Once Works Well was pure technology. Now it seeks merely to divert.
Pansy subjects - Verse! Opera! Domestic trivia! - are now commonplace.
The 300-word limit for posts is retained. The ego is enlarged

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Those that can, do; those that can't, blog

One of the themes running through Patrick O’Brien’s Aubrey/Maturin novels of the Napoleonic era is competence. Jack Aubrey is a supremely competent ship’s commander who justifiably gets to fly “blue at the mizzen” (ie, is promoted admiral) by the end of the twenty-book series. His surgeon Stephen Maturin competently opens up an injured seaman’s skull, “rouses up his brains” in the words of the crew, and covers his work with a carapace made from a silver coin hammmered and shaped by the ship’s blacksmith.

More competent than either is Aubrey’s bosun, Barrett Bonden. When a line needs throwing with great accuracy, or the jolly boat needs taking in through surf, or a hostile vessel needs boarding, Bonden’s your man.

I adopted this name when commenting on a piece about horticulture on Plutarch’s blog. When I started my own blog I thoughtlessly used the same name. And now it has come home to haunt me. The fact is I am not competent! My recent pieces on converting LPs to CDs and using an angle grinder attest to this. I feel I am dishonouring the good bosun’s name.

I did ask Plutarch whether a more appropriate name would be Joe Plaice – the subject of Maturin’s daring surgery (see above). But Plutarch said time had debased that name which now sounds like a smartyboots West End fish and chippery. So BB stays but the act of contrition was necessary. I have only hi-jacked Bonden’s name, not his abilities.

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