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soon to be determined . . . less than 48 hours from now.  Here’s a schedule from the race organizers.

Will the winner be blue . . . like Atlantic Salvor or

formerly blue like Greenland Sea or Lincoln Sea?

Maybe it’ll be blue and miraculously restored . . . like Crow?

Or will it be red, like this Pegasus or

. . . the not-to-be underestimated Augie?

Or maybe a blue and gold government boat?

Or it might be some shade of white like Susan Miller or Gabby L Miller?

On the other hand, it may be a stealth competitor, like the one these gents have been refurbishing since late spring?

Cosmetic work has been visible on the outside, but

Glen had this grin straight off the cheshire cat when he told me they’d installed huge power down below and

as they’ve worked on the surface, above decks, rendering a beautfully restored New York Central No. 31 house.  Who

knows whether Glen was kidding or not about that power plant and about the hull they cleverly built below the dock which be free with a few minor cuts of the Saw-zall.

New York Central No 31 might turn its competitors green with envy once they steam out onto the course.  And if she were flying a Canadian flag, she’d be an international entry.     And

with all that jabber about competitors red and blue at the beginning of the post, you might have wondered if I was talking about something else.  Maybe a spokesperson for red or blue might be interviewing a stealth version of a leading member of the competition?

Check page four of this 1952 issue of Towline for an action foto of one of the winners of the race exactly 60 years ago.  And on page 5, you’ll see that the 1952 race was in fact a revival of a pre-WW2 International Lifeboat Race.  Click on the image below to watch a two-minute video of the rowing race, some time between 1930 and 1939.

In 1952, after the tugs raced, oarsmen took to the same course.  Hmmmm….  Might that portion of the race be revived too?  I wonder what happened to that trophy.

Here’s my summertime post from almost a year ago;  it’s still spring in the sixth boro, although spring 2012 has made for a mostly sultry season and a lush KVK.  Thomas J. Brown tows

an irregular load.

And with a warm winter and sultry spring, bugs

are so big and hungry I fear to swat.

John P. Brown pushes along a many-wheeled barge, and if you want a scene for a Stephen King horror story by the name of Maximum Overboard or somesuch, you know this crane

could proceed to scoop this fish out of the water.

The start of summer is a holiday for the Dutch (even those who live in Brooklyn and dally with crocs), when they do this with herring, and elsewhere

in Brooklyn, it’s time for

who knows who to transform in mermaze!!

All fotos by will Van Dorp.

I needed smiles so bad that I went through the past few months of fotos looking for cheeriness.  And as I put these up, the sun broke through what feels like two weeks of mostly clouds.  A sea lion, and

a close up of a sea lion,

a deck seal,

lots of fish, and my pole-vaulting

amazon.

Yeah, and this goes out to Paul . . . I don’t know how you manage all those weeks on the job!  Tomorrow I have got to get some R & R.

Meanwhile the clouds are back and Willie is in my ear.

When I was in high school upstate, I had to read this novel about drums . .  and history.

Now imagine this interior monologue . . . our speaker doesn’t read much . . . he works and then goes to the river to fish with his best friend the bottle . . . a riverine Rip van Winkle.  He slings in some bait, he dozes, he hears an approaching engine . . . and he sees this!

He shuts and reopens his eyes . . . and it’s closer.  He rubs his eyes .  .  .  and it’s still there.  He flings the cursed bottle into  . . . nearest recycling bin (of course), swears to mend his dissolute ways, and runs along the bank yelling  “OMG!!  It’s a Douglas F3D Skynight!!”   He just happens to “favorite” that aircraft of all the ones ever developed . . .  because of having built a model of one as a boy.

Our Rip has found new purpose.  The 2012 Erie Canal season has delivered the vehicle to turn his life around!

He vows to walk or run or bicycle along the Erie Canal as far as he needs to in order to see where this jet will land.

Then he hears another noise … another DonJon blue tugboat pushing a scow laden with

OMFG!!  He has no idea, and all the life-remedying he’d promised minutes ago . . . is in danger.    He turns and walks back to where moments before he had enjoyed the bliss of fishing along the Mohawk.  He stopped once and

looked back at Cheyenne and the scow.  “Nah . . . that never happened,” he decided.  Never.

Downriver some 100 plus miles, the day before, another blue DonJon tug had been pushing this dredge spoils scow toward the Bayonne Bridge when the 747/Shuttle flew past.

To be serious, the wonderful fotos above come compliments of Don Rittner, of the Onrust project, about which I did many posts a few years back.  Here are a few representative Onrust links:  2010September 2009 (see the last foto), May 2009, and 2008.    Use the search window to find many more.  Last foto is by Will Van Dorp.

The aircraft –a Skynight, a Mig-15, and a Supermarine Scimitar–have migrated from Intrepid Museum, which needs to make room for the Shuttle display, to ESAM, an upstate aerosciences museum.   The blue tugboats have all appeared here before; in order they are Empire, Cheyenne, and Caitlin Ann.

The first time I saw Patty was on the foto here (fifth one) although when Jed sent that foto, neither he nor I could identify it.    Ultimately I met Patty and her guardians (She accepts no other terms.)  About two years ago I had the good fortune of crewing for a similar tow.  Sunday I happened to glance at AIS and saw this blip just west of SeaGate/Norton Point, which told me to mobilize the hot air balloon/photography team**.

As we zoomed in, we caught Patty and tow . . .with West Bank Light in the distance, and …

the Parachute Jump off to port her port.

This has all the appearance of a “Patchogue floating home”  coming across

the west end of Jamaica Bay, with its antipodes Breezy Point to the left and Norton Point to the right.  For a post I did two years ago about the fascinating but incongruous wildlife in Jamaica Bay, click here.

For you outatowners, Patty and house are traversing the sixth boro, that central previously-unnamed core

of New York City, with its Barren Island-turned-airfield-turned-Barren Island Park and

its distant views of Manhattan cliffs, and its

other 32 islands in Jamaica Bay alone.  This too is Brooklyn!

And looking over into Queens and then Long Island, that in the distance is JFK (ex-Idlewild) Airport.  After delivering its tow, Patty races

back upriver with a favorable tide.

**Oh . . . I lied about the hot air balloon.  A total fabrication . . . a shameless bit of dissembling that was, but it sounds so much more exciting than the prosaic “I hurried to southern Brooklyn for a shot from Gil Hodges Bridge.”

The final shot here of Patty in stealth mode trying to blending into April foliage . . . thanks to bowsprite.  All others by Will Van Dorp, virtual hot-air balloonist photographer.

Someone asked why Patty has an awning:  in addition to commercial tows, she does picnic charters!!  A virtual Patty-of-all-trades.

Bowsprite made my jolly Easter even jollier with her post here, rendering the silvery ovoids of Newtown Creek aubergine.  These digester eggs are an essential part of keeping the harbor clean.  See this DEP link as a starter.  Boston has similar structures on Deer Island, which are part of the same process.

Here’s another shot of Newtown Creek’s facility, as viewed from Peter Cooper Village across the East River.

And yet another view . . .  as seen from a boat on the Creek, the loins of 19th century industrial New York.  Yes, that’s the now-scrapped Kristin Poling  back in 2010.

As bowsprite points out in her post . . . yes, there is a proverbial “recreation area intertwined with a waste disposal equipment” around these eggs . . .  a boat launch, a minipark with historical info on local names like this.

This DEP vessel Red Hook  is the newest addition to the NYC DEP fleet, which I wrote about quite some time ago here.   If you’ve ever seen a vessel of these colors in the sixth boro, you’ve witnessed NYC fertilizer production at work.

Enough seriousness . . . .  this post has to be leading into a gassy direction.  Imagine this as a multi-hued digester filled with so much lighter-than-air vapor that it came loose from its Newtown Creek moorings.

What if engineers could isolate the light gaseous by-products of digestion so that passenger

craft like this one that circled the harbor last weekend could be exotic-fuel powered?

More digesters in evolution?

And this bit of blue jetsam along the KVK . . . might it expand to digester size . .  and if so . .  what might hatch from this?

OK . . . back to my serious world.  All silliness aside, New York City school kids DO come down to the park around the eggs to see and learn . . . using this “scavenger hunt guide.”

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

You’ve probably seen some version of the “what I really do” meme.  I’ve seen some good ones on Facebook.  If you want to use the template, click here.

But . . .   being a person who can’t exactly follow the drum beats of others, here’s my version.

What my mother thought I do.

What bowsprite caught me do.

What some friends think I do.

What my parrot (Nigel) thinks I do.

What I wish I could do . . . if not everyday,  then at least twice a week . . . and what kind of access I wish were possible.  The foto shows John A. Noble.

What my grandchild thinks I do.

What I think I do . . .

What I really do . . . at least on rainy or very cold days off.

Happy Leap Day!  

In case you’re wondering about the second foto from the end, that doorway with the gothic window is part of new construction at the KVK eat/drink/foto spot formerly known as R. H. Tugs, which I’m eager to see reopen.     A friendly conversation with the new owners the other day confirmed they understand the attraction for many of us of that location.   I use their door here as a generic portal, a pathway between one world and another.  What I am gratified to hear some of you say is  . . . my obsession as illustrated by this blog . . . helps you understand some of what you see in the harbor and draws you in to observe more carefully.  Wow!  Thanks.

It’s bowsprite’s drawing on the pin I’ll wear today.  Send me an email and I’l tell you how you too can get one of these pins.  Or send her an note . . . to the post she put up today.  The original event/foto happened here in September 2008, but it took bowsprite to transform that contest into some universal depicted on a pin.

It’s love . . .  can be  warm and abstract as it is to a six-year-old;  sometimes

filled with drama, pursuit-and-retreat-and-repeat….

It can be very high drama, perilous paroxysm, much more than hissy-fits.

It can just be bump-n-grind physical, rubber and steel til our eyes go askew as we

go through the process of trying on all shapes vaguely recognizable as hearts.  But it’s all

amor valentinus.  Here are my V Day posts from 2009 and 2007.

For me, the more dispassionate, the better . . .  but I’ll tell everyone (and everything) I really love that I love them.  Wanna try the same?

I heard that whales frolicked out in the Ambrose this morning.  Maybe they too felt their hearts quicken as Bebe approached.   My bebe’s back!!

Bebedoura, that is.  And with the orangest-orange lifeboats!

Bebe . . .  it used to be someone else, but now it’s you.  Only you can make the sunshine so sweet in February.

Dancing to starboard, then to port.  Bebe . . . the sight of you makes me so glad

it makes me want to hook up . . . right here, no matter how inappropriate.   Oil and

juice don’t mix, I know.  I’ll wait and bask under the perfect sky.

But soon enough, these couplings will be engaged and the sweetest nectar will flow.

Ok ok . . . let me scale it back.  Bebedouro is a municipality in Sao Paulo state renowned for the orange juice industry.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

And yes, whales did frolic in the Ambrose this morning.   I am looking for a word derivation of Bebedouro.  When I first saw it, I imagined a permutated “hard baby,” but then I caught a drift of drinking gold . . .   although my online translator also comes up with “ouro” as to make crazy . . . as in baby, you make me crazy!  But I realize now I’ve gone way far overboard.

Check out this gallery of fruit juice tankers that ply the oceans . . . maybe making the sea mammals go crazy.

Notice the Village Voice icon has disappeared.  Tugster didn’t get their nod.  Thanks for voting.  Although it would have been nice to win, winning is not why I blog.

You know the song;  I decided to adapt it like this.

“On the first tides of Christmas, my true loves spoke to me . . . of  propellers in a parts tree.

On the second tides of Christmas, my true loves gave to me, two honey boats, and  . . .

… three schooner sails,  . . .

… four ferry boats,  . . .

… five safety rings,  . . .

… six sailors sailing,  . . .

… seven short sea shippers,  . . .

… eight bunkers pumping,  . . .

nine scows a dumping,  . . .

… ten dredgers digging,  . . .

… eleven lighters lightering,  . . .

…twelve tugs a pushing, . . .

and pushing and pushing . . .

Happy holidays, and maybe the Village Voice will employ it in this song.  Here’s the original, if you don’t know the Twelve Days . . . song.

All fotos by Will Van Dorp.

Same idea only different . . . check out frogma.

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My job . . . Summer 2014

Graves of Arthur Kill

Click to order your copy of Graves of Arthur Kill, by Gary Kane and Will Van Dorp. 3Fish Productions.

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Seth Tane American Painting

My other blogs

My Babylonian Captivity

Reflections of an American hostage in Iraq, 20 years later.

Henry's Obsession

My imaginings and bowsprite's renderings of Henry Hudson's trip through the harbor 400 years ago.

Tale of Two Marlins

Blue Marlin spent 600+ hours loading tugs and barges in NYC Sixth Boro. Click on image for presentation made to NY Ship Lore and Model Club, July 25, 2011.

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