A fannish blog dedicated to Science Fiction and Fantasy conventions, movies, games, game design, costuming, prop making, blogs, horror, steampunk, RPGs, Tintin, H. P. Lovecraft, Cthulhu, books, videos, and to CoastCon itself.
CoastCon is a SF & F convention that has been held annually in Biloxi, Mississippi each Spring for nearly 40 years.
This holiday is always a somber one for me.This history of Memorial Day is interesting
My suggestion for this Memorial Day is to learn how to make
a cord bracelet in the memory of someone you know/knew … and then give it
away.This is much in the same mood as
the Vietnam era metal POW-MIA remembrance bracelets, which I remember from when
I was younger.Let’s remember all the
people who served as well those who are serving now including their spouses and
children.We can make Memorial Day one
of remembrance and healing.
Bracelets go a way back in the military, with wrist dog tag
bracelets being issued as early as the Spanish American War and then later into
WWI.The tradition of knotted cord
bracelets in the Navy goes back a good deal farther.Sailors made knotted items in their spare time and one of the
things they made to show their skill were bracelets.Those earlier type bracelets didn’t necessarily have a military
association and they were generally nautical work.
My father, Iwo Jima
WWII saw jewelry makers produce men’s ID bracelets in
sterling and they were very popular.Many had the owner’s name engraved on the front and the back and
possibly branch of service or a specialty insignia, such as pilot’s wings or
the Marine Corps logo.They were
popular gifts to from women and from men as well.Sterling ID bracelets continued to be popular after WWII and were
very commonly worn up until the late 1960s.The military forms powerful bonds of brotherhood and military members
gave tokens to each other such as a dog tag exchange, or personalized gifts
such as sterling ID bracelets in WWII
The Vietnam War saw implementation of the original POW/MIAmetal bracelets I referred to previously, with the missing or prisoner’s name
on the bracelet.The idea was to
remember the person until they were released or their remains identified. See also http://thewall-usa.com/bracelet.asp
More recently, parachute cord bracelets may have been around early as WWII
because the cord was available to many military members, not just those in
paratrooper units and aviators.The
cord had many uses and GIs scrounged the cord for a multitude of uses.The Vietnam War perhaps also saw the modest
use of parachute cord bracelets, but I have not been successful in finding any
I've always liked this image of Winston enjoying a Tommy Gun moment
Certainly parachute cord bracelets, in the form we have
become familiar with begins to appear about 1980, although I personally can’t
date exactly when I saw the first one.Originally they were buddy bracelets and were woven permanently on a
person’s arm by their buddy and were not removable.Later ones, used a BDU button to make it removable, probably
because some commands didn’t allow the bracelet for a number of reasons, some
of which might have been safety.
By the late 1980s I began to see parachute cord bracelets
that had a plastic latch buckle, a miniature version of the type used on
military combat belts.Now paracord
bracelets are in a variety of colors, for a variety of causes and are not
always associated with the military.The utility of having 8 to 10 feet of 550 pound test nylon multistrand
cord handily around your wrist appealed to survivalists, hikers and folks who
just liked being prepared.
A fairly good-sized cottage industry has grown up making and
selling paracord bracelets at flea markets, gun shows, and through the internet
for a variety of causes in a variety of colors.Rather than be a fashion accessory, let it be a symbol of
caring.It doesn’t matter if you have
never been in the military yourself, make one and give it to somebody who was
or is in the military or their spouse or children.The gesture of giving something you have personally made means
far more than you think.Let’s put the
memory back into Memorial Day.This
isn’t about supporting war or being against war, it’s about supporting people.
Here are some guides on making a paracord bracelet for
yourself or for others:
Three Alarm Comics of D’Iberville hosted Free Comic Book Day
for this local area and the turn out was pretty good.There were guest artists to be seen, costumes to be worn and
comic books to be had by all.This time
around, there seemed to be a good deal of interest in Harley Quinn character with
a fair number images and a several costumers.
I was especially pleased to see the younger crowd interested
in comic books and in costuming.The
future of fandom lives in our ability to interest our young fans.
The great thing about comic books and graphic novels is
their ability to gain the interest of some who may initially find reading a
chore.Kids who love to read and are
around adults to love to read generally become good students and are more
successful, at least in my opinion.So
let’s do some reading ourselves and also get kids reading.
This year again was a successful FCBD and in no small part
due to the efforts of the organizers, participation of the artists, and the
turnout of eager fans.Thanks to
everybody for supporting and attending your local FCBD.
I bet you didn’t know Edgar Allan Poe had an older brother
in the US Navy and that he also wrote poetry and stories.His name was William Henry Leonard Poe and
not much is commonly known about him or his poetry.In fact there has only been one book of his works published that
was the only collection of his works ever printed in 1926 and only in one
edition and only a thousand copies were printed .The internet has opened up a window on this
obscure Poe, allowing access to articles and information only available to a
few researchers just a couple of decades ago.With that said, stand by for my typical digressions and an interesting
Last year for Veteran’s Day I posted about Edgar Allan Poe’smilitary service in the Virginia militia and later in the US Army as an
artillery sergeant and his service connection to his writing.Now I want to revisit the subject with
another Poe family member, William Henry Leonard Poe, who went by his second
name Henry to his friends.
Now, what brings up the reason for this post is some
serendipity and the fact that I visited Old Spanish Fort in Pascagoula,
Mississippi late last year.I went
there by appointment, with a friend to take photographs of this famous
structure for the 2016 Gulf Coast Spring Pilgrimage booklet.The structure of this nearly 300 year old
structure been badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, and restoration was in
progress.I hadn’t visited the site
since the mid 1970s and it brought back a lot of memories.There are two cannons flanking the house,
but I didn’t pay much attention to them back then, as they were not original to
the 1730 structure.
This time when I visited Pascagoula’s Old Spanish Fort some
forty years later, I actually bothered to look more closely at these iron
cannons and was intrigued to find the royal cipher of King George and a broadarrow mark on the breech of the guns.That piqued
my interest and I looked further into their origin once I got back home.They were two cannons from the British
frigate, HMS Macedonian.According to
the plaques mounted on the guns, they were given to Old Spanish Fort by the US
Naval Academy in 1957.I was intrigued
as to why two cannons from a famous British War of 1812 warship would be at an
obscure, but architecturally important building on the Mississippi Gulf
Coast.In fact Old Spanish Fort the
oldest standing structure in the Mississippi Valley, but that’s another
story.The story here is actually about
these overlooked cannons and their link to history and the Poe family.
William Poe was generally known as Henry, so I’lluse that name throughout this post.Henry was born in Boston on 30 January 1807,
and died prematurely on 1 August 1831 – possibly of tuberculosis and
complications of alcohol.He was
Edgar’s older brother by several years.It may be of note that Edgar and Henry’s mother, Eliza Poe 
also died of TB herself on 8 December 1811. Henry was at her deathbed and
received a parting lock of hair.
Henry himself was buried 1 August 1831 in the family plot at
the Westminster Burying Ground, Baltimore and the cemeterywould receive his more famous younger
brother Edgar 20 years later, but Henry’s grave unfortunately unmarked.To heap even more indignity on Henry, in the
obituary notice in one newspaper, his name was misspelled as “Hope” rather than
Poe. .Their famous
grandfather and Revolutionary war hero, General David Poe Sr had a lot in
Westminster where the David Poe Sr, Henry, and Edgar are all buried.I discussed Gen Poe in my previous Poe
article, so I won’t go into it here.BTW the actor, David Poe Jr, is Henry, Edgar, and Rosalie’s father and
little is known about him.Here is a
link to the purported gravesite of Henry, but it’s a lot more complex than
As a child, Henry
Poe was separated from his younger brother Edgar and sister Rosalie and lived
with his grandparents, the famous General David Poe Sr, of Revolutionary War
fame until the death of the general in 1816.Henry was then shuttled off to live with his maternal grandmother, aunt
and cousin of the Clemm family.So far
this Poe narrative has proven a meandering path, forking and turning back on
itself, years later Edgar would marry his cousin Virginia Clemm, but before
that he would live briefly with Henry in the Clemm residence, where he would
Exactly when Henry became a seafaring man is somewhat
obscure but we know that in 1825 he was in the navy or merchant marine because he was
“in the uniform of a midshipman” as reported by his younger brother Edgar.However Henry Poe does not appear in the
Naval Register for 1826 which was reported to Congress 9 Jan 1826, listing USN
officers and midshipmen active in 1825, so he may have only been a seaman and
not a midshipman after all.Since the
Naval Academy was not founded until 1845, there is no hope of finding any Poe
midshipman records there.It is
possible that he was in the uniform of a civilian ship service.It’s one of the many mysteries surrounding
Henry Poe.At the end of this post
are some links that might be worth following up for a Poe scholar.
We do know that later in 1826 Henry served on board the US
Navy frigate, the USS Macedonian , which had a long and colorful
history well worth reading .In 1826 Macedonian cruised the West Indies to suppress pirate activity.The USS Macedonian cruised to the
Mediterranean visiting Europe and the near East and possibly Russia as
well.More importantly he cruised South
America and certainly stopped in at Montevideo, which we know because of an
article he wrote and published in the Baltimore Minerva and Saturday Evening
Post in February 1827.Sorry I
don’t have a link to the Post article.If I turn one up or a reader has one, I’ll post it here.
On 11 June 1826 the USS Macedonian left Gosport (later
renamed Norfolk) Virginia for a cruise in the Pacific, returning 30 October
1828 from its final voyage as the ship was decommissioned later that year at
Gosport as its timbers were in terrible shape.The Macedonian was broken up and the keel and figurehead were
recycled into the rebuilt USS Macedonian.See the footnotes at the end of the article to find out the history and
final fate of this ship.We know that
two of the cannon ended up at Old Spanish Fort and the catalyst of this post.
Henry Poe mustered out in 1829 and took a job as a clerk
with Henry Didier, his godfather, who owned a counting house in Baltimore.Henry by this time is in frail health due to
tuberculosis and also the weakening effects of drink.Henry lives with Maria Clemm, his aunt along with his
grandmother, Mrs Elizabeth Cairnes Poe and Maria’s 10 year old son Henry Clemm
on Mechanics Row, Wilks Street (later called Eastern Ave) in Baltimore until
his death in 1831 or so it would appear.
However a perplexing gap which shows up as in the 1830
Baltimore census, as Henry Poe is not shown in the domicile, for he was
possibly at sea again, despite bad health.Then again he may have made himself scarce due to large debts he had run
up.These debts were an embarrassment
to Edgar who tried to pay them off later.Edgar wrote to Allan about these debts in a letter dated 18 November
1831, after Henry had died.Edgar
himself would be plagued by debts for much of his life.
Henry had literary influence on younger Edgar, but this article is
running long, so I’ll just give some links for those who are interested.For you Poe fans, it’s well worth
Some of the slurs against Edgar in his later years and after
his death, may have been in part due to confusion with his older brother Henry’s
alcoholism and sickly consumptive constitution.For that matter, David Poe Jr, Edgar & Henry’s father, had a
bad life and the belief that “blood will out” may have also tainted Edgar’s
reputation.Since Henry’s biography
has become somewhat tangled up with Edgar’s bio, it’s not beyond debate to
think that both of them has been muddled by journalists and researchers.
Then again, Edgar’s sense of humor and need to hoax caused
him to pen a silly and over-the-top pseudoautobiography, which he sent (I don’t
have a date) to Rufus Griswold for an anthology he was putting together, The
Poets and Poetry of America, first published in 1842, which ran through
several editions over the years, probably didn’t help things either.Interestingly, the section about fighting
for Greek independence in for the memory of Lord Byron ended up in Edgar’s
obituary as factual and more oddly, ended up attached back to his brother Henry
in later years, muddying the water even further.A copy of this “biography” document can be seen here https://www.poemuseum.org/about-treasures.php
I’d give this a little more personal historical background
about my interest in cannons and the HMS/USS Macedonian.Starting in the mid 1970s, I became an avid
wargamer and played naval engagements with the old Avalon Hill boardgame, WoodenShips and Iron Men, with HMS Macedonian in one of the scenarios. Who would have known then that two cannon
from that famous ship would reside nearby.
In conclusion, the cool thing is that the two cannons
from the HMS/USS Macedonian were very close to Henry Poe during his period on
the ship.That makes these cannons at
Old Spanish Fort a possible place to visit for Poe family fans, if not for the
War of 1812 connection.There’s not
another possible Poe attraction in a thousand miles of PascagoulaActually that’s an exaggeration as Richmond
VA (894 miles) andSullivan’s Island,
SC (672 miles) are closer to Pascagoula MS than a thousand miles .This meandering post has finally come to a
conclusion.Hopefully this will make up
for missing Henry’s grave while visiting his famous brother’s monument just
yards away on a visit to Baltimore ten years ago.I’d sure like to see Henry’s grave properly located and marked..If you are in the neighborhood of Pascagoula
MS, drop on in and see Old Spanish Fort and those cannon.
 Poe’s Brother: The Poems of William Henry Leonard Poe,
etc. New York: George H. Doran Co. 1926, edited by Allen, Hervey and Thomas O.
William Henry Leonard Poe 1807-1831wikipedia article
 About ten years ago I visited Baltimore and of course
went to the place(s) where Edgar was buried, not ever dreaming that his lesser
known brother was buried nearby.It’s a
shame really, but this article might make up for that oversight.I said places where EAP was buried because
there are two burial sites for Edgar there.Henry Poe’s date of death and burial site it unknown at this time.If any enterprising reader could find proof
of Henry’s Poe’s date of death and location of his grave, I am sure that Poe
scholars would love that information.Incidentally, there is no known original surviving letter written by
Henry Poe – were you to find one, it would be unique.
 The name Macedonian is a reference to Alexander the
Great and the ship had a figurehead of Alexander as well.The ship was decommissioned in 1828 and the
keel and ribs were reused to make another USS Macedonian.The famous figurehead was also used in the
The US Naval
Academy, Annapolis has a USS Macedonian monument as well as the original
figurehead.The USS Macedonian has a
really interesting history and I meticulously tracked down the ultimate fate of
the bones of the HMS/USS Macedonian and that was practically a post of it’s
Below is more (probably far more information than you
wanted) about the HMS/USS Macedonian and Henry’s association with the
ship.Since I researched it out of
curiosity, here are the fruits of that search.
For those of you with special access and a deep interest in
the USS Macedonian and/or in the naval career of Henry Poe, here are journals
kept by officers from 1818 through 1829.They are a possible goldmine for Henry Poe researchers and are held by
the Naval History and Heritage Command listed here below
Item 38. Journals Kept by Lt.
Charles Gaunt on Board the USS Macedonian, Commanded by Comdr. John
Downes and Capt. James Biddle, and the U.S. Sloop of War Warren,
Commanded by Comdr. Lawrence Kearney.July 29, 1818-June 5, 1829. 2 vols. 2 in.The first volume contains, in addition to the journal, a list of
officers of the Macedonian, a table of latitude and longitude and a
thermometrical table kept during the cruise, and a newspaper clipping
concerning Lima, Peru. It has been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication
M875, Journal of Lt. Charles Gauntt Aboard the U.S.S. Macedonian, 1818-1821.The second volume contains the journal kept on board the Macedonian
during another cruise, March 21-June 20, 1822, and a journal kept during a
cruise of the Warren, December 13, 1826-June 5, 1829. Item 39. Journal Kept by
Captain's Clerk Charles J. Deblois on Board the USS Macedonian,
Commanded by Comdr. John Downes.Nov.
10, 1818-July 8, 1819. 1 vol. 1 in.The journal was sent to the Office of Library and Naval War Records for
review in 1888 by a Mr. Saltonstall and was presented to the Office of Naval
Records and Library by Miss Louisa Huntington, May 1932.The volume containing the journal also
contains newspaper clippings giving accounts of the hurricane of September 27,
1818, in which the Macedonian suffered extensive damages. The journal
has been reproduced as NARA Microfilm Publication M876, Journal of Charles
J. Deblois, Captain's Clerk Aboard the USS Macedonian, 1818-1819. Also US Govt Archives has copies
of US Navy Muster rolls, T829: Misc Records of the US Navy, 1789-1925,
which might turn up Henry Poe.Check
out the muster and pay rolls for the Macedonian which run from 1813 to 1829,
which are on microfilm.http://www.archives.gov/research/alic/reference/military/navy-records-1789-to-1925.html
Note: Poe DOES NOT appear in the naval Register for 1826
which was reported to Congress 9 Jan 1826 a giving an accounting of US Navy
officers and midshipmen, so he may have only been a common seaman and not a
HMS Macedonian was a Lively class frigate of the British
Navy.The keel and figurehead were
retained for the building of the USS Macedonian during the years 1832-1836, a
ship that accompanied Commodore Perry to Japan.The figurehead is at the US Naval Academy museum donated in 1875,
Annapolis MD atop the monumenthttp://www.dcmemorials.com/index_indiv0003240.htmandhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macedoniann_Monument In 2014 the figurehead on the monument was replaced with a
new mahogany one and the original placed in the museum.
Here is information about the illusive Macedonian Hotel and
the final fate of the USS Macedonian which is mentioned in the period book, The
Story of the Bronx, pub 1912 by Stephen Jenkins pgs 431-432 with an illustration
of the hotel on the facing (unnumbered page) across from page 430 download the
PDF of The Story of the Bronx here -- http://hpsbg.weebly.com/uploads/2/3/6/6/2366012/storyofbronxfrom1912jenk.pdf
Even more links of interest associated with this article
An old friend of mine who was part of the forming of the SF convention CoastCon (and even earlier
fan activity) sent me his fan-made music video called Christmas on Mars.I guess you could call it a traditional
Christmas filksong.Given the renewed interest in Mars these
days, I thought this post might reflect some of the past interest in Mars,
specifically in Science Fiction and Science Fantasy.
Now here’s a good old-fashioned science fiction Christmas
carol, performed on Christmas Eve (on Earth) 2013.Originally performed at a company Christmas party back in 2008, but it was written way before the movie of the same name.
lyrics to Michael Sanborn's
CHRISTMAS ON MARS
The children are sliding down the sand dunes
While the robots trim the tree.
Both moons sparkle up above us
And the eggnog pills are free...
Though our spaceships travel
Out among the stars,
We're snuggled at home:
It's Christmas on Mars.
There's holiday cheer
In the oxygen bars.
It's that time again:
It's Christmas on Mars.
Li li li (etc.)
The energy blobs
Wheel and bob
In the town promenade.
Let's raise a cheer
For the Laser Brigade!
While the fresh-grown Snow Clones
Serve warp-berry pie
And the zeppelins soar
In the pink winter sky...
(Spoken:) "Wait, zeppelins?!" (I hear you
thinking.) "Zeppelins could never
float in the thin Martian
atmosphere!" Ah, but what you're forgetting is that these a
zeppelinspowered by advanced Martian anti-gravity technology!
(Sung:) That's why they can fly!
Beam the festive gamma rays!
Blast the craters all ablaze!
Crash the comets to amaze
The Old Ones!
Sled through the magnetosphere!
Chestnuts and ammonia beer!
Gone, the worries! Disappear,
(Chorus x 2)
Christmas on Mars!
I hope you enjoy this fun filksong from an old-time fan and
CoastCon supporter, Michael Sanborn.Sorry he didn’t make it back this year for the holidays.
Sprinkled through this post are just some of the many books
inspired by Mars exploration.Happy
reading this holiday.
Update: I finally got the corrected lyrics for Christmas on Mars. Sorry for any errors, but I blame solar flares for the garbled transmission!
Project Gutenberg has a variety of free, out of copyright
books you can download in a variety of electronic formats.With a little bit of searching, you can turn
up some interesting books there https://www.gutenberg.org/