I’d like to extend my thanks to the Laffite Society of Galveston, that invited me to give a short talk last Saturday at their annual research seminar on David Porter’s campaign against pirates in the Caribbean. (Above, Marines storm a shore battery at Fajardo, Puerto Rico in 1824, in a painting by the late Col. Charles H. Waterhouse, USMCR, Ret.) They’re a great bunch of folks, who have done solid work in sorting out fact, maybe-fact and total BS when it comes to documenting the lives of Jean and Pierre Laffite. If you’re interested in a good biography of those two, I’d recommend Jack Davis’ book.
More assorted items:
- Conservators in Charleston are embarking on a new phase in the Hunley story, a three-month process to remove the concretion inside and outside the boat’s iron hull plating. This might provide provide more specific evidence of what caused the craft to sink.
- Researchers in San Fransisco have found the wreck of City of Chester, a passenger ship that sank in the Golden Gate after a collision with the much larger steamer Oceanic in 1888. Interesting to maybe no one but me, Oceanic was the first ship of the famous White Star Line and pioneered the idea that transoceanic steamers should focus on luxurious accommodations and good food (at least for those in first class), a tradition that runs right down through the cruise industry today. Oceanic also carried round-the-world racers Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland across the Pacific in late 1889 and early 1890, respectively.
- Ever seen a “zonkey”? Me neither, but they’re cute.
- Slate has an interesting article on female CW reenactors, if you can get past the smug “subculture-within-a-subculture” business.
- Remember on Seinfeld when George Costanza went to work for Donald Sterling and the LA Clippers? Good times.
I’ve long thought that, as much as I disagreed with their historical narrative, the UDC at least didn’t embrace the open, explicit racial nastiness that runs as an undercurrent through other “heritage” or southern nationalist groups. After seeing that the Alabama Division of the UDC hosted a speaker for a prominent event who openly posts trash like this to Facebook, I’m not so sure, now:
Ms. Clark, I’d love to hear a (plausible) explanation of why you and the Alabama UDC selected this person to headline your event. (H/t Brooks)
Finally, in honor of Willie Nelson’s 81st birthday this week, here are two of his songs. The first is Willie singing “Hello, Walls,” on the Porter Waggoner Show in about 1962, and the second is a favorite of mine, “Uncloudy Day.” Have a great weekend, y’all.