Call me Ishmael / Llamáime Ismael

La versión en español está después de la versión en inglés.

I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU, but I never made it all the way through the novel, “Moby Dick” by Herman Melville. When I was in high school, I skimmed it to the end. About 10 years ago, I tried again and I couldn’t even get myself to skim it. I simply gave up about 60 pages in.

I know it’s a classic. I know it’s brilliant. But I got the point. Ahab was obsessed. The whale was a metaphor. The book is open to a variety of interpretations. The characters names come from the bible. In that context, Ahab was an evil king who led his people astray. The story could refer to atheism; definitely racism. Maybe I actually read more than I realized. But, seriously, did Melville really need to go on so long?

Anyway, I do remember the opening line: “Call me Ishmael.” So, when I was out on my morning walk today and spotted this guy’s T-shirt, that’s what came to mind. Don’t worry. Although I was tempted, I didn’t call out “Ismael!” But, oh, I was so tempted.

THE OTHER DAY, I SAW a tall ship coming into port. It’s the Nao Victoria. Nao means carrack, which is a three- or four-masted sailing ship from the 14th and 15th centuries. Of course, this is a reproduction. But the ship was the first to circumnavigate the world. It was captained by Ferdinand Magellan (not Ahab) with a crew of 42, and set sail from Spain in 1519, returning in 1521 (without Magellan who was killed in a battle in the Phillipines in 1520). Victoria was part of a five-ship expedition and the only ship to complete the voyage. I paid to go onboard a few years ago. This time I just admired it from a distance.


NO SÉ SOBRE VOSOTROS, PERO nunca llegué a la novela “Moby Dick” de Herman Melville. Cuando estaba en la escuela secundaria, lo hojeé hasta el final. Hace unos 10 años, lo intenté de nuevo y ni siquiera pude leerlo. Simplemente dejé unas 60 páginas.

Sé que es un clásico. Sé que es brillante. Pero entendí el punto. Ahab estaba obsesionado. La ballena era una metáfora. El libro está abierto a una variedad de interpretaciones. Los nombres de los personajes provienen de la biblia. En ese contexto, Ahab fue un rey malvado que condujo a las personas a la idolatría. La historia podría referirse al ateísmo; definitivamente el racismo. Tal vez en realidad leí más de lo que me di cuenta. Pero, en serio, ¿Melville realmente necesitaba continuar tanto tiempo?

De todos modos, recuerdo la línea de apertura: “Llamáime Ismael”. Entonces, cuando salí a caminar por la mañana hoy y vi la camiseta de este tipo, eso fue lo que me vino a la mente. No te preocupes. Aunque estaba tentado, no grité “¡Ismael!” Pero, oh, estaba tan tentado.

EL OTRO DÍA, VI UN barco alto llegando a puerto. Es la Nao Victoria. Es un velero de tres o cuatro mástiles de los siglos XIV y XV. Por supuesto, esta es una reproducción. Pero el barco fue el primero en circunnavegar el mundo. Fue capitaneado por Fernando de Magallanes (no Ahab) con una tripulación de 42 personas, y zarpó España en 1519, regresando en 1521 (sin Magellanes, quien murió en una batalla en Filipinas en 1520). Victoria fue parte de una expedición de cinco barcos y el único barco que completó el viaje. Pagué para subir a bordo hace unos años. Esta vez lo admiré desde la distancia.

Call him Ishmael. / Llamáile Ismael.

I have no idea what to call this guy.

No tengo ni idea de cómo llamar a este tipo.

Costa Winter Fashion

Rational people are bundled up here on the Costa del Sol. It’s winter, you know. Today didn’t get above 15C (61F) with a low of 13C (55F) and that doesn’t account for the combination of high humidity and wind chill. San Geraldo’s cyclonic winds were out in force. It’s expected to go as low as 10C (50F) tonight. Fortunately, the wind has died down. So the real feel shouldn’t dip much lower than about 8C (46F).

You can always tell the tourists from the locals around here. I was kept just barely warm in my fleece-lined, hooded sweatshirt (and my scarf), while others walked by the cafe this morning in shorts and T-shirts.

Today’s fashionable photos were collected throughout November and December. The only one taken in today’s chill was the one at upper right. You’ll notice the guy had his hands in his pockets to keep warm, and the woman with him had goose bumps (well, she must have). (And that’s a walking stick reaching to the ground from the left leg of his shorts… or at least I think it is.)

We’re heading out for dinner shortly. Excuse me while I unpack my long underwear and down-filled parka.


In case my recent choices of music haven’t clued you in, this has been a season of melancholy and too much self-reflection at our house.

“Time, time, time, see what’s become of me.”

Big City Style

Living here in Fuengirola, a small-ish city (population 75,000) on the beach in Southern Spain, I sometimes miss out on the latest cool fashion trends of the big cities.

So, one nice thing about spending time in Brooklyn (at 2.6 million, the largest of the five boroughs of New York City) and seeing the style of the people who live along the beach there is that … well …

… I’m not really missing anything at all.

And While We’re On The Subject

I have no idea what subject we’re on, but, well, here’s something.

Yes, it was underwear.

And let’s not even talk about the stripes.

(Click for a closer look… if you dare.)