Monday, March 30, 2015

Good and Bad

So, I guess that clears THAT up!


I saw 2 things on CNN today.

One made me smile

One almost made me sick.

President Obama spoke today
at the dedication for the Edward M Kennedy Institute
in chilly Boston.

So did many of the old timers
who fought with and against the senior Senator.
The mood was light, with guests
speaking about some of the great accomplishments
of Senator Kennedy.

No matter what side of the isle you reside on,
today there was a truce.
It made me smile.


CNN was covering the disaster
that took place recently
when the co-pilot of that German Airlines plane
murdered all on board
by aiming the nose of the plane into a mountainside
at over 400 miles an hour.

I can't imagine the terror those passengers felt.

But believe me, CNN tried it's level best 
to put me right there in row 11 seat c
when it rolled out it's computer animated airplane and pilot
and walked me through the minute by minute details
of those 9 excruciatingly terror filled minutes
between the time the pilot left the cockpit
and the plane disintegrated into a mountain,
that were captured on the black box voice recorder.

I swear, if CNN could get its hands on a video tape
that actually showed
the one hundred and some passengers
screaming and yelling for 8 minutes before they died,
they would have played it all day.

Seriously, if CNN would just have said,
"The plane nose dived at 400 miles an hour for 8 minutes
before hitting the mountain...."
I actually could have imagined MYSELF
the terror inside that plane. 

CNN made me sick.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Different Strokes for Different Folks

Some people like basketball....some don't.

Some people like apple pie.....some don't.

Some people like Guinness......some don't.
( I'll never understand that.)


Some people like quiet vacations......some don't.

I found this out a few days ago
when a fellow crew member who had just come back from Harbor Island, Bahamas
 reported to me that he hated it.

I was blown away
but then I realized some people like basketball....some don't.

I felt bad for about 30 seconds.

He came to me about 2 months ago,
knowing I frequently find an excuse to escape to the Caribbean 
and he asked me where I last went.

I told him about Harbor Island.
I then immediately stressed to him that this may be a place
like he has never seen before.

I stressed this is a place you go to
if you want to do basically nothing while on vacation.
Some people like that...some don't.

I stressed to him, this place has no cars, you can't rent one.
If you want to get around to see the Island,
you rent a golf cart.

I stressed to him
if you like pink sand beaches and crystal clear water
you'll love this place.
If not, you'll hate it.
Not a whole lot happening on Harbor Island.
There's more to do on Gilligans Island than there is to do on Harbor Island.
That's what I love about it.

He didn't. 

I had a feeling, when I told him about this place
that he would hate it.
He just didn't seem like the laid back dude an Island like this welcomes.
That's why I kept stressing out.

I informed a friend one time that I was heading to the Caribbean.
His response, "why don't you just go to the Jersey Shore?"

Here's why.....

I recently just finalized a trip my wife and I are going on, to Panama
in June
to celebrate my 60th birthday.

It's a surprise trip.

A surprise I planned for myself.
Didn't want anyone else to have that pressure.

Isla Colon, a 45 minute puddle-jumper flight off the coast of the main land
will make Harbor Island look like Fantasy Island.

And I'll love every sloooow minute of it.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Just plain creepy!

    I cued up the memory card I had just slipped into my computer after removing it from the motion activated camera I had set up in the walk in closet of our bedroom. It took dead aim at a money jar we have there on a shelf. Believe me when I tell you, my heart rate was a bit above normal.

    My wife was at the front door, chatting it up with the carpet installers, delaying their departure, just as we had planned. I needed time to check these videos. There were about 20, one minute videos. Each time one of the workers who were installing carpet in my bedroom, walked by my closet, the camera kicked on and recorded for 59 seconds.
     As I clicked on each icon on my memory card, all I saw was a video of the inside of my closet. Another icon, another click, another video of my closet. My wife couldn't stall them any longer and I heard her say goodbye to them. I continued to click on icons, I continued to get just videos of the shelf in my closet, the shelf that held the clear jar with our mad money inside.
     I heard the 3 guys walk down the sidewalk. As they climbed into their old green Ford truck, I was busy clicking video icons. More videos of the inside of my closet. As soon as they pulled out of the driveway, my next click opened a video. The still picture was of one of the workers, inside my closet. My heart rate was at full throttle as I hit the "play button." What I captured was a young kid, inside my closet with his hand in the preverbal cookie jar. I clicked on another icon, and yes, again about 5 minutes after he first visited the shelf that is located just a matter of feet from my tighty-whiteys, he again was fondling my dollar bills. Words that sounded just like BROTHER-TRUCKER escaped my mouth before I even realized it. I yelled to my wife to get the carpet store on the phone, I needed to talk to someone. I continued clicking. I got these guys!

Let me back up and start at the beginning. Here's what happened.
About a week or so ago, we had carpet installers visit our house to lay down new carpet in our bedroom. As you may expect, directly adjacent to our bedroom is our walk-in closet. In the walk-in closet we have a jar, similar to a mason jar but bigger. This clear jar serves as the collection point for any change we have in our pocket at the end of the day. When it gets full, we take it to the bank, dump it into one of those change counting machines and put that total into a separate account we have just for "mad money." When we go on vacation, we take that mad-money with us.

About a year ago my wife came up with the idea that any 5 dollar bills we have in our wallet at the end of the day will also join the nickels and dimes we have in our jar. You know, just to keep them company. As you can imagine, after a period of time, there is a good bit of scratch sitting in that clear jar.

Enter bad bad carpet installer dude.
They arrived for what we thought was a one day job. As they covered our bare floor with cushy brand new carpet they realized they didn't have enough carpet with them to complete the job, so they would have to come back in a few days to finish the job. When they left my wife and I talked about what nice guys we thought they were and eagerly awaited their return.

About a day later my wife asked me if I had dipped into our mad money jar, because she noticed that a good portion of the wad that was there was missing. We talked back and forth about where it could have gone and came up with only one answer. Those really nice carpet installers must have helped themselves to our loot. We both found it hard to believe, but where could it have gone?

So, I channeled MacGyver and grabbed my motion activated camera that I use to video deer in our back yard. I then commandeered a cardboard box and cut a hole in the end just big enough for the camera sensor and lens ( the music from Mission Impossible was playing in my head )  and placed it on the top shelf of my closet.

I put a few extra bucks in our jar and waited for the return of the installers. When they came, we gave them a wide berth, not checking in with them as often as we did before. When they were leaving, I ran in and grabbed the memory card as my wife was chatting them up at the front door. That's when we saw the dude do the dirty deed. I couldn't believe it.

It's a weird feeling seeing someone in your house, in a room they shouldn't be in, just touching what isn't theirs. Today on the phone my wife said it's not the $150 or so they took, but the feeling of being violated. I agreed. It's creepy.

I was on the phone with the owner of the business not a half hour after "The James Gang" left. An hour later the owner was sitting at my dining room table, looking at 3 different 1 minute videos that very clearly showed one of his employees in a room he shouldn't be in, doing what no employee should ever be doing. He had mixed reactions, anger, embarrassment, anger and embarrassment.

He was to meet with the thieves today and confront them with the video, when they came in to collect their paychecks.

Their last paycheck.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Americans

My normal M.O. when it comes to watching new TV shows
is to join the party
a few years after the pilot has been launched.

It's sort of like making a new recipe
and letting someone else try it first.
You never know, it might suck!

My thinking is
why waste my time trying out a new show
when I can let the rest of you try it on for size first.

When the raves start coming in
that's when  I hop on board.

I'm usually a few years behind.

That's what happened recently
when I was told
"The Americans"
is a show I should be watching.

Have you seen it?

This show has sucked me right in.

Last night my wife and I 
gorged ourselves on a bunch of episodes
from season 1.
( thank you Amazon Prime streaming video )

When we went to bed
I told her I had something to tell her.
I told her this story I have used
for the past 40 years about me being a merchant seaman....
leaving home every 3 weeks for weeks at  a  time...

well, I was visiting the "Center" in the "Mother Land."

I now call my wife "Natasha"

When a show grabs me
I'm all in.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Sunday Newspaper

The Sunday Paper.

One of life's little joys, wouldn't you agree?

There's something soothing about sitting back and opening this weeks paper
overflowing with ads, circulars and the ever present coupons.

Sitting on the couch with the paper at the ready on your coffee table
screams to all who will listen
"this is my time."

I like to leave it on the table for a few minutes
folded neatly 
while I look at it from a distance
and sip my freshly brewed coffee.

Oh, the anticipation!

Just ignore the fact that almost every bit of news I will read in this weekly periodical
is news I have heard in real time on cable news and the various news outlets on the internet.

It's the PROCESS of reading the paper that matters.

It's best to do this while still wearing slippers,
this re-enforces the fact that 
"I'm here to read the paper...I will not be multi-tasking."

When I'm finished with the paper
I neatly put the paper back together.

Below is a photo of my Sunday paper after I read it.
It waits, neatly, for the next person to open the front page.

Below is a photo of the paper

It looks like she used it as a weapon to fend off burglars.

I've seen week old newspapers on a seat in the subway that looked more appealing.

When she's done with the paper it looks like she's potty training a puppy!

Anyway, there's no better way to start a Sunday than with perusing the paper.

In slippers.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Harvard? Say it ain't so.

I'm not one to brag......BUT, I was published recently. 
Yep....published I say! 
In a magazine!

On the back flap of this particular magazine, right there under the heading, IMAGE CREDITS: is my name, Mark Finucane and yes, they even spelled F-I-N-U-C-A-N-E correctly which in itself is a minor miracle.

I shouldn't be surprised. These folks are quite smart. Did I mention the magazine is called, 
Harvard Design Magazine? That's right people, I just dropped the big "H word" on you.


Not just Harvard. This magazine is published by the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Yep....Harvard.....Grad School.........that's how I roll!

Let me tell you how this all came about. One day out of the blue I received an email from a very nice woman who works for this publication. She told me that one of the articles that they plan to run in the upcoming HARVARD DESIGN MAGAZINE has to do with the subject of "ballast water." A google search landed one of my photos in their lap, so they contacted me and asked for my permission to use this particular photo in their magazine. (They work at naturally they have really good manners. I would expect nothing less.)
Have I mentioned that the magazine is called HARVARD DESIGN MAGAZINE?

 As you can see, I gave them permission to publish my photo in HARVARD DESIGN MAGAZINE. I mean really, what did they think I was going to say? "I'll have to think about it, Shippensburg State University and I are in intense negotiations over that same photo?"

"Hell yeah" I told them, "publish away." I even offered to send them my complete iPhoto collection. This is HARVARD we're talking about,  but it seems they were not interested in my family vacation photos.

Just ballast water. I was cool with that.

So, from this point on, I will be associated with Harvard till the end of time. Yep, "I'm published in HARVARD DESIGN MAGAZINE." My name will be linked from now until the end of time with the likes of John Adams, our 2nd president of the United States and one of the "Founding Fathers," and John F may have heard of him. Bill Gates walked the same halls, well, read the same magazine I did.

 Mark Finucane, merchant seaman and ballast water photo journalist, with contributions to HARVARD Design Magazine.

I like the sound of that.
Thanks to Meghan, the Publications Coordinator for Harvard Design Magazine
for letting me use the photos that appear in this post.

Monday, March 2, 2015

A big day coming up

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner,
and a rode trip is scheduled......


Chambersburg Pennsylvania.

Ok, this quiet unassuming town, that is just a short buggy ride from our State Capitol,
though not widely known as the "place to be" unless you are a Finucane,
will be the gathering place once again for cousins and spouses
to share laughs, conversation and even a pint or two for those who are inclined. 

Just for the record...I am inclined.

I've been pushing for this gathering to take place here....

In fact, a scouting party of Finucane's was dispatched to Ireland last week
to scour the hills and flat lands of the Emerald Isle
in search of a suitable location to celebrate next years St. Patrick's Day.

It's not clear wether or not the cousins referenced above
( I shall call them Jim and Gunilla to protect their identity )
knew this was the objective of their mission,
the fact is...... they were recently there.

I thought this would be an ideal location.

I shall debrief them in due time, in Chambersburg.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A documentary.....a good one

I love a good documentary. The subject almost doesn't matter. It can be sports, environmental, historic, whatever. I like em all.

My daughter Erin, who is my main supplier when I need a documentary fix, turned me on to CitizenFour, the film about Edward Snowden and his leaking of NSA documents. I followed this story from afar as it was taking place in real time, I think that may have been about the time I gave up cable news for Lent, so I didn't know the gory details.

I highly recommend this film. Well, if you still think that our governing body still has one ethical bone left in that body, then don't watch this film, because you will come away very very angry, like I did.

Let me be clear. I love the United States. I love my State. I love my house, but about midway through this film I thought to myself, "I'm out of here. I'm moving to Europe. I can't stand the lies and the secrecy." About 10 minutes after I had that revelation, Edward Snowden looked at the reporter who was there, from the UK, and said, "oh, you think the NSA is bad? The GCAQ is much worse than the NSA when it comes to spying on it's citizens. Well, so much for moving to Europe.

We all know big brother is watching, right? That's sort of common knowledge, but I seriously did not know it was too the extent it was. The vast numbers of U.S. citizens being watched and listened to is mind boggling. Drones, cell phones, house phones, credit card purchases, the internet. It's crazy.

And drones?? Don't get me started. Snowden said that when he was working for the NSA, he, and every other employee with a certain clearance, had computers on their desk. On the desktop of these computers were real time video feeds, of drones, all over the world, just watching. Thousands of them. Like youtube thumbnails, all they had to do was choose one, and they could see what the drones were looking at. Some drones just circling, round and round, for hours....even days. On my desktop I have the weather. NSA employees had spy cameras. And they denied it.

Snowden said that not only will something you said on the internet be seen, if the NSA searches a particular word of phrase, but typed words like "terror", "Terrorist", "kidnap", etc will be zipped to a NSA computer geek, without them even searching for it.

That just blows my mind. (terrorist) Nothing is sacred. What I hated most about the documentary ( terror) is the way the government officials, NSA big wigs, and President Obama himself, looked right into the camera, and denied everything!! (kidnap) They can't deny it. Snowden had the documents. (liar-liar-pants on fire) (kidnapping terrorists).

When ever someone would say to me, "Big brother is watching" I would always retort with, I have nothing to hide, let them look. My mindset has changed. I'm pissed and I want to leave. But it seems there is no place to go.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Boating,Flying and Biking.

Had some pretty crazy photos to show you today
on the boat
but that will have to wait until the company imposed social media ban
is lifted.

It's under review.

Not really.

So, unless Delta has a social media ban I don't know about...

I peeked in on the Oscars tonight and saw Lady Gaga
singing songs from the Sound of Music.

I thought I was tripping.

Actually I thought she did quite well,
but my eyes kept drifting to all the ink on her body.

The flowing white gown just didn't go with the anchor
that was branded on her left side.
Maybe it's just me.

I thought Julie Andrews looked better then Lady Gaga,
and she has about 100 years on her.
I contacted a an old friend the other day who I saw on FB.
He used to be a cook on one of the  tugs I sailed on.
We were buddies.
This was in 1993.

He lives close by and is newly married.
He left the boats in 1995 and today is involved in Real Estate.
I haven't seen him since.
He looks different today.
Clean cut.
Back when I sailed with him, he visited our house one time.
He drove up on his Harley motorcycle
with his pony tail flapping in the wind while wearing leather chaps.

When I think of that day I visualize him standing with my wife in the kitchen,
in his long hair and biker duds
as they perused our spice cabinet and talked about making bread.

That visual brings a smile to my face.

I have plans to see him when I get home.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Social media

It's always something!!

I used to love posting photos of the boat I work on, on this little bog. It gave me an excuse to play with my camera, and it provided me with a tool to share with all the land-lovers out there, a glimpse into a world many people know nothing about.

It was fun.

It seems that little hobby of mine must come to a halt. My employer, who shall remain nameless, because they want to remain nameless on the internet, has instituted a new rule, a social media rule. Basically we are no longer permitted to post photos of our boat on a social media site.

I always have posted photos that would do nothing but shed a positive light on our company and it's employees. ( accept that time our cook burned the crab cakes )But that is no longer permitted. Also, we were told to remove any photos that are currently on line. I've been posting photos on my blog since 2008. I have a lot of work to do.

So, all evidence that I work on a boat shall be removed, even photos that I posted 1, 2, 3 years ago, before I worked for this company and before our new social media rule was in place.

So, for the record, I will no longer post photos on here of any company boat, dock or employee, and as soon as I figure out how to delete photos from my blog and from my Facebook page, I will immediately take care of that. I tried to figure out how to do that today, and I just couldn't figure it out, but as soon as I can, I will delete all photos from any social media site I am on.
It's just so confusing, but I will continue to try to figure that out.

In the meantime......