mentally anyway. As casual readers might know, my thoughts of explorations mostly started and ended with the good south pacific isles.

Yeah, I have 8 open tabs right now on wikipedia about Scott, Amundsen and so many of the others lost to that madness. Yes, I'm reading them. Again.

OTOH, I'm looking at 2 bookcases right now stuffed to bursting with the books about Grant and Lee with maps stacked over a foot high and more books on that war and the books I wrote plus the various old medals that remain and perhaps, I am what I am. I was born about a century too late. I still wouldn't have tramped to the polar regions for love or money and oddly enough, none of those guys did either.


Wolff said...

I am a long time Civil War buff/reenactor/Roundtable member and holder of a BS degree in history but I don't think I was born a century too late. I enjoy, hot showers, A/C and modern medicine/dentistry too much to want to have lived in the 19th century.

HMS Defiant said...

Ah, the missing context. Just think, Prince of Ruritania! Lost King of Rutha!

No. I agree, it's a fine time to be alive and born in '61 I missed the unpleasantness of Vietnam and the draft and happily served 30 years in the Navy. Mine were small wars that mostly nobody else ever even knew about. If you live anywhere around northern Ohio, let me know and I'll buy you a beer or two. I have the complete historians collection of the Civil War handed down from my father who was a scholar of that war which reminds me I should get on with transcribing the letters of my cousin Luther Beaver who spent much of the war in Union Blue.

Unknown said...

I think the book was Fifty Years Below Zero by Charlie Brower.
said he couldn't understand why people went to deserts because you could starve or die of thirst. Memorable line was if you ran out of food, sit with your back to the wind and sooner or later a polar bear would show up. Food for months.