Thursday, November 16, 2006

Sssssuuuucccchhhhh A Disappointment!

Tonight's lecture was such a disappointment! I thought it was going to be this detailed review of the 1992-1995 restoration of the USS Constitution & it's historic sailing in 1997. I didn't expect it to be all history. I figured it would be geared toward the technical aspects, after all this was part of the Maritime Artisans Speakers' Series. But there was NO history........NO context.......and worst of all there was sniping about the US Navy. We left at the first possible opportunity. This guy was lucky we didn't wait for him in the parking lot. LOL

I don't know the other side of his story...but I'm sure there is one. He had to be leaving out big chunks. He supposedly researched and documented the most recent restoration of the ship. But there was no timeline, no narrative, and his photos were in no particular order. During the Q&A he couldn't answer many questions. He asserted repeatedly that he was not a historian. No duh. Several times during his presentation, he seemed lost.

He told us that some of the restoration used white oak and not southern live oak. He was repeatedly questioned about it and could come up with no satisfactory answer as to why they would not use live oak. He said that there were plenty of people down south who wanted to give them live oak but the Navy didn't want it. The makes NO sense. The Navy owns extensive live oak tracts for the sole purpose of maintaining the Constitution.

He also talked about the Constitution being given to someone who could properly take care of and appreciate it. Someone in the audience suggested something along the lines of of the National Air and Space Museum. (WTF?) Where do people get the nerve. How can they have the gall to look at a situation over which they have no authority and make pronouncements. The Constitution would be long gone if it were not for the fundraising efforts of schoolchildren in Boston in 1925. The 1927 - 1931 restoration was funded in part by a penny drive. The school children raised $154,000 of the $980,000 restoration. It is a landmark. It is Boston. And on this nitwits say-so, it should be taken away. I don't think so! He couldn't even get the dates of that restoration correct. It was a major event in the history of the ship and he alternated between saying it happened in 1928 or 1929 or 1930. If you are going to give a presentation then do some least look it up on Wikipedia.

If I had to choose one word.....that word would be *disgruntled*. This gentleman seemed very disgruntled. He reviewed his participation in two restoration projects and he complained about both. He was no longer connected with either. He went on and on about how others involved didn't share his vision and that was wrong. He said that the people who didn't share his vision for the Constitution were "idiots". He stated that the Navy didn't "care about history, they care about fighting wars". He spoke derisively about the sailors assigned to Constitution. He illustrated their alleged ignorance of the ship by relaying a comment he supposedly overheard where a sailor stated that it was called "Old Ironsides" because it was made from iron covered by wood so it wouldn't sink. Please! You want me to believe that a United States sailor assigned to the assignment you have to get as special duty......doesn't know a) what the ship is made of and b) doesn't know where the nickname comes from????????? After hammering those who disagreed with him for nearly two hours, he backpedaled a little and said he appreciated the Navy........whatever!

USS Constitution, the world's oldest commissioned warship, fires its port and starboard guns as a salute while under way in Massachusetts Bay, Mass. Constitution is escorted by the frigate USS Halyburton (center) and the destroyer USS Ramage (right), while the Navy's Blue Angels Flight Demonstration Squadron passes overhead. Constitution set sail unassisted for the first time in 116 years July 21. Commissioned on Oct. 21, 1797, the ship celebrates its 200th birthday this year. Petty Officer 2nd Class Todd Stevens,USN.

He showed us a picture very similar to this one. It was a different angle and only one other ship was in the frame, but you could see the Blue Angels. His comment was "I don't know what that other stuff was about." We snickered aloud and I said "Oh yeah, all the Navy stuff!"

Notice that the speaker is referred to as "he". "He" doesn't deserve to be named.

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