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edward-cullen Much to Mrs. R’s intense annoyance, I have managed to transmogrify Edward Cullen of the Vampire book series into a favorite new dinner-time character, known to me as “Edward the Metro-Sexual Vampire” and to the gels as “Edward the Veggie-Vampire”.

Among us, we have started a narrative to reflect Edward’s hip, enlightened, 21st Century brand of caring vampirism.  To date, we have come up with the following personality points:

1.  He drives a Volvo with a “Have You Hugged Your Bat Today?” bumper-sticker.

2.   He is repulsed by garlic, wooden stakes and people who don’t separate out their plastics and glass.

3.  He gives money to Greenpeace.

4.  He refuses to bite any victim that isn’t certified free-range, organically grown and hormone-free.

5.  His coffin latte-machine is geothermal-powered.

The tale, as Prof. Tolkien might have said, keeps growing in the telling.  The gels think this is all wildly hilarious.   I find it quite amusing, too.

woodesrogersBeware ye pirate dogs!  The diaries of your nemesis have come back to life:

The extremely rare account chronicles a three-year round-the world voyage of the swashbuckling privateer Capt Woodes Rogers, who made a fortune pillaging from pirate ships and Spanish galleons.

During that journey, Rogers, who was a friend of the author Daniel Defoe, even stopped off at a remote Pacific island and found castaway Alexander Selkirk, who inspired the character and book Robinson Crusoe. He said he found him “wild-looking” and wearing “goatskins”, adding: “He had with him his clothes and bedding, with a firelock, some powder, bullets and tobacco, a hatchet, a knife, a kettle, a Bible and books.”

Rogers, who left Britain in 1708, had been tasked with “victimising” pirates targeting his fellow British merchants.

Commanding two 36-gun ships, the Duke and the Duchess, and 333 men, he sailed the South Seas, the East Indies and the Cape of Good Hope, going about his task with great gusto.

His finest catch was the prized vessel The Great Manila, a Spanish trading ship that sailed across the Pacific with a valuable cargo, including precious stones and exotic silks worth $2 million.

In 1717, he was appointed the governor of the Behamas by King George I and played a major role in ridding the islands of 2,000 pirates, including Edward Teach, also called Blackbeard. He was pursued by Rogers’ forces and killed.

The slogan of his epic voyage, “Piracy expelled, commerce restored”, remained the islands’ own motto until independence was declared in 1973.

It is thought only a hundred copies of his book, A Cruising Voyage Around the World, were printed seven years after Rogers completed his odyssey. One was recently found in a loft in Bristol, where Rogers’ was based, and is expected to fetch £3,000 when it is auctioned on January 21st.

Just imagine what Capt. Rogers would have had to put up with were he trying to “victimize” pirates these days:

“N’yar! That Rogers be so hurtful to us!  He’s a’persecutin’ us because we’em be differn’t, do ye see!  How unfair! The dog’ll be a’hearin’ from our lawyers afore the tide turns!”

During my recent travels, a dear friend (Mrs. LMC, in fact, to those Camelidophiles among you) put me on to a group I’d never heard of before – Pink Martini.  A sampling:

After a minute or two listening on her iPod, I remarked that they reminded me somewhat of the late, great Tito Puente.  Mrs. LMC said she thought there was some kind of connection but could not recall what it was.

At any rate, I really like PM’s sound.  Those of you who have met me in real life might be surprised to know this, given the cold, forbidding, touch-me-not Scots front I usually put on, but the truth is that underneath I have always had a soft spot for what one might call Mediterranean hot-bloodedness.

Oh, and by the bye, want a bit of Tito as well? Enjoy!


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January 2009