Texas Liberal

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Nothing Will Content Them But The Extremist Limit Of The Land—Out On A Galveston Jetty

Above is a picture I took two days ago out on a jetty in Galveston, Texas.

This picture reminded me of a line from Moby Dick about people who wish to be out at sea or at least near the water.

The line from the book is—

“Nothing will content them but the extremist limit of the land.”

This jetty is as far out as you can go without a boat.

I would like to take a long trip at sea.

Maybe there are others who also wish I would take such a trip.

Here is a review of Moby Dick from a modern reader. People still read this book.

Here is the link to Herman Melville.org.

An informative book I’ve read about whaling is–Leviathan–A History of Whaling in Americaby Eric Jay Dolan.

Here is the link to the New Bedford Whaling Museum.

September 12, 2012 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , | Leave a comment

I Had A Dream I Was Swimming In Boston Harbor—Would This Be Advisable?

A few nights ago I had a dream that I was swimming in Boston Harbor.

(Above–Boston Harbor and the Boston Skyline from Spectacle Island.)

In this dream, the water I was swimming in was calm and blue. I was near a beach.

Not far away from where I was swimming, was an industrial portion of the harbor with power plants and factories.

Do people swim in Boston Harbor? Is it safe to swim in Boston Harbor? How polluted is Boston harbor?

It does seem that people do swim in Boston Harbor. Here is the link to an event where people swim around the harbor to raise money for charity.

I’m not sure what this tells us because  the people doing this appear to be active swimmers who would swim anywhere for the challenge—Though they do not appear  to die on the spot after they get out of the water. They do serve this guinea pig function.

As for normal people who would like to use the harbor , there is a group called the Boston Harbor Association that has a focus on water quality issues. They say they are for a “Clean, alive, and accessible Boston Harbor.”

Here is some of what the Harbor Association says about the cleanliness of water in the harbor—

“Water quality at Boston Harbor Beaches has improved dramatically over the past decade due to the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s Boston Harbor Project and water and sewer projects being implemented by the Boston Water and Sewer Commission. These projects are eliminating long-time bacteria problems associated with wastewater discharged into Boston Harbor and the number of days that beaches are closed due to water quality issues has continued to decline. Most of Boston Harbor Beaches meet swimming standards over 90% of the time.”

If the water is safe to swim in 90% of the time, I guess my chances are nine in ten that I was okay after the swim in my dream.

(Below–Boston Harbor in 1973. Picture taken by Michael Manheim.)

Some of you will recall that the condition of Boston Harbor was an issue in the 1988 Presidential campaign. George H.W. Bush asserted that his opponent, Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis had not done enough to clean the harbor. Here is one the ads from the 1988 campaign that attacked Mr. Dukakis.

It sure is something that a Republican could get the edge on an environmental  issue. They must have been laughing it up at the Bush campaign.

Here is the link to the advocacy group Save The Harbor. If you poke around this site you’ll find facts about the harbor and a list of links to news stories involving the harbor.

The Massachusetts Water Resource Authority has many facts about the harbor and about harbor beaches.

Here is a list and some facts about Boston-area beaches.

A book on the harbor that I’ve not read is–Political Waters: The Long, Dirty, Contentious, Incredibly Expensive but Eventually Triumphant History of Boston Harbor—A Unique Environmental Success Story. This book is by Eric Jay Dolin. While the length of the title is a turnoff, I’m sure the book is quite useful. Mr. Dolin wrote a book I’ve read about the history of U.S. commercial whaling and he is well-informed on these New England nautical topics.

I don’t know why I had this dream. It could because I was in Boston two years ago. It could be that my father once told me that he swam in what was then a very dirty Providence River when he was a kid.

Whatever the reason for the dream, it does seem that, in most cases, you can swim in Boston Harbor.

(Below—A 1854 painting called Boston Harbor. The artist was Fitz Hugh Lane.)

July 16, 2010 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Summary Of Second Obama-McCain Debate—Dolley Madison Was Best Looking First Lady

I watched the second debate this evening between John McCain and Barack Obama. Here is my summary of this second debate.

During the debate my mind wandered and I can’t clearly recall what was said. 

I became terrified that people who remain undecided could decide the election and I could not concentrate. The debate hall in Nashville was, it was claimed, filled with these so-called undecided voters. I support democracy. Yet sometimes I run from the implications of my support for democracy. How could one not?

Who could be undecided at this point? After eight years of George W. Bush and the clear contrast between John McCain and Barack Obama, who could still be undecided? Should these folks be allowed to provide the final margin of victory for either of the candidates?

What did I think about while my mind was wandering from whatever it was the candidates were discussing?

Dolley Madison (below) for one thing. I think she was our best looking First Lady. The best biography I am aware of James Madison is James Madison–A Biography by Robert Louis Ketcham. Dolley gets a good write-up in this account of Mr. Madison’s life. 

A portrait of First Lady Dolley Madison, wife of President James Madison

During the debate, I thought about giant whales smashing the boats of whalers. 

A great book to read is Leviathan–The History of Whaling in America by Eric Jay Dolin.

My debate haze was broken for a few moments when Senator McCain referred to Senator Obama as “That one.” This was good because it seemed just the kind of gaffe that would nag Mr. McCain the rest of the way. I was relieved that other guy made the mistake instead of the candidate I was supporting.

Issues? Yeah—I guess they have a place. Just not in one of these debates.

During the debate I felt I could hear airplanes roaring inside my head.

Biplanes do not make a roaring sound? In that case, what I was hearing in my head? 

Most of all during the debate, I thought to myself that I sure hope Senator Obama can hold on to his lead in the polls and win the election next month.

It is this thought that best sumarizes the debate in my mind. Just hold on and wait for Election Day to arrive.

For a longer view, read the excellent America’s Three Regimes–A New Political History by Morton Keller. Every minute we spend following this campaign is time we don’t spend learning something that will have value after November 4.

October 8, 2008 Posted by | Books, Campaign 2008, Politics, Sea Life | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment