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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

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Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

30 November 2005

CORRECTIONS to previous 2 posts

1. I said I like airplanes with passengers who genuflect when the plane takes off and lands. "Genuflect" means to pray on bended knee. I meant: I like airplanes whose passengers make the Sign of the Cross when the plane takes off and lands.

2. Through an accidental mixup, the most recent image of the R/V Laurence M. Gould in Antarctic seas was not the R/V Laurence M. Gould at all. It was an 1877 illustration by Gustave Dor
é for the poem

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
by Samuel Taylor Coleridge

(from Lyrical Ballads, 1798)

In Part V, the ship of the accursed Mariner, who shot an Albatross -- a creation of God, like himself, though he did not acknowledge their living kinship -- with his crossbow and brought doom to all his shipmates, sails into the strange, unknown waters surrounding the South Pole.


'O sleep! it is a gentle thing,
Beloved from pole to pole!
To Mary Queen the praise be given!
She sent the gentle sleep from Heaven,
That slid into my soul.

By grace of the holy Mother,
the ancient Mariner is refreshed with rain.

The silly buckets on the deck,
That had so long remain'd,
I dreamt that they were fill'd with dew;
And when I awoke, it rain'd.

My lips were wet, my throat was cold,
My garments all were dank;
Sure I had drunken in my dreams,
And still my body drank.

I moved, and could not feel my limbs:
I was so light -- almost
I thought that I had died in sleep,
And was a blesséd ghost.

He heareth sounds and seeth strange sights
and commotions in the sky and the element.

And soon I heard a roaring wind:
It did not come anear;
But with its sound it shook the sails,
That were so thin and sere.

The upper air burst into life;
And a hundred fire-flags sheen;
To and fro they were hurried about!
And to and fro, and in and out,
The wan stars danced between.

And the coming wind did roar more loud,
And the sails did sigh like sedge;
And the rain pour'd down from one black cloud;
The Moon was at its edge.

The thick black cloud was cleft, and still
The Moon was at its side;
Like waters shot from some high crag,
The lightning fell with never a jag,
A river steep and wide.

The bodies of the ship's crew are inspired,
and the ship moves on;

The loud wind never reach'd the ship,
Yet now the ship moved on!
Beneath the lightning and the Moon
The dead men gave a groan.

They groan'd, they stirr'd, they all uprose,
Nor spake, nor moved their eyes;
It had been strange, even in a dream,
To have seen those dead men rise.

The helmsman steer'd, the ship moved on;
Yet never a breeze up-blew;
The mariners all 'gan work the ropes,
Where they were wont to do;
They raised their limbs like lifeless tools --
We were a ghastly crew.

The body of my brother's son
Stood by me, knee to knee:
The body and I pull'd at one rope,
But he said naught to me.'

But not by the souls of the men, nor by demons
of earth or middle air, but by a blessed troop
of angelic spirits,
sent down by the invocation
of the guardian saint.

'I fear thee, ancient Mariner!'
Be calm, thou Wedding-Guest:
'Twas not those souls that fled in pain,
Which to their corses came again,
But a troop of spirits blest:

For when it dawn'd -- they dropp'd their arms,
And cluster'd round the mast;
Sweet sounds rose slowly through their mouths,
And from their bodies pass'd.

Around, around, flew each sweet sound,
Then darted to the Sun;
Slowly the sounds came back again,
Now mix'd, now one by one.

Sometimes a-dropping from the sky
I heard the skylark sing;
Sometimes all little birds that are,
How they seem'd to fill the sea and air
With their sweet jargoning!

And now 'twas like all instruments,
Now like a lonely flute;
And now it is an angel's song,
That makes the Heavens be mute.

It ceased; yet still the sails made on
A pleasant noise till noon,
A noise like of a hidden brook
In the leafy month of June,
That to the sleeping woods all night
Singeth a quiet tune.

Till noon we quietly sail'd on,
Yet never a breeze did breathe:
Slowly and smoothly went the ship,
Moved onward from beneath.

The lonesome Spirit from the South Pole
carries on the ship as far as the Line,
in obedience to the angelic troop,
but still requireth vengeance.

Under the keel nine fathom deep,
From the land of mist and snow,
The Spirit slid: and it was he
That made the ship to go.
The sails at noon left off their tune,
And the ship stood still also.

The Sun, right up above the mast,
Had fix'd her to the ocean:
But in a minute she 'gan stir,
With a short uneasy motion
Backwards and forwards half her length
With a short uneasy motion.

Then like a pawing horse let go,
She made a sudden bound:
It flung the blood into my head,
And I fell down in a swound.

The Polar Spirit's fellow-demons,
the invisible inhabitants of the element,
take part in his wrong; and two of them relate,
one to the other, that penance long and heavy
for the ancient Mariner hath been accorded
to the Polar Spirit, who returneth southward.

How long in that same fit I lay,
I have not to declare;
But ere my living life return'd,
I heard, and in my soul discern'd
Two voices in the air.

"Is it he?" quoth one, "is this the man?
By Him who died on cross,
With his cruel bow he laid full low
The harmless Albatross.

The Spirit who bideth by himself
In the land of mist and snow,
He loved the bird that loved the man
Who shot him with his bow."

The other was a softer voice,
As soft as honey-dew:
Quoth he, "The man hath penance done,
And penance more will do."


Anonymous Jim Olson said...

My previous post seems not to have appeared.

Here it is again, just in case.

Ok, so I am going to reveal a bit of my history.

Bob, draw a line from 66 deg 30' N by 171 deg to 26 deg 20' N by 8 deg 10' E.

That line marks how far north I have been.

We surfaced inside of 89 deg 30' on the way by.

You know that sextant I gave you? Its the one I used that day to plot our location at noon.

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

that's north, yup, that's north

of course you didn't have to use public transportation

Anonymous Jim Olson said...

Did you draw the line? It's called a Great Circle crossing...

I was on tax-payer funded transportation...does that count?

Blogger Bob Merkin said...

No. That New Hampshire guy who used to be George Bush Daddy's chief of staff used to take Air Force One to fly himself and his son from DC to New Jersey for some kind of stamp auction or something -- details hazy, except for the part about YOU USED AIR FORCE ONE TO TAKE PERSONAL TRIPS TO NEW JERSEY????

But boyoboy do I forgive you for using a nuclear submarine to get to 89 N. You get the Vleeptron Special Dispensation for that bigtime.

Where do they park those things? Do they ever leave the key in the ignition?


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