Patterico's Pontifications


Marvin Creamer, 1916-2020

Filed under: General — JVW @ 6:14 pm

[guest post by JVW]

If you hadn’t heard of him, fear not: neither had I. But he was mentioned today in Jay Nordlinger’s Impromptus column at National Review Online, so I just had to go to his obituary in the New York Times to learn more about a remarkable man:

Had Marvin Creamer not been a geographer, he very likely would not have lived to be 104.

Professor Creamer, who died at that age on Wednesday, taught geography for many years at Glassboro State College, now Rowan University, in Glassboro, N.J.

His expertise helped him become a history-making mariner, the first recorded person to sail round the world without navigational instruments. His 30,000-mile odyssey, in a 36-foot cutter with a small crew, made headlines worldwide on its completion in 1984.

No 20th century (radio) or even 18th century (sextant) technology for him, not even some rudimentary 15th century technology such as a mariner’s astrolabe or a 12th century compass. Professor Creamer sailed as the Vikings and Polynesians, among other earlier seafaring people, had centuries before:

It is daunting enough to circumnavigate the Earth with the aid of modern global positioning technology, much less with medieval and Renaissance tools like a mariner’s compass and sextant.

But Professor Creamer, in the grip of an obsession that had held him for years, shunned even those newfangled contrivances, as well as a radio, a clock and a wristwatch. He chose instead to rely on his deep knowledge of the planet and its vagaries, and be guided by nothing more than wind, waves, the sun by day, and the moon and stars by night.

Under cloud-massed skies, he could divine his location from the color and temperature of the water, the presence of particular birds and insects and even, on one occasion, the song of a squeaky hatch.

[. . .]

His 513-day journey would entail nearly a year on the sea, plus time in ports for repairs and reprovisioning. It would take the Globe Star to Capetown, South Africa; Hobart and Sydney, Australia; Whangara, New Zealand; and the Falkland Islands off Argentina before its triumphant return to Cape May on May 17, 1984 — an event that Professor Creamer gleefully described as “one small step back for mankind.”

Along the way, he and his crew braved lashing storms and long, directionless days with no wind; found themselves trapped in shipping lanes amid thick fog and the terrifying horns of oncoming tankers; had whales bear down on them like freight trains; rounded the treacherous waters of Cape Horn entirely blind; were at one point pitched nearly upside-down and at another arrested.

“A jolly romp,” Professor Creamer called the whole thing.

In an era where so many of us don’t even want to venture out of our own homes without a fully-charged smart phone with a strong 4G LTE signal, here’s marveling at the sheer brass of a man who trusted the seas, the skies, his know-how, and his derring-do. I strongly recommend reading the rest of the obituary to learn of some amazing stories from that journey. But if you don’t, I want to at least leave you with what would be a fitting epitaph from the final lines of the obituary:

Professor Creamer continued sailing well into his 90s. In later years, he owned a boat that came equipped with global positioning technology.

He did not know how to use the technology, he said, and had no intention of learning.

Rest in peace, sir.


Reportedly: North Korea Confiscating Pet Dogs To Feed Its Starving People

Filed under: General — Dana @ 2:17 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Because only horrible news comes out of North Korea:

The North Korean government is reportedly ordering more “decadent” citizens to hand over their dogs so that other people can eat.

According to Canadian news outlet the National Post, South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo reported that President Kim Jong-Un calls pet ownership a byproduct of “bourgeois ideology” and is ordering dog owners to surrender those pets so they can be slaughtered and fed to hungry North Koreans.

“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down,” a source reportedly told South Korean media.

That report states that common folks in the communist “Hermit Kingdom” raise livestock for sustenance, but owning an animal for companionship is a luxury enjoyed by people of privilege. The fact that some North Koreans can afford dogs has “stoked some resentment.”

Some of the confiscated dogs are reportedly headed for state-run zoos, as well as becoming a source of food:

“Authorities have identified households with pet dogs and are forcing them to give them up or forcefully confiscating them and putting them down,” the source said.

Some of the confiscated dogs head off to the Korea Central Zoo in Pyongyang and other animal sanctuaries — and dinner tables, the paper said.

Dog meat is a popular food in the country, and a recent food shortage has made it an all the more viable eating option.

The poor pooches’ owners are “cursing Kim Jong Un behind his back,” but there is nothing they can do, the source said.

Kim Jong Un reportedly owns any number of dogs, including “a collection of Shih Tzus, German shepherds and other breeds…”. His father also had pet dogs.

Why round-up pet dogs now?

“If the National Post story is correct, Kim’s orders indicate either desperation or a change of heart for the dictator. In January 2018, he donated 30 pet dogs to Pyongyang’s recently revamped Central Zoo, where canines are a popular attraction. That collection included seven breeds of dogs, including bulldogs.”

I know which option I’m going with…

On a side note: I saw this description of Kim Jong Un when reading about the round-up of dogs in NK:

The kooky leader renewed the call to round up the household pets again in July, a source told the South Korean newspaper Chosen Ilbo.

This description strikes me as all sorts of wrong. To refer to Kim Jong Un as “the kooky leader” made me cringe because it is not a word typically associated with murderously brutal dictators. Kim Jong Un is not simply a “kooky” individual. He is a ruthless leader who regularly starves his own people, and does not hesitate to murder those who cross him or are suspected of crossing him, including members of his own family. Further, he “disappears” citizens, and tortures and imprisons them. Kim Jong Un is not “kooky”. He is a deadly monster.

Over at Merriam-Webster, “kooky” is defined as: having the characteristics of a kook : CRAZY, OFFBEAT

Below that were samples of how to use the word in a sentence, including actual recent uses of the word. Here’s a real gem:

Swathed in pastel satiny gowns, Doris Day sparkles in this frothy musical as a Far Rockaway singer caught in a kooky love trap on a cruise ship faux-docking in Havana, Trinidad and Brazil.
Donna Bulseco, WSJ, “18 Movies to Stream Instead of Taking a Vacation,” 20 June 2020


Steve Bannon Arrested

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:22 am

Just heard the news on NPR. It’s a fraud allegation. Details to come.

UPDATE: And a Judge has thrown out Trunp’s lawsuit challenging the Manhattan DA’s subpoena for his financial records.

UPDATE c2: Here is DoJ’s statement on the Bannon indictment. Thanks to whembly.

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