Points of Sail

I wouldn't know, sir.

The gentleman is far more knowledgeable about such things than I am.

Besides, I am sure the gentlelady knows what's best for herself.

Must be something in the air:
When wind and sea conditions become unmanageable to a sailboat for it to carry on its road, there are two paces which a skipper can still take: "heaving to under reduced sail" (the skipper keeps the jib cleated and starts to tack, a course of action meant to minimize opposition, which subjects the boat to the drift of winds and sea), and "running" in front of the storm (steering is difficult when running because there is often little or no pressure on the tiller to provide feedback to the helmsman, so the boat may easily go off course). Running often remains, far from the coasts, the only way of saving the boat and its crew. It also makes it possible to discover unknown shores which may emerge on the horizon of new found calm. These unknown shores, they will never know them those whose seeming good fortune brought them to follow the safe roads of the cargo liners and the tankers---roads of no unforeseen, the companies of maritime transport dictate.
---Henri Laborit, In Praise of Running


  1. Everyone does have a story.
    I like to ask people what theirs is, but most just look at me strangely...

  2. Sorry, I've been a bit absent lately. Thanks for the kick up the butt.

  3. Call me Ahab, not Ishmael.
    For I have hooked the Leviathan.
    I am the wild ass's colt born to a man.
    Lo, my eye has seen it all!
    My bosom is like wine that has no vent.
    I am a sea with doors, but the doors are stuck.
    Watch out! The skin will burst; the doors will break.

    You are Nimrod, I say to my friend, Chib.
    And now is the hour when God says to his angels,
    If this is what he can do as a beginning, then
    Nothing is impossible for him.
    He will be blowing his horn before
    The ramparts of Heaven and shouting for
    The Moon as hostage, the Virgin as wife,
    And demanding a cut on the profits
    From the Great Whore of Babylon.

    Melville wrote of me long before I was born.
    I'm the man who wants to comprehend
    The Universe but comprehend on my terms.
    I am Ahab whose hate must pierce, shatter,
    All impediment of Time, Space, or Subject
    Mortality and hurl my fierce
    Incandescence into the Womb of Creation,
    Disturbing in its Lair whatever Force or
    Unknowing Thing-in-Itself croutches there,
    Remote, removed, unrevealed.

    Quid nunc? Cui bono?
    Time? Space? Substance? Accident?
    When you die--Hell? Nirvana?
    Nothing is nothing to think about.
    The canons of philosophy boom.
    Their projectiles are duds.
    The ammo heaps of theology blow up,
    Set off by the saboteur Reason.

    Call me Ephraim, for I was halted
    At the Ford of God and could not tongue
    The sibilance to let me pass.
    Well, I can't pronounce shibboleth
    But I can say shit!

    Sir, I exist! And don't tell me,
    As you did Crane, that that creates
    No obligation in you towards me.
    I am a man; I am unique.
    I've thrown the Bread out the window,
    Pissed in the Wine, pulled the plug
    From the bottom of the Ark, cut the Tree
    For firewood, and if there was a Holy
    Ghost, I'd goose him.
    But I know that it all does not mean
    A God damned thing,
    That nothing means nothing,
    That is is is and not-is not is is-not
    That a rose is a rose is a
    That we are here and will not be
    And that is all we can know!

    The earth lurches like a ship going down,
    Its back almost broken by the flood of
    Excrement from the heavens and the deeps,
    What God in His terrible munificence
    Has granted on hearing Ahab cry,
    Bullshit! Bullshit!

    I weep to think that this is Man
    And this his end. But wait!
    On the crest of the flood, a three-master
    Of antique shape. The Flying Dutchman!
    And Ahab is astride a ship's deck once more.
    Laugh you Fates, and mock, you Norns!
    For I am Ahab and I am Man,
    And though I cannot break a hole
    Through the wall of What Seems
    To grab a handful of What Is,
    Yet, I will keep on punching.
    And I and my crew will not give up,
    Though the timbers split beneath our feet
    And we sink to become indistinguishable
    From the general excrement.

    For a moment that will burn on the
    Eye of God forever, Ahab stands
    Outlined against the blaze of Orion,
    Fist clenched, a bloody phallus,
    Like Zeus exhibiting the trophy of
    The unmanning of his father Cronus.
    And then he and his crew and ship
    Dip and hurtle headlong over
    The edge of the world.
    And from what I hear, they are still

    --- Philip José Farmer -- Riders of the Purple Wage

  4. I was wondering where the picture of the girl in the striped dress holding the model ship on the beach came from. Could you tell me where you found this image? Or if you took this picture?

    1. Has the gentlelady tried clicking on the picture?

    2. Oh...I see what you mean...

    3. So sorry about that, Ma'am. The gentlelady will find that The Wulfshead has a life...ah...very much of its own: there is no accounting for the comings and goings of the place.

      Me? The gentlelady is giving me too much credit. I am just a bartender, Ma'am. One of the many bartenders of the place.

      May I serve the gentlelady a drink? On the house, Ma'am.


      I was just remembering what he once told me.

      Charles Baudelaire, Ma'am.

      I remember it as if it were yesterday—as perhaps it was. The gentleman used to sit right there. Right there, at the bar, where the gentlelady is standing.

      Why doesn't the gentlelady just grab herself a stool and make herself comfortable?

      That's the thing, about the information age.


      Isn't it?

      That's what Baudelaire was saying back then, already. About modernity, Ma'am. He called it the transient, the fleeting, the contingent. One half of art, Ma'am.


      I can't remember what the other half was.

      It will come back to me.

      Or not.