December 23rd, 2008

Thin, Exercise, Serious

Law and Order: Special Yawl Division

In another part of my genealogy report, I include several news reports from City Island, including this crime report that cracks me up. I summarized from the January 10, 1880, edition of the New York Times. The report details the October 1879 robbery of the Darling sail loft on City Island.

The Robbery of the Darling Sail Loft

William Darling’s son-in-law discovered that some his tools had been stolen during the night. He soon discovered that even worse, someone had broken into his father-in-law’s sail loft, which was located over his own boat house. Horror of horrors, someone had made off with about $700 worth of sails – a veritable fortune! Darling, his son-in-law and a local constable jumped in a yawl and rowed down the East River toward New York City, looking for the robber.

They got information from a “colored man” who pointed to a “suspicious sloop” making for Hell Gate. The City Islanders made chase until the wind, which they’d been using to sail, suddenly died on them. Fortunately they were able to get a ride from a nearby tug boat and continued to chase the sloop. But then they decide that they should get the New York cops involved, so they pulled up to foot of East 61st Street and asked for help.

The New York police officers hired their own yawl, and a boatman, and rowed toward the “suspicious craft.” Unfortunately when they got close to the sloop, they noticed men boarding the craft’s small boat, preparing the tug the sloop, which had no wind. They started to approach the small boat but were confronted with revolvers and threatening words. The hired boatmen refused to go nearer and so the men escaped in their small boat, leaving the sloop behind. However, when the police reached the sloop, they found the stolen sails! Ownership of the sloop was later traced to an ex-convict, who was identified by several City Island residents as lurking around the night of the burglary. He was subsequently arrested and sent to state prison for five years.
Thin, Exercise, Serious

Best books & movies

It's THAT time again, so here are my favs for this year. For both books and movies, I'm only listing things that I experienced for the -first- time, i.e. no Lawrence or Arabia or 10th reread of Calenture.

BEST BOOKS OF '08

Harry Potter 2-5 (J.K. Rowling)
Death's Master (Tanith Lee)
Die Stadt der Traumenden Buecher [City of Dreaming Books] (Walter Moers)
A Student of Kyme (Storm Constantine)
The Razor's Edge (Somerset Maugham)
As Meat Loves Salt (Maria McCann)
The History of Tom Jones: A Foundling (Henry Fielding)
The Life to Come and Other Stories (E.M. Forster)
Shadows Return (Lynn Flewelling)
Wicked Gentlemen (Ginn Hale)

I notice that of these titles, only three of them (Razor's Edge, As Meat Loves Salt and marginally the Forster) have anything to do with reality -- the rest are fantasy, alternative worlds, sci fi, myths, etc. The mundane just does not interest me very much unless it's done in a very non-mundane way.

BEST MOVIES OF '08

Sweeney Todd
All About Eve
Shortbus
The Beast Master
Boys Don't Cry
Across the Universe
Whale Rider
Im Juli
A Star Is Born
Das Experiment
Witness for the Prosecution
Sin City
Downfall
Apocalypto

I don't see a strong thread connecting these movies except they do show my penchant for camp, drama, and kinkiness I guess.