Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Madmen meets Moby Dick

Thanks to NCF, long time TMDC reader!

This is the art of LA artist Josh Agle, aka SHAG.

Samples here.

His web site here. 

A bit Disney, a bit Madmen, a bit Moby Dick.

Reader MFanning pointed out that the glass bottle is in the shape of a TV screen.   Old school shape by the way... soon to be forgotten as the flat screen becomes completely ubiquitous.

NCF works at the SMFA, and has been fof for ever!   Thanks Nicole!

Friday, June 24, 2011

1926 Modern Library Moby-Dick - Two Prizes

Here is the 1926 Modern Library Moby-Dick, classic red cloth cover from the house of Bennett Cerf, already covered in a previous post.

On the inside is a large award plate from the Halifax Academy, June 19, 1942 given to Douglas Rogers, for the Grade 10 prize in mathematics.

A search from Halifax Academy failed to produce anything for the school, only the motto E Mari Merces confirms the connection with Halifax Canada.

In thinking about this volume, given 69 years ago to a young Doug Rogers, we pondered how proud he must have been to receive it. We can see him walking up to the person who today would be called "head of school", shaking their hand and almost defiantly walking back to retake his seat among his peers.

We then recalled a similar award, given almost 19 years later to the editor of TMDC, who remembers all too well the elation he felt when he received the Armstrong Award at the Sheppard Knapp School, outside of Worcester Mass. - now defunct.  The Armstrong award was given in memory of a lad who fell from a tree to his untimely death. The precise characteristics of the children who received the award were always a mystery, it was not academic nor sports related. Now it could be said it was a catch all kind of thing, given to some kid otherwise left out of the award stream, perhaps too shy to have close friends, too normal to have successes in sports, too smart to excel in main stream academics. But a likable child non the less, a child everyone would agree was a good kid.

The letter in Olson's Small Boat Seamanship, with yellowing tape, is in the controlled precise and neat hand of Mrs. Halkyard, the wife of the Headmaster, and the woman who began Mr. Pettit's latin journey. There is a decided left learn to the letters, signaling perhaps left handedness, and an erie hand writing quality that is exactly similar to little Billy Pettit's own left handed mother's precise, controlled and neat handwriting.

We will assume that if the Armstrong Award were given today, or the Halifax Academy X Grade Math Prize for that matter,  in the form of an ebook, 40 years from now, that E Book would no longer function. It would have been recycled or jettisoned into the land fill long before. The memories just that, vague memories of a lad proudly receiving yet another electronic device, cutting edge for the moment. Fleeting... gone... dust... nothing left to share.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Herman Melville's Travel Desk

Up for auction is Herman Melville's travel desk, thanks for the heads up from avid TMDC reader ESD from our ancesterial home of Worcester Mass. See the item at Booktryst Blog
Sold for US$34,160 inclusive of Buyer's Premium

Also today or tomorrow TMDC will surpass 4000 individual hits, and we want to thank everyone who has made this blog a stop on their digital experience.

Monday, June 20, 2011

1956 Riverside Edition Paper Back Moby-Dick

Here is the 1956 Riverside edition, measures about 5 by 8.  Having attended highschool in the 1960's I had several classic books printed by the Riverside Press in Boston, listed as Riverside Press Cambridge. 
Notably, I had Jude the Obscure. Never touched it in highschool.  That book I choose to read the summer I got laid off from Norton Company, 1988.   

By the swimming pool at the country club, while I was working on buying the first of several businesses I would buy over the years, I read Jude the Obscure...  Ykes, what was I thinking?  Dark, depressing, wonderful...   I ended that summer with a nice tan.

Anyways I digress, the feel of these books captivated me and I bought anything printed in this series that I ran across in my travels. Currently, in a different section of the library I have a dozen or so titles, alas not Jude the Obscure. I tied up about a half dozen Riverside Press books neatly with hemp string and put that package aside in one of the moves I made after the divorce. Somewhere, somehow that package went missing and I have never seen it or Jude the Obscure since. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

1975 Now Age Illustrated Moby-Dick

Over the years, TMDC has given as gifts editions of Moby-Dick and conversely has received as gifts editions.

More often than not, the gifts received are treasured childhood books, prized by the donator and embibed with fond memories.

Here is a donation to us from J, a long long time friend.

Stamped with the Mercy High School Library stamp on the title page.

We treasure the gift and our friendship.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Call me Ishmael - Only the Lonely

We say the sea is lonely; better say
Ourselves are lonesome creatures whom the sea
Gives neither yes or no for company
—William Meredith

Thus begins a piece written my my niece Cindy Daignault, readable on her tumblr account. The piece is a review of the work by artist Sean Landers.

Cindy, like all of my relatives is awesome in her own right. She has a current solo show of her art work at the
White Columns in New York City.

Cindy's work is a series of paintings that take us thru the mysterious world of projection. We see canvases of projectors and canvases of the projections on the opposite walls, which enables the viewer to relate to a modern day object, yet its not real. So its virtual reality but not. Things that are but they are not... It was at the opening reception of her show that Cindy told me about this review. Cindy is a avid reader of TMDC and she was excited to share with me these links.
What I failed at the time to understand and has come as a great surprise to me, was Landers fascination with the ill fated Golden Globe race of 1968. I too have been completely mesmerized by that disasterous race as well. Specifically I read everything I could about Donald Crowhurst. Here was a sort of modern day Ahab, kind of.. Mr. Crowhurst was obsessed with winning the race, but he lacked the skill, experience and backing to complete a solo navigation around the world, so he basically realized that he was out of it right before he left, and he tried to flim flam the world that he was winning by hanging out around South of America, Rosie Ruiz style, and falsifying his progress reports. Ultimately he just walked off his boat into the deep, in a fit of delusional madness. His bizarre madness is so accessible to the modern tech head, it is frightening.
Cindy draws solid connection between Ahab and Landers. And as an artist my self (Billpettit.com) I like the connections she makes to the whiteness of the canvasses and the battles we rage in our artistic lives.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

1998 Dutch Language Moby-Dick

Noem me Ismael.

When my tenants, Peter and Lynn, told me that they were moving out, I was saddened. They lived in the third floor flat of building I own here in Albany, and had been there for several years.

I remember the day that I rented to them. There were several people who were interested in it, thanks to Criags List, and I said I was going to show it on this particular Thursday at noon. Lynn came and several other people.

Lynn immediately said she loved it and wanted to move in. Great said I. We did the paper work and she told me that she was moving in with her boyfriend, Peter. Both were studying at SUNY Albany for advanced degrees and Peter was Dutch.

They were great tenants, always curteous and pleasant. Lovely people, and when they got married I silently rejoiced. So it is the normal course of events that my tenants move on and sure enough they got jobs in the lower Hudson River Valley.

The day they left Lynn called and said she had a gift for me. And thus this addition to the Moby-Dick Collection arrived. Words will never properly convey the sum of our relationship for those years, it was easy going at its best...

Good Luck Lynn and Peter!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Father of the Groom Speech June 4, 2011

Saturday June 4th, 2011 I witnessed, along with many many friends and family members, my son's wedding, as I mentioned in the previous post.

During the dinner, a few of us stood and gave a some kind words of encouragement.

Here is the text of the speech which I gave:

One day, during the summer of 2004, on Cape Cod, in the middle of the afternoon, I was standing inside my parents house in Chatham, it was one of those clear beautiful blue sunny days.

I looked out to the porch and Rob and Sasha, who had been togther by then four years, were sitting and talking to to each other.

I could not hear them, I don't know what they were saying.

But they were talking with each other, unaware of not just me but everything around them.

It was not a moment of love,
it was a moment of being,
and is that not ultimate love?

In those few seconds, I knew Sasha and Rob were good for each other.

A measure of this wedding today, will be if in 20 years we stumble upon Rob and Sasha and they are still talking in that way.

Since what I saw that day was true, I know they will be.

Sasha, you know I love you, and am so glad to welcome you as my daughter in law.

Finally, Robert, as a father to his son, I want to tell you this: you are the man I wanted to be.


The reaction to the last two lines was astounding. I wrote this from the heart.