Clive Cussler is dead at 88.

His books weren’t exactly great…

Often compared to the thrillers churned out by Tom Clancy, Robert Ludlum and Ian Fleming, the Cussler novels featured formulaic plots, one- or two-word titles (“Cyclops,” “Dragon,” “Inca Gold,” “Poseidon’s Arrow”) and frequently a recurring hero, Dirk Pitt, an undersea explorer who cheats death and saves the world as he foils the diabolical plots of megalomaniac villains, while satisfying his taste for exotic cars and lusty women.

Mr. Cussler was hardly a stylist. Critics called his characters wooden, his dialogue leaden and his prose clichéd (“the cold touch of fear,” “a narrow brush with death”), while praising his descriptions of marine hardware, underwater struggles and salvage operations.

…but I’ll admit, they can be fun (when you’re in the mood for that sort of thing), and I’ve read quite a few of them. And whatever you think of his books, the work he did in the real world is pretty impressive.

He first created the National Underwater and Marine Agency as a fictional government organization that employed his hero in the Dirk Pitt books. Then, in 1979, he founded an actual National Underwater and Marine Agency as a private nonprofit group committed to “preserving maritime heritage through the discovery, archaeological survey and conservation of shipwreck artifacts.” It underwrote his maritime ventures.

With Mr. Cussler leading expeditions and joining dives, the organization eventually located some 60 wrecks. Among them were the Cunard steamship Carpathia, first to reach survivors of the lost Titanic on April 15, 1912, then itself sunk by German torpedoes off Ireland in 1918; Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt’s coastal steamer Lexington, which caught fire and went down in Long Island Sound in 1840; and Manassas, the Confederacy’s first Civil War ironclad, sunk in battle in the Lower Mississippi in 1862.

Maybe I’ll toss Sahara on tonight.

Since I’ll hit 20 years of blogging this November, this year I’m posting a daily list of anything I published on this day in the past.

There are 22 posts previously published on February 26th

  • 2019
    • Unsolicited Mac app recommendation: I don’t have to use the command line very often, but when I do, I really enjoy using Cathode, a vintage terminal emulator. Scan lines! Green/amber (or whatever) screens! Curved CRTs! Fading scroll artifacts! It’s ridiculous and a lot of fun.
    • I’ve been thinking about moving away from WordPress for a while now, and I think I may have found my replacement backend: Grav. I’ve got a base install running. Next: play with settings and design, look for WordPress importers, external editor/microblog support options, etc.
    • Book twenty of 2019: Foundation and Empire, by Isaac Asimov. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 1946 Retro Hugo Best Novel (for The Mule, part two of this book) 📚 Very much enjoying finally reading these (and surprised that it seems I never had, or had done so so long ago that I’d forgotten).
  • 2018
    • Linkdump for February 26th from 08:00 to 08:06 An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between 08:00 and 08:06 on February 26th. • The Second Amendment was ratified to preserve slavery • Gun Rights, ‘Positive Good’ and the Evolution of Mutually Assured Massacre • The AR-15 Is Different: What I Learned Treating Parkland Victims • Inside The Federal Bureau Of Way Too Many Guns • Why the Second Amendment does not stymie gun control • Slavery, the Second Amendment, and the Origins of Public-Carry Jurisprudence
    • Linkdump for January 17th through February 26th An automatically generated list of links that caught my eye between January 17th and February 26th. • 4 Laws That Could Stem the Rising Threat of Mass Shootings • How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment • A Gun Ban Is Inevitable. Not just high-capacity assault rifles. ALL the guns. • One Teacher’s Brilliant Strategy to Stop Future School Shootings • How the NRA Rewrote the Second Amendment • The Problem with Panic
  • 2016
    • 57° at the end of the workday. I was comfortable without my coat! :) (57/366)
  • 2014
    • A somewhat better view of my one (so far) tattoo than in last night’s shot. Got this a few years before I left Alaska, so…oh, at least 15 years ago now. Someday I’ll get another – I know what and where, I just haven’t done it yet.
  • 2009
    • On the Neverending Story Yes, there's a chance that they're taking a film that's loved by many who were kids when it came out and 'updating' it to be bigger, louder, and _stupider_. However, if we're lucky, this could turn out to be one of those cases where they just might improve on the original.
  • 2005
    • …ask what you can do for your country. One night, George W. Bush is tossing restlessly in his White House bed.  He awakens to see George Washington standing by him.  Bush asks him, 'George, what's the best thing I can do to help the country?'
    • My Movable Type tweaks I got an e-mail from a friend who's in the process of switching over to Movable Type, and he asked if I had any recommendations for plugins or tweaks to the core system. Here's a look at what I'm currently using.
    • C-List Blogging According to Dave Pollard's breakdown, I'm a 'C-List Blogger'.
    • Theatre Plans The Seattle Times has announced the 5th Ave. Theatre's 2005-2006 season. Lots of good stuff coming up, including The King and I, but the one that's really catching my eye is Sweeny Todd.
  • 2004
    • Violence is ( bad | good ) ! Group One blames violence in video games and movies for the behavior of today's youth. Group Two buys out entire theaters for church groups, youth groups and families to see Mel Gibson's 'The Passion'. Any bets on just how separate those two groups really are?
    • An insider’s view of MS Word 6.0 Microsoft Word for the Mac versions 4 and 5 were my introductions to Word, and in the opinion of myself and many other people, were the pinnacle of Microsoft's Mac programming. Then came Word 6.
  • 2003
    • By the infinite dick of God I first found this on the 'net ages ago, and used to have a copy somewhere on my hard drive. I'd forgotten about it for a long time, then the phrase "by the infinite dick of God" popped into my head tonight, and I decided to search this out and...
    • We'll bomb who we want! The Propaganda Remix Project has a book of posters being released in March, complete with forward by Kurt Vonnegut, introduction by Howard Zinn, and commentary by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Looks worth picking up — my copy is on order.
    • New WTC plan chosen Well, it looks like the winning plan for the replacement complex for the WTC has been revealed. While it's not the one I favored, maybe it'll translate better into the real world than the pictures of it I've seen so far.
    • This isn't helping A few days ago, Robert Scoble asked what we think Microsoft should do in the future, both with technology and to improve their public persona. I haven't done much for coming up with a list of what they should do, but here's a hint to Micosoft: this is something you really shouldn't do.
    • Caring for your Introvert The worst of it is that extroverts have no idea of the torment they put us through. Sometimes, as we gasp for air amid the fog of their 98-percent-content-free talk, we wonder if extroverts even bother to listen to themselves. We can only dream that someday…it will not be impolite to say "I'm an introvert. You are a wonderful person and I like you. But now please shush."
  • 2002
  • 1995
    • [From Usenet: 2.26.95 0238] Somewhere around a year or more ago, there was an ftp site that had a remix of 'last' by Butch Vig that had been nixed from the 'fixed' ep. As far as I've been able to tell, it's not available anywhere else, and has never been released.

End the filibuster, flip the Senate: the debate Democrats almost had

We’re deep into the primary now. There have been 10 Democratic debates (12 if you count the debates broken into two nights), and even more forums, town halls, and so on. We know, at this point, what the candidates want to do. It’s time for debate moderators to start pressing them, in a serious and sustained way, on how they’ll do it.

Since I’ll hit 20 years of blogging this November, this year I’m posting a daily list of anything I published on this day in the past.

There are 27 posts previously published on February 25th

  • 2018
    • Time for the next film in our Hitchcock collection. As with many of these (all of them so far, actually), my first time seeing this one.
    • Book eleven of 2018 (and fifth #pkdickaward nominee): The Wrong Stars, by Tim Pratt. ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  • 2017
    • Prairie decided to bring out two settings worth of the antique Noritake china she inherited from her grandparents. It’s actually the first time I’ve seen it; it’s a really pretty set.
    • This makes me laugh every time I see it. Some of you will do the same, others may not understand. But it’s funny to me.
  • 2016
    • Good: One month from today, I’ll be geeking out at #nwc39 with many geeky friends. Bad: The rest of today. At least tomorrow’s Friday. (56/366)
  • 2015
    • Done…and got the t-shirt to prove it!
    • All hooked up. Just hope they remember to unhook me in time. ;) “Always give 100%…unless you’re donating blood.”
    • Waiting to give blood. The chairs look…somewhat intimidating. At least there aren’t any straps. :)
  • 2014
    • End of the day, time to get ready for bed.
  • 2009
    • Pixar and Gender Long-time readers will recognize this particular soapbox, but it's good to know I'm not the only one standing on it: Pixar's gender problem.
    • Links for February 24th through February 25th Sometime between February 24th and February 25th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too! • 'Trek' Cast to Reunite on 'Family Guy' • "Dear President Obama": The President Reads 10 Letters a Day From the Public, With Policy Ramifications • FIRST PHOTOS: Weird Fish With Transparent Head • EMI Music Debuts First iTunes Pass With Depeche Mode • doubleTwist
    • Nacelles Monthly J.J. Abrams: 'The key is to appreciate that there are purists and fans of 'Star Trek' who are going to be very vocal if they see things that aren’t what what they want. But I can’t make this movie for readers of Nacelles Monthly...'
  • 2005
    • Flickr being bought by…everybody? For the past few days, rumors have been flying around that Yahoo is buying Flickr. Whatever the truth of the matter, never let it be said that Flickr isn't handling the rumors with good grace and a sense of humor.
    • Critical Mass While I don't currently own a bike, so I couldn't join in the ride, I did wander down to Westlake Plaza today to catch the gathering of riders for this month's Critical Mass ride.
    • Brad! Janet! Professor Snape! This week, at Frank N. Furter's School of Wizardry and Witchcraft...
    • Etch-A-Sketch Tech Support Thank you for calling Etch-A-Sketch Support!
  • 2004
    • The Passion The more I read about Mel Gibson's 'The Passion', the less interested I am in seeing two hours of one man being brutally tortured to death.
    • Irony, copyright, and site design First, read what this gentleman has to say about the appropriation of content from other weblogs…then, head on over and check out his site design
    • I’ve got a fan! Last week, almost a year since he left his original comment, Deakster came back. I now have 75 bogus trackback pings from Deakster — why, I do believe I'm being harassed, ladies and gentlemen.
    • Biosphere There's an interesting article from the Philadelphia Inquirer looking at the early-90's Biosphere experiment. I remember being fascinated by this at the time it was going on. Apparently the experiment did last the full two years planned, though not without problems.
    • Grey Tuesday followup Downhill Battle has posted a followup to yesterday's 'Grey Tuesday' event.
  • 2002
    • BtSOD (Blue t-Shirt of Death) Once I know I've got the funds settled for both the move and my June trip to Alaska for James and Stacy's wedding, I'm getting at least one of these. Probably one of the BSOD-t's and the Mac Bomb-t.
    • Copy-proof CD’s not so copy-proof? I found a thread on the HTF today (which has since been deleted) -- apparently the new 'copy proof' CD's can be copied with some old software. The copies may actually be better than the original CD's, too!
    • I knew it wouldn’t all be good news Because I'll be starting the connection process over, my website could be down for as much as close to 2 months. Speakeasy asks to allow up to two weeks for the connection to take place (from placing the order to the signal coming up and online), and they can't start the process until after you've had a working phone at the address for a month.
    • Hedwig – first impressions I just got done watching Hedwig and the Angry Inch and...well...to be honest, I'm not really sure right off the bat just what I thought of this film. I'm going to let it percolate in my brain for a bit -- I've got to get to bed right now and post more thoughts on it later.
  • 2001
    • Free DVDs Every year during the holiday season the Suncoast company has a sales competition for its member stores, and this year our store won -- from what I'm told, not a rare thing.
    • Back from UAA, possibly on the radio This Tuesday, I'll be spinning on 88.1 FM KRUA sometime between 7pm and 10pm! Should be fun…looking forward to trying my hand at a radio gig. And, as an added bonus, if anyone feels like it, you can listen in over the web (as long as you have Real Player G2 installed) through KRUA's website!

Since I’ll hit 20 years of blogging this November, this year I’m posting a daily list of anything I published on this day in the past.

There are 25 posts previously published on February 24th

  • 2019
    • I don’t think I’ve seen any of Billy Porter’s work, don’t really know who he is, but that is one hell of an outfit, and I really like what he has to say about it.
    • Book nineteen of 2019: Foundation, by Isaac Asimov. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ 📚 Though I’m a big fan of Asimov’s short fiction, I don’t think I’d actually read this series, and I’m happy to see that (for the most part) Asimov’s writing doesn’t suffer as much as other works from this era do.
  • 2018
    • Out to enjoy a chilly, drizzly, Seattle winter day at the zoo!
  • 2016
    • Really liking these sunny and 50° afternoons. Spring’s closer! (55/366)
  • 2015
    • Without women, the story doesn’t even begin But what the story really says, this story men made up to hold women down, is that women have the power to change the world. Women have the power to throw the world into chaos and they do it because the world as it is isn’t good enough.
    • Yesterday’s calendar page. This is about the only sports poll I could have an opinion on.
  • 2014
    • Playing with filters; I think I made an album cover.
  • 2009
    • Links for February 23rd through February 24th Sometime between February 23rd and February 24th, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too! • Safari 4 Hidden Preferences • And the Circle Is Complete • UserFriendly comic plagiarized multiple punchlines from Metafilter comments • Last.fm – the Blog · "Techcrunch Are Full of Shit" • Roger Ebert: The Oscars are Outsourced
  • 2007
    • It’s Academic, Really… The sea squirt has a very simple brain which is used only to find a suitable spot to root itself for life. Once it's settled into a spot, it no longer needs the brain, so it eats it. This has been compared by at least one Researcher to a professor receiving tenure at a university.
  • 2006
    • Schrodinger’s Mac This is the kind of geeky science stuff that I love: quantum computers that give results when they're turned off.
    • Quote of the Day 15,000 atheists in London rioted after a blank sheet of paper was found on a cartoonist's desk.
  • 2005
    • You Ashcroft! Well, it turns out that some airline passengers watching the Oscar-nominated film 'Sideways' on foreign flights are, in fact, hearing 'Ashcroft' as a substitute for a certain seven-letter epithet commonly used to denote a human orifice.
    • Yeah, I’m clueless about these things… Now, in theory, it's supposed to be possible for me to go out onto the 'net somewhere to find digitized copies of tv shows that I could download and then watch on my computer. How in the world would I go about this?
    • Battlestar Galactica Episode 1 This is incredibly cool: The Sci-Fi Channel has posted the first episode of Battlestar Galactica season one on their website, free, uncut, and without commercials.
  • 2004
  • 2003
    • Catching up, part four: political bits Yeah, well, I had to jump back into this side of things eventually. On the bright side, much as this stuff might worry and/or scare me, at least I'm paying attention to it now, which I wasn't for far too many years.
    • Catching up, part three Again, in no particular order, bits and pieces from my 'technology' grouping in NetNewsWire…
    • Catching up, part two This time, the focus is on Macintosh goodies. All you PC-using heathens can read on in wistful fantasyland, or just find something else to do — like reinstall Windows again. ;)
    • Playing catchup I'm skimming over a lot of stuff in my newsreader (758 new items after being out of touch for a week!), but in no particular order, here's some of the stuff that caught my eye…
    • Need some free shoes? Enough soggy Nike basketball shoes to outfit every high school team in the state are drifting through the Pacific Ocean toward Alaska after spilling from a container ship off Northern California.
    • He's got a point If anyone in [My Fair Lady] was gay, it had to be Higgins and Pickering -- you're telling me two single men in their late fifties who live together and enjoy speaking properly and dressing Audrey Hepburn in fabulous outfits aren't?
    • Back online We're back! Sorry about the downtime. In the end, I have to admit that it all boils down to one simple thing — money matters aren't my strong point.
  • 2002
    • Infocom presents Tetris You are looking at the shaft. A large red block, four units by one unit, is above your head, dropping slowly. It has its long edge horizontally aligned.
    • A splash of color A bit of visual design tweaking on the website, which, of course, messes something else up.
    • Lots of moves, and Casey turns 30 I don't think I remember quite all of it, but I think it was crumb cake and white cake crumbled into pieces and mixed with pudding, put into a litterbox, with a litter scooper for a cutting/serving tool, and complete with Tootsie Rolls melted and formed into the right shapes to serve as kitty poop!

Since I’ll hit 20 years of blogging this November, this year I’m posting a daily list of anything I published on this day in the past.

There are 12 posts previously published on February 23rd

  • 2016
    • It seems my recent photos may have been overly moody. So here’s a post-workout grin with minimal processing. (54/366)
  • 2014
    • I never left the house today, so I figured I’d see if these guys had any ideas for an interesting photo.
  • 2009
    • Links for February 18th through February 23rd Sometime between February 18th and February 23rd, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too! • Reality TV Helps Break Down Racial Barriers • Can You Really Just Waltz Into SAM, Say You Have No Money to Pay the Suggested Donation, and Be Let In? • Re: The P-I's Online Plan • The Mystery of Ireland's Worst Driver • Wil Wheaton: Spoiler Alert: WATCHMEN is fucking awesome. • Writing Star Trek Novels, Or, Why Don’t You Get a Morally Acceptable Job?
  • 2007
    • The Clothesline Project The Clothesline Project is a program started on Cape Cod, MA, in 1990 to address the issue of violence against women. It is a vehicle for women affected by violence to express their emotions by decorating a shirt.
  • 2006
    • Option 30 I have no idea where this came from or who dug it up, but it gave me a good laugh: Trent Reznor, _long_ before Nine Inch Nails, covering Billy Idol's 'Eyes Without A Face' with Reznor's early-80's band Option 30.
    • Alaskan Barbies A new (to me) variation of an old joke. This particular version will likely only be amusing to those who've lived in Anchorage at some point. Others may find it a handy guide to Anchorage's neighborhoods. ;)
  • 2005
    • Now with Markdown I've just added John Gruber's excellent text-processing plugin Markdown to the site, and enabled it for comments as well as for my own use when writing posts.
    • Hunter S. Thompson Seeing all the many varied reports of Hunter S. Thompson's unfortunate demise reminds me that I've actually never read any of his work. So, then, a question for those more familiar with Thompson's work than I am: any recommendations?
  • 2004
    • Grey Tuesday It's time for music fans to stand up and demand change from the music industry's copyright cartel. Tuesday, February 24 will be a day of coordinated civil disobedience: websites will post Danger Mouse's Grey Album on their site for 24 hours in protest of EMI's attempts to censor this work.
    • Mardi Gras I'll be making one of my few mid-week appearances at the Vogue tonight…
    • Welcome to the neighborhood After watching Phil struggle with his hosting provider for a couple weeks over system resources, he and I got to talking, and in the name of good geek-karma, I offered him a spot on my personal webserver.
    • Introductions Got to introduce Jonas, Jon, and Jeannie to Fetish Night at the Vogue last night. Much fun was had by all, as far as I know, even if Jonas did give me crap for going out to dance to Depeche Mode's 'Strangelove'. ;)

We went out to Elizabeth Warren’s rally at the Seattle Center Armory tonight. Warren was great. So glad we went out and got to see her. She’s really does come across just as good as you’d hope she would: incredibly intelligent, passionate, articulate, engaged, warm, and through everything, energetic and having fun.

She went through about a fifteen minute stump speech, then took five questions from pre-selected attendees, and spent about 30 minutes total answering them. Her answers were incredible—both because she gave good answers to the questions, and also because she very deftly was able to use each of them as launching points for touching on other focus points and areas of her campaign, but always coming back to the original question and never giving the impression that the question didn’t actually matter. I didn’t record the stump speech, but did record the Q&A; I’ve got it going up to YouTube now and will add it to this post later…but rather than bother with my amateur, from-the-crowd video, here’s King 5’s video of the full thing (Warren starts speaking at about 25 minutes in):

So, yes. Warren is my preferred candidate. I absolutely believe that she has a plan for everything, and knows exactly how to get about getting it done.

Once again, very glad we got to go.

Now, though, we’re exhausted.

Since I’ll hit 20 years of blogging this November, this year I’m posting a daily list of anything I published on this day in the past.

There are 13 posts previously published on February 22nd

  • 2016
    • Moody Monday? Just liked the strong shadows from the afternoon sun. (53/366)
  • 2014
    • Possibly as close as I’m likely to get to the stereotypical selfie. Couldn’t get myself to stoop to duckface, though. I have some pride.
  • 2010
    • Links for February 16th through February 22nd Sometime between February 16th and February 22nd, I thought this stuff was interesting. You might think so too! • Tommy Westphall’s Mind: A Multiverse Explored • Turkey: Archeological Dig Reshaping Human History • Typography for Lawyers • PeteSearch: How to Split Up the US by Facebook Interactions
  • 2008
  • 2007
    • Entropy and Breakthrough I've submitted two photos to JPG Magazine for possible inclusion in their next issue, one each for their themes of Entropy and Breakthrough. If you're a JPG member, click through and toss a vote my way!
  • 2005
    • Jim Steinman I just need to know what the song you just played was — but before you tell me, I want you to check something out for me. By any chance was that song written or produced by Jim Steinman?
    • Kubrickr Here's a nifty toy for all you Wordpress users that have recently updated to v1.5 and are using the default 'Kubrick' theme: Kubrickr. Given a tag, it will search Flickr for all licensed photos with that tag and then allow you to crop the photo down to create a replacement header graphic that drops right into the Kubrick layout.
    • My Netflix ‘wishlist’ I've (again) run up against the 500-title limit in my Netflix Queue. To get around that, I've made a very focused del.icio.us account for DVDs I want to rent, but can't put in my Netflix queue at the moment. Keep an eye on it if you like. Or not. Whichever. ;)
    • Fun with typos Seen today on Accelerate Your Macintosh: Mac Ureal Tournament 2004 v3355 Update. Eeeeewwwww.
    • Ego …accusing a blogger of narcissism is like accusing your minister of piety, isn't it?
    • Full-time blogging I've got to admit, I wish I could 'pull a kottke' and move to blogging as a 'job'. The idea has a lot of appeal. Unfortunately, I'm in no shape financially to do such a thing, and I don't have the wide readership that he has that would allow me to request donations.
  • 2004
    • Safety != comfort In linking to the story on SUV safety yesterday, Scoble mentioned the statistical ridiculousness of being comfortable driving, yet being afraid to fly. The thing is, this is something that I can identify with — far better than I'd like, in fact.
  • 2001
    • DJ Wudi @ UAA this Saturday Just a quick reminder that this Saturday I'll be spinning from 2pm-10pm for the UAA Dance Marathon fundraiser for the Providence Children's ICU.